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  1. We use Ginger in alot of our products, so when i started working on my Herbalism course, this was one of the spices i wanted to find out more about, I knew it helped with sickness and i knew it had a warming effect on the body, which in turn helped people who suffered with arthritis, but that was from my aromatherapy side, I now wanted to learn more about it from the Herbalism side, so here is what i found out.

     

     


    Ginger:

    Botanical Name: Zingiber officinale. 

    Family Name: Zingiberaceae 

    Common Names: Jamaican ginger, Indian Ginger, gan-jiang, , African ginger, black ginger, zingiber officinale. 

    TCM: sheng-jiang

    Parts Used: The rhizome of the plant is used, both fresh and dried. 

    Description: The ginger plant is an erect plant that grows from one to three feet tall. India and China are the largest suppliers of the herb used today. The large, scaly rhizome (underground stem) is the part of the plant used in herbal and medicinal use. It is cultivated in most tropical and sub-tropical countries now, but its origin is unclear. 

    Native: It is a tropical plant found in East Asia and Australia. 

    Harvesting: As the root is near the surface, you will often see small nobs at the soil line of your plant(s) that can be selectively cut for culinary use. Start harvesting about four months into the season and choose roots around the outer edge of the pot. At the end of the growing season when the leaves start to fade, uproot the plant and take a larger harvest if you need to. 

    CONSTITUENTS: 

    Ginger contains up to three percent of a fragrant essential oil which is extracted and commonly available on the market. During a study1 on this essential oil, researchers isolated 10 primary compounds; three were identified as monoterpenes and four more were identified as sesquiterpenes. The dominant component of this oil is zingiberene, with smaller amounts of other sesquiterpenoids such as â-bisabolene, â-  sesquiphellandrene and farnesene, as well as the small monoterpenoid fraction (â-phelladrene, cineol, and citral).  Zingerone, shogaols, gingerols, Volatile oils, terpenes, Iron, Manganese, Magnesium, Zinc, Vitamin B3.

    Taste: Slightly Sweet & Dry

    Energy Acrid, Hot

    Organs & Systems affected: Stomach, Digestion, Sinus

    Ginger essential oil combines well with lavender, citrus oils, jasmine and patchouli.

    ACTIONS

    antiemetic/antinausea, antispasmodic, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anticlotting agent, analgesic, antitussive, circulatory stimulant, carminative, expectorant, hypotensive, increases blood flow to an area (topically), promotes sweating, relaxes peripheral blood vessels.

    USES 

    Ginger has been a mainstay in Asian medicine for thousands of years. It can be found in the pharmacology of the ancient Chinese as well as Sanskrit texts, and the Romans and the Greeks were also quite fond of Ginger. The popularity of the plant began to rise in Europe during the 10th century, where it found employment as a spice and condiment. It was brought to America sometime during the 16th century. There is still some debate surrounding the origin of the plant’s name. The commonly accepted belief is that the word Ginger springs from the Sanskrit word srngaveram, formed by the compound of srngam (which means horn) and vera (which means body), a history that is easy to believe if you’ve ever seen the shape of the root. However, there is another school of thought that labels this origin as mere folk-lore, asserting instead that Ginger comes from an ancient Dravidian name that also produced the Malayalam name for the spice–inchi-ver, from inchi (which means root). Since both of these etymological origin points seem viable, we’ll let you decide which side to cheer for. The oil is extracted from the unpeeled roots of the Ginger plant through steam distillation. Ginger has been used for in cooking and traditional medicine for thousands of years. It is currently one of the most widely used herbs worldwide. It has been used traditionally for a long time to treat nausea. Scientific evidence confirms its uses as an herbal remedy for nausea and related ailments such as morning sickness and motion sickness. Ginger contains many anti-fungal compounds which make it a popular herb for treating athlete’s foot. Studies have shown that ginger root inhibits the production of cytokines, which promote inflammation. Therefore, the traditional Indian use for treating inflammation is gaining new-found popularity. Some of the other traditional Asian uses for this herb include stimulating the appetite, promoting perspiration, and fighting body odor. It has also been used to treat pain and traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicinal uses include ginger root in a herbal arthritis treatment. A three year study of 56 people diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis found that 75% of the participants felt relief from pain and swelling when taking Ginger root essential oil. Additionally, it has gained accepted use as a treatment for the onset of nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness. It has been shown to slow the production of LDL and triglycerides in the liver and prevent the clotting and aggregation of platelets in the blood vessels, associated with atherosclerosis and blood clots. Ginger root has been used to treat common gastrointestinal complaints such as flatulence, indigestion and diarrhoea. Ginger has been used to treat many other symptoms such as the common cold and flu by loosening phlegm and treating chills, Cough, asthma, halitosis, high fever, sinusitis, menstrual cramps and colic.  It is a popular herbal remedy for heartburn. postoperative nausea, pernicious vomiting in pregnancy, and seasickness. During clinical studies, Ginger essential oil was shown to protect the liver from the toxic effects of valproic acid and as useful in the treatment of epilepsy and other seizure disorders. Scientifically, almost all of the folk beliefs have been verified. Ginger does prevent motion sickness, thin the blood, elevate low blood pressure, lower blood cholesterol, and prevent cancer in animals. Extracts are reported to exhibit numerous pharmacological properties, including stimulating the vasomotor and respiratory centre's and lowering serum and hepatic cholesterol levels. Chinese researchers have reported that fresh ginger is highly effective in the clinical treatment of rheumatism, acute bacterial dysentery, malaria, and inflammation of the testicles. Ginger has proven active against such organisms as malaria, Shigella dysenteriae, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Candida albicans, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pheumoniae, Streptococcus spp., and the Salmonella spp. Gingerol is an acrid component, responsible for most of its hot taste and stimulating properties. The shagaols form as the plant dries and are more strongly irritant. 

    Ginger is not only effective for motion sickness, but according to the British medical journal Lancet, ginger seems to be more effective than some standard drugs in treating motion sickness and dizziness. it has also proven to be useful in relieving postoperative nausea in trials conducted at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London in 1990. Zingibain is an enzyme in ginger that has anti-inflammatory properties. There are also many antioxidants that counter inflammation as well. Other components reduce production of certain prostaglandins, thereby easing pain. Gingerols, the substances that give ginger its pungency, are thought to be responsible for its usefulness in treating fever and pain. Its volatile oils may be natural killers of cold and flu viruses. It is also used in controlling and relieving the nausea after chemotherapy treatments. Researchers in India, in 1997, tested this ability and found that ginger was able to increase the rate of endurance. They have found that the acetone extracts collectively known as gingerol, were responsible for increased bile production, indicating that it plays an important role in digestion and food absorption. Some migraine sufferers reported that ginger aborted a headache if taken during the early stages. The theory is that this ability comes from substances called shogaols and gingerols, which reduce platelet clumping, thus preventing the blood-vessel inflammation that causes migraine pain. 

    The ginger family includes not only the official ginger but also cardamom, tumeric, and zedoary. Various Zingiber species are used medicinally but do not equal ginger for benefits, including that of Turmeric, a close relative. In Asia, all members of this reedlike family are considered good for the health. The Arabs use two other members of the same family, galanga (Alpinia officinarum) and zedoary (Curcuma zedoaria) for treating stomach ailments and general weakness. The roots of these two plants are considered to be stimulants, aphrodisiacs, and, amazingly, a cure for amnesia. Pounded with olive oil, they are added to a hot bath or rubbed onto the body for any form of muscle complaints caused by overexertion. In North Africa, this usually comes from ploughing; but, in the western world, it is likely to result from overexertion at the gym. Ginger has a wide range of actions on the human body and has been found effective in the treatment of cataracts, heart disease, migraines, stroke, amenorrhea, angina, athlete’s foot, bursitis, chronic fatigue, colds, flu, coughs, depression, dizziness, fever, infertility, erectile difficulties, kidney stones, Raynaud’s disease, sciatica, tendinitis, and viral infections. In China, the science of ginger is so exacting that ginger from different parts of the country are used for different purposes. Fresh ginger is used to cure coughs, nausea, gas, and dysentery, as well as treating fevers and mushroom poisoning. Dried ginger is used for all things that the fresh ginger is used for, as well as for hemorrhages, pervered lochia, constipation, and urinary difficulties. A natural diuretic, ginger stimulates the kidneys to flush out toxins faster. The fresh root is used mainly to promote sweating and to reduce fevers while warming and soothing the body during coughs, cold, flu, and other respiratory problems. It is also an expectorant for colds and chills. Its antiseptic qualities make it a highly beneficial remedy for intestinal infections, including some types of food poisoning. Western herbalists regard it as a good circulatory stimulant, helping blood flow to the surface and making it a valuable remedy for chilblains and poor circulation to the extremeties. By improving circulation, ginger also helps high blood pressure. Since it stimulates peripheral circulation, it is warming to the extremeties and helps prevent the kinds of chills associated with malaria, colds, and flus. One of its more unusual uses is for burns. When used externally in a poultice or as an ointment, ginger soothes inflammation and promotes healing. The juice of fresh ginger, soaked into a cotton ball and applied to a burn, for example, acts as an immediate pain reliever (even on open blisters), reduces blistering and inflammation, and provides antibacterial protection against infection. Some herbalists recommend mixing fresh ginger juice with a neutral oil and applying it to the scalp to control dandruff; and mixed with lemon juice, vinegar, and honey, ginger makes a soothing gargle for a sore throat. Wild ginger is specific for painful cramping of the bowels and stomach.

    How To make homemade ginger ale:

    Take fresh ginger and flatten the unpeeled root. Place one cup of the flattened root in a gallon of water and bring to a rolling boil. Remove from the heat, strain, and add honey to taste. It can be drunk as is or added to carbonised water.

    SAFETY

    Pregnant women should be careful with ginger due to its potential to cause uterine contractions. It has also been shown to interfere with the absorption of dietary iron and fat-soluble vitamins. Stomach upset is a common side effect with larger doses. It may potentiate the effects of blood thinners, barbiturates, beta-blockers, insulin, and other diabetes medications. Due to the blood thinning effect it should not be used before surgery.

    References

    Botanic engery

    Herbal supplement resource

    Cloverleaf

    herb2000

  2. How many of us have gone outside and looked, i mean really looked at the flowers growing in our hedgerows, i can quite easily say i havent, i have always looked and appreciated the beauty of nature and even though i have always had an interest in herbalism, as i have mentioned previously, but it wasnt until recently when i started my course, that i actually looked and realised that most of the delicate little blooms that we now take for granted have been used since medieval times if not before, in medicine, in one form or another.

    Its almost like someone has removed the blinkers from my eyes and I can quite easily say that going on a walk or a drive has now taken on a new role, i cant go anywhere without noticing different flowers and there's nothing more frustrating than driving down the A30 or the M5 knowing i cant stop, to see what that flower is. I have noticed the most beautiful wild orchids, just sat there at the side of the road, and i cannot stop to appreciate them or take a quick photo so i can research and record them. Herbalism has taken over the rest of my life, and i only had a small amount left, what with running a full time business and a family. Its all consuming, i have found a hunger i never thought i had, something thats deep routed in my history, i know that sounds strange but its how i feel right now.


    For example lets take the humble Bramble, we all recognise it for its invasive and strangling hold on our garden and spend half our lives cutting it back & killing it off, but yet we love it for its luscious fruits, which we use in puddings, deserts and alcohol, yet did you know: The leaves, root bark and roots contain relatively large amounts of tannins with astringent properties and have been used internally as herbal remedies to treat digestive ailments such as diarrhoea, dysentery and gastroenteritis. Traditional uses also include the treatment of illnesses and ailments such as bleeding, slow healing wounds, fever, inflammation, cystitis, gout, infertility, vaginal discharge, flu, colds and cough. Externally the blackberry leaves have been used to treat eczema and other rashes, acne, oily skin, injuries, haemorrhoids, fungal infections and pain and itch of insect bites and stings. 


    Also the other persecuted flower the Dandelion, again the bain of many gardeners lives, yet this little ray of sunshine offers the first spring food for all bees and other nectar drinking insects, but for us it has so many other properties, herbal remedies can be made from the leaves of the dandelion which can used as a diuretic, it is also used in the treatment of high blood pressure which it accomplishes by reducing the total volume of fluid present in the body at any time. As a detoxification agent, the root of the dandelion herb is considered to be one of the most effective and beneficial herbal remedies. The waste products accumulated in the liver and the gall bladder are removed by this herbal remedy and it principally affects the functioning of the liver and the gallbladder. The kidneys are also stimulated by the dandelion at the same time and it enables the rapid removal toxins through the urine produced. 

    I have to admit, as you can probably tell, i am blown away by what i have learned, and my drive to learn more has quadrupled, i will post the full monographs later, plus many more as i learn about them. Our hedgerows are so valuable not just for supporting life for all the birds and animals but in teaching us about the history we have forgotten, when i was researching courses, and where was best to study, i asked a group on facebook, about the best herbalism course, and i was shocked by the reply, they said they didnt deal with the hockey pokey they dealt with the scientific, that spoke volumes to me.

  3.  

    Botanical Name: aloe vera syn. A. Barbadensis

    Common Name: Aloe, True Aloe, Burn Plant And Lily Of The Desert.

    Family Name Liliaceae

    Ayurvedic/ TCM Name N/A

    Parts Used: 

    Both the gel and the latex from the leaves of aloe are used medicinally but for quite different purposes. Whether using raw aloe or purchasing a prepared remedy, one should be careful in distinguishing between the latex and the gel. 

    The gel is the pulpy, transparent content of the split-open leaves and familiar to anyone who has used aloe to treat kitchen burns. The latex is a yellowish sap found closer to the inner skin of the leaves and which drains when the leaves are cut open. The latex is also known as ‘aloe bitters’ and is used to make ‘aloe water’ or dried into a powder. It is highly laxative! 

    Native Region: 

    Aloe vera is native to southern africa and grows well in sunny, dry climates. Like other succulent plants, it survives with little water. The plant was known to the ancient greeks and romans and cultivated by them. It has been spread to other regions of the world that have a suitable climate for cultivation.

     

    Aloe vera continues to be an important traditional medicine in its native south africa. There are over 100 species of aloe occurring there and at least half of these are still used as medicine to treat infections, swelling from injury, digestive problems, and even to eradicate parasites. Today, aloe vera is a common house plant around the world and thrives very well as a potted plant if placed in a sunny window.

    Botanical Description: 

    Aloe vera is easily recognizable by its spear-like leaves growing from the base of the plant. These leaves are thick with water-conserving gel. In the right environment the plant can grow to a height of three feet

     

    Harvesting Guidelines

    Harvesting aloe leaves extends past the acquisition stage and into the preparation stage. Just getting a healthy leaf will get you nowhere if you don’t know how to prepare it properly. Aloe leaves contain a yellowish sap, called aloin, which can be very bitter and cause stomach upset in some individuals. After you harvest an aloe vera plant, hold the cut end down so the aloin can run out. This will keep the gel from tasting so bitter. Wash the leaf then lay it flat on the table and cut off the serrated edges. Start on one side and filet off the skin, much like you take the skin off a fish. Continue removing the skin on all sides, including the yellowish layer, until a clear to white, translucent flesh is exposed. This is the good stuff and is ready to use after a quick rinse.

    CONSTITUENTS

    Anthraquinone Glycosides, Resins, Polysaccharides, Sterols, Gelonin, Chromones. Amino Acids, Aloectin B, Enzymes, Flavonoids, Minerals, Resins, Salicylic Acid, Steroid Hormones, Tannins, Vitamins

    Organs & Systems Affected, 

    Digestive System, Immune System, Skin 

    Herbal Actions 

    Antibacterial, Antibiotic, Antifungal, Anti-Inflammatory, Antimicrobial, Antiulcer, Antiviral, Emollient, Healing, Laxative, Purgative, Stimulates Bile Secretions 

     

    USES

    ALOE VERA GEL:

    The gel, more correctly ‘mucilage’, is best known for treating injuries and irritations of the skin, especially minor burns and cuts. It is a common house plant that is often kept in kitchens as a first aid. A piece of the succulent leaf can be cut off and opened and the gel applied directly to the burn or cut. It should not be used on deep wounds. There are several reasons why aloe gel is an effective topical treatment to heal burns and soothe irritated skin: The gel increases the blood flow to the affected area. It contains two enzymes that reduce inflammation: carboxypeptidase and bradykininase. It contains the antihistamine magnesium lactate which relieves itching from insect bites, poison ivy, and other skin irritations. It is also an astringent and has mild antibacterial action. The ability of the herb to treat burns is very well-established in the practice of medicine and it is often used in the hospital to treat burns from radiation therapy. The anti inflamamtory action of the gel means that it can also reduce swelling from bruises and sprains. This is a traditional use of the plant in the Caribbean. The active ingredient is thought to be the enzyme bradykinase. The renowned botanist James Duke also notes that aloe can help slow baldness because it can treat some of the underlying causes of hair loss such as acne, dandruff, and seborrhea. for the same reason. Another interesting but little cited use for aloe vera gel is as a toothpaste cleanse the mouth and to prevent gum disease. This was recommended back in the middle ages—by the famous nun and scholar Hildegard of Bingen. However, anyone who uses aloe for this reason must be careful not to swallow to much of it as it contains effective amounts of laxative substances! Interestingly, medical researchers are now looking at aloe vera mouthwash for particular applications, such as treating infections of the mouth as a result of radiation therapy. In addition to home remedies, the gel is showing promise in a number of fields in advanced medicine. In addition to the treatment of burns, researchers are also looking at aloe gel in the development of various other medical and surgical applications, including: The slowing of hemorrhaging in critically wounded patients by using an aloe vera gel derived polymer. Controlling blood sugar levels, with the potential of new treatments for diabetes. Protection of the pancreas against free radicals (in this case by an another species of aloe). These possible medicinal uses for aloe gel are still in the early stages of research. The evidence is from basic research in the laboratory and testing on animals. There are as yet no tests on humans, i.e., clinical trials. A mixture of naturally occurring saccharides in the gel may prove to be a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. In a recent study at the University of Miami, patients with Alzeheimer’s were given an oral supplement called “aloe polymannose multinutrient complex” (There are, in fact, commercial preparations of APMC available on the market). The researchers tracked both the cognitive functioning and immunology of the subjects over twelve months of the treatment. Forty-six percent of the subjects showed significant improvement after nine months. The side effects were few and temporary. Because stem cell production was vastly increased, it is speculated that this is the mode of action for improving motor function and memory. The study was published earlier in 2013 in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

     

    ALOE VERA LATEX:  The latex produced by the skin of the leaves, also called aloe juice, aloe water or aloe bitters, is quite different in chemical composition from the gel or pulp. The latex contains powerful anthraquinones including: aloins, hydroxyaloins, aloe-emodin and aloe resins. The primary use of the latex is as a laxative. The principal mode of action is through the anthraquinones present in the latex, which stimulate bowel contractions. Specific compounds from the latex have been investigated for their potential to slow or eradicate certain cancers. In particular, aloe-emodin, found in the latex, is cited as a potential anti-cancer drug in the case of lung cancer, prostate cancer, and skin cancer (melanoma). In addition to aloe-emodin, there are several other quinones in the latex that have anti-cancer properties; these are juglone, β-lapachol, plumbagin, shikonin, and thymoquinone. This research is in its early stages and the laboratory tests have been on isolated cells or on animal organs. There are as yet no clinical trials to determine the efficacy in treating humans with cancer.

    SAFETY

    ALOE GEL: topical applications of the gel is considered safe in treating skin irritations and minor burns and cuts. It should not be applied to a deep wound, serious burn, or very severe rash without the supervision of a medical doctor.

    Some herbal medicine sources recommend the ingestion of aloe vera gel; for example, by putting the gel in a blender and making a smoothie. This is not necessarily a safe practice, especially since the dosage is uncontrolled and too much of the latex may be mixed in with the gel. The results could be quite harmful to the digestive tract and cause other problems. Therefore, a gel preparation intended for consumption should be obtained from a reputable herbalist rather than prepared at home.

    ALOE LATEX there has been much debate regarding the safety of aloe latex. Experts in botany and herbalism differ in their opinions on consuming the latex. At the very least, one should not attempt to make a home concoction of aloe juice and any commercial aloe juice should be assessed for standardized dosage.

    Some resource stress that the latex in any form, even from a reputable source, should never be used by children, pregnant or nursing mothers and by women during their menstrual cycle (as it can increase blood flow). People suffering from intestinal or kidney problems should also avoid using the latex.The ingredients in the latex can also lower potassium levels, making it dangerous when used with heart medicines. The us food and drug administration banned the sale of the aloe-derived laxative as over-the-counter medicines.

    References:

    herbal-supplement-resource.com

    botanicenergy.com