MINERVA MEDICA
HERBAL DICTIONARY

*This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease: For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Consult your physician before taking any of the items listed.

ALLSPICE (Pimenta dioica) The allspice is a myrtle tree most commonly found in Jamaica. It gets its name from the unique combination of aromas in its fruit, a blending of the tastes of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg with just a little peppery heat. The essential oil in the leaf or the ground spice is sufficient to neutralize some water-borne infections, notably Shigella. Gram for gram, the antioxidant content of allspice is greater than most other berries, fruits, and vegetables. Allspice is also rich in quercetin, in quantities sufficient to make the herb useful in preventing allergies.

ALMOND OIL (Prunus dulcis) has been used for thousands of years, and was introduced by Ayurveda more than 5,000 years ago. Almond oil is loaded with vitamins and minerals that are good for your body’s surface as well as internally. Vitamin E is the most prevalent vitamin found in almond oil, and it also contains rich amounts of calcium and magnesium. is great for all skin types as an acting emollient and is best known for its ability to soften, soothe, and re-condition the skin. It is truly marvelous as a carrier oil and is equally superb for addition to body care products. Natural expeller pressed oil from raw almond kernels and exceptionally rich in fatty acids.

ALOE VERA (Aloe) Leaves exude a bitter liquid known as “bitter aloes.” They also contain a clear gel, which is a soothing skin remedy. Aloe Vera plants contain at least six antiseptic agents, which kill mold, bacteria viruses and fungi. These agents are Lupeol, Sulpher, Phenols, Cinnaminic Acid, Urea Nitrogen and Salicylic Acid. These ingredients are therefore beneficial to curing both internal and external infections.. Aloe vera is a general tonic for the immune system. Aloe vera components may boost immunity and combat the HIV virus, and treat certain types of cancer (particularly leukemia). Aloe vera contains protein, calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamins A, B12 and E, essential fatty acids and is naturally rich in: Vitamin C which helps maintain tone of blood vessels and promotes good circulation and is essential to the health of the adrenal gland which supports our body in times of stress, Amino acids, which are chains of atoms constructing protein in our body. Enzymes, which are the life-principle in every live, organic atom and molecule of natural raw food, rejuvenate aged tissues and promote healthy skin.

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR Clear vinegar has none of the benefits of raw organic apple cider vinegar. Through its processing and distilling, it’s been stripped of everything beneficial and can be detrimental to your health due to the fact that it is dead instead of alive. Raw organic apple cider vinegar is made up living nutrients and bacteria. This murky brown vinegar, the one with the sediment in the bottom of the bottle, is the vinegar that has been used for hundreds of years largely for medicinal purposes. Long ago, “ladies of the court” used this for its strong astringent cleansing and nourishing benefits for the skin and body. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is made from organically grown apples and retains many of the fruits’ beneficial components because raw apple cider vinegar is not pasteurized. And in its two fermentation processes, it produces enzymes and life giving nutrients that make apple cider vinegar the powerhouse it is. It helps clear up skin conditions and blemishes giving a smoother texture and complexion. It contains Malic Acid, which makes it anti-viral, anti-bacterial & anti-fungal.

APRICOT OIL (Prunus armeniaca) is a wonderful oil similar to Sweet Almond, but more suitable for sensitive and prematurely aged skin. It is a very mild natural oil, often used in baby products because of its fine gentle nature.

Apricot kernel oil is cold pressed and refined from the dried kernels of the apricot fruit. It is light in color with pleasant nutty odor and used in manufacturer of creams, balms, lotions and cosmetics. Apricot oil is one of the oils that has a lipid content similar to that of your skin. When the skin’s lipid content becomes too low, dry and irritated skin results; topical application of apricot oil helps soothe and heal this rough, damaged skin. The oil’s fine texture allows more rapid skin penetration, which promotes more prompt healing and nourishment of sore or chapped skin without residue. Shirley Price, coauthor of “Aromatherapy for Health Professionals,” notes that apricot oil is also beneficial in relieving the itch and irritation of eczema-ridden skin. As an added benefit, Price points out that apricot oil helps prevent and minimize the appearance of wrinkles.

ARGAN OIL (Argania spinosa) Argan is a species of tree indigenous to southwestern Morocco. Argan grows to 8-10 metres high and live up to 150–200 years. This rare and exquisite oil is meticulously expeller pressed from the fruit kernels of the Moroccan Argan tree. Argan oil absorbs quickly and is often used in skin, nail and hair treatments to deliver deep hydration, strengthen brittle hair and nails, and prevent/reduce stretch marks. Argan oil helps to replace the diminishing amount of squalene that causes our skin to lose moisture. Argan oil softens and soothes, decreasing wrinkles and stretch marks. It is rich in vitamin E and fatty acids, as well. This luxurious desert oil is absorbed quickly and deeply to deliver deep hydration. Constituents: fatty acids, sterols, tocopherols (vitamin e), phenols, carotenes, squalene. It regenerates the skin, restarts the vital functions of the cells and the growth process, neutralizes free radicals and it is extremely nutritious. Relieve eczema and psoriasis Argan oil is one of the world’s richest natural sources of vitamin E, so is a great treatment for a variety of skin conditions.

ARROW ROOT (Maranta arundinaceae) is indigenous in the West Indian Islands and possibly Central America. The starch is extracted from rhizomes not more than a year old. It is odorless and free from unpleasant taste. It keeps well dry. Arrowroot is an easily digested, nourishing diet for convalescents with loose bowels, as it has demulcent properties. The mashed rhizomes are used for application to wounds from poisoned arrows, scorpion and black spider bites, and to arrest gangrene. The fresh juice, mixed with water, is said to be a good antidote, taken internally, for vegetable poisons, such as Savanna. It is a natural absorbent and drying agent with healing properties and excellent for sensitive skin.

ASTRAGALUS (Astragalus membranaceus) is one of the most important Chinese medicinal herbs, it was called “the senior of all herbs” for its immune enhancing properties. It tonifies the spleen, especially in cases of fatigue. As a cardio tonic it lowers blood pressure and blood sugar and improves energy and circulation. It is beneficial for the kidneys, liver, and endocrine system.

This herb is now considered one of the world’s greatest immune tonics. It strengthens and boosts the immune system by improving the ability of the macrophages (type of white blood cells) to fight and devour bacteria, fungi and viruses and is also thought to promote the production of interferon in the body. People with regular colds and flu can benefit from this herb as it helps to build up natural resistance. It increases metabolism and encourages sweating, while promoting healing and providing energy to combat fatigue. Studies show the herb improves sperm motility as well as reducing high blood pressure and enhancing the immune system. It helps to improve circulation after a heart attack and helps to protect the tissue in these cases as well. It has been found to relieve angina pain without side effects. As the herb is useful to treat bladder infections caused by Proteusbacteria, it is also of value in fighting the formation of kidney stones. In people with diabetes, it is used to improve not only blood flow but also helps improve fasting blood sugar levels.

BASIL (Ocimum basilicum) While most of us are familiar with basil as a culinary herb, the applications of basil in natural health are not as well known. It was first described in a Chinese herbal around 1060 C.E, and has been used for stomach spasms and kidney ailments there ever since. The Chinese have also used it to treat snakebites and insect bites. The essential oil is antibacterial, and drops of basil oil may relieve ear infections There are some indications basil oil may help restore immune function damaged by stress. Basil oil also helps the active ingredients of other herbs more readily penetrate the skin when basil oil is added to ointments, liniments, and salves.

BAY LEAVES (Laurus nobilis) The early Greeks and Romans admired the bay laurel for its beauty and used the aromatic leaves in many different ways. Essential oils from Bay Leaves have a long and distinguished beauty history, it is obtained from the leaves of the bay laurel tree indigenous to the Mediterranean. Often used as a spice or fragrance, it also acts as a scalp clarifier and tonic. The Chemical contents contained in these plants are: essential oils, tannins, and flavonoids. Bay leaves contain antibacterial and antifungal properties and when used on the skin, cure skin infections.

It is also good for oily skin and acne or shaving irritation.

The Bay oil has a fresh-spicy top note, with a rich sweet-balsamic undertone, faintly sweet-balsamic dry out. Bay is relaxing and warming. It’s a stimulant for lymph and blood It is used well on the skin for refreshing the pores and giving off a freshly clean scent.

BEESWAX Beeswax is produced by female worker honeybees. The wax is secreted from wax glands on the underside of the bee’s abdomen and is molded into six-sided cells which are filled with honey, then capped with more wax. Amazingly one pound of wax requires bees to consume about ten pounds of honey! Beeswax works well in cosmetic products because of the “wax esters” that exist in both beeswax and human skin, which help bind and emulsify ointments, lipsticks and lotions. As a natural hydrating ingredient that increases essential moisture in skin, it is commonly found in hand and body creams that help retain natural skin moisture and in the relief of itching from sensitive skin. Beeswax has an irritation potential of zero, and a comedogenicity rating of 0 – 2, which means that when formulated and used correctly in cosmetic formulations, beeswax will not cause a problem or clog the pores, but brings a host of very positive attributes, such as general healing and softening, as an antiseptic, and an emollient to cosmetic products. Even after processing, it still remains a biologically active product, retaining some anti-bacterial properties and also contains some vitamin A, which is necessary for normal cell development. In folk medicine beeswax was used as an antiseptic for wound healing and beeswax ear candles were used for earwax removal. They are believed to be able to heal ear infection and improve hearing by removing the wax inside the ear.

BERGAMOT (Citrus bergamia) has been used as a remedy for fever in Italian traditions, and has a long history of use in potpourri and perfumes. It is the extracted from the peel of Citrus bergamia and has a spicy, floral and fresh citrus cent. Bergamot works as an: Analgesic, anthelmintic, antibacterial, antidepressant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, deodorant, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, laxative, rubefacient, sedative, stimulant, stomachic, tonic, vulnerary. It is excellent for the skin is known to help with the following: acne, anxiety, boils, bronchitis, carbuncles, cold sores, colds, colic, cystitis, depression, eczema, fevers, flatulence, halitosis, herpes, insect bites, intestinal parasites, nervous tension, oily complexion, psoriasis, respiratory tract infections, sore throat, varicose veins.

BLACK WALNUT LEAF (Juglans nigra) is a native tree of North America, but their history goes back quite a ways in antiquity. According to a Chaldean clay tablet, walnut groves were known to be in the hanging gardens of Babylon. Pliny the Elder (ca.23-79 C.E.) reported cultivation in Italy from trees that had been transported from countries farther east. In ancient Persia, only royalty were supposed to eat them, and they were even referred to as the “royal walnut”. In America, there is archeological evidence that they were consumed and used by the Native Americans as far back as 2000 B.C.E. The hulls without the meaty kernels inside are used in herbal medicine. Black walnut leaf contains tannins that cross-link proteins in mucous membranes and the skin. The tannins make the herb useful treating conditions in which the skin “leaks,” such as excessive perspiration, eczema, and allergic rashes.

BLUE CORN (Hopi maize) has long been revered by Navajo and Hopi tribes as a ceremonial corn. Studies have shown that blue corn is higher in the amino acid lysine, the antioxidant anthocyanin, zinc and iron than most yellow or white corn. Blue corn also contains Vitamins A and Thiamine, B2, and niacin. Research has found that blue corn tortillas contain more protein than their yellow or white corn counterparts, as well as lower starch content and lower glycemic index (GI). Nowadays, anthocyanins are of great interest from the functional nutrition viewpoint owing to their potential health benefits; they are considered natural antioxidants in view of their ability to trap free radicals, which produce molecular and cell damage. Blue corn is an excellent addition to deep granular skin cleansing and is not know to irritate the skin.

CALENDULA (Calendula officinalis) is an annual flower native to the northern Mediterranean countries. Its name refers to its tendency to bloom with the calendar, usually once a month or every new moon. The term “marigold” refers to the Virgin Mary, and marigolds are used in Catholic events honoring the Virgin Mary. The Egyptians considered them to have rejuvenating properties. In the Hindu world, the flowers were used to adorn statues of gods in their temples, as well as a colorant in food, fabrics, and cosmetics. American physicians use calendula to treat amenorrhea, conjunctivitis, fevers, cuts, scrapes, bruises, and burns, as well as minor skin infections. Calendula creams and washes are still used to disinfect minor wounds and to treat infections of the skin. The antibacterial and immunostimulant properties of the plant make it extremely useful in treating slow-healing cuts and cuts in people who have compromised immune systems.

CHAMOMILE FLOWERS (Matricaria recutita) were used as a medicine by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. Extensive research has confirmed the plant’s usefulness in treating minor abrasions, cuts, and scrapes, and as a sedative and sleep aid. In the US, chamomile is one of the most widely used herbal ingredients in teas as well as in cosmetic, health, and beauty aid products. The traditional use of chamomile tea is to induce a deep sleep, an effect confirmed in a study of patients undergoing cardiac catheterization. Chamomile stops spasms in the smooth muscles lining the stomach and intestines, and contains chemicals that are anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and antiparasitic.

CLOVE (Caryophyllus aromaticses) is native to the Spice Islands and the Philippines but also grown in Sumatra, Jamaica, the West Indies, Brazil, and other tropical areas. It is an evergreen tree, 15-30 feet tall. Clove oil will stop the pain of a toothache when dropped into a cavity. A few drops of the oil in water will stop vomiting, and clove tea will relieve nausea. Eating cloves is said to be aphrodisiac. It aids digestion, allays flatulence, nausea and/or vomiting, stops hiccoughs, and treats impotence. Used for colds, cough, asthma, hiccough, laryngitis, pharyngitis, low blood pressure. Cloves are mildly aphrodisiac. The volatile oil is a powerful analgesic. Clove medicinal Properties include: Anodyne, antiemetic, antiseptic, anti-nauseous, aphrodisiac, carminative and stimulant.

COCOA BUTTER (Theobroma cacao) means ‘food of the gods’. It has been used for centuries in Africa for its moisturizing and healing properties, where it has been used to protect and condition skin which has been damaged by the sun and wind.

Cocoa Butter contains natural antioxidants that give it a long shelf life of over 3 years. It is naturally rich in Vitamin E as well as a number of other vitamins and minerals. Vitamin E helps to soothe, hydrate, and balance the skin and also provides the skin collagen which assists with wrinkles and other signs of ageing. For centuries pregnant women have used Cocoa Butter formulations to prevent and treat stretch marks, but this pleasant-smelling substance is added to countless other topical preparations. Lotions and oils containing Cocoa Butter are often used in aromatherapy massage to promote relaxation and the feeling of well-being. Research indicates that massaging the skin with Cocoa Butter may help relieve stress, boost the immune system, and even prevent cancer because Cocoa Butter, like chocolate, contains a lot of CMP and there is some evidence that the CMP in Cocoa Butter may also help prevent heart disease and ease arthritic symptoms. Cocoa Butter is mainly used is a thickening agent and is a common ingredient in lipsticks, soaps and emollient creams. It is also a folk remedy for burns, cough, dry lips, fever, malaria, rheumatism, snakebite and wounds. It is reported to be antiseptic and diuretic.

COCONUT OIL (Cocos nucifera) is derived from fresh, whole coconuts that are sound and ripe, shelled and then pared to remove the brown skin. The white meat is then milled to fine shreds and dried. This is a fantastic oil for general moisturizing and serves as a protective layer, helping to retain the moisture in your skin. It also acts as a mild oil suitable for those with inflamed and irritated skin, and those with skin sensitivities. Coconut oil is without a doubt, the first choice for most people in the cosmetics and soap industry.

COMFREY (Symphytum officinale) A native of Europe and temperate Asia; is common throughout England on the banks of rivers and ditches, and in watery places generally. The chief constituent of Comfrey root is mucilage along with tannins, rosmarinic acid, steroidal saponins, inulin, pyrrolizidine alkaloids, Gum, Carotene, Glycosides, Sugars, Beta-sitosterol, Triterpenoids, Vitamin B-12, Protein, Zinc. The roots and leaves contain allantoin which is a protein with hormonal like qualities to it that stimulate cell proliferation. It aids in healing wounds, broken bones, burns, sprains, sore joints, dry skin and for reducing the swelling associated with fractures. Fresh, clean comfrey leaves can be used in a poultice to treat these injuries. Internal use of the root is not suggested.

DAMIANA (Turnera diffusa): Herbs and Lucid Dreaming by Keith Cleversley

The practice of lucid dreaming is something that is becoming more and more popular as people become aware of the potential power that is contained within the mind and that becomes available during the dream-state.  For inducing restful, dream-filled sleep and supporting health, different techniques, traditions and plant medicines are used.  Damiana is a fragrant plant that has been used in Mexico for more than 100 years as a remedy for a variety of different maladies.  It is held in high repute, particularly as an aphrodisiac, but also as a general health-supporting tonic. Damiana is another one of those plants which I discovered to have potent dream inducing qualities. Many ancient cultures saw the dream state as a place in which one could receive prophecy, could perform divinations regarding the future, and where one could even diagnose and begin to heal various disorders and diseases.  These things could all occur in the waking world as well, but the understanding was that it was much more difficult to achieve the same levels of ability when awake as when asleep. Certain Herbs are very powerful ways in which to learn to lucid dream, and their thousands of years of traditional use only further confirm their efficacy.

ECHINACEA (Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea pallida, Echinacea purpurea) is and was one of the most important healing plants of the Native Americans of the North American prairies, particularly the Cheyenne and Comanche. They used the juice or a mush made from the ground herb or chewed pieces of root. The traditional areas of use are numerous and include; wounds, burns, inflammations of the gums, toothache and sore throats, colds, coughs, mumps and measels. There are dozens of biochemical compounds that act in therapeutic synergy in this complex plant that support disease resistance in several ways.

ELEUTHERO “Siberian Ginsing” (Eleutherococcus senticosus) Formerly known as Siberian ginseng, a name banned in the United States by the Ginseng Labeling Act of 2002. A relative of red ginseng, eleuthero has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine since about 190 AD. It became a widely cultivated herb after its use as an adaptogen (an herb that helps the body adapt to stress). Constituents: Eleutherosides B and E, and immunostimulant complex polysaccharides. Scientists believe it helps prevent “adrenal burnout” caused by ongoing physical or mental challenges. Eleuthero boosts concentration and focus without the letdown than comes from drinking coffee or other sources of caffeine. Eleuthero also boosts immunity. Healthy people taking 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of tincture three times daily have been shown to have increased numbers of the immune cells (CD4+ cells) that have decrease during HIV-infection and AIDS.

EUCALYPTUS (Eucalyptus globulus) 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. In the early nineteenth century, the crew of an Australian freighter developed intractable fevers they were able to cure with eucalyptus tree leaves. American physicians used eucalyptus oil to sterilize surgical instruments and incisions, and also as a steam inhalation for asthma, bronchitis, colds and flu, emphysema, and whooping cough. Constituents: The major volatile oil in eucalyptus leaf is eucalyptol and in laboratory studies, eucalyptol is an antibacterial against several strains of Streptococcus, the organism that causes strep throat.

FO-TI (Polygonum multiflorum) is often called the “Elixir of Life,” Fo-ti tonic is said to produce longevity, fertility and vitality. Taking Fo-ti is said to keep one vigorous and extends one’s life span. Fo-Ti is one of the herbs used to nourish the heart and calm the spirit. With a distinctive sweet yet bitter taste, fo-ti was thought to unblock the channels of energy through the body, allowing the escape of the pathogenic influences that cause generalized weakness, soreness, pain, and fatigue. There are four different types of Fo-Ti on the market: raw, cured, wine, and steamed. Raw and cured are the most used, and the ones mostly imported into the US. The plant is also used as a wash for itching and skin rashes. Another use is bringing color back to graying hair. Constituents: Chrysophanic acid, chrysophanol and emodin.

GARLIC (Allium sativum) has been used medicinally, and as a culinary ingredient, for over 5000 years. World folklore is littered with references to its ability to protect us, such as in ancient Greece, where mid-wives hung cloves of garlic on the windows to ward off evil spirits during childbirth. The Greeks also used it extensively: Hippocrates recommended it for infections, wounds, cancer and leprosy; Dioscides for heart problems, and Pliny listed it in 61 remedies for a variety of ailments. Currently in the US and Western Europe, garlic is one of the most popular substances used to reduce various risks associated with heart disease. Garlic is odiferous, tasty, and medicinal. The traditional use of garlic in herbal medicine has been to kill parasites. Garlic is also antibacterial, antifungal, and cholesterol-lowering. Garlic has a very long folk history of use in a wide range of ailments such as ringworm, Candida, vaginitis colds, flus, and bronchitis, where its fungicidal, antiseptic, tonic and parasiticidal properties have proved of benefit. It is also said to have anticancer activity. It has also been shown that garlic aids detoxification of chronic lead poisoning. Daily use of garlic in the diet has been shown to have a very beneficial effect on the body, especially the blood system and the heart. Externally, the expressed juice is an excellent antiseptic for treating wounds.

GERANIUM ROSE (Pelargonium graveolens) has been known as a powerful wound healer. It has been utilized medicinally and in the fragrance industry. Properties: Analgesic, antibacterial, antidepressant, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, cicatrizant, deodorant, diuretic, emmenagogue, hepatic, insecticide, regenerative, rubefacient, sedative, styptic, tonic, vasoconstrictor, vermifuge, vulnerary Benefits: Acne, anxiety, broken capillaries, bruises, burns, circulatory disorders, cuts, cystitis, depression, dermatitis, diabetes, diarrhea, eczema, fluid retention, hemorrhoids, herpes, insect bites, lymphatic congestion, menopause, neuralgia, ringworm, shingles, sore throats, stabilize emotions, tonsillitis, ulcers, wounds. The antidepressant and emotional stabilizing effects of this oil can be used in many ways.

GINGER (Zingiberis officinalis) is a tropical perennial used to relieve dryness and heat, while dried ginger is used to relieve dampness and chill. It’s used to help cure colds or infections that have reached the interior of the body. Ginger warms the energy channels and stops bleeding, especially uterine bleeding. Ginger is now recognized for helping to treat stomach upset and prevent symptoms of motion sickness and also may be useful in reducing the pain, stiffness, and immobility of arthritis.

Ginger root poultices are best for chest for lung congestion or on the abdomen for gas and nausea. Powdered ginger and essential oils are the strongest form of ginger for topical use.

GINKGO (Ginkgo biloba) Protects Brain Neurons By Dr. Edward R. Rosick

The accumulation of plaques called beta-amyloid in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients is another pathological change that contributes to the disease progression and can lead to the death of neurons in the brain. While current prescription medications for Alzheimer’s disease do nothing to prevent or treat these effects, recent studies have shown that ginkgo can actually protect sensitive neurons from the destructive effects of beta-amyloid. Two recent studies have demonstrated a protective effect of a standardized ginkgo extract against the death of neurons in the brain – specifically, in the hippocampus – induced by beta-amyloid.8,9 The authors of the second study hypothesized that the ginkgo extract worked by inhibiting the formation of neurotoxic molecules that are thought to be involved in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

A large study in 1997 that examined 442 elderly patients in Basel, Switzerland, found a direct correlation between the blood levels of two common antioxidants (beta-carotene and alpha-tocopherol) and memory retention.10 A review article in 2000 reported that in the autopsied brains of patients with Alzheimer’s, there were many hallmark pathological changes caused by free radical activity, including DNA damage, protein oxidation, and lipid peroxidation.11 An even more recent study examined the antioxidant activity of a ginkgo extract on brain cells.12 The authors found that a standardized ginkgo extract effectively increased the levels of antioxidant enzymes and decreased the levels of lipid peroxidation.

GINSENG (Panax/related species) root is considered demulcent, mild stimulant, and tonic. Research suggests it may increase mental efficiency and physical performance, aid in adapting to high or low temperatures and stress when taken over an extended period. Ginseng’s effect is called “adapatogenic”, tending to return the body to normal. 
Promotes appetite helps dyspepsia, rheumatism, headache, lumbago, sciatica, debility, colds, coughs, bronchitis, and symptoms of menopause, constipation, lung troubles, and cystitis. 
Native Americans in some areas used a decoction of ginseng root to relieve nausea and vomiting. Several tribes used it as an ingredient in love potions and charms. May inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors. No medicinal herb is more famous than Ginseng. For over 200 years wild American Ginseng has been harvested and shipped to the Orient. Over 400 million people have been using this herb for centuries.

GOLD OF PLEASURE OIL (Camelina sativa) is also known as wild flax. Gold of Pleasure oil has been used for several thousand years to treat the skin. It contains an exceptional amount of omega 3 fatty acids as well as powerful anti-oxidants which are excellent for skin renewal and health. Oil of Pleasure oil is nature’s richest source of Omega 3 and Omega 6 oils. Oil of Pleasure is remarkable oil, as it has a high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA’s) of both the Omega-6 and Omega-3 families. In fact, it is one of the richest sources of Omega-3 fatty acids with 40% of a-linoleic acid. In addition it is one of the rare oils with a significant content (up to 15%) of eicosenoic acid (C20:1). It has a very clear effect on the skin and act as “anti-aging” agents by enhancing the barrier function of the epidermis, reducing the Trans Epidermal Water loss (TEWL) and improving the elasticity of the skin. Like other PUFA oils, gold of pleasure oil can be used as an emollient to soften the skin and protect it against weather influences.

GOLDENSEAL ROOT (Hydrastis canadensis L.) was used by Native American tribes, including the Cherokee and Iroquois for health conditions ranging from topical inflammations, debility, cancer, and dyspepsia to whooping cough, pneumonia, diarrhea, fever and sour stomach. European settlers of the 18th century used a goldenseal root wash for eye inflammations. It is taken orally to alleviate colds and fevers, stop recurrent ear infections, and stimulate the immune system. Its ability to counter microbes and parasites makes it useful in conditions such as vaginitis and urinary tract infections, and digestive ailments such as infectious diarrhea. Herbalists often recommend it topically for its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic actions, which make it useful to clean wounds, reduce hemorrhoids, soothe canker sores, and alleviate skin infections (including ringworm and athlete’s foot).

GOTU KOLA (Centella asiatica) has a long history of use dating back to ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine roughly 2,000 years ago. Gotu Kola is useful in treating stress, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s Disease, mental fatigue, neurasthenia, and even insanity. Researchers from the University of Maryland i Baltimore, MD, explained that an extract from the leaves of gotu kola has been used as an alternative medicine for memory improvement. The study found a possible molecular mechanism for the memory-enhancing property of gotu kola extract. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is an irreversible, progressive disorder in which brain cells deteriorate resulting in the loss of cognitive (thought) functions, primarily memory, judgment, reasoning, movement coordination and pattern recognition. In advanced stages of the disease, all memory and mental functioning may be lost. Alzheimer’s affects about 10 percent of people ages 65 and up, and the number doubles roughly every 10 years after age 65. Half of the population ages 85 and up may have Alzheimer’s. There are an estimated 24 million people with general dementia worldwide.

HOPS (Humulus lupulus): Herbal Stress Relief by Susan Lark M.D.

With a dynamic life comes an abundance of pressures and stress. Abnormal habits become “normal” in an effort to cope with the city’s fast-paced lifestyle. Slowly, people find themselves drifting away from natural laws. Gulping down a tranquilizer or a sleeping pill for nervousness, insomnia, and stress becomes a cultivated habit, much like the taking of vitamins. Unlike vitamins however, these drugs do more harm than the distressed person realizes.

Henry David Thoreau, a naturalist and philosopher, made a very keen and accurate observation when he wrote; “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation”. Although Thoreau lived over a hundred years ago, his observation still hold true today. Tension, anxiety, and conflicting demands are the heating pads on which everyone is buckled. From domestic strains, traffic jams, flash floods, uncertain weather, fear of unemployment and the inevitable rise of prices to fierce competition in business, the list of tension builders and stress-givers seems endless. Hops with their sedative and muscle-relaxing phytochemicals calm the nervous system, making them essential in easing away tension, anxiety and pain. Hops are also anti-microbial; Dutch researchers show that the hop essential oils and extracts are effective against bacteria. Hops is used to treat insomnia, nervous irritability, headaches due to nervousness, neuritis, indigestion and poor appetite.

ILLIPE BUTTER (Shorea stenoptera), illipe nuts come from a truly magnificent tree that is native to Southeast Asia and Borneo. The indigenous peoples of Borneo have been making “butter” from the illipe nuts for many centuries for therapeutic and cosmetic purposes. Illipe butter is renowned for it’s incredible moisturizing properties and its ability to restore elasticity to the skin and is beneficial for the treatment of: moisturizing chronically dry skin, mature skin, sunburn, healing sores, damaged skin, rough skin (such as on feet) and mouth ulcers. Illipe butter is exotic and luxurious, and is quite similar to cocoa butter in its triglyceride composition. It is excellent for the skin.

KAVA KAVA (Piper methysticum) was first discovered by tribal Indians in the Pacific Islands. Today the kava plant is grown and harvested in Hawaii, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga. The root was traditionally stewed in water and enjoyed as relaxing beverage by adults and was typically used during ceremonial rites of passage. Kava Kava helps reduce normal anxiety without impairing mental function. It works on the central nervous system and promotes relaxation to those suffering from anxiety or depression. Kava Kava may also help promote more restful sleep to those struggling with insomnia or restlessness, and it helps relax sore, tired muscles. Scientists believe that Kava serves as a mild central nervous system depressant by acting on the limbic (emotional center) system of the brain. The result is a better attitude, reduced sense of stress, release of anxious tension and more restful sleep without intoxication. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Kava opens obstructed Chi flow throughout the body. This leads to better circulation without increasing the heart rat and also improves access to the subconscious helping recovery of lucid dreams.

LAVENDER FLOWERS (Lavandula officinalis and angustifolia). 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, as an ingredient in perfume, healing wounds, and as an insect repellant. 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. Lavender has been thought for centuries to enflame passions as an aphrodisiac, and is still one of the most recognized scents in the world. The German Commission E commended lavender for treating insomnia, nervous stomach, and anxiety. The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia lists lavender as a treatment for flatulence, colic, and depressive headaches, and many modern herbal practitioners use the herb to treat migraines in menopause. In Spain, lavender is added to teas to treat diabetes and insulin resistance.

LEMON BALM (Melissa officinalis) Lemon balm is a mint with a distinctly lemony scent. Its botanical name Melissa is taken from the Greek word for bee, indicative of the plant’s attractive power for bees and useful insects of all kinds. The term “balm” refers to balsam, the ancient world’s most important sweet-smelling oils. For thousands of years herbalists used lemon balm to treat any kind of disorder of the central nervous system. The London Dispensary (1696) says: “An essence of Balm, given in Canary wine, every morning will renew youth, strengthen the brain, relieve languishing nature and prevent baldness.” John Evelyn wrote: “Balm is sovereign for the brain, strengthening the memory and powerfully chasing away melancholy.” Alcoholic tinctures of lemon balm were combined with lemon peel, angelica root, and nutmeg to make Carmelite water, a nineteenth-century tonic for migraine headache and neuralgia. Lemon balm is useful for treating nervous disturbances of sleep and chronic gastrointestinal disorders, but its primary use today is in treating viral infections of the skin, especially herpes, both genital herpes and cold sores.

LEMON PEEL (Citrus limon) Lemon peel is the familiar cut and dried yellow outer layer of the lemon. Although orange peel is more commonly prescribed in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, lemon peel also stimulates the appetite by encouraging the release of gastric juices to digest food, and helps provide vitamin C. Lemon peel is added to scores of herbal teas and herbal formulas for aroma and taste enhancement. Lemon Peel contains Limonene and at least 45 other antioxidant flavonoids, pectin, vitamin C. A recent study in Arizona found that the regular consumption of lemon peel greatly reduced the risk of skin cancer caused by sun exposure. Lemon peel aprovides citrus bioflavonoids that help stabilize capillaries, helping to heal varicose veins. It’s an excellent astringent or used as a lotion for sunburn.

LICORICE (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is used for many ailments including asthma, athlete’s foot, baldness, body odor, bursitis, canker sores, chronic fatigue, depression, colds and flu, coughs, dandruff, emphysema, gingivitis and tooth decay, gout, heartburn, HIV, viral infections, fungal infections, ulcers, liver problems, Lyme disease, menopause, psoriasis, shingles, sore throat, tendinitis, tuberculosis, ulcers, yeast infections, prostate enlargement and arthritis. Licorice also appears to enhance immunity by boosting levels of interferon, an immune system chemical that fights off attacking viruses. It also contains powerful antioxidants as well as certain phytoestrogens that can perform some of the functions of the body’s natural estrogens; very helpful during the menopause. Glycyrrhizinic acid also seems to stop the growth of many bacteria and of viruses such as influenza A. Licorice root contains many anti-depressant compounds and is an excellent alternative to St. John’s Wort. Licorice root was buried in tombs and caskets to help the soul pass easily into the afterlife. Great quantities were stored in King Tut of Egypt’s tomb to help him on his way to the afterlife.

MUGWORT (Artemisia vulgaris) is most commonly used to treat disorders of the digestive tract and aid in all digestive functions and has been said to have properties which are antifungal, antibacterial, expectorant, and antiasthmatic. It is considered to be good herb for gastric disorder, stomach pain and bowel complains. It has been used for poor appetite, indigestion, travel sickness and stomach acidity.

Mugwort is thought to be effective in treating a wide range of parasitic infections, such as tapeworm, roundworm, and threadworm. It is also considered effective against parasites that infect the skin like ringworm.

It is mostly famous for being considered a “dream” herb, enhancing remembrance of dreams, both during sleep and in trances, and precognitive dreaming or dreaming of future events.

MULLEIN FLOWERS (Verbascum thapsus) were and are traditionally used for cough, especially dry night cough, ear pain, urinary irritation and pain. It is an herb that is consumed most during the flu season. The flower can be used as an expectorant and for pain relief. The flowers of this herb are used to treat migraines; these also act as bactericide and antibiotics. When the flowers of mullein are mixed with olive oil, these can cure earache. Mullein has astringent, emollient or soothing properties as well as acts as a demulcent. These properties in mullein can help treat bleeding in the lungs, in the bowels and can bring relief from symptoms of Tuberculosis. Applied externally, mullein can treat burns, frostbite and bruises. It can also be used to treat skin ulcers and skin burns.

OATS (Avena sativa) are an amazing natural beauty enhancer. They soothe and heal the skin while reducing inflammation. Inflammation is one of the number one causes of premature aging, and while it all starts on the inside, reducing outer inflammation is also necessary for gorgeously radiant skin.

Because oats are slightly rough, they are one of nature’s most amazing exfoliates. They soften the skin, making it super duper silky smooth. Oats have actually been clinically shown to help heal dry, itchy skin. They are totally hypoallergenic unlike many of the ingredients that are given to people who have eczema by doctors. Oats soothe mild burns, any type of irritated skin.

ORANGE PEEL (Citrus sinensis) has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine since the writing of the Divine Husbandman’s Classic of the Materia Medica, written in the second century BC. The little known fact is that there are substantially more enzymes, flavonoids, and phyto-nutrients in the peel of the Orange rather than the fruit. The peel is where all the essential components accumulate and they may be found in three main sections of the peel; the flavedo, albedo, and oil sacs. Orange peel acts as anti-inflammatory due to the high flavonoid content, and as an anti-bacterial and anti-microbial agent. One of the major components of Orange Peel (d-limonene) has been reported to have anti-carcinogenic activities.

PEPPERMINT (Mentha piperita) is a general stimulant. Peppermint tea strengthens the heart muscle, cleanses the body and is delicious. Peppermint lessens the time food spends in the stomach by stimulating the gastric lining. It relaxes the stomach and promotes burping, has a calming effect on the body and can help soothe a nagging cough. Helps reduce the sick feeling typical of migraine headaches. Increases stomach acidity, irritates mucous membranes and the gastrointestinal tract. Peppermint tea is a valuable old-time beverage for relieve of stomach gas, flatulence, and resultant distress. As a harmless, caffeine-free beverage it will not cause restlessness or keep you awake at night. Peppermint tea promotes bile flow, improves bile production in the liver and also exercises a positive influence on pancreatic function.

ROSEMARY (Rosmarinus officinalis) is an Antioxidant, antiseptic, and antispasmodic. For centuries, rosemary has been used to treat arthritis, baldness, headaches, stomach upset, pains, strains, cuts, scrapes, and bruises. Contemporary scientific research suggests that rosemary may be useful for: Alzheimer’s disease- phytochemicals in rosemary may prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine, a chemical that allows neurons within the brain to communicate with each other. Rosemary contains compounds that prevent carcinogenic chemicals from binding to and inducing mutations in DNA.

ROSES (Rosa damascena) are possibly the world’s most favorite flower because of their beauty and their amazing fragrance. To obtain a single drop of Rose Otto thirty roses must be used hence a very large quantity of rose petals is needed to produce a the oil making it very costly. Rose absolute is the most precious essential oil in the world and there is no equal in skin care for moisturizing, firming, smoothing and repairing the skin. It produces no irritation and is cooling, calming and soothing. It has a long history in its use in folk remedies and is suitable for all skin types, especially for dry, sensitive or aging skins. It has a tonic and astringent effect on the capillaries just below the skin surface, which makes it useful in diminishing the redness caused by enlarged capillaries. Many label their products containing “rose essence” but it could be synthetic which has no therapeutic value at all!

SAGE (Saliva officinalis) is beneficial for its astringent, stimulant, nervine, diuretic, expectorant, memory boosting, anxiolytic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant effects. It helps heal swellings, cuts, sprains, mouth ulcers, sore throat, dyspepsia, abdominal troubles, menopausal symptoms and joint pain.

SARSAPIRILLA (Smilax utilis) In the mid-1800s, the brewed plant was very popular in the U.S. as a spring tonic. The root has been used commercially as a foaming ingredient and flavoring in root beer and other soft drinks. Sarsaparilla root contains sulfur, iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium.

Today sarsaparilla is used an anti-inflammatory and cleansing agent. The herb cab is invaluable in bringing relief to disorders and problems such as skin psoriasis, eczema and itchiness, and can help treat gout, rheumatism, and rheumatoid arthritis. The herb is a very good for treating impotence. This is because sarsaparilla has a specifically testosterogenic action on the body and can lead to a dramatic increase in one’s muscle bulk. Native Amazonian people take sarsaparilla to improve their virility and to treat menopausal symptoms.

SASSAFRAS ROOT (Sassafras Officinal) is used externally for skin aliments, wounds and rubbing of oil on affected areas. In Europe, sassafras was used to cure syphilis. Although it can safely be used for eczema and psoriasis it is found to relieve arthritic pain, gout and rheumatism. Its strong smell makes its useful for dental care too. It can be used as a mouthwash to remove infection. Sassafras can also be applied on the head to kill lice. It is useful to relive intestinal gas. It has proved well as a diuretic too. Sassafras can be used in fevers.

SAW PALMETTO BERRIES (Serenoa serrulata) have been used as a tea to treat benign enlargement of the prostate and are used to treat urinary tract infections and to increase sex drive in men and sperm production. Frequent urination and excessive night urination, due to inflammation of the bladder or prostate, is a common condition treated by saw palmetto.

Saw palmetto has also been touted as anabolic agent, contributing to muscle growth. This is also a by-product of the action on testosterone, stopping its conversion to DHT. This leads to more free floating testosterone, which is an anabolic agent and leads to more muscle mass.

Men may use the herb to increase their sexual ability as well as to do away with their infertility or impotence. Similarly, women may take the herb or medicines containing its extracts to heal their reproductive system. Research in saw palmetto has been found to be extremely beneficial for men in healing prostate disorders and even controlling prostate cancer symptoms. Saw palmetto has also been dubbed as ‘plant catheter’ as it is beneficial for reinforcing the bladder neck as well as for curing swellings in the prostate glands. As mentioned earlier, this herb is applied as a diuretic to regularize urine gush and also as a urinary antiseptic to treat cystitis.

SLIPPERY ELM (Ulmus Fulva) contains astringent tannins, calcium phosphate, mucilage and starch and is a soothing nutritive demulcent, which is good for sensitive or inflamed mucous membrane linings in the digestive system. This herb is used in the treatment of gastritis, gastric or duodenal ulcer, enteritis, colitis and the like. In diarrhea it will soothe and astringe at the same time. Externally it makes an excellent poultice for use in cases of boils, abscesses or ulcers. It is excellent for sore throats. Slippery elm bark has also been used in cough remedies.

Slippery elm bark is one of nature’s miracle cleansers. Its sticky substance dissolves mucus that has been deposited in organ tissue, lymph glands and nerve channels. Its lubricating action protects and softens all the membrane linings in the body, especially damaged and inflamed areas.

ST. JOHN’S WORT (Hypericum perforatum) is a pretty bright yellow plant and ancient herb used by the Greeks and considered magical in the Middle Ages to ward off evil and protect against illness. It has powerful nerve regenerative abilities along with anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties and 2of the ingredients (hypericin and pseudohypericin) have been proven to inhibit the AID’s virus. It also aids in nerve damage, trauma to muscle tissue, cuts and wounds and is good for bruises, sprains, burns and other injuries. It is also used for nerve disorders, stress and pain.

STAR ANISE (Illicium verum) looks like an eight-pointed star and is used to relieve colic, gas, headache and to stimulate the appetite. Flatulence, nausea, vomiting and other gastric distress can also be treated with this herb. It has anti-spasmodic qualities that help relieve upset. It is used in flu medications commercially like Tamiflu, the only drug at this time known to be effective against the Bird Flu. The herb is known to be antifungal and antibacterial and it has been used to relieve coughs due to its expectorant qualities. Some folk remedies recommend the use to facilitate birth and to increase the libido, as well as to relieve menopausal discomforts.

WHITE CLAY (Kaolin clay) has natural adsorbent properties which makes it essential in hygiene products and is often found in facial powders and masks. It is the mildest of all clays and is suitable for people with sensitive skin. It helps stimulate circulation to the skin while gently exfoliating and cleansing it. It does not draw oils from the skin, so it can also be used on dry skin types without negative results.

Kaolin Clay is high in calcium, silica, zinc and magnesium, which are beneficial for oily, blemished skin. The clay’s mildly drying and disinfectant properties help heal existing blemishes and inflammations, while preventing new ones from forming. Traditionally, clays are used to reduce swelling and inflammation, and to draw impurities from the skin. The high mineral content of White Kaolin Clay rejuvenates the skin while the clay exfoliates and stimulates blood circulation to the skin. Regular use of clay facials will remove dead skin cells, improve circulation to the skin, remove debris from the pores and bring about a smooth healthy glow.

WILD YAM ROOT (Dioscorea) has been used in women’s health for a long time. It was used in Central America to relieve pain from childbirth, menses, and ovulation. In modern times yam root is also used to treat arthritis pain. It is also used to relax muscle cramps and to treat irritable bowel syndrome. Active Compounds: tannins, steroidal saponins, phytosterols, alkaloids.

WITCH HAZEL (Hamamelis virginiana) is used as an excellent astringent skin cleanser, aftershave, and to treat insect bites and sunburn. The name, incidentally, has nothing to do with witches; it comes from the Old English word for “bend,” and the branches were often used to make archery bows. . Constituents: Ascorbic acid, acetaldehyde, astragalin, beta-ionone, choline, gallic acid, hamamelidin, isoquercitrin, kaempferol, myricetin, phenol, quercitin, quercitrin, safrole, spiraeoside.

References:
http://www.healthguidance.org
http://www.livestrong.com
http://www.herbal-supplement-resource.com
http://www.globalhealingcenter.com
http://www.mountainroseherbs.com
Angela Watkins Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine
http://www.mdidea.com
http://botanical.com
http://www.naturalnews.com
http://www.digherbs.com