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List of Herbs




Common name: Lucerne. Botanical name: Medicago sativa. Alfalfa is a member of the pea family and is native to western Asia and the eastern Mediterranean region. Alfalfa sprouts have become a popular food. Alfalfa herbal supplements primarily use the dried leaves of the plant. The heat-treated seeds of the plant have also been used.

Alfalfa has been used in connection with the high cholesterol, menopause and poor appetite.

Many years ago, traditional Chinese physicians used young alfalfa leaves to treat disorders of the digestive tract. Similarly, the Ayurvedic physicians of India prescribed the leaves and flowering tops for poor digestion. Alfalfa was also considered therapeutic for water retention and arthritis. North American Indians recommended alfalfa to treat jaundice and to encourage blood clotting.

Although conspicuously absent from many classic textbooks on herbal medicine, alfalfa did find a home in the texts of the Eclectic physicians (19th-century CE physicians in the United States who used herbal therapies) as a tonic for indigestion, dyspepsia, anemia, loss of appetite, and poor assimilation of nutrients. These physicians also recommended the alfalfa plant to stimulate lactation in nursing mothers, and the seeds were made into a poultice for the treatment of boils and insect bites.

Active constituents: While the medicinal benefits of alfalfa are poorly understood, the constituents in alfalfa have been extensively studied. The leaves contain approximately 2-3% saponins. Animal studies suggest that these constituents block absorption of cholesterol and prevent the formation of atherosclerotic plaques. One small human trial found that 120 grams per day of heat-treated alfalfa seeds for eight weeks led to a modest reduction in cholesterol. However, consuming the large amounts of alfalfa seeds (80-120 grams per day) needed to supply high amounts of these saponins may potentially cause damage to red blood cells in the body. Herbalists also claim that alfalfa may be helpful for people with diabetes. Though while high amounts of a water extract of the leaves led to increased insulin release in animal studies, there is not any evidence that alfalfa would be useful for the treatment of diabetes in humans.

Alfalfa leaves also contain flavones, isoflavones, sterols, and coumarin derivatives. The isoflavones are thought to be responsible for the estrogen-like effects seen in animal studies. Although this has not been confirmed with human trials, alfalfa is sometimes used to treat menopause symptoms.

Alfalfa contains protein and vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Nutrient analysis demonstrates the presence of calcium, potassium, iron, and zinc.

Dried alfalfa leaf is available as a bulk herb, and in tablets or capsules. It is also available in liquid extracts. No therapeutic amount of alfalfa has been established for humans. Some herbalists recommend 500-1,000 mg of the dried leaf per day or 1-2 ml of tincture three times per day.

Use of the dried leaves of alfalfa in the amounts listed above is usually safe. There have been isolated reports of people who are allergic to alfalfa. Ingestion of very large amounts (the equivalent of several servings) of the seed and/or sprouts has been linked to the onset of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in animal studies. It has also been linked to the reactivation of SLE in people consuming alfalfa tablets. SLE is an autoimmune illness characterized by inflamed joints and a high risk of damage to kidneys and other organs. The chemical responsible for this effect is believed to be canavanine. At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions with alfalfa.

(Vaccinium myrtillus) aka: Bilberry, Huckleberry, Whortleberry, to name a few. Used by the Kashaya Pomo in Northern California for diabetes and eye disorders. Mentioned in many older texts in Buryatia, Europe, China as an herb valuable for it's powerful ability to correct many dis-eases of the digestive system, circulatory system and eyes.

Agrimony contains tanin and a volatile, essential oil. The English use it to make a delicious "spring" or "diet" drink for purifying the blood. It is considered an especially useful tonic for aiding recovery from winter colds and fevers. As agrimony also posseses an astringent action, it is frequently used as an herbal mouthwash and gargle ingredient, and externally in the form of a lotion to minor sores and ulcers. It has also been recommended, as a strong decoction, to cure sores, blemishes, and pimples.

Agrimony tea is a gentle blood purifier. Infuse 1 teaspoon dried agrimony root, leaves, or flowers in cup of boiling water for 15 minutes. Strain and flavour with honey and a little licorice root if desired. Take up to 1 cup per day.

There are nearly five hundred species of aloe, a type of plant that originated in southern Africa, near the Cape of Good Hope. The use of aloe goes back in history 5,500 years. There are pictures of aloe plants on some Egyptian temples. The Greek physician Dioscorides wrote of its benefits to heal wounds and treat hemorrhoids.

Aloe is found predominately in hotter climates such as Africa, around the Mediterranean, Caribbean, and in many countries in South America, though is also found in some southern portions of Northern America.

The part of the Aloe Vera, which is used, is the leaves. The thick, juicy leaves contain two distinct products that are used medicinally and that require to be distinguished to avoid confusion. One is the thin clear gel or mucilage that oozes from the middle of a broken leaf. The other is a bitter latex, referred to as aloe Vera juice, and derived from the cells just under the surface of the leaf. Their compositions and uses differ. The active ingredient in the gel is mucopolysaccharides. The latex provides anthraquinone derivatives, mostly in the form of aloins, with smaller amounts of hydroxyaloins, aloe-emodin, and aloeresins.

The gel is used topically on wounds and burns to help them heal more rapidly. Taken internally, it is considered a general tonic. Unfortunately, separation of the gel from the latex for commercial preparations is often incomplete, and the gel may end up with some laxative action due to inadvertent inclusion of latex. It has been recommended for burns due to radiation, though as with most of its uses this one is considered incompletely proved and controversial. There is no harm in applying fresh gel from a broken leaf to a minor cut or burn, and many people find it soothing. In the test tube, gels from some species of aloe have antibacterial activity. A Vera, however, does not appear to kill many microbes.

Do not ingest if you are pregnant, Aloe may cause uterine contractions. Use very sparely as a laxative; avoid taking internally unless absolutely necessary. Pregnant women are required to avoid aloe latex; use has been known to trigger abortion or premature birth. Nursing mothers ought to take this laxative only under medical supervision. Children are required to not take aloe latex. Women who are menstruating ought not to use aloe latex, as it may increase blood flow. Aloe latex may be very dangerous when there is an intestinal blockage and is required to be avoided in such cases. Aloe latex is not suitable for people with intestinal inflammation such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's dis-ease, and it ought not to be taken by people with inflamed hemorrhoids. People with kidney difficulty ought to avoid aloe latex. The most serious difficulties encountered with aloe latex occur at higher than recommended doses or when used for more than a few days. This laxative herb causes the loss of potassium and other minerals, which over time can result in a loss of muscle tone of the intestine and diminished effectiveness. Frequent use may cause irreversible damage. Large doses of aloe have caused bloody diarrhea, kidney damage, and even death. The urine may take on a reddish colour after taking aloe latex. This colour is harmless; however, with the possibility of kidney damage from large doses or prolonged use, any persistent colour in the urine may call for medical diagnosis.

Low potassium levels are capable of being dangerous in a person taking a heart drug like Lanoxin. Aloe latex might also be dangerous for anyone taking a diuretic that depletes the body of potassium (Lasix, HCTZ, etc.) for the reason of the additive effect. It ought to be avoided in such situations. Aloe latex is capable of reducing the absorption of any pill taken around the same time for the reason that it cuts intestinal transit time so drastically.

Magical Uses: The magical uses of Aloe are not easily located. It is a feminine plant, and its planet is the moon. Its element is water, and its powers are protection and luck. Aloe is capable of being hung over the home for beneficial luck. Carry it with you to protect yourself against perceived evil, or to protect yourself from clumsiness.

Many tales surround this herb. Tales of its angelic nature and its pagan associations, of its healing powers and its wonderful taste, and of its potential hazards. This herb is said to bloom every year on 8th of May, the feast day of St Michael the Archangel. Thus, its reputation as an angelic plant with the magical powers of healing and protection. Angelica was thought to ward off perceived evil spirits and witches. Its juices were drunk to ward off spells and poisons. Magical qualities or not, its many properties and uses are real. The medicinal use today centres on the treatment of digestive and bronchial difficulties. A decoction of the root is capable of treating indigestions, gastritis, inflammation of the intestines and flatulence. The stem are capable of being steamed and eaten like asparagus, the leaves brewed into a fine tea that aids digestion, the oil of the root can be added to a bath for relaxation. Angelica is used for loss of appetite, to promote circulation and to warm the body (particularly for those who often have chilly hands and feet). Applied externally, it is capable of easing rheumatic pains, stomach cramps and muscle spasms.

Angelica is a plant, not a tree, which is capable of growing as high as eight feet. European angelica is a biennial or perennial herb native to northern and eastern Europe and parts of Asia. Angelica has been used for centuries in European medicine as an expectorant for bronchial illnesses, colds and coughs, and also as a digestive aid for stomach disorders. By the fifteenth century CE it was in popular use. In the English herbal entitled Paradisus Terrestris, published in 1629 CE by John Parkinson, angelica was reported to be one of the most important medicinal herbs of that time.

Angelica root consists of the dried root and rhizome of A. archangelica L. The root and rhizome contain essential oil, coumarin, and coumarin derivatives. Some of its early uses are at least partially supported by in vitro studies of angelica's active coumarin and furanocoumarin constituents. One of these, angelicin, relaxes smooth muscles in vitro, including those in the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts. Angelica also relaxes tracheal and vascular smooth muscles in vitro. European angelica may also increase uterine contractions, similar to the effects shown by Chinese angelica, A. sinensis (dong quai). In India, it is used to treat anorexia nervosa and flatulent dyspepsia.

Side Effects:
The furanocoumarins present in angelica root sensitize the skin to light. Subsequent exposure to UV radiation is capable of leading to inflammation of the skin. During treatment with the drug or its preparations, prolonged sunbathing and exposure to intense UV radiation ought to be avoided. Use During Pregnancy and Lactation is not recommended during pregnancy.

The soothing qualities of arnica have been used for a long time in Europe and North America. An arnica ointment or salve relieves the pain and reduces inflammation of sprains and bruises. A tincture is used to treat wounds. Studies have found it contains helenalin and dihydrohelenalin, which produces anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. To make a liniment, heat one ounce of Arnica flowers in one ounce of lard or oil for several hours. Strain the mixture and let cool.

Internal use of arnica is not recommended. Cardiac toxicity has been demonstrated, and arnica's effects on respiration and the uterus require further study. Oral administration of arnica is often accompanied by severe side effects. Contemporary studies demonstrate in vitro antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, positive inotropic, respiratory-stimulating, and uterine activities. Experimental trials suggest further potential uses. The Commission E has also approved the external use of arnica flower for inflammation of the oral and throat region, furunculosis, inflammation caused by insect bites, and superficial phlebitis.

Arnica grows up to two feet in the mountainous regions of Europe and western North America. It is a true perennial herb with round, hairy stems ending in one to three flower stalks. The flowers are yellow-orange and daisy-like. In Europe it is cultivated to fill the demand for the estimated three hundred arnica-containing tinctures, ointments, and homeopathic remedies manufactured for the German market. Dried orange-yellow flower heads supply a therapeutic volatile oil that contains fatty acids, aromatic terpenes, flavonoids, tannins, as well as the sesquiterpenes of the helenalin type.

Arnica is a common homeopathic remedy. Unless otherwise prescribed:

Infusion: 2 g of herb per 100 ml of water.
Tincture: For cataplasm: 3-10 times dilution.
For mouth rinses: 10 times dilution.
As ointment: Not more than 20-25% tincture.
"Arnica oil": Extract of 1 part herb and 5 parts fatty oil. Ointments with not more than 15% "arnica oil."

Prolonged treatment of damaged skin may symptomatically cause dermatitis in some individuals. If this occurs, discontinue use.

Botanical name: Withania somniferum. Ashwagandha, which belongs to the pepper family, is found in India and Africa. The roots of ashwagandha are used medicinally.

Ashwagandha has been used in connection with Immune function, osteoarthritis and stress.

The health applications for ashwagandha in traditional Indian and Ayurvedic medicine are extensive. Of particular note is its use against tumors, inflammation (including arthritis), and a wide range of infectious dis-eases. The shoots and seeds are also used as food and to thicken milk in India. Traditional uses of ashwagandha among tribal peoples in Africa include fevers and inflammatory conditions. Ashwagandha is frequently a constituent of Ayurvedic formulas, including a relatively common one known as shilajit.

Active constituents: The constituents believed to be active in ashwagandha have been extensively studied. Compounds that are known of as withanolides are perceived to account for the multiple medicinal applications of ashwagandha. These molecules are steroidal and bear a resemblance, both in their action and appearance, to the active constituents of Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) known as ginsenosides. Indeed, some have referred to ashwagandha as "Indian ginseng". Ashwagandha and its withanolides have been extensively researched in a variety of animal studies examining effects on immune function, inflammation, and even cancer. Ashwagandha stimulates the activation of immune system cells, such as lymphocytes. It has also been shown to inhibit inflammation and improve memory in animal experiments. Taken together, these actions may support the traditional reputation of ashwagandha as a tonic or adaptogen - an herb with multiple, nonspecific actions that counteract the effects of stress and generally promote wellness.

Some experts recommend 3-6 grams of the dried root, taken each day in capsule or tea form. To prepare a tea, 3/4-1 1/4 teaspoons (3-6 grams) of ashwagandha root are boiled for 15 minutes and cooled; 3 cups (750 ml) may be drunk daily. Alternatively, tincture 1/2-3/4 teaspoon (2-4 ml) three times per day, is sometimes recommended.

Asparagus Root:
Long treasured by herbalists in China and India, it is gaining popularity in the western world as well. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is known as a "yin" tonic. Small doses taken regularly are believed to enhance feelings of love and compassion. In India, Asparagus root is known as "Shatavari" and is taken by women as a hormonal tonic.

Asparagus root contains steroidal glycosides, which may account for its reputation for increasing constructive outlooks such as love, patience and compassion.

In Western medicine, it is used for its diruretic qualities. It is a urinary-tract soother and tonic. It is an effective treatment for urinary tract disorders and kidney stones. It also is a nutritive tonic that relieves some of the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome, general exhaustion, tuberculosis and even AIDS. It is a nutritive tonic for the lungs. Asparagus root is a restorative tonic for the female reproductive system. It may enhance fertility, relieve menstrual cramps and increase the flow of breast milk in women. Other benefits may include relieving the painful swelling associated with rheumatism, bloating and soothing dryness of the throat.

Unless otherwise prescribed: 45-60 g per day of cut rhizome. Infusion: 45-60 g of cut herb in 150 ml water. Fluidextract 1:1 (g/ml): 45-60 ml. Tincture 1:5 (g/ml): 225-300 ml.

A Chinese immune system booster, heals burns and abscesses, offsets adverse effects of cancer therapy, protects the heart against viral damage. Used as a tonic in traditional Chinese medicine. It is a member of the legume, or bean, family. It has sweet-tasting roots (the parts used medicinally).

Researchers in the United States and China have begun to believe that Astragalus may very well live up to its 2,000-year-old reputation as an immune system booster. It is one of the most commonly used herbs in all of Chinese medicine to build up the vital energy, or qi (pronounced "Chee"), It is used to promote urination, speed healing of burns and abscesses and generally bolster the body's resistance to dis-ease. Chinese healers also use astragalus to treat the common cold, arthritis, weakness, diarrhea, asthma and nervousness. Sometimes they pan-roast the roots in honey or use them as an ingredient in soup. In Chinese hospitals, astragalus is used to help people with cancer recover from the immune system wipeout caused by chemotherapy.

Astragalus is available at many health food stores in the form of capsules, teas and tinctures. The herb has not been known to cause any dangerous side effects, though some people have reported loose stools or abdominal bloating. If you experience any unpleasant symptoms, cut back your dose or discontinue use.

There are many flowering plants in the astragalus family, including Native American species that are toxic when eaten by cattle. (Ranchers describe the plant locoweed because of its effect on their herds' behaviour.) The particular herb known as astragalus in Chinese medicine is a species described as Astragalus membranaceus.



Bee Balm
These members of the mint family form bushy, leafy clumps that grows to be 11/2- to 4-feet tall. The oval, dark green leaves have toothed edges, and have a strong scent of mint with overtones of other herbs, some rose-flavoured, some lemony. Like all mints, stems are distinctly four-sided though the Bee Balms are not as invasive in the garden. In summer and fall, tight clusters of long, tubular, and nectar-rich flowers appear atop stems. Depending upon the variety, flowers are pink, white, blue, violet, purple, or scarlet.

Knowledge of bee balm's virtues stretches back to Native Americans. Early European settlers learned how to minister to colds with a tea made of equal amounts of spotted horsemint (M. punctata) and boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum). In fact, from 1820 to 1882 CE, spotted horsemint was listed in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia, the 19th-century CE equivalent of today's Physician's Desk Reference. Catawba Indians used bee balm tea to treat backaches. Cherokees combined the leaves and flowering tops of M. fistulosa (wild bergamot) and M. didyma to treat colds, stomach complaints, colic and gas, measles, flu, and heart troubles. Many tribes made a poultice of the leaves to treat headaches.

Current research reinforces the traditional wisdom. Dr. James Duke, retired United States Department of Agriculture ethnobotanist, notes that bee balms, like several of their mint family relatives, are rich in antioxidants (nutrients that protect human cells from damage caused by highly reactive and destructive "free radicals") and thymol (a chemical compound used to treat bacteria, fungus, and intestinal worms, and a key ingredient of Listerine mouthwash and similar antiseptic preparations). Duke recommends drinking a cup of bee balm tea each day to ensure a healthful supply of antioxidants.

Make bee balm tea by adding 1/2 cup of fresh (or 1/4 cup of dried) bee balm leaves and flowers to a tea bag or tea ball. Pour in boiling water and allow steeping for 4 to 5 minutes. Flavour to taste with honey.

For centuries Bilberry/Huckleberry has been used as a circulatory enhancer and diabetic aid. The active constituents of Bilberry are ericolin, arbutin, beta-amyrin, nonacosane, anthocyanosides, notably myrtocyan. Anthocyanosides are a category of bioflavonoid, which causes the deep blue-red colour of many berries. These anthocyano-sides protect the vascular system by strengthening the capillary walls. This produces many of the secondary benefits such as lowering of blood pressure, reduction of clots, reducing varicosities and bruising, reversing inadequate blood supply and improving blood supply specifically to the nervous system. Bilberry is used in Europe before surgery to prevent excessive bleeding and hemorrhaging. A recent German medical journal reports Bilberry effective in reducing excessive bleeding by 71%. Bilberry also thins the blood by inhibiting the platelets from adhesion to themselves improving capillary strength, and reducing capillary leakage. This results in improved blood flow and dramatically reduces clotting related health risks.

During World War II RAF pilots were forced to fly at night in order to accomplish any deep assault on Germany. Many pilots and their crewmembers complained of the poor visibility and its effects on their performance. It was just simply very difficult to work in the dark. One of the families of a flight leader had an older woman who suggested using Bilberry jam as an aid to night vision. Researchers found fifty years later what the RAF already knew, Bilberry's powerful effects increased retinal purple (RHODOPSIN) by dramatic amounts in just twenty minutes. Further research showed that the RAF pilots who survived and continued consuming the jam or other Bilberry products had several remarkable aspects to their health. The most noticeable was perfect vision both near and far as well as a complete absence of eye disorders throughout their lives. The group was absent of any circulatory or digestive disorders in their medical histories.

Another study showed Bilberry to improve eyesight and increase ocular blood supply in 75% of patients. It improved nearsightedness after 5 months of regular use while an 83% improvement in visual acuity was recorded after only 15 days. One of the more perceived encouraging statistics regarding Bilberry's visual enhancing properties is that over 80% of the people taking Bilberry for the first time improved on their visual acuity exam and passed a night vision test within 3 minutes of ingestion. Long-term improvements took an average of 6 weeks with regular doses.

The anthocyanosides of Bilberry, which may vary in amounts from one variety to another, have been proven to be one of the more powerful antioxidants. Ranked higher in activity than vitamins E and C by Dr. Pierre Braquet, a well known phyto researcher-anthocyanosides prevent free radical damage to collagen and collagenous tissue, making it one of the most important agents to treat dis-eases such as osteoarthritis, gout, and periodontal diseases.

Vaccinium Myrtillus' anthocyanosides proved consistently to increase the acetylcholine-induced relaxation of isolated coronary arteries. This is a promising update to the already impressive list of benefits of Bilberry. Another quality of Bilberry is the effect it has on the digestive system most notably, the stomach. Bilberry increases the secretion of the mucuous layer that protects the stomach from damage. A recent study showed Bilberry to inhibit ulcers in 63% of patients at risk One of the most beneficial aspects to Bilberry's circulatory effects is the fact that the most affected are the areas, which are usually the last to be improved, scalp, eyes, dental and peripheral areas such as extremities. This is one of the dual actions that diabetes patients value in Bilberry; it's proven action on the circulatory system which complicates diabetes and the modification of blood sugar levels in type I and type II diabetes.

The fresh or dried berries are useful for a feverish liver and are useful as an adjunct in stomach conditions. In Russia the berries are called affectionately by the name "Chernika" (LITTLE black ones) and are used with the leaves in tinctures [NASTOIKA] for gastric colitis and other digestive tribulations. It has a legendary reputation as aid to a diabetic.

Black Cohosh
(Cimicifuga racemosa) This plant, native to North American forests, has a number of popular names: bugbane, black snakeroot, rattleroot, and squaw root (Remember though that the Apache word "squaw" is really translated into the English word "penis.") The name Black Cohosh is "rooted" from the Algonquian language: Black= dark roots: Cohosh; Cohosh = rough: referring to the plant's roots. It sends up graceful tall spires of white flowers; the black in its common name refers to the root or rhizome, as does cohosh, Algonquian for "rough."

Native Americans prized Black Cohosh and used it for a variety of purposes for hundreds of years by. The settlers learned about it from the Indians, though by the middle of the nineteenth century CE it was renowned as being helpful for women's problems, and other uses were more or less forgotten. Native American women used the healing power of the herb for aid in childbirth. Black Cohosh is an herb, which acts very similar to the female-produced chemical, estrogen.

Black cohosh was a key ingredient in an immensely popular patent medicine, Lydia E. Pinkham's Vegetable Compound. Black cohosh has been used for menopausal symptoms in recent years. The portion of the plant used is underground: the rhizome and roots. The main ingredients are triterpene glycosides, especially actein, related compounds, and cimigoside. Black cohosh also contains tannins, fatty acids, and phytosterols. In a laboratory test of estrogenic activity, black cohosh extract did not bind to estrogen receptors.

In Europe, black cohosh is used for symptoms such as hot flashes, headaches, psychological difficulties, and weight gain associated with menopause. It is also reputed to be helpful for premenstrual problems and painful menstrual cramps.

American Indians treated sore throats and rheumatism with this herb, though these uses have not been scrutinized by modern medical studies. Some of the evidence on the clinical effect of black cohosh is impressive. In one study, sixty women under forty years of age who had undergone hysterectomy were divided into groups. One group got conjugated estrogen (available in the United States under the brand name Premarin), one was given estriol (another form of estrogen), a third received an estrogen-gestagen sequence, and the fourth group of women took a black cohosh extract.

Bothersome symptoms such as hot flashes disappeared slowly, over the course of four weeks, and at that point there was not any difference in response among the four groups. This suggests that black cohosh may be as beneficial at treating symptoms of menopause, as are conventional estrogen treatments.

Beginning research indicates that black cohosh can lower cholesterol and strengthen bone, as estrogen does.

The usual daily dose is equivalent to 40 mg of the herb. It may take four weeks to get the maximum benefit; the herb should not be taken for more than six months until there is more information available on long-term effects.

Warnings: Although black cohosh is not mutagenic or carcinogenic and does not cause birth defects in animals, authorities caution pregnant women not to use it. There is a report of premature birth associated with the herb and worries that it could trigger miscarriage. Some reports have stated that large quantities are capable of symptomatically causing symptoms similar to poisoning. This herb has estrogenic effects, if you have been advised not to take Birth Control pills, be wary of Black Cohosh. For the reason of its estrogenic effects, it ought to be avoided by pregnant women. Do not use if you have heart dis-ease.

Magical Uses: A surprising magical fact about Black Cohosh is that it is considered masculine. This is surprising because the herb is associated so much with the female hormone, estrogen. Its magical powers include love, courage, protection and potency. Men ought to carry it with them to help with impotency, and anyone is capable of carring it to invoke a sensation of courage.

Black Seed
(botanical name "Nigella Sativa") For centuries, the Black Seed herb and oil has been used by millions of people in Asia, Middle East, and Africa to promote health and fight dis-ease. An aromatic spice, similar looking to sesame seed except black in colour, it has been traditionally used for a variety of conditions and treatments related to respiratory health, stomach and intestinal complaints, kidney and livery function, circulatory and immune system support, and to improve general health. Black Seed is also known as Black Cumin, Black Caraway Seed, Habbatul Baraka (the Blessed Seed).

Black Willow
The Black Willow tree, though not as well know for its medicinal value as its close relative the White Willow, assist with the same ailments. It is a North American native. The Black Willow is capable of growing up to 20 feet tall. The medicinal Willows have been well known for thousands of years for their healing value. The very popular pain reliever Aspirin is a derivative of the White Willow. The active ingredient in the formerly noted pain reliever is Salicylic Acid. This is also found in the human body after having ingested any of the medicinal Willows. The Willow's active ingredient is referred to as Salicin, which is what is converted to Salicylic Acid when taken inwardly. Though lesser known, the Black Willow has all of the same healing properties as the White.

The medicinal Willows have been known to reduce inflammation; to treat articular rheumatism, help with internal bleeding, and it is also beneficial for heartburn and stomach difficulties. They assist with headaches, minor aches and pains, as well as arthritis. The Black Willow has all of the same healing properties of its relative, the White, though it has been know to do some others as well. This type of willow is capable of being used as an aphrodisiac, meaning, it subdues sexual urges. The medicinal parts of the Willow tree are the bark and buds. There are a few different ways to prepare it. First, it is best to collect the bark in Springtime. One preparation option would be to boil the bark for at least 20 minutes, and then either takes internally or as a poultice. A decoction is capable of being made by soaking up to three teaspoons of bark in one cup of cold water for up to five hours, and then boils down to a potent formula. To intake this you ought to take one cup unsweetened, no more than one a day. A decoction of Willow is capable of being used to assist with mouth difficulties, i.e. you are capable of gargling with it to assist with inflammations of the gums and tonsils. A decoction is capable of also being used externally for sores, burns, and cuts. To make a cold extract, soak one teaspoon of bark in one cup of cold water for up to ten hours and strain. You are capable of making a powder by taking one to one and one-half teaspoons, three times a day. If taking a tincture, use ten to twenty drops as required daily.

In days of old, borage was sometimes added to a drink and given to prospective husbands to give them the courage to propose marriage and it's reputation for invoking courage goes back a long way. It was also used to "cheer the heart and lift the depressed spirits"... "for the comfort of the heart, to drive away sorrow and increase the joy of the mined." A Modern Herbal Now that's a heck of a reputation!

Herbalists today believe borage to be a diuretic, demulcent and emollient. Infusions and decoctions are taken to relieve fevers, bronchitis, diarrhea and other ailments. It cleanses the blood, promotes perspiration and is used in cases of arthritis and infections of the respiratory tract. Poultices made from the leaves are cooling and soothing to external inflammations and swellings. It also capable of being used cosmetically to refresh tired skin.

Borage contains tannin, mucilage, saponin, malic acid and potassium nitrate. These constituents account for the usefulness of the herb. Borage is an annual, self-seeding plant that has many leafy branches of hollow stems covered with stiff, white hairs. It grows up to about 32" tall in a rounded shape and flowers with small blue, star-shaped corolla. It is native to Europe, Asia Minor and Africa. It was naturalized in Great Britain and is widely cultivated in North America.

The fresh herb has a cucumber-like fragrance. When steeped in water, it imparts a coolness to it and a faint cucumber flavour, and compounded with lemon and sugar in wine, and water, it makes a refreshing and restorative summer drink. The flowers are used in salads.

Common name: Salai guggal. Botanical name: Boswellia serrata. Boswellia is a moderate to large branching tree found in the dry hilly areas of India. When the tree trunk is tapped, a gummy oleoresin is exuded. A purified extract of this resin is used in modern herbal preparations.

Boswellia has been used in connection with asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, bursitis, and osteoarthritis.

In the ancient Ayurvedic medical texts of India, the gummy exudate from boswellia is grouped with other gum resins and referred to collectively as guggals. Historically, the guggals were recommended by Ayurvedic physicians for a variety of conditions, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, diarrhea, dysentery, pulmonary dis-ease, and ringworm.

Active constituents: The gum oleoresin consists of essential oils, gum, and terpenoids. The terpenoid portion contains the boswellic acids that have been shown to be the active constituents in boswellia. Today, extracts are typically standardized to contain 37.5-65% boswellic acids. Studies have shown that boswellic acids have an anti-inflammatory action - similar to the conventional nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) used for inflammatory conditions. Boswellia inhibits pro-inflammatory mediators in the body, such as leukotrienes. As opposed to NSAIDs, long-term use of boswellia does not appear to cause irritation or ulceration of the stomach. One small, controlled, double-blind trial has shown that boswellia extract may be helpful for ulcerative colitis. Many doctors recommend the standardized extract of the gum oleoresin of boswellia. For rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, 150 mg of boswellic acids are taken three times per day. As an example, if an extract contains 37.5% boswellic acids, 400 mg of the extract would be taken three times daily. Treatment with boswellia generally lasts eight to twelve weeks. In the one clinical trial to date, people with ulcerative colitis used 550 mg of boswellia extract three times per day.

Warnings: Rare side effects are capable of including diarrhea, skin rash, and nausea. Any inflammatory joint condition ought to be closely monitored by a physician. At the time of writing, there were not any well-known drug interactions with boswellia.

Burdock Root
(Arctium lappa) Native to Asia and Europe. The root is the primary source of most herbal preparations. The root becomes very soft with chewing and tastes sweet, with a mucilaginous texture.

In traditional herbal texts, burdock root is described as a "blood purifier" or "alterative," and was believed to clear the bloodstream of toxins. It was used both internally and externally for eczema and psoriasis, as well as to treat painful joints and as a diuretic. In traditional Chinese medicine, burdock root in combination with other herbs is used to treat sore throats, tonsillitis, colds, and even measles. It is eaten as a vegetable in Japan and elsewhere.

Burdock root has recently become popular as part of a tea to treat cancer. Burdock's use against cancer goes down through the centuries and has been used as a tumor treatment in Russia, China, India and the Americas. In the United States, it was an ingredient in the popular but highly controversial Hoxsey Cancer Formula, an alternative therapy marketed from the 1930s CE to the 1950s CE by ex-coal-miner Harry Hoxsey.

Some studies show anti-tumor or anti-mutation activity. The National Cancer Institute became interested in burdock as part of its Designer Foods Program, an effort to use biotechnology to introduce cancer-preventive chemicals into common food crops. Burdock's action is mild, though real. It has antibacterial and antiviral powers, and it reduces blood sugar, which helps prevent diabetes. Burdock has value as a tonic, a subtle strengthener with cumulatively helpful effects.

Burdock root contains high amounts of inulin and mucilage. This may explain its soothing effects on the gastrointestinal tract. Bitter constituents in the root may also explain the traditional use of burdock to improve digestion. It also contains polyacetylenes, shown to have antimicrobial activity. Burdock root and fruit also have the ability to mildly lower blood sugar (hypoglycemic effect).

Herbalists generallly recommend 2-4 ml of burdock root tincture per day. For the dried root preparation in capsule form, the common amount to take is 1-2 grams three times per day. Many herbal preparations will combine burdock root with other alterative herbs, such as yellow dock, red clover, or cleavers. Use of burdock root at the dosages listed above is generally safe.

To brew a pleasantly sweet-tasting tonic tea, boil one teaspoon of crushed, dried burdock root in three cups of water for 30 minutes. Drink up to three cups a day.



(Calendula officinalis) Language and mythology. Also known as Pot marigold, the ancient Romans named this plant after they saw it bloom the first day or "calends" of every month. For centuries this plant was associated with the sun and believed to open with the sunrise and close with the sunset. Description Calendula has erect angular branched stems with fine hairs. Flowers are rays in solitary terminal heads 1.5 to 4 inches across, yellow to orange in colour and close up at night. Calendula is a wound healer both internally and externally. It is capable of being used to treat gastritis and duodenal ulcers and it is capable of breaking your fever or alleviate menstrual cramps. Externally, it is a soothing remedy for burns and advances the healing process of sores and wounds.

Herbal uses are medicinal, culinary, decorative and cosmetic. Culinary: Flowers are capable of being dried and ground and used as a beneficial substitute for the colour saffron provides in soups, stews, and poultry. Flowers Is capable of also being used for a culinary dye in butters and custards. Decorative: Dry flowers are capable of being used in arrangements. Calendula also makes a pale yellow dye for fabrics. Cosmetic: Add to skin cream and also use in herbal bath mix to stimulate the body. Calendula is written to have some medicinal uses. Avoid use during pregnancy.

Cascara Sagrada
(Rhamnus purshiana) Cascara Sagrada, Spanish for "sacred bark," comes from the American buckthorn tree native to the western coast of North America, from California to British Columbia, and as far inland as Montana. The Spanish priests of California may have learned about it from the Indians. In any event, this laxative was not widely adopted until the nineteenth century CE. A member of the same genus, R. frangula, is the European buckthorn tree, which had been used at least since 1650 CE. Cascara sagrada is one of the few herbs approved as an over-the-counter drug by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The portion of the plant used is the bark. The main ingredients are anthraquinones. Emodin and aloe-emodin have also been identified, along with a number of nonlaxative ingredients. Cascara sagrada is used as a laxative. The anthraquinones stimulate the bowel, leading to evacuation after approximately six to ten hours. This herb also provokes secretion of fluid and minerals into the large intestine and inhibits their reabsorption. It is suggested for situations in which a soft, easily passed stool is desirable, such as hemorrhoids or following rectal surgery.

Cascara sagrada is not suitable for regular use and is capable of causing problems such as dependence if it is used too often. In addition, anthraquinones applied topically is capable of protecting skin from ultraviolet damage.

Extracts of R. purshiana are capable of inactivate herpes simplex virus, though this property has not been utilized medically. The usual dose ranges from 20 mg to 70 mg daily of the anthraquinones. Products containing cascara sagrada ought not to be used for more than eight or ten days.

Warnings: Fresh bark is capable of symptomatically causing nausea and vomiting. The bark ought to be stored for at least a year or undergo heat processing to eliminate this difficulty. Pregnant women and nursing mothers ought to avoid cascara sagrada. People with intestinal blockage, undiagnosed stomach pain, or symptoms that might indicate appendicitis are required to avoid laxatives such as cascara sagrada. People with diarrhea, inflammatory bowel dis-ease, or intestinal ulcers ought to not use cascara sagrada. Children younger than twelve with constipation ought to not be treated with cascara sagrada.

Warnings: Abdominal cramps or diarrhea have been reported. Chronic use of laxatives may lead to excessive loss of potassium or other electrolytes, which may be dangerous. In addition, anthraquinones are capable of causing pigmentation of the large bowel. A serious problem associated with chronic use, however, is that a person may become dependent on such a stimulant laxative and become unable to evacuate without it. This leads to problems that resemble ulcerative colitis.

Warnings: If cascara sagrada results in excessive potassium loss, heart rhythm irregularities may occur. This problem is capable of being especially severe for people taking the heart drug Lanoxin. It would be unwise to use cascara sagrada together with other herbal medicines that are capable of causing potassium loss, such as aloe or licorice.

(Nepeta Cataria) Catnip is in the mint family. To many human's surprise, it is an edible herb for humans as well as a fragrant herb for cats. Have a cup of tea to relax and unwind when you come home from work. Catnip is known to be a relaxing herb to take in a tea. Tea made from Catnip also assists to calm ailments associated with the digestive system. Included in these are upset stomachs, flatulency, stomach acid, and stomach spasms. Use Catnip as a sleeping aid if you have insomnia. It is an antispasmodic, astringent, aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic, and an anodyne. Use it to assist in promoting menstruation and to lessen menstrual cramps. Catnip is beneficial for those with an anema, and it is capable of also helping with diarrhea and chronic bronchitis. A weak tea is capable of being given to babies to treat infant colic.

Catnip is a love herb, and it is beneficial to use a pinch in sachets or incense with other love herbs (especially beneficial when used in combination with rose petals). Its element is water and its planet is Venus. The deity associated with Catnip is Bast (big surprise), and the magical use of the herb is love, animal contacts, happiness, and beauty. Many magic users use the dried leaves of a Catnip plant as bookmarks for their book of shadows or personal magical books. When you give the herb to your cat, it creates a psychic bond between you. If it is grown near or around your home it attracts beneficial luck. Use Catnip in spells to bring about more beauty to your life or your personal appearance.

Warnings: Due to properties of this herb, which promote menstruation, pregnant women are advised not to use it during pregnancy.

The Capsicum genus originated in the New World though has been adopted into cuisines around the globe. It contains as many as five species, with an untold number of variants, giving rise not only to the familiar green bell pepper, though also to paprika and a wide range of "hot peppers." The flavours of these fruits have been much appreciated as spices for a very long time. Archaeologists have found remains of chilies in Mexican sites dating to 7000 BCE, and hot peppers played an important role in Aztec and Maya mythology. The spiciness of edible peppers varies dramatically. The active ingredient in hot peppers, capsaicin, is so strong that people can detect it at a concentration as low as just one part in eleven million.

Most people have no difficulty distinguishing a mild pepper from a torrid one, though it was the medicinal use of cayenne that led to a way to compare them consistently.

When capsaicin is applied to the skin, it provokes a feeling of warmth and stimulates circulation in the area. As a consequence, these fruits are popular ingredients in liniments or rubs for arthritis.

In 1912 CE Wilbur Scoville, a pharmacologist working for Parke Davis, desired to standardise the pepper extract used to make Heet Liniment. He started with an organoleptic scale that required a panel of tasters to measure pepper hotness. Using Scoville's scale, the capsaicin in a capsicum fruit is currently determined by high-tech machines rather than sensitive palates. The "hotness" of peppers is capable of ranging from 3,000 to 5,000 Scoville units for a jalapeño to about 50,000 Scoville units for a cayenne pepper. The very hottest, the habañeros, weigh in at 200,000 to 300,000 Scoville units.

The part of the plant used medicinally is the fruit. To flavour food, it may be used fresh or dried, though in herbal products it is generally dried. Capsicum peppers are rich in nutrients, especially vitamin C and a range of carotenes. Not only beta-carotene (which is in abundant supply), though also such compounds as lutein, zeaxanthin, and others are found in these fruits. Other than the ingredient that is responsible for most of the medicinal effects of cayenne is capsaicin, a pungent phenolic compound structurally similar to eugenol, a pain-relieving compound found in cloves and some other spices.

The principal use of both cayenne and of capsaicin derived from it is in topical ointments or creams. Such rubs have long been used to alleviate joint pain due to arthritis or the pain of muscle spasms. When applied to the skin, capsicum results in a sensation of warmth, which may in some people become a perception of heat or even of burning. With repeated applications, the capsaicin depletes substance P from nerves in the skin. For the reason that substance P is apparently crucial to the transmission of pain sensation, its depletion results in diminished pain. This action led to the development of over-the-counter creams containing 0.025 percent capsaicin to treat postherpetic neuralgia, diabetic, and trigeminal neuralgia. A higher-potency product, Zostrix-HP, with three times as much capsaicin, is also available. Other painful conditions such as phantom limb syndrome, postmastectomy pain, and reflex sympathetic dystrophy are being studied to see if capsaicin can be helpful.

Preliminary research suggests that capsaicin may be helpful for the treatment of cluster headache, and a nasal spray has been tested at Johns Hopkins Asthma and Allergy Center for the treatment of chronic runny nose. Traditionally, cayenne was recommended to stimulate the appetite and aid digestion. Although people often think of chili peppers as irritating to the digestive tract, studies in rats have actually shown that pretreatment of the stomach lining with capsaicin solution (similar to Tabasco sauce) prevented damage from subsequent aspirin exposure. It also prevented damage due to alcohol; this research was carried out in rats, and its applicability to humans is uncertain. Clinicians have established, however, that capsicum ingestion does not slow the healing of ulcers. Preliminary studies suggest that chili peppers may help lower cholesterol or slow blood clotting. Further research is required for confirmation of these uses.

Topical use of capsaicin in over-the-counter or herbal preparations requires repeated applications. Varro E. Tyler suggests four or five applications daily over a period of four weeks. At least three days of applications are needed to determine the effect. There are no time limits on topical use of cayenne preparations unless you develop a reaction. Semi-liquid preparations contain 0.02 to 0.05 percent capsaicin; liquids contain 0.005 to 0.01 percent capsaicin; and poultices may contain 10 to 40 g capsaicin and related compounds per square centimeter. Tolerance of cayenne for internal use varies with the individual. In capsules, the usually recommended dose ranges from 30 to 120 mg three times a day.

Chamomile has small, white daisy like flowers with a yellow centre. The flower is the part of the herb that is used. Have you noticed how this herb is spelled in two different ways? (CHAMOMILE and CAMOMILE) One of them, M. chamomilla, is sometimes referred to as Hungarian, German, or genuine chamomile to distinguish it from C. nobile, Roman or English chamomile. The German chamomile is also known as wild chamomile or scented mayweed. This variety is an annual, wih soft spiney fern-like leaves with white with yellow centered daisy-like flowers. It grows to be about 6-8" tall with a real name of: chamomilla recutita. The real name for Roman Chamomile is: chamaemelum nobile. This variety is a perennial, looks very simuliar to the german variety, though is the one used for most medicinal purposes. The flowerheads are what is used for medicinal purposes. These very popular herbs are used almost interchangeably. However, they do differ. M. chamomilla: German chamomile flowers contain about 0.5 percent of a volatile oil that is light blue. The most important constituents of the oil are bisabolol and related compounds and matricin. Bisabolol has significant antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory activity. Up to half of the oil is chamazulene, formed from matricin during heating. Flavonoids in the flowers, apigenin and luteolin, are also active. In addition, the coumarins herniarin and umbelliferone may also quell inflammation and quiet smooth muscle spasms. No single ingredient has been identified as responsible for the benefits of chamomile. C. nobile: Roman chamomile flowers contain from 0.5 to 2.5 percent essential oil, which does not contain bisabolol. The flavonoid ingredients are similar, though not identical, to those of M. chamomilla.

Both types of chamomile have traditionally been used in tea to treat digestive distress including stomachache, cramps, colitis, and flatulence. Chamomile has a long-standing reputation as being good for almost anything that might ail a body. Millions of children have learned about one of its most widespread uses, treating indigestion due to dietary indiscretion, from Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Another traditional use has been to relieve menstrual cramps. Chamomile infusions are also used to stimulate the appetite and to aid digestion. Chamomile tea is considered a mild sleep aid. It is also used as a gentle treatment for fevers.

Chamomile is known for the medicinal purposes it is capable of providing! It is one of the first herbs new herbalists learn about for the use of medicine! It has been used for what seems like forever in treating the un-calm. A tea made form the flowers of the Roman chamomile are brewed into a tea and served as a soothing tonic, which assist those who suffer from insomnia. The tea has a somewhat apple flavour. Some favour it, and some do not. Though do not allow the flavour to stop you from using this for assisting with inflamation.

It stimulates a flagging appetite, improves digestion, helps with urination, helps relieve colitis and hemorrhoids, and has been found to be a beneficial treatment for bursitis, arthritis, headaches, muscle cramps, and pain. It has anti-inflammatory properties in it, which helps especially with arthritis!

The essential oils are not very soluble in water; as a result, the dose of active ingredients delivered in the usual cup of chamomile tea is low. However, regular use of chamomile tea over an extended period is believed to have cumulative benefits.

Chamomile preparations are also used topically for red, inflamed skin and as a mouthwash or gargle. Components of chamomile have antibacterial and antifungal activity.

There are traces of Vitamin A, a high level of calcium and magnesium, potassium, iron, manganese, and zinc. This herb is not only beneficial for the anti-inflammatory properties; it has also been used in the treatments of painful menstruation, insomnia, gas, fever, and nausea. It is a beneficial brew for those with a hangover! A tea made form chamomile is made by brewing 1 tablespoon of the dried flowers into an 8 oz. cup of very hot water. Let this set for 5 or so minutes before drinking. To soothe sore, painful muscles and joints, make a poultice and soak a towel in it and wrap painful joint area. Chamomile also makes for a beneficial hair rinse for blondes; it brightens and lightens the hair! Or you are capable of making herbal bath bags which you added chamomile, thyme, rosemary, and rose petals, too. Give a hyperactive child a chamomile bath, to calm them. Also, if you are pregnant, an herbal practitioner: William La Sassier considers that it will produce babies who do not whine!

People with colds sometimes breathe in the vapors from a steaming cup of chamomile tea. This pleasantly aromatic steam is believed to help relieve congestion of the nose and lungs.

To make the tea, pour approximately 2/3 cup boiling water over 1 or 2 teaspoons dried chamomile flowers and steep at least five minutes. For digestive problems, drink tea three to four times a day, between meals. There are no limitations on duration of use.

(Chaste Tree, Agnus-Castus, Vitex) Chaste tree is a large shrub. It is capable of growing up to about 22 feet tall and is native to the Mediterranean and southern Europe. It flourishes on moist riverbanks though is easily grown as an ornamental plant in gardens. It blooms with pretty blue-violet flowers in midsummer. The Greeks and Romans used this plant to encourage chastity and thought of it as capable of warding off perceived evil. Medieval monks were written to have used the dried berries in their food to reduce sexual desire. As a result, it was also referred to as "monks' pepper." Although Hypocrites used chaste tree for injuries and inflammation, several centuries later Dioscorides recommended it specifically for inflammation of the womb and also used it to encourage milk flow shortly after birth. Current use of chasteberry is almost exclusively for disorders of the female reproductive system. Oddly, the conditions for which it is most commonly recommended, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and peri- or postmenopausal symptoms such as hot flashes are associated with completely different hormone imbalances.

Studies have suggested that chaste tree is capable of being used to treat conditions associated with excess prolactin. In a clinical trial of chasteberry for menstrual cycle abnormalities attributed to too much prolactin, the herb normalized both the cycle and the levels of prolactin and progesterone hormones. It is also believed helpful for premenstrual breast tenderness, a condition linked to excess prolactin. Several uncontrolled studies in Germany have shown that chaste tree extracts can reduce symptoms associated with PMS. It may be helpful for perimenopausal women with unusually short cycles or heavy bleeding. Taking chaste berry shortly before bedtime may increase early morning melatonin secretion and improve sleep. Chaste tree berry is slow acting. Two or three menstrual cycles, or a similar amount of time, may be needed to evaluate the effects. A standardised product from Germany is available in the United States under the brand name Femaprin.

The ubiquitous, small, green chickweed plant grows across the United States and originated in Europe. The leaves, stems, and flowers are used in botanical medicine. Historical or traditional use (may or may not be supported by scientific studies): Chickweed was reportedly used at times for food. Chickweed enjoys a reputation in folk medicine for treating a wide spectrum of conditions, ranging from asthma and indigestion to skin dis-eases. Traditional Chinese herbalists used a tea made from chickweed for nosebleeds.

The active constituents in chickweed are largely unknown. It contains relatively high amounts of vitamins and flavonoids, which may explain some of its activity. Although some older information suggests a possible benefit for chickweed in rheumatic conditions, this has not been validated in clinical studies.

Although formerly used as a tea, chickweed is mainly used today as a cream applied liberally several times each day to rashes and inflammatory skin conditions (e.g., eczema) to ease itching and inflammation. As a tincture, 1-5 ml per day is capable of being taken three times per day. Two teaspoonfuls of the dried herb may be used to make a tea. This may be drunk three times daily.

It is one of the most common herbs that are grown in every herb garden! They are more pleasing in taste when they are used fresh! The leaves are capable of being snipped anytime after the plant is about 6" tall-cutting close to the ground-leaving about 2". Chives do not require a great deal of care. You may want to divide up the clumps every couple of years to share with your friends. You are capable of letting chives go into bloom-collecting the blue flowers for salads and vinegars. Chives are in the Liliaceae family. Other varieties of chives include garlic chives, which flavours similar to a mild garlic and society garlic chives. They are mainly used for culinary purposes; however, they are a great blood cleanser. They are not used in aromatherapy due to the odor though are used in some medical preparations for colds and coughs.

(Clivers) A versatile and valuable plant. One of the most powerful restorative herbs for the lymphatic system, cleavers is beneficial in treating swollen glands, tonsillitis and adnoid problems. Internally and externally, it is effective in the treatment of many types of inflammations including relieving skin conditions, rashes and burns. It is a blood purifier and has diuretic qualities. It is effective in treating urinary tract infections, kidney stones, cystitis and is capable of easing the painful swelling of urinary and reproductive organs. A decoction or infusion made from fresh Cleavers is written to be useful for sunburn and freckles when applied externally with a soft cloth. The narrow, lance-shaped leaves look as if they possess whorls of six leaves, though each whorl has only two real leaves. One may be recognised by having a bud or shoot arising from its axil, the other four are stipules, two belonging to each leaf. They are about 1/2 inch long and 1/4 inch broad and are arranged in rosettes or whorls, six or eight together, rough all over both margins and surface with prickles pointing backwards. The flowers are two or three together. They spring from the axils of the leaves and are small and star-like, either white or greenish-white. They are followed by little globular seed-vessels, about 8 inch in diameter, covered with hooked bristles and, like the leaves, stick to whatever they touch. This is how the seeds are dispersed.

The seeds of Cleavers dried and slightly roasted over a fire have the flavour of coffee. Brew the whole plant as a decoction and it's more like tea. The plant has no odor and has a bitterish and somewhat astringent taste.

The chemical constituents are chlorophyll, starch, a tannic acid (galitannic acid), citric acid and a rubichloric acid. Dosage, up to three times per day: five to ten #0 capsules, or half to one teaspoon of the extract or tincture, or one cup of an infusion. Externally, apply as required.

Coffee combats drowsiness, temporarily boosts athletic performance, eases congestion due to colds and flu, prevents asthma attacks and enhances the pain-relieving effects of aspirin. While water is the world's number one most consumed beverage and tea is second, the United States is the world's largest consumer of coffee, importing 16 to 20 million bags annually (2.5 million pounds), representing one-third of all coffee exported. More than half of the United States population consumes coffee. It is America's most popular herbal beverage. Of course, coffee is capable of also symptomatically causing dilemmas, jitters and insomnia. However, the latest research reads that, "Coffee appears to pose no particular threat in most people if consumed in moderation." Coffee has been around for a long time. The English word coffee comes from Caffa, the region of Ethiopia where the beans were first discovered. The beverage that is known of as coffee emerged around 1000 CE, when Arabians began roasting and grinding coffee beans and drinking the hot beverage as humans do today. Until the 17th century CE, Arabia supplied all the world's coffee through the port of Mocha, which became one of coffee's names. Then the Dutch introduced the plant into Java, and the island quickly became synonymous with coffee.

The medically important constituent of coffee is, of course, caffeine, however coffee's caffeine content depends on how it is prepared. A cup of instant contains about 60 milligrams of caffeine whereas drip or percolated coffee has about 100. A cup of espresso contains about 100 milligrams, though this is in a 2 1/2-ounce cup.

Caffeine is addictive. Regular users develop a tolerance and require more to obtain the expected effect. Deprived of caffeine, regular users usually develop withdrawal symptoms, primarily a headache, which is capable of lasting several days. Coffee is most notorious for causing insomnia and increasing anxiety, irritability and nervousness. It is also capable of aggravate panic attacks. Coffee increases the secretion of stomach acids and is capable of upsetting the stomach. Doctors have declared that people with ulcers or other gastrointestinal conditions ought to use it cautiously, if at all.

Contrary to popular mythology, coffee does not cause ulcers. It is capable of however, making ulcers more unpleasant in humans who already have them. Coffee also raises blood pressure in those who are not accustomed to drinking it. Though the human body adjusts, and normal consumption does not any longer affects blood pressure.

Coffee has been associated with some unpleasant news. One of which is heart dis-ease. The subject is extremely controversial, with evidence supporting both sides of the argument. Most studies indicate that coffee is capable of increasing cholesterol levels. Decaffeinated coffee has the same cholesterol-boosting effect as regular, suggesting that caffeine is not the culprit. However, filtered coffee does not raise cholesterol as much as boiled coffee. It may also increase the risk of heart attack if one consumes more than four cups a day. There are reports that coffee aggravates premenstrual syndrome in many women. Coffee has also been accused of contributing to infertility; birth defects, gallstones, immune impairment and many forms of cancer however none of these have been proven.

(Symphytum officinale) Common names: Knitbone, boneset. The leaf and root of comfrey have been employed medicinally for centuries. Originally from Europe and western Asia, it is now also grown in North America. Comfrey has a long, consistent history of use as a topical agent for improving healing of wounds, skin ulcers, thrombophlebitis, strains, and sprains. Also of note is the use of comfrey to promote more rapid repair of broken bones. Comfrey has a reputation as an anti-inflammatory for a variety of rashes. It was also used for persons with gastrointest-inal difficulties, such as stomach ulcers and inflammatory bowel dis-ease, and for lung problems.

The major compounds found in comfrey that promote healing are mucilage and allantoin.

Fresh, peeled root (approximately 100 grams) or dried root is simmered in 1-pint (250 ml) water for ten to fifteen minutes to prepare comfrey for topical use. Cloth or gauze is soaked in this liquid, and then applied to the skin for at least fifteen minutes. Fresh leaves are capable of being ground up lightly and applied directly to the skin. Creams or ointments made from root or leaf are capable of being applied. All topical preparations ought to be applied several times per day. To aid the healing of a broken bone, a window would require to be left in the cast near the fracture site, and comfrey applied. However, this is not always possible.

Warning: Root preparations are unsafe for internal use unless they are guaranteed pyrrolizidine-free. Tea made from the leaf is capable of generally being used safely for as long as a month. Tea is made by steeping 1-2 teaspoons of leaf in hot water for fifteen minutes. Three cups per day are capable of being drunk. 2-4 ml of tincture taken three times per day for no more than one month consecutively. Tinctures that are guaranteed pyrrolizidine-free are preferable and are capable of being taken long-term.

This herb is also known as CILANTRO and CHINESE PARSLEY. Its folklore includes being put into love potions, and spells, and when added to wine-it was thought of as being a great lust potion. It was thought that when an expecting lady eats coriander, the child to be would be a genius. Coriander has lacy-fern-like leaves with little white flowers. When starting coriander, remember that it does not care for being transplanted. It grows to be about 24" tall with spindley stems. It is an advantageous herb to grow with other plants around it to help hold it up in the winds. It is easy to grow as an annual, which enjoys a great deal of water. All parts of the plants are used for culinary purposes. The seeds are used in flavouring many dishes, the leaves are added to salads, and the roots are cooked like a vegetable. Coriander is one of the most common herbs in the Middle East and also in Mexico, for all the flavoured dishes served there. The plant and flowers have an awful scent to them until they are dried. Then the seeds have a lemon-scented smell with seeds that look like peppercorns. It is a plant that needs full sun, moist soil and needs a little fertilisation when planted.

The plant itself is quite interesting for as it grows, there are wide leaflets on the bottom and then smaller ferny leaves towards the top of the stem. The seeds are used in making teas used as a digestive aid, and it also has a sedative effect on some. The oil from the seeds is used to disguise the flavours of other medicines and the oil is also used in oinments for painful rheumatic joints and muscles.

Cranberries are a traditional part of the Thanksgiving feast in the United States, where V. macrocarpon is part of the native flora. Recent interest in cranberries, however, goes beyond sauce or relish. A traditional women's belief (or old wives' tale) that cranberry juice is capable of being beneficial for urinary tract infections was discounted by doctors until a study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1994. This placebo-controlled, double blind trial showed that drinking cranberry juice cocktail definitely reduced elderly women's risk of urinary tract infection. Ocean Spray provided both the cranberry juice and the look-alike, taste-alike, cranberry-free placebo juice. Cranberries are too tart to be palatable without sweetening, though cranberry juice cocktail products have become quite popular. Some people concerned about their intake of sugar have turned to dried cranberry capsules, although there are no studies yet to confirm that these are equally as active as juice.

The part of the plant that is used is the berry. Cranberries are very rich in anthocyanins. They also contain fructose (fruit sugar) and small amounts of vitamin C and fiber. Other constituents include catechins and triterpenoids, as well as malic, citric, and quinic acids. Cranberry also contains an unidentified factor that counteracts bacterial chemicals known as adhesins.

The principal use of cranberry juice is to prevent urinary tract infections. The antiadhesin activity of cranberry juice seems to keep bacteria from getting a foothold in the lining of the urinary tract. Some women claim that drinking large quantities of cranberry juice at the first symptoms of cystitis is capable of stopping an infection. In most instances, though, once an infection has begun and is causing pain and urgent urination, it requires medical treatment. Cranberry juice has been used infrequently in conjunction with antibiotics to treat chronic kidney inflammation. Cranberry juice has also been used in nursing homes to keep the urine of incontinent patients from developing an unpleasant ammonia-like smell. Evidently cranberry juice is able to inhibit the growth of the bacteria that degrade urine to ammonia. Test tube research at the University of Wisconsin suggests that cranberry juice may help keep LDL cholesterol from oxidizing. If confirmed, this activity would help prevent the development of cholesterol plaques in arteries.

The dose used in the double-blind prevention trial mentioned above was 300 ml (approximately 10 fluid ounces) per day. In acute urinary tract infections, up to 32 fluid ounces daily may be consumed.




(Turnera diffusa) Damiana has been hailed as an aphrodisiac since ancient times. Other folk uses include asthma, bronchitis, neurosis, and various sexual disorders. It has also been promoted as a euphoria-inducing substance at various times. Damiana may be a potentially useful herb for some female health problems. It is known as a strengthening tonic for the nervous and hormonal systems. An alkaloid in Damiana acts like the male hormone testosterone. Increased levels of testosterone are associated with increased sex drive in both men and women. Small amounts of this herb may relieve anxiety and create a general sense of well being. Most research has been done on the essential oil of damiana, which includes numerous small, fragrant substances referred to as terpenes. However, it still is not known if the essential oil is the main active constituent of damiana. The leaves also contain the antimicrobial substances arbutin, alkaloids, and other potentially active compounds.

The leaves of damiana were originally used as medicine by the indigenous cultures of Central America, particularly Mexico. Today the plant is found in hot, humid climates, including parts of Texas.

To make a tea, add 1 cup boiling water to 1 gram of dried leaves, steep ten to fifteen minutes. Drink three cups per day. Tincture, take 2-3 ml three times per day. Tablets or capsules, 400-800 mg three times per day.

Warnings: The leaves have a minor laxative effect, which is more pronounced at higher intakes, and may symptomatically cause loosening of stools. Excessive use of Damiana may result in over-stimulation.

Closely related to chicory, dandelion is a common plant worldwide and the bane of those looking for the perfect lawn. The plant grows to a height of about 12 inches, producing spatula-like leaves and yellow flowers that bloom year-round. Upon maturation, the flower turns into the characteristic puffball containing seeds that are dispersed in the wind. Dandelion is grown commercially in the United States and Europe. The leaves and root are used in herbal supplements. Historical or traditional use (may or may not be supported by scientific studies): Dandelion is commonly used as a food. The leaves are used in salads and teas, while the roots are often used as a coffee substitute. Dandelion leaves and roots have been used for hundreds of years to treat liver, gallbladder, kidney, and joint problems. In some traditions, dandelion is considered a blood purifier and is used for ailments as varied as eczema and cancer. As is the case today, dandelion has also been used historically to treat poor digestion, water retention, and diseases of the liver, including hepatitis.

The principal constituents responsible for dandelion's action on the digestive system and liver are the bitter principles. Previously referred to as taraxacin, these constituents are sesquiterpene lactones of the eudesmanolide and germacranolide type and are unique to dandelion. Dandelion is also a rich source of vitamins and minerals. The leaves have a high content of vitamin A as well as moderate amounts of vitamin D, vitamin C, various B vitamins, iron, silicon, magnesium, zinc, and manganese.

Animal studies show, at high doses (2 grams per kg of body weight), the leaves possess diuretic effects comparable to the prescription diuretic furosemide (Lasix). Since clinical data in humans is sparse, people should seek the guidance of a physician trained in herbal medicine before using dandelion leaves for water retention.

The bitter compounds in the leaves and root help stimulate digestion and are mild laxatives. These bitter principles also increase bile production in the gallbladder and bile flow from the liver. For this reason dandelion is recommended by some herbalists for persons with sluggish liver function due to alcohol abuse or poor diet. The increase in bile flow may help improve fat (including cholesterol) metabolism in the body.

As a general liver/gallbladder tonic and to stimulate digestion, you can take 3-5 grams of the dried root or 5-10 ml of a tincture made from the root can be used three times per day. Some experts recommend the alcohol-based tincture because the bitter principles are more soluble in alcohol.

As a mild diuretic or appetite stimulant, 4-10 grams of dried leaves can be added to a 250 ml (1 cup) of boiling water and drunk as a decoction;8 or 5-10 ml of fresh juice from the leaves or 2-5 ml of tincture made from the leaves can be used, three times per day.

Precautions: Dandelion leaf and root ought to be used with caution by persons with gallstones. Persons with an obstruction of the bile ducts should avoid dandelion altogether. In cases of stomach ulcer or gastritis, dandelion should be used cautiously, as it may cause overproduction of stomach acid. Those experiencing fluid or water retention should consult a nutritionally oriented doctor before taking dandelion leaves. The milky latex in the stem and leaves of fresh dandelion may cause an allergic rash in some individuals.

Certain medications interact in a constructive and/or unconstructive way with dandelion. Check with your doctor.

Many humans might not consider that dill would be considered as a medicinal herb, though it is! It is used to relieve flatulence and upset stomachs. It facilitates increase in a mother's milk and assist with breast congestion, which sometimes comes with breast-feeding. It stimulates the appetite and is generally beneficial to the stomach. Drink a tea made from dill seed or weed several times a day for the treatment of these ailments, and feed a little to your colic baby for gentle relief! Ledged holds that dill includes the protective properties it holds. It was placed in the baby's cradle and over door jams for this protection it serves. It was used in money spells, added to baths to make bathers irresistible, and smelled to cure hiccups.

Dill is native to the Mediterranean and Russia and also in Spain. Dill is used in an assortment of cooking ways. From breads, to dips, to soups, pickles, meats and salads. Dill also makes a pretty backdrop to flower arrangements and pressed flower pictures and added as backdrops to pressed flower candles. These craft items will be covered in Kathie's Herb Page over a period of time.

Dong Quai
(Angelica sinensis or Chinese angelica) Dong quai is a member of the celery family. Greenish-white flowers bloom from May to August, and the plant is typically found growing in damp mountain ravines, meadows, riverbanks, and coastal areas. The root is used. Historical or traditional use (may or may not be supported by scientific studies): Also known as dang-gui in traditional Chinese medicine, dong quai is often referred to as the "female ginseng." In traditional Chinese medicine, dong quai is often included in prescriptions for abnormal menstruation, suppressed menstrual flow, painful or difficult menstruation, and uterine bleeding. Dong quai was traditionally used for hot flashes associated with perimenopause. It is also used for both men and women with cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure and problems with peripheral circulation.

Traditionally, dong quai is believed to have a balancing or adaptogenic effect on the female hormonal system. Contrary to the opinion of several authors, dong quai does not qualify as a phytoestrogen or have any hormonelike actions in the body. This is supported by a double blind study showing that dong quai capsules did not help women with menopausal symptoms. A large part of its actions with regard to premenstrual syndrome may be related to its antispasmodic actions, particularly on smooth muscles. Human research published in English is lacking to support any of the traditional uses of dong quai, though Chinese studies suggest it is beneficial for painful menses and infertility.

The powdered root can be used in capsules, tablets, tinctures, or as a tea. Many women take 3-4 grams per day.

Dong quai is generally considered to be of extremely low toxicity. It may cause some fair-skinned persons to become more sensitive to sunlight. Persons using it on a regular basis ought to limit prolonged exposure to the sun or other sources of ultraviolet radiation. Dong quai is not recommended for pregnant or lactating women.

Certain medications interact in a constructive and/or unconstructive way with dong quai. Refer to the drug interactions summary for dong quai for a list of those medications.



"If you're not interested in healing yourself with its roots, you can simply enjoy the beauty of echinaceas in your yard or garden. They have a very slight fragrance and propagate into beautiful, meadowlike beds if you let them. ..." Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs Echinacea is considered to be a "preventative" herb. Not used in any modern commercial drugs today though many herbalists as one of the very finest blood purifiers and an effective antibiotic herald Echinacea. Its contains a natural antibiotic that makes it an effective, broad-based infection fighter. It is considered an immune system stimulant, which increases production of infection fighting T cells. It is believed to strengthen the physical body's tissues and protect from attacks of invasive germs. Echinacea is used frequently as an antibiotic, antiseptic, immune stimulator, depurative, digestive, blood purifier, and to produce sweat. It helps to stimulate proper digestion, and as a mouthwash, it is capable of being used for the treatment of painful gums and toothaches. An infusion is capable of being made of the herb which is capable of assisting to aid in arthritis pain, tonsillitis, tuberculosis, smallpox, psoriasis, mumps, bronchitis, whooping cough, measles, meningitis, general wounds, and mild to severe ear infections.

Echinacea assists the physical body's natural ability to fight invaders through a natural antibiotic, which it contains called echinacoside, which has been compared to penicillin. It has successfully treated Rheumatoid Arthritis in Germany (where herbs are much more readily available for medicinal usage). Apply Echinacea to burns and wounds on the skin to promote quicker tissue recovery and healing. It also helps to stimulate the body's cells to produce a chemical, which is naturally produced by the white blood cells while fighting infection. This chemical is referred to as interferon. Echinacea, in combination with antifungal cream also helps to stop reoccurring vaginal yeast infections when taken orally 43% better than anti-fungal cream alone. Echinacea kills a variety of dis-ease causing viruses, fungi and bacteria.

Make sure, when purchasing Echinacea that you purchase Agustifolia for maximum effect. Other types including the popular Purple Coneflower are a much weaker version and will probably have little to no benificial medicinal affects. The medicinal part of the plant is the rootstock.

Echinacea is often used in spells to strengthen their power, just as the herb is used to strengthen the immune system. The Native Americans used it not only to strengthen their spells, though as a precious offering to spirits.

There are nine species, though only three of them (E. angustifolia, E. pallida, E. purpurea) are used as botanical medicines. Gardeners may recognise echinacea as the purple coneflower. The three species are not interchangeable, although they may sometimes be confused with one another. Each may have a different balance of active compounds. Of course, the roots also differ from the aboveground parts of the plant, though both are utilized medicinally. The chemistry of echinacea is complex, and no single ingredient has been identified as primarily responsible for the therapeutic activity.

One thing to remember is echinacea ought to be taken on an as-required basis or at the change of a season. Not continually. Echinacea boosts the immune system though continual use may actually lessen the effectiveness of your own immune system. Maximum time to take the herb has been suggested at six to eight weeks. Echinacea is generally a very safe herb with side effects being very rare even when taken in large doses. One of the problems with echinacea is that people gathering the herb from the wild may confuse the different species.

Warnings: Echinacea is capable of causing a tingling sensation in the mouth when ingested, though this is natural and dissipates after a few minutes. Echinacea is listed with the Federal Drug Administration as "undefined safety" due to the fact that no one has ever had a toxic reaction to the herb.

S. canadensis, the American elder, is a large shrub native to North America. It bears white flowers early in the summer and dark, almost black, berries in the late summer. Both the flowers and the berries have been used as food and for making wine. According to James Duke, "Elder Blow [flower] wine is something special, delicious, with a beautiful pale yellow colour." Presumably American settlers knew the European elder, a plant believed to have magical healing powers, and used the American native in similar ways. The flowers were formerly prized for use in salves and ointments, and the juice of the berries was valued as a tonic. S. nigra is found throughout Europe and is still used as a botanical medicine. Both flowers and berries are used and, in Europe, are considered different herbal medicines. European elder flowers contain 0.03 to 0.3 percent of an essential oil that contains free fatty acids (particularly palmitic acid) and a large number of compounds called alkanes. They also contain at least 0.8 percent flavonoids. Caffeic acid and derivatives, including chlorogenic acid and p-coumaric acid, have been identified. Traces of a cyanogenic glucoside, sambunigrin, and the triterpenes alpha- and beta-amyrin are also constituents. American elder flowers may contain similar ingredients, though the essential oil is reportedly richer in linoleic and linolenic acids and lower in palmitic acid. European elderberries have up to 3 percent tannins. They too contain flavonoids, particularly rutin, isoquercitrin, and hyperoside, and several anthocyanins. Approximately 0.01 percent of the berries are essential oil, and the seeds contain a number of cyanogenic glucosides, including sambunigrin. Leaves and stems contain more sambunigrin.

Elder flower tea is used to "break" a fever by bringing on sweating. It is used especially for situations in which the feverish person feels chilled, and the tea is drunk as hot as possible. A cooled infusion has traditionally been used as a gargle for sore throat. Elder flowers are believed to have mild diuretic action. Elderberry juice (made by cooking and pressing the berries) is reported to have laxative as well as diuretic properties. Traditional herbalists consider it a "wonderful blood purifier."

Sciatica and neuralgia are among the traditional European uses of elderberry juice. Some multi-ingredient herbal preparations for rheumatic pain in the United Kingdom or in Europe include elder flowers or berry extract. It is also a component in multi-ingredient concoctions marketed for respiratory complaints.

Probably the most common use of elderberry is to treat colds. A tea is made by pouring 2/3 cup boiling water over 2 teaspoons (3 g) of dried flowers and steeping for about five minutes before straining. As many as five cups a day might be consumed, particularly in the afternoon and evening. The tea is administered until recovery. Elder flower preparations: 1.5 to 3 g fluid extract or 2.5 to 7.5 g tincture daily. Elderberry juice: a teaspoon of elderberry juice in water four times a day as a tonic.

Warnings: Careless handling of elderberry is capable of resulting in poisoning. Children using peashooters made from the stems of the shrub have suffered, as did a number of people drinking elderberry juice at a picnic in the early 1980s CE. The cyanogenic compounds are especially concentrated in the leaves, and Tommie Bass reports using a solution made from elderberry leaves as an effective topical insecticide. Use of stems and leaves ought to be avoided. Prudence suggests that pregnant women and nursing mothers ought to not use elderberry.

(Ephedra sinica, Ephedra intermedia, Ephedra equisetina) Common name: Ma huang. Ephedra is thought to be the world's oldest herbal remedy. It has been used since ancient times to treat asthma and upper respiratory infections. It is the herb from which scientists have extracted ephedrine, one of the most effective drugs known for the treatment of asthma, allergies, and sinus problems. The Chinese have used ephedra medicinally for over 5,000 years. Ephedra's traditional medicinal uses include the alleviation of sweating, lung and bronchial constriction, and water retention. Coughing, shortness of breath, the common cold, and fevers without sweat are all indications for its use.

Ephedra is a shrublike plant found in desert regions throughout the world. The dried green stems of the three Asian species (E. sinica, E. intermedia, E. equisetina) are used medicinally. The North American species of ephedra does not appear to contain the active ingredients of its Asian counterparts. Ephedra's folk names (and this is most likely a combination of Western and Chinese folk names) include Desert Tea, Desert Herb, Morman Tea, Squaw Tea (The apache word squaw translates to the English word penis), and Whorehouse Tea. The name Morman Tea originated with the use of the tea by Mormans who used it as a replacement stimulant for the coffee and black tea they chose not to drink. Ephedra tea was served in brothels in the 1800's for the reason that it had been claimed to cure gonorrhea and syphilis.

While the active constituent, ephedrine, was isolated in 1887 CE, the herb did not become popular with United States physicians until 1924 CE for its bronchodilating and decongesting properties. Ephedra's main active medicinal ingredients are the alkaloids ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. The stem contains 1-3% total alkaloids, with ephedrine accounting for 30-90% of this total, depending on the plant species. Both ephedrine and its synthetic counterparts stimulate the central nervous system, dilate the bronchial tubes, elevate blood pressure, and increase heart rate. Pseudoephedrine (the synthetic form) is a popular over-the-counter remedy for relief of nasal congestion.

Tinctures of 1-4 ml three times per day can be taken. Adults ought to take no more than 150 mg every twenty-four hours. Pseudoephedrine is typically recommended at 60 mg every six hours.

Warnings: Ephedra has a long history of safe use at the recommended amounts. However, abuse of ephedra (and particularly ephedrine)-especially for weight loss or as a recreational drug, is capable of leading to amphetamine-like side effects, including elevated blood pressure, rapid heart beat, nervousness, irritability, headache, urination disturbances, vomiting, muscle disturbances, insomnia, dry mouth, heart palpitations, and even death due to heart failure. Anyone with high blood pressure, heart conditions, diabetes, glaucoma, hyperthyroidism, anxiety or restlessness, impaired circulation to the brain, benign prostatic hyperplasia with residual urine accumulation, pheochromocytoma, and those taking MAO-inhibiting antidepressants, digitoxin, or guanethidine ought to consult with a physician before using any type of product containing ephedra. Certain medications interact in a constructive and/or unconstructive way with ephedra.

Warnings: Causes insomnia and dry mouth. Do not use if pregnant unless trying to promote birth. Causes uterine contractions and early menstruation.

Evening Primrose Oil
An old Native American herb. The evening primrose grows like a weed. Not really a primrose, it is sometimes described as "sun drop." The large yellow flower opens late in the day and last only one evening, then produces lots of small seeds. Presumably, these seeds were carried to Europe early in the history of colonisation of North America for the reason that evening primrose now grows wild in many parts of the continent. The oil of evening primrose has a high content of gammalinolenic acid (GLA), which is converted by your body into prostaglandins (fatty acids that act a lot like hormones) producing a wide range of effects on your body. It supplies many essential fatty acids the body needs to maintain optimal health. Essential fatty acids are as important to excellent health as vitamins and minerals. Studies show that evening primrose oil might help lower blood cholesterol, and is capable of reducing the discomfort associated with premenstrual syndrome, is used to treat eczema and is a traditional remedy for arthritis. Evening primrose oil may even correct the physical body's imbalances that cause mood swings, irritability and breast tenderness. The strongest evidence for efficacy is in the treatment of atopic dermatitis when the skin is itchy, red, scaly, dry, and inflamed.

Evening primrose to be used for herbal medicines is commercially cultivated and carefully bred to yield constant levels of the essential fatty acids in the seeds. Growers in the United States and Canada alone produce three hundred to four hundred tons of seeds each year. Oil from the seeds is the only part of the plant currently used. Approximately 70 percent of the oil is cis-linoleic acid, and as much as 9 percent cis-gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is a rare, find in plants.

Most over-the-counter pain relievers and many prescription arthritis medicines work primarily by blocking prostaglandin synthesis, however prostaglandins play an important role in many biochemical reactions. Evening primrose oil is available in 500-mg capsules. Most of the clinical trials have utilized doses of one or two capsules two or three times a day, with the maximum adult dose of 4 g daily. Up to three months may be required to notice a response in some conditions. Usual dosage is around 500-1,000 mg a day.


(Euphrasia officinalis) Euphrasia officinalis refers to a vast genus containing over 450 species. European wild plants grow in meadows, pastures, and grassy places in Bulgaria, Hungary, and the former Yugoslavia. Eyebright is also grown commercially in Europe. The plant flowers in late summer and autumn. The whole herb is used in commercial preparations. Historical or traditional use (may or may not be supported by scientific studies): Eyebright was and continues to be used primarily as a poultice for the topical treatment of eye inflammations, including blepharitis, conjunctivitis, and sties. A compress made from a decoction of eyebright is capable of giving rapid relief from redness, swelling, and visual disturbances in acute and subacute eye infections. A tea is usually given internally along with the topical treatment. It has also been used for the treatment of eye fatigue and disturbances of vision. In addition, herbalists have recommended eyebright for problems of the respiratory tract, including sinus infections, coughs, and sore throat.

Eyebright is high in iridoid glycosides, flavonoids, and tannins. The plant has astringent properties that probably account for its usefulness as a topical treatment for inflammatory states and its ability to reduce mucous drainage.

Traditional herbal texts recommend a compress made with 15 grams of the dried herb combined with 500 ml (2 cups) of water and boiled for ten minutes. The undiluted liquid is used as a compress after cooling. This was commonly combined with antimicrobial herbs, such as goldenseal. The German Commission E monograph on eyebright does not support this application, due to possible impurities in non-pharmaceutical preparations. Consult with a physician knowledgeable in the use of herbs before applying eyebright to the eyes.

Internally, eyebright tea, made using the same formula above, is capable of being drunken in the amount of two to three cups per day. Dried herb, as 2-4 grams three times per day, may be taken. The tincture is typically taken in 2-6 ml three times per day.

Due to limited information on the active constituents in eyebright and the requirment for sterility in substances used topically in the eyes, the traditional use of eyebright as a topical compress currently is not capable of being recommended without professional support. Used internally at the amounts listed above, eyebright is generally safe. However, its safety during pregnancy and lactation has not been proven.








































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