What’s an: Immuno-stimulant Herb?

An immuno-stimulant herb helps to stimulate your body’s own innate immune system by activating or increasing the activity of its components, including two types of white blood cells: macrophages and Natural Killer cells. They also act to nourish and strengthen your body’s natural immunity to disease and toxins

Immunostimulant herbs are commonly used in the beginning stages of an infection such a cold, to help the body fight it off, and continued over the duration of the infectious illness to keep it at bay. Most of them are used for short periods of time because of their stimulating properties, which can cause an imbalance if used for extended periods.

Synonym: Immunostimulators

List of Immunostimulant Herbs

  • Astragalus (Astragalus propinquus)
  • Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea)
  • Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia)
  • Garlic (Allium sativum)
  • Ginseng, Korean (Panax ginseng)
  • Green Tea (Camellia sinensis)
  • Prickly Ash (Zanthoxylum americanum)
References
  1. Ann McIntyre (1995), The Complete Women’s Herbal.
  2. David Hoffman (2013), Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies
  3. Henriette’s Herbal Page: Sodii Chloridum, B.P. Sodium Chloride
  4. International Journal Of Pharmacy & Life Sciences: A Review on Herbal Immunoadjuvant
  5. Rosemary Gladstar (2014), Herbs for Common Ailments: How to Make and Use Herbal Remedies for Home Health Care

What’s an: Infused Oil

An infused oil is a mixture comprised of an herb’s volatile oils and a carrier oil. The herb is steeped in the carrier oil for a period of time to extract its volatile oils

This video shows you how to prepare your own herbal infused oil. For the demonstration, he infuses calendula with sweet almond oil and comfrey with olive oil.

References

  1. Ann McIntyre (1995), The Complete Women’s Herbal.
  2. David Hoffman (2013), Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies
  3. Henriette’s Herbal Page: Sodii Chloridum, B.P. Sodium Chloride
  4. International Journal Of Pharmacy & Life Sciences: A Review on Herbal Immunoadjuvant
  5. Rosemary Gladstar (2014), Herbs for Common Ailments: How to Make and Use Herbal Remedies for Home Health Care

What’s an Herbal Infusion

A liquid extract that is obtained by steeping herbs in water, oil or alcohol to extract its therapeutic compounds or flavors and then straining the fluid to extract the solid parts

In this video, herbalist Susun Weed discusses herbal infusions, including their benefits, uses and preparation.

References

  1. Ann McIntyre (1995), The Complete Women’s Herbal.
  2. David Hoffman (2013), Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies
  3. Henriette’s Herbal Page: Sodii Chloridum, B.P. Sodium Chloride
  4. International Journal Of Pharmacy & Life Sciences: A Review on Herbal Immunoadjuvant
  5. Rosemary Gladstar (2014), Herbs for Common Ailments: How to Make and Use Herbal Remedies for Home Health Care

What’s a: Hypnotic Herb?

An herb that acts to induce a deep, healing state of sleep

Hypnotic herbs:

  • California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica)
  • Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)
  • Hops (Humulus lupulu)
  • Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)
  • Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

HYPERGLYCEMIC

Hyperglycemic herbs act to lower blood sugar levels in diabetics. Synonym: Anti-diabetic

  • Acai Berry (Euterpe oleracea)
  • Banana (Musa sapientum)
  • Beetroot Juice (Beta vulgaris)
  • Bitter melon (Gymnema sylvestre)
  • Celery (Apium graveolens)
  • Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)
  • Garlic (Allium sativum)
  • Ginseng (Panax ginseng)
  • Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia)

This video gives an overview of 10 home remedies for high blood pressure, including hyperglycemic herbs such as garlic, beetroot juice, bananas and acai berry.

HERBALISM

Herbalism is an age-old practice of preparing and prescribing herbs to prevent and treat illness, as well as promote health.

Science has modernized the system using analytical and pharmaceutical testing. The science-based practice of herbal medicine is now called phytomedicine orphytotherapy, which is a system of therapeutics in which diseases and disorders are treated with medicinal plants and preparations made from them using scientific principles.

Herbal remedies may be prepared from single herbs, or as formulas that combine synergistic herbs. They are administered as teas, tinctures, capsules or powders.

Although, medicinally speaking, an herb is a plant that is valued for its therapeutic benefits, most herbal traditions also include animal and mineral substances in their material medica.

A Call to Herbs

In this video, A Call to Herbs, herbalist and author David Hoffman discusses the origins of herbal wisdom as well as the pitfalls of commercial herbalism.

HEMATOPOIETIC

Hematopoietic herbs promote the formation of blood cells. The term hematopoietic literally means “related to the formation of blood cells.”

Hematopoietic Herbs

  • Amli (Phyllanthus niruri)
  • Curry Tree (Bergera koenigii )
  • Custard Apple (Annona muricata)
  • Goji Berry (Lycium barbarum)
  • Sensitive Plant (Mimosa pudica)

HEAT THERAPY

Heat Therapy is the application of heat to specific body areas for therapeutic purposes, including pain relief and muscle relaxation. It can take the form of a hot cloth, heating pad, hot water or heat wrap. The thermal effect of the heat can not only provide pain relief but also healing benefits for many types of muscular pain and spasms.

Studies show that a heat wrap can be used to alleviate muscle pain and muscle strain, such as that caused by strenuous exercise. It can, for example, be used as preventative therapy by people who suffer back pain, helping relieve post-exercise pain intensity. A heat wrap, when worn for several hours, increases its thermal effects on muscle, exceeding the benefit of a conventional heating pad.

Heat therapy works by a number of mechanisms:

  • It dilates the blood vessels of the targeted muscles, which serves to increase the flow of oxygen and nutrients to these muscles. In addition to alleviating the pain, they help to heal the damaged tissue.
  • Heat stimulates sensory receptors in the skin, which helps to decrease the transmissions of pain signals to the brain, partially relieving the discomfort.
  • The application of heat facilitates stretching of muscle and connective tissue. As a result, heat therapy helps decrease stiffness as well as injury.

Synonym: Thermotherapy

In this video, Kaye & Peter Sehm discuss the benefits of a heat compress, and demonstrate how to prepare and use one.

HALLUCINOGENIC

A hallucinogenic herb distorts the senses, usually producing disturbances of consciousness ~ experiences that depart from reality. While hallucinations are usually visual, they may also involve the sense of hearing, smell, touch or taste as well.

Syn: Delirifacient, Hallucinogen, Psychoactive

Hallucinogenic Herbs

  • Khat (Catha edulis)
  • Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa)
  • Seer’s Sage (Salvia divinorum)
  • Thujone (Artemisia vulgaris)

HAIR TONIC HERBS

Hair tonic herbs nourish and moisturize hair, helping to tone and strengthen hair, promoting growth.

  • Aloe (Aloe vera)
  • Henna (Lawsonia inermis)
  • Hibiscus Flowers (Rosa Sinensis)
  • Coconut (Cocos nucifera)
  • Onion (Allium cepa)
  • Tamarind (Tamarindus Indica)

This video shows how hibiscus, a popular hair tonic herb, can be prepared to as a medicated hair oil.

GERMICIDE

A germicide is an herbal agent that kills or inhibits the growth of germs and other disease-carrying microorganisms. Germicides are usually applied topically to the skin. Some herbal germicides have antiseptic properties, and are used to reduce the risk of sepsis, infection, and putrefaction.

Germicidal Herbs

  • Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)
  • Cinnamon (Cinnamomum Zeylanicum)
  • Clove (Syzygium aromaticum)
  • Garlic (Allium sativum)
  • Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)
  • Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)

References

  1. Absorption and tissue distribution of curcumin in rats
  2. Ann McIntyre (1995), The Complete Women’s Herbal
  3. David Hoffman (2013), Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies
  4. German Commission E, Journal of the American Medical Association, 1993
  5. Rosemary Gladstar (2014), Herbs for Common Ailments: How to Make and Use Herbal Remedies for Home Health Care

GLYCERIN

Glycerin is a sweet, syrupy colorless liquid that is produced by the hydrolysis of vegetable or animal fat. It is valued as a solvent in the preparation of herbal remedies made from oils and tinctures. It’s sweet taste and non-alcoholic properties make it ideal for preparing remedies for children As a solvent, it has the added advantage of serving as a preservative.

Synonym: Glycerol

This video gives a great overview of the properties of glycerin.

References

  1. Absorption and tissue distribution of curcumin in rats
  2. Ann McIntyre (1995), The Complete Women’s Herbal
  3. David Hoffman (2013), Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies
  4. German Commission E, Journal of the American Medical Association, 1993
  5. Rosemary Gladstar (2014), Herbs for Common Ailments: How to Make and Use Herbal Remedies for Home Health Care

GENUS

“Genus” is a botanical term that refers to a plant’s classification. A plant within a particular genus has one or more attributes in common with other plants in the same genus.

In botanical nomenclature, the term is used either on its own or followed by a Latin adjective, to form the name of a species

References

  1. Absorption and tissue distribution of curcumin in rats
  2. Ann McIntyre (1995), The Complete Women’s Herbal
  3. David Hoffman (2013), Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies
  4. German Commission E, Journal of the American Medical Association, 1993
  5. Rosemary Gladstar (2014), Herbs for Common Ailments: How to Make and Use Herbal Remedies for Home Health Care

GARGLE

A gargle is an herbal infusion, decoction or diluted tincture that is used to treat sore throat. It works by stimulating circulation in the throat area, while soothing and healing inflamed tissue. Herbal gargles are usually prepared using herbs that have an astringent (drying) effect, acting to tighten the mucous membranes of the throat and mouth Gargles also kill and get rid of germ from the mouth and throat.

Synonym: Mouthwash

This video shows you how to prepare an herbal gargle as a natural remedy for sore throat.

References

  1. Absorption and tissue distribution of curcumin in rats
  2. Ann McIntyre (1995), The Complete Women’s Herbal
  3. David Hoffman (2013), Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies
  4. German Commission E, Journal of the American Medical Association, 1993
  5. Rosemary Gladstar (2014), Herbs for Common Ailments: How to Make and Use Herbal Remedies for Home Health Care

GALACTAGOGUE

A galactagogue is an herb that acts to increase breast milk production in lactating mothers to ensure the baby gets proper nutrition. Galactologues are used in remedies for a nursing mother who may not be producing enough breast milk in sufficient amounts to sustain her baby or babies.

Galactogogue Herbs:

  • Anise (Pimpinella anisum)
  • Blessed Thistle (Cnicus benedictus)
  • Cumin (Cuminum cyminum)
  • Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
  • Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)
  • Hops (Humulus lupulu)
  • Oats (Avena sativa)
  • Red Raspberry (Rubus idaeus)

In this video, lactation consultant Melissa K. Nagin discusses how to increase breast milk supply by using fenugreek and oat meal as galactologues.

References

  1. Absorption and tissue distribution of curcumin in rats
  2. Ann McIntyre (1995), The Complete Women’s Herbal
  3. David Hoffman (2013), Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies
  4. German Commission E, Journal of the American Medical Association, 1993
  5. Rosemary Gladstar (2014), Herbs for Common Ailments: How to Make and Use Herbal Remedies for Home Health Care

FUNCTIONAL FOOD

A food or a food ingredient that has been shown to provide therapeutic health benefits in addition to the nutrients that it contains. Psyllium, for example, which is high in dietary fiber, has been shown to be heart healthy by lower cholesterol levels. Functional foods are given labels by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), based on research data.

References

  1. Absorption and tissue distribution of curcumin in rats
  2. Ann McIntyre (1995), The Complete Women’s Herbal
  3. David Hoffman (2013), Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies
  4. Experimental Cardiology Journal: Fibrinolytic effects of Ginkgo biloba extract
  5. Naturalpedia: Fibrinolytic Activity
  6. Japanese Heart Journal: Onion, garlic, and experimental atherosclerosis
  7. Journal of Postgraduate Medicine: Effect of ingestion of raw garlic on serum cholesterol level, clotting time and fibrinolytic activity in normal subjects
  8. Rosemary Gladstar (2014), Herbs for Common Ailments: How to Make and Use Herbal Remedies for Home Health Care

FREE RADICAL

Each human cell is made up of atoms, which contain electrons and protons. In the healthy human cell, atoms contain an equal number of electrons and protons. The electrons occur in pairs, and form an outer layer surrounding the protons.

When the atom loses one of its electrons, this creates an unstable molecule with an unpaired electron. This unstable molecule is called a free radical. The free radical tries to re-stabilize itself by attacking stable, neighboring molecules and “stealing” an electron to replace the one it lost. The molecule that is attacked and loses an electron, in turn, becomes a free radical itself.

The result is a chain reaction that affects an increasing number of neighboring molecules. This chain reaction is called oxidative stress, which is believed to cause chronic diseases such as cancer, arthritis, diabetes and heart disease.

Free radicals form normally in the body through metabolism. However, certain environmental factors can cause an excess of free radicals, such as pollution, cigarette smoke and radiation. Internal factors such as stress can also create excess free radicals.

Oxidation can be prevented by anti-oxidation, which is achieved by molecules called antioxidants. An antioxidant works by donating an electron of its own to a free radical, thereby neutralizing the free radical and stopping the chain reaction of oxidation.

Video: Free Radicals & Antioxidants Explained

This health video explains how free radicals form, how the damage they cause contributes to cancer, heart disease, inflammation, neural disorders, diabetes and the symptoms of aging. It also shows how antioxidants neutralize free radical, helping to prevent or reverse the harmful health conditions they cause.

References

  1. Absorption and tissue distribution of curcumin in rats
  2. Ann McIntyre (1995), The Complete Women’s Herbal
  3. David Hoffman (2013), Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies
  4. Experimental Cardiology Journal: Fibrinolytic effects of Ginkgo biloba extract
  5. Naturalpedia: Fibrinolytic Activity
  6. Japanese Heart Journal: Onion, garlic, and experimental atherosclerosis
  7. Journal of Postgraduate Medicine: Effect of ingestion of raw garlic on serum cholesterol level, clotting time and fibrinolytic activity in normal subjects
  8. Rosemary Gladstar (2014), Herbs for Common Ailments: How to Make and Use Herbal Remedies for Home Health Care

FOOTBATH

A herbal foot bath is an immersion bath that covers the feet and ankles. It is used for cleansing, warming, soothing, or disinfecting the feet.

You can enhance the therapeutic benefits by adding calificient herbs like cayenne pepper, ginger and mustard.

When your feet are immersed in hot water, the heat dilates blood vessels, increasing blood flow in your feet and entire skin surface. This causes blood in upper parts of the body to flow downward into the dilated vessels, relieving congestion in the brain and other internal organs.

A foot bath also elevates body temperature, relaxes tense muscles and increases white blood cell activity.

In this video, Kaye Sehm shows you how to make and use a hot footbath. She explains how it can be used as a home remedy for migraine headaches. It works by dilating blood vessels in the feet and legs, drawing blood from the head and relieving the congestion in the brain that causes the migraine. A footbath can also be used to relieve menstrual cramps.

References

  1. Absorption and tissue distribution of curcumin in rats
  2. Ann McIntyre (1995), The Complete Women’s Herbal
  3. David Hoffman (2013), Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies
  4. Experimental Cardiology Journal: Fibrinolytic effects of Ginkgo biloba extract
  5. Naturalpedia: Fibrinolytic Activity
  6. Japanese Heart Journal: Onion, garlic, and experimental atherosclerosis
  7. Journal of Postgraduate Medicine: Effect of ingestion of raw garlic on serum cholesterol level, clotting time and fibrinolytic activity in normal subjects
  8. Rosemary Gladstar (2014), Herbs for Common Ailments: How to Make and Use Herbal Remedies for Home Health Care

FOMENTATION

A topical herbal preparation that is used as a warm, moist compress to relieve pain and inflammation. It acts to stimulate blood circulation, draw abscesses, tone muscle, warm stiff joints and rejuvenate tissues. Fomentation is used to treat rheumatism, gout, osteoarthritis, pleurisy and other diseases caused by vitiation of blood.

A quaint term for the application of a hot pack or the material that is thus applied. It is derived from the Latin word “fovimentum,” meaning “a warm application.”

References

  1. Absorption and tissue distribution of curcumin in rats
  2. Ann McIntyre (1995), The Complete Women’s Herbal
  3. David Hoffman (2013), Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies
  4. Experimental Cardiology Journal: Fibrinolytic effects of Ginkgo biloba extract
  5. Naturalpedia: Fibrinolytic Activity
  6. Japanese Heart Journal: Onion, garlic, and experimental atherosclerosis
  7. Journal of Postgraduate Medicine: Effect of ingestion of raw garlic on serum cholesterol level, clotting time and fibrinolytic activity in normal subjects
  8. Rosemary Gladstar (2014), Herbs for Common Ailments: How to Make and Use Herbal Remedies for Home Health Care

FLUID EXTRACT

A concentrated water and alcohol extract of an herb, typically in ratios of 1:1 or 1:2 (of dry weight to menstruum). A fluid extract is made by simmering an herb and reducing amount of water till the solution thickens. The resulting liquid contains a concentrated form of the herb’s active constituents. Glycerin, alcohol or tincture of Benzoin are often added as a preservative.

References

  1. Absorption and tissue distribution of curcumin in rats
  2. Ann McIntyre (1995), The Complete Women’s Herbal
  3. David Hoffman (2013), Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies
  4. Experimental Cardiology Journal: Fibrinolytic effects of Ginkgo biloba extract
  5. Naturalpedia: Fibrinolytic Activity
  6. Japanese Heart Journal: Onion, garlic, and experimental atherosclerosis
  7. Journal of Postgraduate Medicine: Effect of ingestion of raw garlic on serum cholesterol level, clotting time and fibrinolytic activity in normal subjects
  8. Rosemary Gladstar (2014), Herbs for Common Ailments: How to Make and Use Herbal Remedies for Home Health Care

FIBRINOLYTIC

A fibrinolytic herb or compound is one that has anti-platelet properties, which inhibit the formation of blood clots in the blood circulation. The term is derived from the English word: fibrin, and the Greek word lysis, which means “loosening” or “dissolving.”

Fibrinolytic herbs work by breaking down fibrin, which is the main constituent of blood clots. This has the benefit of preventing excessive fibrin from forming blood clots (thrombi). Excessive fibrin is also responsible for scar tissue and painful inflammation. Fibrinolytic herbs are often used to treat cardiovascular disorders such as atherosclerosis, deep vein thrombosis, and varicose veins

Studies show that Gingko, a fibrinolytic herb, owes its antiplatelet properties to two of its active compound: ginkgolides and bilobalides.

Synonym: Antiplatelet, Antithrombotic, Clot Buster, Thrombolytic

Fibrinolytic Herbs

  • Cayenne Pepper (Capsicum annuum)
  • Garlic (Allium sativum)
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
  • Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)
  • Onion (Allium cepa)

References

  1. Absorption and tissue distribution of curcumin in rats
  2. Ann McIntyre (1995), The Complete Women’s Herbal
  3. David Hoffman (2013), Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies
  4. Experimental Cardiology Journal: Fibrinolytic effects of Ginkgo biloba extract
  5. Naturalpedia: Fibrinolytic Activity
  6. Japanese Heart Journal: Onion, garlic, and experimental atherosclerosis
  7. Journal of Postgraduate Medicine: Effect of ingestion of raw garlic on serum cholesterol level, clotting time and fibrinolytic activity in normal subjects
  8. Rosemary Gladstar (2014), Herbs for Common Ailments: How to Make and Use Herbal Remedies for Home Health Care

FEBRIFUGE

An herb that helps reduces fever by lowering the body temperature from a raised state. A febrifuge acts on the hypothalamus, which is the part of the brain responsible for the regulation of body temperature.

It’s often necessary to continue to taking febrifuges for a few days to keep a fever from coming back. Febrifuge herbs do not affect normal body temperature; they only lower temperatures when a person has a fever.

See Also: Antipyretic

Febrifuge Herbs:

  • Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus)
  • Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum)
  • Buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula)
  • Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
  • Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)
  • Garlic (Allium sativum)
  • Sarsaparilla (Smilax Ornata)
  • White willow (Salix alba)

References

  1. Absorption and tissue distribution of curcumin in rats
  2. Ann McIntyre (1995), The Complete Women’s Herbal
  3. David Hoffman (2013), Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies
  4. Experimental Cardiology Journal: Fibrinolytic effects of Ginkgo biloba extract
  5. Naturalpedia: Fibrinolytic Activity
  6. Japanese Heart Journal: Onion, garlic, and experimental atherosclerosis
  7. Journal of Postgraduate Medicine: Effect of ingestion of raw garlic on serum cholesterol level, clotting time and fibrinolytic activity in normal subjects
  8. Rosemary Gladstar (2014), Herbs for Common Ailments: How to Make and Use Herbal Remedies for Home Health Care

FUNGICIDE

A compound that kills fungi, or inhibits its growth. Fungi is a group of simple organisms that are related to mold and yeast. For medicinal purposes, antifungal remedies are used to treat infections caused by fungus such as athlete’s foot and ringworm. Herbal fungicides are prepared for household and garden use.

References

  1. Absorption and tissue distribution of curcumin in rats
  2. Ann McIntyre (1995), The Complete Women’s Herbal
  3. David Hoffman (2013), Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies
  4. Experimental Cardiology Journal: Fibrinolytic effects of Ginkgo biloba extract
  5. Naturalpedia: Fibrinolytic Activity
  6. Japanese Heart Journal: Onion, garlic, and experimental atherosclerosis
  7. Journal of Postgraduate Medicine: Effect of ingestion of raw garlic on serum cholesterol level, clotting time and fibrinolytic activity in normal subjects
  8. Rosemary Gladstar (2014), Herbs for Common Ailments: How to Make and Use Herbal Remedies for Home Health Care

EXTRACT

An extract is an herbal preparation that is obtained by steeping an herb in an appropriate solvent, usually alcohol, glycerin or water, straining out the solid parts and then evaporating some or all of the solvent. An herbal extract is often diluted to adjust its concentration prescribed levels.

EXPECTORANT

An herb that helps the body to loosen and expel mucus from the lungs, bronchi, and trachea.. Expectorant herbs promote the thinning and drainage of mucus from the upper respiratory tract. They also help lubricate the irritated respiratory tract walls. Expectorants are commonly used to treat coughs and colds.

Expectorant Herbs

  • Cayenne Pepper (Capsicum annuum)
  • Garlic (Allium sativum)
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
  • Lemon (Citrus limon)
  • Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
  • Onion (Allium cepa)
  • Sage (Salvia officinalis)
  • Honey

In this video, Chef Janie Pendleton shows you how to prepare your own expectorant cough syrup from ginger, lemon and honey.