Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

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Rosemary Summary:

Plants have ingenious ways of spreading their seeds around the world.

One of the most successful is the rosemary shrub.

It's desirable flavor, and useful medicinal qualities have enticed humans to carry its seeds along with them from Europe as they spread to all corners of the earth.

The majority of rosemary around the world is used for its desirable culinary quality, however, there are plenty of good medicinal uses of the plant as well.

It's used primarily as a nervine, circulatory stimulant, and digestive.

It stimulates blood flow to the body and the brain and has the benefits of promoting mental clarity, and moving other herbs deeper into the peripheral blood system.

The volatile oils contained in its leaves stimulate digestion and soothe upset stomachs.

Here's everything I know about rosemary.

 

+ Indications

  • Flatulent dyspepsia
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sciatica
  • Neuralgia
  • Balding
  • Muscle Aches & Pains

+ Contraindications

None noted.

Herbal Actions:

  • Antidepressant
  • Antimicrobial
  • Antispasmodic
  • Emmenagogue
  • Nervine Stimulant
  • Nootropic
  • Rubefacient
  • Carminative
 

How Is Rosemary Used?

Rosemary is popular in cooking. It's used medicinally to increase bloodflow to the brain, reduce nerve pain, and improve digestion. The essential oil is used topically to promote bloodflow and stimulate the hair follicles involved with premature balding.

 

Weekly Dose

Part Used

  • Leaf & twigs

Family Name

  • Lamiaceae

Distribution

  • Originally from Mediterranean, but has since spread all over the world.

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Constituents of Interest

  • Volatile oil (borneol, camphene, camphor, linalool)
  • Apigenin
  • Rosmarinic acid
  • Carnosol & Carnosolic acid
  • Rosmaricine

Common Names

  • Rosemary
  • Roosmaryn (Afrikaans)
  • Rozmarinë (Albania)
  • Ikleel al-Jabal (Arabic)
  • Rozmarin (Bulgaria)
  • Romarin (France/Germany)
  • Mannenro (Japan)
  • Alecrim (Portugal)
  • Mi Die Xiang (China)

CYP450

  • CYP1A2
  • CYP3A4
  • CYP2C9
  • Also P-gp

Quality

  • Warm, Acrid

Pregnancy

  • Caution advised during pregnancy.

Taste

  • Sweet, Acrid, Slightly Bitter

Duration of Use

  • Long term use is acceptable.
 

Research Overview:

Still compiling research

 

Botanical Info:

Rosemary is a mamber of the mint family, which is one of the largest plant families. It contains roughly 236 different genera, and 6900-7200 different species.

The Rosmarinus genus contains 4 different species, the one most commonly used as medicine is Rosmarinus officinalis, though the other species also have some use in the regions in which it grows.

It's hardy to colder climates, but grows primarily in the Mediterranean. It's also highly drought-resistant, and can survive without water for very long periods of time.

 

Clinical Applications Of Rosemary:

Rosemary is most useful as a circulatory stimulant, nervine stimulant, carminative and digestive.

It's used to treat cognitive conditions involving poor bloodflow like Alzheimer's disease, syncope, and headaches. it's also used as a nootropic and for increasing blood flow to the follicles of the hair to support hair growth. The essential oil is especially useful here for addressing symptoms of premature balding. It's also an excellent nervine used for conditions like neuralgia, sciatica, and depression when associated with debility or concussion.

Its digestive properties make it useful for addressing flatulence, indigestion, dyspepsia, and recovery from intestinal tract infection.

 

Cautions:

Caution advised if pregnant.

 

Recommended Products Containing Rosemary:

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Whole Dried Rosemary Leaf

Simply Organic

1.23-Ounce Container Filled With Organic Rosemary Leaves

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Rosemary Essential Oil (1 ounce)

NOW Solutions

28mL Rosmarinus officinalis essential oil

Shop Now
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Thought Flow

Harmonic Arts

A herbal blend to support healthy cognition.

Shop Now
 

Author:

Justin Cooke

The Sunlight Experiment

(Updated November 2018)


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Peony (Paeonia lactiflora)

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Peony Overview:

Peony is a common Chinese herbal medicine for treating hormone conditions in both men and women, as well as cardiovascular disease and muscle cramps. It's named after the mythological physician of the gods, Paeos, who was said to cure Pluto and other Greek gods injured during the Trojan war.

There are 3 main forms of peony in herbal medicine, tree peony, red peony, and white peony. These differentiations have nothing to do with the color of the flower, but the color of the roots after preparation. White peony is the most common, made from the roots of the plant without the bark attached. It's most commonly made from the species Paeonia lactiflora, but can be made from other species as well.

+ Indications

Internally

  • Angina
  • Candida
  • Epilepsy
  • Fungal infection
  • Hirsutism
  • Infertility
  • Menstrual dysfunction
  • Ovarian fibroids
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • Poor liver function
  • Poor memory
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Uterine fibroids

Topically

  • Wounds
  • Fungal infection
  • Pain
  • Candida

+ Contraindications

  • Caution in combination with loose bowels.
  • Caution advised in combination with blood thinners due to potential for additive effect.

Main Herbal Actions:

  • Anti-Androgenic
  • Antinflammatory
  • Antispasmodic
  • Aromatase Inducer
  • Dopaminergic
  • Nootropic
  • Ovarian Tonic
  • Sedative (Mild)
  • Uterine Tonic
 

How Is Peony Used?

Peony is most commonly used for treating PMS symptoms, poly cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), muscle cramps, and epilepsy. It is rarely used alone, as it is thought to have stronger effects in combination with other herbs like licorice or black cohosh.

 

Traditional Uses:

Peony is a common herb in the traditional Chinese herbal materia medica. it's considered to be specific for the liver, providing a soothing effect on liver energy and improves overall function. It's thought to nourish the blood, and is one of the great womens tonics, especially in combination with licorice.

Compared to Angelica sinensis, Peony is used in much the same way, however, peony is used when the condition involved "heat", while Angelica sinensis is used when the condition involves "cold".

 

Weekly Dose

Part Used

  • Roots

Family Name

  • Ranunculaceae

Distribution

  • Originated from Southern Europe, but has spread all over the world as a decorative garden flower.

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Constituents of Interest

  • Paeoniflorin
  • Proanthocyanidins
  • Flavonoids
  • Terpenoids
  • Tannins
  • Complex Polysaccharides

Common Names

  • Peony
  • White Peony
  • Red Peony
  • Tree Peony
  • Bai Shao Yao (China)

Quality

  • Cold (Slightly)

Pregnancy

  • Unknown

Taste

  • Bitter, sour

Duration of Use

  • Long term use is acceptable.
 

Research Overview:

Still compiling research.

 

Botanical Info:

Peony is the only member of the Paeoniaceae family. In the past it was included in the Ranunculaceae family insteat along with over 2000 other species of plants. There are roughly 33 different species of peony worldwide.

Medicinally, there are 4 main species used;

  • Paeonia suffruticosa (Tree peony)
  • Paeonia lactiflora (Chinese peony)
  • Paeonia veitchii (Chinese peony)
  • Paeonia obovata (Chinese peony)
 

Clinical Applications Of Peony:

Peony is useful as a smooth muscle relaxant due to its ability to interfere with acetlcholine in the neuromuscular junctions.

It's also a fairly reliable aromatase inducer, useful for improving the production of estrogen from testosterone, and E1 and E2 to 2-hydroxy catechol estrogens.

 

Cautions:

Caution advised in combination with blood thinners.

 

References:

  1. Bensky, D., Gamble, A., & Kaptchuk, T. J. (2004). Chinese herbal medicine: materia medica (Vol. 3, p. 1004). Seattle: Eastland Press.

  2. Kimura, M., Kimura, I., Takahashi, K., Muroi, M., Yoshizaki, M., Kanaoka, M., & Kitagawa, I. (1984). Blocking effects of blended paeoniflorin or its related compounds with glycyrrhizin on neuromuscular junctions in frog and mouse. The Japanese Journal of Pharmacology, 36(3), 275-282.

  3. Bone, K. (2003). A Clinical Guide to Blending Liquid Herbs E-Book: Herbal Formulations for the Individual Patient. Elsevier Health Sciences.

  4. Takeuchi, T., Nishii, O., Okamura, T., & Yaginuma, T. (1991). Effect of paeoniflorin, glycyrrhizin and glycyrrhetic acid on ovarian androgen production. The American journal of Chinese medicine, 19(01), 73-78.

  5. Grant, P., & Ramasamy, S. (2012). An update on plant derived anti-androgens. International journal of endocrinology and metabolism, 10(2), 497.

 

Author:

Justin Cooke

The Sunlight Experiment

(November 2018)


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Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium)

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Manuka Summary

In New Zealand, where manuka trees grow, the Maori consider male tea tree plants "Kanuka" and the female plants "Manuka". The plant is regarded very highly in this culture as a medicinal species.

The most well-known form of manuka is in manuka honey. This is a honey made by bees feasting primarily on manuka bushes. The honey has an impressive antibacterial profile when made from these plants. This is also reflected in the herb itself, which has been shown to have potent antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral activity.

Most of the medicinal benefits of the plant come from its essential oil content, which can vary a lot depending on the region the plant was grown in.

 

+ Indications

Internally

  • Anxiety
  • Candida
  • Cold/Flu
  • Colic
  • Coughs
  • Diarrhea
  • Dysentery
  • Dyspepsia
  • Eczema
  • Fatigue
  • Fevers
  • Gingivitis Mouthwash
  • Indigestion
  • Inflammation
  • Insomnia
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome IBS
  • Lethargy
  • Menorrhagia
  • Psoriasis
  • Upper respiratory tract infection

Topically

  • Anal fissures
  • Bacterial infection
  • Burns
  • Eczema
  • Fluid retention
  • Haemorrhoids
  • Impetigo
  • Muscle sprains
  • Slow healing ulcers
  • Wounds

+ Contraindications

Avoid long-term use alongside food. Tannins may impede mineral absorption.

Herbal Actions:

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antibacterial
  • Antifungal
  • Antispasmodic
  • Anxiolytic
  • Diaphoretic
  • Diuretic
  • Febrifuge
  • Sedative
  • Astringent
 

How Is Manuka Used?

Internally, manuka is used to treat gastrointestinal conditions like diarrhea, colic, inflammatory bowel syndrome, and dysentery. It's also used for urinary tract infection, anxiety, and cold/flu infections.

Manuka is used topically for its antibacterial, and vulnerary actions. It's used to treat slow healing skin and bone injuries, bacterial infections, candida, and eczema. It can be gargled for gingivitis, or for general oral hygiene.

Manuka honey is another common form of the plant. It's become so popular worldwide, it's been standardised by the phenol content. This is expressed as a unique manuka factor (UMF) value set by the Active Manuka Honey Association (AMHA). Anything over UMF 5 is considered strong enough to kill MRSA.

 

Herb Details

Weekly Dose

Part Used

  • Leaves, Flowers, Bark

Family Name

  • Myrtaceae

Distribution

  • New Zealand

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Constituents of Interest

  • Leptospermone
  • Sesquiterpenes
  • Tannins
  • Citronellal

Common Names

  • Manuka
  • Tea Tree
  • New Zealand Tea Tree

Quality

  • Neutral-Warm

Pregnancy

  • Unknown

Taste

  • Spicy

Duration of Use

  • Long term use is acceptable, but should be taken away from food.
 

Botanical Information

Manuka is a member of the Myrtaceae family of plants. This family contains as many as 133 different genera, and around 3800 different species, many of which are medicinally relevant.

 

Research Overview:

Still compiling research

 

Clinical Applications Of Manuka:

Manuka is useful both internally and topically. It's been shown to be an effective antibacterial agent for various forms of bacteria (including Staphylococcus). It's also an effective antifungal and antiviral (including HSV). The antibacterial effects were the most noteable, with only some chemotypes of Manuka showing potent antifungal benefits.

Manuka can be used for nearly any form of bacterial infections both topically and internally, as well as wounds, ulcers, and gastrointestinal inflammation or infection. It's also useful for skin inflammation like eczema or psoriasis. The muscle relaxant effects make it useful for injuries, muscle tension, colic, and insomnia.

 

Cautions:

Tannin content may bind to minerals in the gut and prevent absorption.

 

Author:

Justin Cooke

The Sunlight Experiment

(Updated November 2018)

 

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Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

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Mullein Summary:

Mullein is considered a staple in herbal medicine. It wasn't native to North America, and was brought over by European settlers. Despite the new introduction of the herb, it was quickly adopted into use by the local native Americans, and is even referred to commonly as Indian Tobacco.

Mullein is a very safe herb, and offers benefits to a number of different systems in the body. Out of all systems, mullein is most commonly used for respiratory and digestive system conditions. It's popular as an anticatarrhal, and for both soothing dry coughs, and eliminating catarrh with productive coughs. Although the entire plant can be used for either one, the leaves are generally preferred for dry coughs, and the roots for productive coughs.

Mullein is as useful topically as it is internally for inflammation, muscle spasms, and infection.

 

+ Indications

  • Arthritis (Topical)
  • Bed wetting
  • Desentery
  • Dry coughs
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Inflammation
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Irritable Bowel Disease (IBS)
  • Kidney dysfunction
  • Lower respiratory tract infection
  • Muscle aches (Topical)
  • Otitis media (Topical)
  • Parasites
  • Skin irritations
  • Upper respiratory tract infection
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Water retention
  • Wet coughs

+ Contraindications

  • The fresh leaves can be irritating to the skin.
  • In general, this is a very safe herb, and there are rarely any reports of adverse reaction, even at high doses.

Main Herbal Actions:

  • Anthelmintic
  • Anti-catarrhal
  • Antispasmodic
  • Astringent
  • Expectorant
  • Lymphatic
  • Antibacterial
 

What Is Mullein Used For?

Mullein is mainly used for treating respiratory infections and persistent coughs. Somewhat ironically, it's often smoked for its soothing effect on the lungs. It tends to increase moisture of the lungs, especially the leaves, making it especially useful for unproductive, dry coughs.

It's also used for gastrointestinal inflammation, parasitic infection, and muscle aches. It tends to have a humidifying effect thoughout the body, providing a soothing effect, especially with dryness.

One of the most well-known uses for the herb is in the form of an infused oil for ear infections.

 

Weekly Dose

Part Used

  • Leaf, root, and flower

Family Name

  • Scrophulariaceae

Distribution

  • Originates from Europe around the Mediterranean, but has spread all around Europe & North America

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Constituents of Interest

  • Iridoid glycosides

Common Names

  • Mullein
  • Lady's Flannel
  • Gordolobo
  • Punchón
  • Candelaria

Quality

  • Root: Neutral, drying
    Leaf: Cool, moistening
    Flower: Cool

Pregnancy

  • Unknown

Taste

  • Salty

Duration of Use

  • Long term use is acceptable.
 

Botanical Info:

Mullein belongs to the figwort family (Scrophulariaceae). The Scrophulariaceae family contains 65 different genus', and 1800 different species. The Verbascum genus itself contains around 250 different species.

Verbascum is a popular garden plant for their ability to thrive in dry, nutrient poor soils, and their long flower duration. Some can grow as tall as 3 meters tall.

 

Research Overview:

Still compiling research.

 

Clinical Applications Of Mullein:

Although there are many ways to use mullein, it excels with treating respiratory tract conditions. The leaves are excellent for treating dry coughs, while the root is much better for productive wet coughs.

Mullein is useful as a topical treatment for skin irritations, and as an oil for ear infections, especially the more drying flower of the plant.

Mullein also makes for an excellent lymphatic, both internally and externally.

 

Cautions:

Caution advised when working with the fresh leaf of this plant, as it can cause contact dermatitis in some individuals.

 

Author:

Justin Cooke

The Sunlight Experiment

(Updated November 2018)

 

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Magnolia (Magnolia officinalis)

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Magnolia Summary

Magnolia is one of the oldest flowering plants in existence, dating back as far as 95 million years ago. The first angiosperm is thought to have originated 130 million years ago. this is long before bees first appeared. To no surprise then, magnolia have evolved to be pollinated by beetles instead, which have been around for much longer.

Magnolia is a common herb in traditional Chinese medicine for treating Qi stagnation and removing obstructions.

It remains popular for reducing sinus infection and congestion, sinus headaches, asthma, coughs, and catarrh as well as anxiety and heightened cortisol levels.

 

+ Indications

  • Abdominal pain
  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Amoebic dysentery
  • Anxiety
  • Asthma
  • Bloating
  • Catarrh
  • Coughs
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Poor appetite
  • Poor digestion
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Rhinitis
  • Sinus infection
  • Stress
  • Typhoid
  • Ulcers

+ Contraindications

Avoid use during convalescence.

Main Herbal Actions:

  • Antioxidant
  • Antiallergic
  • Antiasthmatic
  • Anxiolytic
  • Antibacterial
  • Antifungal
  • Antispasmodic
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Emmenagogue
  • Expectorant
 

How Is Magnolia Used?

Magnolia is used for its anxiolytic and digestive effects.It's often combined with Phellodendron for treating both acute and chronic stress.

Magnolia is also commonly used for upper respiratory tract infection, sinus congestion, and catarrh.

 

Weekly Dose

Part Used

  • Bark

Family Name

  • Magnoliaceae

Distribution

  • Eastern Asia, North America, Central America

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Constituents of Interest

  • Honokiol
  • Magnolol

Common Names

  • Magnolia
  • Ch'Uan Pu (China)
  • Chinese Magnolia
  • Choon Pok
  • Hou Pu

Quality

  • Warm

Pregnancy

  • Unknown

Taste

  • Bitter

Duration of Use

  • Long term use acceptable, but should be monitored by a professional.
 

Botanical Information

Magnolia officinalis is a medium sized tree, ranging from 5 to 15 m in height. It's deciduous, with purple brown bark.

Magnolia is a member of the Magnoliaceae family of plants. There are 2 subfamilies in this family, including Magnollioideae and Liriodendroideae. The latter of which only includes Liriodendron (Tulip trees). In The Magnoliaceae family there are approximately 219 species, distributed into 17 genera. The vast majority are included in the Magnolia genus, which has about 210 different species.

One interesting note is that it appears magnolia appeared before bees did. The flowers are instead evolved to be pollinated by beetles, due to the extremely tough carpels on the flower. There have also been fossils discovered with plants contained in the Magnoliaceae family as far back as 95 million years ago, making Magnolia one of the oldest remaining angiosperms.

 

Research Overview:

Still compiling research.

 

Clinical Applications Of Magnolia:

Magnolia increases the activity of GABA receptors, as well as the muscarinic receptors. This is why magnolia is useful for both its sedative effect, as well as some mild stimulating effects. While most anxiolytic herbs have a particular effect on the parasympathetic nervous system (through GABAergic effects), magnolia also increases the activity of the sympathetic nervous system through the muscarinic acetylcholine receptors in a similar way to GABA.

Magnolia is especially useful for eliminating nasal congestion, sinus infections, coughs, and catarrh. it's used to improve indigestion and dysentery, though is not commonly used for bacterial or fungal infections alone.

Magnolia is also used for reducing symptoms of stress and anxiety. It can reduce cortisol levels in stressed individuals, especially in combination with Phellodendron. It's primary actions for this involves GABAergic activities, and have been shown to lower salivary cortisol levels in stressed individuals.

Magnolia should be avoided in those who are chronically fatigued, or who are suffering from convalescence. Traditional Chinese medicine suggests that magnolia should be avoided with any condition involving yin deficiency.

 

Cautions:

Avoid use with convalescence.

 

Author:

Justin Cooke

The Sunlight Experiment

(Updated November 2018)

 

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Graviola (Annona muricata)

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Graviola Summary

Graviola is a large tropical tree with a rich history of traditional use for conditions like cancer, parasitic infection, insomnia, and dysentery. Modern use remains very similar, mainly focusing on tension headaches and muscle aches, insomnia, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, and parasitic infection.

Although the entire plant has been used as medicine by various traditional medical systems, the most common form the plant is available in today is as a leaf extract, and raw leaves intended for tea.

Graviola is gaining in popularity outside worldwide as a general health supplement, blood sugar regulator, and anticancer agent. As a result it is getting easier to find the herb as time goes on. It is likely this tea will become a staple in Western herbal medicine in the coming years.

 

+ Indications

  • Adjunctive Cancer Treatment (Various)
  • Bacterial infection
  • Cold/Flu
  • Diabetes
  • Dysentery
  • Fever
  • Jaundice
  • Pain
  • Parasitic infection

+ Contraindications

  • May exacerbate Parkinson's Disease symptoms (Acetogenin content)
  • Caution advised in combination with other hypoglycemic drugs due to potential additive effect.

Herbal Actions:

  • Anticancer
  • Antinflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Antispasmodic
  • Anticonvulsant
  • Antidepressant
  • Antidiabetic
  • Antibacterial
  • Antiarthritic
  • Antilithic
  • Antimalarial
  • Bradycardic
  • Digestive stimulant
  • Febrifuge
  • Hepatoprotective
  • Hypotensive
  • Sedative
  • Vasodilator
 

How Is Graviola Used?

Graviola is mainly used as an adjunctive treatment for cancer, especially leukemia and other haematological cancers, as well as prostate, colon, and breast cancers.

Graviola is also popular as an antidiabetic herb, and can be used to reduce hypertension, especially in combination with diabetes or metabolic syndrome.

Graviola is a potent antiparasitic, useful for a wide range of different parasitic species, including worms, protozoa, and bacterial parasites.

 

Traditional Uses

South America

Graviola originated from South America and/or the Carribean. All parts of the plant were used as medicine for a wide range of conditions.

The most common use of the plant appears to involve cancer treatment and parasitic infection.

The darkest leaves on the plants were used primarily as a sedative or antispasmodic. They were used to treat insomnia, arthritic pains, colic, dysentery, muscle aches, headaches, and diabetes. The leaves were often placed inside a pillow or bedsheets to improve sleep.

In Brazil, the leaves were made into a tea for treating various liver conditions. The oil of the leaves and unripe fruits were used topically for treating neuralgia, and arthritis.

In Peru, the leaves were used to treat excess catarrh, and the bark and root were used for treating diabetes, insomnia, and muscle aches.

In Guyana, the leaves were used as a heart tonic.

Southeast Asia

In Southeast Asia, graviola was an important treatment for malaria. It was made into candies, ice cream, and syrups for treating malaria and other parasites.

 

Weekly Dose

Part Used

  • Leaves

Family Name

  • Annonaceae

Distribution

  • North & South America, The Caribbean, Indonesia, Western Africa, Pacific Islands

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Constituents of Interest

  • Acetogenins
  • Alkaloids (reticulin, coreximine, coclarine and anomurine)
  • Essential oils (β-caryophyllene, δ-cadinene, epi-α-cadinol and α-cadinol)
  • Quercetin

Common Names

  • Graviola
  • Custard Apple Tree
  • Soursop
  • Annona
  • Guanabana (South America)

Quality

  • Cool*

Pregnancy

  • Unknown

Taste

  • Sour

Duration of Use

  • Avoid long term use.
 

Botanical Information

Graviola is a large tree, growing to a height of 10m. It requires high humidity, warm weather, and high annual rainfall in order to thrive. It produces large, edible fruits with an acidic taste (hence the common name soursop).

There are over 130 different genera in the Annonaceae family, and around 2300 different species. The Annona genus itself has about 70 different species. Annona muricata is the most commonly grown worldwide.

 

Research Overview:

Still compiling research

 

Phytochemistry

There are over 100 annonaceous acetogenins in the plant, which are considered to be the primary active constituents of the plant. Structurally these chemicals are derivatives of long chain (C35 or C37) fatty acids. These compounds are cytotoxic against tumour cell lines, and molluscicidal.

Graviola is also rih in alkaloids, saponins, terpenoids, flavonoids, coumarins, lactones, anthraquinones, tannins, cardiac glycosides, phenols, and phytosterols.

Complete Phytochemical Makeup

Annonaceous Acetogenins

The leaves contain annomuricins A and B, gigantetrocin A, annonacin-10-one, muricatetrocins A and B, annonacin, goniothalamicin, muricatocins A and B, annonacin A, (2,4-trans)-isoannonacin, (2,4-cis)-isoannonacin, annomuricin C, muricatocin C, gigantetronenin, annomutacin, (2,4-trans)-10R-annonacin-A-one, (2,4-cis)-10R-annonacin-A-one, annopentocins A, B and C, cis- and trans-annomuricinD-ones, annomuricine, muricapentocin, muricoreacin and murihexocin C and annocatacin A and B,

Alkaloids

Graviola contains reticulin, coreximine, coclarine and anomurine

Essential Oils

Graviola contains β-caryophyllene, δ-cadinene, epi-α-cadinol and α-cadinol

 

Clinical Applications Of Graviola:

Graviola is useful for parasitic infection, including protozoan, and helminth parasites. It's used as a mild sedative and antispasmodic, and can be very useful for gastrointestinal inflammation and dysbiotic conditions.

Graviola is also a popular treatment for diabetes by slowing lipid peroxidation, and restoring islet beta-cells in the pancreas.

It's commonly used as an adjunctive treatment of cancer, especially haematological cancers and colon cancer.

 

Cautions:

Graviola has been reported to increase symptoms of Parkinson's Disease.

Caution advised in combination with other hypoglycemic drugs due to potential additive effect.

 

Author:

Justin Cooke, BHSc

The Sunlight Experiment

(Updated November 2018)

 

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References:

  1. Moghadamtousi, S. Z., Fadaeinasab, M., Nikzad, S., Mohan, G., Ali, H. M., & Kadir, H. A. (2015). Annona muricata (Annonaceae): a review of its traditional uses, isolated acetogenins and biological activities. International journal of molecular sciences, 16(7), 15625-15658.

  2. De Sousa, O. V., Vieira, G. D. V., De Pinho, J. D. J. R., Yamamoto, C. H., & Alves, M. S. (2010). Antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory activities of the ethanol extract of Annona muricata L. leaves in animal models. International journal of molecular sciences, 11(5), 2067-2078.

  3. Torres, M. P., Rachagani, S., Purohit, V., Pandey, P., Joshi, S., Moore, E. D., ... & Batra, S. K. (2012). Graviola: a novel promising natural-derived drug that inhibits tumorigenicity and metastasis of pancreatic cancer cells in vitro and in vivo through altering cell metabolism. Cancer letters, 323(1), 29-40.

  4. Coria-Tellez, A. V., Montalvo-Gónzalez, E., Yahia, E. M., & Obledo-Vázquez, E. N. (2016). Annona muricata: A comprehensive review on its traditional medicinal uses, phytochemicals, pharmacological activities, mechanisms of action and toxicity. Arabian Journal of Chemistry.

  5. Gavamukulya, Y., Abou-Elella, F., Wamunyokoli, F., & AEl-Shemy, H. (2014). Phytochemical screening, anti-oxidant activity and in vitro anticancer potential of ethanolic and water leaves extracts of Annona muricata (Graviola). Asian Pacific journal of tropical medicine, 7, S355-S363.

  6. Arroyo, J., Martínez, J., Ronceros, G., Palomino, R., Villarreal, A., Bonilla, P., ... & Quino, M. (2009, September). Efecto hipoglicemiante coadyuvante del extracto etanólico de hojas de Annona muricata L (guanábana), en pacientes con diabetes tipo 2 bajo tratamiento de glibenclamida. In Anales de la Facultad de Medicina (Vol. 70, No. 3, pp. 163-167). UNMSM. Facultad de Medicina.

  7. Adewole, S., & Ojewole, J. (2009). Protective effects of Annona muricata Linn.(Annonaceae) leaf aqueous extract on serum lipid profiles and oxidative stress in hepatocytes of streptozotocin-treated diabetic rats. African journal of traditional, complementary and alternative medicines, 6(1).

  8. Adeyemi, D. O., Komolafe, O. A., Adewole, O. S., Obuotor, E. M., Abiodun, A. A., & Adenowo, T. K. (2010). Histomorphological and morphometric studies of the pancreatic islet cells of diabetic rats treated with extracts of Annona muricata. Folia morphologica, 69(2), 92-100.

  9. Adewole, S. O., & Caxton-Martins, E. A. (2006). Morphological changes and hypoglycemic effects of Annona muricata linn.(annonaceae) leaf aqueous extract on pancreatic β-cells of streptozotocin-treated diabetic rats. African Journal of Biomedical Research, 9(3).

California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica)

california-poppy-cover.jpg

California Poppy Summary

California poppy is a relative of the opium poppy that gives us morphine. This particular member contains a different set of alkaloids with similar, but milder effects.

California Poppy is the official state flower for California, but grows throughout the Southern parts of the United States.

It's main use both in modern herbal medicine and traditional herbal medicine is for treating anxiety, chronic pain, and insomnia. It's one of the strongest herbal sedatives available.

 

+ Indications

  • Anxiety
  • Chronic pain
  • Insomnia (Sleep onset and Sleep maintenance)
  • Migraine headaches
  • Skin ulcers (Topically)
  • Substance Abuse

+ Contraindications

May interact with benzodiazepines or other sedatives (additive). Caution Advised.

Herbal Actions:

  • Analgesic
  • Antispasmodic
  • Anxiolytic
  • Nervine
 

How Is California Poppy Used?

California poppy is mainly used for its sedative and analgesic effects. it contains a set of alkaloids similar to morphine, though not as strong. It can be used both internally for anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain, as well as topically for skin irritations and ulcers.

 

Weekly Dose

Part Used

  • Aerial parts

Family Name

  • Papaveraceae

Distribution

  • Southern parts of The United States of America

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Constituents of Interest

  • Eschscholtzine
  • Californidine
  • Sanguinarine
  • Chelerythrine

Common Names

  • California Poppy
  • Kaliforniese papawer (Afrikaans)
  • Pavot de Californie (France)

CYP450

  • CYP3A4
  • CYP2C9
  • CYP2C19
  • CYP2D6
  • CYP1A2

Pregnancy

  • No adverse effects expected.

Taste

  • Bitter

Duration of Use

  • May be used long term.
 

Botanical Information

California poppy is a member of the Papaveraceae family. This family contains roughly 42 genera, and about 775 different species. The Eschscholzia genus itself contains about 12 different species.

The species, Eschscholzia californica, is very diverse, as it has been extensively bred commercially and by hobbyists as an ornamental garden flower.

 

Research Overview:

Still compiling research

 

Clinical Applications Of California Poppy:

California poppy extract enhances GABA binding and is an opioid receptor agonist. It's been shown to displace fluorazepam from the benzodiazepam receptor. This is likely the main mechanism of action for California Poppy's sedative, and analgesic effects.

 

Caution

  • May possess additive interaction with benzodiazepines.
 

Author:

Justin Cooke

The Sunlight Experiment

(Updated November 2018)

 

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Codonopsis (Codonopsis pilosa)

Codonopsis, also known as "poor mans ginseng" is a popular herb in traditional Chinese medicine. It's used to treat cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, fatigue, and...

Chickweed (Stellaria medica)

Chickweed-cover.jpg

Chickweed Summary

Chickweed is a small herbaceous plant found growing throughout North America and Europe. It has naturalized on nearly every continent, and thrives in colder climates.

Although there is not much modern research involving chickweed, it has rich traditional references.

Chickweed was used internally for lung infections and irritations, and topically for skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. It's mainly used as a succas, or consumed whole in fresh form.

 

+ Indications

  • Constipation
  • Asthma
  • Lung disease
  • Obesity
  • Psoriasis
  • Eczema
  • Skin ulcers
  • Insect bites
  • Gout

+ Contraindications

  • Skin irritation and allergies may occur from topical application.

Herbal Actions:

  • Demulcent
  • Refrigerant
  • Emollient
  • Antibacterial
  • Antitussive
  • Expectorant
 

How Is Chickweed Used?

Chickweed is used internally for lung conditions, including asthma, chronic bronchitis, or asthma. Topically, it's made into creams and salves for skin irritations. This can include psoriasis, eczema, skin ulcers, or rashes. It's also consumed as a food in many Northern climates where it grows naturally.

 

Weekly Dose

Part Used

  • Aerial Parts

Family Name

  • Caryophyllaceae

Distribution

  • Found on every continent on earth except Antarctica

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Constituents of Interest

  • Carotenoids
  • Linalool
  • Caryophyllene
  • Borneol

Common Names

  • Chickweed
  • Starweed
  • Alsine Media
  • Passerina
  • Mouse Ear Star
  • Satinflower
  • Starwort
  • Stellaria
  • Winterweed

CYP450

  • Unknown

Quality

  • Cold

Pregnancy

  • No adverse effects expected.

Taste

  • Unknown

Duration of Use

  • May be used long term.
 

Botanical Info:

Chickweed is known for its creeping nature, and ability to grow in very cold weather. It's even been found growing underneath the snow in mountainous regions of North America.

Chickweed is a member of the Caryophyllaceae family, which contains as many as 2625 species distributed into 81 genera. The stellaria genera itself contains between 90 and 120 different species.

 

Research Overview:

Still compiling research.

 

Clinical Applications Of Chickweed:

There is little research on chickweed, however, it was shown to have high levels of carotenoids, as well as well-known antibacterial volatile oil compounds like caryophyllene, menthol, and linalool. Additionally, chickweed contains saponins, which are thought to have a soothing effect on the skin. These are likely the mechanisms behind chickweeds popularity as an ointment for skin inflammation and infection. For this application chickweed is generally used as a fresh succas, or made into salves, oils, and creams.

The traditional use for lung conditions is thought to be due to the saponin content, which is well known to have mucus membrane irritant effects, promoting the excretion of excess mucus.

 

Cautions:

None noted.

 

Author:

Justin Cooke

The Sunlight Experiment

(Updated November 2018)

 

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Gymnema (Gymnema sylvestre)

gymnema.jpg

Gymnema Overview:

Gymnema is known as "the sugar destroyer" because after chewing the leaves, the tongue is no longer able to taste sweet flavours.

It's been used for thousands of years in India for treating conditions involving "sweet urine". This is a common symptom of diabetes as sugar diffuses intot he urinary tract. Old methods of diagnosis involved tasting the urine to identify a sweet taste.

Gymnema offers a variety of unique benefits towards conditions like diabetes, including changes to the pancreatic beta-cells, responsible for releasing insulin into the blood.

Gymnema is also a diuretic, helping to clear glucose from the blood through urine (in combination with plenty of water of course).

Finally, gymnema leaves inhibit the sweet sensation on the taste buds, maing food taste blnd and dull, which can be used to reduce the cravings for sweet (high sugar) foods responsible for maintaining the pathophysiology of diabetes and metabolic syndromes like PCOS, and metabolic syndrome.

 

+ Indications

  • Hypercholesterolemia
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Tooth infection
  • PCOS
  • Hypertriglyceridemia

+ Contraindications

  • Caution advised with hypoglycemic drugs

+ Mechanisms

  • Inreases the number of insulin-secreting beta cells in the pancreas
  • Decreases the perception of sweet taste on the taste buds
  • Inhibits peripheral utilization of glucose by somatotrophin and corticotrophin.

Main Herbal Actions:

  • Antidiabetic
  • Hypocholesterolemic
  • Suppresses Sweet Taste
  • Diuretic
  • Refridgerant
  • Astringent
 

How Do I Use Gymnema?

Gymnema is mainly used to treat metabolic conditions like diabetes and metabolic syndrome. It's also used for dental carries, and poor digestion.

 

Weekly Dose

Part Used

  • Leaves

Family Name

  • Apocynaceae

Distribution

  • Southeast Asia

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Constituents of Interest

  • Gymnemic acids
  • Gymnemasaponins
  • Gurmarin
  • Betaine

Common Names

  • Gymnema
  • The Sugar Destroyer
  • Gurmar

CYP450

  • CYP3A4
  • CYP2C9
  • CYP1A2
  • CYP2D6

Quality

  • Unknown

Pregnancy

  • No adverse effects expected.

Taste

  • Dull (Blocks sweet receptors on the tongue)

Duration of Use

  • Suitable for long term use.
 

Botanical Info:

Gymnema is a member of the Apocynaceae (dogbane) family of plants. It was formerly included in the milkweed (Asclepiadaceae) family, however, this has since beenchanged to a subfamily category. The Apocynaceae family now contains 5 subfamilies (Apocynoideae, Asclepiadoideae, Periplocoideae, Rauvolfioideae, and Secamonoideae). It contains 5100 species, and 366 genera. There are roughly 50 different species of Gymnema, many of which are used interchangeably.

Many plants in the Apocynaceae family are trees preferring tropical environments, however, some will also grow in deserts.

 

Research Overview:

Still compiling research.

 

Clinical Applications Of Gymnema:

Gymnema is mainly used for metabolic conditions including hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, metabolic syndrome, PCOS, hypertriglyceridemia, and both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It's diuretic, and increases the number of pancreatic beta cells. Additionally, it eliminates the ability to taste sweetness after cheing the leaves, helping to gradually reduce cravings and prevent high sugar intake in habituated individuals.

 

Cautions:

High saponins may cause gastrointestinal upset, caution advised with high doses.

Caution advised if taking hypoglyemic medication due to agonistic interaction.

 

Author:

Justin Cooke

The Sunlight Experiment

(Updated November 2018)

 

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Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)

reishi-ganoderma-lucidum.jpg

Reishi Overview:

Reishi is a medicinal forest-grown fungus. It's highly revered in tradtional medical systems across Asia for its powerful immune-enhancing and longevity promoting benefits.

Medicinal mushrooms are notorious for their complex immunological benefits involving bidirectional changes to various immune processes. Reishi is no different, and is often thought to be the most significant medicinal mushroom species of all. It's popular for prevention and treatment of many immune-related conditions including cancer, autoimmunity, underactive immune function, and both acute and chronic infections.

 

+ Indications

  • High cholesterol
  • Heart palpitations
  • Hyperlipidemia
  • High blood pressure
  • Food sensitivities
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Allergies
  • Viral infection (including HIV and herpes simplex virus)
  • Neuralgia
  • Bronchitis and asthma

+ Contraindications

  • Caution advised in combination with ACE inhibitory medictions

Herbal Actions:

  • Adaptogen
  • Immunomodulator
  • Analgesic
  • Muscle relaxant
  • Nervine Relaxant
  • Hepatoprotective
  • Pulmonary trophorestorative
  • Cardiotonic
  • Chemoprotective
  • Anti-Cancer
  • Antiviral
  • Antibacterial
 

How Do I Use Reishi?

Reishi has many uses, however, the main uses involve the immune system. It has the unique ability to both stimulate and inhibit immune function, making it useful for nearly any type of immune dysfunction. It's used as a supportive treatment for cancer therapy and infection to increase the bodies immune response, as well as with autoimmune conditions to reduce overactive immune sensitivity.

Reishi is also used for chronic anxiety, depression, and hyperactivity. In traditional Chinese medicine, it's popular for treating lung conditions such as wheezing, excessive phlem production, and chronic coughing.

 

Weekly Dose

Part Used

  • Fruiting body, Spores, Mycelium

Family Name

  • Ganodermataceae

Distribution

  • Asia, Europe, and North America

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Constituents of Interest

  • beta-glucans
  • Ergosterol

Common Names

  • Reishi
  • Ling Zhi
  • Saiwai-Take
  • Kishiban

CYP450

  • Unknown

Quality

  • Neutral

Pregnancy

  • No adverse reactions expected.

Taste

  • Bitter

Duration of Use

  • Suitable for long term use.
 

Mycological Info:

There are about 80 different species of Ganoderma, many of which are used as medicine to varying degrees. The Ganodermataceae contains 8 genera and roughly 300 different species.

 

Research Overview:

Still compiling research.

 

Clinical Applications Of Reishi:

Reishi is used as a supportive agent for cancer, autoimmune conditions, cardiovascular dysfunctions, respiratory dysfunctions, viral and bacterial infection, and hypertension. It's rarely used on its own, but makes for a great addition to herbal formulations.

 

Cautions:

Caution advised in combination with ACE inhibitor medications due to potential drug interactions.

 

Author:

Justin Cooke

The Sunlight Experiment

(Updated November 2018)

 

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Lion's Mane (Hericium erinaceus)

lions-mane-mushroom-hericium.jpg

Lion's Mane Summary

Lion's Mane is a medicinal fungus with a characteristic "fuzzy" appearance resembling that of a lions mane, or perhaps the head of a mop. It's found in temperate forests in North America, Europe, and Asia. The medicinal benefits of this fungus mainly involve the nervous system. It's also a popular culinary species with a falvour resembing that of lobster.

In recent years lion's mane has caught the eye of the nootropic industry for its ability to upregulate nerve growth factor.

 

+ Indications

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Bacterial infection
  • Cancer (supportive)
  • Cognitive decline
  • Dementia
  • Diabetes
  • Dyslipidaemia
  • Fatigue
  • Gastric ulcers
  • Gastritis
  • Hepatobiliary disease
  • Inflammation
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Neurodegenerative disorders
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Wounds (topically)

+ Contraindications

  • Bleeding disorders
  • Surgery (discontinue 2 weeks prior to surgery)
  • May interact with anticoagulant medications

Herbal Actions:

  • Nootropic
  • Immunomodulator
  • Nervine
  • Antibacterial
  • Anticancer
  • Antioxidant
  • Cardioprotective
  • Hepatoprotective
  • Antidiabetic
 

How Is Lion's Mane Used?

Lion's mane is mainly used for neurodegenerative disorders like dementia and multiple sclerosis. It's also popular as a nootropic agent for supporting optimal cognitive function long term.

 

Weekly Dose

Part Used

  • Fungus

Family Name

  • Hericiaceae

Distribution

  • North America, Europe, Russia, Mountainous regions of Asia

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Constituents of Interest

  • Hericnones
  • Erinacines
  • Lactones
  • Polysaccharides

Common Names

  • Lion's Mane
  • Monkey's Head
  • Hedgehog Fungus
  • Pom Pom
  • Houtou (China)
  • Shishigashira (China)
  • Yamabushitake (Japan)

Pregnancy

  • Safe during pregnancy.

Duration of Use

  • Long term use acceptable.
 

Mycological Information

The Hericiaceae family of fungi are saprophytic, and normally grow in cooler, mountainous regions across the globe. It contains a number of species used medicinally and nutritionally.

Hericium spp. has characteristic "tooth" structures on its fruiting body, giving it a hair appearance.

 

Research Overview:

Still compiling research

 

Clinical Applications Of Lion's Mane:

Lion's mane has many uses, but the most well-known is as a neuroprotective, and nootropic benefits. It's useful for neurodegenerative disorders including multipple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease.

Other uses include depression and anxiety, cancer, diabetes, gastrointestinal infection, and fatigue.

 

Cautions:

Caution advised with any blood clotting conditions or medications due to possible agonistic interactions.

 

Author:

Justin Cooke

The Sunlight Experiment

(Updated November 2018)

 
lions-mane-mushroom.jpg
 

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Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea)

Rhodiola-herb.jpg

Rhodiola Overview:

Rhodiola was made famous by some earlier research done by Russian scientists in the 1960's. Although a lot of this research still hasn't been released to the public, there has been a lot fo new studies put forward to make up for this loss.

Rhodiola is well revered as an adaptogen for treating fatigue, cognitive decline, depression, and for athletic enhancement. It's considered to be a mild stimulant, though it doesn't produce the "wired" feeling many other stimulants produce. It increases energy levels and makes us more tolerant to stressful situations.

Although there is still a lot of research lacking, we know that Rhodiola can reduce cortisol levels in the body after exposure to stress, however, the details on how this interaction exists is still not well understood. There is also a great deal of confusion around which chemicals are active in the herb, some studies showing the rosavins, others tyrosol and the rhodiolasides. A result from this confusion and dispute is a wide range of differentiation between the "standardised doses" of this herb. Each manufacturer tends to have a preference for one chemical group over the other in their products.

+ Indications

  • Age-related cognitive decline
  • Altitude sickness
  • Athletic performance enhancement
  • Cancer
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Chronic heart failure (CHF)
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia
  • HIV
  • Hypertension
  • Insomnia (Sleep maintenance)
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Poor appetite
  • Poor concentration
  • Substance abuse

+ Contraindications

None noted.

Main Herbal Actions:

  • Adaptogen
  • CNS Stimulant (mild)
  • Antidepressant
  • Cardioprotective
  • Nootropic
 

Main Uses:

Rhodiola rosea is mainly used for its adaptogenic qualities, especially those specific to lowering cortisol levels. It's reliable for improving fatigue in debilitated or chronically fatigued people, as well as those experiencing generalised adaptive disorder, depression, or acute periods of extreme stress. Its a popular nootropic additive for increasing focus and mental endurance and is popular among athletes for increasing physical endurance as well.

 

Daily Dosage

Liquid Extract

Ratio: 2:1

2.5-6 mL

Weekly Dosage

Liquid Extract

Ratio: 2:1

20-40 mL

 

Part Used

Rhoot/Rhizome

Family Name

Crassulaceae

Distribution

Northern Climates of North America, Asia, and Europe

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Constituents of Interest

  • Rosavin
  • Tyrosol
  • Salidroside
  • Rhodiolaside

Common Names

  • Rhodiola
  • Rose Root
  • Arctic Root
  • Golden Root
  • King's Crown
 

Botanical Info:

Although Rhodiola rosea is the preferred species used, their are a number of species used in various indigenous medical systems such as Rhodiola alterna, Rhodiola brevipetiolata, Rhodiola crenulata, Rhodiola kirilowii, Rhodiola quadrifida, Rhodiola sachalinensis, and Rhodiola sacra.

The Crassulaceae family contains 34 genera, and 1400 species. Most of the plants in this family can be found in cooler climates.

Another medicinal species in this family is Kalanchoe.

 

Level Of Research:

 

Clinical Applications Of Rhodiola:

Rhodiola serves as a reliable adaptogen with little to no side effects noted in any of the studies listed. It's useful for those suffering from high stress conditions, chronically fatigued, or depressed. Its also useful for increasing athletic performance in athletes, and reducing the chances of being affected by altitude sickness when travelling above 2500 metres.

 

Cautions:

Caution when using Rhodiola with mania as the mental stimulation may produce negative side effects.

 
 
 

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Iris (Iris versicolor)

iris-versicolor.jpg

Iris Overview:

Iris is a misunderstood herb in many circles. It contains a set of constituents that are known to trigger nausea and vomiting. Ironically, in small doses iris is useful for treating nausea however. Iris has mild laxative qualities, which is though to be due to a combination between its potent bitter constituents stimulating the flow of bile from the liver and gallbladder, and an ability to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. It's especially active on the liver, where it's used to treat poor digestion, liver dysfunction, and to treat skin conditions.

Other species sometimes used includes Iris caroliniana & Iris virginica.

Monograph Coming Soon

 

+ Indications

  • Diabetes
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Eczema
  • Endometriosis
  • Hypercholesterolemia
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Hypertriglyceridemia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Lymphadenopathy
  • Pancreatic dysfunctions
  • Poor digestion
  • Psoriasis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Skin conditions
  • Supporting weight loss
  • Urinary tract infections

+ Contraindications

  • Avoid high doses
  • Mucus membrane irritation (IBS, IBD, etc)
  • Diarrhea

+ Mechanisms

  • Thought to stimulate parasympathetic nervous system
  • Iridin thought to induce laxative action due to irritating properties on mucus membranes

Main Herbal Actions:

  • Bitter
  • Pancreatic trophorestorative
  • Alterative
  • Antinflammatory
  • Astringent
  • Lymphatic
  • Hepatic
  • Laxative (mild)
  • Diuretic
  • Choleretic
  • Cholagogue
 

Main Uses:

Iris is used to treat skin conditions through the liver by improving elimination pathways and preventing excessive elimination and irritation through the skin. It's useful for acne, psoriasis, eczema, and rashes.

Other common uses of iris is for urinary tract infection, hypothyroidism, lymphadenopathy, and menstrual irregularities.

 

Daily Dosage

Liquid Extract

Ratio: 1:2

3-6 mL

Weekly Dosage

Liquid Extract

Ratio: 1:2

20-40 mL

 

Part Used

Root/Rhizome

Family Name

Iridaceae

Distribution

North America

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Constituents of Interest

  • Furfural
  • Irisin
  • Salicylic Acid
  • Oleo-resin, beta-sitosterols
  • Beta-sitosterols

Common Names

  • Iris
  • Blue Flag
  • Sweet Flag
  • Poison Flag
  • Harlequin Blueflag
 

Botanical Info:

Iris is native to North America, and is common around marshes, streams, and lakes.

The Iridaceae family is named specifically after the irises, and refers to the rainbow due to the many colors of irises available. This family contains 66 different genera, and approximatly 2244 different species. Some of the other famous members of this family include Crocus spp., and Gladioli spp.

 

Research Overview:

still compiling research.

Level Of Research:

Clinical Applications Of Iris:

Iris has recently seen a peak in interest in the past few years, however, is still not a commonly used herb due to the presence of significant side effects. Iris is contraindicated in anything but small doses due to the mucus membrane irritant and nauseating side effects. In small doses however, iris is useful for stimulating bile secretion, promoting movement in the bowels, stimulating the pancreas, and treating skin conditions arising from liver congestion.

 

Cautions:

Some of the constituents in fresh iris root can cause a burning sensation in the mouth and throat along with diarrhea and abdominal burning. It's considered an emetic, and mucus membrane irritant in higher doses. Use cautiously and only in smaller doses.

 
 

Monograph Coming Soon

 

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Frankincense (Boswellia serrata)

frankincense resin and oil

Frankincense Summary

Frankincense has been a valuable herb for a long time. It was so valuable at the time, it was one of the three precious gifts given to Jesus at his birth along with Myrhh, and gold. The value of frankincense comes from its powerful medicinal actions, which we now understand to be through antiseptic and antinflammatory actions. In the past, however, these medicinal actions were not well understood, but the wide range of conditions antinflammatories can treat made it a bit of a panaceae of its time. On top of this, the rich volatile oil content made frankincense an excellent source of incense for celebrations and ceremonies.

Frankincense is incredibly hardy, growing out of rock faces in the scortching Somali sun, often going months without water.

 

+ Indications

  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Crohn's disease
  • Diverticulitis
  • General inflammation
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Lymphoma
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
  • Ulcerative colitis

+ Contraindications

None noted.

+ Mechanisms

  • 5-LOX inhibitor
  • Mild COX inhibitor

Herbal Actions:

  • Antioxidant
  • Antinflammatory
  • Antiseptic
  • Carminative
  • Vulnerary
  • Emmenagogue
 

What Is Frankincense Used For?

The main use for frankincense internally is for its potent antinflammatory effects. It works mainly as a 5-LOX inhibitor, which differentiates it from COX inhibitors like Aspirin, Salix alba, or Curcuma longa. Frankincense is best used for conditions like osteoarthritis and vascular/neural inflammation, and in combination with COX inhibitors for inflammatory bowel disease or hyperpermeability of the gastrointestinal lining.

Topically frankincense is used in salves or as a linement for wounds and infection. The essential oil is inhaled for asthma, lung infeciton, or as a mild sedative.

 

Traditional Uses

+ Ayurvedic Medical System

Boswellia was commonly used in Ayurveda as an astringent and anti-inflammatory agent topically and as a stimulant and expectorant topically.

It was used for pulmonary conditions, diarrhea, rheumatism, dysentery, gonorrhea, dysmenorrhea, syphilis, weakness, poor appetite, and various liver conditions.

 

Weekly Dose

Weekly Dose

(Powdered Extract)

  • 2100-3500 mg

Part Used

  • Resin

Family Name

  • Burseraceae

Distribution

  • Middle East

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Constituents of Interest

  • Acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid (AKBA):
  • Alpha-boswellic acid
  • 3-acetyl-ß-boswellic acid
  • Pinene

Common Names

  • Frankincense
  • Olibanum
  • Boswellia
  • Sallaki (Sanskrit)

CYP450

CYP3A4, CYP1A2, CYP2C9

Quality

Unknown

Pregnancy

Unknown

Taste

Slightly minty, bitter

Duration of Use

  • Suitable for long term use.
 

Botanical Information

Frankincense is a member of the Burseraceae family of plants, which includes 17-19 different genera and 540 species. This family is characterised by a nonallergenic resin produced in nearly all plant tissue as well as flaking bark patterns.

The Boswellia genus contains roughly 30 different species. The main species used today is Boswellia serrata, although Boswellia carteri is also used in some parts of the world. Biblical frankincense is believed to have been Boswellia sacra.

 

Harvesting Collection, and Preparation:

Due to the high alcohol content needed to extract the resin, this herb is generally given as a tablet or capsule, rather than a tincture or liquid extract.

 

Pharmacology & Medical Research

+ Neurological Disorders

Boswellic acids ability to pass the blood brain barrier, combined with its potent antinflammatory activity make it an interesting candidiate for neurological conditions involving inflammation like Alzheimer's disease. More research is needed to explore this use in detail.

+ Inflammatory Bowel Disease

The pathophysiology of Inflammatory Bowel Disease including both ulcerative colitis and crohns disease involves the leaking of luminal components into the lamina propria, resulting in significant inflammatory response involving TNF-a, IL-1, IL-6, IFN-y, and free radical components released from macrophages in the area. The main mechanism of treatment for this condition is to halt the inflammatory cascade happening within these tissues. [3, 7].

Acetyl-11-keto-fl-boswellic acid (AKBA) in Boswellia serrata has been shown to have marked 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX), [5], and cyclooxygenase (COX-1) inhibitory activity [1].

Additionally, Boswellia serrata has been shown to have significant TNFα, IL-1β, NO and MAP kinase inhibitory activity [2].

 

Phytocheistry

  • Wellic acids (triterpenoids)
  • Pentacy-clic triterpene acids (beta-boswellic acid and acetyl-boswellic acids(acetyl-beta-boswellic acid, acetyl-11- keto-beta-boswellic acid (AKBA) and 11-keto-beta-boswellic acid)), tetracyclic triterpene acids.
  • Terpenols
  • Monosaccharides
  • Uronic acids
  • Sterols
  • Phlobaphenes
 

Clinical Applications Of Frankincense:

Frankincense is useful for most forms of inflammation, including inflammatory bowel conditions, oasteoarthritis, and vascular inflammation. It's aromatic component makes it reliable for relieving flatulence, bloating, and indigestion.

 

Cautions:

Some allergies have been reported.

 

Author

Justin Cooke, BHSc

The Sunlight Experiment

(Updated November 2018)

 

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References:

  1. Cao, H., Yu, R., Choi, Y., Ma, Z. Z., Zhang, H., Xiang, W., ... & van Breemen, R. B. (2010). Discovery of cyclooxygenase inhibitors from medicinal plants used to treat inflammation. Pharmacological research, 61(6), 519-524.

  2. Gayathri, B., Manjula, N., Vinaykumar, K. S., Lakshmi, B. S., & Balakrishnan, A. (2007). Pure compound from Boswellia serrata extract exhibits anti-inflammatory property in human PBMCs and mouse macrophages through inhibition of TNFα, IL-1β, NO and MAP kinases. International immunopharmacology, 7(4), 473-482.

  3. Kühl, A. A., Erben, U., Kredel, L. I., & Siegmund, B. (2015). Diversity of intestinal macrophages in inflammatory bowel diseases. Frontiers in immunology, 6, 613.

  4. Honkanen, T., Mustonen, J., Kainulainen, H., Myllymiki, J., Collin, P., Hurme, M., & Rantala, I. (2005). Small bowel cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) expression in patients with IgA nephropathy. Kidney international, 67(6), 2187-2195.

  5. Sailer, E. R., Subramanian, L. R., Rall, B., Hoernlein, R. F., Ammon, H., & Safayhi, H. (1996). Acetyl‐11‐keto‐β‐boswellic acid (AKBA): structure requirements for binding and 5‐lipoxygenase inhibitory activity. British journal of pharmacology, 117(4), 615-618.

  6. Volta, U., Tovoli, F., Cicola, R., Parisi, C., Fabbri, A., Piscaglia, M., ... & Caio, G. (2012). Serological tests in gluten sensitivity (nonceliac gluten intolerance). Journal of clinical gastroenterology, 46(8), 680-685.

  7. Wakefield, A. J., Dhillon, A. P., Rowles, P. M., Sawyerr, A. M., Pittilo, R. M., Lewis, A. A. M., & Pounder, R. E. (1989). Pathogenesis of Crohn's disease: multifocal gastrointestinal infarction. The Lancet, 334(8671), 1057-1062.

Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum)

horse chestnut leaf and seed

Horse Chestnut Overview:

Horsechestnut is a large tree with a long histroy of use for treating vascular conditions like varicose veins and other forms of poor vascular tone. Its common name originated from a belief that horsechestnut seeds were able to relieve panting horses.

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+ Indications

  • Poor vascular tone
  • Vericose veins
  • Burst blod vessels
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Phelbitis
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Frostbite
  • Leg ulcers
  • Chronic venous insufficiency

+ Contraindications

  • Pregnancy
  • Breast feeding
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Anticoagulant medication use

Main Herbal Actions:

  • Astringent
  • Antinflammatory
  • Decongestant
  • Antioxidant
  • Antirheumatic
  • Analgesic
  • Expectorant
  • Vasoprotective
 

Main Uses:

Horsechestnut is manly used for its astringent and antinflammatory activity specific to the vascular system. It's also used for fluid accumulation, chest pain, rheumatism, neuralgia, hemorrhoids, and sinus congestion.

 

Daily Dosage

Liquid Extract

Ratio: 1:2

2-5 mL

Weekly Dosage

Liquid Extract

Ratio: 1:2

15-35 mL

 

Part Used

Seed

Family Name

Sapindaceae

Distribution

Europe & North America

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Constituents of Interest

  • Aescin

Common Names

  • Horsechestnut
  • Conker Tree
  • Atkestanesi
  • Buckeye
  • Eschilo
 

Botanical Info:

Horsechestnut is a large tree, growing up to 39 meters tall.

The Sapindaceae family of plants contains 138 genera, and 1858 different species. The Aesculus genus contains 13-19 different species. Other famous members of the Sapindacea family include maple (Acer spp.), lychee (Litchi chinensis), longan (Dimocarpus longan), Guarana (Paulinia cupana) Ackee (Blighia sapida).

 

Research Overview:

still compiling research

Level Of Research:

 

Clinical Applications Of Horse Chestnut:

Horsechestnut is a reliable vascular tonic, suitable for most forms of vascular insufficiency or fluid retention. Varicose veins, spider veins, burst blood vessels, and peripheral vascular and arterial insufficiency are all indicated for use wth horsechestnut internally.

 

Cautions:

The esculin may be toxic in higher doses. Many horsechestnut extracts will remove this component to improve safety.

Do not use horsechestnut in combination with pregnancy or breastfeeding.

 
 

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