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Herbs

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Oregano

If someone says Oregano, it is likely that you will think in terms of cuisine.
You would be right as most people do think of Oregano is sauces and so forth.
However, there are actual medicinal properties to Oregano as well. Oregano
makes a luscious cup of savory tea that works well for gas, indigestion,
bloating, coughs, urinary problems, bronchial problems, headaches, and swollen
glands and to induce and regulate a woman's menstrual cycle. Others swear that
is can cure fevers, diarrhea, vomiting, and same jaundice.

In the capsule form the leaves are dried and then crushed and placed into the
empty capsule shell. Further, even others use the dried leaves by crushing them
and adding just enough water to create a paste like substance and use it for a
cream to apply for arthritis, itchy skin, sore muscles, and swelling. For a
relaxing and soothing bath use Oregano leaves in the bath water. Finally, some
people make Oregano oil and claim it helps rid toothaches.

In Jamaica people burn Oregano scented incense to ward off coughs and other
respiratory distresses. Oregano has been used in ancient Greece and many other
places across the globe where people have found a different use for Oregano
besides cooking. Oregano is a perennial herb that is relative to the mint
family and it is a very important culinary herb that is used in a lot of Greek
and Italian cuisines. For cooking purposes it is the leaves that are used and
while some like nothing but a fresh Oregano sprig, most will agree that the
dried Oregano is much more flavorful.

Especially in Italian cooking you will notice a distinct relationship between
the uses of Oregano in combination with Basil. The two always seem to create
the perfect marriage especially in a tomato sauce. Oregano is also used on many
vegetable dishes as well as a seasoning on various meats. The Greeks would never
consider cooking with Oregano in their pantry. The famous Greek salad boasts its
flavor of Oregano. No one could imagine eating a piece of pizza without a taste
of Oregano added to it.

Oregano is commonly mistaken for Marjoram as the plants look very similar.
Outside of the kitchen Marjoram and Oregano are best friends and do a lot
together. The pair has quite plentiful properties in the areas of antioxidants
and antibacterial. Together they are not only a great combination for flavoring
food but also for preserving it too. Because both of their oils are perfumery
they are placed in many different soaps and lotions. They are also used in
combination for many potpourris and home decor.

There is no denying that Oregano has been around since ancient times both in
and out of the kitchen. It had many medicinal properties then and it still does
now. It was used in the kitchen and it is still used there now so those from
ancient times started a tradition that is still followed to this day. Oregano's
uniqueness is fully utilized in many different ways and will be for years to
come.

Parsley

When it comes to herbs, traditions have changed, varieties have increased, but
through it all, Parsley has just stayed Parsley, flat or curly leaf, nothing
major and no need for change. Use it as an herb or use it as a garnish, it does
not matter people still love it. Often used fresh or dried, fresh is more
popular and has very easy access when purchasing it or growing it. Storing it
is simple, just wrap it is a damp paper towel and place it in a baggie and
store it in the fridge. Parsley is used for all kinds of sauces and salads.
Parsley can pretty much be added to anything and is used often to color pestos
but it is very frequently used as a garnish.

Throughout history, parsley has been used for cooking as well as for medicinal
purposes but has also been used for a lot more. Early Greeks used Parsley to
make crowns for the Olympian winners. Hebrew tradition uses Parsley as part of
Passover as a symbol of spring and rebirth. Parsley tracks all the way back to
Hippocrates who used it for medicinal purposes for cure alls and as an antidote
for poisons.

He also used it for ridding kidney and bladder stones. Many of these prior
claims have been validated through modern science and it is true that Parsley
is rich in vitamin A and C and is also shown to clear toxins from the body and
reduces inflammation. Parsley has three times the amount of Vitamin C than
oranges do!

Back in much earlier times, any ailments that was thought to be caused from a
lack of Vitamin C was treated with Parsley such as for bad gums and loose
teeth, for brightening what were considered dim eyes. The Greeks almost feared
Parsley because it was associated with Archemorus, who too was an ancient
Greek. Ancient tales tell that Archemorus was left as a baby on a parsley leaf
by his nurse and was eaten by a serpent. For this reason the Greeks were
terrified of Parsley which sounds kind of silly now but it took a while for
them to get over that.

Parsley was also used to regulate menstrual cycles because parsley contains
apiol which mimics estrogen, the female sex hormone. Parsley was also used to
ward off Malaria and is told to have been very successful in doing so and it
aided with water retention as well. Although these are old wives tales as some
might call them when you consider them for just a minute they really do make a
lot of sense.

Some of these old remedies still are used in part today such as the use of
Parsley for kidney stones, as a diuretic, for rheumatoid arthritis, as a
stimulant, for menstrual regulation, to settle the stomach, and as an appetite
stimulant. You can purchase Parsley juice at herbal stores and it can be very
healthy for you although it might not taste the greatest it can be mixed with
other juices to enhance the flavor. Dried Parsley really has the least amount
of nutritional value to it.

Sage

Sage is a relative to the mint family. It is common for Sage to be ground,
whole or rubbed but is generally in more of a coarse grain. Sage is grown in
the United States but is also grown in Albania and Dalmatia. Sage is a very
popular herb in the United States and is used quite frequently for flavoring
such things s sausage, pork, lamb, and other meats, salads, pickles, cheese,
and stuffing. The smell of Sage is very aromatic and distinct.

Sage loves to hang around in the kitchen with Thyme, Rosemary, and Basil. They
work very well together. Sage is normally one of the main herbs in stuffing for
poultry but is often added to lamb and pork dishes as well. Sage is very strong
and should be used sparingly as a little goes a long way. Sage, like many other
herbs develops its full flavor the longer it cooks and withstands lengthy
cooking times which might be why it is so good when used in the stuffing for
the Thanksgiving turkey that cooks for about five hours.

If you grow your own Sage you will find that all you have to do is snip off the
tops of the plant with scissors and add it right to your favorite recipe. Sage
is still at its best when dried but if you prefer just simply place the fresh
Sage leaves in a baggie in the freezer and pull them out as required.

Today, Sage has no medicinal purposes to speak of but back in a different time
Sage was used regularly to cure snake bites and was also used to invigorate the
body and cleanse the mind. In the middle ages it was quite common for people to
make a Sage tea and drink it for ailments such as colds, fever, liver trouble,
and epilepsy.

Although there is nothing to solidify these claims it is also said that a
chewed Sage leaf applied to a sting or an insect bite will reduce the sting and
bring down the swelling. Sage tea has been said to soothe a sore throat and also
help in drying up a mother's breast milk and also reduces blood clots. Further
it has been known to help with itching skin if it is added to hot bath water.
Today, it is mainly the Native Indians who still rely on the herbal powers of
Sage.

The word Sage means salvation from its Latin origin and is associated with
longevity, immortality, and mental capacity. Sage never loses its fragrance
even after being dried out so it is often added to potpourri and is also added
to many soaps and perfumes. It has been used in insect repellents and has
antibacterial properties which have helped it become a preservative for many
things such as meats, fish, and condiments. Sage has a musky smoky flavor and
works very nicely for cutting down some of the richness in many foods. It also
goes great with almost any vegetable too. Sage is definitely an herb that most
people almost always have in their pantry if they do any cooking at all.

Rosemary

Rosemary is a relative to the mint family and the name is derived from its
Latin origin to mean "dew of the sea." Rosemary is very common in Mediterranean
cuisine and has somewhat of a bitter astringent taste to it. While that is true
it compliments oily foods very nicely. A tisane can be made from the Rosemary
leaves and that is also very popular when cooking.

First it is burned and then added to a BBQ to flavor various foods. Sage,
unlike many other herbs has a high nutritional value to it and is rich in iron,
calcium, and vitamin B-6 and is more nutritional in its dried form rather than
fresh. Rosemary should be harvested just as you are going to use it because it
truly loses its flavor once dried. Gardner's swear that if you plant some
Rosemary plants in and around your garden, the Rosemary will fend off moths,
beetles, and carrot flies.

Older Europeans loved Rosemary and believed that it improved memory and also
used it as a symbol of remembrance and was often tossed into fresh graves
before they were buried over. Traditionally it has been said that Rosemary,
left untrimmed, would grow for thirty three years where it will reach the
height of Christ when he was crucified. Many would also place sprigs of
Rosemary underneath their pillows to ward of evil and nightmares. Often the
wood that comes from the stems of the Rosemary plant was used to make musical
instruments. Remember that people back then liked to utilize every piece of
something as not to waste. Today, many wreaths are made from Rosemary as a
symbol of remembrance.

Today, Rosemary is still used for many things besides cooking as it is in
potpourris, air fresheners, shampoos, and cosmetics. There has also been
scientific evidence that Rosemary works very well as a memory stimulant.
Rosemary has also shown some cancer prevention properties in animals. But
further Rosemary has shown a strong relationship in relaxing muscles, and to
soothe stomach upset as well as menstrual cramps. The main thing to remember
when using Rosemary for this purpose is that if you use too much it can
actually cause a counter effect.

When made into a tea it is ingested for calming nerves and anxiety and as an
antiseptic. Rosemary when used as a tea many people find to taste very good.
Making the tea from Rosemary is quite simple actually, just pour boiling water
over the leaves and steep for 10-15 minutes. A little sugar can be added by you
should not add any cream. A few sprigs can be added to oils and vinegars to
flavor the products which add a nice taste for cooking.

When used cosmetically it can lighten and tone human hair and when mixed with
equal parts of shampoo it has been known to strengthen hair too. It also makes
for a nice additive in hot bath water. Rosemary is still used quite commonly
today however more so for cooking than anything else.

Thyme

Thyme is a very popular and well known culinary herb. It is a very decorative
plant while it is growing and is also very easy to grow as well but be prepared
because bees just love Thyme. Many people use Thyme in stews, salads, meats,
soups, and vegetables. Thyme is a very common household herb and is a member of
the mint family. The plant is very aromatic and comes in many varieties. Thyme
is a frequently used herb in many fish dishes. Oddly enough as much as honey
bees love to suck the nectar from the Thyme plant is as much as other insects
loathe it. Some people have been known to make a mist spray of Thyme and water
and use it as a bug repellent.

Various forms of Thyme are available year round but many people prefer to grow
their own. Nothing beats the smell and taste of fresh Thyme as long as you know
to pick it just as the flowers appear. Once fresh Thyme is harvested it should
be stored in either a plastic bag in the crisper or stood straight up in a
glass of water on the shelf in the refrigerator for easy access.

The bad news, fresh Thyme does not have a very long shelf life, you will be
lucky if it last a week. If you have selected fresh Thyme and decide to dry it
then simply hang it upside down in a warm and dry atmosphere for about a week
to ten days. Then you can crumble it into a powdery form and stored in a sealed
dark container for no more than six months. You want to eliminate the stems as
they have a tendency to have a woody taste to them.

Thyme has some medicinal purposes as well as an antiseptic, an expectorant, and
deodorant properties as well. When combined with fatty meats Thyme has been
known to aid in digestion too, especially with lamb, pork, and duck. Herbal
medicine has used Thyme for various things such as extracts, teas, compresses,
for baths, and for gargles. More modern medicine has chimed in and verified
that Thyme just might strengthen the immune system.

Distilled Thyme oils have been used for the commercial use of antiseptics,
toothpaste, mouthwash, gargle, hair conditioner, dandruff shampoo, potpourri,
and insect repellant. It is also used in the production of certain expectorants
that are prescribed for whooping cough and bronchitis. Thyme has also been used
in part as an aphrodisiac and in aromatherapy oils as well.

If by some chance you are in the middle of cooking recipes that calls for Thyme
and you find that you are out do not fret, it is said that you can use a pinch
of oregano as a substitute if you have to. Thyme is very often used when
cooking European cuisine but is essential for the correct preparation of French
foods as it has that faint lemony taste to it. It has also been said that Thyme
is one of the only herbs that a cook can not over season with because the
flavor is so mild. Thyme is a primary spice that everyone should have stocked
in their pantry.

Tarragon

Tarragon is a relative to the Sunflower family and there are two different
breeds of Tarragon, Russian and French. However, when you go shopping and pick
up some Tarragon for your pantry or a favorite recipe it is almost guaranteed
that you have just selected the dried leaves of the Tarragon plant because that
is what is most often used and sold for commercial purposes.

Tarragon has a somewhat bittersweet flavor to it, almost resembling anise with
that hint of licorice flavor to it. Tarragon does not have a long history
behind it like most of the other herbs as it was not brought into the Unites
States until the 19th century. It does have some mention about being used in
England much before that time though. Traditionally, Tarragon is used to flavor
such things as vinegar, relishes, pickles, mustard, and other various sauces.

The word Tarragon is derived from the French word which means "little dragon."
There are two beliefs about how this nickname came about; one is because back
in early times it was thought that Tarragon had the ability to cure venomous
snake bites. Other thought it got this name because of the distinct roots that
the Tarragon plant has that quite clearly resemble that of a serpent.

However, sometime as early as the 13th century Tarragon became widely used for
seasoning vegetables, inducing sleep, and as a breath freshener. Not until the
16th century did Tarragon become more widely known. The Tarragon that is sold
in the US today is not true Tarragon but rather Russian Tarragon which is not
nearly the same. True Tarragon will be called French Tarragon and if you want
to be sure that is what you are getting it is best to grow your own.

It is not recommended to use dried Tarragon because all of the active oils have
been dried out. It is best to use fresh Tarragon which needs to be used rather
sparingly because of its pungent taste. If you have grown the Tarragon yourself
and have harvested it then put it in a Ziploc bag and stick it in the freezer.
When it is time to use it there is no need to defrost it but remember that heat
intensifies the flavor of Tarragon. If you have ever had Bearnaise Sauce, you
should have recognized that Tarragon is the main ingredient in it.

Tarragon is used when preparing many sauces. In a pinch it has been said that a
substitute could be chervil, a dash of fennel seed, or anise but the flavor will
not be the same.

Many have claimed that Tarragon works well to induce appetite and the root of
Tarragon was once used to cure toothaches. It is linked to medicinal uses for
digestive aid and also for the prevention of heart disease. It can be used to
induce menstruation and can be used as a sale substitute for people with high
blood pressure. Further medicinal purposes include use for hyperactivity
depression, and as an anti bacterial aid for cuts and abrasions.

Marjoram

Marjoram is the dried leaves from an herbal plant called the Origanium
hortensis. The name Marjoram is a Greek word that means "Joy of the Mountain."
Ancient Greeks believed that if Marjoram grew on a grave that person would
enjoy eternal happiness. The taste of Marjoram is a bit sweeter than that of
Oregano. Many people believe that Marjoram is, in part, a species of Oregano.
Marjoram is a pretty user friendly herb that is used quite traditionally in
Italian, French, North African, Middle Eastern, and American cuisine. Marjoram
compliments quite nicely sausages, various meats, fish, tomato sauces, salad
dressings, breads, stuffing's, and salads.

Marjoram is a relative to the mint family. You get the most flavors from
Marjoram if you use the fresh leaves rather than fried marjoram. One big
difference between Oregano and Marjoram is while Oregano tends to prosper in
taste the longer it simmers in a sauce or stew, marjoram is the opposite and
should be added into the dish as late as possible. Although Marjoram is sweet
and mild, it is also at the same time minty and has a hint of citrus. The
biggest Marjoram exported in Egypt. Marjoram blends very well with Bay Leaves,
pepper, and Juniper. While all vegetables can benefit from a hint of Marjoram,
it seems to work best on adding and enhancing the flavor of cabbage and legumes.

Many people find a great benefit from Marjoram in aromatherapy oils. Marjoram
is said to have a soothing and warming effect with a spicy and warm scent. This
explains why it is so popular with those who enjoy the many benefits of
aromatherapy. Many times for aromatherapy oils it will be mixed with lavender,
bergamot, and cedar wood. Beyond the great world of aromatherapy Marjoram has
many other beneficial uses too as it is used as an analgesic, antiseptic,
antispasmodic, and as a diuretic. The many uses of Marjoram include treatment
for anxiety, arthritis, bronchitis, bruises, colic, constipation, digestive
problems, gas, insomnia, muscle aches and pain, PMS, Rheumatism, sinusitis, and
sprains.

Quite often people use Marjoram on a daily basis in various forms. Some prefer
it as a tea which has been used throughout history for easing such ailments as
hay fever, indigestion, sinus congestion, asthma, stomach upset, headache,
dizziness, coughs, colds, and disorders associated with the nervous system.
Some even use the tea as a mouthwash. One or two cups of marjoram tea per day
have proven to be extremely therapeutic. Marjoram can be made into an ointment
or salve by crushing the dried herbs into a paste, adding just a tiny bit of
water. This is a common way to treat sprains and Rheumatism. Even still, some
will mix the Marjoram into a paste and then into an oil to use for tooth pain
or gum issues.

Marjoram should not be ingested internally in a medicinal or herbal form during
pregnancy but can be eaten as an herb that is added to food. As you can see,
Marjoram is a very essential and beneficial herb that was used in ancient times
and is commonly still used today.

Gypsywort

Gypsywort is an herbal plant that but has no culinary purposes at all but
rather is used for industrial and medicinal purposes. This plant originated in
Europe and Northwest Asia. Gypsywort's most important properties come from the
stem and the leaves. These were used for the astringents, sedatives, anxiety,
tuberculosis, and heart palpitations. Industrially, Gypsywort was extremely
beneficial in making a permanent black dye. Oddly enough that is how it got its
name, the Gypsies were said to have stained their skin with this black dye like
substance so they would resemble Africans or Egyptians while they were
performing their "magic."

Gypsywort is also called Lycopus europaeus; it has no known hazards and usually
grows near rivers, streams and ravines. You will likely find this plant from
June to September but the seeds are the most ripe between August and October. A
unique physical characteristic of this plant is that is has both male and female
organs so it self fertile, pollinated by insects and bees. In a survival
situation, the root of the Gypsywort could be eaten raw or cooked.

The flowers of this plant are used for astringents and sedatives but also have
an iodine property to it that is commonly used for hyperthyroidism. The entire
plant has been known to slow and strengthen heart contractions, treat coughs
and bleeding from the lungs, and excessive periods, and the leaves are great
for cleaning wounds. Heart disturbances and nervousness can be eased by the use
of Gypsywort. The part that is rendered for use is the flowering plant itself
and the best time to gather these is June -- September. It is a sedative,
because it reduces the pulse rate in conditions involving an overactive thyroid
gland by reducing the activity of iodine. It was once prescribed for
hyperthyroidism and related disorders such as Basedow's disease.

Gypsywort can be purchased at your local herbal supplement store or ordered
online and does have some outstanding benefits although not much culinary use.
It is a very uncommon and not very often spoken about form of herb. Some use it
with aromatherapy and a mixture of many other oils and fragrances. Bugleweed is
very closely related to Gypsywort and for medicinal purposes the two are very
often closely linked to each other.

The juice of the Bugleweed can also be used as a dye. The two could also be
twins in the family of herbs. The rarity of this particular herb in
underestimated and often undervalued. With the research that is being done each
year on various herbs and their contribution to the medical field maybe one day
people will hear more about this herb that remains quite a mystery to most.

Many of the other herbs that can provide similar benefits as the Gypsywort are
becoming extinct because they are over harvested and over used so it could be
extremely beneficial to utilize much rarer herbs that can often bring forth
some of the same benefits as others. Gypsywort just might be one of the herbs
that would fall into this category.

Golden Seal

Golden Seal is a perennial herb that is part of the Buttercup family. Golden
Seal is used for a lot of medicinal purposes in a variety of ways both
topically as well as internally. There are actually quite a few ways to
purchase Golden Seal, in a bulk powder, salve, tincture, or a tablet.
Internally it is a great digestion aid and if gargled with it has been known to
remove canker sores.

Golden Seal has been around since times of the European conquest of America but
has remained very strong because even today it is used for anti-catarrhal, anti
inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, bitter tonic, laxative, and muscular
stimulants. Herbalists say that if you are trying to ease gastritis, colitis,
duodenal ulcers, loss of appetite, and liver disease, Golden Seal is what you
might want to look into which is available at all herbal supplement stores.
Golden Seal is very bitter so it stimulates bile secretions, stimulates the
appetite, and aids in digestion.

Golden Seal has been around since the mid 19th century but is now threatened
because Golden Seal is one of the most over harvested herbs. It keeps getting
harvested and harvested but never replaced. Golden Seal which also goes by the
name Yellow Root is often combined with Echinacea and prepared for easing the
symptoms of colds. It is the underground root of Golden Seal that is harvested
and dried to make teas and both liquid and solid extracts that are then turned
into bulk powder, capsules or tablets.

Scientists claim that there is no evidence to support the use of Golden Seal
for any ailments or medical condition whatsoever because of the very small
amount of berberine that Golden Seal contains. Regardless of scientific claims,
Golden Seal is one of the most widely sold herbs on the market today.

Although a very controversial subject, many people believe that the reason that
Golden Seal is standing solid ground in the marketplace is because it is used
primarily for the purpose of masking positive drug screens for people who are
required to take drug tests for work or through law enforcement agencies. Many
claims there is no validity to this claim but still many people are buying it
because a friend told them that it worked and for that matter it is promoted in
High Times magazine for the sole purpose of covering bogus drug screens. The
claim is that because THC which is the active ingredient in marijuana is fat
soluble it stores itself in the kidneys and becomes water soluble. Two to three
days prior to a drug screen, you get some Golden Seal, follow the directions and
it's a guaranteed pass.

If Golden Seal is one of the most popular herbs on the market today then
someone has to be keeping them in business and it is true that many people are
turning to herbal remedies in an attempt to heal themselves naturally rather
than load up with a bunch of prescriptions that have nasty side effects.

Ginseng

Out of all of the herbal supplements on the market today, Ginseng is the most
widely used. In earlier times Ginseng went by a different name, "man root."
because the root resembled that of the shape of a man. To this day many people
believe in the powers of Ginseng as they believe that it has healing and
mystical powers. The Ancient Chinese thought that when a plant resembles a
human body part that it would have a healing effect on that part of the body.
In other words if a plant resembled a hand it would have the ability to heal
the hands. But since Ginseng resembles the entire body it is thought that is
can bring balance and well being to the whole body.

Ginseng contains complex carbohydrates, is an anti inflammatory, an anti
oxidant, and has anti cancer elements. Notice today that many energy drinks
contain Ginseng which is because it is known for creating energy, this was
brought to the forefront by the Chinese but Americans have a different plan for
Ginseng which is use it for mental lucidity and treating stress. There has been
a growing relationship between Ginseng and its ability to strengthen physically
as well as mentally and maintain good balance.

It was the Russians who actually made that discovery however the Asians have
discovered that Ginseng helps mental improvement, eliminates anemia, and helps
prevent diabetes, neurosis, coughs, asthma, and TB. Further they found that it
can be very beneficial to the liver and can also reduce the effects
significantly of a hangover.

There has been more recent research on Ginseng than on any other herbal
supplement, ever. The concern is that many times when people purchase Ginseng
at various stores it may have been over processed and therefore not as
effective. The best way is to make sure that you are purchasing authentic
Ginseng and in order to do that you may have to purchase the Ginseng root.
Oddly enough, with all of the research and studies that have been conducted on
Ginseng the FDA has yet to endorse it. It is known that people who suffer from
high blood pressure, heart disease, bleeding or clotting disorders, or diabetes
should not use Ginseng unless they speak with their physician first.

While it is true that Ginseng is most widely recognized as a medicinal herb it
is also used quite frequently in teas and in cooking. Most people are aware of
the infamous Ginseng tea but many are not aware that Ginseng is sliced and put
into soups and often boiled and mashed, added to stir fry dishes, and added to
boiling water when making rice. It is much more common for cooking in Chinese,
Korean, and Asian foods.

Often Ginseng is used when cooking chicken and mushroom dishes. Many people
also use it in desserts for some added zing. It is often used in soups, salads,
and even jellies. It seems that most people who enjoy the benefits of Ginseng
for cooking are vegetarians but it might be becoming more popular since people
are now learning the true benefits of this very popular herb.

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo is one of the oldest tree species that are alive and the leaves are one
of the most studied leaves in clinical settings today. Ginkgo Biloba is an
herbal form of medicine and in Europe and The United States is one of the
biggest sellers. Many traditional medicines contain Ginkgo and are used for
enhancing memory and to treat circulatory disorders. Scientific studies all
support and validate these claims. Newer evidence shows that Ginkgo might very
well be effective in treating decreased blood flow to the brain, especially in
the elderly. There are two types of chemicals in Ginkgo leaves, flavonoids and
terpenoids, which are thought to have very strong antioxidant properties
resulting in aiding those who have Alzheimer's disease.

While the Ginkgo plant is still in tree form, it produces fruit that is not
edible; inside of the fruit are seeds that are poisonous to humans. Most of the
studies that are currently being conducted on Ginkgo are being done on the
leaves of the Ginkgo (GBE). Although many components of the Ginkgo tree have
been studied only two have been directly related to the big success of Ginkgo,
as mentioned above. This is why Ginkgo is showing a much more structured
relationship with treatment of Alzheimer's and Dementia. Because Ginkgo is so
effective in improving blood flow to the brain and because of its antioxidant
properties, the evidence that Ginkgo can help these patients is extremely
promising.

It is suggested that Ginkgo truly can improve cognitive functions such as
thinking, learning, and memory, improve activities of daily living and social
behavior, and lessen the feelings of depression. Further studies are showing
that the flavonoids can also help with retinal problems, people with
circulatory problems in their legs, memory impairment, and tinnitus. Many
doctors are recommending Ginkgo for treatment or discomfort associated with
altitude sickness, asthma, depression, disorientation, headaches, high blood
pressure, erectile dysfunction, and vertigo.

Ginkgo may also reduce the side effects of menopause, osteoporosis, and
cardiovascular disease. The option of Ginkgo has a lot more appeal these days
then the options of prescription medication which has unpleasant side effects.
Children under the age of 12 should not use Ginkgo and in adults it usually
takes about 4-6 weeks before you will see any significant results. There has
been a relationship developing between Ginkgo as an anti aging aid since it is
such a powerful antioxidant that wards off the free radials.

It is very common and becoming even more so for healthy people to include
Ginkgo as an herbal supplement on a daily basis for better concentration and
enhanced memory. People claim that in general they feel that Ginkgo reduces any
mental fatigue that daily life has a tendency to bring forth. Many men are
taking Ginkgo to improve impotence as well as increase fertility. The Chinese
have used Ginkgo Biloba for many years and have found great success with it so
it seems that they might be on to something here because this herbal remedy
looks like it going to be around for a very long time.

Frankincense

Since farther back than anyone can remember Frankincense has been used for
medicinal and religious purposes. Early Egyptians used Frankincense as part of
their embalming process, the Greeks used it as an antidote to hemlock
poisoning, and the Chinese used it for trading as well as for internal and
external purposes. Today, Frankincense is used mostly for aroma therapeutics
but many have also recognized it as an anti inflammatory, antiseptic, and a
diuretic. Some medical research has been done showing a relationship between
the possibility of Frankincense and the treatment of osteoarthritis and may
have some anti cancer fighting agents.

Frankincense has also been shown to help with anxiety, disappointment,
hysteria, emotional fatigue, nervousness, congestion, anti inflammatory, immune
deficiency, insomnia, asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, aphrodisiac, emollient,
indigestion, carminative, antiseptic, expectorant, sedative, tonic, and anti
tumor.

Frankincense has been around since ancient times and is even mentioned in the
Bible. The Jews offered up Frankincense in ceremonies. It seems that different
regions use Frankincense for different reasons; the Chinese use Frankincense to
treat leprosy, Egyptians used Frankincense to pain women's eyelids, hair
remover, and perfume. The main contribution of Frankincense is for respiratory
distress and although it was once taken internally but no longer is but now is
rather used as more of incense and when it is infused with vapors it can help
laryngitis.

Frankincense comes from a tree called the Boswellia Thurifera which can be
found in Africa and Arabia. To get Frankincense, they split the trunk of the
tree and allow the resin to harden before it is harvested. Frankincense is
commonly used in the practice of Wicca which is a religion that practices
witchcraft. They use Frankincense for perfumes and believe that it corresponds
well with certain days such as Sundays and Wednesdays. What Wicca's call a
solar spell is affiliated with Frankincense in the form of oil or herbs are
used for spells and formulas that are related to solar issues.

These spells would be used for such purposes as physical energy, protection,
success, and putting an end to specific legal issues. When you refer to
Frankincense in the form of essential oils it is very expensive and is usually
diluted with other oils or jojoba oil. These combinations are also used by the
Wicca's when casting spells. Some people prefer to substitute Rosemary for
Frankincense.

Ironically enough never forget that Frankincense was one of the beautiful gifts
that were brought to baby Jesus on the night of his birth by one of the three
wise men. This is also used to increase menstrual flow, to treat syphilis, for
unsightly scars and stretch marks, and breast cysts. Further it is used to
treat acne, boils, and skin infections as well. Frankincense is one herb that
is not edible and is not known for use in any recipe contrary to those who
believe that Frankincense is used in Indian cuisine. It is not known to be used
in any cuisine at all but it is extremely helpful for the practice of
aromatherapy.

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus is an aromatic herb that has properties that provide great relief as
a decongestant and an expectorant. For centuries Vick's which is made as a
Eucalyptus rub is applied to the back and chest of a person who has a common
cold or any other respiratory distress. It is known to loosen the mucus in the
chest so that it can be coughed up and expelled.

Eucalyptus also has some antibiotic association with it. Eucalyptus has both
internal and external uses. Internally it is the leaves that are used for
herbal teas that are able to assist people by acting as a diuretic, an
anti-diabetic and also has some anti-tumor properties. The Eucalyptus oils are
almost never used internally or ingested but on rare occasion a doctor might
use a miniscule amount for nasal congestion, bronchial disease and other
respiratory problems.

Externally, Eucalyptus is used as a vapor rub and while it is recommended that
it be rubbed on the chest and back area it is also good for inhalation in such
ways as steam vaporizers. Some even boil water and drop a teaspoon of vapor rub
into it so an ill person can breathe in the fumes which will help to break up
the congestion in the lungs. Quite often people have used the very same rub for
sprains, bruises, and muscle aches and pains.

Never underestimate the power of Eucalyptus oil as it can be beneficial for
many reasons. First it is a very powerful antiseptic, it is used to treat
pyorrhea which is a gum disease. It is often used to treat burns too. One thing
you can bank on is that insects do not like Eucalyptus so if you mix some with
water and put it in a spray bottle you can be sure that bugs will stay away. A
small drop on the tip of the tongue is said to take away nausea. Many people
will soak a cloth in Eucalyptus and put them in their pantries or closets to
fend off bugs and roaches. Another quick tip is a few sniffs of Eucalyptus is
said to help someone who has fainted and when mixed with cinnamon is known to
alleviate the symptoms of the flu.

Eucalyptus is also commonly used for aromatherapy too because when mixed with
other oils it is extremely beneficial. The effects of Eucalyptus are
stimulating and balancing and the scent is very woody. For the purposes of
aromatherapy it blends well with Juniper, Lavender, and Marjoram. Eucalyptus
when used in aromatherapy does the body good as it helps to relieve mental
fatigue, improves mental clarity and alertness, sharpens the senses, refreshes
and revives, stimulating, energizing.

It also has great effects on the body as it feels cooling; it relieves pain and
sore muscles, breaks up congestion, and reduces inflammation. Eucalyptus
incorporated with aromatherapy offers pure enjoyment. Inhaling the fragrance of
Eucalyptus can reduce stress and lessen depression. It makes for an overall
sense of better well being. Eucalyptus is great for both bathing and also for
massage oils.




Echinacea

Echinacea is an herb that is extremely effective and holds multiple purposes.
There are nine different species of Echinacea but the one most commonly used
and referred to is the Echinacea purpurea. Many people take Echinacea everyday
to prevent colds, flu, and any other types of infections that might be running
rapid at the time as Echinacea has been known for strengthening the immune
system. Some people also use Echinacea for the treatment of acne and boils. The
entire Echinacea plant including the roots are dried and made into teas, juices,
and tonics.

While many swear by the power and strength of Echinacea there is no scientific
backing that gives these claims any validity whatsoever. The Natives used to
use Echinacea for many different things including the treatment of poisonous
snake bites and insect bites. Back in the 1800's Echinacea played a very large
part of United States medicine and then spread to Germany where they too used
it for many medical purposes.

It was then used as an antibiotic and continued on until better antibiotics
were made available. For years Echinacea sort of lost it's pizzazz but more
recently gained back its popularity. Many think the reason for that is because
there is still no cure for the common cold.

There are many various parts of the Echinacea plant that are used to make
medicine but most often it is the roots that are of the most value. Echinacea
can be administered in many different ways such as in a tablets, capsules,
juice, tea, extracts and tinctures. Some are made from the flower in full bloom
and others are made from the root itself. Echinacea is also available in a
topical solution or cream that many use for creams, lotions, mouthwashes,
ointments, skin washes, and toothpastes. Further it is becoming quite common to
add Echinacea to particular cosmetics as an anti aging remedy but that claim has
no validity at all as there is no relationship between anti aging and Echinacea.

Echinacea is an extremely beneficial herb for helping the body rid itself of
microbial infections. When combined with other herbs such as Yarrow and
Bearberry it is said to work great combating cystitis however Echinacea has yet
to be endorsed by the FDA for safety or effectiveness. Those who use Echinacea
for the common cold swear by it and it is recommended that for the most
effectiveness you should begin taking Echinacea when you notice the very first
symptoms of a cold and then stay on it for three weeks
and stop taking it for one week.

There are some who would be at risk if they took Echinacea such as people with
multiple sclerosis, white blood cell disorders, collagen disorders, HIV/AIDS,
autoimmune disorders, or tuberculosis. Heed caution also if you have any plant
allergies; take other medications, or herbal remedies. Children should not take
Echinacea, nor should pregnant women or nursing mothers.

Also, people who are on steroid medicine including betamethasone, cortisone,
hydrocortisone, methylprednisolone, prednisolone, triamcinolone, cyclosporine,
tacrolimus, azathioprine, or other immune system suppressants should avoid the
use of Echinacea.

Dandelion

The Dandelion is an herbaceous plant that really is much more than just a
nuisance in your yard. For all purposes, the Dandelion leaves are at their best
just as they emerge from the ground and they are very distinct as nothing really
resembles this at all. Depending on when you harvest the Dandelion leaves will
determine the bitterness of them but it is an appealing bitterness.

These leaves that are considered an herb blend nicely with salads and do well
either sauteed or steamed. Many claim the taste is similar to that of endive.
People who are into eating the fruits of nature claim that it is perfectly
acceptable to eat the Dandelion flower as well. Some claim that they make
outstanding fritters if they are battered up and fried and make a colorful
contribution to any stir fry.

Dandelions leaves are actually extremely nutritious, much more so than any herb
that can be purchased in the stores. They are higher in bets carotene than
carrots are and they have more iron and calcium and iron than spinach does.
Dandelion leaves are also full of vitamins B-1, B-2, B-5, B-6, B-12, C, E, P,
D, biotin, inositol, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc. Dandelion root
is one of the safest and most popular herbal remedies on the market and is
widely used today.

Traditionally it can be made into a tonic that is known for strengthening the
entire body, especially the liver and gallbladder because it promotes the flow
of bile. Dandelion root contains taraxacin so it reduces the inflammation to
the bile ducts and reduces gallstones. It is commonly used for Hepatitis, liver
swelling, and jaundice. It also helps with indigestion.

This plant also goes by the French name, Pissenlit. Ironically enough when used
in the tea form made by the leaves or the root has a tendency to act as a
diuretic on the kidneys. Over the counter diuretics have a tendency to suck the
potassium out of the body but not the Dandelion leaves. Dandelion root tea has
helped some actually avoid surgery for urinary stones. Dandelions are really
just good for overall health and well being so just about anyone could benefit
from a cup of dandelion tea. Many herbalists say that incorporated the
Dandelion plant into dinner each night will assist in easier digestion.

When you take a Dandelion plant and break the stem you will find a milky white
substance inside. This substance is great for removing warts, pimples, moles,
calluses, soothing of bee stings, and blisters. Some other things that
Dandelion has been popular in the past for is making Dandelion jam and others
use it for a coffee substitute when it is roasted and ground Dandelion root.
Many also drink Dandelion wine.

Today, Europeans use plenty of Dandelion roots to make herbal medicines and
find it hard to believe that Americans refer to this highly beneficial plant as
a weed when it has such positive benefits for the liver, spleen, kidneys,
bladder, and the stomach.

Cloves

Cloves are definitely one of the most distinct herbs around but ironically
enough, cloves have been around forever and are not finished doing business
just yet. Usually if you can not get your hands on some cloves, Allspice can be
a substitute. Cloves have some preservative properties to them but they work
well as an antiseptic, expectorant, anesthetic, or an emmenogogue, working well
on the kidneys, the spleen and the stomach.

Some make a combination of cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon, and marjoram for a hot
tea that helps bronchitis, asthma, coughs, a tendency to infection,
tuberculosis, altitude sickness, nervous stomach, nausea, diarrhea, flatulence,
indigestion, dyspepsia, gastroenteritis, the side effects of lobelia, and
depression. Sometimes people mix cloves with hot water, again making a tea and
claim that it helps them get a good night's sleep.

Cloves and ginger is a sure way to settle the stomach and stop vomiting. If you
combine equal parts of cloves and basil it is supposed to detox meals from the
body. Cloves have been used for failing eyesight and tooth problems. It was
used for earaches very often throughout history as putting a little warmed oil
of clove on a piece of cotton and in your ear was certain to rid any earache.
Mostly, cloves are known for being warm and spicy but also have a strong
relationship with pain relief, easing nausea and vomiting, and improving
digestion. Cloves also kill intestinal parasites and act as an antimicrobial
agent against fungi and bacteria. It has also been suggested that cloves have
antihistamine properties as well.

Do not be too quick to pass off the possibilities of cloves and aromatherapy as
the two have a very strong bond between them. Since cloves have such a positive
and stimulating effect on the mind they pair up great with other oils for
aromatherapy purposes. In the 16th and 17th centuries cloves were worth their
weight in gold however it is the clove oil that is most essential. In Indonesia
many people smoke clove cigarettes and that did spill over into the United
States for a while but lost most of its vigor when it was found that clove
cigarettes could cause adult respiratory distress syndrome.

The word clove comes from the Latin word "clavus" which means nail. If you have
ever looked at a clove you will notice that it does resemble a nail. Many people
use whole cloves when they cook ham by sticking the spiky part around the outer
edges of the ham for extra flavor. Indian curries can not do without cloves but
it is also used in pickles, sauces, Worcestershire sauce, and even spice cakes
that are baked from scratch.

Throughout history cloves has never been forgotten but has lost some of its
popularity. Some still use it as a spice and some for minor dentistry and even
still more for the purpose of aromatherapy. People still look at cloves as an
"old fashioned" herb. For some families it has been passed down through
generations and in the pantry still sits a jar of whole cloves for that special
ham dinner.

Cilantro

Cilantro is a very fast growing herb which can be grown just about anywhere. It
is a relative of the carrot family and is sometimes called Chinese parsley and
Coriander. Cilantro actually is the leaves and stems of the Coriander plant.

It has a very strong unique odor and is relied on heavily for Mexican, Asian,
and Caribbean cuisine. Cilantro also resembles Parsley which is not surprising
since the two are related. For thousands of years Cilantro has been around,
first in Egypt, India, and China and then it was introduced to Mexico and Peru
where it is still used with chilies when making masterful food dishes. It has
since become very popular in certain parts of the United States as well. Today,
Cilantro has lost its popularity in Europe as most Europeans are repulsed by the
very smell of it.

Cilantro is a Greek word that means "koris" which in English means bedbug oddly
enough because it is said by many that Cilantro smells like a bedbug. The
Chinese did not seem to mind because they add Cilantro to their various love
potions because to them it symbolizes immortality and has aphrodisiac
properties to it. Many also say that it is an appetite stimulant. Cilantro is
very easy to find in pretty much any local grocery store or fruit market any
time of the year.

Cilantro has an interesting history to it and has showed up many times
throughout history. Keep in mind that Cilantro is also in part Coriander, and
some seeds were found in King Tut's tomb. It is also mentioned in the Old
Testament and was used by physicians dated back as far as Hippocrates. The
Ancient Egyptians used Cilantro for such things as headaches and urinary tract
infections.

Cilantro can also mask the scent of rotting meat and it was used for that
purpose quite frequently by earlier cultures. It would be fair to say that
Cilantro is an herbal plant that has two identities since Cilantro is what the
plant is referred to in its earliest stages and when it is fully developed it
then becomes Coriander. Cilantro grows very quickly but also dies very quickly
but it can easy grow in a pot on your windowsill. It is always best to harvest
Cilantro before it bolts or blooms. If you wait too long to harvest Cilantro
what will happen is that you will be harvesting Coriander because it will then
be all seed.

Today, Cilantro can be found just about anywhere in the United States and is a
garnish on almost every plate served in an upscale restaurant. The odd thing
about Cilantro is that most people either love it or they hate it, usually
there is no in between.

Those who hate it claim that it has a soapy taste while those who love it claim
that it is a strong taste that Cilantro delivers but they do enjoy it pungency.
Cilantro is sold as fresh and if you find it in a dried form do not waste your
time with it because drying it causes it to lose its entire flavor.

Belladonna

Belladonna is not an herb that you are going to want to stock your pantry with.
While it has its benefits, this is an herb that can be very dangerous and
sometimes even fatal. It has some medicinal properties to it and has an
interesting history but it can be very dangerous. The nickname "deadly
nightshade" is a good clue of its potency. There is however a tincture that
comes from this plant that is used for medicinal purposes. Belladonna is a
perennial herb that is native to Europe and Asia Minor but is now grown quite
often in the United States, Europe, and India. When the plant is in full bloom
the plant is harvested and then dried for use.

The most important contribution from Belladonna is atropine which is an
important agent that is useful in dilating the pupils of the eye. This has
proven to be very beneficial. Even small doses of atropine can cause the heart
rate to increase. Some cough syrups are known to contain atropine and are used
for bronchitis and whooping cough. Further it is used to soothe the stomach
lining prior to an anesthetic being administered and also for peptic ulcers.

Belladonna goes by many different names but has been used for over 500 years.
While growing in the wild, which belladonna commonly does, a slight dose can be
fatal. In the earliest times when Belladonna was first used it was cosmetic
purposes. Women felt that if they used it to dilate their pupils that they
would look more sexy and alluring. That is why the name Belladonna means
"beautiful lady" in Italian. Yet, it is still used in many eye doctors' offices
across the country to this day.

Belladonna also has other great benefits for purposes of what it is used for
today as it has the ability to dry up bodily fluids such as breast milk,
saliva, perspiration, and mucous. The alkaloids in Belladonna are used for many
conditions such as gastrointestinal disorders such as colitis, diverticulitis,
irritable bowel syndrome, colic, diarrhea, and peptic ulcer. It also works for
asthma, excessive sweating, excessive nighttime urination and incontinence,
headaches and migraines, muscle pains and spasms, motion sickness, Parkinson's
disease, and biliary colic.

Quite often Belladonna is used as homeopathic remedies such as the common cold,
earaches, fever, menstrual cramps, sunstroke, toothaches, headaches, sore
throats, and boils. How the patient ingests and how much they ingest is
determined by a few various factors such as their symptoms, mood, and overall
temperament. When Belladonna is administered for homeopathic use it is highly
diluted because of the toxicity level of it.

No one should ever use Belladonna as a self help measure and it should only be
taken under the care of a qualified doctor. The doses given of Belladonna are
always in very low doses. When Belladonna is prescribed it is either added to
sugar pellets or mixed with other types of drugs and is available by
prescription only. So while it is clear that Belladonna is an extremely
dangerous herb it is also very beneficial when used correctly.

Basil

Originally, Basil was not the most popular herb in the bunch. Actually there
were some who simply hated it, mainly the ancient people. The name basil means
"be fragrant" but still various cultures battled with a love hate relationship
over basil. Americans and Romans loved it while Hindus plant it in their homes
as a sign of happiness. On the contrary it was the Greeks who despised it most
but those from India and Persia were not too fond of it either. One place that
took a special liking to Basil was Italy and to this day not many people
prepare a classic pasta sauce without the Basil.

To this day basil and tomato sauce have formed somewhat of a marriage almost
globally. Basil is very easy to grow as long as the temperature does not fall
below 50 degrees and is in full sunshine. It is popularly used both in the
fresh form as well as the dried. A rare known fact about Basil is that the
longer it simmers in a dish the more the flavor intensifies. This makes sense
as to why people simmer their pasta sauces for so long, to bring out all of the
rich herb flavors. Normally in pasta sauces Basil is used in combination with
Oregano. However, Basil is not just used for pasta or tomato sauce, it is also
used for flavoring fish, vegetables, meats, and soups.

If you decide to grow an herb garden, you can thank the Basil plants for
keeping the flies away as flies are also part of the group that does not care
for Basil. Another interesting fact about Basil is that it was considered a
royal herb with a strong association pertaining to love. Basil had a
relationship with how men of a much earlier time planned on proposing to their
fair maidens. The man would bring a branch of Basil and if the woman accepted
his gift she silently agreed to love him and be faithful to him for eternity.

Basil is related to the Mint family and just knowing that should give you a
good idea that it will have many medicinal uses as well. Right away most people
associate anything mint with aiding the digestive system and also for its anti
gas properties. Herbalists use Basil quite commonly for health ailments such as
stomach cramps, vomiting, constipation, headaches and anxiety. When Basil is
used for these purposes it is generally made into a hot tea for drinking. Some
also claim that a nice hot cup of Basil tea can contribute greatly to a good
nights sleep. At herbal stores you can also purchase Basil capsules as well if
you do not care for the taste of the tea.

Basil is still one of the most common household herbs used today and in most
areas of culinary art it is a necessity there too. When used in its freshest
form, Basil is torn from the plant and then just minced up with a knife.
Usually somewhere nearby the Basil you will find some olive oil, garlic, and
someone getting ready to prepare a fantastic tomato sauce.

Balsam of Tolu

Balsam of Tolu is an herb that comes from a very tall tree that can be found in
Columbia, Peru, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia. This herbal
plant has also been called Balsam of Peru because it was originally exported
primarily from Peru but that is no longer the case. The resin of this tree is
what is most valuable and is retrieved in the same fashion that one collects
the valuable properties from a rubber tree by tapping into it. The gummy resin
that comes from the tree is then turned into balsam. Today, the main exporters
of Balsam of Tolu are El Salvador, Columbia, and Venezuela.

In earlier times it was tribal groups from Mexico and Central America that used
the leaves of Balsam of Tolu to treat such common ailments as external wounds,
asthma, colds, flu, and arthritis. Some native Indians used the bark in a
powered form as an underarm deodorant while others found it best for lung and
cold ailments. Those who originated in the rainforest tribes used Balsam of
Tolu quite frequently for many medicinal purposes such as abscesses, asthma,
bronchitis, catarrh, headache, rheumatism, sores, sprains, tuberculosis,
venereal diseases, and wounds.

As this herbal plant grew in popularity, it was the Europeans who wanted in on
the action and soon the Germans were using it for pharmaceutical purposes as
well. They found that Balsam of Tolu worked very well for antibacterial,
antifungal, and antiparasitic purposes so they immediately started using it for
such things as scabies, ringworm, lice, minor ulcerations, wounds, bedsores, and
diaper rash. Today, it is used very often in topical salves for the treatment of
wounds, ulcers, and scabies.

It can be found in hair tonics, antidandruff shampoos, feminine hygiene sprays
and as a natural fragrance in soaps, detergents, creams, lotions, and perfumes.
In the early 1800's, the United States wanted to utilize Balsam of Tolu as well
but used it mainly for treatments as cough suppressants and respiratory aids
used in cough lozenges and syrups, for sore throats, and as a vapor inhalant
for respiratory distress.

Balsam of Tolu has a vanilla like smell and taste and it is used mostly for
flavoring cough syrups, soft drinks, confectionaries, and chewing gums. Balsam
of Tolu is widely available now in the U.S. The essential oil distilled from
the gum is sold in small bottles and used topically, in aromatherapy. The
fragrance is considered to be healing and comforting. It is useful for
meditation and relaxation which is why it has become so popular amongst the
world of aromatherapy. Balsam of Tolu has a very unique aroma which makes it
excellent for exotic floral fragrances.

Generally its topical use is recommended for skin rashes, eczema, and skin
parasites such as scabies, ringworm, and head lice. Balsam of Tolu is
considered sensitizing oil which means that it is more likely to cause an
allergic reaction to the skin or be a skin irritant than other herbal oils
might be in people who are sensitive or commonly have allergies to plants and
herbs.

Asafoetida

Asafoetida has been also referred to as the "Food of the Gods." The main part
of this plant that is used is the resin which makes up a volatile oil. The
history of this herb is amazing as it was used frequently back in time by
Alexander the Great for flavoring. That was back in 4 B.C. still in early
times, Asafoetida was used to treat gas and the bloating associated with it.
Carrying through time the resin gum is used often for vegetarian dishes that
are prepared in India. Today, it is one of the main flavorings in
Worcestershire sauce.

Asafoetida is an herbal plant that has many diverse uses such as an aid for
digestion, a remedy for headaches, an antidote, and an expectorant. Asafoetida
has been known to be used on some mental impairment but not very often has it
been shown to make any significant difference except for mild anxiety.
Therefore it focuses primarily on bodily functions where it can do greater good.

As mentioned earlier, it works on gas and the bloating associated with it but
further it also eases indigestion, rids stomach cramps, and helps with
constipation, which is Asafoetida's contribution in the digestion department.
When it comes to headaches, when Asafoetida is mixed with water it is showing
great promise for the treatment of migraines and tension headaches. As an
antidote, it works great for snake bites and an insect repellant when it is
mixed with garlic.

As an expectorant the Asafoetida oil helps to rid the body of excess mucus and
eases the respiratory system. Many use it for whooping cough, asthma, and
bronchitis. Where expectoration is a problem asafetida helps in expelling
accumulated cough. Some mixtures that seem to blend together well for coughs
and as expectorants are roasted fresh resinous gum powder with real ghee or a
mixture of asafetida powder with honey, white onion juice, betel nut juice and
dry ginger.

Asafoetida has a very unpleasant odor to it, so bad that many call it the
"Devil's Dung." The foul odor comes from the resin that is removed from the
plant's stem and root. Asafoetida is a species of the fennel plant but a
relative to the carrot. The wicked odor is formed from the organic sulfur
compound found as part of the essential oils. When it comes to the value of the
Asafoetida tree, the older, the better and trees less than four years of age are
virtually worthless.

When buying Asafoetida in the marketplace it will likely be available in three
different forms, one is called tears which are commonly sold in Chinese
pharmacies and characteristically may have fragments of root and earth. It is
also sold in a paste which is very commonly used as a condiment for flavoring
such dishes as curry, to flavor beans, sauces, pickles, and many use it as a
substitute for garlic.

A few other unique things that Asafoetida is used for is that if used in
recipes regularly it has been suggested that it may increase the chances of
male fertility. Often it is used for toothaches as well.

Alfalfa

Alfalfa, which is a perennial herb, has a long list of dietary and medicinal
uses and research has proven that Alfalfa might lower blood levels of
cholesterol and glucose. Many take Alfalfa supplements orally and is has been
proven safe except in a small percentage of people where it produces lupus like
symptoms. In the seeds and sprouts of Alfalfa, amino acid L-canavanine is
present and that is what is thought to cause this reaction. However, this is
not present in the leaves of the Alfalfa. The whole leaf and the herb are what
are rendered from the Alfalfa plant.

Since the sixth century the Chinese have used Alfalfa to relieve fluid
retention and swelling. The Arabs were the first to find Alfalfa and they named
it "the father of all foods." The leaves of the Alfalfa plant are very rich in
minerals and nutrients, including potassium, calcium, magnesium, and carotene.
The Arabs first fed it to their horses because they believed the Alfalfa made
them swift and mighty. Alfalfa has been an animal crop for over a thousand
years but is also used as an herbal medicine.

Alfalfa is a good diuretic and also a good laxative. It also works well for
urinary tract infections, and kidney, bladder and prostrate disorders. The
latest and greatest discovery of Alfalfa is the benefits that it might provide
for lowering cholesterol because there are certain agents in Alfalfa that stick
to cholesterol which keeps it from remaining in the blood stream. Further, it
may also have a very strong relationship with lowering blood sugar levels.

When it comes to Alfalfa it is something that many people enjoy in their
cuisine. It is good in salads and some people eat it as a vegetable all alone.
Many people claim that eating Alfalfa is a big part of eating healthy. Besides
wheat grass and algae, Alfalfa has the most nutritional value. It is high in
fiber, vitamins, minerals, and has all of the required digestive enzymes.

It is warned by avid Alfalfa lovers that you likely will not like the way that
it tastes in your mouth, it may feel like it is burning the tip of your tongue
and you actually might just completely dislike it however, they urge you to not
give up because it is an acquired taste and you will begin to like it. The best
news is that soon after eating it regularly you will find that your appetite
for heavier foods will diminish.

Alfalfa is also great for reducing fevers and is very good for the blood. It
contains natural fluoride and prevents tooth decay. Alfalfa makes a great tea
because when the Alfalfa leaves steep in the hot water it is a source of
nitrogen. The tea is not only made for human consumption because people who
grow Irises and Delphiniums just love Alfalfa tea because of the great effect
that it has on the plants when used as a foliar spray. Many with a green thumb
also use Alfalfa as mulch for their flower beds.

Chamomile

Chamomile is an herb that has been used for thousands of years for many
ailments including gas, diarrhea, stomach upset, sleeplessness, and anxiety. It
can also be used topically for certain skin lesions. The Chamomile plant has
flowering tops and these are what are used for making tea and other herbal
remedies that include Chamomile.

When Chamomile tops are stewed and then drained the liquid is a deep yellow
color and can be lightly sweetened if preferred. It has a very unique taste to
it and many women used to make sure they always had a few baby bottles tucked
safely away in the refrigerator in case their baby got gas. It was used before
the days of over the counter gas relief drops and although there is no
scientific validity to it, it always seemed to make the baby stop wailing and
fall fast asleep.

It was also given to women for menstrual cramps in the days before Midol and
Pamprin. Chamomile also has some calming properties to it so it can be very
beneficial to sip on during the day if you are feeling anxious or if the
muscles in your body are tense from anxiety and stress it is said that
Chamomile can help to relieve that.

Chamomile produces an oil that when isolated turns a very unique bluish color
and this has very distinct anti-inflammatory properties to it so it has been
known to work very well on skin infections, eczema, and inflamed skin. This
would be Chamomile in its topical form rather than the flowers or the tea from
the flowers. Again, remember that Chamomile was around for a long time before
many over the counter and prescription medications were so readily available.
For years all many people had to rely on was herbal remedies that were likely
passed down from generations and possibly continued to be passed down even
after the newer medications did come to the forefront.

Often when small children had bug bites, diaper rashes, or eczema, the mother
would fill a stocking with Chamomile and oatmeal and let it soak in the tub
with her children. It was very effective in stopping the itch and improving the
diaper rash. Chamomile was also used in combination with other herbs for a lot
of other purposes such as if one felt nauseous, a combination of Chamomile,
shredded licorice root, fennel seeds, and peppermint would cure that pretty
quickly. Because Chamomile is part of the Ragweed family you should not ingest
it if you have an allergy to Ragweed.

Some people love to sip a hot cup of Chamomile tea with no ailments at all,
just because they enjoy it. Pregnant and nursing mothers are advised to stay
away from all herbs but Chamomile is the exception to this rule. It is
completely safe for anyone to drink at any time. It has even been known to help
teething babies too. On a final note Chamomile has been known to be an excellent
hair conditioner and to sooth scalps. When mixed with a bit of lemon and
sunshine it has also been known to give subtle natural highlights to hair.

Catnip

"Catnip" is the common name for a perennial herb of the mint family. Catnip is
native to Europe and is imported into the United States. In North America it is
a common widespread weed. Catnip is most popular with cats and the reaction that
it causes in them when they receive some dried nip from their owner. They roll
around in it in all of their glory. The fact is that humans do not smell what
cats smell when it comes to catnip so humans do not react the same way that
cats do. It is known that the chemical nepetalactone in catnip is the thing
that triggers the response. Apparently, it somehow kicks off a stereotypical
pattern in cats that are sensitive to the chemical.

In humans catnip has been used for several ailments including the treatment of
colic, headache, toothache, colds, and spasms. It is also known to induce sleep
in most people but it others it can have a counter effect. Catnip also has
antibacterial properties to it too. In the 15th century the English cooks would
season meats with catnip and also add a pinch to salads. Many people also prefer
catnip tea to Chinese tea. Some of the agents in catnip also act as a very
effective cockroach repellent. It has actually been proven to be more effective
by 100% than DEET.

When taken orally, catnip shows a great benefit for anxiety, insomnia, and
nervousness. Nepetalactone is the active ingredient in catnip and is commonly
used as an herbal sedative. Because of this it is also great for easing
migraine headaches, stomach complaints, and also reduces swelling associated
with arthritis, hemorrhoids, and soft tissue injuries. Catnip can be purchased
in a liquid, dried, or a capsule form. It is the dried form that is commonly
brewed into a tea. Folklore has it that if catnip is smoked it might produce
minor hallucinogenic effects but that has since been disregarded. It was also
said that when children would throw fits that catnip would be able to calm them
and also stop children from having nightmares.

Some claims have been made that catnip is a distant relative of marijuana.
There really is no validity to this claim except for the way that the cats act
when they roll around in the nip which looks like they have a buzz. When the
cat rolls around in it a euphoric effect is displayed but if the cat eats any
of the nips, he is certain to fall fast asleep. Catnip has been called the
mysterious herb by many. It is related to common kitchen herbs like thyme and
sage, and can be easily cultivated as a houseplant.

Another fact about Catnip is that as much as cats seem to love it is as much as
mosquitoes hate it. These are all the things that make catnip such a unique herb
that it has the ability to entertain cats, it has medicinal properties, there
are a few funny myths about it and is an insect repellant all in one.

Burdock

Burdock is a plant that is related to the daisy family. It is also closely
related to Echinacea, Dandelion, and Feverfew. Burdock is an herb but it is one
that has been much neglected when it comes to getting attention. Back in ancient
times the Greeks used the roots, the seeds, and the greens and used them for
healing purposes. Throughout the Middle Ages Burdock was used for both food and
medicine.

Today, Burdock is still used for such things as easing liver problems and
digestive disorders. It was also found to be very effective for cleansing the
skin for problems such as acne and also to assist in digestive problems. To
this day throughout Europe the stalk and the greens are still eaten because
they hold such valuable nutrition and vitamin values.

As more and more research is being done on Burdock many new and interesting
discoveries are cropping up. A relationship is being examined between Burdock
and its anti fungal and anti bacterial properties, and even more important it
is showing signs of possibly being able to fight against tumors and could be a
cancer fighting agent as well. Research has shown that since many of the cancer
causing compounds are in almost all foods which are then eaten and stored in the
human fat tissues that Burdock might very well be of help in fighting cancer
because of the role that it can play in depleting these mutagens.

Burdock is also very helpful in strengthening the immune system when it has
become weakened by environmental factors. When mixed with other herbs such as
Dandelion and Ginger it can be a very powerful blood purifier. The most unique
fact about Burdock is that it has a very high amount of inulin which is a
natural occurring chemical within the body that mimics actions of insulin.
Because of this, Burdock has been successful in helping combat hypoglycemia and
pre diabetes conditions.

If you look for Burdock in the market you may find it called gobo instead as
that is what some refer to it as. It is often combined with other vegetables or
added to Tofu. Some boil Burdock while others saute or deep fry it. Many have
said it might not be such a good idea to look at Burdock before you eat it
because you might change your mind about taking a bite.

It looks thick, dark, and woody but indeed the opposite is true when it comes
to the taste. Burdock is well recognized as a health food because it has low
calorie content and a high fiber intake. It is also loaded with potassium,
iron, and calcium. People claim that Burdock tastes like nothing else. In other
words it has a taste all of its own.

The best description that people can agree on when it comes to the flavor of
Burdock is that it is sweet yet earthy, with a tender and crisp texture. It is
often added to stews, soups, and stir fries. In the form of food, Burdock is
highly nutritional and full of vitamins but in retrospect Burdock is also an
effective herb for bringing the body back into balance.






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