Posts tagged ‘Asteraceae’

April 23, 2013

Boneset Herb

2. White Boneset, july 27 03

Boneset is a native to the Ontario region, but is less common in the northern part of the province in Canada. Boneset grows together with the two species of gravel root or joe-pye, but Joe-pye grows in the south-western corner of the province. Both plants grow in wetlands, riverbanks, marshes and lakes, and prefer open sunny areas. Joe-pye root and boneset herb are both wetland plants that boost the immune system.

2. White Boneset, July 27 2003Boneset is easy to identify because of the joined leaves around the stem that grow in paired opposites. In this picture of white boneset, the white flowers are just about to bloom, and it is the best time to pick it.

It is best known for treating fevers and in Traditional Chinese Medicine, it treats all three stages of fever, Tai Yang, Shao Yang, Yang Ming. It is called boneset not because it knits and repairs bones like comfrey, but because it is used for deep, aching bone pain, like rheumatic typhoid and “bone breaking fever.” It is extremely bitter, cooling and drying while stimulating the liver and digestion. Caution is advised! This plant is becoming increasingly endangered due to destruction of wetland habitat and over harvesting.

Common Name  Boneset herb
Latin Name  Eupatorium perfoliatum
Family Asteraceae (Aster)
Parts Used Perennial- leaves and flowers
Target Organs immune, circulatory, digestive, respiratory, liver, stomach, throat
Common Uses Immune respiratory: stimulates immunity against infections. Used for fevers, dengue, malaria, colds, coughs, flu, infections, catarrh, sore throat, toxicity, Digestion: liver congestion, constipation, upset stomach, indigestion, gas, bloating Nervous system: debility, pain, neuralgia,
Properties Anticatarrhal, anti-inflammatory(local, systemic) anti-infective, antimicrobial, antineoplastic, antirheumatic, aperient, appetite stimulant, astringent, bitter,  cholagogue, choleretic, digestive stimulant, diaphoretic, diuretic, immune stimulant, febrifuge, nervine, relaxant, stomachic, tranquilizer, peripheral vasodilator, vulnerary
Constituents polysaccharides, flavonoids: quercetin, rutin, astragalin, hyperoside, inulin, sterols, vitamin D1, galic acid, essential volatile oil, glucosidal tannin, tannic acid, diterpenes, bitter glycoside: eupatorin, sesquiterpenes lactones, fatty resin,
Cautions Medium strength: Only use dried herb. Avoid high doses long term use. May cause diarrhoea, vomiting in high doses. Low doses short term use for acute infections. Should not be used by pregnant, nursing women, infants and children under the age of ten. Use in formulation up to 25% for no more than 1 week or two. 
Dosage Tincture: 1-3ml                Dried herb Tea infusion: 3-8g cold infusion for exhaustion and acute fever
November 22, 2012


The common name for Calendula is marigold or more specifically pot marigold because there are so many varieties. Calendula is the Latin name. This cheery sunny annual flower is easy to grow from seed and I plant it every year, but sometimes if you are lucky they will seed themselves. Calendula is like Echinacea it clears toxic heat, inflammation while reducing infection internally and externally. It is one of the best first aid remedies for injuries and burns. Many preparations made from Calendula like swabs, compresses, gargles, creams, salves, infusions and tinctures are easy to use and very healing.

Common Name  Calendula/ Pot Marigold petals
Latin Name  Calendula officinalis
Family Asteraceae
Parts Used Annual easily grows from seeds- flower petals picked Summer/ Fall
Target Organs Skin, lymphatic, cardiovascular, reproductive,  immune, digestion, liver/ gallbladder
Common Uses Skin: wounds, bruises, strains, infections, ulcers, skin infections, ulcers, inflammationLymphatic: ear infections, congested lymph

Digestion: indigestion,

Female reproductive: balancing, pain,

Immune vascular tonic

Allergies, infections, detoxify, fever, skin conditions, inflammation

Properties Antiallergenic, antibacterial, anti-catarrhal, antifungal, anti-inflammatory(local, systemic) antineoplastic, anti-protozoa, anti-rheumatic, aperient, appetite stimulant, anti-ulcerogenic,  antiviral, astringent, detoxicant, decongestant, depurative, diaphoretic, febrifuge, haemostatic, immune stimulant, lymphatic, nervine, relaxant, tranquilizer, uterine tonic, vascular tonic, neural, peripheral vasodilator, vulnerary
Constituents Essential Oil-(alcohol, terpene lactones)triterpenoid saponins, flavonoids(quercetin, kaempferol, isorhamnetin) carotenoids( carotene, calendulin, lycopin) bitters, phytosterols, resin, mucilage, polysaccharides, trace minerals, potassium chloride, palmitic/malic/salicylic acid mucilage,
Cautions Mild remedy: Avoid internal use during pregnancy it is a uterine stimulant
Dosage Tincture: 2-4ml                Tea: 8-14g 1-2 tsp
November 2, 2012


Yarrow is one of Canada’s great wildflowers with a popular past, it needs to be used more often today. The Latin species name ‘millefolium,’  means thousand leaves named after the finely divided alternate feathery leaves. Thousand leaf and milfoil are also common names besides the name yarrow. Used externally the leaves are astringent which stops bleeding, reduces inflammation and speeds healing.

The Latin Genus name ‘Achillea’ is named after Achilles who healed his soldiers with yarrow during the Trojan War. Known as ‘herba militaria,’ yarrow helped treat wounds suffered in battle up to the 17th century.  Yarrow was popular and was picked to aid digestion, stop fevers and to use as a nose snuff.

There is a long history of metaphysical uses. The dried stalks were popular for divination for the ancient Chinese oracle the “I Ching.” In the middle ages the common name was Devil’s Nettle because of its use for divination and spells.

Pink Yarrow in British Columbia

The colour of the flowers vary from white to pinks in the wild. Hybrids are usually bigger and are available in beautiful bright colours of gold, yellow and reds. Yarrow is easy to grow because of its wildflower nature and grows in full sun with good drainage.

Country of Origin for essential oil production: Canada and France. Canadian essential oil is diploid and the colour is deep dark blue. European triploid essential oil variety is yellow-green colour. 


Common Name  Yarrow herb aka Milfoil, Thousandleaf
Latin Name  Achillea   millefolium
Family Asteraceae (Aster   family)
Parts Used/ Habitat Growth: Perennial   invasive wildflower grows 2-3 ft. Flowering tops picked in the summer in July
Target Organs Digestion, respiratory,   circulatory, female reproductive, skin, immune, cardiovascular
Common Uses Immune respiratory: coughs, colds, flu, fever, catarrh, infectionsVascular conditions:HBP, (Sitz bath) veins,

Skin/muscle: wounds,   bruises, sprains, strains, cuts,

Digestion:   spasms, ulcers, IBS,

Female reproductive: balancing tonic, spasms

Properties Antiallergenic,   antibacterial, anticatarrhal, anti-inflammatory(local, systemic), antimicrobial,  antispasmodic (digestive, general), antiulcerogenic,   antiviral, aperient, astringent, bitter, carminative, cholagogue, choleretic,   diaphoretic, febrifuge, haemostatic (styptic, uterine) hypoglycaemic, hypotensive,   sialagogue, stomachic, styptic, stimulating emmenagogue, vasodilator (peripheral),   vascular tonic, uterine tonic, vulnerary
Constituents Essential Oil:.05%-.08%Ketones: thujone, camphor;

 Lactones:achillin, achillicin,   hydroxyachillin, millifin, millifolide,


Sesquiterpenes: Azulene 1-51%   chamazulene, dihydroazulene, sabinene caryophyllene,

Oxides: 1, 8 cineole 10%

Monoterpenes: pinene 16%;

Other: flavonoids,   tannins, bitter alkaloid minerals, trace minerals, chlorophyll,   vitamin C, fatty acids, phytosterol

Cautions Mild remedy:Caution due to thujone content-uterine stimulant, neurotoxin. Do   not use during pregnancy, and with babies.
Dosage Tincture: 1-4mlTea: 1-2 tsp. infuse 10-15 minutes

external use: infused water use as a compress, poultice or a wash for wounds

September 5, 2012

Feverfew Treats Migraine Headaches

Feverfew is best known for treating and preventing migraines and headaches. Approved in Canada and England to prevent migraines research concludes it is effective in reducing the pain, intensity, duration, and number of attacks in 70% of migraine cases studied. It is important to discuss and treat root causes of headaches and migraines, and to rule out more serious reasons. Common reasons for migraines and headaches are allergies, food allergies, anxiety, stress, depression, liver congestion, constipation, and toxicity. Know what your triggers are and work from there.


Feverfew is a medium strength remedy and caution is strongly advised because overeating fresh leaves may cause mouth ulcers. Eat 1-4 fresh leaves a day preferably in salads, or on a sandwich to avoid this. Use in tincture formulation with demulcent herbs, and avoid long-term use and high doses. Seek guidance from a professional health practitioner.

Common Name  Feverfew herb
Latin Name  Tanacetum parthenium
Family Asteraceae
Parts Used Perennial-herb leaves picked in summer during growing season
Target Organs/Areas Head, cardiovascular, lungs, digestion, reproductive, muscles, nerves
Common Uses Head: migraines, headaches,dizziness, tinnitus, pain, inflammation, relaxes, sedate,

Cardiovascular: relaxes,dilates blood vessels, inflammation, increases circulation, arthritis, colds, cramps, neuralgia, sciatica, fibromyalgia, tension,

Digestion: digestive stimulant, digestive bitter,

Female reproductive: amenorrhea, stimulant, spasmodic dysmenorrhea, PMS,

Properties anti-migraines, analgesic, antiseptic, vasodilator, anti-inflammatory, relaxant, sedative, digestive stimulant, digestive bitter, bitter, uterine stimulant, emmenagogue, 
Constituents Essential oil:  lactones- parthenolides, camphor, borneol, terpenes, esters; bitter resin, inulin (in root) gums, tannic acid, pyrethrin
Cautions Medium strength: Caution may cause mouth ulcers, use with demulcents. Avoid continous long-term use. May cause dermatitis. Avoid high doses. Do not use in pregnancy, breastfeeding.
Dosage Tincture: Best used in formulation combined with demulcents : 2-4ml             

Tea: 8g / 1 teaspoon Infuse 5-10 min

Eat: 1-4 fresh leaves a day preferably in salads, or on a sandwich.

July 26, 2012

Echinacea with Amazing Butterfly Pictures

Echinacea is blooming and what a beautiful butterfly magnet it is! Echinacea is the latin name that people are familiar with, but the common name for this amazing perennial wildflower is purple coneflower. ‘Echinos’ is the Greek word for sea urchin or hedgehog, which relates to the look of the center cones that resemble the spines of hedgehogs, especially when dried.

There are three types or species of Echinacea:

  1. ‘purpurea’ is the purple variety
  2. ‘angustifolia’ is the narrow leaf variety
  3. ‘pallida’ means pale, named for the paler varieties. This variety is used less  medicinally.

Do not misuse Echinacea as a long-term immune enhancer, it is not like adaptogens such as ginseng. Echinacea is a cool detoxicant that reduces infection and heat. Use it for short-term infections and acute conditions only.

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***Echinacea should only be used as short-term immune stimulant. Do not use long-term and avoid overuse. Do not pick it in the wild, it is extinct and endangered. Cultivate it yourself or buy the root dried. Echinacea is also a good ingredient in gargles, washes, compresses, syrups, and used externally to treat injuries, burns, and skin disorders.

Learn how to make your own tincture here:

Common Name  Echinacea/ Purple coneflower root
Latin Name  Echinacea spp. angustifolia/ purpurea/pallida
Family Asteraceae
Parts Used perennial flowers rarely used/ root harvested in late summer /fall after blooming
Target Organs Blood, lymphatic, skin, stomach, urogenital, immune,
Common Uses bacterial viral infections, first sign cold, flu, chills, swollen glands lymph congestion, runny stuffy nose, cough, laryngitis, food allergies, UTI, skin infections, fever, inflammation, discharge,  wounds, ulcers, burns,
Properties Cool, dry, calming, stimulating, restoring, dissolving, anti-microbial, antibacterial, antiallergenic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anti-toxic, astringent, alterative, anti-catarrhal, antiviral, antineoplastic, febrifuge, depurative, detoxicant, diuretic, lymphatic, decongestant, stimulating/regulating, immune stimulant, vulnerary
Constituents Essential oil, humulene, sesquiterpenes, glycoside echinoside, polysaccharides-echinacin, inulin, isobutylamides, polyines, polyenes, echinolone, betaine, tannins, resins, oleic/cerotic/ linolic/ palmatic acids, 13 polyacetylenes, enzymes, fatty acids, phytosterols, trace minerals, vitamin C
Cautions Mild remedy but may cause dizziness, nausea, numb tongue, gastric upset, cankers, throat irritation due to its stimulating nature.
Dosage Most effective: Tincture: 2-4ml                 Decoction: 6-10 g

Acute conditions like infection or onset of a cold

Take up to 2 tablespoons of decoction or 1 tsp. of tincture every two hours at acute protocols

April 24, 2012


Dandelion is an amazing nutritious wild edible! Some see dandelion as a noxious weed and try to poison it, but it is amazing medicinal food that has gentle but deep action that detoxifies and nourishes. Dandelion is one of the best supporting herbs for the liver and kidneys, which are important organs for detoxification.

Dandelion is medicinally used in Western Herbalism, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic medicine. The West mainly uses it as a digestive bitter stimulant, diuretic, detoxicant and to restore the liver. It is prized in the Orient for its anti-inflammatory properties that treat acute and chronic infections. In Ayurvedic pharmacology the focus is on the bitter salty taste that drains and detoxifies.

Hardy Dandelion

Dandelion is a liver, kidney tonic that is well suited to treat toxicity related conditions including liver toxicity, chronic skin, joint and rheumatic conditions. It has demonstrated anti-tumour action in vitro and has proven anti-inflammatory, hypoglycemic, diuretic and cholagogue/choleretic properties.

Dandelion is a diuretic that helps to drain fluid and pulls toxins out through the urine. Its bitter taste stimulates digestive secretions such as bile and enzymes and it enhances the quality and quantity of bile helping to digest and break down fats. Its sweet taste due to inulin content restores liver and pancreatic function. The root has a high mineral content that gives it its salty taste that regulates and detoxifies fluids.

It is a well-rounded remedy that treats both deficiency and excess conditions and brings balance, nourishment and detoxification. If more people ate dandelions instead of pouring poison on them the world would be a healthier place.


Every part of dandelion is edible and used medicinally.

The root roasted and ground makes a good caffeine-free coffee substitute drink and still maintains many properties after roasting, grinding and decocting. The root is also decocted or tinctured fresh or dried.

The young leaves eaten raw in salads, as steamed greens or mixed in a stir-fry. 1 cup of raw dandelion leaves is more nutritious than 1 cup of broccoli.

The flowers are high in nutritive antioxidants and are edible raw in salads or cooked as fritters and made into wine, tea or tincture.

The stem has milky white latex inside that removes warts when applied frequently topically.

Dandelion root: picked in the fall or spring from second year or older plants when the larger leaves have died back in November or in early spring when the leaves are small in March or April.

The leaves are an option to add with the root tincture or make it separately. Both the leaves and root work on the kidneys and liver but the small difference is that the leaves have more action on the kidneys because of the higher potassium content and the root has more action on the liver.

Common Name  Dandelion
Latin Name  Taraxacum officinale
Family Asteraceae (Aster Family)
Parts Used Perennial/ the second year, older root picked in fall or early spring root, leaves, flowers 
Target Organs digestion, intestines, stomach,  urinary, kidneys, liver/gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, kidneys, blood, fluids, skin
Common Uses Antioxidant Nutritive culinary medicine

Digestion: bitter digestive tonic, laxative, inflammation, hemorrhoids

Urinary: tonic, urinary infections, gout, arthritis,  muscular rheumatism, edema,

Liver: tonic,  congestion, cirrhosis, gallstones,  inflammation, jaundice,

high cholesterol, high blood fats

chronic skin conditions, acne, eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis,  

obesity, fatigue, metabolic disorders

Properties Antibacterial, antifungal, antihepatotoxic, anti-inflammatory, antilithic, antineoplastic, antioxidant, antirheumatic, antiulcerogenic, antiviral,  aperient, appetite stimulant, astringent, bitter, cholagogue, choleretic, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, emetic in large doses, secretolytic expectorant, febrifuge, galactagogue, hypocholesterolemic, hypolipidemic, immune stimulant, lymphatic, nervine, pancreatic, relaxant, sialagogue, spleenic, stomachic, tranquilizer, vasodilator, vulnerary 
Constituents Bitter glycosides, triterpenoids, bitter resin, gum, phytosterols, fatty acids, tannins, essential oil, inulin, levulin, saponin, enzyme, citric acid,

Minerals: potassium, calcium, sodium, phosphorus, iron.

Vitamins A,C, carotenoids, choline, niacin, (mannitol in spring root)

Cautions Avoid during pregnancy and with diuretic, liver medications 
Dosage Fresh or Dried Tincture: 2-5ml                Decoction 6-16g
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