Lovely Lavender

champs de lavandeLavender, Lavendula angustifolia, is native to France and the Mediterranean where it has been cultivated for perfume and medicinal use for hundreds of years. It is a popular garden plant, with gray green leaves topped with purplish-blue flower spikes. Lavendula angustifolia (or L. officinalis), often referred to as English Lavender, is the hardiest and most often used medicinally (try ‘Hidcote’ or ‘Munstead’ in your garden). The French lavender (L. dentata) and Spanish lavender (L. stoechas) are not as hardy in many areas and are more ornamental in value. Lavendula intermedia are crosses between lavenders used in perfumery with ‘Provence’ being the main variety grown in France, and ‘Grosso’ grown in Seqium, WA.

Lavender flowers sweet-scented aroma is both relaxing and stimulating. Internally it is used to relieve headaches, asthma, digestive, insomnia and anxiety complaints. It combines well with other relaxing herbs like passionflower, skullcap and valerian.

Externally, lavender is used for relieving pain, skin conditions and as an powerful, yet gentle antimicrobial. Lavenders ability to heal wounds makes a common herb found in salves, poultices, linoments, sprays and lotions. The essential oil of lavender is useful for insect bites, burns, and excellent first aid remedy. Massaging a few drops of oil on your temples eases headaches, or add to bath water for relaxing muscle and nervous tension.

Lavender is considered mild and safe for adults, children and babies with few adverse side effects reported.

100_0050Try my Lavender Herbal Spray for skin care, first aid and relaxation. Order at blog.thepondpad.com or stop by Ubi’s in Tacoma, WA.

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

Purifying with Burdock

Burdock is well known as a powerful medicinal purifier, immune booster and edible root vegetable since antiquity. Native to Europe and Asia, Burdock, Arctium lappa, is now naturalized worldwide yet unfortunately thought of as a common roadside and garden weed by many in the U.S.

 The major action of burdock is its beneficial effects on the performance of organs for elimination and purification-primarily the liver, stomach and colon.  Several studies have shown that with continued use, burdock can help protect the liver from the damaging effects of Acetaminophen and alcohol over use.  Burdock is an effective diuretic cleanser extracting toxins from the blood and kidneys eliminating them through the urine. Its anti-inflammatory action helps alleviate Continue reading

Catnip

Catnip is one of our traditional remedies for colds & flu and a favorite with cats! Nepeta cataria or Catnip is perennial plant having gray-green leaves with whitish pink flowers in summer. Native to Europe now naturalized in North America, catnip is a common garden plant that is easy to grow, preferring a dryer soil than it’s cousins the mints.  A must for every herb garden,  try growing catnip in hanging baskets for harvesting and some in the ground for the cats, bees and butterflies to enjoy.  Don’t get “Catnip” confused with the perennial “Catmint” Nepeta faassenii with it’s gray leaves and showy blue flowers. Cats are attracted to Continue reading

Hydrangea Root

hydrangea rootWe usually think of Hydrangeas as a beautiful summer blooming shrub with it’s large leaves and colorful pom-pom flowers. It may surprise you that the wild species, Hydrangea arborescens, has been used by Native American Indians for hundreds of years for urinary and kidney troubles. Native to the eastern US, Hydrangea was used by the Cherokee as a remedy for kidney and bladder stones.

Currently, western herbal medicine considers hydrangea root a diuretic tonic for the genito-urinary system helpful for cystitis, urethritis, enlarged prostate and prostatitis. Hydrangea root is also used for Continue reading

Senna Uses and Cautions

Senna is one of the most widely known and misused herbs on the market. Also known as Cassia, Senna alexandria is a very efficient and strong laxative used in many cultures for hundreds of years for occasional bouts of constipation. The seed pods are use medicinally as a tea for Irritable Bowel or applied externally to hemorrhoids (shrinks tissue) or other weeping skin eruptions. The leaves as far too strong and are not approved for use by the FDA and the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) warns against long-term use of senna leaf.

My concern with the over use of Senna lies in the rush to loose weight too quickly which pushes some people to misuse laxatives as a dieting tool. Laxatives should be taken for Continue reading

Elder Berry & Flower

Elderberry with Flowers

Elder has more folklore associated with it than most any other European herb. In rural England, it was thought dangerous to cut the branches, as it was believed that the plant was inhabited by the Elder Mother. To avoid her wrath, woodcutters and herbalists would recite a rhyme prior to harvesting to appease the goddess.

The most commonly available species of elder is Sambucus nigra or European Elder. In the PNW, we have two native species, Sambucus cerulea, Blue Elderberry and S. racemosa, Red Elderberry. The Blue Elder species has be used medicinally by native peoples for influenza and arthritis for hundreds of years. The Red Elderberry is considered toxic, especially the fresh berries.

Elderberry and Elder Flower are both used similarly medicinally for Continue reading

Fantastic Fennel

 Fennel is native to the Mediterranean where it was cultivated by the ancient Romans and is now one of the most important herb crops in Europe. It was also well known to the Ancient Greeks, Egyptians and Chinese for its aromatic fruits and succulent, edible shoots & root. In medieval times, Fennel was used with St. John’s Wort to protect one from witchcraft as bundles were hung over doors on Midsummer’s Eve to warn off evil spirits. The young shoots and root were eaten as a vegetable and the seeds used as a condiment. The tea made from the seed was given for respiratory and digestive complaints and Continue reading

Take the Sting out of Nettles

There are many species of Nettles growing in temperate regions throughout the world. The most popular used-Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica)- is a perennial that grows up to 3′ tall found in moist, shaded areas. The stinging hairs found on it’s stems are activated by touch, causing the sting and ironically, the juice of the nettle plant is it’s own remedy.

Nettles have many nutritional and medicianal uses. The young leaves can be eaten as a salad green or cooked as a vegetable. They are rich in vital nutrients including vitamins A, C and D, calcium, iron, magnesium and phosphorus. Medicinally, the leaves and root are used for Continue reading

Lovely Linden Flower

Linden (Tilia cordata), also referred to as Basswood in America or Lime Tree in Europe, is a widely used herb native to North America and Europe. It is a small to large tree often planted as an ornamental with heart shaped leaves and whitish yellow fragrant flowers that appear in mid- late summer.

The use of Linden began in medieval Europe as a remedy for colds, scratchy throat, flu Continue reading

Savory Sage

Native to the Mediterranean, Garden or Purple Sage (Salvia officinalis) is one of over 500 species of Salvia used throughout the world for culinary, medicinal and/or cultivation purposes. The botanical name Salvia means “to cure” in Latin , a clue to it’s medicinal importance. Sage was traditionally used to flavor meats, ease sore throats and as a wound healer. It is an easy to grow shrubby perennial with thick greenish gray aromatic leaves bearing whorls of purplish flowers in the spring.

Sage is a classic remedy for soothing inflammations of the mouth, throat and skin. It’s antiseptic, astringent and relaxing actions calms the nervous and digestive systems easing indigestion, Continue reading