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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Medicinal herbs - part 1


Properties and benefits of Mint

Because of its active compounds contained, mint has sedative, disinfectant and cicatrizing properties. It can be successfully used in gastro-intestinal disorders; it helps the liver and calms indigestion. It contains menthol, menthone, menthofuran, a-pinene, limonene, cardinene, acetic aldehide, isovaleriana, vitamin C and antibiotic substances.

Mint tea
To make tea, you must boil one mint spoon of leaves in 200ml of water. The tea must be drunk cold, three times a day. Mouth rinse is made out of 5g of mint oil dissolved in 95g of concentrate alcohol. This drink is refreshing, antiseptic and it can remove the unwanted smell or taste. Mint oil mixed with hot water is used to treat the flu, laryngitis and hoarseness. The product obtained from 5g of mint oil and 95g of alcohol can be used to treat rheumatic pains and itches.

Rheumatism can be treated also with mint baths, obtained by boiling 200g of leaves in 3 liters of water and mixing the result with water at 37 degrees Celsius.
Proprieties and benefits of Parsley
Between 25-30 mg of parsley a day are enough to provide the daily dosage of vitamin C. It is important to mention that parsley contains more vitamin C than lemon, orange or any other fruit. It has abundant quantities of other vitamins and minerals such as: provitamine A, vitamine B, vitamine E, vitamine K, beta-carotene, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, manganese, sodium, potassium, sulfur and calcium. It acts like an antioxidant (eliminates toxins and maintains the elasticity of the blood vessels), it is a general stimulant, diuretic, antiseptic, antiinfectious, antirachitic and more. Apart from these, parsley is a great neutralizer of the negative effects brought about by smoking and dependence upon alcohol. Among other effects that it has: it straightens the body and immune system, has a beneficial effect over the liver, spleen, digestive and endocrine organs.

From a medicinal point of view, parsley behaves as an anticacerous herb (it helps protect the liver and intestines form cancer), antirheumatic, stimulant of digestion, of kidneys, eliminating toxins and kidney stones. It is important to bear in mind that parsley seeds have an outstanding aphrodisiac effect by stimulating the sexual glands. Moreover, they stimulate fertility and helps against dependency upon alcohol and against brain tumors.
Oregano oil benefits include its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. It's used to treat a variety of ailments from the flu to skin infections.Oregano oil is created through steam distillation of fresh oregano leaves. Its anti-bacterial and disinfectant properties were first recognized in ancient Greece, where the oil was used to treat skin infections and wounds. Its name originates from its preferred growing environment, high altitudes, and literally means “delight of the mountains.”

In addition to being a popular culinary herb, the oil made from oregano boasts numerous and varied health benefits. Its active ingredient, carvacol, is a natural compound that fights bacteria, fungus, parasites, and viruses. It's used both internally and topically to treat all manner of infections, and there is even an increasing amount of scientific evidence to prove it's effectiveness.
Sweet Basil
Basil (Ocimum Basilicum)
The basil is a herbaceous annual culture plant, ramified from the ground, 20-60 cm tall with hairy stems, round-oval leaves and white or reddish flowers. The basil has been known since ancient times and is a holy plant in India, very much appreciated by Egyptians, too; bouquets of basil were found in the Egyptian pyramids.

An aromatic plant, the basil is used in the culinary art as a seasoning for diverse meat and sauce dishes. Traditional medicine uses basil as a remedy for chronic gastritis and stomach aches.
Pharmacological actions: sedative, diuretic, antiseptic.
Starting from the essential oil content of the basil, as related to the other active elements, basil is recommended in the treatment of gastro-intestinal and renal affections, bronchitis and fever.
The use of basil leaf tea is recommended in nervous system fatigue, insomnia and painful menstruation. To avoid the unpleasant effects of insect stings rub the wounded spot with fresh basil leaves or with the juice from fresh basil plants.
Lemon verbena (Aloysia triphylla)
also known as Lippia citriodora
The use of herbal remedies, including the herb lemon verbena, classified as Aloysia triphylla, are popular as an alternative to standard Western allopathic medicine for a variety of problems, including relieving digestive track spasms (colon), strengthening the nervous system as well as reducing fevers.

· strengthening the nervous system
· de-stressing
· anti-spasmodic
· expectorant
· helps with digestion
· easing colic
· feverish cold
· reducing fevers
· relieving spasms of digestive track (colon)
Rhubarb can be used as a strong laxative, with the roots being used as a laxative for at least 5,000 years. Rhubarb has an astringent effect on the mucous membranes of the mouth and the nasal cavity.

The roots and stems are rich in anthraquinones, such as emodin and rhein. These substances are cathartic and laxative, which explains the sporadic use of rhubarb as a slimming agent.
Rhubarb roots are used in traditional Chinese medicine; rhubarb also appears in medieval Arabic and European prescriptions.

The rhizomes ('roots') contain stilbene compounds (including rhaponticin) which seem to lower blood glucose levels in diabetic mice.
Among the main properties of rosemary we can enumerate: analgesic, antiseptic, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, antiviral, aphrodisiac, disinfectant. Its active elements have choleric, antiseptic, diuretic and tonic aspects at a nervous level, stimulating bile secretion and eliminating it in the intestines, destroying microorganisms, increasing the quantity of eliminated urine, improving the blood flow and refreshing and energizing the mind. Apart from this, scientific researches indicate that rosemary is an ideal memory stimulant for both adults and students. Rosemary contains a series of secondary elements such as carnosol and carnosic acid, with a reflecting action in case of free radicals. Rosemary also has calming effects by working against fatigue, sadness, anxiety, calming muscle soreness, digestive pains and also, indigestion caused by stress.

In aromatherapy it is appreciated for bringing youth, protection, love, optimism, vitality health and a restful sleep.
Coriander fruits contain volatile oil, lipids, starch, pectins and mineral substances. In fact, coriander's flavor comes from the etheric oil contained in proportion of 1,5% - 2,0% . This oil contains linalool (60% - 80%), pinene, dipentene, etc. The fruits contain fatty acids like petroselinic acid, proteic substances, amino-acids, sitosterols, tocopherols, cumarins, caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid. The aromatic contained substance - coriandrol - is a very good adjuvant in the treatment of liver cancer. At the same time, coriander leaves represent a powerful source of vitamin A, C, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin K, folic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium. In small quantities it contains also niacin, vitamin B6, phosphor and zinc.

Furctus Coriandri, in other words coriander fruits are used as a stimulant for the gastrointestinal secretion, sedative and carminative. They ameliorate the abdominal pains, reduce digestive spasms and distend. Coriander is also known as a bactericide, fungicide and anthelmintic. It has also a good influence over the neural system and stimulates memory.


Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

This is a great post and most of these are in my garden. I drink mint tea a lot as I do not like ordinary tea. I am not even keen on Rooibos! South Africa makes a fantastic citrus tea, but do you think we can get anything close in Europe, no way:( Diane

Diane AZ said...

Nice to learn that oregano means "delight of the mountains." Your pictures are so enchanting, I can almost smell those wonderful herbs just by looking at them.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Joan: Thanks Doctor Joan for the lesson with a warning.

Pam said...

Great informative post! Very interesting and I hope you have a great day!

Gaelyn said...

Very informative. I've used mint quite a bit for settling the stomach. Plus all the herbs you mentioned are on my shelf for food seasoning.

Zane said...

Aaaah our very own resident sangoma (witch doctor is the best translation I can think of right now).

What you failed to say Joan was how to get some of these herbs into the mouth, let alone swallow them. Remedial and character building qualities of perseverance and mental toughness are required, no matter how bad the plant tastes.

Did you mention stinging nettle tea?

I will remember this list when I feel a little ill.

Anonymous said... did a lot of work for this post and I really LOVE to learn about this as I had no idea of any of these plants.....

Mary said...

You certainly know your facts about herbs! A lot of good information. I some times drink mint tea for digestion, but don't make it myself fresh.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

I love mint tea too Diane and in winter, some lemon tea just before I go go to bed.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Diane. I love using all these fresh herbs and as you say the smell is always so delightful.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

You are welcome Tom. :) I do not want anyone using stuff when they shouldnt.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks for visiting and comment Pam. You have some yummy recipes on your blog and unusual ones too like the stuffed cucumbers. I must try it sometime.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

They are all ones I use too Gaelyn, but I for one was not aware of their medicinal uses so it was a very interesting exercise learning about all this.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Didn't you know I was a sangoma Zane? :) Well now you do.

Come now, don't tell me you dont use these when cooking? Are you just a meat and potatoes man? My husband was like that until I introduced him to the wonders of vegetables and herbs. LOL!! (Not that he had much choice did he? :) )

I have heard about stinging nettle tea but never tried it myself. Guess I will let someone else pick it for me. :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Glad you enjoyed the post Michelle. Even though these are herbs I use all the time, I was not aware of half these properties.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Mint has so many uses Mary. One of them is that I used to plant it in the garden as ground cover and it keeps the ants away as well. Very usefull.

Firefly said...

I have been threatening for so long now to plant herbs in my garden, but up to no nothing. *sigh*

Philip said...

First a Bug expert now a Witch Doctor I suppose if it wasn't for my Wife I would also be a meat and potatoes man some how those leaves don't look tasty to me I think I will stick to a multivitamin LoL !!

sebi_2569 said...

nice blog;and nice photo; bravo

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

You have a couple of months of grace till the spring and then I want to see the herbs please. No excuses!! LOL!! Here is a hint, by them in tubs at the nursery and jst continue to give them water. LOL!!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

LOL!! Joan of all trades, master of none!! Thats me!! LOL!!

Your wife and I are definitely on the same track Philip. Got to sort you men out and make sure you stay healthy. :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks for visiting and commenting sebi_2569. I am pleased you found something of interest on my blog. :)

Andrea said...

Interesting post!
We discovered a new side from you.
I think you opened a vey wide chapter...
Did you know Parsley can be abortive too? In the middleage there was a wide use of this plant to avoid pregnancies...
Many people think plants are always good:sometimes it depends from the amounts...
I remember some years ago a man dead for eating too much carrots:he wanted to get tan quickly....

Craver Vii said...

I went to a farmers' market Saturday, and we saw Stevia--the sugar plant. We brought some home, just for the novelty of it. My wife says she might try to make a sweetener out of it.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

I am capable of getting up to all kinds of things Andrea, so you should never be surprised at what I do next.  I have such varied interests and find almost anything fascinating. Medicinal properties of plants, trees and herbs is always something I have wanted to study as I think we are loosing a lot by not knowing them. After all, this is what was used for many centuries before modern medicine.

That bit about the parsley is very interesting and something I never new, so thanks for adding this fact for me.

You have touched on something I feel very strongly about – almost everything is good for you in moderation and a person should NEVER overdo the intake of anything. Antibiotics is a good example - it can be very good if taken for a short period and for a specific cause, but take too much, and it breaks down your whole immune system and is extremely bad for you.

Good grief!! Carrots can help you tan? I suppose the beta-carotene can help but I would hate to think how many carrots you would have to consume in order for your skin to become browner. I know that the oil in carrots can do it as sometimes after peeling them, my fingers will be brown.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Well it has been used for hundreds of years Craver and is a good substitute for sugar. I think more people should be looking at herbs.

Anna said...

Hey Joan I will bookmark this post. Excellent information, I consume them all. BTW I heard somewhere that Rhubarb leafs are poisonous if consumed in large quantities - just piece of my knowledge. Thanks again, I think I am ready for a nice mint bath then :).

Anna :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

You are welcome Anna. I am pleased you learnt something. Part two of it will be up in a week or so.

Yes, I have heard the same about them and also that half a cup of apple seed will kill you but I have never checked ut to see if there is any truth in these statements. I will do so when I have time and add the answers in part 2 of this as they are interesting questions.

Becky and Gary said...

It must have taken you forever to type up all this information. I must print it off.
I have a yard full of Oregano. I planted some plants years ago, and it has spread everywhere. Love the smell when I mow grass!
I have lots of Mint too.( Spearmint, Lemon, and Grapefruit) Will try some of your tea.
Have a great week-end.
Sorry I haven't been around. So much to do in the summer.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Grapefruit mint is a new one for me Becky and sounds quite an interesting one too.

No problem, I know how busy you are. :)

Ayurvedic Resort said...

Hey Joan

Wonderful post. Thank you for the good information, I really enjoy your blog!

Your herb pictures are really delightful.. Keep Posting...

Kerala Ayurvedic Medicine

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Ayurvedic Resort. I am pleased you like the posts.