How to take Herbs

Herbs-Organic-CosmeticOne of the most common questions I get as an herbalist is, How do you take herbs? Great question that has many answers.  The 3 most common ways we use herbs is

1. Cooking with Herbs. Add fresh and dried herbs to raw and cooked foods, drinks and baked goods. Add fresh herbs to towards the end of cooked foods, dried herbs in the middle of cooking.  Use 1/2 the amount of dried herbs that would use fresh herbs.

herbal-encapsulated2. Ingesting Herbs in Capsules, Extracts / Tinctures and Teas.  Powdered herbs can be added to smoothies or  taken in gelatin capsules.  Extracts and tinctures are herbs in a liquid form, usually alcohol based.  Teas are made with leaves, bark, roots and flowers.  Loose leaf teas are better quality than bagged varieties.  Make sure you use organic, “fair trade” (ethically farmed) herbs and high quality black, green, red and white teas.

medicine-bottle3. Applying Herbs Topically.  This would include lotions, creams, ointments, balms, and sprays that can be applied to the skin for fragrance and healing.  An essential oil is the concentrated volatile and aromatic liquid form of an herb obtained by distillation.  Use these with another carrier oil such as olive oil or sunflower oil for massage and for healing.  Add a few drops of essential oils to your bath.

Herbs can take time to work, so don’t get frustrated.  Be patient and diligent.

If you have questions about using herbs, stop by and see me  Ubi’s www.ubjourney.com or email me at herbal.elements@yahoo.com

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.

 

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