Posts tagged ‘Herb’

February 23, 2015

Adaptogens

Adaptogens are herbs that help the body adapt to any kind of stressors. They are mainly used for Chronic conditions, which require long-term use for full benefits.

Ginsengs are a good example of herbal adaptogens. The actions aren’t obvious and immediate like herbal purgatives, they are more subtle and accumulative over time.

Take Ginsengs and other adaptogens for chronic stress, illness or if catching frequent colds. Ginsengs are immune tonics that nourish all systems.

Take Ginsengs or other herbal adaptogen tonics internally for 3 weeks,
and then take a break for a week.

Take Ginsengs and other herbal adaptogen immune tonics at a chronic dose:
CHRONIC DOSE
2-3 times a day for 2-3 weeks
then take a break for 1-2 weeks
and repeat if necessary.

Do not take Ginsengs with anticoagulant drugs,
MAOI’s, Opioids, corticosteroids, Hypoglycemic drugs.

asain ginseng

Adaptogens are Long-term Immune Tonic Herbs

Primary Adaptogens
Aralia nudicaulis– Wild sarsaparilla root
Aralia racemosa– Spikenard root
Astragalus membranaceus- Chinese milkvetch root
Eleutherococcus senticosus- Siberian ginseng/Shigoka root
Ganoderma lucidum- Lacquered varnish polypore fungi
Ganoderma applanatum- Artist’s conk polypore fungi
Ganoderma tsugae– Hemlock varnish shelf fungi
Panax ginseng– Asian Ginseng root
Panax quinquefolius– North American ginseng root

Secondary Adaptogens
Curcuma longa– Turmeric rhizome
Ginkgo biloba- Ginkgo Leaf
Glycyrrhiza glabra– Licorice rhizome
Hypericum perforatum- St. Johnswort herb
Inula helenium– Elecampane root
Rosmarinus officinalis– Rosemary herb
Vitex agnus-castus– Chaste tree berry
Zingiber officinale– Ginger rhizome

Secondary adaptogens go well together with primary herb adaptogens as a catalyst.

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Learn more about Ginsengs here
http://earthelixir.ca/herbs/american-ginseng/
http://earthelixir.ca/herbs/asian-ginseng/
http://earthelixir.ca/2012/12/18/diy-siberian-ginseng-shigoka-root-tincture/

February 18, 2015

Herbal Catalysts

When using more than one herb to mix a herbal tincture formulation, adding a catalyst herb is sometimes beneficial.

Catalyst herbs are strong, hot or warming herbs, that require only minimal amounts in a herbal tincture formulation. These herbs act as a circulatory stimulant to boost the effectiveness of other herbs, by increasing circulation due to heat generation. Adding a warming herb is helpful for people with poor circulation or who feel cold.

Caution is advised, because of the strength and Heat of the Herbs.

The stronger and hotter the herb, the lower the dose. Cayenne pepper and other hot pepper varieties are the hottest, so only use 1% in a formula. That’s 1ml in a 100ml formula.

If taking these herbs on their own, make sure it is a low dose for use in tincture and tea.

Consult a qualified Herbal practitioner before taking any herbal treatment.

Follow these general guidelines when preparing herbal tincture formulations with warming catalyst herbs.

Herbal Catalyst Percentages in Formulations:

Capsicum spp.- Cayenne fruit 1%
Cinnamomum spp.- Cinnamon bark 3-10%
Allium sativum– Garlic bulb 3-10%
Rosmarinus officinalis- Rosemary herb 5-15%
Zingiber officinale– Ginger rhizome 3-10%
Zanthoxylem spp.- Prickly ash bark/berries 10-20%

These are general guidelines, and many factors vary.

Consult a qualified Herbal practitioner before taking any herbal treatment.

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February 18, 2015

Herbal Dosages

The dosages in the herbal monographs are meant to act as general guidelines and are strictly adult dosages only. It is very difficult to generalize, because everyone is different with unique needs, but dosage needs to be a part of the conversation in order to understand how to use herbs. Everything is a remedy or a poison depending on the dose.

There are many factors to consider when calculating dose. Dosages vary depending on the strength of the herb, the constitution of the person, age, weight, and height.
As a general rule dosage goes down as the strength and/or heat of the herb increases.
Taking lower than recommended doses apply to people who have significant levels of toxicity, are in a severely depleted state, taking pharmaceutical medication, or are elderly.

If symptoms get worse, decrease or cease dosage, or change herbs.
Always consult a qualified professional.

It is best to start taking herb tinctures with only one herb at a time, until you become more familiar with the herbs and what they do.

Dosages:

As a general rule use one drop per pound per person.

Dosages can range anywhere from one drop to one teaspoon,
or 1-5 ml, and depends on if you are treating acute symptoms or chronic long term issues. An example of an acute condition is a cold, and a chronic condition is arthritis.

1 teaspoon= 5ml
15ml = 1 tablespoon =3 teaspoons= .5 oz.
30mls = 2 tablespoons= 6 teaspoons= 1 oz.

Dropper bottles with Droppers can contain 28 drops = 1 ml per dropper full
One squeeze of a dropper equals 1 ml

ADULT DOSE: Puberty- 70 (or 100 pounds or more)
Chronic dose: 3-5 droppers
Acute dose: 5-8 droppers

SENIORS DOSE: 70 Years or older
Chronic dose: 2-4 droppers
Acute dose: 4-5 droppers

CHILDREN DOSE: 2 year- Puberty
Chronic dose: weight in pounds × 0.04+/- .25 droppers
Acute dose: weight in pounds × 0.07+/- 0.5 droppers

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February 7, 2015

DIY Rose Tincture and Perfume for Nutritive Medicine and Skincare 🌹

Roses are such divine food, medicine and perfume, but watch out for those pointy, sharp thorns on the stem. It’s easy to see why it is such a universal symbol of love. 🌹

I collected some wild rose petals from my garden, for a rose petal tincture and essence. Wear gloves and protective clothing to harvest. Wild roses are better than the commercial varieties for medicinal use.

You can make your own perfume out of Rose petal flowers, as well as medicine.image

See my blog on how to make your own natural perfume from flowers. http://earthelixir.ca/2012/06/05/making-natural-perfume-from-flower-petals/

Rose petal tincture is used medicinally as a nutritive for debility. Rose has a euphoric, aphrodisiac action that soothes and relaxes the nervous system. It tones digestion, reduces inflammation, and is great to use in skincare products. It is good for all skin types, especially mature skin. It’s easy to add rose water and essential oil to make your own skincare products.

See my blog on using Rose essential oil. http://earthelixir.ca/2012/06/04/rose-essential-oil/

Rose water is what is separated from the essential oil part, and is used in cooking, baking, and for beverages.

Rose hips, collected after the flowers bloom, are delicious, nutritious medicinal food. Rose hip tea beverages and culinary soups have a pink red colour, and pack some good Vitamin C content and phytonutrients.

Here are some beautiful roses for you friends. The roses in these pictures are from my garden, so take some time to smell the roses.🌹

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Common Name  Rose hips/ flowers
Latin Name  Rosa spp.
Family Rosaceae
Parts Used Perennial- Collect flower petals during growing season. Roses lay dormant in colder climates. Collect rosehips in the Fall. Essential oil made from flowers. 
Target Organs Digestion, Central Nervous System, Nerves, Skin
Common Uses Aphrodisiac, perfume, debility, exhaustion, nutritive, inflammation, skincare, Rosehips, rosewater, are used in cooking and beverages
Properties Aphrodisiac, antidepressant, antiseptic, euphoric, antispasmodic, nutritive, astringent, mild laxative, vulnerary, diuretic, anti-inflammatory,
Constituents Essential oil : Esters: geranyl acetate, citronellyl acetate, neryl acetate, 

Sesquiterpene alcohol: farnesol, 

Aldehydes: benzaldehyde

Monoterpene alcohols: Citronellol 15-20%, geraniol 10%, linalool, nerol 15%, cedrol, linlool  

Monoterpenes: a+b pinene, limonene, camphene, b-caryophyllene, citronellal, p-cymene  

Damask rose: a-damascenone, B-damascenone, B-damscone, B-ionone, rose oxide  

Other: vitamin C, tannin, pectin, carotene, fruit acids

Cautions Do not use during pregnancy. Thorny plant, caution while harvesting.
Dosage Tincture: 1-4ml Tea rose hips, flowers

 

November 28, 2014

Chaste tree berries are a Woman’s Best Friend

Chaste tree berries Vitex L. look like light grey brown wrinkled peppercorn fruit or allspice. These berries also have the same spicy, warm and pungent qualities like peppercorns, but taste more bitter in flavour, not hot. They are not sweet like blueberry fruit, they were used more like cracked pepper spice.

This very popular berry is native to the Mediterranean and has a long history of being used to regulate sex organ functions. Chastetree berry has both relaxant and stimulating actions that normalize and restore.
It is a pituitary and ovary tonic that balances all conditions of the Female reproductive system including PMS, amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, menopause and infertility.

Chaste tree berry regulates hormonal balance and ovary function through the action of the female hormones: estrogen and progesterone; although primarily progesterone.
The pituitary gland gets stimulated to increase or decrease progesterone or estriol levels.

It therefore treats progesterone deficient conditions, such as: osteoporosis, fibroids or fibrocystic Breasts, along with other female complaints.

The reproductive restoration is also due to a dopamine action that reduces prolactin release.

It reduces male hormones and has been called monks pepper or cloister berry, because it was popular among monks, or men of the cloth to help temper sexual desires. It was used as an anaphrodisiac to treat sexual overstimulation and to curb nymphomania.
When given to nuns however, it turned out to be a female fertility tonic and aphrodisiac.

It is also a good herb for the digestive system, treating poor digestion or liver function, which may be contributing to female reproductive conditions.

It is best taken in a tincture, the long infusion tea needs to be mixed with some better tasting herbs. Also mix in other female friendly herbs in the tincture like mother wort to create a formulation.

There are also two Asian Vitex species used in Chinese medicine: Mu Jing-five leaf chaste tree berry and Man Zing Zi- Seashore chaste tree berry that are used in the same way. They all share the same bitter pungent taste, having the same essential oil constituents and flavonoids, and are used also for rheumatic and arthritic conditions.
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Common Name Chastetree berries aka monk’s pepper, Chaste Lamb
Latin Name Vitex agnus-castus
Family Verbenaceae (Vervain)
Parts Used Perennial shrub mature fruit/berries picked in the Fall
Target Organs Female reproductive, urogenital, intestines, liver, pituitary, sinews,
Common Uses Pituitary Ovary Tonic
Female reproductive: PMS, amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, menopause, infertility in women, hormonal imbalance, imbalance of ovary function, fibroids, swollen Breasts, withdrawn,
premature ejaculation, sexual overstimulation, sexual disinterest, progesterone deficiency,
Stimulates circulation, chills, painful joints, muscle tension, osteoporosis, fatigue,
Stimulates digestion, liver congestion, indigestion, fluid congestion,
Properties Bitter pungent, drying, regulating, anti-inflammatory (local, systemic) general antispasmodic (digestive, uterine) anxiolytic, astringent, analgesic, anti-androgenic (reduces male hormones) warming carminative, circulatory stimulant, diaphoretic, bitter digestive tonic stimulant, emmenagogue tonic, nervine, relaxant, female reproductive tonic, tranquilizer, uterine relaxant, ovarian tonic, pituitary tonic, progesterone, aphrodisiac/anaphrodisiac, 
Constituents Essential oil,
Flavonoids: casticin, isovitexin, orientin; 
Iridoid glycosides: aucbin, agnoside
Cautions mild remedy- Do not use during pregnancy or lactation
Dosage Tincture: 1-3ml Tea: long infusion 4-10g
October 20, 2014

Wormwood the Infamous Ingredient In Absinthe

Wormwood is an ingredient used in the infamous alcoholic drink absinthe, also known as the green fairy. It is an extremely bitter herb and absinthe was traditionally poured over sugar cubes to sweeten the taste.
When used on its own, it is a powerful medicinal herb. It’s main taste is bitter, which is good for stimulating the digestive axis of the stomach, liver/gallbladder and intestines. As its name suggests it expels internal worms, while it also provides immune support.

It is best combined with aromatic carminatives like peppermint, anise, fennel, ginger, chamomile, bergamot, thyme for taste and balance, just like the ancient recipe absinthe.

I prefer wormwood macerated in red wine to temper the bitterness. Steep it for at least a couple of weeks, and then strain. I take a single teaspoon once a day, for a week. Take small doses before or after meals as an aperitif. A tincture formulation is good, but the tea infusion might be too bitter to swallow. It is Not advisable to add sweeteners, the taste cannot be masked. It is better to taste the bitters to stimulate secretions for maximum medicinal power. This is a medium strength remedy so caution is always advised. Be careful dancing with the green fairy.

Use Artemisia species medicinally in the same way, including mugwort, annual wormwood, southernwood, but wormwood is the most bitter.

Wormwood is native to Europe and Western Asia and established in the temperate regions of North America.

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Wormwood herb starting to show its tiny yellow flowers from my garden.

Common Name

Wormwood herb
Latin Name

Artemisia absinthium
Family Asteraceae
Parts Used Perennial herb pick aerial parts, flowering tops bloom in July/August summer
Target Organs Digestion, stomach, nervous, urinary, reproductive
Common Uses Digestion: cooling bitter stimulant, digestive conditions, infections, poor digestion, promotes bile, indigestion, dyspepsia, flatulence, IBS, inflammation, parasites worms-pinworm, roundworm, threadworms, constipation, colic, poor appetite, anorexia, food poisoning, toxicity, headache, nausea

Stomach: all conditions,

Liver/gallbladder: congestion, infections

Moxybustion

 

Properties Cold bitter digestive, astringent, pungent, antibacterial, hepatic, liver decongestant, carminative, stimulating digestion immune, cholagogue, laxative, stomachic, anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, tonic, nervine, antimicrobial, anti-emetic but emetic in large doses, vulnerary,
Constituents Sesquiterpene lactones, volatile essential oil, thujone, thujan, cineole, linalol, chamazulene, camphene, cadimene, monoterpene, pinene, phellandrene, azulene, bisabolene, flavonoid glycosides, rutin, quercetin, organic acids, amino acids, phenolic acids, polyacetylenes, lignans, ascorbic acid, tannins,

Cautions Medium strength: contains thujone a neurotoxin with narcotic properties. Large doses can cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, restlessness, tremors, convulsions. Long term use may lead to liver and kidney damage. Not recommended during pregnancy, lactation, infants, or if kidney or liver damage is present.
Dosage Use in formulations (herbal combinations) up to 25% of formula. continuous use should not exceed two months.
Macerate in red wine or vermouth: 1 small teaspoon a day for a week
Or used as an aperitif small sips before or after meals to aid digestion

Tincture: 1-2ml dilute with water 1 oz before consuming.
Mix a formula with aromatics, do not add sugar or sweeteners

Tea: 3-5g (Very bitter) infuse

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August 21, 2013

Goldenrod is Falsely Blamed for Allergies

Many people blame goldenrod for their allergies and dread seeing the tall golden plumage bloom in late summer, but goldenrod is not wind pollinated. It is hard to be allergic to goldenrod unless it is an allergy from touching the plant. Most people that blame goldenrod for their allergies are really allergic to ragweed. It blooms at the same time, but is smaller and has unnoticeable greenish flowers that are wind pollinated and often grows underneath or near goldenrod.

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Goldenrod is one of the best urinary tonics and is useful in those conditions that require a diuretic; like water retention, edema, congestion, inflammation and infection of the urinary tract, and gout rheumatic conditions. There are over 30 species in Ontario and other hybrids sub-species, but all of them are used in the same way.

Goldenrod is native to Canada and the Solidago canadensis is the standard herb species used medicinally. Flowers were also used to make a yellow dye as well as herbal medicinal use as a tea or tincture, in which case the fresh is superior to the dried versions. There is goldenrod essential oil as well, used for the same purposes and helps reduce water retention and swelling externally.

Common Name Goldenrod herb
Latin Name Solidago canadensis spp.
Family Asteraceae
Parts Used Perennial- pick top 30% herb/ flower-late summer August
Target Organs urinary, skin, lymph, immune, digestion
Common Uses kidney bladder prostate tonic, infections, gout, oedema, external wounds, vascular tonic, UTI, kidney stones, inflammation infection of urinary tract, upper respiratory catarrh, gargle, laryngitis
Properties urinary kidney prostate tonic, diuretic, astringent, antiseptic, antioxidant, vulnerary, Antifungal, styptic, lymphatic, anticatarrhal, diaphoretic
Constituents Essential Oil, flavonoids, tannins, bitter, saponins
Cautions mild remedy do not take during pregnancy. Use in formulations of up to 20% continuous use of no more than 2-3 months
Dosage Tincture: 2-4ml Tea: 2-3 tsp 10-15 min fresh is preferred
August 20, 2013

Elecampane: A Beautiful Garden Flower with Medicinal Roots

imageElecampane is a tall perennial that grows over four feet tall and has cheery golden yellow flowers like a sunflower, but elecampane has thinner floret petals with fringe tips.

The Latin name is Inula helenium with the species name Helen stemming from Helen of Troy, the face that launched a thousand ships. Elecampane flowers are really that stunning and it did launch a thousand ships when it was brought to North America from Europe. It likes to grow in full sun in open moist meadows. The plant is best propagated by root division spacing four or feet apart, because they have huge course leaves.

The genus name Inula refers to the inulin content found in almost half of the plant, which has been shown to help control blood sugar levels as a fibre, and regulates the immune system, which is good for autoimmune disorders. Inulin is a fibre, but should only be used in whole form, attached to the whole plant root it is soluble starch fibre. The whole plant is greater than the sum of its parts. Whenever plant parts are removed the outcome and quality are always compromised.

The root is used in herbal medicine for coughs, colds and to get rid of parasites mainly, but it is a good restorative and tonic for chronic fatigue and infections.

It benefits the hypothalamus, and is a thymus, spleen, endocrine tonic. It has digestive, respiratory and immune stimulating properties that make it good to combat infections, especially of the respiratory, digestive tract or in cases of parasitic, worm infections or food poisoning.

The root was popular candied and to make ale or beer drinks, but even then the candied root tastes bitter and pungent. The bitter quality helps to stimulate the body through reflex reactions of the digestive and respiratory tracts.

Common Name Elecampane root
Latin Name Inula helenium
Family Asteraceae
Parts Used Perennial- harvest second year or older root in the Fall
Target Organs immune, endocrine, digestion, respiratory, stomach, pancreas, spleen, uterus, nerves, liver, kidney/ bladder
Common Uses endocrine restorative, spleen thymus tonic, immune stimulant, infections, coughs, colds, catarrh, bronchitis, UTI, digestive, parasites, worms, stomach upset, food poisoning, fatigue, allergies,diabetes,
Properties digestive immune respiratory stimulant, antimicrobial, demulcent, expectorant, anti-tussive, stomachic, astringent, demulcent, bitter tonic, warming, drying, anti-allergenic
Constituents 40% inulin,E.O: camphor, sesquiterpenes lactones; mucilage, triterpenes, bitter resin, alkaloid, helinin, sterols, calcium, magnesium
Cautions mild remedy: combine with demulcents for dry coughs. Do not use during pregnancy it is a uterine stimulant.
Dosage Tincture: best used in formulation

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July 15, 2013

Keep Cool in the Summer Heat with Herbs and Essential Oils

imageThere are many essential oils and herbs that help to cool the body down when feeling too hot and sweaty, but the best known one is peppermint.

See my blog about the many medicinal uses and cautions of peppermint –
http://earthelixir.ca/2013/06/06/healing-properties-of-peppermint-herb/

The mint family lowers body temperature which is good to help cool off in the summer heat, but there are other essential oils and herbs besides peppermint that lower body temperature including spearmint, lemon balm, lavender, eucalyptus, chamomile, geranium, rose, frankincense, comfrey and borage to name a few.

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Ways to Keep Cool with Herbs

1. Drink iced herbal infusions. Use peppermint, chamomile iced tea or use flavours of your choice to create your own recipes that help cool the body.
I love mints like peppermint, spearmint, lemon balm, bee balm mixed with rose petals.

See my blog about herbal infusions and floral waters –
http://earthelixir.ca/2012/07/19/diy-floral-waters/
Put a drop of organic peppermint essential oil in drinks

2. Eat mints and cooling herbs as food.
Experiment with many culinary herbal delights incorporating these cooling herbs as delicious food.

3. Make an essential oil spray or spritzer to cool down your body, and spray linens and rooms as well. See my blog on how to make DIY body spray and there is a cooling peppermint spray recipe here->
http://earthelixir.ca/2013/07/15/diy-aromatherapy-body-spray/

4. Soak your feet and ankles or hands and wrists in cool herbal infused water or add your choice of cooling Essential oils
See my blog about Bath Recipes –
http://earthelixir.ca/2013/04/10/diy-aromatherapy-bath-recipes/

Soak a cloth or bandana in a cool herbal infusion and wear around your neck, this will cool main arteries and veins.

5. Make a massage oil blend using a carrier oil and some cooling essential oils. Use coconut oil it lowers body temperature and cools the body as well and is great to quench dryness.

Peppermint is so cooling it may cause hypothermia in the bath so caution is advised using that method to cool off. See more of the uses and cautions of peppermint essential oil here –
http://earthelixir.ca/2013/06/06/do-not-use-peppermint-essential-oil-in-the-bath/

Enjoy the summer here in the North!

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June 6, 2013

Healing Properties of Peppermint Herb

Peppermint

Peppermint

Peppermint is best known for its beneficial effects on the digestive system and strengthening action on the stomach and liver.

It calms and relaxes smooth muscles and eases stomach pain, indigestion and nausea.

Its analgesic properties bring pain relief to headaches and all kinds of cramps.

Peppermint is widely used as a flavouring agent in food and cosmetics like shampoo.

Peppermint is a hybrid perennial herb which grows up to 30-90 cm tall. The stems are erect and square-shaped like most mint plants, and it has creeping root stocks called ‘stolons’ that grow rapidly. The leaves are sharply toothed, pointed, and in midsummer dense clusters of tiny pink-purple flowers appear. Mints prefer moist shade with partial sun.

It is invasive and spreads quickly so it is best grown in pots if you don’t want it taking over.

Common Name

Peppermint herb

 

Latin Name

Mentha x piperita
Family Lamiaceae(Mint Family)
Parts Used Perennial- herb picked all season
Target Organs Digestion, Nervous System, Liver/gallbladder, Stomach, Respiratory, Muscular
Common Uses Digestion: Fortifies liver, stomach, and intestines. Stomach upset, gastritis, indigestion, nausea, colitis, Crohn’s, relaxing digestive, infection, inflammation

Respiratory: infections, bronchitis, sinusitis, cooling, colds, flu, coughs, nasal catarrh, pain,

Nervous: migraines, headaches, stress tension, itching,

Muscular: relaxes smooth muscle, arthritis, neuralgia, aches and pain, sciatica, bruises, inflammation

Properties Analgesic, antiallergenic, antibacterial, anticatarrhal, anticonvulsant, antidepressant, anti-emetic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory (local, systemic), antiseptic, anti-galactagogue antispasmodic (digestive, general, respiratory), antiviral, anxiolytic, appetite stimulant, carminative, cholagogue, choleretic, decongestant, diaphoretic, relaxing expectorant, febrifuge, nervine relaxant, stomachic, tonic tranquilizer, vasodilator, vulnerary.

 

Constituents Essential Oil: 2%

Monoterpene alcohol: Menthol 30-70%,

Ketone: menthone,

Aldehydes:

Esters: methyl acetate,

Oxide: 1, 8 cineole

Monoterpenes: menthene, phellandrene, azulene, limonene, pinene

Other: tannins, bitter

Cautions Medium strength: Do not use with epilepsy, convulsions, during pregnancy, breastfeeding, dry conditions, gastric hyperacidity or with children under the age of two. Older children, seniors take breaks. Essential oil: Do not store with homeopathic remedies. Do not use in a bath, it may cause hypothermia.
Dosage Tincture: 1-4ml

Tea: 1-2 tsp. infuse 10-15 minutes

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