B is for...
Learn about the wonderful world of herbs with our ABCs of Herbs series.
In our ABCs of Herbs series, we want to give you a bit of background about the herbs we use in our essential oil blends. This will focus more on what the herb is for, and not about identification.
All information has been learned through the years by me through study and certification.
Barberry has a history of positive effect on the gastrointestinal tract, lymphatic system, and urinary tract. It is a friend to the liver, and increases bile production. It is a strong antibiotic, and anti-fungal. It is often used to clean and purify the blood. It has been shown to control candida albacans, and has been used by diabetics with success. In a salve, it is great for sores, burns, acne, itchy skin, bruises, minor cuts and ringworm. High in citric acid, Vitamin C and Berberine. Avoid if pregnant.
(Vana (Ocimum gratissimum); Rama & Krishna (Ocimum tenuiflorum aka Ocimun sanctum))
We use all three types of basil in our blends. According to Pub Med, Holy Basil (aka Tulsi) has been used by traditional medical practitioners all over the world and has been recommended for the treatment of bronchitis, bronchial asthma, malaria, diarrhea, dysentery, skin diseases, arthritis, painful eye diseases, chronic fever, insect bite etc. The Ocimum sanctum L. has also been suggested to possess components that are antifertility (not recommended as birth control), anticancer, anti-diabetic, anti-fungal, antimicrobial, hepatoprotective, cardioprotective, antiemetic, antispasmodic, analgesic, adaptogenic and diaphoretic actions. Eugenol (1-hydroxy-2-methoxy-4-allylbenzene), the active constituent present in Ocimum sanctum L., has been found to be largely responsible for the therapeutic potentials of Tulsi. Tulsi is considered to be an adaptogen, balancing different processes in the body, and helpful for adapting to stress...it is regarded in Ayurveda as a kind of "elixir of life" and believed to promote longevity. Avoid if pregnant.
Bay Leaf was used as a symbol of honor and wisdom in ancient times and was often seen as a wreath around an athlete's head. It is known to be anti-fungal, antiseptic, aromatic, astringent, circulatory stimulant, stomachic, tonic, strengthens digestive system, arthritis, bronchitis, colic, cramps, flu, gas indigestion, memory loss, poor circulation; great in teas, stews, sauces. Don't eat the bay leaves whole. They are too hard and have pointy ends. If using in cooking, crush finely or remove before serving.
(Cimicifuga racemosa, syn. Actaea racemosa)
Black Cohosh is often used to address female issues, including hormone imbalance, and menopausal symptoms, including those 'warm summers'. The German Commission E has approved its use for painful PMS. Some herbalists believe it is a great herb at easing pain associated with muscle stiffness, dull, achy, cold pains. It is anti-inflammatory, cardio-tonic, and a diuretic. Avoid if pregnant, or while breastfeeding.
(Rubus fruticosus L)
Blackberry leaf has been used to soothes mouth sores and sore throat, may help reduce blood sugar and manage diabetes, and helps to ease menstrual cramps. Herbalists have soaked a clean cloth in a strong tea (cooled) of this herb to soothe hemorrhoids. Avoid in children under 2.
Burdock root is an adaptogen, alterative, antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammation, diuretic, nutritive, rejuvenative; blood cleaner, clears internal heat, improves elimination of metabolic wastes through the liver, lymphs, and large intestines, lungs, kidneys and skin; helps digestion, and absorption of fats; encourages flow and is useful in breaking open stagnant functions in the body, including flow of lymph through the body, hormone imbalance and gout.
It contains inulin, a prebiotic that feeds the gut microbiome. Used to detoxify and normalize metabolic function, burdock, along with other "blood purifiers" like yellow dock, can help calm skin eruptions like eczema, dandruff, psoriasis, and other external signs of internal disharmonies (Hoffmann, 2010).
Traditional western herbalists used burdock for gout, kidney stones, rheumatism, and eczema. In Chinese medicine, burdock is also used for skin conditions and to detoxify the blood (Chan et al., 2011).
Burdock is considered safe for most people, however if you are sensitive to plants in the Asteraceae family, theoretically Burdock could trigger allergic reactions. This reaction, however, is very rare.
As with many alteratives, people with skin conditions may see an increase in symptoms when they first start to take burdock, but generally see improvement through continued use. Avoid in first trimester of pregnancy.
Looking for one of our B herbs in a ready made blend? Look no further.