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 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.
(Tanacetum parthenium; Chrysanthemum parthenium)
Historically considered a woman's herb for its ability to regulate menstrual cycles, this herb has become associated with aiding in relief for specific types of migraines. There have been a lot of scientific research done since the 1970s, showing that this herb can help alleviate pain associated from migraines when used preventatively, over several months of use. Studies have confirmed that it can also reduce the severity and length of time the pain lasts. It clears heat, helps to reduce pain, and is anti-inflammatory. It's used for headaches, and fibromyalgia. It is antimicrobial, and often used for bronchial congestion, coughs, chest congestion, and during cold and flu season. It has been used to boost mood, and can have an antidepressant like effect (often used for sadness, and melancholy). This herb has shown in recent studies that the pain reducing abilities may be effective for arthritic conditions. It is also being studied for its positive effects on cancer. Generally regarded as safe, but if you are allergic to plants in the Asteraceae family, be careful with this plant. Some herbalist suggest that women with heavy menstrual flow or cramps during menstruation should not use feverfew in high doses; it is also a direct contraindication in pregnancy due to Feverfew's uterine-stimulating nature. Avoid at least one week before surgery or in bleeding disorders; there may be interaction with anticoagulant drugs (aspirin, Warfarin, etc.). Avoid if taking cancer drugs.
Ways to use it: as tea, or tincture
Fennel seed is most recognized for its effect on the digestive tract. It helps to alleviate painful gas, improves digestion, and is useful for constipation.
It has many other health components as well: anesthetic, antibacterial, antiemetic (helps offset nausea caused by medications), antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antitussive, digestive, diuretic, stimulant, improves the body's energy by enhancing digestion and assimilation of food, clears phlegm, stimulates interferon production, decongests the liver, clears stagnation, aids in digestion of fatty foods, stabilizes blood sugar, curbs appetite, excellent for children, asthma, bloating, bronchitis, colic, cough, diabetes, endometriosis, fatigue, fever, gas, gout, fever, hangover, heartburn, kidney stones, low libido, cramps, pms, nausea, may increase breast milk and volume of flow in nursing mothers, can also reduce colic if mother drinks tea and is breastfeeding. A tea of fennel seed may be used to treat conjunctivitis and eye inflammation (Gladstar, 2001; Hoffman, 2003), as well as floaters in the vision (Holmes, 1997). Avoid therapeutic dosages during pregnancy, excessive use of fennel seed can overstimulate the nervous system.
Ways to use it: as tea, or tincture
(Trigonella foenum-graecum L.)
Fenugreek is an alterative, which means it restores the proper function of the body to increase health and vitality. It works with the body to help it heal, especially when a chronic or degenerative condition exists. It is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, diuretic, nutritive, anti-ulcer, balances hormones, and restorative. It contains six components that help to stabilize blood sugar levels. It is known to increase levels of 'good' cholesterol HDL, and reduces blood glucose levels. Avoid during pregnancy; as it is known to lower blood sugar levels if you are a diabetic, or on medications, be sure and monitor yourself very closely and consult your doctor before and during use.
Ways to use it: decoction (tea that is simmered instead of steeping), tincture, powdered (encapsulated or as an herbal addition to food)
Looking for one of our F herbs in a ready made blend? Look no further.