Tag Archives: digestive

Chamomile

The Amazing Health Properties of Chamomile

Chamaemelum nobile, Asteraceae, Roman Camomile...
Roman Camomile (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chamomile is one of the most commonly used medicinal herbs. This daisy-like plant is characterized by its yellow disk flowers that are normally 1-3 cm wide each, and surrounded by white rays. It also features some linear feather-like leaves that are finely divided. This wonderful herb grows in populated areas in many parts of the world, including North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.

There are several species of chamomile. However, the ones that are mostly recognized for their medicinal value are the Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) and the German chamomile (Matricaria recutita). These two have some stark differences in their appearance. The Roman chamomile is a short, creeping plant that does not exceed 30 cm in height. On the other hand, the German chamomile can grow up to 60 cm tall, and has many stems hence more flowers. These flowers are smaller than those of the Roman chamomile. Another difference is that the Roman chamomile is a perennial plant while the German chamomile is an annual plant. However, the two of them have the same therapeutic benefits albeit these physical differences.

Echte Kamille (Matricaria recutita)
German chamomile (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The great thing about chamomile is that it blooms continuously from early summer to the start of the winter season. In fact, it blooms throughout the year in areas where there are no cold winters. This means that there is never a shortage of flowers.

Chamomile has very many health properties. First, it acts as a digestive tonic that is not only safe, but also gentle on the stomach. It is highly effective in dealing with bowel problems, vomiting, gas, indigestion and a host of other stomach issues. Chamomile is the only herb that can deal with acute or chronic gastric disorders and bowel diseases that are caused by hyper-excitability and nervousness. Its constituents contain sedative and antispasmodic agents that ease inflammation as well as nervous spasm in the digestive tract. These agents also help to expel gas, and boost the production of bile.

Chamomile is a great laxative with strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It can treat all skin inflammations that arise from fungal or bacterial infections, contact allergies and flea bites. These include things like hemorrhoids, plaques, conjunctivitis, skin dryness and psoriasis. An infusion of chamomile flowers makes a nice antimicrobial rinse that not only heals the skin but also soothes it, leaving behind a very nice feeling.

Chamomile has been used for generations as a sleep aid. It is a mild sedative with relaxing and soothing properties. Apart from humans, it can be fed to animals to cure a variety of anxiety-related or spasmodic problems. Being a sweet-tasting herb, which is soluble in water, chamomile is quite easy and safe to administer to animals. It usually recommended by vets before trying other stronger sedatives and antispasmodics.

Studies have shown that the antispasmodic, antiallergenic, anti-inflammatory and anxiolytic effects of chamomile have health benefits for diabetic and cancer patients. They also improve the oral mucous membrane and help wounds to heal faster. The sedative effects of this herb are highly effective in treating insomnia, nervousness, cramps, cold and fever. Additionally, chamomile has been shown to boost the health of patients with bladder problems, bronchitis, skin eruptions, cataplasms, swelling, back pain, jaundice, heatstroke, spleen and kidney problems.

Chamomile is a proven tonic, which strengthens and constricts smooth muscle tissues in the body, including the uterus, the bladder and the heart. It’s relaxing and tonic effects help to ease dental pain. It is also used as an appetite tonic before meals. Another dietary benefit of chamomile is expelling worms. Unlike other herbal wormers such as walnut hulls and wormwood, chamomile is completely non-toxic. However, it is not as effective as the other anthelmintics.

Preparation and administration

To prepare a cup of chamomile tea, you will need 2 tablespoonfuls of  flowers.

  • Boil the water, and then add the flowers.
  • Put it in a cup and cover it with a plate.
  • Leave it to infuse for around 12 minutes, after which it will be ready for consumption.
  • You can add a teaspoon of honey or lemon juice to taste, and for additional health benefits. Lemon juice boosts the cleansing process of the digestive system. It also helps to deal with flu.
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.

Mentha piperita

Mint: Discovering the Huge Array of Uses

Mint
Mint (Photo credit: James Jardine)

Mint is part of the Genus Mentha in the Lamiaceae family, and there are a huge number of different species available for you to use. The different species are not incredibly distinct; however, it is believed that there are over 15 different varieties. All mints are considered to be pleasant to smell; however, they can also be used for medicines and for dietary requirements.

The leaves are extremely distinct on the Mentha plant and are arranged in pairs along the steam. The color of the plants varies from grey-green to dark green, and in some countries they can even be yellow. The mint plant also contains fruit, which houses one to four seeds, which can help to propagate the plant.

This perennial herb enjoys wet growing conditions, and thrives in moist soils, however, they can be found in several different countries. Mint is incredibly fast growing, and will spread over a huge distance if allowed to grow. Therefore, many people consider this plant to be invasive, if left to grow unattended.

Due to the incredible speedy growth of these plants, one plant will provide the average household with enough mint for all year. To control the growth, you may find it easier to place the mint in a pot or container, which will ensure that you are not over run with this plant. Having this plant in your garden is perfect to repel many insects and pests.

Mint leaves.
Mint leaves. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You can harvest mint at any time, and fresh mint leaves are perfect in many different dishes and beverages. Once picked you will need to use the leaves immediately, or store them in a refrigerator in a plastic bag. You may also want to consider freezing the mint leaves in ice cube trays and removing when needed.

Dried mint leaves are another fantastic way of taking advantage of this delicious herb, and these will need to be stored in an airtight container. There are many incredible health benefits from using the Mentha leaves in your cooking. You will find that this plant aids your digestion and stimulates your saliva glands.

Once these have been stimulated, your body will produce the enzymes, which help your body to digest your food. These plants will also help to relieve respiratory problems and coughs, and can help if you suffer with asthma. However, you need to be aware that too much mentha, can cause more problems, and panic attacks.

You will also find that this plant is excellent at helping with headaches and when you suffer from nausea. Some people use the plant for antiseptic purposes, and mint can help with acne and skin conditions. The plant can also be used to purify damaged skin and soothes burns and cuts, which you may have.

Bad breath can also be combated with mint, and will result in your mouth being cleaner and far fresher. The high levels of vitamin C, which is in the mint, will play a huge part in boosting the immune system and help fight viruses. There are also high levels of manganese present, which is an antioxidant, which targets the free radicals within your body.
High levels of amino acid are also present, which is excellent at helping to control mood swings, and will affect how you feel. This is often why people feel better after a cup of mint tea, and why it has an incredible calming effect. If you do not want to drink the tea, you can easily inhale the mint, which will have the same effect.

There are several different dishes that you can place the mint within to create delicious meals for everyone to enjoy. The leaves can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, as it has a pleasant cool after taste. You may want to include the mint in ice creams, jellies, candies, and teas; however, it is also delicious with meat, especially lamb.

This image shows a Mint plant of the species M...
This image shows a Mint plant of the species Mentha gattefossei. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some alcoholic drinks also have this plant included, and these make perfect ingredients for cocktails. Whether you want to eat, drink or use the mint in a natural remedy, it has a huge amount of uses for everyone. You will feel healthier, and have a better digestion after consuming the menthe plant, and be better informed about all of the incredible benefits.

See Also

 

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

 

Lavender-flower

The Healing Properties and Preparation of Lavender

Lavender  (Lavandula spp.) is a flowering plant genus found in the Mint family (Lamiaceae). There are 39 species of lavender. It is native to southern Europe, North Africa, and the south-western regions of the Asian continent.

The lavender plant is cultivated for a number of reasons. The plant is commonplace in gardens because of its durability and beautiful appearance. Moreover, lavender has a beautiful and distinct scent. Most importantly however, the plant is versatile and has a number of different uses, ranging from culinary to medicinal.

Appearance

When looking for lavender, there are a few characteristics which are easily identifiable. Firstly, lavender grows as a small shrub.

It has leaves which are a medium grey color and appear to be quite linear. They also appear to be covered with ‘puff’.

The easiest characteristic to identify in lavender is the violet and sometimes blue flowers associated with the plant. They are found growing compactly in spikes.

A lavender plant can be anywhere from 30cm to 70cm tall.

If you are interested in harvesting lavender, the best time to do this is in the morning because that is the period when the flowers have an abundance of active substances.

 

Benefits

Lavender has a number of benefits for the human body, both internal and external. Lavender flowers have antiseptic, calming, and cicatrizing properties. These characteristics emerge because of mineral substances, tannin, and essential oils. In terms of internal relief, lavender has been known to cure digestive problems, headaches, asthma, dizziness, and heart problems. Finally, it is used as a relief for depression.

For headaches or anxiety, lavender tea and infusions are the best method for relieving your ailment. For colds or fever, lavender vinegar is effective. If you are afflicted with acne or have weak, damaged hair, lavender oil is useful. In addition, the oil can be used to cure insomnia, clear nostrils, and disinfect wounds.

Preparation

Here are some preparation methods for various mixtures containing lavender:

  • Lavender vinegar: Can be used for colds or simply as an insecticide. To make lavender vinegar, combine lavender flowers with juniper petals, sage leaves, mint, rose, and savory in one liter of vinegar. Allow the mixture to macerate for seven days. After this, filter out the plants and top the remaining mixture off with some vinegar until it once again levels at one liter.
  • Lavender tincture: Can be used for throat afflictions or as a mouthwash. Combine 200g of lavender flowers with one liter of alcohol. Add 500ml of distilled water to the compound. Leave this mixture to soak for four days, occasionally stirring. Finally, filter out the lavender and use as necessary.
  • Lavender tea: Used for stress and headaches. Also has applications for light wounds and minor burns. Combine two teaspoons of lavender flowers with one cup of hot water. It must be drunk while it is hot. If you would like to sweeten your tea, honey is recommended. Additionally, if the tea is being used for cuts or burns, utilize five or six teaspoons of lavender flowers for a stronger mixture.
  • Lavender oil: Arguably the most useful of all lavender mixtures. Combine 20g of lavender flowers which have been dried with approximately 20ml of alcohol. Put this mixture in a medium sized jar and add 200ml of olive oil. Stir the ingredients well. Place the mixture in a steam bath and let it boil for two hours. Stir every fifteen minutes. Once you have completed the steam bath, cover the mixture for two days, after which you can filter it through gauze. Finally, the mixture must be left in a cool, dark place. If you are using lavender oil for skin afflictions, it is recommended that it is applied once a weak, preferably in the evening, to freshly cleaned skin. After being left on the skin for 20 minutes, it should be washed off with warm water.

These are just a few of the mixtures which can be made from the lavender plant.

Apart from the medicinal uses of lavender, the plant can also be used in cooking and baking, as well as in various cosmetic applications. However, if you keep in mind the few mixtures provided as well as the method in which you can identify the lavender plant, you will always be capable of utilizing the healing benefits of lavender to help you in your everyday life.

See also

External Links

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Thymus-vulgaris

Thymus vulgaris

Name

Thymus comes from greek verb “to perfume” or “to burn incense”, indicating that this plant was used in sacrifices.
The specific name vulgaris means a common plant.

Also Known as

  • thyme
  • common thyme
  • English thyme
  • summer thyme
  • winter thyme
  • French thyme
  • garden thyme

 


 

Medicine Uses

Parts Used

flowering aerial parts

Actions

antispasmodic, astringent, digestive, antiseptic, antibacterial, decongestant, circulatory stimulant, relaxant, immunostimulant, antioxidant, antifungal

Systems

Digestion

  • enhances appetite and digestion
  • relieves wind, colic, irritable bowel syndrome and spastic colon
  • protects the gut lining from irritation and antibiotics
  • reduces diarrhea

Circulation

  • prevents chilblains
  • combats the effect of cold in winter

Mental and emotional

  • strengthening tonic for physical and mental exhaustion
  • relieves tension, anxiety and depression
  • enhances concentration and memory

Respiratory system

  • helps resolve colds, sore throats, flu and chest infections such as bronchitis, pneunomia and pleurisy
  • relieves asthma and whooping-cough

Immune system

  • has powerful antibacterial and antifungal effects thanks to its volatile oils
  • increases longevity
  • increases perspiration
  • reduces fever

Urinary system

  • relieves water retention

Reproductive system

  • relieves dysmenorrhea pains
  • useful in infections such as candida and salpingitis

Externally

  • disinfects cuts and wounds
  • useful for aching joints and muscular pain
  • gargle used for sore throats
  • douche used for vaginal infections

Caution

  • avoid large amounts in pregnancy

 


 

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

Achillea_millefolium_paint

Achillea millefolium

Name

The name “Achillea” commemorates the greek hero Achilles who used yarrow to heal the wounds of his soldiers. The specific name “millefolium” means ‘thousand leaves’, a perfect name to describe the finely divided leaves.

Also Known as

  • yarrow
  • milfoil
  • thousand-leaf
  • bloodwort
  • old man’s pepper

 


 

Identification Keys

  • bushy perennial herb
  • leaves finely divided into narrow segments
  • thin, fern-like leaves resembling a pipe cleaner or small feathers
  • leaves arranged spirally on stem
  • dark green leaves
  • height: 8 cm – 65 cm, width: 60 cm (2 ft)
  • sap not milky
  • flower-head in flat-topped clusters
  • flower-head with flat outer florets, tubular inner florets
  • white to pinkish-white daisy-like flowers
  • flowers enclosed by bracts; no sepals; 5 petals form a tube; 5 stamens and 1 stigma
  • flower-head without collar beneath
  • fruits and floret base without a parachute
  • 1.5-2 mm long, flattened, shiny, nut-like fruit; retains the seed
  • strongly scented

Bloom Time

  • June-November

Habitat

  • fields, hedges, meadows, roadsides, gravelly areas, waste places
  • dry or poor soils but also found in moist areas
  • grows in low to high elevations

Look-alikes

You can confuse common yarrow with other plants with dissected leaves:

  • Mayweed chamomile
  • Pineapple-weed
  • Wild carrot. It tends to grow in more of a rosette with leaves that are more pinnatafid than yarrow.
  • Poison hemlock
  • Fennel

 


 

Medicine Uses

Parts Used

Aerial parts

Actions

diaphoretic, diuretic, astringent, digestive, bitter tonic, hepatic, antimicrobial, decongestant, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, analgesic, antihistaminic, emmenagogic, expectorant, anticatarrhal, hemostatic, styptic, vulnerary, alterative

Systems

Digestion

  • stimulates appetite, aids digestion and absorption
  • relieves wind, spasm and indigestion
  • astringent tannins protect the gut from irritation and infection; helpful in diarrhea and inflammatory issues

Circulation

  • taken in hot tea, it promotes sweating and reduces fevers
  • lowers blood pressure, improves circulation
  • relieves leg cramps and varicose veins

Respiratory system

  • it relieves colds and congestion, taken in hot tea with mint and elderflower
  • antihistamine effect is useful in treating allergies

Immune system

  • volatile oils and luteolin have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects
  • relieves arthritis, allergies and autoimmune problems
  • stimulates blood flow to the skin and brings out the rash in eruptive infections such as measles and chickenpox
  • clears toxins by aiding elimination through the skin and kidneys

Urinary system

  • diuretic, relieves irritable bladder
  • tightens muscles, helping incontinence

Reproductive system

  • regulates menstrual cycle
  • eases menopause change
  • relieves premenstrual syndrome and heavy bleeding
  • speeds up childbirth and aids in expelling the afterbirth
  • stimulates lactose production

Externally

  • tannins and silica speed healing of cuts, wounds, ulcers, burns, varicose veins,
  • hemorrhoids and skin conditions
  • infusions used as vaginal douche, skin lotion and mouthwash for gingivitis
  • a little of yarrow tincture on a tissue, stuffed up the nostril, stops a bleeding nose

Caution

  • avoid in pregnancy and if allergic to Asteraceae
  • prolonged use can cause contact dermatitis and photosensitivity
  • avoid with anticoagulants

 


 

Harvesting

  • gather the leaves and flowers by cutting the entire stem half way down.
  • harvest after the flowers opened and when they look  vibrant.
  • tie them by their stems in small bunches and hang them out of direct sunlight.
  • when fully dry, garble them, and store in a mason jar.