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Herbs 2: The Original Health Builders and Healers

Hawthorn - Yucca

Biochemistry is beginning to confirm the historical use of herbs to assist specific ailments. Plants have been found to contain many natural substances which act as antioxidants to scavenge damaging free radicals in the body. For example, carotenoids and flavonoids, which are now recognised as powerful scavengers, are responsible for the wide range of plant pigments found in leaves, fruits and berries.

Many of the medicinal actions of herbs are now known to be directly related to their flavonoid content. Different flavonoids have been shown to have a preference for specific tissues. Research is uncovering the connections between the flavonoid contents of particular herbs and their historical use to treat a specific organ or condition. Milk Thistle, Ginkgo Biloba, Bilberry and Hawthorn Berries are cases in point. See below, and check out Antioxidants for more about the importance of antioxidants.


Hawthorn: Hawthorn has been known for centuries as a treatment for heart disease, and with regular use as a strengthener of the heart muscles. It is one of the best tonic remedies for the heart and circulatory system. It normalises heart activity and is safe for long-term treatment in heart failure, heart valve defects, enlarged heart, and weakness and palpitations. It is a tonic for the circulatory system, assisting high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis and angina.

Horseradish: Antibiotic action recommended for respiratory and urinary infections. Liquefies retained mucous secretions, which it loosens and brings out of the body. Stimulant for digestion, metabolism and kidney function. Clears nasal passages and cleans the system of infection.

Juniper: Diuretic. Removes uric acid from the system. High in insulin, it has the ability to restore the pancreas where there has been no permanent damage.

Licorice: Source of the female hormone estrogen. Works as a stimulant on the adrenals. Contains glycosides which can chemically purge excess fluid from the lungs. Important for recovery - supplies necessary energy to the system.

Milk Thistle / St Mary's Thistle: Used since ancient times for its healing action on the liver, Milk Thistle has now been scientificallyproved to have a powerful beneficial effect on diseased liver tissue. German research in 1968 which proved that Milk Thistle was capable of protecting the livers of laboratory animals against chemicals which would ordinarily have destroyed the liver, was followed in 1971 by research on humans with chronic hepatitis and liver damage. Liver biopsies proved that the hepatitis cases were cured after 3 months' treatment. Further tests in Italy and Germany in 1973 and 1980 showed that Silymarin, the active principle in Milk Thistle, increased protein synthesis in the liver, enabling liver regeneration to take place. Milk Thistle is the only herb known at the present time to have this regenerative effect on the liver.

Parsley: Diuretic. Increases resistance to infections and disease. Good for liver and spleen problems and has a tonic effect on the entire urinary system. Don't put parsley on the plate just to make it look pretty - eat it!!!!

Passionflower: Relaxing, calming. Quieting and soothing to the nervous system. Good for inflamed eyes and dimness of vision.

Red Clover: Excellent glandular restorer, mineraliser and blood purifier. Effective for severe skin/membrane, muscular, digestive, nervous and respiratory malfunctions. Rich in calcium, silicon, trace elements.

Red Raspberry: One of the most renowned and proven herbs for women, especially during pregnancy. Strengthens uterus wall. Helps in nausea, helps prevent haemorrhage, reduces pain and eases childbirth. Reduces false labour pains. Used for retained afterbirth. Helps enrich colostrum. Good for infants. Relieves painful menstruation and normalises flow. A favourite gentle genital stimulative tonic, high in iron and organic compounds for blood building. Astringent. Contains: Vits A, C, D, E, G, F, and B, phosphorus, manganese. Rich in iron, calcium.
Note: Contraindicated in the first trimester of pregnancy.

St John's Wort: Women's health. Effective for menopause symptoms. Clears obstructions of phlegm in chest and lungs. Excellent for internal bleeding. Assists in depression states.

Sarsaparilla: Men's health. Relief of pain in head or joints. Blood purifier. Contains testosterone and progesterone. Increases circulation to rheumatic joints.

Saw Palmetto: Men's and women's health. Marked effect on glandular tissues, both in function and in size. Nutritive tonic in diseases which enfeeble the body. Benign prostate enlargement - blocks conversion of testosterone into dihydrotosterone which causes benign prostatic hypertrophy.

Siberian Ginseng: Men's and women's health. Stimulates entire body energy, especially stimulating for mental fatigue. Very beneficial effect on heart and circulation.

Uva Ursi (Bearberry): Women's health. Strengthens and tones urinary passages: beneficial for bladder and kidney infections. Increases flow of urine. The diabetes remedy for excessive sugar. Used post partum to reduce haemorrhage.

Valerian: Relaxing, calming, promotes restful sleep.

Vitex Agnus Castus: Balances ratio of oestrogen and progesterone by correcting progesterone deficiency. Does not contain progesterone but stimulates pituitary to excrete the pre-hormones needed to normalise female hormone balance. Prevents hot flushes and night sweats, depression, and loss of libido.

Willow Bark: Well-known for salicylate content and resultant anti-inflammatory action. Natural form of aspirin.

Yucca: Indirect anti-inflammatory action.

Specific Herbal Glandular Agents: Bladderwrack; borage; bugleweed; ginseng; goats rue; liquorice; wild yam.
Thyroid (overactive): Bugleweed, nettles, valerian; yarrow.
Thyroid (underactive): Bladderwrack; damiana; kola; nettles; oats; wormwood.
Adrenals: Borage; ginseng; liquorice; wild yam.
Endocrine Glands:The bitters, together with the alternatives to cleanse and promote proper blood functions. The best bitters for the glandular system are golden seal; mugwort; rue; wormwood; yarrow. Useful alternatives are sarsaparilla; burdock; cleavers; red clover.

Note: The above information is offered not as a prescription or in place of proper medical care, but as a report on research findings which may be of interest. In cases of sickness, the attention and care of a nutritionally aware health professional are essential.


Resources:
(Note: Click on the title for more info about obtaining these books)
"The Healing Power of Herbs" May Bethel - Wilshire Book Co, US.
"The Holistic Herbal" David Hoffmann - Element Books, UK.
"The Illustrated Herbal Handbook" Juliette de Bairacli Levy - Faber & Faber, UK.
"Today's Herbal Health" Louise Tenney - Woodland Books Australasia, Aust.
"Can You Remember What to Take?" J Priest - Healthy Options Ltd, NZ.
"Pocket Guide to Your Herbal Medicine Chest" Nancy Evelyn

Some Great Sites to Visit

Raintree Nutrition

Two Great New Zealand Sites


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