Tuesday, February 28, 2012

CHICKWEEDS



Scientific names and their common names:
Stellaria media (Common chickweed)
Stellaria pubera (Star chickweed)
Cerastium vulgatum (Mouse-ear Chickweed)

Description:

Widespread in temperate zones, Chickweed is an herb that grows all year along roadsides, coastal cliffs, riverbanks and lawns.  It is a low-growing plant with tiny white flowers and slender delicate stems.  Chickweed has pointed oval leaves that folds every night over the tender buds and new shoots thus the term 'Sleep of Plants'. Its flowers bloom between May and July and can be used fresh or dried for later herb use.

Caution: There are similar-looking weeds called Euphorbia maculata which are poisonous. They are spotted spurge with different flowers and white, milky sap. Another weed called Polygonum arenastrum has slender stem with alternate leaves that is singly configured.

Nutrition: Chickweed is very nutritious and is an excellent source of vitamins A, D, B complex, C, and minerals like iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese, sodium, silica, copper and selenium.

Chickweeds' stems, leaves and flowers are edible and make a tasty addition to salads or cook them like spinach.  They, by the way, resemble the taste of spinach. It can also be added in lasagna and chickweeds are in fact a component of a cream cheese spread.

For the Mouse-ear chickweed variety, one needs to cook this because it's so hairy.


Medicinal properties and indications:

The major plant constituents in Chickweed are coumarins, oleic-acid, genistein, hentriacontanol,  flavonoids, rutin and triterpenoid saponins.

The omega-6 fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid is also found in chickweed which is essential for skin and hair growth, reproductive system, bone health and helps reduce inflammation.

Chickweed is used in alternative medicine as a laxative, astringent, carminative, diuretic (but won't deplete the body of minerals), expectorant, vulnerary, galactogogue, emmenagogue and is a remedy for obesity. Because of its mucilage content, chickweed also has demulcent properties that soothe the mucous membranes.


As an Infusion:

How to prepare an Infusion:

In 1 cup boiling water
Add 1 Tablespoons dried herb or 2 Tablespoon fresh leaves
Steep for 10 min

Used to treat asthma, bronchitis, coughs and hoarseness.
Beneficial in the treatment of kidney complaints, UIT, cystitis


As a decoction:

It is used for post-partum depurative, galactogogue, emmenagogue,  and circulatory tonic. It is also used to relieve constipation.

Externally it is used to treat rheumatic pains, wounds and ulcers.


As a Poultice (finely chopped chickweed): relieves any kind of roseola, skin irritation, minor burns, rashes, eczema.  Chickweed is an effective antihistamine.



THOUGH THE CONTENT OF THIS BLOG HAD BEEN TRIED/TESTED AND HAD BEEN USED
AS FOLK/HERBAL MEDICINE IT IS STILL BEST TO CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE
TRYING THIS. AVOID SELF-DIAGNOSIS AND SELF-MEDICATION.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Gotu Kola



Latin Name: Centella asiatica

Other Names: Indian Pennywort, Pennywort, Jal Brahmi, Centella


Description:

 Centella herb is a slender creeper with pinkish to red flowers.  The leaves are small and thin that are borne on pericladial petioles, kidney-shaped or heart-shaped at the base and can reach a width of 1 inch and a length of 6 inches. The Gotu Kola/Centella puts out numerous small roots and growing vertically down.

Centella/gotu kola can be eaten as a salad or vegetable dish or used in sweet pennywort drinks and other health drinks.


Parts used: whole plant


Medicinal properties and indication:

Centella has been used as a medicinal herb for centuries in India, China and Indonesia. It is used to treat wounds, improve mental clarity and  used for Alzheimer's disease and senility.

The sap of the leaves mixed with vaseline or oil can be applied over the affected area as poultice. It is used on wounds and skin sores and treat skin conditions such as leprosy, eczema and psoriasis. It is also use for anti-aging and for tired-looking skin as it is believed to be able to renew the collagen.  The saponins present in centella also prevent scar formation.

Centella is used as an antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory

Decoction of leaves is used as diuretic and is useful for gonorrhea.  It is also considered emmenagogue, stimulant and tonic.

Seeds are used for dysentery, fever and headache.

Roots are used to improve blood circulation and correct venous insufficiency.

In Ayurvedic, Centella is used for depression and anxiety.

Gotu Kola/Centella is rich in Vitamin A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (Niacin) and B6 (pyridoxine).  It also has zinc, magnesium, calcium and rich in volatile oils.

Monday, February 13, 2012

MACA

Scientific Name: Lepidium peruvianum; Lepidium meyenii

Common names:
Maca root, Peruvian ginseng, maka

Description:

Maca is a herbaceous biennial plan used as a root vegetable and a medicinal herb. It is shaped like a radish and is native to the Andes Mountains in South America (Peru and Bolivia).  Though it is
also called a peruvian ginseng, maca is not a member of the ginseng family. 

Maca is used as a folk remedy to increase stamina, energy, and sexual virility and fertility. This root crop is consumed as food for humans (eaten as any other vegetable food) as well as livestock. It is taken as a as powdered maca root that can also be added to smoothies, juice, and shakes and is good for raw food diet. Maca is also available as a nutritional supplement (liquid extract or pill form).

Medicinal properties and uses:

Maca root contains amino acids, sterols, alkaloids,  cardiotonic glycosidesuridine, saponins and other substance beneficial to the body and compounds that affects the central nervous system.

It is rich in minerals like potassium, calcium and iodine.

Maca maybe beneficial for the ff:

* improve sperm production, sperm motility, and semen volume
* help increase libido
* enhance fertility
*  alleviates symptoms of menopause as it eases anxiety and depression in postmenopausal women
* increase energy and stamina
* often touted as an aphrodisiac


Little is known about the side effects of maca root.

THOUGH THE CONTENT OF THIS BLOG HAD BEEN TRIED/TESTED
AND HAD BEEN USED AS FOLK/HERBAL MEDICINE IT IS STILL
BEST TO CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE TRYING THIS. AVOID
SELF-DIAGNOSIS AND SELF-MEDICATION.