Posts tagged ‘Asia’

January 7, 2013

Basil Essential Oil

There are many flavours of basil and it comes in purple or green varieties. There are many chemotypes of basil, depending on where it is grown, the chemical constituents are different, but they are all used the same way. In India it is called Holy basil.

basil doc (2)

Basil  is a nerve tonic relieving mental fatigue while sharpening the senses, it gives the mind clarity and focus for concentration. The clarifying effects are like rosemary, and it is good to use with rosemary for headaches along with lavender and peppermint. The antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties of basil treat digestive and respiratory conditions.

Latin Name Ocimum basilicum
Family Lamiaceae
Country of Origin Europe, Asia, Middle East, North America
Volatility Top note
Extraction Steam distilled from leaves
Colour colourless, pale amber
Aroma liquorice, sweet,
Caution Contraindications Do not use during pregnancy. May cause skin irritation.
Primary Uses Digestion: digestive upset, gas, bloating, inflammation, liver congestionRespiratory: sinus, flu, congestion, coughs, colds,Nervous: Stress, fatigue, mental, physical.Head: headaches, earache(external use only), migraines

Used as insect repellent and for treating insect stings and bites.


Properties Anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, anticatarrhal, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cephalic, digestive, expectorant, emmenagogue, relaxant, stimulating/relaxing nervine, hepatic, stimulant, warming, tonic
Constituents Methyl ester: methyl cinnamate,Monoterpene alcohols: linalool, geraniol, Oxide: cineoleSesquiterpenes: caryophyllene, terpinolene,Phenol: methyl chavicol-40-50%

Phenylpropanoids: eugenol, trans methyl isoeugenol,

Monoterpenes: pinene, camphor, ocimene, mycrene, terpinolene,


March 24, 2012

Burdock root

Burdock root is an edible root that is high in nutrition, antioxidants and therapeutic properties.

Burdock roots

The first year burdock root is traditionally used in stir-fry recipes in Asia and as fritters in Italy.  Dandelion and burdock root is a popular beverage in the U.K.  Use it like you would use hops to brew beer and other alcoholic beverages. The root tastes like palm hearts or bamboo shoots to me.

The seed is also used in TCM to treat urinary and skin conditions. The seed is more diaphoretic than the root.

Burdock root is a skin tissue detoxicant so pair it with draining diuretics for good toxin elimination.  Increase dose gradually for toxicity related conditions to avoid any major detoxification side-effects.

The fresh root is superior in taste, (the dried root has a more bitter flavour,) and the fresh root has more active antibacterial and antifungal actions. 

 The fresh first year root is wild-crafted in the fall when the root is less bitter. It can also be picked in spring when young leaves are starting to show. The first year plant is identifiable through its leaves only because it does not have the stalk or burrs formed yet. It is also found cultivated fresh year round at some health food stores and Chinese grocers.

It is a mild remedy with dynamic detoxifying functions and it is good culinary medicine.

Burdock Leaf

The young leaves and flower stalks are also eaten.

Common Name  Burdock root
Latin Name  Arctium spp.~Arctium lappa- Great burdock

Arctium minus-  Common burdock

Arctium x nothum- Common burdock

Family Asteraceae
Parts Used Biennial- First year root picked in the Fall with no burrs/ stalk
Target Organs Digestion, skin, lymphatic, immune, liver, gallbladder, kidney, bladder
Common Uses Nutritive antioxidant that detoxifies.Skin conditions: eczema, psoriasis, dandruff, dermatitis

Lymphatic conditions: swollen glands, tonsillitis,

Immune: boost, fever, toxicity, arthritis, gout, allergies,

Digestion: constipation,

Liver: conditions, congestion,

Properties Antibacterial, anticarcinogenic, antifungal,  anti-inflammatory (local, systemic), antilithic, antimutagenic, antineoplastic, antioxidant, antirheumatic, antithrombotic, antitoxic, aperient, appetite stimulant, astringent, bitter, cholagogue, choleretic, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant-relaxing, secretolytic, febrifuge, immune stimulant, lymphatic, pancreatic, relaxant, sialagogue, stomachic, tranquilizer, peripheral vasodilator, vulnerary
Constituents Flavonoids- (arctiin, arctigenin)  bitter glycosides (arctiopicrin), polysaccharides, lignans, tannic acids, tannins, antibiotic substances,  alkaloid, inulin up to 45%, resin, fixed oil, mucilage 5-12%, condensed tannins, polyacetylenes, Vitamins- A,  C, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin

Minerals- calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, iodine, potassium, manganese, selenium, zinc, silicon, cobalt, chromium, magnesium,

Cautions Mild remedy: Burdock is a skin tissue detoxicant so pair it with draining diuretics for good toxin elimination.  Increase dose gradually for toxicity conditions to avoid any major detoxification side-effects
Dosage Tincture: 2-4ml                Tea: 2 tsp. Decoction  simmer 15-30 minutes

Culinary: Root peeled and julienned in stir-fry’s and fritters

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