Category Archives: Herbs

People Use Herbalism Because It Works Better

176461~Still-Life-Drying-Herbs-and-Spices-PostersA recent study in Great Britain queried people as to why they went to medical herbalists, a category of herbalists who have training much like Registered Herbalists of the American Herbalists Guild, people with the NCCAOM Oriental Medicine  Diplomate designation or other trained herbalists. Most of the patients had not initially sought out herbalists, but Continue reading People Use Herbalism Because It Works Better

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Quote of the Day

coffeeplant2_400“Blinded by the fruit, we often ignore the full range of a plant’s possibilities. We’re never more than a stone’s throw away from a cup of coffee, yet few of us have ever tasted amertassa or kuti, the green and black equivalents of coffee leaf tea. Or kish’r, the drink made from the coffee cherry itself. Nor have we simply eaten the coffee cherry, which some say has flavors of watermelon and jasmine.”

Aaron Kagan    “Avocado Leaf Tea

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Sinusitis and Herbs

This is the time of year when we see a lot of sinusitis. There are several causes, and many things that can get rid of the condition.

sinusitis_bigIt helps to understand how sinuses work. The sinuses form a kind of cup that serves to lubricate our respiratory tract. Sinuses work like an overflowing teacup, filling with a thin liquid that moves up with the cillary action of small hair like cells and drips down your nose and throat, lubricating the tissue and providing mucus, potentially a designer antibiotic fluid that can fight off infection, prevent abrasion and protect tissues. The problem comes when the fluid is cooked down and is too thick to flow. This is considered pathological Phlegm in Chinese medicine. The problem isn’t usually that you make too much mucus, it is that the mucus has cooked down and exerts pressure on your sinuses, nasal tract and lungs. Continue reading Sinusitis and Herbs

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Herbs and Hypertension

crataegus_xgrignonensisHypertension is a silent disease which can be lethal.  An estimated 60 million Americans suffer from the disease.  It causes strokes, heart attacks,heart failure,  kidney disease, arterial aneurysm and varicosities, headaches, vision problems and has many secondary effects.

In 90-95% of high blood pressure, the American Heart Association says there is no one identifiable cause. This kind of high blood pressure is called primary hypertension or essential hypertension. It is usually a combination of factors, such as: Continue reading Herbs and Hypertension

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Don’t Use Echinacea for This Season’s Flu

echinaceaIt looks like last year’s rather mild flu may turn more virulent this season.  It already is killing large numbers of people in unusual ways, especially those of Asian or Native American descent.  The most vulnerable seem to be not the aged or the young, but healthy young adults.  And it has killed people during the summer, a time when influenza deaths are all but unheard of. The 1918 flu pandemic which killed millions worldwide started out mild too.

If the flu acts like the 1918 pandemic, it will cause a cytokine storm, where your immune system can overreact, rapidly killing you.  In cases like this you do not want to use immune system stimulants like echinacea.  You are better off with Vitamin D and immune modulators which will not hype up your system if you don’t need it. Continue reading Don’t Use Echinacea for This Season’s Flu

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Vitamin D, Statins and Red Yeast Rice

red-yeast-rice-300x238As those of you who read my blog are aware, I am not a big fan of statins.  The first reason is that cholesterol is not really the problem. The second is that statins depress the body’s own anti-inflammatory compound CoQ10.  But recent research shows that, against our logical assumptions, Vitamin D levels may rise when statins are taken. Continue reading Vitamin D, Statins and Red Yeast Rice

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Video on Making Plantain Poultices

My article on how to make a plantain spit poultice now has a YouTube video to illustrate the technique.  Keewaydinoquay’s story on plantain is here.

How to Make A Plantain Poultice That Could Save Your Life

BTW, if you subscribe to my YouTube channel, you will see several new videos, as soon as my son Nick edits them. (And I’d appreciate ratings and comments since it is a new account!)

Mountain Rose Herbs. A herbs, health and harmony c

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How to Make A Plantain Spit Poultice

I got a phone call this morning from a woman who had been bitten by an insect and was swelling up.  Fortunately I had a picture of broad leaf plantain on my website so was able to tell her how to make a spit poultice to draw it out.

Broadleaf plantain
Broadleaf plantain -Plantago major

I first learned about plantain poultices when Wisconsin ethnobotanist and Anishinaabeg medicine woman Keewaydinoquay Peschel during her last trip to the east coast. She had used plantain to draw out all kinds of things from insect bites to glass during her years as tribal medicine woman.  One year she was lecturing to her class on plantain while a student’s visiting mother sat in on the class.  Three years later a package arrived for her from Florida, a thank-you gift from the student’s mother.  It seems that the woman and two friends were gardening in Florida and had been bitten by a spider.  They didn’t think too much of it, insect bites being fairly common, but on her way home she saw some plantain growing, remembered the lecture and made a spit poultice to draw out the venom.   The next morning her friends were dead and she was well. Continue reading How to Make A Plantain Spit Poultice

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The Sweet Herbal Blog Party

Each month herbalists are encouraged to submit articles to the Herbal Blog Parties, hosted by various herbalists.  The August party had as its theme sweet ways to use herbs, including herbal honey’s, glycerites, elixirs, electuaries, melomels and the like.  If you need definitions, go down to Kiva Rose’s article which has an overview.

Kiva'w Wild Rose Tincture
Kiva's Wild Rose Tincture

While we generally want to keep sugars low in our diet, there are legitimate uses for sweet herbs.  Sugar in its various forms is used in a variety of traditional medicines.  In Chinese medicine it strengthens the Spleen/pancreas function (in judicious quantities) and formulas often use dates, honey, longan fruit, or licorice to engage the digestive function.  Ayurveda makes medicinal honey and ghee preparations like Chayawanprash. Continue reading The Sweet Herbal Blog Party

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Turmeric, Sweet Turmeric

Turmeric is  an extraordinary herb.  An orangey-yellow root that looks something like a riotous ginger, turmeric is beloved in Indian culture for its abilities to soothe the GI tract, reduce inflammation, stop bleeding and fight infection.  In China, huang jian “yellow ginger” is used to move qi and blood and to stop internal wind, which means it is a great circulatory tonic while being antispasmodic, valuable properties for arthritis indeed!Turmeric root

By itself turmeric is bitter, dry, spicy, and warming.  Dry turmeric is more warming and somewhat less aromatic than the fresh root that I find in Indian grocery stores but both are strongly anti-inflammatory and I find tinctures made with dried root to be stronger. Continue reading Turmeric, Sweet Turmeric

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Numen, an Extraordinary Film About The Plants

Numen is a film that previewed at the International Herbal Symposium this June. It features prominent herbalists, botanists and ethnobotanists like Rosemary Gladstar, Tierona LowDog, the late Bill Mitchell, Stephen Buhner, Phyllis Light, Ken Ausubel, James Duke and Rocio Alarcon, among others. Numen, defined as the animating force in nature, brings together innovative thinkers to discuss how our disconnection from nature affects human and environmental health and the healing made possible by embracing our place in the wider web of life.

You can view a 15 minute preview here:

Rosemary Gladstar

The 80 minute film features wonderful time lapse photography and will be an extraordinary DVD to show and replay. The DVD will include tutorials on growing and harvesting medicinal herbs, preparing kitchen medicine, and on the growing field of ecological medicine and should be available later this month from the site above.

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The Herb-Blog Party

Blog Party! The Wonderful and Weedy Ones

It’s here! It’s the blog party! We have an amazing collection of writings on all sorts of weedy wonders that herbalists near and far love dearly.
Here’s the breakdown!

Karen Vaughan on Plantain!
Dragonlady on dandelions
Greenman rambling on Ground Ivy
Lady Barbara on Teaselbravado
Field of Tansy on Self Heal
Aquarian Bath on Mulberry!
Rosalee of Methow Valley on Yellow Dock!
Tales of a kitchen Herbwife on Sorrel and Watercress
Abby Artemisa on Garlic Mustard
Granny Sam on Mullien
Medicine Woman’s Roots on Nettle Seed Harvesting
Dreamseeds on Cottonwood

And Darcy Blue, who called the party will soon have her post on sweet clover (meliotus).

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Russian Folk Remedies

A fascinating look at Russian herbal folk medicine from the St. Petersburg Times:    Mumiyo is the Russian form of Shilajit.  I suspect they mean charcoal instead of coal.

Garlic, Mustard and Herbs: Russian Folk Remedies

Alexander Belenky / The St. Petersburg Times  A visit to the banya is believed to be good for the lungs, but not always for the liver.
Alexander Belenky / The St. Petersburg Times A visit to the banya is believed to be good for the lungs, but not always for the liver.

By Irina Titova

The St. Petersburg Times

If, when entering a Russian home or even an office, you are hit by the strong odor of raw garlic, it’s not necessarily because someone is cooking or eating garlic.

More likely, it is because someone is ill, and in order to stop others from getting infected, people have chopped up garlic and left it on a plate. In Russia, many people believe that garlic’s phytoncaedos kill diseases — even viruses as strong as flu.

Garlic therapy is one of Russia’s most popular folk remedies. During flu epidemics, Russian parents may put a piece of garlic in their children’s pockets. They also tend to eat more garlic in the winter in order to strengthen the immune system. Continue reading Russian Folk Remedies

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What is Fatty Liver and How Can Chinese Medicine Help?

fatty_liver_diseaseFatty liver is now recognized as the most common cause of abnormal liver function tests in the western world. Around one in five persons in the USA has a fatty liver and it is poised to be as big a disease as diabetes.  Fatty liver is usually associated with abdominal obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.  Fatty liver may be associated with or may lead to inflammation of the liver. This can cause scarring and hardening of the liver. When scarring becomes extensive, it is called cirrhosis, and this is a very serious condition which can lead to liver failure. Continue reading What is Fatty Liver and How Can Chinese Medicine Help?

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Chinese Herbal Medicine Used in Outer Space

The Shenzhou Vll spacecraft successfully lifted off from China carrying traditional Chinese herbal medicine to prevent the astronauts (taikonauts) from getting motion sickness.  taikanauts-to-take-herbal-medicine

Taikong Yangxin, or “space heart-nourishing” capsules, are “made of more than 10 types of Chinese herbs and have proven to be effective in improving the astronaut’s cardiovascular condition,” according to Li Yongzhi, director of the medical arm of the country’s astronaut training centre.

She told Xinhua News Agency that TCM pills are superior to western motion sickness cures because they do not have side-effects.  The herbs will be taken in granule form which can be diluted with water and taken to treat motion sickness during the space flight.

Astronauts Yang Liwei, Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng, who flew in 2003 and 2005, took the herbal medicines before and after their spaceflight but not during it.

Li said the pills on the spacecraft will be particularly useful for the two astronauts who are schehawthornduled to carry out the extra-vehicular activities. “The medicine will boost their physical conditions and improve their adaptability in an extreme environment,” she said.

Li said that the herbal pills, which have previously been found effective in rats, will be mass-produced for market sales in the future.  Ingredients have not been disclosed but it is likely that they contain ginger and Chinese hawthorn.

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Coffee Beats Statins In Reducing Diabetes Inflammation

From Harvard:  a two years old trial found that  diabetic women who drank coffee had 10% less inflammation in their blood vessels,  shown by lower CRP levels than controls for each additional cup of coffee drunk per day.  These results are much better than the recent Crestor statin trial on CRP.   From other research, the likely antiiflammatory constituent is chlorogenic acid, also present in

Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Oct;84(4):888-93.

Coffee consumption and markers of inflammation and endothelial dysfunction in healthy and diabetic women.

Lopez-Garcia E, van Dam RM, Qi L, Hu FB.

Department of Nutrition and Epidemiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA,

BACKGROUND: In several short-term studies, coffee consumption has been associated
with impairment of endothelial function. OBJECTIVE: The objective was to assess the relation coffee_beansbetween long-term caffeinated and decaffeinated filtered coffee consumption and markers of inflammation and endothelial dysfunction.  … CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that neither caffeinated nor decaffeinated filtered coffee has a detrimental effect on endothelial function. In contrast, the results suggest that coffee consumption is inversely associated with markers of inflammation and endothelial dysfunction.

See Related Posts:

Coffee Herbs

November Herbal Blog Party on Morning Wake Up Beverages

Caffeine Halts Progression of Alzheimer’s

Simple Ways to Support Brain Function

Health Myths About Hydration

Fewer Serious or Lethal Prostate Cancers in Male Coffee Drinkers

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