Damiana, our favourite herb, was used by the Aztecs for impotency and Mexican women were also known to use the fragrant leaves in a tea to stimulate love making. The Damiana plant is so important that it has been classified in Mexico as a “national treasure” and now a prohibited export as a live plant.
Damiana affects the psyche, producing a mild emotional uplift that can last for up to one and a half hours. Some damiana before bed relaxes one for love-making and promotes pleasant dreams (quite possibly erotic within the first seven days)! Three-dimensional effects and colour appreciation may also be heightened.
Reference: This is a modified excerpt from Ray Thorpe’s book: Happy High Herbs.
Botanical name: Nepeta cataria
Other names: Catmint
Leaves of this mint-family herb were used in a tea by the early Europeans for cramps, aches, fevers and ﬁts. They also chewed on the leaf for headache relief. The Chinese used it for chest complaints and believed that it attracted good spirits and happiness. Catnip was once smoked to treat asthma and bronchitis.
Catnip tea is an excellent choice for colds and flus, especially in children. It is a diaphoretic (increases sweating), helping to flush out a fever. It also calms the nervous system, aiding a good nights’ sleep and reducing anxiety, tension and hyperactivity. It is also used for digestive disturbances such as colic, flatulence, diarrhoea, and stomach cramps. Other uses for catnip include period pain, tension headaches, drug and nicotine withdrawal.
Catnip is smoked for mild uplifting effects, but some humans are more affected than others with excitement and giggling. Gently relaxing, catnip is also a potentiator – increasing the effects of other herbs that it is used with.
Botanical name: Tussilago farfara
The latin name of this herb means ‘cough stopper’ and has been used for that very reason for millennia. Coltsfoot clears mucus from the lungs, soothes lung tissue and stops wheezing. It is excellent for whooping cough, chronic or acute bronchitis, irritating dry cough and asthma.
Coltsfoot contains small amounts of zinc; Legally, coltsfoot cannot be taken as a tea (despite millennia of safe use) but it can be smoked, which surprisingly still works wonders for coughs and damaged lungs.Coltsfoot is also used as a preventative to the common cold and influenza, by chewing a small quid of the herb at the first sign of a sore throat, to allow the juice to slowly drip onto the throat.
Preparation: coltsfoot can be taken as a tea (1 tsp per cup)or mix with tobacco to minimise negative effects of tobacco, or smoke small amounts over the day for coughs.
Botanical name: Calendula offinicalis
Other names: Pot Marigold
Calendula is one of the best herbs for healing the skin when used externally. It can be used as a balm, cream, compress, poultice, or wash for inflammation, wounds, bruising, bleeding, minor burns, fungal infections as well as strains. Internally it is valuable for digestive inflammation, bladder infections and ulcers. As it increases bile production (cholagogue), it is helpful for relieving gall-bladder problems. It can also be used internally for fungal infections. It is reputed to assist delayed menstruation and painful periods as well as normalising the menstrual process. Also used as a mouthwash for gum and tooth infections, or as a gargle for sore throat and tonsillitis.
Preparation: 1 -2 tsp/cup, steep 10 minutes.Take 3 times daily. Externally as a lotion or poultice.
Botanical name: Crataegus laevigata
Other names: Hawthorn berries
Hawthorn is truly a superstar herb when it comes to heart and the cardiovascular system. Millions of people can benefit from the medicinal effects of this herb, including people who suffer from high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, angina and heart arrhythmia.
This herb improves oxygenation, and thus has an immediate, beneficial impact on energy levels as well as improving blood flow through the coronary arteries. It may even reduce the likelihood of angina attacks and relieves symptoms of angina (chest pain or discomfort that occurs when an area of your heart muscle doesn’t get enough oxygen-rich blood) when they occur.
Hawthorn is recommended for anyone over the age of 50 as a preventative measure against heart disease. It causes no toxicity and is safe for long term use in the elderly.
Controlled studies showed that when taken for a period of 6 months, this herb could have a gentle effect, dilating arteries, bringing down high blood pressure, and allowing a better flow of oxygen-rich blood to the lungs, brain, and every cell of the body.
While hawthorn berries are the most often used part of this shrub, the flowers and leaves play an important role too.
Preparation: 2 tsp/cup, simmer 10 minutes
Botanical name: Melissa officinalis
Lemon balm hails from the Mediterranean, where it has been cultivated for around 2000 years! Its latin name ‘Melissa’ means ‘bee’, and it is definitely a bee attracting plant. Herbalist Avicenna recommended it “to make the heart merry”. Paracelsus claimed that Lemon Balm could completely revitalise the body, and royalty prized it to keep in good health. In fact one king Llewelyn drank it everyday, and lived to the ripe old age of 108!
Lemon balm is a common garden herb with a pleasing flavour, and is even gentle enough for children. It is a calming herb that is useful for nervous stomachs, colic as well as heart spasms. Its carminative action helps dispel gas.
The hot tea helps bring on a sweat that can help relieve colds, flus, and fevers. It is also a powerful antiviral, useful for mumps and other viral infections. Recently it has been found to be very effective in treating symptoms of herpes simplex, when used topically as an ointment, wash or poultice of fresh leaves.
Lemon balm makes a soothing & uplifting tea for nervous tension, anxiety and depression. Aromatherapists use the essential oil (or simply sniffing the tea or fresh leaves) to reduce nervousness, insomnia and depression.
Preparation: 2 tsp / cup, steep covered 10 mins
Botanical name: Glycyrrhiza glabra
Other names: Chinese licorice, Sweet root
Licorice root has an impressive list of well documented uses and is probably one of the most overlooked of all herbal remedies.
It has a well-documented reputation for healing ulcers. It can lower stomach acid levels, relieve heartburn and indigestion and acts as a mild laxative. This excellent herb also supports the adrenals, reducing stress and exhaustion – a valuable quality in our fast-paced lives!
It can also be used for irritation, inflammation and spasm in the digestive tract. Through its beneficial action on the liver, it increases bile flow and lowers cholesterol levels.
Licorice also appears to enhance immunity by boosting levels of interferon, a key immune system chemical that fights off attacking viruses. It also contains powerful antioxidants as well as certain phytoestrogens that can perform some of the functions of the body’s natural estrogens. The phytoestrogens in licorice have a mild estrogenic effect, making the herb potentially useful in easing certain symptoms of PMS (premenstrual syndrome), such as irritability, bloating and breast tenderness.
Not only is it almost universally believed to be one of nature’s best medicines, it tastes delicious. If you like sweet beverages, but want to wean yourself off sugar, substitute a cup of licorice tea for a sugar-sweetened beverage or add a little licorice root to your favourite herbal blend. Licorice contains a natural sweetener, glycyrrhizin, which is 50 times as sweet as sucrose. Take care, though, and limit your intake of licorice to one or two cups per day and if you want to use it for medicinal purposes, use it under supervision of a health care professional. There is such a thing as “too much of a good thing” and licorice can have unwanted side effects if overused.
Preparation: Licorice is beneficial for soothing sore throats, and is also great for digestion after a big meal
Botanical name: Leonotus leonurus
Other names: Wild Dagga, Lion’s Ear
Lion’s tail is now a popular smoking alternative to tobacco or cannabis, giving a mild euphoric and uplifting effect. Tea from the leaves and flowers can aid with upper respiratory infection, fever, headache, high blood pressure, hepatitis, muscle cramps and liver stagnation.
Native to South Africa, Lion’s tail is an upright perennial bush with spikes of brilliant orange flowers. The nomadic KhoiSan tribe of Africa have used this plant traditionally both as a stimulant and inebriant for social occasions and as a medicine for all kinds of illnesses.
The leaves and flowers are traditionally smoked or chewed on ceremonial occasions, to induce trance-like states along with drumming and dancing. The roots were also brewed as a tea for these occasions. Lion’s tail is now a popular smoking alternative to tobacco or cannabis, giving a mild euphoric and uplifting effect.
The leaves and flowers are also brewed as a tea for medicinal uses including – upper respiratory infection, fever, headache, high blood pressure, hepatitis, muscle cramps and liver stagnation. The main active constituent leonurine has both antioxidant and cardioprotective properties.
Externally the tea, decoction, or diluted tincture can be used as a healing, pain-relieving and anti-itch wash or compress for skin conditions such as acne and eczema. It is also used as a poultice or compress for snake bites and stings.
Preparation: 1 tablespoon of chipped dried herb (10,0g) added to 3 cupfuls (500 ml) of boiling water, boil for 10 minutes, allow to cool overnight, strain and use clear liquid for both internal and external use. If fresh material is used, 3-4 young twigs (leaf and stem) are boiled with one litre of water.
Botanical name: Lobelia inflata.
Other names: Indian tobacco
Lobelia is native to North America where it has been used traditionally for asthma, allergies, whooping cough, congestion, and bronchitis (for its expectorant and antispasmodic effects). It has also been used for tobacco withdrawal as a herbal remedy to quit smoking. In fact, Lobelia is commonly known as ‘Indian Tobacco’ as the native people traditionally used it as a smoking herb, and alternative to tobacco (yet it is non-addictive).
Lobelia contains lobeline which is believed to have a chemical make up similar to nicotine. Studies have found lobeline to stimulate the release of dopamine, a brain chemical that plays a key role in producing feelings of pleasure and well-being. Perhaps this is why it has also been used to assist in quitting alcohol as well, as most addictive behaviours involve dopamine. Recent studies have found lobeline to show promise in the treatment of depression.
Due to the potential toxicity of the active constituent lobeline, In high doses, lobelia can induce vomiting, and this effect was even used by the North American eclectics as a means to cleansing the body. (Lobelia is still used internally in other countries as a low dose botanical, usually under the guidance of a herbalist or naturopath).
Topically, Lobelia is used to soothe muscle pain, treat insect bites and ringworm, and promote the healing of bruises and sprains.
Preparation: As a smoking herb, use in a blend with other alternative smoking herbs. Slowly replace your tobacco or cannabis with the Lobelia blend until you no longer feel the need to smoke.
Botanical name: Althaea officinalis
Because of the abundance of mucilage it contains, marshmallow is an excellent demulcent meaning that it is soothing to the respiratory system, urinary tract and intestines, and to any mucous membrane or internal or external part of the body that is inflamed. It has also been valued as a tea for preventing or soothing the irritation that can be caused by some drugs and antibiotics.
Marshmallow is useful to soothe the irritation of sore throats and coughs. It’s soothing demulcent action is also used to aid indigestion, heartburn, stomach ulcers, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. In the same way, marshmallow assists in the treatment of urinary tract infections. Due to its emollient properties, marshmallow is one of the most effective herbs for moisturising and softening the skin. It is used as a wash or added to creams for eczema and psoriasis.
Marshmallow contains asparagine, a valuable amino acid, and high levels of vitamin A. Marshmallow can also potentiate the healing actions of other herbs.
Preparation: 2 tsp per cup of boiling water. Steep for 10 mins, drink 1-3 cups per day.
Botanical name: Artemisia vulgaris
A highly medicinal herb, good for soothing pain and enhancing dream vividness/recall, as well as being a great liver tonic and aid for menstrual problems.
Mugwort was considered the ‘universal herb for protection and prophecy’ throughout the ancient world. Dedicated to Artemis and Diana, Mugwort was used for pain and healing, psychic powers and lucid dreaming. In ancient China and Japan, Mugwort was hung in open doorways to exorcise the spirits of disease. The ancient Europeans did the same to ward off evil spirits. These two separated cultures also believed that the supernatural powers of Mugwort were revealed by mermaids who came from the sea to present the herb for the good of humankind.
Also known as the ‘traveller’s herb for protection’, Roman soldiers placed Mugwort inside their sandals for endurance on long marches. One Roman general recorded that his men marched 10 miles further, as well as faster, when on Mugwort.
Mugwort was once the staple ingredient in beer before Hops was introduced. It was also known as Sailor’s Tobacco, as it was used as an alternative when sailors ran out of tobacco at sea.
Mugwort tea was usually drunk before divination rituals and also burnt as a ‘transporting’ incense. Also known as the visionary herb, Mugwort is still used today for increasing psychic powers. Native Americans also burned Mugwort as a ‘smudge’ to purify the spiritual and physical environment. The herbal tea was and is still used by women for late periods (and, as it relaxes the uterus, also for natural terminations).
In modern herbalism, Mugwort is used to stimulate and ease menstruation, assist digestion and liver function, expel parasites and relax the nervous system.
The leaves may be smoked for a dreamy, relaxed effect. Mugwort may be smoked or drunk as a tea at night to induce colourful and lucid dreaming. Also placed under pillow slips for astral traveling and fanciful dreams.
Preparations: 1-2 tsp/cup. Steep covered 10 minutes. Once known as ‘sailor’s tobacco’, it may also be smoked as a tobacco or cannabis alternative.
Botanical name: Verbascum thapsus
Other names: Great mullein
Great mullein is a commonly used domestic herbal remedy, valued for its efficacy in the treatment of pectoral complaints. It acts by reducing the formation of mucus and stimulating the coughing up of phlegm, and is a specific treatment for tracheitis and bronchitis.
The leaves and the flowers are anodyne, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, expectorant and vulnerary. An infusion is taken internally in the treatment of a wide range of chest complaints and also to treat diarrhoea. The Native American Indians smoked Mullein for sore throats and lung congestion.
On top of all this, it has been proven to be beneficial for smokers’ lungs and can assist in weaning one off tobacco addiction. It has a calming effect on all inflamed and irritated nerves and this is why it works so well relieving coughs, cramps, and spasms.
Preparation: An infusion of the flowers in olive oil is used as ear drops, or as a local application in the treatment of piles and other mucous membrane inflammations.
A decoction (a method of extraction by boiling) of the roots is said to alleviate toothache and also relieve cramps and convulsions as well as a poultice made from the seeds and leaves are used to draw out splinters.
A decoction of the seeds is used to soothe chilblains and chapped skin. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh leaves to be used in the treatment of long-standing headaches.
An aromatic, slightly bitter tea can be made by infusing the dried leaves in boiling water for 5 – 10 minutes. A sweeter tea can be made by infusing the fresh or dried flowers.
Any preparation made from the leaves needs to be carefully strained in order to remove the small hairs which can be an irritant.
Botanical name: Urtica dioica
Other names: Common nettle, stinging nettle
Nettle is a wonderful plant and has been used for hundreds of years. It is highly nutritious, containing silicon, protein, potassium, chlorophyll and vitamins A and C. It is a great tonic for the whole body, especially for anaemic people orthose recovering from illness. Due to its astringent properties, nettle is traditionally used to treat diarrhoea, dysentery and abnormal discharges and it is invaluable in chronic diseases of the colon. Nettle’s ability to clear uric acid wastes from the body and to cleanse the blood makes it a wonderful remedy for eczema, gout, arthritis and kidney stones. This effective and gentle herb can be taken regularly, even by children and the elderly.
Today, many people use it to treat urinary problems during the early stages of an enlarged prostate (called benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH), for urinary tract infections, for hay fever (allergic rhinitis), or in compresses or creams for treating joint pain, sprains and strains, tendonitis, and insect bites.
The leaves and stems of nettle have been used historically to treat arthritis and for sore muscles. Studies have been small and not conclusive, but they do suggest that some people find relief from joint pain by applying nettle leaf topically to the painful area. A few other studies show that taking an oral extract of stinging nettle, along with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), allowed people to reduce their NSAID dose.
Botanical name: Mentha x piperita
Peppermint is one of the most popular herbal teas, well known to ease digestion and soothe the nerves. It helps expel gas from the intestines, relaxes stomach muscles, stimulates bile and digestive juices and acts as a mild anaesthetic to the stomach wall. These properties make it a valuable remedy for intestinal colic, flatulence, nausea and general digestive disturbances.
It is also traditionally used for fevers, colds, and influenza, and can also be inhaled to relieve sinus congestion. Peppermint can ease headaches, anxiety and tension.
Peppermint contains properties that give it a number of other potential health benefits. It is known to have antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiseptic properties, so can be effectively used as a cleansing agent on the skin and to help fight bacterial infections. It is also known to have decongestant properties, so can be a potentially effective treatment for a number of respiratory disorders. A known analgesic, peppermint can help with pain relief, but all cases are individual so use this product for pain at your own thresh-hold.
Peppermint tea may also be an ideal study aid for students and help commuters drive more safely. In one study, just the aroma of peppermint tea was shown to help students remain alert and focused when studying. In another study, peppermint tea helped drivers stay alert and relaxed in traffic.
This aquatic perennial is closely related to both Blue and White Lily species, which have been revered in Egypt as well as Central America for millennia. Although there is much less information regarding this particular species, anecdotal reports describe the relaxing, mood enhancing and dreamy effects as very similar. Lilies are used to reduce anxiety, improve mood and assist sleep.
Research has found some Nymphaea species to contain both aporphine and nuciferine. Aporphine has been described as a psychoactive alkaloid and is a dopamine agonist used to treat Parkinson’s disease, erectile dysfunction, Alzheimer’s, opiate and alcohol addiction as it stimulates dopamine receptors and improves motor function. This is the compound that stimulates a happy, uplifted, and euphoric feeling. Nuciferine is an alkaloid associated with dopamine receptor blockade, and is also found in Sacred Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera).
Lilies enjoyed special significance to the people of ancient Egypt, where it symbolises the continual renewal of life. The flowers have been found in ancient tombs and depicted in ancient wall paintings and art. In Central America, the White Lily (Nymphaea ampla) is depicted in Mesoamerican art, usually portraying visionary scenes of the underworld or other worlds.
Research into the medicinal effects of Red Lily has found immunomodulatory (regulates immune response), anti-diabetic, anthelmintic (antiparasitic) and antioxidant activity.
Preparation:Soak 10g in enough wine or vodka to easily cover the herb (as it will expand). Leave this to soak for up to 2 weeks ideally, however good effects can be achieved in less time (even 1 day). A tea can also be made by steeping 1-2 tsp per cup of boiled water, which has a pleasant relaxing effect. Red lily can also be smoked.
Botanical name: Scutellaria lateriflora
Other names: American Skullcap, Blue Pimpernel, Blue Skullcap, Escutelaria, Grande Toque, Helmet Flower, Hoodwort, Mad-Dog Herb, Mad-Dog Skullcap, Mad-Dog Weed, Mad Weed
There are two types of Skullcap (Chinese and American) and we are referring here to the American Skullcap. Skullcap derives its name from its ability to relieve tension headaches. It is an excellent herb for nervous tension and anxiety, because it both relaxes and tones the whole nervous system; this is particularly useful with menstrual tension and hysteria. It is also used in the treatment of epilepsy and seizures although care needs to be taken when using this herb whilst on anti-convulsant medication. Your health care practitioner should always be included in the process as even though it has been very effective for epilepsy cases, herbs can have interactions with medications that may be undesirable.
In Chinese medicine, Skullcap is considered excellent for cooling the mind, liver and lungs. For this reason it promotes a state of meditation and calms an overactive mind.
Preparation: Pour 1 cup of water just off the boil over 1-2 teaspoons of herb. Steep covered for 10 minutes. Sweeten with honey if desired. Drink 3 times daily or as needed. Can be added to other herbs as well for a blended tea infusion.
Botanical name: Salvia apiana
White Sage is an evergreen perennial shrub that is native to the south-western United States and north-western Mexico. Smudging, the burning of dried White Sage leaves, is an ancient Native American tradition, where White Sage is used to cleanse and purify a space or person of unwanted or negative energies.
White Sage can also be used as a tea for colds, sore throat, sinus congestion, indigestion or heavy menstruation. It is also valuable as a culinary spice, with similar flavour to garden sage.
It can also reduce bodily secretions (mucous, milk, sweat, etc.).
Preparation: As a tea: 1 tsp per cup, steep covered 10 minutes. For smudging: Place loose leaves on a saucer to burn, or burn sticks as is.
Botanical name: Artemisia absinthium
Wormwood is used for various digestion problems such as loss of appetite, upset stomach, gallbladderﾠdisease, and intestinal spasms. The herb is primarily used as a bitter to stimulate and invigorate the whole digestive process. Wormwood is also used to treat fever, liverﾠ disease; to increase sexual desire; as a tonic; and to stimulate sweating in fevers. As the name implies, wormwood is also a powerful remedy against worm infestations, especially roundworm and pinworm.
Wormwood is part of the famous recipe for Absinthe distilled liquor, which has a reputation for inducing visions. It is closely related to Mugwort and Southernwood – many of the herbs in the Artemisia family are used for visionary purposes, to increase psychic and spiritual powers, and for protection.
Preparation: Pour 150ml of boiling water over 1 to 1.5g of cut wormwood herb (1 teaspoon) and steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Drink this amount slowly over a day.
Botanical name: Clitoria ternatea
Other names: Aprajita, Cordofan pea, and the Asian pigeonwing
Also known as Asian Pigeon Wings, Blue Bell Vine, Blue Pea, Cordofan Pea and Darwin pea, ‘Butterfly Pea’ (Clitoria ternatea) is an amazing brain boosting herb native to tropical equatorial Asia. A traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, Clitoria Ternatea has been consumed for centuries as a memory enhancer, brain booster, anti-stress and calmative agent. Butterfly Pea has been ascribed many health benefits in both Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, many of which have been supported with contemporary clinical research.
The herb shows promise in studies for its brain boosting effects and its wide spectrum of neurological benefits including helping with depression, anxiety and reducing fever. In studies to date, Butterfly Pea has shown to act on several key systems of the body: The Nervous System – Butterfly Pea has a calming effect on the brain The Digestive System – Butterfly Pea is an antiemetic (anti-nausea), antidypsetic (anti-indigestion), mild-laxative and cholagogue (stimulates flow of bile from liver) The Circulatory System – Butterfly Pea is a haemostatic (helps stop bleeding) and a blood purifier The Respiratory System – Butterfly Pea acts as an expectorant and has shown to reduce the irritation of respiratory organs, useful in treating colds, coughs and even asthma. The Urinary System – Butterfly Pea is a diuretic, helping promote normal urination and can be used for dysuria (difficulty urinating) The Reproductive System: Butterfly Pea is reported to be spermatogenic, aiding in normal sperm production The Integumentary System – Pre-maturing ageing is often a problem of the skin. Flavonoids present in Butterfly Pea have been found to boost collagen production, increasing the skin elasticity.
Butterfly pea is one of the few plants on earth that contain cyclotides, peptides that have shown to possess anti-HIV and anti-tumor properties, while certain cyclotides have been shown to be toxic to cancer cells. In fact, while more studies are needed recent Chinese research suggests butterfly pea is very effective against certain lung cancer cells. Researchers have also found that a powder made from the ground-up butterfly pea leaves can enhance cognitive ability, improving memory and brainpower. Other studies in India found that butterfly pea improves the body’s levels of acetylcholine – an important neurotransmitter – vital for communication within your brain. Acetylcholine decreases significantly as we age and Butterfly Pea has been found to stimulate its production.
Botanical name: Centaurea Cyanus (LINN.)
Centaurea Cyanus, the Cornflower, with its star-like blossoms of brilliant blue, is one of our most striking wild-flowers, though it is always looked on as an unwelcome weed by the farmer, for not only does it by its presence withdraw nourishment from the ground that is needed for the corn, 'but its tough stems in former days of hand-reaping were wont to blunt the reaper's sickle, earning it the name of 'Hurt Sickle': Thou blunt'st the very reaper's sickle and soIn life and death becom'st the farmer's foe.' The Latin name, Cyanus, was given the Cornflower after a youthful devotee of the goddess Flora (Cyanus), whose favourite flower it was, and the name of the genus is derived from the Centaur, Chiron, who taught mankind the healing virtue of herbs.It has long been cultivated as a garden plant, in several colours as well as white. C. montana, a perennial form, is frequent in gardens.The flowers are the part used in modern herbal medicine and are considered to have tonic, stimulant and emmenagogue properties, with action similar to that of Blessed Thistle.
A water distilled from Cornflower petals was formerly in repute as a remedy for weak eyes. The famous French eyewash, 'Eau de Casselunettes,' used to be made from them. Culpepper tells us that the powder or dried leaves of the Bluebottle is given with good success to those that are bruised by a fall or have broken a vein inwardly. He also informs us that, with Plantain, Horsetail, or Comfrey,
'it is a remedy against the poison of the scorpion and resisteth all venoms and poisons. The seeds or leaves (or the distilled water of the herb) taken in wine is very good against the plague and all infectious diseases, and is very good in pestilential fevers: the juice put into fresh or green wounds doth quickly solder up the lips of them together, and is very effectual to heal all ulcers and sores in the mouth.'
The expressed juice of the petals makes a good blue ink; if expressed and mixed with alum-water, it may be used in watercolor drawing. It dyes linen a beautiful blue, but the color is not permanent.
Botanical name: Calendula arvensis, Calendula officinalis - Aster Family
common names: marigold, pot marigold, gold-bloom, marybud, pot calendula
Calendula’s name refers to its tendency to bear flowers by the calendar, once a month in warm climates, usually during the new moon. Has been called “herbal sunshine” and has been used widely in Europe topically but also as a tea. It has a long established use as an externally healing herb, with wide use in skin care. “Marigold” refers to the Virgin Mary; this herb is traditionally used during Virgin Mary celebrations in Catholici
European folk medicine considered calendula to be an immune tonic, that helps prevent sickness in winter. This can be attributed to its action of moving the lymph and eliminating cellular debris from the body. It has a special affinity to the lymphatic system and is a great herb to turn to when there is the first sign of lymph congestions in the neck, breast, or groin areas.
Fever Herb: This is a great herb to turn to for supporting the body in the presence of fever as it gently opens the pores and helps the body perspire, which breaks a fever sooner and speeds the course of illness.
Anyone allergic to members of the Aster/Compositae family (ragweed, marigold) should avoid this herb. Calendula teas should not be taken for more than two weeks due to the mild antibacterial toxins present in the herb. When taken internally, calendula can increase the sedative effect of medications for anxiety and insomnia. It may also increase the activity of blood glucose-lowering drugs or insulin and may help decrease blood lipids and triglycerides. Contraindicated during pregnancy due to emmenagogue and abortifacient effects.
BOTANICAL NAME Malva sylvestris Plant Family: Malvaceae
This is an ancient herb with a history of use around the world from Chinese Herbal tradition, as well as Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Arabic traditions. Mallows were also used as sustainable food through times of scarcity by peoples throughout Europe. Has been used interchangeably with other mallows and with Marshmallow (Althea officinalis).
Common mallow is an old accompaniment of our culture, and is found practically exclusively on the fringe of and near human settlements. In the past it has been spread so diligently all over Europe and finally all over the world, that the borders of its original geographical range are now hazy. It is, however, supposed to be a Eurasian plant of relatively dry and open spaces.
Common mallow was traditionally a useful plant which was highly regarded as vegetable, but most of all as a versatile medicinal plant. Up to the beginning of modern times, the species had a reputation of being a universal remedy. Mallow reduced fever, relieved nearly all pains and healed insect stings and wounds. Mallow leaf was used to induce childbirth and act as an indicator for a woman’s fertility. It was believed that mallow helped people rise above their urges and passions, so it was an important antidote for love potions. And best of all, mallow pills could cure stupidity! A large part of those folk traditions connected with mallow’s medicinal uses are purely superstitious, but no smoke without fire: mallow contains compounds which activate the immune defence system as well as substances soothing infections, and its medicinal uses are still being researched.
Mallow leaf will tend to soothe irritated mucous membranes throughout the body.
Mallow should not be taken in large quantities by diabetics. Because of its notable fiber content, mallow should not be taken in high doses with some medications.
Botanical name - Matricaria chamomilla - Aster Family
Chamomile has been used in medicinal herbal traditions since ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome for its variety of actions, including use as an antispasmodic, carminative, mild sedative, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial. It is mild yet effective, and works particularly well for children. Chamomile has been a favorite beverage tea through the ages for its flavor of sunshine and honey.
Antispasmodic, carminative, mild sedative, mild anesthetic to mouth and stomach, stimulates lactation, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, fungicidal
Nervous System:Chamomile tea is found to be calming and soothing to restless children, nervous adults, and for babies with colic. Matthew Wood says chamomile is great for “babies of any age” as it “sweetens the soul.” Helps with anxiety, insomnia, nightmares.
Botanical name Camellia sinesis
Other names: Ceylon, Tea plant
Ceylon tea is from Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon. The tea is produced using either black tea leaves, green tea leaves, or white tea leaves, and may be consumed hot or cold. According to fans of the drink, Ceylon tea benefits may include a boost in metabolism and decreased risk
of disease. But not all of these benefits have been proven in clinical studies. Ceylon tea is high in antioxidants and contains a small amount of caffeine and several trace minerals.Several compounds in tea have been proven to boost fat burning and decrease fat absorption. Drinking hot tea or consuming green tea extract has been linked to increased weight loss and reduced body fat.Studies show that certain varieties of Ceylon tea may reduce levels of total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, as well as triglycerides, though other research has turned up mixed results.Ceylon tea contains caffeine, which can cause adverse side effects and may be associated with health concerns.
Botanical name: Artemisia absinthium - (Apsithia) - Artemisia Family
Common names: absinthium, green ginger, common wormwood
One of the oldest medicinal plants known, references to it appear in the Old Testament of the Bible as the highest symbol of bitterness. The Greek word for wormwood is from Apsinthos, the star that fell from heaven and made the waters bitter. The Greeks used wormwood as valuable medicine and hung it above the doors of homes to keep away evil spirits. Wormwood was considered so beneficial that in Greek mythology, the goddess Artemis chose this plant for her own, and gave it her name. Has a long history of use throughout Europe and North America.
Wormwoodcan be taken as a mild infusion, not used in excess or over long periods of time. Digestive system:Wormwood is a strong bitter, good as a digestive tonic for liver and gallbladder, a stimulative tonic to the digestive system. It is a well-known remedy for intestinal worms and parasites. Expels gas from intestinal tract, and has an antiseptic effect on the entire system. Reproductive System: Has been used as a menstrual stimulator.External use: Infused in olive oil and applied to sprains, rheumatism, may relieve pains of neuralgia and arthritis.
BOTANICAL NAME: Rosmarino - Rosmarinus Officinalis - Mint Family
Other names: Compass-weed, polar plant, Mary’s mantle
osemary has a long history of use in Mediterranean herbal tradition and also as a favored culinary herb. Its Latin name means “dew of the sea” and has been used for hundreds of years as a beloved herb. Thousands of years before refrigeration, ancient people noticed that wrapping meats in crushed rosemary leaves preserved them. Rosemary’s ability to preserve food also led to the belief that it helped preserve memory. Greek students wore rosemary garlands to assist their powers of recall. Traditional Chinese physicians mixed it with ginger as a treatment for headache, indigestion, insomnia, and malaria. Contemporary American herbalists say that rosemary stimulates the circulatory, digestive, and nervous systems. They recommend it as treatment for headache, indigestion, and depression, and as a gargle for bad breath. They also advocate its external use for muscle aches and in baths for relaxation.
Other names: Bay, bay laurel, grecian laurel, sweet bay, true bay
Widely used throughout the world, bay leaf originated in Asia minor and naturalized throughout the Mediterranean region. Bay leaf was highly prized by the Greeks and Romans, and thought to provided wisdom, peace, and protection. The leaves also symbolized success. Laurel wreaths were made from Bay laurels and given to the victors in both athletic and intellectual competitions.
Although bay is used primarily as a culinary herb, it is also used medicinally as a digestive tonic. When cooked, it helps break down foods, especially meats, making digestion easier.
Remove the whole leaf before eating, since the hard leaf is hard on mucus membranes. Considered a food and safe for use. If using essential oil externally, dilute so as to avoid irritation of the skin on sensitive individuals.
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Please consult your physician about any medical concern you may have; and educate yourself thoroughly about any herbs and their potential contraindications before any type of use.