- DAMIANA Action: Nerve tonic, anti-depressant, urinary antiseptic, laxative. Damiana is and excellent strengthening remedy for the nervous system. It has and ancient reputation as an aphrodisiac. Whilst this may or may not be true, it has a definite tonic action on the central nervous and the hormonal system. As a useful anti-depressant, Damiana is considered to be a specific in cases of anxiety and depression where there is a sexual factor. It may be used to strengthen the male sexual system. Combinations: As a nerve tonic it is often used with Oats. Depending on the situation it combines well with Kola or Skullcap.
- DANDELION Dandelion leaf is a very powerful diuretic, its action comparable to that of the drug ‘Frusemide’. The usual effect o a drug stimulating the kidney function is a loss of vital potassium from the body, which aggravates any cardio-vascular problem present. With Dandelion, however, we have one of the best natural sources of potassium. It thus makes an ideally balanced diuretic that may be used safely wherever such an action is needed, including in cases of water retention due to heart problems. As a hepatic & cholagogue Dandelion root may be used in inflammation and congestion of liver and gall-bladder. It is a specific in cases of congestive jaundice. Combinations: For liver and gall-bladder problems it may be used with Barberry or Balmony. For water retension it may be used with Couchgrass or Yarrow. <p
- DEVIL’S CLAW This valuable plant has been found effective in the treatment of some cases of arthritis. This action appears to be due to the presents of a glycoside called harpagoside that reduces inflammation in the joints. Unfortunately Devil’s claw is not always effective, but it is well worth considering in cases of arthritis where there is inflammation and pain. This plant also aids in liver and gall-bladder complaints. Combinations: With Celery Seed, Bogbean or Meadowsweet in the treatment of arthritis.
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- ECHINACEA Action: Anti-microbial, immunomodulator, anti-catarrhal, alterative. Echinacea is one of the primary remedies for helping the body rid itself of microbial infections. It is often effective against both bacterial and viral attacks, and maybe used in conditions such as boils, septicaemia and similar infections. In conjunction with other herbs it may be used for any infection anywhere in the body. For example in combination with yarrow or Bearberry it will effectively stop cytitis. It is especially useful for infections of the upper respiratory tract such as laryngitis, tonsillitis and for catarrhal conditions of the nose and sinus. In general it may be used widely and safely. The tincture or decoction may be used as a mouthwash in the treatment of pyorrhea and gingivitis. It may be used as an external lotion to help septic sores and cuts. Much research is focusing upon this plant, providing important insight into its activity and potential uses. Glycosides from the roots have mild activity against Streptococci and Staphylococcus aureus. Echinacoside was the most active with about 6 mg being equivalent to one unit of penicillin. The tincture was, able to reduce both the rate of growth and the rate of reproduction of Trichomonas vaginalis, and was found to be effective in halting the recurrence of Candida albicans infection. It seems to prevent infection and repair tissue damaged by infection, partially through inhibiting the activity of the enzyme hyaluronidase. For more information on this wonderful plant refer to the Home Page. <p
- ELDER The elder tree is a medicine chest by itself! The leaves are used for bruises, sprains, wounds and chilblains. It has been reported that Elder Leaves may be useful in an ointment for tumors. Elder Flowers are ideal for the treatment of colds and influenza. They are indicated in any catarrhal inflammation of the upper respiratory tract such as hayfever and sinusitis. Catarrhal deafness responds well to Elder Flowers. Elder Berries have similar properties to the Flowers with the addition of their usefulness in Rheumatism. Combinations: For colds and fevers it may be used with Peppermint, Yarrow or Hyssop. For influenza combine it with Boneset. For Catarrhal states mix it with Golden Rod</p
- ELECAMPANE Actions: Expectorant, anti-tussive, diaphoretic, hepatic, anti-microbial. Elecampane is a specific for irritating bronchial coughs, especially in children. It may be used wherever there is copious catarrh formed e.g. in bronchitis or emphysema. This remedy shows the complex and integrated ways in which herbs work. The mucilage has a relaxing effect accompanied by the stimulation of the essential oils. In this way expectoration is accompanied by a soothing action which in this herb is combined with an anti-bacterial effect. It may be used in asthma and bronchitis asthma. Priest & Priest give the following specific indications: Bronchial and gastric catarrh, chronic bronchitis, tuberculosis, pneumoconiosis, silicosis, pertussis, emphysematous conditions, chronic cough in the elderly. Elecampane combines well with White Horehound, Coltsfoot, Pleurisy Root, Lungwort and Yarrow for respiratory problems.
- EYEBRIGHT Actions: Anti-catarrhal, astringent, anti-inflammatory. Eyebright is an excellent remedy for the problems of mucous membranes. The combination of anti-inflammatory and astringent properties make it relevant in many conditions Used internally it is a powerful anti-catarrhal and thus may be used in nasal catarrh, sinusitis and other congestive states. It is best known for its use in conditions of the eye, where it is helpful in acute or chronic inflammations, stinging and weeping eyes as well as over-sensitivity to light. Priest & Priest tell us that it is specific for congestive conditions of the eyes with profuse lachrymation. They give the following specific indications: Catarrhal blepharitis, rhinitis, sinusitis and conjunctivitis. Hay fever, acute coryza, irritable sneezing and lachrymation. In catarrhal conditions it combines well with Golden Rod, Elder Flower, or Golden Seal. In allergic conditions where the eyes are effected it may be combined with Ephedra. As an eye lotion it mixes with Golden Seal and distilled Witch Hazel.
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- FENNEL Actions: Carminative, aromatic, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, galactogogue, hepatic Fennel is an excellent stomach and intestinal remedy which relieves flatulence and colic whilst also stimulating the digestion and appetite. It is similar to Aniseed in its calming effect on bronchitis and coughs. It may be used to flavor cough remedies. Fennel will increase the flow of milk in nursing mothers. To ease flatulence, take a cup half an hour before meals. Tincture: Take 1-2ml of the tincture 3 times a day.
- FENUGREEK Actions: Expectorant, demulcent, vulnerary, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, tonic, emmenagogue, galactogogue, hypotensive. Fenugreek is a herb that has an ancient history. It was rarely used in Britain during the hayday of herbal medicine due to difficulties in obtaining the spice. Since becoming easily available it has often been overlooked because herbal tradition rarely mentioned it. For a comprehensive discussion of Fenugreek you must refer to an herbal or materia medica of Ayurvedic medicine. Its limited use in Britain demonstrates its value as a vulnerary, healing and reducing inflammation in conditions such as wounds, boils, sores, fistulas and tumors. It can be taken to help bronchitis and gargled to ease sore throats. Its bitterness explains its role in soothing disturbed digestion. It is a strong stimulator of milk production in mothers, for which it is perfectly safe, and has a reputation of stimulating development of the breasts.
- FEVERFEW Actions: Anti-inflammatory, vasodilator, bitter, emmenagogue. Feverfew has regained its deserved reputation as a primary remedy in the treatment of migraine headaches, especially those that are relieved by applying warmth to the head. Dizziness and tinnitus may be eased, especially if it is used in conjunction with other remedies. Painful periods and sluggish menstrual flow will be relieved by Feverfew. It is the only herb used in European phytotherapy known to be specific for the treatment of migraine. CAUTION: Feverfew should not be used during pregnancy because of the stimulant action on the womb. The fresh leaves may cause mouth ulcers in sensitive people.
- FRINGETREE BARK Phyllyrin, a lignin glycoside, Chionanthin. Hepatic, cholagogue, alternative, diuretic, tonic, antemetic, laxative. This valuable herb may be safely used in all liver problems, especially when they have developed into jaundice. It is a specific for the treatment of gall-bladder inflammation and a valuable part of treating gall-stones. It is a remedy that will aid the liver in general and as such it is often used as part of a wider treatment for the whole body. Through its action of releasing bile it acts as a gentle and effective laxative. Priest & Priest tell us that it is a “relaxing and stimulating hepatic and alternative: stimulates the discharge of bile, promotes digestion of fats. Corrects excessive discharge of mucus into the gastro-intestinal tract”. They give the following specific indications: Duodenal catarrh, hepatic torpor, catarrhal jaundice, gall stones. Alimentary glycosuria. Pancreatic disease & glandular disorders. Chronic disease of liver/spleen.