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Herbs

Dandelion Health Benefits

The dandelion herb has been used for centuries to promote good health. It is full of vitamins, minerals, and other natural chemicals the body can use to overcome illness. Not only does it have medical uses, but it also has popular culinary uses.

What Is The Dandelion Herb?

Taraxacum officinal, meaning “the official remedy for disorders”, is a perennial herb with a long, brown taproot. The leaves are jagged and pointy. They grow close to the ground and outward from a central point. They are a dark green on the edges and a lighter green towards the center. The stems are light green to a dark reddish purple.

The flowers are a bright yellow on the outside to a dark orange in the center. When the flowers are mature, they turn into a white puffball of seeds that scatter everywhere when the wind blows. The scattered seeds sprout into new plants. Every part of the dandelion exudes a milky substance when it is damaged. The name Dandelion comes from the French word for Lion’s Tooth, Dent de Lion, because the leaves are jagged like teeth. Other names for Dandelion are:

    Benefits of the Dandelion

  • Blow Ball,
  • Cankerwort
  • Puffball
  • Pu-kung-ying
  • Telltime
  • White Endive
  • Wild Endive
  • Swine’s Snout
  • Pu Gong Ying
  • Dent de Lion
  • Priest’s Crown.

Where Does It Come From?

The dandelion herb is thought to have originated in Europe and Asia, but it can now be found throughout the northern hemisphere, including the United States. Most people consider the dandelion a weed, especially when it takes over their front lawn! However, it is also grown and cultivated for medical and edible uses. When used for medicine, the dandelion can be taken in powdered or liquid form.

There are several ways to make a liquid dandelion extract. To make a tea, steep the dandelion in water. A tincture can be made by adding either alcohol or glycerin to the tea. If alcohol is used, the tincture is preserved for up to three years and it is absorbed more easily than if glycerin is used. However, glycerin tastes better.

To make the powder, they use a low temperature distillation process that removes the active ingredients from the raw herb. The liquid is then condensed and dried to make a fine powder, which is put in gelatin capsules.

The History and Origin of the Dandelion

The first recorded use of dandelion for medicinal purposes is from the Arabians around 900 AD; however, it is believed the Chinese were using dandelions long before that. Dandelion is believed to be one of the original bitter herbs used for Passover in the Bible. There are records of the Welsh using it in the 13th century.

The pilgrims brought it to North America. In 1620, when the Mayflower arrived, there were no dandelions in America. By 1671, they were growing abundantly all over what is now the United States.

How the Dandelion is Used Today

Today, the dandelion has both medical and culinary uses. Dandelion greens are one of the most nutritious greens available. One cup of raw greens has:

  • 112% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A
  • 535% RDA of vitamin K
  • 32% RDA of vitamin C
  • 103 mg of calcium
  • 1.7 mg of iron
  • 218 mg of potassium.

Additional Uses

They are also a good source of beta carotene, lutein, vitamin H, which has been proven to help weight loss, and over two dozen other nutrients. Dandelion greens add color and texture to salads, stir-fry, and soups. The greens are the leaves. It is best to harvest them in early spring, well before the last frost is expected. They need to be gathered before the flowers bloom or they will be bitter. The best time is when the leaves have just emerged.

The root is also used for culinary purposes. It can be added to soups or ground up and roasted to make a drink similar to coffee without the negative side effects. The root of the dandelion is full of vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients, including inulin, which is helpful in controlling diabetes.

Drinking dandelion coffee helps stimulate the digestive system. It is best to harvest the roots in early spring or late fall when most of the nutrients are stored there. The flowers are used for making dandelion wine and dandelion fritters. They are good for the antioxidant luteolin, which is found in them.

Benefits of the Dandelion Herb

Dandelion herb has been associated with improving liver function and liver diseases such as hepatitis and jaundice. It is a strong diuretic that does not deplete potassium in the body. It has been shown to improve both constipation and diarrhea. It purifies the blood, cleanses the digestive system, removes heavy metals from body tissues, and can help dissolve kidney stones. It has been shown to help weight loss, cure acne, lower high blood pressure, cure anemia, lower serum cholesterol levels, reduce acid indigestion and gas, improve some cancers, and help control diabetes all with no negative side effects. The dandelion herb is full of so many vitamins, minerals and micronutrients that alone might be the reason it is so beneficial in so many different areas.

  • The sodium in dandelions is thought to reduce the inflammation of the liver.
  • Vitamin A helps fight cancers in the mouth and the lungs.
  • Potassium, along with magnesium, has been shown to help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke.
  • Dandelions are full of both potassium and magnesium.
  • The fiber in dandelions lowers cholesterol, is beneficial to diabetes, and fights cancer and heart disease.
  • Calcium has been shown to build strong bones and reduce high blood pressure.
  • B vitamins lower the effects of stress.
  • Romanian lab mice lost 30% of their body weight in 30 days by taking a dandelion extract with their food.

Helpful Chemicals

Along with all the vitamins and minerals in the dandelion, there are also numerous chemicals that are important in many bodily functions.

Inulin is converted into fructose as it is digested. Fructose does not use insulin, which results in a slower rise in blood sugar making it ideal for those with diabetes or hypoglycemia.

  • Tof-CFr is similar to lentinan, which has been proven to fight cancer cells in Japanese lab mice.
  • Pectin helps diarrhea; it removes heavy metals, and lowers cholesterol especially if it is combined with vitamin C. The dandelion herb has both.
  • Coumestrol mimics estrogen. It stimulates milk production and balances hormones.
  • Apigenin and luteolin are diuretics, antioxidants, and antispasmodics. They have liver protecting properties and strengthen the heart and blood vessels. They are antibacterial and estrogen mimics.
  • Gallic Acid helps diarrhea and is antibacterial.
  • Linoleic and linolenic acid are fatty acids the body needs to produce prostaglandins that regulate blood pressure, suppress inflammation, regulate the menstrual cycle, and prevent platelet aggregation.
  • Choline has been shown to improve memory.
  • The dandelion herb has many sesquiterpene compounds that are thought to give it its bitter taste. These compounds promote good digestion, liver, spleen, and gall bladder function. They are also antifungal.
  • Triterpenes are helpful for liver and bile stimulation.
  • Taraxasterol is good for the liver and gall bladder. It also balances hormones.

Purchasing Options

Dandelion is sold as capsules, tea leaves, powder, or tincture. Capsules are easy to take and have little taste. Teas can be enjoyable and relaxing, while tinctures are absorbed quickly. They are all good choices depending on preferences. Dandelion leaves average about $1 to $2 an ounce whether they are cut up or a powder and the capsules average about $8 for 60 capsules. Dandelion root is about the same for the powder, but the capsules are considerably cheaper, about $2 to $4 for 100 capsules. Moreover, the tincture can be found between $4 and $5 an ounce.

To make dandelion coffee, the roots have to be roasted which will double the cost. Some good brands to try are Now, Yogi, Traditional Medicines, and Starwest Botanicals. A local health food store would be a good place to buy dandelion. If the internet is used, shop around because different sites frequently have sales. One good site to try is www.takeherb.com.

How Much to Take?

  • The recommended dose for dandelion leaf tea is 1-2 teaspoons steeped in hot water 3 times a day.
  • For dandelion root tea, the recommended dose is ½ -2 teaspoons steeped in hot water 3 times a day.
  • Whether the capsules are the leaf or the root, the recommended dose is 500 mg 3 times a day.
  • The recommended dose for both the leaf tincture and the root tincture is 100-150 drops 3 times a day.

Precautions

While there are no negative side effects from taking the dandelion herb, some people have been known to have allergic reactions to it, including a rash or mouth sores. If you are allergic to yarrow, iodine, ragweed, marigold, chrysanthemums, chamomile, or daisies, you should avoid taking dandelion. Dandelion might cause stomach acid or heartburn in some people. If you have gallbladder problems or gallstones, you should consult a doctor before taking dandelion. Dandelion is a diuretic and may cause your body to expel any drugs you are taking faster than normal. Consult a doctor if you are taking Lithium, quinoline antibiotics, and antacids like Pepcid, Zantac, and Taganet.

Herbs

Horehound Herb

A common and desirable benefit of the horehound herb is its effectiveness as an expectorant to aid the discharge of congestive materials from the lungs. This is but one of the many ways that horehound has been used to support good health throughout history. Since its first documented use in Roman times, many people have found it easy to gain health benefits from horehound since nearly every part of the plant is usable and there is a variety of preparation methods.

General Information About Horehound

White horehound is a bitter herb from the mint family that grows like a weed in many areas of the world. Horehound is an aromatic green plant, which produces many branching, square stems that often outgrow other field vegetation to be nearly two feet tall. Pairs of one-inch long leaves grow out of the stems in opposite directions. Between June and August, clusters of densely packed, small, white flowers bloom around the stems where the pairs of leaves attach. The flowers become seed-containing burrs, which have tiny barbs, allowing the seeds attach to animals, clothing, and machinery.
Horehound Information
The hoary or silvery-colored hairs on its stem and give it a fuzzy or cloudy appearance are likely the reason for its English name, horehound. In old English, “har” and “hoary” mean grey or grey-haired. Its Latin name is Marrubium vulgare, which may have been derived from the name of an ancient Roman town, “Mariaurbs,” or from the name of one of the bitter herbs, “marrob,” used by the Jews during Passover. (Water horehound, called bugleweed, and black horehound, which has a strong, unpleasant taste and odor, are related to white horehound but the information here applies only to white horehound.)

Some suggest that the Egyptian god Horus could be a reason for its name. Priests in ancient Egypt may have called horehound the seed of Horus and used it in an antidote formula for poison, as did Caesar in the Roman era. Legend indicates that horehound aided priests during rituals in Egypt. Ancient lore gives horehound a power to break magic spells.

Early Physicians Recommend Horehound

Recorded mention of horehound began in the first century in ancient Rome. In his manual of medicine, Roman medical writer A. Cornelius Celsus, described antiseptic uses as well as treatments for respiratory ailments using horehound juice. In his book, “On Agriculture,” first century agriculturist Lucius Columella detailed how to use of horehound for various farm animal ailments such as ulcers, worms, and scabs. In the second century, the noted physician Galen also recommended using horehound to relieve coughing and to support respiratory health.

In his 1597 book on the history of plants and their uses, the respected British herbalist John Gerard recommended horehound as an antidote to poison and a syrup of horehound for those with respiratory problems. English physician Nicholas Culpeper echoed Gerard’s promotion of horehound in his 1652 book for physicians, stating, “There is a syrup made of this plant which I would recommend as an excellent help to evacuate tough phlegm and cold rheum from the lungs of aged persons, especially those who are asthmatic and short winded.”

The Spread of Horehound

Being a hardy perennial that grows well in dry soil, this highly recommended plant did not need help to spread beyond the Mediterranean region. Over the centuries, horehound flourished in all of Europe, South Africa, India, and other parts of Asia. It is now widely distributed in North and South America and Australia, although horehound is not native to these continents. Aiding the spread of horehound even more is the herb’s bitterness, which resists animal grazing. Horehound can be invasive, as in Australia where it is considered a bothersome weed.

Horehound’s reputation spread as well. Taking horehound for a cough or a cold was one of the natural remedies used by the early settlers of Australia. 18th century American physicians who recommended herbs touted its value for those with respiratory ailments and for menstrual problems. In the 1800’s in North America, horehound was used for those with hysteria and lung problems.

Traditional Uses of Horehound

Native American tribes have had many uses for horehound. Records show that ten tribes used it to treat various respiratory ailments, including two tribes which had a specific mixture for children’s colds. Some tribes used also horehound as a kidney flush, as a skin ointment, and as an antidiarrheal. These traditional Native American remedies were prepared from the leaves and flowers of the horehound and sometimes the root or the whole plant. Horehound was taken in the form of teas, extracts, and syrups for internal use and salves or poultices for external use. The Navajo tribe found additional value in horehound for stomach aches, influenza, infection, and as a gynecological aid before and after childbirth.

More recently, in 1956, Chopra, Nayar, and Chopra authored a book on medicinal plants in India. This book is cited a 2007 antibacterial research article (referred to below). The article acknowledges the book’s claims that, in addition to its value for the respiratory system, horehound “possesses tonic, aromatic, stimulant, diaphoretic [increase perspiration] and diuretic [increase urine flow] properties. … It was formerly much esteemed in various uterine, visceral, and hepatic [liver] affections….”

Other beneficial results have been claimed for the use of horehound. These claims include: relieving pain, promoting good digestion, reducing bloating, improving the appetite, stimulating bile flow, lowering blood pressure, vasorelaxant, reducing spasms (antispasmodic), killing intestinal parasites, easing morning sickness, relieving nausea or vomiting, and more. Of course, relief from these conditions is not guaranteed and a qualified healthcare practitioner should evaluate any serious symptom.

The support for these favorable effects has been largely anecdotal, and based upon tradition, scientific theory, or the reputation of horehound as an effective folk remedy. These reasons were sufficient to encourage the use of horehound well into the 20th century. In the industrial age, its reputation led to the production of extracts, teas, cough drops, and cough syrups containing horehound per some folk recipes.

Horehound’s Effectiveness Lacks Clinical Proof

Limited Clinical Evidence

Early in 21st century, however, few Americans seem to know anything about horehound or its history of supporting health. Despite recommendations and assertions of beneficial usage over many centuries, the use of horehound has surprisingly little support in clinical research and medical studies. Double blind human trials are yet needed to confirm or deny the valuable benefits that have been claimed for horehound. Neither has modern research made definitive findings concerning the toxicity, side effects, or proper dosage of horehound.

FDA Ruling on Horehound

Aiding horehound’s fall into relative obscurity was the 1989 FDA ruling on the use of non-prescription cough and cold medicines. The FDA approved just one of about 20 expectorant ingredients and did not find the others, including horehound, to be useful. According to this ruling, all non-prescription products containing the ingredients deemed ineffective must be taken off the market. However, cough suppressant products made outside the US which contain horehound, such as Ricola, continue to be sold in the US.

German Ruling on Horehound

In 1990, one year after the FDA’s ruling in the US, Germany’s Commission E listed loss of appetite and dyspepsia (indigestion) as acceptable uses for horehound. The 24 research scientists appointed to served on Commission E were to determine safe and effective herbal medicines; only approved herbs would be legal to sell in Germany. In identifying active components in horehound, the committee wrote that “[marrubiin] acts as a gastric juice stimulant and marrubinic acid acts as a choleretic [bile stimulant].” They found no known side effects, contraindications, or drug interactions. Notably, Commission E approved horehound to support gastrointestinal health, but they did not stand in opposition to the FDA ruling by approving horehound to support respiratory health, which they identified as unproven folk medicine.

Clinical Research Has Been Done on Horehound

Because clinical proof is now required and because of the FDA ruling, past claims made for horehound’s effectiveness are called into question. Yet, Marrubium vulgare (white horehound) has been the subject of some clinical research and, in light of the claims made for horehound, it is important to review these studies. While they are certainly not proof, in fact the evidence is said to be very weak, many publicly available online studies seem to offer support for horehound’s tradition of beneficial usage.

A health site quite reserved in its promotion of horehound, noted that “there is promising early evidence favoring the use of white horehound as a hypoglycemic agent for diabetes mellitus, and as a non-opioid pain reliever.” The following review of clinical findings on horehound will start with those two possible benefits.

Clinical Research on Horehound or its Ingredients

Hyperglycemia (Diabetes Mellitus) and Horehound

First, two projects show that horehound maybe effective against diabetes. From a 1992 study testing the hypoglycemic effect of 12 antidiabetic plants used in Mexico, “eight of the studied plants decreased significantly the hyperglycemia in rabbits as compared with control test (water). The strongest effect was yielded by Guaiacum coulteri, followed by Marrubium vulgare.”

In 2001, the hypoglycemic effect of five Brazilian medicinal plants was tested in rats. Four of the plants studied, including Marrubium vulgare, “significantly lowered the blood glucose. These results suggest that these four medicinal plants could be an adjuvant [helping] agent in the treatment of diabetes mellitus.”

Pain Relief and Horehound

Researchers in Brazil analyzed the “antinociceptive [pain-relieving] profile of marrubiin, the main constituent of [Marrubium vulgare] … in mice.

The results showed that marrubiin exhibits potent and dose-related antinociceptive effects. … the results suggest that marrubiin, like hydroalcoholic extract of M. vulgare, does not interact with opioid systems.”
Horehound Information
In 2005, another clinical study in Brazil sought “to obtain more active compounds” of “marrubiin, a furane labdane diterpene, which is the main analgesic compound present in Marrubium vulgare.”

The scientists successfully formed “marrubiinic acid and two esterified derivatives … Marrubiinic acid showed better activity and excellent yield, and its analgesic effect was confirmed in other experimental models of pain in mice, suggesting its possible use as a model to obtain new and potent analgesic agents.

Blood Pressure and Horehound

Research in 2001, investigated “the hypotensive [BP lowering] effects of the water extract of Marrubium vulgare L. … in rats.” The horehound “extract lowered the systolic blood pressure … [by inhibiting] the contractile responses of rat aorta to noradrenaline and to KCl. … Marrubium displayed vascular relaxant activity.” This effective action was not blocked by the “NO synthase inhibitor N-nitro-L-arginine.”

Additional research was based on this significant hypotensive finding. A 2004 study added “that, in addition to its antihypertensive effect, Marrubium water extract improved the impaired endothelial [thin layer of cells lining blood vessels] function.” Because “crude extracts of the aerial parts of Marrubium vulgare show a potent in vitro inhibition of KCl-induced contraction of rat aorta, a group scientists from Belgium and Morocco sought to determine “pharmacological information about these components” of horehound. Their work, published in 2003, found “marrubenol [a diterpene alcohol] and marrubiin as the most active compounds.”

In 2004, researchers in Belgium, knowing that “Marrubenol inhibits contraction of rat arteries by blocking L-type calcium (Ca2+) channels in smooth muscle cells,” went on to investigate “its interaction with binding sites for calcium antagonists.” They found that “as marrubenol inhibited the contraction evoked by KCl depolarization of intestinal smooth muscle … interaction with the phenylalkylamine binding site seems to account for the inhibition of L-type Ca2+ channels by marrubenol.”

Antibacterial Activity and Horehound

White and black horehound were among the 5 of 168 crude, unfractionated extracts from Italian medicinal plants that tested well against “methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a common cause of skin and soft tissue infection (SSTI).” In their 2008 article, researchers “identified a significant correlation in anti-biofilm activity with medicinal plants used for SSTI. They called it a step “towards the development of new anti-biofilm drugs … controlling the effects of pathogenic bacteria without strong selection for drug resistance.”

In India, in 2007, “the antibacterial activity of the methanolic extract of Marrubium vulgare whole plant was tested” “against selected strains … and exhibited moderate to significant antibacterial activity against five out of six tested bacterial organisms.” The researchers “inferred that the methanolic extract of M. vulgare whole plant had in-vitro antibacterial.”

References to Other Horehound Effects

Two of the above studies used to crude or simple water extracts, which a tea prepared at home could contain. One acknowledged that “chemically, [Marrubium vulgare] is best known for its … marrubiin, which has potent antinocicetpive [pain reducing] and expectorant effects.” Additionally, the 2008 article on Italian plants stated that “previous studies have demonstrated that white horehound extracts exhibit antispasmodic [and] antioxidant … properties.”

In 2001, a researcher studied marrubiin production because “horehound … has been used for centuries to relieve respiratory and bronchial ailments, and a compound known as marrubiin has been implicated as the active constituent.” The 2001 study in Brazil noted that “marrubiin … also is stated to stimulate secretions of the bronchial mucosa and to possess anti-arrhythmic properties.”

Together with the clinical summaries, such statements show that a large number of the traditional claims for the effectiveness of horehound are not dismissed by scientists, but are clearly acknowledged as a reason for their further research. Yet, it is also clear that much more research is needed to prove horehound effective by FDA standards.

How White Horehound Can Be Used

Preparation of Horehound

The entire plant can be used medicinally. Horehound is available fresh, dried, powdered, in capsules, as an extract, or as a pressed juice. When harvesting horehound, cut the plant when the buds of the flower appear. Immediately chop the horehound and then seal it in jars as soon as it has dried. Horehound can be made into candies, syrups, teas, and used as a flavoring.

Simple Recipes for Horehound

For these recipes, adjust amounts to strengthen to taste. Since horehound is quite bitter, most will add sweetener to taste.

Water Extracts

  • Tea: Pour boiling water on dried or bruised fresh leaves, one ounce of herb to a pint of water.
  • Infusion: Pour two cups of boiling water onto 1-2 ounces of dried horehound, cover and allow to steep for 10-15 minutes then strain.

Alcohol Extracts (Tinctures)

In a glass jar, soak fresh leaves in alcohol. Store in a dark place and shake the mixture several times daily. After about two weeks, strain the liquid with cheesecloth and store it in a tightly-sealed, dark glass bottle, preferably one with an eye-dropper.

  • For an extract, dilute fresh horehound with 20% ethanol in a 1:1 ratio.
  • For a tincture, dilute fresh horehound with Vodka in a 1:5 ratio.

Sweets

  • Snack: Mix chopped, fresh horehound with a little honey to chew and swallow.
  • Candy: Add sugar to an infusion of the leaves and boil it thickens. Pour it into a pan and cut into squares after it cools.
  • Syrup: Begin with a double-strength infusion using the fresh herb and add 24 ounces of sweetener – 12 ounces each of honey and brown sugar – for each 2.5 cups of the horehound infusion. Heat and stir the mixture as it thickens. After the mixture cools, refrigerate in glass bottles.

Daily Usage Suggestions

  • Syrup: one teaspoonful three times a day or 2-4ml.
  • Dried herb: 1-2 grams or by infusion.
  • Fresh leaves: 4.5 grams.
  • Juice: 30 to 60ml.
  • Ethanol Extract: 1-2ml
  • Tincture: 3-6ml or 10–12 drops in water up to three times a day.
  • Capsule: 1 containing 750ml horehound

Other Horehound Uses

An infusion is sometimes used externally as a wash, or a salve of horehound salve can be prepared, to disinfect wounds or for minor skin irritations. A cold infusion of white horehound acts is said to stimulate the bile flow of bile, while a warm infusion could aid sweating or possible break fevers.

Horehound Price Approximations

  • Online retailers sell horehound in various forms. Prices vary with retailer.
  • Liquid Extract: 7$ per ounce.
  • Cut tea: $1 per ounce, cheaper in bulk.
  • Cut and Sifted: $8 – $12 for 1 pound and $12 – $25 for organic.
  • Tea bags: 4$ for 25 bags.
  • Candy: $15 for 12 ounce tin or $3 per pound in bulk.
  • Capsules: $5 for 60 capsules containing 750mg horehound leaves.

Information on the Action of Horehound

Components

Horehound’s main active compound is the diterpene lactone marrubiin, as identified in the research summarized above. Many of its other components include:

  • A volatile oil with camphene and limonene
  • Diterpene alcohols such as marrubenol and marrubiol
  • Sterols
  • Saponins
  • Tannins
  • Mucilage
  • Alkaloids such as Betonicine and Choline
  • Flavonoids such as luteolin, quercetin, and their glycosides
  • Vitamin C
  • Potassium

Side Effects and Warnings

Horehound has a tradition safe usage; its effectiveness is the main reason for concern. If it works as a digestive aid, horehound use may upset people with ulcers or stomach problems. Also, excessive use of horehound may increase the risk of abnormal heart rhythms. Additionally, in contrast to some traditional uses, some recommend not using horehound during pregnancy or breastfeeding, and should not be used with infants.

Interactions

Because of its possible effectiveness, it is best to err on the side of caution and consult the prescribing doctor before using horehound. Below is a partial list of possible interactions:

  • Because horehound may work to lower blood pressure, those taking blood pressure medication should use caution.
  • Similarly, horehound’s possible effectiveness as a diuretic and in lowering blood sugar, caution should be used when taking a diuretic medication such as water pills or a medication that affects blood sugar.
  • Because horehound may work as an expectorant, it may change or increase the effect of cold medications.
  • Similarly, horehound’s possible effectiveness may increase the effect of laxitive products or cholesterol-lowering medications.
  • Because horehound contains glycosides and estrogen-like chemicals, those taking heart medications or hormone therapy should use caution as well.
  • Additionally, those who take supplements or other herbs to address a condition that horehound may affect should use caution and consult their health practitioner.

References for the article

Clinical Research References

Hyperglycemia (Diabetes Mellitus) and Horehound
Roman Ramos R, Alarcon-Aguilar F, Lara-Lemus A, et al.
Hypoglycemic effect of plants used in Mexico as antidiabetics.
Arch Med Res . 1992;23:59–64

Novaes AP, Rossi C, Poffo C, Pretti Júnior E, Oliveira AE, Schlemper V, Niero R, Cechinel-Filho V, Bürger C.
Preliminary evaluation of the hypoglycemic effect of some Brazilian medicinal plants.
Therapie . 2001;56:427–30

Pain Relief and Horehound
De Jesus RA, Cechinel-Filho V, Oliveira AE, Schlemper V.
Analysis of the antinociceptive properties of marrubiin isolated from Marrubium vulgare.
Phytomedicine. 2000 Apr;7(2):111-5.

Meyre-Silva C, Yunes RA, Schlemper V, Campos-Buzzi F, Cechinel-Filho V.
Analgesic potential of marrubiin derivatives, a bioactive diterpene present in Marrubium vulgare (Lamiaceae).
Farmaco. 2005 Apr;60(4):321-6.

Blood Pressure and Horehound

El Bardai S, Lyoussi B, Wibo M, et al.
Pharmacological evidence of hypotensive activity of Marrubium vulgare and Foeniculum vulgare in spontaneously hypertensive rat. Clin Exp Hypertens . 2001 May;23(4):329-43.

Sanae El Bardaia, b, Marie-Christine Hamaidea, Badiaa Lyoussib, Joëlle Quetin-Leclercqc, Nicole Morela and Maurice Wibo
Marrubenol interacts with the phenylalkylamine binding site of the L-type calcium channel

Antibacterial Activity and Horehound

Cassandra L. Quave, Lisa R.W. Plano, Traci Pantuso, Bradley C. Bennett
Effects of extracts from Italian medicinal plants on planktonic growth, biofilm formation and adherence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
Journal of Ethnopharmacology: Accepted 8 May, 2008

It also had sources for antispasmodic (Schlemper et al., 1996), antioxidant (Berrougui et al., 2006; Matkowski and Piotrowska, 2006; Weel et al., 1999)

Mubashir H. Masoodi1*, Bahar Ahmed2, Iqbal M. Zargar1, Saroor A. Khan2, Shamshir Khan2
and Singh P.1
Antibacterial activity of whole plant extract of Marrubium vulgare
African Journal of Biotechnology Vol. 7 (2), pp. 086-087, 18 January, 2008

Other Benefits Acknowledged in Research

Researcher wins accolades.

Interactions

Horehound Interactions

Herbs

Eyebright

Eyebright is scientifically classified as Euphrasia. Some common names of Euphrasia are eyebright, meadow eyebright, and red eyebright.

What is Eyebright?

Eyebright is an annual plant that grows 2 to 8 inches tall in its common habitat. It has deep-cut leaves and small flowers that vary in color. The stem of the eyebright plant is thin and stiff, and the leaves grow approximately 1/6 to 1/2 inch long by 1/4 inch across with four or five teeth on each side of the leaf.

It is a hemi-parasitic plant that steals its food by attaching to other plants around it. This makes the Eyebright plant difficult to harvest. The ideal times to harvest the plants are in the summer when they are in full bloom. The flower is cut just about the root and an extract of the fluid is prepared. Unfortunately, due to the high demand for eyebright, the plant is quickly becoming an endangered species.

European Roots

The eyebright plant is indigenous to Europe, especially in Britain. It grows well in the open grasslands or meadows, especially those in temperate climate regions. The majority of eyebright sold comes from Europe, however, it has been found in Northern and Western Asia, as well as North America. The plant is best grown in areas of rich soil, where it can grow into a small bush that can gain upwards of 8 to 9 inches in height.

Though it thrives in open fields, eyebright can grow in rocky areas or in poor soil. However, in these conditions, the height of the plant is typically only a scant inch high, and the stem does not branch as fully as it would in an open meadow or grassland.

History and Origins

Since medieval times, herbalists have used eyebright in lotion form to refresh eyes and in tinctures to help cure eye ailments. As the ancient peoples recognize that plants that resemble a part of the body seem to aid in correcting issues with that body part, they started to cultivate those plants. Since the eyebright flower, in full bloom, resembles the human eye when it is “bloodshot”, people believed it to be able to cure eye ailments.

In ancient times, some believed that a tea of eyebright will aid mental clarity and psychic powers. They would place cotton pads infused with an eyebright tincture over their closed eyes to induce clairvoyance, and they believed that carrying eyebright with you could help you see through lies and deceit.
Eyebright Herb
Publications such as Gordon’s “Liticium Medicina” in 1305 and Markham’s “Countrie Farm” in 1616 both list the eyebright herb as effective treatments for eye ailments. The herb was highly recommended by the Mantuan physician Matthaeus Sylvaticus and was the subject of a treatise by Arnoldus Villanovanus. Even some poets, like John Milton, wrote of the medicinal uses of eyebright.

Herbal History

A German book on medicinal herbs was published in 1485 listing eyebright among one of the herbs used to cure eye ailments. Eyebright was especially popular in the age of Queen Elizabeth I, when people drank eyebright ale. Eyebright was also prescribed in tobacco form and was smoked to relieve bronchial colds.

Eyebright was again made popular in the 17th century by Nicholas Culpepper who believed it strengthened the brain, so he equated the herb to the Zodiac sign Leo. It is widely used throughout Europe and even in some African countries.

Today, people in Iceland use the juice expressed from the plant for eye ailments, and the Highlanders of Scotland infuse it in milk and sooth tired or sore eyes by dipping a feather in the infusion and applying it to the eyes. People in Britain are still using the herb to ease the suffering from chronic bronchial maladies by adding the dried herb to their herbal tobacco and smoking it.

Variations

There are about 450 different species of Eyebright, but they are all used in the same manner. Herbalists have determined that no one has different medicinal properties than the others. This is especially important since the colors can vary, with the most common colors being blue-white, purple and violet. There is also a yellow dot on most of the flowers to assist bees with pollination of the plants.

Uses Today

Eyebright contains:

  • Alkaloids
  • Iridoid glycosides
  • Phenolic acids
  • Sterols
  • Tannins
  • Volatile oils.

One of the first uses of eyebright has been the treatment of ailments associated with the human eye. Eyebright contains astringent compounds called tannins that can reduce inflammation and swelling in the eye and also create a protective coating on the surface of the eye.

Eyebright is also quite useful in treating respiratory conditions such as allergies, bronchitis, colds, and sinusitis. The tannins in eyebright can reduce the mucus production, which relieves the symptoms of respiratory conditions and even increases the firmness of the tissues in the respiratory system.

Usage Options

Eyebright can be used topically or orally. As an eye wash, combine ½ teaspoon (2,000 mg) fresh or dried eyebright with 1 cup of brandy or gin (250 mL). Pour mixture into an airtight container. Shake the container every 2 to 3 days and strain the mixture after one month. Add 30 drops of tincture to 1 cup boiling water. If you are unsure how to mix the eye wash or eye drops properly, both items can be found commercially in sterile packaging.

For oral use, a tea made with eyebright is quite effective. Simply add ½-1 level teaspoon (2,000-4,000 mg) dried eyebright to 5 ounces of boiling water for 10 minutes. Strain the tea for drinking. Eyebright also comes as extracts and in capsule form and in different strengths, depending on the intended use of the product. If bought at a store with packaging, please follow the instructions for use on the package.

Dr. Christopher’s, Herbal Remedies, Nature’s Way, and Quantum Herbal Products are some of the more recognizable names on the market, though they are certainly not the only manufacturers of the variety of eyebright products. Some even believe eyebright may even have antibacterial properties from the caffeic acid in the plant. This theory has not been fully explored. The effects on pregnant and lactating mothers have not been determined.

Dosage and Administration

Dosage depends on the severity of the problem. For issues such as blepharitis, conjunctivitis, and eyestrain, a simple poultice can be applied. A tea can also be made to compliment the external treatment. Some believe taking an herbal supplement of eyebright can maintain or increase their eye health. Before using eyebright for any type of condition, you should consult your doctor.

Legal Station

The Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act of 1999 (England) has listed eyebright as vulnerable. Many countries in Europe are taking measures to insure the survival of the plant.

The United States Food and Drug Administration has not fully recognized eyebright for treatment of eye ailments and certain respiratory conditions. Because the medical community was not greatly utilizing eyebright as an effect treatment of eye ailments, there is little research presently completed on the effectiveness of eyebright. (The USFDA typically uses established research studies to give preliminary approval for a substance to be medicinally used until such time as their own research studies are completed.)

Side Effects

Eyebright should not be used if you have had recent eye surgery or if you wear contact lenses.

Allergic reactions to eyebright are rare, but could occur. If you are taking eyebright and develop hives, have difficulty breathing, or your lips or tongue swell, stop using it immediately and contact your physician.

Studies have been published recently indicating that large amounts of eyebright taken orally or as an eye wash can be hazardous. Their research indicates the use of eyebright can be detrimental to eye health and has no real healing properties at all.

Price Ranges

For commercially packaged eyebright tinctures or eye drops, prices can range from $7.82 for a 1 oz. bottle to $15.99 for a 2 oz. bottle.

Herbal eyebright supplements can range in cost from $7.60 to $17.99, depending on the strength of the tablets or capsules and the quantity purchased.

Eyebright herbal teas sell between $5.29 to $11.95, and purchasing the dried plant itself can cost anywhere from $8.40 for 4 oz. to $45.92 for various amounts. Lifebalm.com sells eyebright in powder form for $42.49 for a 4 oz. package.

Where to Purchase

There are many online venues to purchase eyebright in its various forms: amazon.com, iHerb.com, and mynaturalmarket.com are among some of the websites that sell eyebright tinctures and supplements. Prices will vary from website to website, as will shipping and handling charges.

Local apothecary and herbalist stores are the most common places to find eyebright. However, before purchasing locally manufactured products from these stores, you should make yourself aware of the credentials of the person making the product. Some local stores do carry the professionally manufactured, “factory sealed” products that are more likely to not cause adverse reactions to the product.

Because of the risk of infection and/or adverse reaction to medications, before using any product either topically or internally, you should consult with your physician.

Herbs

Galangal

Galangal is a root in the rhizome family, which looks similar to ginger. Commonly used in traditional eastern medicine, galangal shares several healing properties with its cousin ginger. Galangal warms the body and aids in digestion. Also like ginger, galangal is a powerful anti-nausea remedy. Galangal is also a spice used frequently in East Asian cooking, from India to Thailand, offering a mildly spicy heat that is very fragrant and aromatic.
Picture of Galangal Root
The origins of galangal can be traced back to China where it has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine. It was not until the 800s AD that galangal found its way in to European hands through spice trade with the East. The famed St. Hildegard, a renowned healer and expert in herbal medicine recognized galangal’s powers and dubbed it the, “spice of life,” that was a cure-all for many diseases that ravaged Europe at the time. Although Europeans were very familiar with galangal’s medicinal properties, it was not until the late 19th century that galangal was biologically classified and given a standard taxonomic name. Galangal has been subdivided into two varieties — lesser galangal and greater galangal.

Native Roots

Lesser galangal is native to China. The first species were identified on a small island in the South China Sea called Hainan, just off the coast of a region called Tung-Sai. Lesser galangal was given the taxonomic name Alpinia officinarum. Greater galangal, or Alpinia galangal is native to the islands in the Indonesian archipelago rather than China. Although both species of galangal have similar effects,

Greater galangal is milder in flavor but larger in size. Galangal is a member of the rhizome family of plants. Rhizomes are plants that have large, underground root systems that grow horizontally in the ground. Members of the rhizome family include ginger, turmeric, and galangal. The root of the galangal plant branches out in several directions, with each branch being between one and three inches long and three quarters to one inch in width. The branches are cylindrical in shape and white in color. The white color of the galangal root is broken up into segments by darker hued bands that are the result of old leaf growth along the surface of the root.

Alternate Names

  • Galangal
  • Gao Liang
  • Blue ginger
  • Kha
  • Siamese ginger
  • Alpinia galanga
  • Alpinia officinarum

Parts Used

Like all rhizomes, only the root is used for medicinal purposes. The galangal plant does produce flowers, which may serve decorative purposes.

Cultivation

Galangal is a member of the rhizome family that includes the more familiar ginger and turmeric roots. Galangal originated in southeast Asia in China and in the islands of Indonesia. Still to this day, galangal is cultivated primarily in Asia, but with modern travel and freight options, is available worldwide in specialty markets and ethnic stores. Galangal is cultivated for both its culinary uses and its medicinal properties. Higher quality grade galangal is use primarily for traditional medicines, while lesser grade galangal is used for cooking. The optimum growing environment for a galangal plant is a shaded area that is out of direct sunlight.

Galangal also requires soil that drains well. Galangal is harvested after four to six years of growth. During harvest, which happens in late summer and autumn, galangal is dug up from the ground and thoroughly washed. It is then cut up into smaller pieces and sold fresh or dried. In traditional eastern medicine, galangal can be prepared either from fresh roots or in a dried form, depending on the recipe that is being made.

Chemistry of Galangal

Galangal contains several important compounds that give it its healing properties. These include acrid resins, oils, kaempferid, galangin, alpinin, and galangol. Galangol, the oily component of the galangal rhizome, and acrid resin are the main components of the plant that produce its medicinal properties. Galangal has long been noted to have a warming effect on the body, but it also reduces gas in the digestion process. It also increases the secretion of gastric juices in the digestive track.

Medicinal Properties

Galangal has been used for thousands of years in traditional eastern medicines. In China, traditional Chinese medicine holds that galangal has warming properties. In traditional Chinese medicine, the thought is that the body is influenced by yin and yang. Yin and Yang are two forces in the body that must be in balance to produce good health. Yin represents coolness, darkness, and water, while yang represents fire, warmth, and dryness. All foods can be subdivided into yin and yang foods. Here are how some common foods are classified:

Yin Foods

  • Banana
  • Asparagus
  • Lettuce
  • Apple
  • Green beans
  • Orange
  • Cucumber
  • Seaweed
  • Crab
  • Clam
  • Eggplant
  • Watermelon

Yang Foods

  • Chili peppers
  • Pumpkin
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Galangal
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Onion
  • Peach
  • Shrimp
  • Wine

According to traditional Chinese medicine, any imbalance in yin and yang can result in illness. For example, a person who has a cough is advised not to eat too many cool, yin foods, because they may exacerbate the cough. Instead, these individuals need to consume warming, yang foods to balance their systems. On the other hand, if someone has a heat rash or sunburn, they are advised to eat cooling, yin foods such as cucumbers and watermelon to bring down the inflammation.

Galangal root has yang properties and as such is thought to be warming. In traditional Chinese medicine, galangal is used to aid in digestion and to help with abdominal discomfort and indigestion. It is also a potent herb in fighting nausea like its cousin the ginger root. Galangal can also help to prevent or to stop vomiting. Chinese medicine also holds that galangal is effective in treating diarrhea, which is believe to be a result of too much cool foods being eaten.

Indian Medicine

Galangal has also been used extensively in traditional Indian medicine as well. Like the Chinese, traditional Indian herbalists recognize galangal’s ability to treat abdominal conditions. In addition to this property, traditional Indian medical practitioners believe that galangal possesses anti-inflammatory properties. It can also help to break up mucus and allow for a more productive cough in patients with upper respiratory infections. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, Indian herbalists believe that galangal is an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.
Using the Galangal Root

Western Medicine

Western medicine has been slower to adopt galangal’s uses to cure stomach ailments. Galangal was introduced to Europeans in the 800s after trade had been established with Arabian spice merchants and doctors. Europeans quickly learned about galangal’s properties that could sooth abdominal problems, but also found that it could treat symptoms like gas and vomiting. Also, Europeans discovered that galangal could effectively treat mouth ailments such as open sores and bleeding gums.

As Europeans took to the seas in order to establish new trade routes and discover new territories, they discovered that galangal, like ginger, was a potent herb that could help with sea sickness and nausea. Research has also shown that galangal may have cancer fighting properties. In studies, galangal was shown to kill cancer cells as well as prevent non-cancerous cells from becoming malignant.

Dosing and Availability

Galangal can be procured in fresh or dried form. Fresh galangal is primarily used in cooking, while dried galangal is used for traditional Eastern medicine. Galangal is also sold as extracts in health food and vitamin specialty stores. The usual dosage for galangal extract is one teaspoon, three times per day. Dried roots can be infused into hot water to make a tea. In order to prepare a galangal tea, one teaspoon of dried, ground galangal root is steeped in two cups of boiling water. The mixture must then sit to infuse for at least fifteen minutes. Galangal teas can be taken two to three times daily. Dried galangal can also be mixed with water or oil to make a soothing paste that can treat muscle pains.

Dried galangal ranges in price from relatively inexpensive at a dollar per ounce to tens of dollars an once depending on its grade. Galangal extracts can be purchased for approximately ten dollars per fluid ounce. As always, it is important to consult with a physician before undertaking any alternative medical treatment or beginning any herbal supplement. Ideal specimens of fresh galangal are pale white with little wrinkling.

Fresh galangal should be stored in the refrigerator unwrapped and will last for up to three weeks when left uncut. Alternatively, fresh galangal can be stored in sherry or another kind of alcohol for several months. Galangal also freezes well, either whole or in slice. Fresh galangal can also be dried at home using a food dehydrator. Fresh galangal can be used in cooking to add a fragrant, citrus spice to foods, while also providing the medicinal benefits of the rhizome.

Side Effects

Side effects from ingesting galangal root or extract is rare. In some cases, allergic reactions may occur. If symptoms of an allergic reaction such as itching, shortness of breath, or rash occur, it is important to discontinue use of galangal and consult a doctor immediately. Galangal may also cause hallucinations in very high doses.

Conclusion

Galangal is a well known root that has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese and Indian medicines. It has since made its way into the Western medical lexicon and its healing properties are just now being tapped by modern science. Galangal can ameliorate the symptoms of gastrointestinal distress and abdominal pain, while also providing relief from motion sickness and nausea. Best of all, galangal is relatively inexpensive and has no adverse side effects for most of the population.

As modern medicine advances, many researchers are finding merits in the old, tried and tested, natural cures like galangal. Indeed, it seems that the future of medicine is sure to combine elements from antiquity with modern techniques to provide new weapons against illness and disease.

Herbs

Ginseng

Ginseng is a slow-growing herb native to East Asia and North America. It is known for its stimulant effects on the body, but has many other purported uses for well-being and health. Although the studies on ginseng have proved inconclusive for the most part, health practitioners across the globe have used it to treat a variety of illnesses and health issues for thousands of years. In modern times, Ginseng has become a well-known supplement to many herbal remedies and is even commonly seen in energy drinks and popular iced tea beverages. As readily available as it is, and due to its lack of side effects in humans, it is definitely an herb worth learning more about. This article seeks to answer some of the questions one might have when considering using ginseng.

Origins of the plant

Ginseng was originally found in east Asian countries, specifically mainland China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. There is a variety of ginseng known as Siberian ginseng which is not really the same plant at all, but a similar herb known as Eleuthero. Traditional ginseng also grows in North America, but specifically is native to the northeastern region of the United States from the Atlantic ocean across to Iowa and some parts of southern Canada. It is a shade-loving plant, so typically grows in forested regions and cool climates. Ginseng does not do well in southern regions where heat, bright sun, or dry weather will prevent its growth.
Ginseng Uses
The slow-growing nature of ginseng calls for at least three years of life before harvesting a plant. The plant will flower in the early summer and then turn to berries. Once these have fallen, then the plant is generally harvested in the early fall months. The entire plant can be used, but typically the root has the most medicinal properties. The root of the ginseng plant is large, and grows into several branches that are said to look like a human in shape.

History

Ginseng has been used on both the Asian and American continents for thousands of years. The Chinese called it ren-shen which means man-root, and surmised early on that it would heal and treat the entire body because of the human-like shape of its roots. Native Americans also used ginseng in their healing practices, and gave it names related to its human shaped roots and ability to treat a variety of ailments. The current name of ginseng is specifically derived from the Chinese and a simple mispronunciation of their word. The botanical name for most forms of ginseng is Panax. This stems from the

Latin words meaning “all-healing” and has similar derivatives to the Greek word panacea. It is through this history and mythology that Panax ginseng came to be thought of as such a powerful treatment. The Chinese even treated it with such value equivalent to gold or other precious items.

There is a story that tells of a Jesuit priest working in Manchuria in the 18th century who learned of Ginseng and its capabilities from healers in China. He sent word to a fellow priest working in Canada to look for the plant growing locally. It was not long before the priest found it growing and began to cultivate it. This caused the plant to grow popular very quickly amongst European settlers, and the Ginseng trade was born. As a result of the highly touted use and export of ginseng in America and China, there are very limited resources still growing in the wild. Most ginseng that is produced and sold today comes from farms in Korea or from the northeastern part of the United States.

Variations of Ginseng

There are a number of variations of ginseng. Most relate to where the ginseng was grown or cultivated, but each area produces a different level of quality in their ginseng.

Asian Ginseng

Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) is the most common form of ginseng and is considered the original form of the herb. It is still grown in China, Japan, and other countries, but is most prevalent in Korea. Korean ginseng is one of the most popular varieties of Ginseng seen in products today. It is important to note that this species is also one of the most superior in quality of the variations available. This is due to the conditions in which it is grown and the longer span of the growing period that is available. The longer the plant is able to stay in the soil the stronger it becomes and therefore is more effective overall.

American Ginseng

American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) is quite accessible today in many products. It is still considered a high quality form of ginseng, but it has been found that the roots contain different proportions of the key components. The claim is that the properties are different in American ginseng because of the conditions under which it is grown.

Japanese Ginseng

Japanese ginseng (Panax japonicus) is often used as a substitute to the higher grade Asian ginseng and does not have the same strength nor the quality of Asian ginseng.
Sanchi ginseng (Panax notoginseng) is native to China and is another of the often used substitutes to Asian ginseng. It is very different in its properties from traditional Panax ginseng and is commonly used for entirely different purposes.

Himalayan Ginseng

Himalayan ginseng (Panax pseudoginseng) is a low strength form of ginseng that is most often used to treat digestive issues.

Siberian Ginseng

Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is similar in form to ginseng, but is a different plant entirely. It has a lower level of potency in treatment, and is also cheaper to buy so is often used as an alternative to ginseng. Siberian ginseng has been shown to have its own tonifying effects, however, and can be used with success in treating immune function problems and as an anti-inflammatory.
Red ginseng is a form of Panax ginseng that has been put through a heat treatment and then brewed to turn a reddish color. It is most commonly known for its uses in treating sexual dysfunction, but also has been effective in reducing various types of cancer.

Benefits of Ginseng

The key components in ginseng are the ginsenosides which produce effects in the body similar to the stress hormones released naturally. Depending on the level of potency of the ginseng, these effects can improve a person’s well-being in a number of ways.

Ginseng is most often thought of for its stimulating effects and indeed many of its benefits are due to its effect on the body’s secretion of hormones. Ginseng is known to improve mental and physical performance over time as well as stimulating metabolism, improving stamina, and alleviating fatigue. It has also been used to relax the nervous system and lower blood sugar and also improves immune system response and encourages resistance to disease.

Overall, ginseng can create strong benefits for many people. Pregnant women should not use it without consulting their doctor first. Children under the age of 18 should also have a doctor’s consultation before beginning the use of ginseng. In any case, it is wise to speak with a physician before beginning the use of any herbal supplement to ensure that there are no potential side effects or contraindications.

Studies on Ginseng

There are a number of studies that have been done on ginseng and its properties to determine if the health claims are true. Many of these studies have shown some strong data in favor of the claims made about ginseng, yet others have proved inconclusive and further studies need to be completed before any results can be shown.
Ginseng Symptoms
The strongest results from studies on ginseng have been in relation to improving blood sugar, aiding in immune system function, and providing benefits for those with heart conditions. Most studies in these areas have already shown positive results, and further studies are underway to provide more conclusive evidence.

Other conditions that have been tested for treatment with ginseng include anemia, ADHD, cancer, dementia, erectile dysfunction, high blood pressure, improving mental performance, supporting liver function, and a number of other illnesses. Most of the results on these studies have been positive in nature, but the data is not yet conclusive enough to be shown as proven. More studies are underway all the time, so results are likely to change over time.

For more information on ginseng studies visit MEDLINE at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/databases/databases_medline.html

Side Effects of Ginseng

Ginseng is relatively side effect free in most adults and has shown a limited number of problems over long term use. There are still some issues that have arisen in individuals taking ginseng.

Side effects that have occurred with ginseng use include skin rashes, itching, cough, anxiety, loss of appetite, insomnia, depression, and diarrhea. Other side effects that have been reported less frequently include dizziness, problems with menstruation, heart palpitations and rapid heart rate, headache, edema, nausea, and chest pain.

Those on blood thinning medications or with blood clotting issues should speak with a doctor before taking ginseng because it can reduce the effectiveness of medications. Since ginseng has been known to reduce blood sugar levels, those on blood sugar regulating medications should also speak with a physician before starting to use ginseng. Again, pregnant or breastfeeding women should not use ginseng without first consulting their physician.

Usage & Dosages of Ginseng

Ginseng is available in a number of forms for use. Fresh ginseng can be sliced and brewed into a tea for consumption or added into soups. It can even be chewed or eaten fresh. The most common form of ginseng found is the dried root or some variation of that.

The dried root can also be sliced and brewed into tea, or it can be ground and placed under the tongue for quick absorption. Most ground ginger root is actually put into a pill format for consuming daily. The benefit of buying the actual dried root is that one can ensure that they are receiving a high quality product. It is common that pill formats of ginseng will not have a high potency of the herb.

The typical dosage in capsule format is 100 to 200 milligrams taken once or twice per day. If using a liquid form of ginseng, it is best to take 1 to 2 grams and mix it with water and then drink the mixture. Again, this can be taken once or twice per day.

A good standard is to start with a lower dose and then work up to a maximum of 200 milligrams twice per day after determining physical response and potential side effects from taking ginseng. After a three month period of taking ginseng on a daily basis, one should stop using the herb for a period of two weeks to one month before resuming use. Prolonged use without taking a break can cause nervousness and fluid retention.

Where to Buy Ginseng

Ginseng is legally sold throughout the United States without any restrictions, so it is very easy to find in most stores. A good place to look for ginseng is at a local health food store because there will be a multitude of options for ginseng supplements and even the actual dried root.

Most standard grocery and drug stores will also have ginseng available, but may not have the variety of a health food store. There are many options online for finding ginseng supplements. Amazon.com has hundreds of choices for buying ginseng as does shopping.yahoo.com. It can become overwhelming to try and choose, so initially it is a good idea to shop locally and ask for help from a sales associate at the store. They can often recommend a good product within a specific price range.

Ginseng products come in a broad spectrum of prices ranging from $5-10 per bottle up to $50 or more for some liquid tinctures. Cheaper does not necessarily mean low quality, but doing some investigation prior to buying a particular brand is well worth it. Different products have varying levels of the important component ginsenosides and this determines the potency of the product. Check the level contained in a product before buying it. A reasonable product should contain about 4% ginsenosides.

There are other ways to try ginseng, specifically in the Arizona brand bottled teas. These can be purchased at a local grocery store and can provide a small glimpse into the effects of ginseng. Drinking the beverage will not provide the same effects as taking a supplement or using the actual root, however, because its potency is very low.

Summary

Ginseng is a viable option for supplementing one’s diet to aid in mental focus, lowering blood sugar, and providing an energy boost. It is not without its concerns, however, and it will be some time before enough studies are completed to show the benefits or disprove the claims related to ginseng. Anyone deciding to use it should take it slowly and check with a sales clerk at their local health food store to find a quality brand. As always, remember to check with a physician before starting any new herbal supplement to ensure that it will not conflict with any other health issues or medications.

Herbs

Mullein

Herbal Remedies For Treating Common Health Problems

Some of the most widely used herbal remedies will be discussed below. Where does the herb grow? What is the history and origin of its use? What claimed and actually proven benefits are associated with its use? These and many other questions and interesting facts about herbal remedies hopefully will help you learn more about using herbs and the benefits they can bring to your health.

Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa)

Black Cohosh is a tall, flowering plant that flourishes in moist, shady conditions. It is a native of North America and grows freely in the woods of the United States and Canada. A black, cylindrical rhizome (root) with the remnants of many protruding branches forms into a ball-like shape underground. Harvested in the fall months, the rhizome is cut into pieces and dried. It is then further refined and processed for use.

Also known as Black Snake Root, Rattle Root, Squaw Root and Bugbane, this herb is very widely used. Cimicifugin, an amorphous resin comprises about 18% of the root. It also contains several other resins, fat, wax starch, gum, sugar and an astringent. These “ingredients” give Black Cohosh a number of different helpful applications.

Primary Use

The primary use for Black Cohosh is for the treatment of menstrual cramps and the symptoms of menopause. Women who suffer from cramps, hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings and sleep disturbances can benefit from Black Cohosh. More than 200 years ago, Native Americans discovered this plant had curative qualities for women with gynecological problems. Early on, it was thought that Black Cohosh reacted with a woman’s estrogen system to alleviate some of these symtoms. More recent research ties the herb’s efficacy to a favorable effect on the serotonin receptors. No matter what the reason, anecdotal evidence shows this product is helpful to many women. Over the years, new uses were found for this bountiful plant.
Chamomile Uses

Additional Uses

Diarrhea, particularly when occuring in children, can be treated successfully with this herbal product. There is also an opposing view that because there has not been adequate studies and testing, Black Cohosh should not be given to children. Before giving your child this herbal supplement, it would be prudent to consult with your doctor or pediatrician.

Black Cohosh has been used as a cough suppressant, to reduce pulse rate and to induce perspiration when trying to fight off a cold. It has been used as a salve and antidote for snake bites. Other uses for Black Cohosh include treatment of osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis. More studies still need to be done to determine the efficacy of the treatment on these specific conditions.

Black Cohosh comes in a number of different forms. Freshly cut or dried Black Cohosh can be chopped up or ground up and used to make strong teas (infusions). It can be encapsulated and swallowed as a supplement. It can be used as a solid extract in pills or made in to a liquid extract (tincture).

Side Effects & Availability

Side effects range from possible liver damage in very rare cases to weight gain. Low blood pressure, headaches, nausea, vomitting and indigestion have also been reported.

Black Cohosh is a legal, well accepted herbal product that is available in health food stores, nutritional centers and pharmacies all around the country. Tea can be found in most supermarkets as well as many less traditional stores that cater to the alternative therapy and holistic healing markets. No prescription is required and Black Cohosh is usually located by the vitamins in most stores. Prices are very reasonable for most forms of Black Cohosh. CVS pharmacy sells a 100 pill bottle of 540 mg capsules for about $5.00.

Chamomile – Common (Anthemis Nobilis)

Chamomile Uses
The name Chamomile is derived from the Greek “Kamai” (on the ground) and “melon” (apple). The Chamomile is a low growing herb that can be found in southern Europe and northern Asia. There are a number of varieties of Chamomile including both single and multiflowering versions. A grayish green stem with white petals surrounding the yellow center of the flower grows to a height of about two feet. The flower is harvested for medicinal purposes and the entire plant can be used to create an herb beer. The plant resembles the common daisy and grows best in sunny, wide open fields.

Primary Use

There are literally one hundred or more claimed benefits to using Chamomile. Despite all the claimed benefits of Chamomile, scientists are still skeptical about how well this herb works. Without more scientific research, the scientific community will continue to question the effectiveness of Chamomile. That aside, many believers see this herb as highly useful with very limited risk. Nutrients, including certain bioflavonoids like Chrysin provide effective sleep inducing qualities. One of the chemical ingredients that helps make up the plant is coumarin. Heart patients often take a derivitive product (coumadin) to thin the blood and act as an anti-coagulent. Those with already “thin” blood should be careful not to use Chamomile as it can further thin your blood and create bleeding.

Chamomile has been demonstrated as an effective herb for treating digestive diseases. Relief from indigestion and heartburn to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and diarrhea has been treated with a fair degree of success. Anthelmintic agents present in Chamomile will destroy or expel intestinal worms.

Additional Uses

The pain relieving and sedative qualities of Anodyne make this herb a great calming and sleep agent. A cup of Chamomile tea at night is often the cure for insomnia. Others have used Chamomile to fight off the debilitating effects of a nasty cold.

Chamomile also can be used externally. A solution can be made to treat skin conditions like eczema. Soaking in a bath with Chamomile can reduce swelling and relax the muscles. It has been shown to be more gentle than some traditional medicines and is used in patients that can not tolerate caffeine. Those sufffering from peptic ulcers, high blood pressure and heart disease have been able to use Chamomile to relieve symptoms without any serious side effects.

Muscle spasms caused by alkaloids are a rare, but possible side effect. Individuals allergic to ragweed pollen should not use Chamomile as it can cause severe shock. Taken in moderation, this herb is generally safe. Too much can cause vomitting. Skin contact may lead to skin rashes. It has even been claimed to have hypnotic powers. Because there have been very few long term studies and scientific evidence is not complete, Chamomile should be taken in moderation. As always, if you are taking other drugs, check with your doctor before using Chamomile as a regular health regimen.

Celebrities Using Chamomile

Some rather famous celebrities have been espousing the virtues of Chamomile tea. Singer/Songwriter Alanis Morrissette calls Chamomile tea her favorite drink. Actress Jennifer Alba helps to keep her good looks by using Chamomile tea bags to reduce the puffiness in her eyes. You don’t have to be a celebrity to use Chamomile tea. Everyone can try it.

Chamomile is available as a tea, in capsules and in liquid form. It is widely available in all traditional outlets that sell teas and health related products. Grocery stores, Nutritional Centers and Pharmacies all sell some version of Chamomile. These days, like almost everything else, you can also buy Chamomile online. Infusions of honey, citrus or any number of natural flavors makes the taste of Chamomile tea pleasing to the palate. Prices are in line with other premium herbal teas and a twenty cup supply will cost under $10.00. A monthly supply of Chamomile liquid extract or capsules is also well below $10.00.Herbal remedies to treat and cure ailments of every type have been around for thousands of years. Aloe Vera is known to relieve burns. Milk Thistle promotes liver health. Echinacea can help with respiratory infections.

Popular Herbs

These are just a few examples of how commonly grown plants (herbs) can be beneficial to the health of people all around the world. There are hundreds, if not thousands of herbs that have been shown to have healing and curative properties. An alphabetical list of many well known herbs is shown below.

  • Aconite
  • Alfalfa
  • Allspice
  • Almond
  • Aloe Vera
  • Angelica
  • Anise
  • Apple
  • Apricot Kernels
  • Arnica
  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Astragalus
  • Avocado
  • Barberry
  • Basil Bay
  • Bayberry
  • Benzoin
  • Bergamot
  • Bilberry
  • Birch
  • Black Cohosh
  • Black Pepper
  • Blackberry
  • Blessed Thistle
  • Boldo
  • Borage
  • Brewers Yeast
  • Bromelain
  • Buchu
  • Buckthorn
  • Butchers Broom
  • Cajuput
  • Calendula
  • Camphor
  • Caraway
  • Cardamom
  • Carrot
  • Cascara Sagrada
  • Catmint
  • Catuaba
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Cedarwood (Red)
  • Celery
  • Centella
  • Chamomile (German)
  • Chamomile (Roman)
  • Chaste Tree
  • Chickweed
  • Chives
  • Cinnamon Bark (Chinese)
  • Cinnamon
  • Citronella
  • Clary Sage
  • Cloves
  • Cola Nut
  • Comfrey
  • Coriander
  • Cornflower
  • Corn Silk
  • Cranberry
  • Damiana
  • Dandelion
  • Devil’s Claw
  • Dill
  • Echinacea
  • Elder Flower
  • Eleuthero
  • Ephedra
  • Eucalyptus
  • Everlasting
  • Fennel
  • Fenugreek
  • Flax
  • Frankincense
  • Garlic
  • Gentian Root
  • Geranium
  • Ginger
  • Ginkgo Biloba
  • Ginseng
  • Golden Rod
  • Goldenseal
  • Gotu Kola
  • Grapefruit
  • Green Tea
  • Hawthorn
  • Hemp Seed
  • Hibiscus
  • Hoodia Gordonii
  • Hops
  • Horehound
  • Horny Goat Weed
  • Horse Chestnut
  • Horseradish
  • Horsetail
  • Hyssop
  • Iceland Moss
  • Immortelle
  • Ivy
  • Jasmine
  • Jojoba
  • Juniper
  • Kava Kava
  • Lady’s Mantle
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Lemon Balm
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Licorice Root
  • Lily
  • Lime
  • Linden Flowers
  • Loofah
  • Maca
  • Maitake
  • Marjoram
  • Marshmallow
  • Mate
  • Meadowsweet
  • Melissa
  • Menthol
  • Milk Thistle
  • Monkshood
  • Mullein
  • MSM
  • Mud
  • Myrrh
  • Neem
  • Neroli
  • Nettle
  • Niaouli
  • Nutmeg
  • Oak
  • Oats
  • Oat Straw
  • Olive Leaf
  • Onion
  • Orange (Seville)
  • Orange (Sweet)
  • Palmarosa
  • Palm Oil
  • Parsley
  • Passionflower
  • Patchouli
  • Peppermint
  • Petitgrain
  • Pine
  • Plantain
  • Poplar
  • Psyllium Seed Husk
  • Pumpkin Seed
  • Reishi
  • Rooibos
  • Rose
  • Rose Geranium
  • Rosehip
  • Rosemary
  • Rosewood
  • Sage
  • Sandalwood
  • Saw Palmetto
  • Seaweed
  • Senna
  • Shepherd’s Purse
  • Shiitake
  • Soy
  • Spearmint
  • St. John’s Wort
  • Stinging Nettle
  • Tagetes
  • Tangerine
  • Tea Tree
  • Thyme
  • Turmeric
  • Usnea
  • Uva Ursi
  • Valerian
  • Vetivert
  • Violet
  • Walnut
  • Watercress
  • Willow
  • Witch hazel
  • White Lily
  • Yarrow
  • Ylang-Ylang
  • Yohimbe Bark
Herbs

Fennel

What is Fennel?

Fennel, scientific name foeniculum vulgare, is a plant found growing in many gardens in the United States due to its usefulness in the culinary arts as well as its medicinal properties. The plant species is indigenous to the Mediterranean shores but seems to grow wild in numerous areas of the world now. Most commonly it can be found on river banks and near the sea coast.

The Romans and Greeks were extensive users of fennel. As a result, they can also be found in many places where these groups of people historically made their homes. Fennel is an extremely useful plant for cooking and making home-grown medicines as well as being extremely aromatic and smelling quite sweet.

History of Fennel

Fennel Plant
This herb has quite a lively history within Roman and Greek mythology and has been used throughout the ages for a large variety of purposes by these groups of people. The Ancient Greek people called the fennel plant “marathon”. Most people are familiar with the story of how Prometheus stole fire from the Gods and gave it as a gift to mankind.

According to Greek mythology, it was the stalk of a fennel plant that he used to steal the fire from the Gods! A giant fennel plant was said to have spawned the Greek god Dionysus’ Bacchanalian wands and his followers. Such a colorful history befits this small herb; it would seem that it has had as many uses throughout mythology as it still does today!

Appearance of Fennel Herb

Fennel is a herb that is remarkably resilient. It is perennial, meaning that it has a life-cycle which lasts two years or longer and will generally be hardy enough to survive throughout the spring and summer, die in winter, and then revive itself again when the growing season returns. However, those growing fennel, in their gardens, should note that, in climates outside of its normal zone, the plant will probably need more care and have a shorter life span. The plant grows freely throughout the U.S. and the warmer areas of Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia, though it is considered to be an invasive weed by some Americans and most Australians.

In general, fennel plants can be up to 2.5 meters tall and have hollow stems. The plant produces exceptionally thin leaves that are 35-40 cm in length. Fennel plants produce yellow flowers that are remarkably small in size and grow together in groups of 20-50 flowers to create flower heads. The fruits of a fennel plant are grooved in texture and decidedly small; in fact, they are usually mistaken for seeds and are commonly referred to as seeds in many recipes.

Variations of Fennel

There are three main variations of fennel plants. The first is the Florence fennel. Florence fennel plants were cultivated in such a way that they would have larger leaf bases, which would give way to a bulb. A common fennel plant is intensely aromatic and smells sweet, and this quality is enhanced in the Florence fennel. Cooking is the main purpose for which the Florence fennel was cultivated as the bulbs are used as vegetables.

Many recipes call for cooked Florence fennel bulbs. Sometimes, they are even chopped up and used raw for dishes, such as Mediterranean salads or as seasoning in soups and sauces. Often Florence fennel bulbs are mistaken for a close cousin, anise, as they have a remarkably similar flavor and appearance. Many readers will be familiar with the alcoholic beverage called Absinthe. Florence fennel was one of three main ingredients in this alcoholic beverage which started out as a Swiss medicine and quickly gained popularity as a fun alcoholic drink within France.

Today, Florence fennel is mostly used in cooking Mediterranean and Italian dishes. It is crunchy and slightly sweet. In addition to this, Florence fennel contains much fiber. When it is eaten with other foods that produce indigestion, it can help soften the effects. Florence fennel contains large amounts of phytonutrients and antioxidants including rutin, quercitin, and anethole. In addition to this, the plant contains much Vitamin C, an extraordinarily powerful vitamin that is essential to proper immune system function.

A bronze-leaved version of the fennel plant is available. It looks much the same as a normal fennel plant would but has bronze leaves that are considered to be quite attractive in gardens. Many gardeners in the UK use bronze-leaved fennel for decoration within their home gardens.

The giant fennel plant discussed above in the mythology section is the third and final variation of fennel. It is much larger than a regular fennel plant and is part of another species entirely (the Ferula species) of which there are 170 members. Plants within the ferula species are commonly used for the same purposes as the foeniculum (normal fennel) plants are. They produce a gooey resin that is used for cooking and medicinal purposes. The spice asafoetida or hing is made from a ferula species plant.

Culinary Uses & Health Effects

Fennel is a tremendously popular culinary herb. The reason for this is that nearly every part of the plant can be used for some culinary purpose. It has a truly distinct and unique herbal taste. The leaves of the fennel plant can be used to brew teas that taste delicious and are said to help suppress the appetite. There is a long-standing tradition thought to be put in place by the Romans and Greeks. The tradition to sip one cup of fennel tea prior to eating dinner, in order to be sure that overeating would not be a problem. Many users of fennel tea claim that this actually works quite well and can be a vital aid in weight loss and appetite control.

The flowers of the fennel plant carry the unique flavor of the plant and can be used for a variety of recipes. Most often, they are sprinkled into salads, soups, or sauces to give them a unique flavor. Fennel stalks are hollow and crisp and can be eaten just like celery sticks or chopped up to be used as flavoring for cooked foods. In all reality, the uses of the fennel plant are only limited to the chef’s culinary imagination.

Medicinal Uses & Health Effects

Fennel has a solid place in many medicinal gardens throughout the world because the plant has such a wide variety of uses. Fennel plants contain large amounts of anethole, which is an aromatic natural compound found in many essential oils. Spain is the top producer of fennel grown for harvesting anethole for use in essential oils, but in all reality fennel is a particularly common plant that can be bought from many places and in many forms.

Fennel herb is carminative by nature, which simply means that it works to prevent the creation of gases. For this reason, it is a well-respected digestive health remedy used in many concoctions created to help those with regular intestinal ailments. It is a common ingredient in gripe water, which is given to infants to help ease problems with flatulence. Fennel tea is known to suppress appetite. It also acts as an intestinal relaxant, to ease bloating in adults. Laxatives commonly have fennel in them to help soften the side-effects of the purging.

Fennel oil is used in the making of eye washes due to its cleansing and soothing properties. The people of India believe that fennel contains the ability to improve eyesight materially and often ingest raw or slightly sweetened fennel seeds to gain this benefit. The Ancient Romans held fennel in high regard as a “herb of sight” as well, though fennel has not been proven to work for this specific purpose when ingested in such ways as the Indians ingest it.

Studies done on animals with glaucoma (a disease where damage is done to the optic nerve of the eye) have shown that fennel can help treat this disease. It has been proven that it can help prevent clouded eyesight when used in the eye-wash form.

Pregnant Women and New Mothers

Many people believe and will attest to it as a fact that fennel is useful to pregnant women and new mothers. Fennel does contain phytoestrogens. But, it has never been scientifically proven that it helps in any way. Nonetheless, there are several anecdotes throughout history that state it is highly effective in increasing the amount of milk supplied by mothers who nurse their children. Other stories say that fennel can be given to breastfeeding mothers. This is done to help ease breast swelling, commonly associated with nursing and breast-feeding.

Fennel fruits/seeds have an extremely sweet taste and are commonly used as breath fresheners. The seeds can be eaten as part of a meal or used to create a fennel tea, which is then gargled. It helps freshen the breath. Instructions for making fennel tea are given below.

Other Uses

There are many other stories throughout history and even still today of fennel being used for a myriad of things. None of these things has been scientifically proven. Many myths state that fennel can be used by women who are menopausal to relieve their symptoms. Fennel is said to be useful for quieting hiccups and soothing coughs as well as fighting colic in babies. Less-grounded claims say that it can even be used for the breaking up of kidney stones or reversal of liver damage caused by alcohol.
Fennel Uses
More medicinal effects include the prevention of nausea or gout as well as being helpful as a diuretic to increase the occurrence of urination. Fennel is often used in drugs that help with the treatment of hypertension (or high blood pressure) and is said to be able to be used to expel worms from the human digestive tract. Some even claim that when used with conventional treatments, fennel can be ingested and is effective in helping to treat prostate and colon cancers. The reason for this is that the fiber in fennel helps absorb carcinogenic toxins in the colon. It is highly recommended that a doctor be consulted in advance, about the use of fennel in the treatment these cancers.

Those who advocate the use of fennel around the home say that fleas find fennel to be quite disgusting by nature and will not live in places where fennel does. Thus, it can be sprinkled around pet beds and homes where pets reside to help prevent fleas from staking a foothold within the house. Fennel is a popular herb for gardeners who grow herbs for food preparation and medicinal purposes, but is also popular with those who grow butterfly gardens. The herb is said to be like a “siren’s call” to the beautiful swallowtail butterfly and attracts colorful butterflies of all sorts with is a sweet smell and bright yellow color.

Side Effects of Fennel Products

When used as a culinary enhancement product, fennel leaves, stalks, and seeds have no side effects. There are no document cases of fennel interacting with other drugs to enhance or suppress their effects. The extract essential oil should not be used by pregnant women as it has in some cases induced seizures and hallucinations. Fennel taken in excessive amounts can be disruptive to the body’s nervous system. If home medicines are to be made, it would be wise to consult with a physician or health practitioner before administering any treatments.

Homemade Fennel Products

It is relatively easy to create entirely home made fennel products. Fennel can be grown in a personal garden or bought from a rather large number of places (this will be discussed in-depth later). It does not matter where the fennel comes from as long as it is fresh.

Many of the medicinal uses of fennel such as eye washing call for fennel water. In this case, essential oil with fennel extracts will be needed. Simply mix one pint of water with eight drops of fennel oil to create fennel water. Fennel water can be ingested (up to 8 tsp. per day) or used for things such as flea-guarding homes. Fennel oil itself can be mixed in with other massage oils or used on its own and is said to produce a warming sensation and a delightful aroma to add to the soothing properties of massages.

Fennel Tea

Fennel tea is the easiest of the fennel products to make at home. The seeds or the actual leaves of the plant can be used to make the tea which suppresses appetite and soothes coughs. It has even been said that it can help clear up mucus in the lungs. If using fresh leaves, the necessary amount is 3 tablespoons of fennel per one cup of water. For seeds, only half of this amount is needed, so 1 1/2 tablespoons of fennel seeds per one cup of water. This will make a strong infusion of fennel tea; individuals should feel free to experiment with adding more or less fennel to create tea to their liking.

To make the tea, individuals should first boil the water, separately. Then they should put the herbs or crushed seeds at the bottom of a pot and pour the boiling water over them. The mixture should then be covered and allowed to soak for five minutes, though this time is not exact and it could take more or less time to infuse the water with the right strength for individual purposes. When satisfied with the strength of the tea, simply use a strainer to drain the herbs out of tea and enjoy!

In addition to these products, it is possible to make a paste by using a mallet to pound down fennel stems and/or leaves. This paste can then be either shaped into home made caplets which can be reserved for later use or used in paste form. By creating pastes and caplets in this way, individuals can choose the concentration of fennel in their products. However, they should clearly adhere to the earlier warnings that taking too much fennel can result in the nervous system disruptions and consult a doctor before making medicines from home.

Other Fennel Products & Forms

Many people lead busy lives and do not have time to make their own fennel products, or they would prefer to obtain them from stores in order to minimize the risk that they will use too much or too little fennel, causing their products to either be ineffective or harmful. These people are in luck! Fennel is mass-produced in many countries such as Mexico, Morocco, Syria, and India for use in creating fennel products or for resale as a raw herb.

Fennel herb products are available in a variety of forms including capsules, caplets, tea bags, seeds, and extract oils. It can also be purchased in its raw plant form or as Florence fennel bulbs from supermarkets. Conventional grocery stores are less likely to have raw fennel in plant or bulb form, which is more easily found at organic food stores and markets as a specialty herb/food. Fennel bulbs should be free of bruises or brown spots with stalks that are firm and crisp and leaves that are fresh and not wilted. The leaves and stems can be refrigerated and will last for several days when stored like this; the bulb can last for weeks. Much like any other vegetable or herb, once the leaves begin to wilt the fennel should be thrown out.

Cost Information

The full line-up of fennel products (aside from culinary use fennel) can be found in many nutrition or health stores such as GNC or from online retailers including Amazon.com and smaller health shops. Fennel capsules can be purchased for about $5.50 per 100 pills that are to be taken three times daily at maximum, preferably with meals. The two most common brands of pre-made fennel tea bags are Heather’s and Alvita. Alvita sells both caffeine-free and regular fennel tea bags which cost $3.50-$5.00 per 24 count package. Heather’s sells the teas by the bags or in canisters and charges up to $19 per canister of 45 tea bags.

One pound of organic fennel seeds costs anywhere from $5-$10, and fennel essential oils go for about $8 per ounce. Fennel seed extract is more expensive at about $10 per ounce. Because fennel is a seasonal herb that is grown during the spring and summer, it is highly likely to find it cheaper during these times of the year. Those wishing to save money on fennel products can stock up on them when they are at their cheapest during the summer months and use them throughout the year. However, these individuals are cautioned to check the shelf lives of their various fennel products as some last only a few months and some will last for over a year. For example, fennel tea bags can lose some of their scent and flavor if allowed to sit on the shelf and age for a few months.

Legality of Fennel Growing & Usage

Though it is considered to be a pesky weed in some places, there are currently no countries throughout the world where the growing and usage of fennel is illegal.

Caution When Picking Fennel

Fennel itself is a remarkably safe herb to use. However, poison hemlock looks much like fennel when growing wild in nature and is toxic when ingested. Like fennel, hemlock grows near water and can be up to 2 meters tall. It creates tiny white flowers in flower heads much like the fennel plant does except that fennel flowers are yellow. When picking fennel in the wild, be sure to test the plants to be sure that they truly are fennel.

The best way to do this is to crush a few leaves and smell them. If they smell like anise or licorice, they are safe. If they smell musty or mousey, they are highly likely hemlock leaves. They should immediately be discarded. This test should not be done with bare hands as hemlock contains coniine, a toxin that the skin can absorb. Contact with the eyes and mouth should also be avoided until the individual thoroughly washes his/her hands.

Herbs

Valerian Root

Valerian, also known as Valerian root, garden valerian, tobacco root, garden helotripe, all-heal, and setewale capon’s tale, is a perennial herb that can reach a height of over 4 feet and blooms every summer. The flowers of the valerian plant have a very potent smell, often described as smelling like aged cheese, spoiled milk, or old socks. The valerian plant is native to Europe, southern Africa, and northern Asia. Though not native to North America, valerian is grown and harvested for its many healthy benefits.
Valerian Root Health Benefits
Valerian has a massive root system, a short rhizome (or underground stems), which contains valerian’s medicinal properties, bears pinnate leaves, and produces pink flower heads. Most valerian plants prefer rich, heavy loam with adequate moisture. In recent times, however, valerian has become a commercially farmed product and no longer requires a damp, rich environment in order to grow. The root and rhizome of valerian is ground and used for treating a wide variety of medical conditions, including insomnia, depression, pain, and stress-related digestive disorders.

History of Valerian

Valerian derives its name from the Latin word “valere” meaning to make strong; the Roman emperor Valerianus and several saints take their name from this Latin derivative. An additional translation of valerian is “to be in good health.” Used since the time of the ancient Egyptians, valerian was so revered for its medicinal benefits that it was referred to as the all-heal. Tenth century Arab apothecaries in Spain, Africa, and the Middle East combined valerian root with many other herbs and plants to cure pain, induce sleep, and as a general cure.

The use of valerian became widely popularized during medieval times. During World War I and II, valerian root was used in many European hospitals and medical units in treating stress caused by air raids. Valerian root continues to be popular in Chinese medicine. Used for over 2,000 years, valerian has been vital to Chinese medicine because of its pain relieving and calming abilities. Today valerian is a common supplement used to treat a myriad of ailments. It is easily found in groceries, pharmacies, and health food stores.

Legends and Literary References

It is rumored that valerian is spikenard, which is referred to in the Bible. Spikenard was referenced in the parable of when Christ’s feet were washed by Mary Magdalene.

Valerian also appears in many Hindu legends. The most common is the story of a newly married man planting valerian outside of his home for his bride as a symbol of his safe return. Years passed and the valerian flourished. Finally, the man returned home and his bride welcomed him warmly, knowing he was safe because the valerian had remained alive and beautiful.

Chaucer describes valerian as setewale in the Canterbury Tales. Setewale is used as a seasoning to a broth the cook prepares.

Many people believe that valerian will act as a repellant for unfriendly dogs. Centuries ago, gypsies would prepare and sell mixtures containing valerian to protect against unfriendly animals.

It is said that in the second century, Greek physician Galen would give people dried valerian root as a cure for insomnia and restlessness.

Uses

Best known for its tranquilizer and calmative effects, valerian is a popular sleep aid and treatment for anxiety and depression. Valerian has also been used in connection with menstrual cramps, muscle spasms, headaches, stress, nervous restlessness, and stress-related digestive disorders. Valerian has even been used as a natural treatment for ADHD in children and adults.

With no addictive properties, valerian is a safe alternative to calming drugs such as Valium. Scientific studies have shown that valerian works to promote relaxation by working with the nervous system to calm the brain and relax tensed muscles. This allows for sleep, reduced stress, muscle pains and cramps, and calms the body.

Valerian is effective in relaxing the muscles of the digestive tract, relieving many of the symptoms of stress-related digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome.

Working to relax the body, valerian has been shown to relieve pain. It is especially effective in the treatment of migraines, arthritis, and muscle pain. Nervous conditions such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, sciatica, and peripheral have all shown positive responses to valerian use.

ADHD Treatment

As a treatment for ADHD in children and adults, valerian has shown some benefits. It works together with the brain to slow down triggers that can cause hyperactivity and help the individual concentrate.

Valerian works to slow the heart, helping to regulate arrhythmias, treat those with tachycardia, and regulate blood pressure. It has also been found to have properties that help prevent blood clotting.

Valerian Supplements

Valerian supplements are very easy to find and rather inexpensive. Most commonly, valerian is found in pill or capsule form but at health food stores it can also be found in teas and liquid droppers.

Pills and capsules

Dried valerian root and rhizomes are used in creating valerian supplement pills and capsules. Valerian pills and capsules are packaged in 60 to 100 count bottles and are 400 to 530 mg. Pills and capsules are the most common and least expensive valerian supplement. They can be purchases at retail stores such as Target and Walgreens for approximately $7.99 for a 100 count 530 mg bottle. Valerian pills and capsules can be purchases online at websites such as amazon.com; a 3 pack of 100 count 400 mg bottle of valerian pills sells for $18.00.
Valerian Root Uses

Valerian tea

Valerian herbal teas have been used throughout history as a cure for many ailments. These teas contain dried root as well as other herbs such as chamomile or lavender. Unlike valerian pills, teas works almost immediately. Valerian tea should not be made with boiling water, as the temperature of the water may take away some of the medicinal properties of the tea. Use only hot water. Valerian teas are sold at many different health food stores, such as Whole Foods and Trader Joes, and range in price depending on the brand. At most health food stores, Yogi brand bedtime valerian tea sells for $4.99 for a box of 16 tea bags. Websites such as mothernature.com offer a wide variety of valerian teas at fair prices.

Valerian herb droppers

This liquid form of valerian can easily be added to food, water, or simply placed on the tongue. Often, veterinarians will prescribe valerian herb droppers for dogs and cats with anxiety. Add a few drops to the pet’s water dish and the valerian will work with the pet’s body to calm and soothe any anxiety. Valerian herb droppers are less common than pills or teas, but can be found in health food stores such as Whole Foods for approximately $9.99 for a 1 ounce bottle. A .25 ounce bottle of valerian can be purchases at www.lifesvigor.com for $5.38.

Dosage and Administration

Always check when taking Valerian supplements that the product contains 0.8 valerenic or valeric acid. There is no scientific evidence indicating a maximum dosage of valerian. For those who suffer from insomnia, valerian supplements range in dosage from 300 to 900 mg. Always try a smaller dosage and then move to a higher dosage if you do not see results.

When taking valerian pills for insomnia be sure to take the pill 30 to 45 minutes before going to sleep. Continue taking valerian pills 4 to 6 weeks after your sleeping state has improved to insure continued progress. When taking valerian teas, keep in mind that they are packaged differently by various manufacturers, causing some teas to be more potent than others.

Try several kinds of tea to find the one that works best with your body. You can even purchase dried valerian root from local health food stores and make your own mixture to treat headaches and menstrual pain. You can use 2 to 3 grams of dried valerian root in tea, up to several times daily. When using valerian herb droppers 1/4 tsp (1 to 2 mL) at a time. Valerian supplements can be taken with or without food. Do not take with caffeine and be sure to drink a full glass of water if taking a valerian pill or capsule.

Side Effects

For most individuals, valerian is a very safe supplement with no side effects. Fresh valerian root typically has no smell but dried valerian root can have a very potent and unpleasant aroma. There have been no documented cases of any drug interaction with valerian supplements. For some individuals, valerian can cause sudden nervousness, racing heart rate, and restlessness. There is some evidence that some cases of prolonged use of valerian resulted in withdrawal symptoms.

As it is a calmative, people who take valerian should not drive, operate heavy machinery, or engage in activity, which requires alertness.

Women who are pregnant or nursing should not take valerian, as the scientific community has not adequately studied its effects on infants and the fetus. Young children should also refrain from taking valerian supplements, as there have not been many studies on its effects.

Benefits

Valerian root has very few side effects and is proven to help treat insomnia, anxiety, and to calm the body. Because valerian is inexpensive and so accessible, many people can use it as a first line of treatment for their conditions. It does not leave you with a cloudy, foggy feeling when used as a sleep aid and does not contain the potentially harmful side effects of prescription medications.

Herbs

Chamomile

Chamomile, known as a popular variety of tea, is actually made up of several different daisy-like plants that belong to the Matricaria genus. The genus Matricaria come from the Latin word matrix which means “womb.” Chamomile plants and can be different species; for example, Roman chamomile, or Chamaemelum nobile, is a different species than German chamomile, or Matricaria recutita. Chamomile is most commonly used as a tea and acts as a sleep aid.

History of Chamomile

Ancient Egyptians admired chamomile for its healing powers and even offered it to the sun god Ra because it was considered so valuable. In ancient Rome, chamomile was used added to drinks for flavor and burned as incense. In Greece, physicians would give chamomile to people with fevers and women with female disorders. German chamomile has been taken as a digestive aid dating as far back as the first century CE. Chamomile was considered so useful by British doctors that they included it in their medical bags both in Great Britain and in the American colonies. Today, chamomile revered for its many medicinal uses.
Chamomile Herbal Remedies

Myths and Legends

Many cultures thought that chamomile soothed the spirit and would make an unruly spirit gentle and kind. Chamomile was believed to attract love and prosperity and was a common ingredient in potions and concoctions. During the middle ages, chamomile was used as an ingredient in love potions. Gamblers would rub their hands with chamomile as a way to entice money into their pocket. Many cultures believe that if sprinkled around the property, chamomile will rid the home of any evil spirits or curses. It is rumored that Vikings rubbed chamomile on their hair to lighten it and give their hair a blonder appearance.

Description of Chamomile

German chamomile is typically found growing wild in Europe and northwest Asia. In parts of Europe and North America, German chamomile is farm raised so that it can be cultivated and sold for medicinal use. German chamomile is planted in the autumn and harvested in the summer. It is a sweet smelling plant, produces white, daisy-like flowers, and can grow to be over 2 feet tall. German chamomile is the most common variety of chamomile that is used as a sleep aid, burn treatments, and for other medicinal purposes.

Native to western Europe and northern Africa, Roman chamomile has become commercially farmed worldwide in temperate regions. The primary exporters of Roman chamomile are Great Britain, Belgium, France, and Italy. Roman chamomile is an aromatic perennial that produces feathery leaves, white, daisy-like flower with yellow centers, and grows to be approximately 20 inches tall. Just like German chamomile, Roman chamomile flowers are harvested during the summer.

Uses of Chamomile

Chamomile is commonly known for its ability to act as a sleep aid. Calming to both adults and children, chamomile does not interfere with activities such as driving or other tasks that require concentration and alertness. It is safe to give to children of any age. Chamomile is ideal for relaxing and calming oneself after a stressful day.

Chamomile is also used to soothe ulcers or other stomach problems that are aggravated by anxiety. Muscle pain, twitching, and muscle spasms that are a result of stress can all be reduced by chamomile because of its ability to relax and calm the body.

Menstrual cramps and sleep disorders related to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) also show improvement with the use of chamomile. Chamomile has been found to contain strong anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties that are particularly effective in treating stomach and intestinal cramps. When chamomile is harvested during the early stages of flowering, it can help to relieve gas, bloating, and irritable bowel syndrome. Chamomile also is able to reduce the pain and cramping sensations associated with these stomach ailments.

Clinical Evidence

A German study found that chamomile contains valuable antimicrobial agents. Chamomile is able to rid the body of bacterial toxins and small quantities of chamomile oil have been shown to inhibit staphylococcal and streptococcal strains of bacteria. Drinking chamomile tea combined with other antimicrobial herbs, such as thyme, Echinacea, or goldenseal, reduces the severity of internal infections. Chamomile can also be used topically to treat infections, burns, and inflammation.

Internal Uses

Chamomile tea is so popular among people that it is found in every grocery store aisle. Chamomile tea is used as a mild sedative, helps to relieve insomnia, eases the pain of teething for young children, and relieves many stomach pains. Additionally, drinking chamomile tea regularly has been shown to reduce pain associated with arthritis and other painful inflammations. Large doses of chamomile tea can reduce the severity of symptoms associated with colds and flu such as fever, sore throats, and chills.

External Uses

Chamomile is often infused with other natural ingredients in shampoos and conditioners. Hair products containing chamomile leave hair feelings moisturized, not heavy, and very manageable. Dried chamomile is found in potpourri, herb therapy, and aromatherapy. The dried chamomile found in these helps to relax and calm the body and relieves it from stress. Chamomile can be applied to the skin to relieve sunburns, aching muscles, and mild burns. Often, chamomile is found in cosmetics as an anti-allergenic agent. Unused chamomile tea is can be given to plants as a liquid feed and plant tonic. Chamomile has been shown to be quite effective against a number of plant diseases. Many perfumes are made from an essential oil derived from chamomile. Dried chamomile flowers can even act as an insect repellant.
Chamomile Uses

Dosage

There is no universal dosage method for chamomile. Studies have shown that consuming ½ to 3 drops of chamomile essential oils to be beneficial as a sleep aid and to help ease stomachaches and cramps. Teas can be consumed safely one to four times a day. When using chamomile ointments, it is recommended that they contain 3% to 10% chamomile for best results.

Side effects

Chamomile is considered one of the safest herbs and has little side effects. A potential side effect associated with drinking chamomile tea is drowsiness. Because chamomile tea can be used as a sleep aid, drowsiness is always a possibility. Those who are allergic to ragweed pollen or have hay fever may have an allergic reaction to chamomile. Moderation is key with chamomile to avoid any adverse reactions. In some individuals, high doses of chamomile may cause vomiting and skin irritations. Do not use chamomile if pregnant. Chamomile was once used as a mixture of herbs to induce abortions during the middle ages. Those who are on blood thinners also avoid taking chamomile. Studies have suggested that chamomile has an ability to thin the blood by containing properties such as coumarin, which act as blood thinners.

Home Remedies

Stomach Cramps

Prepare a cup of lightly sweetened chamomile tea. Drink the tea twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, until symptoms are gone.

Insomnia

30 to 45 minutes before bedtime, make a strong cup of chamomile tea. Drink the tea and get ready for bed as usual.

Chamomile bath

A chamomile bath can relieve many ailments such as colds, stress, PMS, and itchy skin. There are several ways to prepare a soothing chamomile bath. Place ½ to 1 cup fresh or dried chamomile tied in linen bag and place it in the hot tub water. Let the bag soak for at least 10 minutes. Remember, do not add soap to bath. Another way to create a relaxing chamomile bath is to combine 10 to 20 drops of chamomile essential oil in with bath salts to the bath water.

Burns and Scrapes

Rub a small amount of chamomile essential oil gently across the burned or scraped area once a day. Another treatment for burns and scrapes is made by brewing 3 chamomile tea bags to one cup of water. Once the water has cooled, dip a clean cloth into the tea and use it as a compress on the affected areas.

Dark Circles

A simple remedy for reducing the appearance of dark circles is to dip 2 chamomile tea bags in warm water. After 5 minutes, remove the tea bags from the water and allow to cool until room temperature. Once cooled, place the teabags on the eyes at night as a compress.

Where to Purchase Chamomile

Chamomile teas are available in the tea aisle at most grocery stores. One of the most popular selling brands of chamomile tea is Celestial Seasonings. Celestial Seasonings can be found at Walmart, Target, Walgreens, as well as many health food stores for approximately $4 for a box of 20 tea bags or online at drugstore.com. Chamomile can be also be purchased in the forms of dried flower heads, liquid extract, essential oil, or in creams and ointments.

Many health food stores carry dried chamomile as well as online websites such as www.herbspro.com. Dried chamomile typically sells for $9 a pound at health food stores or online at www.americanspice.com. Liquid extracts and chamomile essential oils are found at health food chains such as Whole Foods. These products tend to me more expensive. Essential oils sell for approximately $15 for a .5 ounce vial and liquid extracts sell for $11 at The Vitamin Shoppe or online at amazon.com.

Herbs

Elderberry

The Sambucus, also known as Elder or Elderberry, is the genus of 5 to 30 different varieties of shrubs and small trees. The Elderberry plant is characterized by feathery leaves, and topped off with clusters of white or cream-colored flowers followed by blue, purple, red, or black berries. Sometimes, though rare, the berries can be white or yellow.

Two of the varieties of Elderberry are herbaceous, which means that when they die off, they return to the ground so that there is no visible stump or remains left. The Elderberry herb comes from the berries and flowers of the shrub or Elder tree, and is a medicinal herb native to parts of both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. The berries and flowers from the Elder tree have been used for various medicinal purposes for numerous human ailments throughout history, and that is why they are commonly referred to as “nature’s medicine chest”.

Varieties of the Elderberry Include:

  • Southern Elder: Sambucus australis
  • American Elder: Sambucus canadensis
  • Blue Elderberry: Sambucus cerulea
  • Chinese Elder: Sambucus javanica
  • Elder or Black Elder: Sambucus nigra
  • Madeira Elder: Sambucus lanceolata
  • Canary Islands Elder: Sambucus palmensis
  • Peruvian Elder: Sambucus peruviana
  • Florida Elder: Sambucus simpsonii
  • Velvet Elder: Sambucus velutina

The Elderberry Herb throughout History

The Elderberry has been used as an ingredient in wines, marmalades, drinks, and desserts, but it has also been widely used for its medicinal purposes. Juice from the berries was used to relieve colds, influenza, bronchitis, asthma, and other respiratory problems. An infusion of the juice was believed to alleviate inflammation and was therefore used for urinary or bladder infections, back aches, and even nerve problems.
Benefits of Elderberry
The flower of the Elderberry plant would also be made into creams, washes, or poultices, and used for skin irritants and aliments including, scrapes burns, abrasions, and cuts. The application of the elderberry flower was also used to helped reduce swelling, and inflammation of the skin; and to calm and soothe complexions from the effects of eczema, psoriasis, and acne.

Additionally, an effective eye wash could also be made from the flowers. The various parts of the Elderberry plant that were commonly used included the berries, leaves, flowers, and even the bark.

Elderberry Folklore

Many cultures believed the Elder tree was inhabited by either a witch or elder. A special chant to the elder had to be performed while cutting down an elder tree or it was believed the inhabitant would cause the person harm.

So How Does Elderberry Work?

To understand how the Elderberry works one must first have a basic understanding of viruses and the human immune system. When the immune system is attacked, its first response is inflammation. Inflammation is caused by the increased amount of blood flowing to the body’s tissues. Viruses can only multiply and spread to other cells, by first entering healthy cells. Some viruses enter the healthy cells with help from special spikes called haemagglutinin spikes. Once inside a healthy cell, the virus can then grow and spread, usually resulting in the person exhibiting cold or flu like symptoms.

Antivirin is an antiviral agent contained in the Elderberry. Antivirins work by coating the haemagglutinin spikes of the virus and thereby neutralizing its ability to enter healthy cells. The anthocyanin (a powerful antioxidant) found in the skin of the Elderberry, helps defend the immune system by attacking free radicals in the body.

Free radicals enter the body thru outside contaminants such as pollen, smoke, and other airborne pollutants; once these free radicals enter the body, they being their journey of destruction. Free radicals are molecules that are missing electrons. These molecules invade and steal electrons from other molecules which then sets off a chain reaction of electron stealing, and results in the creation of new free radicals in the body. The multiplying of free radicals leads to cellular destruction and damage, and eventually, inflammation and damage of the arterial wall. This process, and the addition of free radicals in the body, leads to many common diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease, in addition to the general aging of the body.

The human body contains many naturally occurring antioxidants from the production of certain hormones, vitamins, and minerals. Antioxidants work to neutralize free radicals by stabilizing them. Antioxidants give up electrons to free radicals thereby deactivating the free radicals in their electron-stealing mission.
Of all the herbs, Elderberries are ranked third highest in vitamin C content. In addition, they also contain large amounts of vitamins A and B, carotenoids, and amino acids. The skin of the elderberry fruit has the highest concentration of athocyonins of any other fruit. Athocyonins are powerful antioxidants that build and boost the human immune system.

Properties of the Elderberry plant include:

  • Vitamins A, B, and C
  • Amino Acids
  • Carotenoids
  • Alkaloids
  • Hydrocyanic Acid
  • Tinnis
  • Free Fatty Acids
  • Betulin
  • Potassium Nitrate
  • Invertin
  • Cane Sugar

The Elderberry and Modern Science

Today, Elderberries that are formulated into syrups are effective against, and help to alleviate, the build-up of mucous and calm inflammation in the nasal and bronchial passages and build up the immune system. In 2009, Retroscreen Virology of London tested the Sambucol brand of Elderberry syrup, which is formulated using black Elderberry.

The results of their testing proved the syrup to be 68.3% effective against the H1N1 virus, also known as Swine Flu1. Another study conducted in 2005, found the same brand of syrup to be 99% effective against the H5N1 virus, more commonly referred to as the Avian bird Flu1. Other studies conducted concluded that the syrup was highly effective in the treatment of influenza A and B. Elderberry proved to lessen the amount of discomfort felt by those studied, and symptoms were relieved within 2 to 3 days and at least 3 days earlier than the control group.

The Modern Elderberry

Many people still cultivate and use the Elderberry today. It is still common for Elderberries to be made into pies, jams, jellies, and other sweet desserts. The Elderberry has also been used in alcoholic beverages and soft drinks such as the “Shokata” which was marketed and sold by Fanta in 15 countries worldwide. Elderberry is also widely available to purchase today, and can be used medicinally by adults as well as children.

It can be found in various forms including, liquids, syrups, extracts, pills, capsules, and gummy drops. In some instances Elderberry is combined with Echinacea, goldenseal, and other herbs to help support the immune system, and improve respiratory problems associated with changing seasons and environmental conditions and allergens. Syrups are commonly used to fight off cold and flu like symptoms and support and improve respiratory health and function. The flowers are still used today to make teas and infusions.

Where to Buy Elderberry

Elderberry can be purchased from nearly any local and online health stores, pharmacies and retailers and is available in many different forms and brands. Some of these retailers and online stores are:

  • Higher Nature
  • Your Nutrition Shop
  • Goodness Direct
  • Your Health Food Store
  • The Nutri Centre
  • Nature’s Clock
  • Boots
  • Holland and Barrett
  • The Health Store
  • The Nutri Centre

Common Brands of Elderberry

Sambucol produces many varieties of syrups and liquids which include, original, sugar free, children’s, and immune support. In addition, they also offer, cold and flu quick dissolve tablets, and original and immune tablets with added vitamin C. The products range in price from 12.99 for 4fl (120ml) to $29.99 for 7.8fl (230ml).
Gaia Herbs products include: drops, syrups, and capsules, and range in price from 1 oz drops for $7.49 to $22.99 for 5fl (160ml).
Rainbow Light formulates the gummy drops, and can be purchased for $10.99 for a bottle of 30 gummy drops.

Planetary Formula’s syrups range in price from $8.75 for 2 fl. oz. to 27.98 for 8 fl. oz.

Many more brands and varieties can be found and shoppers can even compare prices, brands, and read reviews by shopping online for Elderberry products.

Elderberry Dosages and Interactions

Many parts of the Elderberry plant contain a glycoside which produces cyanide. The cyanide can build up in humans and result in poisoning. For this reason, children were warned against making flutes and whistles from the stems and branches of the shrub, and only ripe berries should be consumed. The flowers can cause gastrointestinal irritation as Elderberry is also a diuretic. As a general rule, there are no known side effects or drug interactions associated with using the Elderberry herb when prepared or formulated properly.

The recommended dosage of the liquid form of Elderberry is:

  • For children (1-6 years of age) 1 teaspoon (5ml) per day and can be increased to 1.5-2 teaspoons (10ml) per day, for use during winter months.
  • For adults the recommended dose is 2 teaspoons (10ml) per day.
  • Other forms can be dosed as follows:
  • Dried flowers can be used as an infusion for adults, 3 to 5 grams, three times daily.
  • Liquid Extract, for adults, use 1:1 in 25% alcohol, (3 to 5 ml) three times daily.
  • Tincture, for adults, use 1:5 in 25% alcohol, (10 to 25 ml) three times daily.

Sources

1. www.sambucolusa.com
2. Answers.Com
3. MedicineNet.Com
4. WebMd.Com