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Where Does Yarrow Come From?

Achillea millefolium, or yarrow, is also called milfoil, sanguinary, or stanchgrass, among a long list of other names. It is capable of surviving in most soils under most situations, however, it prefers well-drained soil in direct sunlight. These plants are capable of tolerating lime, shade, and lack of water. As a matter of fact, not only do yarrow plants live longer in poor soil, but they also improve soil fertility.

Very often the health of plants growing nearby are improved and their essential oil content is enhanced, which, in turn, protects them from insects that would otherwise destroy them. Although native to Europe and Asia, yarrow became naturalized in North America as well as other countries worldwide. Throughout the eastern and central United States and Canada, yarrow is commonly found along roadsides, in old fields, pastures, and meadows.
yarrow benefits


In ancient folklore, yarrow, which was considered to be dedicated to the Evil One, also inherited the nicknames Devil’s Nettle, Devil’s Plaything, and Badman’s Plaything.

At one point in history, Achilles, a Greek hero of the Trojan War, used this plant to heal his soldiers, which explains why it is also referred to as Soldier’s Woundwart. It is said that he learned this remedy from his mentor, Chiron the Centaur.

After Achilles introduced this herb to the battlefield, it was used constantly up until the time of the Civil War. During this time period, the plant was crushed and applied to bullet and shrapnel wounds. Yarrow was supposed to be extremely effective in healing wounds, especially those that were caused by iron weapons. Some believed they could be protected from evil by burning yarrow on the eve of St. John’s Day.

Others believed that good health in the coming year would be guaranteed if a bundle of yarrow was tied together and hung over a doorway or over an infant’s cradle on Midsummer’s Eve. Druids used the stems to assist in foretelling the weather and the Chinese used the stems to see into the future. Many young girls burned yarrow and chanted, “Good morning, good morning, good yarrow, and thrice good morning to thee.

Tell me, before this time tomorrow, who my true love is to be,” in hopes of discovering the identity of their future husband. The importance of yarrow in ancient history can especially be seen with the discovery of a 40- to 60,000-year-old Neanderthal whose remains were found holding yarrow among other herbs.

What Is Yarrow Used For Today?

Bloodwort, another name for yarrow, is known to be a fever reducer, to have the capability to lower blood pressure, to tone blood vessels, and to be a urinary antiseptic. It is also popular for its ability to repel beetles ants, and flies. The yarrow leaves have been used to cleanse cosmetics from greasy skin and the flowers have helped to provide yellow and green dyes.

Most importantly are the compounds found in the essential oil of the yarrow plant and what healing properties they have:

  • Matricine is anti-allergic, anti-infection, soothing, and slighty narcotic.
  • Alpha-pinene is a powerful anti-inflammatory.
  • Thujone is a narcotic, but is an epileptic in high doses.
  • Achillene, Stachydrine, Marrubine is used for fevers, non-lesion bound intestinal and stomach problems,
    and is an anti-anorexic.
  • Tannins and Flavonoids are strongly anti-cancer, are HIV inhibiting, and enhance Vitamin C absorption.
  • Inuline is anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, anti-bronchitis, anti-HIV, and anti-tuberculosis. It is also a
    bronchodilator and an immune stimulator.
  • Coumarin in low doses help build blood, but it is also a narcotic and in high doses it can have an
    anti-Vitamin K effect.

Yarrow also carries along with it a broad spectrum of specific medicinal usages such as:

  • Fever -Antiseptic
  • Eye Infections -Wide spectrum antibiotic
  • Regulates menstrual cycle -Toughening footsoles
  • Gynaecological regulator -Obstetric
  • Post-birth tiredness and depression -Hemorrhoids
  • Promotes secretions of pancreas, gut, and liver -Wounds
  • Anti-diarrhea -Anti-dysentery
  • Ulcers in stomach and duodenum -Crohn’s disease
  • Involuntary loss of urine -Rheumatism, arthritis
  • Powerful spasmolytic for cramps -Nipple-care at lactation
  • Recovery of spine surgery -Paralysis without nerve section

The healing properties of yarrow don’t even stop at this list. The leaves of the yarrow plant are often smoked as a substitute for tobacco. The fresh leaves are chewed in order to relieve the pain of a toothache. In Sweden and Africa, yarrow is used to brew beer instead of hops due to the fact that yarrow is more intoxicating.

Yarrow oil is even used in most shampoos. It can also be used to open up the pores of the skin, thus helping obstructed perspiration. It is good for kidney disorders and is recommended in children when beginning symptoms of colds or the measles are present. The essence of yarrow flowers, especially the pink flowers, is good for people that need to release emotional energies that they have picked up from the environment, family, friends, and work.

Purposes That Have Been Proven Effective

It has been scientifically proven that yarrow oil is an effective anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial. It is proven to be a diaphoretic, which means it increases the temperature of the body thus opening pores in order to help produce perspiration which, in turn, eliminates toxins through the skin. Yarrow can prevent or stop the growth of microorganisms, which makes it an antiseptic. It has also proven to be an antispasmodic and an astringent.

Yarrow is an emmenagogue, meaning it promotes menstrual discharge. It helps open blood vessels and is very useful in healing wounds. It has been determined to exhibit anti-tumor properties.

It is known to decrease cholesterol and to increase bile flow. It is even often used against gastrointestinal disorders and hepatobiliary disorders, or disorders which effect the liver and/or biliary tract. It has been determined to be good at healing yeast infections and boils, also. On the other hand, there is little evidence to support the fact the yarrow is an effective treatment of the common cold.


There is no regular set of dosing standards for yarrow because it depends on how it is being used and what it is being used for. If a supplement in capsule form is being taken, most likely the dosage is to take two capsules two times a day with water at mealtimes. A handful of dried yarrow can be used to make a cup of tea in order to relieve a fever.

If equal parts of Urtica Leaf tincture, Taraxacum Root and Leaf tincture, Yarrow tincture, and Angelica tincture are combined, children can be given a maximum of ten drops (maximum dose for adults is 50 drops) up to five times a day to help relieve a fever.

For menstrual cycle regulation use 20 drops of the tincture, which can be purchased in that form, two times per day from the beginning of menses and for the life of two full cycles.

If yarrow is combined with Petroselinum Crispum and red wine, it can prevent female and male sterility. Simply used 20 drops two times dailty for two or three months. For pregnant persons hoping for a more simple labor, drink two cups of yarrow tea per day starting approximately a week before labor. To make this tea, use one handful of yarrow and two spoonfuls of Rubus idaeus. For postpartum tiredness and depression combine yarrow tincture with Cannibus sativa tincture and hops tincture. Hemorrhoids can be treated by using yarrow internally and externally.
yarrow health remedies
For internal use, take 20 drops a day. For external use, use a poultice or cream but add five grams of Calendula and one gram of Bryony tincture.

For ulcers in the stomach and duodenum, a complex regimen is needed so an herbalist is to be consulted for appropriate dosing, diet, and other herbs that may be necessary.

An herbalist also must be consulted for the treatment of Crohn’s disease and arthritis.

There is a cream made with yarrow for wounds and abrasions. For eye infections, use compresses made of yarrow, but they must be very well filtered so as to not scratch the eye.

Side Effects and Warnings

Caution should be exercised when using yarrow if the person has an allergy to ragweed. Avoid use if there are gallstones present. An allergic skin rash or skin sensitivity to light may be caused by extended use of yarrow whether it is being used medicinally or in the diet.

Using yarrow while pregnant may lead to reduced fetal weight and increased placental weight. Yarrow use may also alter estrogen activity. Women who experience heavy periods or who have pelvic inflammatory disease should not use yarrow. Even though yarrow is used to treat wounds, it still should not be used to treat large, deep, or infected wounds. The actual leaves of the yarrow plant should never be used alone internally.

Processes for Consumption

If fresh yarrow is not being used, then it must be dried. Take the whole yarrow plant, as it is all beneficial, and hang it upside down away from the sun, moisture, and dust for a few days. If the interest is for fresh yarrow, the plant flowers from May to June. Many different species of yarrow have different colored flowers, but it is best to use the white native species because the others are cultivated for their smell and color, not medicinal purposes.

The quality of yarrow can be judged simply by its smell. When making the tincture, the yarrow used can be fresh or dried. For oils and salves fresh yarrow can be used because this plant has a low water content and will not liquify the oil. Dried yarrow should be used for teas and fresh yarrow leaves should be used for poultices. The bitter taste of this plant can be covered up by cooking it into a cough syrup using something sweet such as honey.

Additional Information

Yarrow is uncontrolled in the United States. U.S. Supplement Laws regulate the sale of yarrow if it is in the form of a supplement. If it is in the form of a food or a drug, sales are regulated by the FDA, or Food and Drug Administration, and will be labeled as GRAS, or generally recognized as safe.

When shopping for yarrow, the USP, or United States Pharmacopeia, symbol guarantee safety and quality in those brands. Some popular brands of yarrow supplements include Nature’s Way, Solaray, and Nature’s Answer. Yarrow can be found throughout the internet and herbal websites as well as in local herbal stores and even some big name grocery stores that have a natural section. Prices are as low as $2.50 and simply depend on the purity and quality of what is being purchased.



Where it’s Found

Most common varieties of lavender are native of Mediterranean, Atlantic islands, Asia Minor and India, however, lavender can be grown nearly anywhere in the world. There are at least twenty-five species of lavender.

How to Process Lavender

Processing lavender begins with drying the flowers.

For small gardens, the flowers are harvested and bundled, hung and dried in a well-ventilated shady place. For medium-sized gardens, the flowers are harvested and placed flat on drying trays up off the ground. The best drying conditions places the tray in a well ventilated, shaded area. Larger fields are commercially processed with dryers.

The volatile oil is distilled from the dried flowers through a steam process.

Propagation of Lavender

Hardy Lavender’s best method of propagation is by cuttings or layering. Long cuttings from plant three years old or more have higher success. Select healthy branches of the early spring softwood, dip into root promoting powder and plant to a 3 – 4 inch depth.

To propagate over winter, many gardeners choose to layer several branches. Remove the leaves from the midsection of low-lying hardwood stems. Cover the midsection with dirt, leaving the ends above the soil.

Tender Lavenders propagate easy by seed. Start seeds indoors in a flat tray with good drainage. Fill the tray with one inch of soil, sift the seeds, cover seeds with ½ inch of sand. Water the soil with a fine spray. Keep soil moist. Cover with clear plastic wrap for 14 days until seedlings sprout. Once the seedlings have their first four leaves, the lavender is ready to transplant.


Notable similarities of all varieties is the shape and size of the flowers which range in color as they ripen from pale mauve, blue, blue-green, to vibrant purple flowers. The leaves are narrow width and grayish green color. The more loam in the soil increases foliage growth but does not enhance flower growth.

Lavender (Lavandula officinalis) is a perennial shrub with an average height of 32 inches at full bloom with an average circumference of 24 inches.

The plant grows best in well drained, poor, calcareous soil with full sun. With proper growing conditions, it’s possible to have two harvests; first in late spring, and second in autumn after a cool summer.

English Lavender (Lavandula vera)

This variety of lavender grows best in well drain soil. Since it grows in cloudy areas it usually isn’t ready for harvest until Autumn.


From the Latin “lavare” which means to wash or bathe, ancient laundresses added lavender to the wash water.

The earliest medicinal record for Lavender is among the first century writings of Dioscorides, a Greek physician who lived in Ancient Rome. His materia medica was in continuous use from his lifetime until 1600AD. This ancient doctor suggested lavender to treat “griefs of the thorax”. European folk tradition regarded lavender for use on wounds and as a remedy for worms. Victorian medicinal era used lavender to relieve regular headaches, migraines, trembling, passions and cramps.
Lavender Benefits
Alchemists categorize lavender as hot gender under the ruling planet of Mercury. Used in concoctions that required representation of Air, lavender served as an ingredient for purification baths of Midsummer Celebrations as recounted in Shakespeare’s famous play.

Renaissance tales call lavender by the folk names “Spike” and “Elf Leaf”. During this period lavender gained a reputation for enhancement of love, specifically to attract men into love affairs.

Craft and home products use lavender as a main or important ingredient of the mixtures. Some of the products include: sachets, drawer liners, hot pads, wands, potpourri, tussie mussies, and wreaths.


Lavender is regularly used as an anti-inflammatory, carminative, diuretic, insomnia, mild sedative, relaxant, stomachic, and spasmodic.

Since the earliest use of the steam distillation process developed in Persia during the 11th century lavender has been often used in fragrance recipes. In fact, lavender oil is a basic fragrance ingredient many popular personal care products and perfumes.

Traditional use of lavender in whole or in part helps increase healing of a variety of ailments. A sampling of the uses of lavender as treatments for ailments include: a topical application for athlete’s foot, an aromatherapy remedy for breastfeeding problems, a topical remedy for burns, an infusion for colds, a chest run for coughs, an aromatic for depression, in massage oil for headaches, a topical spray for an insect repellant, a topical ointment for treating stings, and a topical salve for sunburns.

Contemporary uses add to the traditional list of medicinal uses to aid healing of acne, cellulite, emotional heath, fibromyalgia, menopause, and stress.


In general, all lavender are perennial plants in garden growing zones 4 through 8. Older plants look good through winter with a silvery hue. Younger and new growth is brighter green than gray. Leaves vary in size and dimensions. Stems shoot up during early spring. The flowers also called spikes vary from a tapered shape to blunt ends.

Hardy Lavender

Hardy Lavenders are of a Mediterranean origin.

Dwarf Musthead named for the gardener who cultivated it. Dwarf Musthead is a low compact version of lavender with stems that spike at about 4 inches above the shrub. The spike flower is a true lavender purple. It can grow equally well in garden beds or in containers.

Folgate Lavender grows slightly larger than the Dwarf Musthead. Spike flowers are blue and grow 4 – 5 inches above the bush.

Grey Hedge, another variety of Lavandula angustifolia shrub or hedge grows larger with a silver hew to the leaf. The spikes mauve colored and are more pointed and thin.

Hidcote Purple is among the largest of the Lavenders growing to 30 inches with long dark purple spikes which gives the Hidcote Purple Lavender its name.

Old English Lavender is among the original English garden varieties of Lavandula angustifolia are hardy with their denser shrub with broader grey green leaves. The spike flower blooms a mauve color.

Seal Lavender grows to a height of a full 3 feet with the optimum growing conditions. The leaves are gray-green year-round. The flowers compliment the bush color with a blue-mauve flower. This variety of Lavandula angustifolia yields an extended bloom season up to four months.

Twickel Purple compares with the Hidcote Purple but in a smaller form. Twickel Purple is an unusual variety in that the spikes present in a fan-like formation of the deep mauve flowers.

Broad-leafed Lavender (Lavandula latifolia) has much broader gray colored leaves. Lavandula latifolia is the common commercial variety because it has a comparatively larger quantity of fragrant oil.

Dutch Lavender (Lavandula x intermedia) is the result of cross-breeding of Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula latifolia. A distinguishing quality from the parent plants is the leaves are narrow compared to Lavandula latifolia but broader than Lavandula angustifolia. The spike flowers are long & branched. Dutch Lavender blooms later in summer and has a notably strong scent.

Wooly Lavender ( Lavandula lanata) grows to 2 feet with a diameter of up to 3 feet. This short squat version of lavender has gray leaves with tiny hairs on the stems and leaves. The spike flowers can grow to a foot above the bush with heads of dark blue.

Tender Lavenders

Tender Lavenders origins are traced to the Spanish & Southern French regions.

Lavandula stoechas is the historic lavender used by Romans during ancient times through to the Middle Ages. The green leaves have a pungent and notably camphorous scent. The spike flowers of this lavender are irregular globes with small flowers hidden between the purple bracts. The two long brilliantly purple bracts grow to a point reaching upward to 1 ½ inches in length. This variety grows well in acidic soils.

French Lavender (Lavandula dentata) has graceful green leaves. The fragrance of these locally known Spanish Lavender or French Lavender blends balsam with camphor. This variety blooms prolifically throughout most of the year.

Active Ingredients

The constituents of Common Lavender (Lavandula officinalis) consist in the form of volatile oil, tannins and coumarins. Within the Volatile oil up to 1.5% per volume, the active ingredients listed in degrees from highest to lowest in content are linabol, linalyl acetate, lavendulyl acetate, terpinenol, cineole, camphor, borneol, pinene, and limonene; within the coumarins, the active ingredients include coumarin, umbelliferone and hemiarin .

Spike Lavender (Lavandula latifolia) has higher percentages of camphor and cineole than other forms of lavender.

Who uses

Popular in French Cuisine, a chef may use lavender in a recipe or as a part of a sprinkle on top of savory dishes including beef or fish, or on cookies or pastries.

Natural Cosmetologist who seek to enhance not only their clients beauty but also their health work with natural botanicals that have low allergens and high health value. Lavender as an edible as well as its topical usage is perfect for the whole body aware cosmetologist.

Massage Therapist enhance the massage experience by providing just an bit more relaxation by using essential oils in their massage oil. Lavender scent helps relax the mind, as the lavender oil works its way in through the skin to relax the muscles as well. Aroma therapists use lavender as a basic scent in many of their mixtures. The relaxing aroma can improve relaxation, and increase restful sleep as well as boost pleasant and rejuvenating dreams.
Lavender Uses
Traditional Folk Doctors used lavender for a variety of ailments. It seems that lavender was among the stock medicines before allopathic medicine developed.

From flesh wounds or burns to remedies for breathing problems or headaches, lavender was a value herb since the beginning of medicinal treatments.

Herbalists & midwives used lavender to aid healing before, during and after the birth process. Lavender’s qualities helped reduce stretch marks, aided in stretch the perineum and removed the smells of birth by adding lavender to the bedding.

Crafters use lavender in a variety of products for the house. From front door wreaths to drawer sachets the Victorian housewife or 21st Century crafters adore lavender for the variety of colors and the powerful and lingering scent.

Popular Brands/Forms

Aroma therapy oil created from a mixture of essential oil of lavender with base oil. Popular brands: Ananda Apothecary, Aura Cacia.

Flowers are used whole, crushed or ground in culinary or medicinal mixtures. Popular brand for culinary bulk flowers: Starwest Botanicals, Frontier Herb.

Cosmetics used lavender in beauty products including: facial scrub, masks and other astringent mixes. Lavender steam for complexion treatment leaves skin moist and firm. The steam is also good for the lungs. Popular brands: Little Mama Products, Avalon Organics.

A popular scent, lavender can be found in handmade soaps, shampoos, conditioners, deodorants and other personal care products. Popular brands: South of France, Kiss My Face.

Typical Dosage & Usage Regime

Traditional use and dose of lavender flowers for cough and colds suggests brewing an infusion of the flowers and drinking several cups of lavender throughout the day. Another way to administer lavender for cold symptoms is through steam inhalation two or three times per day to loosen phlegm and relax bronchial passages.

Medicinal Herbalists of the 19th century used of the higher potency lavender oil in the treatment of diphtheria, streptococcus and typhoid bacteria. Massage therapists add one or two drops of lavender oil to blank massage oil to help increase muscle relaxation, aid in treatment of headaches, neuralgic and rheumatic pain.

Medicinal infusions are made as a tea. Place the herb in a serving teapot. Pour boiling water from a kettle over the herb into the teapot. Place the lid on the teapot to steep the herb for 10 minutes. Strain the herb as the infusion is poured into a cup. Ratio: 1-2 teaspoons per cup of water.

  • Medicinal Extract Ratio: 10-30 drops in water 1-4 times per day, as directed by a practitioner.
  • Medicinal Tincture: 5 ml, twice daily for depression or headaches.
  • Chest Rub Ratio: Add 1 ml oil and 5 drops chamomile oil to 10 ml base oil for bronchial spasm.
  • Massage Oil Ratio: 1 ml lavender oil to 25 ml base oil.

Whole or ground flowers are used in a variety of culinary dishes including: lavender cookies, lavender sugar, lavender lemonade, lavender vinegar, lavender honey, lavender jelly.

Potential Side Effects

FDA has not tested evaluated or approved any form of Lavender for use. Typical Cautions for Lavender as with all other herbs known as relaxants include: caution while operating vehicles, talk to your doctor before use if you may be pregnant or have allergies or drink alcohol or are taking any mediations especially antihistamines and sedatives.

Cautions include warning against overdose but there is no known quantity identified as excessive. Lavender as a relaxant leads suspicions to include drowsiness as a symptom of an overdose.

More likely, identified side effects can be attributed to plant-based allergies. If you have a history of plant allergies approach lavender with normal caution. Allergic reactions include respiratory or dermatologic symptoms including difficulty breathing, swelling of the throat or facial areas or hives, including itching, redness and swelling. Should these symptoms manifest follow regular allergy protocol.

Typical Costs

Current average price of dried flowers is $10-$20 per pound.

Current average price of lavender oil is $9.00 – $12.00 for a one ounce bottle; $80.00 – $95.00 for a 16 ounce bottle.

Where Found Online & Offline

Local health food stores, culinary markets and herbs stores generally stock lavender or can order it for you.

Use reputable suppliers when buying online. It’s better to purchase lavender from suppliers with excellent reputations such as Dry Creek Herb Farm in Sacramento, CA or Jean’s Greens in Upstate New York



Though science and technology has made great progress, we still tag on to many ancient techniques and traditions. We still use conventional methods of treatment with traditional herbs and ancient remedies despite the latest inventions in medical science. Various leaves, roots, stems, flowers and fruits found in different parts of the world contain medicinal qualities, which researchers use to create new medicines. Comfrey is one of those valuable plants, which have contributed a lot to the field of medicine.

What is Comfrey?

Comfrey is an herbal plant whose parts are used to manufacture various medicines. This invaluable herb is a good first aid herb. This plant belongs to the Boraginaceae family. It has furry broad leaves and bell-like purple, white, cream and pink flowers. This herb was first spotted in Europe. It grows well in grassy and marsh areas with damp weather. It contains a chemical called Allantoin, which accelerates the healing of cuts, burns and bruises.
Comfrey Plant
Long ago people used to squeeze the leaves of Comfrey over their wounds. The juice of the leaves would drip out, the skin around the wound would contract, and thus healing would take place. It prevents scars and infection and acts as a disinfectant. Most of the Asian traditional medicines include this herb as a main ingredient.

Comfrey leaves are rich in calcium, potassium, protein, vitamins A, C and B12. Because of their properties farmers used to feed Comfrey leaves to their animals as a part of their diet. The herb protected the cattle from seasonal diseases and boosted their immunity. To this day Comfrey is added to salads, vegetable dishes and other foods as a delicacy. People living in the Far East make tea out of Comfrey leaves and drink it as a refreshing beverage.

Medicinal value of Comfrey Leaves and Comfrey Root

The Comfrey plant is grown in many parts of the world to make medicines and supplements from its leaves and roots. Ranging from broken bones to chronic ulcers and hereditary ailments these leaves can cure anything. A few traditional medicines have been using this plant for over 200 years.

Ointments and poultices made from Comfrey leaves can be applied to sprains, cuts, rashes and boils. The herb is effective on animals too. Herbal pastes, cosmetic creams and moisturizing lotions contain Comfrey leaf extract because of its medicinal value.

The roots of the Comfrey plant also contain healing qualities. Comfrey roots act as a painkiller for internal injuries. It also encourages tissue and skin growth, which is helpful in healing external injuries. Both the roots and leaves are used to make skin washes and soaps that prevent skin diseases and fungal infections.

Contents of Comfrey

Comfrey consists of chemicals and constituents with medicinal properties. Allantoin is an ingredient, which helps in cell growth and bone strengthening. Due to its analgesic and anti- inflammatory properties, Comfrey is used in medicines for sprains, joint stiffness, pain in the joints or muscles and edema. Other ingredients include rosmarinic acid, steroidal saponins, triterpenoids, sugar, carotene, alkaloids, gum, beta- sitosterol, zinc, inulin, mucilage, protein and vitamin B12. These elements are useful in the overall health of both humans and animals.

A few studies reveal that Comfrey might contain PAs, which are the chief cause of liver malfunction and cancer in animals. The roots contain more PAs when compared to the leaves. Therefore, the consumption of Comfrey leaves and roots in their raw form is not suggested. In fact, the USDA warns against human ingestion of comfrey roots or leaves.

Characteristics of Comfrey Leaves

Mucilage and Allantoin are found in greater ratio in this herb. These chemicals are responsible for the plants anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and analgesic effects. Various medicines are made using this herb as a main ingredient. This single herb plays various roles; it works as a Vulnerary (healing wounds), expectorant (expel mucous), Haemostatic (blood clotting), Proliferant (increase growth of cells), astringent (compress blood vessels and pores on the skin), Anodyne (pain relief), coolant and a sedative.

Comfrey leaves are dried and crushed into a powder, which is taken by people suffering from any lung illnesses. It acts as an expectorant and is capable of curing chronic coughs and respiratory ailments. Comfrey acts as an excellent medicine for ulcers and diabetes. It maintains a balance in insulin creation and excess glucose in the body.

This herb works wonders on those with bowel problems. Comfrey is a laxative and the mucilage present in it stops diarrhea and induces digestive juice for better digestion of food. People who suffer from excess of cholesterol can rely upon Comfrey as an excellent remedy.

Where is Comfrey Grown?

Comfrey plants usually grow on moist and wet lands. You can find these herbs growing in the pastures of Newfoundland and a few parts of Georgia and Louisiana. A few places in Europe with similar climates also grow this plant.

What Does the Comfrey Plant Look Like?

The average height of a Comfrey plant is about 5 feet. The leaves are oval and green in color. The plant’s purple flowers bloom from May to September. The flowers are bell- shaped and bloom fresh everyday during the season. The stems are straight and erect. The roots of this plant are black in color and contain a pulpy, sticky, gelatinous substance.

Comfrey as a Food supplement

Comfrey not only has medicinal values but also acts as a food supplement if taken in controlled quantity. It acts as an energy tonic and power booster in human beings. A few of the elements present in this herb are Vitamin A, B12, C, B complex, proteins, calcium, minerals, potassium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, selenium, Magnesium, copper, sulphur and Germanium.

The History of Comfrey

The history of Comfrey goes back a few centuries. According to Dr. Christopher, this herb was first located in the Eden Garden. During the period of Alexander the Great, Comfrey was used to treat wounded soldiers of the army. A Greek physician used this herb for various treatments. In the middle ages, physicians in Europe used this herb to cure various diseases. In due course, catholic priests became physicians and started growing this herb in the Monastery gardens. As this herb has multi-curing abilities, the Christian priests concentrated more on cultivating these herbs rather than growing other plants.

Samuel Thomson, an early botanic physician included many accounts of Comfrey’s miracle in his writings. He has mentioned a few personal instances when Comfrey came to his rescue. He once had a wound caused by farm machinery. It was so serious that his foot was to be amputated. However, thanks to a Comfrey poultice applied over the wound the foot gradually healed.

Comfrey Poultice

When you are wounded or burned, you can prepare a poultice out of comfrey leaves and apply it in place of antiseptic cream. The poultice will act as both an antiseptic and an analgesic and cure the injury quickly.

To prepare a poultice collect a few Comfrey leaves and pure distilled water or mineral water. Also, see that you have some gauze and medical tape to cover the injury. Now grind the Comfrey leaves by hand with a mortar and pestle or blend until they become a paste. Transfer the paste into a saucepan and set over a low flame. Keep stirring the paste and take care so as not to scald the paste. Once the paste is well heated and starts getting thicker remove it from the stove and let it cool. Spread the paste on a wide piece of gauze cloth and cover the wound with it. Secure the gauze with medical tape.

Repeat this two times a day until the wound is healed. This paste can also be used to cure sprains and pulls. For open cuts, place a piece of gauze on the wound and spread the paste over it. Cover the whole thing with another piece of gaze and tie it well. This method is to keep Comfrey debris from getting inside the cut.

Benefits of Comfrey

Comfrey is known by different names in different parts of the world. People call it boneset, healing herb, slippery root, salsify, common Comfrey and gum plant among others.

Comfrey performs multiple tasks such as curing diseases, maintaining health and healing wounds. It is a magic herb that can cure many medical conditions. Ailments ranging from arthritis to chronic Asthma, aches and illnesses can be cured completely using regular doses of Comfrey. You can use medicines that contain Comfrey to cure minor problems such as coughs, ulcers, sprains, rashes and more.

The phosphorus and calcium present in these leaves encourage strong bones and teeth. The mucilage present in it acts as a moisturizer, which softens the skin and cures skin problems. The pepsin in this herb promotes good digestion and keeps the digestive system working well.

Other infections and injuries that can be cured with this plant are burns, Eczema, spider bites, amoebic infections, minor burns, insect stings and minor fractures. It has also been noted that many cases of Diarrhea and dysentery can also be cured to some extent using this herb. The leaves act as a great medicine for Diabetic patients.

Side effects of Comfrey

Although this herb is known for its medicinal values and curing abilities there are a few side effects if taken inappropriately or improperly. Just like any other medicine it is always advisable to take Comfrey only under medical supervision.

The FDA has restricted the use of oral Comfrey products as traces of hepatotoxic pyrrolidizine alkaloids have been detected. This toxic substance can lead to liver dysfunction or kidney failure. In addition, if the cuts are too deep or badly infected Comfrey alone would not work effectively. The toxins in the Comfrey might damage the affected part and lead to death in acute cases. Comfrey could close up a deep wound too quickly trapping dirt and alien objects inside the wound and causing swelling and pus.

Doses and duration have to be strictly followed. Medicines containing Comfrey are not prescribed for more than 4 weeks. If they are taken any longer, they can cause adverse effects.

Who cannot take Comfrey Medication?

Comfrey herb in any form should not be consumed or used by the following people

  1. Pregnant women or mothers who still breastfeed their babies.
  2. People who are already taking medication for any disease.
  3. People who are currently undergoing treatment for a chronic disease.
  4. People who are allergic to any of the contents present in the Comfrey plant.
  5. Children under the age of five.
  6. People who are alcoholics or chain smokers.

Although many people throughout the world consume and use this herb regularly, reports performed on humans and animals by experts, state that Comfrey is safe only used or consumed under proper medical supervision.

If used wisely and carefully science works wonders. If it is not applied wisely, it could cause much harm and damage. Likewise, Comfrey works best as a medicine when it is taken under medical supervision. As per the studies conducted recently, external application of Comfrey in any form is safe whereas internal consumption might have risks.

Comfrey Tea

More than 3,000 years ago, Roman and Greek physicians used Comfrey as the main ingredient in their medicines. They also suggested that potions and beverages be made out of these herbs for a healthy life. Teas or concoctions made using Comfrey leaves was considered the best medication for any injury, wound or health problem.

Steps to prepare Comfrey tea powder

  1. Either grow or collect a few Comfrey leaves from your neighborhood. This herb is also available in many stores located throughout the US. Those living in other parts of the world can place an order with any of the online stores.
  2. Wash the Comfrey leaves well, tie the stems together with a string and let them dry in your backyard. Let them dry in the sun for a couple of days until they become stiff and hard. Another way to dry the leaves quickly is to set them on a pan and place them in an oven. Set the temperature to medium and place the pan in the oven. Check on them every 3-4 minutes and take them out when they are dry and crisp.
  3. Once the leaves are dry, crush them including the midrib of the leaves. Crushing them into a fine powder is recommended. You may use a coffee grinder or a spice mill for this purpose. Store the powder in an airtight container at room temperature.

Steps to prepare Comfrey concoction

  1. Add two tablespoons of Comfrey powder (tea) to 2 cups of boiling water in a stainless steel or glass vessel. Cover the container and let it steep for a few minutes.
  2. After steeping, strain the tea through a thin cloth into another container.
  3. Dip a clean, sterilized cloth into this tea and apply to wounds and injuries for quick relief.

Consumption of Comfrey tea is still a big question. Due to its toxic ingredients, medical practitioners have placed a hold on the ingestion of this concoction. Comfrey tea helps in healing cuts, wounds, sprains, bruises and acne. This herbal tea is also used as an organic fertilizer.
Comfrey Uses

Comfrey as Organic Fertilizer

You can increase the fertility of the soil in your garden by using Comfrey as an organic Fertilizer. It is easy to prepare liquid Comfrey, which increases the quality of the soil. Collect Comfrey leaves and crush them. Add a little water to make a fine paste. Once a paste is formed, add more water to liquefy the mixture.

Pour it into the compost pit or compost mound for a better decomposition process. Comfrey contains nitrogen, which enriches the quality of the soil. If you wish to spread the herbal fertilizer in the garden, dilute it further and spread it all over your garden. This recipe works better than manure, as the potassium content in this enables better flowering and growth of the plants.

Once the Comfrey organic liquid is prepared, you can store or transport it easily. See that you spread the liquid in small quantities as lot of nutrients are contained in a small dose. Tomato and pepper plants are the ones, which benefit the most from Comfrey fertilizer. The nitrogen content helps in overall growth of your plants, especially in flowering and fruit bearing ones. This fertilizer should be used on plants that are mature and have enough leaves.

Young and sprouting plants could die or have adverse effects if Comfrey fertilizer is used on them. Potato plants and flowers grow well if a Comfrey concoction is used.

How Do You Grow Comfrey?

If you wish to benefit from the medical magic of Comfrey, try to plant it in your backyard or garden. Spring and fall are the seasons suitable for planting Comfrey. Plants grown before winter give a better yield. If you can get a hold of some fresh Comfrey roots, just follow the steps below and watch your Comfrey grow.

  1. Pull up any weeds by the roots and clean up the soil making it suitable for plant growth.
  2. Take some root cuttings of a Comfrey plant and plant them in a row.
  3. Comfrey plants require sun with partial shade for effective growth. Plant each cutting at the depth of about 4-5 inches. Leave a space of 3 feet between each plant.
  4. Add a layer of manure or compost to the area and water it regularly. Remove weeds that grow in between the plants.
  5. If the aim of growing the plant is for its leaves, keep cutting the leaves from the bottom, as this will control flower growth and promote more leaf growth.

You can expect 4-5 harvests in a season. Remember that the plants grow deep into the soil. If you ever wish to clear the growth, make sure all the roots are out of the soil. A single root can lead to the growth of the herb once again. It might take a few months for this process.

Oral Comfrey medications are banned in the US and Europe. Yet contemporary preparations are available in a few stores. Ointments, lotions, poultices and creams made of Comfrey must be tested for skin adaptability before using. If you intend to buy any Comfrey products, make sure you purchase them from a licensed provider who deals in genuine medications.

It is better to avoid any external or internal application in infants and children below five years of age. A child’s skin is very sensitive to chemicals and the Comfrey medication could cause damage to young delicate skin. Even adult who use it are not immune from danger. Avoid oral doses of Comfrey and avoid applying Comfrey directly on open wounds.

Comfrey products

You may either buy Comfrey products from nearby stores if available or place an order on any of the websites that sell Comfrey. Just go to any of the search engines and enter “Comfrey products” in the search column and you will get a long list of suppliers and products. You can select the one you want and proceed to place the order. Most of the sites accept credit cards and electronic transfers. Once again, just be careful and check if the supplier is genuine and the products are safe before purchasing the goods.

Comfrey products include face powder, ointments, oils, creams and pills. Follow the instructions given on the box carefully and maintain the doses accordingly to avoid any side effects. Though the sites claim that oral medications supplied by them are authentic and real, consult your doctor before consuming them. You should not take any Comfrey medication continuously for more than 4-6 weeks per year. Excess usage or the wrong prescription could lead to disastrous consequences in any healthy human being.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid any kind of Comfrey application. Keep all medicines, potions, creams and ointments away from children. Store them at the right temperature and preserve them in an airtight container. At times, a toxic reaction happens when Belladonna leaves are mixed with Comfrey leaves by mistake. Both of them look similar. So see that you buy raw materials or the medicinal form of Comfrey from reliable sources only.



Dill Herb Medicinal Benefits

It would probably be impossible to find someone unfamiliar with dill. After all, who hasn’t heard of dill pickles? Or dilly beans?

Mostly recognized as a cooking herb, dill is also an effective medicinal herb for treatment of indigestion, menstrual cramps, cold and flu symptoms, and colic. Nursing mothers also find drinking tea made from the dill seed beneficial to milk production. Dill is an appetite stimulant and could be beneficial for individuals who, due to illness or injury, need a boost to their appetite. Dill is also considered a mild diuretic.
Dill Benefits
As well as the internal benefits of this herb, there are external benefits as well, such as its ability to strengthen fingernails that have been dipped in a tea made from dill seed or as a salve to wounds.

History of Dill

Anethum graveolens is an herb native to the Mediterranean region, southern Russia, and western Africa. Other plants that share this family tree are parsley, carrot, and cumin.

The more familiar name – dill – is thought to be derived from the Anglo-Saxon or Norse “dylle,” which means “to sooth or lull.” The first known mention of dill was in Egyptian medical writings dating back to 3000 BC. It was also mentioned in the Bible (Mathew 23:23) and is believed to be one of the nine sacred herbs found in Mary’s grave (the others being sage, lovage, yarrow, calendula, arnica, mugwort, valerian, and tansy).

Dill was considered a sign of wealth in ancient Greek cultures and it was common practice for those with higher economic standing to burn dill-scented oil as an indication of that wealth. Dill was thought to be good luck by the Romans, and in ancient Europe, it was believed that witches would be discouraged from entering a home by hanging a bunch of dill above the doorways.

Dill was also commonly used by magicians in their spells and charms. Combined with wine, dill was used in spells to aid in romantic endeavors. It was also believed, for individuals involved in litigation, that putting dill seeds in the shoes before entering the courtroom would ensure a favorable outcome.

The early Sycthians used dill in their embalming procedure, most likely because of the plant’s strong aromatic properties.

History of Dill in Medicine

As noted above, writings about dill have been discovered in medical writings (Egyptian) as far as back as 3000 BC. Because of its common use for ailments such as indigestion, the Emperor Charlemagne served dill tea to his guests at mealtime. Dill was also included in the Emperor’s famous “list of herbs,” a kind of list of “must haves” for his vegetable gardens (onions, shallots, garlic, leek, celery are just a few of the other plants listed).

Hippocrates, known as the Father of Medicine, made a mouthwash from dill, which is believed to be the first documented recipe of that type.

Burnt dill seeds were used by ancient soldiers to promote healing in wounds. And a recipe of dill, butter, and dried honey was, at one time, believed effective in the treatment of mental illness. Long before Viagra, dill was also thought to be a cure for impotence.

Dill in Modern Medicine

Although many individuals are interested in pursuing treatments for, and preventions from, common ailments such as indigestion and the hiccups while utilizing a more plant-based source than what would commonly be prescribed by an MD, there are also indications dill may be beneficial in the treatment of more serious conditions, such as cancer.

There have been studies conducted in Iran that suggest that mice given a dill seed extract experienced less stomach excretions and would, therefore, be effective in the treatment of stomach ulcers. It should be noted, however, that this study was conducted on mice and, at this time, there is no known similar study having been done on humans.

In Ethiopia, dill leaves and fennel are chewed together for the treatment of headaches.

One of the more promising studies of dill indicates it has potential as an effective tool in cancer prevention. This herb contains large amounts of monoterpenes, a substance that is known to promote enzyme activity that helps to counter the effects of cancer causing agents.

In addition, polyacetylenes, also found in dill, are components known for having anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungicidal characteristics.

Drinking dill tea could help those suffering from insomnia.

Nutritional Information

Dill is a good source of iron, manganese, calcium, and dietary fiber. One tablespoon of dill seed has the calcium equivalent of one third cup of milk. Although dill has no real known danger warnings associated with its use (medicinal or culinary), there is some indication that dill oil should be avoided during pregnancy. It is believed that dill can induce miscarriage and it is better to be safe and to limit its use during this time. Ground dill seeds can be used as a salt substitute for those who are concerned about their sodium intake.

Forms of Medicinal Dill and Recommended Dosages

Dill water (also known as “Gripe Water”) is a concoction made from dill seeds and crushed fennel seeds boiled together, strained, and cooled. One half teaspoon of this mixture at room temperature, offered to a baby with an upset tummy, should help alleviate his or her discomfort.

The original recipe for Gripe Water called for alcohol but it is now recognized that giving alcohol to an infant is not advisable. Any leftover mixture should be discarded after twenty four hours as it will sour past that time; dill water should not be mixed with milk as it will cause the milk to curdle. Following the advice of a medical adviser prior to administering is always recommended.

A commercially manufactured, and alcohol-free, version of Gripe Water can be found online and in specialty stores under several different brand names. Not all brands of Gripe Water are made with dill; some are made up of formulas whose main herbal ingredient is ginger, peppermint, fennel, or one of several other herbs. Almost all of the commercial versions also contain sodium bicarbonate.

Dill Tea

Dill tea can be beneficial to individuals suffering from upset stomach and/or diarrhea, menstrual pain, bad breath, and cough and flu symptoms. The tea is made by steeping two teaspoons crushed dill seed in one cup boiling water for ten minutes. Strain.

A milder tasting dill tea can be achieved by combining one teaspoon of the dried dill leaves with one cup boiling water; strain. As noted previously, drinking dill tea can aid in the production of milk for lactating mothers.

Dill Seeds and Leaves

For bad breath, the dill seeds can simply be chewed without having to be in the form of an infusion or tea.

The leaves of the dill contain small amounts of estrogen and might be beneficial to post-menopausal women. Because of its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, a juice made with fresh dill, and consumed several times a day over a two week period, could be of benefit to the urinary system. There is also some indications it could help prevent calculus in the kidneys by stimulating kidney activity.

Dill Oil & Supplements

Dill oil, produced commercially, is accomplished by steam extraction. Because of its abundance of oil-producing carvone, dill oil is usually obtained from the seed, although it is at times made with the entire plant. Dill oil is quite strong in its flavor and is sometimes used in the preparation of Gripe Water.

Dill supplements (powdered dill in capsules) can be found online and in stores specializing in homeopathy treatments, such as health food stores. The loose powder is also available, as well as items such as tea prepared both from the seed and the plant. The recommended daily dosage of dill supplement in capsule form is two capsules twice a day, taken at mealtimes.

Topical creams and salves are also available and can aid in the healing of wounds. Although dill isn’t known for being particularly high in allergens, some hyper-sensitive individuals may develop a slight rash with the usage of dill creams or ointments; if a rash occurs, its use should be discontinued.

Dill in Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is the belief that aroma, by contact through the olfactory system, can have a direct affect on the mood and health of an individual. In the case of dill, it is mostly the essential oil, derived from the seed, that is used in aromatherapy and it is believed to be beneficial in times of stress.

A few drops of dill essential oil in a vaporizer can help ease tension. Adding the oil to a hot bath can not only benefit the individual through its aroma but also through the contact with the user’s skin.

An herbal alternative to commercial chemical air fresheners can be created by blending dill essential oil with water in a plastic spray bottle. A few squirts into the air (but away from furniture) will freshen the room. Dill essential oil can also be blended with other herbal essential oils to create a blend of scents.

Other Uses of Dill

  • Dill is often associated with cooking. Dill pickles, as well as meat, fish, egg dishes, and some breads are all popular culinary uses of this versatile herb. Both the seeds and the plant itself are used in cooking, making this two-season herb a very versatile addition to the kitchen.
  • As a general rule, if a recipe calls for “dill weed,” it is referring to the product derived from the plant itself. If purchased from the grocery store, this product will consist of little, chopped pieces of a grass-like item, dark green in color. If the recipe calls for “dill seed,” then the seed should be used and it is easily identified as such on the store shelf.
  • Dill, either the seeds or the leaves, can be soaked in vinegar to create a flavorful addition to dishes such as potato salad, soup, or green salads.
  • Oil of dill is used in perfumes and sometimes in the preparation of soaps.

Growing, Cultivating, and Harvesting of Dill

Dill Uses
Dill is an easy to grow herb. Although in some parts of the world it is considered a perennial, in most cases it is treated as an annual. Since it easily reseeds itself, many gardeners simply leave one or two plants in the ground at the end of each season and let nature takes its course.

Dill, while preferring a sunny location, will grow in most soil conditions and can be sowed directly in the ground or started by seed in a pot for later transplanting to the garden. Because of its long taproot, though, transplanting the young dill plant into its spot in the garden should not be delayed too long.

Dill in the garden will also attract beneficial insects, such as bees, and is a good companion for cabbage, cucumbers, lettuce and onions; however, it should not be planted near tomatoes and carrots. Keeping the area around the dill plant weed free is probably the most important aspect of growing it. Because of its long taproot, its watering requirements are minimal in all but the driest of weather.

Harvesting Basics

Dill is particularly suitable to container gardening, although care should be taken to provide a deep enough container to allow room for the taproot. Dill is also very easy to harvest. The entire plant, as well as the seeds, can be harvested and used either fresh or dried for later use.

To harvest the seeds, it is a matter of simply waiting until the plant flowers and goes to seed. Once the majority of the seeds have formed, the head is then cut off and placed in a paper bag, preferably upside down. The seeds will fall from the heads and into the bag; the heads can also be shaken to ensure the optimum seed harvest. The seeds should then be stored in an airtight container for use in cooking, teas, or for use in the next year’s planting.

The leaves can be cut and their stems placed in a glass of water in the refrigerator; they will keep in this manner for several days. By layering the stems, covering each layer with pickling salt, and placing (in layers) in an airtight container in the refrigerator, dill will stay “fresh” in the refrigerator for up to six months.

Longer Storage

For longer storage, dill stems can be hung in a dark, dry spot to dry. An inexpensive food dehydrator can also be used, as well as placing a few sprigs between several layers of paper towel and heating in the microwave until dry. The dried dill can then be stored in an airtight container and it should, if properly dried, keep indefinitely.

Dill can also be frozen but will keep better in this manner if not chopped too finely prior to placement in the freezer container or bag.

Dill In Conclusion

While there are many medicinal benefits in the use of dill, there are very few known side effects or warnings. And whether the consumer is interested in using dill in its fresh or dried form, plant and/or seed, it is readily available. In fact, in late summer the entire dill plant can be found in most grocery stores because of its desirability in the processing of homemade pickles.

In the dried form (seed and plant), it is found in the spice department of any grocery stores, as well as in health food stores (usually organically grown). It can also be found in easy to take capsules, powder, and teas from health food stores and online.

Dill can also be easily grown and be harvested and processed quite easily. Preparing tea from home grown (and home processed) dill could be the most economic and convenient way to enjoy the health benefits dill provides.


Green Tea

Green Tea

There are many different herbs out there today that promise you a lot of health benefits, but there are few that actually deliver on that claim. Green tea is one that not only makes good on that promise, but delivers health benefits in spades. Whether it being slowing down certain types of cancer, or increasing your mental performance, green tea is an over all great thing to have inside your body, and you’ll discover that as you go on to read this article.

Where it comes from

Green tea is grown and processed worldwide, but if you really want the good stuff, you need to check out the green tea from the provinces of China and Japan. It is here that the best green tea in the world is grown, refined, processed, and made ready to brew.
Green Tea Benefits
The soil is just right, and it produces a top notch, high grade tea that is even more healthy and beneficial to the body. This has made the Chinese and Japanese green teas much more coveted around the world.

You will need to be prepared to pay a premium for these teas though, because their much more desired nature increases their value. However, you will find that what you pay for is what you get, and what you get with these green teas is an incredible depth of flavor and even more health benefits.

History and origin of use

There are myths about green tea being discovered around five thousand years ago by a Chinese emperor. While that claim may be false, there are many reliable records that show tea was discovered as many as two thousand years ago, although who made the discovery is still up in the air. There are roots in the Chinese and Indian cultures as to who first discovered green tea, and both countries lay claim to the discovery.

Although the truth may never be fully known, what we do know is that it was a fantastic discovery that changed the way people consumed fluids. There are also other myths out there about how green tea can dehydrate you, this is simply not true.

When you drink tea, you are replacing fluids and getting a lot of antioxidants that your body needs to help fight infections, diseases, etc. There are also many different myths about the caffeine content in green tea and how it can be a bad thing, but the truth is, there is very little caffeine in green teas.


There are many variations of green tea, including: black teas, brown teas, white teas, oolong teas, etc. These different kinds of teas all have unique health benefits, but they are alike in that they all help the body fight off certain types of ailments, and they have all been proven to be very healthful to humans and animals alike.

Green tea is thought to have the most health benefits, simply because of the exhaustive testing done on it. Since there are many different claims being made of the benefits of green tea, scientists have spent most of their time trying to find proof to back them up.

This has led to not only the proof of those claims, but many other discoveries of just how healthy green tea is. However, if you choose to drink a variation of green tea, or if you simply like another kind better, you are still going to be doing you body a favor, and you will still experience the many positive things from drinking tea.

Consumers and why it works

No matter where you live on the planet, the chances are good that you yourself have tried green tea, or someone you know personally has tried green tea. With its extreme popularity and widespread availability, it has become very easily accessible to even the most poverty stricken countries, and the price is usually easily afforded by those living in substandard conditions.

This is a very good thing, because the many health benefits of green tea will help those living with diseases and the like. Green tea is thought to work because of the many polyphenols it contains. A polyphenol is essentially a scavenger that roams the body searching for free radicals, which are cells that can do extensive damage to the body by messing with DNA, or even causing cancer.

When these polyphenols encounter a free radical, they destroy it and move on to finding the next. This means that green tea can help ward off many different types of sickness, up to and including some cancers. Antioxidants also help the body fight off and prevent many other health problems that will be discussed a little while later.

Famous people using it

With the health benefits of green tea being so blatantly obvious, it is no surprise that people like Oprah, the member of the band Led Zeppilin, Gwyneth Paltrow, and a myriad of other celebrities have been spotted drinking it. Famous people all over the globe know that drinking green tea is a smarter choice than soda, juice, or coffee, so they drink it on a regular basis, along with millions of others who do not fit into the ‘famous’ category. It does not matter if you are rich and famous or poor and infamous, you should probably be drinking green tea, simply because of how much better it is for you.

How it is used today

The most common usage today for green tea is the bagged form. Many different companies bag their own tea, brand it, and then ship it to grocery store shelves for easy buying from consumers. While the most popular, it is not the only way to buy green tea. There are pre-made bottles that you can find with soft drinks, and that is the second most popular way of buying green tea.

There are reasons to be cautious about buying green tea already made though, and some of those are brought about by the chemicals introduced to maintain freshness while shipping, and during long periods of sitting on shelves. Some of these chemicals may block the absorption of certain healthy chemicals or polyphenols when you drink it. There is also loose tea, which can be bagged by the consumer for the freshest tasting tea, and then it also comes in pill form.

The pills are extremely popular in the weigh loss market for green tea, promising a speedy weight loss in no time at all. While green tea does help you lose weight, beware of claims made that talk about ‘instant weight loss’ because that is not going to happen. Of all of the above mentioned ways to consume green tea, the bagged and loose kinds are going to provide you with the best overall experience and health benefits.

Proven and unproven claims

While there are many different claims out there today about green tea and green tea products, not all of them are completely true. Many people will say that there are studies that show that green tea can cure cancer, and that is just not accurate.

Green tea does however slow down the advancement of some cancers, and it has also been known to help prevent some cancers as well. Green tea has also been used as a diuretic, which is something that helps excess liquid leave the body. It has many uses that have been passed down over the years such as an astringent, a form of flatulence control, a way to control blood sugar in diabetics, and even help lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol.

While not all of these claims have been ultimately supported by extensive scientific testing, it has been somewhat proven that all of these things work, if not modestly. Like an herbal supplement though, you should always consult a doctor to see what you can combine green tea with to achieve a healthier lifestyle.


While green tea does not have a specific dosage guideline that you have to follow, you should be aware that like anything else, too much of it can be a bad thing for your body. If you want to maintain the optimal benefits of green tea, you should stick to 2-3 cups of it a day, which will give your body the ideal amount of around 250-300 mg of polyphenols it needs to help fight those nasty free radicals.
Green Tea Dosage
By sticking to the amount recommended, you will find that your body will naturally cleanse itself without having to suffer through some of the side effects of green tea, to be discussed later. Your body will thank you for sticking to the recommended dosage, and it will run even better because of it.

Legal Status

Green tea is not currently illegal in any country or province, and that is because it has become recognized worldwide as one of the healthiest things you can drink. It is a staple in European and Asian countries, and it has become very popular in the Americas as well. Of course, like anything else traded between countries, it has to undergo rigorous tests to make sure that consumers are getting only the best green tea that can be provided to them.

Side effects

While there are no side effects that come with the consumption of too much polyphenols, there are other components in green tea that can become toxic if over used. The main thing is caffeine. Green tea does not contain a large amount of caffeine, but it does have some.

This means that if you consume too much of it over a little amount of time, you can experience a jittery feeling, accelerated heartbeat, headaches, and other symptoms that are linked with a caffeine overdose.

If this occurs, discontinue use and see a doctor about the issues. As always, if you are sensitive to or allergic to anything that green tea contains, you should consult a doctor before starting to drink green tea even casually. This will help keep your body healthy, even if it means missing out on the many benefits of green tea.

Cost and Availability

The availability of green tea has increased exponentially in the last few years. You can not only find in on the grocery store shelves, but you can find it on the internet and in specialty stores across the world. In some countries they have tea markets that are specifically devoted to nothing but tea, and in the US, there are entire stores committed to bringing you nothing but the finest teas.

No matter where you choose to shop for the green tea you desire, you are going to find varying prices that depend on the season, the quality, and the amount of green tea you are looking for. In most cases, the bagged teas you find will be anywhere from $5 USD to $15 USD for a package that contains 15-25 tea bags. If it is green tea pills you are after, you will find that a bottle of 30-45 pills usually costs you anywhere from $5 USD to $20 USD. Once again, ideally you need to stay away from any pill or bottle that promises you fast weight loss, because more than likely they have added caffeine and other chemicals which would decrease some of the healthy benefits of green tea.

In closing, it is very important to note the amazing health benefits of the green tea leaf. There are too many to number, and they are increasing daily with the scientific studies that continue to show us how this plant can enrich our lives. If you have not yet experience green tea for yourself, you should try some as soon as possible. You’ll find that they only thing you like better than its delicate flavor is how good it makes you feel after you rink it.

These feelings combine to make it one of the most popular drinks in the world, second only to water. So run down to your local market or hop online to order some today. You won’t regret it, and your body will thank you.




Nearly everyone has tasted and smelled peppermint. From candy to toothpaste, the peppermint herb is a plant that has many uses and not just for health reasons. Its sweet, but sharp, smell entices and soothes everyone.

Where does the peppermint herb come from?

The peppermint herb’s Latin name is Mentha Pepirita. It is a cross between the water mint and spearmint, and is only grown in this way, as it is usually sterile. That means that the peppermint plant does not spread through pollination. That doesn’t mean the peppermint plant doesn’t grow well on it’s own. On the contrary, peppermint plants, and all it’s kin, are fast growers.
Peppermint Uses
The peppermint plant has been used and cultivated since ancient times. It is hard to say when humans first used it. It grows wild in Central and Southern Europe, and some believe that is where it was first cultivated for medicinal use and in foods.

There has been some evidence of the peppermint plant during ancient times in Japan and China, and there is a tomb with hieroglyphs that show the peppermint plant in Egypt. The tomb dates back from 1000b.c.

Greek mythology also mentions the mint family. Mintha was the lover of Pluto, but he had a wife. Persephone, the wife, beat Mintha into the ground and turned her into a lowly plant. This way, she would always be trod upon. Pluto could not save Mintha, but gave her a sweet smell.

How does the peppermint herb grow?

The peppermint herb is a leafy plant that doesn’t grow more than 3 feet tall. Its leaves are fuzzy to the touch, and the plant gives off a faint peppery, sweet smell. Rubbing a peppermint leaf between fingers will release even more of the scent.

Growing peppermint plants is incredibly easy. The hardest part about growing peppermint is keeping it under control so that it doesn’t push out any other plants in the garden. It is an invasive plant that easily, and quickly, takes over everything. The peppermint herb is planted in rich, moist soil. It will grow best in full sun, but some shade won’t hurt it. As long as the plant gets sun and water, it will thrive. To help contain the controlling plant, it can be planted in a pot and kept indoors.

It is the leaves of the peppermint herb that are cultivated for human use. The flowers are regularly cut off to allow for more leaves to grow. Younger peppermint herbs have different, somewhat foul, smell to them. If left to grow older, the smell becomes sweet and the scent we love. When ready for use, the leaves of the peppermint plant are cut off, including the stems, to be used to make many different products.

What is the history of use for the peppermint herb?

As mentioned earlier, the peppermint herb grows wild in parts of Europe. In Romania, Mint Rubbing has become a huge fad, so much so that political figures are required to do this. It first originated in Romania and is one of the reasons why many believe it to be the birthplace of mint use for humans.

What is Mint Rubbing?

It is an almost obsessive compulsive act of actually rubbing mint. There are no rules to how it should be done, but it would seem that the scent released from the plant plays an important role. It has since evolved into a slang term for wasting time when you should actually be working.

In the first century A.D., the Roman naturalist Pliny mentions the peppermint herb as being used for medicinal purposes. It was also mentioned in a thirteenth century Icelandic story. As for medicinal uses, it was used in England during Elizabethan times to cure over forty health problems and diseases, and many other uses.

One example was that peppermint, and other forms of mint, were scattered about in homes and public places in order to cover up foul odors. People would take deep breaths of the smell of peppermint. This use continues today in products like toothpaste and mouthwash that are also used to cover up bad morning breath.

Are there different variations of peppermint?

As mentioned, the peppermint herb is the cross between water mint and spearmint. So, that makes at least two more types of mint. Altogether, there are over 600 varieties of mint, with sixteen of them being used the most today. Some of these varieties mess with the smell of mint and make for some interesting scents.

For example, there is the chocolate mint, which has that delightful smell of chocolate and peppermint just like hot cocoa stirred with a candy cane. Similar scented mint plants are the orange mint, pineapple mint, and the apple mint. There are also a large number of mint hybrids and different varieties grown around the world.

Although all of these plants are similar in make up and scent, the two that are used most often for human use are the peppermint and spearmint. Out of the two, peppermint wins hands down. It is used more often for medicinal purposes, or for scent purposes, than any other mint plant.

What is the peppermint herb used for?

The peppermint herb has many uses. It is used for medicines, for its calming effects, and for its unique, and powerful, scent. The uses for peppermint are great in number and there will probably be more found as years go by and more experiments are done.

The peppermint herb helps cure an upset stomach. There is a reason why mints are given after a big meal at a restaurant. Peppermint does a few things when swallowed. One of them is it stimulates the flow of bile in the stomach, making the food digest quicker. It is also an antispasmodic, meaning it stops cramps and stomach pain, making the peppermint herb an organic choice for alleviating monthly menstrual cramps.

Another effect of the peppermint herb that helps with indigestion, as well as other ailments, is its anesthetic effect. It gives off a cooling and numbing sensations that helps with many health problems. It can relax strained or aching muscles, whether from overworking the muscles or just the aches and pains of age and life. It can also be used to calm itching or sunburn. Peppermint’s numbing sensation helps relieve migraines when applied to the head, too.

What ailments does it help cure?

The peppermint herb also helps against headaches because it has a calming effect. Someone with a headache can take some peppermint so that the body will relax, and then rest away the pain. This calming effect is also useful against anxiety and stress. No matter how stressful the day is taking some peppermint will calm the body. Insomnia, as well, can be treated with peppermint’s calming effect. With a relaxed body, a person will fall asleep easier. This calming effect also helps prevent vomiting by calming a queasy stomach.
Peppermint Treatment Benefits
As an expectorant, the peppermint herb can be used against colds, the flu, or just to ease a nagging cough. Like cough syrups, which are often mint in taste, the peppermint herb will help to expel phlegm from the lungs. This is only a temporary relief from the cold symptoms, but will help a sufferer get through it all.


Also, against colds, the peppermint herb has an ability to warm the body. Someone who has chills can find warmth with peppermint. It is also useful if someone faints and needs to quickly get their body back to normal temperature.

Peppermint also has antibacterial effects. It will kill bacteria and germs, and is one of the main reasons why peppermint is used often in toothpastes. The other reason is because the scent of peppermint covers up mouth odors. Since the peppermint herb is such a good bacteria killer, it also helps prevent food poisoning if someone accidentally eats bad food.

Besides curing many ailments and diseases, the peppermint herb can also improve general health. It contains vitamins A and C, and helps to boost the body’s immune system, which helps prevent illness. For use with hair care, peppermint can reduce dandruff and improve the scalp. It can also be used to sooth dry skin. It is often used to help against the effects of chemotherapy for cancer patients and has been studied as a cure for cancer. There are no guaranteed answers, yet.

How does the peppermint herb cure so many ailments?

The simple answer to why the peppermint herb does so much is because of the high amount of menthol within the peppermint plant’s leaves. 50% of the peppermint herb is menthol. Another 10-30% is menthone, and yet another 10% menthyl esters. It is the menthol that creates the peppery sweet smell that aids against bad breath, and it is the menthol that helps against those many ailments.

Menthol has the ability to trigger cold receptors in the body. This makes the body feel cooler without actually dropping body temperature. Prolonged use of the menthol can create the numbing sensation mentioned earlier.


Although we say that menthol “cures” ailments, it is really just tricking your mind, and yourself, into believing that it is. It messes with receptors in the body, making you feel calmer, or faking a cooling sensation, or into believing that you will not vomit until the queasiness passes away.

It is the same way that if you place your hand over a fire, your body will send a message from the receptors to your brain. Your brain will tell you that you are being stupid and to move your hand from the flame. It tells you this by giving you pain as your skin burns. Menthol comes in and tweaks those receptors. It tells your brain that things are calm and cool, even when it isn’t.

Another example is when you take menthol for a cold. You stop coughing and your throat feels less congested, right? Well, it’s actually still congested and filled with phlegm, but the menthol made you believe you were better. Only temporarily, though.

In short, menthol does nothing, it just controls your brain into thinking that it does.

Common forms of peppermint

Peppermint is everywhere and can be found in almost anything. One of the most popular uses for the peppermint herb is in food and cooking. The plant itself can be used in cooking. Most often, though, peppermint extract is used to add flavor to almost anything. Make chocolate peppermint cake, peppermint shrimp, or peppermint cookies for Christmas.

The most famous drink made from the peppermint herb is the Mint Julep. The peppermint adds that intense flavor making the food even better. So little of the peppermint extract is needed in baked goods that it really doesn’t have any effect on health.

Health Uses

For health help, peppermint oil is used the most often. Peppermint oil is extracted from the peppermint herb through a process called steam distillation. This process is done by boiling the peppermint herb, or any organic matter, so that it releases steam. Imagine the scent of peppermint in the air during this process. That sweet scented vapor is then condensed down until it becomes oil. This oil contains lots of the menthol from the peppermint herb and is really strong.

Peppermint oil can be purchased at most health stores and comes in a couple different ways. It can be bought in small vials, because a little goes a long way, or it can be found in capsules. Drops of the oil in the vials can be taken regularly, or small amounts of the oil can be diluted in water and then rubbed on the body to ease aches and pains. Capsules are an easy way to have a daily dose of peppermint. Simply swallow a capsule, one a day, and the health benefits will come your way.

Other forms and uses for the peppermint herb?

Peppermint oils and capsules are not the only forms of peppermint found today. There are many more and chances are you use peppermint on a daily basis without even thinking about it.

Peppermint is found in candy. Candy canes at Christmas are a common example. Little round peppermint wheels, chewy mints as party favors, or how about Thin Mint cookies from Girl Scouts? These are mostly made for taste reasons, but they can have their health benefits as well. After eating a big meal, sucking on a peppermint is a great way to calm your stomach. If you are having cramps, headaches, sore throat, or many of those ailments mentioned earlier, then sucking on a peppermint is a quick way to get the menthol into your system.

Sports Creams

Sometimes menthol from the peppermint herb is used specifically to aid against an ailment. Take cough drops for an example. Most cough drops, like those made by Halls, are mentholated because they know how helpful menthol can be. Another example is toothpaste. Whether Colgate or Aquafresh, toothpaste’s common flavors are peppermint or spearmint. Again, this is because the menthol will kill germs and freshen breath. Mouthwash does the same thing. It is often peppermint flavored for the same reasons as toothpaste.

Bengay, and those made by other companies, make a cream with menthol that can be rubbed into aching muscles or into joints to help ease arthritis. How about Vick’s Vaporub? How many children have had that sweet smelling cream rubbed onto their chests when they have a cold? In this case the vapors from the menthol enter the mouth and nose, creating the calming and cooling effect.

Dosage and usage requirements for the peppermint herb

The peppermint herb is one of the safest medicinal plants in existence, but everything has a limit. Most products with peppermint or menthol have labels for use. Items, such as toothpaste, will tell you that swallowing toothpaste will not harm you but you might get sick if you eat it all.

Taking daily peppermint capsules are fine for the health benefits, and it really won’t hurt to take more than one. Since peppermint is so safe there are rarely any warning labels or any worry about over-taking it. If worried, read the box and directions for any product with peppermint and follow it.

Are their any side effects of the peppermint herb?

As mentioned, the peppermint herb is very safe. However, some people do have an allergic reaction to the peppermint plant. Even this allergic reaction isn’t a big deal. They will generally experience rashes or hives. Anyone with hiatal hernia or acid reflux should not use peppermint or menthol products as they can make the ailment worse. Peppermint oil can also interact with medications or creams. Consult your doctor when placed on a new prescription to make sure peppermint will not affect its use.

The menthol in peppermint is what is the most dangerous. It can actually be fatal in doses over 2 grams, although it is not common. Two grams roughly equals 1 teaspoon. That is a small mount of menthol but keep in mind that most mentholated products have much smaller amounts in them. Halls Ice Blue Peppermint cough drops contain only 10 milligrams of menthol in each drop, while all the other flavors have less.

However, some people have sensitivity to menthol. It will make them nauseous, cause stomach pain, or even dizziness. Those people should take menthol in small doses or not at all. Peppermint candy doesn’t affect this often, but products with a strong menthol component, such as cough drops, can make them sick.

Menthol also shouldn’t be given to babies as it can harm their breathing. People who work with menthol at its purest form are the most in danger and ingestion of it could kill them. They have to take extra precaution when working with menthol.

Despite all these warnings, the most severe side effects are very rare.

Cost & Availability

The great thing about peppermint is that it is readily available everywhere, all year round, and cheaply. Everyday products contain peppermint, and 8oz vials of peppermint oil can cost $6-$8. Peppermint candy can be found in every grocery store, and medicines with peppermint can be found in every drug store.

To save money, purchase store brand products instead of paying for the name Halls or Vicks. If there is not a health store or essential oil store in your neighborhood, there are many essential oil health stores online. Gardening stores or farmers markets often sell the peppermint plant to grow at home. It can be grown in any part of the country and in places all over the world. It is a hardy plant for the first time herb garden.

Remember, though, that the peppermint herb likes to take over everything and is better kept in a pot. Herbal stores also sell steam distillation machines that allow you to make your own essential oils from any organic product. So, you could make your own peppermint oil.



Purple Coneflower

Purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea, is commonly known as Echinacea. The plant may also be referred to as the Eastern Purple Coneflower. The plant can be naturally found in the Midwest portion of North America.

However, it is also found in eastern North America, as well. The flower thrives in a moist environment. While the plant prefers moisture, it can also be found in dry prairie land, as well. Purple coneflower has been known to withstand drought once it is established. The flower prefers direct sunlight and cannot tolerate the shade.
Purple coneflower
Purple coneflowers grow naturally in open wooded areas. The plant has beautiful purple petals with a brown, spiny pistil or middle portion. The petals often droop to the side of the spiny, cone-shaped middle.

The leaves of the flower have a rough texture and also possess small hairs. However, they do not always have hairs. The leaf blades may have 1 to 5 nerves present in odd numbers.

Visitors of their habitat can often find the flowers swaying in the wind in the meadows or prairie land. The plant typically reaches up to 140 cm in height. The purple coneflower is hermaphroditic, which means that it has both male and female parts associated with the plant.

Bees and butterflies contribute to the pollination process. The flower thrives when the daily temperature fluctuates. Seed germination is best promoted in this type of environment. Echinacea has many wonderful medicinal properties that boost the individual’s immune system. The plant has also been known to work as an anti-depressant.

History and Origin of Usage

Purple coneflowers can be found in the Ateraceae family. The flowers are herbaceous plants. Echinacea is a genus of nine species of this particular family. The name originates from the Greek word “echinos” which means hedge hog.

The name refers to the spiked middle portion of the flower. “Cone Flower”, the common name, was given because the middle portion resembles a cone when the petals fold downward. The plant blooms in early to late summer. The flower reseeds in the fall. Though the purple coneflowers primary use is for medicinal purposes, many people also use the attractive plant to adorn their gardens, as well. Purple coneflowers generally have long lives.

Native American Influence

Historically, the North American Plains Indians utilized the purple cone flower or Echinacea for medicinal purposes. Historians have found evidence that pointed towards using the popular flower for snakebite, anthrax and pain relief. Kiowa and Cheyenne tribes used the flower for coughs and sore throat ailments. The Pawnees used the flower for headaches.

The Sioux tribes, along with countless others, used the flower for an analgesic. The Native Americans discovered the medicinal plant after observing the elk in the wild. After being wounded or when sick, the elk would seek the plants and consume them. By the 1930s, Echinacea became a popular remedy in several regions, including Europe and North America.

Urban Legends or Myths Associated With Echinacea

Long before pharmaceuticals were introduced into modern society, herbal remedies played a role in the lives of historical beings. Though most pharmaceuticals originate from herbs, most Americans and some other modern cultures prefer the use of pharmaceuticals to herbs. Recent research in Europe has prompted many modern cultures to reconsider the healing powers of plants in their natural form.

Some common myths associated with the use of Echinacea are listed below

Myth: Echinacea could be toxic to the liver due to alkaloids.

Fact: Echinacea only contains minimal amounts of alkaloids. Therefore, it is non-toxic to liver unless consumed in extremely high doses. This fact was confirmed in the Bauer and Wagner study of Economic and Medicinal Plant Research.

Myth: Echinacea loses its effectiveness after 5 days of consumption.

Fact: According to a German study in 1989, a residual lingering effect occurred after its usage for approximately 2 days. During consumption, the phagocytosis process increased. After a 7 day period, the phagocytosis levels returned to normal.

Myth: Echinacea does not significantly reduce fever durations, symptoms or the effects of upper respiratory infections.

Fact: In 2003, the Journal of American Medical Association proved that purple coneflower or E. purpurea considerably reduced the effects of upper respiratory infections in children. Furthermore, studies show that Echinacea decrease the possibility of onset of future respiratory infections. This was determined after a 4 month trial.

Myth: Echinacea may exacerbate conditions such as tuberculosis, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, HIV and other autoimmune diseases.

Fact: There is no conclusive evidence. However, in rare instances, people with these conditions have experienced side effects.

In 1995, the Modern Phytotherapist suggested that individuals with these conditions may experience an inappropriate response due to the infectious microorganisms associated with the diseases. However, Echinacea may be helpful in eliminating the presence of some of these micro-organisms. Though there is no evidence indicating negative effects, physicians strongly advise this group not to use Echinacea.

Myth: Echinacea promotes birth defects in infants.

Fact:According to an article in the Archives of Internal Medicine, there is no conclusive evidence that Echinacea is associated with an increased risk of birth defects. Echinacea improved the symptoms of upper respiratory tract symptoms of over 80 percent of the pregnant women involved in the study. The study consisted of 206 pregnant women.

Studies are still being conducted to determine the effectiveness of Echinacea in fighting cancer. Although, experts suggest that Echinacea may prove beneficial in this role. Many individuals consume Echinacea to boost their immune system and combat fatigue associated with cancer. Hundreds of clinical trials are conducted to prove the benefits of the popular herbal remedy.

How Echinacea is Processed for Consumption

The process of making Echinacea is difficult to control because of the extraction method. This phenomenon is due in part to the contamination or other factors may degrade the potency of the herb. Individuals who desire to make Echinacea at home will most likely form a tincture. A tincture is a liquid form of a herb used for medicinal treatment.

To preserve the tincture, glycerin, alcohol or vinegar is used to make it potent for up to two years. Echinacea is easy to grow at home. Because the plant is easy to grow, individuals often keep a ready supply in stock. The tincture is also easy to prepare as well. Aside from Echinacea leaves and alcohol, a glass jar, sieve, cheesecloth, and a storage container with a dropper will be needed for making a tincture. Experts recommend brandy, vodka, or rum as the alcohol ingredient.

Step 2

The leaves are chopped and placed into the glass canning jar. The leaves are covered with alcohol to cover the crumbled dried leaves. The mixture is stored in a dark place for two weeks. The jar should be agitated every couple of days.

Check the alcohol levels as they may absorb the alcohol. Add more alcohol as needed. After two weeks, the mixture should turn brown. Place the cheesecloth in a sieve. Then pour the mixture into the cheesecloth to extract the liquid. Store the liquid in a dark brown eyedropper bottle. The alcohol should preserve the liquid for at least two years.

Making Tea

To make a tea, the leaves should be crumbled in a sieve containing a cheesecloth. Hot boiling water should be poured over the leaves. For best results, the leaves will steep in the water sit for 5 minutes. Then, the straining process will be completed.

The concoction may be consumed with lemon or honey to enhance the flavor of the Echinacea tea. If the leaves are dried, two teaspoons are required to make a herbal tea concoction. If the leaves are fresh, a quarter cup of fresh material is used. Bark or seeds may also be used, if the recipe calls for it. Two teaspoons of seeds are recommended for the best blend and also, 1 tablespoon of bark.

The pill form of the product must undergo a pharmaceutical process to formulate the pill form from extracts. Most individuals are not equipped to make the pill form of Echinacea at home. Though, home pill processing is possible by a skilled individual.

Benefits of Echinacea

  • Alleviates symptoms of colds, coughs, flu, and upper respiratory conditions
  • Soothes sore throat and enlarged lymph nodes
  • Eases the symptoms of urinary tract infections
  • Prevents and combats herpes and candida
  • Fights infections
  • Improves the skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema
  • Strengthens the immune system by promoting T-cell activation
  • Used topically for wounds or burns
  • May fight cancer

Germany has been the leader in research relating to Echinacea’s benefits. Though Americans have preferred antibiotics, Europe is a strong believer in the healing powers of Echinacea. Experts have deemed Echinacea as a natural antibiotic, because it suppresses a virus’s activities. In addition to phenols, Echinacea also contains flavonoids, copper, iron, iodine, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and E.

Echinacea is not recommended for individuals who have HIV, multiple sclerosis, or tuberculosis. Echinacea may cause the blood to thin and may exacerbate problems such as, HIV.

Types of Echinacea or Purple Coneflower

Types of Echinacea

Currently, there are three varieties of Echinacea.

  • Echinacea Purpurea
  • Echinacea Pallida
  • Echinacea Angustifolia

Each plant functions to promote a healthy immune system and fight infection. Most varieties of the plant will shorten the duration of a common cold.

Echinacea serves as one of the most popular remedies for respiratory illness.

How to Select an Echinacea Product

Consumers of the Echinacea product are recommended to select a product with standardized extract. Standardized extract ensures that the individual is receiving a controlled dosage of the herbal remedy. High levels of Echinacea are also found in standardized extract. Large traces of Echinacea improve the potency of the herbal remedy.

Most Echinacea tinctures are made with alcohol for preservation. To avoid drug interactions, experts also recommend alcohol free Echinacea. This form of Echinacea may be found in stores or online. Check the label for an indicator.

Quality of Echinacea products differ based upon the ingredients. Some patient’s bodies respond better to a combination of Echinacea plants or purple coneflower combined into one dosage. Other patients prefer one single type of Echinacea plants. Consumers are encouraged to find the correct combination that works for them.

Forms of Echinacea

Echinacea is available for consumption in pill form, standardized extracts, tinctures and tea. Pills are often the most reliable dosage of the product. However, the other forms are equally effective. Pills should be taken with water and in the recommended dosage on the manufacturer’s label.

Liquid forms of Echinacea should be measured according to the manufacturer’s label and taken as directed. Echinacea leaves can be brewed to form a tea for drinking. Topical Echinacea should be applied externally to the wound or affected area.

Patients are instructed to not use the different forms of Echinacea together at the same time. For instance, a topical dosage of Echinacea should not be combined with an oral dosage. Only a physician can recommend various combinations. To maintain the effectiveness of Echinacea, the product should be stored away from direct light. A cabinet with closed doors is an ideal storage spot.

Recommended Dosage for Echinacea

Patients who take Echinacea for the common cold should take the herb as soon as the symptoms surface. Experts recommend patients take Echinacea three weeks at a time. After the three week period, the patient should rotate to other herbs designed to boost the immune system. This process will help patients avoid negative effects associated with Echinacea.

Consumers should follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on the label, because the product varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Herbs are difficult to control and there are no universal standardized dosages for the herb. The dosages vary in terms of active chemical composition. However, the most effective forms of Echinacea contain at least 3 grams of the herb. This recommended dosage should be taken daily for the most benefits.


Patients who are suffering from multiple sclerosis, AIDS, leukemia, tuberculosis, or rheumatoid arthritis and lupus are strongly urged against taking Echinacea.

There is no conclusive evidence to support the claim. However, physicians prefer to err on the side of caution to avoid any complications. The body’s production of white blood cells or T-cells may exacerbate these conditions.

The medication should not be taken for more than 10 days in a row. Children between the ages of 1 and 12 should not take the medication. Echinacea’s effects on the immune system of children are not well documented. Therefore, to avoid unpredictable complications, it is not recommended for that age group. Pregnant and lactating mothers should also not take the herb to avoid complications with the unborn fetus or infant.

Echinacea may interact with other medications.

Individuals who are taking any of the following drugs should consult their physician prior to consumption

  • Steroids
  • Betamethasone
  • Dexamethasone
  • Cortisone
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Methylprednisolone
  • Prednisone
  • Prednisolone
  • Trimcinolone
  • Cyclosporine
  • Tacrolimus
  • Azathioprine
  • Methotrexate
  • Azathiprine

If the patient has any other concerns, it is recommended to consult a physician or a homeopathic specialist to determine the appropriate regimen for the patient.

Active Ingredients

The most active and immune enhancing ingredients are polysaccharides, alkylamides, caftaric acid and cichoric acid. Each phenol compound is commonly found in many of the purple coneflower plants. Other phenol compounds include echinacoside, which is found in species such as E.Angustifolia and E. pallid roots. The base of Echinacea is complex.

The chemicals range in effect and potency. Each component serves in stimulation or modulating the immune system.

Another popular healing phenol is found in green tea. Though it does not originate from the popular purple cone flower, the tea has been known to reduce cancer, coronary heart disease, diabetes, liver disease, weight loss, reduce stress, and prevent fatigue. Because of the antioxidants people who consumed green tea survived longer than those who did not. Green tea neutralizes free radicals known to cause cancer. Green tea is popular in Asian cultures traditionally. Recently, it has become more popular in North America.

Side Effects

There are no common side effects associated with Echinacea when ingested orally. Some patients may experience asthma, rashes, allergic reactions and anaphylaxis. However, these instances were rare. When tested in clinical trials, patients most often experienced gastrointestinal side effects.

However, this side effect was also rare. Some other individuals may also experience headache, muscle aches, nausea, sore throat, upset stomach, dizziness or drowsiness.

People who are allergic to daisies, marigolds, chrysanthemums and ragweed are more likely to experience allergic reactions to Echinacea. Individuals with asthma or atopy may also experience allergic reaction more commonly than most. Patients should use caution when ingesting the herbal remedy.

Studies of Echinacea or Purple Coneflower

Studies have shown that Echinacea can reduce the likelihood of contracting a common cold by more than a half. The same studies conclude that individuals who consume Echinacea will shorten the duration of a cold on average by 1.4 days. Both University of Connecticut and University of Maryland prove this finding in 10 to 14 different studies respectively.

Famous People Who Have Used It

Several celebrities have tried alternative methods or holistic medicine which may include the use of Echinacea. Gwyneth Paltrow is a supporter of alternative medicine techniques. Echinacea may have been included in her regimen. Madonna also supports alternative medicine and herbalism of which Echinacea may be a part of her regimen.

Many celebrities practice homeopathy. The “Bach Flower Remedies” are associated to this natural medicinal practice. The process involves combining the crushed flower with brandy or other alcohols. Echinacea tinctures are made via this process and may be included in this type of remedy. A brief, but not exhaustive,

list of celebrities who participate in homeopathic therapies are as follows

  • Catherine Zeta-Jones
  • Tina Turner
  • Jerry Hall
  • Whoopi Goldberg
  • Jane Fonda
  • Queen Elizabeth
  • Cindy Crawford
  • Cher
  • Olivia Newton-John
  • Martina Navratilova
  • Tony Blair
  • Boris Becker
  • Pamela Anderson

Most celebrities are supporters of natural remedies and natural practices. Echinacea may be a part of the regimen for many of the celebrities. This method, among others, allows celebrities to maintain their health and physique. Echinacea is also known to assist with weight loss.

Product Costs and Discounts

The cost of the product depends upon the form the individual chooses for purchase. For instance, a pack of 16 bags of Echinacea tea may cost between $3 and $4. Alternatively, the patient may select to purchase the pill form of Echinacea.

The price of the pill form varies significantly depending upon quality of the product and the number of pills in the package. In general, 60 1000 mg capsules may cost between $30 and $40 per bottle retail. Alternatively, 100 400 mg capsules may cost an individual between $10 and $12 retail.

Throat Spray

Echinacea throat spray may be obtained for a similar price. A 2 oz. bottle of liquid Echinacea will run between $10 and $15 retail. The kids’ formula is also available for a similar price. Many of the kids’ products are flavored with peppermint or other desirable flavor to encourage ingestion.

Many individuals may find discounts online and in other types of stores. Some herbal remedy clubs also exist. An individual who can secure a discount may receive as much as 60 percent off of the retail price. Many discounts are found online and through GNC type stores.






History and Origins

Astragalus has been central to Chinese herbal medicine for centuries. It is considered an important tonic herb (an herb that works in several systems of the body) and is used to prevent and treat a wide range of physical, emotional and mental issues.

Most commonly, Chinese practitioners prescribe Astragalus in order to restore qi (pronounced “chee”, meaning lifeforce) in individuals who present with weakness and fatigue.

Astragalus was discovered nearly 5000 years ago by the Chinese herbalist Shen Nong who wrote about it in his Shen Nong Pen Tsao Ching (circa A.D. 100), a record of the over 300 plants he discovered and ate in order to log their effects. Astragalus went on to be the most widely used medicinal herb in Chinese medicine by 200 BCE and continues as such today. By the 1700’s the medicinal properties of Astragalus were known by European botanists.

American Uses

American varieties of Astragalus were used medicinally by many tribes of Native Americans to treat a wide range of ailments.

The Lakota tribe chewed the Astragalus root to relieve back pain and cough and the Lakota women used it to promote the production of breast milk. It was also used to create a steam vapor as a respiratory treatment.

The Cheyenne used the leaves and stem to relieve skin irritations such as poison ivy and ground the root to treat open sores. However it was not until the 1980’s that Astragalus was introduced to a modern American society.


Astragalus is native to Asia. It is found specifically in the north western Chinese provinces of Shanxi Neimen, Gansu, Nign Xia, Heilongjian, Jilin, Xinjand and Sichun as well as north eastern parts of China.

Astragalus also grows in Mongolia and Korea. As the knowledge of its healing properties were spread across the Middle East and Europe it began to be cultivated in Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and northwest Iraq as well as most northern climates of Europe and North America.

Common Names

There are over 2000 species of Astragalus including 400 American species. American Astragalus is commonly known as Locoweed and is poisonous to livestock. However, only two specific species of Astragalus are commonly used in herbal medicine, Astragalus membranaceus and Astragalus mongholicus, both of which are native to Asia.

Other common names for Astragalus are

  • Bei qi
  • Huang qi
  • Ogi
  • Hwanggi
  • Milk vetch
  • Huang Chi
  • Buck Qi
  • Yellow Leader
  • Tragacanth
  • Gum Dragon

Physical Properties

Astragalus is a legume and a member of the pea family. It has a sweet smelling yellow blossom and a hairy stem. Astragalus is a perennial plant that grows best in sandy, well drained soil and full sun. The shrub-like plant grows to a height of 16 inches to 36 inches and its leaves are made up of 12 to 18 pairs of sub leaves. Astragalus plants are pollinated in the spring by bees, moths and butterflies.

The plant matures after four to five years of growth and can be harvested in the spring and fall. If grown for commercial use it is best sown in the spring however, due to a high demand, Astragalus is now grown in large artificial environments which use growth accelerants to mature the plants more quickly.

Core & Root Characteristics

It is the yellow core of the Astragalus root which holds the medicinal qualities. The root is long and thin with a white, yellow or cream color. Astragalus is most commonly compared to licorice in taste and smell. When harvested the root is cleaned and moistened then cut into slices.

The sliced root is dried or processed with honey. The roots can then be ground into a fine powder to be used in teas or soups. However the majority of Astragalus is shipped worldwide to be manufactured into other forms such as, capsules, concentrated liquids, injections, ointments and tinctures and used as herbal supplements.

Nutrients and Phytochemicals

The nutrients present in Astragalus which work together to provide a wide range of health benefits include

  • polysaccharides
  • saponins
  • flavonoids
  • amino acids
  • trace elements

Other phytonutrients found in Astragalus include choline, betaine, gluconic acid, sitosterols, linoleic acid, gamma-aminobutyric acid, and asparagine.

Trace minerals found in Astragalus include zinc, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, calcium, potassium, sodium, cobalt, rubidium, molybdenum, chromium, vanadium, tin, and silver, tantalum, hafnium, europium, and thorium.

The presence of these and other nutrients make Astragalus beneficial for a variety of physical, emotional and mental ailments.

Specific Indications

Astragalus is indicated by Chinese herbal practitioners as well as modern day research to be used for a long list of medical or mental issues.

The following is a comprehensive list

  • Anorexia
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Mellitus
  • High blood pressure
  • Malaria
  • Inflammation of the kidneys
  • Painful urination
  • Prolapsed uterus, stomach or anus
  • Uterine bleeding and weakness
  • Edema
  • Water retention
  • Skin ulcers
  • Fever
  • Lack of stamina
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Lack of appetite
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Upper respiratory infection
  • Hepatitis
  • Night sweats
  • Common Cold
  • Flu
  • Sinus infections
  • Bronchitis
  • Protect against effects of chemotherapy and radiation
  • Allergies
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Burns and sores
  • Infertility in men

General Health Benefits

General Health Benefits

Astragalus is more commonly used to boost the immune system and prevent a variety of illnesses including those indicated above.

Following is a list of preventive benefits

  • Increased energy
  • Strengthened immunity
  • General blood, lung, kidney and spleen health
  • Strengthens resistance to stress, anxiety and trauma
  • Antiviral
  • Antibacterial
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Improve heart function
  • Reduce high cholesterol
  • Regulate blood pressure
  • Skin health
  • Improve memory


Most of the research on Astragalus has been carried out in China, however since the 1980’s American researchers have been investigating the potential benefits of Astragalus for individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer. There is some evidence that Astragalus may protect patients’ immune systems from the effects of chemo therapy and radiation. Other scientific studies have investigated the affects of Astragalus as a general immune system support in individuals recovering from a variety of illnesses.

Treatment of HIV

The role of Astragalus in the treatment of HIV is the focus of some of most recent research in America. According to a study by UCLA Astragalus acts on cells in the immune system called telomeres. During the progression of HIV telomeres are shortened and impedes the body’s ability to replicate immune cells.


It is the substance TAT2 found in Astragalus that slows the shortening of the telomeres. Further TAT2 was found to increase the body’s production of chemokines and cytokines which help to block the proliferation of the HIV virus.

In another promising study, researchers combined Dang Gui (Angelicae sinensis) and Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) in a six month, randomized, double blind, placebo controlled study to measure the effects the herbal combination had on menopausal symptoms. Results indicated a reduction in hot flushes for women who reported mild hot flushes but not for women who reported moderate or severe hot flush symptoms.

Product Reviews

Product reviews of various brands of Astralagus find that consumers are well satisfied with most brands of Astragalus supplements. Reported benefits include:

  • Increased energy
  • Protection from environmental pollutions
  • Increased immunity
  • Increased alertness
  • Protection from seasonal illness

Recommended Dosage


The recommended dosage of Astragalus for adults will vary according to the form in which it is delivered.

  • 3 to 6 grams of dried root in 12 to 16 ounces of water 3 times a day.
  • 2 to 4 ml 3 times a day in liquid form
  • 10% ointment compound on surface of the skin
  • 3 to 5 ml 3 times a day in tincture form


Astragalus is thought to intensify and prolong fever therefore it is not indicated for children with fever. However it may be used to support a child’s immune system. A child’s dose should be based on weight and should be a percentage of the adult dose indicated by the specific product used. For example, if the adult dose is based on a 100 lb adult and the child weighs 60 lbs, the child’s dosage would be 60% of the adult dose, or about 2/3’s.

Side Effects and Precautions

Astragalus has been used in Chinese medicines for centuries and few side effects have been recorded. However, any dosages over 25 grams a day may weaken the immune system. Mothers who are pregnant or nursing should consult their physician before taking any herbal remedies.

Astragalus should not be used in transplant patients as it may counter act anti-rejection drugs. Anyone taking beta-blockers or anticoagulants, Phenobarbital or diuretics should consult their physician. Individuals with allergies to legumes may have an allergic reaction. Also, Astragalus may increase the body’s production of growth hormone.





Psyllium Plantago

Psyllium originates from the husks of the seeds of Plantago Ovata. Plantago Ovata means literally “horse flower” and refers to the shape of the seed. The word can be found in the Persian language as a combination of the words “asb” and “ghol.”

The popular fiber source is also referred to as Ispaghula. The genus name of this herb is Plantago. Plantago Ovata grows to an average height of 30 to 46 cm. Numerous, tiny, white, flowering shoots arise from the base of the plant. These flowers typically appear about 60 days after planting. Tiny capsules hold the seeds that open when the plant is mature.
Psyllium plantago

Mucilage Content

Psyllium Plantago is produced in large quantities because of it high mucilage content.

Experts often use the term psyllium husk synonymously with Plantago seed mucilage.

Mucilage is described as gelling agents that are clear and colorless.

Most of the mucilage obtained comes from the seed coat, which is milled and ground in order to obtain the gelling agent.

Manufacturers can generally obtain 25 percent of the total weight of the seed coat in mucilage.

The volume of the seed coat expands 10 times, after it absorbs the water and forms a gel like substance.

Experts refer to the seed coat as hydrophilic because it attracts and binds to water molecules.

Plant Species

There are over 200 species in the Plantago species. Plantago psyllium is produced in European countries, as well as, India, Pakistan, and the Soviet Union. India produces most of the world’s psyllium and exports. The plants are also commonly known as plantains.

Although, the plants are not synonymous with the banana called plantain. The plants are herbaceous. The leaves possess three to five veins. Plantago or plantains are often the food source of the butterfly and moth.

The plants are indigenous to almost every region of the world. Explorers may find the plant in America, Asia, Australia, Africa, Europe and New Zealand. The plant thrives in moist to wet areas. Plantago are often found in seepages or bogs. Though often found in alpine and coastal areas, they are frequently seen on the side of the road.

History and Origin of Usage of Psyllium Plantago

Psyllium plantago has been used historically as a diuretic, astringent, anti-inflammatory, anti-histamine, anti-toxic, antimicrobial, demulcent, styptic, laxative and an expectorant. The herb may also be applied topically for poison ivy, minor sores, insect bites, and boils. When the herb is ingested internally, it relieves coughs and bronchitis.

Urban Legends and Myths Associated with Psyllium Plantago

Other physicians and experts debate the validity of colon cleansing using detoxification diets that may include psyllium plantago. Physicians are stating that there is no conclusive evidence that these diets are effective. Physicians compare the colon to a self-cleaning system that will discard wastes on a periodic basis, if the proper foods are consumed.

However, other individuals argue that toxins build up over time, if the colon does not discard the contents properly. Therefore, the effectiveness of colon cleansing is up for debate. In the meantime, multiple individuals including celebrities participate in the practice to achieve a glowing complexion. Concerned individuals should consult a physician prior to cleansing the colon.

Psyllium Plantago has often been cited as curing snakebite in common folklore. But its validity has not been proven, conclusively.

Uses for Psyllium Plantago

According to a recent study 88 percent of Americans are not aware of the daily recommended allowance of fiber. Furthermore, only 10 percent of Americans get the recommended amount of fiber in their diets daily. Columbia Institute of Human Nutrition found this study to be true. In general, the average American only consumes about half of the daily recommended allowance of fiber.

American education regarding fiber is virtually non-existent in nearly half of Americans. A recent poll indicated American fiber miseducation. In 2005, nearly 50 percent of Americans believed that steak was high in fiber. Steak actually contains little or no fiber. One in five people do not know how much fiber they consume daily and 60 percent have never spoken to a physician about fiber.

A typical individual will gain the recommended daily fiber from the following sources

  • Dried Beans
  • Peas
  • Green Beans
  • Cauliflower
  • Flax Seed

Those who cannot consume these foods that are high in fiber should seek alternative sources. Psyllium is often suggested as a natural source of fiber.

Because of Psyllium’s high dietary fiber content, the plant is often used in laxatives. Popular products include Metamucil and Serutan. The plant has also been documented as a contributor in lowering cholesterol levels. Experts have cited some significant effects on the lowering of cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein levels. Manufacturers of cereals have often used this plant to produce cereals with high fiber and lower cholesterol levels. Heartwise cereals are an example of the types of cereals that contain the fiber-rich plant.

Other products that contain psyllium include the following

  • Bran Buds cereal
  • Fiberall
  • Effersyllium
  • Fybogel
  • Flea Seed
  • Hydrocil
  • Ispaghula
  • Ispaghula seed
  • Konsyl
  • Lunelax
  • • Minolest
  • Perdiem
  • Plantago Arenaria
  • Psyllion
  • Psyllios
  • Psyllium Husk
  • Psyllium Seed
  • Yerba Prima
  • Regulan

Based on scientific theories, other popular uses for Psyllium Plantago include the following

  • Abrasions
  • Abscesses
  • Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
  • Bladder disorders (cystitis)
  • Bleeding
  • Blisters
  • Boils
  • Bronchitis
  • Burns
  • Cancer
  • Cough
  • Demulcent
  • Diverticular disease
  • Duodenal ulcer
  • Dysentery
  • Excessive menstrual bleeding
  • Eyewash
  • Fecal (stool) incontinence
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Gallstones
  • Gout
  • Hearing damage
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • High blood pressure
  • Incontinence
  • Insect bites and stings
  • Intestinal ulcers
  • Liver disorders
  • Nose and throat irritation
  • Parasites
  • Poison ivy rash
  • Psoriasis
  • Radiation-induced colitis/diarrhea
  • Skin soothing
  • Sprains
  • Stomach ulcer
  • Urethritis
  • Wound healing (used on the skin)

Most people associate psyllium use with alleviating constipation. However, there are some other benefits to psyllium use as well. As mentioned in the list it is also useful in the treatment of ulcerative colitis and reduction of cholesterol. Psyllium may also reduce bleeding associated with hemorrhoids. Patients seeking relief from hemorrhoids should consume the product a minimum of 40 days. Oddly enough, experts are now studying the effectiveness of psyllium in patients suffering from diarrhea. Since psyllium improves stool bulking, it may also assist with problems associated with diarrhea. When psyllium expands and absorbs the water in the colon, the stool mass increases. This process allows the waste to pass from the body easily. Psyllium helps to keep the colon in balance by providing a food source for beneficial microbes to thrive. Less desirable microbes will become less prevalent in an environment that contains a healthy source of fiber.

The plant may also relieve symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease or irritable bowel syndrome. However, more research must be done before the results are conclusive. Many physicians will recommend psyllium for colonoscopy preparation. A colonoscopy will test for irritable syndrome, colon cancer, and other colon related ailments. Psyllium is often present in the preparation enema before the exam. Patients are advised to completely empty the colon before undergoing the procedure. This process will allow the physician to view the colon lining to detect abnormal growths.

Experts are studying the benefits of psyllium rich diets in the cancer patients. Some earlier research has indicated that psyllium can, in fact, prevent colon cancer. More studies are being conducted to prove this finding conclusively. Studies have also been conducted to determine the effects of psyllium on blood sugar levels. Researchers do not have conclusive evidence, but it is believed to balance or regulate blood sugar levels in patients who suffer from fluctuations.

Experts also speculate that psyllium can assist with dilating the cervix to induce labor. While evidence indicates that psyllium does operate in this manner, further research must be conducted to prove this finding conclusively. Elevated blood sugar and lipid levels may play a role in obesity in children and adults. Recent evidence shows that psyllium may improve blood sugar and lipid levels. Therefore, psyllium may regulate the weight of children. More studies are being conducted to clarify the effects of psyllium on weight control in children and adults.

When psyllium is used externally, the plant can remove toxins from the body and reduce skin irritations and inflammations.

Variations of Psyllium Plantago

Plantago seed may come in several varieties, such as black, French or Spanish varieties. Plantago Ovata may be referred to as white or blonde psyllium.

Active Ingredients in Psyllium Plantago

The active ingredients found in psyllium supplements are dextrose, psyllium and psyllium husks. Most of the supplements are all natural. The dextrose is a sugar source.

Popular Forms of Psyllium Plantago

Psyllium is available in several forms. Each individual should find the source of fiber that is best for their system.

Several forms of psyllium are listed below

Green Sauce
Other Leafy Vegetables

Psyllium may also be consumed by patients as a supplement in powder form. A daily dosage of 7 grams taken with adequate amount of water is typically recommended. Psyllium may also be found in several cereals as a fiber source.

How Psyllium Plantago is Processed

Mucilage present in Plantago Ovata is obtained by grinding the husk or the seed coats. Asian Indians utilize this process to obtain mucilage from Psyllium Plantago. Each layer of each seed contains approximately 25 to 35 percent mucilage. The thin white membrane of the psyllium seed is the origin of the mucilage.

The production of mucilage involves a detailed and elaborate seed cleaning process. The psyllium husks are produced from raw seeds through the process of dehusking. Once the raw seeds are cleaned and polished, each of them are sent to special grinding mills to remove the husks of the seeds. The remaining material, after the dehusking process, consists of husk and kernel. This material is put through a massive sieve in order to remove the kernel. Blowers remove any remaining impurities from the husk. The process yields pure husks. Pure husks are the portion of psyllium plantago that contains the fiber material desired by manufacturers. The popular fiber source is available in a pill form, powder form or in the form of a cereal.

Psyllium Plantago Research

Psyllium research has been conducted at universities, such as Arizona and Washington State. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concludes that cereals rich in fiber are an effective part of a treatment for moderate hypercholesterolemia. Studies also show that when psyllium is combined with food products, it reduces blood glucose levels associated with diabetes. Though the long term effects of psyllium are not conclusive, the short term benefits are advantageous to most individuals.

Recommended Dosage for Psyllium Plantago

Adults are recommended to have a daily dietary fiber intake of 20 to 35 grams. This translates to 10 to 13 grams per 1,000 calories consumed each day. Psyllium is a recommended source of fiber. Psyllium must be taken with sufficient amounts of water in order to prevent obstruction of the bowel. Most physicians instruct patients to consume between 2.2 to 45 grams of psyllium internally. The typical intake of psyllium husks is 1 teaspoon (5 grams), three times per day to treat constipation. Some experts also suggest taking 2 to 6 teaspoons (10 to 30 grams) of whole seeds three times per day. Adults are recommended to stir the seeds or powder into a glass of water or juice. The mixture should be consumed before it thickens. Experts recommend consuming psyllium before meals. Always follow the instructions on the label in order to avoid any unpredictable results.

Children are instructed to take between 3.4 to 16 grams by mouth daily. However, more research is being conducted to establish the long term effects of psyllium in children’s diets.

Patients who know they cannot obtain the recommended daily allowance of fiber in their foods should seek a psyllium supplement. Psyllium supplements will allow individuals to achieve the recommended daily allowance of fiber without consuming the fruits and vegetables often needed for a healthy colon.

Potential Side Effects

Side Effects of psyllium plantago

Some individuals may experience allergic reactions when psyllium is contained in foods.

Allergic reactions may include anaphylaxis.

Some individuals, although rare, have reported an obstruction of the gastrointestinal tract.

This typically occurs in patients who have received bowel surgeries or have anatomic abnormalities.

Obstructions may also occur if not enough water is consumed with products containing psyllium.

Patients afflicted with Parkinson’s disease have reported esophageal obstruction. Therefore, these patients should consult a physician prior to consumption. Patients who are diabetic should also consume psyllium under the advisement of a physician. Blood sugar levels may drop dramatically and cause other complications. Patients who experience chest pain, vomiting, or difficulty swallowing or breathing after consuming psyllium should seek medical attention.

Pregnant individuals should consume psyllium with caution. Psyllium is deemed safe during all thre trimesters of pregnancy. Although, psyllium is approved during pregnancy and breastfeeding, individuals suffering from complications in pregnancy should consult a physician.

Psyllium may delay bowel movements. The plant may also reduce the absorption of some drugs, as well as, herbs, vitamins, minerals, and supplements. Experts have cited instances of absorption problems with calcium, iron, zinc and vitamin B12. Physicians recommend taking psyllium and other drugs a few hours apart to minimize any potential interactions.

Patients should exercise caution when using psyllium with other laxatives, such as senna. Expect an increase in fat excretion if psyllium and chitosan are taken together.
Physicians also recommend that psyllium be consumed separate of warfarin or Coumadin until further research is conducted. Currently, no side effects have been documented. However, physicians prefer to err on the side of caution.

Patients should seek advisement of a physician before taking psyllium with the following drugs or herbs

  • Anticoagulants
  • Antidepressants
  • Anti-Gout Agents
  • Anti-inflammatory Agents
  • Diuretics
  • Salicylates
  • Tetracyclines
  • Nitrofurantoin
  • Insulin
  • Lithium
  • Digoxin

Famous People who Use Psyllium Plantago

Individuals who are on the Atkins diet may consume Psyllium Husks to boost their dietary intake of fiber. The Atkins diet allows celebrities and others to consume an unlimited amount of protein, including meat, eggs, and cheese.

The diet limits foods that are high in sugar. These foods include carbohydrates such as, pasta, bread and fruit. The diet may also limit vegetable intake with a high glycemic index for a period of time as well. Because the diet is high in protein and limits the intake of carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables, many individuals on the diet do not receive their daily allowance of fiber.

Celebrities and others are encouraged to take a supplement to counteract this deficiency. Individuals who participate in the diet are encouraged to take 1 teaspoon of psyllium plantago per day.

Celebrities who have tried the Atkins diet include the following

  • Jennifer Anniston
  • Catherine Zeta-Jones
  • Angelina Jolie
  • Brad Pitt
  • Renee Zellweger
  • Cameron Diaz
  • L.L. Cool J
  • Gerri Halliwell
  • Robbie Williams
  • Stevie Nicks
  • Dennis Franz

Celebrities and others should keep in mind that psyllium is a fiber source and does not contain nutritional value. The diet works because individuals feel full and consume less food. Participants in the Atkins diet should be aware that long term elimination of fruits and vegetables may result in long term health problems.

Where the Product is Purchased

Psyllium is available through a variety of stores online and stores similar to GNC.

Product Costs and Discounts

Psyllium costs range based upon the form, the amount of the product, and the store from which it is purchased. Individuals can typically obtain psyllium in a pill form at a retail price between $10 and $20 dollars. The consumer will typically receive about 180 capsules with the purchase. Psyllium is also available in powder form.

The powder may sometime cost slightly more than the pill because of the number of servings that is included. The consumer can obtain 13.6 oz. of psyllium powder for just under $20 retail.

Discounts are offered to consumers in stores and via various websites. Some of the discounts may be as much as 50 percent depending upon the store. Consumers are advised to shop around online to determine the best deal prior to purchasing a psyllium product.






More than just a potent meal-time ingredient, garlic has been used for centuries to combat every aliment from sickness to hair loss. While some claimed uses are nothing more than myths, there is substantial evidence for legitimate health benefits. Studies have shown garlic to lower blood pressure, increase insulin production and work as a topical antibiotic, among other things.

Garlic: A Natural Powerhouse

History and Origins of Garlic

Garlic has been a cultivated plant for so long that it is difficult to trace its true origins.

It is most likely that it was originally native to central Asia, spreading throughout Europe and Mediterranean civilizations.

Today, it is cultivated throughout the world grows wild in Italy and southern Europe. Garlic was widely used in ancient Egypt for its healing powers.

Greek historian Herodotus wrote about inscriptions on the walls of the great pyramid of King Khufu recording the amount of garlic, onions and radishes eaten by the slaves during construction.

During this age of the Pharaohs, garlic was handed out to laborers because it was believed to increase their strength and stamina for the difficult job of constructing pyramids.

The Egyptians also accounted garlic for warding off diseases, and kept it in bountiful supply around slave camps. The Ebers Papyrus (an ancient Egyptian medical writing), cites garlic as a remedy for 22 varieties of diseases. There are even accounts of the Egyptians worshiping garlic.

Garlic is mentioned in the literature of several great ancient world kingdoms including Persia, Babylon, Greece and Rome. Discordies, Rome’s head medical officer, is reported using garlic to treat intestinal worms. Aristotle and Hippocrates also mention the use garlic as an important holistic remedy.


Historian Theophrastus records the ancient Greeks serving garlic as a supper for their god Hectate. Greek Olympic athletes used it for improved stamina. However, some Greeks, including Orace, account it as a sign vulgarity, most likely because of its smell. In later times, William Shakespeare discourages actors from eating garlic in order to keep their words sweet.

Our English word “garlic” comes from Anglo-Saxon origins from the words “gar” (meaning spear) and “lac” (meaning plant).

How Does Garlic Grow?

Garlic is classified as a part of the allium family along with onions, leeks and shallots. It grows as a bulb beneath the soil, with leaves shooting up through the ground with large, green blades. Individual cloves can be planted as seeds. If garlic is left on the counter long enough, roots and leaves will begin to appear. All that is needed is to simply place a garlic clove in the ground or in a pot to begin the growing cycle anew.

When garlic matures, the green leaves will turn brown and begin to wither. If the garlic is harvested before this time the cloves will be much too small, and it is impossible to replant the bulb once the cloves have split apart.

After garlic is harvested it must be properly dried. This is often accomplished by hanging the bulbs upside down in a cool, dry, environment. If the garlic is not allowed to dry completely, it will rot. Usual drying time is about one week.

Garlic grows in a number of climates and is easily produced in both the traditional Mediterranean environments as well as in cooler Northern conditions.

Garlic in the Kitchen:

Few common kitchen ingredients are as versatile as garlic. It can be used to flavor a wide variety of food from a number of ethnic origins. Available in most any grocery store, garlic bulbs are inexpensive and keep well.

Each bulb contains several cloves. Each clove can be separated and peeled individually, allowing the others to remain sealed in their husks, prolonging freshness.

Peeling Garlic

To peal a garlic clove, most chefs recommend laying it flat on a cutting board, placing your chopping knife broad side on top of it, and then quickly smashing the garlic with one quick tap with the heal of your palm or the side of your fist.

This separates the skin from the garlic without much damage to the clove inside, and makes it very easy to peel. The clove can then be used whole, minced, chopped or pressed as an ingredient in your favorite recipe.

Fresh young bulbs are the most powerful and are in season during the summer months. After garlic has been peeled and chopped it quickly loses its potency, since the delicate chemical reaction that takes place is unstable and is destroyed within hours.

Aliments Garlic is Recommended for:

Garlic is used to treat many types of infections and health issues. Some of the most common uses for garlic include skin treatments for its antifungal, antiviral and antibiotic properties. Ingesting garlic has been cited for improving circulation, lowering blood pressure and curing a cough.

As an Antibiotic:

Garlic has been used to treat many types of infections. Add it to a foot soak to treat athlete’s foot or press a clove and add a little olive oil to help heal a middle ear infection. Crushed raw garlic is a powerful antibiotic that has the ability to kill certain strains of the staph bacteria. It can be safely applied to any open cut.

For Acne:

The same antibacterial properties that make garlic successful against infections are the same ones that make it a useful acne fighter. Crack open a clove to start up the chemical reaction and rub it directly on the acne-prone areas of your face. You can also crush the garlic and use the juices to rub into the skin.

Mosquito Repellent:

Apparently, the compounds in garlic are harmful to mosquitoes and they will avoid contact with it. You can apply garlic extracts to exposed areas of skin to ward off the pests. As a natural alternative to chemicals, you can place garlic cloves around outdoor gathering areas to act as repellents.

Cough Syrup:

Garlic is a powerful antibacterial agent, so it is thought to be able to sooth a sore throat and even ease a persistent cough. Try boiling one bulb of garlic in about one cup of water and drink when cooled. Garlic is also thought to help with bronchitis, allowing people to expel more of the mucus.

Cholesterol Reducer:

Some studies have found that garlic may be able to reduce lipoprotein (LDL, the “bad” cholesterol) levels in the blood. Decreased cholesterol and triglycerides leads to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. European and American studies show garlic reducing bad cholesterol levels by an average of one tenth.

Blood Pressure Reduction:

Studies have proven that garlic relaxes the walls of arteries and veins, thereby allowing more blood to flow. With easier blood flow, platelets are less likely to accumulate within the veins and arteries, reducing the risk of stroke.

Heart Disease:

According to the latest research presented at the American Heart Association, laboratory test show garlic dramatically reducing fatty deposits in the arteries.

Cancer Preventative:

Garlic is said to improve the immune system by stimulating the body’s immune response. Garlic is an effective inhibitor of compounds formed by nitrates that are thought to turn into cancer-causing compounds within the intestines.

For Help with Diabetes:

Garlic has been shown to increase insulin levels in the body, helping to lower glucose levels in diabetics. However, it does not take the place of insulin, and people with diabetes may need to continue on an insulin regimen. But it makes a useful addition to the diabetic menu.

In the Bedroom:

Because garlic increases blood flow, it is possible that it may help with male performance issues.


Although garlic cannot cure the common cold, research has shown that people who consume a regular amount of garlic appear show cold symptoms less often.

Stomach Ulcers:

Garlic is thought to protect against stomach ulcers that are commonly caused by the bacterium Helicobacter Pylori. People who eat a regular amount of garlic typically suffer from fewer ulcers.

During Pregnancy:

It is possible that garlic may reduce the risk of preeclampsia (a severe condition that can cause risks to the fetus, usually characterized by extreme swelling of the face and hands).

Garlic is most likely safe for pregnant women if consumed in regular doses like those found in most recipes, however, most health officials do not recommend increased use of garlic because of the risk of bleeding. Nursing women who ingest too much garlic may have increased nursing times, milk odor and increased infant milk consumption.


Sometimes used in conjunction with cloves, garlic has been used to ease the pain from a toothache. Usually, the garlic clove is crushed and held next to the affected tooth.

How Does Garlic Work?

How Does Garlic Work?

When crushed, garlic releases a chemical called alliin. This is also the same compound that gives garlic its pungent odor.

This enzyme then turns to allicin, which produces other sulfur compounds that are potent antimicrobials thought to be the source of garlic’s effectiveness.

Garlic Supplements

Garlic is one of the most popular supplements in the United States with average sales surpassing $150 million in 2004, according to Nutrition Business Journal.

To get the most out of garlic’s amazing benefits, simply consuming a lot of garlic-packed meals may not do the trick. And because garlic is infamous for causing bad breath, it may be best to ingest this particular ingredient as a supplement.

Garlic supplements vary greatly, and many brands and types can be found in most any local grocery or pharmacy. Herbal supplements are also widely available online with reputable herbal stores. When shopping for garlic supplements be sure to check the labels. Allicin, not its precursor alliin, is the active ingredient.

Garlic supplements can work in various forms, and are most often seen as pills, powders, oil extracts, juices, and even syrup. To avoid bad breath, look for a garlic pill that is coated, and therefore is digested in the intestines as opposed to the stomach.

Supplement dosing:

The European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy recommends three to five milligrams of allicin daily, which is one clove or 0.5 to 1 gram of dried powder daily.

The World Health Organization recommends 2 to 5 grams of fresh garlic, 0.4 to 1.2 grams of dried powder, 2 to 5 milligrams of oil, 300 to 1000 milligrams of extract or other formulations which equal to 2 to 5 milligrams of allicin daily.

Common doses for:

Pills: 600 to 900 milligrams divided into 3 doses daily.
Powder: 0.4 to 1.2 grams dried powder, divided into 3 doses, daily.
Oil extract: 1 to 2 capsules 3 times daily.
Garlic juices: 2 to 4 milliliters 3 times daily.
Garlic syrup: 2 to 8 milliliters 3 times daily.


While normal consumption of garlic is considered safe for everyone, there are a few considerations when starting a garlic supplement regimen.

Side effects:

Bleeding. Garlic increases blood flow by thinning the walls of veins and arteries, therefore it is very important that you talk with your doctor before taking garlic supplements if you are taking blood thinners or are preparing for surgery.

Allergic reactions. Some people taking large amounts of garlic may develop skin rashes and swollen sinuses. Asthma has also been reported in people on garlic supplements, but it is noted that some reactions are actually caused by a mite that has infested the garlic. Skin burns can occur, especially in infants and children.

Other side effects reported: Bad breath, body odor, stomach ache, gastrointestinal irritation, diarrhea, dizziness, increased sweating, headache, itching, fever, chills and runny nose.

Drug Interactions:

Scientific studies have reported the following drug reactions:

Anticoagulant drugs like Warfain (Coumadin) or antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavvix) may be adversely affected by the vein and artery thinning affects of garlic, and people taking these drugs should consult with their doctors before starting a garlic regimen.

Patients taking sanquinavar (Fortovase) for HIV and AIDS should not take garlic since it may have serious adverse affects on the medication.

  • Anyone taking blood pressure medicine, as garlic consumption lowers blood pressure.
  • Diabetics on insulin, because garlic is known to increase blood insulin levels.
  • Garlic may also interact with the levels of certain drugs that are metabolized by the liver’s CYP450 enzyme.
  • Always check with your doctor before starting on daily supplements.

Herb and Dietary Aid Interactions:

It is possible for garlic to increase the anticoagulant or antiplatelet effects of other herbs such as ginkgo, horse chestnut seed extract, or coleus forskolin, since garlic also acts as a blood thinner. Taking garlic in conjunction with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) may increase the risk of bleeding.

Other herbs such as Black Cohosh and Hawthorn also lower blood pressure and people taking garlic supplements should consult their healthcare professional before taking these herbs together.

Bitter Melon is also thought to lower blood sugar levels and diabetics should be cautious before adding large amounts of garlic and/or bitter melon to their diet.

Unproven Claims for Garlic

Garlic provides many health benefits, but it is by no means a cure-all. Some of the claimed uses for garlic have yet to be proven. Some of these aliments are, or are potentially, very serious, and you should consult your doctor before using garlic as a treatment.

Some of the unproven claims for garlic cures include, but are not limited to:

  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Allergies
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Bronchitis
  • Colds
  • Diarrhea
  • Digestive aid
  • Diuretic
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Gallstones
  • Hair growth
  • Heartburn
  • Inflammation
  • Kidney problems
  • Lung disease
  • Muscle spasms
  • Obesity
  • Pneumonia
  • Ringworm
  • Sedative
  • Spermicide
  • Stress
  • Typhus
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Warts
  • Whooping cough
  • Yeast infections

Garlic Myths

Garlic has long been known for its health benefits, but here are a few myths that go far beyond garlic’s natural powers.

In Europe, there is a superstition that if a piece is chewed by a man running in a race, it will prevent his competitors from passing him.

Hungarian jockeys have been known to secure a piece of garlic to their horse’s bits in the belief that other horses will avoid the offensive odor. Medieval townspeople used garlic to ward off evil spirits, vampires and werewolves. Vikings ate large quantities of garlic before raids to boost their spirits and energy.