Fo-Ti a.k.a. Ho She Wu

Fo-Ti aka Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum multiflorum syn. Fallopia multiflorum ) is a trailing vine with small heart-shaped leaves native to China but also growing in Japan ,Taiwan and in areas of North Carolina. Western Herbalists call it “Fo-Ti” in Asia it is referred to as “Ho She Wu or Ho Shou Wu” which literally means “black haired Mr. He”.

In Chinese Medicine, the unprocessed root- referred to as “white fo-ti”- is sometimes used as a mild laxative and as a blood detoxifier. The processed root- referred to as “red fo-ti” is what is typically found in the US- is commonly used to strengthen the blood; tonify the liver & kidneys and as an overall vitality tonic.  Fo-Ti has a warming energy with a bitter , slightly sweet & acrid taste.

The Chinese name for Fo-Ti, seen as either- Ho Shou Wu or Ho She Wu- is named after a Tang dynasty man who was reputably cured from infertility by taking Fo-Ti. His long life, thick black hair and vitality has been believed to be attributed to this herb. Chinese legends boasts that when Fo-Ti is taken for one year-the 50-year-old root restores black hair; the 150-year-old root causes new teeth to grow in the elderly and the 300-year-old root yields earthly mortality.  Chung Yun, a famous Chinese Herbalist, supposedly lived to be 256 years old, was taking Fo-Ti on a daily basis.

So as far as current scientific studies are concerned, it has been shown that large doses taken over a long period of time can improve immunity and may decrease cholesterol levels. Unproven, at least scientifically, is that Fo-Ti has been used successfully in Chinese Medicine for thousands of years as an immune enhancing herb, as a longevity tonic and  for numerous sexual dysfunctions (erectile dysfunction & infertility). Western Herbalists suggest it’s use as a rejuvenating tonic helping to restore energy & vigor; prematurely gray hair, senility, angina and as a strengthener for the blood, adrenals, liver and kidneys. Fo-Ti may also be helpful for those battling anorexia or drug addictions; dizziness / blurred vision and insomnia.

The daily dose of Fo-Ti ranges from 4-8 grams or 1 – 1 ½ teaspoons or 4-5 500 mg of capsules 2-3 times a day. Doses higher than 15mg can cause numbness in arms and legs. If you do not like taking capsules, the powdered herb can be added into smoothies, yogurt or other foods/liquids.

As with all herbs, there may be interactions with specific medications. Check with your doctor or pharmacist prior to taking. Or you can consult with an herbalist, like myself to see if this is an herb that may benefit you.

This article is for educational purposes only, not intended to treat or diagnosis any disease. The statements made in this article have not been evaluated by the FDA.

References:

University of Michigan http://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-2092003

The Way of Herbs by Michael Tierra. 1998. Pocket Books, New York.

The Herbs of Life by Lesley Tierra. 1997.  The Crossing Press, Freedom, CA.

Prescriptions for Herbal Healing by Phyllis A. Balch.2012 2nd Edition, Avery. New York.

HerbWisdom.com http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-fo-ti-root.html

Muira Puama

2015-02-28 15.04.40Muira Puama (Ptychopetalum olacoides) is a South American herb often referred to as “the Viagra of the Amazons”. It has been traditionally used by natives for centuries as an energy tonic, general health remedy, aphrodisiac and to improve sexual dysfunctions.  This herb works well for men for Erectile Dysfunction, increase sex hormone production and possibly to increase size &/or performance. For women, Muira Puama can enhance orgasms, increase sexual desire and fertility.

Muira Puama’s short term herbal actions work by increasing blood flow in the pelvic areas in both men and woman and with long term use actually enhances sex hormone production. The roots have been studied by the UCLA School of Medicine showing a significant improvement in both sexual desire and erectile dysfunction.

This may be a great herb for you to try if you need to:

  • Increase Energy Levels
  • Decrease Stress
  • Enhance Libido
  • Increase Fertility Hormones
  • PMS and Menstrual Cramp Remedy
  • Tonify Nerves and Muscles
  • Improve Gastrointestinal Functions

Muira Puama also known as “potency wood” has few side effects, unlike its counterpart- Yohimbe.  The root and bark is primarily used in teas, although the capsules and extracts maybe more effective.

Combine Muira Puama powder with Catuaba Bark powder in capsules for increased energy, increased libido & erections and enhance mood (central nervous system stimulant). Body Builders- this may be a great combination to help naturally increase muscle mass and testosterone levels without the use of synthetic hormones.

As an extract use Muira Puama alone, or combine with Ginkgo for increased neuromuscular function, reduce anxiety and to improve sexual performance & libido.

As a tea, combine Muira Puama with herbs with similar action like Rhemania Root, Ginger Root and/or Sarsparilla Bark for a tasty energy tea and overall health enhancer.

If you plan to use this herb for fertility, remember that you must discontinue its use at the first sign of pregnancy.

 

If you are not interested in making your own blend, then try one of Herbal Elements formulations- Fertilli-Tea aka 2nd Chakra Tea, Energy Extract and Body Boner Capsules, custom formulas are also available.

Nutmeg

nutmeg.flowerNutmeg is an ancient spice and medicine used in the Middle East since 700AD and later by the Europeans in the middle ages.  It is now a common household spice that comes from the Myristica fragrans tree from the Indonesian Banda Islands- or Spice Islands.

The “nut” is an apricot-like fruit kernel dried and ground into a powder or made into an oil.  Make sure you use a quality nutmegpowdered form that is not irradiated or from BWP (broken-wormy-punky) nuts and purchase from a reputable source. The freshly grated powder is the best, freshest form.

Nutmeg as a spice used in baking, cooking, teas & drinks and combines well with Cinnamon, Cloves and Ginger and also produces the spice “mace”.  Mace is the red membrane (arial) that covers the seed and is used similarly nutmeg_plant_macewith a less sweet but more delicate of a flavor than nutmeg.

Traditionally, Nutmeg powder has been used in herbal medicine for digestion (flatulence), nervousness/anxiety and for colds & flu as it breaks up chest congestion.  It can be taken in pill, tea or tincture form, alone or combined with other herbs.  The essential oil has many external uses from arthritis, exhaustion, rheumatism / joints, stimulant and as an aphrodisiac.  It blends well with other essential oils like Coriander, Clary Sage & Lavender and is a fixative for citrus oils.

Use nutmeg in small amounts and excersize caution and moderation as it can have mild hallucinogenic effects.  Women who may be pregnant or lactating should avoid Nutmegnutmeg.

The following information is for education purposes and not for self diagnosis. Always consult with your healthcare professional when needed.

Carminative Clove

SONY DSCOne of the first globally traded spice, Cloves, are still widely used and cultivated worldwide. Cloves are the unopened pink flower buds of the evergreen clove tree- Syzygium aromaticum-native to Malucca Islands (one of the Spice Islands).

Over the course of the centuries, cloves have been used for a variety of ailments, as a breath freshener and of clovetree3course as a spice for cooking and baking.  It has a warm, sweet and aromatic taste used for ginger bread, pumpkin pie & baked ham but they can also make a wonderful addition to split pea and bean soups, baked beans and chili. Cloves are an excellent source of manganese, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, calcium & dietary fiber.

clove_1One of the most stimulating & carminative of the aromatic herbs, Cloves have a long use for nausea, flatulence, indigestion (dyspepsia), anti-inflammatory and used to assist the action of other herbs. It is still used today to treat tooth infections and tooth pain and a mild anaesthetic as well as an anti-bacterial agent used in over the counter mouth washes and throat sprays.

Cloves are available whole, chopped or in powdered form and as an essential oil. The oil is commonly used  directly on the gums and should be diluted with a carrier oil when applied to the skin.  Not recommended taken undiluted in high doses as it can cause vomiting, seizures and liver/kidney damage or for children.  Those with clotting problems or with liver or kidney disorders should avoid cloves.

The following information is for educational purposes and not for self diagnosis.  Always consult with your health care professional whenever needed.

Spicy Cinnamon

ground-cinnamonCinnamon has been valued for centuries as a spice, meat preservative and as a commonly used tea ingredient.  Cinnamon comes from a tropical evergreen laurel tree found in moist, hot climates.  The bark or quills (rolled bark) are used in powdered, cut or whole. There are 2 types of cinnamon on the market-Sweet or True Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) which is sweeter and lighter in color than Cassia Cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia).  cinnamontree-292Cassia is thick, single layer of bark and is usually what you find in the grocery stores while True or Sweet is layered and superior in taste.

There are so many uses for cinnamon!  It is warm, spicy and commonly found in baking items, pumpkin and milling spices, and in many tea blends.  Cinnamon has been reported to help with digestion, possible weight loss, lowers cinnamonblood sugar & cholesterol and has antibacterial and antifungal effects.

According to the German Coomission E the daily dose is 2-4g of bark or 0.05-0.2g of essential oil.  Some people may be allergic to cinnamon and may display allergic skin reactions to mucosa and it is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

The following information is for educational purposes and not for self diagnosis.  Always consult with your health care professional whenever needed.

Sarsparilla

Sarsaparilla.flowersJamaican Sarsaparilla (Smilax ornate) & Indian Sarsaparilla (Hemidesmus indicus) are brambled, woody vines producing small flowers and black, blue, or red berry-like fruits. The root has been used for centuries by the indigenous peoples of Asia and Central & South America for sexual impotence, rheumatism, skin ailments, headaches, general tonic, joint pain, and against the common cold.

sarsaparilla.berriesEuropean physicians consider sarsaparilla root a tonic, blood purifier, diuretic, sweat promoter, and also use for hypertension, gout, digestive disorders, psoriasis, skin diseases, and cancer.

Sarsaparilla tastes great in tea and can also be taken in capsule form.  Drink ½ to 1 cup 2-3 times a day or 1-2 gram capsules twice daily (for short term use, may cause abdominal discomfort if taken in high doses or for long periods of time.)

The following information is for educational purposes and not for self diagnosis.  Always consult with your health care professional whenever needed.

Ginger

ginger-rootGinger is a valued kitchen herb used by billions in cooking and medicinal preparations for thousands of years.  One of the favorites in Traditional Chinese Medicine it is claimed to “rescue devastated yang” by warming & stimulating the energy channels in the body.

As a beautiful tropical perennial, ginger grows to two feet or more with a range of pink and white gladiolus like flowers ginger_Plants_Pictures_Cwith many ornamental cultivars with bright red and orange blooms. The root is used either fresh or dried and can be harvested 4 months after plants are established.

Ginger has a wide range of medicinal uses and preparation methods.

Fresh ginger is used in cooking and also as tea for ginger.flowerjpgdigestion disorders.  Use powdered ginger for “drier” conditions like asthma & allergies and dried chopped ginger for “wetter” conditions like colds & preventing infections.  Quality powdered ginger is “oily” to the touch and will slightly clump when pinched. Poor quality or old ginger is dry and grey or brown in color.

Many studies have concluded that ginger contains anti-Ginger-Powderinflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, detoxifying and pain relieving (headaches & migraines) properties.  Ginger cleanses the colon & bowels and aids in nausea, motion and morning sickness (use with caution).  Although it is warming, ginger cools hot flashes, fevers and can soothe external sores and wounds.

Ginger tastes great in teas or fresh in warm or cold water with a lemon wedge. If taken in large doses, ginger may cause abdominal distress and is not recommended for people on anti-coagulants, gallstones and limited use during pregnancy.

The following information is for educational purposes only and not intended for self diagnosis.  Always consult your health care professional whenever needed.

 

 

Saw Palmetto

serrepwsSaw Palmetto (Serenoa repens) is a small palm native to the Southeastern United States. American Indians have used the berries as a staple food and for medicine for thousands of years.

The berries contain powerful phyto-nutrients shown in dozens of studies to relieve the symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Saw Palmetto can reduce prostate size and has anti-inflammatory actions easing urination. Research has also shown that Saw Palmetto may also help grow hair by blocking to the formation of chemicals (DHT) associated with BPH.  It is also used for migraines, heavy/painful menstruation, acne, breast enlargement, coughs/colds, asthma 09saw-saw_palmetto_berriesand chronic bronchitis.

Saw Palmetto is typically used as a tincture or encapsulated at a dose of 1-2g per day (whole berry) for BPH.  The tea can be used as a urinary tonic.  Saw Palmetto combines well with other herbs such as Gravelroot (Joe-Pye),Hydrangea root, Horsetail and Marshmallow root in formulations and tea blends.

According to the German Commission E monographs, Saw Palmetto is likely safe for most people.  Mild side effects have been reported (possible stomach problems and dizziness). Pregnant and lactating  women should avoid using this herb. Do not take for 2 weeks prior to surgeries as Saw Palmetto slows blood clotting.

The following information is for educational purposes and not intended for self diagnosis.  Always consult with your health care provider whenever needed.

 

Rhodiola Root

rhodiola_roseaRhodiola Root (Rhodiola rosea) or Golden Root is a perennial plant with red, pink, or yellowish flowers having a rose-like scent. It is native to the polar arctic regions of eastern Siberia and also grows in China, Tibet, and Northern Europe. Among traditional people there, it is highly valued as a strengthening tonic to increase physical and mental stamina for altitude sickness, colds and flu.

A powerful adaptogen – a substance that helps our bodies adapt to environmental, physiological and psychological stress- Rhodiola is used much like Siberian Ginseng to reduce stress.  A large proportion of all aging diseases (perhaps 70-80%) is believed to occur because our stress levels are too high, and/or too long-term. High-stress modern living is one of the main factors causing chronic disease and premature aging.rhod_ros1

There have been many Russian & German studies showing that Rhodiola rosea has extraordinary pharmacological properties as an anti-mutagen reducing tumors from 37% -50% inhibition. It is also a  cardio-protective, normalizing the heart rate immediately after intense exercise and is widely used by Russian athletes and cosmonauts to increase energy. It improves the nervous system and mental functions by increasing blood-supply to the muscles and brain, and it also increases protein synthesis. The anti-depressive and anti-stress activity of Golden root is higher than that of St. John’s Wort, Ginkgo biloba and Panax Ginseng, with less side effects.

Rhodiola-RootRhodiola can be taken as a tincture, encapsulated and in tea formulations. If taking for altitude sickness, improve immunity, depression or erectile dysfunction, start with smaller doses as it can be a sedative in high amounts. Larger doses are taken for colds, flu and stress.  Not recommended for pregnant women or those with bipolar disorder. The usual amounts taken are 200 to 600 mg per day.

rhodiola.roseaTry my tea blends and herbal formulations or try a custom blend! blog.thepondpad.com

 

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The following information is for educational purposes and not intended for self diagnosis.  Always consult with your health care provider whenever needed.

Energizing Ginseng

asain ginseng rootGinseng, or Ren Shen in Chinese, is probably the most famous herb of all, being prized for it’s therapeutic benefits for thousands of years. The Chinese traditionally used Ginseng as a restorative tonic, stimulant, male aphrodisiac, stress reliever, to enlighten the mind, increase wisdom and longevity. Ginseng has been used in Europe since the 9th century primarily as an adaptogen (helps body tolerate stress) and made it’s way to the West in the 18th century.

There are 2 main species of Ginseng- Chinese Ginseng (Panax ginseng) and American Ginseng (panax quinquefolium). Both are herbaceous perennials, found in shady, woodlands, and have similar therapeutic actions. American Ginseng is milder, and not as “hot” of an herb making it more suitable for menopausal women than it’s Chinese counterpart. Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is a close relative and cheaper alternative with similar uses sometimes confused with “ginseng”.

Today we can reflect on the many studies and research in Asia and Europe showing the benefits of Ginseng for many health conditions:

  • Anxiety and Stress

  • Cancer

  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Lyme Disease

  • Diabetes

  • Hangover & Drug Metabolism

  • High Blood Pressure

  • Increased Cognitive Abilities

  • Impotence, Infertility and Diminshed Sex Drive

Ginseng root can be taken in teas, tinctures or encapsulated formulas. Care should be taken if you are on prescription medications as many can have interactions. Pregnant women and nursing mothers should not use it. Avoid Ginseng for two weeks prior to undergoing elective surgery.

Interested in using Ginseng?  Order on blog.thepondpad.com or stop by Ubi’s and try one of my blends.

The following article is for educational purposes and not intended for diagnosis.  Always consult your health practitioner when needed.

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