Herbs A-Z


This Blog Post provides basic information including alternative names, benefits, and uses for each herb offered in our Apothecary. Herbs will be added to this list as they are added to the Apothecary. Feel free to email us if your favorite herb is missing from our store.

Please view our Herbal Preparation Guide for different extraction methods.

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Alfalfa

COMMON NAME 

Standardized: Alfalfa
Other: Lucerne 

BOTANICAL NAME 

Medicago sativa L.
Plant Family: Fabaceae 

OVERVIEW 

Well known as a feed plant for livestock, alfalfa has a rich tradition of other uses. In traditional American folk medicine, it has been administered as a nutritive tonic. The dried alfalfa leaf is widely available in herbal shops and health food stores as an herbal tea, tablet, or powder. The seed is often sprouted and eaten in salads and sandwiches. 

BOTANY 

Alfalfa is a long-lived perennial in the Fabaceae family with leguminous flowers which vary in color from purple to yellow, trifoliate clover-like leaves, and a deep tap root. Some sources say that taproots have been found reaching down 68 feet into the soil! Alfalfa is native to southwest Asia with wild species occurring in the Caucasus, and in mountainous regions of Afghanistan and Iran, and is very widely cultivated throughout the world. The US is the leading producer of alfalfa. 

HISTORY AND FOLKLORE 

Alfalfa was first grown in the United States by early colonists, but it was not widely cultivated across the country until the California Gold Rush. Alfalfa provides a nutrient dense hay and is considered the foremost forage plant for dairy cows. It is fed to chickens and rabbits and utilized in gardening and large scale agriculture. It is a "nitrogen fixer" like many legumes. Alfalfa not only provides healthy nutrients for humans, but it helps to "heal" soil as well and makes an effective "green manure" for providing nutrients to poor soil.

Alfalfa was used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), making its first appearance around 200 CE during the Han Dynasty, for digestive system support and to stimulate the appetite. Alfalfa was revered for its soothing and strengthening properties. It became available around the 1850's to the Native Americans who adopted it into their healing system and referred to it as 'Buffalo grass'. They would grind up the seed into flour and put in gruels and bread and also ate the young leaves and shoots. In India, alfalfa seeds have been applied topically as a cooling poultice. The leaves are a source for the dietary supplement chlorophyll, and the seeds are used to make a yellow dye. In parts of China and Russia young alfalfa leaves have been served as a vegetable. 

FLAVOR NOTES AND ENERGETICS 

The tastes are sweet, bitter, and earthy. It is energetically cooling. 

USES AND PREPARATIONS 

The dried leaf or powder can be used in teas, made into capsules or herbal tablets, or infused as an herbal tincture.

 

PRECAUTIONS 

Specific: No known precautions.
General: We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications. 

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Astragulus

 

Standardized: astragalus
Other: membranous milkvetch, hunag qi

 

BOTANICAL NAME 

Astragalus membranaceus (Fisch. ex Link) Bunge
Plant Family: Fabaceae 

OVERVIEW 

Astragalus has a rich history of use in Chinese and Asian cultures. It is native to China, Mongolia and North Korea, and is an ancient component of traditional Chinese medicine. The herb was mentioned in the Divine Husbandman's Classic of the Materia Medica, written anonymously during the first century AD and attributed to the teachings of the legendary figure Shennong who is thought to have lived approximately 5,000 years ago.

Astragalus is an herbaceous perennial, growing between 25 and 40 centimeters in height. It grows in grassy regions and on mountainsides, requiring plenty of exposure to the sun. When grown for cultivation, the plants are traditionally harvested after four or five years, with the roots collected in spring or fall. The roots are dried in the sun and then sliced for distribution. The slices are yellow in color and have a sweet, moistening taste with a firm, fibrous texture.

PARTS USED

The dried root in the form of tea, encapsulated or as an extract. Powder is mildly sweet and may be sprinkled on food or whipped into a shake or smoothie.

TYPICAL PREPARATIONS

Most authorities on traditional Chinese medicine recommend taking 9-15 grams (3 to 5 tablespoons) of the whole herb per day as a decoction, made by boiling the ground, dried root in water for a few minutes and then brewing the tea. May also be taken in capsule or extract form.

SUMMARY

While clinically proven data is lacking, astragalus is widely used in traditional Chinese medicine for a variety of ailments and functions. It is traditionally valued for supporting healthy immune function and has been observed to support the heart in healthy subjects. 

PRECAUTIONS 

Specific: No known precautions.
General: For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. 

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Basil 

Standardized: basil
Other: sweet basil 

BOTANICAL NAME 

Ocimum basilicum L.
Plant Family: Lamiaceae 

OVERVIEW 

The basil plant is originally native to India, and is best known for the scent and flavor that it imparts to Italian cuisine. The varieties of basil are nearly endless, with different cultivars providing a slightly different product within the same species due to hybridization and growing conditions. Generally speaking, the herb is sweet, slightly minty and slightly peppery.

Basil grows best outdoors in a warm, sunny environment as a garden herb, and can also be potted and grown in a window with plenty of sun. Basil is sensitive to cold and will grow as an annual in regions that frost during the winter. Due to its environmental sensitivity, the herb should be planted in late spring or early summer after the risk of frosting has passed.

PARTS USED

Dried leaf in teas or essential oils for topical application.

TYPICAL PREPARATIONS

The essential oil used topically. As a spice it can be liberally used in foods.

SUMMARY

Basil is well known for its sweet aroma and the fresh, delicious flavor that it lends to food. Basil is traditionally used to spice up pasta, meat, soups and sauces. It is the key ingredient of pesto sauce, where it is mixed with hard cheese, pine nuts, and olive oil. As a flavoring agent, basil is best added at the end of cooking as the intense heat will quickly deteriorate its characteristic taste and aroma. In addition to its culinary uses, basil is used to add fragrance to perfumes, soaps, shampoos, and other body care products. 

PRECAUTIONS 

Specific: No known precautions.
General: We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.

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Baobob Fruit Powder 

While many people know of the Baobab Tree, not many people know that it has a fruit - and even less know that this fruit is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world.

In fact, every part of the Baobab Tree is valuable - the bark can be turned into rope and clothing, the seeds can be used to make cosmetic oils, the leaves are edible, the trunks can store water and the fruit is extraordinarily rich in nutrients and antioxidants. Women in Africa have turned to the Baobab fruit as a natural source of health and beauty for centuries. 

Baobab is the only fruit in the world that dries naturally on its branch. Instead of dropping and spoiling, it stays on the branch and bakes in the sun for 6 months - transforming its green velvety coating into a hard coconut-like shell. The pulp of the fruit dries out completely. This means the fruit simply needs to be harvested, deseeded and sieved to produce a delicious pure fruit powder. 

 

BAOBAB FRUIT POWDER 

Unlike many other supplements, Baobab Powder does not have to be spray-dried, freeze-dried or transformed in any way. It is 100% pure fruit in its natural form. Incredibly, the fruit has a natural shelf live of 3 years so there are no preservatives or additives whatsoever.   

Baobab Powder is one of the health and beauty world's best kept secrets. It is an extremely rich source of vitamin C, almost 50% fiber and has the highest antioxidant content of any whole fruit. The benefits of baobab include: 

  • Energy release - Reduction of tiredness and fatigue
  • Immune function - Protection against illnesses, infections and diseases
  • Digestive health - Baobab is a natural prebiotic, supporting gut health
  • Healthy, younger-looking skin - Baobab produces collagen leading to a glowing complexion and helps fight the signs of ageing.

Baobab Fruit Powder is a raw, whole food.

Baobab is the common name of the Adansonia genus of trees, which grows in Madagascar, Africa, Australia and Arabia. The fruit is found inside hard pods that hang upside down from the tree and have a citrusy flavor.

Nutritional breakdown of baobab Fruit

  • Bursting with Antioxidants and High Bioavailability Baobab is an excellent source of Vitamin C. Antioxidants help fight inflammation. High bioavailability means the antioxidants in baobab are absorbed by your body, maximizing their efficacy, instead of just passing through.
  • A Fiber Powerhouse! Baobab is 50% fiber (mostly soluble fiber) which is key to a healthy digestive system and a happy gut that supports your immune system.
  • Loaded with Electrolytes Ounce for ounce, baobab has more potassium than bananas so your muscles work more efficiently and recover faster after exercise.

Baobab is said to have 10 times the fiber of apples, six times the vitamin C of oranges, two times the antioxidants of acai berries, two times the calcium of milk, four times the potassium of bananas, and five times the magnesium of avocados.

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Black Cohosh

 

Black cohosh is an herb. The root of this herb is used for medicinal purposes. Black cohosh was first used for medicinal purposes by Native American Indians, who introduced it to European colonists. Black cohosh became a popular treatment for women’s health issues in Europe in the mid-1950s.

Since that time, black cohosh has commonly been used to treat symptoms of menopause, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), painful menstruation, acne, weakened bones (osteoporosis), and for starting labor in pregnant women.

Black cohosh has also been tried for a lot of additional uses, such as anxiety, rheumatism, fever, sore throat, and cough, but it is not often used for these purposes these days.

Some people also apply black cohosh directly on the skin. This is because there was some thought that black cohosh would improve the skin’s appearance. Similarly, people used black cohosh for other skin conditions such as acne, wart removal, and even the removal of moles, but this is seldom done anymore.

Black cohosh also goes by the name “bugbane” because it was once used as an insect repellent. It is no longer used for this purpose. Frontiersmen had said that black cohosh was useful for rattlesnake bites, but no modern researchers have tested this.

Do not confuse black cohosh with blue cohosh or white cohosh. These are unrelated plants. The blue and white cohosh plants do not have the same effects as black cohosh, and may not be safe.

The root of black cohosh is used for medicinal purposes. Black cohosh root contains several chemicals that might have effects in the body. Some of these chemicals work on the immune system and might affect the body’s defenses against diseases. Some might help the body to reduce inflammation. Other chemicals in black cohosh root might work in nerves and in the brain. These chemicals might work similar to another chemical in the brain called serotonin. Scientists call this type of chemical a neurotransmitter because it helps the brain send messages to other parts of the body.

Black cohosh root also seems to have some effects similar to the female hormone, estrogen. In some parts of the body, black cohosh might increase the effects of estrogen. In other parts of the body, black cohosh might decrease the effects of estrogen. Estrogen itself has various effects in different parts of the body. Estrogen also has different effects in people at different stages of life. Black cohosh should not be thought of as an “herbal estrogen” or a substitute for estrogen. It is more accurate to think of it as an herb that acts similar to estrogen in some people.

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Blue Cohosh

All Herbs are Delivered in Glass Mason Jars, Ready for Storage!

Early Americans learned from the Native Americans to use blue cohosh, also called blue ginseng, squaw root, or papoose root, as a women's herb. Pioneer physicians were so impressed by this Native American medicine that they listed blue cohosh as an official medicine in the U.S. Pharmacopeia. Today the blue cohosh is used, primarily, in herbal remedies for gynecologic  conditions.

Uses of Blue Cohosh

Blue cohosh is used primarily for uterine weakness and as a childbirth aid. It is considered a uterine stimulant in most circumstances because it improves uterine muscle tone. But blue cohosh also has an antispasmodic effect on cramps. Because of its dual actions, herbalists describe blue cohosh as a uterine tonic. 

Blue cohosh is classified as an emmenagogue, meaning it stimulates menstrual flow. It dilates blood vessels in the uterus and promotes circulation in the pelvis, making it helpful for women who experience scanty, spotty menstrual flow; irregular periods; and difficult, painful periods.

Blue cohosh seems to work best for women whose menstrual cramps are most painful on the first day of their periods. You may use blue cohosh to relieve menstrual cramps and to treat a weak, worn-out, or sluggish-acting uterine muscle -- indicated by no cramps or weak cramps, but prolonged bleeding; weak pelvic, abdominal, and thigh muscles; and an aching, dragging sensation during the menstrual period. Blue cohosh also may be useful in cases of breast tenderness and abdominal pain caused by fluid retention.

Blue cohosh helps correct uterine prolapse (sagging of the uterus in the pelvic cavity). This condition may stem from multiple childbirths or tissue laxity due to overweight or obesity. Blue cohosh also may help the uterus shrink back to its appropriate size after childbirth, although women who are breastfeeding their infants should avoid taking it. Up until the 1970s, herbalists also used blue cohosh to improve the muscle tone of the uterus during childbirth. 

Many Native American tribes used large doses of strong root decoctions of blue cohosh for preventing conception; herbalists no longer recommend this practice because the herb is unreliable for this purpose.

Blue cohosh is a diuretic -- an agent that promotes urination -- and a weak diaphoretic -- an agent that raises body temperature and promotes sweating -- which may help break a fever.

Although somewhat similar in function, this plant is very different from Black Cohosh and should be used with caution and the advice of a medical professional.

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Burdock Root

Standardized: burdock
Other: great burdock, gobo, goboshi

 

BOTANICAL NAME 

Arctium lappa L.1
Plant Family: Asteraceae

 

OVERVIEW 

Burdock has been an important botanical in Western folk herbalism and traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, primarily valued for its cleansing and skin smoothing properties. The entire plant is edible and is a popular vegetable in Asia, particularly in Japan. More recently, burdock has been an ingredient in hair tonics and in cosmetics for mature skin. 

BOTANY 

A biennal member of the Asteraceace family, with bright pink-red to purple thistle-like flowers on long stalks, and oblong to cordate, huge hairy leaves that is native to Europe and Asia, and now naturalized in North America and Austrailia. This plant can grow to a very robust height, reaching up to 9 feet, and its aromatic "carrot-like" taproot can grow as much as 3 feet deep into the ground (making them difficult to harvest). It is naturalized and abundant in northern U.S and Europe and is considered a weed in such areas.

The generic name arctium is derived from the Greek word for bear or arktos and the species name, lappa, is from the Latin word lappare which means "to seize." The fruit (bur) looks rough and hairy resembling a big, fuzzy bear and will grab on to anything in the vicinity in order to spread its seed, hence the name. Its common name is derived from the French word bourre referring to a tangle of wool (often entangled with burs) and the German "dock" referring to large leaves. Various species, such as A. minus or A. tomentosum, may be used interchangeably. However, burdock is often confused with cocklebur or Xanthium spp. that has entirely different properties.

 

CULTIVATION AND HARVESTING 

Cultivated in China, Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, New Zealand, the United States, Canada and in various countries in Europe.

Seeds are picked in the fall and can be loosened from the chaff with a rolling pin. Harvesting the roots is no easy task yet can be done in the fall of the first year or spring of the second, preferably the former. According to the late herbalist Michael Moore "harvesting full flowered plants in the fall can be as much work as digging up a small tree".

 

HISTORY AND FOLKLORE 

Burdock is an all-purpose herbal that has been used continually for myriad purposes the last few thousand years in Asia and Europe, and more recently in North America. It is a food plant called gobo in Japanese and is a much consumed vegetable in Japan. The root may be eaten fresh or cooked and the young leaves can be cooked like any other vegetable. The stalks have a taste somewhat like asparagus and can be eaten raw in a salad, boiled, or candied with sugar.

In traditional Chinese medicine, burdock fruit has been used continually for thousands of years. It is known to balance internal heat, is specifically helpful for supporting skin health, and is associated with lung and stomach meridians. It is considered energetically cold and having a slippery consistency that soothes mucus membranes. The root is also commonly cooked in order to change its energetic properties and specifically to make it easier to digest. In European folk medicine, an infusion or decoction of the seeds was employed as a diuretic. It was helpful in enhancing health through supporting digestion, and as topical poultice.

-Culpepper in his Complete Herbal, written in 1653, says the following about Burdock:

It is so well known, even by the little boys, who pull off the burs to throw and stick upon each other, that I shall spare to write any description of it……The Burdock leaves are cooling and moderately drying. The leaves applied to the places troubled with the shrinking of the sinews or arteries, gives much ease. The juice of the leaves, or rather the roots themselves, given to drink with old wine, doth wonderfully help the biting of any serpents.

Further, Culpepper, an avid astrologer in addition to being an herbalist, considered burdock to be a feminine plant, ruled by the planet Venus and took this into consideration when preparing his burdock elixirs. Traditionally the root was thought to carry magical power, particularly powers of protection and healing. It was believed that wearing a necklace that is made from the root, gathered during the waning moon, would protect the wearer from evil and negativity. In the Native American healing tradition, the plant was used by the Malecite, Micmac, Ojibwa, and Menominee for skin health. Further, the roots were dried by the Iroquois over a fire and stored for food for the following year. They also utilized the related A. minus in medicinal baths.

According to the William Cook, author of the Physio-medical Dispensatory in 1869, burdock "enters into a sort of family beer along with such agents as yellow dock, spikenard, elder flowers, and ginger" making a beneficial spring beverage. Herbalist Matthew Becker states that burdock is a "potent yet safe lymphatic decongestant.” Also, that as a subtle alterative it works best over time and demonstrates restorative properties due, in part, to its bitter tonic effects on the digestive system. It also contains inulin which feeds the healthy bacteria in the colon.

Burdock is considered by many herbalists to be the best known medicinal for skin conditions (Hoffman, Moore). This herb is highly effective, gentle, and multipurpose. It promotes the flow of bile and also increases circulation to the skin. Further, it is a mild diuretic and lymphatic. Burdock is used widely as an alterative and blood purifier. The leaves can be made into a fresh poultice to soothe poison oak and poison ivy and a leaf decoction makes a therapeutic wash for the skin.

 

FLAVOR NOTES AND ENERGETICS 

Flavor: acrid bitter cold, sweet. 

HERBAL ACTION 

Diaphorhetic, mild diuretic, mild laxative, alterative, cholagogue.

 

USES AND PREPARATIONS 

Dried root or seed as a cold infusion, decoction, tincture, or powdered and encapsulated. Fresh or cooked root and leaf as an edible vegetable Fresh root or seed as a tincture Fresh leaf as a poultice

 

HERBAL MISCELLANY 

The inspiration for Velcro came from the burdock bur. The inventor, a Swiss electrical engineer named Georges de Mestral, was walking along one day in the mountains and saw burs sticking on his wool socks and his dog's fur. He went home and examined the barbed, hook-like seeds that make up the fruit and thought he could replicate this "gripping" action in the laboratory. And so he did, and, in 1955, Velcro was patented and released to the world.19,20

 

PRECAUTIONS

 

No known precautions.
We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.

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Catnip

Standardized: catnip
Other: jia jing jie, catmint 

BOTANICAL NAME 

Nepeta cataria L.
Plant Family: Lamiaceae 

OVERVIEW 

The ultimate feline herb, for centuries cats have been going crazy over this plant. It makes them happy and spunky, yet has a more calming effect on people. Catnip has been used in European folk medicine for generations as a calming agent for body and mind. It is gentle and is very useful for children and infants. 

BOTANY 

Catnip is a gray-green perennial with the square stems and terminal flower spikes typical of the Mint or Lamiaceae family. It has fuzzy, heart-shaped, toothed leaves and grows 2-3 feet tall.5 It is native to the dry and temperate Mediterranean area in Europe, Asia, and Africa,6 and was introduced to the many parts of the world, particularly North America, by European settlers,5 and is now widely naturalized and cultivated extensively in gardens and for commerce. 

HISTORY AND FOLKLORE 

Used in traditional medicine in Europe for centuries, and first mentioned in the poetic 11th century herbal, De viribus herbarum, catnip was prized for its ability to calm occasional nervousness and promote restful sleep. It was employed as a relaxant and diaphoretic, and was thus helpful in cases of occasional restlessness Considered extremely useful for children, it was often used to support healthy digestion and soothe the stomach. Further, it was applied externally as a poultice. Catnip may be made into a juice too for topical application as was the practice by Nicholas Culpepper (a 17th century botanist, avid astrologer, physician, and herbalist). It is mainly the flowering tops, dried for tea or fresh as an essential oil that are used, but there are accounts of the root being used too. According to Maude Grieve, author of A Modern Herbal (which isn't really that modern anymore as it was published in 1931) the root can be overstimulating, so perhaps its best to stick with the above ground parts. The leaves and young shoots were added to sauces and stews for flavor (which somewhat resemble a mix of mint and pennyroyal).

Catnip was part of American folk medicine and Native American healing systems, and employed as a gentle tea for children in cases of occasional upset stomach or sleeplessness. Catnip was used by the Hoh, Delaware, and Iroquois tribes for children's complaints due to its mild nature. The Cherokee used the plant similarly to other indigenous groups and also considered it to be an overall strengthening tonic. They chose this herb when a relaxant was needed in cases of irritability or sleeplessness, just like the Europeans. In the southwestern United States, catnip or 'nebada' amongst the Spanish speakers, was utilized in traditional folk medicine to allay a range of digestive challenges. It was considered particularly useful for soothing the stomach and enhancing digestion in infants. Also, it was sold as a brandy infusion with 'hinojo' or fennel as a digestive tonic. Catnip is useful for soothing stomach complaints and therefore good in a laxative formula with harsh herbs like senna. Some herbalists find it helpful to balance physical manifestations such as occasional indigestion that stem from emotional issues or the "gut level". This herb is energetically considered to be slightly warming and thus useful as a diaphoretic to bring on perspiration. 

USES AND PREPARATIONS 

Dried leaves, and/or whole flowering top and leaf, as a tea, sachet, or tincture
Fresh leaves, and/or whole flowering top as an essential oil, or tincture. 

HERBAL MISCELLANY 

One version of an old adage regarding the relationship between cats and catnip is this: 'If you set it, the cats will eat it, If you sow it, the cats don't know it.' This folk myth suggests that when plants are grown from seed, or 'sown' cats don't bother the plant, but when they are transplanted, cats will destroy it. The feline's attraction to this plant is curious indeed, and in fact, referred to as the "the catnip response." It is not just observed in domesticated housecats, but also in jaguars, tigers, leopards, lions, and several other large cats. It elicits behaviors such as chewing and head shaking, rolling around on the floor, and even arouses sexual desire; this response lasts from fifteen minutes to one hour. They are responding to the scent of nepetalactone in catnip, the aromatherapeutic element being more powerful than taking it internally. 

PRECAUTIONS 

No known precautions.
We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.

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Chamomile

Standardized: chamomile
Other: German chamomile, Hungarian chamomile, mayweed, sweet false chamomile, true chamomile. 

BOTANICAL NAME 

Matricaria recutita L.
Plant Family: Asteraceae 

OVERVIEW 

Chamomile is a gentle herb known throughout most of the world which has been used continually for many centuries. It is often ingested as a tea for calming purposes and to soothe the digestive tract, and is mild enough to be administered to babies. Chamomile is soothing to the skin, and is often found in lotions and hair products. It is known in commerce as Matricaria recutita and by its synonym Matricaria chamomilla.

Chamomile promotes relaxation and supports digestive health*. 

BOTANY 

A member of the Asteraceae family, these aromatic herbaceous plants have white daisy like flowers and scent reminiscent of apples or pineapple. In fact, the common name "chamomile" is derived from the Greek word kamai which translates to "on the ground" and melon which means apple. Accordingly, the Spanish name Manzanilla, means "little apple." M. chamomilla is an annual that can grow up to 24 inches whereas the similar C. nobile is a perennial low growing groundcover growing no more than ten inches high. M. chamomilla is native to Europe and western Asia. 

HISTORY AND FOLKLORE 

Chamomile was used in ancient Egypt and was given as an offering to their gods. Chamomile has been utilized extensively in Europe as somewhat of a panacea which supported digestive health. Common preparations were teas, baths and sitzbaths, gargles, inhalations, and compresses. Germans refer to this herb as alles zutraut meaning 'capable of anything.' Matricaria chamomilla and Chamaemelum nobile are similar and have been traditionally used interchangeably to some degree, although differences in taste and action have been noted. In the Mexican folkloric tradition, manzanilla was used to support healthy respiratory function and for soothing the stomach and easing digestion. In the highlands of southern Mexico, the Tzeltal Maya make a chamomile tea containing an orange and a lime leaf to lift the mood.

Native Americans have used this and related species since their introduction to the Americas, often utilizing the entire plant. The Aleut drank teas to alleviate gas, and also considered the plant a cure-all. Drinking the tea was a Cherokee trick for "regularity." The Kutenai and Cheyenne got creative, the former making jewelry and the later, perfume, out of the pulverized dry flowers.

Chamomile has magical implications for attracting money and, accordingly, as a hand rinse for gamblers needing good luck. Cosmetically, chamomile has also been used as a rinse for accentuating highlights and lightening blonde hair. Topically, this herb has an emollient effect and is softening and soothing to the skin. It has also been used as a perfume and flavoring agent for liqueurs such as Benedictine and vermouth.

According to an herbalist Matthew Becker, the type of person who responds best to chamomile is one "who complains often…for fretful children…and for adults who act like children." The genus name Matricaria stems from the Latin word matrix meaning 'womb' hinting at its beneficial effects for women. Chamomile possesses what Rosemary Gladstar describes as "soft power" to assuage occasional stress and tension. She suggests not only sipping chamomile tea while bathing in it, but also tucking a chamomile sachet under the pillow at night to promote restful sleep. 

FLAVOR NOTES AND ENERGETICS 

Flavor: Slightly bitter, sweet, aromatic. 

USES AND PREPARATIONS 

Flower dried as a tea, tincture, or powdered and encapsulated.
Fresh plant tincture
Essential oil 

PRECAUTIONS

 

Persons with allergies to other members of the Asteraceae family should exercise caution with chamomile. The infusion should not be used near the eyes.
We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.

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Damiana

BOTANICAL NAME 

Turnera diffusa Willd. ex Schult. var. diffusa
Plant Family: Turneraceae 

OVERVIEW 

Damiana has been used in Mexico, Central America, and South America since the times of the ancient Aztec, and remains quite popular today. Although its noted effect on sexual desire has been its primary traditional use across cultures, it has also been valued as a relaxant, digestive stimulant, mood enhancer, or just an enjoyable beverage that was often given to children. In modern times it has also been used as an herbal smoke and a liqueur. 

BOTANY

Damiana is in the Turneraceae family. About half of the plants in the Turneraceae family belong to the genus Turnera. Damiana is a small sub-tropical shrub bearing aromatic serrated leaves and small bright yellow flowers. It is native to southwest Texas, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and Brazil. 

HISTORY AND FOLKLORE 

The origin of the common name damiana is from the Greek daman or damia meaning "to tame or subdue." It is the feminine version of Damian and infers that damiana is the wild one "who tames." It is believed that the indigenous Guaycura in the Baja region of Mexico were the first to use damiana. According to legend, the herb became wore widely distributed when the Guaycura began trading with the Aztecs. Damiana was also highly valued in ancient times by the Mayans, who used the plant in a similar manner to the Aztecs and the Guaycura. 

USES AND PREPARATIONS 

Dried damiana leaf can be brewed into a tea, made into a tincture, used in herbal smoking blends, or powdered and encapsulated. A fresh plant tincture of aerial portions may be made as well. Damiana leaves are often infused in alcohol to make liqueurs or cordials. 

PRECAUTIONS

No known precautions.
We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.

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Dandelion

Standardized: dandelion
Other: lion's tooth 

BOTANICAL NAME 

Taraxacum officinale Weber ex F.H. Wigg.
Plant Family: Asteraceae 

OVERVIEW 

Dandelion is a sunny, subtle, yet incredible plant that has been used for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and is mentioned in traditional Arabian medicine in the tenth century. It has been used for centuries in traditional medicine practices all over the world as a restorative tonic, edible food, and in herbal beers and wines. 

BOTANY 

Dandelion bears a sun-yellow flower head (which is actually composed of hundreds of tiny flowers) typical of the Asteraceae family, that closes in the evening or during cloudy weather and opens back up in the morning, much like its cousin calendula. When the flower is closed, to some, it looks like a pig's nose, hence one of its names, 'swine's snout.' It is a perennial herb with deeply cut leaves that form a basal rosette, somewhat similar to another family member, the wild lettuce, and has a thick tap root which is dark brown on the outside and white on the inside. It is native to most of Europe, Asia, and northern Africa, naturalized all over the world, and commonly found growing alongside roads and in lawns as a common weed. 

CULTIVATION AND HARVESTING 

Dandelion is produced commercially in Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, the former Yugoslavia, and the United Kingdom. However, dandelion grows practically everywhere, and is wild collected in a variety of climates, even in the Himalayas up to about 12,000 feet, where it is often gathered for use in Ayurvedic medicine (the traditional healing system of India). Dandelion will grow anywhere, but will produce more substantial roots in moist, rich, deep soil. Pharmacopeial grade dandelion leaf is composed of the dried leaves collected before flowering and the root collected in autumn or whenever its inulin content is the highest. 

HISTORY AND FOLKLORE 

The use of dandelion was first recorded in writing in the Tang Materia Medica (659 B.C.E.), and then later noted by Arab physicians in the 10th century.

In the United States, various indigenous cultures considered dandelion to be a prized edible, a gastrointestinal aid, a cleansing alterative, and a helpful poultice or compress. The Bella Coola from Canada made a decoction of the roots to assuage gastrointestinal challenges; the Algonquian ate the leaves for their alterative properties and also used them externally as a poultice. Additionally, the Aleut steamed leaves and applied them topically to sore throats. The Cherokee believed the root to be an alterative as well and made a tea of the plant (leaves and flowers) for calming purposes. It is interesting to note that dandelion was used by the Iroquois as well. They made a tea of the whole plant, and also considered it be an alterative tonic. In the southwestern U.S., in Spanish speaking communities practicing herbalism, dandelion is called 'chicoria' or 'diente de leon.'

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) it is referred to as 'Xin Xiu Ben Cao' or 'Pu Gong Ying' and considered to be energetically sweet, drying, and cooling. According to TCM, dandelion clears heat from the liver and has a beneficial effect on the stomach and lungs, and it can uplift the mood and support lactation.

The root was listed as official in the United States National Formulary, in the pharmacopeias of Austria and the Czech Republic, in the Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia, and the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia amongst others. Herbalist Rosemary Gladstar strongly promotes this herb, saying that it is "invaluable to women going through menopause." Dandelion root's benefit to the digestive tract is twofold as it contains inulin and is also a bitter digestive tonic which tones the digestive system and stimulates the appetite. It calms heat and also hot emotions, and is thus helpful in those that are irritated.

The young dandelion greens (rather than the older ones which become too bitter) are wonderful in salads. These leaves can also be steamed like spinach (although they take a little longer to cook than spinach) and spiced with salt, pepper, and butter. Other savory spices such as nutmeg, garlic, onion or lemon peel can be added as well.

 

FLAVOR NOTES AND ENERGETICS 

Bitter, drying, and cooling. 

USES AND PREPARATIONS 

Dried root or leaf as tea or tincture, powdered dried root encapsulated, or powdered and roasted and made into a coffee substitute beverage.

Fresh leaf as an edible food or tincture 

PRECAUTIONS 

No known precautions.
We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.

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Elderberry, Elder Flower

Standardized: European elder

 

BOTANICAL NAME 

Sambucus nigra L.
Plant Family: Caprifoliaceae 

OVERVIEW 

Elder is a plant native to most of Europe, North America, and southwest Asia. Its flowers and berries have a long history of use in traditional European medicine. Elder berries have also been used for making preserves, wines, winter cordials, and for adding flavor and color to other wines.

Elder berries support immune health and act as an expectorant helping the body rid itself of mucous. This plant is highly sought after during winter months. 

USES AND PREPARATIONS 

Teas, tinctures, syrups, wine, cordials, and even ketchup, often combined with propolis or echinacea.

The flowers and berries are most commonly used. The dried fruits are less bitter than fresh. The branches and leaves are poisonous. The small stem which is sometimes left on the berry is safe. 

PRECAUTIONS 

The raw fruit contains a component sambunigrin which may cause vomiting and severe diarrhea if ingested. We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.

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Eucalyptus

Standardized: eucalyptus
Other: ribbon gum, shining gum 

BOTANICAL NAME

Eucalyptus globulus Labill.
Plant Family: Myrtaceae 

OVERVIEW

The eucalyptus is an evergreen tree native to Australia but naturalized to California and the Mediterranean countries. Its leathery blue-green leaves are studded with glands containing a fragrant, volatile oil. There are many species of eucalyptus trees, but the most pleasant-smelling oil is produced by Eucalyptus globulus.

PARTS USED

The leaf, its volatile oils released by steam.

TYPICAL PREPARATIONS

Facial or hydro-steams, aromatherapy, and teas. Some uses may include encapsulation or extracts, however we have found these to be rare.

SUMMARY

Eucalyptus oil acts on nerve receptors in the mucosa of the nose and sinuses in a way that causes release of mucus. 

PRECAUTIONS

Specific: No known precautions.
General: We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.

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Fenugreek

For thousands of years, fenugreek has been used for culinary and wellness purposes within traditional Ayurvedic practices. Trigonella foenum-graecum is an annual herb in the pea family that has a unique flavor, which is sweet and slightly bitter. Fenugreek seeds have a notable aroma, reminiscent of maple. They are commonly used as a spice in Egyptian, Indian, and Middle Eastern foods. Fenugreek seed can be prepared as an infusion in tea blends and are delicious when added to curries and vegetarian dishes.

Fenugreek seed has been used in herbalism and for culinary purposes for millennia. It is most often utilized in Indian, Egyptian, and Middle Eastern cuisine, but is used commercially as a flavoring agent in much of the world. Its delicate maple-like flavor makes it perfect for baked goods and confectionaries and also for creating imitation maple syrups. It has been utilized in traditional herbalism to support digestion, support lactation in nursing mothers, and as a topical application.

Fenugreek is an annual herb with light yellow flowers and three lobed, clover-like leaves, typical of the pea or Fabaceae family. Native to the Mediterranean region, the Ukraine, India, and China. The generic name, Trigonella, is derived from ancient Greek and means 'three-angled' in reference to the shape of the plant's corolla and the specific name, foenum-graecum, literally means 'Greek hay' as the plant was used to scent poor quality hay. Other common names include Greek clover, alholva (Spanish), methi or medhika (Ayurveda), and hu lu ba (Chinese).

Cultivated for commercial purposes extensively in Morocco, Turkey, India, China, and South America.

Cultivated in ancient Assyria as early as the seventh century B.C.E., fenugreek seeds have been appreciated for their beneficial and culinary properties for thousands of years by the people living in this area, in particular the Egyptians. Fenugreek was first mentioned in the Ebers papyri (ca. 1500 B.C.E.). In Cairo, the seeds were soaked and made into a paste which was referred to as 'helba.' This herbal remedy was also utilized in traditional Arabian, Greek, and Indian medicine. In TCM (traditional Chinese medicine), fenugreek has been administered since at least eleventh century and is now official in the Chinese pharmacopeia. Considered bitter in taste and heating in nature, it is used to dispel dampness and cold and to warm the kidneys. Its main effects are on the kidney, lung, and large intestine meridians.

In traditional western herbalism, fenugreek seed has been used for many of the same purposes, particularly to support digestion and lactation in nursing mothers. Additionally, fenugreek is an emollient and makes a fine poultice for external use. Its mucilaginous qualities make it beneficial internally as well.

In India, the entire plant is considered edible, and the fresh leaves are cooked like spinach. In north India, dried leaves are added to a curry. The powdered seed smells of maple and butterscotch and in Indian cuisine is toasted in hot oil to further enhance the flavor. In southern India, it is added to fish curries and also used in sambar (vegetable lentil stew). Further, these ground seeds are used to add a maple flavor to food, beverages, candies, tobacco, imitation maple syrup, and also cosmetics and perfumes. The Commission E approved internal use of fenugreek as an appetite stimulant and for use externally as a poultice. Fenugreek is considered energetically heating with a pungent, bitter, and sweet taste.

Although fenugreek seeds have been used for sprouting, ours are harvested for their beneficial properties and not as sprouting seeds.

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Feverfew 

Standardized: feverfew 

BOTANICAL NAME 

Tanacetum parthenium (L.) Sch. Bip.
Plant Family: Asteraceae 

SYNONYMS 

Chrysanthemum parthenium 

OVERVIEW 

The daisy-like feverfew was once believed to have been used to save the life of someone who had fallen from the Parthenon, the temp of the goddess Athena on the Acropolis in Athens, hence its scientific name parthenium.

PARTS USED

Leaf, flower and occasionally the stem.

TYPICAL PREPARATIONS

The fresh leaves of the plants are often used in capsule or tincture form.

SUMMARY

The plant is gathered as it comes into flower and can be dried for later use. Use with caution, the fresh leaves can cause dermatitis and mouth ulcers if consumed. 

PRECAUTIONS

Specific: Not for use in pregnancy. Feverfew may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae (Ragweed) plant family.
General: We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.

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Ginger 

Standardized: ginger
Other: shunthi 

BOTANICAL NAME 

Zingiber officinale Roscoe
Plant Family: Zingiberaceae 

OVERVIEW 

Ginger has been valued as a zesty spice and a reliable herb for centuries, with the first recorded uses found in ancient Sanskrit and Chinese texts. It has also been utilized in Greek, Roman, Arabic, and Unani Tibb traditional medicine practices and is now a widely known herb in most parts of the world. It is a flavoring agent in beer, soft drinks, candies, and a staple spice and condiment in many countries. Ginger essential oil has been used in a vast array of cosmetics and perfumes. 

BOTANY 

A member from the Zingiberaceae family which also contains turmeric (Curcuma sp.) and cardamom (Amomum sp. and Elettaria sp.), ginger is a tropical, aromatic, perennial herb which is most likely native to tropical Asia (yet has been cultivated for so long that the exact origin is unclear). The part used is its fleshy rhizome, often mistakenly referred to as a root. Ginger is widely cultivated in many tropical countries. It is believed that the Spaniard, Francisco de Mendosa, transplanted ginger from southeast Asia or the 'East Indies' in 1547 to the 'West Indies' (most of the Carribbean) and Mexico. The Spanish cultivated it extensively and then exported it in large amounts to various countries in Europe. Prior to this, ginger used in Europe was obtained from Arab spice traders.

The genus name is a derivation of the Latin gingiber, which originated from the Sanskrit srngaveram, which breaks down to the word for horn or srngam and the word for body which is vera, denoting the horn-shape of its root. 

CULTIVATION AND HARVESTING 

Ginger has risen to be among the top twelve spices most consumed in the United States, replacing fennel seed. Presently, the main producers of ginger are India, China, Indonesia, Nigeria, the Philippines and Thailand, although other countries such as Jamaica produce it as well. The 'white ginger' is the peeled rhizome that is often produced in Jamaica and the 'black ginger' or unpeeled rhizome, is mostly from Sierra Leone and China.

When it comes to just the pure essential oil, the main producers are India and China, and the major importing countries are the United States, Europe, and Japan. 

HISTORY AND FOLKLORE 

The first recorded use of ginger goes as far back as its appearance in the ancient Chinese herbal Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing, written by emperor Shen Nong around 2,000 B.C.E. and the ancient Sanskrit text of India, the Mahabharata, around 400 B.C.E. In the latter text, a recipe with stewed meat and ginger is described. In Ayurveda (the traditional healing system of India) one of the many Sanskrit names for ginger is shunthi or sunthi thought to be derived from the ancient city that bears the same name mentioned in the epic Indian text, the Ramayana (which was from around the same time as the Mahabharata). This city was thus considered an ancient capitol of the ginger trade by 200 B.C.

There are various accounts of ginger being exported from India to the Roman empire around 2000 years ago. At this time, it was used for both a flavorful spice and a medicinal herb. Ginger has been in continuous use ever since in Europe, and was a prized herb during the reign of King Henry the VIII in the 1500's. By the 16th century, one pound of ginger was worth one sheep in England.

Ginger was prized in love spells for its 'heating up' qualities and has been considered a love herb since ancient times. It was believed that ginger could hasten the success of any spell and that planting a ginger root would ensure financial abundance.

In the book Herbal Emissaries: Bringing Chinese Herbs to the West, Steven Foster writes: Ginger is truly an herbal emissary in the broadest sense. Perhaps no other herb, except garlic, crosses all barriers, cultural, historical, and geographic–food versus medicine, Western versus Oriental, scientific versus folk tradition. Ginger is a universal herb in all respects.

Ginger has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), and is believed to affect lung, spleen, heart, and stomach meridians.

It is called gan jiang, referring to the dried, older winter rhizome, or shen jiang, which is the fresh, young and tender rhizome. As having two different names for ginger implies, fresh and dried ginger are considered to have very different qualities. Ginger is believed to be more moistening when fresh and also to be energetically warm, whereas the dried root is energetically hot, and more drying. Both have been employed in cases of diarrhea, vomiting and nausea, amongst many other uses. Fresh ginger is preferred in TCM for nausea, as the dried ginger is considered to be too heating. Fresh ginger is valued as a diaphoretic and aid in expelling toxins.

Ginger is still a very important herb in Europe and is extensively imported in Germany. It is approved in the Commission E monographs and found in countless preparations all over Europe. Ginger has been and is still extensively used as a flavoring: as a condiment in the form of a paste, sliced and pickled, or powdered, as flavoring agent for soft drinks and ginger beer, distilled into an essential oil, and also as a candy or lozenge. There are many different types of ginger ranging from light colored Jamaican ginger, to the darker, more pungent African ginger often used in the production of essential oils. 

FLAVOR NOTES AND ENERGETICS 

In TCM–hot, acrid In Ayurveda–pungent, sweet. 

USES AND PREPARATIONS 

Dried chopped rhizome for tea, powdered for tea or spice, powdered and encapsulated, or tinctured.

Fresh rhizome as a condiment, fresh tea, poultice, juice, tincture, or essential oil and oleoresin. 

PRECAUTIONS 

Specific: No known precautions.
General: We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.

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Hibiscus

Standardized: hibiscus
Other: roselle, ambashthaki 

BOTANICAL NAME 

Hibiscus sabdariffa L.
Plant Family: Malvaceae 

OVERVIEW 

There are over 220 species within the genus Hibiscus. Hibiscus plants grow in most tropical areas of the world, with a minority of species able to survive in freezing environments. The abundant species found in the tropics cannot tolerate more than a few days of freezing weather and will die if such conditions persist. Hibiscus flowers come in a magnificent variety of colors.

Some of the benefits include Lower Cholesterol, Lower Blood Sugar, Hair Growth, Can Protect Against Skin Cancer, Fights Hair Loss, Aids Weight Loss, Heals Wounds, Boosts liver health, Boosts Immune System, Help Treat Depression, Cures Fever, Beneficial For Hair, Constipation, and Cold Cures.

PARTS USED

The flower, dried, cut, and powdered.

TYPICAL PREPARATIONS

Hibiscus is available as a bulk tea and in tea bags, as well as an ingredient in tea mixtures. Can be used as a natural dye, and is incorporated in several cosmetics. Rarely found in capsule or extract form.

SUMMARY

Hibiscus flowers are the main ingredient in many wonderfully refreshing teas made around the world, especially in Mexico, Latin America, and North Africa. A tea known as Agua de Jamaica, or simply Jamaica in Mexico, is usually served chilled with copious amounts of sugar to sweeten the natural tartness of the hibiscus. 

PRECAUTIONS 

Hibiscus flowers are often intercropped with peanuts. Occasionally fragments of peanut shells are present. Caution for individuals with severe peanut allergies.
We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.

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Holy Basil 

Standardized: holy basil
Other: sacred basil, tulsi 

BOTANICAL NAME 

Ocimum tenuiflorum L.
Plant Family: Lamiaceae 

OVERVIEW 

Holy Basil (also known as tulsi) has been revered throughout India for thousands of years. Ayurvedic texts describe Holy Basil as a pillar of holistic herbal medicine and a goddess incarnated in plant form (the mother medicine of nature). Many traditional Hindus worship an alter bearing a Holy Basil plant that is placed in the courtyard of their home or in another prominent location. Today Holy Basil remains one of the most cherished of India's sacred plants. The leaves smell of peppermint, cloves, licorice and/or lemon.

Holy basil has been shown to have antidepressant, antianxiety, and antiseptic properties. Studies have shown that it can help people feel more social and less anxious.

PARTS USED

Leaf

TYPICAL PREPARATIONS

Holy Basil is traditionally taken as an herbal tea, dried powder, fresh leaf, or mixed with ghee.

SUMMARY

Holy Basil, or Tulsi, is an important symbol in the Hindu religion and it is a significant herb in ayurvedic medicine. 

PRECAUTIONS 

Specific: Not for use in pregnancy except under the supervision of a qualified healthcare practitioner.
General: We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.

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Lavender 

Standardized: English lavender
Other: common lavender 

BOTANICAL NAME 

Lavandula angustifolia Mill.
Plant Family: Lamiaceae 

LAVANDIN

Lavandula x intermedia is quickly becoming a popular ‘Lavender’ species on the market. It can sometimes be found as Dutch Lavender, but is often sold as Lavender. We are slowly seeing it labeled properly as Lavandin. These bluish purple flowers have a brighter color in comparison to the English Lavender. Lavandin has an equally characteristic sweet floral lavender aroma, with a slight camphor note.

Lavender is an aromatic perennial evergreen shrub. Its woody stems bear lavender or purple flowers from late spring to early autumn, although there are varieties with blossoms of white or pink. Lavender is native to the Mediterranean, but now cultivated in cool-winter, dry-summer areas in Europe and the Western United States. The use of Lavender goes back thousands of years, with the first recorded uses by the Egyptians during the mummification process. Both the Greeks and the Romans had many uses for it, the most popular being for bathing, cooking, and as an ingredient in perfume, Lavender was used as an after-bath perfume by the Romans, who gave the herb its name from the Latin lavare, to wash. During the Great Plague of 1665, grave robbers would wash their hands in a concoction called Four Thieves Vinegar, which contained lavender, wormwood, rue, sage, mint, and rosemary, and vinegar; they rarely became infected. English folklore tells that a mixture of lavender, mugwort, chamomile, and rose petals will attract sprites, fairies, brownies, and elves.

PARTS USED

Flowers

TYPICAL PREPARATIONS

Teas, tinctures, and added to baked goods. Cosmetically it has a multitude of uses and can be included in ointments for its beneficial properties.

SUMMARY

As a spice, lavender is best known as an important aspect of French cuisine and is an integral ingredient in herbs de Provence seasoning blends. Lavender may be used on its own to give a delightful, floral flavor to desserts, meats, and breads. The flowers can also be layered within sugar to infuse it with its distinctive aroma for use in cookies and candies.

Similar to cilantro, some individuals perceive the taste of lavender in a manner that is undesirable within cuisine. An estimated 10% of the population interprets lavender to have a soapy and unsavory flavor. For this reason, it may be wise to exercise caution while using lavender as a flavoring agent.

Lavender has been thought for centuries to arouse passions as an aphrodisiac, and is still one of the most recognized scents in the world. 

PRECAUTIONS 

No known precautions.
We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.

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Lemongrass

 

Standardized: West Indian lemongrass
Other: lemongrass, fever grass

 

BOTANICAL NAME

 

Cymbopogon citratus (DC. ex Nees) Stapf
Plant Family: Poaceae

 

SYNONYMS

 

Andropogon citratus

 

OVERVIEW

 

With its lemony scent and hint of rose aroma, lemongrass is an essential ingredient in Thai and Indonesian cooking. Lemongrass grows wild in Indonesia, Indochina, and tropical Australia, and has been cultivated in Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka as a culinary herb and in India as a beneficial herb for thousands of years. It was considered by Paracelsus to be his favorite and most revered herb.

PARTS USED

The lower portion of the stalk.

TYPICAL PREPARATIONS

Universally used within tea blends for its flavor and aroma. Rarely seen in encapsulations or extracts, but equally as effective.

1 teaspoon of lemongrass powder equals one stalk of fresh lemongrass. Dried whole or cut lemongrass should be soaked for two hours in warm water before used in cooking.

 

PRECAUTIONS

 

No known precautions.
We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.

 

 

This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. For educational purposes only.

 

COMMON NAME: Moringa

 

Standardized: horseradish tree
Other: moringa, drumsticktree, West Indian ben, muringa (Tamil) jacinto (Spanish) sahijan or munaga, (Hindi) shigru or shobhanjana (Ayurvedic)

 

BOTANICAL NAME

 

Moringa oleifera Lam.
Plant Family: Moringaceae

 

PARTS USED

 

Leaves, seeds for pressing oil.

 

OVERVIEW

 

Moringa is a tree that has been used for thousands of years in India for everything from food, to building materials, and also for its beneficial properties. This 'wonder tree' truly is wondrous in that each part of the tree is useful. The roots, stems, leaves, seed pods, resin and flowers are considered to be healing herbs in Ayurvedic (traditional Indian healing system) and Unani (traditional Middle Eastern healing system) folk medicine. In modern times, the leaves and seed pods are utilized extensively due to their nutrient content and modern studies are investigating their vast potential.

 

BOTANY

 

Moringa is native to the sub Himalayan mountain region particularly in India and has been introduced to southwest Asia, southwest and northeast Africa, Madagascar, the Philippines, and in the United States in California, Arizona, Hawaii and Florida. This tree is in the Moringaceae, or horseradish tree, family which is closely related to the papaya containing Caricaceae family. It is the sole genus, containing thirteen species one such species being M. stenopetala, a species native to and cultivated in Africa.

The generic name is derived from the Tamil (language spoken in southern India and northeast Sri Lanka) word 'murungai' meaning twisted pod. And 'oleifera' is Latin meaning 'oil-bearing' due to the seeds high oil content.

 

CULTIVATION AND HARVESTING

 

Moringa is drought tolerant and thrives in semi-arid, tropical, and subtropical climates and is one of the most commonly cultivated food plants in the world. It is grown in India, Pakistan, Africa, the Philippines, and the Caribbean. Further, it is cultivated in various countries in Central and South America because it is easy to grow and has high market potential, therefore potentially providing an alternative to deforestation. It is also cultivated extensively in African countries to feed their own malnourished populations.

 

HISTORY AND FOLKLORE

 

It is believed that the moringa tree originated in northern India and was being used in Indian medicine around 5,000 years ago, and there are also accounts of it being utilized by the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians. This tree was, and still is, considered a panacea, and is referred to as the 'The Wonder Tree', 'The Divine Tree', and 'The Miracle Tree' amongst many others. Moringa was used extensively in Ayurveda, where virtually all parts were considered useful with a plethora of beneficial attributes. It was employed to support digestion, spleen and eye health, as a cooking additive, and in many other ways. Its taste was considered bitter and pungent; its energetics, heating; and its effect upon the dosha (Ayurvedic constitutional type) are balancing to Kapha (dosha ruled by earth and water) and Vata (dosha ruled by air and ether).

The whole tree has been used for erosion control and for building materials to provide shelter. The seed is high in oil, and the fibers remaining after oil extraction are one of the best plant-derived flocculants (clarifying agents) for clarifying water. Further, the roots are believed to taste like horseradish and are thus used as a condiment. Additionally, the flowers are eaten in omelets. The leaves have an extremely high nutrient value and are dried and powdered and put in sauces and baby formula. A beverage is made from the leaf, either as a standard tea or as a type of reconstituted dried leaf juice. In India, the immature seed pods (known as drumsticks) are eaten like asparagus. Further, a nutrient dense formula made from the leaves is sprayed on plants in South America in order to boost corn yields.

Moringa grows in countries where 5% to 35% of the population is suffering from malnutrition. According to one organization working towards feeding malnourished populations called Trees for Life "Amazingly, moringa grows in subtropical areas, where malnutrition is most prevalent. It was as if people had a goldmine in their backyard and simply didn’t know it." Many groups are supporting the cultivation of moringa for personal use in developing countries, suggesting that each person grows two or three trees in their backyard thus providing a sustainable solution to malnutrition and reducing reliance upon imported foods. Another such group, called Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization or ECHO states: "Malnutrition is a leading cause of high infant mortality throughout the tropics. Moringa has helped in bringing nutrition to these hungry children (and)….it is considered one of the most nutritious vegetables in the world. It is an important nutrient source for nursing mothers as well as developing children."

 

FLAVOR NOTES AND ENERGETICS

 

Bitter, pungent, heating

 

HERBAL ACTIONS

 

Nutritive

 

USES AND PREPARATIONS

 

Dried leaf as an additive to foods to increase nutritional value, or as a tea or juice.
Seed for producing oil

 

HERBAL MISCELLANY

 

Perhaps moringa really is a miracle tree..? Not only has it provided food, shelter, water filtration, and medicine, but it may also be a source for fuel in the future. Moringa is being considered as potential source for biodiesel (plant based fuel that diesel engines can run off of). This plant grows easily in tropical areas and can easily produce high quantities of biomass for fuel. This can be done without compromising leaf harvest, thus the same moringa plant can be cultivated for both fuel and as a nutritional supplement for the natural marketplace simultaneously. It is therefore considered a superior feedstock to jatropha (Jatropha sp.) which is commonly grown for biofuel.

 

PRECAUTIONS

 

Specific: No known precautions.
General: We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.

 

 

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

 

COMMON NAME: Red Raspberry Leaf

 

Standardized: raspberry
Other: red raspberry

 

BOTANICAL NAME

 

Rubus idaeus L. ssp. idaeus
Plant Family: Rosaceae

 

OVERVIEW

 

Raspberry leaves are among the most pleasant-tasting of all the herbal remedies, with a taste much like black tea, without the caffeine. Raspberries were said to have been discovered by the Olympian gods themselves while searching for berries on Mount Ida. Raspberries are indigenous to Asia Minor and North America, with the first real records of domestication coming from the writings of Palladius, a Roman agriculturist. By Medieval times it had a great many uses, including the juices which were used in paintings and illuminated manuscripts. King Edward the 1st (1272-1307) was said to be the first to call for mass cultivation of raspberries, whose popularity spread quickly throughout Europe. Teas of raspberry leaves were given to women of the Cherokee, Iroquois, and Mohawk nations in North America, and have earned approval of the authoritative British Herbal Compendium.

PARTS USED

Dried leaf. Raspberry leaves gathered in spring before the plant flowers have the highest antioxidant content.

TYPICAL PREPARATIONS

Tea. To make raspberry leaf tea, pour 1 cup (240 ml) of boiling water over 1 or 2 teaspoons (3-5 grams) of dried leaf. Close the teapot and allow to stand for 10 minutes, then sweeten to taste. During pregnancy, drink 2 to 3 cups daily. Drink warm.

Many herbal teas include raspberry to "stabilize" the other ingredients. May also be taken as a capsule, though rare.

 

PRECAUTIONS

 

Specific: No known precautions.
General: We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.

 

 

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

 

COMMON NAME

 

Standardized: skullcap
Other: blue skullcap, scullcap

 

BOTANICAL NAME

 

Scutellaria laterifolia L.
Plant Family: Lamiaceae

 

OVERVIEW

 

Skullcap is an herbaceous perennial mint with ridged leaves and tiny flowers that can range in color from purple and blue to pink and white. The two-lobed flowers resemble the military helmets worn by early European settlers, hence the herb's name. A hardy plant, it grows 1 to 4 feet (25 cm to 1 m) high, thriving in the woods and swamplands of eastern North America. Settlers in the late 1700's promoted the herb's effectiveness as a cure for rabies, giving rise to one of its common names, mad dog weed. This claim was later discarded, and herbalists began to focus on the plant's considerable value.

PARTS USED

The above-ground parts of the plant, dried.

TYPICAL PREPARATIONS

Traditionally taken as a tea or tincture; can be used in capsule form.

FUNCTIONS

Skullcap is a comforting herb. It is used to promote emotional well-being and relaxation during times of occasional distress.

 

PRECAUTIONS

 

Specific: No known precautions.
General: We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.

 

 

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

 

COMMON NAME: Skullcap

 

Standardized: skullcap
Other: blue skullcap, scullcap

 

BOTANICAL NAME

 

Scutellaria laterifolia L.
Plant Family: Lamiaceae

 

OVERVIEW

 

Skullcap is an herbaceous perennial mint with ridged leaves and tiny flowers that can range in color from purple and blue to pink and white. The two-lobed flowers resemble the military helmets worn by early European settlers, hence the herb's name. A hardy plant, it grows 1 to 4 feet (25 cm to 1 m) high, thriving in the woods and swamplands of eastern North America. Settlers in the late 1700's promoted the herb's effectiveness as a cure for rabies, giving rise to one of its common names, mad dog weed. This claim was later discarded, and herbalists began to focus on the plant's considerable value.

PARTS USED

The above-ground parts of the plant, dried.

TYPICAL PREPARATIONS

Traditionally taken as a tea or tincture; can be used in capsule form.

FUNCTIONS

Skullcap is a comforting herb. It is used to promote emotional well-being and relaxation during times of occasional distress.

 

PRECAUTIONS

 

Specific: No known precautions.
General: We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.

 

 

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

 


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