Cacao, cocoa, chocolate, Theobroma cacao
Cajuput, Melaleuca leucadendra
Calamus, (Acorus calamus (L.))
Calendula, (Calendula officinalis (L.))
Poppy, Eschscholtizia californica
Camphor tree, Cinnamomum camphora
Caraway, (Carum carvi (L.))
Carob, Ceratonia siliqua
Carrot, Queen Anne's lace (Daucas carota (L.))
Cascara Sagrada, Frangula callifornica (Eschsch.) Grayand F. purshiana (DC) Cooper
Cashew, Anacardium occidentale (L.)
Cat's Claw (Una de gato) (Uncaria tomentosa (Willd.))
Catnip, (Nepeta cataria (L.))
Cattails, (Typha spp. (L.))
Cayenne, (Capsicum spp.)
Celery, (Apium graveolens (L.))
Chamomile, (Chamomilla recutita (L.), C. nobile (L.))
Chaste tree, chaste berry, Vitex, (Vitex agnus cactus L.)
Cherry laurel, Prunus laurocerasus
Chickweed, (Stellaria media (L.))
Chives, Allium schoenoprasum L.
Cilantro, (Coriandrum sativum (L.))
Cinnamon, (Cinnamomum zeylanicum (L.))
Cleavers, (Galium aparine (L.))
Clove, (Syzygium aromaticum (L.))
Clover, (Trifolium pratense (L.))
Club Mosses, Huperzia lucidula (Michx.) Trevisan; H. selago (L.)
Coffee, (Coffea arabica (L.))
Cocaine, coca, Erythroxylon coca Lam
Cola, Cola acuminata
Columbine, (Aquilegia sp.)
Comfrey, (Symphytum officinale (L.))
Corn, (Zea mays L.)
Coriander, (Coriandrum sativum (L.))
Cotton, Gossypium hirsutum, G. herbaceum
Cranberry, (Vaccinium spp.))
Cucumber, (Cucumis sativus (L.))
Currant, black, American Black Currant, Ribes nigrum, Ribes americanum
Brassica oleracea L.
Food: Sour kraut, Borscht, corn beef and cabbage, Cole slaw...Great stuff.
Medicine: Cabbage juice to treat duodenal ulcers, gastritis, gastric ulcers.
Ayurvedic medicine leaves are eaten for treating numerous disorders to include: gout, asthma, hemorrhoids, thyroid disorders, cough.
Cacao, Cocoa, Chocolate
Theobroma cacao L.
Food: Theobroma, meaning divine food, provides us with chocolate, moles, cocoa and other divine foods fit for the gods and goddesses. Tchocoatl a drink given to the Aztecs from the gods is made of dried cacao beans, honey, peppers, musk, vanilla and annato juice. Annato is used as a thickener and to provide a red coloring. Cultivated for over 3000 years cacao, the typical cost for a slave in colonial times was 100 cacao beans.
There are 30-40 beans per pod.
Medicine: The seed, seed coat, cocoa butter all have medicinal qualities. Cocoa butter is used in cosmetic and pharmaceutical preparations (suppositories). Cocoa seeds with their high tannin content are used to treat diarrhea by reducing intestinal secretions. Cocoa seed coat with methylxanthines acts as a diuretic, vasodilator, muscle relaxant and improves efficiency of cardiac output. Stimulating cocoa powder used to make chocolate drinks may cause constipation, it is especially popular to add bitter chocolate or cocoa to chocolate products to heighten their taste. Small euphoric effect from phenylethylamine in chocolate keeps us coming back for more.
Cocoa lowers blood pressure, hypotensive, studies of the Kuna people of Central America who drink up to 5 cups of cocoa a day (mixed in water, no sugar) find the brew with its high flavanol content lowers blood pressure and improves kidney function. (Hollenberg, Brigham and Woman's Hospital , Boston). Flavanols produce nitric oxide that dilates arteries and inititiates other functions that improve cardiovascular function.
Chemistry: Theobromine, caffeine, oleic acid, stearic acid, palmitic acid, tannins (proanthocyanidins), tyramine, tryptamine, serotonin.
Cajuput, Cajuput oil
Medicine: Drug is the distilled oil of leaves, flowers and stems (aerial parts of plant). Commission E approves the drug for treating: neurogenic pain, rheumatism, muscular pain (analgesic), for wounds and burn treatment and pain relief and to fight infection. Traditionally, the oil is used to treat arthritis; rheumatism; back pain; sciatica and other like neurogenic and muscular pain. Oil is used externally to treat muscular tension, muscular pain, pulled muscles, sprains, strained ligaments and bruising.
Also see Tea Tree Oil.
WARNING: Like any concentrated essential oil overdose is possible. Cajuput oil in amounts equal to or above 10mg may induce fatal results.
Chemistry: Cineol; alpha pinenes, bicyclic sesquiterpenes, alpha terpineol.
Calendula, pot marigold
Calendula officinalis L.
Uses: (Photo, more)
Cooking: I use petals for imparting yellow saffron color to rice, fish dishes, stews. See edible flowers.
Petals can be added to any dish, salads. Also for coloring in cheese, dairy products, drinks. Dried petals used as a dye. Petals may be dried and crushed into dishes for saffron effect. Tea may be made from flowers and leaves.
Medicine: Flowers preferable orange over yellow are infused, that is hot oil is passed through them to extract chemistry that is beneficial to pain of varicose veins, phlebitis of legs. Cream of calendula for healthy healing skin cream. Calendula is use homeopathically and in judicious amounts to treat internal infections. Stimulates liver, gall bladder, uterus, entire digestive system (mild bitters, alterative). Purported to clear infections. Supports heart function. anti-inflammatory. Styptic to bleeding as external compress. Healing to skin and internal organs. Used as tea for ulcers, gastric and duodenal, also used to treat other internal infections: diverticulitis, hepatitis, lymph gland swellings (clearing infections).
Anti-inflammatory, astringent, externally styptic, emmenagogue, cholagogue.
External uses antiseptic, anti-fungal: also for athlete's foot (golden seal also useful for athlete's foot), herpes, gingivitis as a gargle, acne, eczema, thrush, other reddening, diaphoretic responses to face and skin. Leafs poultice as a folk remedy for warts. Leaf tea for cancer (unproven). Water extraction active against sarcoma 180 in mice. Aqueous infusion of flowers also used as eye wash. Alcohol tincture of flowers for amenorrhea, flu, hemorrhoids, sprains, toothache, ulcers and wounds (both external and some cases internal). See homeopathic physician or naturopath for details.
Flowers and leafs may be mixed with chamomile to make healing tea.
Chemistry: Flowers contain calendulin, mucilage, myristic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid, lauric acid, bassorin Petals contain numerous sterols: stigmasterol, sitosterol, cholesterol and others. Yellow pigment contains cancer fighting lycopene.(2;6)
Eschscholtzia californica Cham.
Food: Luiseno (Native American) nation ate young leaves of spring as cooked greens. Leaves first boiled, then fried or roasted and eaten.
Medicine: Aerial parts are harvested. Used as sleep inducing sedative. To treat anxiety, nervousness, an antispasmolytic. Also, an analgesic effect. To treat nocturnal urinating in children. Also see Papaver somniferum. Warming herb, perspirant, diuretic.
Not to be used during pregnancy.
Native Americans used the milky sap of leaves as an analgesic often to relieve toothaches. Leaves also placed under sleeping children to induce sleep. White resin from seed pod rubbed on nursing mother's breast to promote lactation. Several tribes believed the plant poisonous and avoided its use.
Chemisry: Isoquinoline alkaloids, cyanogenic glycosides.
May be procured in liquid extract or tablets.
Camphor Tree, Camphor Oil
Medicine: Oil is extracted from the trunk of the tree added to numerous products. Camphor can also be steamed from wood chips much like my Amish friend down the road, steams apples for juice. Mom used to rub a salve with camphor over my brother's chest, he had asthma. Camphor is used to treat congestion, coughs, colds, arrthymia and hypotension. Ayurvedic medicine it is used to treat myalgia (muscle aches and pain), asthma and cardiac insufficiency. Internal use reserved for a trained physician.
CAUTION: In India and elsewhere the drug is used as a hashish substitute up to 10 grams may produce desired high, intoxication. Twenty grams is typically lethal to adults as little as 2 grams with children. Two gram doses have been fatal to susceptible adults. Use internally only under the care of a physician.
Chemistry: Camphor (light sensitive, keep in shaded area and in an amber bottle).
Contraindications: Skin irritant. May cause dermatitis with some users. Do not use with pregnant mothers, do not use on infants.
(Carum carvi L.)
Food: seed in beef dishes, bread, cheese, sauerkraut, green salads, split pea soup
Medicine: Carvol and carvene are antispasmodic to smooth muscle.
May be effective against menstrual cramps. Proven carminative to treat dyspepsia and gut antispasmodic.Chemistry: carvol, carvene
GARDEN COMPANIONS: GOES WELL WITH ANISE AND DILL. ROOT IS EDIBLE.
Food: Chocolate substitute without the stimulants of chocolate, falls short of the taste too. Thickening agent in gluten free bread.
Medicine: Fruit and bark extracts used as medicine. Carob gum lowers blood sugar and serum cholesterol. Carob is anti-diarrhea, anti-coagulant, antiviral, a digestive aid.
Carob seed powder used to make bread effective against vomiting of pregnancy.
Powder is mixed into a beverage: with water, milk, herbal tea.
Chemistry: Flavonoids, mucilages, proteic substances
Carrot, Queen Anne's lace
Daucus carota L.
Uses: (photo and information)
Food: Seeds used for flavoring. Root eaten raw, cooked vegetable root. Edible florets. Root juiced. Oil used in skin creams (anti-wrinkle). Wild carrot root, called Queen Anne's Lace, may be eaten but the root is woody and only flavors the food it is cooked with. Root flesh may be nibbled off the woody center after it has been softened by cooking.
Medicine: Contains carotenoids helpful in preventing cancer. Used to treat urinary problems: cystitis, stones. Seeds anti-flatulent. Use seed and root to treat edema. Oil of seed seed used in skin products. Carotenoid content may preserve eyesight and prevent cancer. Seeds are stimulating. Whole carrots may help treat diabetes by lowering blood sugar (not juice) anti-diabetic. May help reduce symptoms of gout (eliminates uric acid).
Chemistry: Beta carotene, phytic acid, pectin, some asarone, malic acid, root phytosterols.
Wildlife/Veterinarian: Fodder for chickens, pigs, exotic birds, ungulates.
Cashew, Acajou, Cashew Apple
Anacardium occidentale (L.)
Food: Edible nut, shaped somewhat like a crescent moon. Juiced nut drunk as a milk, or fermented into an alcoholic drink.
Medicine: Skin of the fruit is anti-microbial (including Staphylococcus). Anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial shell oil used to treat ulcers, ringworm, warts. Also used to treat corns. Blood sugar levels are effected by the bark extract. Bark and leaf extracts used for dysentery and diarrhea. Bark and leaves are analgesic used in Africa to treat toothaches, inflamed gums.
Ayurvedic practitioners used as a febrifuge, anthelminthic, laxative. Shell oil used to treat psoriasis, ring worm, warts, corns, elephantiasis, leprosy. Snake bite treatment.
Native Americans used old leaves to treat skin ailments, burns. Cuna nation used bark tea with other herbs to treat infections: colds, asthma, decongestant.
CAUTION: Contact with shell extract may cause dermatitis, strong skin irritant. May cause dermatitis.
Chemistry: Nut: fatty oil, fatty acids, protein, starch. Seed case: anacardol, cardol, anacardic acid, phenoles, methyl cardol.
Wildlife/Veterinarian: Oil of shell used for making wood termite resistant.
Cat's Claw (Una de gato)
(Uncaria tomentosa Willd.)
Function: (bark) Patent: preparation techniques for releasing immunostimulating, antiviral and anti-inflammatory activity
Medicine: There is much anecdotal information about the use of this root. Allegedly, anti Crohn's disease, anti-arthritic, anti-allergic, anti-herpes. Reported to prevent colds and flu when used daily. Reported to enhance phagocytosis. Liberti finds evidence that the root extract may be immune system stimulating, anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic and antiviral.
Chemistry: Oxindole alkaloids: pteropodine (1). Sterols, catechin tannins, triterpenes, quinovic acid glycosides.
Dosage: Chopped bark (.2-10 mg/kg) (2) boiled in a liter of water for 20-30 minutes...Cooled and taken in three doses over 24 hours (3). In Chicago's Mexico Town I purchase the bark from a Curandero on 18th Street. He recommends five 15 grams per day for me (Weight 150 pounds) boiled for twenty minutes in a liter of water taken in three doses over a 24 hour period.
Safety: Not recommended for pregnant and lactating women. Long traditional use as abortifacient. Contraindicated where immunostimulating effect may cause rejection such as organ transplants, cosmetic surgery, skin grafts... Contraindicated for autoimmune diseases until more research is done. Not for use by children. According to Jones not recommended for hemophiliacs, animal sera vaccines, intravenous extracts: of bovine or porcine insulin, thymic extracts, hyperimmunoglobin therapy and other therapies using animal hormones. No known interactions with over-the-counter and conventional prescription drugs.
Notes: this plant is over harvested in the wild. I suspect adulteration in many root preparations. Buy from a reputable, knowledgeable source.
Catechu, Black Catechu
Medicine: Drug is distilled from the heartwood of this tree. Typically, used for dysentery and bleeding, it is styptic, astringent, analgesic and antiseptic. Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat wounds that are difficult to heal, external ulcers, mouth ulcers, wounds. In Ayurvedic medicine used to treat throat infections, toothaches, difficult to heal ulcers in the mouth. Used as a mouth wash and gargle for mouth ulcers, gingivitis. Also available in powders to be applied externally to sores, ulcers, wounds.
Used as a digestive aid in combination with betel nut.
Chemistry: Catechin tannins,
Nepeta cataria L.
Food: Tea, fresh or dried for following treatments.
May soothe digestive tract. May provide relief from menstrual cramps by mildly stimulating menstruation. promotes sweating lowering fever in acute infections, mild iduretic, settle upset stomach...Used for acute infections colds, flu, fever. Naturapaths use it to treat these conditions in children. According to Andrew Chevallier in the Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants, Readers Digest Books, catnip can be tinctured and used as a rub for rheumatic and arthritic joints. Ointment of catnip has been applied to catnip.
Combinations: Naturopaths combined with elderflowers for treating acute infections. USE AS TEA WITH OTHER SEDATIVES: VALERIAN AND HOPS for sleep, stress reduction, a relaxant.
CHEMISTRY: iridoids, volatile oils: alpha and beta nepetalactone, geraniol, citronellol.
Wildlife/Veterinarian: Feline stimulant, but a human calming agent.
(Capsicum spp. L.)
Uses: (Photo, more)
Cooking: Use in salsa judiciously, season bouillabaisse, fish soups, stews. Add about a third of a dried pepper to salad dressings for zest and warming quality. Slice pepper, remove seeds and place in dish while cooking, remove when degree of heat desired is reached. Keep pepper handling fingers away from your eyes.
Medicine: Catabolic, increases body heat, increases metabolism. May inhibit cholesterol production in liver. Eating peppers may be effective against cluster headaches (Science News). Capsaicin may assist absorption of drugs through human skin, anti-inflammatory action...May be helpful to arthritis. Zostrix tm..
Native Americans in medicine feed to 3-4 year old children to strengthen their stomach against infection and parasites. Mexico eat to raise body temperature to prevent colds. Cayenne phytochemistry may reduce the risk of atherosclerosis which can lead to hypertension.
I shake powder in socks to keep feet warm. Or infuse into warm olive oil and rub on cold feet.
Purported to strengthen heart as a stimulant, antiseptic qualities of capsaicin have been challenged in recent research.
Natural Health: warming to the
third degree. stimulates circulation and digestive secretions, perspiration
Punches up flagging defenses. Raises body temperature.
Chemistry: Capsaicin in cayenne is used in analgesic ointment and creams. It penetrates skin, goes to sensory nerves in painful joints and intercepts compound P, a neural transmitter. When sensory nerves fire compound P is destroyed between synapses. Capsaicin prevents replenishment of compound P, thus pain is alleviated. Counter irritant effect of capsaicin also causes movement of blood from painful inflamed joints to surface, bringing in new blood and lymph. This nourishes and cleanses the injured or painful area. With pain subdued and circulation improved healing is expedited. (Herbal and Nutritional Therapies video, Jim Meuninck).
Cattail, broad leafed and narrow leafed
(Typha angustifolia L.)and (T. latifolia L.)
(photo and information)
Food: I like to eat the young shoots of spring. New shoots also come up during the summer and they too are tender after you peel a few layers of leaves away. Saute the shoots in butter or olive oil. A quick meal can be made stir frying the shoots in Italian dressing. They top male flowering head can be stripped in June and used to extend starch dishes: bread, waffles, pancakes, muffins, corn bread. Male flowering heads are vitamin and mineral rich, complete with essential amino acids. Fluffy flowering heads of late summer may be made into dog food. See the video Little Medicine, The Wisdom to Avoid Big Medicine at www.herbvideos.com .
Medicine: Cattails roots are polysaccharide rich. Beat the roots into water and use the starchy water as a wash over sunburn. The ashes of burned cattail leaves are styptic and anti-microbial, use them to dress and seal wounds.
Chemistry: Bioflavonoids in shoots and flowering heads. Anti-diabetic polysaccharides in roots.
Chelidonium majus L.
(Photo, Native American Uses)
Medicine: Dried aerial parts. Approved by Commission E for liver and gallbladder problems. Traditionally orange sap used externally for scabies, warts, edema, root chewed to treat toothache. Used internally for liver complaints, jaundice, hepatitis, gall bladder problems and bile ducts. Internal use considered anti-inflammatory, uterine stimulant, circulatory stimulant, antispasmodic, laxative and diuretic
In Chinese medicine used to treat menstrual irregularities.
Use this drug with the oversight of a holistic health care professional.
Chemistry: Isoquinoline alkaloids
Do not use during pregnancy.
Chamomilla recutita L.
Chamaemelum nobile L. (Roman)
Uses (Photo, more)
Food: Tea fresh flowers
preferred over dried.
Medicine: May aid digestion, may prevent ulcers, and relieve arthritis pain.
Chamomile flowers may be used topically to treat abrasions, inflammations, eczema and acne. Azullene in chamomile may stimulate liver regeneration.
British scientists purport chamomile stimulates infection fighting macrophages and B lymphocytes of the human immune system. Good as healing moisturizing skin wash. Inhale steam of chamomile for upper respiratory infection relief (sinusitis) (see Natural Health video).
-Use hot tea steam as an inhalant for sinus congestion.
-Wash hair with the tea to improve quality and sheen (see Natural Health video for information on these uses).
-Prepared in lotions and ointments as antiseptic treatment of sore gums, wounds, raw or sore nipples and other inflammations.
Preparation: as a tea, water just off boil preferably over fresh flowers cover with lid to cool. Lick oils off lid, drink tea. Blend tea of chamomile with calendula flowers.
Chemistry: Anthemol, apigenin, apiin, nobilin, epicatechol, quercitrin, rutin, luteolin, scopoletin, taraxasterol, chromium, alpha pinene, p-cyment, alpha copaene, cineole, borneol, bisaboline, umbelliferone. from (2) AND The Chemistry,
Pharmacology, and Commercial Formulations of Chamomile. Herbs, Spices, and Medicinal Plants. Vol. 1. Oryx Press, Phoenix.
Sesquiterpene lactones anticancer in test tube against human cancer cells.
Volatile oils: nobilin, 3-epinobiline,3-dehydronobilin and 1, 10, epoxynobilin are antispasmodic
Flavonoids include patuletin, quercitin, apigenin and luteolin adding to antispasmodic antiallergenic effects.
CAUTION: Like many herbs there is a paradox here although anti-allergic for some chamomile may be allergenic to others, anaphylactic to a few...If allergic to ragweed best avoid using this plant externally or internally. A few people get skin rashes and allergic stomachaches from drinking or applying chamomile containing products, cosmetics.
Hydnocarpus laurifolia (Dennst) Sleumer and H. wightiana Blume
Medicine: This medium sized tree with 10 inch oblong leaves is found in Southeast Asia and provides a yellowish seed oil (Jangli almond) used externally on psoriasis, eczema. Ayurvedic use of extract (injection) to treat early stages of leprosy.
Contraindications: Caustic if taken internally, may cause dermatitis and irritation when oil is used externally.
Chemistry: Cyanogenic glycosides, oil
WARNING: Dangerous drug avoid its use.
CELERY LEAVES AND SEED
Apium graveolens L.
Food: Stalks eat as snack. Add to salads...All seafood, soup, sauces for pasta, in omelets, quiche, and grain dishes (ie rice, quinoa, amaranth, wild rice). Try as roasted or braised vegetable, dampen lightly with olive oil before braising. Leaves used in soups, salads, sauces, bullion making with Lovage and stinging nettle.
Seeds in stuffing, steamed and poached vegetables, marinades and sauces.
Medicine: Celery leaves contain flavonoid apigenin indicated for dilating blood vessels...May be preventative to high blood pressure (hypertension). Eugenol in carrot seed and cloves anti-aggregating blood thinner. Seed is carminative, mildly sedative (sleep), antioxidant cancer fighter.
Ayurvedic medicine as a diuretic, for colds, flu, indigestion, arthritis, and diseases of liver and spleen. Leaves, stalks and seeds as a diuretic for dropsy (congestive heart failure).
Chinese use as a treatment for high blood pressure (herb and seeds).
Seed may lower blood glucose levels in
diabetics. Seed stimulates uterine contractions and as a diuretic may be
indicated for PMS. As with all diuretics eat potassium rich foods to restore
depleted potassium reserves.. Celery juice is a proven hypotensive. Decoction of
the seed for arthritis, rheumatism. Contra indicated for pregnant women, has
been used as a abortifacient. Seeds eaten for bronchitis and asthma.
Chemistry: Pthalides in celery seed are calming in animal studies. Apigenin in leaves. Seed also contains apiin, selinine, limonene, seeds also contain anti-clotting coumarins, eugenol. (1)(6)
Caution: celery leaves may concentrate nitrates.
Medicinal Preparation: crush seeds with mortar and pestle, or grind in coffee grinder...Seeds may be eaten out of hand, or one or two teaspoons in a cup as an infusion. Seeds used in all savory dishes, cottage cheese, other cheeses, soups, stews, relishes, pickled dishes.
Shrub or small tree, evergreen. Asian, cultivated in the United States and elsewhere.
Medicine: Toxic drug, potentially fatal in overdose. Used to treat various coughs (antispasmodic): whooping cough, bronchitis, asthma.
Chemistry: Prunasin (poisonous).
Use in raw form not recommended due to potential toxicity. Covered here for historical documentation only.
Stellaria media L.
Description: Oval leaves about 1/4 inch across. Week sprawling stems, hairy stem, prostrate, white flower about 1/4 inch across, lance shaped petals, regular shape. Common ground cover. (photo and information)
Food: I eat the leaves and stems. The plant is available much of the year. typically growing around the margins of your yard and garden. Often found wild in corn field stubble. Dig it up and relocate in your yard.
Medicine: Known for its diuretic properties. A wash of the whole plant infusion used on skin irritations. Infusion of fresh plant as a diuretic and for treating rheumatism. Used traditionally as a douche. A wash for eczema and psoriasis.
Wildlife/Veterinarian: Whole plant a forage for chickens and ungulates.
Allium schoenoprasum L.
Uses: Leaves flowers and bulbs are eaten. Flowers and leaves in salads and cooked dishes, dressings, salad dressings, savory foods. Good with egg dishes, on baked potatoes, fried potatoes and other tuberous vegetables like ground nuts, Jerusalem artichokes. Try flowers blended into soft cheese. Use also in soup, stir fry.
Medicinal: Used like garlic but milder, less effective (see garlic). Wild chives found in the spring throughout the country would probably make an excellent poultice over a wound or sting. Chew the garlic (get some immune stimulation from that) then place the chew over the bite or sting.
Chemistry: Sulfur compounds like onion and garlic.
Cinnamomum zeylanicum L. and C. aromaticum, C. verum
DEMONSTRATION: Cinnamon on blueberries for diarrhea, pineapple and blueberry for treating arthritis.
Uses: (Photo, uses)
Food: Flavor cakes, apple pie, cookies, donuts puddings, pancakes, yogurt, candy, buns. Many ethnic groups use cinnamon to flavor soups, stews, tomato sauces, vegetables, stews, couscous, marinades, plain pasta...In Britain sprinkled on squash...mulled wines...Try it on daylily buds, edible berries and leaf vegetables.
Medicine: Extracts kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Contains pain killer eugenol, found in antiseptics. May accelerate fat metabolism and may increase insulin efficiency. Chinese cinnamon (C. aromaticum) may be helpful in the management of testicular hernia.
Store in dark place, cool, tightly sealed.
Medicine: Warming. Antiviral. Antiseptic. Anti-fungal. Japanese report cinnamon may reduce blood pressure. It is sedative, yet warming. Antiseptic may be used with oregano, ginger, and thyme for acute infections and cold flu prevention. May be helpful addition to arthritic's diet (arthritis). Cinnamon and golden seal root powder have been mixed in a few drops of alcohol for treating athletes foot. antispasmodic, antiseptic, stimulant, digestive problems. Weak emmenagogue which may stimulate menstrual bleeding. Used in some countries to excess to cause abortions. Essential oil is used by careful practitioner to treat insect stings.
Medicinal Preparation: Tea pour cup of boiling water over 1.5 grams of bark.
Chemistry: Mucilage, tannins, coumarins, volatile oils eugenol and cinnamaldehyde.
Combinations: For winter warming make a tea with cinnamon and ginger...to warm extremities.
Cleavers, Bedstraw, Goosegrass
(Galium aparine L.)
Description: Weak, drooping, slender stem with eight leaves in a whorl around stem. Has tiny white flowers, almost inconspicuous. Found in woodlands, along streams, vacant areas, shade. Often at the base of trees. (photo and more information).
Food: First growth of spring is usually tender enough to chop into salads. Tougher stems must me steamed, saute, grill. Seeds of summer may be roasted in a hot pan and ground into a percolated coffee substitute. Try mixing a little chicory root with it.
Medicinal: Anti-inflammatory, diuretic...Whole plant fresh or dried may be infused in hot water to make a diuretic tea. Cold tea may be used as a wash over eczema and psoriasis, seborrhea. Whole aerial part of plant juiced for kidney stones, bladder and kidney inflammations and as a folk treatment for cancer. Whole plant juice may lower blood pressure (treat hypertension). Lymphatic system cleanser and gentle laxative.
Chemistry: Asperuloside as anti-inflammatory agent.
Syzygium aromaticum L.
Food: Add to most boiled dinners, try it in a stir fry. Sautee them in water and oil in wok, remove, then add stir fry ingredients. Try them in your decaf coffee for an interesting change of taste. Can be ground and stewed with wild game, chicken, even fish. Add powder or cook into may wines, or non-alcoholic fruit beverages. Add to your vegetable curry mixes. combines well with cinnamon and nutmeg...Sprinkle on toast.
Medicine: Clove oil is disinfectant Digestive aid, antioxidant.
Chemistry: Contains eugenol (anti-platelet aggregating, antiseptic, anesthetic) used in mouth washes and toothpaste.
Wildlife/Veterinarian: Eugenol from cloves is a chemo-attractant to Japanese beetles. Japanese beetle traps use eugenol as a bait.
Caution: Clove oil can cause dermatitis and is lethal in large doses, be careful with essential oils.
Trifolium pratense L.
Description: Three leaves with distinct V marking on each leaflet. Leaflets fine toothed, ovate. Flowers pink to red, dome or rounded shape. Grows to 12 to 18 inches. Found in fields waste lands, full sun.
(photo and information)
Food: Relaxing flower tea. Florets may be tossed on salads.
Medicine: Floral tea traditionally a panacea: external wash, blood pruifier, tonic, respiratory problems: asthma, cough, bronchitis as an expectorant. Floral tea also used as an antispasmodic, sedative. Flower heads considered traditionally anti-cancer. Part of the Hoxley and Essiac anti cancer formulas.
Chemistry: Phytoestrogens, phytosterols, bioflavonoids.
Huperzia lucidula (Michx.) Trevisan; Huperzia selago L.
Low lying, pine like undergrowth, to 10 inches tall.
Medicinal: Possible immune stimulating herb. Used by Native Americans as blood purifier; cold remedy; and dermatological aid. H. selago L. used as cathartic, purgative, emetic. Used to strengthen immunity during woman's menses as a cold remedy. Also, used for headaches, applied over sight as a poultice.
Coffea arabica L.
USES: (Photo, more) For more on caffeine see psychoactive drugs.
Study: According to a six year study of over 900 adults it appears that moderate caffeinated coffee consumption does not increase the risk of cardiac arrest. Moderate consumption is considered fewer than five cups per day. There was an increased risk where more than 680 mg of caffeine were consumed per day, that is 5 or more cups of caffeinated coffee. -Weinmann et. al. Caffeine intake in relation to the risk of primary cardiac arrest. Epidemiology 8:505-508, 1997.
Food: A cup of coffee is cathartic, quick acting, stimulating colon contractions before the beverage reaches the bowel. Decaffeinated works as well as caffeinated for me. Personally, cathartic, 6 to 8 ounces per morning. Mild to effective mental stimulant. Appears to be more caffeine in espresso and French press, less in drip and less still in percolation.
Medicine: Evidence links caffeine and other chemicals in coffee to cancer in laboratory animals. Caffeine converted in body to theobromine, theophylline, paraxanthine. Theobromine is carcinogenic in rats after prolonged use at 100mg per day. Because caffeine is metabolized into theophylline and theobromine (dilates arteries, diuretic) may be useful for upper respiratory problems such as bronchial asthma as a bronchialdilator. Caffeine and theophylline are cardiac stimulants.
Tooth Decay: Recent research showed coffee in laboratory studies retarded the capacity of Streptococcus mutans, a tooth decay bacteria from sticking to teeth, thus drinking coffee may help prevent tooth decay. (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, research by Universities of Pavia and ancona Italy.
Too much coffee and accompanying acids, caffeine and metabolites may be carcinogenic, keep consumption down to a cup a day for stimulating effect.
Used for diarrhea (but can cause it too), and intestinal griping. Appetite stimulant, increases digestive juice secretions.
Chemistry: 100 mg caffeine to 6 ounces of coffee, 10,000 mg is fatal, 1000 mg may cause headache, nausea, insomnia, restlessness, excitement, mild delirium, muscle tremor, tachycardia ..
Food: Cola nut as a flavoring for soft drinks.
Medicine: Bittersweet, astringent seed extract. Used to increase stamina, approved by Commission E. Stimulates digestion, anti-diarrhea, possibly hypotensive.
Chemistry: Alkaloids: caffeine, theobromine, theophylline, catechin tannins, proanthocyanidins.
Contraindicated during pregnancy.
Aquiliegia formosa Fisch. ex DC; A. canadensis L.
and other species
Food: WARNING: Not recommended as food, nectar of flower may be sucked out.
Medicine: A. canadensis was used by Native Americans used the infusion of this plant as a dermatological, gynecological and cardiac aid. Root infusion or root chew as a gastrointestinal aid, for kidneys, stomach and bowel problems. Seeds were crushed, infused in water and taken for headaches as an analgesic and to reduce fever. Iroquois used a wash of this plant, like the wash jewelweed to treat poison Ivy, sumac and poison oak.
Chemistry: Toxic alkaloids protoanemonine members of this genus reported to have poisoned cattle.
Symphytum officinale( L.)
Food: Leaves are still made into tea and eaten by folk people and indigenous people worldwide. Widely used in Japan, cultivated there and pickled. Not recommended because of liver toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids have highest content in roots. Leaves and leaf tea have been used for hundreds of years as food and beverage.
Medicine: Anti-inflammatory action. Mucilaginous, cooling herb. Allantoin from comfrey stimulates cell growth and is used in wound healing skin creams. Leaf tea used to treat chronic bronchial problems, bronchitis. ulcers, colitis, arthritis, rheumatism. Folk uses: External poultice for bruises, swellings, sprains, burns and to accelerate healing of broken bones. Leaf tea used for ulcers, hemorrhoids, bronchitis, congestion. Allantoin is available from your pharmacy, avoid potentially toxic use from comfrey.
Caution: Use of comfrey roots and leaves may cause cancer and destruction of the liver. Not recommended for use by lactating or pregnant women. Even external use may cause assimilation of toxic alkaloids.
A new study showed that bees pollinating comfrey flowers carried pyrrolizidine alkaloids (toxic) to their hives and the substance was found in trace amounts in honey. In some honey the concentration of alkaloids deposited by bees may exceed legal limits in Germany. See Science News Vol. 161. NO. 20 5.18.02.
Chemistry: Allantoin, tannins, Rosmarinic acid, lithospermic acid, glycoside of oleonolic acid. Pyrrolizidine alkaloids: echimidine, lasiocarpine and symphytine.
Notes: Aggressive perennial garden dweller, exotic looking, does well in temperate regions.
Zea mays L.
Cultivated from the wild strain by Native Americans there are hundreds of varieties found worldwide.
Food: Seed is eaten, made into flour and used to make baked goods, also as a thickening agent. Corn husks are used to cover and seal tamales. Corn silk , the styles and stigmas of the flower is used in infusion (tea). See medicinal uses next. Hominy. Seeds also "caked" in bread recipes.
Medicine: All parts of the plants used. Husks used to make shoes, clothing, saddles, horse collars (African American Bondsmen). Corn seed oil used as a supplement to aid atherosclerosis and high cholesterol. Oil also used in cooking and to make margarine (hydrogenated). Hydrogenated oils have been linked to cancer. Dried corn silk may be smoked, a tobacco substitute. Silk may be made into tea as a diuretic or to treat gout, rheumatism, cystitis, gonorrhea. Corn silk tincture and tea used in China to treat liver disorders. Corn as a food may be hypoglycemic and hypotensive. Chinese medicine corn silk is used to treat the liver. Corn silk tea may stimulate the cardiac muscles and unlike the seed may increase blood pressure. Useful as a smooth muscle relaxant for the stomach. Corn kernels eaten as an alkalizing agent.
Extracts of corn show to be hypoglycemic, hypotensive, diuretic.
Native American and Mexican Medicine: Blue corn meal and water infusion (cold infusion) used for treating pain, heart palpitations, also as baby food (softened). Smut or mold on corn used to treat scrapes, wounds, bites. Pollen considered a cure-all, panacea. Poison ivy treatment used the cobbs soaked and used as a wash. Leaves used as a poultice for wounds. Corn meal mixed with ashes from fire releases B vitamins, making it a near perfect food. Mothers rubbed warm ear of corn on child's feet to treat neck pains, glandular swellings and associated discomfort. Dried corn husks used like cigarette paper around tobacco.
Dried corn silk in infusion as a diuretic; traditionally as a tea treatment for gout and arthritis.
Mexican First People use an infusion of corn and water to make corn water. Corn water, or "corn milk" as it is sometimes called, is then blended with coconut milk and bananas as a first food for babies; corn milk could also be mixed with soy milk as a nutritios first food.
Chemistry: Allantoin in corn is a healing agent for wounds, induces cell proliferation (see comfrey). Volatile oils: thymol, menthol, alphaterpineol, carvacrol. Bioflavonoids to include maysin, amysin-3-ethyl ether. Also saponins and tannins.
Corn silk: volatile oils: alpha terpineol, carvacrol, menthol, thymol, a good mix of flavonoids; saponins and tannins.
How to make infusion or tincture of corn silk: Shade dried corn silk two teaspoons to a cup of water as an infusion. Twenty five percent alcohol or slightly more as a tincture mixed with shade dried corn silk (at 100ml per 20 grams of dried corn silk) seal and let stand in a refrigerator for five days.
Wildlife/Veterinarian: Seed used as food for domestic animals and wildlife, birds. BT corn containing the Bacillus t. organism may be hazardous to monarch butterflies who feed on nearby milkweed.
Food: Native American Uses: Seed flour used to make bread and cakes. Seed oil used externally on skin (baby treatment for possible baldness). Seeds also parched and eaten.
Used to make clothing for thousands of years.
Medicine: seed extract has been used to treat hypercholesteremia and vitamin E deficiency.
In Ayurvedic traditional medicine indian cotton (G. herbaceum L.) is used: the root bark is considered an abortifacient. Seeds are laxative, demulcent. Seeds are also used for coughs, cystitis, fever, lactagogue, epilepsy, snake envenomations, dysentery, headache. Seed oil is used on freckles, herpes, scabies, wounds.
Coriandrum sativum L.
Uses (photo, more)
Food: Cooking: leaves used in salsa and other Mexican dishes. Seeds and leaves used in Greek, Middle Eastern, and South Asian dishes (curries, lamb, bread) We add young leaves to salads, soups, sauces and stir fry. See recipe file for Bean Caviar dish. Also, use with fish, omelets, potatoes, curry. goes well with parsley, ginger and lemon. Root can be crushed and used like garlic. Chewed after eating garlic will reduce breath odor of garlic. GRAS
Medicine: Use infusion for flatulence, cramps...Or toast seeds and eat after bean dishes (much the same for fennel seeds). Antibiotic properties. Japanese and Russian scientists have evidence that coriander kills bacteria, fungi and insect larvae. Anti-inflammatory in laboratory animals. Tea may be used a wash for abrasions and cuts. Oil fungicidal, anti-microbial, (bactericidal) appetite stimulant (anorexia). Seeds crushed, infused and water as wash over hemorrhoids and painful joints. Aids digestion, used to reduce effects of rheumatism, arthritis, colds and diarrhea.
Chemistry: Volatile oils: delta-linalool (up to 70%) alpha pinene terpinine, phenolic acids, flavonoids, coumarins, phthalides.
Vaccinium sp. L.
For more detailed information see Cranberry in Physician's Laptop Reference section.
Uses: Patent on cranberry extract
Food: There are a couple cranberry bogs in my neighborhood. In October the berries are ripe for the picking. You can dry them in a food dryer or cook them. I pop a few on the hoof as I peruse the boardwalk through the bog. They are tart and have many benefits.
Medicine: Cranberry extract inhibits the adhesion of bacteria (anti-adhesion). A bacterium must find hold on a surface in your body to multiply and induce disease. Traditionally, cranberry and cranberry juice is used to treat bladder infections, treat vitamin C deficiency, decrease odor and degradation of urine in incontinent patients. May prevent recurrence of urinary stones. And inhibits colonization of E. coli in urinary tract.
Chemistry: Polyphenolic and flavonoid compounds: Procyanidins, leucocyanin, leucondelphinin, flavonol glucosides. AlphaD-mannopyranoside. Vitamin C.
Dosage: Therapeutic amount varies depending on the source of information....90 grams of fresh fruit per day or equivalent of fresh pressed juice. For urinary tract infection prevention one ounce of cranberry juice diluted with water (avoid adding sugar). For UTI treatment 12-32 fluid ounces daily.
Cucumis sativus L.
Food: See recipe for cucumber salad with rice wine vinegar. This is a bulking food, low on the Glycemic Index, a great snack, side dish, salad addition for the Diet for Natural Health. I grow a Chinese variety of cucumber the seeds of which I pick up in Chinatown in Chicago. It is a climbing variety that climbs up my fruit trees. A spectacular sight: foot long cucumbers hanging from a pear tree. Cucumbers are a great summer garden vegetable because, like Gatorade, they provide you with water, electrolytes that keep the sodium potassium pump at the cellular level in fine working order, moving food and oxygen into the cell and drawing waste products including carbon dioxide out. Disease starts at the cellular level, one cell at a time. Keeping our cells well nourished and clean prevents disease. Exercise is a vital component of this feeding and cleaning cycle. Exercise daily.
Medicine: " Cucumber is a "female plant". It grows on the ground taking its energy from the "Mother". It is used to cool the children when they have played outside in the sun, on the hot rocks. They come home, they are sweaty. Their faces are red. They need cooling "female plants": Like cucumbers, melons and squash." -Estela Roman, Native American Healer.
The fruit is nutritive, cleansing. It is used as a demulcent. Cucumber slices are placed over tired eyes.
Chemistry: Seeds contain about 40% protein and about 40% fat. High in phosphorus. Seed oil contains saponins, phytosterols: alpha spinasterol, campesterol, taraxerol, alpha-tocopherol, beta sitosterol, stellasterol, stigmasterol. (2) Seeds good source of linoleic and linolenic essential fatty acids. Also antioxidants: zinc, selenium, cucurbitacins,isoorientin, chromium. Copper. Sulfur. Fatty acids: palmitic, stearic and oleic (along with EFA's). (1)
-Contains enzyme crepsin, malic and succinic dehydrogenase, proteolytic enzymes.
Preparation: Seeds(1-2 grams crushed in infusion) used as diuretic, leaves (1-2 grams powdered in infusion) have been stewed with cumin seeds as a sore throat gargle. Seeds cooling for inflammatory fevers.(1)
Ribes nigrum L.
Food: Fresh and dried healthful food to be added to cereals, stews, snacks, bread, muffins. Also, used to make liqueurs, jams, jellies and various desserts. Leaves are dried and made into tea
Medicine: Extract from ripe fruit and seeds is antimicrobial, spasmolytic, hypotensive (In animal experiments). It is a lipoperoxidase inhibitor, capillary protection (capillary fragility), throat and mouth inflammations. Also, traditionally used to treat hoarseness, diarrhea, stomachache. Dried berries as food to treat venous insufficiency, hemorrhoids.
Leaves used traditionally to treat liver ailments, urinary stones, whooping coughs, coughs, gout, arthritis, colic, jaundice, urinary stones, painful micturition.
Native American Medicine: Members of this genus include over 40 species. Ribes americanum R. Mill. (American Black Currant) was used by Blackfeet, Iroquois, Ojibwa, Omaha, Winnebago, Meskwaki. Root decoction for kidney problems, to treat vomiting, and uterine ailments. Bark infusion for treating poisonings, vomiting. Poultice of bark on swellings. Bark decoction used with other plants (unspecified) externally for back pain.
Preparation: Like haws the fruit, seeds and fresh leaves are used. Leaves are collected after during or shortly after flowering, dried and made into tea. Fruit picked when ripe. Eaten fresh, or frozen and used as needed. Seed oil is taken in capsules, rubbed externally on sore throats. For tea add 2 teaspoons of dried leaves to a cup of water. Drink the tea 4 or 5 times throughout the day. The fruit may be made into a syrup and taken internally. Black currant juice may also be gargled and swallowed.
Chemistry: Leaves contain flavonoids: rutin, isoquericitrin, astragalin (also in Astragalus).
Fruit: Vitamin C, anthocyans, flavonoids, malic acid, isocitric acide, citric acid, pectins.
Seed: Gamma linolenic acid.
Contraindication: None when taken in moderation.