Tag Archives: carminative

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.

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

 


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

mentha_piperita_paint

Mentha piperita

Name

The  “Mentha” comes from the nymph Minthe, seduced by Hades and metamorphosed by Persephone in a plant.  The specific name “piperita” means ‘peppery’.

Also Known as

  • Mentha balsamea
  • peppermint
  • hortela
  • mint
  • menta
  • mentha montana

 

Identification Keys

  • perennial herb
  • stems erect
  • 60-110 cm high – it mostly reclines and often sticks up less than 30 cm
  • square, smooth, branching stem
  • purple-blotched stalk
  • dark green, purplish-tinged leaves
  • opposite leaves, each pair alternating along the stem
  • elliptical and lanceolate leaves
  • leave blades to 9 cm long, 4 cm broad
  • leave broadest near base
  • sharply toothed along leave margins
  • pink to violet flowers
  • four-lobed, weakly lipped flowers (shaped like open mouth)
  • flowers carried in thick, blunt, many-flowered,  oblong, upright spike
  • fruits with 4 tiny nutlets enclosed by persistent calyx
  • pungent scent

Bloom Time

  • summer-fall

Habitat

  • sunny and partially shaded wet places
  • wet meadows, marshes, spring branches, rivers and lakes, pond margins, sloughs, ditches, roadsides, railroads
  • doesn’t need many nutrients
  • can sustain bitter-cold winters

Look-alikes

There are no poisonous smell-alikes. You can confuse Mentha piperita with other aromatic mints (Mentha spp.) which also have square stems and opposite leaves, and smell minty. Don’t use any odorless plant with square stems and opposite leaves until you’ve positively identified it to be an edible or safe medicinal specie.

  • Mentha acquatica (watermint)
  • Mentha spicata (spearmint)
  • Nepeta cataria (catnip)

 


 

Medicine Uses

Parts Used

Aerial parts

Actions

aromatic, diaphoretic, carminative, nervine, antispasmodic, antiemetic, antiseptic, digestive, cholagogue, circulatory stimulant, analgesic, antimicrobial, rubefacient

Systems

Digestion

  • relieves spasm and pain in colic, constipation, diarrhea, flatulence, heartburn, hiccups, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and stomach-aches
  • enhance appetite
  • helps digestion
  • relieves nausea and travel sickness
  • protects guts from irritation and infection
  • helps in Chron’s disease and ulcerative colitis

Circulation

  • taken in hot tea, it promotes sweating
  • improves circulation moving blood to the periphery

Mental and emotional

  • improves concentration
  • clears the mind
  • calms anxiety and tension
  • relieves tension headaches
  • relieves joint and muscle pain

Respiratory system

  • taken in hot infusion, it’s a decongestant
  • clears airways
  • reduces asthma’s spasms
  • relieves colds, flu and fevers
  • enhance resistance to infections

Immune system

Reproductive system

  • relaxes smooth muscles in the uterus
  • reduces menstrual pain

Externally

  • oil is useful for herpes simplex and ringworm
  • use as an inhalant for colds, catarrh and sinusitis
  • relieves muscular pain and aching feet
  • use as gargle for sore throats
  • mouthwash for gum infections and mouth ulcers

Caution

  • avoid in pregnancy
  • don’t use oil on babies or small children
  • an overdose of the concentrated essential oil is toxic.

 


 

Food Uses

Parts Used

Aerial parts

Main Uses

seasoning, tea

Nutrition

  • provides carotinoids that the body uses to make vitamin A
  • provides the minerals: calcium, iron, phosphorus, silicon, and chromium

Cooking

  • use any or all of the aerial parts for making tea
  • chop  finely the leaves and use with any dessert or sweet recipe.
  • it is also one of the best flavorings to use with chocolate.

Harvesting

Harvesting Season

  • Mid-spring to mid-fall

Harvesting Methods

  • cut or break off all above-ground parts for tea
  • strip the leaves and tops with your fingers for food use,
  • leave as much of the hard stems as possible behind
  • gather leaves at any stage
  • pick leaves on dry day
  • dry on paper in warm area
  • store in a tight container

 


Lavandula_angustifolia_paint

Lavandula angustifolia

Name

The genus name “Lavandula” comes from the latin verb “lavare” (to wash) because ancient romans used to scent washing waters and baths. The specific name “angustifolia” is Latin for “narrow leaf”. Previously, it was known as “Lavandula officinalis” meaning that it was the official medicinal lavender.

Also Known as

  • common lavender
  • true lavender
  • narrow-leaved lavender
  • english lavender
  • Lavandula spica
  • Lavandula vera
  • Lavandula officinalis

Identification Keys

  • bushy evergreen herb
  • square stalk
  • height: 1-2 m
  • opposite leaves
  • narrow leaves, 2-6 cm long, 4-6 mm broad
  • pinkish-purple (lavender color) flowers
  • 2-lipped flowers
  • flowers grow on narrowly cylindrical spikes 2–8 cm long at the top of slender, leafless stems 10–30 cm long
  • strongly scented

Bloom Time

  • June-August

Habitat

  • prefers a sunny place and light, dry, well-drained soil
  • grows up to 1500 m

Look-alikes

You can confuse Lavandula angustifolia with other plants of the same genus Lavandula.


Medicine Uses

Parts Used

Flowers

Actions

carminative, diuretic, antispasmodic, nerve tonic, analgesic, stimulant, digestive, sedative, antimicrobial, antiseptic, diaphoretic, expectorant, antidepressant, antioxidant

Systems

Digestion

  • releases spasm and colic
  • relieves wind
  • combats bowel problems related to tension and anxiety
  • used for infections that cause vomiting and diarrhea
  • volatile oils active against bacteria and fungi

Mental and emotional

  • wonderful for anxiety and stress-related symptoms (headaches, migraines, neuralgia, palpitations, insomnia)
  • lifts the spirits
  • restores energy in tiredness and nervous exhaustion

Respiratory system

  • increases resistance to colds, coughs, chest infections, flu tonsillitis and laryngitis
  • clears phlegm
  • relieves asthma

Immune system

  • volatile oils are antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic
  • reduces fevers taken as hot tea
  • help to remove toxins via the skin and urine, taken as hot tea

Reproductive system

  • reduces pain after childbirth and speeds healing (used in baths)

Externally

  • antiseptic for inflammatory and infective skin problems such as eczema, acne, varicose ulcers and nappy rash
  • stimulates tissue repair
  • minimizes scar formation applying oil to burns, cuts, wounds, sores and ulcers
  • repels insects
  • relieves bites and stings
  • soothes pain of bruises, sprains, gout, arthritis and muscle tension

Harvesting

  • gathering lavender when the flowers are full in color and they start to open
  • cut flowers on a dry and sunny day. The dew needs to be off of the plants before you harvest to allow a quickly healing
  • tie bundles of lavender upside down in a dark dry area with good air circulation. When dry, place in a jar and store out of light