Showing posts with label Herbal Medicine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Herbal Medicine. Show all posts

Sunday, July 19, 2020

CHINESE HERBS- A General Synopsis of the Properties of the Herbs

Some elements for M├ędecine chinoise in Xi'an
Some elements for M├ędecine chinoise in Xi'an (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The marvels of Chinese herbs have continued to charm and help people all over the world for a very long time. Almost all medicines have been created by mixing them in different quantities and proportions. The Chinese herb logy is a vast field that consists of numerous types of herbs possessing a wide range of properties and specialties.

Chinese herb basically possesses a specific taste, temperature, and certain special characteristics. The basic tastes are sweet, bitter, salty, pungent, bland, astringent, and aromatic. Some are known to poses herbs are mixed together on the basis of their tastes and temperatures.

Sweet herbs are sticky in nature and if they are mixed with a cold herb they are useful in creating a medicine that is useful for fluids. The yin property allows the energy of the body to be restored and also cure stomach and urine problems. The sweet herbs are sticky so they help in clogging the misplaced elements of the body. The bitter taste herb possesses the quality of dryness. 

So whenever there is a defiance of yin in the body this herb is used to cure the problem. The pungent herbs assist in the movement functions of the body. When this herb is mixed with a cold herb it is useful in solving joint problems and regulating the other movements of the body. The salty herb poses the quality of codifying and dissolve. It is mostly obtained from the marine world which is why the salt content is high in these herbs. Whereas the astringent herb is useful in supplying useful components to the body.

Apart from these properties herbs also poses properties such as hotness, coolness, coldness, warmth, and neutral. All these are combined with the above-mentioned herbs to give you the best medicine for your problem.    

Saturday, December 8, 2018

TURMERIC - Go for Gold

Black Turmeric
Black Turmeric (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Ayurveda the ancient medical science is based on the principle of preventing diseases. It directs us to resist the diseases through our food habits and lifestyles. The same principle was stressed by Hippocrates also “Let your food be your medicine” was his advice to mankind 

Let’s know more about a very well known spice in Ayurveda yet not completely understood by the common man. Over the last several years, there has been increasing interest in turmeric and its medicinal properties. But Ayurveda has immensely praised the medicinal qualities of turmeric which finds its place in almost all ayurvedic preparations related to liver and skin disorders. 

This herb has occupied the shelves of every Indian kitchen since 6000 years and is considered as the king of the kitchen. It is used daily in cooking. Apart from cooking it is also used as a beauty aid and as a dye. 

Turmeric (Curcuma Longa) belongs to Zingiberaceae Family and is a perennial plant that grows 3 to 5 feet high in the tropical regions. In India, it is grown all over but especially in Bengal, Bombay and in Tamilnadu.

Ayurveda appreciates the medicinal qualities and color of turmeric. This is evident through the various names of turmeric specified in ancient texts of Ayurveda. Some of these are 

Haridra – enhancer of body complexion.
Kanchani  - looks like gold.
Nisha  - imparts  beauty by enhancing complexion which is as beautiful as  full moon night
Gowri  - yellow in color
Krimighni  - works as an Antibacterial and antihelminthic.
Yoshit Priya - used in Gynecological disorders.

In Hindi turmeric is known as haldi.
The rhizomes or roots of this plant are used as medicine and for other purposes. The rhizomes are boiled, dried and then powdered. This powder is used for all purposes.

The active chemical component of turmeric is curcumin.  Curcumin is a strong antioxidant and reduces inflammation by reducing histamine levels. Curcumin protects the liver, reduces cholesterol, and prevents internal blood clotting thus preventing heart attacks and liver tissue damages.
Turmeric is very safe. But special precautions should be taken in persons who have gallstones, hyperacidity, stomach ulcers and obstructive jaundice. 
Ayurveda explains the qualities of turmeric as light and dry. It has a pungent and bitter taste. It is widely used in skin, respiratory and liver disorders. It purifies blood and enhances the complexion.

Medicinal properties of turmeric – Go for Gold!

Effects of Turmeric----

On Liver
Ayurveda has recommended this golden herb to purify blood and prevent it from clotting. It is extensively used to protect the liver from toxins and microbial. Turmeric increases the secretion of bile, promotes a free flow of bile. This herb can be used to overcome the toxic effects of alcohol on the liver. This reduces cholesterol and protects the heart.

Use of a ½ teaspoon of turmeric with warm water rejuvenates the liver and expels toxins out of it.

On respiratory system
Turmeric is very effective in bronchitis, productive cough and asthma.  
One spoon of turmeric boiled in milk should be consumed with a spoon of pure ghee in conditions like bronchitis, asthma and productive cough. This gives very good relief and expectorates excessively produced mucous in the lungs.

On aging
The antioxidant properties of turmeric give us young looks and make us feel young. It reduces inflammation in joints, protects the heart, reduces cholesterol and keeps us very healthy.

On Diabetes
It is widely used in ayurvedic preparations for diabetes. It lowers the blood sugar and increases glucose metabolism.

On Uterus
It initiates regular menstrual cycle and reduces menstrual cramps.

On skin
Blood nourishes the skin and it is a known fact that pure blood always keeps the skin glowing and radiant. Turmeric purifies the blood, nourishes skin and gives it a healthy natural glow and radiance.
A traditional face pack of India consists of gram flour, pure turmeric powder, milk and honey. This reduces inflammation of the skin, smoothens it and prevents many skin ailments. 

On Stomach and Intestines
Turmeric enhances digestion, normalizes metabolism and expels intestinal parasites

On Wounds
Turmeric accelerates the healing process and readily reduces pain and inflammation. Thick Paste of turmeric applied on wounds acts as an excellent antibiotic and anti-inflammatory.

On Yogis
Turmeric purifies and cleans the body. It is a tailor-made herb for yogis. It increases the flexibility of muscles, reduces inflammation in muscles and joints and helps to perform yoga with confidence and delight.
Is it not a wonderful treasure which nature has stored for us in this golden herb? Now let us start a gold rush.

Monday, December 3, 2018


Deutsch: Echte Aloe (Aloe vera)
Aloe Vera (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
History of Aloe Vera
The aloe plant most likely originated in the semi-arid regions of Africa. It was used by the ancient Sumerians, Egyptians, and Greeks in the healing of wounds. Alexander the Great purportedly conquered the Mediterranean island of Socotra so that his troops would have a reliable source of aloe to use in treating their wounds.

Aloe has been used throughout history in all cultures; in Ayrvedic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, and Native American medicine, to name a few. It was brought to the Americas by Spanish missionaries centuries ago, and its use eventually spread across both continents.

The first modern scientific paper on aloe in the United States was published in 1934. It describes the use of whole aloe leaf to successfully heal radiation injuries, burns, and dermatitis in 50 documented cases.

A chemical analysis undertaken in 1978 discovered a wide variety of amino acids, saccharides, sterols ( similar to cortisone ), salicylic acid ( aspirin-related ), and lupeol ( a painkiller and anti-microbial agent ).

A 1987 study concluded that aloe might be used to control or kill many viruses, including the common cold, measles, mumps, chicken pox, and flu. This led to the approval by the FDA in 1994 of the use of aloe for human testing in the treatment of HIV.

Uses of Aloe Vera
The first use of aloe was likely as an external agent in the treatment of wounds and burns. Sap from the leaves or the leaf as a whole can also be used to cure a wide variety of skin ailments: dermatitis, acne, skin allergies, fungus infections, ringworm, herpes, and shingles.

Since ancient times, aloe gel has also been used internally as a laxative. It was at one time regulated by the FDA as an ingredient in over-the-counter laxative preparations. Their approval was discontinued in 2002, due to the lack of safety data provided by the manufacturers.

Boiled juice from aloe sap and skin has been used to treat ulcers and indigestion, and to cut excess stomach acid. It has also been used orally to treat diabetes, asthma, epilepsy, and osteoarthritis. However, this use has not been supported by traditional medicine, or approved by governmental agencies.

Cosmetically, aloe vera gel is the most popular ingredient in skin lotions and sunblocks. It has been shown to balance pH levels in the skin. However it is doubtful that it has anything but a psychological effect, as it has been shown that a relatively high concentration of aloe is necessary for it to provide any benefit.

In Conclusion:
It has been found that in order for the ingredients in aloe to work properly, they must be used as found in the plant. The isolated chemicals do not have the same effect. This synergistic relationship between aloe's various antiseptic and pain-killing ingredients tends to support the position of traditional herbalists. So far, at least, Mother Nature seems to be better at mixing chemicals than scientists.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

HERBAL MEDICINE - Part II - Four Differing Viewpoints

Arabic herbal medicine guidebook
Arabic herbal medicine guidebook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This article continues the discussion of the philosophical background of herbal medicine by describing the four distinct points of view regarding the use of herbal remedies. A short bibliography is provided listing websites representative of each viewpoint.

The Herbalists
Most herbalists would concede that pharmaceuticals are often necessary for treating emergencies. A patient might need to be immediately sedated if he is thrashing about violently, to prevent him from injuring himself and others. However, in long-term treatments, herbs can provide resistance to disease, nutritional support, and other benefits that pharmaceuticals cannot match. They also contain many minor ingredients that may interact with the main ingredient, to support and enhance its function.

In doing research for this article, I examined the websites of several pharmaceutical companies. They provide a lot of information about their support for research into new medicines, but I could find no information at all indicating any interest in, or opinions on herbal medicine.
Pharmaceutical companies do, however, provide financial support for doctor's organizations who, in turn, advise caution to those who would consider using herbal products [3].

Vitamin & Mineral Manufacturers
These companies actively promote herbal supplements. At times their products are even supported with articles written by herbalists. However, a disclaimer is always included for legal reasons:
"This statement has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease." [4]

Governmental Entities
Herbal supplements are regulated in the US by the Food & Drug Administration as foods, and consequently, do not have the same rigorous review processes as new drugs. Recently, however, new regulations require more stringent safety practices in their manufacture to ensure that they are free of contaminants and that they contain what their labels say they do.

Many countries, the US, UK, and Australia, for example, have governmental organizations who are charged with studying herbal medicines scientifically. These institutions are beginning to provide some insight into identifying the active ingredients in herbs, and are studying how they affect the body.

They also advise caution in the use of herbal products, but their warnings [5] are not as stringently worded as those propounded by physicians.
Bibliography (2007)

This is not intended to be an exhaustive bibliography. I have tried to provide examples of websites espousing all points of view on herbal remedies.

[1] ( -- Website of the Herb Research Foundation. "Founded in 1983 with a mission of herb research and public education, HRF remains committed to supporting the public's right to truthful information about the health benefits of herbs."

[2] ( -- Example of a pharmaceutical company's website. I picked this one since it had a prominent advertisement in the May/June 2008 issue of AARP magazine, to which I subscribe.

[3] ( -- The website of the American Academy of Family Physicians. This page, entitled "Herbal Products and Supplements: What You Should Know", is not listed in the menu on their Homepage. I discovered it by Googling on "herbal medicine". It states beneath the title, "This information was developed as part of an educational program made possible by an unrestricted educational grant from McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals."

[4] ( -- Example of a vitamin/mineral company. I have been purchasing my vitamins & minerals from here for many years.

[5] ( -- Website of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.

Friday, November 30, 2018

HERBAL MEDICINE - Part I - Historical and Philosophical Background

English: Street vendor selling herbal remedies...
Street vendor selling herbal remedies in Patzcuaro, Michoacan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Herbal medicine has been around since before recorded history. Cave paintings in France, radiocarbon-dated to before 13,000 BC, show the use of plants as healing agents. Herbalism was intimately connected to religious practices, and was frequently the jealously-guarded preserve of shamans, or "witch doctors". The use of herbs as medicine pervades all cultures.

The earliest written records date back over 5000 years in Western culture to the Sumerian civilization. In the East, the Siddha, Unani and Ayurvedic systems from India arose long before the Christian era, and are still practiced today. And traditional Chinese herbology is still thriving as well.

Africa has a long history of herbal remedies, strongly influenced by its links with trading partners from both East and West. Native Americans hold to the belief that illness is caused by a disturbance in one's balance with nature, and can be cured by rituals that often include the use of herbal medicines.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 80% of the world's population uses herbal medicine for some aspect of primary health care. Many pharmaceuticals being used today by physicians were originally used as herbal remedies, including aspirin, digitalis, and quinine. In recent years, scientists have been searching all over the world for natural sources of phytochemicals that might be developed into treatments for various diseases. The WHO estimates that 25% of drugs presently in use in the U.S. were derived from plants.

Despite the fact that herbal medicines have a long history of use, the fact that in most cases their effectiveness has not been scientifically proven has led to a controversy between herbalists and mainstream medicine. In Western culture, the rise of modern medical practice brought with it a decline in the use of herbal medicines. This gave rise to the notion that such remedies were nothing more than "old wives tales." In recent years, however, herbalism has come to be recognized by many as an alternative, or sometimes complementary method of treatment.

In my research for this article, I discovered that there are basically four groups, each espousing differing points of view regarding the use of herbal remedies:
1) herbalists,
2) pharmaceutical manufacturers, sometimes aided by physicians,
3) vitamin and mineral supplement manufacturers, with some help from herbalists, and
4) governmental institutions.

I will try not to take sides here. There is no need for animosity between these factions. In all that I have read, there is a concern for the safety and well-being of those who would use herbal remedies. But each group has its own vested interest which slants its perspective to more or less of a degree.

To be continued...
In the next installment, I will describe the viewpoints of the four factions above. References will be given to websites which illustrate the ideas presented.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Cleansing Liver - HERBAL TEAS Recharge Your Body

Herbal tea
Herbal tea (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When spring comes it is time for a liver cleanse.  This is a good time to rejuvenate the liver for the coming year of work.  One good way to cleanse the liver is to use herbal teas. 

 They are easy to use and they provide a powerful punch to reawaken the liver.

Here is a herbal formulation for the liver provided by Brigitte Mars (herbalist in Colorado) called "Puri-Tea" which consist of:

· Peppermint, red clover, fennel, licorice
· cleavers, dandelion, oregon grape root, burdock root
· butternut bark, chickweed, parsley root, nettles.

Another liver herbal tea is:

· Fennel Seed (1 part), Fenugreek (1 part)
· Flax Seed (1 part), Licorice Root (1/4 part)
· Burdock (1/4 part), Peppermint (1 part).

Here's another herbal combination that is good for detoxifying and cleansing the liver:

· Yellow Dock root, Dandelion root, Licorice root
· Red sage, Sarsaparilla, Hyssop 
· Pau de Arco, Milk Thistle Seed, Parsley leaf. 

Here's something else you can do for you liver.  Buy an extract of Milk Thistle Seed. Then when you make the liver tea's list here, add 2-3 full droppers of the Milk Thistle Seed extract to the tea.
Here are the effects of some of the herbs listed above.

· fennel seed - white cell formation, acid/alkaline balancing 
· peppermint - body cleanser and toner 
· red clover - blood purifier 
· licorice - adrenal stimulation 
· cleavers - anti-infection 
· dandelion - cleansing and strengthening 
· oregon grape root - cleansing, building 
· burdock root - purifying 
· nettles - rich in minerals 
· chickweed - 
· fenugreek - helps to eliminate toxins and mucus 
· yellow dock root - cleansing, white cell formation 
· pau de arco - cleansing, white cell formation 
· milk thistle seed - cleansing, building 

You can make these teas yourself or look for a ready made one at a health food store. What I do is buy a 1/2 or 1 oz of each herb. Then I mix one full tablespoon of each herb into a mason jar. Shake it up and its ready to go.

Preparing the tea

Boil 1 1/4 cup of distilled water in a glass container. Add 1 heaping tablespoon of herbal mixture. Let tea sit for 10-15 minutes. Strain and drink when it cools down a little.
Drink one cup of tea before breakfast and one before dinner for about 1-2 months.