Tag Archives: hemostatic

Urtica

Fascinating Facts about the Nettle

Urtica dioica, near Bruges, Belgium
Urtica dioica, near Bruges, Belgium (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nettle plants (Urtica spp.) have been used for centuries due to their fantastic health benefits, and excellent healing powers, which people have utilized over the years. This fascinating plant is part of the Urticaceae family, which is made up of over 30 different species. Many of these plants and vines have incredible medicinal properties, which can help with a huge array of ailments.

There are specific male and female flowers on these plants, rather than a mix of both, and they are mostly herbaceous plants. Many of the different nettles, which you will find, have stinging hairs on the stem and leaves. These hairs will burn your skin when you touch the plant; however, they do not affect you when eaten.

The most common species of the nettle plant is the stinging nettle (Urtica dioica), which is found in North America, Africa, Asia and Europe. This is also the oldest form of nettle, and the one that is used the most for medicine and healing properties. Many gardeners do not like to have this form of plant in their garden, however, if correctly handled, it can be a huge asset to grow.

The plant will lay dormant throughout the winter months, and return with a flourish in spring. You will find the nettles where there is an abundance of water, as they love moisture such as spring holes and lakes.

Healthy nettles can reach up to 2m in height, and will take over the area if allowed to grow freely. However, you need to be careful when gathering the plant, as they can irritate your skin. Wearing long trousers and sleeves are advised, alongside gloves to gather the plants before use. You will need to cut the nettles at the stem, and try to keep as much distance as possible.

 

homemade nettle soup
homemade nettle soup (Photo credit: H is for Home)

As food and drink, there are several different methods, which are effective, and can produce healthy alternatives to your daily diet. The flavor of the nettle is incredibly similar to spinach and cucumber; however, the leaves will need to be soaked before use. This will remove the chemicals, which cause the stinging effect.

During the peak season for nettles, the leaves contain over 25% of protein in their dry form, which is incredibly high for a green vegetable. Once the leaves have been soaked, you can handle them like any other herb, placing them in tea, soup or dressings. You will be surprised how many different recipes you can use the nettle leaves within, and how amazing they taste.

Nettles can be consumed in several different forms, including as soups, stews, or drunk as tea. The leaves of the plant are incredibly nutritious and contain high levels of potassium, iron, vitamin K, C and A. The vitamin K, which is found in the plant, will also help to stop wounds bleeding, and some people have used nettles as a laxative.

 

As more people than ever before are searching for alternative medicines, and natural remedies for everyday ailments, the popularity of the nettle has risen. Rising costs of drugs, and the uncertainty of what is included in them has sparked an interest in herbal medicine. People look at the ancient ways of healing, and utilizing what plants they have in the garden.

The humble leaf of the plant is astringent, galactagogue, diuretic, and hemostatic. This is an impressive list that many plants cannot offer, therefore, making the nettles an incredibly useful plant. Some people feel that the incredible tales that have been told are only folklore. However, as more people study nettles, there is now scientific research to back the tales.

Scientists have studied these amazing plants for centuries, to determine what they are useful for, and the best methods to use the plants. There have been studies carried out for hypertension, rheumatic diseases, diarrhea, kidney issues, constipation, cancer, skin disease and asthma. All of which benefit from the use of nettles either applied or consumed, therefore, this plant is considered to be incredibly useful.

The nettles have also been proven to help with dandruff and are often used in shampoos, it can make your hair glossy, and many farmers feed this plant to their cattle to produce an excellent coat.

 

achillea-millefolium

The Health Properties of Yarrow – Achillea millefolium

Yarrow also referred to as Achillea millefolium is a unique flowering plant which belongs to the Asteraceae family which is commonly found in the Northern-Hemisphere. In other regions like southern Colorado and Mexico, this plant is referred to as little feather or plumajillo because of the shape of its leaves. During the ancient times, this plant was referred to as herbal militaris because of its use in stopping blood flow from wounds. Other names include oil man’s pepper, milfoil, thousand seal, thousand leaf, devil’s nestles and Gordaldo among other names.

This herb grows everywhere in the meadows, grass or by the road-side and since its roots creep greatly and it multiplies by seeds, it has become one of the most trouble-some weed in any garden.

Description

Français : Achillea millefolium - Achillée mil...
Français : Achillea millefolium – Achillée millefeuille – Vallée de grâce à Amiens (Somme) le 22/06/2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This plant is an erect herbaceous-perennial plant which produces one or more stems that can grow up to a maximum height of one meter, plus it has rhizomatous growth-form.

Achillea millefolium - leaves (scan)
Achillea millefolium – leaves (scan) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Its leaves are distributed evenly along the stem with bottom and middle leaves being bigger. The leaves of yarrow are about 20cm long and either tripinnate or bipinnate, plus they are feathery and arranged in a spiral manner on the plants stem. The leaves of this plant are cauline and clasping.

Achillea millefolium - Duizendblad
Achillea millefolium – Duizendblad (Photo credit: AnneTanne)

Yarrow contains 3-8 ray round or ovate flowers which have white-to-pink flowers. These plants have small achenes fruits and they grow in high or low altitudes of up to 3500m above-sea-level.

Health properties of Yarrow

This herb has been used for years to deal with various illnesses because of its various properties including:

  • Diuretic
  • Antispasmodic
  • Antibiotic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Sedative
  • Astringent
  • Antiseptic

Recent research has shown that these properties can help dealt with various illnesses including:

Fever

Yarrow can help lower fever especially in the early stages of flu and cold. To lower your fever all you have to do is drink a mug of hot yarrow after each 2-3 hours. To create the tea, all you need is a spoon of dried leaves and boiling water. You can let it boil for ten to fifteen minutes before straining.

Lowering of blood pressure

To help reduce your blood pressure, yarrow can help dilate your peripheral vessels. This will help improve the tone and circulation of various varicose veins.

Anti inflammatory properties

Yarrow infusion can help relieve inflammation and pain caused by arthritis or various injuries. This herb can help lower skin inflammation like psoriasis & eczema. This also helps cleanse all wounds while speeding up healing.

Hemostatic properties

This is the best herb for dealing with acute surface bleeding and abrasion. You can apply yarrow directly onto the wound to halt bleeding, while reducing inflammation and swelling. This herb can be used to deal with persistent wounds or sores that are not healing easily like rashes, burns and skin ulcers.

Pain

Yarrow can help relieve the pain caused by bladder infection. This herb can also help reduce the frequent need to urinate when you have an infection in your bladder. If you are suffering from hemorrhoids, then the best solution for the pain is soaking in a bath tab mixed with yarrow extract.

Other properties

1. This herb can help deal with the stomach cramps which have been caused by stomach indigestion.

2. This herb can help normalize your menstrual cycle, by reducing the heavy menstrual bleeding.

3. Fresh yarrow leaves can be chewed to relieve any toothache

4. Various studies done have shown that this herb can help reduce smooth-muscle spasms, which can be used to explain its gastro-intestinal benefits further.

Preparation of yarrow tincture

Preparation of yarrow tincture is quite simple, the hard part is storing it until it becomes potent.

1. Get approximately 200g of dried roots and add them into a 1 liter Mason jar or mug.

2. You can then add about 1 liter of rum, vodka or grain alcohol into the jar containing the dried roots to help saturate them and then close the jar tightly

3. Store this mixture in a dry and dark place for about 4 weeks. If you need a stronger tincture, make sure you store it for approximately 8 weeks.

4. Make sure you shake the jar each day until the tincture is ready for use.

Various individuals are allergic to this herb and some have developed dermatitis from just touching it. So make sure you are not allergic before trying this herb. This herb tends to interact with other drugs like blood pressure and thinning drugs.

See Also

 

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.