Herbal healing

Whenever you consider using herbs, please respect that they can have powerful effects. So do consult with a professional herbalist or conduct your own extensive research, especially if you are looking for specific functional effects.

Name Use Benefits Dangers
Burdock Tea Helps eliminate excess fluids and stimulates elimination of toxic materials, thus relieving liver disorders and clearing digestion; cleanses body of bile, detoxifies kidneys and gallbladder, increases perspiration; fiber in burdock prevents absorption of toxins in GI tract and regulates blood sugar with both fiber and high chromium content
Damiana Leaf that can be made into tea; effects take a week of daily use before becoming effective Improves sexual function and stimulates nerves, genitals, blood circulation and metabolism; may give mild narcotic high; longer use increases potency and regulates sex hormones in women; stimulating – treats depression (MAO inhibitor), debility and lethargy Tannins can interfere with iron absorption – this effect negated by taking with lemon juice; can lower blood sugar: not good for T1 Diabetes patients
Dandelion Tablet or Tea Blood purifier that helps liver and kidneys remove toxins principally by stimulating bile production; mild laxative and improves digestion
Fenugreek Anti-oxidant rich that benefit liver and pancreas; mucilages assist blood sugar control and amino acid in fenugreek stimulates pancreas to produce insulin; aids muscle and liver to respond to insulin interferes with iron absorption and mucilages allow for binding to iron even when lemon juice used
Gotu Kola Revitalizes nerves and brain cells; anti-inflammatory effects and improves blood flow throughout body by strengthening veins and capillaries; treats memory loss and protects capillaries in brain, thus normalizing oxygen delivery; improves memory and concentration
Green Tea Polyphenols are over 200 x more powerful than Vit E in anti-oxidant protection; catechins prevent liver damage Tannins interfere with absorption of herbal and pharmaceutical medications (e.g. codeine, colchine and ephedrine); green tea reduces effectiveness of ginseng
Hops Digestion – activates reflex reaction in CNS that stimulates stomach to release digestive juices, reduce feeling of fullness and stimulate bile flow; sleep aid (combine with Valerian for synergistic boost to result); Women – may assist as hormonal balancer to restore menstrual cycle or as general restorative before and after menopause Hops contain Prenylnaringen, most potent plant estrogen – not good for pre-pubescent  children, women and men with estrogen disorders (e.g. breast cancer, erectile dysfunction, male breast / aromatization); low amounts found in beer, but this and other phytoestrogens cause fat to be deposited in waist-line (beer belly); hops may aggravate depression
Kava tablets standardised to 70% Kavalcatones; take for no longer that 4-6 weeks on daily basis Induces state of relaxation and goodwill in traditional ceremonial use; enhances mental acuity, memory and sensory perception; sedative and mild euphoriant; treats urinary tract disorders and headaches; reverses secondary effects of anxiety: Kavalcatones release skeletal muscular tension; analgesic strength comparable to cocaine and effective for toothache and pain in kidney and urinary tract Not to be combined with alcohol, anti-depressants, tranquilizers or sleeping pills; do not drive or operate machinery; not recommended for people with severe anxiety and / or depression; constant long term use may damage liver, skin, eyes and spinal cord
Lavender Tea – 1/2 tsp dried flowers to 8oz water, steep 15 mins Carminative, nervine and anti-depressant; combines to rosemary, holy basil and Damiana to heal emotional stagnation (repetitive thinking of traumatic event); anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory oils in flowers combine with rosemary, blueberry and hawthorn to inhibit atherosclerosis, aneurism, depression and mental decline in Alzheimer’s [1]. General tonic, sedative, antispasmodic, diuretic, digestive aid, gas remedy; tea and essential oil good for insomnia, nervous fatigue, headaches, nausea and gas; aroma stimulates mental processes and alleviates depression as well as promoting deep sleep [2] Oil should never be taken internally
Maitake Eaten in food Adaptogen and immune boost – significantly boosts immune system and builds immune reserves; polysaccharides shown to fight formation and growth of cancer tumors; hepaprotective; may lower blood glucose and blood pressure
Milk Thistle Most effective as gel-cap extract  in combination with soy lecithin: phosphatylcholine enhances absorption of active component silymarin in GI tract and delivers to tissues (comination called silipide and labelled phytosome); less effective as tea or as seed Hepaprotective and treats liver disorders; regulates fat digestion, stabilizes blood sugar, reduces intestinal inflammation, promotes excretion of some hormones; prevents altitude sickness
Passion Flower Tea – 1 or 2 tsp herb to 8oz water, steep 20 to 30 mins; best to combine with phosphatyidylcholine for absorption of chrysin Relieves muscular tension, calms extreme anxiety, anti-depressant effect on nervous system, lowers blood pressure; very good for insomnia; good source of chrysin which helps body conserve testosterone by preventing its breakdown and preventing conversion to estrogen as well as blunting the effect of excess estrogen (by blocking some receptor sites on cells to estrogen) Not to combines with MAO inhibitor, during pregnancy or when for women trying to become pregnant
Peppermint Tea, Oil (aroma) Calms stomach, quells indigestion; general stimulant; kills micro-organisms that cause food poisoning Pure menthol or raw peppermint leaves contain toxic substances  and should not be ingested
Pollen Micronized pollen easiet to absorb Protects prostate gland; stimulates production of testosterone; treats rheumatoid arthritis and disorders of liver, gallbladder, stomach, intestines;  treats hay fever; reduces enzymes needed in inflammatory process of prostate (BPH) Take with care during severe hay fever or other respiratory illnesses
Rooibos Tea Antiviral, antianxiety, antiallergy; beneficial in treating age-related mental decline, heart disease and other age-related diseases; treats allergies by interfering with histamine; treats insomnia by affecting metabolism of acetylcholine in the brain and preventing excessive firing of neurons that lead to wakefulness inhibits absorption of iron
Rosemary 1/2 tsp in 8oz water, steep 20 mins Anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory, mild nervine, nootropic, carminative and liver tonic; treats cloudy thinking, menopausal brain fog, stagnant depression (used with holy basil, lavender and / or Damiana), hypotension; powerful anti-oxidant flavonoids and essential oils prevent oxidative diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetic neuropathies, cancer and arthritis [1]. Potent antioxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic; treats nervous disorders, upset stomach, headaches, baldness, arthritis, pains and sprains; treats Alzheimer’s by preventing breakdown of acetylcholine and also improving circulation in brain; treats infections of stomach and intestine and has strong anti-oxidant use in treating and preventing cancer, particularly liver cancer [2]
Sarsaparilla Tea Steroidal glycosides aid in increasing muscle mass in bodybuilding exercise; promotes good circulation, balances glandular system, stimulates hormonal production; treats gout by stimulating excretion of uric acid; treats diminished sex drive by stimulating production of testosterone large doses may cause GI irritation; may cause prescription medications to be excreted more rapidly; should be avoided by men with prostate problems
Saw Palmetto Extract or raw berry may be used, but large amount of berry needed (3 to 4 grams = 320 mg dose of extract) Treats prostate disorders by reducing prostate enlargement (regulates hormone dihydrotestosterone use in inflammatory process of BPH but does not reduce production of testosterone), treats muscle wasting disorders by redirecting testosterone from stimulating sex organs to stimulating muscle growth; anti-inflammatory Should not be taken without medical supervision if treating urinary tract infection
Shiitake Eaten in food prevents high blood pressure and heart disease, controls cholesterol, builds resistance to viruses and fights cancer and other diseases; Lentinan sugars structurally analogous to helix of DNA causing it to be healing, especially for hepatitis and HIV / AIDS; stimulates natural killer cell activity to combat Cancer, fatigue syndrome, and common infections such as colds Contains chemical that causes bladder cancer and should be avoided if have this condition
Soy Lecithin Contains Phosphatidylcholine (PDC) which is broken down to Choline in turn used to make acetylcholine, essential for nerve and brain function; provides building blocks for healthy cell membranes and prevents damage especially to blood and liver cells from oxidation, free radicals and toxins; aids in treating psychological and neurogocal diseases such as Alzheimer’s and memory loss; treats alcohol related problems by protecting liver from damage; PDC reduces production of immune signaling chemical tumor necrosis factor (TNF) that plays role in auto-immune disorders especially Multiple Sclerosis: TNF signals macrophages to attack nerve cells important to stop intake in alcohol when using Soy Lecithin to treat liver cirrhosis
Turmeric Curcumin not absorbed well and best taken with bromelain to enhance absorption Curcumin protects gene p53 that identifies and eliminates weakened heart cells – which can lead to excess p53 activity and worsening of congestive heart disease; may cause stomach upset if used for long periods
Valerian Tea Tranquilizer and calmative, treats anxiety, insomnia, headaches and nervous stomach; most useful for chronic sleep problems especially adults who fall asleep easily but have difficulty staying asleep; relaxes muscles of stomach when under stress thus aiding digestion if used for several months, may cause withdrawal symptoms; do not drive after taking it

Adapted from: 

Primary resource: [2] Balch, P.A. (2002). Prescription for herbal healing. New York, NY: Avery books

[1] Winston, D. & Maimes, S. (2007). Adaptogens: Herbs for strength, stamina and stress relief. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press

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