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.


  • 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.

·         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 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.
·         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


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.

·         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 

Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Plant Thymes : Hyssop - Herb of the Week

The Plant Thymes : Hyssop - Herb of the Week: Hyssopus officinalis – Hyssop Herb Name - Hyssop Other names— Issopo and Ysop Botanical Name - Hyssopuss Officinalis...

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Hyssop - Herb of the Week

Hyssopus officinalis – Hyssop

Herb Name - Hyssop

Other names—Issopo and Ysop

Botanical Name - Hyssopuss Officinalis

Family -  Laminaceae

Parts Used -  Ariel parts

History - Native to the Mediterranean and central Asia.  Hyssop is derived from the Greek language, being known for its purgative properties being mentioned in the Book of Psalms and the Book of Exodus.

Description - Hyssop is a genus of 10 or 12 species which are known for their square stems. They are aromatic perennial plants with erect branched stems that are up to 60cms long with fine hairs that cover the tips. Leaves are narrow oblong and long and are 2-5cm long. They bear small blue flowers in summer. Other well-known species is the Anise hyssop, also known as giant blue hyssop.

Cultivation— Sow seeds in spring and plant out seedlings 40—50cms apart. Cuttings and root divisions can be taken in Spring or autumn. Replace plants every few years. Harvest at the peak of its maturity.
Active Constituents - Essential oils, pinene, camphene, camphor and terinene. Tannis, flavonoids (hyssopin), glycoside (diosmin) and bitter lactones (marrubiin, ursolic acid) and choline.

·         Anti-catarrhal
·         Anti-spasmodic
·         Expectorant
·         Laxative
·         Diaphoretic
·         Anti-viral
·         Relaxing nerve tonic
·         Sedative
·         Carminative

Indications - Hyssop is used as a favouring agent in eau de cologne and in chartreuse. It can also be used to colour Absinthe and sometimes in combination for making licorice.
In foods is has a slightly bitter, minty flavour and can be liberally added to soups, salads and meat dishes. It was traditionally used as a stewing herb. Cooking suggestions are glazed carrots, cheese and hyssop spread, meat balls, chicken and with cauliflower salad.  
The ability of Hyssop to aid the digestion of fatty meats opens doors for more potential uses of it.  

Its medicinal actions are predominantly as a lung herb. It has a sweet and bitter taste which makes in valuable in the treatment of runny noses, sore throats and lung afflictions.
Its anti-spasmodic action helps with congested feelings in the head and chest, to help reduce phlegm and aid unproductive coughs. It has been used a long time for asthma, bronchitis, coughs and chesty colds.
It will help to eliminate toxins in the gut and to promote cleansing through the skin in the perspiration.
It is also thought to clean and tone the kidneys and as an anti-viral it has shown to be effective on cold sores and herpes simplex virus.
Its bitter taste will help to tone the GIT, while soothing mucus membranes at the same time, as well as improving appetite and relieving flatulence.
As it works as a relaxing nerve tonic it is great for nervous exhaustion, overwork and depression.

Topically it has been used to kill lice, soothe inflamed joints and bruising.
The oil has been known to increase mental alertness.
Hyssop essential oil is great for stability, rheumatism and bruising. Its benefits are for warming, relaxing, healing, refreshing and cleansing.

Therapeutic Dosage -  2-4ml of a 1:1 3 times a day or 2-4ml of 1:5 three times a day.
1 tsp in a cup of boiling water and drink three times daily

Cautions -  The Essential oil has been shown to cause fatal convulsion in rates, humans may want to be cautious. Not recommended in pregnancy.

If you would like to purchase some hyssop, here is our link to our website 

Until then seeing you all in happiness and health 
Louise Plant 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Thyme - Herb of the Week

Thymus vulgaris – Thyme

Botanical Name  Thymus vulgaris 

Family – Laminacaea
Other names - Thyme, Common Thyme, Garden Thyme, common garden thyme, Mother of Thyme.

History - Thyme was traditionally used as an antiseptic. Culpepper in the 1600’s noted it to be ‘a strengthener of the lungs, as notable a one as grows, neither is there a better remedy growing for that disease in children which they commonly call chin cough (whooping cough).’  It was used in pre and post-surgical dressings during World War 1.
Description - An aromatic shrub growing to 40cm, with woody stems, small leaves and pink flowers.
Cultivation - It is raised by seed or root division in spring. It prefers light, chalky soils.
Parts Used - The ariel parts are harvested in summer.

Active Constituents - Volatile oil, of highly variable composition; the major constituent is 20 to 54% thymol, with lesser amounts of carvacrol, with l,8-cineole, borneol, geraniol, linalool, bornyl and linalyl acetate, aliphatic phenols, thymol methyl ether and a-pinene.
 Flavonoids; apigenin, eugenol, luteolin, thymonin, naringenin and others Miscellaneous; labiatic acid, caffeic acid, tannins, tetramethoxylated flavones.  etc.

Actions -
·         Carminative
·         Anti-microbial
·         Anti-spasmodic
·         Expectorant
·         Anti-tussive
·         Bactericidal
·         Astringent
·         Anthelmintic
·         Tonic
·         Emmenagogue
·         Resolvent
·         Antiseptic
·         Anti-spasmodic.
·         Antioxidant
·         Anti-fungal

Indications - With its high content of volatile oil, Thyme makes a good carminative for use in dyspepsia and sluggish digestion. This oil is also a strong antiseptic. Used externally as a lotion for infected wounds, and internally for respiratory and digestive infections.
It may be of use as a gargle in laryngitis and tonsillitis, easing sore throats and soothing irritable coughs. It is an excellent cough remedy, producing expectoration and reducing unnecessary spasm not just in the respiratory system. It may be used in bronchitis, whooping cough, pleurisy and asthma, where it clears the lungs of mucus, soothes coughing spasms and acts as an anti-tussive.

As a gentle astringent it has found use in childhood diarrhoea, worms and bed wetting. For whooping cough it combines well with Wild Cherry and Sundew.
As a mouth wash is extremely valuable acting to treat mouth, teeth, gums and throat, having a similar effect to Listerine’s antibacterial action.
Research in the 1990’s in Scotland suggests the volatile oil counteracts the effects of aging, acting as a body tonic and supporting the normal functioning of the body. It is a strong antioxidant and helps to maintain higher levels of essential fatty acids in the brain.
The German Commission E has approved its use for helping with the symptoms of whooping cough, bronchitis and catarrh.

It has been traditionally used for the immune system, especially fungal infections. It is a valuable remedy for the throat, chest infections and hay fever.  It is indicated externally for bites, stings, sciatica and rheumatic pains. It will help ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush and other fungal infections.
The essential oil is commonly used as an antifungal, antibacterial and an antiprotozoal. The oil will promote hair growth and reduce dandruff, more so when combined with Lavender and Rosemary. In fact 44% showed improvement after 6 months of application.

Further Studies
In 2007 a German study used thyme and ivy syrup with children and adolescents with acute bronchitis. Their study concluded that a 10 day treatment improved and even cured the diseases.
Lab experiments have shown thymol to have antifungal activity against a number of species such as Cryptococcus, Aspergillus, Saprolegnia and Zygorhynchus species, and in 1999 effective against Staph aureus.  
A study reported in the 2010 Journal of  Medicinal Food explain scientists used thyme oil to inhibit 8 type of bacteria. A study at the “Department of Pharmacology at the University” of Milan has concluded that thymol, has the ability to interfere with the formation of candida. A study reported in the April 2004 edition of  Food Control, supports the use of oil of thyme for killing food borne bacteria and extending the shelf life of foods. In a study reported in the journal Letters of Applied Microbiology in 2007, scientists found thymol was effective against a wide variety of fungi and mold species.
For more studies check out this link

Dosage - Infusion: Pour a cup of boiling water onto 2 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb and let infuse for l0 minutes. tds
Tincture:          1:5       (45%)  2-6 ml tds
Fluid Ext.         (45%)              0.6-4 ml tds

Cautions – Caution in pregnancy
Combinations - For asthmatic problems it will combine well with Lobelia and Ephedra, adding its anti-microbial effect. For whooping cough use it with Wild Cherry and Sundew.