This mushroom has a long history of use in Chinese herbalism. It is considered a great tonic for building physical strength and endurance. There is a substance in cordyceps which dilates the lung’s airways, providing more oxygen to the blood. For this fact it is very popular with athletes. This healing mushroom is also used to treat asthma, cough and bronchitis. It possesses anti-inflammatory properties and has the ability to relax the bronchial walls. It’s a great immune system booster as well.
Modern medicine now tends to use the active ingredients of plants rather than the whole plants. The phytochemicals may be synthesized, compounded or otherwise transformed to make pharmaceuticals. Examples of such derivatives include digoxin, from digitalis; capsaicine, from chili; and aspirin, which is chemically related to the salicylic acid found in white willow. The opium poppy continues to be a major industrial source of opiates, including morphine. Few traditional remedies, however, have translated into modern drugs, although there is continuing research into the efficacy and possible adaptation of traditional herbal treatments.
Clubmoss has been used by ancient healers for over two thousand years. The druids used this plant as a laxative and purgative. Native Americans used it to treat postpartum pain, fever, weakness and to stop the bleeding of wounds. Today, clubmoss is used for kidney and urinary disorders, stomach upset, diarrhea and for treating skin conditions. This plant contains a substance called Huperzine which may be effective for memory problems and Alzheimer’s disease. More studies on clubmoss have to be done to determine it’s safety and effectiveness in this area.
The ketogenic diet requires a major lifestyle adjustment and the willingness to live through carbohydrate withdrawal. Most Americans are physically and emotionally addicted to sugar and to other carbohydrates that are converted into sugar. Thus, when a person begins using this diet, there will usually be a period of withdrawal, which is similar in experience to drug withdrawal. The symptoms pass rapidly after a few days, and a heightened sense of peace and mental clarity will soon be experienced as the body moves into nutritional ketosis.
Native Americans used black cherry as a medicinal herb to treat coughs. The bark from the black cherry tree was often made into a tea or syrup and used to expel worms, heal ulcers and treat burns. They also used it as a remedy for sore throat, pneumonia and lack of appetite. Black Cherry bark contains a glycoside called prunasin. This substance quells spasms in the smooth muscles of the bronchioles, thus reducing the cough reflex.
Another well know spice in the kitchen cinnamon is also known for it's medicinal properties. While not really an herb I still think it's important to list it in our list of herbs and their uses. Cinnamon actually comes from the inner bark of a tree in the laurel family. It's been used for centuries and was a hot commodity for trade in ancient times. In fact during the first century A.D. in Rome cinnamon was 15 times more expensive than silver. The Chinese were probably the first to use cinnamon as a medicinal herb and used it to treat fevers, and diarrhea. In more modern times cinnamon has been found to stabilize blood sugar levels in diabetics, as it has an insulin kind of effect.