In Dr. Weil’s view, the principle advantage of herbs is their complexity. Medicinal plants contain a wide array of chemical compounds, which gives them versatile therapeutic powers. For example, for Andean Indians, whole coca leaf is the number one medicinal plant. They use it to treat gastrointestinal disturbances; specifically, for both diarrhea and constipation. Its ability to treat two opposite disease states springs from the fact that coca contains 14 bioactive alkaloids, some of which stimulate the gut, while others inhibit gut activity. When the whole mixture enters the body, receptors in the gut’s tissues bind to the alkaloids that are needed for the body to return it to equilibrium.
Witch hazel is an interesting herb that I've only recently found out about, it has been used for centuries by the Native Americans though. When I was researching witch hazel I assumed that it got its name for warding off witches or something, but it actually was used as a witching stick for locating underground sources of water and or precious minerals. Witch hazel might not be considered an herb by some due to the fact it is a woody shrub, but it has very strong astringent and antiseptic properties so I just had to include it in the list of herbs along with its uses. Today you can find witch hazel in pretty much any drugstore in the form of witch hazel water (an alcohol extract of the twigs). The only problem with this is that most of the time the extract contains very little of the actual herb, and most of the effects might actually come from the alcohol itself.
To treat colds or coughs you can make a nice ginger tea by cutting about one inch of ginger root into small pieces and adding to two cups of water and simmering for fifteen minutes. Ginger can also be found in capsules like a lot of other herbs and is a great way to get your dose of ginger for the day. Extracts are also available but are generally used only to treat osteoarthritis.
Amygdalin is a glycoside. It consists of a molecule that combined glucose with cyanide. As discussed earlier, cancer cells must have glucose to survive. Thus, when the molecule of amygdalin enters a cancer cell, the molecule breaks apart and releases the cyanide. The cyanide then kills the cancer cell. The cyanide is not released in a healthy normally functioning cell, because a cancer cell contains a special enzyme, which must be present to release the cyanide. Thus amygdalin is harmless to a normal cell.
The next herb on our list is chamomile, this is another great herb with a wide array of uses. The Spanish name for this herb is manzanilla which simply means "little apple" it's no surprise that the Spanish people gave it this name. When the leaves and petals are bruised they give off a very distinct apple aroma. There are two main species chamomile German chamomile and Roman or English chamomile, they're all similar in there medicinal effects but the Roman or English species have a more pronounced aroma than the German variety. Both varieties are relatively easy to grow from seed, in fact if they are left to seed on there own you'll find that they have grown back the next spring.
Dill seeds and essential oils are used in Ayurvedic medicine. Dill seeds (Anethum graveolens L) are used to treat flatulence and stimulate appetite. Dill is also used as a diuretic. It can be given as a digestive tonic to help soothe indigestion. Mothers use dill essential oil for babies suffering from colic. Halitosis (bad breath) is treated by chewing dill seeds.
Over several decades, our understanding of the pathogenesis of neoplasia has been advanced tremendously. Many oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes have been identified and characterized, and it is usually accepted that cancer is a genetic disease. Nevertheless, it is beginning to be appreciated that the interrelationships between the tumor epithelium and the tissue microenvironment play a critical role in tumorigenesis. It has been demonstrated the ability of the tissue microenvironment to control malignancy and the mechanisms of tumor initiation, progression and regression.
It can ease menstrual cramps and back aches, as well as relax the digestive system to ease upset stomach or indigestion issues. When applied topically to the skin, it soothes redness and irritation. For this reason, it is a common ingredient in skincare. It also eliminates itchiness and is good for those with allergic reactions. Sometimes chamomile is used on rashes. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it can work to take down swelling caused by rashes or skin irritants."
Sage is often referred to as the Throat Herb, with good reason. It has a rich history of being used for mouth and throat ailments. Making this strong tasting herb into an herbal syrup is a good way to get it down. Sage has a strong flavor and may be unpleasant-tasting for young children. To beat this taste you can mix it with other herbs of your choosing.
Rumex crispus Curly dock or yellow dock In Western herbalism the root is often used for treating anemia, due to its high level of iron. The plant will help with skin conditions if taken internally or applied externally to things like itching, scrofula, and sores. It is also used for respiratory conditions, specifically those with a tickling cough that is worse when exposed to cold air. It mentions also passing pains, excessive itching, and that it helps enlarged lymphs.
Making creams, lotions, ointments, salves and soaps are the most common ways to use the calendula herb. Calendula has been used for centuries to treat skin conditions and infections in some minor wounds. The calendula herb can also be taken orally to help ease upset stomachs, ulcers and fevers as well. Most often you will see calendula applied externally to treat minor cuts, burns, bug bites and more. If you're using it to treat digestive disorders using the petals to make a tea or tincture is a great way to treat peptic ulcers and gastrointestinal infection. It's recommended that you take 3-5 grams a day to help ease these digestive disorders.