Herbal Pharmacy – 7
Photo of Tabebuia impetiginosa (Pau d’arco).
Sage ~ Salvia officinalis [ Hot flashes ]
Traditionally used to reduce hot flashes. Sage is not only a popular culinary herb, but also widely used as a remedy for hot flashes. The plant is rich in tannins, giving it astringent properties and supporting its use to reduce excessive bodily functions. In addition to hot flashes/flushes, these drying properties may benefit other menopausal symptoms such as night sweats and heavy periods. Scientific studies have shown that several compounds in sage possess estrogenic effects, which may further explain its use in menopause. Infuse 1/2 tablespoon of fresh or dried sage in 1 cup of boiling water. Steep three minutes, strain out the herb and drink while hot. It is safe to drink one or two cups twice weekly, especially the week before your period. May also relieve PMS symptoms.
German Chamomile ~ Matricaria recutita [ Nausea ]
Traditionally used in the treatment of nausea when accompanied by anxiety and emotional upset. The essential oil that gives chamomile its characteristic smell also imparts anti inflammatory properties and helps reduce the secretion of gastric acids. Infuse 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried chamomile flowers in 10 ounces boiling water, steep 5 minutes, strain and drink while hot. A little honey or Stevia may be added to the tea.
Lemon balm ~ Melissa officinalis [ Tension ]
Lemon balm is traditionally used during times of tension, restlessness and anxiety. It is the prescribed “go to herb” when you’re feeling agitated or overwrought. Just a cup or two of soothing lemon balm tea can improve the mood. Lemon balm can be used for an extended length of time when stress is ongoing, in the case of illness or after child birth. Infuse 2 teaspoons fresh or dry lemon balm in 8 ounces boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes. Strain out the leaves and sip while hot. Lemon balm is recognized as a mild sedative herb, so a cup or two each day or in the evening may result in a restful sleep.
Pau d’arco ~ Tabebuia impetiginosa [ Anti-fungal remedy]
The bark of the South American tree is resistant to fungi. In the traditional medicine of Brazil, a poultice or decoction made from the tree’s inner bark is applied to the skin to treat fungal infections, as well as eczema, psoriasis, and skin cancer. In a saucepan, add 3 tablespoons of the bark to a quart of boiling water. Simmer on low for 15 minutes, cover the pan and remove from heat. Strain out the bark, and use this decoction as a compress or poultice on the effected area 2 or 3 times daily. Pau d’ arco is not recognized by the medical community as a cure for cancer. However, if you have no means of medical treatment in the jungles of the Rain Forest, then this would be your only hope of destroying the cancer cells.
Cramp Bark ~ Viburnum opulus [ Muscle relaxant ]
If you’re prone to tension or tightness in the lower leg muscles, then cramp bark may be just the herb for you. Native Americans used it to relieve cramps and other types of muscle pain. It is considered particularly effective for relief of back pain. Take commercially prepared cramp bark tablets. Check health food stores or drugstore.com.
Celery seed ~ Apium graveolens [ Gout ]
Celery seed is a traditional remedy for all kinds of arthritis, but considered particularly effective for the treatment of gout. Gout, an extremely painful form of arthritis usually affecting a single joint, such as the big toe, which becomes hot, swollen and inflamed. Add 1/4 teaspoon of dried celery seed to one cup of boiling water. Let the infusion steep for five minutes. Strain out the seed, and drink while hot. You can drink this infusion daily if you wish. Results vary, but the tea is good for you and helps to flush toxins from your kidneys.
Tomatoes ~ Lycopersacon hirsutum [ Prostate ]
Tomatoes along with other red and pink colored fruits and vegetables contain a pigment called lycopene, which has important benefits for men’s health. In a study conducted among men in the 40 to 55 age groups, those whose diets are highest in tomato consumption had up to a 40% less chance of developing prostate cancer. A potent antioxidant, lycopene also supports heart and blood vessels and may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Tomato based products such as pasta sauces, canned tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, tomato paste along with fresh basil [ high in antioxidants ] consumed three times weekly go a long way in safe guarding prostate health.
~ Blessed be, sweet ones. Thank our Mother the Earth for her wonderful gifts of herbs, fruits and vegetables.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tabebuia_impetiginosa.jpg
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