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Aloe Vera (Lily Family)
The word Aloe (meaning “bitter and shiny substance”) is derived from the Arabic word Alloeh. There are over 240 different species of Aloe, growing mainly in the dry regions of Africa, Asia, Europe and America. Although Aloe Vera is a member of the Lily family, it is very cactus-like in its characteristics. This unique plant also belongs to a larger plant family called "Xeroids." Of the 240+ species of Aloe, only four are recognized as being of nutritional value to humans and animals.
Many of the Aloe plants have the following medicinal properties.
Emollient , purgative, vulnerary, tonic, demulcent, vermifuge, antifungal, alterative, emmenagogue.
Aloe gel contains glycoproteins; protein-carbohydrate compounds that speed the healing process by stopping pain and inflammation, and polysaccharides, types of carbohydrates that stimulate skin growth and repair. The anthraquinones in aloe latex are chemical compounds that work as powerful laxatives, and in smaller amounts, they can help stop kidney stone formation
Many of the Aloe plants have the following biochemical properties:
Anthraquinone, glycosides, resins, polysaccharides, sterols, gelonins, chromones
Aloe also contains the following compounds:
A polysaccharide which has shown exciting antiviral and anti-retroviral and immunopotentiating effects such as inhibiting glycosylation of viral glycoproteins, enhancement of macrophage activity, immune system potentiators, T-cell function, and interferon production. Acemannan is now approved for veterinary use in fibrosarcomas and feline leukemia (a retro-virus), and in preliminary human and in vitro studies, as a synergistic enhancement to the drug azidothymidine (AZT) or Acyclovir to inhibit the replication of HIV and herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1). Sarcoma research is also promising
Vitamin C, E, zinc
Vitamin C, E, and zinc play a critical role in the process of wound healing. Aloe gel, unlike many other anti-inflammatory substances, stimulates fibroblast and connective tissue formation, and additionally, stimulates the epidermal growth and repair process. Topically, its anti-inflammatory, moisturizing, emollient, and antimicrobial actions combine to enhance its effect, and provide for indication of aloe gel for burns, skin inflammation, wounds, topical ulcers, acne, seborrhea, and wounds (although not for deep surgical wounds, especially vertical ones such as laparotomy or cesarean section).
There is nothing on this planet that offers the amazing variety of healing benefits granted by aloe vera. In a single plant, aloe vera offers potent, natural medicine that:
• Halts the growth of cancer tumors.
• Lowers high cholesterol.
• Repairs “sludge blood” and reverses “sticky blood”.
• Boosts the oxygenation of your blood.
• Eases inflammation and soothes arthritis pain.
• Protects the body from oxidative stress.
• Prevents kidney stones and protects the body from oxalates in coffee and tea.
• Alkalizes the body, helping to balance overly acidic dietary habits.
• Cures ulcers, IBS, Crohn’s disease and other digestive disorders.
• Reduces high blood pressure naturally, by treating the cause, not just the symptoms.
• Nourishes the body with minerals, vitamins, enzymes and glyconutrients.
• Accelerates healing from physical burns and radiation burns.
• Replaces dozens of first aid products, makes bandages and antibacterial sprays obsolete.
• Halts colon cancer, heals the intestines and lubricates the digestive tract.
• Ends constipation.
• Stabilizes blood sugar and reduces triglycerides in diabetics.
• Prevents and treats candida infections.
• Protects the kidneys from disease.
• Functions as nature’s own “sports drink” for electrolyte balance, making common sports drinks obsolete.
• Boosts cardiovascular performance and physical endurance.
• Speeds recovery from injury or physical exertion.
• Hydrates the skin, accelerates skin repair.
Aloe - Medicinal Application
The bulk of the aloe leaf is filled with gel, 96% water with the other 4% containing 75 known substances. Applied to wounds, aloe gel is a mild anesthetic, relieving itching, swelling, and pain: it also is antibacterial and antifungal, increases blood flow to wounded areas, and stimulates fibroblasts, the skin cells responsible for wound healing.
An animal-based study in the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association found that both oral and topical aloe preparations speed wound healing. Animals were given either aloe (100mg/kg body weight) in their drinking water for two months or 25% aloe vera cream applied directly to wounds for six days. Aloe had positive effects in both cases. The size of wounds decreased 62% in the animals taking oral aloe compared to a 51% in the control group. Topical aloe produced a 51% decrease in wound size compared to a 33% in the control group.
Supports Surgical Recovery
Aloe decreases surgical recovery time, according to a report in the Journal of Dermatological Surgery and Oncology. Eighteen acne patients underwent facial dermabrasion surgery, in which lesions are scraped away. Dressings were applied to their faces, with half of each person's face receiving the standard dressing coated with surgical gel, and the other half with aloe added to this dressing. The half of the face treated with aloe healed approximately 72 hours faster than the other side.
In a study in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand, 27 patients with moderate burn wounds were treated with gauze coated in either aloe gel or Vaseline™ (petroleum jelly). The burns healed more quickly in the aloe group, with an average healing time of 12 days compared to 18 days for the group using Vaseline.
Minimizes Frostbite Damage
A study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine established that aloe works for frostbite. Researchers gave standard treatments for frostbite (antibiotics, ibuprofen, and re-warming) to 154 patients with mild to severe frostbite. Of patients who additionally received aloe vera cream, 67.9% healed without any tissue loss (amputation) compared to 32.7% in the control group. Researchers concluded that aloe prevented a decrease of blood flow to the frozen tissues, a common cause of tissue loss in frostbite.
Screens Out Radiation
Aloe protects against skin damage from X rays, according to researchers at Hoshi University in Japan publishing in the journal Yakugaku Zasshi. They found that aloe was an effective antioxidant, mopping up the free radicals caused by radiation, and that it protected two of the body's healing substances, superoxide dismutase (an antioxidant enzyme) and glutathione (an amino acid which stimulates the immune system).
Heals Psoriasis Lesions
In a double blind, placebo-controlled study published in Tropical Medicine and International Health, 60 patients with chronic psoriasis were given a 0.5% aloe vera extract in a mineral oil crème. The ointment was applied three times daily for five consecutive days (15 applications total per week) for four weeks.
When patients were checked after eight months, far more psoriasis skin lesions had healed in the aloe group (82.8%) than in the placebo group (7.7%). Further, 83.3% of the aloe group was considered cured of their psoriasis compared to only 6.6% of the placebo group.
Eases Intestinal Problems
Aloe vera juice can be effective for treating inflammatory bowel disease, according to a study in the Journal of Alternative Medicine. Ten patients were given two ounces of aloe juice, three times daily, for seven days. After one week, all patients were cured of diarrhea, four had improved bowel regularity, and three reported increased energy.
Researchers concluded that aloe was able to rebalance the intestines by "regulating gastrointestinal pH while improving gastrointestinal motility, increasing stool specific gravity, and reducing populations of certain fecal microorganisms, including yeast." Other studies have shown that aloe vera juice helps to detoxify the bowel, neutralize stomach acidity, and relieve constipation and gastric ulcers.
Reduces Blood Sugar in Diabetes
Aloe reduced the blood sugar levels in diabetics, as reported in Hormone Research. Five patients with adult (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes were given 1/2 teaspoon of aloe extract daily for up to 14 weeks. Blood sugar levels were reduced in all patients by an average of 45%, with no change in their total weight.
Reduces Arthritic Swelling
Aloe can help prevent arthritis and reduce the inflammation in joints already affected by arthritis, according to the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association. Aloe can also inhibit the autoimmune reaction associated with certain forms of arthritis, in which the body attacks its own tissues.
Animals were injected with a bacterium to cause arthritic symptoms, namely inflammation and swelling. To determine if it could prevent arthritis, aloe (150mg/kg body weight) was injected under the skin daily for 13 days. Physical measurements were taken daily to determine the amount of swelling and inflammation.
Several compounds from aloe showed antiarthritic activity, according to the researchers. One organic acid in aloe reduced inflammation by 79.7% and suppressed the autoimmune response by 42.4%. Another aloe compound (anthraquinone) reduced inflammation by 67.3% but had no effect on the autoimmune response.
Stimulates Immune Response Against Cancer
Aloe may help prolong survival time and stimulate the immune system of cancer patients, according to recent research.
In a 1994 study in the Japanese medical journal Yakhak Hoeji, mice with cancerous tumors were given aloe orally for 14 days. While the aloe did not suppress tumor growth, the average life span of the mice was prolonged by 22% for those given 50mg aloe/kg body weight and by 32% for those given 100mg/kg daily. A simultaneous experiment on human cancer cells (in vitro) found that high doses of aloe significantly suppressed the growth of these cancer cells.
Researchers writing in Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy found that a compound (lectin) from aloe, when injected directly into tumors, activated the immune system to attack the cancer. Killer T cells, white blood cells that bind to invading cells and destroy them, began to attack the tumor cells injected with lectin.
Aloe turns on the immune system by activating macrophages (white blood cells which "swallow" antigens), causing the release of immune-activating (and anticancer) substances such as interferons, interleukines, and tumor necrosis factor. In addition, aloe promotes the growth of normal (non-cancerous) cells, researchers said.
Benefits Lung Cancer
Aloe's protective effect was confirmed in a study of 673 lung cancer patients in Okinawa, Japan, published in the Japanese Journal of Cancer Research. This survey looked at the connection between smoking, comparative amounts of 17 plant foods in the diet, and the occurrence of lung cancer over a five-year period.
Aloe was the only one of the plant foods that was protective against cancer. "The results of plant epidemiology suggests that aloe prevents human pulmonary carcinogenesis," stated the researchers. Further, aloe is "widely preventive or suppressive against various human cancers."
Aloe Vera Recommended Products
Agrimony can be found growing extensively throughout Europe, Canada, and the United States. A hardy perennial, its natural habitat is woods and fields, but it takes to cultivation easily. Its one to two foot branchy stems are covered with a fine, silky down and terminate in spikes of yellow flowers. Both the flowers and the notched leaves give off a faint characteristic lemony scent when crushed. After the flowers fade they give place to tiny clinging "burrs" which will quickly adhere to your clothing if you brush by the plant in a hedgerow.
The use of Agrimony dates back to the ancient Egyptians. The name Agrimony comes from the Greek word Argemone (plants healing to eyes). The word Eupatoria comes from Mithridates Eupator (a herbalist king).
Because of the tannins, the medicinal uses of agrimony are extensive. When sipped as a tea, for example, agrimony will help control the loose stools of diarrhea. Once cooled, the tea works as a throat gargle to reduce inflammation and relieve sore throat pain. Interestingly, Germany's prestigious Commission E approves of using the herb for these purposes.
Agrimony is also used as a mood remedy,
Amaranth is used to battle stomach flu, diarrhea, and gastroenteritis. It was used by Native Americans to stop excessive menstruation and for contraception. Applied externally, it can reduce tissue swelling from sprains and tick bites. Not to be used by pregnant or lactating women.
Amaranth is an annual, whose varieties grow from 1 to 5 feet tall. It is not picky as to soil type, and will tolerate heat and drought well. They do not transplant well, so sow the seed where you want them to grow.
American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)
Native North American ginseng once grew in woodlands from southern Quebec to southern Manitoba and well south into the United States.
First Nations used American ginseng to improve mental functioning and to treat a wide range of complaints including fevers, coughs, and headaches. American ginseng is closely related to Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng), which has been an important plant in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years.
In the 1700s, Jesuit priests, who had missions in both Asia and New France, recognized American ginseng's potential value in China. Soon, ginseng roots were being dug and exported in large quantities. Continued over-harvesting, as well as habitat damage, has led to ginseng's near-disappearance across much of its former range.
Although American and Asian ginseng are often marketed as if they were identical, laboratory analysis has shown that they have different chemical properties. The roots of both species are sold in many over-the-counter preparations and "health foods". Both roots are still used today in traditional Chinese medicine, but for different purposes.
Ginseng's most popular - and best documented - uses are to boost the immune system, enhance ability to function under stress, and improve mental functioning. Ginseng is also being studied for its possible ability to help control the blood sugar levels of diabetics.
Ginseng Recommended Products
10 Ginsengs Liquid
Called Chinese Angelica, Angelica Root, and Dong Quai, this herb helps lower symptoms of menopause, relieves menstrual cramps, and regulates menstrual periods. No scientific evidence supports its effectiveness, but Anglica has been used in oriental medicine to treat these symptoms for centuries.
This herb is primarily used to relieve reproductive problems in females. In particular, treatment includes lowering menopausal symptoms, regulating cycles, and relieving menstrual cramps. There is no scientific evidence to support angelica’s effectiveness in treating reproductive problems.
Oriental medicine often combines Chinese angelica root with various other herbs to provide treatment for conditions such as high blood pressure, arthritis, allergies, and asthma. Limited evidence supports angelica’s ability to increase immune system function; this suggests why the root is effective in treating allergies. It also may possess anti-inflammatory properties, suggesting possible benefits when treating conditions including asthma and arthritis. Angelic root may possibly relax blood vessels because of one of the chemical it contains. This may make it effective in lowering high blood pressure.
Anise is an annual culinary herb belonging to ajwain or celery family. Its fruit, known as aniseed, is one of the oldest spices. The seed is ground-grey to greyish-brown in color, oval in shape and 3.2 to 4.8 mm in length. It has an agreeable odor and a pleasant taste. The anise plant grows up to a height of 75 cms. It requires sunshine and warmth and does not grow satisfactorily in the tropical lowlands.
Anise is a native of the Middle East. It was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians, who valued its medicinal properties and culinary uses. It was also known to the early Greeks and Romans. It is now cultivated in Europe, Asia Minor, India and Mexico.
It contains moisture, substantial amount of protein, fatty oil and crude fibre besides essential oil, sugars, starch and ash. It also contains choline.
Anise oil is a colorless or pale-yellow liquid, with the characteristic odor and taste of the fruit. This oil has now replaced the fruits for medicinal and flavoring purposes.
The chief constituent of anise oil is anethole which is present in large quantity and is mainly responsible for the characteristic flavor of the oil. The oil also contains methyl, chavicol, p-methoxyphenyl acetone and small amounts of terpenes and sulphur compounds of disagreeable odor.
Benefits of Aniseed
Aniseed is esteemed in medicine for its properties to relieve flatulence and to remove catarrhal matter and phelgm from the bronchial tube. These properties are due to the presence of its essential oil. The seed also induces copious perspiration and increases the volume and discharge of urine.
Arnica: (Arnica species, especially A. cordifolia, A. fulgens, and A. sororia)
Arnica grows primarily in the western mountains, from the Yukon and Northwest Territories in the north to the southwestern U.S., but it can also be found in small isolated pockets as far east as Lake Superior.
First Nations used poultices of arnica to soothe strained muscles and bruises. Settlers from Europe recognized North American arnica as closely related to a familiar European medicinal plant, Arnica montana, also employed to soothe minor aches and pains, as well as to treat wounds.
Arnica contains several chemical compounds with anti-inflammatory or counter-irritant properties, which help relieve minor pains. It is currently being investigated for possible pain relief for arthritis. Arnica products for external application are readily available in Canada and used widely in Europe.
However, arnica is also a highly poisonous plant. In Canada, products containing arnica cannot be marketed for internal use, and arnica should not be applied to injured areas if the skin is broken.
Babul - (Acacia)
Acacia, popularly known as babul, is a large tree, upto 14 metres high, with thorns on its branches. It has darkish grey bark and yellow flowers in spherical heads.
Babul tree is indigenous to Sind in Pakistan. It occurs wild in India and tropical Africa. It is planted for its bark. The tree yields a gum, known as babul gum. The bark of babul tree contains tannin and gallic acid. The leaves and fruits of the tree also contain tannin and gallic acid.
Healing Power and Curative Properties of Babul
The leaves, the bark, the pods and the gum of the tree have medicinal virtues. The pods help remove catarrhal matter
and phlegm from the bronchial tubes. The gum allays any, irritation of the skin and soothes the inflamed membranes of the pharynx, alimentary canal and genito-urinary organs.
The various parts of babul tree are useful in diarrhoea of ordinary intensity. A mixture of equal parts of the tender leaves with white and black cumin seeds (zeera) can be administered in
doses of 12 grams, thrice daily. An infusion made of the bark of the tree may also be taken thrice daily for the same purpose. The gum, used either in decoction or in syrup, is an effective medicine for diarrhoea.
Chewing of fresh bark of this tree daily, helps strengthen loose teeth and arrest any bleeding from the gums. Dirty teeth can be cleaned effectively by brushing them with a powder in which 60 grams of charcoal of babul wood, 24 grams of roasted alum and 12 grams of rock salt have been included.
The bark of babul tree is useful in the treatment of eczema. About 25 grams each of this bark and the mango bark should be boiled in about I litre of water and the vapours allowed to foment the affected part. After the fomentation, the affected part should be anointed with ghee.
A decoction of the bark, mixed with rock salt, should be used as a gargle in treating tonsilitis.
The leaves of babul tree are effective in the treatment of conjuctivitis. The leaves, ground to a paste, should be applied on the affected eyes at night, supported by a bandage which should be untied the next morning. This removes pain and redness.
The leaves are beneficial in treating epiphora that is watering of the eyes, in which tears flow onto the cheeks due to abnormality of the tear drainage system. About 250 grams of leaves should be boiled in one and a quarter litre of water until only a quarter litre of water is left. This should then be fdtered and kept in a well-corked botde. The eye-lids should be painted morning and evening with this liquid.
The bark of the tree is useful in leucorrhoea. Its decoction should be used as a vaginal douche for treating this disorder.
Basil is mostly known for its use in cooking, as a flavoursome herb. You can use either fresh basil, or the dried basil found in stores. If you buy dried basil, you do need to ensure it is from a good manufactrer if you want to maintain its flavour and health benefits. The less processing the herb passes through , the more of its health benefits will be retained, and then consumed by you and your family.
Basil is an excellent source of a variety of key nutrients, particularly vitamin C, calcium, vitamin A and phosphorus. Furthermore, basil is a useful source of magnesium, potassium and iron.
Basil has a long history of use in cooking, going back even to the Greek civilization, and probably beyond. This herb is believed to have significant health effects, particularly in improving cardiovascular health. Furthermore, basil is a particularly good source of vitamin A, which is a key nutrient for strong eyesight, plus healthy skin and hair. Basil contains high concentrations of carotenoids such as beta carotene, and these substances are converted to vitamin A in the body. Beta carotene offers even stronger benefits than vitamin A alone, and it is known to be a powerful antioxidant.
The importance of antioxidants revolves around their ability to help prevent the cell damage that occurs from free radicals in the body. Free radicals are a natural presence in the body, however, if they get out of control they are thought to cause cell damage that can lead to cancer. Some reseachers now claim that the damage done by these free radicals can be reduced or prevented by eating a diet that is rich in antioxidant vitamins such as beta carotene.
Bayberry, also known as wax myrtle, waxberry, or candelberry, is both a shrub and a tree. All members of the bayberry family are classified botanically as Myricaceae, and many varieties are found all over the world, including Japan, South America, the West Indies, the United Kingdom, and in the United States.
Bayberry bark and roots contain starch, lignin, gum, albumen, tannic and gallic acids, astringent resin, a red coloring substance, a vaporous oil, and an acid similar to saponin. Powdered bayberry root is useful as a bowel astringent in the treatment of diarrhea and colitis, a soothing and helpful gargle for the common cold or a sore throat , and as a douche in the treatment of leukorrhea, an abnormal white or yellow mucoid discharge from the vagina or cervix. In the Herbal Materia Medica, bayberry root bark is classified as an astringent, a circulatory stimulant, as well as a diaphoretic, a remedy which dilates superficial capillaries and induces perspiration, sometimes used to reduce fevers.
Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa)
Black cohosh is a North American native, originally found in southern Ontario and the northeastern United States.
First Nations used Black cohosh rhizomes and roots primarily to treat "women's complaints" such as painful menstruation or difficult childbirth. It was also used for rheumatism, sore throat, and several other conditions.
European settlers quickly adopted the plant as a valuable - and readily available - addition to their supply of drugs and used it for conditions such as high blood pressure, migraine, and neuralgia. Black cohosh became a popular ingredient in 19th-century patent medicines, especially those aimed at women. It was also tried, probably in desperation, as a remedy for many infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, diphtheria, and measles.
Black cohosh is a popular over-the-counter herbal remedy. There is some evidence that it is effective in reducing some of the symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness, although large-scale studies of its effectiveness and possible side effects have not yet been done.
Its potential for alleviating painful menstruation and PMS, and slowing development of osteoporosis, is also being investigated, although there is as yet no firm evidence for these uses.
Black Cohosh Recommended Products
Black Cohosh Root
Black Tea comes from the same leaf as green tea so it has anti-oxidants just like green tea does. These anti-oxidants help the body in many ways. In recent studies, black tea has been found to cut down on artery clogging which in turn can help with heart disease. One recent study has shown black tea to help blood vessel functionality as much as 50%.
A second benefit of black tea is that it helps to prevent and knock out viruses. A few studies has shown that black tea helps to render virusus inactive. This makes it a much quicker process to get rid of a virus and also helps prevent getting a virus.
One more huge benefit of black tea is that cuts the risk of cancer. This has been known about green tea for awhile now, but this same benefit also holds true for black tea. Many doctors believe that this is due to the anti-oxidants in the black tea.
Black tea has also shown to aid in weight loss in a few studies. The studies have shown that black tea drinkers had higher metabolism rates. This was only a slight increase, but every calorie counts if you are trying to lose weight. Most studies found about a 4% increase over a 24 hour period.
One last benefit is that black tea helps lower total cholesterol levels and helps raise HDL cholesterol which is the good cholesterol.
Boswellia, also know as Salai Guggal, is a medium to large tree found in a variety of regions throught India. A gummy oleoresin extracted from the trunk of the tree is used to prepare modern herbal remedies.
Boswellia acts as a spiritual symbol and an effective medicinal herb; it seems to function as both an analgesic and an anti-inflammatory. Reports and personal claims indicate that the Boswellia herb may be used in connection with joint mobility, pain, and stiffness, and may be a useful remedy for a variety of inflammatory diseases, including bursitis, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
The gum oleoresin consists of essential oils, gum, and terpenoids. The terpenoid portion contains the boswellic acids that have been shown to be the most important active constituent in boswellia. Currently, most extracts are standardized to contain approximately 37.5-65 boswellic acids.
Boswellic acids may contain an anti-inflammatory action - much like the conventional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs used for inflammatory conditions. Boswellia inhibits the body's pro-inflammatory mediators such as leukotrienes. Long-term boswellia use does not appear to cause stomach ulceration or irritation.
Boswellia Recommended Products
Three parts of the Burdock plant is used to create herbal remedies: the root, its seeds, and its leaves. The root of the Burdock plant is often used by the Japanese to treat a variety of ailments. They think of the Burdock root as a vegetable that they call godo. Western herbalists too also consider the root of the Burdock plant to be the most important. In the West, herbalists use the Burdock plant root as a cleansing and eliminative remedy. It is often used in cases where a buildup of toxins is suspected. Symptoms of toxin buildup include skin problems, digestive ailments, arthritic pains, or overall sluggishness. Parts of the Burdock root are often used externally to treat infections and skin sores. The Burdock root is most commonly harvested in the fall.
Another commonly used part of the Burdock plant is the seeds. The seeds of the Burdock plant are used in several healing remedies of many healing traditions. For instance, the American Eclectic school of healing has traditionally integrated the Burdock seeds as a diuretic or to create healing skin tonics. In traditional Chinese medicine, the seeds are often used to treat common colds that are characterized by an unproductive cough and sore throat. The seeds of the Burdock plant are traditionally harvested in late summer.
The leaves of the Burdock plant are also harvested to create several herbal remedies. In general, however, the leaves of the Burdock plant are thought to be less effective than other parts, especially the root. The leaves of the Burdock plant are most commonly used to create a healing tonic for common stomach complaints, including indigestion and overall digestive weakness. The leaves of the Burdock plant are harvested before or during their flowering.
To create an herbal remedy using the Burdock plant, one easy way is to infuse the Burdock plant leaves to create a hot tea to treat indigestion. It is recommended that Burdock tea be used to treat indigestion and that it be taken in half-cup doses before meals. Burdock tea can also be taken as a mild digestive stimulant. Another herbal remedy you can make from the Burdock plant is to take the root of the plant and create a poultice that can be applied to skin sores and leg ulcers.
Burdock Recommended Products
The plant called the butcher's-broom refers to a short evergreen shrub - botanical name Ruscus aculeatus L., belonging to the plant family Liliaceae, this plant is fairly common in this country and is known by other common names - the box holly and the knee holly. The herb itself is a transplanted species and was originally a native plant found around the entire Mediterranean region from the Azores all the way to Iran in the Persian Gulf.
The traditional and historical use of the butcher's broom herb is also a long one and many cultures in areas where the plant grew native used it in a variety of herbal preparations. The use of the butcher’s broom as a diuretic and laxative herb was suggested by the ancient Greek herbalist Dioscorides as early as the first century. Nicholas Culpeper, the most famous of the herbal apothecary astrologer of the seventeenth century, recommended making an herbal decoction of the butcher’s broom root for drinking, this internal potion was to be used along with an herbal topical poultice made from the berries and the leaves to hasten the knitting of broken bones in people with fractures. While the effectiveness of this combined treatment is not known, it is seldom listed in the standard references on herbal medications due to the fact, that this treatment strategy never did gain any recognition or popularity in either Europe or the United States and most herbalists ignore the method suggested.
Though the herb has many proven beneficial effects on disorders such as varicose veins and hemorrhoids, it is not as widely used as it used to be before - the herb may soon regain its position as new evidence supports the remedial benefits attributed to it. The diuretic action and moderately laxative property of both the aerial shoots and the rhizome is attested in the herbal traditions of Europe, where the herb used to be extensively used in these roles in the folk medicine.
Calendula officinalis (also known as Marigold)
Also known as Marigold, stimulates collagen production and helps prevent infection.
This beautiful flowering herb is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and analgesic. It is useful for allergies, bowel disease, conjuctivitis and gastritis.Used in creams it stimulates the production of collagen and is therefore often added to cosmetics. Applied topically it also relieves painful, irritated skin conditions such as sunburn, diaper rash, insect bites and chapped skin. Washing infected skin with an infusion made from this herb will help prevent staph infection.
Calendula has a long history of use as a wound-healing and skin-soothing botanical. This lovely marigoldlike flower (although called pot marigold, it is not a true marigold) is considered a vulnerary agent, a substance that promotes healing. Calendula also has anti-inflammatory and weak antimicrobial activity. It is most often used topically for lacerations, abrasions, and skin infections; less commonly, it is used internally to heal inflamed and infected mucous membranes
Calendula Preparations and Dosage
Most health food stores carry calendula soaps, oils, lotions, salves, and creams. Herb stores also supply bulk dried flowers, tincture, and calendula succus, which is made by extracting the fresh juice from the leaves and young flowers and preserving it with a bit of alcohol. Calendula succus is popular among naturopathic physicians, who use it during minor surgical procedures (to help heal the incision) and topically on skin wounds and infections. For internal use, take 1 teaspoon, three or more times daily.
Calendula Recommended Products
Cream Nature Works
The caraway plant is a biennial herb with feather-like leaves divided into very narrow segments and small white flowers. It has fleshy root and slender, branched stems. The fruit, when ripe, splits into narrow, elongated carpels, which are curved, pointed at the ends and have four longitudinal ridges on the surface. The dried fruits or seeds, brown in color are hard and sharp to touch. They have a pleasant odor, aromatic flavor, somewhat sharp taste and leave a somewhat warm feeling in the mouth.
Caraway seeds contain appreciable moisture, protein, fat, substantial amount of carbohydrates besides ash, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, iron, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin. It also contains vitamins C and A.
Caraway seeds yield a valuable essential oil, containing substantial amount of carvone. This oil is colorless or pale yellow with a strong odor and flavor of the fruit. The volatile oil contains a mixture of ketone, carvone, a terpene and traces of carvacrol.
The caraway seeds, leaves and roots are beneficial in activating the glands, besides increasing the action of the kidneys. It is characterized as an excellent house cleaner for the body.
- The seeds are also useful in strengthening the functions of stomach. They relieve flatulence and are useful in flatulent colic, countering any possible adverse effects of medicines. However, the volatile oil of the seeds is employed more often than the seeds. For flatulence, a cup of tea made from caraway seeds taken thrice a day, after meals, will give relief. This tea is prepared by adding a teaspoon of caraway seeds in 1.5 to 2 liters of boiling water and allowing it to simmer on a slow fire for minutes. It is then strained and sipped hot or warm.
- A dilute solution, containing small amounts of the oil of the caraway and alcohol mixed in 75 parts of castor oil is considered beneficial in the treatment of scabies. The solution should be taken orally.
- Caraway seed oil is used orally in overcoming bad breath or insipid taste.
- Carvone, isolated from caraway oil, is used as anthelmintic especially in removing hookworms from the intestines.
It is widely used for flavoring breads, biscuits, cakes and cheese. It is also used as an ingredient in sausages and as a seasoning and pickling spices. Its oil is useful chiefly for flavoring purposes and in medicine as a carminative to relieve flatulence.
Cardamom is a perennial herb with thick, fleshy rhizomes or underground stems shooting leafy roots and with leafy stems. It has a very large leaves, white or pale green three celled flowers, many seeded pale green to yellow fruits and triangular brownish black seeds.
The dried cardamom fruits have a pleasant aroma with a characteristic, slightly pungent taste. They leave a warm feeling in the mouth. It is the seeds, taken out from the fruits, which produce the warm sensation.
The cardamom seeds contain a volatile oil. The principal constituents of the volatile oil are cineol, terpinene, limonene, sabinene and terpineol in the form of formic and acetic acids.
Cascara (Rhamnus purshianus)
Cascara is a shrub or small tree native to the Pacific Coast, from British Columbia to northern California, and to Rocky Mountain regions near the Canada - U.S. border.
First Nations used the yellow inner bark of this tree as a remedy for constipation. Settlers adopted it by the early 1800s. Its use spread around the world until, in the early 1900s, it was the most widely used laxative substance on the planet. In the mid-1900s, demand for cascara began to decline as other products came on the market.
Cascara is still an ingredient in many over-the-counter laxative products. The chemical compounds it contains have been found to stimulate muscle contractions in the large intestine, but do not affect the small intestine.
Cascara Recommended Products
Catnip, also known as catmint, catswort, and field balm, is a member of the mint family of herbs and is believed to have originated in regions of Europe. Today catnip can be found growing in most of the milder climates of the Northern Hemisphere. Catnip plants have fuzzy, grayish-green leaves and small, white flowers that bloom in the summer. The flowers, leaves and stem are cut while the plants are in full flower and then dried for use in herbal preparations. Because it repels certain insects, catnip or chemicals derived from it have been used in pesticides.
Taken orally, catnip is most commonly used in connection with anxiety, insomnia, and nervousness. It contains a substance, known as nepetalactone, which has a sedative effect in humans. (Nepetalactone is very similar to valepotriate found in valerian, a more commonly used herbal sedative.) Due to this effect, catnip may also be used to help lessen migraine headaches. Catnip has also been used historically to relieve stomach complaints such as colic, cramps, gas, and indigestion because chemicals in it may have muscle-relaxing, or antispasmodic, effects.
Topically, catnip has often been used to reduce swelling associated with arthritis, hemorrhoids, and soft tissue injuries.
Cat's Claw Uncaria guianensis (Madder Family)
The anti-inflammatory properties of this herb make it useful for treating all forms of arthritis. Traditionally it has been used for bowel disorders, gastritis, and peptic ulcer as well.
This herb is also an immune stimulant and is sometimes used in the treatment of cancer, colds, and Lyme disease. The bark is used medicinally in capsule or tincture form.
CAUTIONS: Should not be used by pregnant or nursing women or those who take insulin for diabetes.
This herb is an anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant. It is used as a digestive aid to stimulates gastric juices. It also aids metabolism, and enhances athletic performance by increasing circulation. It is used for treating arthritis, food poisoning, heat stress, migraine, and obesity. Dried chili peppers are used in creams, and capsules. Capsaicin is known to stimulate the circulation and alter temperature regulation. Applied to the skin, capsaicin desensitizes nerve endings and it has been used in the past as a local analgesic. The capsicidins, found in the seeds are thought to have antibiotic properties.
The herb's heating qualities make it a valuable remedy for poor circulation and related conditions. It improves blood flow to the hands and feet and to the central organs.
Applied topically, cayenne is mildly analgesic and will increase blood flow to affected parts helping to stimulate the circulation in "cold" rheumatic and arthritic conditions.
Cayenne powder placed inside the socks is a traditional remedy for those prone to permanently cold feet.
Cayenne is taken internally to relieve gas and colic, and to stimulate secretion of the digestive juices.
It is also said to prevent infections from establishing themselves in the digestive system.
Cayenne Recommended Products
Cayenne - Now
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Chamomile Chamomilla recutita (Composite Family)
Used as an infusion or poultice, stops cuts & scrapes from oozing.
This herb has anti-anxiety, antihistamine, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antispasmodic properties.
It is valued for its treatment of a wide variety of conditions such as allergies, anxiety, ADD, asthma, colic, conjunctivitis, diaper rash, eczema, irritable bowel syndrome, lupus, peptic ulcers, and PMS.
The flowers are used in teas and tinctures internally and creams and compresses externally.
CAUTIONS: Avoid this herb if taking blood thinners such as warfarin
Chamomile Recommended Products
Aloe - Chamomile
Chickweed is a little known herb which has a wide variety of medicinal and wellness uses. It is an edible plant which can be used as a table vegetable and also to create teas, or "green drinks". It is quite high in Vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and potassium as well.
Chickweed is a contact healing herb that relieves pain in addition to stimulating healing as soon as it's applied. It can be used for both internal and external healing and has even been used throughout history to stop bleeding in the stomach and bowels.
It is also an excellent addition to ointments, poultices and salves. It not only decreases pain, but also helps to reduce swelling such as with torn ligaments. It is especially useful for this when mixed with pure aloe vera juice which helps penetrate all three layers of the skin. This in turn allows the chickweed to reach the underlying damaged areas and begin removing the pain and starting the healing process.
Chickweed in tea form is excellent for use as an acne wash, and it can even be added to a bath to help with sores, rashes, boils and burns.
This herb is also excellent for blood vessels and your circulatory system. Taken internally it helps purify the blood and carry out toxins, and is even been known to help with blood poisoning. It also dissolves plaque in blood vessels, as well as dissolving fatty tumors and substances then removing them from the body.
Chickweed is also a little known herb which helps with weight loss. It actually works as an appetite depressant and is used in many weight loss herbal combinations.
Chicory (Chihorium intybus) is an edible perennial herb native to North Africa, Europe and Asia. Today it can be found all over the world and especially on the lands with a mild temperate climate. It gained its fame in Antiquity because of its therapeutic usages and the old Egyptians would use it to treat the liver and gallbladder problems. They consumed chicory in large quantities because they believed that the herb could purify the blood and eliminate the toxins from the liver.
In France during Napoleonic times chicory was used as a coffee substitute. England and the United States soon followed this example. While the root of this herb is used as a coffee substitute, the other parts are used either in cooking (especially in salads), either as medicine. Compared to real coffee, chicory stimulates the nervous system by sustaining the mental capabilities and concentration.
This herb is also recommended in fighting the sleepy states and asthenia. Owing to the substances that it contains (like chicorine and choline) the herb shows laxative-like characteristics. At the same time, chicory stimulates digestion and the pancreatic secretion, regulating the amount of glucose in the human body. Moreover, should one include in one?s personal diet mixtures which contain chicory root, their body will adjust the level of cholesterol.
Cinnamon is a small, bushy tree with its bark thick, smooth and light or dark brownish in color. The inner bark is obtained from carefully selected shoots. It is then cured and dried. While drying, the bark shrinks and curls into a cylinder or quill. Dried leaves of cinnamon, along with its dried inner bark are used all over the world as a spice or condiment. It has a pleasing fragrance and a warm, sweet and aromatic taste.
Cinnamon consist of moisture, protein, fat, fiber, carbohydrates and ash, besides calcium, phosphorous, iron, sodium, potassium, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin C and A. It also contains an essential oil known as cinnamon oil. This oil consists of substantial amount of eugenol. The bark and green leaves also contain oil. The root bark oil differs from both stem bark and leaf oils.
Cinnamon Recommended Products
Blood Sugar Balance
Cloves are the dried flower buds of the clove tree, an evergreen tree that grows in tropical climates. While cloves are mostly used for culinary purposes today, the health benefits of cloves have been known for centuries.
The Chinese used cloves to get rid of bad breath over 2000 years ago, and it is even said that anyone who had an audience with the Emperor was required to chew on cloves so that their breath was sweet! It was also considered an aphrodisiac in China as well as Persia.
Cloves have powerful medicinal properties. They are stimulating and have antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antiseptic properties. They are also a natural anesthetic (due to the eugenol oil) which is why they were often used for dental procedures in centuries past and are still used in some cultures to remedy toothache. It is the oil that is derived from the cloves that is so powerful, and this is often used for medicines both topically and internally. This oil contains compound that helps with blood circulation and can stimulate the skin when applied directly to it.
Cloves are a great spice to heal ailments of the digestive system. They are well known for relieving flatulence and can actually help promote good digestion as well as metabolism. They may also help relieve vomiting and diarrhea as well as a host of other digestive disorders.
Cloves have been well known as an all around healing herb and it’s not just digestive problems that cloves are reputed to help with. In fact, they are used in tropical Asia to treat conditions such as scabies, cholera, malaria and tuberculosis. As an antispasmodic it can be applied topically to relieve muscle spasms or in a tea to ease coughing. It can also treat skin problems like styes and sores when applied as an ointment. It is said a paste of milk, salt crystals, and cloves can be a great headache remedy.
Cloves are believed to have other health benefits that aren’t necessarily connected with an immediate illness. For instance, they can make a great mosquito repellant, as well as a moth repellent. Clove studded oranges are often used to repel many kinds of insects in tropical climates. Sucking on cloves may even reduce the craving for alcohol.
Today, the health benefits of cloves are not mentioned much in the Western world, but this ancient spice is still a popular herb with Ayurvedic healers who use it in teas and powders both topically and internally. It is even found in the arsenal of aromatherapy practitioners.
Coltsfoot is a perennial herb from Italy, the Balkins and Eastern Europe.
Coltsfoot flower and leaf tea has a pleasant aroma and a sweet taste. The aqueous extract of coltsfoot is one of Europe's most popular cough remedies.
The dried leaves were traditionally smoked for coughs and asthma; the smoke is believed to impede impulses of parasympathetic nerves and act as an antihistamine. The leaves are found in many teas, extracts, and cough syrups and work by covering the mucous tissues with a thick layer of mucilage that dulls irritants and calms coughs. Research shows that the mucilage soothes inflamed mucous membranes and the leaves also have antispasmodic activity. Both the leaf and flower tea were used in folk remedies as a demulcent (soother) and expectorant for sore throats, coughs and lung congestion.
Coltsfoot tea is known to treat acute catarrh (thick or immovable mucous) of the respiratory tract with coughing and hoarseness and for treating acute or mild inflammation of the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat.
Traditionally it has been given for bronchitis, dry coughs, acute breathing disorders, and sore throat. While coltsfoot is an effective treatment for these conditions, there is evidence to suggest that excessive or extensive use may result in liver damage.
Caution: Coltsfoot in excessive dosages can interfere with existing antihypertensive or cardiovascular therapy. Due to the pyrrolizidine alkaloid content, excessive or prolonged use of pure coltsfoot tea should be avoided. Do not use if you are pregnant or nursing. Coltsfoot is reputed to be an abortifacient.
Comfrey Symphytum officinale (Borage Family)
Used in a salve or cream to help relieve pain and accelerate healing.
This herb is a favorite first aid remedy. It contains a compound called allantoin, which when applied to the skin accelerates the healing of tissue and the closing of wounds.
When fresh leaves or roots are applied to a wound it causes it to contract and close quicker and inhibits the opportunity for infection while minimizing scarring.
Comfrey leaf has a long history of use to promote the healing of bones and wounds, as well as internal use to treat a wide variety of ailments from arthritis to ulcers. Its use in Chinese traditional medicine spans over 2000 years.
Recently, reports of the toxic effects of pyrrolizidine alkaloids in comfrey have led some herbalists to be wary of using it internally. PAs in extremely large doses or over long periods of time may cause potentially fatal damage to the liver. Many leading herbalists and traditional healers question the warnings, pointing to laboratory tests that show only minute levels of PAs in random samples of comfrey preparations.One of the most common uses of comfrey leaf is in an ointment or a poultice applied to sprains, broken bones and other wounds, where it promotes rapid healing of both skin lesions and bone breaks.
Comfrey leaf constituents include tannins, rosmarinic acid, allantoin, steroidal saponins, mucilage, inulin, pyrrolizidine alkaloids, Gum, Carotene, Glycosides, Sugars, Beta-sitosterol, Triterpenoids, Vitamin B-12, Protein, Zinc.
Comfrey leaf is used in herbal pastes, ointments, tinctures, decoctions, poultices and in cosmetics.
It is a popular addition to herbal salves and ointments, which can be used for bruises, sprains, eczema, swellings and burns.
Coneflowers (Echinacea species, especially E. purpurea, E. angustifolia, E. pallida)
E. pallida is native to southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and also to prairie lands in the central U.S. The other two species are native to the U.S. prairies, with E. angustifolia distributed from the Mississippi Valley west to the Rocky Mountains, and E. purpurea growing in most eastern states as well.
Prairie First Nations used coneflower for many different medicinal purposes, including the treatment of headaches, toothaches, and swollen glands, as well as for insect bites and stings.
Settlers adopted the plant as a remedy for a wide range of ills, both for themselves and for their livestock. By the late 1800s, coneflower had become one of North America's most commonly used medicinal plants.
For much of the 1900s, North American interest in the medicinal use of coneflower declined, but considerable research into its properties was done in Europe, especially in Germany. The results of this research, along with the general resurgence of interest in herbal products, led to renewed North American use in the late 1900s.
In the 1990s, Echinacea was thought to be a general immune system booster and useful for preventing colds. More recent research suggests, however, that this is not the case.
Instead of preventing colds, Echinacea seems to be useful for treating them - for reducing the length and severity of the symptoms once a cold has been caught. Research continues into this and other possible uses.
Researchers are also trying to sort out the variations in chemical composition among the three species. One of the problems that has plagued past Echinacea studies is that different species and parts of plants were used in tests as if they were identical and interchangeable, which may not be the case.
These leaves act as stimulants and tonics. They strengthen the stomach and promote digestion, increase secretion and discharge of urine and reduce fever. They act as an aphrodisiac, and help in the removal of phlegm. Coriander seeds reduce fever, and offer a feeling of coolness.
The juice of coriander is beneficial in producing vitamin A, B1, B2, C and iron. In addition, one or two teaspoons of coriander juice, added to fresh buttermilk, is highly beneficial in treating digestive disorders such as indigestion, nausea, dysentery, hepatitis and colitis. It is also helpful in typhoid fever. In addition, the drinking of coriander water helps lower blood cholesterol. It is prepared by boiling dry seeds of coriander and straining them after cooling, then drinking the liquid.
Dry coriander treats diarrhea. Coriander seeds are known to alleviate excessive menstrual flow. Used as an eye-wash, freshly dried coriander is an excellent in treating conjunctivitis. It relieves burning and reduces pain and swelling.
Topically, a teaspoon of coriander juice, mixed with a pinch of turmeric powder, is an effective remedy for pimples, blackheads and dry skin. The mixture should be applied to the face, after washing it thoroughly, every night before going to bed.
While the young plants of coriander are used in chutneys, sauces, curries and soups, its oil is used for flavoring and in medicine. In the dried form, coriander is an important ingredient of curry powder and is also used in pickling spices, sausages, seasoning, and confectionery and for flavoring spirits, particularly gin. Dry coriander should be sparingly used by persons suffering from bronchial asthma and chronic bronchitis.
Cramp bark is a native of Europe and the British Isles and can be found in most yards in the United States, where it is one of the more popular shrubs. What most Americans don’t know is that the shrub right next to their own garage, Viburnum opulus, is the source of the best cramp reliever ever dreamed up by Mother Nature. The medicinal part, as the name suggests, is the bark, which is collected from the shrub in early spring, April or May, chopped into bits, dried, and stored for the moment someone pulls a muscle. The bark of Virburnum opulus is filled with hydroquinones including arbutin, methylarbutin, and free hydroquinone; coumarins including scopoletin and scopoline; and tannins.
Herbalists know of no better substance for the relief of pain due to strain or an accident. I think most would agree that the better portion of the population walks around in a state of almost constant tension, muscles clenched with nervous excitement. This is called overspasticity, and not only does this tension make you much more likely to injure the muscles, joints, and tendons that keep you up and going, it intensifies the pain once injury has occurred. Cramp bark melts muscle spasms while reducing the spasticity of the muscles themselves. If you ever suffer from tension headaches, this is the plant for you.
Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon)
Cranberry is native to bogs and swamps from Manitoba to Newfoundland, with its range extending south into the mid-western and eastern U.S. It is now grown commercially in many other areas.
First Nations knew that cranberries could prevent or cure scurvy, a condition which we now understand is caused by Vitamin C deficiency, and taught this medicinal use to settlers. Some First Nations also used it for bladder and kidney problems.
Cranberries have also always been popular as a food. First Nations dried them and mixed them with fat and/or dried meat or fish to make a portable "trail mix". In the early 1800s, settlers in Massachusetts began to grow cranberry commercially, making it one of the first native North American medicinal plants to be cultivated as a cash crop.
Medicinally, cranberry is used today primarily to prevent bladder infections. It may also help to treat infections once they are established.
Researchers are still trying to figure out exactly how cranberry acts. The most supported theory at the moment is that cranberry prevents bacteria from adhering to the bladder wall.
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Dandelion is a hardy perennial herb with therapeutic properties. The flower stems of this plant grow up to a height of 30 cm. The sharply-toothed leaves form flat rosettes on the ground. The fleshy hollow stem carries a single bright yellow flower.
Dandelion contains almost as much iron as spinach, four times the vitamin A content of lettuce and is a very rich source of magnesium, potassium, vitamin C. calcium and sodium. It consists of protein, fat and carbohydrates. Its mineral and vitamin contents are calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, sodium, potassium, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin A and C.
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L. A. Naturals
Devil's Claw has been a popular anti-inflammatory and arthritis treatment since is was first discovered in South Africa by European colonists in the 18th century. It is still quite common in Europe today but is not well known in the U.S.
Approved uses of devil's claw include loss of appetite, digestive disorders, and "degenerative disorders of the locomotor system" (to treat pain and inflammation in the joints).
A new clinical study shows that a traditional African medicinal herb may reduce pain associated with osteoarthritis as effectively as some conventional drugs. In a randomized, double-blind, parallel group study conducted in France, the patients received either capsules containing the herb devil's claw or a pharmaceutical drug. Pain measurements of all patients indicated that those taking the herb and the drug experienced similar benefits. However, the study also showed that patients taking the herb experienced significantly fewer adverse side effects than those taking the drug.
Devil's Club (Oplopanax horridus)
Devil's-club grows in the rain forests of the Pacific Coast, the interior of British Columbia, and the Rocky Mountains, as well as in mountainous regions in the northwestern U.S. There are also a few isolated patches north of Lake Superior.
Many First Nations on the west coast prize devil's-club as one of the most medically and spiritually significant plants of the region. Among the various peoples of the Pacific Northwest, more than 30 different medical uses of devil's-club have been documented. The most common traditional uses, however, are to treat infections, including tuberculosis, and for arthritis, and gastro-intestinal complaints.
Settlers, on the whole, were not quick to adopt devil's-club. With the resurgence of interest in herbal medicine in the late 1900s, however, herbalists began prescribing devil's-club for many of its traditional uses. Also, devil's-club root began to be collected and marketed for much the same purposes as its distant relative ginseng - uses unsupported by either traditional knowledge or clinical research.
There has been little solid research done to date on devil's-club. However, researchers have identified several chemical compounds with antibacterial properties. Some of these are effective against the bacteria that cause tuberculosis, a disease that is becoming resistant to existing antibiotics. Investigation of devil's-club as a possible control for some of the side-effects of diabetes also continues.
Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus)
The eastern white pine is a North American native, growing across eastern Canada from Newfoundland to Manitoba.
First Nations considered both the resin and needles to have medicinal value. The resin, which has some antiseptic properties, was smeared on wounds as a healing ointment and was boiled up to make a tonic drink. The needles, rich in vitamin C, made a tea that helped prevent and treat scurvy.
During the heyday of patent medicines in the late 1800s, pine was a popular ingredient in many mixtures. As well as having some antiseptic properties, pine had good marketing value: the strong scent penetrated blocked sinuses and suggested that a powerful medicine must be at work.
Eastern white pine also had many non-medicinal uses beyond the obvious one of providing wood. The resin was used by First Nations to seal the seams in canoes; later, pine resins became the source of industrial products such as pitch and turpentine.
Several over-the-counter products sold to relieve the coughs and congestion caused by colds still contain chemical compounds derived from eastern white pine.
More recently, medical interest has centred around stanol, a chemical found in pines, which may help reduce LDL "bad" cholesterol levels.
Echinacea should be of particular interest during the cold and flu season when you are exposed to these illnesses on a regular basis. When used correctly it is the closest thing to a cure for the common cold.
Echinacea stimulates the overall activity of the cells responsible for fighting all kinds of infection. Unlike antibiotics, which directly attack bacteria, echinacea makes our own immune cells more efficient at attacking bacteria, viruses and abnormal cells, including cancer cells. It increases the number and activity of immune system cells including anti-tumor cells, promotes T-cell activation, stimulates new tissue growth for wound healing and reduces inflammation in arthritis and inflammatory skin conditions.
The most consistently proven effect of echinacea is in stimulating phagocytosis (the consumption of invading organisms by white blood cells and lymphocytes). Extracts of echinacea can increase phagocytosis by 20-40%.
Echinacea also stimulates the production of interferon as well as other important products of the immune system, including "Tumor Necrosis Factor", which is important to the body's response against cancer.
Echinacea also inhibits an enzyme (hyaluronidase) secreted by bacteria to help them gain access to healthy cells. Research in the early 1950's showed that echinacea could completely counteract the effect of this enzyme, helping to prevent infection when used to treat wounds.
Although echinacea is usually used internally for the treatment of viruses and bacteria, it is now being used more and more for the treatment of external wounds. It also kills yeast and slows or stops the growth of bacteria and helps to stimulate the growth of new tissue. It combats inflammation too, further supporting its use in the treatment of wounds.
Echinacea Recommended Products
Vitamin C W
Elderberry Sambucus nigra (Honeysuckle Family)
This herb is an immune stimulant , very useful in treating upper respiratory infections, asthma, bronchitis, influenza and sinusitis.
The flowers contain ursolic acid, which has an anti-inflammatory action.
An infusion of the flowers is used for feverish and mucous conditions of the lungs or upper respiratory tract, including hay fever.
The berries are extremely rich in Vitamin C and can be made into a decoction for use throughout the cold & flu season.
CAUTIONS: Unprocessed berries can cause diarrhea in large doses. The stems should be avoided due to cyanide content.
Elderberry Recommended Products
Ephedra has been used medicinally for thousands of years by ancient and modern day societies as a treatment for various lung and breathing conditions. However, recently Ephedra has received a lot of bad press for its recently discovered side effects and products containing ephedra have been banned in the United States.
How Ephedra Works
The main chemical compound in Ephedra (or Ma Huang, as it is commonly known by many) is ephedrine. Ephedrine is a potent chemical that works by stimulating the nervous system, dilating bronchial tubes, elevating blood pressure, and increasing heart rate.
The amount of ephedrine that ephedra contains varies greatly, accounting for anywhere from 30 to 90 of all alkaloid ingredients in any given sample. This extreme variability of ephedrine dosage can cause many problems and relatively severe side effects.
Finally, strong evidence indicates that Ephedra may react badly with a variety of medical conditions including with high blood pressure, heart problems, glaucoma, hyperthyroidism, and diabetes.
Currently, Ephedra is banned in the United States.
Eucalyptus essential oil is obtained from fresh leaves of the tall evergreen eucalyptus tree. The tree, which has the botanical name Eucalyptus Globulus is also known as fever tree, blue gum tree or stringy bark tree. Eucalyptus is native to Australia and has spread in the past few centuries to other parts of the world including India, Europe and South Africa. Though many countries produce eucalyptus oil in small quantities, the prime source of eucalyptus oil for the world is Australia.
Due to the medicinal uses of eucalyptus oil and the compound eucalyptol present in it, it is used in a variety of over the counter drugs including rubs, inhalers, liniments, rash creams, and mouthwashes. The health benefits of eucalyptus oil include the following:
Respiratory Problems: Eucalyptus essential oil is effective for treating a number of respiratory problems including cold, cough, running nose, sore throat, asthma, nasal congestion, bronchitis and sinusitis. Eucalyptus oil is antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, antiviral, anti inflammatory and decongestant in nature which makes it a good ingredient for many medicines for treating respiratory problems. A study published in Laryngoscope in 2004 shows its usefulness in treating non-bacterial sinusitis. Patients suffering from non-bacterial sinusitis showed faster improvement when given medicines containing eucalyptus oil. Gargles of eucalyptus oil mixed with warm water are effective on treating sore throat.
Wounds: Eucalyptus essential oil is a good antiseptic owing to its germicidal properties. On its exposure to air, ozone is formed which is a well-known antiseptic. Hence eucalyptus oil is used for healing wounds, ulcers, burns, cuts, abrasions and sores. It is also effective on insect bites and stings.
Muscle Pain: During muscle and joint pains, massaging eucalyptus oil on the skin surface helps in getting relief from the pain. The volatile eucalyptus oil is analgesic and anti inflammatory in nature. Therefore it is often recommended to patients suffering from rheumatism, lumbago, sprained ligaments and tendons, stiff muscles, aches, fibrosis and even nerve pain. The oil is massage in circular motion on affected areas.
Mental Exhaustion: An important reason why people like using eucalyptus oil is that it provides a cooling and refreshing effect. Normally people suffering from any disorder are down. Eucalyptus oil, which is stimulating, removes exhaustion and mental sluggishness and rejuvenates the spirits of the sick. It is also effective in treating stress and mental disorders.
Dental Care: Eucalyptus essential oil is very effective against cavities, dental plaques, gingivitis and other dental infections due to its germicidal properties.
Skin Care: Eucalyptus oil is often applied topically to treat skin infections.
Diabetes: Eucalyptus oil when taken internally controls blood sugar.
Fever: It is also used for treating fever and reducing the body temperature. Therefore it is also called fever oil.
Intestinal Germs: Eucalyptus oil is a vermifuge and hence is used to remove germs in the intestine.
Evening-primrose (Oenothera biennis)
A native plant, evening-primrose can be found in every province. It tends to appear on disturbed or waste land where there is sun, thin soil, and good drainage. It is also found across the central and eastern U.S., as well as some areas in the west.
Both First Nations and settlers used evening-primrose for several medicinal purposes. They treated wounds and bruises with a poultice of leaves, while a tea or infusion of the plant was drunk to soothe coughs and digestive complaints.
Current interest in evening-primrose focuses on the oil pressed from its seeds, which is rich in Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid. Omega-6 oils are one of the two "good" fats essential for health.
Evening-primrose oil is being studied as a supplement for those who don't get enough omega-6 fat from their diet and also is showing some promising results in reducing nerve damage caused by diabetes.
Fennel seed is used for treatment of digestive problems such as bloating, flatulence and mild spasms of the gastrointestinal tract. Fennel syrup is used for the upper respiratory tract. Externally, the oil eases muscular and rheumatic pains. Fennel and its juice contain some valuable properties. The nutrients are similar to those in celery, which belong to the same family, but it is the essential oil that promotes relief for an upset stomach. It is also used for cancer patients after radiation and chemotherapy treatments to help rebuild the digestive system. Fennel seed ground and made into tea is believed to be good for snake bites, insect bites or food poisoning. It increases the flow of urine. It is gargled for hoarseness and sore throats.
Combined with carrot juice, fennel is very good for eye conditions such as night blindness or a weakening of the optic nerve. In addition, if you add beet juice to carrot and fennel, the efficacy of all three creates a remedy for anemia and excessive menstruation. Fennel is also used in drugs to treat chills. In fact, if you boil the fennel leaves and inhale the steam, it can relieve asthma and bronchitis conditions.
As you can see, the fennel herb has a variety of medicinal properties and can be eaten cooked or raw. If you wish to use fennel and partake in its obvious benefits, you can make a juice of fennel and carrots, or combine these with beet juice as well. You can use a blender or a juicer. Either way, you will be promoting good health in using fennel as part of your dietary regimen, since a preponderance of evidence suggests it promotes weight loss as well. While fennel has long been associated with Italian cuisine, it has now become one herb growing in popularity across many cultures.
Fenugreek is an erect, strongly scented, annual herb with compound leaves of light green color, yellow flowers and thin pointed pods. It grows up to about 30 to 80 cm in height. The seeds are brownish-yellow and have a peculiar odor.
It has excellent medicinal virtues. Its regular use helps keep the body clean and healthy. The leaves of fenugreek are aromatic, cooling and mild laxative. The seeds exercise soothing effect on the skin and mucous membranes, relieving any irritation of the skin and alleviating swelling and pain.
Fenugreek leaves contain moisture 86.1 percent, protein 4.4 percent, fat 0.9 percent, minerals 1.5 percent, fiber 1.1 percent and carbohydrates 6.0 percent per 100 grams of edible portion. The mineral and vitamin contents are calcium, iron, phosphorous, carotene, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin C.
Fenugreek seeds contain moisture 13.7 percent, protein 26.2 percent, fat 5.8 percent, minerals 3.0 percent, fiber 7.2 percent and carbohydrates 44.1 percent per 100 grams. The mineral and vitamin contents are calcium, phosphorous, carotene, thiamine, niacin and riboflavin. Several alkaloids have been found in fenugreek seeds.
The seeds contain alkaloid trigonelline and choline, essential oil and saponin. Trigonelline has highly toxic action on neuromuscular preparations. The seeds also contain fixed and volatile oil, mucilage, bitter extractive and a yellow coloring substance. Air-dried seeds contain a little amount of trigonelline and nicotinic acid.
Feverfew is thought to alleviate pain related to menstrual cramping, arthritis, and migraines and is believed to increase appetite and cure asthma. Feverfew contains nutrients such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, niacin, and Iron.
Benefits of Feverfew
Historically feverfew has been used to manage and treat fevers as will as lessen inflammation and pain associated with arthritis. Research has recently been conducted to find if feverfew can stop migraines. Early evidence is suggesting that feverfew may prevent the severity and occurrence of migraines. However, feverfew does not seem to affect migraines that have already started. Researchers used to think that a single compound found in feverfew was what helped migraine prevention. Now research is supporting several compounds in feverfew combine to prevent migraines. Fresh feverfew is believed to be more effective than dried feverfew.
Dosage and Administration
In the past people consumed feverfew similarly to chewing tobacco, receiving nutrients from chewed leaves. This method can cause stomach and mouth irritation. Today feverfew is usually ingested in the form of extracts, capsules, and tablets made from dried feverfew; these forms do not cause irritation. Various dosages exist; clinical studies used 50 or 100 mg daily to prevent migraines. Up to 250 mg of feverfew can be taken without causing side effects. To prevent migraines, feverfew needs to be ingested for a minimum of four to six weeks.
To make feverfew tea, place one teaspoon of the dried leaves in 5 to 8 ounces of water. Boil for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain the leaves from the tea. Drink as much tea as preferred. The tea can also be applied to the skin to work as an insect repellent.
Fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium)
Fireweed, also known as willow-herb, can be found in every Canadian province and territory - although sometimes only in isolated pockets - and across the northern United States. It is usually one of the first plants to grow and bloom on land devastated by a forest fire - or even by a volcanic eruption.
First Nations used fireweed externally for burns and other skin conditions, and drank it as a tea for gastro-intestinal and bronchial problems. Many early settlers from Europe already used native European Epilobium species for similar purposes and so quickly accepted the North American plant.
In addition to its medicinal uses, fireweed shoots can be eaten as a vegetable, while the young leaves can be added to salads.
Fireweed has been found to contain several chemical compounds with anti-inflammatory and/or antibacterial properties. One, Oenothein-B, has been patented by a Canadian company and is now being marketed as an anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory ingredient for skin care products.
Researchers are also investigating fireweed as a possible acne treatment. Another line of investigation is exploring whether fireweed has any value as a treatment for prostatitis, since related Epilobium species are being used for this purpose.
A root plant related to the turmeric and marjoram families, Ginger Root has been used around the world for thousands of years for both medicinal purposes and as an aromatic spice.
The plant is native to Southeast Asia, however due to the many benefits of Ginger Root, today it is cultivated around the world in many diverse locations.
Jamaica is one of the leading cultivators of the popular plant.
Ginger Root has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years and is known to be greatly beneficial in reducing nausea and upset stomachs. It was used in Greek culture for making breads, the forerunner of the delicious gingerbread we enjoy today.
The main ingredients found in Ginger Root help to neutralize stomach acids and stimulate the appetite. Ginger has been widely used to reduce nausea related to postoperative surgery, motion sickness and morning sickness. Ginger is also thought to be beneficial in reducing dizziness and flatulence. Studies have also shown that Ginger Root helps to reduce inflammation and provide relief from chronic pain.
As a pain reliever, Ginger Root provides welcome relief to individuals suffering from rheumatoid and osteoarthritis.
Other benefits of Ginger Root include use as a natural antihistamine, as well as treating cold and allergy symptoms related to constricted bronchial tubes and congestion.
There are no known adverse side effects related to the use of Ginger Root, however, pregnant women should limit extensive use of ginger, as should any individual about to undergo surgery or who is at risk for free bleeding. This is due to the fact that ginger reduces adhesiveness in blood platelets and therefore, may contribute to a risk of bleeding.
Ginkgo biloba is the oldest living tree species. A single tree can live as long as 1,000 years and grow to a height of 120 feet. It has short branches with fan-shaped leaves and inedible fruits that produce a strong odor. The fruit contains an inner seed, and there has been a report of a human poisoning from ingesting the seed.
Although Chinese herbal medicine has used both the ginkgo leaf and seed for centuries, modern research has focused on the standardized Ginkgo biloba extract (GBE), which is prepared from the dried green leaves. This standardized extract is highly concentrated and seems to be clinically more effective in treating health problems (particularly circulatory ailments) than the non-standardized leaf alone.
More than 40 components isolated from the ginkgo tree have been identified, but only two are believed to be responsible for the herb's beneficial effects in humans -- flavonoids and terpenoids. Flavonoids (such as quercetin and rutin) have potent antioxidant effects. Laboratory and animal studies have shown that flavonoids protect the nerves, heart muscle, blood vessels, and retina from damage. Terpenoids (such as ginkgolides) improve blood flow by dilating blood vessels and reducing the stickiness of platelets.
Ginkgo has been used in traditional medicine to treat circulatory disorders and enhance memory. Scientific studies throughout the years lend support to these traditional uses. Emerging evidence suggests that GBE may be particularly effective in treating ailments associated with decreased blood flow to the brain, particularly in elderly individuals. Laboratory studies have shown that GBE improves blood circulation by dilating blood vessels and reducing the stickiness of blood platelets.
Ginkgo leaves also contain two types of chemicals (flavonoids and terpenoids) believed to have potent antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are substances that scavenge free radicals -- damaging compounds in the body that alter cell membranes, tamper with DNA, and even cause cell death. Free radicals occur naturally in the body, but environmental toxins (including ultraviolet light, radiation, cigarette smoking, and air pollution) can also increase the number of these damaging particles. Free radicals are believed to contribute to a number of health problems including heart disease and cancer as well as Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Antioxidants such as those found in ginkgo can neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause.
Ginkgo Biloba Recommended Products
Perennial herb, native to Eastern N. America found from Maine to Georgia, west to Oklahoma and Minnesota, growing in rich soils in cool woods. Cultivation: Ginseng requires a deep moist humus rich soil in a shady position in a woodland, growing well on north-facing slopes and in deep cool woodland areas. Seeds should be sown in a shady position in a cold frame or greenhouse, and spend least their first winter there. Plant into their permanent positions in late summer or early spring.
It has a large, thick, fleshy, whitish, root, growing 3 to 4 inches in length, specimens have been found twice this size. Most roots are spindle shaped with smaller appendages. The stem is simple and erect, on average about 1 to 2 foot high, bearing three to five large, palmate, leaves in a whorl atop the stem, each leaf is long stalked, divided into five finely-toothed, short petiole, leaflets, and a single, terminal umbel, with a few small, yellowish or light green flowers which grow on a short stalk from the center of the whorl of leaves. The fruit is a cluster of bright red berries. Flowers bloom in June and July. Gather the roots in Fall after the berries or seeds have fallen away. Dry for later herb use. The wild supply is quickly being diminished due to over harvesting for export to china and other countries, in some areas it is illegal to harvest during certain months of the year.
Ginseng is said to be highly good for the metabolism, and promotes general well being. It has a reputation as an aphrodisiac, but this seems to be totally based on the fact that it relaxes
Gotu Kola Cantella asiatica (Parsley Family)
Taken internally accelerates healing, reduces scarring.
Studies show this herb has anti-inflammatory effects and improves blood flow throughout the body.
It contains asiaticoside, which stimulates skin repair and strengthens hair, nails and connective tissue and may also prevent excessive scar formation.
Gotu kola has been used for thousands of years in India and still has a central place in Ayurvedic medicine.
It is used specifically to treat leprosy, skin ulcers, and other skin problems.
Gotu kola has a longstanding reputation in India as a "rejuvenator," helping concentration and memory.
It is also taken for fertility and as a tonic for poor digestion and rheumatism.
In India, fresh leaves are given to children for dysentery.
The plant is also thought helpful for fevers, abdominal disorders, asthma, and bronchitis.
An oil extract is used to promote hair growth.
In the west gotu kola has been used mainly for skin problems and wounds.
It is now also considered to have an anti-inflammatory effect and is given for rheumatism, rheumatoid arthritis, and poor venous circulation.
Gotu Kola leaves are used in tablets, tinctures, and creams.
CAUTIONS: Should be avoided by pregnant & nursing women as well as those trying to get pregnant.
Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)
This herb is native to the United States and cultivated elsewhere. The name comes from the golden colored scars that appear at the top of the root when the stem is broken off which resembles an old-fashioned wax letter seal. The roots of the plant are used in herbal remedies.
This herb has been used by Native Americans for centuries. The Cherokee used the roots as a wash for local inflammations, a decoction for general debility, dyspepsia, and to improve appetite. The Iroquois used a decoction of the root for whooping cough, diarrhea, liver disease, fever, sour stomach, flatulence, pneumonia, and, with whiskey, for heart trouble.
Berberine, a chemical contained in goldenseal, is said to have the ability to fight off infection caused by some bacteria, fungi, and yeast, and can act as a mild sedative. Some say that berberine stimulates the heart and is more effective than aspirin for reducing fevers. Another chemical in goldenseal, hydrastinine, is said to reduce blood pressure. This herb has also been used traditionally to stimulate the immune system .
Roots can be used as capsules, powder, ointments, and tinctures.
CAUTIONS: May lower blood sugars, so should be used cautiously by those with diabetes. Not for use during pregnancy. This herb should not be taken internally for more than a week.
A North American native, goldenseal's range is limited to forests of south-western Ontario and the eastern United States.
A North American native, goldenseal's range is limited to forests of south-western Ontario and the eastern United States.
First Nations used goldenseal for a variety of disorders, including skin, eye, and digestive problems. Its use spread quickly among settlers, who sometimes called it "poor man's ginseng".
In the early 1800s, an almost evangelical American herbalist, Samuel Thompson, promoted goldenseal as a cure-all. Demand soared and some native stocks of the plant were over-harvested. Goldenseal has since gone through several cycles of public interest and neglect.
Goldenseal contains a chemical called berberine, which is an antibiotic, killing many kinds of bacteria and fungi. Goldenseal is often used by herbalists to disinfect wounds and to treat external infections, such as athlete's foot and skin disorders.
It has been suggested that goldenseal may also be useful for treating such problems as sore throats, vaginal yeast infections, infectious diarrhea, and bladder infections, but so far there has been little scientific investigation of these possibilities.
Green Tea (Camellia sinensis)
Green, black, and oolong tea are all derived from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. Originally cultivated in East Asia, this plant grows as large as a shrub or tree. Today, Camellia sinensis grows throughout Asia and parts of the Middle East and Africa.
People in Asian countries more commonly consume green and oolong tea while black tea is most popular in the United States. Green tea is prepared from unfermented leaves, the leaves of oolong tea are partially fermented, and black tea is fully fermented. The more the leaves are fermented, the lower the polyphenol content (See: "What's It Made Of?") and the higher the caffeine content. Green tea has the highest polyphenol content while black tea has roughly two to three times the caffeine content of green tea.
The healthful properties of green tea are largely attributed to polyphenols, chemicals with potent antioxidant properties. In fact, the antioxidant effects of polyphenols appear to be greater than vitamin C. The polyphenols in green tea also give it a somewhat bitter flavor.
Polyphenols contained in teas are classified as catechins. Green tea contains six primary catechin compounds: catechin, gallaogatechin, epicatechin, epigallocatechin, epicatechin gallate, and apigallocatechin gallate (also known as EGCG). EGCG is the most studied polyphenol component in green tea and the most active.
Green tea also contains alkaloids including caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline. These alkaloids provide green tea's stimulant effects. L-theanine, an amino acid compound found in green tea, has been studied for its calming effects on the nervous system.
Green tea has been consumed throughout the ages in India, China, Japan, and Thailand. In traditional Chinese and Indian medicine, practitioners used green tea as a stimulant, diuretic (to promote the excretion of urine), astringent (to control bleeding and help heal wounds), and to improve heart health. Other traditional uses of green tea include treating flatulence (gas), regulating body temperature and blood sugar, promoting digestion, and improving mental processes.
Green tea has been extensively studied in people, animals, and laboratory experiments. Results from these studies suggest that green tea may be useful for the following health conditions:
Atherosclerosis, High cholesterol, Cancer, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Diabetes, Liver disease, Weight loss.
Hawthorn’s flowers, leaves and berries are all used. The hawthorn berry is one of the most important herbs used in the treatment of congestive heart failure and circulatory conditions.
Hawthorne berries assist the heart in several ways. Hawthorn opens the coronary arteries which improves the blood supply to the heart. In addition, hawthorn dilates blood vessels elsewhere around the body which allows blood to circulate more freely without so much strain on the heart.
Hawthorn is rich in bioflavonoid compounds. These are potent antioxidants that increase the flow of oxygen and blood to the heart. They have also been helpful in lowering cholesterol and lessening the amount of plaque in the arteries.
The hawthorn berry increases blood flow to the heart and to the brain. It also protects the heart from irregular beats which can lead to heart attacks. It improves circulation which increases endurance for physical exertion. Studies have shown that hawthorne berries can restore blood pressure to normal.
Other benefits of the hawthorn berry consist of treating digestive disorders, insomnia, nervous tension, sore throats and weight loss, since it is also a diuretic. When working in conjunction with ginkgo biloba, it is known to increase the memory because of the improvement of blood flow and oxygen to the brain.
Horny Goat Weed
The horny goat weed increases libido in men and women, and improves erectile function in men. Known also as Epimedium or Yin Yang Huo, horny goat weed was first described in ancient classical Chinese medicinal texts.
Today, horny goat weed holds an important place in Traditional Chinese Medicine and is gaining popularity around the world.
Used by practitioners for over 2,000 years, horny goat weed is several species of epimedium, a leafy plant which grows in the wild, most abundantly at higher altitudes. The leaves of the plant contain a variety of flavonoids, polysaccharides, sterols and an alkaloid called magnaflorine. And while the exact way that horny goat weed works remains unknown, the plant has long been employed to restore sexual fire, boost erectile function, allay fatigue and alleviate menopausal discomfort.
The sturdy horse chestnut tree produces a shiny brown nut that has been used medicinally to treat inflammation and other ailments. The horse chestnut tree is unique, with sturdy erect trunks, ribbed boughs and thick buds. It gets its name from marks found on its branches that resemble horseshoes.
Horse chestnut trees originated in northern India and Greece but are now cultivated throughout Europe. A variety of the tree is known as buckeye in the United States.
The active medicinal ingredient in horse chestnut is a triterpene glycoside known as aescin. Other glycosides, as well as a number of other active constituents are found in horse chestnut as well. Both the bark and the nut of horse chestnut trees are used to make an extract that has therapeutic properties.
Teas made from horse chestnut have been used in folk medicine to treat diarrhea and hemorrhoids, and it was also used topically on sores and rashes. Though it is rarely used topically today, an ingredient in the bark of horse chestnut is used in some European sunscreens.
Horse chestnut is used today to treat fevers and arthritis. It is also said to have anti-inflammatory properties. The most common modern use of horse chestnut is in the treatment varicose veins and
. Its action in this regard is due to properties that can increase blood flow as well as make veins less fragile by inhibiting an enzyme called hyaluronidase.
At least one study has shown that horse chestnut may be as effective as compression stockings that are used to reduce the swelling, fatigue and pain associated with edema in the lower legs.
The horsetail is a perennial plant that has dark green hollow, joined or segmented stems with no leaves. The horsetail can usually be found in wet areas and has a large amount of silicon crystals (or sand) in its tissue. The sand content in horsetail is the most abundant of any plant, and it is commonly used to polish tinware.
The above-ground parts of the plant are used for herbal and healing purposes. However, avoidance of horsetail is recommended for those with kidney stones and congestive heart failure and those taking an ACE inhibitor for high blood pressure Pregnant women should also avoid using horsetail tea.
Indian Gooseberry (Emblica officinalis)
Indian gooseberry is a wonderful fruit and one of the precious gifts of nature to man. It is probably the richest known natural source of vitamin C which is readily assimilated by the human system. It contributes greatly towards health and longevity
Indian gooseberry is globular small, round, six-lobed fruit, thick and hard in consistency. It is light yellow in color and is about 1.25 cm. to 2.5 cm. in diameter
The Indian gooseberry is indigenous to India. It has been used as a valuable ingredient of various medicines in India and the Middle East from time immemorial. Shusrut, the great Ayurvedic authority, considers it as the best of all acid fruit and most useful in health and disease. Like Ayurvedic physicians Hakims of Unani medicine also use it very commonly and regard it as a good medicine for heart and bodily defects. They also use it in external applications due to its cool and astringent properties.
The Indian gooseberry is grown as a commercial crop primarily in Uttar Pradesh. It also grows wild at the foot of the Himalayas and at elevation up to 1,500 metres in South India. The tree flowers in the spring and fruit ripens in the winter.
Indian gooseberry is valued chiefly for its high vitamin C content. The vitamin C Value of amla increases further when the juice is extracted from the fruit. The dehydrated berry provides 2428 to 3470 mg. of vitamin C per 100 grams. Even when it is dried in the shade and then turned into powder, it retains as much as 1780 to 2660 mg's. of Vitamins C.
Indian Sorrel (Oxalis Corniculata)
The botanical name of Indian Sorrel is Oxalis Corniculata. A small annual herb with pale green leaves, the plant grows wild during monsoon and on wet grounds. The flowers of the plant have a high content of oxalic acid and potassium oxalate. The herb is rich in vitamin B1, iron and calcium.
The leaves of this herb contain a small amount of cellulose and it has a predominantly acidic taste. The Indian Sorrel acts as an appetizer and is useful in relieving symptoms of fever. Other uses of the leaves are reducing the body temperature, prevention and treatment of scurvy, stimulating the stomach and aiding its action. Indian Sorrel is also beneficial in the treatment of jaundice. Other uses of this herb are in treating skin disorders, eye disorders, insomnia and excessive thirst.
Jewelweed blooms May through October in the eastern part of North America from Southern Canada to the northern part of Florida. It is found most often in moist woods, usually near poison ivy or stinging nettle. It is commonly said that wherever you find poison ivy, you will find Jewelweed - however this is not true as Jewelweed will not grow in dry places for long, and does not thrive in direct sunlight. Poison Ivy will grow in sun or shade. Jewelweed often grows on the edge of creek beds. There is plenty of jewelweed in the wild, and it is not hard to find once you learn to identify it. I recently read on a newsgroup that the garden variety of impatiens has the same properties, though not as concentrated. However, the garden variety is much more suitable for cultivation as its growth is easier to contain.
Jewelweed is best known for its skin healing properties. The leaves and the juice from the stem of Jewelweed are used by herbalists as a treatment for poison ivy, oak and other plant induced rashes, as well as many other types of dermatitis. Jewelweed works by counter-reacting with the chemicals in other plants that cause irritation. Poultices and salves from Jewelweed are a folk remedy for bruises, burns, cuts, eczema, insect bites, sores, sprains, warts, and ringworm. Read on to learn to make your own poison ivy treatment ice cubes with Jewelweed.
A tall tropical shrub produces the Kava-Kava root. The plant is characterized by big leaves shaped like hearts that fill the branches. Flowers blossom on the plant where the branches join with the stems.
The Kava root is primarily used to fight anxiety disorders and to relieve anxiety related to stress. Low doses of Kava improve activity and awareness. Large doses can cause drowsiness. Medical specialists often prescribe kava to treat stiffness, insomnia, pain, jet lag, uncontrolled epilepsy, and anxiety. From animal testing, researchers found that the Kava-Kava root contains chemicals known as kavapyrones that enable muscle relaxation by reducing convulsions. They also found that kavpyrones also cause similar reactions in the brain to those caused by commercial drugs used to treat anxiety and depression. Direct use of kava in the mouth results in intense numbing caused by kavalactones found in the plant.
Unlike commercial drugs to treat anxiety, the lactones in kava do not have negative effects on heart rate, thinking ability, breathing, or blood pressure. Kava does alter the amount of neurotransmitters in the blood. This is because kava stops re-absorption of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. Higher blood levels of norepinephrine can aid in relaxation and lessen anxiety. Kava also increases the number of attachment sites for gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), another neurotransmitter. An increased number of GABA sites can increase GABA activity resulting in sedation. An additional explanation for kava’s helpful results could be chemicals in the plant work to stop monoamine oxidase-B (MAO-B), an enzyme, from affecting levels of dopamine, another neurotransmitter. However, this process is highly unpredictable. MAO-B and dopamine both have separate functions on the body’s emotional stability, but the precise effects of kava-kava are still indefinite.
Kava Kava Recommended Products
Lavender (Lavandula officinalis)
Indigenous to the mountain zones of the Mediterranean, lavender thrives in stony habitats that have access to lots of sunlight. Lavender can be found growing in the wild throughout southern Europe. Lavender is actually a shrub with heavy branches that grows up to about 60 cm. Wood-like branches grow from the broad rootstock and green leaf-like shoots resembling rods protrude out from the branches. The narrow, grayish green leaves covered in a silver blanket-like substance taper down from the base. The leaves are oblong in shape and attach directly at the base in curled spiral-like patterns.
Lavender is frequently alluded to as a natural remedy for a large variety of ailments. Lavender is primarily used in connection with insomnia, anxiety, depression, and mood disturbances. This is due to recent and past studies showing lavender's effectiveness in producing calming, soothing, and anticonvulsive effects in those who use it.
Lemon Balm was dedicated to the goddess Diana, and used medicinally by the Greeks some 2,000 years ago. In the Middles Ages lemon balm was used to soothe tension, to dress wounds, and as a cure for toothache, skin eruptions, mad dog bites, crooked necks, and sickness during pregnancy. It was even said to prevent baldness. As a medicinal plant, lemon balm has traditionally been employed against bronchial inflammation, earache, fever, flatulence, headaches, high blood pressure, influenza, mood disorders, palpitations, toothache and vomiting. A tea made from Lemon balm leaves is said to soothe menstrual cramps and helps relieve PMS.
The herb is used for nervous agitation, sleeping problems, functional gastrointestinal complaints, menstrual cramps and urinary spasms.
It is thought that the volatile oils in lemon balm contain chemicals that relax muscles, particularly in the bladder, stomach, and uterus, thereby relieving cramps, gas, and nausea.
Liquorice is a tall, erect herb with compound leaves, lilac or light violet flowers and flat fruit. The plant grows up to about 1.5 meters in height. It is a popular flavoring agent. It is densely covered with small spinous outgrowths.
The dried roots and underground stems or rhizomes of the plant constitute the drug. The root of the plant is a laxative and expectorant. When externally used it has a soothing effect on the skin. Powdered liquorice is very popular in allopathic medicine. The herb contains glycyrrhizin, glycyrrhizic acid and glycyrrhetinic acid.
- Liquorice is a valuable remedy for relieving pain, discomfort and other symptoms caused by acrid matter in the stomach. It should be taken in powder form.
- Lubricating the throat with a decoction of liquorice mixed with honey brings relief in dry cough.
- Liquorice is an effective home remedy for sore throat. A small piece of raw liquorice if chewed or sucked provides relief by soothing the inflammation.
- Liquorice is useful in treating pain due to stomach ulcers, as it soothes the irritation caused by acids. Pieces of the dried root soaked overnight in water and the infusion taken with rice gruel helps in the cure of ulcer. Even allopathic physicians use liquorice for treating ulcers.
- Liquorice alleviates muscular pains. Taking an infusion of the roots soaked overnight relieves any chronic joint problems.
- The powder of the herb mixed with butter or ghee and honey can be applied on cuts and wounds with good results. The leaves of the plant, applied as a poultice is a useful remedy in scalds of the head and body.
- It is used in the treatment of myopia. Half a teaspoon of the powder of the root, mixed with an equal amount of honey and half the quantity of ghee, can be given twice daily with milk on an empty stomach in this case.
- It heals corns which are just appearing. A paste of liquorice sticks mixed with sesame or mustard oil, if rubbed into the hardened skin at bed time softens the skin and the corn decreases in size.
- It is also used as a laxative in constipation. Its powder is taken with jaggery and water in this condition.
- The sticks of dried rhizomes are soaked in water and the infusion used as a gargle brings quick relief in oral inflammations. Tiny bits of the stick with sugar candy can also be sucked.
- Liquorice is beneficial in treating patchy baldness. Small pieces of the root are ground in milk with a pinch of saffron to a paste. When this paste is applied over the bald patches at bedtime regularly, hair growth is seen within a few weeks. This prescription is very effective in the initial stages of baldness, excessive hair loss and dandruff.
Lobelia (Lobelia inflata ), also called Indian tobacco, has a long history of use as an herbal remedy for respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, and cough. Native Americans historically have smoked lobelia as a treatment for asthma. In the 19th century, American physicians prescribed lobelia to induce vomiting in order remove toxins from the body. Because of this, it earned the name "puke weed." Today, lobelia is considered effective in helping clear mucus from the respiratory tract, including the throat, lungs, and bronchial tubes. Although few studies have thoroughly evaluated the safety and effectiveness of lobelia, some herbalists today incorporate lobelia into a comprehensive treatment plan for asthma.
An active ingredient in the lobelia plant, lobeline, is similar to nicotine in its effect on the body. Like nicotine, it stimulates nerves in the central nervous system. For this reason, lobeline was once used as a nicotine substitute in many anti-smoking products and preparations designed to break the smoking habit. In 1993, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prohibited the sale of lobeline-containing smoking products. The FDA reported that such products lacked effectiveness in helping people quit or reduce smoking.
It is important to note that lobelia is a potentially toxic herb. Lobelia can be safely used in very small doses (particularly homeopathic doses), but moderate-to-large doses can cause serious adverse effects ranging from dry mouth and nausea to convulsions and even coma (see Precautions). Under the guidance of a qualified health care provider, however, lobelia, in combination with other herbs that affect the respiratory system, is considered relatively safe.
Lobelia is an attractive annual or sometimes biennial (replanted every year or two) herb that grows to a height of three feet. Its erect, hairy stem is angular, branching at the top, usually green with a tinge of violet. The pale green or yellowish leaves have a sharp taste and a slightly irritating odor. The sparse flowers are pale violet-blue outside and pale yellow inside.
The above-ground portions of the lobelia plant (namely the leaves and seeds) are used for medicinal purposes.
Medicinal Uses and Indications:
Lobelia has not been well studied in animals or people. However, a qualified health care provider may recommend this herb (usually in combination with other herbs) for the treatment of the following respiratory problems:
Lobelia is also diluted to a homeopathic dose and used alone or in combination with other products for smoking cessation, muscle relaxation, nausea, vomiting, and various respiratory illnesses.
Lobelia is available in liquid extracts, tinctures, and as a dried herb in capsules and for teas.
Lungwort is a woodland plant, and grows happily in full shade or semi-shade, preferring moist soil, although it will grow anywhere shady if there’s plenty of humus. It’s a hardy perennial (right down to -20ºC/-4ºF) and has the unusual trait of producing flowers of different colors on the same plant. These appear from March to May and are useful to bees as an early nectar source.
Make a standard infusion with leaves and flowering tops, using 2-3 teaspoonfuls of fresh or 1-2 teaspoonfuls of dried herb to 1 cup of boiling water. Allow to stand for at least 10 minutes, strain and sip slowly or allow to cool for external use. You can use this to treat coughs such as chronic bronchitis, asthma and sore throats, as well as diarrhea. Externally, it can be used on cuts and grazes and also as a treatment for piles. The leaves can also be used fresh to stop bleeding - which is most likely where the names Jerusalem Cowslip and Bethlehem Sage came from.
Maca root (Lepidium meyenii [Latin]) is native to the mountain regions of Peru, where it has had a reputation as a powerful sex-enhancer since the times of the ancient Incas. Maca has been called Peruvian Viagara® and Peruvian ginseng because of its legendary ability to promote mental and physical vitality and increase libido in both men and women. Maca is often referred to as a natural hormone balancer, an adaptagen that can treat symptoms of menopause and sexual dysfunction in both men and women. Maca root may also help treat other conditions associated with hormone imbalance, such as depression, insomnia, fatigue, and acne.
Maca root actually provides the body with many healthful nutrients, including potassium and calcium (it actually has higher levels of calcium than milk). It also contains protein, carbohydrates, and fatty acids. However, it is the presence of two recently discovered compounds, macamides and macaenes, that are thought to give maca its powerful aphrodisiac effects. In the April 2000 issue of the medical journal Urology, researchers reported that rodents fed a concentration of macamides and macaenes developed a striking increase in energy, sex drive, and stamina.
Maca is recommended for treatment of a host of hormone-related disorders, including low sex drive in men and women, infertility, low sperm count, impotence, and menopausal and premenstrual symptoms. Research indicates that hormone-balancing maca also supports adrenal gland function, which is very important in times of stress when the adrenal glands produce large amounts of adrenaline.
Athletes sometimes use maca to boost energy and stamina, and there are reports that this root can increase mental function as well.
In Peru, maca roots are dried and ground into a flour-like consistency. It is considered a food, and may be added to blender drinks, cookies, cakes, and chips. You can purchase maca root powder from some health food stores and from online distributorships. Try adding it to your own recipes; use ½ tsp. of maca for each cookie, or 1 tsp. for each slice of bread (make sure to subtract out an equal amount of flour). You can also add maca powder to your own smoothie or health drink.
Marjoram is an aromatic herb of the mint family with small leaves hairy on either sides; tiny green, white flowers, forming small branched heads, which look like knots.
The dried leaves of marjoram with or without flowering tops in small proportions constitute the herb. It has a fragrant, spicy, slightly sharp, bitter and camphoraceous flavor.
Marjoram grows up to 30 to 60 cm in height, through perennial; it is treated as an annual herb under cultivation. The color of the dried herb is light green with a grayish tint.
Fractional distillation of the leaves and flowering heads yield a volatile oil known as oil of sweet marjoram. However, the yield from the fresh herb is less than that from the dried herb.
The oil is colorless or pale yellow to yellow-green, with a persistent odor reminiscent of nutmeg and mint.
May Apple (Podophyllum peltatum)
The May-apple is native to damp woodlands in southern Ontario and Quebec, as well as most of the eastern United States.
May-apple has been used by both First Nations and settlers as a laxative and tonic, to expel worms, and to treat warts and growths. It became a popular ingredient in patent medicines of the late 1800s, especially those aimed at liver problems.
Some First Nations steeped the poisonous leaves and roots in water to make a liquid insecticide for their crops. May-apple has culinary uses, too. The ripe fruit, which is not poisonous, has been eaten straight, made into jams and jellies, and used to flavour drinks.
May-apple contains a number of chemical compounds which affect human health. Some block cell division, which makes them of interest as the source of possible anti-cancer drugs. One of these, podophyllotoxin, has been approved as a treatment for genital warts.
Several drugs created by modifying the podophyllotoxin molecule have now been approved for use against some kinds of cancers. Further research in this area continues.
The marshmallow plant can be found growing in damp, wet areas including meadows and marshes. While native to regions of Europe, the marshmallow plant now grows in the United States as well. The root and leaves of the plant are used medicinally.
For many years marshmallow plants have been used to relieve coughs and sore throats, as well as for chapped skin and minor wounds.
Both the root and the leaf of the marshmallow plant contain a substance known as mucilate, a mucusy substance that does not dissolve in water. It is this substance that causes marshmallow to swell up and become slippery when wet. This attribute of the marshmallow plant gives it the ability to soothe irritation of the mouth, throat and stomach, as well as to relieve coughing.
Marshmallow is also believed to have a limited ability to fight infection and boost the immune system.
While the effectiveness of marshmallow has not been substantiated by human pharmalogical studies, it has been used in connection with:
- Common cold/sore throat
- Crohn's disease
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Pap smear (abnormal)
- Peptic ulcer
A perennial herb with a short, pink rhizome and a tough, erect branched and leafy stem. The stem leaves are alternate, odd-pinnate, doubly serrate, dark green above and usually white-felted below; the stipules are broadly cordate and conspicuous. The small, creamy-white, fragrant flowers are arranged in a terminal corymb. The flowers have reflexed hairy sepals and numerous long stamens. The fruit, a one-seeded follicle, is spirally twisted. The scent of the leaves is quite different from that of the flowers.
Meadowsweet is renowned for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. The fragrant Meadowsweet Herb is harvested by hand from the wetlands of our croft on the Isle of Skye in full flower, when the properties are at their most potent. This wild-crafted harvest is used to produce our very special Meadowsweet Products, whilst preserving the natural habitat of its wild life.
Meadowsweet Herbs is located in Missoula, Montana, nestled in the Northern Rocky Mountains. We are a family business owned and operated by trained herbalists, with a commitment to being a "company with a conscience." To fulfill that commitment we use only the highest quality herbs and treat our employees and customers with honesty and integrity.
Milk thistle (silymarin) is a flowering herb related to the daisy and ragweed family. It is native to Mediterranean countries. Some people also call it Mary thistle and holy thistle.
Milk thistle is sometimes used as a natural treatment for liver problems. These liver problems include cirrhosis, jaundice, hepatitis, and gallbladder disorders.
Some claim milk thistle may also:
- Provide heart benefits by lowering cholesterol levels
- Help diabetes in people who have type 2 diabetes and cirrhosis
- Reduce growth of cancer cells in breast, cervical, and prostate cancers
Most mints are native to Europe and Asia, although there are some which are indigenous to the America’s and Australia. Many think that the colonists introduced mint to the USA however there is evidence that Native American Indians were using a form of mint well before their arrival.
Mint has been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes for thousands of years and is even mentioned in the Bible. The name Mentha is derived from the Greek nymph Minthe. Greek legend tells how Hades (also known as Pluto) who was God of the underworld, took a shine to Minthe who soon became the unfortunate object of his wife’s anger. The jealous Persephone attacked Minthe turned her into a lowly plant and was in the process of trampling her to death when the broken hearted Hades took pity on her turned her into an aromatic herb so that when she was trodden upon, her sweet aroma would fill the air.
This theme runs through many civilizations: Peppermint oil has been distilled by the Japanese for centuries, ancient Hebrews scattered the floors of their synagogues with Mint and Ancient Romans are said to have rubbed their tables with the leaves before their guests arrived. It is also generally believed that the Romans are responsible for the creation of mint sauce.
Medicinally, the various mints have been used worldwide for centuries as a cure or relief for numerous ailments from flatulence and digestive complaints to fevers.
One of the most common form of treatment mint has is that is that it can settle a nervous stomach. Mint appears in many products such as teas, recipes involving entrees, like lamb with a mint julep side. Mint as a health benefit began in the Middle East, India and Europe. Mint is also widely known as a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive conditions.
Mint has also been said to slow the effects of bacteria or fungus . Mint has also been said to help with asthma and other allergies. Some believe that mint in certain respects that can be helpful in cancer treatments too. But that has not been proven yet at least not on humans. In animals it has been shown that the alcohols that are in mint can help prevent colon, lung and skin cancer.
Mint is a very common flavor as well; there is mint toothpaste, mouthwash, gum, chocolate, liquor and hard candies. Mint is a very soothing taste and it is very common among flavors like cherry, grape or lemon. You can buy fresh mint leaves in the supermarket and you can add to teas and coffees. Next time you want a fresh tasting dessert or you have an upset stomach try mint, it may help you.
Motherwort is also known by the name Lion's Ear. Motherwort originally came from central Eurasia, but has now spread to all temperate areas of the world, primarily as a garden plant, but also as an escaped weed. The leaves and flowers of this mint family plant are used medicinally. Motherwort came from central Eurasia originally, but has spread to all temperate areas of the world, primarily as a garden plant but also as an escaped weed.
This is an erect perennial, 60-120cm high, with prominent coarsely-toothed 5-7-lobed leaves. Whorls of white to pink flowers arise in the upper leaf axils; the calyx and later the seed case are notable for the border of prickly teeth. Motherwort grows in waste places and hedgerows throughout northern temperate regions and is common in Britain.
Medical uses and benefits of Motherwort
- Motherwort is a great heart tonic.
- It helps to eliminate palpations and arrhythmias.
- Used for any heart condition, including atrial fibrillation, V-tach, PVCs, PACs, tachycardia, and CHFs.
- Helps to enhance the adrenal glands.
- Used in female conditions, including menstrual cramps and hot flashes.
Mullein (Verbascum [Latin]), also called velvet dock, flannel leaf or plant, feltwort, Aaron’s rod, shepherd’s staff, and lungwort, is easily identified in the wild by its big, soft leaves. Many of the names used to identify this plant refer to its velvety texture; however, the name lungwort reflects mullein’s traditional use as a treatment for relieving cough and congestion of those with minor respiratory ailments. Mullein is recommended by herbalists for treatment of cough, sore throat, and colds.
When combined with water, the fiber in mullein produces a slippery substance called mucilage, which coats and soothes the throat and intestine (mullein is traditionally used to treat diarrhea and gastrointestinal upset as well). Some laboratory studies have shown that mullein inhibits the growth of tuberculosis bacteria, which may be where it got its reputation as a treatment for this disease.
Studies have shown that mullein has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that, when combined with soothing mucilage, may help relieve hemorrhoid symptoms. Topical compresses made from mullein infusions have also been used to treat inflamed cold sores and herpes; in one study, mullein seemed to help eliminate the herpes virus.
Mullein is widely available in the wild, and is easily identified by its spike of yellow flowers and huge, sometimes over a foot long, leaves. The leaves, flowers, and roots of this plant are edible and easy to dry, and may be used to make your own herbal medicines. However, mullein seeds are poisonous, so do not use them in any herbal preparation, whether intended for oral or topical use.
Myrrh is also called guggulipid. Guggul is the extract of the gum resin of the Commiphora mukul tree that is native to India, Africa, and Arabia.
The nutrient has been around for centuries. In ancient Rome, myrrh was used during funerals to cover the smell of burning corpses.
At one point in time, myrrh was worth much more than frankincense. Myrrh was one of the gifts from the Magi to the Christ Child. Later after His crucifixion that same myrrh was used to anoint his body for burial.
In modern times, myrrh is used in all kinds of products. It is found in incense, perfumes, toothpastes, and lotions. It is also used in other modern toiletries.
The quality of the herb is recognized by the darkness and the clarity, as well as the stickiness of the resin oil. Guggulsterones can slow down the synthesis of cholesterol in the liver and may have antioxidant effects on lipids. It may also stimulate the thyroid.
Myrrh may also have anti-inflammatory properties, lower lipoproteins and C-reactive proteins. The nutrient might also protect against drug-induced myocardial necrosis. Guggulipid reduces the secretion of sebum and slows the metabolism of triglycerides that have been known to cause acne.
Myrrh is also used to treat arthritis, lower cholesterol levels, treat or prevent atherosclerosis, and nodulocystic acne. The nutrient is also used to treat skin diseases. Myrrh may also be of beneficial use during weight loss.
Stinging nettle is native to Europe and Europe is still its main stronghold, but today it can be found over most of the globe. It is particularly established over much of Asia, northern Africa and North America, but has also spread to other areas. It has reached as far east as Japan and as far south as New Zealand and has recently been introduced to parts of Latin America.
Stinging nettle is best known for its ability to impart a considerable sting, which occurs when small hairs on its leaves and stem brush against skin, causing a burning sensation and a rash which can last up to 24 hours. However, despite the unpleasantness of its sting, the nettle has been highly regarded in Europe since at least antiquity as both a food and a medicine, with both the Greeks and the Romans using it for a wide variety of medicinal purposes. In the first century, Greek physicians Dioscorides and Galen reported the leaf of the nettle had diuretic and laxative properties and was useful for asthma, pleurisy and spleen illnesses. By medieval times the stinging nettle was in common use throughout the continent, being used for treating rheumatism, arthritis, allergies and eczema, baldness, bladder infections, cough, bronchitis, bursitis, anemia, gingivitis, hives, laryngitis, gout, multiple sclerosis, tendonitis, premenstrual syndrome, prostate enlargement and sciatica. According to Nicolas Culpeper in the seventeenth century, the seeds of the nettle were thought to be beneficial in the treatment of bites from "mad dogs" or the stinging of "venomous creatures." Seeds were also used at that time as an antidote to poisonous herbs such as nightshade and henbane. In early American medicine, bandages soaked in a leaf and stem infusion were used to stop the bleeding of wounds.
Nettle is recognised as having astringent, expectorant, galactagogue, tonic, anti-inflammatory, hemostatic, and diuretic properties, and is recommended for treating bone and joint conditions, inflammation and irritation of the urinary tract and for preventing urinary system gravel, whilst the diuretic action of the plant has been shown to significantly increase urine volume and can help to alleviate bladder infections. However, the most popular application of stinging nettle today is the use of the root for treating the symptoms of prostate enlargement or benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). This condition is hormonal in nature, caused by testosterone and the conversion of testosterone to the extremely potent dihydrotestosterone, a conversion which increases as men age. An excess of dihydrotestosterone causes pathological prostate growth. Estrogens also play a part as they too increase as men age and also stimulate prostate growth.
Oats have been an elemental food source for both humans and animals since prehistoric times. There is speculation that this food source is best described through it genus name, Avena, which traces back to its original meaning of nourishing while Sativa means cultivated.
In addition to its recognition and value as a stable food crop, however, Oat Straw is also used in the treatment of a number of human maladies, ailments or discomforts.
It has been purported to help with the lowering of cholesterol naturally, increasing of vigor and stamina (it has been suggested to people recovering from long term illnesses as an aid to help rebuild their strength).
The seed carries antispasmodic, cardia, diuretic, emollient, nervine and stimulant properties.
Oat straw and the grain have also been prescribed in the treatment of a wide range of nervous conditions. It has also been shown to help with the exhaustion related to neurological pains or herbal treatment for insominia, or multiple sclerosis. A tincture has been used as a nerve stimulant when treating opium addiction and it is a popular herbal remedy for anxiety.
It can help to combat problems such as obesity, varicose veins, irritations related to the digestive tract and as an herbal treatment for hemorrhoids, however it has been found that it should not be used in dyspepsia when accompanied by acidity of the stomach.
Research now shows that it contains the anti-tumor compound b-sitosterol and there is some suggestions that the chances of cancer in the bowel may be reduced by eating oats regularly, as well as cancers in general.
There is also some evidence to suggest that the consumption of the oats helps to naturally lower the blood sugar levels in the body and that it could be helpful as a herbal remedy for diabetics as well.
Oregano is an aromatic herb that belongs to the mint family, it can grow to about two feet in height. It is native to the Mediterranean region but is cultivated worldwide.
The leaves as well as the volatile oil of oregano are used medicinally, but must be carefully distinguished as they are quite different.
There is a common oregano that is use for cooking and the oregano that is use to make oil. Origanum Marjoram is the common oregano used for cooking. Origanum Vulgare is the wild oregano used for making oil.Oil of Oregano is a highly potent purifier that provides many benefits for human health
. The two important compounds that are responsible for the many health benefits of oregano are carvacrol and thymol.
Studies have shown that both of these compounds can inhibit the growth of bacteria, virus and fungi which is the main causes of many illnesses in humans. Oregano oil is marketed in either liquid or capsules/ tablets forms.
Oregon Grape can effectively stimulate liver activity and the secretion of bile. There are several reasons for this belief. For one, the Oregon grape boasts of a bright yellow root, which is high in the alkaloid berberine, which is in turn an important constituent of other similarly powerful healing plants like for example, goldenseal. The root is also said to have a warm and drying influence. The Oregon grape can stimulate weakened livers, and at the same time dramatically alleviate liver-induced symptoms such as headaches, poor digestion, and toxic blood. The versatile herb is also regarded as a blood purifier, although it is a fact that this point has not been clarified through scientific research. Herbalists of today prefer to use the Oregon grape to cleanse the liver, the spleen and in some cases the blood too. However, an individual who consumes too much rich food, or who overeats regularly and who therefore has an overactive liver must not use Oregon grape, because of its action on the liver.
Oregon grape is generally prepared in an easy infusion, using 1/2 ounce of dried Oregon grape root to one quart of water. The infusion can usually be taken a cup at a time, thrice a day until relief is obtained. Oregon grape is often used in herbal formulas, too. Since the berries of the Oregon grape have been found to possess a cooling effect, they are used to break fevers. The berries can be gathered during the late summer when they are considered to be fully ripe, after which they can either be dried and later powdered, or made into syrup. Oregon grape jams are very tasty indeed.
The European barberry is often said to be excellent for the digestion, and that it was exceptionally good for the gallbladder and the liver. In America, Oregon grape of both European and American varieties was used for the treatment of dysentery and diarrhea, and also for a variety of digestive problems and disorders. Woodsour, sour-spine, sowberry, or pipperidge bush, as well as jaundice berry, termed so because of the yellow color of the wood, all refer to the same plant, the Oregon grape. The yellow color of the wood is derived from the active ingredient in the plant, berberine, along with other alkaloids. It must be remembered that berberine is a component present in the Berberis and Mahonia species as well as in the goldenseal.
Often, it has been suggested that the Oregon grape may be used as an effective substitute for the goldenseal, which is today quite difficult to find, and is listed as endangered, since it is a fact that both the goldenseal as well as the Oregon grape contain berberine, as can be proved by the Native Americans, who used both the plants as and when required. It was believed that the Oregon grape would prove to bring about a great improvement in one’s appetite, while at the same time improving one’s generally weakened condition. However, even though the purplish berries are edible and rich in vitamin C, the part of the Oregon grape that is used in medicine is the root.
Parts used: Root.Uses: Oregon grape is generally used for gastritis and for all types of general digestive weaknesses, and it is also effective for stimulating gallbladder functions, and for bringing in improvement in congestion problems that may be concentrated in the gut. Oregon grape can be used to treat and improve conditions like acne, boils, eczema, herpes and psoriasis, and skin conditions that may be directly linked to poor function of the gallbladder.
Pacific Yew (Taxus brevifolia)
Pacific yew is native to the Coast Range of British Columbia and the northwest coast of the United States. It is also found in a few areas farther inland.
Local First Nations identified Pacific yew as a plant with medicinal properties, making teas from the needles and bark, and applying crushed needles to wounds. They also used the extremely hard wood for implements that needed to withstand strain, such as fishhooks and paddles.
In 1971, researchers identified a chemical compound in Pacific yew called paclitaxel. It was later approved for use against ovarian and certain types of beast cancer and is sold under the trade name Taxol®. It is now also approved for use against an AIDS-related cancer.
Research continues into other medical uses for paclitaxel and also for new compounds derived from or related to it.
Parsley (Petroselinum Crispum)
Parsley is the world's most popular herb. Derived from the Greek word meaning "rock celery" (it's a relative to celery), parsley has been cultivated for 2,000 years, and was used medicinally long before that. Highly nutritious, it can be found year round in your local supermarket.
Parsley has many health benefits and has been used as a cure for many ailments. It contains more vitamin C than any other standard culinary vegetable, approximately three times as much as oranges and about the same as blackcurrants. The iron content is exceptional (twice as much as spinach) and the plant is a good source of manganese, calcium and potassium. It also contains flavonoids that act as antioxidants.
Parsley is also rich in vitamin A, well-known for its effects on vision, plus can mitigate risks of atherosclerosis and diabetes.
Raw parsley cleanses the blood, dissolves sticky deposits in veins, maintains elasticity of blood vessels, facilitates removal of moderately sized kidney and gallstones, treats deafness and ear infections, and benefits the sexual system. Chewing parsley prevents bad breath!
Parsley is also good as a topical remedy for bruises. Next time you have a bruise, crush up some parsley leaves and apply straight to the affected area.
Parsley is one of the most important herbs for providing vitamins to the body. It's like an immune-enhancing multi-vitamin and mineral complex in green plant form. It grows in most climates and is readily available throughout the year.
Passion Flowers grows on long vines in shaded, woody areas of the United States. The plant was named "Passion Flower" by Spanish explorers who thought that its flowers resembled three nails and a crown of thorns, reminding them of the Passion of Christ. Both the plant and its flower can be dried and used medicinally.
Passion Flower is used as a mild sedative and sleep aid. Though few clinical trials have been conducted on Passion Flower, the herb has been used widely in Europe, and it is beginning to get attention in America as well.
Passion Flower is the main ingredient of a sleeping pill in Germany and a popular herbal sedative in the United Kingdom. In Romania, a patented chewing gum containing Passion Flower is used as a sedative. The herb is also used to treat fatigue and nervousness.
It is believed that Passion Flower has an effect on the nervous system that makes it useful in treating these ailments. The active ingredients in Passion Flower are unknown, but it is thought that the alkaloids and flavonoids it contains are among the most active of its components. A variety of other substances, including amino acids and sterols, are also said to support the actions of Passion Flower.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
Commonly used for digestive assistance, peppermint (Mentha piperita) as an oil can be used topically or ingested to relieve many ailments like gastritis, irritable bowl syndrome, motion sickness, cramps, and many other conditions.
Peppermint is commonly used to sooth gastrointestinal tract by relaxing the muscles in the intestinal wall. It increases the saliva, which increases swallowing making it possible to improve appetite, relieve cramps, and reduce pain associated with conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, nausea, or motion sickness. Peppermint has also been used to reduce muscle spasms associated with endoscopy, colonoscopy and barium enemas.
When taken orally as tea or tablets, peppermint is also used for relieving respiratory conditions such as colds, coughing, acute respiratory difficulties, and for bacteria, fungal, and viral infections. It may be inhaled as oil for soothing irritated nasal passages from allergies and can be rubbed on the chest for comfort and relief of other respiratory discomfort.
Psyllium seeds are harvested from Plantago psyllium and Plantago ovata.
Plantago is a genus of about 200 species of small, shrub like plants commonly called plantains.
The plants are commonly grown in India and Iran.
Its seeds are odourless and tasteless.
They are commonly added to laxatives, herbal cures, and to certain breakfast cereals.
They produce a soluble fibre that promotes bowel regularity.
The fibre is normally broken down in the large bowel. It then becomes a food source for the bacteria that live in the colon. After the phylum is metabolised in the colon, some of it is absorbed and adds some calories to the diet.
Psyllium seeds are oval and are coated with mucilage. This product is different from wheat bran and other fibres in that, it does not cause excessive gas and bloating.
It was used topically to treat skin irritations, poison ivy reactions, insect bites and stings. Its other common names are flea seed and fleawort.
Red clover is a source of many valuable nutrients including calcium, chromium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine, and vitamin C. Red clover is also considered to be one of the richest sources of isoflavones (water-soluble chemicals that act like estrogens and are found in many plants).
Several studies of a proprietary extract of red clover isoflavones suggest that it may significantly reduce hot flashes in menopausal women. Also, menopause increases a woman's risk for developing osteoporosis (significant bone loss) and some studies suggest that a proprietary extract of red clover isoflavones may slow bone loss and even boost bone mineral density in pre and peri-menopausal women. The estrogen-like effect of red clover isoflavones may be involved, and red clover also may have a direct effect by preventing the breakdown of existing bone.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a well-known culinary herb. Dried rosemary leaves are a popular seasoning for food... adding flavour to soups, stews, meat and fish.
Applied to the skin, rosemary essential oil helps strengthen the capillaries and has a rejuvenating effect. For this reason, rosemary is a common ingredient used in many cosmetics, including skin toners, creams, soaps and hair products.
However, beyond being a flavouring-enhancer for certain foods and its use in cosmetics, you may not be aware that rosemary extract has a long history of medicinal uses too. It has been used to treat a wide range of ailments, including stomach upsets, digestive disorders and headaches.
Recent research is now revealing even more benefits attached to this remarkable herb, including its ability to help prevent cancer and age-related skin damage, boost the functioning of the liver and act as a mild diuretic to help reduce swelling.
Two of the most important ingredients in rosemary, which are thought to be largely responsible for many of these therapeutic actions, are caffeic acid and rosemarinic acid - both are potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents.1
These two natural acids are effective at reducing inflammation which may contribute to asthma, liver disease and heart disease.2
Rosemary is proving an important defence against cancer
The antioxidants contained in rosemary help to protect your body's cells from damage by free radicals. They include monoterpenes, phenolic diterpenes and flavonoids, which are renowned for their ability to slow down the production of free radicals.3, 4
It is also a rich source of vitamin E (alpha tocopherol), another potent antioxidant, which contributes to its free radical fighting powers further still.5
DNA is your genetic blueprint, and it is particularly prone to injury from free radicals. Left unchecked, this damage can eventually lead to cells proliferating out of control, which greatly increases the risk of cancer.
Scientists from the department of Mutagenesis and Carcinogenesis, Cancer Research Institute of Slovak Academy of Sciences, in the Slovak Republic, have found that rosemary extract can significantly help to protect DNA against free radical damage.6
By blocking oestrogen, rosemary helps prevent breast cancer
It is well known that an imbalance of oestrogen hormones in women can contribute to breast cancer. Several conventional drugs such as Tamoxifen are aimed at blocking the effects of oestrogen to help reduce this risk. However, Tamoxifen can cause a range of unpleasant side effects, including hot flushes, vaginal bleeding, headaches and nausea.
Sage is a silvery-green plant with leaves that offer a memorable fragrant. The most common variety of sage was first found growing in regions around the Mediterranean but now grows in regions of North America as well. The leaves of the sage herb serve both medicinal and culinary purposes.
For thousands of years sage has been used for a variety of culinary and medicinal purposes. It has been used in connection with sprains, swelling, ulcers, and bleeding. As a tea, sage has been administered for sore throats and coughs. Herbalists have also used this herb for rheumatism, menstrual bleeding, strengthening the nervous system, improving memory, and sharpening the senses.
Sage oil contains the chemical substances alpha- and beta-thujone, camphor, and cineole as well as other constituents including rosmarinic acid, tannins, and flavonoids. Even today, in many European countries sage is used medicinally as a gargle for sore throat and inflammation of the mouth and gums. Clinical studies also indicate that the substance found in sage oil may also offer antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral effects, explaining much of its medicinal activity.
In Germany, sage herb is commonly used for upset stomach and excessive sweating. In England, sage is used for some symptoms of menopause
Seneca Snakeroot (Polygala senega)
Seneca-snakeroot is native to prairies and dry open woodland across southern Canada, from New Brunswick to Alberta. Its range extends south throughout much of the eastern and central United States.
This plant got its common name from the Seneca First Nation's use of it as a treatment for snake bite. Other First Nations used the root for respiratory problems, headache, and stomach ache.
As early as the 1700s, the root had reached Europe, where it was given for respiratory problems, such as pneumonia. In the first half of the 1900s, it was an ingredient in many patent medicines and over-the-counter remedies, especially for bronchitis.
In the 1950s and 60s, as antibiotics and other new drugs came on the market, the demand for Seneca-snakeroot declined. While, in 1930, Canadians had harvested - and mostly exported - over 700,000 pounds of dried roots, by the 1960s the harvest was no longer commercially important. With the resurgence of interest in herbal medicines, however, demand for Seneca-snakeroot began to increase again in the late 1900s.
Seneca-snakeroot contains several chemical compounds that act as expectorants to reduce phlegm in the respiratory tract. Today it is used primarily in herbal and over-the-counter cough medicines, especially in Europe and east Asia.
The Saw Palmetto, a palm tree native to North America, takes its common name from the saw toothed stems located on each individual palm leaf. There are numerous saw palmetto benefits.
Saw Palmetto benefits include treatments for persistent coughs, digestive problems, as well as relief from benign prostatic hyperplasia; known as BPH. Specifically, Saw Palmetto assists with treating the side effects of BPH, such as frequent urination, blocked exit of the urine from the bladder, and several other uncomfortable symptoms. An oily secretion from the berry of the Saw Palmetto plant is thought to treat these symptoms by inhibiting further growth of the enlarged prostate.
Men who have taken Saw Palmetto for the purpose of treating BPH, have reported a reduction in painful urination, as well as minimized sensations of a full bladder. Some researches believe this may be accomplished due to an anti-inflammatory ability of the plant to restrain hormones, such as testosterone. Testosterone is thought to contribute to multiplication of prostate cells.
There has also been speculation that the plant may play a vital role in protecting men against the development of prostate cancer. The plant is a popular treatment for BPH, due to the fact that it is typically much lower priced than other medications, tends to work much more quickly, and is less likely to cause reduced sexual drive and impotence.
There are relatively few known side effects of Saw Palmetto. In rare cases there have been reports of abdominal pain, dizziness, nausea, and headache, as well as reduced sexual drive, and in some cases, impotence. In extremely rare cases, there have been reports of male breast enlargement. Some side effects, such as upset stomach and nausea, may be reduced by eating a meal when taking Saw Palmetto.
Scullcap is often found in partially shaded, wetland areas. It prefers light shade to full sun and wet to moist soil with plenty of organic matter. This perennial herb is native to North America and has been cultivated in Europe.
Plant Description: Skullcap grows to a height of 45 to 60 centimeters tall. It has a light green to reddish-green square stem with occasional branches. The leaves measure 7.5 centimeters long by 5 centimeters across and are coarsely serrated around the edges. The blue-lavender flowers are hooded, tube shaped and two-lipped. The upper lip forms a hood and the lower lip has two lobes. This plant blooms from May to August. The flowers are replaced by a two chamber seed pod containing 4 seeds. The roots system consists of a taproot and rhizomes.
Plant Parts Used: The flowers and the leaves of the plant are used for medicinal purposes.
Therapeutic and Tradtitional Uses, Benefits and Claims of Skullcap
* Skullcap was used by some Native American tribes as an emmenagogue to bring young girls into womanhood.
* It was also traditionally used to bring on visions (in large doses) during spiritual ceremonies.
* It was once used as a treatment for rabies and schizophrenia (hence the names maddog skullcap, maddog weed, and mad weed.)
* This plant is also a nervine with sedative qualities and is helpful in the treatment of many nervous conditions such as epilepsy, hysteria, anxiety, and delirium tremens. It has also been found useful in treating symptoms of withdrawal from barbiturates and tranquilizers.
* Medicinal infusions of this herb have been used to promote menstruation.
* An infusion of skullcap may also be helpful in treating throat infections and, due to its anti-spasmodic and sedative effects, it is also great for treating headaches from stress, neuralgia, and from incessant coughing.
* This herb can also be used to induce sleep naturally without the negative effects of many prescription and over-the-counter sleep aids.
* Skullcap is gaining some recognition as an alternative treatment for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).
* This plant is sometimes used to treat the symptoms associated with anorexia nervosa, fibromyalgia and even mild Tourette’s syndrome.
* Skullcap is also used as a herbal treatment for asthma and as a hiccup and hangover remedy.
Slippery Elm Bark
Elm trees are native to the Appalachian Mountains of eastern North America. Skin washes and tea were created by drying elm leaves. Natives ate the inner bark because it is high in carbohydrates and can be easily digested. The inner bark was also used to waterproof canoes, baskets, and places of living. Elm was used by colonists to make pudding, to thicken jelly, to preserve grease, and as a survival food on long trips. It was used medicinally to treat toothaches, skin injuries, gout, arthritis, stomach aches, intestinal worms, and coughs.
Uses and Indications
Slippery elm is used to relieve gastrointestinal conditions, sore throats, ulcers, and respiratory irritations today. External uses include treatment of skin conditions, vaginitis, and hemorrhoids. It can be used as a cough medicine or as a skin smoother and softener.
The Indian snakeroot is a traditional Indian herb. This herb is traditional linked with the holy men and mystics of India; this includes the great spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi. Such spiritual men have reportedly chewed the root of the plant called the Indian snakeroot - R. serpentina to botanists - this herb supposedly helps them to achieve a mental state of complete philosophic detachment during the meditation process.
This herbal plant is known as the chandrika - in Sanskrit, and literally translated as the "moonshine plant" – has historically been of great esteem in India, as it serves as a sedative and hypnotic drug for the treatment of insanity linked to the lunar phases, or what is called "moon disease". The Rauwolfia has been traditional used since the dawn of history and has a reputation as an herbal agent capable of lowering temperatures during a fever.
This herb is also considered to be an “emmenagogue” or a substance which induces menstruation in the body. Indian folk healers have primarily used this herb as an antidote for the treatment of the bites from poisonous snakes and insects. Disorders such as diarrhea and dysentery were traditionally treated using the powdered roots of this herb; a root extract of the herb was also used to calm down irritable babies and infants.
St. John's Wort Hypericum perforatum
Prevents infections, reduces inflammation, relieves pain.
St. John's wort has long been valued for its expectorant action, clearing phlegm from the chest and speeding recovery from coughs and chest infections.
Its antibacterial and antiviral action, are active against TB and influenza A, and is being researched for its beneficial effect in the treatment of AIDS and HIV as well as cancer.
Its astringent and antimicrobial action is also found to be effective in the digestive tract where it can treat gastroenteritis, diarrhea and dysentery.
Used both internally and externally, this herb is a valued remedy for nerve pain and trauma to the nervous system.
St.John's wort can be used for neuralgia, sciatica, fibrositis, back pain, headaches, shingles, and rheumatic pain.
The herbal oil soothes and heals burns, cuts, wounds, sores, ulcers and calms inflammation.
This herb has also been used in the treatment of a number of disorders such as depression, fatigue, loss of appetite, insomnia, and anxiety.
The flowering tops are harvested after they begin to bloom (traditionally on Solstice, June 21) and prepared with alcohol, and with oil, to make two of the most useful remedies in my first aid kit. Tincture of St. John's wort not only lends one a sunny disposition, it reliably relieves muscle aches, is a powerful anti-viral, and is my first-choice treatment for those with shingles, sciatica, back pain, neuralgia, and headaches including migraines. The usual dose is 1 dropper full (1 ml) as frequently as needed. In extreme pain from a muscle spasm in my thigh, I used a dropper full every twenty minutes for two hours, or until the pain totally subsided. St. Joan's wort oil stops cold sores in their tracks and can even relieve genital herpes symptoms. I use it as a sunscreen. Contrary to popular belief, St. Joan's wort does not cause sun sensitivity - it prevents it. It even prevents burn from radiation therapy. Eases sore muscles, too."
St. John's wort has long been valued for its expectorant action, clearing phlegm from the chest and speeding recovery from coughs and chest infections.
Its antibacterial and antiviral action, are active against TB and influenza A, and is being researched for its beneficial effect in the treatment of AIDS and HIV as well as cancer.
Its astringent and antimicrobial action is also found to be effective in the digestive tract where it can treat gastroenteritis, diarrhea and dysentery.
Used both internally and externally, this herb is a valued remedy for nerve pain and trauma to the nervous system.
St.John's wort can be used for neuralgia, sciatica, fibrositis, back pain, headaches, shingles, and rheumatic pain.
The herbal oil soothes and heals burns, cuts, wounds, sores, ulcers and calms inflammation.
St. John's wort has also been used in the treatment of a number of disorders such as depression, fatigue, loss of appetite, insomnia, and anxiety.
St. John's Wort Recommended Products
Tea Tree Oil
Tea Tree Oil has wonderful properties that makes it a popular natural agent for curing all three types of infectious organisms: fungus, bacteria, and virus. More importantly, it is known to effectively fight a number of infections that are resistant to some antibiotics. Therefore, Tea Tree Oil is an excellent natural remedy for hundreds of bacterial and fungal skin ailments such as acne, abscess, oily skin, blisters, sun burns, athlete's foot, warts, herpes, insect bites, rashes, dandruff and other minor wounds and irritations.
Studies have shown that Tea Tree Oil also treats respiratory problems ranging from common sore throats, coughs and runny nose to severe conditions such as asthma, tuberculosis, and bronchitis. The anti-viral properties of the oil fight many common infectious diseases such as chicken pox, shingles and measles, flu, cold sores and verrucae. It also strengthens the body's immune system, which is often weakened by stress, illness, or by the use of antibiotics and other drugs. It can also be used as a mouth wash, since it is highly effective in healing oral candidiasis (a fungal infection of mouth and throat).
Tea Tree Oil Recommended Products
Thyme Thymus vulgaris (Mint Family)
A powerful antiseptic which is used internally for treating respiratory troubles such as asthma, coughs, and allergies.
It also contains strong anti fungal properties which make it useful for treating nail fungus, athlete's foot,
and yeast infections.
In aromatherapy, the essential oil is used to treat mental stress, lift low spirits and enhance mood.
Thymol is the main ingredient in many commercial mouthwashes.
CAUTIONS: Can be used safely in cooking, but in medicinal doses it should be avoided by pregnant women and those with thyroid conditions. The essential oil should only be used topically.
Turmeric is a perennial herb with short stem and raised or lifted branches. It grows up to 60 to 90 cm in height. The rhizomes or underground stems are short and thick and constitute commercial turmeric. The rhizome is aromatic, stimulant and a tonic.
Turmeric consist of moisture 13.1 percent, protein 6.3 percent, fat 5.1 percent, minerals 3.5 percent, fiber 2.6 percent and carbohydrates 69.4 percent. Its mineral and vitamin contents are calcium, iron, phosphorus, carotene, thiamine and niacin.
Turmeric contains curcumin and an essential oil. Dry rhizomes yield 5.8 percent essential oil, while the fresh ones yield 0.24 percent oil containing zingiberine. Ketone and alcohol are obtained on volatile distillation.
Valerian is well known for its sedative qualities and its ability to relax the central nervous system and the smooth muscle groups. It has been used as a sleeping aid for hundreds of years especially when there is excitation or difficulty in falling to sleep due to nervousness. Over 120 chemical components are found in valerian and although a very complex herb, it has not been found to have any negative side effects with moderate use.
It is calming without exerting too sedative an effect and is practically non-addictive. It is a valuable treatment for insomnia, the sedative effect due to the valepotriates and the isovaleric acid.
Introduced from Europe into eastern United States, this tree does not have the characteristics of the Weeping Willow (salix babalonica) and its limbs do not "weep" but are more upright, somewhat akin to an elm. The tree grows to 80 feet tall and to 3 feet in diameter. The leaves are typical willow shape, long and thin (described as finely toothed, lance-like), about 2 to 4 inches long and averaging 1 inch wide at the widest. The leaves grow from a whip-like slender stem that is greenish when small. Older bark is furrowed and grayish brown. The leaves are pale green above and silvery below and covered with fine hairs.
White willow bark is used in the same manner as is aspirin. In fact, aspirin was originally created from research into White willow bark. As nature's aspirin, White willow continues to be an important herb to be kept in our awareness if not in the medicine chest (aspirin is just too easy to keep and use). White willow bark reduces fever, relieves pain, prevents migraine headaches, aids in reducing the onset of some cancers, reduces the frequency of heart attack and stroke, relieves inflammation, and tastes simply awful. The active chemical in White willow is called salicin.
If nausea or ringing in the ears develops, reduce your dose or discontinue use. If you are pregnant or have a chronic gastrointestinal condition such as ulcers, colitis or Crohn's disease use caution with this herb. Children under 18 who have colds, flu or chicken pox and take aspirin, are at risk for Reye's syndrome, a potentially fatal condition. Although White willow has not been linked to Reye's syndrome, use caution here also and do not give it to children with fevers from those conditions. For other symptoms, children over 2 may use low-strength preparations, increasing strength if necessary. People over 65 should also begin with low-strength preparations to gain the benefits listed above.
Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
Witch-hazel grows in dry woods from Nova Scotia to Ontario and south through the eastern United States.
Witch-hazel's primary use has been as a treatment for wounds, bleeding, and dry, itchy, or irritated skin. Many First Nations employed witch-hazel for these purposes. It was quickly adopted by settlers and then, in the 1800s, became a popular ingredient in commercial toiletries and patent medicines.
Historically, witch-hazel has also been used to treat inflamed eyes and been taken internally for gastro-intestinal problems.
Witch-hazel contains a large amount of tannin, which is very astringent, and probably the main reason for witch-hazel's long reputation as a styptic and a skin treatment. However, witch-hazel contains a number of other chemical components that may contribute to its effects.
Studies done to date, while limited, suggest that witch-hazel does have a mild anti-inflammatory effect when applied to the skin.
Today, witch-hazel is found primarily in skin-care products, such as after-sun lotions and aftershave. It is also an ingredient in several over-the-counter preparations for hemorrhoids, and is used, especially in Europe, for treating varicose veins and inflammation of the gums.
Researchers have also found that witch-hazel contains small quantities of natural toxic compounds. For this reason, it is now recommended that people exercise caution if taking witch-hazel internally.
Yarrow is a very hardy and prolific plant which can be found growing naturally in many regions of Europe, North America, and Asia. It is also a very attractive plant that is used in residential and commercial landscaping. The flowering tops of yarrow are used to produce herbal remedies and preparations.
Yarrow is believed to have originated in the milder climates of Europe and Asia and has been around for over 3,000 years. In ancient times the leaves and flowers of yarrow were eaten and tea-like drink was made from yarrow leaves. Medicinally, fresh leaves of the yarrow plant were applied to wounds to stop bleeding, fight fevers, treat gastrointestinal conditions, lessen heavy menstrual bleeding, and improve circulation. Fresh leaves were chewed to relieve toothaches.
In more recent times, yarrow has been used in connection with a number of health conditions including menstrual ailments and bleeding hemorrhoids. Similar to chamomile, yarrow is also a common herbal remedy for bloating, flatulence, and mild gastrointestinal cramping.
A number of chemicals may contribute to yarrow's medicinal properties. The volatile oil of yarrow, which is rich in sesquiterpene lactones and alkamides, is believed to have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Some studies have shown that yarrow can reduce smooth muscle spasms, which might further explain its usefulness in gastrointestinal conditions. The alkaloid obtained from the herb known as achilletin has been reported to stop bleeding; however, no human clinical trials have confirmed the effectiveness of these traditional uses of yarrow.
Yellow dock is a small perennial that prefers full sun and average soil , growing up to about 4 feet in height.This leafy plant found in North America and Europe has a history of valuable properties on both sides of the Atlantic. Yellow dock belongs to the Polygonaceae family.It flowers in June to August & fruit are in the shape of small triangular nuts.The lender leaves characterized by wavy-curled margins are 15-25 cm long in size . Its leaves are taken for food while both roots & leaves are used as herbal medicine.Its branched stem is 0.3-0.9 m high . The root reaches to 20 to 30 cm long & about 1.27 cm thick fleshy, and generally not forked.Its root has yellowish-brown color, which accounts for its general name.
Yellow dock has been used since ancient periods for many of its medicinal actions.It has a long history of use as an alterative.The Native Americans used the vast medicinal benefits of yellow dock very highly.It has nonspecific benefits on the gastrointestinal tract and the liver. Due to this , they are thought to cure skin conditions attributed to toxic metabolites from poor liver function & poor digestion . American herbalists enjoyed the various uses of this general plant during the 19th Century.In present times yellow dock tea is recommend as a treatment for the liver and gallbladder. Virtually there is no scientific report available to support the benefit of yellow dock as an effective remedy for psoriasis or acne.
Native to the Congo, Cameroon, Nigeria, and Gabon, this tall and possibly endangered evergreen provides a wide variety of medicinal benefits. The bark of the yohimbe was used originally to treat problems including leprosy, fever, and coughs by West Africans. It has also been used to dilate pupils, as an anesthetic, as a way to prevent heart disease, and as a hallucinogen and an aphrodisiac.
During the rainy season from May to September, Yohimbe bark is harvested. This is the time that it has the greatest alkaloid content. Yohimbe trees usually die after they have been stripped of their bark requiring the planting of numerous new trees. Yohimbe trees grow quickly and sometimes sprout from dead trees.
The alkaloid yohimbe is the main chemical in the yohimbe’s bark. Yohimbe is said to prevent various depressive disorders as it inhibits monoamine oxidase (MAO) and dilates blood vessels. Yohimbe also stops alpha-2 adrenergic receptors that belong to the sympathetic nervous system. Today yohimbe is frequently used to treat erectile dysfunction. No research has been completed that supports yohimbe’s medicinal uses.
Term Recommended Products
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