Comfrey has a healing and soothing effect upon every organ it contacts. It is a very good source of calcium and also contains allatonin, pantothenic acid, iron, manganese, phosphorous, the B Vitamins and Vitamins C and E. Largely because of this high nutritional content, Comfrey is known as Knitbone - it speeds and improves the healing of all bone and ligament injuries. A famous poultice herb, Comfrey helps reduce the swelling and inflammation of bruises, sprains, contusions, etc. Its demulcent (soothing, lubricating) properties make it especially valuable for the lungs. Use it whenever there is dryness, irritation and/or inflammation or the lungs. High in mucilage, it is also useful for many digestive disturbances and intestinal troubles, such as ulcers and colitis.
Caution: This herb is not appropriate for wounds or broken skin, and should not be used for prolonged periods even on unbroken skin. Not recommended during pregnancy. There is tremendous controversy about the safety of comfrey at this time so education yourself and make up your own mind! Grows like a weed in the NE!
Calendula is the same plant as the well-known garden Marigold. It is one of herbalism's more useful plants. It is a vulnerary, which heals the body by promoting cell repair, and an antiseptic which keeps infection from injuries. Calendula is most often used externally to heal wounds, bruises, burns, sores and skin ulcers. Internally, Calendula may be used to dissipate fevers and to heal gastrointestinal problems such as ulcers, cramps, indigestion and diarrhea. It may be used as a healing wash for sore, inflamed gums. Finally, it can correct delayed or painful menstruation. Easily grown in the NE
Most herbalists would not be without this herb, a safe pure stimulant, antiseptic and toning agent which helps the system to throw off disease and establish equilibrium. For winter colds, congestion, infection and inflammation, it is excellent! It adds warmth, stimulates the immune system, helps break up congestion, clears sinuses and serves to activate other herbs in a formula. It is a natural coagulent which stops bleeding, though needless to say it can burn if used externally. It also stimulates the circulatory system, increases the pulse and tonifies the heart muscle and its blood vessels. Finally, it is a carminative which stimulates the digestive system and releases constipation. Avoid contact with the eyes or other sensitive tissues. Needs long hot summers to thrive.
Now here is the case of a small, beautiful and gentle plant that also has powerful medicinal virtues. Chamomile demonstrates to us that gentle does not mean less effective. It has been used for centuries for nervous stress, stomach disorders and inflammation. I always remember the story of Peter Rabbit when I think of Chamomile tea. When little Peter returned wet and chilled from Farmer Johns garden, his mother whipped him soundly, gave him a cup of Chamomile tea and sent home to bed; in that order. Chamomile is a nerve tonic that strengthens the nervous system while calming frayed nerves and promoting relaxation and easy sleep. It is a general digestive aid which promotes smooth digestion and relieves gas, colic and ulcers. Whats more, it also has the anti-inflammatory and anti-fever agents which made it such a useful remedy for little Peter s cold. It can also cool inflammations of the eyes, throat and gums (gingivitis). Chamomile is a wonderful, fragrant herb to grow in your garden - it provides a rich, subtle odor that relaxes body, mind and spirit. Safe for children. Can be grown in the NE.
Is there an herbalist anywhere who does not consider Dandelion among their favorite of herbs? Beautiful and tenacious (to the chagrin of those unfamiliar with its virtues), it is an absolute storehouse of nutrients and medicinal properties. Its jagged leaves are packed full of calcium, magnesium, Vitamins A and C and iron, and they make an excellent tonic for the kidneys, liver and pancreas. Considered one of the safest and most effective diuretics, Dandelion leaf tonifies the kidneys while aiding in proper water elimination. Unlike synthetic diuretics that rob potassium from the system (often causing severe health problems), Dandelion replenishes potassium and other nutrients to the body. It is also considered one of the major alteratives, or blood cleansers. It balances the chemical composition of the blood while detoxifying and cleansing the hepatic and circulatory systems.
Herbalists have treasured the Dandelion root for centuries as a bitter digestive aid and rejuvenating Spring tonic. Like the Dandelion leaf, the root is a nutritive diuretic (rich in potassium) and alterative, but as a digestive bitter, it is particularly stimulating to the liver, inducing the flow of bile and cleaning the hepatic system. Dandelion root is also an antacid for both the stomach and the blood, which makes it a remedy for hyperacidic conditions. Grows as a weed in the NE
This is one of the most important herbs of our times due to its ability to build and strengthen the immune system.It is found growing wild in central to southwestern United States and prefers wide open grasslands and prairies.Historically, Cheyenne and Comanche peoples collected and treasured this plant for use during the cold season, and it is still the remedy par excellence for healing and preventing colds and flus.Echinacea works by increasing macrophage and T-Cell activity and thereby raising the potency of the bodys protective shield. As a lung treatment, use Echinacea whenever bronchial inflammation, strep throat or chronic or acute bacterial and viral infections are apparent.Also use it for herpes and other systemic infections and for lymphatic infections.The three varieties of Echinacea that are widely used contain different levels of the therapeutic polysaccharides.Echinacea Purpurea is perhaps the most common variety in commerce and is the one on which much clinical research has been done.However, all of these varieties have their virtues.Furthermore, both the root and herb are used.Easily grown in the NE
Many of the old herb gardens were planted around an Elder bush - the protector of the herb garden.The Elder provides shade, flowers and fruit and invites the birds and bees.It also provides a variety of usable medicines for humans.Used topically, the leaves and flowers of the Elder stimulate the healing of bruises, burns, sprains and wounds, and they may be used to clear up acne.A decoction of the leaves is said to be a good insect repellent for both you and your garden.The leaves, flowers and berries are all diaphoretic (induce sweating) and have immune supporting action.They are very useful in cooling fevers and clearing colds, flu and upper respiratory infections, and they cool upper respiratory inflammation associated with sinusitis and hay fever.Finally, Elder berry acts as alterative in cases of rheumatism. Easily grown in the NE
Over 1,000 scientific studies have confirmed Eleuthero Roots remarkable properties for enhancing physical and mental performance. Although it is not botanically related to Ginseng, it is often known as Siberian Ginseng because it is also an adaptogen. That is, it stimulates the whole system to adapt to diverse challenges by building vitality and endurance and by enhancing resistance to physical and emotional stress. It strengthens the nervous, hormonal and immune systems. By stimulating circulation to the brain, it improves mental clarity and quickness. Not considered kosher to call it S. Ginseng any longer because of confusion by consumers. Is not readily cultivated in the NE, but seems like it would adapt well to our winters. Large flowering bush.
Garlic is one of the oldest medicinal remedies given to wo/man kind. This highly aromatic herb is heavily laden with organic sulfur. The sulfur and volatile oils in Garlic make it a potent internal and external antiseptic. It acts as a biotic (I dislike the term antibiotic, which means anti=against biotic=life), stimulating the bodys immune system to fight off most infections including colds, flus, bronchitis, and other seasonal maladies. Garlics rind expels worms and parasites. In addition, it is a very effective herb for maintaining healthy blood cholesterol levels and lowering high blood pressure. Externally, it may be used to cure ringworm. Grows easily in the NE
If you have only known ginger as a key ingredient in tropical and Asian cuisine, meet it now again as a medicine. One of the most versatile herbs there is, Ginger not only has a multitude of health effects in its own right, it also enhances the effects of other herbs in a formula. A specific warming herb for the lungs, it is an excellent remedy for asthma and bronchial congestion. In case of fever, it stimulates cooling perspiration. Ginger alleviates nausea including motion sickness and morning sickness, and it relaxes menstrual and stomach cramps. It also stimulates the circulatory system, quickening and enlivening blood flow to the extremities. By increasing blood flow to the pelvic region, Ginger helps relieve pelvic blockages. Lastly, it is a valued digestive aid which improves digestion and efficiently moves out the waste. Grows in the tropics
Over the course of a lifetime, most of us will notice the gradual decline in our short and long-term memories. This is particularly irking if you are starting as a forgetful person to begin with! Well, Ginkgo is a remarkable tree whose leaves can gradually take you in the other direction. It is the sole survivor of the oldest known tree genus, Ginkgoaceae. Considered a living fossil, Ginkgos history goes back over 200 million years. The fan shaped leaves work by enhancing circulation and vasodilation, particularly in the cerebral region. Regular users of Ginkgo gain improvement in memory and mental and emotional stability as well as increased energy and vitality. Although a cup of Ginkgo tea will energize you, to be truly effective Gingko must be used with consistency for a period of 2 to 4 months. Will grow well in the NE, but will take many years to mature. Plant this tree for the future.
Goldenseal is at the center of the strongest currents in herbalism today. It grows in shady forests in the Eastern United States and Canada, taking three years to reach maturity. The herbs yellow root can be used very effectively as a natural anti-biotic to treat colds, flus, fevers and other types of system-wide infections. For this purpose, Golden Seal is often combined with Echinacea or other herbs which stimulate the immune systems natural infection-fighting ability. Particularly effective at healing mucus membranes, Golden Seal should be used specifically in cleansing washes for eye infections, in mouthwashes for sore mouths and gums, in topical treatments for eczema and infected wounds and in remedies for urinary inflammations, intestinal problems such as colitis or ulcers and a host of respiratory infections. Because it is so effective and therefore popular and because it matures relatively slowly and has a limited range or habitat, this valuable, heroic plant is at risk in the wild. To find out more about the challenges facing Goldenseal and other valuable medicinals please read the Keepers of the Green section at the back of this book. Since Goldenseal is threatened, it should be used responsively and appropriately. There is a persistent and incorrect rumor sometimes batted around that Goldenseal helps mask drug use in drug testing. This is not true. If you use Goldenseal to mask drug use, it will not work and you will be contributing to the threat against this superb plant. Native to the NE/SE hardwood forests.
Caution: This herb is strong. Avoid excessive or long term use. Not recommended during pregnancy.
Organically cultivated only, please! This plant is on the UpS At Risk plant and is recommended not to be collected or purchased from wildcrafted sources.
The Hawthorn tree has been revered and surrounded by legend for centuries. This attention is deserved, for Hawthorn berries, blossoms and leaves are truly remarkable for nourishing, strengthening and toning the heart muscle and its blood vessels. Hawthorn dilates arteries and veins, allowing blood to flow more freely and releasing cardiovascular constrictions and blockages. It lowers blood pressure while strengthening the heart muscle. It also helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Hawthorn is outstanding both to prevent heart problems and to treat heart disease, angina, edema and heart arrhythmias. Note: Hawthorn should not be taken with Digitalis.
Caution: Do not take Hawthorn if you are using Digitalis. Work with a health care professional if using Hawthorn in conjunction with heart medication. Easily cutivated tree in the NE. many species.
The ceremonies and reverence surrounding the Kava plant and the drink prepared from it are central to numerous cultures of Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia. Kava Kava, soothing and expansive, was a part of most important meetings, celebrations and inaugurations. It is a nervine which produces a state of delicious mellowness throughout the body. It relaxes tension, anxiety and stress (both physical and emotional), and it relaxes tight, fatigued muscles. It is also an analgesic which alleviates pain. Kava Kava can be intoxicating in large quantities. Caution: high doses of Kava can cause liver toxicity. Not to be used as a drug. Grows in the tropics.
A fragrant and beautiful member of the mint family, Melissa is gentle, effective and delicious. Melissas leaves, when crushed, smell like lemons. They contain medicinally valuable volatile oils, tannins and bitters which have a definite relaxing effect on the stomach and nervous system. Lemon Balm is primarily sedative and mildly anti-spasmodic. It is excellent for stomach distress, stomach cramps, depression, anxiety and general exhaustion. For a delicious nervine tonic, blend Lemon Balm with Chamomile and Oats. Is a powerful antiviral and is used for viral infections such as herpes. Grows easily in the NE.
This sweet root is outstanding for both the respiratory and endocrine systems. An expectorant and demulcent herb, Licorice clears mucus from the bronchial passages while soothing and strengthening inflamed tissue. It is excellent for coughs, bronchitis, asthma and many types of bronchial congestion. It is also very good for coating and calming sore throats and healing intestinal conditions such as ulcers and constipation. Licorice root balances and normalizes the functions of the endocrine glands (especially the adrenals), regulating levels of estrogen and progesterone. It may therefore be helpful in cases of menstrual dysfunction or hormonal imbalances.
Caution: Not recommended for use by people with hypertension, edema, diabetes or people on heart medication. Not recommended during pregnancy. Can be grown in the NE
Milk Thistle seed is an outstanding natural support for the liver, the bodys primary filter of toxins. It delivers anti-oxidant (infection-fighting) compounds to the liver, directly stimulates basic liver functions and rebuilds damaged liver tissue. Its tonifying actions make it a valuable component of cleansing programs and an important supplement for those whose livers have been compromised by illness, rich food, hepatitis or alcohol consumption. Milk Thistle seed is also helpful to the kidneys and gall bladder. Can be grown as an annual in the NE
Many people regard Nettle as a horrible rash-causing weed. Actually, handled properly, it is both an excellent food and a potent medicine, and it is an old friend of mine. It is delicious when stewed, pickled or baked in Spanikopita (Greek pie usually made with spinach), and it is remarkably high in Vitamin A, calcium, chlorophyll and plant digestible iron. Nettle is an alterative - an agent that gradually and favorably alters the condition of the blood. It is also a diuretic and liver tonic. Native Americans used it as a remedy for female problems, and I still recommend it for reducing water retention, easing PMS, balancing menopausal extremes and toning the whole female system. It helps control hemorrhaging, cramping and headache associated with menstruation. The ancient Greeks and Romans used Nettle as a remedy for rheumatism and gout, and it is still helpful to rub fresh Nettle juice into gouty, rheumatic or arthritic areas. Last but not least, Nettle can be a significant remedy for hay fever and allergies. Because it has so many benefits and because it is quite safe for long term use, Nettle is worth experimenting with. Grows as weed in the NE
Oats, both the straw and the seed, are a wonderful nutritive tonic for the nervous system and are recommended for nervous exhaustion, irritability, stress, nicotine (or other chemical) withdrawal and general debility. Because of its high mucilage content, the seed is a nerve demulcent (soothing and healing to inflamed nerve endings). It and Oat straw are recommended for anyone who is overworked or overstressed or who has frayed, inflamed nerve endings. I especially recommend Oat straw tea for the stress, tension and fatigue or pregnancy. Oat stalks are high in silica and calcium, and are sometimes used externally for chapped or damaged skin. Used for sexual exhaustion and impotency. Grows easily in the NE
Peppermint is totally refreshing - a blast of pure green energy. It is a simplers medicine - one favored by the old time herbalists, who used simple, effective, non-toxic medicines for health. Because of its clean, fresh taste, Peppermint is often included in formulas to counter less tasty ingredients. Peppermint is also a potent digestive aid which is frequently used to steady upset, nauseous stomachs, facilitate smooth bowel movements and ease stomach cramps. A diaphoretic (which promotes perspiration) and a circulatory stimulant, peppermint can speed the natural healing process during a cold, fever or flu. It is suitable for children. Grows easily in the NE