Though they are all around us, plants seem almost magical. They start from a seed, germinate, sprout, and shoot up into an amazing piece of living greenery, often coupled with beautiful colors. Some plants are there simply for our enjoyment, to either look at or breathe in their wonderful scent. Other plants are food, and still others have a medicinal value. Though there are some herbs that may have a certain amount of toxicity, especially in large doses, most of them can pass through the body, bringing it into balance, and then pass on out. This is very much unlike allopathic and prescription drugs which store up in the body, and to which the body will build up a resistance to.
Most herbs have what is known as a signature, to help us identify the herb and the characteristics of it, giving us a clue as to what it has been created for. Knowing and understanding the signatures of a plant will enable one to know how to use it, whether he prepares his herbal tinctures or capsules on his own or purchases them. Color is usually the first signature one notices when looking at a herb. Herbs with reddish or purplish flowers, or with “veins” going through them such as you sometimes see in the stems and leaves of the plant, are good for the blood and cardiovascular system. Herbs of a reddish color can be used to treat blood impurities, which often show up as a skin disorder. They are astringent and antibiotic in nature. Herbs with a purplish color are also good blood purifiers but are relaxing and sedating. They are good to use when a person needs to remain calm. They are also good for muscle spasms. Herbs whose flowers are a yellowish color are good for the urinary tract, liver, and gallbladder.
Where an herb grows is part of its signature. If the plant grows in an area with a lot of gravel, it is good for kidney stones, gallstones, and accumulations that have built up in the bronchial and alimentary systems. Herbs that grow in wet or swampy areas are useful in the treatment of respiratory problems, with its typical mucous excretions. This includes colds, coughs, asthma, and rheumatic disorders.
Textures of a plant are also part of its signature. Herbs with a soft texture are beneficial for treatinginflamed and swollen areas. Herbs with thorns are useful for disorders where there is sharp pain. Hairs are like mini thorns and when they are on a plant they can also be indicative of helping sharp or stitching pains. Herbs that are vines are beneficial for the blood and nervous system. It is easy to see how the blood vessels and nerve paths resemble vines. Even if the plant is not a vine, if the root system is vein-like, it is beneficial for the same disorders.
Aroma is also an important part of an herb's signature. The stronger smelling herbs are often used as disinfectants and are highly antiseptic, germicidal, and antibiotic.
Cayenne peppers are often grown by the home gardener for its taste, to add a spicy flavor to recipes. Cayenne peppers are very easy to grow. They are annuals that are perfect for both container gardening and planting along a fence row. They should be planted in moist, but not soggy, soil, and set out after the danger of frost has passed. They prefer full sun for most of the day but should be slightly shaded during the intense afternoon sun, so that they don't get scalded. When fully grown, they stand about three feet tall and are two feet wide. The plant bears many peppers, so the average family only needs one or two plants. The peppers can be used when green, but for medicinal purposes they should be allowed to turn red. They are slightly hot and will spice up any recipe. Cayenne can do many things from stopping a heat attack within 30 seconds to killing cancer cells in the prostate, lungs, and pancreas. It increases metabolism by immediately acting upon the venous structure. It cleans the arteries, rids the body of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and regulates blood pressure levels.
Even with its hot taste, cayenne is wonderful at rebuilding the tissue in the stomach. It stimulates theperistaltic action of the intestines and assists in assimilation and elimination. It is warming to the body and has even been used to rebuild flesh that has been damaged from frostbite.
Cinnamon is one of the most amazing herbs there are. It is also one of the world's oldest herbs. It comes from the inner bark of a small evergreen tree native to Sri Lanka. Cinnamon has been used traditionally in many cultures for a variety of things. In ancient Egypt, it was used for embalming. During the Bubonic Plague, also known as the Death Plague, sponges were soaked in cinnamon and cloves and placed in sick rooms. Today cinnamon is used for a variety of ailments. It is beneficial in flatulence, nausea, colic, and other digestive and gastrointestinal disorders. It is also helpful with symptoms of colds and flu. It has an astringent action and aids in problems with bleeding, such as nose bleeds and heavy menstrual periods.It can clear up urinary tract infections and is beneficial in the treatment of Candidiasis. Cinnamon can help people with diabetes metabolize sugar better. “One-eighth of a teaspoon of cinnamon triples insulin efficiency," say James A. Duke, Ph.D., a botanist retired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and author of The CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. Dr. Duke suggest that people with adult-onset diabetes discuss Cinnamon's benefits with their doctor. Taking ½ to ¾ teaspoon of ground Cinnamon with each meal may help control blood sugar levels.
There are some cautions with the use of cinnamon. Pregnant women should not consume it, because it stimulates the menstrual flow. Those with stomach or intestinal ulcers should also not use it due to its carminative effect.
Dandelion is a common perennial plant that is often viewed as a weed. Many people poison their lawns in order to get rid of dandelion. This is truly a travesty. Man takes something that has been given to him for his benefit and destroys it, in order to make his yard look what he considers to be beautiful. It is a mockery of nature.
In all parts of the northern hemisphere people everywhere come in contact with dandelions. Farmers, the very people who should be more health conscious than others, view them as troublesome weeds. The flowers bloom in spring and early summer. The yellow blooms quickly turn to white seeds, that easily fall from and are blown about by even the gentlest breeze. It doesn't take long for a yard to be almost covered with their yellow flowers. The flower can be eaten and is sometimes put in salads.
The root, however, is the part of the dandelion that is most therapeutic. It is dried and then ground before putting in capsules or tinctures. It is best suited for liver and gallbladder and complaints. It can improve the appetite and aids in digestion. Dandelion may increase the flow of bile and it is known to have a laxative effect.
Echinacea is commonly called “Coneflower”. It has a yellow pistil and purple flower petals, similar to a daisy but with its petals pointing downward rather than spread out. It is a hardy perennial whose history goes back to when the Indians used them for medical purposes. It was widely used in modern American medicine in the early twentieth century. Even today, when many medical doctors are quick to write a prescription, we can find more and more doctors encouraging their patients to use Echinacea for infectious diseases.
Echinacea works by boosting the immune system. It stimulates the cells that are responsible for fighting all kinds of infections. It is unlike pharmaceutical drugs, namely antibiotics which are used for the same type of ailments Echinacea is used for, because rather than directly killing bacteria, it enables the immune system to become more efficient, causing it to attack viruses, bacteria, and abnormal cells, even including cancerous cells.
Echinacea speeds up the process of recovery from viruses and bacteria. It enables wounds to heal and is an aid to all kinds of skin conditions. It also increases resistance to infectious diseases and conditions such as bronchitis, herpes, and yeast. It is often used with the herb Goldenseal.
Goldenseal, also known as Orange root, is a perennial herb that is native to northeastern United States and southeastern Canada. It bears tiny, greenish-white flowers in late spring and a single, large, raspberry-looking like fruit in the summer. The portion of the stem above the ground is purplish and hairy. The part beneath the ground is yellow and connects to a thick, knotted, yellow rootstock or rhizome. It is one of the most often sold herbs in America. It is often sold with Echinacea.
Goldenseal is an antibiotic and immune system builder. Indians used goldenseal for many ailments but it wasn't until the late 1700's and early 1800's that the use of goldenseal for medical reasons began to attract attention. By the mid 1800's it had earned a respected reputation and was an important item of trade.
Goldenseal's uses are many. It has antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, and astringent properties. Therefore it is advantageous for for colds and respiratory infections, gastritis, ulcers, dyspepsia, colitis, skin infections, conjunctivitis, and as a general body tonic. It is very effective in treating Streptococci, E. coli, salmonella, and giardiasis. It may also help with seasonal allergies, hepatitis, cystitis, and alcoholic liver disease.
When taken immediately after exposure, or at the first signs of illness, goldenseal can help prevent symptoms or further symptoms from arising. Goldenseal should only be taken for a maximum of ten days at a time. If it is still needed after that, another round can be taken in a week or so. It is also a good idea to use yogurt, to keep the intestinal flora balanced, while on goldenseal.
There are several varieties of basil. Sweet basil and lemon basil are mainly known for their culinary uses. Holy basil has more of a medicinal value. It is a small perennial shrub that is native to India but can grow as an annual just about anywhere. It can grow either in gardens, as edging, or in containers. It has a spicy, clove-like scent.
Holy basil is a sacred plant in the Hindu religion. It also has a historical place in Christian religions. It has been said that it was found where Yeshua was crucified and also near the tomb where he was laid to rest, after He was resurrected. Some Greek Orthodox churches put holy basil on their altars and sprinkle it in their holy water.
Holy basil has both physical and mental/emotional benefits. It is a great stress reliever. It helps toreduce anxiety and depression. It enhances memory and relieves mental fog and cloudy thinking. It has been used to treat children with ADD (attention deficit disorder) and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).
Physical benefits are many. It strengthens the immune system, enabling the body to resist bacterial infections, viral infections, colds, and flu. It relieves allergies, asthma, and other bronchial conditions. It promotes digestive health and relieves gas and bloating. It helps to balance the hormones and maintains healthy cortisol levels. It also promotes metabolic efficiency and keeps the blood sugar in a healthy range. Topically, it relieves itchy skin and insect bites.
There are more than 20 varieties of mint, with their distinctive square shaped stem. Peppermint is a hybrid; a cross between watermint and spearmint. Mint is native to Europe but now grows all over the world. It doesn't produce any seeds but spreads by its rhizomes. Mint is both easy and fun to grow. The only caution that must be taken is to keep varieties separate so they do not cross pollinate.
Peppermint is one of the most popular herbs known, though it isn't always thought about as an herb. It has a distinctive scent and is used in flavoring candies and other treats. When eaten, it has a refreshing, cool feeling on the tongue and throat. It has a similar feeling on the nose when it is inhaled. When rubbed on the skin, it makes one feel tingly. This feeling comes from menthol and other essential volatile oils in the peppermint, making it an important medicinal herb. Menthol is an analgesic and local anesthetic, quickly bringing pain relief. When peppermint oil is dabbed on tender spots on the head, neck, and muscles, it can bring almost instantaneous relief to a headache.
Peppermint has many antioxidant and disease preventing compounds. It relaxes muscles in the intestinal walls and has an antispasmodic effect in colic, irritable bowel syndrome, and other intestinal disorders. Peppermint also controls both blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels. It is rich in many antioxidant vitamins and B-complex vitamins.
Red clover is another one of those herbs that many consider to be a troublesome weed. However, it is one that farmers plant as part of their pasture and forage mixes. Red clover is a perennial, usually with three leaves though it may sometimes have an additional, and pink to red flowers.
Though a nuisance to many, red clover has amazing health benefits. It is a source of many necessarynutrients such as calcium, chromium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, thiamine, and Vitamin C. It improves blood circulation and reduces the possibility of blood clots and arterial plaque, build-ups of blood cells, fats, and other substances that have accumulated and reduced or blocked blood flow. Red clover can help prevent heart disease in several ways. It helps to thin the blood and keeps the arteries strong and flexible, working to prevent heart attacks and strokes. Some studies have shown that red
clover may lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels (the “bad” cholesterol) and raise that of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ( the “good” cholesterol).
Red clover may cause an increase in bile secretion. It improves urine function and may block enzymes that contribute to cancer in both women and men. It has shown definite help in benign prostate hyperplasia, a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland.
Red clover has also been found to be beneficial in quitting smoking.
For more information, see: http://www.edenpharm.webs.com/
For more information, see: http://www.edenpharm.webs.com/
I am not a Medical Doctor. Nothing I write is to be construed as medical advice. My writings are based solely on my opinions formed from my personal research and experience. If you have any questions pertaining to your health, please seek the advice of your health care provider.