White Sage

{Salvia apiana}

Also, Known As:

  • Bee Sage
  • Sacred Sage
  • White Ceremonial Sage
  • White Sage

Salvia apiana or white sage is a perennially growing evergreen shrub that is indigenous to the southwestern regions of the United States and the adjoining north-western areas of Mexico. This herb is mostly found growing in the wild in the scrub habitat in the coastal regions of Baja California and Southern California, located on the western peripheries of the Sonoran and Mojave deserts.

White sage possibly derives its name from its ashen evergreen leaves, which contain oils and resins. The leaves of white sage emit a potent aroma when they are rubbed. The white to light lavender hued blooms of this plant attract bees, and this is described in the plant’s specific name – apiana. White sage bears many flower stalks, which measure anything between 1 meter and 1.3 meters (3.3 feet to 4.3 feet) in height. Occasionally, the flower stalks of white sage have a pinkish hue and they grow higher than the foliage, especially in spring.

White sage usually grows up to a height of five feet. The plants bloom during the summer. The petals of white sage pucker back, as the stamens dangle on the sides. The white sage flowers are often troublesome for the bees, as they can neither go inside nor get out with ease. However, bumblebees are more apt at dealing with these flowers, while hummingbirds have no trouble at all in collecting nectar from white sage flowers.

Plant Part Used:

Dried leaves.

Herbal Use:

Native American groups inhabiting the United States’ Pacific coast extensively use white sage or Salvia apiana. The seed of this plant formed the main ingredient of their staple food, locally known as “Pinole”. People belonging to the Cahuilla collected the white sage seeds in large amounts. They pounded the seeds and blended it with wheat flour as well as sugar for preparing biscuits or gruel. Even the leaves and stems of white sage were consumed by members of the Chumash as well as other local tribes.

Many tribes used the seeds of white sage to clear their eyes of foreign objects, much in the same manner as the Europeans used the clary sage seeds. Cahuilla women also used the roots of this plant to prepare a tea, which is reported to provide strength after childbirth, in addition to healing. Several Native American tribes also burnt the leaves of white sage and the smoke was used in various rituals undertaken for purification.

The leaves of this plant were also used to make an infusion, which was employed in the form of a blood tonic as well as to treat colds and coughs. The leaves are also edible. In addition, they are used in the form of a sweat bath and also to treat colds. As aforementioned, the seeds of white sage are used in the form of eye cleaners.

White-sage-cultivation-and-medicinal-uses

 

Several native tribes in America, including the Costanoan, Cahuilla, Kawaiisu, Diegeno, and Maidu of California used the seeds of white sage or chia, as known locally, for cleansing as well as healing their eyes. One means of cleaning the eyes was placing a few white sage seeds inside their eyes at bedtime. These seeds became swollen and gelatinous during the night. While the seeds moved around underneath the eyelids during sleep, they pull together foreign substances, if any, on the eyeballs. The seeds were taken out in the morning, cleaning the eyes and also getting rid of all foreign particles.

For centuries, various native groups have been using the leaves of white sage in the form of hair shampoo, hair straightener, and hair dye. They crushed the leaves in water and applied the water to their hair. In addition, freshly crushed leaves were also used to make a poultice, which was applied to the armpits to get rid of foul odors. They also burnt the leaves and used them in the form of incense to fumigate their homes following the outbreak of infectious ailments like measles.

These native tribes collected the seeds in a flat basket or beater basket. Subsequently, the seeds were dried and pounded into a powdered form for use in meals. In southern California, the Cahuillas used one part of the pounded seeds to blend with three parts wheat flour and a small amount of sugar. This blend was consumed dry, mixed with water in the form of gruel. Alternatively, they baked the powdered seeds into biscuits or cakes.

These tribes harvested the seeds in large quantities and kept them in baskets at home after drying. For instance, the tribes inhabiting north of Santa Barbara stored the dried seeds as well as other foods in small baskets on hand. They especially stored some seeds for the winter, when many other foods were not available. In California, the Chumash, as well as other tribes, also consumed white sage leaves and stems.

Women of the Cahuilla drank an infusion prepared from the roots of white sage after childbirth with a view to getting rid of afterbirth problems as well as support internal healing. Cahuilla people also consumed white sage seeds for treating colds. Similarly, the Diegueno employed the white sage to prepare a tea for curing colds.

These native tribes of America used the white sage leaves in various ways – they smoked the leaves, used them to prepare a herbal tea and also employed the leaves in sweat houses for treating colds. Members of the Diegueno tribe used the leaves of white sage in the form of shampoo to cleanse their hair as well as to prevent them from becoming grey untimely. Some tribes also rubbed the leaves against their body or applied the crushed leaves to their body to get rid of any foul smell. In fact, men of the Cahuilla tribe usually did this prior to venturing out for hunting. They also burnt the dry white sage leaves and the smoke was used in the form of incense during purification rituals. Several native Indian tribes in America hold the white sage in high esteem. This herb is also cherished by many other cultures across the world even to this day. White sage is especially valued for its tender feminine attributes.

White sage is an aromatic herb that has been widely used over the centuries in the form of incense as well as in smudge pots during ceremonies. Hence, this herb is commonly also known as the white ceremonial sage.

Some people also burnt the white sage leaves to fumigate their houses or dwellings following any contagious disease and also for purifying the air during ailments. When drunk in the form of an infusion or tea, white sage offers potent anti-inflammatory properties. White sage tea may also aid in reducing the symptoms of an ulcer.

white-sage-smudge-salvia-apiana

CULINARY USES

White sage seeds are used for culinary purposes, either raw or after cooking. Native American tribes also mixed the seeds with cereals like wheat or oats, toasted them and subsequently ground them into a fine powder for consuming it dry. Alternatively, they also soaked the white sage seeds in water or fruit juice for the night and drunk the liquid or consumed it along with cereals. Sometimes, the seeds were also used in the form of spice. On the other hand, white sage leaves are consumed after cooking. The leaves are also used to add flavor to seed mushes. Often, people also consume the young stalks of white sage raw. The tops of ripened or mature stems are peeled and consumed raw.

Habitat Of White Sage:

Salvia apiana (white sage) is indigenous to a very small region in southern California as well as the northwestern areas of Mexico. This plant has a preference for the conditions found in this dry, coastal region, which has a sloping milieu on the fringe of the desert. The plants need deep watering only once in two weeks, especially when grown in a sandy soil having proper drainage and a sunny location. Although white sage can endure cool climatic conditions, the performance of the plant will be poor when grown in shade and humid conditions and if they are watered excessively. If you are living in areas where frosting is common, you can grow white sage in pots and keep them indoors. It is best to grow the white sage as annual plants in such areas.

White sage hybridizes very easily with other species belonging to the Salvia genus, especially Salvia clevelandii and Salvia leucophylla.

The ideal conditions for growing white sage include a dry climate. In fact, these plants may be killed if the winter months are too wet. Salvia apiana is unable to endure colder climates and, hence, they die. Plants of this species can only tolerate low temperatures in the range of -5°C and -10°C. White sage seeds are available in health food stores and are usually used to prepare beverages – infusion or tea. White sage is an excellent bee plant. Plants belonging to this genus are seldom disturbed by browsing deer.

For commercial purposes, white sage is usually propagated by its seeds, which are ideally sown in a greenhouse during the March-April period. Normally, it takes about two weeks for the seeds to germinate. When the seedlings have grown sufficiently big to be handled, prick them out and plant them in separate pots. You may transfer the young white sage plants to their permanent positions outdoors during the onset of summer next year. In places where the temperatures hover around the endurance levels of white sage, it is advisable that you grow them in a greenhouse throughout their first winter. You may plant them outdoors during the end of spring in the subsequent year.

White sage can also be propagated from semi-mature wood cuttings. These cuttings can be done at any time during the growing season, as they are generally very successful.

Research:

In 1991, scientists at the University of Arizona undertook a study which showed that white sage (Salvia apiana) possesses potential antibacterial qualities, especially against Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus, Candida brassicae and Klebsiella pneumoniae.

Constituents:

White sage contains triterpenes and diterpenes, including oleanolic acid, carnosic acid, and ursolic acid.

Possible Side effects and Precautions:

Although white sage is safe for consumption by most people, this herb should be avoided by women during pregnancy.

Harvesting White Sage:

While harvesting white sage (Salvia apiana) by cutting the stems one needs to be careful to discriminate between the fleshy and woody parts of the stem. Cutting the fleshy top of the white sage stem will produce two stems in the following year. On the other hand, cutting the woody base of the plant will not promote the growth of new leaves or stem. After cutting the stems, hang them upturned to desiccate them and subsequently bundle them in the form of smudge sticks (dried herbs). You may preserve the dry leaves of the herb for preparing tea or, if you prefer, even use them in your food. The seeds can be collected for sowing in the next year. For this, you need to save the brownish fruits, which are akin to nuts, prior to the release of the seeds.

Lavender Oil: A Love for Lavender Oil

A whiff of lavender oil can trigger various sensations, and its sweet fragrance brings to mind rows and rows of beautiful blue-violet flowers under the summer sky. But if you look beyond lavender oil’s aroma, you’ll find that there’s more to it than meets the eye – or your sense of smell.

What Is Lavender?

lavender oilLavender oil comes from lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), an easy-to-grow, evergreen shrub that produces clumps of beautiful, scented flowers above green or silvery-gray foliage. The plant is native to northern Africa and the mountainous Mediterranean regions, and thrives best in sunny, stony habitats. Today, it grows throughout southern Europe, the United States, and Australia.

Lavender has been used for over 2,500 years. Ancient Persians, Greeks, and Romans added the flowers to their bathwater to help wash and purify their skin. In fact, the word “lavender” comes from the Latin word “lavare,” which means “to wash.”

Phoenicians, Arabians, and Egyptians used lavender as a perfume, as well as for mummification – mummies were wrapped in lavender-dipped garments. In Greece and Rome, it was used as an all-around cure, while in Medieval and Renaissance Europe, it was scattered all over stone castle floors as a natural disinfectant and deodorant. Lavender was even used during the Great Plague of London in the 17th century. People fastened lavender flowers around their waists, believing it will protect them from the Black Death.

High-quality lavender oil has a sweet, floral, herbaceous, and slightly woody scent. Its color can range from pale yellow to yellow-green, but it can also be colorless.

Uses of Lavender Oil

lavender oil usesBoth lavender and lavender oil are valued for their fragrance and versatility. The flowers are used in potpourris, crafting, and home décor, while the essential oil is added to bath and body care products, such as soaps, perfumes, household cleaners, and laundry detergent.

Lavender oil is known for its anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antidepressant, antiseptic, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties. It also has antispasmodic, analgesic, detoxifying, hypotensive, and sedative effects. Lavender oil is one of the most well-known essential oils in aromatherapy, and can be:

  • Added to your bath or shower to relieve aching muscles and stress.
  • Massaged on your skin as a relief for muscle or joint pain, as well as for skin conditions like burns, acne, and wounds. Make sure to dilute it with a carrier oil.
  • Inhaled or vaporized. You can use an oil burner or add a few drops to a bowl of hot water, and then breathe in the steam.
  • Added to your hand or foot soak. Add a drop to a bowl of warm water before soaking your hands or feet.
  • Used as a compress by soaking a towel in a bowl of water infused with a few drops of lavender oil. Apply this to sprains or muscle injuries.

I also recommend adding lavender oil to your list of natural cleaning products. You can mix it with baking soda to make an all-natural antibacterial scrub for your bathroom and kitchen.

Composition of Lavender Oil

Lavender oil has a chemically complex structure with over 150 active constituents. This oil is rich in esters, which are aromatic molecules with antispasmodic (suppressing spasms and pain), calming, and stimulating properties.

The chief botanical constituents of lavender oil are linalyl acetate, linalool (a non-toxic terpene alcohol that has natural germicidal properties), terpinen-4-ol, and camphor. Other constituents in lavender oil that are responsible for its antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory properties include cis-ocimene, lavandulyl acetate, 1,8-cineole, limonene, and geraniol.

Benefits of Lavender Oil

lavender oil benefitsLavender oil is known for its calming and relaxing  properties, and has been used for alleviating insomnia, anxiety, depression, restlessness, dental anxiety, and stress. It has also been proven effective for nearly all kinds of ailments, from pain to infections.

I am particularly fascinated by lavender oil’s potential in fighting antifungal-resistant skin and nail infections. Scientists from the University of Coimbra found that lavender oil is lethal to skin-pathogenic strains known as dermatophytes, as well as various Candida species. The study, published in Journal of Medical Microbiology,found that lavender oil kills fungi by damaging their cell walls (a mechanism that I believe could apply to bacteria and viruses as well). The best part is that this oil does not cause resistance, unlike antibiotics.

For more about this topic, read my article “Lavender Oil Has Potent Antifungal Effect.”

Lavender oil can also be used to:

  • Relieve pain. It can ease sore or tense muscles, joint pain and rheumatism, sprains, backache, and lumbago. Simply massage lavender oil onto the affected area. Lavender oil may also help lessen pain following needle insertion.
  • Treat various skin disorders like acne, psoriasis, eczema, and wrinkles. It also helps form scar tissues, which may be essential in healing wounds, cuts, and burns. Lavender can also help soothe insect bites and itchy skin. According to Texas-based dermatologist Dr. Naila Malik, it’s a natural anti-inflammatory, so it helps reduce itching, swelling, and redness.
  • Keep your hair healthy. It helps kill lice, lice eggs, and nits. The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database (NMCB) says that lavender is possibly effective for treating alopecia areata (hair loss), boosting hair growth by up to 44 percent after just seven months of treatment.
  • Improve your digestion. This oil helps stimulate the mobility of your intestine and stimulates the production of bile and gastric juices, which may help treat stomach pain, indigestion, flatulence, colic, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Relieve respiratory disorders. Lavender oil can help alleviate respiratory problems like colds and flu, throat infections, cough, asthma, whooping cough, sinus congestion, bronchitis, tonsillitis, and laryngitis. It can be applied on your neck, chest, or back, or inhaled via steam inhalation or through a vaporizer.
  • Stimulates urine production, which helps restore hormonal balance, prevent cystitis (inflammation of the urinary bladder), and relieve cramps and other urinary disorders.
  • Improve your blood circulation. It helps lower elevated blood pressure levels, and can be used for hypertension.

Lavender oil can help ward off mosquitoes and moths. It is actually used as an ingredient in some mosquito repellents.

How to Make Lavender Oil

dried lavender flowersLavender oil is produced via steam distillation. The flowers are picked when they are in full bloom, where they contain the maximum amount of esters. It takes 150 pounds of lavender to produce just one pound of pure lavender essential oil.

You can also make a cold infusion by soaking lavender flowers in another oil. Try this recipe from BlackThumbGardener.com:

Ingredients and Materials:

  • Dried lavender flowers
  • Mineral oil or olive oil
  • Jar
  • Cheesecloth or muslin
  • Sterilized bottle

Procedure:

  • Clean and dry your jar completely, and then place the dried lavender flowers in it. You should have enough flowers to fill your jar.
  • Pour the oil all over the flowers until they’re completely covered.
  • Put the jar in a place where it can get a good amount of sun, and let it sit for three to six weeks. The sunlight will help extract the oil from the flowers and infuse it with the base oil.
  • After three or six weeks, pour the oil through your cheesecloth and into a sterilized bottle.

How Does Lavender Oil Work?

Lavender oil’s effectiveness is said to be brought on by the psychological effects of its soothing and relaxing fragrance, combined with the physiological effects of its volatile oils on your limbic system.Lavender oil can be applied topically or inhaled as steam vapor. Although dried lavender flowers are can be made into lavender tea, I advise against ingesting the oil, as it may lead to side effects, such as difficult breathing, burning eyes and blurred vision, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Is Lavender Oil Safe?

I believe that using natural oils like lavender oil is one of the best holistic tactics that you can incorporate in your life. However, there are a few important guidelines to remember when using lavender oil.

Using diluted lavender oil topically or in aromatherapy is generally considered safe for most adults, but may not be recommended for children. Applying pure lavender oil to your skin (especially open wounds) may also cause irritation, so I recommend infusing it with a carrier oil, such as olive oil or coconut oil. Dissolving it in water also works.

Be careful not to rub lavender oil in your eyes and mucous membranes. If this happens, wash it out immediately. Lavender oil may also cause allergic reactions in people with unusually sensitive skin, so do a spot test before using it. Simply apply a drop of lavender oil to your arm and see if any reaction occurs.

Side Effects of Lavender Oil

Some people may develop an allergic reaction to lavender oil. There are also instances when people experience side effects such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, and chills after inhaling or applying the oil topically.

I advise pregnant women and nursing moms to avoid using this oil, as the safety of lavender oil for these conditions hasn’t been identified. The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) also warns against using lavender oil when taking medications like barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and chloral hydrate, as it may increase their sedative effects and cause extreme drowsiness and sleepiness.

What Is Lavender Good For?

Lavender Love

lavender-nutrition-factsBotanical Name: Lavandula

Fragrant, beautiful, and versatile, lavender is typically added to bouquets or to bathwater for a purifying and uplifting effect. A close cousin of mint, it grows as a small shrub that has lovely violet flowers and green or pale grey leaves. It’s native to northern Africa and the mountainous Mediterranean regions, although it also grows throughout southern Europe, Australia, and some parts of the United States today.

If you wish to grow lavender in your own backyard, remember that this lovely plant needs well-drained soil and at least six hours of full sunlight each day. For best results, use a soil mixture that has a higher sand content than clay so your plant will grow healthier and will produce more baby plants. Adding peat moss around the first lavender plant is essential, and so is giving it enough water during the first season. Once the lavender plant grows well, it will be resilient enough to handle drought conditions.

Lavender leaves and flowers, whether fresh or dried, are edible and have a mildly sweet but slightly bitter aftertaste. They can flavor salads, jellies, sorbets, desserts, and beverages, and can also be added to sauces and marinades.

Unclear about whether  you should use fresh or dried flowers? Here’s a tip: fresh blossoms flowers have a sweet and stronger flavor, and are great for desserts. Meanwhile, dried flowers are “herbier” and can be used for more savory dishes.

Health Benefits of Lavender

The health-conscious need not worry about using lavender, as it only has a few calories per tablespoon. There are over 100 known compounds in lavender, including phytochemicals and antioxidants. The most well-known of these is limonene, a type of terpene that stimulates the digestive enzymes in your liver and helps detoxify your body, ridding it of carcinogens. According to animal studies, limonene can also help reduce tumor growth.

Caffeic acid is another constituent of lavender. Previously believed to be carcinogenic, caffeic acid was found to actually help inhibit cancer growth and have tumor-shrinking properties.

Also beneficial are coumarins, a group of compounds responsible for lavender’s fragrance. Studies have found that coumarins have complex multi-biological activities that may prevent HIV, tumor, hypertension, and osteoporosis. However, coumarins are moderately toxic and should not be consumed in amounts over 0.1 mg per day.

Otherwise, they may cause liver and kidney damage.

Lavender has been used to remedy numerous ailments, owing in large part to its very calming effects. When seeped as tea, lavender blossoms can help alleviate stress, anxiety attacks, rheumatism, distension, and insomnia. Adding the fresh blossoms to your bathwater can help relax and ease tired muscles.

Lavender Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 100 gram serving of fresh lavender

Amt. Per Serving
Calories 49
Carbohydrates 11 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 0 mg
Potassium 0 mg

Studies on Lavender

A study conducted by scientists from the University of Coimbra in Portugal found that distilled lavender oil was lethal against a wide range of skin pathogenic fungi strains, known as dermatophytes, as well as certain Candida species. Dermatophytes can lead to skin, hair, and nail infections, while Candida can cause an irritating ailment called Mucocutaneous candidosis or thrush.

Another study, conducted by researchers from Keukdong College’s Department of Nursing in Chungcheongbuk-Do, Korea, revealed how lavender fragrance soothed female college students, helping relieve their insomnia and depression.

Researchers from King’s College in London also found that lavender scent has a profound effect on relieving anxiety in dental patients.“Our findings suggest that lavender could certainly be used as an effective ‘on-the-spot’ anxiety reduction in dentists’ waiting rooms,”lead researcher Metaxia Kritsidima says.

Lavender Healthy Recipes: Peach and Feta Salad with Lavender Dressing

Lavender Healthy Recipes

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups romaine lettuce, torn
  • 1 red onion, cut into rings
  • 2-3 tablespoons of feta, crumbled
  • 2 peaches, cut into segments

Dressing:

  • 1 teaspoon fresh lavender flowers
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Juice of half a lemon (at least 4 tablespoons)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Procedure:

  1. Mix the lemon juice, salt, lavender, mustard, garlic, and balsamic vinegar in a bowl, and then whisk. Slowly drizzle the olive oil while whisking, until you’ve added enough.
  2. Add the onion rings to the dressing. This helps remove some of the sharp flavor of the onions.
  3. Lightly grill the peaches on the grill or in a pan on the stove top.
  4. Arrange the torn lettuce in a plate, then top with the grilled peach segments.
  5. Remove the onions from the dressing then arrange on top of the lettuce.
  6. Top with the crumbled feta cheese, and decorate with a few lavender twigs.
  7. Drizzle the dressing on the salad, and then serve.

(From Honest Cooking)

Lavender Fun Facts

Lavender has long been associated with royalty, queens in particular. It was said that Queen Elizabeth I drank lavender tea daily to relieve migraines, while Queen Victoria commanded her servants to polish her furniture with a lavender-based solution. The beautiful Egyptian queen Cleopatra was said to have used a lavender-infused perfume to seduce Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony.

Summary

Lovely lavender: it’s fragrant, refreshing, and one of the most versatile plants you can use in the kitchen. Low-calorie and free of fat and cholesterol, this blossom can flavor beverages, sauces, and marinades, and can add a colorful twist to your favorite salads, sorbets, and desserts.

When it comes to nutritional value, you will not be disappointed: lavender is chock-full of phytochemicals and antioxidants that not only has anxiety-relieving properties, but also has potentially anti-cancer effects. No wonder the nobility loves it!

To make an invigorating cup of lavender tea, simply add two teaspoons of dried lavender flowers to an eight-ounce cup of boiling water, then sweeten with a teaspoon of organic honey. It’s a great remedy for relieving stress and alleviating headaches.

Other sources:

References:

Let’s Create Some Herbal Medicine – Teas

Tea is a time-honored and widespread preparation method used by cultures around the world today – for at least the past 3,000 to 5,000 years, as well. This makes sense because teas utilize the most popular and available liquid substance in the world: water. Water at its boiling point {212 degrees F} will remove, or extract, most if not all of the valuable active chemicals from a herb, concentrating them in a form that {in most cases} is safe and enjoyable to drink hot or cold. Teas are also inexpensive and cost-effective, requiring only water, a stainless steel saucepan, and a source of heat.

Making-Infusions-Herbal-Academy-of-New-England1-1110x657

Here are some common questions that are asked when learning how to make teas.

  • Is there a general herb-to-water ratio I should follow when making tea? The answer will vary, depending on how strong you want to make your tea. To make a moderately strong tea with dried herbs, add 1 part of a dried herb {by weight, in ounces} to 10 parts of water {by volume, in ounces}; so you will add 1 ounce of a dried herb to 10 liquid ounces of water. You can make your tea stronger or weaker by adding more or less herb to the same amount of water – in fact, it’s likely that you will want to modify these proportions to suit your own taste. Use this 1:10 ratio as a starting point, modifying it to your liking as you continue making tea. If you are using fresh herbs from your garden, add two to three times as much plant material as you would for dried herbs, meaning you will use 2 to 3 ounces of fresh herbs to 10 liquid ounces of water.
  • Can I use tap water to make tea? Generally, no. When you make a tea, you should always use purified water. Tap water in some areas is fine, but other locations have water that contains unwanted chemicals such as chlorine, as well as minerals and salts that can affect the medicinal qualities of the herbs. We recommend that you have your water tested if you need to use it from the tap so you are aware of any impurities that might be present.
  • How long should I simmer – or boil – my tea?  The answer depends on what part of the plant you are using. If you are extracting flowers, leaves, and small stems {which are thin, comparatively less dense than other plant parts, and have active chemicals that are easily and quickly extracted}, you’ll place them in a cup, cover them with freshly boiled water, and let them steep for 10 to 20 minutes. That’s called an infusion. To strain out the herb, pour the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer and into your cup. If you are making a tea from roots, bark, hard fruits, or seeds {which are firmer and more dense and require more time and higher heat for the active chemicals to be extracted}, you will cover the herb with water in a saucepan, bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, and gently simmer for 20 to 30 minutes {or even longer}. This preparation is called a decoction. To strain out the herb, pour the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer and into your cup. Any additional tea can be stored in the fridge.
  • What does steeping do to herbs? Steeping herbs in water helps to release the medicinal constituents. In our opinion, hot water is the best substance for releasing the compounds stored in the cells of herbs.
  • What’s the best way to strain herbs from tea? There is no one best way to strain herbs, but here are three options: {1} Place your loose herbs in a cup or mug, pour hot water over them, and after they steep, pour the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer. {2} Place the herbs in an infuser or strainer and lift the infuser or strainer out of the mug when it has finished steeping. {3} Use a French press just as you would for brewing coffee, by placing your herbs in the cup of the press, pouring hot water over them, inserting the plunger to about halfway down {or well above the level of the herbs, so that you’re not compressing them}, and pouring the liquid out when it’s finished steeping.
  • Can I refrigerate or store my teas for later use? Yes, you can. While we recommend that tea is consumed fresh for the best medicinal potency, you can certainly store any prepared tea in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. We prefer that you use a glass container {instead of plastic}, and make sure the container is covered.
  • Can I substitute my favorite herbs in these recipes? Certainly! Consider the recipes in each section to be starting points, and feel free to use your imagination and creativity. These are model recipes – simple templates that allow you to substitute other herbs, using the same proportions of herbs and liquid. If one doesn’t seem enticing or tasty to you as you’re making it, consider adding pleasant-tasting herbs such as licorice, anise, or cinnamon to the brew. Orange or grapefruit peel add flavor and are digestive aids. Stevia is a powerful herbal sweetener that helps take the edge off bitter teas, and honey combines well with most herbs. Use all of your senses to craft medicines that you love.

Infusions:

Balance-Herbal-InfusionInfusions are the most common way to make teas from fresh or dried leaves, flowers, or flowering tops. Use 10 liquid ounces of freshly boiled water {with the heat just turned off} for every 2 to 3 ounces of fresh herb or 1 ounce of dried herb {or, of course, a combination of fresh or dried herbs}. Pour the freshly boiled water over the herb, either loose in a mug or held in a tea ball or infuser. Let it sit, covered {use a tea mug lid or “hat,” a small saucer, or anything flat and nonporous so the constituents don’t evaporate}, for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove your tea ball or infuser or pour the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the loose herbs; compost the herbs. You can take tea in 1-cup doses at least three times daily, up to 6 cups per day, in most cases. For very light and fluffy herbs, like mullein or chamomile blossoms, you can increase the amount of water to make sure the herb material is completely immersed.

tea and sugar table

Gentle infusions preserve the maximum amount of volatile components, such as essential oils and other fragile plant substances. They are made by starting with room-temperature water, utilizing a smaller herb-to-water ratio, and steeping for an extended period of time. To make a gentle infusion, place 1 ounce of fresh or dried herb in a container, cover it with 4 to 10 liquid ounces of purified water, and stir to make sure the two are thoroughly combined. {For even greater extract-ability, you can place the herb and water in a blender or food processor and gently whir for 10 to 20 seconds on the lowest setting, and then pour the mixture into the container.} Let the mixture steep, covered, for 8 to 12 hours. Strain, using a fine-mesh strainer and compost the herb. Drink the infusion in 1-cup doses, three to six times daily. You can experiment with the amount of water you add {between 4 to 10 parts}, depending on the strength of the herb and your taste preference.

teas on fenceA sun tea is a form of gentle infusion that uses the warmth of the sun to enhance the extraction process. Place 2 to 3 parts fresh or dried herb {measured in ounces} in a clean, clear glass jar with a lid. Pour 4 to 10 parts purified room-temperature water {measured in liquid ounces} over it, and stir to make sure that the herb is completely combined with the water. Put the closed jar in a sunny place and leave it until the tea is strong enough to suit your taste {usually 4 to 6 hours}. Strain the herb from the tea and enjoy the drink at room temperature or chilled. You can refrigerate sun tea for up to 3 days.

Basic Infusion:

There is nothing more enjoyable than gathering herbs on a warm summer morning and bringing them indoors for a refreshing cup of healing tea. Here is a sample recipe for making an infusion from the herbs that you have picked fresh from your garden or dried yourself.

2 – 3 ounces fresh or 1 ounce dried herbs

10 liquid ounces purified water

Place the herbs in a tea ball, infuser, or directly in a tea mug or other container. Bring the water to a boil. Immediately pour the water over the herbs and let the mixture steep, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain and compost the herbs. Drink the infusion in 1-cup doses at least three times daily, up to 6 cups per day.

Basic Gentle Infusion:

You can  use this recipe with a variety of herbs, such as anise hyssop, catnip, chamomile, lavender, lemon balm, lemon verbena, oregano, peppermint, spearmint, and thyme. All of these herbs have an abundance of volatile or aromatic compounds that are ideally preserved with this method.

2- 3 ounces fresh or 1 ounce dried herbs

10 liquid ounces purified room-temperature water

Whir the herbs and water in a blender or food processor for 15 to 20 seconds. Place the mixture in a clean, covered container and let it steep for 8 to 12 hours. Strain and compost the herbs. Drink 1 cup three to six times daily.

Basic Sun Tea:

Peace-Sun-Tea

Making a sun tea is a fun and easy way to slowly infuse herbs in the sun’s rays. Use this method in the summertime, when you will have at least 4 to 6 hours of sun to warm your tea to perfection.

2 – 3 parts fresh or 1 part dried herbs, measured in ounces

4 – 10 parts purified room-temperature water, measured in liquid ounces

Place the herbs in a clean, clear glass jar with a lid. Add the water, and stir to thoroughly combine. Close the jar, and place it in a sunny location until the tea is strong enough to suit your taste {usually 4 to 6 hours}. Strain and compost the herbs. Enjoy the drink at room temperature or chilled. You can refrigerate sun tea for up to 3 days.

Decoctions:

Decoctions are made with the hard or woody parts of a herb, such as the bark, roots, and seeds. To extract all of the properties of these denser plant parts, you will need to bring the water to a boil and simmer the mixture. Start with 2 to 3 ounces fresh or 1 ounce dried herb {or a combination of herbs}, and place it in an uncovered saucepan. Add 10 liquid ounces of purified water, stir to thoroughly combine the herbs and water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the temperature and gently simmer the herbs for 20 minutes to 1 hour. Many herbalists follow the traditional Chinese decoction method, which simmers down the liquid for a longer time period, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. If you are just getting used to the bolder taste of decoctions, begin by simmering for a shorter time period, about 20 to 30 minutes or longer, increasing the time as you adjust for your taste preferences. You can take 1 cup two or three times daily.

If you would like to make a larger amount and store it, make a quart or two of tea. For 1 quart, start with 5 cups of water and add 8 to 10 ounces fresh or 4 ounces of dried herbs. You will lose 1 cup of water in the boiling process, and the end result will be 4 cups {1 quart}. Prepare as above, bringing the mixture to a boil, reducing the heat, and simmering for your desired time period. Once again, strain the liquid and compost the herbs. You can refrigerate this for up to 3 days.

Light decoctions are appropriate for certain comparatively lighter, more porous roots, barks, and seeds {such as the stiff, thick leaves of comfrey, rosemary, and white sage; the thin roots of valerian; and the light seeds of vitex}. A light decoction is prepared in a covered saucepan, which helps to prevent the escape of volatile constituents like essential oils. Begin by placing 2 to 3 ounces fresh herbs or 1 ounce of dried herbs in a stainless steel saucepan. Pour 10 liquid ounces of purified water over them, stir to thoroughly combine the water and herbs, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 to 20 minutes. After turning off the heat, you can let the mixture steep for another 10 to 15 minutes if you wish to further extract the active constituents, then strain and use or refrigerate the decoction. Drink 1 cup two or three times daily. Adjust the herb-to-water ratio to suit your taste.

Basic Decoction:

Use this recipe to extract the goodness from hardy roots you have lifted out of the soil and from seeds ripened in the late summer sun. Enjoy the deep earthiness and strength of this medicinal preparation.

2 – 3 ounces fresh or 1 ounce dried root, seed, or bark

10 liquid ounces purified water

Grind the root, seed, or bark in a blender or food processor. Place it in a saucepan and add the water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, uncovered until the liquid is reduced by about one-third. Strain and compost the herb. Store the liquid in the refrigerator. Drink 1/2 cup three or four times daily.

Basic Light Decoction:

Use this recipe for light roots, seeds, and barks, or for tough leaves with hard-to-extract constituents. This method is perfect for comfrey leaves, rosemary leaves, white sage leaves and twigs, valerian roots, and vitex seeds.

2 – 3 ounces fresh or 1 ounce dried plant material, as described above

10 ounces purified water

Place the herbs in a saucepan; pour the water over them. Stir to thoroughly combine the water and herbs, cover, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 to 20 minutes. After turning off the heat, let the mixture steep for another 10 to 15 minutes, then strain and compost the herbs. Drink 1 cup two or three times daily, warm or cool. Adjust the herb-to-water ratio to suit your taste.

Herbal Ice:

herbal ice

If you want to make a larger batch of medicinal tea and keep it beyond the 3-day limit in the refrigerator, let the tea cool, pour it into ice cube trays, and freeze it. Then pop out the cubes and store them in heavy plastic freezer bags, using them as needed.

Our favorite teas for freezing into cubes are echinacea {very effective against sore, inflamed throats during a cold or flu}; lemon balm, lemon verbena, and lemon thyme {for digestive help and summer refreshment}; and ginger and chamomile {for upset stomachs and nausea}.

raspberry-tea-ice-cubes

Chronic Pain.

A person affected by any kind of chronic pain can feel a lot of discomfort throughout his or her life. It does not matter whether the form of chronic pain is an aching sensation, a tingling feeling, stabbing pains, shooting pains, or burning sensations. Any prolonged and uncontrollable chronic pain can and will affect the individuals entire life and the kind of lifestyle he or she might enjoy. Psychological issues are another important factor that added to the complication of suffering over prolonged periods from chronic pain. Added o the physical discomfort, is a persistent psychological suffering-which can induce long term anxiety and anger, and lead to a deep depression, all of which can again result in intensifying the pain and prolonging it in the memory of the sufferer.

The human body reports painful sensations when one of the nerve endings in the body senses a source of distress or physical stress from the body and conveys this as a neural signal to the brain. Such impulses usually last for very short periods of time and disappear with the abatement of the stimulus. If the impulses continue long after the stimulus has gone, then the painful sensation can be said to have become chronic-such sensations are persistent over long periods of time and cause a great deal of discomfort to the individual so affected. There are many different causes for chronic pain in people and some of the most prominent among the numerous factors include a poor ability to heal from physical injury (this can be due to genetic or immune system factors), the presence of arthritis, the result of a pinched or irritated and impaired nerve anywhere in the body, and chronic pains can also signal the presence of an underlying disorder such as cancer and other disorders. The actual cause remains an unfortunate mystery, in some cases, particularly for those chronic pain cases that involve the muscles and the bones of an individual.

Supplements and Herbs:

The use of natural pain relievers can be made if carried out under proper supervision from a qualified medical doctor. These analgesic medications may be used singly or in a combination dose, and most of them can be used in the long-term treatment of recurring chronic pain in the body. The use of most of these natural analgesics can be done alongside the use of the conventional prescription painkillers given by the doctor. The use of these natural supplements is generally considered to be safer for the overall health and well being of the individual, and most are regarded to be safer than the medications prescribed by the doctor-furthermore, the use of these medications may reduce the requirement for prescription medications. There are exceptions to this rule; aspirin cannot be used along with the natural analgesic derived from the herbal white willow bark. The chemical composition of these two compounds is very similar; using a combination dose of these two compounds may increases the risk of aspirin-related side effects in the body. The action of both of these compounds is very similar; they block or actively reduce the levels of the natural pain inducing compounds in the body known as the prostaglandins.

At the same time, the herbal remedy made from the bark of the white willow can be safely combined with the other pain relieving herbs and many of the medications. Inflammation related chronic pain can be alleviated according to some practitioners by the use of the compound known as bromelain, this is an anti-inflammatory plant based protein which is synthesized from pineapple, another arena in which bromelain can be used in treatment is in alleviating the sports injuries and other complications arising from physical activity. Many other herbs have a potentially helpful property in dealing with chronic pain in the human body, these include common herbs such as the ginger, this garden herb, is similar in action to the white willow bark, and acts in blocking the action of the prostaglandins within the body, herbs such as the commonly found meadowsweet, the feverfew herb, the cat’s claw, the devil’s claw, the pau d’arco, and the common turmeric can also be used as potential pain relievers in an individual suffering from chronic pain.

The use of many kinds of topical herbal preparations can also be very beneficial in the treatment of chronic pain. The use of the cream made from the cayenne pepper is particularly effective in the treatment of arthritic joints, in the treatment of individual recovering from the pain left behind after an attack of the shingles, in treating nerve damage induced by type 2 diabetes or arising as a result of surgery-including major procedures such as a mastectomy or an amputation. The use of this cream which causes an intense burning sensation may be much less effective on large areas of the body-it is best suited in the treatment of small localized pains in different corners of the body. The cayenne cream can be alternatively substituted by a mixed herbal treatment. The herbal essences can be combined for an effective topical remedy, mixing a few drops of ginger juice or tincture, some drops of lavender oil, and some birch oils with about half an ounce of a neutral oil – almond oil is a good example. The affected area of the body can be massaged using this herbal blend; the herbal essences must be applied directly onto the painful areas of the body. The nerve endings that transmit pain signals can be directly quieted down using other topical options such as peppermint oil, the oil of the wintergreen, or some eucalyptus oil-this topical treatment can directly treat the chronic pain in the affected individual.

The use of these herbal supplements and topical remedies will generally bring some relief from the pain within three to four hours after use. If anxiety or depression accompanies the pain, then the first treatment must include the St. John’s wort herb, followed by the kava herb. While it is not proven, these herbs may posses some direct pain relieving abilities besides quieting down the nervous tension. The use of the valerian herb must be considered if the painful sensations start interfering with the ability of the individual to get a good night’s sleep-this herb will induce sleepiness and ensure that the person is relaxed at night.

Additional Things You May Do:

The use of alternative techniques such as acupuncture must be contemplated if the pain persists following the use of other treatment medications. Some alternative treatments and mind-body techniques like biofeedback, induced hypnosis and relaxation training along with behavioral counseling can all potentially help the individual in handling the painful sensations in the body. Your doctor can give you suggestions on good pain clinics, these places offer a wide range of treatments and techniques to beat back chronic pain.

Recommended Dosage:

  • Ginger, 100 mg three times daily. Essential oil of ginger can be used as a part of massage blend.
  • Cayenne cream, apply cayenne cream thinly to painful areas several times daily. Should contain 0.025%-0.075% capsaicin.
  • St. John’s wort, 300 mg three times daily.
  • Peppermint oil, add a few drops of peppermint oil to 15 g of neutral oil. Apply to painful areas up to four times a day.
  • Kava, 250 mg three times daily.
  • White willow bark, one or two pills thrice daily when needed for pain. Attention: white willow bark may irritate stomach.
  • Valerian, 400 mg daily. Do not use valerian if you are pregnant or nursing mother.
  • Bromelain, 500 mg thrice daily on an empty stomach. If ineffective, eliminate bromelain after 14 days.

For Children:

Children affected by chronic pain can be helped by making them drink an herbal brew of pain reliving teas. Herbal teas for the treatment of chronic pain in children can be prepared by simmering a tablespoon of the bark of white willow in one quart of water and allowing the bark to steep in the water for 15 minutes. After this, the tea can be fortified by mixing a tablespoon of the root extract of the valerian herb, along with a tablespoon of the skullcap herb, and a single tablespoon of the herbal extracts of the chamomile, at last half a tablespoon of the licorice root can be added to the tea. Let the mixed herbs simmer in the water for another ten minutes, allow the solution to cool and then strain it. Dosage of this herbal teas for the affected child can be a single dose of the herbal tea, given once every hour, this can be repeated for four consecutive hours, and will greatly aid in relieving the generalized painful sensations felt by the child all over the body. Similar in action to the medication aspirin, the white willow bark has a strong anti-inflammatory action and is also analgesic. The sedative and anti-spasmodic properties of the valerian and skullcap herbs add an extra punch to the herbal tea. The effective relaxing properties of the chamomile calm the child. The anti-inflammatory action of licorice is another useful property and this herb also boosts the action of the other herbs in the tea. Licorice is also the main agent that adds sweetness to the herbal tea-which would otherwise taste quite bitter.

For you attention: the herbal extracts of the skullcap must not be given to a child who is under six years of age even if she or he suffers from extreme body aches-alternatives must be found in such a case. At the same time, the licorice must also not be given to a child suffering from a high blood pressure as it can cause side effects in the body of such a child.

Other Beneficial Herbs

  • American Aspen
  • Andiroba
  • Chia
  • Espinheira Santa
  • Gold Coin Grass
  • Iporuru
  • Kombucha Tea
  • Pellitory Of The Wall
  • Red Alder
  • Tamanu Nut Oil

Migraines: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments.

A migraine is a severe, painful headache that can be preceded or accompanied by sensory warning signs such as flashes of light, blind spots, tingling in the arms and legs, nausea, vomiting, and increased sensitivity to light and sound.

The excruciating pain that migraines bring can last for hours or even days. Migraine is a common problem affecting 36 million Americans, about 12% of the population.

Fast facts on migraines

Here are some key points about migraines. More detail and supporting information is in the main article.

  • The cause of migraines is still largely unknown.
  • Migraines can be preceded by an aura of sensory disturbances followed by a severe one-sided headache.
  • Approximately 12% of Americans get migraine headaches.
  • Migraine tends to affect people between 15-55 years of age.
  • Some people who suffer from migraines can clearly identify triggers or factors that cause the headaches such as allergies, light and stress.
  • Some people get a warning prodrome, preceding the onset of a migraine headache.
  • Many migraine sufferers can prevent a full-blown attack by recognizing and acting upon the warning signs.
  • Over-the-counter medications can eliminate or reduce pain.
  • Specific medications can help some sufferers.
  • People who suffer from severe attacks can take preventative medicines.

What are migraine headaches?

The exact cause of migraine headaches is unknown; it is thought to be due to abnormal brain activity causing a temporary alteration in the nerve signals, chemicals and blood flow in the brain.

Lady holding head in pain
Migraine headaches can be very debilitating.

Migraine headaches can be very debilitating affecting 1 in 4 households in America. They are more common in women than men, and 3% of people have chronic migraines where they experience symptoms for half the month for six months.1

How common are migraines?

The prevalence of migraine headaches is high, affecting roughly 1 out of every 7 Americans annually, and has remained relatively stable over the last 8 years.

Migraine and headache are leading causes of outpatient and ED visits and remains an important public health problem, particularly among women during their reproductive years.2

The National Headache Foundation states that health care providers have properly diagnosed fewer than half of all migraine sufferers.

Migraine is commonly misdiagnosed as tension-type headache or sinus headache.

What triggers migraine headaches?

Some people who suffer from migraines can clearly identify triggers or factors that cause the headaches, but many cannot. Potential migraine triggers include:

  • Allergies and allergic reactions
  • Bright lights, loud noises, flickering lights, smoky rooms, temperature changes, strong smells and certain odors or perfumes
  • Physical or emotional stress, tension, anxiety, depression, excitement
  • Physical triggers such as tiredness, jet lag, exercise
  • Changes in sleep patterns or irregular sleep
  • Smoking or exposure to smoke
  • Skipping meals or fasting causing low blood sugar
  • Dehydration
  • Alcohol
  • Hormonal triggers such as menstrual cycle fluctuations, birth control pills, menopause
  • Tension headaches
  • Foods containing tyramine (red wine, aged cheese, smoked fish, chicken livers, figs, and some beans), monosodium glutamate (MSG), or nitrates (like bacon, hot dogs and salami)
  • Other foods such as chocolate, nuts, peanut butter, avocado, banana, citrus, onions, dairy products and fermented or pickled foods
  • Medication such as sleeping tablets, the contraceptive pill, hormone replacement therapy.

Recent developments on the possible causes of migraine headaches from MNT news

Is there an association between obesity and migraines?

A higher percentage of obese people have episodic (occasional) migraines compared to individuals with a healthy body weight, researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine reported in the journal Neurology.

Scientists find migraine gene mutation

A team of scientists, including Emily A. Bates, PhD, from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Brigham Young University, who has been plagued by migraines since her teens, have identified a gene mutation that increases a person’s susceptibility to migraines. They published their findings in Science Translational Medicine (May 2013 issue).

Symptoms of migraines

Fortifikation (Migräne)
Migraine with aura – zigzag objects affect vision
Gesichtsfeldausfall (Brandenburger Tor Blaue Stunde) 1
Migraine with aura – vision is lost on one side
Negatives Skotom (Brandenburger Tor Blaue Stunde) 1
Migraine with aura – structures and contrasts are lost
Positives Skotom (Brandenburger Tor Blaue Stunde) 1
Migraine with aura – structures that are not there are perceived

Symptoms of migraine can occur a while before the headache, immediately before the headache, during the headache and after the headache. Although not all migraines are the same, typical symptoms include:

  • Moderate to severe pain, usually confined to one side of the head during an attack, but can occur on either side of the head
  • The pain is usually a severe, throbbing, pulsing pain
  • Increasing pain during physical activity
  • Inability to perform regular activities due to pain
  • Feeling sick and physically being sick
  • Increased sensitivity to light and sound, relieved by lying quietly in a darkened room
  • Some people experience other symptoms such as sweating, temperature changes, tummy ache and diarrhea.

Migraines with aura

Many people experience migraines with auras or warning signs just before or during the head pain, but many do not. Auras are perceptual disturbances such as:

  • Confusing thoughts or experiences
  • The perception of strange lights, sparkling or flashing lights
  • Zigzag lines in the visual field
  • Blind spots or blank patches in the vision
  • Pins and needles in an arm or leg
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Stiffness in the shoulders, neck or limbs
  • Unpleasant smells.

If any migraine sufferer experiences unusual or worrying features that they do not normally have, then they should seek medical help rather than blaming the migraine.

Symptoms such as unusual severe headache, visual disturbance, loss of sensation or power, difficulties with speech are all important features, which, if unusual for the sufferer, should not be ignored.

According to the National Health Service in the UK, about one-third of people who get migraines also have auras.

When migraines with aura affect vision, the patient may see things that are not there, such as transparent strings of objects, not see parts of the object in front of them, or even feel as if part of their field of vision appears, disappears and then comes back again.

It is common for patients to describe the visual disturbance as similar to the sensation one has after being photographed with a very bright camera flash, especially if one walks into a darker room straight away.

For many migraine sufferers, the auras act as a warning, telling them that the headache is soon to come.

The Migraine Trust says that in adults auras usually occur before the headache, but in children they may happen at the same time.

Migraine sufferers also may have premonitions know as a prodrome that can occur several hours or a day or so before the headache. These premonitions may consist of  feelings of elation or intense energy, cravings for sweets, thirst, drowsiness, irritability, or depression.

How is migraine diagnosed?

Migraine can be difficult to diagnose, and there are no specific tests to confirm the diagnosis.

The International Headache Society recommends the “5, 4, 3, 2, 1 criteria” to diagnose migraines without aura.

This stands for:

  • 5 or more attacks
  • 4 hours to 3 days in duration
  • At least 2 of unilateral location, pulsating quality, moderate to severe pain, aggravation by or avoidance of routine physical activity
  • At least 1 additional symptom such as nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to sound.

To help diagnose migraines, it can be useful to keep a diary of symptoms noting the time of onset, any triggers, how long the headache lasted, any preceding factors or aura and any other symptoms as well as the headache.

A headache diary is ideally used for a minimum of eight weeks and should record:7

  • The frequency, duration, and severity of headaches
  • Any associated symptoms
  • All prescribed and over-the-counter medications taken to relieve headaches and their effect
  • Possible triggers
  • Relationship of headaches to menstruation.

During the initial diagnosis of migraines, the doctor may suggest some tests to exclude other causes of headache such as electroencephalography (EEG), computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spinal tap.

Differential diagnosis of migraine

Headaches are notoriously difficult for doctors to diagnose, and sometimes other causes need to be ruled out:

  • Bleeding within the skull
  • Blood clot within the membrane that covers the brain
  • Stroke
  • Dilated blood vessel in the brain
  • Too much or too little cerebrospinal fluid
  • Inflammation of the membranes of the brain or spinal cord
  • Nasal sinus blockage
  • Postictal headache (after stroke or seizure)
  • Tumors.

Treatments for migraines

There is currently no cure for migraine, so treatment is aimed at preventing a full-blown attack, and alleviating symptoms if they come.

woman stretching legs
Regular physical exercise may help reduce migraine frequency.

Different people respond to different treatments.

Some lifestyle alterations might help reduce migraine frequency, says Mayo Clinic doctor, Robert Sheeler MD. These include:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Reducing stress
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Avoiding certain foods
  • Regular physical exercise.

Migraine treatment (abortive therapies) and prevention (prophylactic therapies) focus on avoiding triggers, controlling symptoms and taking medicines.

Medication

Analgesia:

  • Over-the-counter medications such as naproxen, ibuprofen, acetaminophen (paracetamol), and other analgesics like Excedrin (aspirin with caffeine) are often the first abortive therapies to eliminate the headache or substantially reduce pain
  • Painkillers should be taken early rather than allowing the headache to develop.

Anti-emetics:

  • Metoclopramide may also be used to control symptoms such as nausea and vomiting.

Serotonin agonists:

  • Sumatriptan may also be prescribed for severe migraines or for migraines that are not responding to the over-the-counter medications
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Antidepressants such as tricyclics – are prescribed to reduce migraine symptoms although they are not approved in all countries for this purpose.
  • Ergots:

    • Another class of abortive treatments is called ergots, which are usually effective if administered at the first sign of a migraine.

    Other drugs:

    • Combinations of barbiturates, paracetamol or aspirin, and caffeine (Fioricet or Fiorinal)
    • Combinations of acetaminophen, dichloralphenazone and isometheptene (Amidrine, Duradrin, and Midrin).

    In January 2015, The American Headache Society undertook a review of the acute treatment of migraine in adults.

    • Migraine specific medications – triptans (almotriptan, eletriptan, frovatriptan, naratriptan, rizatriptan, sumatriptan [oral, nasal spray, injectable, transcutaneous patch], zolmitriptan [oral and nasal spray]) and dihydroergotamine (nasal spray, inhaler) are effective (Level A)
    • Ergotamine and other forms of dihydroergotamine are probably effective (Level B)
    • Effective nonspecific medications include acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin, diclofenac, ibuprofen, and naproxen), opioids (butorphanol nasal spray), sumatriptan/naproxen, and the combination of acetaminophen/aspirin/caffeine (Level A)
    • Ketoprofen, intravenous and intramuscular ketorolac, flurbiprofen, intravenous magnesium (in migraine with aura), and the combination of isometheptene compounds, codeine/acetaminophen and tramadol/acetaminophen are probably effective (Level B)
    • The antiemetics prochlorperazine, droperidol, chlorpromazine, and metoclopramide are probably effective (Level B)
    • There is inadequate evidence for butalbital and butalbital combinations, phenazone, intravenous tramadol, methadone, butorphanol or meperidine injections, intranasal lidocaine, and corticosteroids, including dexamethasone (Level C)
    • Octreotide is probably not effective (Level B)
    • There is inadequate evidence to refute the efficacy of ketorolac nasal spray, intravenous acetaminophen, chlorpromazine injection, and intravenous granisetron (Level C)
    • Although opioids, such as butorphanol, codeine/acetaminophen, and tramadol/acetaminophen, are probably effective, they are not recommended for regular use.

    Prophylactic therapies (prevention)

    Migraine prevention begins with avoiding things that trigger the condition.

    The main goals of prophylactic therapies are to reduce the frequency, painfulness and duration of migraine headaches and to increase the effectiveness of abortive therapies.

    There are several categories of preventive migraine medicine, ranging from diet changes and exercise to prescription drugs. Some of these include:

    woman with acupuncture needles in forehead
    There have now been many controlled trials of acupuncture for migraine, with some large, high-quality ones in recent years.
    • Prescription beta blockers
    • Anticonvulsants (Topiramate)
    • Antidepressants (Tricyclics and SSRIs)
    • Gabapentin
    • Botulinum toxin A (Botox)
    • Herbs and vitamins such as butterbur, cannabis, coenzyme Q10, feverfew, magnesium citrate, riboflavin, B12, melatonin
    • Spinal cord stimulator implantation
    • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy
    • Vision correction
    • Exercise, sleep, sexual activity
    • Visualization and self-hypnosis
    • Chiropractic care or acupuncture.

    Some people find that special diets such as gluten-free can help.

    It is possible for people to get a medication overuse headache (MOH) – or rebound headache – when taking too many medications in an attempt to prevent migraine.

    Surgery

    In the last decade, novel approaches to the treatment of migraines have been developed. Botulinum toxin (Botox) injection and surgical decompression of the extracranial sensory branches of the trigeminal and cervical spinal nerves have been shown to reduce or eliminate migraines in patients who are incompletely treated by traditional medical management.

    Recent developments on migraine headache treatment from MNT news

    Two new migraine prevention drugs show promise in small studies

    two experimental drugs may offer hope for people with migraine. Two small studies of the drugs, which are aimed at preventing headaches rather than stopping them once they have started, show they reduced the frequency of headaches in migraine sufferers. The researchers say larger trials are now needed to confirm the findings.

    Minimally invasive migraine treatment ‘reduced painkiller use in 88% of patients’

    A new intranasal treatment for migraine has been found to lower use of pain-relief medication among 88% of patients in a retrospective analysis.

    Migraine sufferers may find meditation helps

    A small randomized controlled trial of patients in the US suggests migraine sufferers might find relief in a type of meditation designed to reduce stress.

    Scientists discover potential biomarker for migraine in the blood

    A team of researchers believes that it may have discovered a new biomarker for episodic migraine in the blood. The findings of the study, published in Neurology, could have implications for the diagnosis and treatment of episodic migraine if they can be supported by further research.

    When to go to the ER

    According to AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality), part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, if your migraine symptoms become too severe and none of the treatments are working, you may choose to go to the ER (emergency room).

    If you decide to go to the ER do not drive there, get someone else to take you. The signs and symptoms of migraine can sometimes be confused with those of a stroke.

    Go straight to hospital if:

    • Your headache is very severe
    • You have problems with movement, balance, vision or speech, and these symptoms are different or new from those you have experienced before with your migraines
    • You have a fever with your headache
    • You have a stiff neck with your headache
    • “The headache starts suddenly like a thunderclap,” especially if you are at least 50 years of age.

 

Nettle {Urtica dioica}

Also, Known As:

  • Chinese Nettle
  • Common Nettle
  • Common Stinging Nettle
  • Great Nettle
  • Great Stinging Nettle
  • Hsieh-Tzu-ts’ao
  • Nettle
  • Stinging Nettle

The herb known as the nettle is a small plant reaching about two to three feet in height with an erect stem; it bears dark green leaves that are marked with serrated margins. The nettle gives out small and inconspicuous flowers when in bloom. The nettle has now been designated by international botanists as the Urtica dioica L. and the herb belongs to the plant family Urticaceae. There are many sub-species of this plant and the American variety differs from the typical European sub-species of the nettle called Urtica dioica, the main difference between these two sub-species of the same plant lying in the fact that the European plant bears both male and female flowers – it is dioecious. This classification is also challenged at the same time by certain botanists, who see the varieties of the U. dioica subspecies – gracilis as distinct species of plants in their own right, even though very similar to the nettle. North America has four distinct species of the Urtica – two subspecies and six varieties in total; all of these bear sharp stinging hairs – hence, the common name, the nettle. People tend to refer to the plant with very uncomplimentary names, following accidental contact of the skin with these stinging hairs.

Herbal medicine traditionally uses the entire herb in the preparation of the remedy, and the whole plant is collected just before the flowering season, the herb has seen a lot of use and developed a lengthy reputation in popular folk medicine around the world – the main use being as a specific herbal remedy for the treatment of asthma in patients. Herbal remedies derived from the nettle have also been used as expectorants, in an anti-spasmodic role, as a diuretic, as an astringent, and as an herbal tonic for overall health. Topical treatments are also based on the nettle, and the herbal remedy is applied directly to the scalp, especially the fresh juice of the herb, this remedy is said to stimulate hair growth in patients with hair loss problems. Placing nettle leaves directly on the affected areas of the body is also said to cure all cases of chronic rheumatism, this topical treatment is a very popular herbal remedy. The traditional uses of the nettle are almost legendary and have been known down the centuries, it is reported anecdotally that the Roman soldiers, facing the inhospitable weather and climate of occupied Britain, used the irritation induced by nettle leaves to keep their legs warmed in winter. Culinary recipes have also seen the use of the tender tops of young and first growth nettles, these parts of the herb are especially palatable or so it is said when cooked well. There are numbers of culinary recipes which utilize the nettle as the main course – these include pudding made from nettle and the technique to develop a unique beer from the nettle.

Scientists have studied the results of many chemical analyzes carried out on the nettle, and these tests have shown that the nettle contains more than twenty different chemical compounds as primary constituents. However, very few of them are likely to give a person a significant therapeutic benefit when used as internal herbal medicine. Evidence moreover, does not support the contention that the nettle is highly effective in the treatment of disorders such as rheumatism or the received wisdom that it can induce hair growth on bald heads, these is despite the very real localized skin irritation produced by the stinging hairs when contact is made with human skin. Chemicals in the stinging hair thought to be the ones responsible for the strong and irritating action include the compound histamine, the compound acetylcholine, and the chemical known as 5-hydroxytryptamine which has all been detected during scientific analysis carried out on the hairs. The identity of the chemical compounds is however, disputed by the results of other studies carried out on other plants of the closely related, and much more toxic, genus of Laportea, for this reason, the real identity of the compounds which induce the irritation and  during contact is still to be confirmed and requires further investigation.

 Pain

The total content of plant pigment chlorophyll is high in the nettle and the plant, therefore, serves as an easily available and commercial source for herbal extraction of this important pigment. Culinary uses of the herb are also many, and the young nettle shoots are very edible, and these are often cooked to make delicious herbal dishes. Moreover, their content of important compounds is high and the shoots may approximately provide the same amounts of carotene – or the pro-vitamin A and the vitamin C as vegetables like the spinach or other similar greens normally used in dishes. Traditionally, herbalist has also recognized the potent diuretic properties of the nettle leaf, and right now several pharmaceutical preparations have incorporated the leaves in products which are currently marketed in the European market – this diuretic action of the compounds present in the leaves is a confirmed property of the nettle. In recent years, the extract made from the roots of the nettle has assumed some popularity in Europe for the treatment of urinary retention arising as a result of disorders such as a benign prostate hypertrophy – which is the enlargement of the prostate gland unconnected to prostate cancer. The effectiveness of the nettle extract in this role has been supported by some clinical evidence, some of the positive results came from eight open-ended and observational studies utilizing two placebo controls, during the course of rigorous double-blind studies conducted on different patients. Due to these confirmed results, and as far as urinary retention is concerned, the nettle has passed the approval of German health authorities and the product is currently marketed and widely used in that country. At the same time, the need for additional scientific studies to investigate the other traditional medical use of nettle is great and verification is required for many of the traditionally touted properties of the plant including the property of treating urinary retention mentioned above.

As an edible plant, nettles can be considered very high in nutrition value, and the species also have a high content of many important vitamins and essential minerals, especially important ones such as iron, essential minerals such as silica and the essential mineral potassium. This high mineral and vitamin content may be one reason for the traditional use of the nettle for centuries to make very nourishing tonics for the treatment of physical weakness and debilitation, as an aid to the process of convalescence and in the treatment of symptoms connected with anemia. The detoxification of the body is another important property of the nettles and through their stimulating action on the functioning of the bladder and the kidneys, the nettles help in cleansing the body of all accumulated toxins and in the rapid removal of metabolic waste. Fluid retention is also alleviated by using the herbal remedies made from the nettles; it is also used in the treatment of various bladder infections, and in the destruction of stones and gravel in the body. The herbal remedies made from the nettles are also effective in aiding in the excretion of accumulated uric acid, for this reason, the herb is an excellent remedy for the treatment of gout and severe arthritis as well as in the treatment of various skin problems affecting patients.

Plant Parts Used:

Aerial parts, root.

Herbal Remedy Use:

The main use of the herbal remedies made from the nettle is in the role of a cleansing and detoxifying agent in the body. The diuretic action of the nettle is also a highly regarded property possessed by the herb; this property is probably due to the high content of bio-molecules known as the flavonoids and may also be because of the high potassium levels in the herb. The main property of the herbal remedy in this role is that it increases the total production of urine and helps in the effective elimination of accumulated metabolic waste products in the body. Various skin disorders and conditions are also effectively treated using herbal remedies derived from the nettle, as an example, the cases of childhood eczema and arthritic problems are treated using the nettle, and the herbal remedy is extensively used in the treatment of very poor or impaired kidney functioning, besides its use in treating fluid retention issues.

Bleeding in any area of the body is treatable by the strong astringent action of the nettle. Nettle in the form of an herbal infusion, as a tincture or in the fresh juice form can be applied externally as a topical measure for the treatment of various cuts and wounds to stanch the bleeding, it can be used in cases of hemorrhoids, it can stanch nose bleeds, and it can also be used as a soothing and healing salve against various burns and scald injuries. The herbal remedies made from the nettle have also been extensively used as a remedy for stemming bleeding during heavy menstrual periods, and paradoxically also in inducing bleeding during delayed or absent periods in women. The nettle remedies also stimulate the production of milk in lactating women and have a galactagogue role in such cases. The herbal remedies made from the nettle can also be used as an excellent restorative remedy for treatment during menopause in women.

The nettle also helps in clearing away various disorders in the respiratory system and in the treatment of a variety of catarrhal congestion and is an effective remedy for relieving the symptoms of various allergies such as those that come on during hay fever and in asthmatic attacks. The remedies made from the nettle also help in healing disorders affecting the digestive tract; it is an effective remedy against cases of diarrhea, in the treatment of excess gas, and to treat the various inflammation and ulcerations affecting the digestive tract in different people. The herbal remedies made from the nettle have also been successful treatment elevated blood sugar levels and the nettle seed tincture is said to be able to elevate the functioning and performance of the thyroid gland and in so doing is believed to be capable of reducing disorders such as goiter. The fresh juice of the nettle juice can also be used as an effective topical herbal remedy to relieve the skin of symptoms associated with insect bites and stings; these can include the sting of the nettle as well! Fresh nettle stinging hairs contain the formic acid and the compound histamine, these chemicals responsible for the irritation of the skin, have been successfully and traditionally used to stimulate the circulation of blood and to relieve the physical symptoms of disorders such as arthritis and rheumatism in many patients.

OTHER MEDICAL USES:
  • The leaves help anemia and improve breast milk production
  • The root is now used to treat enlarged prostate
  • Abscess
  • Addictions
  • Herpes

Habitat of Nettle:

The nettle plant is native to temperate regions largely lying in the northern hemisphere, it also grows wild in southern Africa, and in the Andes, and even in areas of Australia. The herb has many uses, and the young shoots are harvesting during the spring for use as a vegetable and to prepare an herbal tonic to be used in the treatment of various disorders. During the summer season, the aerial parts of the herb and especially the leaves are plucked when the plant is in full bloom. Autumn is the time when nettle roots are harvested and used in the preparation of various herbal remedies.

Research:

The confirmation of the medicinal value of nettle root remedy in the treatment of cases of benign prostate hypertrophy – or enlargement of the gland – has been confirmed in various researches conducted in the US, Germany, and Japan.

Constituents:

Nettle contains histamine, formic acid, acetylcholine, serotonin, gluck quinones, many minerals (inc. silica), vitamins A, B, C, tannins.

Recommended Herbal Remedy Use:

The majority of patients, who make use of nettle based herbal remedies, generally use two to three 300 mg nettle leaf capsules or the herbal tablets as and when required. The dosage of 2-4 ml herbal nettle tincture, can also be taken if preferred, this can be used thrice every day as a preventive medication during the allergy season – hay fever, for example, can be prevented as well as treated using this remedy. The doses for the treatment disorders such as BPH can be undertaken by using one 240 mg tablet or capsule form of the root extract daily – this is the normal dose of most patients afflicted by this condition. The herbal products used in the treatment of BPH often use an herbal combination of the nettle root with other extracts such as the saw palmetto or pygeum extracts to give the maximum beneficial effects for rapid healing and recovery.

Possible Side Effects and Precautions:

The nettle based herbal remedies do not induce allergic reactions and if they do so, such instances are very rare and far apart. At the same time, the fresh nettles can induce rash when the plant’s stinging hairs come in direct contact with naked skin – this is probably a familiar experience for many people.

How Nettle Works in the Body:

While the stinging hairs of the nettle can inflict painful stings on the skin externally, such effects are subdued and non-existent when the plant is subjected to heat, though the process of cooking or when made the herb is made into an infusion for medicinal use. At the same time, and many skin complaints are ironically treated using the nettle stings in the form of an anti-allergenic herb. The herbal remedies made from the nettle are used in the treatment of skin disorders such as eczema and to beat back the symptoms induced by other related allergies – the nettle is taken as an internal herbal medication in all such cases. The anti-hemorrhagic actions of the nettle are also used effectively in many forms of herbal medicine, excessive bleeding can be stanched by its astringent action, in this form the herb can stop bleeding arising either from wounds or due to impairment in the reproductive system such as to diminish heavy bleeding occurring during menstrual disorders. The nettle herb also has the high content of useful minerals such as the iron and a lot of vitamin C, for this reason, the herb is an excellent tonic for the treatment of anemia and to fortify the diet when the body lacks iron. Traditionally the sting of the nettle was used initially along with the first herbs of spring, as an herbal spring tonic to treat various disorders. Enlargement of the prostate gland is also treated using an herbal remedy made from the roots of the nettle.

Applications:

Aerial parts:
INFUSION – This herbal form of the nettle remedy can be used to stimulate the circulatory system in people suffering from impairment in the flow of blood and it can also be used as a detoxification agent to cleanse the system of toxins in individuals afflicted by disorders such as arthritis, it can be used to treat rheumatism, to treat symptoms of gout, and to treat symptoms of eczema. The herbal infusion made from the nettle also helps in increasing the flow of milk in nursing mothers with lactation issues. A revitalizing spring tonic can be produced from the fresh shoots of the nettle.

TINCTURE – The herbal tincture form of the nettle is utilized in combination with other beneficial herbs in the treatment of various disorders such as arthritic conditions, to treat various skin problems, and in the treatment of heavy uterine bleeding in women suffering from menstrual diseases.

COMPRESS – The herbal remedies made from the nettle can be used to make an herbal compress by soaking a pad in the herbal tincture of the nettle, this compress can be applied to the areas affected by painful arthritic joints, this compress can also be used in the treatment of gout, to treat cases of neuralgia, in the treatment of various kinds of sprains and cramps, in the treatment of tendinitis, and to treat sciatica in the lower limbs.

OINTMENT – As an herbal nettle ointment, the nettle is used to topically treat cases of hemorrhoids, the ointment is directly applied to the affected region of the body.

WASH – The herbal remedies made from the nettle can also be used as a healing salve and herbal wash and applied to burns, to insect bites, and to wounds.

JUICE – The herbal nettle remedy can also be used in the form of a nettle juice and this can be prepared by liquefying the whole fresh plant to make a good herbal tonic for the treatment of debilitating conditions and cases of anemia, this same tonic can be used to soothe the stings of the nettle hairs. The nettle based tonics are also often prescribed for the treatment of cardiac insufficiency coming along with disorders such as edema.

POWDER – Herbal remedies made from the powdered leaves of the nettle can be inhaled as a snuff for the treatment of nosebleeds.

Root:
HAIR RINSE – The nettle roots can also be used to make an herbal decoction, which can be used as a rinse for the treatment of dandruff, stem the causes of falling hair, and as a general conditioner for a healthy scalp.

Healthy-Blood Herbal Tea:

  • 2 nettle leaves
  • 1 plantain leaf
  • 1 cup (250 ml) water
  • 3 mint leaves

Boil the plants for 3 minutes. Infuse. Drink hot before breakfast and lunch to enrich the blood, drain the kidneys and treat allergies or prostate problems. If the plants are dry and the water has evaporated, extend the treatment for 1 month and double the dosage.

Stinging Nettle for Arthritic Pain:

To prepare the tea as it is given here you will need a juicer. If this recipe is too troublesome for you, you may find a similarly prepared mixture in your health food store.

  • 1 part stinging nettle juice
  • Walnut tree leaves, amounting to the same weight as the two juices combined
  • 1 part cotton grass (Eriophorum) juice
  • 1 squirt vinegar
  • About 6 cups (1 1/2) water
  • Much honey

Bring all ingredients, except for the honey, to a boil, skim off the foam and strain out the plant debris. Sweeten with honey before drinking. With respect to the dosage, for 15 days you should drink this in moderate amounts on an empty stomach, but after meals, abundantly. If you opt for the packaged tea, take 2 cups a day for 2 weeks.

Motherwort {Leonurus cardiaca}

Also, Known As:

  • Lion’s Ear
  • Lion’s Tail
  • Lion’s Tart
  • Motherwort

Although motherwort is indigenous to Europe, over the years, the plant has acclimatized itself to the different conditions all over North America. Presently, motherwort is found in the terrain ranging from Nova Scotia to Montreal and southern parts of North America to Texas and North Carolina. The plant thrives best in vacant plots and other wastelands.

The motherwort is a perpetual plant often growing up to a height of five feet. The herb bears leaves that are hairy and have an unkempt and disheveled look and often resembles the tail of a lion. Owing to the leaves’ appearance to the lion’s tail, the herb is also known by other common nicknames like lion’s ear, lion’s tart and of course, lion’s tail. The each leaf of motherwort comprises three hemispheres that are shaped like javelins. The herb bears pink, white or purple colored petite flowers that normally blossom between June and September. The motherwort flowers normally blossom in clusters or groups.

Motherwort has several remedial properties, but it is basically known for its beneficial qualities in treating conditions of the womb. For instance, the herb is exceptionally useful in treating painful, belated or suppressed menstrual cycles and also provides relief during child birth. If taken regularly three times a day during the last few weeks of pregnancy, motherwort induces more synchronized retrenchments of the uterus. Or else, the process of contracting the uterus muscles could be agonizingly spasmodic or even insufficient. Significantly, many naturalists are of the opinion that the herb motherwort earned its name from its traditional use in relieving trauma and tension during pregnancy, childbirth as well as motherhood. No doubt, motherwort is basically an excellent antidote for treating the female reproductive organ disorders.

Motherwort encloses alkaloid stachydrine, which helps in stimulating contraction of the uterine muscles. While stachydrine performs the task effectually during the end of pregnancy when the temperament of the uterine muscles undergoes changes, the Braxton-Hicks contraction process begins during the labor. Using motherwort is advantageous during such conditions as along with stimulating the contraction of the uterine muscles, the herb also produces significant sedative and comforting results. The latter property of motherwort is said to be owing to the presence of bitter glycosides that are beneficial in treating the anxiety and trauma related to ensuing child birth. The blend of the soothing and uterotonic properties of motherwort helps it to effectually fulfill both responsibilities as a part preparator and also make easy child delivery during labor. Incidentally, the herb is also known to have properties that can prevent miscarriage and alleviate false labor pains.

In addition to be a useful remedy for the reproductive system disorders among women, motherwort also possesses properties that invigorate as well as strengthen the cardiac system. Hence, it is also popular as a remedy that is beneficial for the heart. It has already been established that motherwort plays a vital role in the intensification of the heart, particularly during pregnancy and child birth when more pressure is forced into the heart. Many herbal practitioners recommend the use of motherwort to treat anomalies like arrhythmias and also heart palpitations – both of which are closely related to nervousness and stress. On the other hand, the bitter glycosides present in motherwort have been found to possess temporary capabilities to reduce blood pressure.

Plant Parts Used:

Aerial parts, seeds.

Medicinal Use:

Motherwort is considered to be an effective medication for all heart and nerve conditions and is also regularly recommended for treating palpitations(fast or irregular heart beats). Researches have established that the motherwort helps in escalation the functioning of the heart, especially where the heart is feeble. Functioning as a mild sedative as well as an anti-spasmodic, rather than causing stupor, the motherwort offers respite from sudden bursts of emotions. On the other hand, the herb invigorates the uterus muscles and hence is effectual in treating conditions like delayed menstruation, menstrual pain and even premenstrual anxiety, especially when the person suffers from any kind of shock or sorrow. Here is a word of caution. The motherwort herb should never be used by women when the menstrual bleeding is more than normal as it may then prove to be detrimental.

Habitat Of Motherwort:

Indigenous to Asia, especially the central regions of the continent, motherwort has now acclimatized to the conditions in most parts of Europe as well as North America. Normally, the herb grows untamed in the wild forests, open areas as well as on the pavements. Motherwort is also cultivated as a garden plant and is harvested during the summer when the plant blossoms.

Constituents:

Motherwort contains alkaloids (including L-stachydrine), an iridoid (leonurine), diterpenes, flavonoids, caffeic acid, and tannins.

Infusions and Tinctures:

The motherwort herb can be consumed both as an infusion or tincture. One may take 200 ml or 8 fluid ounces of the infusion two times every day. On the other hand, the 2 ml or 40 drops of the tincture can be taken thrice daily. The Chinese medicine, however, recommends a different dosage. According to the Chinese medicine, a person may take 9 to 60 g or half to three ounces of the herb daily.

History Of Motherwort:

The history of the motherwort shows that the herb is an effectual medication for the entire circulation system including the cardiac, vascular, heart and blood, especially where there are any irregular or fast heart beat or when the system is provoked by the anxiety owing to trauma or anxiety. It may be noted here that the motherwort also functions as a sedative and anti-spasmodic that helps in controlling the heart. In addition, the herb also acts like a tonic to reinforce the heart. Herbal medicine practitioners also use motherwort to treat high blood pressure. The herb is also effective in curing reproductive system disorders among women. The anti-spasmodic action of motherwort helps in stimulating the uterine muscles thereby treating delayed menstruation cycles. Moreover, motherwort is effective in treating pre-menstrual syndrome, particularly during the initial menopause. The Chinese herbal medicine practitioners use the motherwort to cure several other reproductive system disorders and they include irregular menstruation cycles, pre-menstrual pain, and treating infertility as also curing the stock-still abdominal masses.

Applications:

Like many other medicinal plants, the motherwort can be taken internally as infusion, syrup and tincture. Externally, the herb may also be used as douche. On the other hand, motherwort seed may be used to prepare decoction and eyewash.

Aerial parts:
INFUSION: The infusion prepared from motherwort many be used as a tonic to treat menopausal symptoms, anxiety, weakness of the heart as well as menstrual pain. The infusion is useful when taken by adding two to three gloves during labor. The infusion is also useful for women after childbirth as it then helps to do up the uterus as well as diminish the hazard of postpartum or post-delivery bleeding.
SYRUP: Normally, the motherwort syrup is prepared by concentrating the infusion with a view to conceal the flavor and make it tastier. The syrup may be taken in the same manner as the infusion.
TINCTURE: The motherwort tincture too may be used in a similar way as the infusion. Normally, herbal practitioners prescribe the motherwort tincture along with other herbs like hawthorn to serve as a heart tonic.
DOUCHE: The motherwort infusion or diluted tincture prepared with the herb may be used externally to clean vaginal infections and discharges.
Seeds:
DECOCTION: Dried and crushed motherwort seeds may be used to prepare a decoction that is beneficial to treat different menstrual problems.
EYEWASH: Dilute the motherwort decoction and use it as an eyewash to treat conjunctivitis or aching and tired eyes.

Harmonizing Mother Tincture:

  • 1 cup (250 ml) spirits (60%-90% alcohol content) : brandy, gin, vodka
  • 1 oz (30 g) fresh motherwort leaves

Combine all the ingredients and let stand in a glass jar away from light for 1 month. Strain.
Take 10 drops at a time, 3 times daily for acute cases. The treatment can be extended for up to 3 consecutive months. The tincture has a bitter taste, but it works quickly and effectively. For use against anxiety attacks, hysteria, gastritis and heart palpitations.

Excessive Menstruation ( Menorrhagia )

Women suffering from the condition known as menorrhagia are usually treated by the use of birth control pills in conventional medication. The failure to control the excessive monthly bleeding by use of contraceptive pills when it occurs is replaced with another so-called “cure”. The woman may sometimes be offered the unhappy choice of undergoing a hysterectomy in such cases this being the second “cure” of conventional medication.

The ailment known as menorrhagia is caused by several factors. The cause of the condition can be due to endometriosis or through the development of blockages in the pelvic region; these can arise from growths such as the development of fibroids, the development of cysts, or the development of tumors. The presence of imbalances in various organ systems is also often the cause of most menorrhagia cases. Bleeding in the menstrual cycle and the amount of blood given out is controlled by two distinct systems in the human body; these seem to have a direct influence on the amount of blood bled out every month. The first internal control system is the endocrine gland system-particularly the thyroid gland and the second system is the vital organ the liver. Excessive blood flow can often be reduced to normal levels by carefully nourishing and strengthening the endocrine glands and the liver, these will correcting the underlying causes such as imbalances. The woman will experience a much more comfortable flow of blood following this treatment.

The correction of menorrhagia depends to a great deal on the intake of a healthy and appropriate diet. The dietary regimen must incorporate all or many of the suggestions were given below. While the changes in the diet, the intake of helpful herbs, and essential supplements help in the rectification of the problem, they are also additionally effective in bringing about a full restoration of all vital minerals and the vitamins which depleted in the body, and lost due to the repeated or heavy menstrual flows suffered by the woman. To correct the imbalance and to restore energy levels to normal in the body of the patient, all individuals suffering from menorrhagia must follow the suggested changes in diet and taken the supplements recommended below.

Supplements and Herbs:

The diet of every patient must contain adequate amounts of the high-quality trace minerals – supplements of the essential mineral iodine, is especially important in this regard. Diets must also include some seaweed as daily green food supplements. The problem is treated particularly well by the compounds found in seaweeds-these supplements can be considered as one of the most specific medicines in the treatment of menorrhagia. To treat a teenage girl reluctant to consume seaweed supplements, substitute the raw seaweeds by making her take daily doses consisting of sixteen to twenty capsules of the kelp – these refined seaweed capsules are odorless and easy to consume. In order to give her body enough time to deal with the sudden rush of minerals from the capsules, let her start taking the supplements slowly and then build up to the total amount or dosage over a period of time.

The Chinese herb dong Quai can also be taken in the form of capsules on a daily basis to treat cases of menorrhagia. The use of this herb must be discontinued immediately when the actual bleeding stage is reached. Another great remedy is to take one-fourth of a teaspoon of the tincture of the vitex herb, two times every day. The local herbal stores sell this herbal vitex tincture, alternately the tincture can also be prepared at home. Daily drinks of two to three cups of the Moon Time Tea can also greatly aid in bringing relief from menorrhagia.

Taking one-fourth of a teaspoonful herbal tincture made of equal amounts of the herbs – shepherd’s purse and yarrow, thrice a day one week before the menstrual cycle occurs can help in dealing with menorrhagia. These two herbs can be purchased at an herbal store in the form of a shepherd’s purse or yarrow herbal tinctures; the alternate option is to prepare your own combination herbal formula by carefully following the tincture instructions. One week before menstruation starts, make sure to take this tincture in a very consistent manner-regular doses will ensure effective treatment from the condition and aid in preventing recurrences.
The tincture made from the combination shepherd’s purse and yarrow tincture must be continually taken even when bleeding has started, but the frequency of the dosage can then be increased to one-eighth of a teaspoonful of herbal tincture once every hour or even once every thirty minutes in cases the bleeding is extensive. Another option it to drink a Shepherd’s Purse / Yarrow Tea throughout the day during menstrual cycles marked by heavy flows of blood.

Other dietary changes which can be undertaken to help reduce the excessive menstrual flow include the consumption of the following food supplements on a regular basis.
The hizike – and the dulse are milder tasting seaweeds which can also be used in the diet along with the seaweeds mentioned earlier. For example, the strong taste of the kelp, while being excellent as a supplement, often puts the person off due to its fishy and strong smelling aftertaste. All of the seaweeds can be taken in the diet along with various types of cooked grains, seaweeds can be made into soups, into casseroles, and used raw or boiled in different salads. These supplements aid in nourishing and boosting the performance of the endocrine glands and have an incredibly high content of the many vital trace minerals and essential vitamins needed by the body. Seaweeds are also suggested as they are very specifically effective in promoting the health of the thyroid gland, this gland has a very prominent role in the regulation of menstrual flow in women any food that boosts the performance of the thyroid is excellent in helping the woman deal with symptoms of menorrhagia.
Women affected by menorrhagia must also ensure that they take daily doses of a liquid-iron mineral supplement. The suggested dosage can be doubled for cases of menorrhagia, in which the bleeding tends to be particularly severe or heavy. The lowered mineral reserves and the depleted minerals are restored by regular doses of liquid iron supplements; this supplement also helps in building up the blood volume at the same time. Women commonly feel worn out, tired or drained following an excessive menstrual flow, this is not an uncommon feeling for menorrhagia patients. The importance of rebuilding and restoring the functioning of the system by eating foods which are rich in the mineral iron, in different vitamins, and in other essential minerals cannot be overemphasized for this reason. Patients must also make sure that they consume a lot of dark green and leafy vegetables, all sorts of root vegetables must also be in the diet, and diets should also contain many high-quality protein foods and different types of whole grains. Ideally, the consumption of red meat must be avoided by women suffering from menorrhagia. The diet should be aimed at inducing holistic physical well-being and a sense of wholeness in the body. For the duration of one month, take some herbal Vita – Root Tea along with some Women’s Power Capsules as regular or daily supplements. These two supplements are excellent for the effective functioning of the liver and the endocrine gland system-their presence in the body can help the woman deal with the condition. Patients must also strive to avoid consuming all types of refined foods; these can include various types of sweets, drinks that contain alcohol, tea and coffee which are high in caffeine, and nicotine. The consumption of these stimulants and foods can aggravate the problem. Drinking three cups of some herbal Flood Gates – Tea on a daily basis one week before the menstrual period can also help in dealing with excessive flows.

Moon Time Tea:

  • 2 parts raspberry leaf,
  • 1 part alfalfa leaf,
  • 2 parts nettle leaf,
  • 1/2 yarrow.

Place four to six tablespoons of the herb mixture in a quart canning jar and cover with boiling water. Cover tightly and allow to infuse for at least twenty minutes (though the longer the better). Strain.
You may make several days’ worth and store in a closed container in the refrigerator for ease of preparation. Though it’s best to drink this liquid warm or at room temperature, it’s fine to drink it cold.

Shepherd’s Purse / Yarrow Tea:

  • 2 parts nettle,
  • 1 part shepherd’s purse leaf/flower,
  • 1/4 yarrow leaf/flower.

Use four to six tablespoons of herbs per quart of water. Place herbs in the quart jar and cover with boiling water. Cover tightly and allow to infuse for at least twenty minutes (though the longer the better). Strain.

Vita-Root Tea:

  • 2 parts wild yam root,
  • 2 parts sassafras and/or birch bark for flavor,
  • 2 parts licorice root,
  • 1 part cinnamon,
  • 1 part burdock root,
  • 1 part vitex,
  • 3 parts dandelion root,
  • 2 parts pau d’arco,
  • 1 part comfrey root,
  • 1 part ginger root,
  • Optional: ginger, cinnamon, orange peel, licorice, or other pleasant-tasting herbs to taste.

Use four to six tablespoons of the herb mixture per quart of water. Place in cold water over a low heat and slowly bring to a simmer. Simmer gently for twenty minutes, keeping the pot covered all the while. Strain. Drink three to four cups daily for at least four months.

Women’s Power Capsules:

  • 1 part dong Quai powder,
  • 2 parts burdock root powder,
  • 1 part astragalus powder,
  • 4 parts dandelion root (raw) powder,
  • 1 part yellow dock root powder,
  • 2 parts spirulina powder.

Mix the herb powders together and capsulate in “00” size capsules. Take two capsules three times daily during the month. Discontinue taking the capsules when you start to bleed and begin them again at the completion of your menstrual flow.

Flood Gates – Tea:

  • 2 parts shepherd’s purse leaf,
  • 1 part nettle leaf,
  • 1 part yarrow flowers/leaf,
  • 2 parts white oak bark.

Use four to six tablespoons of herb mixture per quart of water. Place herbs in cold water and slowly heat to a simmer. Simmer over low heat for twenty minutes. Strain.

 Beneficial Herbs:

  • Lotus
  • Sheep Sorrel

Lack Of Menstruation ( Amenorrhea )

Amenorrhea is a condition experienced by many women; it can be defined as the condition of partial or total lack of menstruation. In this condition, the normal menstrual cycles of the women just stop or is halted due to some reason. The complete of any menstrual flow in women can be attributed to many different causes. The presence of intense emotional stress, the presence of blocked or hidden traumas or suppressed feelings, the lack of adequate nutrition via the diet in particular the total lack of any high quality proteins and fats in the food, the presence of hormonal imbalances, the undertaking of an excessive and rigorous exercise program, or the development in the woman of a negative outlook towards the process of menstruation can all contribute to the appearance of amenorrhea. The use of birth control pills over a long period of time is one of the most common causes of the failure to menstruate. Following the use of contraceptive pills over a long period of time, many women have found themselves waiting for months or even years on end, for their menstrual cycle to return to normal or to begin again.

Supplements and Herbs:

All of the supplements and herbal remedies are given here can aid in gaining relief from amenorrhea. Women must drink daily doses of the Female Tonic Tea or the Women’s “Root” Tea to bring about a restoration of the normal hormonal balance and aid in cleansing and strengthening the liver. An individual woman may choose which drink they prefer, or they can drink the teas on alternate days this option is up to the patient as long as she drinks, at least, one on a regular basis.

Women can also take daily doses of the liquid Floradix Iron along with some herbs or they can use a similar liquid iron vitamin-mineral formula on a daily basis. The dosage requirements can be followed by reading the instructions on the bottle. Patients must also drink at least three to four cups of the herbal Bringing On The Moon Tea when they feel the time to menstruate is upon them.

Homeopathy:

All of the homeopathic remedies are given below can be used in the treatment of amenorrhea. Each remedy can be used for one to three weeks at 30thpotency. The use of a different remedy must be considered if there are no beneficial effects during this time period. The use of one mega dose of a remedy at 200c or 1 M is also possible, after such a dose the results must be studied. The presence of an expert homeopathic is suggested when patients undertake these dosages as such a person is more likely to understand the nature of the prescription and the amount to use.

  • Graphites
    Graphites are to be used in the homeopathic treatment of women suffering from physical symptoms including the absence of menstruation along with swelling in the feet, additional symptoms can include the presence of constipation, and the occurrence of discharges, the presence of stomach pain is also another symptom which is typically seen. This form of amenorrhea strikes following the first menstrual cycle. The other physical symptoms can include the giving off of a pale and watery, or very scanty menstrual flow, and this is usually accompanied by nausea in the woman. Physical symptoms also include the development of eczema. The development of a cracked and thickened skin, and the oozing out of a sticky fluid from the affected areas on the body. The woman often suffers from cracked nipples. In addition, patients tend to suffer from obesity, and the presence of chills in the body, swelling of the glands is also often observed. Psychological problems in such women can include an indecisive nature, the presence of intense anxiety, and an aversion to the sex of any kind. The condition can be worsened by exposure to cold weather, staying in a warm room, exposure to drafts, to sudden motions and movements, to the presence of hunger, and symptoms also typically worsen in the night. The condition of the patients often improves on being exposed to open air out of doors. The presence of one or more of these symptoms requires the immediate use of Graphites as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the condition.
  • Kali. carb.
    Kali. carb. is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of women suffering the total absence or late of menstrual cycles. The flow during the menstrual period in such women tends to be very little and the color of the blood is very pale, at the same time. In some, instances physical symptoms can also include the onset of early menstruation with the profuse or excessive flow at such times. The physical symptoms can also include the development of anemia in the woman. The initial menstrual cycle is often delayed because of a problem with water retention, and the woman may, in addition, suffer from complaints with chest disorders. The flow consists mainly of acrid blood. The other physical symptoms which can affect such women can include the appearance of puffy bags around the eyes, and perspiration affects the woman very easily, she may also have to endure a backache, and can develop weak muscles and general body fatigue. The woman tends to suffer from chills running up and down her body. Psychological symptoms of such women include a responsible personal character, they can also be worriers. Such women are startled very easily and seem nervous all the time. The patient may keep talking to herself, now and again. The condition of the patient can greatly worsen when she is alone. The symptoms also tend to worsen after exposure to the cold air or to cool drafts of wind, and being touched at two to three a.m. early in the mornings can worsen the symptoms, the symptoms also generally worse during the menstrual flow itself, and last of all, women complain of worsening symptoms when they try to sleep at night. The condition of the patient can improve when exposed to some heat or to dry weather. The presence of one or more of these symptoms requires the immediate use of Kali carb. as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the condition.
  • Nat. Mur.
    Nat. Mur. is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of women who suffer from prolonged absences of the first menstrual period. As the menstrual period progresses, this lateness increases and some flows can come very late early in the mornings. Physical symptoms seen in such women can also include the presence of splitting headaches, the appearance of a patchy or “mapped” tongue. The drying of the skin, the cracking up of the lips, and the coming of excessive thirst. The woman may also be affected by a progressive physical weakening starting around ten a.m in the mornings. Menstrual periods and flows tend to start late, and the flow is very scanty, often coming accompanied by the development of sudden heat in the facial region and a feeling of heaviness in the abdominal area. The woman may also be affected by the passage of chills up and down her body, and she may also become very anemic at times. Psychological symptoms can include the coming of a depressed state of mind, the person becomes very pessimistic, and may suffer from a deep inner grief which she keeps very well hidden from others around her. The patient also suffers from a loss of sex drive and libido. The condition of the patient can worsen when exposed to excessive heat, to sunlight, and to any sympathy shown to her by others. The condition of the patient can greatly improve when she stays out in the open air when she is well rested when she undertakes a fast, and a short walk on the seashore also reduces symptoms. The presence of one or more of these symptoms requires the immediate use of Nat. Mur. as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the condition.
  • Pulsatilla
    Pulsatilla is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of women who suffer from the lack of menstrual flow at the time of puberty. This condition can develop because of getting wet, due to physical exhaustion, and due to conditions such as anemia affecting the person. Physical symptoms of the condition can include very late, and scanty menstrual flow, the flowing of blood is erratic, often stops and starts suddenly. The blood given off during menstruation tends to be clotted up, and the flow is irregular, very changeable and unpredictable. The woman may also be affected by the giving off of a thick, and creamy discharge from the vagina. The person often suffers from chills running up and down her body, patients tend to avoid eating fats, and dislike rich foods. The person is almost never thirsty. Psychological symptoms can include a very mild nature, the person is very emotional, tends to be extremely weepy, and suffers from irritability. She solicits and likes the sympathy of others and enjoys being in the company of others around her. The condition of the patient can often worsen when staying in a warm room, symptoms also worsen at twilight, and in the dark. The condition of the patient can improve when she stays out in the open air, symptoms also subside when gently moving, and rubbing the affected part of the body can also ease symptoms. The presence of one or more of these symptoms requires the immediate use of Pulsatilla as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the condition.
  • Sepia
    Sepia is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of women suffering the absence of menstrual flows or an irregularity in the flow. The menstrual flow tends to be very late in coming and is always scanty. This form of the condition often develops following a term of pregnancy, it can also begin at the start of puberty in some women, and the continuous use of contraceptive pills can also trigger the condition. Physical problems such as uterine prolapse or the displacement of uterine tissues can also trigger the condition. Physical symptoms include the presence of heaviness in the body, and the woman is borne down by intense emotional feelings. She may also suffer from physical exhaustion, she tends to be very indifferent to her loved ones, to any sympathy offered by others, and she tends to refrain from all sexual acts. Psychological symptoms can include a sarcastic behavior. The woman may also suffer from constant chills running up and down the body, she tends to feel very faint at all times. Such women also tend to suffer the loss of muscular tone and are often affected by the falling away of hair. The condition tends to worsen with continual exposure to the cold, too damp places or weather, and symptom also typically worsen just before menstrual flows, worsening of the symptoms is also seen following the act of sex. The condition of the patients can improve on being exposed to the warm applications or compresses, symptoms also go unnoticed if the woman stays busy, and undertaking vigorous physical exercises will also reduce the intensity of all symptoms. The presence of one or more of these symptoms requires the immediate use of Sepia as a homeopathic remedy for the treatment of the condition.

Female Tonic Tea:

This is an especially nice tonic formula for the reproductive system. It is rich in vitamins and Minerals and contains uterine tonic herbs. It has a nice refreshing “green” taste.

  • 2 parts raspberry leaf,
  • 2 parts lemongrass,
  • 1 part strawberry leaf,
  • 1 part squaw vine stevia to taste,
  • 2 parts nettle,
  • 2 parts peppermint and/or spearmint.

Use four to six tablespoons of herb mixture per quart of water. Add herb mixture to cold water and bring to the simmering point. Remove from heat and allow to infuse for twenty minutes. Strain. Drink three to four cups daily.

Women’s “Root” Tea:

It has a flavor reminiscent of homemade old-fashioned root beer. It is a wonderful tonic for the endocrine glands, contains liver cleansing herbs, and is useful for gently regulating hormone production.

  • 3 parts sassafras bark,
  • 2 parts dandelion root,
  • 1 part ginger root,
  • 1 part licorice root,
  • 1 part pau d’arco,
  • 1 part vitex (chaste berry),
  • 1 part wild yam root,
  • 1/2 part cinnamon,
  • 1/4 part orange peel,
  • 1/4 part dong Quai root,
  • Optional: a pinch of stevia.

Use four to six tablespoons of herb mixture per quart of water. Add herb mixture to cold water and simmer for twenty minutes. Strain. Drink three to four cups daily.

Bringing On The Moon Tea:

  • 2 parts pennyroyal herb,
  • 1/2 part yarrow,
  • 2 parts peppermint,
  • 1/2 part mugwort,
  • 1 part ginger.

Use four to six tablespoons of herb mixture per quart of water. Place herbs in cold water and bring slowly to a simmer over low heat. Keep covered tightly. Take off the heat immediately and allow to steep for twenty minutes. Strain.

 Beneficial Herbs:

  • Akebia
  • Golden Root
  • Zedoary