Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Passion Flower


Just the word passion flower conjures up desire and good feelings and yet this herb is one of the best herbs for boosting our happy hormones. 
We could all benefit with a great dose of passion. 

You can buy passionflower here https://driedherbsonline.com/product/passion-flower-passiflora-incarnata/, give a small bag a go. 
Read more about Passion Flower below

PASSION FLOWER – Passiflora incarnata

Family - Passifloraceae


Other Names: Passion Vine, Maypops, Granadilla

History
The Passion flowers are so named because they resemble the fine cut corona in the centre of the blossoms of the Crown of Thorns.
Native Americans used the fruit pulp to treat swelling and sore eyes and the root they used as a general tonic.

Parts Used
The dried herb is collected after some of the berries have matured.

Cultivation
There are 500 species of passion flower known to man and the medicinal properties can be suggested for many of the species.
A perennial root native to US, Central and South America produces herbaceous shoots with three lobed, finely serrated leaves and flesh coloured or yellowish sweet smelling flowers, tinged with purple. It produces a small many seeded berry the size of a small apple.
The leaves are collected after flowering and dried in the shade.
It is propagated from seed and likes plenty of sun.

Constituents
Alkaloids harmine (indole alkaloid), Harman, harmol and  passiflorine. Passiflorine has similar properties to morphine.
Flavone glycosides (apigenin) and sterols. Maltol, cyanogenic glycosides


Actions
  • Sedative
  • Hypnotic
  • Anti-spasmodic
  • Anodyne
  • Relaxant
  • Hypotensive
  • Tranqulizing

Indications:
Passiflora is great for sleepless nights, anxiety and insomnia. It is for this reason that it is commonly used.  It aids the transition into sleep.
How it does this is by increasing the GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in your brain which then lessens brain activity and helps us to relax. A study showed those who drank it daily for 7 days noticed an improvement in their sleep.
It can be used for any condition where there is cramping and spasms, being effective in cases such as asthma. Epilepsy and irritable bowel conditions will benefit from passion flower.
Occasionally it has been prescribed for convulsions, as well as other issues such as boils, wounds, earaches and liver problems.
It is indicated for nervous conditions and for where there are viral infections of the nerves such as in shingles.
The leaves are non-addictive, non-depressant, sedative especially in cases of anxiety.
It has valuable painkilling properties and can be used for headaches, period pain and toothaches.
Passion Flower will prevent tachycardia and help to reduce high blood pressure.
It is indicated for diarrhoea, dysentery, neuralgia, sleeplessness and dysmenorrhoea.
A compress will help to soothe burns and skin irritations.

Dosage:
0 to 20 minims of fluid extract
Tincture 1 to 4 ml three times a day. Larger doses can be taken in the evening to help sleeping.
1 teaspoon in an infusion can also be drunk at night to help sleep.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Maca, Rooibos and Nettle Recipes


Want to find ways to use herbs that are out of the box?
Try these 3 herb recipes



Maca Choc Balls
            280g cake crumbs (about 3 cups)
            3 tbsp apricot jam
            3 dtsp maca
            1 tsp Cocoa
            1 tbsp rum
            2 tbsp water
            Extra jam and chocolate sprinkles
Mix together the cake crumbs, maca powder, cocoa, warmed jam and rum until a stiff paste is formed. If extra water is needed to make a paste then add just enough to make a thick paste. Roll the paste in round balls, this mixture will yield about 24 balls. Warm an extra 2 tbsp of sieved jam with water and dip the rolled balls into the mixture and then coat with chocolate sprinkles. Place balls in paper party cases and leave to firm. 


Nettle Soup
I love this soup, it is one of the best soups I have ever eaten, a great Scottish recipe.
  • Wild nettles tops (about half a carrier bag full)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock
  • ½ litre of boiling water
  • 100g long grain rice
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • A little olive oil
  • Sour cream (optional)

Method
Put a saucepan on a low heat, and add a dash of olive oil. Finely chop the onions and add to the pan, and cook until soft. Pour in the rice and vegetable stock and bring to a simmer. Cook until the rice is tender.
Add the nettles. You don’t want to add them too soon, otherwise some of the nutrients will be lost in the cooking process. At this point you might have trouble getting the lid back on your saucepan, but the nettle leaves soon wilt down. When they are more manageable, stir them through the rice. Add the other half litre of boiling water and simmer for another minute or so.
Remove from the heat and blend, either using a hand blender or a food processor, until you get a smooth consistency. Taste your soup and add salt and pepper. Blend again to mix it in. Keep tasting and blending until you have the seasoning just right for your palate.
This nettle soup can be enjoyed with a swirl of sour cream and chopped chives, or a drizzle of good olive oil on top.

Rooibos Popsicle

Place rooibos tea in a pot and add boiling water, allow to steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Add 1 pinch of stevia or 10 to 20 drops of stevia liquid. 
Freeze the teas in popsicle mould or ice cube tray and add to drinks.


Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Herbal First Aid


HERBAL FIRST AID

By Louise Plant

There are a wide range of herbs that you can look to be growing in your garden that can become an essential component of your medicine cabinet. This article looks at some of these herbs that can be used as first aid measures.
This list is a few suggestions of the more common herbs that could be kept on hand in the need of first aid.

ALOE VERA
Aloe Vera is an essential part to any Australian household. It is the best thing for minor burns. I tend to keep some in the fridge during the summer months as it is so effective for any sunburn and when applied cold it just takes all the heat away. It can be applied a few times a day; the more applications used the more heat that is taken away from the burn. It is a very easy plant to grow and it is great for a wide range of skin conditions.

GARLIC
 Garlic is a great antibacterial and antiseptic. In our household it is commonly used for the sniffles and runny noses. It is mixed with honey for the children, as well as incorporated into our diet during meals.   The cloves can be cut and then applied to corns to help draw them out, or they can be applied topically to cuts and acne for its antiseptic action.

COMFREY
Comfrey is another great healing herb, though it is restricted for internal use within Australia. The bruised leaves can be easily applied to any bruising or sprains. I make an ointment that has proven to very effective for sore chapped lips, broken ribs, nappy rash and other minor starches and bruises. It can be easily applied to broken skin unlike arnica, which is another herb that is fantastic for bruises and sprains.

CHICKWEED
Chickweed is a common weed that is found throughout every country in the world. You would probably find one in your own backyard and could be unaware of its great healing, cleaning and anti-itching properties. It is great for eczema and itchy dermatitis. Its healing properties also make it good for burns and scalds. The ointments has great drawing properties and can be used to help remove toxins from boils and abscesses as well as draw out insect stings and stubborn splinters.

CALENDULA
Calendula is another great healing herb that works very effectively on small capillaries. The cream is great for dry, sore skin irritations and as it also has antiseptic properties it is very useful on cuts and grazes. Calendula is a herb that is also effective on fungal conditions and it can be drunk in a tea and/or the cream applied externally.

Distilled WITCH HAZEL
Witch hazel like aloe is good for minor burns and sunburn, though it also has many other functions. It is a great astringent and it can be applied to cuts and scratches to stop bleeding. A cotton swab soaked in the distilled witch hazel will soon stop a bleeding wound. It is also effective on varicose veins, for bruises and sprains and it can even help soothe itchy insect bites.

If you are interested in more articles about herb subjects along this line, please let us know.
Check out our dried herbs at www.driedherbsonline.com

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Alfalfa - Medicago sativa


Medicago sativa – Alfalfa
Botanical Name – Medicago sativa
Other names – Lucerne, purple medic
Family - Fabaceae

Parts used  - Ariel parts
Alfalfa in Arabic means ‘father’ and is it possibly due to its action in debility and as a restorative tonic in both chronic and acute weaknesses.
Alfalfa is commonly grown for feed for and can be called silage or pasturage.

History - Chinese used Alfalfa to treat digestive problems and stimulate appetite. Ayurvedic Indians used Alfalfa to treat ulcers, arthritic pains and fluid retention. American Pioneers used Alfalfa to treat arthritis, boils, scurvy, urinary and bowel disorders.

Cultivation – Alfalfa is a perennial that is drought, heat and cold tolerant and what is remarkable about alfalfa is that its root growth is very deep and can give an indication as to how rich the nutrient dense the soil is, the deeper the roots, the poorer the soil.

It is commonly grown as a cover crop or is used as a green manure, which means it is ploughed back into the ground.

 Description – It grows to 30–90 cm, arises from a much-branched crown that is partially embedded in the surface layer of soil. As it plant develops, numerous stems bearing trifoliate leaves arise from the crown buds. Racemes of small flowers arise from the upper axillary buds of the stems. Flowers produce corkscrew-coiled legumes containing two to eight or more seeds. Similar to many other members of Fabaceae, alfalfa plants house symbiotic soil bacteria (rhizobia) in their root nodules to 'fix' nitrogen from the air into the soil, thus making it accessible to other plants. 

Active Constituents - It the herb that is extremely high in a range of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. It is deemed one of the most nutritive herbs that contains one of the best sources of protein.

Nutrients it contains include Pro-vitamin A, Beta-carotene, Vit E, B1, B2, B5, B6, B9, Vit C, Vit D and K, Biotin, Amino Acids, Ca, P, K, Mg, Fe, Zn, Cu, Chlorophyll, Protein, Fat, Steroidal saponins and Isoflavonoid Phytolexins.

Actions 

  • Anti-arthritic
  • Alterative
  • Antipyretic
  • Diuretic
  • Hemostatic
  • Hypocholesterolemic

Indications – Alfalfa is used for kidney conditions, bladder and prostate conditions, and to increase urine flow. It is also used for high cholesterol, asthma, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, upset stomach, and a bleeding disorder called thrombocytopenic purpura. People also take alfalfa as a source of vitamins A, C, E, and K4; and minerals calcium, potassium, phosphorous, and iron.
It is a herb that has shown in research to lower cholesterol by binding the bile salts necessary for cholesterol absorption.
It is also deemed to contain a form of protein that has an anti-tumour action. It will neutralize complex cellular carcinogenic agents in the colon, liver and small intestine especially before they have chance to do damage.
The steroidal saponins (soyasapogenols, hederagenin, medicagenic acid) are believed to have cholesterol lowering and haemolytic activity. In a study with prairie dogs, the lowest incidence of cholesterol gallstones was obtained with the diet of the higher fiber content (85% alfalfa). 
Other indications are in helping to prevent strokes and heart disease.

Dosage - 2 capsules can be taken with every meal

5-10g of dried herb can be taken daily as an infusion
5-10ml daily of a 1:1 Fluid Extract in 25% alcohol

Cautions - Alfalfa is contra-indicated in Lupus. It is oestrogenic. Taking alfalfa along with birth control pills might decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills
Alfalfa might cause the immune system to become more active, and this could increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. There are two case reports of SLE patients experiencing disease flare after taking alfalfa seed products long-term.
Contra-indicated with warfarin medication as alfalfa contains high amount so Vitamin K. 

Alfalfa dried herb is only $5.80 per 100g, you can purchase it here 

Until the next herb, seeing you all in happiness and health 

Louise Plant 

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Damiana - More sex and less stress!


Turnera diffusa – Damiana
Common Name – Damiana
Botanical name – Turnera diffusa



Family –Turneraceae

History - Damiana is traditionally an aphrodisiac used by the Maya people of Central America. It is used for both male and female sexual stimulation. The leaves are still used to flavour alcoholic drinks in Mexico and as a substitute for tea. Damiana is found growing in the Gulf of Mexico, the northern Caribbean islands and in Namibia. The native Brazilians used Damiana as an astringent and tonic tea.

Description - Damiana is an aromatic shrub that grows to  two metres. It has smooth pale green leaves that are pale green on the upper side and are glabrous with few hairs on the ribs on the underside. The flowers are small yellow single flowers arising from axils of the leaves.
Cultivation - Damiana grows from seed in spring. It prefers a hot humid climate. Damiana is now cultivated in the countries listed above.

Parts Used - The leaves are harvested when the herb is in full flower in Summer.

Active Constituents - Arbutin up to 7%. Volatile oil about 0.5 - 1%, deltacadinene 10% and thymol 4%, cineol, cymol and pinene. Cyanogenic glycoside – tetraphyllin, flavonoids, gonzalitosin, damianin.     Resins, tannins and gums Amorhous bitter principle called Damianain and trace amounts of phosphorus.

Actions
·         Nerve Tonic
·         Stimulant
·         Mild laxative
·         Diuretic
·         Testosterogenic
·         Aphrodisiac
·         Antiseptic
·         Thymoleptic
·         Stomachic

Indications - Damiana is a great tonic and restoring herb for the nervous system and for conditions such as anxiety, depression and stress. The thymol found in it also makes it toning as also as an antiseptic.  In helping to stimulate the body and mind it can be used for mild to moderate depression, or for nervous exhaustion.
It is indicated to help increase energy, to reduce the symptoms of asthma, depression, impotence as well as menstrual problems. It is also used as a general tonic to improve digestion and treat constipation.  
The aphrodisiac properties have been related to its Testosterogenic action. It has predominately been used for men and is useful in helping to treat premature ejaculation and impotence. It works to help bring oxygen into the genital area. Long term it will improve sexual fitness and performance.
Modern research has shown it to increase sperm count in males and the strength of eggs in females. It also helps with erectile dysfunction and anorgasmia.

Both men and women have been shown to benefit from its used and it is now considered as tonic and restorative to the reproductive organs of both men and women. For the female reproductive organs is has been found useful in treating delayed and painful menses, especially where headaches are indicated.
As Damiana contain antiseptic properties and constituents such as Arbutin, as well as being diuretic it has been found to be very useful in the treatment of urinary infections, especially in the urinary tubules.
Being a laxative Damiana has found a use in the treatment of constipation due to poor bowel tone.

It is also a great herbal remedy for anxiety and can help with normalising hormones in menopausal women. As a central nervous system depressant it will relax and control nervous responses.

 Daily Dosage - For mild depression take 30 drops of tincture daily with water.
1 cup of herb infusion can be drunk daily as a tonic. 2-4ml three times daily of 1:1
Capsules take  3 to 4 grams twice daily.
A fresh plant tincture of aerial portions may be made as well.
Damiana leaves are often infused in alcohol to make liqueurs or cordials.
Cautions - Care with overactive Nervous systems as it can initiate bowel troubles.

If you would like to purchase Damiana you can here 

Until next week, seeing you in happiness and health 
Louise Plant 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Yucca


Yucca spp. - Yucca
Common Name – Yucca

Botanical Name – Yucca Filamentosa/ arborescens/ angustifolia/ aloifolia/ elata
Family -  Agavaceae
Other Names -  Spanish bayonet, Our Lord’s candle, Joshua Tree and Adam’s needle.  
Parts Used -  The powdered root
History - Its uses are far and wide as it is also used to make fibre and rope, as well as being a key ingredient in making soap due to its very high saponin content. The Papagos used the boil and mash the roots and they would use them as a cure for diabetes. The green pods were used as a food source.
Indian tribes used to boil or bake the fruits, eat the blossoms, chew the raw leaves and ferment the fruits for ceremonial purposes.

Description – There are over 50 species of perennial Yucca trees and shrubs, predominantly found in arid parts of North America and the Carribean. They commonly grow in hot and dry climates.
They are characterised by their stiff, evergreen, sword shaped leaves found on a stout trunk. They have a dense terminal flower head that resembles a candle. They all depend on pollination by nocturnal moths.
Active Constituents – Steroidal saponins called sarsasapogenin, Yuccaloeside B and Yuccaloeside C. Minerals, copper, beta carotene, calcium, fatty acids, folic acid, iron, riboflavin, tannins, polyphenols, sterols, reversatrol, magnesium and manganese.
Actions
·         Anti-inflammatory
·         Anti-arthritic
·         Aphrodisiac
·         Decreases platelet adhesion
·         Hypocholesteraemic
·         Laxative
·         Steroidal hormone activity
Indications – Yucca has been indicated for digestions, musculo skeletal issues, the urinary and the reproductive systems, this is why its greatest indication is for joint pain and inflammation. It has a high calorie content.
A report in 2006 in the Journal of Inflammations reported  that the antioxidants in Yucca can help to alleviate inflammation.

It is beneficial in treating colitis, hypertension, arthritis and migraines. There is also limited evidence suggesting it can reduce hypertension and high blood cholesterol. In 2003 a clinical trial was published in the Archives of Pharmacal Research showed that daily supplementation of Yucca and sarsaparilla decreased total and LDL cholesterol after 4 weeks.

Its high levels of Vitamin C and antioxidants helps it to boost immunity and more specifically the activity of the white blood cells. It helps in fighting both viruses and infections, with the high antioxidant levels protecting the body from cell mutations and free radical damage. Preliminary research in a 2003 study indicated Yucca’s ability to protect against oxidative stress by slowing the production of free radicals in blood platelets.

As it is rich in carbohydrates and has photo-protective properties it is valuable in promoting healthy skin, produces collagen the skin protein with the added benefit of folic acid to help overall skin and eye health. It will protect against sun damage. Other skin indications are for dandruff, baldness, sores and cuts, sprains, skin diseases and infections.
It is still used in soaps, shampoos and food supplements such as foaming agents and flavourings in soft drinks.

Dosage - Decoction: put l teaspoonful of the powdered root into a cup of cold water and bring to the boil. Leave for l0-l5 minutes. Drink 3 to 5 sups per day.
Take 2 to 4 capsules a day.
Cautions -  High and prolonged use may loosen the bowels and could cause bleeding. Over dosing can lead to nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. It is best avoided during pregnancy and breast feeding. It is best to avoid prolonged use.
If you would like to purchase Yucca, you can do so here 
Louise Plant 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Eyebright




Euphrasia officinalis – Eyebright
Herb Name - Eyebright
Botanical Name - Euphrasia officinalis
Family -  Scrophulariaceae

Parts Used -  Ariel parts

History - Eyebright was and continues to be used primarily as a poultice for the topical treatment of eye inflammations, including blepharitis, conjunctivitis, and styes. A compress made from a decoction of eyebright can give rapid relief from redness, swelling, and visual disturbances in acute and subacute eye infections. A tea is usually given internally along with the topical treatment. It has also been used for the treatment of eye fatigue and disturbances of vision. In addition, herbalists have recommended eyebright for problems of the respiratory tract, including sinus infections, coughs, and sore throat.

Description - Euphrasia officinalis has been used to refer to a vast genus containing over 450 species. European wild plants grow in meadows, pastures, and grassy places in Bulgaria, Hungary, and the former Yugoslavia. Eyebright is also grown commercially in Europe. The plant flowers in late summer and autumn. The whole herb is used in commercial preparations.

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

Actions
·         Anti-catarrhal
·         Anti-inflammatory
·         Astringent
·         Antibacterial
·         Mucous membrane tonic

Indications - Blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids), Conjunctivitis, Irritated eyes.
Eyebright can be used for a wide range of conditions relating to the respiratory system and excessive production of nasal catarrh. It is indicated for nasopharyngeal catarrh, chronic sinusitis, hay fever, serous otitis media, pharyngitis, catarrhal deafness and sinus headache.
Its combination for reducing allergy symptoms and supporting the lungs helps it to reduce mucus build up during colds and flus. This makes it extremely valuable at hay fever time.
It contains beta-carotene and flavonoids, this is part of its great activity for helping repair eyesight and the small blood vessels found in the eyes. In aiding circulation is a great herb for cognitive performance and to increase the memory.
The astringent and antibacterial activity will tighten porous oily skin and hence can be beneficial with healing acne and irritated skin. As an astringent, the herb is used to aid in the healing on skin wounds. It is made into a poultice and used on the wound topically. It can also be used to treat acne and aid in skin inflammation. A cold eyebright poultice can help tighten skin.

Dosage -  Traditional herbal texts recommend a compress made with 1 tablespoon of the dried herb combined with 0.5 litre of water and boiled for ten minutes. The undiluted liquid is used as a compress after cooling. This was commonly combined with antimicrobial herbs, such as goldenseal. The current German monograph on eyebright does not support this application, due to potential bacterial concerns.
For cataracts, weeping eye, pink eye (conjunctivitis), blood shot and strained eyes, an Eyebright tincture may help when used as an eyewash. To make an Eyebright eyewash, mix 5-8 drops of tincture in 2 cups of cool filtered water or boil 1 teaspoon of eyebright in 1 1/2 cup of water. Dilute the strained tea in a cup of cool rose water. Washing the affected eyes with this eyewash every 4 hours may alleviate the symptoms.
Internally, eyebright tea, made using the same formula above, can be drunk in the amount of two to three cups per day. Dried herb, as 2-4 grams three times per day, may be taken. The tincture is typically taken in 2-6 ml doses three times per day.
A great home remedy can be made by mixing 2 tbsp powder of the dried Eyebright, half tsp of ground mace, 2 tbsp of fennel seeds together, with honey to taste. Take half teaspoon of this mixture every morning with juice. Drinking one cup of Eyebright tea daily may improve gradual memory loss.

Cautions -  Due to limited information on the active constituents in eyebright and the need for sterility in substances used topically in the eyes, the traditional use of eyebright as a topical compress currently cannot be recommended. Used internally at the amounts listed above, eyebright is generally safe. However, its safety during pregnancy and lactation has not been proven.


You can purchase eyebright here