Bakalski Co. Ltd.

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Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm

  • Melissa officinalis
  • Labiatae
  • Mint family


Common Names

Balm mint
Bee balm
Blue balm
Cure-all
Dropsy plant
Garden balm
Honey plant
Lemon balm
Melissa
Sweet balm

Parts Usually Used

Leaves, herb

Description

Balm is a perennial plant; the stem is upright, hairy, quadrangular, and branched and grows as high as 3 feet. The leaves are opposite, ovate, long-petioled, somewhat hairy, bluntly serrate, and acuminate. The bilabiate flowers grow in axillary clusters and may vary in color from pale yellow to rose colored or blue-white. The flowering time is July and August.

When bruised, the whole plant smells like lemon.

Medicinal Properties

Antispasmodic, calmative, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, stomachic, febrifuge, sedative, antidepressant, nervine.

Biochemical Information

Volatile oil (including citronellal), polyphenols, tannins, bitter principle, flavonoids, rosmarinic acid

Uses

Balm is a remedy for common female complaints and is useful for all sorts of nervous problems, hysteria, melancholy, and insomnia. Use balm tea to relieve cramps, dyspepsia, flatulence, colic, liver, spleen, bladder troubles, chronic bronchial catarrh, and some forms of asthma. Try it also for migraine and toothache, and, during pregnancy, for headaches, tension, and dizziness. The warm infusion has diaphoretic effects. An infusion of the leaves added to bath water is also said to promote the onset of menstruation. It is a cooling drink for feverish colds fever, and flu. Use the crushed leaves as a poultice for sores, tumors, swellings, milk-knots, and insect bites. Balm promotes sweating, and is a valuable stand-by when fever is present. Balm is also used in herb pillows because of its agreeable odor. Experimentally, hot-water extracts have been shown strongly antiviral for Newcastle disease, herpes, mumps; also antibacterial, antihistaminic, antispasmodic, and anti-oxidant.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 March 2010 11:56
 
Linden

Linden

  • Tilia americana
  • Tiliaceae
  • Linden family

Common Names

Bast tree
Common lime
Lime Blossoms
Lime tree
Linden
Linden flower
Spoonwood
Tilia
Wycopy

Parts Usually Used

Flowers and leaves, inner bark

Description

The basswood tree reaches a height of up to 120 feet. The brownish-gray bark is perpendicularly, but not deeply, fissured. The cordate, serrate leaves are from 4-7 inches long have pointed tips and heart-shaped bases; clusters of yellow-white fragrant flowers (1/2 inch wide) with 5 sepals and petals and numerous stamens cohering in groups, grow on long stalks from narrow bracts, appear in June and August; they are followed by small round nutlets. The fruits or seeds are about the size and shape of a pea and are commonly called "monkey-nuts". Tree characterized by prominent winter buds and the lack of terminal bud; and for the pyramidal shape of the tree.

Medicinal Properties

Diaphoretic, stomachic Bark: emollient.

Uses

Used as a home remedy for colds, flu, coughs, fever, headaches, epilepsy, indigestion, and sore throats. The inner bark contains mucilaginous materials and makes a soothing application for skin irritations, boils, wounds, sores, and burns. A popular continental herb tea. Used in cosmetic preparations.

Warning

Frequent consumption of flower tea may cause heart damage.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 March 2010 11:58
 
Nettle

Nettle

  • Urtica dioica
  • Uricaceae
  • Nettle family

Common Names

Chinese nettle
Common nettle
Common stinging nettle
Great nettle
Great stinging nettle
Stinging nettle


Parts Usually Used

Whole plant

Description

A member of the Urticaceae family (Urtica is from the Latin urere - 'to burn') with about 500 species worldwide, some in the Far East can produce a sting which burns for days. It is a perennial reaching about 1.2 metres in height. The dark green leaves oppose each other on the stem, they are 5 to 15 cm long and 2 to 5 cm wide, serrated and with a tapered end. Tiny stiff hairs on the leaves are hollow enabling them to inject a cocktail including formic acid and histamine which causes a painful rash. This stinging does not occur when they are dried or cooked.
The flowers appear in the summer, they are tiny, greenish or greenish-white hanging down in clusters just above where the leaves attach to the stem.

Medicinal Properties

Astringent, hemostatic, diuretic, galactagogue (promotes flow of milk), lowers blood sugar levels, expectorant, tonic, nutritive, styptic, rubefacient.

Biochemical Information

Formic acid, silicon, potassium, tannins, glucoquinones, histamine, acerylocholine, serotonin, chlorophyll, carbonic acid, mucilage, magnesium, iron, many minerals and vitamins A, B, and C.

Uses

Widely used to treat rheumatism and poor circulation, but also cures bronchitis, prevents scurvy, reduces the risk of hemorrhage, neuralgia, scrofula, sore throat, sore mouth, sciatica, vaginal yeast infections, anemia, increases milk flow for nursing mothers, lowers blood sugar, joint aches, neuralgia, gout, first stages of dropsy, bee stings, whooping cough, expel worms, and dispels melancholia.
The leaves may be boiled and then eaten like any green vegetable, or else used for an infusion. A decoction may also be made from the root, this is good for dissolving renal (kidney) stones and other internal obstructions. Old herbals say that nettles are useful in weight-reducing diets. Treats tuberculosis, anemia, clorosis, rickets, scrofula, lymphatic problems. A good spring tonic. Boiled leaves applied externally will stop bleeding almost immediately. Externally applied for eczema.
A tincture made of the seeds is recommended for goiter and low thyroid. In raising the thyroid function, it effectively reduces the associated obesity.
The warm tea is used for asthma, hay fever, allergies, colds, fever, grippe, flu, mucous condition of the lungs, pleurisy, leprosy, diarrhea, cholecystitis, dysentery, hemorrhoids, various hemorrhages, scorbutic affections, and mucous in the colon in adults.
Boiling the entire plant in a mixture of vinegar and water, then adding eau de cologne was supposed to produce a good hair lotion. Combing the hair with expressed nettle juice was supposed to stimulate hair growth, bring back the natural color of the hair. Or dip fingers in and thoroughly massage the scalp and it will cure dandruff.
Pulped nettle leaves make a marvelous compress and bring cooling relief when inflammation is present.

Warning

Do not eat uncooked plants, especially old plants uncooked; they can produce kidney damage and symptoms of poisoning.
Handle the plants with care.
The bristly hairs of the nettle plant act like a tiny hypodermic needles, injecting an irritant substance under the skin when touched: handle with care.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 March 2010 12:01
 
Peppermint

Peppermint

  • Mentha piperita
  • Labiatae
  • Mint family





Common Names

Balm mint
Brandy mint
Curled mint
Lamb mint
Lammint
Phudina (Sanskrit name)
Wu-pa-ho (Chinese name)

Parts Usually Used

Leaves, oil, and flowering tops

Description

A hybrid perennial plant; 1-3 feet tall; the erect, square, branching stem is tinged with reddish-purple (not green as in spearmint) and has opposite, dark green, ovate to lanceo-late, serrate leaves. Axillary and terminal spikes of small, purple (violet) flowers in loose, interrupted terminal spikes, arranged in whorls, appear from July to frost. The whole plant has the characteristic smell of menthol.

Spearmint smells like chewing gum; peppermint smells like toothpaste.

Other mints, used similarly to peppermint: spearmint (M. spicata), water mint (M. aquatica), and curled mint (M. crispa).

Medicinal Properties

Diaphoretic, aromatic, carminative, chologogue (stimulates flow of bile), stomachic, calmative, mild alterative, stimulant, rubefacient, nervine, analgesic

Biochemical Information

Menthol, menthone, fasmone, methyl acetate, volatile oils, tannic acid, terpenes, and vitamin C.

Uses

Oil of peppermint adds refreshing cool flavor to cordial compositions. A sprig of fresh herb adds character to juleps.

Increases stomach acidity, irritates mucous membranes and the gastrointestinal tract. Use for chills, colic, fever, nausea, diarrhea, heart trouble, rheumatism, convulsions, spasms, dizziness, vomiting, travel sickness, dysentery, cholera, dysmenorrhea, palpitations of the heart, the grippe, hysteria, insomnia, neuralgia, and headaches. Used for colds, flu, sore throat, laryngitis, gas and mild digestive disorders.

The leaves can be made into a salve or a bath additive for itching skin conditions.

Extracts experimentally effective against herpes simplex, Newcastle disease, and other viruses. The oil stops spasms of smooth muscles. Externally, helps rheumatism, neuralgia, headaches, and migraines. Peppermint tea is a valuable old-time beverage which tends to relieve stomach gas, flatulence, and resultant distress. As a harmless, caffeine-free beverage it will not cause restlessness or keep you awake at night.

A wholesome tisane for every member of the family. For young children, 1 or 2 tbsp. of the tea can be sweetened with honey.

When queasiness, nausea, a feeling of fullness, or severe vomiting are presenting problems, a single cup of peppermint tea, drunk in sips and as warm as possible, will dispel these acute disturbances.

Peppermint tea promotes bile flow, improves bile production in the liver, and also exercises a positive influence on pancreatic function. Avoid peppermint in all forms if internal ulcers are present.

Warning

May interfere with iron absorption.

Oil is toxic if taken internally in large doses; causes dermatitis. Menthol, the major chemical component of peppermint oil, may cause allergic reactions. Avoid prolonged use of the essential oil as an inhalant.

Mint should not be given to children for more than a week at a time without a break. Do not give any form of mint directly to young babies.

Peppermint can reduce milk flow; take internally with caution if breast feeding.

Check with the pediatrician before giving peppermint to a child.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 March 2010 12:03
 
Saint John's Wort

Saint John's Wort

  • Hypericum perforatum
  • (Perforated variety)
  • Hypericaceae family


Common Names

Amber
Goatweed
Hypericum
Johnswort
Klamath weed
Rosin Rose
St. John's grass
Tipton Weed

Parts Usually Used

The entire plant is dried for use. Usually the fresh flowers are used, but dried flowers are also used.

Description

A shrubby hairless, branched herbaceous perennial plant with a woody branched root produces many round stems which put out runners from the base. The Plant has a pale brown stem, top branches and oblong stalkless leaves that grow in pairs. On the perforated leaves are transparent spots (oil glands), that look like holes, but on the unperforated varieties are rust-colored spots and were believed by pious country folk to be the mark of the blood of St. John the Baptist. Also, the sap of the plant is reddish colored and represents the blood of St. John the Baptist. Flat topped cymes of yellow flowers, whose petals are dotted with black along the margins, appear from June to September. Each flower has five yellow petals with black dots on the margins and many yellow stamens. The fruit is a three celled capsule containing small, dark brown seeds. The whole plant has a turpentine-like odor. The flowers appear in late summer and are bright yellow. Plant grows 1-3 feet tall with delicate 0.6 to 1.2 inch bluish-green elliptical leaves. True St. John's Wort has three extraordinary features that help identify it and virtually rule out any possibility of mistaken identity: the stalk is two-edged, (extremely rare in the plant kingdom). Hold the leaves up to light and you can see the oil glands or transparent dots. The golden-yellow flowers turn dark red if rubbed between your fingers. There is no objection to collecting the seeds of plants growing in the wild.

Other varieties: Hypericum frodosum is a small deciduous shrub with similar flowers, also called St. John's Wort; the Chinese herb (Hypericum chinense), also called St. John's Wort, is used as an ornamental plant and should not be confused with (H. perforatum).

Medicinal Properties

Analgesic, anti-inflammatory, astringent, restorative tonic for the nervous system, sedative This bitter tasting herb works on the central nervous system and has been a popular cure for neuritis. It was once given to patients recovering from surgery because of its painkilling properties. It is said to prevent hemorrhages. Antispasmodic, astringent, expectorant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, blood purifier, tranquilizer, sedative, nervine, vulnerary, aromatic, diuretic, stimulates digestion.

Folk remedy for bladder ailments, stab wounds, shingles, gout, furunculosis, skin ulcers, swellings, depression, or worms. The calming properties have been used quite successfully in treating bedwetting, insomnia, stress reactions, hysteria and other nervous conditions. An oil extract can be taken for stomachache, colic, intestinal problems, and as an expectorant for colds and/or congestion in the lungs. A tea made from the flowers is good for anemia, headache, insomnia, jaundice, chest congestion, and catarrh, neuralgia, and rheumatic aches and pains. Excellent for pus in the urine.

Tea made from the herb has been used for uterine cramping and menstrual difficulties including irregular menstruation, pains following childbirth, suppressed urine, diarrhea, and dysentery. The oil extract makes a good external application for slow-healing cuts and burns, wounds, sores, bruises, tumors, vericose veins, boils, and other skin problems. It is applied as a liniment or poultice for sciatica, neuralgia and rheumatic pains.

Biochemical Information

Contains active compounds volatile oils, tannins, resins, choline, pectin, flavonoids (including rutin), sitosterol, hypericin (a glycoside that is a red pigment), a polyphenolic favonoid derivative (hyperaside), and pseudohypericin. Recent studies have found that hypericin and pseudohypericin have potent anti-retroviral activity, without serious side effects. Being researched for treatment of AIDS.

Uses

Bedwetting, insomnia, hysteria, menstrual irregularity, stress, reactions, neuralgia, rheumatism, aches and pains, menstrual cramps, anemia, headaches, chest congestion, catarrh, nervous conditions, blood purifier, expectorant, slow healing wounds, blisters, scalds, diuretic, digestion stimulant, bladder ailments, swellings, stab wounds, shingles, gout, furuncles and carbuncles, skin ulcers, depression, worms, colic, intestinal problems, jaundice, thrombosis, phlebitis, embolism or pains following childbirth, mastitis, skin care for babies, mumps, ear infections, diarrhea, dysentery, vericose veins, sciatica, minor wounds.

Warning

Caution should be noted here, St. John's Wort has sometimes poisoned livestock. Its use may also make the skin sensitive to light. Taken internally or externally, hypericin may cause photodermatitis (skin burns) and photosensitivity when persons are exposed to light. This photosensitivity or being sensitive to light, means if you use St. John's Wort, you should avoid exposure to the sun.

Contact dermatitis can be caused by pruning or gathering the plant.

Not recommended for long term use, but safe in short term use. However, it is safer than some of the medications typically prescribed for anxiety, depression, and emotional problems.

May be toxic to some people. Should be used with competent medical supervision.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 March 2010 12:05
 
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