Tag Archives: antiviral

Ginger - Zingiber officinale

The Powerful Healing Properties of Ginger

English: A Ginger Plant (Zingiber officinale)....
Ginger Plant (Zingiber officinale). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is probably one of the most favorite cooking ingredients and medicines in the world. Ginger is a perennial herb that originates from China and India. For centuries, Asians having been using ginger root in cook and for therapeutic purposes. Asia, Australia, Jamaica, South America and the United States are some of the countries where different varieties of ginger are cultivated.

The ginger plant has delicate green leaves that resemble baby spinach, which are eaten in salads, but the true benefits of ginger come from the roots of the plant, known as rhizomes.

Health Properties of Ginger

  1. When it comes to aid digesting, ginger is probably the best herb because it has antispasmodic or carminative properties. Proteins are broken down by ginger, getting rid of bloating and gas from the intestines and stomach. It also helps the stomach digest fatty foods as well.
  2. As a result of the warming quality of ginger, circulation is improved and stimulated, and the muscles surrounding blood vessels are relaxed. This way, the flow blood throughout the body is facilitated.
  3. There is a lot of evidence that motion sickness can be prevented and treated with ginger, since the stomach is relaxed and the feeling of nausea is relieved by it.
  4. It has been demonstrated by studies that the absorption of cholesterol in the blood and liver is reduced by ginger, thus cholesterol levels are lowered. The levels of bad or LDL cholesterol in the body can be reduced with its extract and the risk of the development of heart disease is also reduced this way.
  5. The secretion of mucus can be stimulated by consuming ginger, which can soothe scratchiness in the throat and relieve cough.
  6. Ginger contains anti-fungal, anti-toxic and anti-viral properties, so it can be used to prevent and treat common cold.
  7. Ginger can help treat allergies because it acts as an antihistamine.
  8. Ginger can be used for the treatment of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and a variety of other muscular disorders because anti-inflammatory properties are displayed by it. The biosynthesis of prostaglandins, which is the main cause of inflammation, is inhibited by the chemical components of ginger.
  9. Since the secretion of mucus is promoted by ginger, ginger protects the stomach from the development of ulcers.
  10. Along with lowering cholesterol, the formation of blood clots is also prevented by it.
  11. Minor burns and skin irritations can be immediately relieved by applying fresh ginger juice.
  12. Arthritic pain can be reduced by applying ginger oil.
  13. Ginger oil also refreshes the mind, so it is used in saloons and spas.

How to use ginger?

Ingwer (Zingiber officinale)
Ingwer (Zingiber officinale) (Photo credit: blumenbiene)

To benefit from the health properties of ginger, fresh ginger should be chosen over dried ginger. Not only does fresh ginger taste superior, but it contains higher levels of its anti-inflammatory compound and gingerol. Fresh ginger is usually free of mold, with a smooth, fresh skin and with fewer joints and twists as possible.

Young and mature are the two forms of ginger that are generally available. The skin of mature ginger is tougher and needs to be peeled, while the skin of young ginger does not have to be peeled. Ginger can be julienne, minced or sliced. Ginger can also be brewed as a tea.

Take advantage of ginger

Ginger is used as a flavoring for various culinary preparations and so, this is the most common way of having ginger and benefiting from its health properties. Ginger can be used to prepare ginger ale, ginger beer, gingerbread, ginger biscuits, ginger cake, ginger cookies, ginger tea and a lot more. Thus, ginger is one of the most renowned herbs with some remarkable health properties, and above all, it is easy to find and easy to consume.

Hypericum perforatum -  St. John's Wort

Discover the Healthful Properties of St. John’s Wort

More and more people started to discover the benefits of herbal medicines. Along with the famous ginseng, echinacea and ginkgo biloba, St. John’s Wort started to become increasingly preferred by modern consumers. The truth is that the demand for natural alternatives to conventional medicine grew day by day, allowing this natural herbs to become extremely important. Companies started to use them to create unique products and supplements in order to satisfy the need of today’s savvy consumers.

What is St. John’s Wort

Hypericum perforatum (bostryx)
Hypericum perforatum (bostryx) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Also known as Hypericum perforatum, Klamath Weed or Tipton’s Weed, St. John’s Wort is a yellow flowering herb that contains several potent ingredients, such as hypericin andhyperforin. This unique herb features powerful antidepressant, antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Its success in treating depression has increased tremendously over the years, especially since a study that was conducted proved that about 80% of all people suffering from mild to moderate depression were cured. However, this herb is not that effective against moderate to severe depression cases.

Health Benefits of St. John’s Wort

This herb has been used for thousands of years as a sedative or painkiller. Moreover, its properties made it the perfect natural herb in treating minor to severe health conditions, from mood swings, sleep disorders and bruises to severe burns, malaria, lung and kidney problems, uterine cramping, hemorrhoids, peptic ulcers, breathing problems, hangovers, gastrointestinal problems, alcoholism and even more serious cases of tuberculosis. There is no doubt St. John’s Wort is one of the most important ingredient found in many tablets, capsules or tea.

According to a recent study performed by a combined group of scientists and herbalists in the United States, this natural herb can help you deal with a sore throat, psoriasis, sinus infections, Parkinson’s disease, chronic cough, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, anxiety and other mental disorders.

Uses and Preparation Methods

St. John’s Wort has been found to possess significant amounts of hypericin and hyperforin. These two ingredients are known to raise the release of major neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine), which will improve the brain signals between your body’s cells, enhancing your nervous system and increasing its functionality. Moreover, hypericin is capable of inhibiting a bodily chemical (also known as monoamine oxidase), that is associated with depression and anxiety. The result of this herb over your body is an increased state of well-being that will help you deal with depression, wintertime blues, low energy levels, mood swings and chronic fatigue cases.

If you deal with anxiety, mood swings or depression, it is recommended to take one capsule of 300 mg at least three times each day with meals. However, it is wiser to consult your doctor before taking these pills. St. John’s Wort can also be administered in the form of tea, tincture, pills, tablets and decoction. Since there are hundreds of products on the market which contain this herb, you have a wide range of choices.

If you deal with alcoholism and hangovers, it is recommended to drink a tea that contains flowers of St John’s Wort. Add 1 cup of flowers to 1 cup and a half of boiling water. Simmer for about 5 minutes, strain and then drink while it’s hot. You can also add honey or any other natural sweetener for an improved taste. The recommended dosage for tea is just like in the case of pills or capsules, which is three times a day. If you prefer tincture, you should take it only twice a day. The preferred dosage is 1/4 teaspoon for one teaspoon of water.

Tips on How to Identify it in The Wild

English: Plantlets of St. John's wart (Hyperic...
English: Plantlets of St. John’s wart (Hypericum perforatum) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nowadays, there are over 300 species of Hypericum. This herb grows all over the Europe and United States, mostly in hayfields, waste places and roadsides. It usually blooms in June and continues to grow until fall. If you want to identify this natural herb in the wild easier, Google it and study some pictures. Always look for that specimen with black dots on its petals and several clear dots on its leaves. These can be easily noticed when its leaves are held up to light. The good news is that you can grow St John’s Wort all by yourself, even if it might be hard to germinate. However, the best choice can be to buy it or simply go in the wild and reap them.

Sage - Salvia Officinalis

A Sage In The Garden: Salvia officinalis

Name

 

Common sage
Common sage (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The genus name, Salvia, comes from the Latin verb “salvare” (to save but also to cure).

Salvia officinalis (garden sage, common sage) ...
Salvia officinalis (garden sage, common sage) – Lamiaceae; Flower Français : sauge officinale Latina: Salvia officinalis – Lamiaceae (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The specific name, officinalis, refers to this plant’s medicinal use.

Also Known as

  • sage
  • common sage
  • garden sage
  • golden sage
  • kitchen sage
  • true sage
  • culinary sage
  • dalmatian sage
  • broadleaf sage

 

Medicine Uses

Parts Used

leaves

Actions

antimicrobial, astringent, antiseptic, decongestant, antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, expectorant, tonic, digestive, antioxidant, rejuvenative, diuretic, phytoestrogenic, antihydrotic, carminative, cholagogue, vasodilator

Systems

Digestion

  • enhances appetite and digestive function
  • facilitates assimilation of fats
  • calms tension and colic
  • alleviates bloating and wind
  • decreases blood sugar levels
  • reduces excessive salivation, as in Parkinson’s disease

Mental and emotional

  • decreases anxiety
  • raises mood

Respiratory system

  • good for catarrh, common colds and upper body infections

Immune system

  • beneficial in the treatment of cold, flu, fevers, sore throats and chest infections
  • effective against candida, herpes simplex type 2 and influenza virus II
  • great for arthritis and gout

Urinary system

  • removes toxins via the kidneys

Reproductive system

  • decreases excessive lactation
  • ideal for menopausal problems such as night sweats and insomnia
  • balances hormones and it is antispasmodic for irregular and painful periods

Externally

  • apply as antiseptic lotion for cuts, burns, insect bites, skin problems, ulcers and sunburn
  • gargle for sore throats
  • mouthwash for inflamed gums and mouth ulcers
  • apply leaves to reduces toothache
  • use poultice for sprains, swellings and ulcers

Caution

  • may be toxic in large dosage or over a prolonged period
  • avoid in pregnancy and breast-feeding
  • avoid with epilepsy

 

Rosmarinus officinalis - rosemary

Rosmarinus officinalis

Name

The latin name Rosmarinus is a compound word: “Ros” means “Dew” and “Marinus” means “of the sea”. So Rosmarinus stands for “Dew of the Sea” as the plant grows well near the sea-coast and sea-foam sprays upon it.
Officinalis (meaning ‘of the workshop’) is a common species name and it denotes medicinal plants.

Also Known as

  • rosemary
  • sea dew
  • our lady’s rose
  • rosemarine
  • compass weed
  • incensier
  • mary’s mantle
  • old man
  • polar plant

 

Identification Keys

  • perennial herb
  • bushy evergreen shrub
  • height up to 2m
  • aromatic linear, leathery, with enrolled margins leaves
  • leaf size: 2-4cm × 1.2-3.5mm
  • leaf color: bright green and wrinkled above, white-tomentose beneath,
  • stalkless leaves
  • inflorescence and flower stalks with star-shaped hairs almost hairless and distinctly veined
  • calyx 3-4mm when young, later 5-7mm,
  • corolla 10-12mm, pale blue (rarely pink or white)
  • nutlets brown

Bloom Time

  • summer

Habitat

  • full sun
  • sandy, well-limed soil

 


 

Medicine Uses

Parts Used

Aerial parts

Actions

diaphoretic, carminative, emmenagogic, nervine, antioxidant, cholagogue, thymoleptic, decongestant, antispasmodic, antimicrobial, circulatory stimulant, febrifuge, antifungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, diuretic

Systems

Digestion

  • protects the gut  from irritation and inflammation
  • reduces diarrhea
  • active against infections
  • stimulates appetite
  • relieves flatulence
  • aids digestion
  • enhances elimination
  • clears toxins

Circulation

  • stimulates circulation, improving peripheral blood flow
  • reduces inflammation and muscle tension
  • reduces migraines and headaches
  • used for arteriosclerosis, chilblains and varicose veins

Respiratory system

  • dispels infection
  • helpful in asthma
  • used for fevers, catarrh, sore throats, colds, flu and chest infections

Mental and emotional

  • improves concentration and memory
  • calms anxiety
  • lifts depression
  • relieves exhaustion and insomnia

Immune system

  • enhance immunity
  • detoxifies poisons
  • relieves arthritis and gout

Urinary system

  • enhances elimination of wastes

Reproductive system

  • reduces heavy menstrual bleeding
  • relieves dysmenorrhea (menstrual pain)

Externally

  • massage the skin for joint pain, headaches and poor concentration

Caution

  • avoid in pregnancy

 


Food Uses

Parts Used

Flowers, Leaves

Main Uses

Seasoning, Tea

Nutrition

  • rich source of minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium
  • very good amounts of vitamin A
  • exceptionally rich in vitamin B
  • fresh leaves are good source of  vitamin C

Cooking

  • enhances the flavor of any savory or sweet food
  • the leaves flavor is quite strong, use it only sparingly
  • use it to season lamb, rabbit, veal, pork, sausages, poultry, egg dishes, fish, pickles and shellfish
  • flavor oil by adding a few sprigs
  • add to jellies, fruit jams, and cookies
  • use for add extra special flavor to dishes that need asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, eggplants, green beans and peas, zucchini and potatoes
  • use in breads and biscuits
  • soak dried Rosmarinus officinalis in hot water before adding it to uncooked foods
  • the flowers can be candied, preserved, or added to jellies, honey, wine or vinegar

 

Harvesting

  • harvest the rosemary needle leaves throughout the summer
  • in autumn, pick the leaves in the morning for best oil-content and quality
  • use the fresh leaves in dishes immediately after picking them, or dry the leaves

 


Plantago major

Plantago major

Name

Plantago means “footprint” and it refers to the foot-like shape of the leaf. The specific name “major” means ‘larger’ referring to the leaf size, probably in contrast with other Plantago plants as Plantago lanceolata.

Also Known as

  • greater plantain
  • common plantain
  • soldier’s herb
  • white man’s foot
  • broadleaf plantain
  • broad-leaved plantain
  • roadweed
  • wayside plantain
  • lamb’s foot
  • snakeroot
  • waybread
  • healing blade
  • hen plant

Identification Keys

  • perennial weed
  • makes a tough, leafy rosette
  • leaves all in tuft at base of plant
  • leaves 10-30 cm, oval
  • leaves not spear-shaped
  • strongly veined leaves, main veins are parallel
  • pencil-shaped flowering spikes about 15 cm
  • short, flattened, purple leaf stalk
  • flowers 2-3 mm
  • 4 oval, brownish, papery sepals
  • sepals are shorter than petals
  • 4 greenish, yellowish-white petals
  • petals form a tube beneath oval lobes
  • 4 long, protruding stamens, 1 stigma
  • flower-head not covered by hood
  • fruit is a 2-4 mm oblong capsule
  • fruit has 6-13 elliptical flattened seeds
  • each seed is 1-1.5mm
  • the top of the fruit detaches to release the seeds
  • sap is not milky

Bloom Time

  • May-September

Habitat

  • grassy place, cultivated or waste ground
  • spreads through most temperate regions of the world
  • requires moist soil
  • needs a sunny or partly shaded position
  • can withstand temperatures down to -15°C

Look-alikes

It can be confused with other Plantago plants:

  • Plantago lanceolata (long-leaf plantain). It has narrower leaves.

Medicine Uses

Parts Used

leaf, seed

Actions

astringent, alterative, diuretic, vulnerary, demulcent, refrigerant, detoxifying, decongestant, expectorant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral

Systems

Digestion

  • counters inflammation and irritation in the bowels and stomach
  • helps in gastritis, diarrhea and colitis
  • reduces colic and spasm
  • bulk laxative for constipation (taken as a tea of seeds)

Respiratory system

  • relieves colds, sinusitis, bronchial congestion, hay fever and asthma depressing mucous secretion
  • prevents ear infections and glue ear
  • soothes cough reflex
  • protects mucosae from irritation

Immune system

  • reduces swelling and inflammation
  • stops bleeding
  • promotes wound healing
  • reduces fever and infections
  • clears toxins
  • has antiviral action against herpes viruses and adenoviruses

Urinary system

  • helps in urinary tracts infections

Reproductive system

  • reduces excessive menstrual bleeding
  • useful for prostatitis enlargement

Externally

  • cures cuts, stings and insect bites

Harvesting

  • pull off the leaves
  • strip the immature, green fruits with your fingers
  • gather the seeds inside the mature fruits

Origanum majorana

Origanum majorana

Name

The name “Origanum” comes from the Greek “origanon” which is a compound term formed with the words “oros” (mountain) and “ghana” (I am pleased), alluding to the concept of delight or ornament of the mountain. The specific name “majorana” derives  from the Greek “amàrakos”, with meaning fragrant plant.

Also Known as

  • sweet marjoram
  • knotted marjoram
  • common marjoram
  • joy of the mountain
  • wild marjoram
  • wild oregano
  • wintersweet
  • mountain mint

 


 

Identification Keys

  • tender soft-stemmed perennial bush
  • square stalks
  • grows up to 30 cm
  • oval leaves
  • opposite leaves
  • tiny pink-lavender flowers
  • flowers have a 1-lipped calyx deeply fissure on one side
  • pungent, sweet, sage-like aroma.

Bloom Time

  • July-September

Habitat

  • hills
  • sunny hedges
  • sunny woodland clearings
  • up to 2000 meters above sea level
  • prefers dry soil, rocky, limestone soil
  • it is sensitive to cold and can not stand the rigors of winter

Look-alikes

There are three other varieties of marjoram that it is often confused with but none of these has the
distinctive taste of Origanum majorana.

  • Origanum vulgare (wild marjoram)
  • Origanum onites (pot marjoram)
  • Origanum pulchellum (showy marjoram)

 


 

Medicine Uses

Parts Used

Flower, leaf

Actions

digestive, carminative, tonic, stimulant, diaphoretic, antispasmodic, diuretic, antiviral, antioxidant, expectorant, sedative

Systems

Digestion

  • relieves indigestion
  • stimulates appetite
  • relieves nausea, diarrhea and constipation

Circulation

  • taken in hot tea, clears toxins via the skin
  • stimulates blood flow
  • improves circulation
  • useful to treat chilblains, arthritis and gout

Mental and emotional

  • eases loneliness and heartbreak
  • relaxes physical and mental tension
  • relieves stress-related symptoms (indigestion, colic, headaches, migraine)
  • helps memory
  • improves concentration
  • relieves insomnia, depression and anxiety

Immune system

  • probiotic
  • reduce damage from free radicals
  • retards ageing
  • enhances immunity
  • protects against winter infections (coughs, colds)
  • active against bacteria such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • helps against viruses as herpes simplex
  • heals fungal infections such as candida
  • clears phlegm
  • soothes cough
  • relieves sinusitis and fever

Urinary system

  • clears toxins via urine
  • antiseptic diuretic for infections

Externally

  • use diluted essential oils to massage into painful joints, aching muscles, sprains and strains
  • soothes oral pathologies such as mouth ulcers

 

Harvesting

  • pick leaves as needed
  • harvest tips from June to August when most flowers are open
  • avoid woody parts when cutting trunks from 10 to 20 cm
  • collect in a dry day and after the dew has evaporated
  • dry in bunches hung from a string in a well ventilated place