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.

 blog.thepondpad.com

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.

How to Naturally Boost your Immune System – Using Herbs and a little Common Sense

An efficient and balanced immune system is the key to maintaining good health. It immune-tri-systemprotects us from diseases, allergies and slows down the aging process.

A strong immune system depends upon:

Nutrition feeding your body a healthy, well balanced diet . 

Energyregular exercise and massage

Attitude a positive attitude, good mental health

immune-bodyOur immune system is made up of a team of organs working together mainly made up of the skin, bloodstream, digestive and lymphatic systems.

  • Skin helps our immune system by acting as a huge detox organ eliminating toxins and impurities from our bodies.
  • Blood and circulatory system helps are immunity by cycling out wastes from the blood into the digestion and lymphatic systems for proper elimination.
  • Digestive system is a complex system that involves our stomach, large and small intestine, gallbladder, pancreas and liver.  Inside the lining of our intestines contains good bacteria that helps us digest waste and boost our immunity.  Adding a probiotic supplement or a yogurt to your diet keeps up the good flora population.
  • Lymphatic system is a network made up of lymph nodes and vessels, the spleen and thymus gland that produce lymphocytes which destroy and eliminate invaders.

What contributes to sickness? Unhealthy lifestyles, poor health habits and toxic environmental conditions can compromise and weaken our immune system leaving us susceptible to infection.

Immune system enemies are:
-poor nutrition-low vitamins A & C levels in the body
-stressful lifestyles
-lack of sleep
-smoking
-excess alcohol, caffeine, drugs, sugar, food additives, pesticides and pollutions.

cold-and-flu-season-300x240The signs of low or imbalanced immunity are apparent in those that are excessive or frequently sick. Chronic illness can cause allergies, food intolerances, auto immunity, digestive problems, fatigue, soreness & poor skin.

We can boost our immunity by adding healthy foods, herbs & teas to our diet & healthy lifestyle habits.

Eating a Healthy Diet. Eat foods high in vitamins A, B complex, C and E; high in SpicesZinc, Calcium and Selenium, green leafy veggies and berries. You don’t have to rely solely on vitamin supplements. Herbs are food and contain many vitamins and minerals. Acerola & Rose Hips are high in vitamin C. Barley & Wheat grass powders are a great protein source packed with nutrients and can be added into smoothies. Green Tea, Green Rooibos, Hemp Seeds are power packed with antioxidants and vitamins.

Good personal hygiene habits.  They are very important in preventing and spreading disease. Wash your hands regularly, especially after using the bathroom, handling raw meat or animals/pets.

Clean environment.  Keep living areas cleaned regularly, keep dust levels down.  Clean kitchen and bathrooms regularly. Keep both lids of the toilet down when not in use. Store tooth brushes in the medicine cabinet or in a drawer.Keep work place spaces, desks, and your telephone, cleaned regularly-especially if others share it.  Viruses and parasites can live for several hours on non-living objects.

laughing-animals-13Healthy Outlook. Have a Positive outlook on life. Laugh, and laugh a lot! Spend good times with friends and loved ones.

Prevention. Enjoy life in moderation. Practicing preventative health habits can be free and in most cases herbal remedies and teas are less expensive and better for you than over the counter pharmaceuticals.

 

Herbs for Colds and Flu

cold_and_flu_virus_compositeThe Common Cold is a minor viral infection usually caused by a type of Rhinovirus. Typical Symptoms are sore throat, headache, cough, congested head & sinus/nasal, watery discharge, sneezing, low grade fever & muscle aches & soreness and general weakness & low energy.

The Fluis a viral respiratory infection, caused by a type of influenza virus; may be a type A or B strain if from an animal. The Symptoms are the same as for colds, except more sudden & more severe.Know when to see a Doctor!*

Bacterial          Infection                vs.             Viral               Infection

Local to area                                     Widespread/systemic

Stays where initiated                          Spreads  all  over

Short high fever                                Persistent low grade fever

Mucous  is thick,sticky&colored                         Thin,    clear   mucous

Difference-cold-flu

TreatingColds/Flu

Those more susceptible to colds/flu: smoke,high stress levels, chronic lung illness &people with decreased immunity.

1.Treat Symptoms-Drink teas & use steam aromatherapy. Take baths with essential oils and Himalayan pink salt (see blog) or Epsom salts.

2.Increase Immunity. Increase your Vitamin C intake (dont take EFAs during colds/flu); take immune enhancing herbs as teas, tinctures or capsules. Dress warmly.  See my blog on How to Enhancing your Immune System.

3.Flush Out Mucous. Chicken soup really works, feed a cold starve a fever. Drink fluids & herbal teas (avoid sugar). Dont suppress coughs,use expectorants. Flush used tissues into toilet, avoid spreading to others-stay home if you are contagious.

PRE-CAUTIONS: Dont give aspirin to children showing viral infections, as this could develop into Reye Syndrome which is potentially fatal.

 cold-and-flu-season-300x240See a Doctor if you are experiencing*:

  • Heavy Chest congestion or Wheezing (could develop into severe illness).
  • Persistent Fevers above 102?F for more than 3days.

 

Try to avoid mucous increasing foods, sugar, dairy products & EFA supplements (oil holds virus in mucous) during the flu.

Be active during a cold to move the mucous out of the body and feed that cold.For the Flu,rest is best and starve a fever.

 

echinacea-purpleHerbs that are Immunity Boosters Astragulus (longterm), Cayenne, Cinnamon, Echinacea (shortterm), Eleuthero,Garlic & Onions,Licorice, Olive Leaf (long term), Pau DArco, Reishi, Shitake & Maitake Mushrooms, Thyme, Usnea

 

Herbs for Sinus & Fevers Boneset, Chamomile, Chinese Chrysanthemum, Elderflower, Ephedra (use with caution), Honeysuckle Flower, Nettle, Peppermint,  Sage, Spearmint, RoseHip, Yarrow

 

tea-pot-steaming

Herbs for Lungs & Sore Throat Angelica, Anise, Catnip, Coltsfoot, Elecampane, Fenugreek, Ginger, Goldenrod, Horehound, Lemon Balm, Lungwort, Mullein, Pleurisy Root,  Schisandra, Violets, Wild Cherry Bark

Essential Oils Cypress, Eucalyptus

Try my tea and capsule formulas to help build your immune system and help find colds.  Find them in my ApothoKerri section on http://blog.thepondpad.com  I also make customized formulas

References:

PDR for Herbal Medicine

The Complete German Commission E Monographs

The Herbs of Life by Lesley Tierra

Holistic Herbal by David Hoffman

Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine by Michael Murray

Prescription for Herbal Healing by Phyllis A. Balch

Herbal Defense by Robyn Landis & Karta Khalsa

Questions? Just ask at:

blog.thepondpad.comemail:herbalelements@comcast.net

Disclaimer: The following information is intended for educational purposes. Always consult with your health care professional 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