Olive Oil Reduces Postprandial Glycemic Response in Patients with Type 1 Diabetes

Bozzetto L, Alderisio A, Giorgini M, et al. Extra-virgin olive oil reduces glycemic response to a high-glycemic index meal in patients with type 1 diabetes: a randomized controlled trial. Diabetes Care. April 2016;39(4):518-524.

The postprandial glycemic response is an important factor in controlling blood glucose in persons with type 1 diabetes. Although carbohydrate content of a meal is considered the main dietary factor influencing postprandial glycemia, growing evidence suggests the fat content of a meal also influences glycemic response. These authors conducted a randomized, crossover study in patients with type 1 diabetes to test the hypothesis that monounsaturated fat from extra virgin olive (Olea europaea, Oleaceae) oil (EVOO) would reduce postprandial glycemic response.

Thirteen patients with type 1 diabetes (8 women and 5 men) were recruited from the diabetes care unit of the Federico II University teaching hospital in Naples, Italy. Inclusion criteria included treatment with continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion, the use of fast-acting insulin analogs for at least 6 months, and a glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) <8.0%. The mean age of the patients was 38 ± 11 years; body mass index was 24.8 ± 2.9 kg/m2. Duration of diabetes was 25 ± 3 years. The total daily insulin dose among the patients was 41.1 ± 10.7 IU; they had acceptable blood glucose levels.

Before the start of the study, the patients took part in a 1-week run-in period during which they underwent continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) and completed a 7-day dietary record to optimize basal infusion rate and insulin-to-glycemic load ratio. The patients were randomly assigned to a 1-week period during which they consumed either 3 high glycemic indexes (HGI) meals or low-glycemic index (LGI) meals. They then crossed over to the alternative meals for 1 week. The HGI and LGI meals were similar in total carbohydrate content but differed in amount and type of fat and were categorized as low in fat (low-fat), high in saturated fat (butter), or high in monounsaturated fats from EVOO. During the 2 weeks of the study, the patients wore sensors at all times for CGM. The patients checked capillary blood glucose at 2, 4, and 6 hours after the test meals.
The study procedures were the same for both test weeks. The 3 test meals were eaten at lunch on days chosen according to the patients’ work and recreational activities to keep these activities reproducible and compatible with the study design. On the mornings of the test meal days, the patients ate the same light breakfast to avoid a second-meal effect bias. They avoided strenuous physical activity on the day before the test meal, the morning of the test meal, and for 6 hours after the meal. Pre-meal insulin doses, which were based on the insulin-to-glycemic load ratio determined for each patient, were significantly lower before the LGI meals compared with doses administered before the HGI meals (P < 0.0001).

The EVOO and butter meals were similar in energy content; the low-fat meal had a lower energy content. The glycemic index was about 25% greater in the HGI meals than in the LGI meals. Dietary fiber was greater (by about 13 g) in the LGI meals compared with the HGI meals.

The HGI meals included white rice (Oryza sativa, Poaceae) (60 g), white bread (75 g), minced beef (90 g), and banana (Musa paradisiaca, Musaceae) (180 g), plus butter (43 g) or EVOO (37 g). The LGI meals included pasta (50 g), lentils (Lens culinaris, Fabaceae) (100 g), wholemeal bread (30 g), ham (15 g), and apple (Malus pumila, Rosaceae) (185 g), plus butter (45 g) or EVOO (37 g).

The authors report that the 6-hour postprandial glucose profile was significantly different between HGI and LGI meals (P=0.005), being significantly higher during the first 3 hours after the HGI meals with a tendency to an opposite pattern later. Although the time to glucose peak was significantly delayed after LGI compared with HGI meals (P=0.003), no significant differences were observed in the peak values between the LGI (4.7 ± 0.7 mmol/L) and HGI (5.3 ± 0.9 mmol/L) meals. The quality and amount of fat in the LGI meals did not significantly influence postprandial blood glucose response, blood glucose peak, or time to glucose peak.

With the HGI meals, postprandial blood glucose was significantly lower after EVOO than after low-fat or butter meals (P<0.0001), with a marked difference from baseline to 3 hours between EVOO and either low-fat or butter (P<0.05) meals. The blood glucose peak was lower, although not significantly, after the EVOO meal than after the butter or low-fat meals. The time to blood glucose peak was significantly delayed after the EVOO meal (190 ± 101 minutes) compared to after the butter (188 ± 104 minutes) or low-fat (146 ± 81 minutes) meal (P=0.035).

In this study, the type of fat significantly influenced the postprandial glycemic response in patients with type 1 diabetes. The addition of different types of fats to meals with an LGI did not influence postprandial blood glucose response; however, different types of fats added to HGI meals did influence the response. These results, which indicate that the combination of carbohydrate foods and type of fat should be considered when determining the timing and dose of prandial insulin administration, have important clinical implications for persons with type 1 diabetes. A possible weakness of this study is the consumption of meals at the patient’s home without direct supervision, which could have affected the standardization of procedures. The home setting also limited the gathering of information on possible mechanisms responsible for the results.

Honeysuckle {Lonicera caprifolium / Lonicera japonica}

Also, Known As

  • Honeysuckle
  • Jin Yin Hua

The herbal plant called the honeysuckle is a climbing plant that can grow to twelve ft – four meters – in length. The plant comes in several varieties, and some varieties are deciduous – example, the L. caprifolium variety – while some are semi evergreen – the Asian honeysuckle or jin yin hua, L. japonica. The plant bears oval shaped leaves that come in pairs on the branches. The tubular shaped flowers of the plants come in a variety of colors, the yellow-orange flowers of the European variety or the yellow-white colored ones of the jin yin hua. The European honeysuckle variety bears red colored berries and while the berries of the jin yin hua variety is black in color.

The European honeysuckle or “woodbine” – the L. periclymenum to botanists – was at one time employed widely as an herbal remedy for problems like asthma, all kinds of urinary disorders, and as an aid to soothe labor pains in women giving birth. The ancient Roman writer Pliny suggested the use of the honeysuckle mixed with wine for disorders of the spleen. The variety of honeysuckle most likely to be used in herbal medicine is the “jin yin” or Chinese honeysuckle – L. japonica to botanists – rather than the woodbine. The properties of this variety of honeysuckle were recorded in the Chinese medical book called the “Tang Ben Cao,” that was written in A.D. 659. This herb remains as one of the most potent Chinese herbs used for eliminating heat and accumulated toxins from the human body.

The traditional use of the honeysuckle in European herbal medicine was as a remedy for asthma and related respiratory disorders that affected the chest. The Bach Flower Remedies lists the honeysuckle as one of the beneficial herbal plants. In this system of herbal cures, the woodbine is said to suppress feelings of nostalgia and to quell homesickness in a person. The use of the “jin yin hua” in Chinese medicine has a long history, and the herb was used as an agent to “clear heat and relieve toxicity,” besides other uses.

Plant Parts Used:

Flowers, leaves, bark.

Herbal Use:

Contemporary herbalists in the Western world make very rare use of the honeysuckle herb. Honeysuckle was a part of the traditional herbal repertoire, and the historical uses of this plant in herbal medicine were many. Traditionally, European herbalists used to employ different parts of the honeysuckle plant for different therapeutic purposes as they believed that different parts of the herb had different remedial effects on the human body. Honeysuckle bark contains compounds that induce a diuretic effect in the body; a remedy made from the bark is used to bring relief from problems such as gout, from kidney stones, and is also used in treating liver problems of all kinds. Honeysuckle leaves have the astringent properties and are made into an infusion used as an oral gargle and general mouthwash – this remedy is excellent in alleviating sore throats and canker sores or other oral complaints. The remedies made from the flowers of the honeysuckle have an anti-spasmodic effect, this brings relief from chroniccoughs and was traditionally used as a treatment for asthma and related respiratory disorders. In the Chinese system of herbal medicine, the “jin yin hua” remedy is extensively prescribed for a very wide range of diseases. Remedies made from the jin yin hua are mainly utilized in countering “hot” infectious disorders including abscesses, sores, and inflammation affecting the breasts, as well as dysentery. The remedy made from the jin yin hua plant is also used to bring down elevated temperatures in a body wracked by fever. This remedy is also used in treating problems affecting the oral cavity.

Other medical uses

  • Viral infection

Habitat:

The European honeysuckle or “woodbine” is indigenous to southern Europe and the region of the Caucasus, though plants can be seen all over Europe except in the far north. The Asian variety, the “Jin yin hua” is native to the Chinese mainland and the island of Japan – it is cultivated as an herbal plant in both countries. The usual site where both varieties of plants can be seen growing are along walls, on trees, and in hedges. Harvest of honeysuckle is usually done in the summer months, flowers and leaves are normally gathered in the summer immediately before the onset of the floral bloom.

Research:

Research carried out on the properties inherent in the “jin yin hua” suggests that active compounds in the herb can help inhibit the growth of the tuberculosis bacillus and can help counteract infection of this dangerous pathogen. The Chinese also investigated other known properties of the herb, during one clinical trial, the jin yin hua was used in combination with the ju hua herb – this herbal mixture was found to be very effective in reducing the elevated blood pressure in individuals affected by hypertension. The European honeysuckle may also prove to be very useful in counteracting infection as it is very similar to the “jin yin hua” herb.

Constituents:

Honeysuckle’s constituents include a volatile oil, tannins, and salicylic acid.
Honeysuckle contains a volatile oil (which includes linalool and jasmone), tannins, luteolin, and inositol.

How Honeysuckle Works in the Body:

The use of remedies made from the honeysuckle – Lonicera caprifolium – in the Western world is based on the knowledge gleaned from its age old usage and herbal lore. Some of the ways in which the honeysuckle is used in the West include the preparation of an herbal gargle or mouthwash from the leaves for use as a treatment for sore throats and gum or other general oral problems. The remedies made from the honeysuckle flowers are commonly employed in the treatment of asthma and related respiratory disorders – the herbal remedy helps soothe and relax the irritated respiratory passages. The traditionally use of the Lonicera japonica – variety of honeysuckle in China, or the “Jin Yin Hua’ as it is known is much more extensive. Clinical studies carried out in China have shown that the herb possesses distinct bactericidal action against both the streptococcus and staphylococcus strains of bacteria. During the laboratory experiments carried out on human subjects, the herb was demonstrated to induce some very potent protective effects on the tissues of the lungs in tuberculosis affected patients. The traditional uses of the herb in the Chinese system of medicine includes the treatment of abscesses or swellings in the body, the herbal remedy was particularly used in treating disorders affecting the breast, the throat, the eyes, and used extensively as an internal medication. The remedies made from the honeysuckle are also employed during the early stages of many diseases that come with fever. The herbal remedy is used to treat individuals with sensitivity to wind, they are used in treating chronic soreness in the throat, and to alleviate persistent or chronic headache. The herbal honeysuckle remedy is also employed as a remedy in treating cases of damp or heat dysenteric disorders in patients; it is also used in treating urinary dysfunction accompanied by pain. The property of being both “sweet and cold” is the alluded to this remedy in the Chinese system of medicine.

Applications:

Flowers:
HERBAL INFUSION – the honeysuckle flowers can be combined in a remedy with many other expectorant herbal flowers, including flowers of herbs such as the cowslip, the elecampane, or the mulberry, this remedy is excellent for treating problems such as chronic coughs and in mild forms of asthma and some respiratory disorders.
SYRUP – the syrup made from the honeysuckle flowers can be used along with the floral infusion for treating coughs -particularly if they are chronic. The syrup may be used as a combination therapy with other herbal flowers, including expectorant herbs such as the mullein or the marshmallow herb.
Flower buds:
HERBAL DECOCTION – this form of the remedy can be used in the early stages of getting a feverish cold that is accompanied by some characteristic symptoms including persistent headache, great thirst, and soreness in the throat. The dosage to use is ten to fifteen g of the dried honeysuckle floral buds mixed in six hundred ml of water as one dose. If the cold is accompanied by very high fevers, than the huang lian and huang qin herbs can be added to the remedy.
HERBAL TINCTURE – the tincture prepared from the honeysuckle is used for the treatment of different digestive disorders, including persistent diarrhea or chronic gastroenteritis that accompanies food poisoning and related complaints.
Stems:
HERBAL DECOCTION – the decoction can be prepared by steeping fifteen to thirty g of dried honeysuckle stems in six hundred ml of water. The use of the stem decoction is similar to the way in which the flower bud decoction is used. This remedy is excellent particularly for chronic pain in the joints, as well as in the treatment of influenza and other infections. This herbal remedy can be combined with the use of other cooling herbs, including the Chinese “luo shi teng” or “shi hu,” particularly when intending to treat inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and related problems.

Wild Strawberries

Fragaria vesca

Also, Known As:

  • Alpine Strawberry
  • Common Strawberry
  • Mountain Strawberry
  • Pineapple Strawberry
  • Wild Strawberries
  • Wood Strawberry
  • Woodland Strawberry

Wild strawberry plants are perennially growing and usually grow up to a height of one foot (0.3 meters). Plants of these species have the aptitude to endure frosts. While they blossom during the period between April and May, the seeds of the wild strawberry plants mature during June-July. The flowers borne by this species have both the male as well as the female sex organs (hermaphrodite) and they are insect-pollinated.

The wild strawberry, also known as alpine strawberry, was once very popular as a therapeutic herb. In fact, all parts of the plant, including the leaves, roots, stems and fruits, were used to treat various disorders. While the roots of the strawberry plant were a common medication for diarrhea, the stem was useful for treating wounds. On the other hand, the berries were regarded as a calming medication. According to herbalist Gerard, the strawberries not only satiated thirst and cool the heat in the stomach but also cures the inflammation of the liver. However, he had warned that consuming strawberries during the winter or on ‘cold stomach’ was a hazard as it could lead to a cough and digestive disorders.

It may be mentioned here that during the summers, hikers often break their journeys to taste the wild strawberries that have a fragrance that reminds one of the roses. In the past, herbalists as well as pharmacists valued the strawberries highly for their therapeutic properties and suggested their use to treat a number of disorders. According to a herbalist of the 17th century, the strawberries caused a calming effect on the liver, spleen and blood and even the irritating stomach. At the same time, the berries satiated thirst as well as stimulated and soothed the fainting spirits. He further said that the strawberries were effective to cure inflammations, but advised people to avoid using them during fevers as they might cause acidity in the stomach and give rise to hysterics.

Another botanist and a physician of the 18th century, Carolus Linnaeus is said to have consumed plenty of strawberries regularly with a view to keeping himself free from gout. Although the berries are still recommended for curing the disorder, there is no scientific evidence that suggests their effectiveness in such cases. In the 20th-century strawberry tea was in vogue as a tonic. As the tea was somewhat caustic to taste, it was used to treat diarrhea and also in the form of gargle for an aching throat. Many herbal medicine practitioners also prescribe eating the fresh strawberry fruits to promote bowel movements.

Parts Used in Herbal Medicine

Leaves, fruit, root.

Use Of Wild Strawberry

The leaves of the wild strawberry plant are gently astringent in nature and hence are used as a diuretic to enhance the outflow of urine. Although the strawberry plant is hardly in use these days as a therapeutic herb, one may still use it to cure stomach disorders like diarrhea and dysentery. While the leaves are boiled in water and used as a gargle to treat aching throat, they also form an important ingredient in some lotions used to treat burns and scrape or scratches on the skin. Many herbalists in Europe still use the leaves of the strawberry plant as a diuretic and often recommend them as dietary supplements to cure disorders such as tuberculosis, arthritis, gout, and rheumatism or joint pain.

The fruits or berries of this plant are consumed fresh and possess an excellent flavor akin to strawberry wine. In fact, the berries of wild strawberry are further delicate compared to the common strawberry. The berries of this plant are said to possess antioxidant attributes while some people claiming that they are also useful in combating cancer. The juice extracts of wild strawberry fruits also possess therapeutic properties and are employed in treating gastritis. As the fruits possess antibacterial properties, there was a time when herbalists used their juice to treat typhoid.

In the past, leaves of the wild strawberry plants were also used for preparing an herbal tea that was taken to cure diarrhea, suppress stomach disorders as well as to augment appetites. In fact, the leaves of this plant are appetizing and enclose vitamin C. It may be mentioned here that the leaves of the alpine strawberries are said to possess natural bleaching attributes. The juice extracted from the leaves of alpine strawberry may possibly be employed to make the teeth whiter and when this juice is applied externally, it bleaches the skin.

Culinary uses

Habitually, strawberries are consumed raw in the form of a fresh fruit. In addition, they are also consumed in strawberry shortcake in particular and processed to make ice creams, mousses, fruit juice, jams as well as jelly, candies, and an assortment of baked items. Some people also ferment strawberries to produce liqueur (for instance, the Italian fragoli) or wine.

Habitat and Growing Wild Strawberry

Wild strawberries are indigenous to all parts of Europe and the temperate climatic zones in the Asian continent. The leaves and fruits of the plant, which possess high medicinal value, are harvested during early summer.

Wild strawberries are generally propagated by their seeds, which are sown in a greenhouse during the beginning of spring. Generally, it takes about four weeks or a little longer for the seeds to germinate. Initially, the seedlings are extremely small and have a sluggish growth, but soon they begin to grow very fast. When the plantlets have grown sufficiently big to be handled, prick them individually and transplant them in their permanent locations outdoors in summer. Alternately, wild strawberries may also be propagated by division of their runners, if possible, undertaken during the period between July and August with a view to enabling the new plants to establish as a crop for the ensuing year. If required, the young seedlings can also be transplanted outdoors in the next spring. However, in this case, they should not be permitted to bear fruits in the first year of their existence. You may also plant the runners of wild strawberries outdoors directly into their permanent positions.

It is worth mentioning here that wild strawberries are vulnerable to some diseases caused by fungal infections, counting leaf spots, anthracnose, withering, decomposition’s, blights and powdery mildew. Insects that invade this plant include aphids as well as spider mites. When the climatic conditions are extremely hot, it may also result in the scorching of the leaves.

Constituents

  • fruit acids
  • minerals
  • mucilage
  • salicylates
  • sugars
  • tannins
  • vitamin E
  • vitamin C
  • vitamin B

Applications

Wild strawberries have multiple therapeutic advantages and different parts of the herb may be applied in different forms. While the leaves of wild strawberry may be used to prepare an infusion, the fruits may be eaten fresh or applied as a poultice and also taken as tonic wine.

Leaves:
INFUSION: Infusion prepared with the leaves of wild strawberry may be taken to cure diarrhea, inflammation in the gastric tract, infection as well as jaundice. This infusion is also effective to invigorate the appetite. Blended with other herbs like meadowsweet and St. John’s wort, the infusion may also be taken to treat arthritic pains. When combined with celery seeds, the infusion may be used to cure gout.
Fruit:
FRESH: Eating fresh strawberries acts as a tonic for the liver and is also beneficial for curing gastritis. Strawberries are also effective for speedy convalescence or recuperation after a bout of hepatitis. In addition, these fruits provide a calming effect during feverish situations and do not lead to fermentation in the stomach.
POULTICE: Crushed strawberries may be applied to the skin affected by sunburn. It is also helpful in treating skin irritations.
TONIC WINE: Permeate strawberries in wine to prepare a conventional medication to ‘revive the spirits and make the heart merrier’.

Homeopathy Helleborus

Black Hellebore / Christmas Rose

Helleborus niger

The homeopathic remedy Helleborus is prepared organically from the plant called Helleborus niger (common names Christmas rose or black hellebore). This evergreen plant produces dark-hued, rubbery, palmately parted leaves that appear on stems which grow up to a height of 9 inches to 12 inches (23 cm to 30 cm). This plant belongs to the buttercup family, Ranunculaceae, and is known to be toxic. The short flowering stems of Helleborus niger bear big, plane flowers that bloom during the period between the middle of winter to the beginning of spring. These flowers are usually white in color, but sometimes have a pinkish hue.

Helleborus has two sub-species – Helleborus niger subsp. niger and Helleborus niger subsp. macranthus. The second sub-species bear comparatively larger flowers that measure about 3.75 inches (9 cm) in diameter. The subspecies H. niger subsp. niger is found to be growing naturally in rocky terrains, over a vast area stretching from Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Croatia, Slovenia to the northern regions of Italy. On the other hand, the subspecies Helleborus niger subsp. macranthus only grows in northern Italy and perhaps also the neighboring regions of Slovenia.

It may be noted that way back in 1400 BCE, Pliny, the famous Roman natural historian, had documented the use of black hellebore for treating mental problems. Even the ancient Roman and Greek philosophers used to drink an infusion prepared from this plant to augment their concentration prior to any long-drawn-out debate. However, as mentioned earlier, this plant is extremely poisonous and is currently only employed by homeopathy. Other herbalists are of the view that this herb is extremely potent and toxic to be employed in a safe manner. Noted German physician and the founder of the alternative medicine homeopathy Samuel Hahnemann proved the remedy Helleborus and published the findings of his research with the medicine in his Materia Medica Pura (1821-34).

Individuals who receive maximum benefit from the homeopathic remedy Helleborus are typically uninteresting as well as lethargic. The homeopathic remedy is most appropriate for people who are generally confused and their mental process is quite slow. Usually, such people suffer from grief, lack of concern, tetchiness and depression. Very often, such individuals have a feeling as if their brain is in confusion and they are unable to comprehend what is happening around them. While such individuals may sometimes ask for assistance, usually it is difficult to console them. It has been found that the physical symptoms of such people usually deteriorate in the evening between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. On the other hand, they feel better when there is warmth and while they are lying down all covered up.

Precisely speaking, homeopaths normally prescribe Helleborus to treat mental conditions that are marked by lethargy and confusion. Using this homeopathic remedy may be effective in treating any severe inflammatory condition of the nerves. In addition, Helleborus may also be useful for easing headaches, depression as well as digestive disorders. These symptoms may generally occur owing to any injury to the brain or the spinal cord; a brain surgery or an attack of encephalitis or meningitis.

The homeopathic remedy Helleborus is mainly used to treat depression. Patients who require this medication are extremely ill-tempered and become angry very easily. They prefer to be left alone and not disturbed by anyone. Such patients are extremely gloomy, desolate, mournful, silent or tremendously tormented. Helleborus, as a homeopathic remedy, is particularly apt for girls during puberty or at time when they do not have menstruation periods after having them for once or a few times. In effect, many women take this homeopathic remedy on a regular basis with a view to regulate their menstrual periods as well as for aborting unwanted pregnancy.

The symptoms of the patients who require the homeopathic remedy Helleborus most deteriorate when they are consoled. Such individuals are also insensible as well as dull when they are questioned and usually answer very at a snail’s pace. Helleborus is also effective in treating homesickness.

This homeopathic remedy is prepared using the leaves, roots as well as the rhizomes of the herb Helleborus niger. However, it is cautioned that while preparing this homeopathic remedy, one should not get baffled and mistake black hellebore with white hellebore.

Notwithstanding the concerns related to its safe use, many people are found to take black hellebore to treat kidney infections, nausea, constipation, queasiness and expel worms from their body.

Plant Parts Used:

Leaves, root.

Homeopathic Remedy Use:

The homeopathic remedy Helleborus is widely used for disorders related to the nervous system, including confusion and insipidness and perhaps is also effective in treating conditions wherein the patients seem to show inanity or mental disorders. People who require this medication are usually very slow in answering questions and need tremendous efforts to respond to any query. Their body has a numb sensation, while the brain does not have any control over the muscles, as a result of which objects held by them drops easily from their hand. They are also absentminded and have poor attentiveness, commonly accompanied by a condition where the memory becoming completely vacant.

In severe conditions, the patients may also develop symptoms that are related to Alzheimer’s disease, counting nervousness, losing their memory as well as stupefaction. Depending on the homeopathic remedy Helleborus is also likely to facilitate in reinstating some of the lost focus by the patients as well as their helplessness in concentrating. Such people are generally not able to memorize much and they habitually drop items from their hands or suddenly become blank, without any forewarning. Some of the condition-specific uses of Helleborus are discussed briefly below:

Brain inflammation
Helleborus as a homeopathic remedy is very effective for brain inflammation, especially where the tissues of the brain are distended, perhaps owing to meningitis or encephalitis. The symptoms of this condition normally include seizures accompanied by an inclination of a sensation of hotness of the head and chilliness of the body. In such situations, the patients have a sensation as if they are in a trance and feel very lethargic. Turning to the homeopathic remedy Helleborus in such cases may act to assist the body to naturally lessen the swelling of the brain tissues. In addition, it may be useful in easing the other symptoms like feeling extremely hot in the head and cold in the body as well as the semi-comatose condition.
Headaches
People who suffer from headaches or migraine accompanied by mental insipidness, perhaps following any injury or surgery, may find Helleborus beneficial as a homeopathic remedy. Frequently, such headaches start on in the back side of the head or in the neck. In such cases the sufferer may have a compulsion to pull down the head towards his/ her body for relief. The pain caused by the headache or migraine may be accompanied by vertigo and light-headedness that may result in vomiting.
Digestive disorder
As a homeopathic remedy, Helleborus is often prescribed for digestive disorders, wherein the patient experiences aching bowel impulses accompanied by watery diarrhea as well as mucus. In such conditions, the movements of bowel are so irregular and slow that the patient may even suffer from constipation. Generally, the patients do not experience thirst for any fluid and have a dry mouth.
Depression
People suffering from depression and requiring this homeopathic remedy usually have blank gazes, instinctive sighs and bad moods, particularly in the period between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. They may also be found to be fiddling with their lips and clothes.

Although black hellebore has been widely used in ancient times as a medicine, in present time it is not used much, except in the form of a homeopathic remedy. In earlier times, herbalists recommended this herb to patients for enhancing their concentration, but afterwards it was considered to be extremely potent for internal use.

Despite being neglected as a herbal medicine, the use of Helleborus has never ceased to increase as well as evolve in the world of homeopathy. This is primarily owing to the fact that despite several toxic and other substances being used to prepare homeopathic remedies, they do not retain even the slightest trace of the original substance they are prepared from. Hence, the discovery of the therapeutic attributes of Helleborus is very significant considering the fact that today it has proved to have sweeping effects.

Before concluding the discussion, it may once again be noted that the homeopathic remedy Helleborus is prepared from the plant Helleborus niger and it has been an extremely popular medication for several years. The tincture is prepared from the freshly obtained root of the plant that is unearthed during the winter. After digging up the root, it is cleaned, sliced into small pieces and permeated in alcohol. Subsequently, the resultant liquid is strained and succussed (shaken). The final product is the homeopathic remedy Helleborus that practically does not retain even the slightest trace of the plant.

As a homeopathic remedy, Helleborus works excellently for people who are characteristically inclined to be dreary and slow in temperament. Even people who usually have a very slow overall mental process also respond well to this remedy. Such people have a propensity to be nervous, suffer from depression as well as agony regarding their medical condition and also owing to their helplessness to concentrate. Such people may be very inconsolable when life becomes really hard for them.

Source

The herb Helleborus niger, which forms the basis of the homeopathic remedy Helleborus, is found growing in the wild on the mountainous or rocky terrains in Europe. This plant blooms during the period between mid-winter to early spring and is cultivated extensively in the form of a well-accepted garden plant.

Benefits Of Cinnamon And Honey

Since ancient times, people have been using a blend of cinnamon and honey to heal several ailments. While honey is readily available in most countries across the globe, contemporary scientists also acknowledge the benefits of honey as a ‘Ram Ban’ or extremely useful medication for almost all types of maladies. What is more significant is the fact that ingestion of honey does not lead to any unfavorable aftereffects in any type of ailment.

According to contemporary science, despite being sweet, taking honey as a medication and in measured dosages is also beneficial for people suffering from diabetes and does not cause any damage. The January 1995 edition of a Canadian magazine called the Weekly World News has published a directory of the maladies that can be healed by taking cinnamon and honey. The report of the magazine is based on the findings of the different studies undertaken by the scientists in the West. The disease-specific findings vis-à-vis the benefits of using honey and cinnamon are mentioned below.

Cardiac Ailments

If you are suffering from any heart disease, it is advisable that you quit taking jam and jelly with bread during breakfast and instead use a blend of cinnamon and honey paste on the bread every day. In fact, ingesting a blend of cinnamon and honey often will help to lower the cholesterol level in the arteries and protect patients from suffering a cardiac arrest. It must be mentioned here that even people who have already endured a heart attack will be able to avoid cardiac arrests by regularly ingesting honey and cinnamon. In addition, habitual use of cinnamon and honey helps to ease the loss of breath and also reinforces the pulsation of the heart. Several nursing homes in the United States and Canada that have effectively cured heart patients have found that as an individual grows in age his or her blood vessels are deprived of their suppleness and become choked. In such situations, cinnamon and honey help to invigorate their blood vessels.

Cholesterol

Among their other benefits, cinnamon and honey, when used in a blend, are effective in lowering the intensity of cholesterol in the blood. Doctors have found that administering three teaspoons of powdered cinnamon and two tablespoons of honey mixed in 16 ounces of tea water to patients with high cholesterol helped to decrease the intensity of cholesterol in the blood by at least 10 percent in just two hours. Like in the instance of people enduring arthritis, people suffering from high and constant cholesterol will benefit immensely if they take the preparation three times every day. According to information obtained by the Canadian magazine Weekly World News, even ingesting pure honey with food every day helps to alleviate cholesterol problems.

Colds and Coughs

A mixture of one tablespoon of tepid honey along with one-fourth spoon of powdered cinnamon consumed once every day for three consecutive days helps in alleviating problems such as common or relentless colds. In effect, taking the blend also helps in getting relief from an incessant cough, cold, and even free sinus problems.

Stomach Disorder

A combination of honey and powdered cinnamon is also beneficial for people suffering from an upset stomach. The blend not only alleviates stomach aches but also removes ulcers in the stomach from their root.

Gas

Researches undertaken by scientists in Japan and India have found that consumption of honey along with powdered cinnamon helps in mitigating the gas formed in the stomach.

Dyspepsia or Indigestion

Have you ever tried taking powdered cinnamon with honey before meals? If you haven’t it is the time you should do this, for ingesting powdered cinnamon sprayed on two tablespoons of honey before any meal not only alleviates acidity but also helps the alimentary canal to absorb the heaviest of foods.

Foul Breath

Using a mixture of honey and powdered cinnamon is an excellent mouthwash and helps to keep one’s breath fresh throughout the day. It has been a practice of the people in South America to gargle with cinnamon powder and one teaspoon of honey in hot water every day in the morning to enjoy fresh breath all through the day.

Flu or Influenza

Even while the whole world is concerned over the increasing cases of flu, it is interesting to note that a researcher in Spain has established the natural property of honey that helps to eliminate germs responsible for influenza. In addition, the natural elements contained in honey also save people from enduring flu.

Cancer

Although it may seem to be incredible, researches undertaken by scientists in Australia and Japan have shown that a mixture of honey and cinnamon is effective enough to heal the cancer of the stomach and bones even in very advanced stages. Trials carried out by the researchers have established this aspect of honey and cinnamon. It is advisable that people enduring these types of cancer take one tablespoon of honey along with one teaspoon of powdered cinnamon thrice every day for a month.

Immune or Resistance System

Consuming the blend of cinnamon powder and honey every day not only helps to reinforce the body’s natural resistance system but also protects us from bacterial and viral contagions. Researches undertaken by scientists have demonstrated that honey is immensely useful for our body as it encloses great quantities of iron and numerous vitamins. It may be specially mentioned here that regular ingestion of honey helps to make the white blood corpuscles stronger enabling them to combat diseases spread by bacteria and viruses.

Long life or Anti-aging Effects

Drinking a special tea prepared from powdered cinnamon and honey habitually helps to prevent the devastation brought about in our system by aging. To prepare this special tea, add one spoon of powdered cinnamon and four spoons of honey to three cups of water and boil the mixture. For most effective results, drink one-fourth cup of this tea four times every day. Following the procedure will help to maintain the skin spanking new and supple preventing the thaws of old age. It is interesting to note that taking this tea regularly also helps in increasing the lifespan of an individual.

Inflammation of Joints or Arthritis

People suffering from arthritis or acute inflammation of joints will find it beneficial if they take two spoons of honey and one spoon of cinnamon powder mixed in a cupful of hot water twice daily – morning, and night. It has been found that people enduring constant arthritis can be cured if they follow the procedure often. During a research conducted by scientists at the Copenhagen University, it was unearthed that medical practitioners who recommended or administered one tablespoon of honey along with half a tablespoon of cinnamon powder to patients suffering from arthritis prior to breakfast produced incredible results. While 73 of 200 such patients treated by the doctors experienced complete relief from pain in a span of a week, almost all these arthritic patients who were immobile owing to the disease were able to move around sans any pain after a month’s treatment.

Infections of the Bladder

A mixture of honey and cinnamon is also immensely beneficial for people suffering from an infection of the bladder. For best results blend one teaspoon of honey with two tablespoonfuls of cinnamon in a glass of tepid water and consume it regularly. Following the practice regularly will help to eliminate germs from the bladder.

Skin Contagions

Applying a paste made with honey and cinnamon powder also helps in eliminating skin problems or diseases other than pimples. Anyone suffering from skin ailments such as eczema, ringworm or other skin contagions will benefit immensely if they regularly apply a mixture of powdered cinnamon and honey in equal proportions on the affected areas.

A pimple or Boils

If you are concerned over the pimples or boils distorting your face, then apply a blend of honey and cinnamon. Prepare a paste with one teaspoon of powdered cinnamon and three tablespoons of honey. Apply the honey and cinnamon paste before going to bed at night and cleanse it the following morning with lukewarm water. Anyone following the procedure every day for two weeks continuously will be relieved from pimples and boils. The paste has been found to remove pimples from their root.

Exhaustion or Fatigue

Several types of research have demonstrated that the sugar enclosed in honey is very useful and not harmful for the vigor of the body. In fact, elderly people who regularly consume equal proportions of cinnamon and honey have been found to be usually more attentive and supple. Researchers have also shown that drinking this potion daily (half tablespoon of honey in a glass of water peppered with powdered cinnamon) helps to reinforce the energy levels in the body in just one week. It is an immensely useful drink for anyone who is experiencing fatigue or exhaustion.

Shedding Flab or Weight Loss

If you are worried about your increasing weight and want to shed the extra flab, try using a blend of honey and cinnamon. Drinking honey and powdered cinnamon in a cup of boiled water before going to bed every night and in empty stomach every morning, approximately half-an-hour before breakfast, will work wonders for you. Following this procedure regularly facilitates reducing weight substantially even in the most overweight person. The reason for this is simple. Consumption of this blended drink prevents fat buildup in the body despite anyone consuming meals rich in calorie content.

Loss of Hearing

Researchers have shown that regular consumption of honey and powdered cinnamon in equal parts helps in curing hearing problems. For best results, it is advisable that the mixture is taken twice daily – once in the morning and again at night.

Cardamom Health Benefits

What Is Cardamom

Scientific Name: Elettaria cardamomum

Other Names: Amomum cardamomum, Bai Dou Kou, Black Cardamom, Cardamome de Malabar, Cardamome Noire, , Cardamome Verte, Cardamomo, Cardomom, Cardomomi Fructus, Ela, Elettaria cardamomum, Green Cardamom, Huile Essentielle de Cardamome, Indian Cardamom.

Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) is a plant that is native to India, Bhutan and Nepal in the ginger family Zingiberaceae, that is highly valued as an expensive culinary spice next only to saffron and vanilla. Cardamom fruits or seeds are primarily used as flavoring for drinks, baked goods, and confection. Cardamom is also valued for its traditional use in herbal medicine, providing health benefits for those suffering from stomach problems, liver, and gallbladder ailments, and as a stimulant. Other species that is closely related to genus Amomum in the ginger family are likewise called cardamom. These cardamom species have larger and darker fruits and have somewhat coarser taste and aroma.

Plant Description

Cardamom (Elletaria cardamomum) is a herbaceous perennial plant usually found in the wild in India and Sri Lanka but has since been cultivated in other tropical areas. Cardamom is a clumping plant of up 20 leafy shoots arising from the rhizome. The shoots are composed of overlapping leaf sheaths, lanceolate in shape with dark green color. The clump of leaves can reach up to 6 meters in height. Some shoots produce flowers on a drooping pinnacle. The flowers are both male and female and are pale green in color. The cardamom fruits are pale green to yellow in color but turns into brown when dried and contains 15 to 20 small aromatic seeds about 3 mm in length which are highly valued as flavoring.

Cardamom, Nutrient value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient Database)
Proximates NV %RDA
Energy 311 Kcal 15.5%
Carbohydrates 68.47 g 52.5%
Protein 10.76 g 19%
Total Fat 6.7 g 23%
Dietary Fiber 28 g 70%
Vitamins

Niacin 1.102 mg 7%
Pyridoxine 0.230 mg 18%
Riboflavin 0.182 mg 14%
Thiamin 0.198 mg 16.5%
Vitamin A 0 IU 0%
Vitamin C 21 mg 35%
Minerals

Calcium 383 mg 38%
Iron 14.0 mg 78%
Magnesium 229 mg 57%
Phosphorus 178 mg 32%
Sodium 18 mg 1%
Zinc 7.5 mg 50%
Copper 0.4 mg 19%
Percent daily values are based on 2000 Kcal diets.

Traditional Health Benefits Of Cardamom

Cardamom being native in South India and Sri Lanka, it has a long history of use in Ayurveda medicine. When the Chinese discovered this spice, it was brought to China and likewise applied in traditional Chinese medicine.

Cardamom has long been used as an effective herbal remedy for digestion problems including intestinal spasms, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation, liver and gallbladder complaints.

Other traditional uses and health benefits of Cardamon include the treatment of;

Bronchitis
Cold
Constipation
Cough
Gallbladder problems
Gas
Heartburn
Intestinal spasms
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Liver problems
Loss of appetite
Preventing infections
Sore mouth and throat
Urinary problems

In recent years, claimed health benefits of Cardamom include its strong antioxidant property and an effective body detoxification agent,

Cardamom being rich in minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium maintains cell and body fluids that help control heart rate and blood pressure. It also contains copper and iron that is important in the production of red blood cells.

Cardamom is also rich in vitamins including riboflavin, niacin and vitamin C and contains essential oils that improve overall health.

Cardamom promotes urination that improves kidney function by eliminating excess calcium, urea, and other toxins. It is also used in the treatment of genital and urinary infections. Cardamom is also believed to improve sexual performance.

Other health benefits of cardamom are its use in the treatment of gum problems and in preventing bad breath. It is also used as an antiseptic and antimicrobial.

Scientific Studies Of Cardamom Health Benefits

Blood pressure lowering, fibrinolysis enhancing and antioxidant activities of cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum).The Indigenous Drug Research Center, RNT Medical College, Udaipur, India conducted a study on  Elettaria cardamomum  (Small cardamom) fruit powder  to evaluate its antihypertensive potential and its effect on some of the cardiovascular risk factors in individuals with stage 1 hypertension.
Results have shown that administration of 3 g of cardamom powder to patients with primary hypertension of stage 1 for a period of 12 weeks demonstrated a significantly (p<0.001) decreased systolic, diastolic and mean blood pressure and significantly (p<0.05) increased fibrinolytic activity at the end of 12th week. The total antioxidant status was also significantly (p<0.05) increased by 90% at the end of 3 months.
Additionally, all study subjects experienced a feeling of well-being without any side-effects. Thus, the present study demonstrates that small cardamom effectively reduces blood pressure, enhances fibrinolysis and improves antioxidant status, without significantly altering blood lipids and fibrinogen levels in stage 1 hypertensive individuals. (Indian Journal of Biochemistry and Biophysics. December 2009).Protective effect of Eleteria cardamomum (L.) Maton against Pan masala induced damage in the lung of male Swiss mice.

In a study conducted in Ranchi University India, the potential ameliorating properties of cardamom Elettaria cardamomum (E. cardamomum) L. Maton against pan masala induced damage in the lung of male Swiss mice was investigated.  Results have shown that the lungs of pan masala treated group showed adenocarcinoma, edema, and inflammation with increased activity of acid phosphatase, alkaline phosphatase, and lactate dehydrogenase. While the deleterious effects were seen to be less in cardamom treated group and the enzymatic activity also decreased significantly (P<0.05) in the ameliorating group. This study suggests that cardamom supplementation may decrease the  damage to the lungs of pan masala treated subjects. (Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine, July 2013)

Chemopreventive effects of cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum L.) on chemically induced skin carcinogenesis in Swiss albino mice.

The potential of cardamom as a chemopreventive agent was investigated in a study done in the College of Health Sciences, University of Hail, Saudi Arabia. The study was done on mice treated orally with 0.5 mg of cardamom powder in suspension continuously at pre-, peri-, and post-initiation stages of papilloma genesis compared with the control group. It was observed that the treatment of cardamom suspension by oral gavage for 15 days resulted in a significant decrease in the lipid peroxidation level of the liver (P < .01). In addition, the reduced glutathione level was significantly elevated in comparison with the control group (P < .05) following cardamom suspension treatment. These findings indicate the potential of cardamom as a chemopreventive agent against two-stage skin cancer (Journal of Medicinal Food, June 2012).

Antioxidative effects of the spice cardamom against non-melanoma skin cancer by modulating nuclear factor erythroid-2-related factor 2 and NF-κB signaling pathways.

Cardamom,  a dietary phytoproduct, has been commonly used in cuisines for flavor and has numerous health benefits, such as improving digestion and stimulating metabolism and having antitumorigenic effects.  A study done in Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute, Kolkata, India, investigated the efficacy of dietary cardamom against 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA)-induced skin papilloma to genesis in Swiss albino mice that closely resembles human NMSC. Results from the oral administration of cardamom to DMBA-treated mice up-regulated the phase II detoxification enzymes, such as glutathione-S-transferase and glutathione peroxidase, probably via activation of nuclear factor erythroid-2-related factor 2 transcription factor in ‘DMBA+CARD’ mice. Furthermore, reduced glutathione, glutathione reductase, superoxide dismutase and catalase were also up-regulated by cardamom in the same ‘DMBA+CARD’ group of mice compared with DMBA-treated mice. Cardamom ingestion in DMBA-treated mice blocked NF-κB activation and down-regulated cyclo-oxygenase-2 expression. As a consequence, both the size and the number of skin papillomas generated on the skin due to the DMBA treatment were reduced in the ‘DMBA+CARD’ group. Thus, the results of the study suggest that cardamom has a potential to become a pivotal chemopreventive agent to prevent papilloma genesis on the skin (British Journal of Nutrition, Sept 2012)

Gut modulatory, blood pressure lowering, diuretic and sedative activities of cardamom.

Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) is traditionally used in various gastrointestinal, cardiovascular and neuronal disorders.
A study done in the Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan have using Cardamom crude extract in guinea-pig, mice and rabbits suggested that  cardamom exhibits gut excitatory and inhibitory effects mediated through cholinergic and Ca++ antagonist mechanisms respectively and lowers BP via a combination of both pathways. The diuretic and sedative effects may offer added value in its use in hypertension and epilepsy. (Journal of Ethnopharmacology, February 2008).

Cardamom extract as an inhibitor of human platelet aggregation.

The Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition, Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore, India, investigated the protective effects of cardamom extract against platelet aggregation and lipid peroxidation.  In the study, a sample from the blood of healthy volunteers was taken and the platelets were subjected to stimulation with a variety of agonists including ADP, epinephrine, collagen, calcium ionophore and ristocetin.  Results have shown that the inhibitory effects of cardamom against lipid peroxidation and platelet aggregation were dose dependent and time dependent and an increase in the concentration of the aqueous extract of cardamom results to significant decreased MDA formation.(Phytotheraphy Research, May 2005)

Allergic contact dermatitis from cardamom.

Cardamom is a popular traditional flavoring agent for baked goods and confectionery.  A case is presented of a confectioner with a chronic hand dermatitis and positive patch test reactions to cardamom and certain terpenoid compounds present in the dried ripe seeds of cardamom. Dermatitis from skin exposure to cardamom has to the best of our knowledge not been reported.

Cardamom Side Effects And Warnings

Cardamom may be considered safe for most people in food amounts and there were no reported side effects from its consumption.

Cardamom is considered safe for use by pregnant and breastfeeding mothers if taken in food amounts. But caution should be taken if to be taken in large doses as there are no sufficient studies that determine its full effects.

Large doses of cardamom have been found to trigger gallstone colic that causes spasmodic pain.

Cardamom may trigger an allergic reaction for sensitive people. Severe side effects include difficulty in breathing, hive, swelling of skin and heaviness of chest.

Cardamom Availability And Preparation

Where To Buy Cardamom

Cardamom comes in several forms depending upon how the cardamom seed pods are treated. Cardamom is usually available in most grocery stores along with the other spices;

Green cardamom pods are the preferred form of this spice in its native country, India. This fancier cardamom has been picked while still immature and sun-dried to preserve its bright green color. Green cardamom pods are harder to find and more expensive than the other forms of cardamom in part because of their superior ability to retain aroma and flavor longer. This premium form of cardamom is all connoisseurs will use in any recipe which calls for cardamom.

Cardamom seed has had the outer pod, or cardamom fruit, removed so that only the pure seeds remain. This form of cardamom spice is sometimes called cardamom-decort, which simply means the seeds have been removed from the pods or hulled. The seeds are crushed or ground prior to use, which provides plenty of cardamom flavor at a more economical price, substitute 12 seeds for every whole pod called for in a recipe.

Black cardamom is the seed pods of closely related species that also are aromatic and have an appearance similar to that of true cardamom. Although, black cardamom is not a suitable substitute in recipes that call for cardamom. Its flavor is much earthier with sweetness and a flowery accent that is different from that of true cardamoms. It is an ingredient used in some African cooking and abroad to add a bacon-like a flavor to some vegetarian dishes.

Ground cardamom is convenient to have for baking and other applications where the spice needs to be ground. Freshness and thus flavor are of course compromised when cardamom is pre-ground because it loses flavor soon after grinding. To appreciate cardamom’s true flavor we suggest grinding it before use in a spice mill, electric coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle.

White cardamom that was commonly available in the North America and Europe had been bleached to achieve its color or lack of it. It is used in baking and some desserts because its color helps keep light colored batters, sauces, and confections speck free. The bleaching process also destroyed much of the cardamom’s flavor leading to white cardamom’s decline in popularity.

Ginger’s Quality

The quality of the original rhizome must be the primary concern for the person using supplements of ginger in their diet. At the same time, the ginger herb is a valuable supplement in a variety of supplemental forms. At the same time, the value of the rhizome and the supplemental quality will be less if the original material is old, is shriveled, was moldy or chemically treated in anyway, in such cases, the quality of the ginger will obviously not yield the herbal values comparable to a herbal ginger product created using fresh and organically grown rhizomes.
BenefitsofGingerAn extensive and exhaustive grading system has been developed over the years, so as to insure that the international supply of ginger products remains top quality – the standards adopted in this grading system are fairly rigorous ensuring only good quality products pass the test. Chemical exposure of ginger products is still an unfortunate issue, and one of the issues that require much greater attention as chemical contamination of herbal products is a severe problem. The exposure of ginger to chemicals can easily occur at many stages through the product development process, the ginger can become contaminated by chemicals during the stage of cultivation, chemicals can contaminate the ginger in storage and processing stages, and the ginger is often exposed to a barrage of chemicals, which can include lethal mercury compounds, all forms of chlorinated hydrocarbons, and all kinds of fungicides and fumigants, aside from insecticides and pesticides used during cultivation.
ginger_benefitsIdeally, the ultimate goal is to have an opportunity for examining the freshly retrieved ginger rhizome and to check these for possible chemical exposure before the processing stages and before they are made into powdered herbal ginger or other types of finished and processed products. This ideal check is not possible in most cases, and indeed it would be a very difficult or even impossible process for large scale operations, for this reason, individuals who wish to use only likely uncontaminated products must try to place as their first choice only those products which are organically grown or those products that are certified and have passed many of the state and international organizations standards of food safety. This is an ideal step to take for all individuals planning a long term therapeutic use of the ginger based herbal medications and particularly so, when they are going to be using ginger in large amounts.
ginger partsThe ginger herbs are processed into a variety of products for the culinary market and this process begins with fresh or dry rhizomes; the finished products can include all kinds of ginger syrups, ginger based candies, ginger based jams, herbal capsules, herbal extracts, ginger fortified liqueurs, ginger pickles, cookies and ale etc. Different products made from the ginger have different and varied effects, for example, if the researchers noticed a ginger based marmalade might have had a dramatic impact on the platelet aggregation rate in the body, then the it will be inferred that the therapeutic principles inherent in the herb are obviously very stable or that they are resistant to the rigors of processing. For this reason, it is fair to suggest that each of the finished ginger products possesses its own distinct advantages in terms of herbal healing properties. As an example, the candied forms of ginger, may meet with objections due to its content of the sugar sucrose, this does not discount the fact that, if it came down to a choice between an artificially flavored and colored confection and the ginger candy possessing an actual health benefit, the ginger based candy will always be chosen. The appeal of ginger is therefore increased by the candied form of the remedy as it gives the ginger a wider, and much more mainstream market, thus the new adherents of this form of herbal remedy can now include people who may never have considered using the ginger as a health supplement in any form whatsoever.
ginger-health-benefits-uses-ginger-teaConsuming at least a combination of ginger based supplements is ideal for patients, so as to receive good amounts of the beneficial compounds repeatedly confirmed by research, these include the gingerols – found in the fresh rhizome based products and the shogaols – which are found in the dry products, it is reasonable to assume, that a combination of ginger products in the supplement to include sufficient quantities of these two beneficial compounds. Different ginger based products will have varying levels of these two critical and beneficial compounds and this will depend a great deal on the processing methods involved. Distinct health benefits are endowed by the gingerols and the shogaols respectively. The gingerols as a compound class are much more potent and effective in the role of anti-hepatotoxics and anti-helmintics within the body, at the same time, shogaols compounds seem to be more effective in the role of anti-inflammatory agents in the body, and they also function as antipyretics and analgesics in the body at the same time-thus the two classes of compounds have distinct effects though they are found in the same herb.
The many uses of the ginger can be suitably studied from its use in the medical systems of China and eastern Asia. In Chinese and traditional Oriental medicine, the individual value of each different product made from ginger is confirmed in that the four different forms of ginger used in treatment – fresh, dried, steamed and roasted – are actually considered and classed as distinct herbal medications. So each form of ginger is prescribed only for treatment of specific group of illnesses and for specific applications in herbal remedies. At the same time, one modern Chinese study has suggested that the four forms of the ginger have much more in common then traditionally believed, and the one may not need to consume every conceivable ginger product to gain some specific benefit – such a step will be complex and time consuming, besides being expensive. During the study, among twenty-five of the vital compounds checked, it was discovered that there was only a maximum variation in three novel or missing constituents per herbal remedy – thus the similarity of different ginger remedies is very great.
ginger aleSome suggest that the fresh ginger rhizome has some intangible advantage over other types of ginger remedies and whatever the final form of herbal product – the suggestion is that it is more effective as long as it was made using the fresh ginger rhizome. One may consider the delicate flavor of fresh cut ginger as being a distinct study in the culinary arts. The importance of the fresh ginger in cuisine and its remedial power and potency is underlined by the results of a recent fragrance test, during which it was found that fresh ginger scent can be detected by humans even at a dilution as low as 1 part in 35,000, this is in contrast to the powdered ginger which can only be detected by humans at 1 part in 1,500-2,000, if diluted beyond this the scent is lost – the fresh form is thus more potent in all respects. Fresh ginger rhizomes can be used in many types of herbal remedial measures and in many different medical applications such as to make hot compresses and as a culinary spice to flavor medicinal herbal tea. As far as possible, always use fresh ginger for any herbal remedy.
Many people who have used compresses made from the ginger have understandably names this herb as one of their most precious health routines and remedies during treatment. As far as topical treatments go and among all the myriad applications of the herb, the ginger compress can be extremely effective for the treatment of virtually all external signs due to underlying inflammatory processes in the body of patients, these can include the treatment of muscular stiffness and headaches of all kinds – the ginger compress is one of the best topical herbal applications. The compress is also an extremely valuable healing remedy for the topical treatment of swollen glands, for treating external problems in the chest region and for the treatment of head colds and disorders such as persistent stomach cramps.
The herbal ginger tea is believed to be a near perfect after dinner drink, and is an excellent fasting staple, it is also believed to aid in weight-loss and helps relieve pain and can also be used as a remedy against the cold. Prepare the herbal ginger tea, by using half a teaspoon of the freshly grated ginger rhizome into eight ounces of boiling water, mix these in a covered pot and let the herb steep in the water for 10 to 15 minutes at a stretch, this will allow the water to fully extract the juices from the fresh ginger rhizome. Once it has been cooled down, slowly strain the water and add some honey for taste to sweeten the tea. As an iced tea, the ginger tea can also induce a great tonic effect on the body.
A variety of ways can be chosen, when adding some fresh ginger to the daily diet of any person on a course of this wonderful herbal remedy. Thus ginger can be added to different fruit and vegetable juices and as a part of the daily juicing routine with carrot and apple juices. Because of its high potency, the fresh ginger juice must be carefully and gradually added to the daily routine so as not to shock the system.
Undoubtedly one of the world’s most popular confectionaries, candied ginger is ranked high in the list of best confections. Candied ginger is usually processed using fresh ginger and plenty of sucrose, this form of ginger is very convenient when the need to take ginger exist during a period of travel and it can also be used as a delightful and effective digestive aid following dinner at night.
Ginger is also used in the form of honey-based herbal syrup; this form of the remedy offers more desirable way of delivering ginger with maximum health benefits for the user. As an herbal vehicle, pure and unadulterated honey has a long and traditional history of utilized in this role of delivery agent for various therapeutic herbs and ginger is no exception to the rule, the honey endows extra value to the herbal remedy being used. The recipe for a ginger herbal remedy in a base of honey syrup is described in detail, and dates back to the early sixth-century A.D. this was the traditional use of the honey in herbal medicine back at that time. Ginger is moreover fortified by the honey, the substance gives the ginger its own range of excellent synergistic and healing values, particularly when the ginger is allowed to be infused into the honey using a low heat process. The ginger product is benefited by mixing with honey in many ways, the honey enhances the flavor of the herb, it aids in the preservation of the herb, and it can also be used for a variety of different ginger remedies and herbal applications. Furthermore, the honey itself possesses an intrinsic range of anti-bacterial, anticancer and antifungal actions, besides promoting wound-healing actions, and having a good anti-ulcer properties on the body.
The role of honey is to effectively enlarge the herbal ginger’s bactericidal and fungicidal properties. The addition of the honey also enhances the ginger’s anti-ulcer properties on the whole. At the same time, the honey has a good protective effect over the gastric mucosa and induces significant action against a bacterial species known as Helicobacter pylori, which is the bacterial species associated with the development of peptic ulcers in humans. Individuals concerned with the potential conflict between the use of honey and the effect on blood sugar levels during trials and in the candida albicans treatment programs, the gathered evidence suggested that the body tolerates honey significantly better than commonly consumed simple sugars such as sucrose. Candida albicans is also defeated by a distinct remedial factor in the honey.
At the same time that the herbal ginger and honey combination is being used, a health tonic or a cough or cold syrup, also made from ginger and honey can be taken by the individual in the form of a hot beverage or as a sweetener in tea, this can also be used as a culinary seasoning or even as a dinner table sauce, it can be used as a dessert topping or it can be mixed with some carbonated water for a nutritious and delicious homemade ginger ale – which can be taken at any time.
Prepare your own unique ginger syrup, by adding a part of fresh grated or juiced ginger, into three parts honey and then refrigerate the two together. You must ensure that you peel the ginger rhizome; this will result in the extension of the vital properties of the herb and will prevent the chances of fermentation from occurring at the same time. Usually about one to two teaspoons of this syrup can be added for every eight ounces of carbonated or hot water to make the drink.
The exceptional herbal benefits of ginger can be experienced in one of the most versatile and powerful ways by using it in the form of a dehydrated herbal powder. Used in this form, ginger can benefit a person by providing two of the essential and principal values of the herb:
  • Used in this form, the herb is up to ten times the concentration that is normally seen in certain fresh ginger elements.
  • This is one of the most novel and therapeutic herbal compounds. As a general rule, the powdered down ginger contains far more nutrients than other forms of the herb, as a consequence of the removed moisture, far more important is that this powder is likely to possess far more and higher levels of the compounds known as shogaols, these compounds are supposed to possess more of the ginger’s very significant aspirin like pain killing qualities.
The high-quality beneficial effects of the powdered ginger form have been verified during studies, and the powdered herb can be effectively taken for the treatment of both internal and external injuries. The powdered form of the ginger can also be used in a lot of the remedial applications where the fresh form is normally used, these include herbal compresses, it can be used to make ginger herbal tea and in cooking dishes. The herbal powdered ginger can be used in the form of capsules, or it can be consumed by the teaspoonful in any food or in liquids such as juices, this form of the herbal remedy provides the best anti-inflammatory effects during treatment and it is also a very excellent all spectrum treatment for various problems with the digestive system, and it can also be used as a cardiovascular tonic – and has very beneficial protestant properties over the body. The herbal ginger powder can also be used for external treatments as a topical compress or it can be used to infuse bath water, the ginger powder induces a very powerful and stimulating effect on the body, it also possesses transdermal and aroma-therapeutic effects on the body. At the same time, the herbal ginger powder is also excellent for use as a moistened chest compress, it can also be added by the tablespoon to infuse hot bath water for the topical treatment of various muscle strains and to treat the symptoms of cold. The herbal ginger powder can also be used to make an excellent chest compress, prepare the powdered ginger by simply moistening about 2-3 teaspoons using a little hot water and then spread this slowly over a hot and wet cotton towel – this can then be applied directly to the affected parts of the body. The amount of ginger to use in cases of sensitive skin must be low, in such cases, the herbal build up must be slow and application sustained over a long period of time.
Herbalist and traditional medical practitioners as well as modern researchers recognize alcohol to be an excellent extraction agent for the beneficial properties of all herbs and herbal extracts. Dried ginger derived double-macerated or highly potent alcohol ginger extract can give all the benefits of this form of the herbal remedy, and also includes very significant levels of the beneficial compounds known as shogaols. The juice of fresh ginger can be added to the mixture so as to maximize or balance the full benefits of the alcoholic ginger extract. A dual purpose is served by the addition of the ginger juice, the juice will complements the dryness in the remedy as it has unique fresh elements such as the compounds called the gingerols, at the same time, the juice will also enable a lowering of the final alcoholic concentration to a safe level, which the majority of individuals will find tolerable.
Convenience and concentration of the herb are the principal benefits inherent in the extracted form of the herbal remedy. The full range of benefits will become apparent in the person, within a few seconds of taking a dropper full of the extract, especially when it is taken straight, or mixed in a glass of water. There are some limitations to the utility of the extract, however, while it may not be practical to use the extract for purposes of cooking and to make compresses, it comes into its own as an exceptional therapeutic form of the herbal remedy and by and large, it offers the most comprehensive and immediate therapeutic response, which is very effective for the treatment of various digestive disorders or in the treatment of the symptoms of the cold.

Ginger’s Essences

No modern medication can rival the range and variety of therapeutic effects that can be induced by ginger. However, the full awareness of the health benefits and value of the herbal ginger remedies is rather limited because of the monopolistic health-care systems and a historically biased regulatory environment in most countries. Out of the hundreds of species in the plant family Zingiberaceae, the ginger remains the most famous and popular herb. Ginger is a rhizome, according to the correct botanical classification, though the underground stem of the ginger is often mistaken to be a root. Many different varieties of the ginger herb exist in the wild and in cultivation, these varieties range from mild to spicy in taste, and all of them require tropical conditions and fertile soils to grow at an optimal rate. The ginger herb has traveled out from Southeast Asia to the new world, over a period spanning 5,000 years, and most regions of the world now cultivate it as a food crop.
ginger_benefitsThe ancient trade in ginger helped shape nations and insured the universal cultivation and survival of the herb, it is considered a botanical treasure by some of the great figures of history. The interaction of over four hundred chemical constituents present in ginger produce the observed effects of herbal ginger remedies, these result producing compounds can be grouped into four major classes: those which affect taste, those responsible for fragrance, and chemicals which act as nutrients and synergists in the human body. The pungent compounds which affect taste are the focus for most of the therapeutic value associated with the ginger. These taste compounds, are known as gingerols and shogaols, the protein digesting enzymes and antioxidant compounds present in abundant quantities in the ginger are also key elements in its overall effects over the body. Most of the observable physical effects on the body, such as the anti-inflammatory action, the anti-parasitic effect, and the anti-microbial and the digestive remedial actions, may all be due to the presence of one principal action – which is enzyme action on the body. At the same time, the observed effect, namely an anti-inflammatory action, can also be due to the presence of a number of principal actions at core, it can be due to enzymes, because of eicosanoid balance and due to the presence of antioxidants in the herbal remedy. The main key to understanding the diversity of the ginger’s overall action may lie in the dynamics of the eicosanoid compounds; indeed, these may represent the point to develop a full understanding the various beneficial effects of the ginger remedy. The physiologically active compounds known as the eicosanoids are synthesized by the body from essential fatty acids already present from absorbed food. The development of an imbalance in these vital elements is the reason for a wide variety of diseases and conditions, which evolve in response to the imbalances. The modulation and control of the compounds known as eicosanoids has been attempted by pharmaceutical companies, in order to develop treatment methodologies for a host of disease conditions, this step is essentially a failed step, because of the many serious side effects such compounds can induce in the human body. The advantage of herbal ginger remedies is that the ginger helps in naturally bringing a balance to many of these vitally important eicosanoid compounds, without inducing any corresponding side effects in the body of the person using the herbal remedy.
ginger-health-benefits-uses-ginger-teaThe benefits of ginger herbs have been enjoyed by many millions of people, over the course of millennia, as part of herbal treatment strategies. Thus ginger remedies have been utilized for spiritual up-liftment, they have been used to provide digestive comfort and physical strength, they have also been taken to stimulate and bring relief from infirmity in the body, the herbal remedies made from the ginger have been touted as the herbal remedy of choice and most traditional Eastern herbal formulas consider ginger remedies as a part of their herbal treatment methodologies. The ancient Indian Sanskrit name for the ginger very appropriately vishwabhesaj, translated as the universal medicine. The early twentieth century saw more than 25,000 U.S. physicians called the eclectics, praising the pain relieving and cold fighting properties of the ginger. Traditional use of the ginger remedies was also made by many different cultures historically in many different regions of the world – these societies used the herb for some of the same basic therapeutic applications to which we put the herb to use. Some of these herbal remedies and applications of the ginger included its use as an analgesic, its anti-arthritic ability was utilized universally, the wound healing properties were utilized widely, the anti-helmintic and anti-ulcerabilities were widely known and put to use, its actions as a stimulant and its aphrodisiac properties also found great use in traditional medicine.
At the same time, traditional treatment of a variety of respiratory diseases, and problems in the reproductive and digestive system were treated using herbal remedies derived from the ginger. For many types of cardiovascular diseases, the ginger remains a primary preventive treatment especially in the treatment of critical cases of such conditions. Similar in action and usage to the common drug aspirin, the herbal remedies made from the ginger possesses a therapeutic potential and an ability to prevent thousands of deaths arising from sudden heart attacks and strokes as well as in the treatment of diseases such as cancer of the colon. The ginger has an advantage over aspirin, in that it will produce no side effects in the body whatsoever even after prolonged and continuous use. Ginger’s anti-ulcer effects are complemented on the whole by a host of other important beneficial properties pertaining to the digestive system, which includes immense relief from both diarrhea and constipation; it helps protect the liver and is an effective pro-biotic support agent. Ginger has also been documented as clearly having an effective anti-nausea effect. The ginger based herbal remedies can thus be used to rid the body of nausea arising from the continuous use of chemotherapy and those which affect people during oceanic travels, it is also helpful during nausea from a term of pregnancy and in treating nausea following gynecological surgery, in all such cases, herbal remedies based on the ginger is the natural treatment of choice for the nausea. The assistance that ginger gives to the digestive system marks it as a prominent bio-availability herb, and the ginger assists the digestion of other consumed nutrients and is a greatly recommended addition to the natural supplemental regimes during treatment processes for many digestive complaints. While not generally recognized, intestinal parasites pose a much greater threat to the industrialized world than they are credited for. Here too, the potent range of anti-parasitic activities displayed by the ginger can play a great role in treatment of parasite infections. Historical observations of the ginger, place it in a role of an effective remedy for cold, this ability of the ginger arises from a combination of principal actions and benefits which can include eicosanoid balancing within the body, its pro-biotic supporting role, its anti-toxic and cytoprotective influences on the body among other beneficial effects.
BenefitsofGingerThe remedies based on ginger also have a very significant anti-mutagenic potential, and these can be used to beat powerful carcinogens such as the compound benzopyrene and the more toxic burned byproducts of the amino acid tryptophan in the body. Ginger’s reputed anticancer abilities also deserve further research and study, this property of the herb must be further investigation and its role in cancer-treatment programs must be studied in the future so as to take advantage of any beneficial effects. In addition, to all of these abilities herbal remedies made from the ginger positively affect all other parameters of health such as levels of the compound cholesterol and the levels of blood sugar, at the same time, the herb helps in balancing a variety of vital body systems such as the performance of the circulatory system, the functioning of the respiratory and reproductive systems besides others. Topical remedies made from the ginger also have very positive and beneficial effects; the potency of the ginger in this topical role has been demonstrated during external treatments which showed dramatic results and improvement from a variety of skin disorders in many patients.
The safety of herbal remedies made from the ginger is remarkable. It can be said that almost no modern pharmaceutical products can compete with the range of therapeutic properties displayed by this herb and this does not even include the complete absence of all adverse physical side effects from prolonged use of the herbal remedy. However, when using ginger products during a term of pregnancy and before surgery, patients must be careful about doses and use the herb in moderation at such times. A general safe and preventive dosage of the herbal remedy for the use of the general population can be up to 1 gram a day of the powdered herbal remedy. Dietary use of therapeutic ginger remedies must be gradual and over a long period of time in all cases, as this will ensure the optimal benefits. The quality of the rhizome will also greatly influence the effectiveness of the remedy made from ginger. Organically certified ginger products are the best, as many of the commercial ginger products are normally subjected to many potential levels of chemical contamination, at different stages of the manufacturing process. For regular supplementation, both the fresh and the dry ginger herbal remedies are recommended and these two can even be used in tandem. Though, the properties and benefits given by each will be slightly different and both will have specific strengths and weaknesses. Commercially the herbal remedies made from the ginger are available in many forms, which include the fresh and dried forms, ginger syrups, and as herbal capsules and extracts.

Ginger {Zingiber officinale}

Also, Known As:

  • African Ginger
  • Ardraka
  • Black Ginger
  • Chiang
  • Gan-jiang
  • Ginger
  • Nagara
  • Race Ginger
  • Shen-jiang
  • Sunthi
Zingiber officinale, the official name of the common ginger was coined by the famous eighteenth-century Swedish botanist and general naturalist, Carl Linnaeus. While Latinizing the name, Carl Linnaeus also derived the name Zingiber for the generic term, using the Indian Sanskrit name for ginger – singabera, or shaped like a horn.
About 1,400 species of plants are placed in the family Zingiberaceae and the ginger is just another of these plants. It shares equal honors with other famous family members, the spices turmeric – which is a principal component used in curry; it is also an herbal medicine – and the spice cardamom – used extensively in South Asian cuisine. The ginger has a slender stem; ginger is a perennial plant, about 24 to 39 inches in height. Compared to the second and following stems, the first stems are lengthier and also bear beautiful and fragrant flowers. The ginger flowers are greenish yellow and streaked with purple down the sides. Dark green ginger leaves are characterized by a famous midrib that is sheathed at the growing base. The seeds of the ginger appear in the rare fruiting body.
The underground stem of the ginger is the most familiar part of the plant and it is extensively used for commercial as well as domestic purposes. Often mistakenly called the root of the ginger, the irregular shape and size of the underground section of the stem is the most important part of this herb – the plant stores food reserves in this underground stem. The botanically correct term to apply to the underground stem is rhizome, even if the ginger will probably always be associated with the term root by common people. Whole new ginger plants can self generate from budded sections, and property of the rhizome is very different to a root, which will die if split into sections. Cultivation of the ginger has been made possible by these buds in the rhizome and the plant has been cultivated in this way for thousands of years. The habitat most suited to the cultivation of ginger is one with a hot and moist climate with some shade; ginger also prefers soil that is well tilled and rich in loam. The rhizome is white to yellow in color and bears thick lobes – it is also very aromatic, a property used in culinary and herbal processes. An unusual exception to this mild color range is one ginger variety, which has a characteristic blue ring, lying in circles inside the fleshy interior – this is one of the most prized varieties of ginger.
ginger parts
Today, the ginger is the most widely cultivated spice around the world. A lot of countries and regions cultivate this spice and different opinions exists as to who grows the best ginger. Any favoritism of a particular variety of ginger is purely a matter of personal taste, as the ginger appears in countless varieties, shapes and sizes, India alone is said to have an estimated fifty varieties of this versatile herb. Depending on the conditions of the soil and the manner of its cultivation’s, each and every variety of the ginger possesses its own distinctive flavor and aroma. Africa is reputedly the home of the most pungent ginger, while the milder varieties are grown mainly in China. The general agreements is that culinary applications will likely use milder ginger varieties, while the stronger and more pungent varieties are best to prepare ginger beverages and for use in therapeutic herbal remedies.
Oral anti-coagulants are normally prescribed to individuals who suffer from frequent blood clots to help keep their blood free from clots. The compound known as warfarin sodium commonly called coumadin, is one of the most frequently used medications in this regard. This compound is also a potent rat poison and taking it in high doses can cause serious internal hemorrhages in the body, especially if it is used over an extended period of time by the person. The ideal substitute for these synthetic blood thinners is ginger root, which can replace the role of this compound in the body. At least some individuals suffering from such problems who took an average of two herbal ginger capsules two times a day in between meals appears to have benefited.

Plant Parts Used:

Rhizome, root, essential oil.

Ginger Tea for Women:

This ginger tea is extraordinarily healing for all female organs and the intestines, as well as for stressed nerves and a sluggish metabolism.
  • a thumb-sized piece of ginger
  • 1 cups (1/4 l) water
  • 2 cups (1/2 l) milk
Peel the ginger and grate or slice very fine. Simmer very slowly for about 20 minutes in the water. Now add up to 2 cups (1/2 l) milk and let it boil up. Remove from the heat and sweeten with honey or cane sugar. Ginger tea is best consumed in small sips over the course of the day, as required. In the morning and before meals it stimulates digestion; on cold winter afternoons it warms and protects from the flu. Many women take the tea after miscarriages or abdominal surgery, to promote the healing of the uterus.
Ginger tea is so effective against ailments of the reproductive and digestive systems because it stimulates circulation and supports a good blood supply to these organs. Bloating can be treated with this tea, by adding a pinch of cinnamon. In the presence of stomach ulcers, however, modest amounts of this tea are recommended and the quantity of ginger can be cut down. Similarly, in the early weeks of pregnancy, the further stimulation of blood flow into the abdomen is not recommended, so go easy on ginger at this time. Modest amounts, however, are a great remedy for morning sickness.

Candied Ginger:

  • 1 lb. fresh ginger root
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 3 cups cold water
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
Pare the root and cut into long narrow slices, across the grain. Cover with about 1 1/2 cups cold water in a saucepan and heat to boiling. Simmer 5 minutes, drain and cover with cold water again. Heat to boiling, simmers 5 minutes more. Drain. Dry well.
Combine granulated sugar and 1 cup of water in a small kettle. Boil 10 minutes. Add the ginger slices and cook over very low heat. Do not boil. Stir, and cook until all the syrup is absorbed, about 40 minutes. Remove the ginger, and dry on a rack.
Roll the cooled ginger in superfine sugar, and let it stand in the sugar until it has crystallized.

PARTRIDGEBERRY

My botany professors first introduced me to partridgeberry, and with excitement I recognized the scientific name as a medicinal from one of my herbal books. This was back in the late 70’s when the modern herbal literature was scanty, computers were not in my reality, and I still had yet to meet a herbalist in the flesh. I would learn a plant in school and then ride my horse home to devour any information I could find on the medicinal uses of that plant. Partridgeberry and I became quick friends, as it would accompany me on my stream-side explorations and canoe rides. I spent a lot of time in the woods by myself at that time and relished the relationships with my newfound and cherished plant allies. These relationships were the threads that wove me into the interconnected majestic quilt of biodiversity and Gaian consciousness. I began to gain a purpose and feel empowered as I learned how to wildcraft and make medicine for my neighbors and myself.

I learned to pick its stems so that some roots and stem remained and were able to continue growing. I made fresh tea and tincture from the leaves and stems, always including a bit of flower or fruit depending on the season, for a whole plant medicine. Nibbling the edible red berries whenever I could, I developed a taste for the unusual fruit. Partridgeberries are not very sweet and are more like a vegetable in flavor, being somewhat reminiscent of a slightly sweet and astringent cucumber. The fruit can brighten salads, make a fun trailside nibble, and is easy for little people to gather and gobble. Like many things in life, if we relax our expectations, we can appreciate what is.

Botany/Ecology:

Partridgeberry is in the Rubiaceae, or madder, family and has opposite, entire, leathery, ovate and glabrous (smooth, hairless) leaves. Twinflower is yet another name for this prostrate evergreen vine, alluding to its two diminutive white flowers with a fused ovary, which eventually give rise to one fruit. There are two “eyes” on the fruit, which are the scars left behind from the fallen calyx and corolla of the flower, a usual trait helpful in identification. The two flowers giving rise to one fruit is an excellent doctrine of signatures for a reproductive tonic.

Mitchella is quite an adaptable species, growing from central Florida north to Newfoundland and Quebec, west to Texas and up into Minnesota. Mitchella prefers to grow in the shade in well-drained soil, with the porosity being obtained from either the fluff of forest duff or sandy soils. Often growing under conifers, Mitchella repens frequently grows with rattlesnake plantain (Goodyera spp., Orchidaceae), and spotted wintergreen (Chimaphila maculata, Ericaceae).

In much of its range, it grows under the shade of the eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis, Pinaceae). I believe one of the reasons Mitchella thrives under conifers is because of the finer leaf litter created by needles, as opposed to the wider leaf litter created by broad-leafed trees. The eastern hemlocks are currently dying from the infestation of the hemlock wooly adelgid (Adelges tsugae), an introduced insect from Asia. The old growth trees are particularly susceptible, and here in the southern Appalachians, the older hemlocks are all dead, except for the few trees that have been treated with insecticide. Until other trees take their place in the forest canopy, wide areas of our forests, especially along streams, are receiving more sunlight than usual. So far the partridgeberry seems to be tolerating the extra light, but I am beginning to see signs of sun damage on other forest floor inhabitants. My concern is that partridgeberry will not be able to tolerate the changes of increased sunlight and, later on, the denser shade and leaf litter cover created by broad-leafed trees, which will replace the hemlocks. Rhododendron is a common inhabitant with hemlocks in acidic mountain stream environments. I believe rhododendrons will be one of the major plant species replacing the dying hemlocks, which will be challenging to the understory plants as little grows under its dense shade and thick leaf litter.

Partridgeberry is on the United Plant Savers “to-watch” list, as one of our native medicinal herbs that could be potentially threatened, especially if it gains widespread popularity. Currently, Mitchella is far from the twenty top-selling herb lists, with its major threat being habitat loss. Partridgeberry is easy to grow and quite adaptable to a wide variety of habitats, so its prospects look good. However, I am concerned about its immediate future, as it is so intertwined with the fate of the eastern hemlock.

berries (1)Medicinal uses:

Everything we know about this plant originates with the indigenous people of North America, who used partridgeberry as an emmenagogue, astringent, diuretic, parturient and styptic. In addition, it was used to ease menstrual cramps, help with labor pains and ease delivery. Topically, partridgeberry was employed as a wash for sore nipples during breastfeeding. Squaw vine is an early name for this plant, attesting to its Native use in treating female reproductive disorders. Squaw vine usually goes by partridgeberry these days as the term squaw has been used in a derogatory way by many Europeans and is considered to be insulting to many Native women.

Personally, I have a strong sense of gratitude for partridgeberry as an ally, which helped to bring my sweet daughter, into this world. I used a tincture made of equal parts Mitchella repens, wild yam root (Dioscorea villosa, Dioscoreaceae), and black haw root bark (Viburnum prunifolium, Adoxaceae) taking 2 ml, 3-6 times a day.

Another story of Mitchella involved a woman in her sixth month of pregnancy who was experiencing a lot of stress in her home life. Her emotional situation had intensified the usual “practice” contractions typically felt in later pregnancy and she was concerned that she might go into early labor. I recommended a tincture of equal parts Red Raspberry (Rubus idaeus, Rosaceae) and Mitchella repens. She took 2-3 droppers full three times a day and her contractions subsided.

Mitchella is also indicated in early pregnancy for women who have experienced multiple miscarriages or are facing a potential miscarriage. The dosage in this situation and most others would be 2-3 droppers full of tincture three times a day. A decoction from the dried or fresh herb may also be employed in such a situation. I am conservative with herbs in pregnancy and recommend their use only when necessary. It is my belief that a healthy pregnancy does not warrant the use of partus preparatory, as the body in its wisdom knows how to give birth. Contemporary uses in female reproductive disorders also include tonic treatment for infertility and menstrual cramps.

Some other uses of partridgeberry involve its use in urinary tract disorders; it can give ease in urinary tract infections, interstitial cystitis, and BPH as a diuretic and astringent. The Alabama herbalist, Tommie Bass, used the leaves for incontinence in children, “kidney trouble”, and the berries for diarrhea and painful urination. It has also been used as a moderate astringent for gastrointestinal disorders, including diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Cultivation of Partridgeberry:

Soil and site requirements: Mitchella prefers to grow in the sight of streams and spring seeps, but not right next to the water. If you don’t have any wet sites or streams, plant it in the shade and water it occasionally during drought spells. Mitchella is a running plant and will spread indefinitely as long as it doesn’t suffer too much competition from faster growing or more upright understory plants. You may want to help partridgeberry by weeding, cutting back or transplanting highly vigorous co-inhabitants. Harvest vining stem tips, leaving some of the plant rooted, and you can continually harvest from the same site as long as the population is large enough. pH 5-6; Zones 3-9, moist soil, can be sandy or fluffy, partially broken-down forest duff but not too clayey, full shade to part shade, under conifers or mixed hardwood/conifers.

Propagation: The preferred method of propagation is by layering during the growing season, or stem cuttings in the fall.  The easiest method is to take a growing vine tip and bury a portion of the stem one inch below the soil, weigh it down with a rock, leaving the distal end of the stem above ground. You can do this right on site in the earth, or in a soil-filled pot next to the plant. Check back in a couple months by gently pulling on the free tip of the buried vine to check for resistance. If the stem is rooted, you can then cut the tip from the parent plant and dig up your layeringling. You can then transplant the new plant to a different site, or pot it up. Some other running plants that can be grown this way are Gotu kola (Centella Asiatica, Apiaceae) and jiaogulan (Gynostemma Penta phylum, Cucurbitaceae). Since the plant naturally spreads in this manner, you can also find rooted portions, divide them into several plants, and move them to their new site or pot them up.

 

Mitchella is much trickier to grow from seed. The seeds are hydrophilic, which means they cannot be stored dry for very long and should be planted as soon as possible. Wash the seeds free of pulp before planting. Germination takes place after three months of cold moist stratification, though sometimes it can need alternating treatment of warm moist, cold moist and then warm moist. Which means if you plant seeds in the late summer, you may get germination the following spring or in the second spring after planting.

Partridgeberry Common names: partridgeberry, mitchella, twinflower, squawvine

Scientific name: Mitchella repens, Rubiaceae (Madder family)

Plant Part used: leaves and stem

Preparation and dosage: Fresh tincture 1:2 95%, dry tincture 1:4 60%, both preparations 1-2 ml 3x/day. One teaspoon of the dried herb or two teaspoons of the fresh herb finely minced, decocted in one cup of water for twenty minutes, drunk 3x/day.

Actions: uterine tonic, partus preparatory, diuretic, astringent, parturient

Energetics: cooling and drying

Indications: Partridgeberry is a uterine tonic for heavy menstruation, and after childbirth, miscarriage, surgical abortion, and D&C. It is one of the safer partus preparators and parturients and is often used to prevent miscarriage with wild yam (Dioscorea villosa) and black haw (Viburnum prunifolium). Also used in amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, and infertility. Urinary tract: urinary tract infections, benign prostatic hyperplasia, interstitial cystitis, bed-wetting in children, recurrent urinary tract infections in pregnancy, edema, dysuria. Digestive: diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, hemorrhoids

Specific Indications from Eclectic sources: Atonic conditions of the female reproductive organs; tardy menstruation, uneasy sensations in the pelvis with dragging tenderness and pressure, frequent desire to urinate, and difficulty in the evacuation. Also on menorrhagia: Excessive bleeding caused by uterine tonicity with a sensation of fullness, tenderness, and pressure in the abdomen.

Side effects/contraindications: May is too drying for long-term use with drier constitutions. Combine with demulcent or moistening herbs to mediate its effects.