Oats, Avena sativa
Olives, olive oil (Olea europaea (L.)
Onion, Allium cepa
Orange, Citrus sp.
Orchid (see: lady slipper)
Oregano, Origanum vulgare L.
Oregon grape, Mahonia nervosa and Berberis aquifolium (Syn.: Mahonia aquifolium)
Avena sativa L.
Food: Oatmeal, oat bran provide significant amounts of soluble fiber that help reduce the absorption of cholesterol. Bulking and satisfying food to assist in weight management. Oat fruit is also helpful in reducing inflammatory prostaglandins. biosynthesis.
Medicine: Cooked whole oats are high in soluble fiber and helpful in reducing the absorption of dietary cholesterol.
Bathing in oatmeal is a good way to treat dry and itchy skin. Powders and colloidal extracts may work best, but I use whole oats in hot water, the oats are poured into a pair of panty hose, tied off, then squeeze extract into water.
Ayurvedic medicine: Oat extract is used to treat heroin addiction. The treatment consisted of up to 45 days of green oats decoction (Anand, British Medical Journal. Sept. 11, 1971 pp.640.)
All aerial parts of the plant are used medicinally. Oat straw is approved by German Commission E to treat skin inflammations and warts. The straw is cut and dried made in decoction or infusion. One part herb to thirty parts water (i.e. one gram of dried oat straw to 30 ml of water).
Whole dried oat herb (3 grams to 250ml water infusion) to treat narcotic detoxification, to treat anxiety, gout, kidney and liver ailments.
Oat fruit is used to treat kidney and gall bladder problems, diabetes (sequesters and slows absorption of sugar), to treat constipation, soothing to gastrointestinal tract and soothing to the upper respiratory problems.
An Australian study showed improved stamina in athletes after a three week diet of oats. May also help muscle function during training and performance.
Oat extract (typically green un-dried oat milk) has been used to treat depression, stress.
Native American Uses: Grain common food for man and animals. Straw used as fodder for horses.
Chemistry: Polysaccharides: Beta-glucans (soluble fiber), sterols, steroid saponins, B vitamins, amines proteic substances avenin, avenalin, gliadin, saponins, flavonoids.
Olives, Olive Oil
Olea europaea L.
Preparation: The fixed oil is pressed from ripe olives. Whole ripe olives are crushed in mills and the oil is expressed in open hydraulic presses. Largest production is in Spain.
Quality: There are over 150 degrees or types of olive oil. Most prefer organically grown cold pressed extra virgin. Color varies from clear, yellow to green. Lighter second press oils are good for cooking, whereas the virgin oil are better for marinades, dressings.
My favorite olive is the anchovy stuffed ones found commonly in Spain.
Preservation: refrigerate or freeze, olive oil becomes rancid when exposed to air. Keep olive oil in a refrigerator in a pint or quart large mouth canning jar. Dispense oil with a spoon. If refrigerator is cold enough olive oil will harden and may be spread like butter on toast, etc.
Medicinal uses: emollient for skin, laxative, cosmetic and pharmaceutical carrier vehicle. Oil as a moisturizer, skin conditioner, to heal wounds. Said to lubricate mucus membranes of digestive tract, promote digestion and stimulate metabolism.
Tablespoon said to relieve flatulence, heartburn, upset stomach.
Lower incidence of degenerative disease is correlated with consuming olive oil as fat of choice for salad dressings, bread spreads, food preparation and cooking.
Warmed olive oil used to clear external ear canal blocked by wax.
-olive oil raises HDL (good cholesterol) (whereas corn oil lowers HDL) and prevents harmful oxidation of LDL.
-contains no cholesterol.
-contains antioxidant vitamin E for potential cancer protection.
-contains phenolic antioxidants with antithrombotic effects (3,4 dihydroxy- phenol ethanol).
-low in saturated fats
-nightly application of olive oil every evening for 8 to 10 days said to slow hair loss.
-decreases omega 6 in phospholipids, cholesterol esters and serum triglycerides.
-associate with rise in linolenic acids without modification of archidonic acids.
-oleic acid in olive oil increases omega 3 fatty acids in cell membranes
-squalene in olive oil may rehabilitate scar tissue, increases heart activity, expands blood vessels and inhibits atherosclerosis.
Chemistry: 70% monounsaturated fatty acids, 14% saturated fatt and 9 percent polyunsaturated fat. Glycerides of of oleic acid )83.5%), palmitic acid (9.4%), linoleic acid (4%), stearic acid (2%), arachidic acid (.9%) and minor amounts of squalene (+-.7%). Also phytosterol, tocopherols (+-.2%). Vegetable mucilage.
Origanum vulgare L.
Uses: (Photo, more)
Food: Use dried, Italian, fish, game, salads and salad dressings, soups, pasta, poultry. A superior salmon recipe requires a liberal spread of oregano, garlic, cayenne, dill, lemon pepper on salmon, grill on a pizza pan in a Weber until pink.
Medicine: Antispasmodic to digestion, may expel worms. Oregano with thyme is effective cold and flu prevention. Steep two herbs in water as tea. Used for indigestion, flatulence, painful menstruation, cooling, reduces fever.
Steamed distilled oil used in infusion to treat coughs, dyspepsia, an expectorant, inflammations of bronchial mucosa, urinary tract infections, painful menstruation, rheumatoid arthritis adjuvant therapy. Oil acts as a diaphoretic.
Externally used for asthma, arthritis, muscle pain, bronchitis.......Use as fresh poultice externally and make as tea internally...Medicinal tea may be used with fresh and dried herb, combine with ginger root and thyme for fighting acute infections colds and flu.
Mahonia aquifolium Pursh. Nutt.: Mahonia nervosa (Pursh) Nutt. var. nervosa
Description: To six feet tall (Mahonia aquifolium) evergreen shrub, with holly like, shiny leaves, leaves leathery, pinnate, compound, pointed edges. Flower small bright yellow. Berries deep blue, waxy. Gray stem, roots and bark bright yellow on inside due to alkaloid berberine. M. nervosa is a smaller forest dweller with rosette of compound leaves whorl up from the ground. up to three feet tall, berries on central spikes. (photo, more)
Food: Tart berries are eaten in late summer in Northwest. CAUTION: Eaten raw in small amounts (may be slightly emetic). Native Americans smashed the berries and dried them for later use. May be boiled into jam, add honey or sugar. Juice may be heated from berries an drunk. Carrier Indians in Northwest simmered young leaves and ate them. The smaller creeping Mahonia nervosa was prepared and eaten the same way and is preferred, but not as abundant. Try berries mixed with other fruit for better taste. Berries may be pounded to paste, formed into cakes and dried for winter food.
Medicine: Tart berries of both species considered a pick me up tonic. Native Americans believed berries slightly emetic. A decoction of stem (M. aquifolium) was used by Sanpoil as an antiemetic. These are bitter, astringent herbs. Berries and bark of both species used to treat liver and gall bladder complaints. Infusion of bark was used by Native Americans as wash for eyes. According to traditional use the decoction of the bark (berberine) stimulates the liver and gall bladder, cleansing them, releasing toxins and increasing the flow of bile. Bark and root decoction reportedly used externally for staphylococcus infections. May stimulate thyroid function according to Michael Moore in his book Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West. also, used to treat diarrhea and gastritis. According to Deni Brown in her book, Encyclopedia of Herbs and Their Uses (P. 308) M. aquifolium has been used to treat chronic hepatitis and dry type eczema. M. aquifolium: Blackfoot used the root in decoction for to stop hemorrhaging. Same people used root in decoction for upset stomach and other stomach problems.
Lore: M. aquifolium: Plant chewed for protection after hunting when approached by a dying deer.
Chemistry: Alkaloid berberine, bitter liver stimulating principle.
Dye: Shredded bark and roots of both species used to make a bright yellow dye.
Wildlife/Veterinarian: Berries eaten by birds.