​Probably best know for adding a little spice to your dish the cayenne pepper has much more to offer as a medicinal herb. Most lists of herbs tend to leave out the uses of cayenne pepper for whatever reason, but I feel that they are worth mentioning here. The use of cayenne can be found back as far as the Aztecs and Mayans; commonly they would use it for toothaches and infections. The main chemical responsible for the vast medicinal benefits is capsaicin, this is the same chemical that gives you that burning sensation when you bite into a jalapeno. If you're interested in tips for growing peppers check out the article we've previously posted.

​Plantain is quite possibly one of the first herbs to make its way to America from Europe. Originally brought over by the Puritan colonists plantain was called "white man's footprint" by the native Americans because of its ability to thrive where ever the new colonists had planted it. Plantain grows world wide now often thought of as a weed, it does however have some powerful medicinal benefits that shouldn't go unnoticed. Plantains ability to heal wounds such as cuts, burns, and swelling have been noted all the way back to medieval Europe. In addition to being a powerful wound healer plantain also shows promising results for treating ailments such as edema, jaundice, ear infections, ringworm, and shingles. The main constituents responsible for plantain's healing properties are aucubin, allatonin, mucilage, flavonoids, caffeic acid, and alcohols found in the wax of plantain's leaves. All these combine to make it a must have in your herbal first aid kit.
The ability to synthesize a wide variety of chemical compounds that are used to perform important biological functions, and to defend against attack from predators such as insects, fungi and herbivorous mammals is called herbal medicine. Many of these phytochemicals have beneficial effects on long-term health when consumed by humans, and can be used to effectively treat human diseases. At least 12,000 such compounds have been isolated so far; a number estimated to be less than 10% of the total.[1][2]
Rhodiola rosea is very popular with Russian astronauts and athletes due to its ability to enhance physical strength and endurance. Also, taking rhodiola will allow the body to use less oxygen on a cellular level. Besides its beneficial effects on the body, this herb is often used to keep the mind sharp and improve memory. It is now gaining popularity as a natural anti-depressant. Rhodiola is considered an adaptogen. This means that it helps protect the body from all types of stress.
Champlain Center for Natural Medicine in Shelburne, VT is run by Bill Warnock, ND, Lorilee Schoenbeck, ND, and Simon Frishkoff, ND. They treat cancer - all stages, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, arthritis, Wilson's Syndrome and chronic fatigue. They may use a variety of approaches - homeopathic, anthroposophical, acupuncture, botanic, nutritional, bee venom therapies, and mistletoe. They work with patients who want alternative or integrated approaches to help their immune system while doing or after chemo or other conventional approaches. http://www.vtnaturalmed.com (802) 985-8250
Preventive Medical Center of Marin, is in San Rafael. It is run by Elson M. Haas, M.D. He is a general family practitioner who also does preventive medicine, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and viral infections. He uses detoxification, osteopathy, nutrition, acupuncture, herbals, bodywork, and psychotherapy. The website is www.elsonhaas.com. Scott Anderson is semi-retired, but still works at the clinic. 415-472-2343

We live in a world of cancer causing products. They are in conventional food, the water, the air, in our clothing, our automobiles, our homes, the office equipment we use, and in the phones that we use for communication. There is great wisdom in taking reasonable precaution against the factors that can contribute to cancer formation. Sometimes an individual factor may not be a serious risk, but when many factors are combined, they could put a high level of stress on your body and open the door for cancer growth. There are many other factors that could contribute to cancer growth, but the items listed here will be a good starting point.
It seems that every day modern medicine is telling us to take more prescription drugs. Yes, there’s a drug for everything. While some drugs are very useful and do save lives, there is a limit to how many of these the body can withstand. I believe that taking herbs whenever possible is the better and more healthy way to go. There are many herbs that work as well or better than prescription medicine for certain conditions. An example would be taking ginger rather than Dramamine. In scientific tests, ginger was found to be more effective in preventing motion sickness.
Each culture independently discovered the herbs in there area that were beneficial to health and could treat specific health conditions. They built their healing herbs list over centuries of trial and error. An example would be a herb for increased energy from China would be ginseng. In Peru, they used maca root. In the United States they consumed bee pollen. And in India they used ashwagandha. Now, with the speed of the internet, we can learn about and buy any herb from any one of these powerful healing systems.
Black pepper is the world’s most traded spice, but most of its use is limited to the culinary world. What people don’t know is that it can make a great remedy for coughs that are accompanied by a lot of mucous or chest congestion. If you’ve accidently leaned too close to black pepper while it’s being grinded, you know it can make you cough or tickle your nose. This may not be fun on a regular basis, but it’s a plus if you need to expel all the nasty stuff that’s gunking up your lungs. The honey adds its antibacterial properties, and it makes it so the pepper isn’t too irritating. You can make black pepper “syrup” with honey, or a tea, as below. If possible, use freshly ground black pepper, as the pre-ground pepper simply seems to lose some of its punch.
Carbohydrates break down into glucose in the small intestine which is then absorbed into the bloodstream. Spices like Cayenne pepper stimulate glucose absorption from the small intestine, according to a Hungarian study published in the March 18, 2006 issue of the “European Journal of Pharmacology”. Add a bit to cayenne pepper to your home-cooked meals to stabilize your blood sugar levels naturally. The entire pepper family – including bell peppers, chilli peppers, and cayenne are known to help fight inflammation. That is why they are prized in several Asian culinary traditions. Use Cayenne wisely to get its anti-inflammatory benefits as well. 

Gymnema Sylvestre is a vine native to Central & South India. Used in traditional Indian medicine since the 6th century BC, the leaves of this plant contain ‘gymnemic acids’ that have the amazing ability to slow down the transport of glucose from the intestines to the bloodstream. Some scientists even believe that Gymnema Sylvestre extract can help repair and regenerate pancreatic beta cells that produce insulin!
Cloves protect the heart, liver and lens of the eye of diabetic rats, according to studies. This spice contains 30% of the antioxidant phenol in dry weight, along with antioxidants anthocyanins and quercetin. As a result, cloves have antiseptic as well as germicidal properties. It also offers anti-inflammatory, analgesic and digestive health benefits for diabetics.
The new research in cancer treatment is to find a way to target cancer stem cells which are the cells that drive the cancer growth. Chemotherapy up to date has only had success in killing the non-stem cell cancer cells. These are the cancer cells that grow from the core stem cancer cells. The problem is when you use toxic chemotherapy to try to kill the cancer cells all you accomplish is a temporary killing of the outer layer of non-stem cancer cells. The true source of the cancer proliferation is the cancer stem cells which are not killed with chemotherapy.
​My personal favorite so far for promoting relaxation has got to be Valerian root. Like a lot of the others in this list of herbs Valerian was probably first used by the Greeks and Romans centuries ago. They used Valerian to treat disorders associated with the liver, urinary tract and digestive tract. Valerian was once used to treat people suffering from the plague. Your cat will love Valerian too! People use to use Valerian in sort of the same way we use catnip today. Some people said that you could judge the potency of the Valerian by the reaction the cat had to the herb. In addition to being a cat attractant rats are also found of the foul smell and it was once used in rat traps. Today Valerian root is most commonly found as a sleep aid and anxiety relief supplement. 

Bring enough water to a boil to halfway fill a medium size-heat proof bowl. Pour the water into it, let it cool slightly for 30-60 seconds, and add the essential oils, giving it a quick stir to release the vapors. Lean over the bowl and get as close as you can while still being comfortable. Remember that steam can seriously burn! Use the towel to cover your head like a tent, trapping the steam, and breathe deeply. Ideally, do this for 5-10 minutes 2-3 times a day.


Teas are a great way to get the benefits of sage all you need to do is steep one teaspoon of sage in a cup of water for about 10 minutes. You can also make a pretty awesome sore throat reliever by combining sage and thyme. Take an ounce of both grind them, and cover them with 16 ounces of apple cider vinegar. Be sure to shake it periodically and let it sit for ten days before using.
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