ECHINACEA


Latin Name: Echinacea purpurea, E. augustifolia

About Echinacea:

Echinacea, or Purple Coneflower, is a popular garden plant that is also found growing wild.  It was originally named after the hedgehog (Echimus) because of its prickly, cone-like center. The flowers are long lasting and hardy. A favorite of the Native Americans and made popular in 1870 by Dr. H.C. F. Meyer in his original “snake oil” recipe, Echinacea is still widely used today for all kinds of infections. It was traditionally used by the Native Americans for fevers and wounds with difficulty healing.  Today it is widely used and recognized as an antibiotic remedy and immune booster.

This herb may be used external and internally.

How to grow: From seeds, root cuttings. Self-seed.

Safety: Overuse may elevate blood cell counts and diminish therapeutic effects. Do not use if you have autoimmune diseases.

Medicinal Preparations: Decoction, infusion, tincture, oil, salve, mouthwash

Taste: Sweet, cold, tingly, stimulating.
Harvest: Late Fall.
Parts used: Roots (3-4 years old).

MEDICINAL USES:

Immune System: Immune booster, blood cleanser, effective against bacteria and viruses, lymphatic congestion, raises white blood cell count, septic infections with purplish skin or veins, swollen lymph glands, fevers, measles, mumps, chicken pox, colds, flu, strep throat, staph infections, excess mucus, diphtheria, typhoid fever, meningitis.

Respiratory: Upper respiratory tract infections including tonsillitis, laryngitis and nose and sinus issues, bronchitis.

Skin: Acne, boils, carbuncles, abscesses, slow healing wounds, canker sores, eczema, hives.

First Aid: Bee stings, venomous bites, blood poisoning, septic sores and wounds, poison oak, poison ivy.

Digestion: Gastric disorders and ulcers, inflamed intestine.

Additional Uses: Enhances circulation, fatigue, exhaustion and for general “run down” feeling, mouthwash for gingivitis and pyorrhea, mouth sores, ear infection, gangrene.

 

HERBAL ACTIONS

  • Antibiotic
  • Anti-catarrhal
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Antiseptic
  • Antiviral
  • Lymphatic

Contains: Glycoside, isobutyalklamines, polyacetylenes, sesquiterpene, resin, volatile oils.

Note: This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice from your professional healthcare provider. Please consult your qualified healthcare provider for treatment of medical problems.

 

5 Herbs for Better Sleep

 

Sleep is a time when our body heals and rejuvenates itself. Better sleep makes us happier, healthier and more relaxed in every way. Most of us spend about 1/3 of our lives asleep or trying to get that needed sleep. That is why it is very concerning to know that an estimated 30% of the American population suffers from regular insomnia. Here are 5 simple herbs that may be useful in helping you achieve a better night’s sleep.Lemon Balm Tea-iStockphoto

1. Lemon Balm.

Also known as melissa, this top notch anti-anxiety herb is both a stomach soother and a sedative. It has been used as a relaxant since the Middle Ages in European folk medicine. Not only does this herb help you sleep, it improves mood and gently calms the mind.

2. California Poppy.

Studies have shown this herb to improve both sleep latency and quality. It is also a gentle analgesic and muscle relaxant and so it is also used to relieve pain that keep you awake at night.

3. Passion Flower.

This is best used when your mind has “circular thinking” and it just won’t quit. Herbalists consider this herb for insomnia that is a result of mental worry, overwork, or nervous exhaustion.

4. Chamomile.

The herb of choice for those who can’t relax. Chamomile is a traditional sedative herb that is safe for children and adults alike. The tea is commonly used for insomnia and restlessness that is combined with irritability, particularly in children.

5. Hops.

With a long history as a sleep herb, this mildly estrogenic plant is wonderful for promoting deep sleep. A number of research studies have shown that a combination of Hops and Valerian is often an effective sleep remedy.

Star Anise

star aniseThis spice comes from an evergreen tree in China and is greatly admired for its beauty. It has a 6 or 8-pointed star of slender pods, each cradling a seed. It not only looks beautiful, it tastes of a lovely licorice flavor with a hint of cinnamon and clove.

This spice is 13 times sweeter than sugar, but is often used in savory recipes, particularly with meats.

In China, which has used it for centuries, star anise is a key ingredient in five-spice powder (with cloves, cinnamon, fennel and Sichuan peppercorns).

Star Anise…more than meets the eye.

This beautiful spice is more than just another pretty face. It has loads of flavor and even medicinal uses.

One whole star is enough to aromatize a vegetable stir fry dish.  When simmered with onions and soy sauce or tamari, it add a nice flare to beef, chicken and lamb.

Medicinal uses include:

  • Relieves gas, cramping, bloating and indigestion
  • Used in traditional Chinese medicine for clearing mucus from the respiratory tract
  • Case studies have indicated it useful for sinus issues
  • Fights influenza
  • Research shows it helps wards off viral, bacterial and fungal infections including Hepatitis B., Herpes simplex 1, HIV, Stept bacteria, Epstein-Barr virus and more.

Here are a few ideas in case this spice is new to you:

  1. Put a star anise in the pan when roasting chicken or beef.
  2. Add star anise to stewed apples or plums.
  3. Use it in soups, stews, and casseroles that require long cooking times.
  4. Use it to flavor teas.
  5. Grind it and add to a marinade.

Hint:

Try adding one dried star anise pod and one slice of a fresh orange to a glass of water, and let sit for about 30 minutes before drinking it.  The water becomes infused with the spice and citrus flavor for a refreshing change of pace in beverages. Make a pitcher of this, for serving when entertaining; your guests will be delighted.

Spices Star Anise pairs well with:

Allspice, Black Pepper, Cardamom, Chile, Cinnamon, Cumin, Curry, Ginger, Fennel Seed, Mint, Nutmeg, Vanilla