egypt-scrollsHerbology is the science of the use of herbs and plants for medicinal purpose. It  probably is as ancient as an existence of humans on this planet. The first written records are over 5,000 years: Sumerians, created clay tablets with lists of hundreds of medicinal plants (such as myrrh and opium). In India, Ayurvedic medicine has used many herbs including turmeric possibly as early as 1900 BC. Sushruta in the sixth century BC describes 700 medicinal plants, 64 preparations from mineral sources, and 57 preparations based on animal sources. In Egypt (1500 BC) we find that herbology was highly advanced with knowledge of medicinal characteristics of over 850 plant, including garlic, sage, juniper, cannabis, castor bean, aloe, and mandrake.

chinese-herbalisticsIn China The Shennong Ben Cao Jing lists 365 medicinal plants and their uses long before 5th century BC – including ephedra, hemp, and chaulmoogra used (for leprosy).Succeeding generations augmented on the Shennong Bencao Jing, as in the Yaoxing Lun (Treatise on the Nature of Medicinal Herbs), a 7th-century Tang Dynasty treatise on herbal medicine.

Baghdad was an important center for Arab herbalism, as was Al-Andalus between 800 and 1400. Abulcasis (936-1013) of Cordoba wrote The Book of Simples, Ibn al-Baitar (1197–1248) of Málaga wrote the Corpus of Simples, the most complete Arab herbal which introduced 200 new healing herbs, including tamarind, Aconitum, and nux vomica.

avicenna-islamic-alchemyAvicenna’s The Canon of Medicine (1025) lists 800 tested drugs, plants and minerals with specific guides of use in diseases and a discussion of the healing properties of herbs, including nutmeg, senna, sandalwood, rhubarb, myrrh, cinnamon, and rosewater. Other early pharmacopoeias include Abu-Rayhan Biruni in the eleventh century, Ibn Zuhr in the twelfth century, Peter of Spain’s Commentary on Isaac, and John of St Amand’s Commentary on the Antedotary of Nicholas.

Herbs were extensively used in folk medicine and shamanic practices around the world with the knowledge deep and extensive, carried on from generation to generation by only special “wise” healers and tribal leaders.

Among the 120 active compounds currently isolated from the higher plants and widely used in modern medicine today, 80 percent show a positive correlation between their modern therapeutic use and the traditional use of the plants from which they are derived.

pharmacyUnfortunately, once isolated from the plant, pharmacological substance becomes a completely different entity and is NOT an herbal tincture anymore. While Mother Nature once combined together those wonder remedies and packed them inside the plants, modern science is taking them apart and creating “smarter” pills. We must understand that there are limitations of such approach, and I take these attempts of “outsmarting” nature with a grain of salt. I am sad to read latest research articles that fail to demonstrate the usefulness of plants – indeed, it is virtually impossible to demonstrate claimed medicinal effects of a plant when it is virtually destroyed by artificial chemical separation of it’s compounds. Most of these studies use plain “bench research” approach: single compound  isolated by chemical reaction  then are used to treat artificial cell culture (not the body!) in the Perti dish, or such compound is given or applied to a mouse. While it is good to know what chemical compounds are present in the plant, this knowledge has absolutely nothing to do with herbal tinctures and potions that are known for healing properties. Well, in my mind it is similar to trying to explain a beauty of Renessance architecture by breaking these buildings to bricks…

While working at NIH I was asked to consult the group from National Institute of Integrative Medicine on one of the studies that they were performing on garlic. The group decided to use commercial preparation of dry garlic extract to demonstrate antiviral properties. I explained that the study will fail for sure – the fresh juice or fresh garlic clove is used in herbal medicine to produce such effect! The researcher ignored my precautions and later released the study with the claim that garlic does not work as antiviral remedy. What a shame! Such studies in my opinion favor pharmaceutical companies and promote use of drugs.

tabletsThe modern medications packed in tablets are very different in action from herbal remedies, as they are not connected with other constituents of the plant – now they become completely different entities with the new properties. Once artificially isolated, the compound has absolutely different bioavailability, action and side effects then the plant itself. While enhanced action can produce the desired effect with much higher power and precision, it also can cause more significant bad actions (side effects) in the body.

Modern industry also created another harmful phenomenon: shelves of poorly made, awfully packaged herbs and dietary aids that are claimed to be “alternative supplements”. woman-african-american-shopping-for-supplements

Many are dangerous due to toxic additives and inappropriate preparation. People are left on their own trying to sort between something they know should be “good for you” and a total rip-off by the companies packing talcum in the capsules that are sold with various names of goodness – vit C, Echinacea, Ginseng. While counterfeiting is punishable by law for medicines, there is no such law for supplements as there is no control of manufacturing. A 2013 study published in the journal BMC Medicine found that one-third of herbal supplements sampled contained no trace of the herb listed on the label. The study found products adulterated with filler including allergens such as soy, wheat, and black walnut. One bottle labeled as St. John’s Wort was found to actually contain Alexandrian senna, a laxative. The New York times

Medicinal Herbs

aloe_veraAloes is the term used for the evaporated liquid exuded from the cut leaf bases of Aloe ferox, the Cape Aloe, and Aloe vulgaris from North Africa. Strong doses have a drastic effect and should never be given during pregnancy. The use of Aloes in herbal medicine is limited due to these side effects and the wide availability of safer alternatives. Medicinal Uses: Acne, Beauty, Burns, Constipation, Cuts & Wounds, Dental/Oral Care, Sunburns, Wrinkles, Immune booster, Digestion, Stomach Ulcer, IBS, Analgesic, Anti-inflammatory, Antibacterial, Antifungal, Antiviral
Parts used: leaves

Aloe gel skin care: The leaf juices of the aloe plant have important medicinal uses making aloe one of the most respected medicinal plants found in many gels, creams and lotions. It has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral compounds that help prevent wound infections. It also has immune-stimulating and anti-inflammatory compounds, and it stimulates collagen synthesis and skin regeneration after a burn. Aloe gel contains vitamins C and E, plus the mineral zinc. Aloe vera gel helps heal acne, improve the appearance of wrinkles, and hydrate damaged skin. Applying a thin layer of aloe vera gel will help ease discomfort caused by painful skin irritations, burns and rashes.

Digestion: Aloe juice is also thought to improve digestion and cleanse the digestive tract. Many believe that aloe juice stimulates insulin production and prevents high triglycerides. Aloe juice has a long history of use for diabetes that has recently show promise in studies, but keep in mind that these internal uses of aloe have much less of a proven basis in scientific fact than the external use in gel form. Make sure that any Aloe juice products you consume have not be sourced from outer leaves which can contain dangerous chemicals.

aloe_vera_gelPreparation: The freshest aloe is of course, from your own plant. Apply aloe gel directly to skin for cooling relief to dry, itchy skin, minor burns and rashes. Commercial aloe skin care products (containing stabilized aloe) rarely, if ever, pack the therapeutic punch of fresh aloe because they no longer contain any tannins, and are mostly adulterated with alcohol. You can also incorporate aloe in homemade lotions, and use it as a carrier for essential oils. Add a few drops of Chamomile and/or Lavender oil for burns and scalds.

Precautions: Aloe bitters and aloe juice should not be taken internally during pregnancy. The laxative compounds in aloe are passed into mother's milk, so nursing mothers should avoid internal use of aloe.
american_ginseng_3Common names: American ginseng, Redberry, Five-fingers, Five-leafed Ginseng
Panax, the generic name is derived from the Greek Panakos (a panacea), in reference to the miraculous virtue ascribed to it by the Chinese, who consider it a sovereign remedy in almost all diseases. The word Ginseng is said to mean wonder of the world. It should not be taken during acute inflammatory disease or bronchitis since it can drive the disease deeper and make it worse. Chinese medicine considers ginseng to be one of the most yang herbs, suited to health problems related to a deficiency, or fragility (considered to be more yin). For someone with a very strong yang condition, the effects of ginseng will hardly be noticeable and is actually contraindicated for those whose yang condition is causing high blood pressure. In China ginseng is rarely used on its own, but is usually combined with licorice or Chinese dates, which temper its powerful nature. Ginseng is one the best known and widely prescribed herbs in Chinese medicine as a general restorative tonic. Ginseng is one of the best known herbal tonics used to restore libido in men without an increase in Ginseng enhances the immune response which helps fight off viruses and bacteria testosterone.

Medical uses: Stimulate the appetite, Alzheimer’s Disease, Depression, Insomnia, Stress and Chronic fatigue, Cardiovascular, Memory and concentration, Raise good cholesterol (HDL), Cancer, Regulate blood sugar levels, Adrenal fatigue, Control type 2 diabetes

Parts Used: root

Constituents: hormone-like saponins, (ginsenosides), volatile oil, sterols, starch, sugars, pectin, vitamins B1, B2 and B12, choline, fats, minerals

Preparation: It is used by grinding the root and making into tea or by boiling the root in water (decoction), extracted in alcohol as tincture, or put into capsules that contain the pulverized root. It can also be used as a liquid extract.

Precautions: should not be taken if pregnant or nursing. People having high or low blood pressure or low blood sugar should consult their doctor before using. American ginseng should not be given to children without talking to their doctor first. It should not be taken by people taking blood thinners or if you are taking anticoagulant drugs.
Minolta DSC Arnica is an alpine herb with a long history of use in the folk medicine of Russia and the Swiss Alps. Arnica is available both as an herbal oil or homeopathic cream, however herbal preparations have shown much better results than homeopathic products when tested in lab studies. Arnica oils and creams are one of the best known herbal sports medicines, arnica has dramatic results if used immediately after an injury. Arnica helps speed the healing process by moving waste-bound fluids out and moving cleansing fluids and platelets into the affected area. The anti-inflammatory properties of arnica are primarily due to its sesquiterpene lactones. These chemicals cause a reduction of inflammation by blocking the actions of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Arnica is a great addition to your first aid kit, however its use is limited to short durations because of allergic skin reactions when overused. When used topically in a gel at 50% concentration, A. montana was found to have the same effect when compared to a 5% ibuprofen gel for treating the symptoms of hand osteoarthritis.
Medicinal uses: Bruises, Arthritis, Sprains

Parts used: roots, flowers

Constituents: volatile oil (containing thymol), resins, a bitter principle (arnicin), carotenoids, flavonoids.

Preparation: Arnicated oil or extracts. In homeopathy - should only be taken internally in the extremely diluted form common to homeopathic remedies.

Precautions: Repeated applications can cause skin irritation, which makes it unsuitable for longer term use. Not to use on open and bleeding wounds
astragalus_membranaceusAstragalus is an excellent antiviral herb that works to boost the immune system much like dandelion or burdock. Taken internally, either brewed as a tea, in a tincture, in a capsule, or by adding it to stew, astragalus root is known to increase your body’s defense against viruses. Astragalus root is best used as prevention, so take it during flu season or before going places with large crowds of people. Avoid if you already have a fever.
Medicinal uses: Immune stimulant, Liver Cleanse, Digestion, Cancer, Antiviral, Flu

Parts used: roots

Constituents: An extract of A. propinquus called TA-65 may activate telomerase, extending the lengths of the shortest telomeres which protect the terminal DNA at the ends of all chromosomes. It contains the saponin cycloastragenol. Roots: polysaccharides, triterpenoids (astragalosides), isoflavones (kumatakenin, calycosin and formononetin), glycosides and malonates.

Precautions: Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the safety of astragalus in humans during pregnancy and breast-feeding. However, some research in animals suggests that astragalus can be toxic to the mother and fetus. Stay on the safe side and avoid use. Astragalus might make the immune system more active. This could worsen the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. Avoid using astragalus if you have any of these conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus ( SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other immune system conditions.

Use in disease:
• CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME. Fibromyalgia. Early research shows that taking herbal mixtures containing astragalus by mouth can reduce feelings of tiredness in people with chronic fatigue syndrome. • WEIGHT LOSS. Early research in healthy women suggests that taking a combination of astragalus, rhubarb, turmeric, red sage root, ginger, and garlic acid with a low-calorie diet does not improve weight loss. • ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE. Early research shows that taking a combination of astragalus and six other herbs by mouth for 8 weeks increases athletic performance in young athletes. • CANCER: Reducing side effects of chemotherapy. Early research suggests that giving astragalus intravenously (by IV) or using Chinese herbal mixtures containing astragalus might reduce nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and bone marrow suppression (a decrease in the cells that provide immunity) that is associated with chemotherapy treatments. • DIABETES. Early research suggests that astragalus, given intravenously (by IV) or taken by mouth as a combination product, might help control blood sugar and insulin levels in people with type 2 diabetes. • Seasonal allergies. Early research shows that taking a specific astragalus root extract by mouth for 3-6 weeks improves symptoms such as running nose, itching, and sneezing in people with seasonal allergies. Asthma. Taking a combination of astragalus, cordyceps, Radix stemone (Bai Bu), bulbus fritillariae cirrhosae, and Baikal skullcap by mouth for 6 months does not improve asthma symptoms or lung function in children with mild asthma. • CHEST PAIN (angina). Early research shows that taking astragalus by mouth three times daily for 2 weeks can improve heart function in people with chest pain. Also, giving a solution containing astragalus, Panax ginseng, and dong quai (Yi-qi-huo-xue, China) intravenously (by IV) seems to reduce the severity and frequency of chest pain and improve the ability to exercise. Heart failure. Some early research shows that giving astragalus intravenously (by IV) for 7-30 days or taking astragalus twice daily for 14-30 days improves some symptoms of heart failure. • HEARING LOSS. Early research suggests that giving astragalus intravenously (by IV) daily for 10 days can improve hearing in people with sudden deafness or hearing loss caused by very loud noise. • INFECTIONS: Hepatitis B. HIV/AIDS. Evidence on the effects of astragalus in people with HIV/AIDS is inconsistent. People treated with a specific combination containing Baikal skullcap root, glossy privet fruit, astragalus root, and Eupolyphaga et polyphasee Infections associated with a certain kidney disorder called nephrotic syndrome. Early research shows that taking astragalus, as Huangqi oral granules (China), reduces infections in children with nephrotic syndrome. • ENDOCRINE: Menopausal symptoms. An early study suggests that taking a specific combination of astragalus and dong quai (Dang Gui Buxue Tang, China) does not reduce hot flashes in menopausal women. Menstrual disorders. Early research shows that taking certain Chinese herbal combinations containing astragalus by mouth might help improve the regularity of menstrual cycles in women with menstrual disorders. • KIDNEYS: Kidney disease. Several early studies show possible beneficial effects of astragalus for people with various types of kidney disease. Giving astragalus intravenously (by IV) or taking astragalus by mouth along with burdock seems to improve kidney function in people with kidney disease caused by diabetes. Similar findings were found in other studies for other astragalus preparations, which were given as a shot into the muscle or taken by mouth in people with various types of kidney disease. Kidney failure.

image015Common Names: Black Cohosh root, Black snake root, Squaw Root, Bugbane.

Black cohosh contains numerous chemical constituents, among them isoflavones which mimic hormonal activity. This makes this herb useful for hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and even the depression sometimes associated with menopause. Though black and blue cohosh are unrelated botanically they are often used together in formulas to support the female reproductive system. Blue cohosh acts primarily as a uterine stimulant, while black cohosh effects estrogen levels. It appears to provide that relief without having adverse estrogenic effects on mammary gland or uterine tissue. In addition to its estrogenic properties, black cohosh has pain relieving and anti-inflammatory actions that makes it useful for arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a common affliction among women, and can be aggravated by the hormonal imbalances during menopause. Emerging research suggests the estrogen levels may be implicated in many conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease, though the relationship is still unclear.

Medicinal Uses: Female Hormones, Lupus, Menopause, PMS, Immune, Diuretic.

Parts Used: root.

Constituents: cimicifugin, racemosin, resins, astringent.

Preparation: Black cohosh can be brewed to make a bitter, dark tea that has a wide range of benefits. Also taken in capsule and extract form.

Side Effects: Some people report an upset stomach or other gastric complaints. Prolonged use (longer than 6 months) could cause side effects. Not for use while pregnant or nursing./

burdock Common names: Burdock root, Niu Bang Zi, Go Bo, Gobo.

Burdock has an ancient and respected reputation as a nutritive liver tonic that helps to clean and build the blood, while its diuretic action of burdock helps in the elimination of waste materials. Taken internally, this root promotes sweating and the elimination of harmful high levels of uric acid via the kidneys. The roots, leaves, and seeds of burdock can all be used, but in commercial preparations, you'll most commonly find the root. Rich in minerals, this plant is used as a food by many cultures. Burdock helps to cleanse the body from the inside out and is most useful in those conditions that can be traced back to liver disorders or a general overload of toxins in the system including problem skin. Burdock may also play a useful role in helping to control blood sugar levels due to the inulin content of the root. In Europe, the fresh root is used for lowering blood sugar, its inulin content making it particularly suitable for diabetes. Burdock is one the herbs from the tradition of Western herbalism used in treatment of cancer, most likely for its well demonstrated depurative properties. Burdock has demonstrated antitumor effects in animal studies, in other research it has acted as an antimutagen.

Medicinal Uses: Liver cleanse, Acne, Cancer Prevention, Diabetes, Eczema, Pregnancy/Childbirth, Psoriasis, Antibacterial, Antifungal.

Parts Used: Fresh or dried roots, leaves, seeds.

Constituents: Root: up to 50% inulin, polyacetylenes, volatile acids (acetic, proprionic, butyric, isovaleric), non-hydroxyl acids (lauric, myristic, stearic, palmitic), tannin, polyphenolic acids. Seeds: 15-30% fixed oils, a bitter glycoside (arctiin), chlorogenic acid.

Preparation: Burdock is taken as a tincture and in extracts. Simmer 1 tablespoon of dried root in 2 cups of water for 20 minutes. Drink up to 4 cups daily. Tea can also be used as a skin and face wash. Apply the cooled tea to the skin with a clean facecloth, and rinse in cool water.

cannabis_sativaCommon names: marijuana, weed.

Preparation: Its seeds are used to make hempseed oil which can be used for cooking, lamps, lacquers, or paints. The flowers (and to a lesser extent the leaves, stems, and seeds) contain psychoactive chemical compounds known as cannabinoids that are consumed for recreational, medicinal, and spiritual purposes. When so used, preparations of flowers (marijuana) and leaves and preparations derived from resinous extract (e.g., hashish) are consumed by smoking, vaporizing and oral ingestion. Historically, tinctures, teas, and ointments have also been common preparations.

Medicinal uses: Hallucinogenic, Hypnotic, Sedative, Analgesic, and Anti-inflammatory.

Parts used: flowers, to lesser extent seeds and leaves.

Constituents: Although the main psychoactive constituent of Cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the plant is known to contain more than 500 compounds, among them at least 113 cannabinoids; however, most of these "minor" cannabinoids are only produced in trace amounts. Besides THC, another cannabinoid produced in high concentrations by some plants is cannabidiol (CBD), which is used to control pain. Differences in the chemical composition of Cannabis varieties may produce different effects in humans. Synthetic THC, called dronabinol, does not contain CBD, CBN, or other cannabinoids, which is one reason why its pharmacological effects may differ significantly from those of natural Cannabis preparations. Terpenes and sesquiterpenes (smell): α-Pinene, Myrcene, Linalool, Limonene, Trans-β-ocimene, α-Terpinolene, Trans-caryophyllene, α-Humulene (contributes to the characteristic aroma of Cannabis sativa), Caryophyllene (with which some hashish detection dogs are trained)

Difference of plant species: Huge variability exists within either species, extraction and growth methods. The effects of C. sativa are well known for its cerebral high, while C. indica is well known for its sedative effects which some prefer for night time use. Both types are used as medical cannabis. The effects of C. indicas are predominantly physical and sedative. Some studies indicate that, on average, C. indica has higher levels of THC to CBD, whereas C. sativa has higher levels of CBD compared to THC. There are five chemotaxonomic types of Cannabis: one with high levels of THC, one which is more fibrous and has higher levels of CBD, one that is an intermediate between the two, another one with high levels of cannabigerol (CBG), and the last one almost without cannabinoids. Cannabis strains with relatively high CBD: THC ratios are less likely to induce anxiety than vice versa. This may be due to CBD's antagonistic effects at the cannabinoid receptors, compared to THC's partial agonist effect. CBD is also a 5-HT1A receptor (serotonin) agonist, which may also contribute to an anxiolytic-content effect.

celandineCelandine is used mostly in European herbalistics and is known for centuries for it's properties to clear skin rashes. Celandine boiled in milk as remedy as a cure for cataracts. The orange, acrid juice of the fresh herb is a traditional remedy for warts and ringworm, but should be used caution on small areas of the skin as it is caustic. Celandine share the constituent sanguinarine is often mentioned as an herbal treatment for cancer. Celandine is most often used by modern herbalists for treating gallbladder problems, having a mildly antispasmodic, papaverine-like action on the upper digestive tract. Greater Celandine is most useful as a complement to other herbs tea preparations to support and improve the functions of the gallbladder for digestive health. It is said to be most effective when prepared from fresh plant sources.

Medicinal Uses: Liver, Warts, Rash, Digestion, Eczema, Gallbladder, Mouth Ulcers.

Parts Used: aerial parts.

Constituents: berberine, sanguinarine, chelidonine, protopine, coptisine, and stylopine.
Preparation: Tinctures, capsules. For tea use 2 teaspoons of leaf to a cup of boiling water and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.

Precaution: Not to be used while pregnant. Celandine can be toxic in high doses.

chagaCommon names: Chaga Mushroom , Cinder conk, Birch mushroom.

Chaga mushroomshave been used in traditional medicine for centuries among the peoples of the boreal forests in Siberia, Asia and North America. They are used as a tonic, immune booster and blood purifier. They belong to a group of mushrooms that grow on wood and may be the ancestors of most gilled mushrooms. Chaga and the similar Reishi mushroom both have a reputation as tonics for longevity and health. These mushrooms are known for their anti-viral activities, immune response stimulation and anti-tumor effects that inhibit the spread of cancer cells.

Medicinal Uses: Cancer, Immune, Longevity Tonics, Analgesic, Antioxidant, Antiviral.

Parts Used: Whole Mushroom.

Constituents: Polysaccharides.

Preparation: Chaga is most often drunk as a mushroom tea, but is also available as liquid extracts.

Precaution: No known side effects but recommended in small doses.

calendula_officinalis_01Calendula is a particularly good treatment for cuts, scrapes, bruises, insect bites and minor wounds. Calendula is antifungal and so can help to cure thrush (Candida albicans). The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of calendula make it a good face wash for dry, irritated skin and acne. Fresh calendula petals can also be infused in boiling water and used to treat minor infections, conjunctivitis, and mouth sores. Calendula tinctures are also a concentrated and convenient way to treat sore or infected gums.

Medicinal uses: Analgesic, Anti-inflammatory, Antibacterial, Cancer, Antifungal.

Parts Used: flowers and oil.

Constituents: carotenoids, resin, essential oil, flavonoids, sterol, bitter principle, saponins, mucilage.

Preparation: Calendula is most often applied to the skin in creams, lotions and oils, but can be taken as an herbal tea, used as a tincture, and applied as a poultice. Make a simple homemade facial by boiling a handful of fresh petals in milk. Use the flower petals to add color to soups and rice dishes. Use just the petals, do not eat calyx or flower centers. For a sore throat or indigestion, drink calendula tea or use it to gargle, for rash apply the tea directly to your skin.

cinnamomum_verum_spicesCinnamon has a preservative effect in food, retards bacterial growth, and has powerful antifungal properties to treat Candida Albicans. It improves circulation, warms the body, and relieves discomfort in the abdomen. Whole cinnamon, taken in tea or tincture form, is an effective treatment for yeast infections that are resistant to treatment. It is useful as a treatment for thrush, an oral yeast infection. Use cinnamon as a tea, an essential oil, or add liberally to food. Always dilute cinnamon essential oil with a carrier oil to prevent stinging.

Medicinal Uses: Athletes Foot/Ringworm, Candida/yeast, Colds, Diabetes, Digestion, Flu, IBS, Longevity Tonics, Nausea, Analgesic, Antibacterial, Cancer, Antispasmodic.

Parts Used: Dried bark, Essential oil.

Constituents: volatile oil, eugenol, tannins, resin, mucilage, trace coumarin and complex sugars.

Preparation: You cannot get a therapeutic dose of cinnamon from everyday uses in cooking and baking, even if you could freely devour massive qualities of cinnamon buns in the name of better health. Cinnamon can be taken in capsules, extracts, herbal teas, and essential oil. Grinding cinnamon chips into powder yourself is the best way to ensure the freshest cinnamon. Store in air tight glass jars to seal in the goodness.

Precautions: You may be allergic to cinnamon. Make sure it is organic and does not contain additives. Remember that the cinnamon powder sold in the grocery is much too old to have any medicinal value. Cassia cinnamon contains coumarin, Cinnamomum zeylanicum, sweet cinnamon only has trace amounts. Taking large amounts of cassia cinnamon over time might worsen bleeding in some people. Cassia oil is very irritating to the skin and should be handled with care.
image002Chamomile is one of the most widely used flowers for herbal tea. Chamomile tea is so popular, it is found in most grocery stores. It is used as a mild sedative, and is good for insomnia as well as many other nervous conditions. Because of it's extraordinarily gentle action, chamomile is the first herb of choice for many home remedies. The endless list of uses for chamomile can all be traced to its effects on the nervous system and digestive system, as well as its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It is safe for babies and pregnant mothers. Chamomile is also one of the safest herbs to use.
Medicinal uses: Candida Infections, IBS, Gastric Ulcers, Mouth Sores, Anodyne, Anti-inflammatory, Anxiety, Tonic, Vasodilatory, Rheumatic Disease, Arthritis, and other painful swellings, Digestive, Antispasmodic for intestinal and menstrual cramps, Bloating, Laxative, Rashes, Skin infections, Beauty Skin Care. Milder tea in large doses is given throughout the day for fevers, sore throats, colds, flu, and allergies.

Parts Used: Chamomile flowers

Constituents: volatile oil (containing chamazulene, farnesene, bisabolol), flavonoids (including rutin and quercimertrin), coumarins, plant acids (including valerianic acid), fatty acids, cyanogenic glycosides, salicylate derivatives

chamomile-dry-herbPreparation: Steep chamomile tea gently for relaxation, longer for digestive upsets. Use 1 table spoon of flowers per 1 cup of boiling water – let it brew under the lid for at least 5 min. Dried chamomile flowers are used to make herbal baths, sleep pillows and poultices. Steeped chamomile flowers in a muslin bag makes an effective hot poultice to reduce swelling, and ease pain for toothaches and earaches.

Precautions: Chamomile is one of the safest herbs but can cause problems to those who are allergic to the ragweed family. Check for sensitivity before using.

dandelionDandelion root is one of the top cleansing herbs used for many types of liver disorders as well as digestive and gall bladder issues. It is a gentle and safe natural detoxifier and blood purifier used by humans for centuries as an herbal therapy for various ailments from hepatitis to acne. Historically it is a well-known treatment for digestive complaints as it increases the appetite, stimulates bile production and acts as a mild laxative. It is rich in various vitamins and minerals and is a nutritious bitter root that encourages healthy immune response. Dandelion root tea can be a great addition to a juice fast for a way to accelerate the cleansing process and neutralize toxins. This natural diuretic helps the kidneys excrete water and salt. Dandelion also contains potassium, which synthetic diuretics tend to deplete.

Parts Used: roots, flowers, leaves.

Constituents: the bitter principle taraxacin, triterpenes (including taraxol and taraxasterol), sterols, inulin, sugars, pectin, glycosides, choline, phenolic acids, asparagine, vitamins, potassium. Leaves: lutein, violaxan-thin, and other carotenoids; bitter substance.

Medicinal uses: Liver detox, gallbladder, laxative, immune stimulant, weight loss. Dandelion can be taken as a tea, tincture, or powdered extract.

Preparation: Use 1 teaspoon of dried and chopped root to each cup of water. Bring to a boil over a low heat. Steep for 10 minutes. Young fresh dandelion leaves can be eaten in spring salads. Dandelion root makes an excellent vegetable coffee, and the flowers can be made into wine.

Precautions: Due to the diuretic effect of this herb, it is important to discuss its use with a health care practitioner as it may increase the excretion of drugs from the body. Do not use dandelion if you are taking quinolone antibiotics, lithium, or antacids.

echinaceaEchinacea has a historic reputation of boosting the immune system in treating colds and flu and fighting infections. It is known for its action to speed wound healing when taken at the beginning of an infection. Good anti-inflammatory properties. Herbalists do not agree on which species is best, E.purpurea, E. pallida, or E.angustifolia. Echinacea is most effect when taken at the first onset of cold, sinus, gum inflammation or other infection symptoms. Echinacea has a numbing sensation that relieves the pain of cold sores, and also offers some protection against herpes simplex viruses. Echinacea acts against Candida albicans, the microorganism that causes most yeast infection. Echinacea is a mild antiseptic on its own, but when fighting an established virus, combining echinacea with antiseptic herbs such as goldenseal or Oregon grape enhances the effectiveness of the treatment. Parts Used: Most often roots, stems and flowers are also used but are weaker Constituents: essential oil (including humulene and caryophylene), glycoside, polysaccharide, polyacetylenes, isobutylalklamines, resin, betaine, inulin, sesquiterpene.

Preparation: Use as a tea or tincture. Dosage is key. You need to take enough echinacea, and take it frequently enough, to do any good. Capsules are convenient, but not as efficient, and quite often not as potent as tinctures. Echinacea is by no means a good tasting herb for tea, but echinacea tea can be used in compresses and poultices for external applications.

Stimulant! Contraindicated in auto-immune diseases.

evening-primroseMany people refer to evening primrose oil as one of the most miraculous discoveries in preventive care since Vitamin C. It has a compound known as phenylalanine that can help with pain relief, and is increasingly used with remedying headaches. It’s increasingly being researched throughout the planet as a remedy for aging problems, alcoholism, acne, heart disease, hyperactivity in kids, signs of menopause, multiple sclerosis, weight control, obesity, PMS, and schizophrenia. It has preventive and therapeutic characteristics that are so numerous that it has become a regular suggestion of quite a large number of herbalists for keeping one youthful and avoiding illness.

Medicinal Uses: Headache, Weight control, Fertility, Balance Hormones, Menopause, Cancer, Eczema, Hypertension, Nerve/Back Pain, PMS, Rheumatoid arthritis, Hair loss, Acne.

Parts Used: oil from seeds.

Constituents: fatty acids: gamma linolenic 9.2%, linoleic 74.6%, oleic 6.7%, palmitic 6.2%, phenylalanine.

Preparation: Evening Primrose seed oil may be taken as a supplement form or used as a salad and vegetable dressing. It is great for skin care. Do not heat. Leaves and stems from the top of the plant can be used in decoctions for both internal and external use.

Precautions: Reported side effects are rare and mild, and include nausea, stomach pain, and headaches. Stomach pain and loose stools may mean that the dose is too high. Consult your doctor before use.

chinese-ginsengOther names: Eleuthero root, Siberian ginseng, Ci-wu-jia, Wu Jia Shen Jing.

Eleutherococcus senticosus, also known as eleuthero ginseng or Siberian ginseng, is one of the primary tonic herbs and one of the most widely used herbs in the world. Eleuthero is often recommended as a general tonic to revitalize people who are fatigued. Because it enhances immunity and helps the body deal with stress eleuthero is frequently included in nutritional support programs for people with fibromyalgia, arthritis and other autoimmune disorders. Eleuthero restores overstressed adrenal glands, working wonders for people who are chronically stressed. The adrenal glands have a big impact on our sexual health because of the role they play in producing a variety of hormones that regulate many physical responses, not just gender-oriented ones. Tonic herbs like eleuthero help to prevent "adrenal burnout" caused by ongoing physical or mental challenges. Helping the body deal with chronic stress is the very definition of an adaptogenic herb, and ginseng may be one of the most effective herbs in this category. Eleuthero boosts concentration and focus without the letdown than comes from stimulants like caffeine. Diets, especially ones with severe calorie restrictions, can take a big toll on energy levels and raise stress levels. This elevates hormones like cortisol that make weight loss more difficult. While adaptogenic herbs do not promote weight loss directly, when you feel more energetic and less stressed, you're more likely to stick to your new exercise and diet routine.

Medicinal Uses: Diet/weight Loss, Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Immune, Kidney, Libido, Memory/Focus, Stress.

Preparation: The dried root is often taken in capsules, or brewed into tea, or made into tinctures.

Eleuthero Side Effects: In general, side effects with Siberian ginseng are rare and milder than those that occur with American and Korean ginseng. The Commission E notes a contraindication for hypertension. However, the glycosides contained in eleuthero have been shown to lower blood pressure (McGuffin et al., 1997). Not for use by pregnant women. Many commercial ginseng products are adulterated, buyer beware!

image003Elderberry has been known to Native American Indians for a long time. The berry juice is medicinal, while the middle of the seed contains poison, that is why it can be extracted only by sugar syrup. Elderberry has antiviral activity against cold and flu viruses and enhances immune function. It stimulates circulation and effectively cleanses the body. Elderberry tincture and elderberry syrup (easy to make) are the common delivery methods. Leaves, roots, seeds, and berries of the raw plant contain cyanide-producing compounds and should not be consumed without proper preparation.

Medicinal use: Antiviral, Immune booster.

Parts Used: Flowers, berries.

Constituents: flowers: small quantity of essential oil (containing palmitic, linoleic, and linolenic acids), triterpenes, flavonoids (including rutin), also pectin, mucilage, berries: sugar, fruit acids, vitamin c, bio-flavonoids.

Preparation: Elderberries can be made into homemade syrups, and herbal teas. Both the flowering tops and berries can be used. Sambucol is a popular commercial preparation made from elderberry extract.

image006Fenugreek is used as an herb (dried or fresh leaves), spice (seeds), and vegetable (fresh leaves, sprouts, and microgreens). Sotolon is the chemical responsible for fenugreek's distinctive sweet smell. Cuboid-shaped, yellow- to amber-colored fenugreek seeds are frequently encountered in the cuisines of the Indian subcontinent, used both whole and powdered in the preparation of pickles, vegetable dishes, daals, and spice mixes such as panch phoron and sambar powder. They are often roasted to reduce bitterness and enhance flavor.

Medicinal uses: Breasfeeding, Antiinflammatory, Spasmolytic, Baby Colic, Cholesterol Parts Used: seeds

Constituents: arginine, beta-carotene, beta-sitosterol, coumarin, diosgenin, fiber, gamma-aminobutyric acid (gaba), kaempferol, luteolin, magnesium, manganese, niacin, potassium, pyridoxine, quercetin, riboflavin, rutin, sulfur, thiamine, trigonelline, tryptophan, vite

Preparation: The seeds are used medicinally and in cooking. Fenugreek is very bitter and generally taken in, seed powder capsules and extracts. The powder releases more vanadium as it is digested.

1280px-fennel_flower_headsCommon names: Fennel Seed, Sweet Fennel, Fenkel, Anis

There are so many reasons to use fennel as an herbal remedy or in cooking! Fennel is one of the first herbs described in ancient Sumerian, Indian, and Chinese herbalistics. It has unbelievable range of action, yet gentle and safe for people who do not have medical problems and just want to maintain good health. Medicinal Uses: Congestion, Cough, Diet/weight Loss, Digestion, Lupus, Menopause, Analgesic, Antifungal, Antispasmodic, AntiViral, Appetite Supressant, Galactagogue, Laxative, Reproductive, Lactation
Parts Used: Seeds, leaves, roots, oil - the whole plant

fennel_seedConstituents: the essential oil is made up predominantly of anethole (50 to 80%), limonene, fenchone, and estragole. the seeds also contain fiber and complex carbohydrates.

Use in Diseases:
Anemia: Iron and histidine, an amino acid found in fennel, are both helpful in treatment of anemia. Whereas iron is the chief constituent of hemoglobin, histidine stimulates production of hemoglobin and also helps in the formation of various other components of the blood. Indigestion: It is a common practice, particularly on the Indian Subcontinent, to chew fennel seeds after meals. This is done to facilitate digestion and to eliminate bad breath. Some of the components of the essential oils in fennel are stimulants and they stimulate secretion of digestive and gastric juices, while reducing inflammation of the stomach and intestines, and facilitating proper absorption of nutrients from the food. Furthermore, it can eliminate constipation and thereby protect the body from a wide range of intestinal troubles that can stem from being blocked up. It also has antiacidic (basic) properties and is extensively used in antacid preparations. In culinary applications, it is also used as an ingredient of focal point of many appetizers. Flatulence: Fennel is very popular as an antiflatulent, due to the carminative properties of the aspartic acid found in fennel. Its extract can be used by everyone, from infants to the elderly, as a way to reduce flatulence and to expel excess gas from the stomach. It is commonly used in medicines to reduce symptoms of non-ulcer dyspepsia and flatulence in infants and young children. Constipation: Fennel seeds, particularly in powdered form, can act as a laxative. The roughage helps clear the bowels, whereas its stimulating effect helps maintain the proper peristaltic motion of the intestines, thereby helping promote proper excretion through the stimulation of gastric juices and bile production. Fennel is also commonly found in medicines that treat abdominal pain, diarrhea, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and other intestinal issues. Heart Disease: Fennel is a great source of fiber, as mentioned above, but besides the advantages to digestion that fiber provides, it also helps to maintain healthy levels of cholesterol in the blood stream. This means that it can stimulate the elimination damaging LDL cholesterol, which is a major factor in heart disease, artherosclerosis, and strokes. Cancer: The raw vegetable itself hasn’t been extensively studied in regards to cancer protection, but the fennel seed extract has, and the findings regarding cancer protection are quite impressive. It shows that the extract can not only inhibit the growth of tumors, thanks to its concentrations of flavonoids, alkaloids, and phenols, but that it can even be somewhat chemo-protective against the harmful effects of radiation during cancer treatment. Fennel seed extract has been found to be preventative of various breast cancer and liver cancer strains. Blood Pressure: Fennel is a very rich source of potassium, which is an essential nutrient in our bodies and is vital for a number of important processes. One of the attributes of potassium is its quality as a vasodilator, which means that it relaxes the tension of blood vessels, thereby reducing blood pressure. High blood pressure is connected to a wide range of health issues, including heart attack, stroke, and artherosclerosis. Diarrhea: Fennel is helpful in curing diarrhea if it is caused by bacterial infection, because some components of the essential oil in fennel such as anethol and cineole have disinfectant and antibacterial properties. Some amino acids, such as histidine, can aid in digestion and the proper functioning of the digestive system, thereby helping to eliminate diarrhea due to indigestion. Fennel has long been used by indigenous cultures as a way to eliminate diarrhea. Colic: Polymeric and heavy molecules are useful in the treatment of Renal Colic. Such polymers, also called Phytoestrogens, are found in Anethole, a component of the essential oil in fennel. This attribute of fennel makes it quite helpful in the treatment of Renal Colic. Fennel has certain antispasmodic qualities which also help it relax smooth muscles and reduce the discomfort associated with the condition. Immune System: 1 cup of fennel bulb contains almost 20% of the daily requirement of vitamin-C, which makes fennel quite a rich source of this beneficial element of our diet. Vitamin-C improves general immune system health, produces and repairs skin tissue, helps to form collagen, and also protects the blood vessel walls as an antioxidant against the harmful effects of free radicals that can frequently lead to heart disease! Menstrual Disorders: Fennel eases and regulates menstruation by properly regulating hormonal action in the body, it is used in a number of products to reduce the effects of PMS, and it is also used traditionally as a soothing pain reliever and relaxing agent for menopausal women. Breast Enlargement: The flavonoids present in fennel seeds increase the amount of estrogen thereby acting as a stimulant and tonic. Fennel seeds helps increase the size of the breasts as they increase the formation of new cells and tissues in the breast. Eye Care: Using fennel in food helps protect the eyes from inflammation, as well as helping to reduce disorders related to premature aging and macular degeneration. This is due to the high abundance of antioxidants (vitamin-C and amino acids like Arginine which are very beneficial for rejuvenation of tissues and the prevention of aging), detoxifiers and stimulants. They are more specifically in fennel essential oil, as well as minerals like cobalt and magnesium. Finally, the juice of fennel leaves and the plant itself can be externally applied on the eyes to reduce irritation and eye fatigue. Respiratory Disorders: Fennel is useful in respiratory disorders such congestion, bronchitis, and cough due to the presence of Cineole and Anetol which are expectorant in nature, among their many other virtues. Fennel seeds and powder can help to break up phlegm and prompt loosening of the toxins and buildup of the throat and nasal passages for elimination from the body and quicker recovery from respiratory conditions.
Other Uses: Fennel is diuretic, which means that it increases the amount and frequency of urination, thereby helping the removal of toxic substances from the body and helping in rheumatism and swelling. Fennel also increases production and secretion of milk in lactating mothers and since this milk contains some properties of fennel, it is an anti-flatulent for the baby as well. It strengthens hair, prevents hair loss, relaxes the body, sharpens memory and has a marvelous cooling effect in summer. This can be achieved if the pale, greenish-yellow water, in which it fennel is soaked, is ingested with a bit of sugar and black salt. Precaution: Certain components of the fennel essential oil such as Anethol, and a few chemicals present in the plant itself, besides being beneficial, can be dangerous if ingested in too large of a quantity. Excess use of fennel can cause difficulty breathing, increased palpitations, irregular heart beat, and various neural problems.

garlic_press_and_garlicOther names: Garlic , Poor Man's Treacle, Bawang, Bauang

Garlic is a proven anti-fungal and antibacterial herb and more effective against several types of bacteria than penicillin. It does not cause bacteria to become resistant and destroys the offending invaders without killing the body’s normal good bacteria. Garlic and its cousin onion contain substances that discourage platelets from sticking together and prevent blood clots, helping to naturally thin the blood. They also lower total cholesterol and triglycerides, another type of blood fat, all the while increasing HDL, "good cholesterol". Garlic may also lower blood-sugar levels in people with diabetes.
Medicinal Uses: Allergies, Asthma, Athletes Foot/Ringworm, Cancer, Candida/yeast, Cardiovascular, Cholesterol, Colds, Diabetes, Flu, Herpes/Cold Sores, Parasites/worms, Sore Throat, Stop Smoking, Antirheumatic

Parts Used: bulb

Constituents: allicin, citral, geraniol, linalool, phellandrene, s-methyl-1-cysteine sulfoxide

Preparation: Garlic can be used in a capsule, as a garlic tincture, garlic infused oil, or simply eat it raw (which is what we do when not going anywhere). Heating over 120 degrees will decrease its potency. Garlic can and should be used liberally in food, either powdered or freshly chopped. Two cloves or more a day are considered a medicinal dose. Eating 2 to 3 fresh garlic cloves a day has many health benefits including diabetes, arthritis and heart health. To make it more palatable, mash the garlic cloves with a spoonful of honey A simple garlic based broth may be more effective than chicken soup! Garlic can be applied directly to burns in a poultice. Or cut an onion in half and squeeze the juice on the burn. Garlic infused oils can be used topically or in cooking. Crushed garlic is a good addition to any homemade insecticide spray. Garlic cloves, placed in the ground around plants will deter slugs. Garlic is a natural pesticide against mosquito larvae.

Precautions: Garlic may irritate mucus membranes, stomach and skin

gingerCommon Names: Ginger Root , Luyang Dilaw

Known since ancient times ginger possesses many medicinal effect and is a delicious aid to foods. While most known for the digestive effects, it is also a potent anti-inflammatory and endocrine booster. It is a delicious component of many teas, and is highly regarded as antiemetic and vertigo rescue.

Medicinal uses:Endoocrine, Digestive, Blood Thinner,Immune, Vertigo, Hair Loss, Colds, Stimulatory

Parts Used: Root

Constituents: volatile oil, (mainly zingiberone and bisabolene), oleoresin (containing the pungent principles gingerols, shogaols and zingerone), fats, protein, starch, vitamins A and B, minerals, amino acids.

Ginger combines well with many herbs, improving taste and potency. Ginger speeds up the delivery of healthy plant chemicals into the bloodstream.

Use in diseases:
Endocrine: Ginger is a blood thinner, which may help reduce angina episodes by lowering cholesterol. The increase in blood flow helps relieve abdominal cramps and open the pelvis to bring on menstruation.
Nausea and vertigo: Ginger can be uses as lozenges or raw to reduce motion sickness, nausea and vertigo. Ginger in Chinese herbal medicine: Ginger may be one of the most important plants used in herbal medicine, it is certainly one of the most used.

Digestion: Ginger also improves digestion, which can prevent stomach upsets from occurring. The fresh grated ginger root, readily available at most food stores, is a great addition to herbal teas, adding a spicy, hot zest to your favorite dishes.

Immune: Ginger is one of the most prescribed herbs in TCM, Sheng-jiang (fresh ginger) is used in the treatment of colds for its ability to eliminate toxins and raise body heat.

Hair loss: Both ginger root and sesame are invigorating to the scalp and can stimulate hair growth. For a ginger oil treatment, grate fresh ginger root and mix it with sesame oil. Massage the ginger oil into your scalp and leave it on for about 10 minutes. Rinse and shampoo your hair.

The Chinese names for ginger Gan-jiang dried ginger, and Sheg-jiang, fresh ginger, mean to defend, suggesting that ginger helps protect the body from cold. Pulverized fresh ginger applied as a poultice to the head two to three times a day was once used as a (Chinese) folk treatment for baldness, and fresh ginger rubbed on the affected area is a folk remedy for vitiligo. The juice squeezed from the fresh root has also been used in the treatment of burns. In modern China ginger is probably used in half of all Chinese herbal prescriptions. Chinese healers believe than even moderate amounts of ginger tea strengthen the lungs and the kidneys.

Preparation: Ginger Root Tea: Make the firm, smooth skinned roots of fresh ginger root a household staple, and keep plenty of ginger on hand for both herbal medicine and healthy cooking. Ginger root tea is a light golden color, and the taste is spicy, hot, and sweet. The fresh root makes a slightly sweet tea, dried ginger is slightly hotter and drier.

Precautions: Ginger is a blood thinner, if you are taking prescription blood thinners, have a bleeding disorder, or have gallbladder disease don't take medicinal doses of ginger. Pregnant women should be cautious in their use of ginger, it can stimulate the uterus. If this is a concern for you, consider using Cardamom instead.
goldensealOther names: Orangeroot, Yellow puccoon Goldenseal is widely used in European herbal preparations. The herb's primary value is as an antiviral and antibacterial for upper respiratory congestion and sinus infections as well as a topical antibiotic in skin infections, cuts and wounds, sore throats, mouth ulcers, and eye infections. Goldenseal is also a bitter herb that stimulates bile and can be used to improve digestive problems from peptic ulcers to colitis. It works well against diarrhea caused by intestinal bugs and can be used in formulas to treat intestinal parasites. It is used to stimulate immune response.Most of the research that is popularly attributed to goldenseal has actually been into the constituent Medicinal Uses: Athletes Foot/Ringworm, Bronchitis, Colds, Cuts & Wounds, Diarrhea, Eczema, Eyes/Vision, Gastritis/ulcer, Immune, Parasites/worms, Psoriasis, Sore Throat, Antibacterial, Antifungal, Ballancing Mood, Adrenal Fatigue Parts Used: primarily the root, to a lesser extent leaves Constituents: hydrastine, berberine, berberastine, canadine, candaline, and hydrastinine, fatty acids, resin, polyphenolic acids, meconin, chlorogenic acid, phytosterins Preparation: Tincture of goldenseal can be applied directly for infections and ulcers of the mouth. The leaves can be used as an antiseptic skin wash and applied in a poultice. Combines well with garlic as an anti-parasitic treatment. Goldenseal makes a good topical antiseptic for minor injuries. The powdered root can be made as an infusion, the chopped root should be simmered. Precautions: Goldenseal is only for short-term use, and should not be used by pregnant, or lactating women. Avoid if you have high blood pressure. The tannins in goldenseal tinctures may cause stomach irritation if you have diarrhea or chronic heartburn.

1280px-milk_thistle_flowerheadMilk thistle has a spiny stem and wide leaves that secrete a milky fluid when crushed. The seed is the main part of the plant that is used medicinally due to its active ingredient, the flavonoid silymarin. Silymarin helps to prevent liver cell damage by toxins, and it also encourages liver cells to create more bile. This increase in bile aids digestion and nutrient absorption. Milk thistle seeds are known for their antioxidative effects and properties that inhibit the binding of toxins to liver cell receptors. This characteristic has been used to reduce liver damage caused by toxic exposure to poisonous mushrooms in addition to other harmful chemicals and ingested pollutants. Silymarin extracts have been utilized to treat alcoholic liver disease, acute and chronic viral hepatitis and toxin-induced liver diseases. Constituents: active compound, known as silymarin, is collectively comprised of the three main constituents: silybin, silydianin and silychristin (with silybin making up between 50-70 percent of silymarin compound).

Medicinal uses: Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant, Liver cleanse

Preparation: Milk thistle is taken as a capsule, tincture, or liquid extract. Ground milk thistle powder additionally acts as a digestive aid and helps in the breakdown of dietary fats.

Precautions: Avoid this herb if you have a hormone-related cancer, are pregnant, or are breastfeeding. It can interact with allergy, cholesterol, anti-anxiety, and many other drugs. It cannot be taken for prolonged periods of time. Consult your health care practitioner before taking milk thistle.
peppermintOther names: Peppermint, Yerba BuenaParts
The active menthol found in abundance in peppermint, as well as in many other aromatic members of the mint family, has a cooling effect on the skin. Make a poultice of the leaves and apply it on the skin to relieve itching and burning resulting from skin allergies and inflammatory conditions. It has mild analgesic action, and relieves headaches and muscle cramps. This natural hybrid of spearmint and watermint is widely use in dental hygiene products, mouth fresheners, soothing balms and candies. Quite possibly the oldest medicinal herb to be used by man, there’s evidence that peppermint has been used for thousands of years. Peppermint's antispasmodic effect calms nausea and helps prevent gas and bloating after a heavy meal. Peppermint is often combined with caraway to help indigestion. Those with IBS, irritable bowel syndrome, can find relief with enteric coated capsules of peppermint.

Peppermint is a first herb of choice for treatment of colds and flu because it acts to relieve multiple symptoms at once: congestion, headaches and muscle aches, nausea and fever. You can drink a hot cup of peppermint tea, diffuse the essential oil in the sick room to ease the breath and kill germs, and use the oil in chest and throat massages. Peppermint also makes a good additive for a foot bath.

Parts used: whole herb

Constituents: volatile oils (composed mainly of menthol, menthone, and menthylacetate), flavonoids, tocopherols, carotenoids, betaine, choline, azulenes, rosmarinic acid

Medicinal Uses: Bronchitis, Cardiovascular, Congestion, Fatigue, Flu, Gastritis/ulcer, Halitosis, Headache/Migraine, IBS, Nausea, Nerve/Back Pain, Pain Relief, Sinus

Preparation: Peppermint is used as an essential oil, taken in capsules, extracts, and most often herbal tea. For cramps try boiling peppermint leaves in hot milk. Soak cotton balls or rags with peppermint (or clove) oil and place them where ants may be entering or hiding out. Take a quick whiff of peppermint oil for nausea. Diffuse peppermint oil in aroma lamps to clear the air in stuffy rooms. A few drops of peppermint essential oil in a cold compress cools the body and relieves a tension headache. Sip a tea made of a handful of peppermint leaves to calm stomach upsets and relieve pain and discomfort due to gas. Carry a few sprigs of peppermint when you travel. Sniffing on it every now and then will prevent nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness.
psillumCommon name: Flea Seed
The psyllium husk is taken orally and acts directly in the large intestine to absorb toxins and cholesterol. It can relieve constipation and diarrhea. When psyllium contacts water, it swells and sticks together to help move waste products through the intestines. This swollen mass of psyllium moves through the intestines and stimulates the body to pass stool more easily. This is a high-quality fiber source for people suffering from constipation.

Parts used: Psyllium is taken in the form of husks derived from the seed.

Constituents: ascorbic acid, aucubin, beta-carotene, beta-sitosterol, calcium, chromium, cobalt, fiber, linoleic acid, magnesium, manganese, mucilage, niacin, oleic acid, oxalic acid, phosphorous, potassium, riboflavin, selenium, sodium, stigmasterol, thiamine, tin, zinc

Medicinal uses: Constipation, Detox, Weight loss, Cholesterol control, Hemorrhoids, IBS, Colitis

Preparation: Tea, capsules, powder. The typical dose is 1/2 to 2 tsp (2 to 10 mL) psyllium seeds with 1 cup (250 mL) water. Mix the seeds in the water, and drink it quickly before it becomes a gel. Start with small doses and work your way up to 2 tsp (10 mL).

Precautions: Psyllium interacts with many drugs, including antidepressants, cholesterol-lowering medications, diabetes medications, digoxin, and lithium. Don't take psyllium and stimulant laxatives (herbal or over the counter) at the same time. Allow two hours between the time you take psyllium and the time you take medications or other supplements, psyllium fiber may interfere with absorption. Always take with a least 1 full glass of water. If you have other serious health concerns such as kidney disease, talk to your health care practitioner before taking psyllium.
sage_salvia_officinalisFrom ancient times Egyptians, Gypsies and Chinese all believed that sage was the key to a long life. Sage is one those extraordinary, ordinary herbs whose longstanding and familiar use leads us to greatly underestimate it. The uses of sage outside of the kitchen range from the mundane to the mystical, from a cure for the common cold to the psychoactive effects of Salvia divinorum and Salvia apiana in ceremonial and religious celebrations.
Medicinal Uses: Cellulite, Dental/Oral Care, Digestion, Facial Care, Memory/Focus, Menopause, Menorrhagia, Sore Throat, Analgesic, Antibacterial, AntiCancer, Antifungal, Antioxidant, Astringent

Parts Used: Leaves, small stems and flowers Constituents: volatile oils (including thujone, cineole, borneol, linalool, camphor, pinene), oestrogenic substances, salvin and carnosic acid, flavonoids, phenolic acids, rosmarinic acid, tannin.

Preparation: Sage can be used fresh or dried both as a culinary herb and medicinal herb. Sage can be taken as a tea, and the infusion can used externally as a skin and hair rinse, and as a gargle for sore throats. Liquid extracts can be diluted with water and easily applied to teeth and gums. The essential oil is used sparely, and is never ingested. White sage is burned as incense in Native American ceremonies.

Precautions: Adverse reactions are likely only with overdoses (more than 15 g sage leaf per dose) or prolonged use.
schisandra_chinensis_3Common names: Schisandra, Magnolia vine, wu-wei-zi, Schizandra
Schizandra extracts and teas are known to be gently cleansing to the liver organ, helping to purify the blood and protect the body from toxic substances. Schisandrin B, one of its primary liver-protecting elements, has been widely used as an antihepatotoxic agent proven to have hepatoprotective effects against chemical and immunological liver injury. In several reported studies, schizandra and its chemical compounds like Schisandrin B were observed to exhibit significant anti-hepatitis B virus activity. Schisandrin B was also demonstrated to have shielding effects against acetaminophen-induced liver disease from over the counter drugs, like Tylenol. Schizandra berry tea decoctions are well-known for their ability to enhance the eyesight and beautify the skin with extended use.

Parts Used: fruit

Constituents: lignans: schizandrin, deoxyschizandrin, gomisins, and pregomisin.

Medicinal Uses: Congestion, Cough, Fatigue, IBS, Liver, Longevity Tonics, Immunity, Vision.

Preparation: Teas, extracts, capsules. Let the berries infuse in dark fruit juice or glycerin for an easy, sweet tasting tonic. Shizandra berries should be brewed in hot water as tea 10-15 berries per cup of water.

Precautions: Schisandra might cause gastrointestinal upset in some individuals. Not for use during pregnancy.
1280px-sea-buckthorn-olivSea buckthorn oil is cold pressed from the whole berries to produce a regenerative oil that is used to treat a wide variety of skin disorders. Sea buckthorn oil can be used directly on the skin to regenerate skin after injuries, burns, wounds, and sun damage. Those with psoriasis and eczema may benefit from the oils ability to prevent plaque formation. Current studies are being performed on its ability to combat wrinkles, acute dryness and other symptoms of prematurely aged skin. Sea buckthorn oil heals on the inside as well and is suitable for a dietary supplement. Sea buckthorn oil is very soothing to the gastro-intestinal tract, and may be of help in treatment of colitis and stomach ulcers. Other traditional uses include immune system stimulation and protection from harmful chemical contamination at the cellular level. One recent study found sea buckthorn oil to be effective in reducing dry eyes when it was taken orally. There is widespread consensus that Sea buckthorn oil is a beneficial dietary supplement that can greatly improve the condition of skin hair and hair. While the cost of the oil is rather high, it is highly concentrated and can be used very sparingly.
Medicinal Uses: Burns, Cardiovascular, Cuts & Wounds, Eczema, Eyes/Vision, Facial Care, Immune * Psoriasis, Wrinkles, Gastritis, IBS, Hemorrhoids.

Parts Used: Berry Oil

Constituents: ascorbic-acid,beta-carotene ,beta-sitosterol,citric-acid,isorhamnetin,kaempferol,linoleic-acid,lycopene,malic-acid ,oleic-acid, quercetin

Preparation: The oil is used for both cosmetic and medicinal purposes. Sea buckthorn oil should be diluted when used in skin care formulations. Take 1 tablespoon or four to five 500 mg capsules daily as a dietary supplement. Precautions: Sea Buckthorn oil in its undiluted and concentrated form will stain skin, surfaces, and clothing. Use caution, spread evenly and dilute. Use at room temperature.
slippery-elmSlippery Elm bark powder is considered one of the best possible herbal poultices for reducing pain and inflammation of wounds, boils and skin ulcers, and burns. The tree's inner bark is rich in mucilage, a spongy, slippery fiber that soothes skin on the outside and coats the mucus membranes that cause irritation in the throat and urinary tract when the herb is taken as a tea or infusion. Slippery elm can be harmful in pregnancy. Native American women used long sticks of slippery elm to induce miscarriage, which gave slippery elm a bad reputation in that regard. It is perfectly safe, and indeed is a used as a medicinal food.
Medicinal Uses: Bladder Infection (UTI), Burns, Cuts & Wounds, Diarrhea, Gastritis/ulcer, Sore Throat, Astringent, Diuretic, Expectorant.

Parts Used: Inner Bark

slippery-elm-barkConstituents: mucilage

Medicinal uses: Sore throat, Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), IBS, Cancer.

Preparations: Teas, infusions, poultices. Up to 5 tablespoons (15 grams) of slippery elm bark can be dissolved in a cup (240 ml) of water. Sometimes found encapsulated and as a liquid extract.

Precautions: Slippery Elm should be taken with at least 250mL (8 oz) of liquid. Other drugs should be taken 1 hour prior to or several hours after consumption of slippery elm. The mucilage may slow the absorption of orally administered drugs.
 
stinging-nettleStinging nettles are hard to miss, especially if you’ve ever been stung inadvertently. The stem grows 2 to 4 feet tall, and the green, heart-shaped leaves taper to a point and are covered with downy stinging hairs. The leaves and stems contain active ingredients including formic acid and histamines.
Medicinal uses: Migraines, Arthritis, Prostate enlargement, Allergies, Menorrhagia, Nutrition, Osteoporosis, PMS.

Parts Used: Leaves, stems, and to a lesser extent root.

Constituents: formic acid, mucilage, ammonia, carbonic acid, water.

Preparation: Nettles are widely available in capsules, tinctures, teas, creams, and fluid extracts. Nettle tea is the best way to take it. Use 1 table spoon of dry herb and brew it with 1 cup of boiling water. Drink 1/3 cup 3 times a day.

Precautions: Avoid touching the plant without knowing proper handling techniques. Pregnant women should avoid this herb as it may contribute to miscarriage. Discuss your desire to use this herb with your health care practitioner if you take medication for diabetes or high blood pressure, or if you take blood thinners or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS).

Disclaimer: Information is intended strictly for educational purposes and is not to be used for self-treatment or diagnostics. All descriptions are derived from common knowledge sources such as Wikipedia, Herbology textbooks and other open medical sources of herbal medicine.