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.
Korean ginseng is an adaptogen. An adaptogen can help your body and mind handle stress better. This is an energizing herb often taken by people to ward off fatigue, increase strength, stamina and sharpen mental abilities. This herb is believed to lower cholesterol and may be helpful in treating diabetes and depression. Korean ginseng is a good immune system booster. Since it has a warming effect on the body, it’s best taken in the winter months.
The dandelion is often thought of as a weed due to the fact that it can very easily over run a yard and choke out grass. Dandelions are actually a great herb, they offer plenty of nutritional benefits as well as medicinal, which is why it makes our list of herbs. One great thing about the dandelion herb is that the whole plant can be used from the flower down to the roots. The leaves make a great addition to salads and the flowers (when still yellow) can be eaten raw, cooked or made into a dandelion wine. Even the root of the dandelion can be consumed, usually it is roasted and ate or added to a nice cup of tea. Due to it's good diuretic properties dandelion is also sometimes called piss-a-bed.
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.
Iscador, also known as Mistletoe therapy (or Viscum album, Viscum album Loranthaceae, and European Mistletoe), is a proprietary formulation manufactured by Swiss medical company, Weleda. The use of mistletoe was pioneered by Rudolf Steiner, and was popularized in Europe, specifically Switzerland and Germany. Today, up to 60% of cancer patients in these European nations receive Iscador injections as part of their cancer treatment. The specialized therapy utilizes a purified mistletoe extract to kill cancer cells and simultaneously stimulate the immune system. One article from the Stram Center for Integrative Medicine notes:
^ Hamamelitannin from Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) Displays Specific Cytotoxic Activity against Colon Cancer Cells. Susana Sánchez-Tena, María L. Fernández-Cachón, Anna Carreras, M. Luisa Mateos-Martín, Noelia Costoya, Mary P. Moyer, María J. Nuñez, Josep L. Torres and Marta Cascante, J. Nat. Prod., Publication Date (Web): January 4, 2012, doi:10.1021/np200426k
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.
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.
Sage can have metformin-like effects, according to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition. So you may want to consider cooking with this herb often. It has been used on traditional medicine for centuries, as one of the important herbs to reduce blood sugar. A word of warning – taking high doses of sage along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low, a condition called hypoglycemia. Monitor your blood sugar closely.
Many therapies have been (and continue to be) promoted to treat or prevent cancer in humans but lack good scientific and medical evidence of effectiveness. In many cases, there is good scientific evidence that the alleged treatments do not work. Unlike accepted cancer treatments, unproven and disproven treatments are generally ignored or avoided by the medical community, and are pseudoscientific.
Collectively, these early experiments demonstrated that factors specific to the environment of the cell were required to attenuate, or to facilitate, the transforming activity of this potent oncogene. Recent work in transgenic models and specialized cell culture systems has begun to define the specific microenvironmental determinants that have the power to normalize overtly malignant cells.
^ Valduga, Eunice; de Freitas, Renato João Sossela; Reissmann, Carlos B.; Nakashima, Tomoe (1997). "Caracterização química da folha de Ilex paraguariensis St. Hil. (erva-mate) e de outras espécies utilizadas na adulteração do mate". Boletim do Centro de Pesquisa de Processamento de Alimentos (in Portuguese). 15 (1): 25–36. doi:10.5380/cep.v15i1.14033. Archived from the original on 2014-08-26.
^ Vickers A, Zollman C, Payne DK (October 2001). "Hypnosis and relaxation therapies". West. J. Med. 175 (4): 269–72. doi:10.1136/ewjm.175.4.269. PMC 1071579. PMID 11577062. Evidence from randomized controlled trials indicates that hypnosis, relaxation, and meditation techniques can reduce anxiety, particularly that related to stressful situations, such as receiving chemotherapy.
Stachytarpheta cayennensis Blue snakeweed Extracts of the plant are used to ease the symptoms of malaria. The boiled juice or a tea made from the leaves or the whole plant is taken to relieve fever and other symptoms. It is also used for dysentery, pain, and liver disorders. A tea of the leaves is taken to help control diabetes in Peru and other areas. Laboratory tests indicate that the plant has anti-inflammatory properties.
Bee Balm was often used by the Native Americans to treat intestinal problems, colic and flatulence. Tea made from this plant was used to induce sweating and break fevers. Bee balm is often used to treat the common cold and sore throat as well. The leaves of this plant are a good source of essential oil that contains thymol. Thymol is an antibiotic and often used as an ingredient in mouthwash.