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Helpful herbs from A to Z- The letter I

Posted on November 23, 2015 at 1:13 PM Comments comments (0)
    Today's blog is helpful herbs that begin with the letter I. Before we get into the amazing properties and uses of these herbs I want to talk about how important it is to know the energy and taste of an herb and the energy of the person taking the herb so they can be effective. One great example of this that I recently learned in one of my classes was the difference between Cruella de Vil and the Queen of Hearts. If you are familiar with these characters you can see that one is cold and dry in nature (Cruella) and the other is hot and moist in nature (Queen of Hearts) you would not use the same herbs on these two characters because of their underlining energies. One would need warming and moist herbs while the other would need cooling and drying herbs to be effective. This is why seeing an herbalist and always checking with a physician for any contraindications is important when using herbs and herbal remedies. If an herb isn't working for you it could be that the energetics of that herb and your energetics don't go together. This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure, just to inform.

Western Herb

Irish Moss(Chondrus Crispus)

Parts used - seaweed

The energy and taste is sweet, salty, and cold and moist

Constituents - vitamins A, B1, amino acids, sulphur, polysaccharides, proteins, mucins, iodine, bromine, manganese salts, carrageenan, iron.

Internal uses - a demulcent tonic, nutrient rich and emollient herb that is used for lung issues. This herb also supports skin health, bronchitis, thyroid issues, (caution: do not use in hypothyroid conditions), tones and strengthens all glands in the body and has shown to be helpful in digestive conditions. Taken as a tea, tincture or pill. If taking as tinctures take 1 to 2 ml 3x a day.

Topical uses - softens and soothes mucus membranes so it is great for chapped dry skin, sunburns, eczema, and psoriasis. Find in creams or skin care products.

Chinese Herb

Isatis Root(Ban Plan Gen)

Radix isatidis

Parts used - root

Energy and taste is cold, and bitter and drying

Constituents - sinigrin, indigo, clamastanin b, alkaloids, indirubin, lindioil, salicylic acid.

Internal uses - antibacterial, antiviral, parasiticide that is good for colds, flu, and sore throats. Take 10-30 grams per day till symptoms subside. Do not take if you are cold in nature and if you have an aspirin allergy due to the high salicylic properties of this herb.

Topical uses - for psoriasis of the nails apply oil from this herb to nail and nail bed 2x a day for 24 weeks. A chemical component (indigo and the lindioil in particular) have shown to be helpful in treating the psoriasis in some scientific studies.

Ayurvedic Herb

Indian Corral Tree( Erythrina Variegata)

Parts Used - leaves and bark

Constituents - alkaloids, flavonoids, triterpenoids, lectin, isoflavonoids, pterocarpan, steroid, proteins, amino acids.

Energy is light, bitter, pungent, cooling, and drying.

Internal uses - treats inflammatory conditions, menstrual pain, digestive problems, fevers, edema, painful urination, liver function and blood vessels. Specific studies have found that isoflavonoids in this tree can help protect the bone mass in mice (2007, Zhang Y. et.all Journal of Ethnopharmacology Vol. 109 (1) pop.165-9)
Bark 50- 100 ml or fresh juice from leaves 10-20 ml

Topical uses - The leaves can be used as a paste applied to wounds or over swollen joints.

     Hope any of the above information was helpful. Have a happy thanksgiving! I won't be posting next week but check back the week of December 1st for helpful herbs that begin with the letter J!


Resources

The Way of Ayurvedic Herbs: A Contemporary Introduction and Useful Manual for the World's Oldest Healing System, Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa and Michael Tierra
 
The Way of Chinese Herbs, Michael Tierra

The Way of Herbs: Fully Updated with the Latest Developments in Herbal Science, Michael Tierra

Helpful herbs from A to Z-The letter H

Posted on November 15, 2015 at 5:41 PM Comments comments (0)
     Today's blog is on three helpful herbs from Traditional Chinese herbs, Western herbs, and Ayurveda herbs. I got this one out very late this week!
      This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, cure, or diagnose anything. Please check with your physician before taking any herbal remedies or supplements to ensure there are no contraindications. I believe in the power of herbs and herbal remedies but always err on the side of caution and common sense when taking anything for your health.
 
Chinese Herb

Honeysuckle flowers(Jin Yin Hua)

Flos Lonicerae Japonical

Parts used - flowers

The energy of this flower is cold and the tastes are bitter and sweet.

Constituents- insositol, luteolium, tannin, glucoside, salicylic acid, mucilage

Internal uses - Clears heat in the body and relieves toxicity. A powerful anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, and antimicrobial, making this flower good for fighting upper respiratory tract infections, common cold, sore throat, and flu. Take 6-15 grams per day.

Topical use - This flower is good to use as a poultice to ease inflammation.
By placing herbs directly on the skin, you take advantage of the skin's ability to absorb the properties of the herb. Grind the flowers dried or fresh with a mortar and pestle and add hot water to make a thick paste. Spread this paste over a clean cloth (cheese cloth or gauze work well). Place this over the area that has the inflammation. Cover this with a hot cloth or a hot water bottle. Can also just cover with a dry towel and leave on for up to 24 hours.

Ayurveda Herb

Hibiscus (Hibiscus Rosa - Sinensis)

Ayurveda name - Japa

Parts used - flower

Energy is cooling, sweet, and astringent

Constituents- citric acid, malic acid, tartaric acid, allo-hydroxycitric acid, quercitin, flavonoids, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, cyanidin, lactone, alkaloids, anthocyanins

Internal use - This flower is alterative, hemostatic, emmenagogue, demulcent, and antispasmodic that helps to cleanse the blood and detoxify the body. Also a mild laxative. Several studies have found that hibiscus flowers help to lower blood pressure. The research suggests that the diuretic properties, along with an ability to open up the arteries (acting like a natural ACE inhibitor) make this flower effective in lowering blood pressure. Drinking 2 glasses of tea over the course of the day or 250 milligrams in a capsule is the recommended dosage from these studies.

Topical uses - Hibiscus flowers are a natural alpha hydroxy acid. This helps to exfoliate the skin and speed up cell turnover rates. The added benefits are the ability to retain moisture and elasticity in skin. The anti-inflammatory and astringent properties help to soothe inflammation and acne. I carry a wonderful hibiscus/rose serum that is great for the skin for all of the reasons listed above.

Western Herb

Horse Chestnut(Aesculushippocastanum)

Parts used - bark and the fruit

Energy and taste is neutral and bitter.

Constituents- bark gas aescin, tannin, allantoin, leococyanidin, plant sterols, seeds are starch sugar, linoleic and steric acids.

Internal uses - Horse chestnut seed extract is often used for vein insufficiency, varicose veins, pain, ankle swelling and itching, and night leg cramping. The aescin is a saponin which is known to promote normal tone in the walls of the vein. It has also been used to treat hemorrhoids. 600 mg per day.

Topical uses - the aescin in the horse chestnut helps to diminish the number of diameters of tiny openings in the capillary walls. This helps to reduce swelling and bruising, and the appearance of varicose veins when used in a cream or gel.

Hope this information was helpful and please check back next week for helpful herbs that begin with the letter I!

Resources
The Way of Ayurvedic Herbs: A Contemporary Introduction and Useful Manual for the World's Oldest Healing System, Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa and Michael Tierra

The Way of Chinese Herbs, Michael Tierra

The Way of Herbs: Fully Updated with the Latest Developments in Herbal Science, Michael Tierra

Helpful Herbs from A to Z- The letter G.

Posted on November 4, 2015 at 6:51 PM Comments comments (0)
       Today's blog is on helpful herbs that begin with the letter G. The first herb is an Ayurveda herb that will be very useful to me in the coming months. The Hindi name of this herb means 'destroyer of sugar'. The holiday season is upon us and that means lots and lots of sugar! I'm currently trying to avoid the sweet stuff so here’s hoping this herb helps! Before we began I have to do my legal disclaimer (required by law and the school I study with): These blogs in no way should be substituted for medical advice. They are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure anything. They are only meant to inform, and always check with your doctor before taking any herbs or herbal remedies. Now we can begin!

Ayurveda Herb

Gurmar(Gymnema Sylvestre)
(Hindi name sugar destroyer)

Ayurveda names Meshasringi, Shardunika, Madhunashini

Parts used - Leaves

Constituents - gymnemic acid, parabin, glucose and carbohydrates

Internal uses - digestive stimulant, diuretic, astringent. Helps with hypoglycemia, kidney stones, enlarged liver and spleen, and diabetes. Tastes astringent and pungent.
This herb has been used in India for over 2,000 years. When used primarily to treat adult onset diabetes it has been shown to raise insulin levels. Also noted for lowering serum cholesterol levels, triglycerides, and helping to normalize blood sugar. In recent studies Gurmar showed the potential for pancreas repair, raising insulin to normal levels. Gurmar has also been shown to reduce sugar cravings over time if taken daily.
400-600mg can be taken daily in capsules or 1 gram to 5 grams daily in powder form. May also take as a tea infusion from the leaf, cut or whole.

Topical uses - as a paste of powder and water applied to wounds to draw out infection.


Chinese Herb

Ginkgo Biloba (Semen ginkgo biloba)

Chinese name - Bai Guo

Parts used - nuts, leaves

Constituents - flavonoids, terpenoids, bilobalide, ascorbic acid, catechin.

Internal uses - nuts aid in expectoration of phlegm, stop chronic cough and wheezing. It is a neutral astringent that tastes both sweet and bitter. The leaves improve cerebral blood circulation and blood circulation in general. Warm and bitter tasting.
Studies have shown that the leaves may lessen the effects of senile dementia. May also prevent and lessen effects of Alzheimer's, blood clots, tinnitus, and macular degeneration.
Contraindications - should not be used in large doses or for long periods of time. May cause mild stomach discomfort, dizziness, or heart palpitations. Discontinue use if you experience any of the above.
Take 120 to 600 mg a day in capsules or 6-9 grams powder.

Topical uses - high in antioxidants and an anti- inflammatory so it helps acne, eczema and aging. Look for it as an extract in skin care products.


Western Herb

Goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis)

Parts used - rhizome and root

Constituents - hydrastine, berberine, resin, traces of essential oils, chologenic acid, fatty oil, albumin and sugar.

Internal uses – treats dyspepsia, acid indigestion, gastritis, colitis, duodenal ulcers, eczema, and other inflammatory skin disorders. Cleanses and dries mucus membranes and can help treat liver diseases like cirrhosis and hepatitis. Taste is bitter and energy is cold.
Doses - 5-30 drops of tincture a day or 250 mg capsules 3 times a day.
Do not use while pregnant.

Topical uses - antibacterial and astringent so can be used to prevent infection. Mix powder with water to form a paste and apply to wounds.


     Hope any of this information was helpful and check back next week for helpful herbs that begin with the letter H!
 
References
(Shanmaugasundaram K, Kizar Ahmath B. Use of Gymnema Sylvestre leaf extract in the control of blood glucose in insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, J Ethnopharmacol. 1990 Oct; 30(3):281-94.
 
The Way of Ayurvedic Herbs: A Contemporary Introduction and Useful Manual for the World's Oldest Healing System,  Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa,  Michael Tierra
The Way of Chinese Herbs, Michael Tierra, L.A.c. O.M.D

The Way of Herbs, Michael Tierra, LA.c O.M.D.

Helpful Herbs that begin with the letter F.

Posted on October 28, 2015 at 8:33 PM Comments comments (0)
    Today's blog is about herbs that begin with the letter F. I also want to talk about how to match herbs to the individual and not just the condition. Herbalism isn't a one size fits all solution. As I have stated before it requires a consultation to determine what herb or herbal remedy is right for you. This begins with figuring out your personal energetics. 

     Are you a hot person who sweats easily or a cold person with dry skin and hair? Next we try to find the energetics of the condition you want to address. Do you have a dry nose and throat with chills or are you hot and feverish and have a runny nose? This next part is somewhat confusing so now be prepared for some Yoda speak. This line of questioning helps to determine if you are a cold dry person that is currently experiencing a hot moist condition or vice versa (see Yoda speak!)  The next step is to find a plant with the proper energetics to treat both the person and the condition. An example of this would be that fennel (one of our feature herbs today) is spicy, warm, dry, and light and would be best used to clear the lungs and intestines in someone who was cold and moist, with lots of mucus.

     This is how simple and complicated herbal remedies can be and that’s just the simple version of an herbal consult. Herbs can be very specific to a condition and a person, and yet easy enough to implement in day to day living!  Let's begin with how to use fennel.

Western Herb

Fennel (Foeniculum Vulgate)

Parts used - seeds and stem

Warming, sweet, pungent, dry and light.

Constituents - cresol alpha pinene, vitamin C, fiber, potassium, copper, manganese, folate, phosphorus, calcium, iron, vitamin B 3, portothenic acid, rutin, quercitin, glycosides, and a phytonutrient called anethole that fights inflammation.

Internal uses - carminative, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, galactagogue, stomachic, phytoestrogenic, expectorant, emenagogue.

Fennel increases digestive fire without aggravation. It helps to calm nerves,  can treat asthma and high blood pressure, gas and can be used to help lactation. Take as a tea until desired lactation results. For chronic digestive/lung issues take 1-2 grams per day. For gas you can chew 1 tablespoon of seeds or you can eat the stem stalks like celery in stews or soups.

Ayurveda Herb

Fenugreek (Trigonella Foenum Graceum)

Ayurveda name - Methi, or Medhika

Parts used - seeds, stems and greens

Constituents - iron, vitamin C, A, B1, phosphates, fiber, protein, sapogenins, phytosterols, diosgenin, amino acids.

Internal uses - fenugreek is one of the oldest recorded medicinal plants and one of the most versatile. It is a tonic, an expectorant, an anti-inflammatory and a blood sugar stabilizer. Often used as a seasoning in foods it has a bitter, pungent, and sweet taste. Studies have shown it to be helpful in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It has also been shown to increase the production of pancreatic enzymes. Warning - Do not use while pregnant because it is a phytohormone.  Doses - 15 grams a day in capsules or sprinkled into food.

Topical uses - anti- inflammatory so can you can mix the powder with water to form a paste to use on eczema, gout, boils or burns.

Chinese Herb

Forsythia (Forsythia Suspensate)

Chinese name - Lian Qiao)

Parts used - fruit

Constituents - penylethanoids, forsythaside and suspensaside, lignans, phillyrin, pinoresinol, o p d glucoside and phenyllenoids.

Topical uses - antibacterial, antiemetic, parasiticide, antipyretic, and anti-inflammatory. Treats common cold, flu, swollen glands, sore throat, and upper respiratory issues. Take 3-12 grams per day in capsules or as a tea.
 

Hope any of this was helpful and as always check with a qualified physician before taking any herbs or herbal supplements. Check back next week for helpful herbs that begin with the letter G!


Resources:
The Way of Ayurvedic Herbs: A Contemporary Introduction and Useful Manual for the World's Oldest Healing System,  Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa,  Michael Tierra
The Way of Chinese Herbs, Michael Tierra, L.A.c. O.M.D

The Way of Herbs, Michael Tierra, LA.c O.M.D.

Helpful Herbs that begin with the letter E

Posted on October 22, 2015 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (0)

         Herbs and herbal remedies have been the basis for health and wellness throughout human history. Plants contain many beneficial properties to help the body heal. Western herbology, Chinese herbology, and Ayurveda herbology are very similar in nature. In recommending herbs or herbal formulas the first step is evaluation. This evaluation will include what season it is, body types and temperature, personality, moods, as well as symptoms and conditions. In recommending herbs you will often encounter an herb that works so well that all three traditions use it. Dandelion from the last blog is one of those herbs and Echinacea is another. Beautiful and complex in its simplicity. Again it is important to check with your physician before taking any herbs or herbal formulas. 

Today's blog is helpful herbs that begin with the letter E!

     The first herb is Echinacea and as I mentioned above it is well loved.

Western and Ayurveda Herb
Echinacea - (echinacea angustifolia, E pupurea E pallida)

Common names - cone flower, prairie, and snake root

Parts used - roots and leaves

Constituents - essential oils polysaccharides, echinacoside, and a triglycoside of caffeic acid derivative only in the E angustifolia and E pallida.glychoproteins, alkaloids, flavonoids.

     Echinacea was widely used by the 'Eclectics' founded in 1850's by Dr. Wooster Beach. The Eclectic medicine specialized in the integration of Native American herbs and homeopathic medicine. These were highly qualified doctors who published several books and scientific journals. The Eclectics were also the first to admit women into the medical profession. The main college was in Cincinnati Ohio.

  Echinacea is an anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, and antiviral. This herb is generally tolerated by all but if you experience stomach upset try taking it with a small amount of licorice and ginger.

Internal uses - anti-inflammatory, antiviral, boost to the immune system.
Dose - dried powder 2 grams at a time. For acute conditions take every 2 hours, for chronic conditions take 3 times a day for 2 weeks. It can also be taken in pills, at 300 mg for 2 weeks or as a tea 1 cup daily.

Topical uses - for slow healing or infected wounds in a cream or salve until healed.

Chinese herb
Elecampane (Xuan Fu Hua) inato Japonica

Parts used - flowers in traditional Chinese medicine, root in Western medicine.

Constituents - quercetin, insulin, a phytochemical, Helen, that coats and soothes bronchial passages.

     This herb is an expectorant, antiemetic, used for asthma, bronchitis, and shortness of breath, chest congestion, and pleurisy. Not to be used if pregnant or nursing or if you have tuberculosis. It is not recommended if you have yellow phloem or gastric spasms. High doses cause vomiting. If you have allergies to feverfew, chamomile or echinacea do not take.

Internal uses - cough, asthma, bronchitis. This is a dispersing herb to help clear lungs and phlegm from lungs and stomach. Dose of 3-9 grams of the flowers can be fried in honey and eaten. Can also be taken as a tea, drink 1 cup of weak tea a day.

Topical uses - in a cream or salve for pain.

     On a side note this herb is also used in the preparation of Absinthe!

 Hope any if this information was helpful and check back next week for herbs that begin with the letter F.


Resources:

The Way of Ayurvedic Herbs: A Contemporary Introduction and Useful Manual for the World's Oldest Healing System,  Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa,  Michael Tierra

The Complete Guide to Natural Healing, International Masters Publishers

The Way of Chines Herbs, Michael Tierra L.A.C., O.M.D.

The Way of Herbs, Michael Tierra, L.Ac., O.M.D.

Helpful Herbs from A to Z- Herbs that begin with the letter D.

Posted on October 13, 2015 at 9:19 PM Comments comments (0)
     Plants have been utilized for their medicinal properties long before recorded history. Some of the earliest records of medicinally used herbs date 3,000 BC. We now can test their validity through scientific analysis and reinforce what our ancestors knew to be true about herbal medicine. In writing these blogs I hope to introduce people to the healing power of nature!
     I also feel it is important to understand that this is a complex system of treatment and requires a consultation with a qualified practitioner to determine the right herbs for you. These consultations consist of your health history, family heath history, diet and lifestyle, mood, medications, allergies, tongue and pulse diagnosis, skin, hair, eyes, teeth, fingernails, body temperature and more to determine the appropriate course of treatment for you. Herbs are then chosen for use based on their energetic properties, their tastes (bitter, sweet, sour, pungent) their Yang or Yin properties and organs treated. These are very specific to each person’s needs and health at the time and there is no one size fits all approach in herbalism. These blogs are an attempt to initiate an interest in others in exploring the wonderful world of herbalism and how it can improve your health and wellbeing. This information isn't intended to treat or diagnose. Always check with your physician before taking any herbs. 

 Today's helpful Western, Chinese, and Ayurvedic herbs begin with the letter D.

Western Herb - Daisy (Bell is Perennis)

Parts used - fresh flowers and leaves, dried flowers and leaves, and sometimes the stem.

Components - Triterpenoid saponins, tannins, vitamin C, flavonoids, malic acid, tartic acid, oxalates.

Internal uses - Helps to boost the metabolism by cleansing the liver and gallbladder, promotes appetite, is a slight laxative, mild analgesic and antispasmodic. It is a blood purifier that helps symptoms of gout and rheumatism. Drink as a tea by pouring 1 cup of boiling water over 2 tsps of dried leaves and flowers. Strain after 10 minutes and drink. One cup 2-3 times a day is recommended. Can also take as a tincture. Place 1 oz of dried flowers and leaves into 5oz of 80 proof vodka for 2 weeks. Store in a dark place and shake mixture daily. Strain the herbs when ready with cheesecloth. Discard dried herbs and store liquid in dark tincture bottle with dropper. Take 20-40 drops 3 times a day.

Topical uses - Daisy tea can be used as a hot compress on varicose veins, swellings, bruises and wounds. Can also be used in creams or salves by infusing dried flowers and leaves into oil (hot or cold method) straining out herbs and utilizing the oil. High in vitamin C which is always great for the skin.

Chinese Herb - Dipsacus Root, Xu Duran, (Radux Dipsacus Asperi)

Parts Used – root.

Components - phenolic acids, trtereroids,iridoid glycosides, triterperoids, saponins.

     Translation of this Chinese name is 'bone healing herb' used for broken bones, ruptured tendons, broken skin. This is a kidney yang tonic.  Strengthens connective tissue like tendons and ligaments. Helps with osteoporosis and osteopenia.
Internal uses - can be taken as a tea, pill, tincture, or powder form.

Topical uses - applied in a salve to stiff joints, arthritic areas, or trauma injuries due to its anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties.


Ayurvedic Herb - Dandelion (Taraxacu Officinale)

Ayurvedic name - Dughdapheni

Parts used - root and leaf.

     The dandelion is recognized and well used in all three of the oldest systems of herbalism. In Ayurveda, Chinese, and Western Materia Medica books this herb is listed. This is mainly due to the benefits it has on the liver but it is also a powerful diuretic that detoxifies the kidneys. The root is diuretic and the leaf is anti-rheumatic. This plant can help with gout, blood sugar, skin diseases, lymphatic drainage, liver and kidney detoxification.

Components - high in vitamin C, E K, calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, potassium, glycosides, ohytosterols, tannins, and triterpenes.

Internal uses - dandelion root can be taken in capsules, at 3,000 mg per day, or in a tincture taken 1 tsp a day, or as a tea, with 3 to 4 cups a day. Consult your doctor before taking if you have gallbladder disease as it increases bile production.

Topical uses – Can be used in a cream or salve for its high vitamin and mineral contents (vitamin A, C E K,) which are great for skin!

     Hope any if this information was helpful! Check back next week for herbs that begin with the letter E.
 
 
 
References:
The Way of Ayurvedic Herbs,  Marta Purkh Singh Khalsa & Michael Tierra
The Complete Guide to Natural Healing, International Masters Publishers

The Way of Herbs, Michael Tierra, L.Ac., O.M.D.

Herbs from A to Z - The letter C

Posted on October 5, 2015 at 9:44 PM Comments comments (0)

     This is the third blog in the series of helpful herbs, and today we will be looking at Western, Chinese, and Ayurvedic herbs that begin with the letter C. Herbs can be easily incorporated into your day to day life to improve your health and wellness. Generally these herbs are safe to use. There may be some contraindications in regard to prescription medications, health conditions, and in pregnant or nursing mothers. Please always check with a qualified physician before taking any herbal supplements.
 
Western Herb - Calendula (Calendula Officinalis)
Parts used: whole flower or just the petals.

Components: essential oil that has an antibiotic effect, calenden triterpenoids, glycosides, beta carotene, saponins, lutein, B- carotene, anthocyanins, plant fiber mucilage, organic acids and various enzymes.

Topical uses: Antiseptic and antibiotic components helps to heal minor wounds. Reduces inflammation and pus formation while promoting blood circulation that promotes healing and prevents scarring. I make a skin salve with calendula as one of the ingredients that we use for every major and minor wound in our household. It has even proven effective on my cats wounds when he has gotten into a fight with the neighbors kitty!

Internal uses: Helps to stimulate digestion when taken as a tea; drink 2-3 cups per day. Can also be used as a gargle to soothe a sore throat. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1-2 tsp of dried calendula petals. Steep this for 10 minutes then strain and drink or gargle.

 
Chinese Herb - Corydalis Yanhusuo (member of the papaveraceae family) Disclaimer: Not to be used when pregnant or nursing or if you have an irregular heartbeat.

Parts used: root

Components: DHCB (dehydrocorybulbine) alkaloid
A blood moving herb that has proven effective for pain relief. Blocks inflammation and nerve pain and has been useful in rheumatism, sciatic pain, back injuries, liver and gallbladder pain, tremors and spasms.

Topical uses: In a balm or salve applied where there is pain.

Internal uses: 3 to 9 grams in 2 to 3 doses taken daily or in granules dissolved in hot water sipped throughout the day. May have some interactions with prescription medications like sedatives, or anti arrhythmic drugs. Check with your doctor before taking. This is a promising herb in natural pain relief without the risks of addiction that many pain medications carry.
 
Ayurvedic Herb - Castor oil (Ricinuscommunis)

Parts used: expressed oil from the seed

Components: hydroxylate-fatty acid, triglycerides, omega 9, 90% ricinoleic acid

Topical uses:  An anti-inflammatory and analgesic herb when applied in a salve, or a moist pack, to muscles, sprains, strains, wounds, warts, sciatic, cuts, and dry skin. I use this oil, with other pain relieving herbs and essential oils, in my herbal muscle rub and it works wonderfully for sore muscles!

Internal uses: Has been used for constipation relief when taken in small doses. That would be the only way to take because it tastes terrible! This oil has also been used to induce labor. The ricinoleic acid binds to cellular receptors that are prostaglandin receptors. These receptors have various roles in the body, from changing structure in neurons to controlling how blood clots. In the case of ingesting castor oil the ricinoleic acid binds to smooth muscle cells on the walls of the small intestine and causes contractions. The science explains why it’s effective but again it’s a tough oil to choke down!


That's it for herbs beginning with the letter C. Check back next week for herbs beginning with the letter D.
 
Resources:
The Complete Guide to Natural Healing, International Masters Publishers AB
The way of Chinese Herbs, Michael Tierra, L.A.c., O.M.D.
Current Biology, January 20, 2014

The way of Ayurvedic Herbs, Marta Purkh Singh Khalsa & Michael Tierra

Helpful herbs from A to Z -The Letter B

Posted on September 28, 2015 at 9:40 PM Comments comments (0)
    This is the second blog in the series of helpful herbs from A to Z, but first let’s begin with a disclaimer. The information provided in these blogs is not intended to replace professional health advice in any way. All information should only be used under direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner. Do not use essential oils on broken or sensitive skin and always use extreme caution with herbs and essential oils when pregnant or if you have a medical condition.

      "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." - Hippocrates
This is a well-known quote and if you look deeper into your food choices you can see the wisdom behind it. With this in mind let's look at some easily available Western, Chinese, and Ayurvedic plants and herbs (that begin with the letter B) that have healing effects on the body.


Western Herb Basil (ocimum basilieum)

Parts used are the leaves and seeds.
Biochemical components - rich in an essential oil called estragol. This is comprised primarily of methychavicol. Also contain sponins, tannins, flavonoids, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, vitamin A, C, K, copper, and omega 3 fats. Basil is wound healing, antispasmodic, anti fungal, anti-bacterial, and has wound healing properties. This herb is also great as a digestive tonic, helping to ease constipation, stomach cramps and gas. Provides relief for coughs and flu because of its antibacterial properties. This is an easily obtained herb with numerous medicinal properties; eyes, lungs, kidneys, digestive, skin, immune system, headaches, stress reliever and more!

Topical uses - essential oil can be applied in a skin care product or diluted in carrier oil. Fresh leaves can be applied in a poultice for wound healing. The Essential oil can be applied to the temples to relieve headaches.

Internal uses - Can be eaten fresh in salads, pasta or with tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. To take as an infusion pour 1/4cup of boiling water over 2 tsp of dried leaves and steep for 10 minutes. Drink 1 cup of this infusion 2 times a day for 8 days. For inhalation, to help with head colds and sinus issues, pour boiling water over fresh leaves. Put a towel over your head and the steaming pot and inhale the steam.

Chinese herb - Black Sesame Seeds (Sesamum indicum)
Parts used are the seeds
Biochemical components - manganese, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, vitamin B1, amino acids, selenium, fiber, sesamin, sesamolin (lignans), phytic acid, oleic acid, and phytosterols. These things make black sesame seeds great at counteracting free radical damage, lowering blood cholesterol levels, helping to detoxify the body, and serve as a neuroprotective.

Topical uses - as an organic oil on hair and skin or in a skin care product.

Internal uses - seeds can be added to salads, smoothies or taken as oil.

Ayurvedic herb - Black Pepper (Piper Nigrum)
Parts used the flower (peppercorn)
Biochemical components - lignans, alkaloids, flavnoids, sabinene, pinene, phellndrene, linaloo, and limonene, chavicine and piperine. Black pepper is a broad spectrum antimicrobial, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory. It protects the liver, prevents depletion of glutathione (this is an important molecule produce by your body that is essential for the body to stay healthy, prevent aging, cancer, heart disease, dementia and more) and increases the absorption of other foods and herbs.

Topical uses - diluted in carrier oil or a skin care product. I use organic black pepper essential oil in an herbal muscle rub I make for topical pain relief.

Internal uses - whole or organic pepper corns or powdered in all foods, or you can put into whole milk with honey as a tonic. Taken as a capsule in trikatu powder which is 3 spices; ginger, black pepper, and Indian long pepper to stimulate digestive and metabolic functions in the body. Black pepper taken with turmeric increased the bioavailability by 154% and reduced the time for the body to absorb and utilize the health benefits by half. Turmeric is a panacea of health benefits that we will get to at a later date, but the ability for the body to absorb its many uses can only be achieved through black pepper.

     Thank you for reading and I hope any of this information was helpful to you in your life. These are three great, easily incorporated herbs for your body’s health and wellness. Check back next week for three more helpful herbs that begin with the letter C.



Resources:  Open Access Scientific Reports, Chemical Composition, Nutritional, Medicinal, and Functional Properties of Black Pepper: A review Murlidhar Meghwal and TK Goswanni
The Way of Ayurvedic Herbs, Karta Purkj Singh Khalsa and Michael Tierra
The Way of Chines Herbs, Michael Tierra L.A.C., O.M.D.
The Complete Guide to Natural Healing, International Masters Publishers

Helpful Herb Series- A to Z

Posted on September 21, 2015 at 8:48 PM Comments comments (0)
    Our skin is our largest eliminating organ. This is not new information but it is worth repeating. The information needs to be repeated to be fully understood, because in order to correct issues with the skin we need to first address the issues from within! 

   Diet and exercise are the first things you should look at in maintaining overall health and wellness. When we eat poorly, do not exercise, or take care of ourselves, our skin will suffer. Always try to eat a well balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Drink lots of pure water, and exercise to keep those lymphatics moving! Herbs, vitamins, and plants that can help support you on this path can be easily added to a daily routine.

   This is the first in a series of blog posts on what I have learned studying Western herbs, Chinese herbs, and Ayurvedic herbs, and how they can help support you internally and externally. I have chosen these herbs for their overall usefulness and availability. We will start with herbs beginning with the letter A. This is where I add a word of caution and common sense. You should always talk to your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements. There may be contraindications with prescription medications and/or medical conditions. Having stated that, lets begin with an easily obtained plant/herb found in most health food stores.

Western Herbs- Aloe Vera
     Aloe Vera is used topically in treatments for acne, wounds, wrinkles, age spots, and rashes. Topically it can be applied in a skin care product, from the organic juice as a spray, or from the leaf of the aloe plant directly. It is used internally for constipation and liver, heart, and spleen health. Internally it can be taken in capsules as a powder or a gel, or by drinking the organic juice.
     The biochemical constituents that make this plant so helpful in these uses are: aloins, polysaccharides, glycoproteins, sterols, saponins, and organic acids. If taken internally for 3 months 1 teaspoon of aloe with 1 teaspoon of turmeric root has been proven to be helpful in counteracting the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome by helping to regulate liver function. This could be powdered, in a capsule, or the juice of aloe vera and powdered tumeric daily.

Chinese Herbs- Astragalus Root 
Astragalus root helps to strengthen the primary energy of the body. It is an immune tonic that has been shown to help with weak and low metabolisms, lowering blood pressure, edema, and prolapsed internal organs, among it's many other uses. Topically it can be applied in a skin care product as it helps to stimulate collagen and heal wounds. Internally it can be taken as a capsule as directed on the bottle, or 1/2 teaspoon of powder daily.
The biochemical constituents that are present and helpful in this herb are: saponins, sterols, polysaccharides, antioxidants, anti inflammatory and anti-aging.

Ayurvedic Herbs-Ashwagandha Root
Ashwagandha root protects the immune system by combating stress, improving memory and learning, relieving anxiety, depression, stabilizing blood sugars and being anti inflammatory and antibacterial.There are over 200 scientific studies showcasing the many healing benefits of ashwagandha. Topically this herb works as a pain reliever, protects against skin cancer and helps fight acne. It can be applied in a skin care product containing this herb or as a powdered mask. Internally the recommended dosage as an overall healing tonic is 600 to 1,000mg 2 times a day or taken nightly as a tea.

    I hope any of this information was of use and check back next week for the next part of the series: herbs that begin with the letter B!

Resources:
The Way of Herbs, Michael Tierra, L.Ac., O.M.D
The Way of Chinese Herbs, Michael Tierra, L.Ac., O.M.D.
The Way of Ayurvedic Herbs, Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa & Michael Tierra

How big is your love?

Posted on January 22, 2014 at 7:59 PM Comments comments (0)
How big is your love?

     This was a question recently on a podcast I was listening to. I thought it was a very interesting question because in the face of day to day living, in the face of tragedy or chaos or even bliss-how big is your love?  This answer shifts and changes, doesn't  it?

     Maybe it shouldn't if we are remembering how to love. I remember when they first placed my son in my arms the day he was born. Then again when they placed my daughter in my arms the day she was born. That’s love! Steady and true. This is unfaltering, unwavering and Earth shattering love. I just need to remember to hold that love in my heart for all. Not just people, places and things, but for myself, for everyday that I live and breathe on this planet.

     Back to the question-how big is my love? I falter in this so often. My triggers tend to be my children. Maybe because that is the purest love I have ever known. When I feel that someone is out to hurt them in any way I become enraged. I become the biggest scariest mamma bear you could possibly image.  I believe there is a place for these feelings. There is an evolutionary reason for these feelings.  I’m sure the purpose of this was when we had to fight off attackers to protect our offspring.  Maybe the answer for me in this is to recognize that ancestral self and its purpose. Then move forward into acceptance, love, and even forgiveness.  This would be forgiveness not only for others, but also me for those thoughts and feelings. 

    This feels like the law of polarity to me. Without dark there could be no light. The other end of the spectrum of this huge love I have for my children is the sword which I wield in the protection of them. I believe this is okay as long as I recognize it for what it is and move forward in it. Balance in it all is the real trick. 

I share these ramblings of a crazy woman, because it is part of the mind, body, spirit connection. It is part of who I am and who we all are- both the light and the dark. If I can use this question of "how big is my love?" maybe I can remember to stay centered in it.

  This will definitely be one of the many themes for me this year. How big is my love for myself, for others, and for the joy of being alive in the face of any challenges. What themes or thoughts are in store for you this year? Do you have spaces inside yourself that aren't your favorites? I feel like this year is a year to clear out these issues and move forward in light and I hope that I am up for the task! I’m looking forward to an exciting year.

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