Posts tagged ‘Digestion’

August 20, 2013

Elecampane: A Beautiful Garden Flower with Medicinal Roots

imageElecampane is a tall perennial that grows over four feet tall and has cheery golden yellow flowers like a sunflower, but elecampane has thinner floret petals with fringe tips.

The Latin name is Inula helenium with the species name Helen stemming from Helen of Troy, the face that launched a thousand ships. Elecampane flowers are really that stunning and it did launch a thousand ships when it was brought to North America from Europe. It likes to grow in full sun in open moist meadows. The plant is best propagated by root division spacing four or feet apart, because they have huge course leaves.

The genus name Inula refers to the inulin content found in almost half of the plant, which has been shown to help control blood sugar levels as a fibre, and regulates the immune system, which is good for autoimmune disorders. Inulin is a fibre, but should only be used in whole form, attached to the whole plant root it is soluble starch fibre. The whole plant is greater than the sum of its parts. Whenever plant parts are removed the outcome and quality are always compromised.

The root is used in herbal medicine for coughs, colds and to get rid of parasites mainly, but it is a good restorative and tonic for chronic fatigue and infections.

It benefits the hypothalamus, and is a thymus, spleen, endocrine tonic. It has digestive, respiratory and immune stimulating properties that make it good to combat infections, especially of the respiratory, digestive tract or in cases of parasitic, worm infections or food poisoning.

The root was popular candied and to make ale or beer drinks, but even then the candied root tastes bitter and pungent. The bitter quality helps to stimulate the body through reflex reactions of the digestive and respiratory tracts.

Common Name Elecampane root
Latin Name Inula helenium
Family Asteraceae
Parts Used Perennial- harvest second year or older root in the Fall
Target Organs immune, endocrine, digestion, respiratory, stomach, pancreas, spleen, uterus, nerves, liver, kidney/ bladder
Common Uses endocrine restorative, spleen thymus tonic, immune stimulant, infections, coughs, colds, catarrh, bronchitis, UTI, digestive, parasites, worms, stomach upset, food poisoning, fatigue, allergies,diabetes,
Properties digestive immune respiratory stimulant, antimicrobial, demulcent, expectorant, anti-tussive, stomachic, astringent, demulcent, bitter tonic, warming, drying, anti-allergenic
Constituents 40% inulin,E.O: camphor, sesquiterpenes lactones; mucilage, triterpenes, bitter resin, alkaloid, helinin, sterols, calcium, magnesium
Cautions mild remedy: combine with demulcents for dry coughs. Do not use during pregnancy it is a uterine stimulant.
Dosage Tincture: best used in formulation


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
February 12, 2013

Ginger Rhizome Treats Travel Sickness, Nausea and Colds

Ginger is such a staple at my house especially in the colder months, because of its warming capabilities. I cook with it, make tea, use the tincture and essential oil.

Ginger essential oil is the best anti-nausea remedy for travel sickness and upset stomach. I always travel with ginger essential oil, especially if I’m travelling by boat. I mix it with peppermint essential oil to balance the heat of the ginger with the cooling of the peppermint, which is a great digestive treatment for nausea in its own right. It is my favourite combination for travel.

Learn more about Ginger Essential Oil

Ginger is very popular in many culinary arts and is also used medicinally as a warming stimulant to treat all kinds of digestive and respiratory complaints. It treats colds, digestive upset, soothes the stomach, and is especially good for cold conditions like chills, colds, flu, and poor circulation.

Learn how to make a ginger tincture->

Common Name


Ginger rhizome
Latin Name


Zingiber officinale
Family Zingiberaceae
Parts Used Perennial – rhizome
Target Organs circulatory, cardiovascular, digestion, liver, stomach, spleen, pancreas, reproductive
Common Uses Digestion: stimulates appetite, relieves cramps, indigestion, ulcers, constipation/diarrhoea, liver congestion, motion/travel sickness, nausea, heartburn, gas

Circulation: warming, stimulating,

Cardiovascular: regulates blood pressure,

Respiratory  Immune: fever, flu, colds,

arthritis, fatigue


Properties Antiemetic, anticonvulsant, antifungal, antihepatotoxic, anti-inflammatory(local, systemic) antioxidant, antirheumatic, antispasmodic(digestive) antithrombotic, antiulcerogenic, aperient, appetite stimulant, blood pressure normaliser, cardiac, warming carminative, cholagogue, circulatory stimulant, diaphoretic, stimulating expectorant, febrifuge, hypocholesterolemic, hypolipidemic, immune stimulant, nervine, pancreatic, rubefacient, stomachic, neural peripheral vasodilator, hot stimulant,
Constituents Sesquiterpene: camphene -50% bisabolene,

Monoterpenes: zingiberene 20-30% pinene, limonene, phellandrene,

Monoterpene alcohols: >.5% gingerol, gingerone, zingebernol,

Sesquiterpene alcohols:

Cautions mild remedy: Hot stimulant
Dosage Tincture: 5-10% in formulations

Tea: 2 tsp. Grated fresh steep 10 min

Essential Oil


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.

June 1, 2012

Oregano essential oil

Oregano oil is best known for treating colds, coughs and flu. The  powerful constituents phenols are responsible for its antibiotic properties. Oregano essential oil is very strong to take internally and externally, and dilution is always recommended. I prefer to take Oregano herb in tincture form whole, because the whole plant is greater than the sum of its parts and it is safer to take internally this way. Depending on my symptoms sometimes I don’t use Oregano to treat a cold or cough.

Directions: If you are going to take Oregano essential oil internally buy a diluted form and dilute it further with olive oil. Put 1 drop of diluted oregano in 1 teaspoon of olive oil and consume. Follow this with liquids it is strong! Caution is advised! Oregano is hot and irritating.

Latin Name Origanum vulgare
Family Lamiaceae
Country of Origin Mediterranean, Eurasia
Volatility Middle note
Extraction Steam distilled from herb
Colour clear, pale
Aroma warm, spicy, camphor
Caution Do not use during pregnancy. Hot stimulant! May cause skin irritation.
Primary Uses Digestion:digestive upset, gas, bloating, inflammation, liver congestion, infectionsRespiratory:sinus congestion, coughs, colds, flu, sore throat, infections

Nervous system: Stress, fatigue, mental, physical

Musculo-skeletal: Arthritis, aches, stiffness, pain,

Properties Antibacterial, antibiotic, anticatarrhal, antiseptic, anticonvulsant,  astringent, antidepressant, antifungal, anti-inflammatory antirheumatic,  antiviral, antispasmodic (digestive, respiratory, uterine) anxiolytic, appetite stimulant, warming carminative, circulatory stimulant, decongestant, diaphoretic, stimulating emmenagogue, expectorant, nervine, rubefacient, stomachic, uterine tonic relaxing/stimulating,
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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