Archive for Healing Herbs

Chickweed – Natural appetite suppressant

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

ChickweedChickweed is said to curb the appetite and aid in weight loss by emulsifying fat and then getting rid of it.

As a diuretic its medicinal properties aide the assimilation of other herbs and help them process and dissolve of fat. My personal experience is that Chickweed is a better appetite suppressant than the over the counter products on the shelf today.

Some say that Chickweed is purely an ‘old wives’ tale’ remedy for obesity. But in fact, there’s supporting scientific evidence that Chickweed may indeed be beneficial to weight loss, when included in a healthy lifestyle included proper diet and exercise. Basically, as a mild diuretic containing saponins, Chickweed emulsifies the fat cells and assists them out of the system.

In Healing Wise by Susun Weed, it says that Chickweed is an excellent metabolic balancer with a potentially regulating effect on the thyroid.

Historical or traditional use (may or may not be supported by scientific studies):

Chickweed was reportedly used at times for food. Chickweed enjoys a reputation in folk medicine for treating a wide spectrum of conditions, ranging from asthma and indigestion to skin diseases. Traditional Chinese herbalists used a tea made from chickweed for nosebleeds.

The active constituents in chickweed are largely unknown. It contains relatively high amounts of vitamins and flavonoids, which may explain some of its activity. Although some older information suggests a possible benefit for chickweed in rheumatic conditions, this has not been validated in clinical studies.

Often considered a nuisance to gardeners, this inconspicuous small plant grows world wide in abundance. Generally, it’s one of the first plants in spring. In summer it can be found in cooler, damp shady areas.

PLUS: It makes a wonderful addition to fresh spring salads!

Although formerly used as a tea, chickweed is mainly used today as a cream applied liberally several times each day to rashes and inflammatory skin conditions (e.g., eczema) to ease itching and inflammation.  As a tincture, 1–5 ml per day can be taken three times per day. Two teaspoonfuls of the dried herb may be used to make a tea. This may be drunk three times daily.

No side effects with chickweed have been reported.  At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions with chickweed.


Chickweed: The ubiquitous, small, green chickweed plant grows across the United States and originated in Europe. The leaves, stems, and flowers are used in botanical medicine.


Burdock

Photo from Wikipedia

In traditional herbal texts, burdock root is described as a “blood purifier” or “alterative,” and was believed to clear the bloodstream of toxins.

It was used both internally and externally for eczema and psoriasis, as well as to treat painful joints and as a diuretic. In traditional Chinese medicine, burdock root in combination with other herbs is used to treat sore throats, tonsillitis, colds, and even measles. It is eaten as a vegetable in Japan and elsewhere.

Burdock root has become popular as part of a tea to treat cancer.  Burdock’s use against cancer goes down through the centuries and has been used as a tumor treatment in Russia, China, India and the Americas. In the United States, it was an ingredient in the popular but highly controversial Hoxsey Cancer Formula, an alternative therapy marketed from the 1930s to the 1950s by ex-coal-miner Harry Hoxsey.

Some studies show anti-tumor or anti-mutation activity.  The National Cancer Institute became interested in burdock as part of its Designer Foods Program, an effort to use biotechnology to introduce cancer-preventive chemicals into common food crops.  Burdock’s action is mild, but real. It has antibacterial and antiviral powers, and it reduces blood sugar, which helps prevent diabetes.  Burdock has value as a tonic, a subtle strengthener with cumulatively helpful effects.

Burdock root contains high amounts of inulin and mucilage. This may explain its soothing effects on the gastrointestinal tract. Bitter constituents in the root may also explain the traditional use of burdock to improve digestion. It also contains polyacetylenes, shown to have antimicrobial activity. Burdock root and fruit also have the ability to mildly lower blood sugar (hypoglycemic effect).

Burdock Usage

Herbalists generallly recommend 2–4 ml of burdock root tincture per day. For the dried root preparation in capsule form, the common amount to take is 1–2 grams three times per day. Many herbal preparations will combine burdock root with other alterative herbs, such as yellow dock, red clover, or cleavers.  Use of burdock root at the dosages listed above is generally safe.

To brew a pleasantly sweet-tasting tonic tea, boil one teaspoon of crushed, dried burdock root in three cups of water for 30 minutes. Drink up to three cups a day.


Burdock  (Arctium lappa) is native to Asia and Europe. The root is the primary source of most herbal preparations. The root becomes very soft with chewing and tastes sweet, with a mucilaginous texture.


Alfalfa

Alfalfa, a natural alternative, may help control high cholesterol, menopause and poor appetite.

Alfalfa leaves also contain flavones, isoflavones, sterols, and coumarin derivatives. The isoflavones are thought to be responsible for the estrogen-like effects seen in animal studies. Although this has not been confirmed with human trials, it is sometimes used to treat menopause symptoms.

Historic Use

Many years ago, traditional Chinese physicians used young alfalfa leaves to treat disorders of the digestive tract.  Similarly, the Ayurvedic physicians of India prescribed the leaves and flowering tops for poor digestion. Alfalfa was also considered therapeutic for water retention and arthritis. North American Indians recommended alfalfa to treat jaundice and to encourage blood clotting.

Although conspicuously absent from many classic textbooks on herbal medicine, alfalfa did find a home in the texts of the Eclectic physicians (19th-century physicians in the United States who used herbal therapies) as a tonic for indigestion, dyspepsia, anemia, loss of appetite, and poor assimilation of nutrients.  These physicians also recommended the alfalfa plant to stimulate lactation in nursing mothers, and the seeds were made into a poultice for the treatment of boils and insect bites.


Alfalfa:  Common name: Lucerne.  Botanical name: Medicago sativa.  A member of the pea family it is native to western Asia and the eastern Mediterranean region. Sprouts have become a popular food and herbal supplements primarily use the dried leaves of the plant. The heat-treated seeds of the plant have also been used.

Vitamins

Besides protein you have vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Nutrient analysis also demonstrates the presence of calcium, potassium, iron, and zinc.

Active Constituents

While the medicinal benefits are poorly understood, the constituents in alfalfa have been extensively studied. The leaves contain approximately 2–3% saponins.  Animal studies suggest that these constituents block absorption of cholesterol and prevent the formation of atherosclerotic plaques.  One small human trial found that 120 grams per day of heat-treated alfalfa seeds for eight weeks led to a modest reduction in cholesterol. However, consuming the large amounts of alfalfa seeds (80–120 grams per day) needed to supply high amounts of these saponins may potentially cause damage to red blood cells in the body.

For more information, consult Wikipedia >>


Gentian Root

Coutesy of Wikipedia

Gentian root and other highly bitter plants have been used for centuries in Europe as digestive aids (the well-known Swedish bitters often contain gentian). Other folk uses included topical use on skin tumors, decreasing fevers, and treatment of diarrhea. Its ability to increase digestive function, including production of stomach acid, has been validated in modern times.

Gentian root contains some of the most bitter substances known, particularly the glycosides gentiopicrin and amarogentin. The taste of these can be detected even when diluted 50,000 times. Besides stimulating secretion of saliva in the mouth and hydrochloric acid in the stomach, gentiopicrin may protect the liver.

Gentian root is also considered useful for poor appetite and indigestion according to the German government’s Commission E monograph.

Here is what Wikipedia reports:

It was considered especially useful in states of exhaustion from chronic disease and in all cases of debility, weakness of the digestive system and lack of appetite. It was also considered one of the best fortifiers of the human system, stimulating the liver, gall bladder and digestive system, and was thought to be an excellent tonic to combine with a purgative in order to prevent its debilitating effects.

Usage of Gentian Root

Gentian root can be taken as a tincture (1–3 grams daily), as a fluid extract (2–4 grams daily), or as the whole root (2–4 grams daily).

Gentian root should not be used by people suffering from excessive stomach acid, heartburn, stomach ulcers, or gastritis.

At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions with Gentian.


Gentian: (Gentiana lutea)

This plant comes from meadows in Europe and Turkey. It is also cultivated in North America. The root is used medicinally.


Tea: Cancer Fighting Polyphenols

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

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Tea is rich in polyphenols, found in the camellia sinensis plants, which are crushed and then fermented into common teas (such as green tea, black tea and the oolong tea). These polyphenols have been extensively studied to determine the extent of their benefits.

The studies showed that they contain about 10 times the amount of antioxidants than what are found in our fruits and vegetables. The antioxidants are a powerful ally in the fight against ailments like cancer.

The ones found in the green and black teas are different than the antioxidants that are found in fruits and vegetables. Green and black teas contain flavonoids, such as the catechins, that can seek out and destroy chemicals that damage a body’s cells, and cause cancers to form.

Tea is also thought to defend against toxic chemicals that we see with inhaling tobacco smoke. They protect cells from these nasty enemies and prevent them from damaging our body’s cells.

Tea can defend against other ailments like blood clot formations, high cholesterol and it can possibly delay the onset of diseases like diabetes. Polyphenols are also known for their aid in weight loss programs and in the defense against halitosis and dental problems.

They can also improve skin conditions and they are possibly linked to aiding in the delay of Parkinson symptoms. The benefits don’t stop there, though. It’s reported that tea can help reduce your chances for skin cancer – and in some cases, by using the tea extract in lotion form, you may be able to block the damage from the sun.

Tea is known to slow the growth of already-formed tumors, it protects your bones from frailty, and even boosts your immune system so you can lessen your chances for colds, throat infections and flu symptoms. Read More→