Archives | Herb of the Month


Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Dandelion Benefits

Dandelion as a medicine was first mentioned in the works of the Arabian physicians of the tenth and eleventh centuries, who speak of it as a sort of wild Endive, under the name of Taraxcacon. In this country, we find allusion to it in the Welsh medicines of the thirteenth century. Dandelion was much valued as a medicine in the times of Gerard and Parkinson, and is still extensively employed.

Dandelion roots have long been largely used on the Continent, and the plant is cultivated largely in India as a remedy for liver complaints.

Daniel Mowrey PH.D, author of “The Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine” states, “Dandelion heads the list of excellent foods for the liver.” The herb has been used for centuries to treat jaundice and the yellowing of the skin that comes with liver dysfunction, cirrhosis, hepatitis and liver disease.

But liver function isn’t the only use of this nutritious plant. It is also used to treat infections, swelling, water retention, breast problems, gallbladder problems, pnuemonia and viruses.Studies have shown that dandelion stimulates bile flow and has a mild diuretic effect.

Latin Names:
Taraxacum officinale, Leotodon taraxacum

Common Names:
Dandelion, Blowball, Canker Wort, Irish Daisy, Lion’s Tooth, Puffball, Wild Endive

Properties:
Diuretic, tonic and slightly aperient, mild laxative.

Uses:
Anemia, Constipation, Gallstones. Kidney and liver disorders, jaundice and the yellowing of the skin that comes with liver dysfunction, cirrhosis, hepatitis and liver disease. Encourages normal digestion.

Modern naturopathic physicians use dandelion to detoxify the liver and reduce the side effects of prescription medications.

Dandelion is on the FDA’s list of safe foods and is approved by the Council of Europe.

The chief constituents of Dandelion root are Taraxacin, acrystalline and Taraxacerin, an acrid resin, with Inulin (a sort of sugar which replaces starch in many of the Dandelion family, Compositae), gluten, gum and potash. It contains substantial levels of vitamins A, C, D, B-complex, iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, manganese, choline, calcium and boron.

Diuretic, tonic and slightly aperient. It is a general stimulant to the system, but especially to the urinary organs, and is chiefly used in kidney and liver disorders.

Dandelion is not only official but is used in many patent medicines. Not being poisonous, quite big doses of its preparations may be taken. Its beneficial action is best obtained when combined with other agents.

Note:

Do not use dandelion for longer than six weeks at a time.

Because of dandelion’s diuretic effect, women who are pregnant or breast-feeding may want to avoid it.

Dandelion may intensify the blood sugar-lowering effect of the diabetes drug, glipizide. Use with caution. If taken in large quantities (much more than commonly recommended) it may cause a skin rash, diarrhea, heartburn, or stomach discomfort. Stop using the herb if these reactions occur.

Avoid if your doctor has advised you that you have a gallbladder problem, a blockage or inflammation of the bile duct, or an obstruction of the bowel (often signaled by persistent constipation or lack of bowel movements). Also, don’t use dandelion during an acute gallstone attack; this requires professional medical treatment.

Source: www.herbwisdom.com


Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)

Lemon balm Benefits

Lemon Balm was dedicated to the goddess Diana, and used medicinally by the Greeks some 2,000 years ago. In the Middles Ages lemon balm was used to soothe tension, to dress wounds, and as a cure for toothache, skin eruptions, mad dog bites, crooked necks, and sickness during pregnancy. It was even said to prevent baldness. As a medicinal plant, lemon balm has traditionally been employed against bronchial inflammation, earache, fever, flatulence, headaches, high blood pressure, influenza, mood disorders, palpitations, toothache and vomiting. A tea made from Lemon balm leaves is said to soothe menstrual cramps and helps relieve PMS.

The herb is used for nervous agitation, sleeping problems, functional gastrointestinal complaints, menstrual cramps and urinary spasms.

Latin Names: Melissa officinalis

Common Names: Balm Mint, Bee Balm, Blue Balm, Cure-all, Garden Balm, Honey Plant, Melissa, Sweet Balm, Sweet Mary

Properties:
anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant, anti-spasmodic, anti-viral, aromatic, carminative, cerebral stimulant, diaphoretic, digestive, emmenagogue, febrifuge, nervous restorative, spasmolytic, sedative (mild), tonic.

Indicated for:

Amenhorrhea, anxiety, calming nerves, chronic fatigue, colds, cold sores, colic, depression, dizziness, fevers, gastrointestinal complaints, Graves’ disease, headaches, herpes virus, hypertension, hypothyroidism, insomnia, menstrual cramps, mental clarity and concentration, nausea relief, nervous agitation, neurocardiac syndrome, painful urination, palpitations, phobias, relaxation, shingles, sleeping problems, upset stomach, viral infections, wounds

It is thought that the volatile oils in lemon balm contain chemicals that relax muscles, particularly in the bladder, stomach, and uterus, thereby relieving cramps, gas, and nausea.

ESCOP (European Scientific Cooperative On Phytotherapy) lists its internal use for tenseness, restlessness, irritability, and symptomatic treatment of digestive disorders, such as minor spasms; externally, for herpes labialis (ESCOP, 1997).

Recent evidence suggests that lemon balm has a depressant or sedative action on the central nervous systems of laboratory mice. The German Standard License for lemon balm tea approves it for nervous disorders of sleep and of the gastrointestinal tract, and to stimulate the appetite (Wichtl and Bisset, 1994).

Grave’s Disease

Lemon balm may block some of the activity of thyroid hormone in the body. Therefore, it has been used in the past to treat Grave’s disease, an auto-immune condition in which the thyroid gland produces excess thyroid hormone. Although laboratory and animal studies show that lemon balm may help decrease thyroid in the body, no human studies have yet been conducted for this possible use.

Mental Clarity, Concentration and Relaxation

Lemon balm is widely used to treat anxiety and insomnia in Europe. It reduces anxiety and stress and eases sleep disorders. Recently it produced an unexpected result in a research study: it greatly increased the ability to concentrate and perform word and picture tasks.

Helpful for Homework?

In a study of lemon balm at Northumbria Univeristy in England students were tested for weeks while using either Lemon balm or a placebo. The students did significantly better on the tests after taking Lemon balm and continued to post improved scores for up to six hours after taking the herb. The students taking Lemon balm were noted to be calmer and less stressed during the tests. (From Prevention Magazine Sept. 2004)

Herpes and Anti-viral Properties

Research has shown that the plant contains polyphenols, it can help significantly in the treatment of cold sores and combat the herpes simplex virus, shingles as well as other viral afflictions. Studies have shown a significant reduction in the duration and severity of herpes. Researchers also noted a “tremendous reduction” in the frequency of recurrence.

When applied to cold sores or genital sores caused by the herpes simplex virus, creams or ointments containing lemon balm have speeded healing. The infections did not spread as much and individuals using topical lemon balm also reported more relief from symptoms such as itching and redness. At least part of this effect is due to antiviral properties of caffeic acid and rosmarinic acid, which are contained in lemon balm.

In one study on 115 patients, a proprietary preparation of lemon balm extract in a lip balm showed efficacy in treating lip sores associated with the herpes simplex virus (Wöbling and Leonhardt, 1994).

Insomnia/Anxiety

Several studies have used Lemon balm, and Lemon balm/Valerian combinations to treat stress, anxiety and insomnia. The studies have shown improved sleep patterns and reduced stress and anxiety. In one study a Lemon balm/Valerian combination was found to be as effective as the prescription drug Halcion.

Lemon balm is approved for “nervous sleeping disorders” and “functional gastrointestinal complaints” by Commission E of the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices. Commission E is the German governmental agency that evaluates the safety and effectiveness of herbal products. The United States does not have a comparable agency to evaluate herbal products.

Thyroid and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Lemon balm is used in Europe for treating thyroid problems and has shown an ability to regulate thyroid hormone production. This ability, along with the herbs anti-viral characteristics have made the herb useful in the treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Lemon balm contains volatile (essential) oils ,including citronellal and citrals A and B, which are known to have sedative properties. In both animal and human studies, lemon balm taken by mouth has had calming effects. In larger doses, it may promote sleep. In one study, researchers found that using lemon balm also improved memory and lengthened attention span in individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. This effect may be due to its content of antioxidants, which are thought to protect body cells from damage caused by a chemical process called oxidation.

Another small but interesting study used lemon balm, aromatherapeutically to calm overexcited individuals suffering from dementia. Dementia is an increasing deficiency in thought processes caused by brain damage such as from a stroke or disease such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Notes:

Very little information is available on how lemon balm might affect a developing foetus, an infant, or a small child. Therefore, its use is not recommended during pregnancy, while breast-feeding, or during early childhood.

When lemon balm is used with both prescription and non-prescription drugs that promote sleepiness, the effects of the drug may be exaggerated, resulting in sedation or mental impairment. Lemon balm may cause excessive sedation if it is taken with other potentially sedating herbs such as: Catnip, Hops, Kava, St. John’s Wort and Valerian

Due to its potential effects on thyroid hormone utilisation, lemon balm may interfere with therapy for hyperthyroidism (thyroid hormone excess) or hypothyroidism (thyroid hormone deficiency)

In animal studies, lemon balm increased pressure inside the eyes. Even though similar results have not been reported in humans, individuals who have glaucoma should not take lemon balm.

Source: www.herbwisdom.com


Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

Latin Names: Glycyrrhiza glabra, Liquiritia officinalis

Common Names: Chinese Licorice, Gan Cao, Kan-ts’ao, Kuo-lao, Licorice, Licorice Root, Ling-t’ung, Liquorice, Mei-ts’ao, Mi-kan, Mi-ts’ao, Sweet Licorice, Sweet Wood, Yasti Madhu

Properties: Anti-allergic, anti-arthritic, anti-inflammatory, demulcent, emollient, estrogenic (mild), expectorant, laxative, pectoral (moderate), soothing

Indicated for: Addison’s disease, allergic rhinitis, arthritis, athlete’s foot, baldness, bronchitis, bursitis, canker sores, catarrh of the upper respiratory tract, chronic fatigue, colds, colitis and intestinal infections, conjunctivitis, constipation, coughs, dandruff, depression, duodenal-ulcers, emphysema, exhaustion, fibromyalgia, flu, fungal infections, gastritis, gingivitis and tooth decay, gout, hayfever, heartburn, hepatitis, inflamed gallbladder, liver disease, Lyme disease, menopause, prostate enlargement, psoriasis, shingles, sore throat, spleen disorders, tendinitis, throat problems, tuberculosis, ulcers, viral infections, yeast infections. Reducing stomach acid and relieving heartburn and indigestion. Increasing bile flow and lowering cholesterol. Improving resistance to physical and emotional stress.

Licorice Root Benefits

Licorice root has an impressive list of well documented uses and is probably one of the most over-looked of all herbal remedies. It is used for many ailments including asthma, athlete’s foot, baldness, body odour, bursitis, canker sores, chronic fatigue, depression, colds and flu, coughs, dandruff, emphysema, gingivitis and tooth decay, gout, heartburn, HIV, viral infections, fungal infections, ulcers, liver problems, Lyme disease, menopause, psoriasis, shingles, sore throat, tendinitis, tuberculosis, ulcers, yeast infections, prostate enlargement and arthritis.

Licorice root contains many anti-depressant compounds and is an excellent alternative to St. John’s Wort. As a herbal medicine it has an impressive list of well documented uses and is probably one of the most over-looked of all herbal wonders. Licorice is useful for many ailments including asthma, athlete’s foot, baldness, body odor, bursitis, canker sores, chronic fatigue, depression, colds and flu, coughs, dandruff, emphysema, gingivitis and tooth decay, gout, heartburn, HIV, viral infections, fungal infections, ulcers, liver problems, Lyme disease, menopause, psoriasis, shingles, sore throat, tendinitis, tuberculosis, ulcers, yeast infections, prostate enlargement and arthritis.

Hundreds of potentially healing substances have been identified in licorice as well, including compounds called flavonoids and various plant estrogens (phytoestrogens). The herb’s key therapeutic compound, glycyrrhizin (which is 50 times sweeter than sugar) exerts numerous beneficial effects on the body, making licorice a valuable herb for treating a host of ailments. It seems to prevent the breakdown of adrenal hormones such as cortisol (the body’s primary stress-fighting adrenal hormone), making these hormones more available to the body.

It has a well-documented reputation for healing ulcers. It can lower stomach acid levels, relieve heartburn and indigestion and acts as a mild laxative.

It can also be used for irritation, inflammation and spasm in the digestive tract. Through its beneficial action on the liver, it increases bile flow and lowers cholesterol levels.

Licorice also appears to enhance immunity by boosting levels of interferon, a key immune system chemical that fights off attacking viruses. It also contains powerful antioxidants as well as certain phytoestrogens that can perform some of the functions of the body’s natural estrogens; very helpful during the menopause. Glycyrrhizinic acid also seems to stop the growth of many bacteria and of viruses such as influenza A.

In the respiratory system it has a similarly soothing and healing action, reducing irritation and inflammation and has an expectorant effect, useful in irritating coughs, asthma and chest infections.

It has an aspirin-like action and is helpful in relieving fevers and soothing pain such as headaches. Its anti-allergenic effect is very useful for hay fever, allergic rhinitis, conjunctivitis and bronchial asthma. Possibly by its action on the adrenal glands, licorice has the ability to improve resistance to stress. It should be thought of during times of both physical and emotional stress, after surgery or during convalescence, or when feeling tired and run down.

Licorice with glycyrrhizin may help to:

Control respiratory problems and sore throat. Licorice eases congestion and coughing by helping to loosen and thin mucus in airways; this makes a cough more “productive,” bringing up phlegm and other mucus bits. Licorice also helps to relax bronchial spasms. The herb also soothes soreness in the throat and fights viruses that cause respiratory illnesses and an overproduction of mucus.

Lessen symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. By enhancing cortisol activity, glycyrrhizin helps to increase energy, ease stress and reduce the symptoms of ailments sensitive to cortisol levels, such as chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromylagia.

Combat hepatitis. Licorice both protects the liver and promotes healing in this vital organ. The herb’s anti-inflammatory properties help calm hepatitis-associated liver inflammation. Licorice also fights the virus commonly responsible for hepatitis and supplies valuable antioxidant compounds that help maintain the overall health of the liver.

Treat PMS and menstrual problems. The phytoestrogens in licorice have a mild estrogenic effect, making the herb potentially useful in easing certain symptoms of PMS (premenstrual syndrome), such as irritability, bloating and breast tenderness. Although the glycyrrhizin in licorice actually inhibits the effect of the body’s own estrogens, the mild estrogenic effect produced by licorice’s phytoestrogens manages to override this inhibiting action.

Prevent heart disease. Recent studies have found that by limiting the damage from LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, licorice may discourage artery-clogging plaque formation and contribute to the healthy functioning of the heart. Research indicates that modest doses of licorice (100 mg a day) have this effect

Notes:

Do not confuse with licorice confectionery which contains very little, if any, licorice and is in fact flavoured by anise.

Can cause water retention and raised blood pressure. Prolonged use should be avoided if you suffer from high blood pressure.

Can cause mild adrenal stimulation.

Source: www.herbwisdom.com


Garlic (Allium Sativum)

Garlic is one of the earth’s greatest health tonics and does indeed have scientifically-proven medicinal properties. It contains a substance called Allicin, which has anti-bacterial properties that are equivalent to a weak penicillin. It is a natural antibiotic and is useful in treating everything from allergies to tonsillitis. Garlic contains many sulfur compounds which detoxify the body, boost the immune system, lower blood pressure and improve circulation. Garlic has also demonstrated anti-cancer, antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-oxidant effects.

Garlic can stimulate the production of glutathione, an amino acid which is known to be a very potent antioxidant and de-toxifier and the smooth muscle relaxant adenosine, also found in the herb, will lower blood pressure.

Today people use garlic to help prevent atherosclerosis (plaque build up in the arteries causing blockage and possibly leading to heart attack or stroke), reduce colds, coughs and bronchitis.

Garlic can lower blood pressure and LDL Cholesterol. Lowers or helps to regulate blood sugar. It helps to prevent blood clots from forming, thus reducing the possibility of strokes and thromboses. Garlic also removes heavy metals such as lead and mercury from the body.

Garlic reduces yeast infections and provides relief from rheumatism. It protects against heart disease and strokes. It’s great for wounds, ulcers, skin infections, flu, athlete’s foot, some viruses, strep, worms, respiratory ailments, blood thinning, and cancer of the stomach, colic, colds, kidney problems, bladder problems and worms. It helps to prevent cancer, especially of the digestive system, prevents certain tumors from growing larger and may reduce the size of certain tumors in some cases.

Garlic is also good for the Common Cold: A well-designed study of nearly 150 people supports the value of garlic for preventing and treating the common cold. In this study, people received either garlic supplements or placebo for 12 weeks during “cold season” (between the months of November and February). Those who received the garlic had significantly fewer colds than those who received placebo. Plus, when faced with a cold, the symptoms lasted a much shorter time in those receiving garlic compared to those receiving placebo.

Garlic also has antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help scavenge free radicals; particles that can damage cell membranes, interact with genetic material and possibly contribute to the aging process as well as the development of a number of conditions including heart disease and cancer.

Free radicals occur naturally in the body but environmental toxins (including ultraviolet light, radiation, cigarette smoking and air pollution) can also increase the number of these damaging particles. Antioxidants can neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause over time.

Intestinal Parasites: Laboratory studies suggest that large quantities of fresh, raw garlic may have antiparasitic properties against the roundworm, Ascaris lumbricoides, which is the most common type of intestinal parasite. Garlic for this purpose, however, has not yet been tested in people.

Notes:

Garlic can irritate the digestive tracts of very young children and some sources don’t recommend garlic for breastfeeding mothers. In addition, some individuals are allergic to garlic

Antiplatelet medications: Garlic may exaggerate the activity of medications that inhibit the action of platelets in the body. Examples of such medications include indomethacin, dipyridamole and aspirin.

Blood-thinning medications: There have been reports of a possible interaction between garlic and warfarin that could increase the risk of bleeding in people taking this blood thinning medication. Therefore, when taking medications that may thin the blood, such as aspirin and warfarin, you should refrain from consuming large quantities of garlic, either fresh or commercially prepared.

Diabetes medications: When used with a class of medications for diabetes called sulfonylureas, garlic may lower blood sugar considerably. Medications from this class include chlorpropamide, glimepiride and glyburide. When using garlic with these medications, blood sugars must be followed closely.

Protease inhibitors: Garlic may reduce blood levels of protease inhibitors, a medication used to treat people with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), including indinavir, ritinavir and saquinavir.

Other: It is thought that garlic may behave similarly to a class of cholesterol lowering medications called statins (such as atorvastatin, pravastatin and lovastatin) and to a class of blood pressure lowering medications called ACE inhibitors (including enalapril, captopril and lisinopril). It is not known, therefore, whether it is safe to take this supplement in large quantities with these medications or not. This possible interaction has never been tested in scientific studies.

Source: www.herbwisdom.com


Milk Thistle (Silybum Marianum)

Image From: http://andwelove.files.wordpress.com/Latin Name: Silybum marianum

Common Names: Cardui mariae, Carduus marianum, Holy Thistle, Lady’s Thistle, Legalon, Marian Thistle, Mariendistel, Mary Thistle, Our Lady’s Thistle, Silimarina, Silybin, Silybum, Silymarin, St. Mary Thistle, Wild Artichoke

Properties:
Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, hepaprotective, immunostimulating, possibly estrogenic

Indicated for:
Alcoholic hepatitis, alcoholic fatty liver, cirrhosis, liver poisoning and viral hepatitis. alcoholic fatty liver, liver poisoning. It can benefits adrenal disorders and inflammatory bowel syndrome. Psoriasis. Lowering cholesterol. Protecting the liver when taking strong drugs or medicine. Candida. Food allergies.

Milk Thistle Benefits

Milk Thistle is unique in its ability to protect the liver and has no equivalent in the pharmaceutical drug world. In fact, in cases of poisoning with Amanita mushrooms, which destroy the liver, milk thistle is the only treatment option. It has been so dramatically effective that the treatment has never been disputed, even by the traditional medical community.
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Milk thistle acts in a similar fashion to detoxify other synthetic chemicals that find their way into our bodies, from acetaminophen and alcohol to heavy metals and radiation.

Milk thistle was approved in 1986 as a treatment for liver disease and it is widely used to treat alcoholic hepatitis, alcoholic fatty liver, cirrhosis, liver poisening and viral hepatitis. It has also been shown to protect the liver against medications such as acetaminophen, a non-aspirin pain reliever.

The active ingredient, or liver-protecting compound in milk thistle is known as silymarin. This substance, which actually consists of a group of compounds called flavonolignands, helps repair liver cells damaged by alcohol and other toxic substances by stimulating protein synthesis. By changing the outside layer of liver cells, it also prevents certain toxins from getting inside. Silymarin also seems to encourage liver cell growth. It can reduce inflammation (important for people with liver inflammation or hepatitis), and has potent antioxidant effects. Antioxidants are thought to protect body cells from damage caused by a chemical process called oxidation. Our Milk Thistle is not standardized to an exact amount (as it is made from pure dried natural herbs. Milk Thistle naturally contains about 70 – 80% Silymarin (and many other constituents thought to work in harmony).

This herb benefits adrenal disorders and inflammatory bowel syndrome, and is used to treat psoriasis (increases bile flow).

Milk thistle has some estrogen-like effects that may stimulate the flow of breast milk in women who are breast-feeding infants. It may also be used to start late menstrual periods. Milk thistle’s estrogen-like effect may also have some usefulness for men with prostate cancer.

In animal studies and one small study in humans, milk thistle produced modest reductions in total cholesterol. However, these results have not been demonstrated in larger human studies.

This herb is a must for cleansing and for anyone with any sort of liver dysfunction or exposure to toxins.

Liver disease from alcohol

A comprehensive review by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently identified 16 scientific studies on the use of milk thistle for the treatment of various forms of liver disease. A European standardized extract of milk thistle was used in most of the trials. Problems in study design (such as small numbers of participants, variations in the causes of liver disease, and differences in dosing and duration of milk thistle therapy) made it difficult to draw any definitive conclusions. However, five of seven studies evaluating milk thistle for alcoholic liver disease found significant improvements in liver function. Those with the mildest form of the disease appeared to improve the most. Milk thistle was less effective for those with severe liver disease such as cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is characterized by scarring and permanent, non-reversible damage to the liver. It is often referred to as end-stage liver disease.

Viral hepatitis

Despite the fact that milk thistle is widely used in the treatment of hepatitis (particularly hepatitis C), results from four viral hepatitis studies were contradictory. Some found improvements in liver enzyme activity while others failed to detect these benefits. None of the studies compared milk thistle with interferon or other medications for viral hepatitis.

Cancer

Preliminary laboratory studies also suggest that active substances in milk thistle may have anti-cancer effects. One active substance known as silymarin has strong antioxidant properties and has been shown to inhibit the growth of human prostate, breast, and cervical cancer cells in test tubes. Further studies are needed to determine whether milk thistle is safe or effective for people with these forms of cancer.

High cholesterol

One animal study found that silymarin (an active compound in milk thistle) worked as effectively as the cholesterol-lowering drug probucol, with the additional benefit of substantially increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Further studies in people are needed.
Notes and Cautions:

Women with hormone-dependent conditions such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and cancers of the breast, ovaries, or uterus should not take or use milk thistle plant extract due to its possible estrogenic effects.

Men who have prostate cancer should not take milk thistle without the approval of a doctor.

Orally, milk thistle is usually well-tolerated. It can cause an occasional laxative effect. Other less common gastrointestinal (GI) effects include nausea, diarrhea, dyspepsia, flatulence, abdominal bloating, fullness or pain, and anorexia. There is one case of a woman who experienced intermittent episodes of sweating, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, and collapse, requiring hospitalization.

Some patients may have allergic reactions to milk thistle including pruritus, rash, urticaria, eczema, and anaphylaxis. Allergic reactions may be more likely to occur in patients sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae family. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, and marigolds.

Where to buy Milk Thistle:

Milk Thistle can be found in most health food stores. It is also usually available over-the-counter in the supplement sections of most stores.


Elderberry (Sambucus Nigra)

ElderberryElderberry (Sambucus nigra) has a long history of use for the treatment of colds and influenza. Clinical studies have found that elderberry extracts can inhibit influenza a and b infections, and pre-clinical studies have shown antiviral effects. Administration of this proprietary elderberry extract “can rapidly relieve influenza-like symptoms.1

Elderberries have been a folk remedy for centuries in North America, Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, hence the medicinal benefits of elderberries are being investigated and rediscovered. Elderberry is used for its antioxidant activity, to lower cholesterol, to improve vision, to boost the immune system, to improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsilitis. Bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. People with the flu who took elderberry juice reported less severe symptoms and felt better much faster than those who did not.

Elderberry is used for influenza (“the flu”) and H1n1 “swine” flu. It is also used as a laxative for constipation, stimulating immune function, HIV/AIDS, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), allergic rhinitis, sinusitis, sciatica, neuralgia, cancer, and as a diuretic, and diaphoretic.2

In manufacturing, elderberry fruit is used for making wine and as a food flavoring. Orally, elderberry fruit extract seems to be well-tolerated when used for up to 5 days. No adverse effects have been reported in clinical trials in adults and children.3

Elderberries contain organic pigments, tannin, amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, sugar, rutin, viburnic acid, vitamin A and B and a large amount of vitamin C. They are also mildly laxative, a diuretic, and diaphoretic. Flavonoids, including quercetin, are believed to account for the therapeutic actions of the elderberry flowers and berries. According to test tube studies,2 these flavonoids include anthocyanins that are powerful antioxidants and protect cells against damage.

Elderberries were listed in the CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs as early as 1985, and are listed in the 2000 Mosby’s Nursing Drug reference for colds, flu, yeast infections, nasal and chest congestion, and hay fever. In Israel, Hasassah’s Oncology Lab has determined that elderberry stimulates the body’s immune system and they are treating cancer and AIDS patients with it. The wide range of medical benefits (from flu and colds to debilitating asthma, diabetes, and weight loss) is probably due to the enhancement of each individual’s immune system.

At the Bundesforschungsanstalt research center for food in Karlsruhe, Germany, scientists conducting studies on Elderberry showed that elderberry anthocyanins enhance immune function by boosting the production of cytokines. These unique proteins act as messengers in the immune system to help regulate immune response, thus helping to defend the body against disease. Further research indicated that anthocyanins found in elderberries possess appreciably more antioxidant capacity than either vitamin E or vitamin C.

Studies at Austria’s University of Graz found that elderberry extract reduces oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Oxidation of LDL cholesterol is implicated in atherogenesis, thus contributing to cardiovascular disease.2

Elderberries are not hard to find…

The truth is that Elderberries have always been readily available but most of us have been unaware of their abilities. You can find Elderberries anywhere but you want to make sure that additional fillers and/or additives are not present if you are buying in a capsule form. If so, then be sure to get the purest form in order to maximize the benefits of the Elderberry.

References:

  1. American Botanical Council www.herbalgram.org
  2. www.herbwisdom.com
  3. Natural Medicine’s database www.naturaldatabase.com

Source:

www.herbwisdom.com
www.naturaldatabase.com


Hawthorn Berry (Crateagus oxycanthus)

Hawthorne Berry is used to promote the health of the circulatory system, treat angina, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and cardiac arrhythmia and has been found to strengthen the heart. It is widely regarded in Europe as a safe and effective treatment for the early stages of heart disease and has been used for a number of ailments including angina, myocarditis, arteriosclerosis, nervous conditions like insomnia, and diarrhea. It has also been indicated for strengthening blood vessels, vascular insufficiency and blood clots, restoring the heart muscle wall, lowering cholesterol and to aid digestion, congestive heart failure and cardiac arrhythmia. It has been found to strengthen the heart and stabalize it against arrythmias.

Its use in the treatment of hepatitis in modern Chinese medicine is supported by the demonstration of hepatoprotective(protects the liver) activity in animal studies.

Animal and laboratory studies have found that hawthorn contains active compounds with antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are substances that scavenge free radicals; damaging compounds in the body that alter cell membranes, tamper with DNA, and even cause cell death. Free radicals occur naturally in the body, but environmental toxins (including ultraviolet light, radiation, cigarette smoking, and air pollution) can also increase their number.

Free radicals are believed to contribute to the ageing process as well as the development of a number of health problems including heart disease. Antioxidants found in hawthorn can neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause.

Congestive heart failure

Hawthorn has primarily been studied in people with congestive heart failure (a health condition in which the heart is unable to pump adequate amounts of blood to other organs in the body). Of six well-designed trials, four studies concluded that hawthorn significantly improved heart function and three found that the herb improved patients’ ability to exercise.

Atherosclerosis

Animal and laboratory studies demonstrate that this herb has antioxidant properties that help protect against the formation of plaques, which leads to a health problem known as atherosclerosis. Plaque buildup in the vessels that supply the heart with oxygen-rich blood may cause chest pain (angina) and heart attacks while plaque buildup in the arteries that supply blood to the brain may result in stroke.

Chest pain

Hawthorn berry preparations have been shown to combat chest pain (angina), a health problem caused by insufficient blood flow to the heart. In one early study, 60 angina patients were given either 180 mg/day of hawthorn berry-leaf-flower extract or placebo for 3 weeks. Those who received the hawthorn preparation experienced improved blood flow to the heart and were also able to exercise for longer periods of time without suffering from chest pain.

High cholesterol

Studies using rats suggest that a hawthorn tincture (made from the berries) may be a powerful agent for the removal of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol from the bloodstream. The tincture of hawthorn berries also reduced the production of cholesterol in the liver of rats who were being fed a high-cholesterol diet. Studies to determine if hawthorn will confer the same effects in people are needed.

High blood pressure

Although hawthorn has not been studied specifically in people with high blood pressure, considerable evidence supports the cardiovascular benefits of this herb. Studies suggest that hawthorn can be taken safely by people with hypertension who are also taking blood pressure medications.

Notes:

Though non-toxic, hawthorn can produce dizziness if taken in large doses.

Hawthorn contains heart-affecting compounds that may affect blood pressure and heart rate. Seek medical supervision if you suffer from a heart condition or are taking heart related medication.

Avoid if colitis or ulcers are present.

There are no known scientific reports on the pediatric use of hawthorn. Therefore, it is not currently recommended for children.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, do not use hawthorn.

Avoid if you are using Digoxin or Phenylephrine.

Source: www.herbwisdom.com


Holy Basil

Botanical Name: Ocimum sanctum, O. tenuiflorum

Family: Lamiaceae

Common Names: Tulsi (Hindi), tulasi (Hindi), surasa (Sanskrit), sacred basil

Part Used: Herb

Location/Cultivation: Holy basil is found throughout the lowlands of India as well as in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, southern
China, Thailand, and Malaysia. In India, small patches of it are widely cultivated for daily use. There are at least three types of holy basil. The
greenleafed variety sri or rama tulsi is the most common. The second type (Krishna tulsi) bears dark-green to purple leaves; this variety has a
stronger taste and smell. The third type (vana tulsi, O. tenuiflorum) is a green-leafed forest variety that often grows wild.

Properties: Adaptogen, antibacterial, antidepressant, antioxidant, antiviral, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, galactagogue (promotes the flow of mother’s milk), and immunomodulator

Constituents: Essential oils such as eugenol, carvacol, linalool, caryophylline, and methyleugenol as well as triterpenes such as ursolic acid and flavonoids.

History/Ethnobotany

Holy basil is sacred to the Hindu god Vishnu and is used in morning prayers to insure personal health, spiritual purity, and family well-being.
Strings of beads made from the plant’s stems are used in meditation to give clarity and protection. The ancient ayurvedic texts, the Charaka
Samhita (appx. 200 BCE) and Sushruta Samhita (400–100 BCE) both mention the use of this herb to treat people with snakebites and scorpion
stings.

Holy basil is classified as a rasayana, an herb that nourishes a person’s growth to perfect health and promotes long life. For perhaps three
thousand years, holy basil has been considered one of India’s most powerful herbs. The daily use of this herb is believed to help maintain the
balance of the chakras, (energy centers) of the body. It is acclaimed as possessing sattva (energy of purity) and as being capable of bringing on
goodness, virtue, and joy in humans. In the Puranas (a sacred Hindu text), everything associated with the plant is holy, including water given to it
and the soil in which it grows as well as all its parts, among them leaves, flowers, seed, and roots.

In Indian folk medicine, the leaves of the holy basil plant are brewed in a tea that is used as an expectorant to treat people with excessive
bronchial mucus and bronchitis. The tea also is used for people with upset stomach, biliouness, and vomiting. The powdered/dried leaves have
been used as a snuff for nasal congestion, and the juice of the fresh leaf is put in the ear for earaches. A decoction made from the root is used to
lower malarial fevers, and a poultice made from the fresh roots and leaves is applied to bites and stings from wasps, bees, mosquitoes, ants, and
other insects as well as leeches. The seeds are mucilaginous (slimy) and have been used to soothe the urinary tract when urination is difficult or
painful.

In Thailand, holy basil is called bai gkaprow or kaphrao daeng. It is used as a spice in cooking and as a medicine for people with gas,

intestinal cramps, ulcers, colds, influenza, headaches, coughs, and sinusitis.

This plant has become naturalized in Suriname in northern South America, where it is used for many of the same conditions that it was
used for in India—snakebites, abdominal pain, and to lower fevers.

Modern Uses

There has been a significant amount of both animal studies and human clinical research on the benefits of holy basil. Today, we know this
versatile plant is an adaptogen with antioxidant, neuroprotective, stress reducing, and radioprotective (protects against the damaging effects of
ionizing radiation) effects.

In animal studies, pretreatment with methanol extracts of holy basil reduced brain damage caused by reduced cerebral circulation.
Alcohol extracts of this herb showed significant antistress activities in mice exposed to acute and chronic noise stress. Use of holy basil
prevented increased corticosterone levels that indicate elevated stress levels. A water extract of holy basil protected mice against radiation
damage to the liver and chromosome damage to the cells. It prevented this damage by reducing hepatic lipid perioxidation and increasing the
presence of two powerful cellular antioxidants: superoxide dimutase and superoxide catalase.

Other animal studies provided preliminary evidence that holy basil lowers blood sugar levels, helps prevent gastric ulcers, and enhances
antibody production while inhibiting the symptoms of allergies.

There have been a few human studies. In one, holy basil was found to help reduce asthma symptoms, and in another, patients with type 2
diabetes had significant reductions in blood sugar levels (17.6 percent) while fasting and smaller decreases in blood sugar levels and cholesterol
levels after eating.

David Winston, herbalist

In my clinical practice I use holy basil to enhance cerebral circulation and memory. It is used in ayurvedic medicine to relieve “mental fog”
caused by chronic cannabis smoking. It can be combined with other cerebral stimulants such as rosemary, bacopa, and ginkgo to help people
with menopausal cloudy thinking, poor memory, attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and to
speed up recovery from head trauma.

I also use holy basil as an antidepressant for “stagnant depression.” The term stagnant depression is one that I coined, and it describes a
specific type of situational depression. In this case, some type of traumatic event occurred in a person’s life, and because he is unable to move
on, his life comes to revolve around the trauma. In addition to therapy, herbs such as holy basil, damiana, rosemary, and lavender are especially
useful for treating this condition.

Lastly, I frequently use holy basil to treat people with allergic rhinitis and allergies to animal dander and mold. Combined with reishi and a
solid extract from blueberries, it can reduce the symptoms of hay fever and allergic asthma.

Modern scientific research indicates that Holy Basil has the following health promotion benefits:

Holistic Health Promotion – Enhances general health and well-being, having positive overall effects on the body and mind. This is backed by
many thousand years of positive results.

Adaptogenic and Stress Resilience – Enhances the body’s natural bipolar adaptogenic homeostatic balancing capacity and helps return stressed
physiological systems to normal. Increases the capacity to cope and adapt to changing and challenging environments, and reduces the negative
physical and psychological effects of stress. Supports normal cortisol.

Heart and Vascular Protection – Lowers dangerous cholesterol and stress-related high blood pressure, protects the heart and blood vessels,
and has mild blood thinning qualities, thereby decreasing the likelihood of strokes. Moderates blood glucose levels in diabetics. Protects against
damage caused by foreign toxins in the blood (such as industrial chemicals).

Antioxidant and Nutrition – Provides significant antioxidant and free radical scavenging protection. Neutralizes dangerous biochemicals that
contribute to premature aging, cancer, and degenerative diseases. Contains vitamins C and A, and minerals calcium, zinc and iron, as well as
chlorophyll and many other phytonutrients. It also enhances the efficient digestion, absorption and use of nutrients from food and other herbs.

Immunity Support – Strengthens and modulates the immune system. Reduces allergic histamine, asthmatic and other adverse immune reactions.

Anti-inflammatory – Reduces the painful and dangerous inflammation that plays a key role in various forms of arthritis, cancer and degenerative
neurological disorders.

Liver Support – Generally contributes to healthy liver function, improves the metabolic breakdown and elimination of dangerous chemicals in
the blood, and counteracts various liver diseases.

Antibiotic Protection – Offers significant natural antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties and is, thereby, helpful in treating many
serious systemic diseases, as well as localized infections.

Lung and Bronchial Support – In addition to contributing generally to respiratory health, Holy Basil has been shown to be helpful in the
treatment of a variety of serious allergic, inflammatory and infectious disorders affecting the lungs and related tissues. Generally supports healthy pulmonary function.

Anti-Aging Effects – Slows the biological aging process by reducing the impact of physiological aging factors – such as stress, free radicals and
decreased immunity.

Radiation Protection – Reduces the cell and tissue damage caused by harmful rays of the sun, TV, computers, X-rays, radiation therapy, high
altitude air travel, etc.

Psycho-Spiritual – Aids meditation and delivers nutrients to the mind necessary for the experience of enlightenment.

Energy and Performance – Improves stamina and endurance, and increases the body’s efficiency in using oxygen. Enhances protein synthesis
and strength.

Allopathic Medicine Complement – Enhances the effectiveness and reduces the negative and often dangerous side effects of many standard
modern medical treatments.

Antipyretic – Prevents, removes or reduces fevers.

Anabolic Effect – Enhances protein synthesis, muscle mass and strength.

Benefits Skin – Reduces eczema, psoriasis and various other skin disorders.

Ayurvedic – Regulator of three doshas.

Informative articles on Tulsi – Holy Basil:

Tulsi Queen of Herbs: India’s Holy Basil
by Ralph Miller and Sam Miller

Sri Tulsi ji: The Incomparable Queen of Herbs
by Prashanti de Jagers

As with all herbs, you should talk with your health care practitioner prior to taking as some herbs will have adverse side effects when taken under certain physiological conditions, chronic illnesses and/or medications.


Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Dandelion benefits

Dandelion as a medicine was first mentioned in the works of the Arabian physicians of the tenth and eleventh centuries, who speak of it as a sort of wild Endive, under the name of Taraxcacon. In this country, we find allusion to it in the Welsh medicines of the
thirteenth century. Dandelion was much valued as a medicine in the times of Gerard and Parkinson, and is still extensively employed.

Dandelion roots have long been largely used on the Continent, and the plant is cultivated
largely in India as a remedy for liver complaints.

Daniel Mowrey PH.D, author of “The Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine” states, “Dandelion heads the list of excellent foods for the liver.” The herb has been used for centuries to treat jaundice and the yellowing of the skin that comes with liver
dysfunction, cirrhosis, hepatitis and liver disease.

But liver function isn’t the only use of this nutritious plant. It is also used to treat infections, swelling, water retention, breast problems, gallbladder problems, pneumonia and viruses.Studies have shown that dandelion stimulates bile flow and has a mild diuretic effect.

Modern naturopathic physicians use dandelion to detoxify the liver and reduce the side effects of prescription medications.

Dandelion is on the FDA’s list of safe foods and is approved by the Council of Europe.

The chief constituents of Dandelion root are Taraxacin, acrystalline and Taraxacerin, an acrid resin, with Inulin (a sort of sugar which replaces starch in many of the Dandelion family, Compositae), gluten, gum and potash. It contains substantial levels of vitamins A, C, D, B-complex, iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, manganese, choline, calcium and boron.

Diuretic, tonic and slightly aperient. It is a general stimulant to the system, but especially to the urinary organs, and is chiefly used in kidney and liver disorders.

Dandelion is not only official but is used in many patent medicines. Not being poisonous, quite big doses of its preparations may be taken. Its beneficial action is best obtained when combined with other agents.

Wise Woman Herbal Dandelion (Whole)/Taraxacum officinalis 2 oz
$21.40 from House of Nutrition

Dandelion Root (Taraxacum officinale) Powder, 25 kg (55 lbs): RF
$487.50 from Kalyx.com

Wise Woman Herbal Dandelion, Whole/Taraxacum 16 oz
$144.30 from House of Nutrition

Traditional’s Organic Roasted Dandelion Root 16Bags
$5.59 from House of Nutrition

Wise Woman Herbal Dandelion, Taraxacum/Whole 8 oz
$78.30 from House of Nutrition

Latin Names: Taraxacum officinale, Leotodon taraxacum

Common Names: Dandelion, Blowball, Canker Wort, Irish Daisy, Lion’s Tooth, Puffball, Wild Endive

Properties: Diuretic, tonic and slightly aperient, mild laxative.

Uses: Anemia, Constipation, Gallstones. Kidney and liver disorders, jaundice and the yellowing of the skin that comes with liver dysfunction, cirrhosis, hepatitis and liver disease. Encourages normal digestion.