Bilberry has been used for centuries by European healers to treat such things as stomach cramps, diarrhea and diabetes. Now bilberry is most often used to prevent night blindness. It seems to be able to strengthen the capillaries and protect them from free radical damage. This plant contains flavonoids called anthocyanosides. These are a powerful antioxidant. In the past, bilberry has also been used as a remedy for varicose veins, hemorrhoids and bruising.
Since herbs are food and not medicine, you can take them any time you want. Of course you wouldn’t want to take an energizing herb like ginseng right at bedtime or sedative herbs first thing in the morning. You can decide for yourself if you prefer to take herbs with or without a meal. Do what works best for you. Some herbs work better on an empty stomach. You’ll have to read the label on the supplement bottle to see what is the recommended way of taking them.
Essiac Tea became popular in Canada and the United States when the herbal tea formula was used by a Canadian nurse to cure many forms of cancer. The formula was given to nurse Rene Caisse by a Native American medicine man. There are various formulas that are now on the market with various names. Most contain the original four ingredients, while others have made additions to the formula.
Scientists don’t know for sure. Since chemotherapy and radiation kill cells that divide often, stem cells may be less vulnerable because they rarely divide. Some scientists believe cancer stem cells may have genetic mutations that make them resistant to damage from chemotherapy or radiation, or cancer stem cells may be able to repair DNA damage more rapidly than normal cells.
There are actually several ways to use lemon balm making it a versatile herb both in the ailments it treats and the way it can be administered. Teas are a great way to gain the benefits of lemon balm. You can steep about 5 or 6 fresh leaves in a cup of water for six minutes and strain. Try adding some honey or stevia to sweeten the deal up and add a little mint for an extra layer of flavor. Tinctures, extracts, and ointments are all also widely available for lemon balm and all are quite effective.
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.
Skullcap is an ancient sleep aid remedy. It can greatly reduce anxiety and nervousness. It is often called nature’s tranquilizer. Besides its use as a sleep aid, many people take it to relieve muscle spasms and twitches, lower blood pressure and cholesterol. This herb also possesses anti-inflammatory properties and may be useful for treating arthritis and joint pain.
Fo-Ti is a famous longevity herb that has been in constant use in China for thousands of years. It is very popular with older men and is said to be able to turn one’s hair back to it’s youthful color and appearance. This herb is also used to strengthen the lower back and knees. It can be used to strengthen the bones, tendons and muscles as well as to nourish blood.
Skullcap is yet another herb of the mint family, the first medicinal use of skullcap can probably be found by looking into the lives of the Native Americans. The roots of skullcap were used as a remedy for things such as diarrhea and kidney problems. It wasn't until the settlers came that skullcap gained a reputation of being a sedative. They used it for a whole host of problems including fevers, anxious nerves, and even rabies. Today skullcap is most often found being used as a mild relaxant to treat anxiety, insomnia, tension headaches and fibromyalgia. When it comes to growing skullcap for your herb garden you have to realize that there is the North American variety and the Chinese type as well. The Chinese skullcap is the much hardier variety and well grow well in both warm or cool climates and handles drought very well. The North American skullcap however requires a very rich, moist and slightly acidic soil, so conditions have to be more precise in order to get the North American variety to grow.
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.
American ginseng is an adaptogen. An adaptogen is a substance which is good for the body in general and protects against stress of all types. This type of ginseng has been used to strengthen the immune system, increase strength and stamina, treat digestive disorders, treat diabetes, treat ADHD and as a general tonic for wellness. Many people believe that the best American ginseng comes from the state of Wisconsin in the U.S. American ginseng is considered a cooling ginseng, where Korean ginseng has a more warming effect on the body.
^ Vuksan, V; Jenkins, DJ; Spadafora, P; Sievenpiper, JL; Owen, R; Vidgen, E; Brighenti, F; Josse, R; et al. (1999). "Konjac-mannan (glucomannan) improves glycemia and other associated risk factors for coronary heart disease in type 2 diabetes. A randomized controlled metabolic trial". Diabetes Care. 22 (6): 913–9. doi:10.2337/diacare.22.6.913. PMID 10372241.
Centers for Integrative and Complementary Medicine in New York is run by Dr. Dr. Fred Pescatore, who has worked along side Dr. Atkins. Dr. Pescatore treats patients with AIDS, diabetes, heart disease, hepatitis, and cancer—in addition to addressing more common concerns such as diet and nutrition—by employing a combination of both alternative and traditional medicines. 212-779-2944.