Has a long list of health benefits such as detoxifying the body, healing the liver, preventing chronic disease, reducing inflammation, boosting the immune system, healing respiratory infections, improving hair health and soothing stomach disorders. This herb should be avoided by those living with diabetes.
Herbalists have long regarded cleavers as a valuable lymphatic tonic and diuretic. The lymph system is the body's mechanism to wash tissues of toxins, passing them back into the bloodstream to be cleansed by the liver and kidneys. This cleansing actions makes cleavers useful in treating conditions like psoriasis and arthritis, which benefit from purifying the blood. Cleavers is a reliable diuretic used to clean gravel and urinary stones and to treat urinary infections. In cats, these actions make cleavers a safe long-term aid in the treatment of feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), and the herb may also be useful for chronic low-grade kidney inflammation. Studies showed that cleavers extract lowered blood pressure without slowing heart rate or having any health-threatening side effects. Cleavers is a coffee relative and the roasted seeds are used as a coffee substitute. The young leaves can be eaten like spinach.
For acne and skin care: like burdock, dandelion root helps the body dispose of unwanted skin bacteria. It also stimulates digestion and supports the liver - the major organ that helps rid the body of toxins and excess hormones, including the androgens that trigger acne breakouts. As a specific herb for the liver, it also benefits the female reproductive system by helping to regulate and normalize hormone production.
Dandelion root contains bitter principles that have a tonic effect on the liver and digestive system. It is gentle laxative and a natural diuretic that is rich in natural potassium, which enriches the body's supply. This detoxifying, diuretic action also earns dandelion a place in many herbal weight loss formulations. In recent studies, Taraxacum officinalis was shown to have a positive effect on weight management. Dandelion root also contains sugars and starches easily assimilated by diabetics, and can be incorporated into a diet meant to help control blood sugar levels.
This herbal medicine it has an impressive list of well documented uses and is probably one of the most over-looked of all herbal wonders.
Licorice promotes the healing of ulcers, it can lower stomach acid levels, relieve heartburn and indigestion and acts as a mild laxative. It can soothe irritation, inflammation and spasms in the digestive tract. Through its beneficial action on the liver, it increases bile flow and lowers cholesterol levels.
Licorice Root also has immune system boosting qualities, and eases pain through an aspirin-like action. It also acts on the adrenal glands, which improves one’s resistance to physical and emotional stress and increases energy levels.
Licorice’s anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties help calm liver inflammation and keep a healthy function of the heart. Licorice also eases congestion and coughing by helping to loosen mucus and making coughs more ‘productive’ and soothes soreness in the throat.
Finally, phytoestrogens in licorice root make it useful to ease PMS symptoms as well.
Use in moderation.
Marigold (Calendula) Flowers
Calendula is a stunningly beautiful flower; the deep orange and yellow petals form a colorful contrast with the greenery in any herb garden. Is it little wonder that Calendula, called "Marygold" or "sunbride" in the herbals of the middle ages, was ascribed magical powers and healing virtues. Calendula flower oil heals the skin so well, The German Commission E has verified the effectiveness of calendula in healing wounds and reducing inflammation.
Calendula is a particularly good treatment for cuts, scrapes, bruises, insect bites and minor wounds. Calendula is antifungal and so can help to cure thrush (Candida albicans). The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of calendula make it a good face wash for dry, irritated skin and acne.
Traditionally known as ‘the homoeopathic antiseptic’, wounds treated with calendula extracts healed cleanly and rapidly without one drop of pus. In recent times, this has been backed up by research confirming Calendula’s anti-bacterial properties against Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus faecalis both commonly found on the skin and in the nares and throat, using a dry hydroethanolic extract. (Dumenil G et al., Evaluation of antibacterial properties of marigold flowers (Calendula officinalis) and mother homeopathic tinctures of Calendula officinalis Re: Annual Pharm French 1980).
Mild, but effective anti-inflammatory herb used to treat arthritis and other aches and pains. Meadowsweet leaves and flowers contain salicylates, compounds that are converted by the body to aspirin. Meadowsweet is especially helpful for those arthritis sufferers who have gastritis, (inflammation of the stomach lining) from years of taking NSAIDs. While it may seem contradictory at first, since aspirin and salicylates are know for causing stomach upset, but years of observation and historic use confirm that meadowsweet is effective in a wide range of digestive problems, including diarrhea in children. This makes a strong case for the whole herb being much more than just the sum of its "active" ingredients.
Milk Thistle Seed
This handsome plant has been used for liver ailments for thousands of years, but until recently was one of herbal medicine's best kept secrets. Silymarin, a constituent of milk thistle, is now listed in The Mereck Index as a liver protector and actually helps to regenerate liver cells and protects against damage by toxins and viruses. Whole seeds of milk thistle or a tincture made from them are now used in the United States as well as Europe for both protection and regeneration of the liver. Powdered seeds are also available in capsules. A frequent drinker, recovering alcoholic, or anyone taking harsh drugs long term, prescription or otherwise, should take milk thistle extract on a daily basis. Milk thistle combines well with dandelion, peppermint or bitters thus combining hepatropic (liver) and choleretic (gallbladder) herbal actions to support better digestion.
Kelp is composed of 60 elements, 16 amino acids and 12 vitamins. Providing an antioxidant effect, it attracts heavy metals and removes them from the body. It has been shown to improve thyroid stimulation and also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Feeding kelp is a very economical way to provide for most of the nutrients for horses. There is a percieved danger that iodine toxicities could occur when a horse is fed too much seaweed – but, if fed with care, kelp (seaweed) can provide unique benefits to a horse’s health. If fed correctly the level of iodine is way below toxic levels.
The full range of nutrients of kelp are also beneficial for dogs. Kelp has an advantage over other green feeds as it does not have cellulose encircling the cell wall - cellulose can be difficult for a dog to digest. Of particular advantage to dogs is the effect of coat color enhancement, and also very helpful for dogs with skin allergies and alopecia. It may take several weeks, but improvement in skin dryness and itchiness have been recorded. As it helps to improve metabolism, the energy level is increased and resistance to disease and assisting immune functions are other benefits.
Commonly used in herbal medicine to stimulate the thyroid function, it can also be effective in weight loss as part of a low calorie diet. The consumption of seaweeds has also been associated with lower cancer rates.
Kelp is anti-inflammatory, demulcent, emollient, protective against radiation, anti-cancer, anti-tumor, antibiotic, immuno-stimulant, anti-viral and soothing to intestinal mucosa.
An antispasmodic that calms nausea and aids in digestion. Most horses relish the taste of peppermint, and it can be added to unfamiliar drinking water to help horses accept it.
The peppermint oil that is found in the plant has a carminative action, helping to relax sphincters and the smooth muscles of the digestive system, assist in the expulsion of intestinal gas, tone mucous membrane surfaces and increase peristalsis. The oil has a cooling, soothing and anesthetic effect on the smooth muscles of the stomach and intestines, which makes it one of the key herbs to choose when dealing with horses prone to colic, gastric or duodenal ulceration, smooth muscle spasm, trapped gas, digestive cramping or poor appetite.
Peppermint contains a bitter quality that increases bile secretion and helps stimulate the appetite as well as tannins, which can help with horses who suffer from loose droppings or bouts of diarrhea.
Vitex (Chaste Tree Berry)
Vitex is a normalizing herb for the female reproductive system, a regulator of
the hormonal balance of estrogen and progesterone. This normalizing of hormones is what makes the herb valuable in treating painful and irregular menses, PMS, menopause and infertility. For chronic problems, it is most effective when taken over a prolonged period of time.
Vitex berry tinctures were also traditionally prescribed for pain and weakness in the limbs.
Should not be used in pregnant or lactating animals.