Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Herbs 201 ~ Mod 7, Option 1 ~ Effects

Explain the action of demulcent and emollient herbs, using examples.

Demulcent: These kinda herbs create a soothing film over a mucous membrane, which help relieve pain and inflammation of the membrane. Demulcent are used internally. An example of a demulcent would be Slippery Elm (Ulmus fulva). It is the bark that has a mucilage. One can make a tea or gruel from the bark, which is good for soothing either a sore throat or the digestive tract.

Emollient: These kinda herbs help soften and soothe the skin, or soothe a irritated or inflamed internal surface. A good example of a emollient is Black Hollyhock (Alcea rosea L.). One can make a poultice or infusion from the leaves for relieving inflammations, bruises, burns, wounds, boils or abscesses. It's use is similar to that of the Marshmallow (Althea officinalis). The Chileans are known to apply a root decoction for tumors. The Peruvians use the leaves as a poultice by cooking them in oil or milk, to relieve swelling.

Both Demulcent and Emollient herbs are both considered mucilaginous, which creates a soothing coated film over the mucous membrane that protects it from being agitated so it can heal properly without being disturbed. Many herbs like Slippery Elm (Ulmus fulva) and Black Hollyhock (Alcea rosea L.) Can be used both as a Demulcent (internally) or as a Emollient (externally). How the herb is used is based on it's dominate active constituent, it's therapeutic action, or the contraindications of said herb. Slippery Elm (Ulmus fulva) has no known contraindications and Black Hollyhock (Alcea rosea L.) appears to have no known contraindications as well. At least I have not found any in my research on this plant.

Source Cited

ACHS, “Intro: Demulcent Herbs”, http://www.achs.edu, 7/31/2010
ACHS, “Monograph: Ulmus fulva”, http://www.achs.edu, 7/31/2010
Wikidot, “Alcea rosea L. + Malvaceae – HOLLYHOCK”, http://hollyhock.wikidot.com, 7/31/2010
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, “Emollient”, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emollient, 7/31/2010
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, “Demulcent”, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demulcent, 7/31/2010
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, “Ulmus rubra”, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulmus_rubra, 7/31/2010
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,”Alcea rosea”, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcea_rosea, 7/31/2010
MedicineNet.com, “Demulcent definition - Medical Dictionary”, http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=11142, 7/31/2010
Dictionary.com, “Emollient”, http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/emollient, 7/31/2010

Herbs 201 ~ Mod 6, Option 1 ~ Effects

Describe the system of the body with which diaphoretic herbs are associated. Explain how diaphoretic herbs effect the body.

Diaphoretic herbs help induce perspiration in the skin of the body, allowing it to release toxins and waste through it's pores. If the pores are clogged the bloodstream ends up getting backup with all these toxins and waste, which can cause the whole system to work a lot harder, which can cause problems.

There are two main classes of diaphoretic herbs, depending on the conditions.

If the client's skin is cold and they have a weak pulse you will want to stimulate blood flow by using a stimulating diaphoretic herb like say, Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) or Sage (Salvia officinalis).

If they have hot, dry skin and a steady normal pulse you will want to use a relaxing diaphoretic like say, Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) or Yarrow (Achillea millefolium).

Stimulating diaphoretic herbs stimulate the local nerves of the sudoriferos glands, which are small tube like pocket located just beneath the skin (in the subcutaneous tissue). This causes you to heat up and increase perspiration.

Relaxing diaphoretic herbs stimulate the periphery sensory nerves that relax and dilate the superficial capillaries and vessels. This increases blood flow which causes an increase in perspiration.

Source Cited

ACHS; Her 201, Mod 6, Intro: Diaphoretic Herbs, http://www.achs.edu, 07/23/10,

Herbs 201 ~ Mod 5, Option 7 ~ (Part II)

Choose a day and drink appropriate herbal diuretic teas or infusions. Consider the best time of day to take your diuretic tea or infusion. Discuss your experience including why you used the herbs you selected, what dosage you used, and what time or times of day you took it. Be sure to check any contraindications before conducting this practical. Monitor your urine output versus liquid intake the day before your practical, the day of, and the day after. What differences do you see?

Herb: Uva Ursi
Latin Name: Arctostaphylos uva ursi
Also Known As: Arberry, BearBerry, Bear's Grape, Crowberry, Foxberry, Hog Cranberry, Kinnikinnick, Mealberry, Mountain Box, Mountain Cranberry, Mountain Tobacco, Sandberry, Upland Cranberry
Parts Used: Leaves

I chose Uva ursi because of it's ability to disinfect the urinary tract, point blank. None of it's other purposes seem to relate to me. Uva ursi is also used to treat arthritis, bronchitis, bladder inflammation, cystitis (acute and chronic), diabetes, enuresis (involuntary discharge of urine), kidney stones and congestion, leucorrhoea, nephritis, uric acid deposits, urethritis, and pyelitis. It's also used as a prostate tonic. According to the Mod 5 monograph, Uva ursi is only effective if the urine is alkaline as it need to be activated to produce hydroquinone which is a type of phenol which it must produce from the inactive esters, arbutin.

Note: Along with this tea I drank a cup distill water with a teaspoon of baking soda, which the monograph saids will increase the alkalinity of the urine and entice greater action from the Uva ursi.

Contraindications: Uva ursi is high in tannin which can cause kidney damage if used over a long period of time and it is recommended that it be used as a cold infusion so you get lest tannin and more allantoin. One should not use it for more than a month without consultanting your primary caretaker. So since Cleaver also has tannin in it I have decided to make as a cold infusion tea. Also avoid acidic juices and fruits. Also you should avoid if you are pregnant, have a kidney disorders, irritated digestive conditions, acidic urine, or in conjunction with remedies that cause acidic urine.

Because I wanted to do this as a cold infusion a steeping tea to lower the tannin levels, I tripled the steeping time. This is purely an experiment and have no way to know whether this is the right way since every site I looking up gave a different time it seem. I averaged out all the suggested steeping times and this is what I came up with. If someone can give me a better way to do cold infusion that be great!

Cleaver | Uva ursi cold infusion tea:

3 teaspoons of Cleaver 3 teaspoons of Uva ursi
A pitcher filled with 4 cups of distilled spring water

Mix herbs in a bowl then place in pitcher and pour water over it. Let it soak for 5 hours then strain and place in refrigerator. Next day, starting around 10am drink about 3 cups by 12pm..

The day before was normal as was my bathroom runs. I drink a healthy amount of water everyday so I urinate quite regular. Early evening I made my tea and refrigerated before going to bed.

The next day I started my morning at 6am and had a light breakfast (small bowl of cereal). Usually I have a large breakfast. By 10am my stomach was pretty much empty (diuretics work best on a empty stomach). So I had a cup of tea. By noon I had drank all the tea (3 ½ cups actually). Within an hour after the first cup, I notice that I was urinating longer, but was going to the restroom no more frequent than normal. Within an hour after the last cup I noticed a definite rise in the length of my urinating time in the restroom, but still not more frequent. I went to bed at 10pm. I got up twice during the evening to go to the restroom (I never get up to go to the restroom during the evening). The next day I got up to my normal routine. Urine was definitely back to water down cheap beer color.

Source Cite

1. Hoffmann, David; An Elders' Herbal; 1st Edition; Rochester, Vt; Healing Arts Press; 1993, pp. 205-206
2. Ibid, pp. 214
3. Brown, Deni; Encyclopedia of Herbs; 1st Edition; New York, NY; Dorling Kindersley Publishing Inc; 1995; pp. 86
4. Ibid, pp. 2855. Foster & Johnson; Desk Reference to Nature's Medicine; 1st Edition; Washington, D.C.; National Geographic Society; 2006; pp. 32-33

1. ACHS; Herb 201 Mod 5 , Diuretic Herbs; http://www.achs.edu (link is really long); 7/01/2010
2. lbid, Herb 201 Mod 5, Uva ursi or Bearberry 3. lbid, Herb 201 Mod 5, Cleavers 4. lbid, Herb 201 Mod 5, Cystitis: Bladder Infection.
5. Wiki; Bearberry; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bearberry; 7/01/2010
6. Wiki; Galium aparine; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleavers; 7/01/2010

Herbs 201 ~ Mod 5, Option 7 ~ (Part I)

Choose a day and drink appropriate herbal diuretic teas or infusions. Consider the best time of day to take your diuretic tea or infusion. Discuss your experience including why you used the herbs you selected, what dosage you used, and what time or times of day you took it. Be sure to check any contraindications before conducting this practical. Monitor your urine output versus liquid intake the day before your practical, the day of, and the day after. What differences do you see?

I have chosen to use Cleaver, Galium aparine and Uva Ursi, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi for my Practical Lab. Recently I noticed my urine was way darker than normal and it's odor over powering. So I decided it wouldn't hurt to do a good flushing of my system.

Herb: Cleaver,
Latin Name: Galium aparine goes
Also Known As: Stickywilly, Common Bedstraw, Goose Grass, Goosegrass, Cleavers, Catchweed Bedstraw, Cleaverwort, Scarthgrass, White Hedge.
Part used: All parts accept the roots is used.

I chose Cleaver cause it increases the amount of toxicity eliminated by the kidneys. It also helps cleanse the liver of toxins as well as stimulate the lymphatic system, which is a system that helps move waste and toxins out of the body. If the glands get swollen the system will slow down and the thing that the glands are meant to help get rid of can actually damage the gland if they are allowed to clog them. And it also helps by thinning the blood and keeping it flowing which can help with high blood pressure which has do do with the presence of the constituent asperuloside, a substance that is converted into prostaglandins by the body. Prostaglandins also helps regulate calcium movement, which helps in

preventing kidney stones. So over all, cleaver is a great diuretic herb.
Contraindications: Cleaver is considered safe for the most part. But due to a lack of scientific data, it's recommended that one uses caution in it's use. Especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or diabetic. Also it is a strong astringent due to it's high levels of tannin, so try not to use for long terms as this can actually cause damage to the kidneys.

Note:Continues in next post.

Herbs 201 ~ Mod 4, Option 4 ~ Herb Uses (Part II)

Choose two of the emmenagogue herbs we studied and make use of them for medicinal or culinary purposes. Discuss your experience. Be sure to check any contraindications before use.

Herb:Red Raspberry
Latin Name: Rubus idaeus
Parts Used: Leaves, fruits, roots and stems
Properties: Is a emmenagogue, alterative, stimulant, styptic, tonic and a astringent herb that tones the uterine muscles during pregnancy.

Medicinal: The main two uses they have is 1. It can be used to relieve menstrual cramps with a feeling of heaviness. 2. It's used to tone and strengthen the tissue and muscle of the uterus. Drinking it during the last few months of pregnancy to tone the muscles to assist contractions and check bleeding in labor.
It also can be used externally to treat tonsillitis, mouth inflammation, sores, conjunctivitis, minor wounds, burns and varicose ulcers.

Preparation: OK! I just like to eat them. But my mom was tested and told her body was low on Iron. She loves teas, so I told her to start drinking red raspberry tea. My mom went and bought some and tried it and she seems to like it.

Here is how she prepared it as per my instructions.

Take about 1oz of red raspberry leaf and steep in 2 cups of boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes and strain through a cheese cloth into a mug. Add honey to sweeten since raspberry leaves are kinda blah. lol

Contraindications: Although this herb is commonly used in pregnancy, Dr. Francis Brinker says in his book Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions that it is contraindicated where there is a history of precipitate labors. He also claims it has antigonadotropic activity.

History and Folklore: The use of red raspberry Leaves dates back to ancient Greeks and Romans. I haven't found anymore than that. Haven't been able to find any history on it's use as a wine though there were wineries producing it as a wine since at least the 1800's

Source Cited

1. Brown, Deni. The Herb Society Of America, ENCYCLOPIDIA of HERBS & THEIR USES, 1st Edition. New York, NY: Dorling Kindersley Publishing Inc, 1995, pp. 373,
2. Ibid, pp. 223
3. Ibid, pp. 194
4. Ibid, pp. 344
5. Moore, Michael. Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West, 1st Edition. Santa Fe, NM: Red Crane Books, 2001, pp. 305
6. Bremness, Lesley. The Complete Book OF HERBS, A practical guide to growing & using herbs, 1st Edition. New York, NY: Penguin Books USA Inc, 1994, pp. 247-248,

Herbs 201 ~ Mod 4, Option 4 ~ Herb Uses (Part I)

Choose two of the emmenagogue herbs we studied and make use of them for medicinal or culinary purposes. Discuss your experience. Be sure to check any contraindications before use.

...It is of an heating and digesting qualitie, and is profitable for the stomacke.
~John Gerald, 1597

Herb: Ginger
Latin Name: Zingiber officinale
Parts Used: Rhizomes, oils
Properties: Is a sweet, pungent, aromatic herb. It can raise perspiration, improve digestion, liver function and ease nausea, vomiting, and coughing. It is a stimulate that can help circulation. A antispasmodic and pain reliever.

Medicinal: Ginger is very popular internally for easing morning sickness, indigestion, colds, coughs and a host of other symptoms. Externally it is commonly used as a antispasmodic to relieve menstrual cramps, spasmodic pain and rheumatism. There is tons of uses within Chinese medicine as well, but my focus is Western medicine right now. I don't want to spread myself out to far yet. Focus on becoming adept at one system first, though I have every intention of delving into both Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine at a later date.

Preparation: I love Ginger tea and I tend to have digestion problems quite often. So I drink ginger to settle my stomach. Here is how I prepare it. I take about 3oz of sliced Ginger and put it in a teapot and pour 2 cups of boiling water over it and cover the pot. I let it steep for 15 to 20 minutes then strain it through a small square of cheese cloth over a mug. Kick back and relax and ya! Yum!!!

Two of my friends are pregnant right now and I have recommend it to them to combat morning sickness.

Contraindications: Ginger has no known toxic side effects, but some may experience heart burn and too much could cause a reverse effect of what it was intended for, and make the stomach upset. Some folks are sensitive to it's strong tangy taste. There are no known ill effect for pregnant mamas. But I would still suggest staying on the side of caution and using in small doses.
History and Folklore: The Romans brought Ginger west from Asia. It can be found in the Koran and Hindu writings and Confucius mentions it. So it's oldest documented use is dated around 650 BCE. It was brought to Europe by the Roman soldiers where it became second to the pepper in popularity. In the Roman Empire it was used more as a medicinal than culinary herb. The use of Ginger as a medicinal is actually older than it's use as a culinary spice and is one of the few herbs to have almost everyone of it's medicinal claims verified scientifically.

Note:This paper continues in next post.

Herbs 201 ~ Mod 3, Option 2 ~ Herb Actions

Explain each of the following actions and use examples:
1. Vermifuges 2. Vermicides 3. Taenifuges 4. Taenicides

All for of these kinds of herbs are called Anthelmintic herbs, in that they can either expell or destroy different kinds of parasites or worms. These kind of herbs are the 4 actions that Anthelmintic herbs are broken up into.

1.Vermifuges: These are herbs that expel basic intestinal worms from the body. Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) is a vermifuges herb. The hyssop oils from the flower is used in the form of a hot infusion to expel intestinal worms along with related therapy, good hygiene and nutrition. Note: It has been used since Biblical times and is mention in the Bible, Psalms 51:7, “Purge me with Hyssop, and I shall be clean”. No doubt they were speaking of worms, no?

2.Vermicides: These are herbs that kill basic intestinal worms from the body. Wormwood (Artemisia absinthum) is a vermicide herb. It has been used in India to kill intestinal worms and still is to day. Interesting note: They say it was used to kill tapeworms as well, even though they list it as a vermicide, not a taenicide herb, and was used by the Greek, Romans, Arabs and Persians to expel intestinal worms which would make it a vermifuges herb, which it is not listed as either. .

3.Taenifuges:These are herbs that expel Tapeworms from the body. Pumpkin Seeds (Cucuribita pepo) is a vermicide. The expressed oil of the seed is used in the form of a infusion or the emulsion or one to two tablespoons of crushed seeds with honey in three doses spread out over 6 hours. Note: They say the seeds from the West Indies is strong than American pumpkin seeds.

4.Taenicides: These are herbs that kill Tapeworms. It was not easy finding a strictly taenicides herb. Ripwort Plantain (Plantago lanceolata) turns out to be a taenicides herb widely used in Ethiopia to kill tapeworms in children in the form of a infusion from it's dry seeds. Note: The Plantain monograph in Module 2 mentions that it is a anthelmintic herb used for worms but doesn't say it was a taenicides herbs.

Source cited

RBC Herbal; Parasite Cleansing; http://drclarkia.com; 06/15/10.
Divine Remedy; Wormwood Uses; http://www.divineremedies.com/wormwood.htm; 06/15/10.
Global Herbal Supply; Hyssop; http://www.globalherbalsupplies.com/herb_information/hyssop.htm; 06/15/10.
The Bible; Psalms 51:7; 06/16/10.
Protabase Record; Plantago lanceolata L.; http://database.prota.org/PROTAhtml/Plantago%20lanceolata_En.htm; 06/16/16.
Herbal Nation Blog; Pumpkin Seed; http://herbalnation.blogspot.com/2008/09/pumpkin-seed-cucurbita-pepo-medicinal.html; 06/16/10.

Herbs 201 ~ Mod 2, Option 3 ~ What are active constituents?

Discuss three from any of the herbs studied in this lesson.
(All three need not be in one herb).

The Active constituents is the chemically active part or the plant that does the healing. A plant can produce several active constituents, where usually one is the dominate. Depending on which we need, there are several ways to draw and isolate them for use either by ingestion or topically. Steeping in teas, infusions, decoctions, tintures, fluid extracts, fomentations, ointments & salves, poultices, syrups.

The plants metabolism uses the sun to make simple sugars through photosynthesis which is partially responsible for making active constituents.

There are many different types of active constituents. Here are three.

1. Flavonoids: Flavonoids are what give flowers and fruit their color, and in some cases the leaves as well. Flavonoids are known for their actions as antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and antiallergenics.

The herb Red Clover (Latin: Trifolium pratense) has been found to be rich in a flavonoids called isoflavone. Red Clover isoflavones is believe to help maintain the density of the bones in both menopausal and peri-menopausal women.

NOTE: For the ancient Celtic priesthood of Druids , clovers were a symbol of the Earth, Sea and Sky which are the three realms of Druidry. Just thought I toss that in there. ;-)

2. Glycosides: Glycosides have a strong affect on animal and body tissue and some are real poisonous. Using water they can be separated into sugar and non-sugar.

The herb Plantain (Latin: Plantago major) has the active constituent, glycoside aucubin, which is known to have both healing and analgesic effect on bladder infections and stomach ulcers. It also has potential hepatoprotective and anti-inflammatory actions.

3. Allicin: Allicin is a constituent found in garlic oil if I'm reading this right. Allicin is created when garlic (Latin: Allium sativum) is finely chopped or crushed. Allicin has strong antibiotic properties. It's great as an anti-fungal in the treatment of skin infections and athlete's foot.

Source cited

WebMD; Menopause Symptoms: Natural Remedies; http://www.webmd.com/menopause/guide/8-natural-ways-to-ease-menopause-symptoms; 06/04/10
Garlic Central; Allicin – Health; http://www.garlic-central.com/allicin.html; 06/04/10

Herbs 201 ~ Mod 1, Option 2 ~ Essay

Where do I began? I believe I did a short version of this in my first class, but I shall try to go into greater depth this time around. I can't pin point the moment my interest in herbalism first began, but I can piece together what led me to where I am now.

I'll begin by saying that my spiritual beliefs and my membership within Ár nDraíocht Féin; A Druid Fellowship (ADF) play a major role in where I am going with my herbal studies.

I have been a practicing Druid for going on 26 years and actually stepped on the path of earth centered spirituality at the age of 16.
As long as I can remember, I have always been what I would call a nature nerd. As a kid my bookshelves and window sill was covered with leaves, twigs, pine cones, acorns, walnuts and any seeds I found. When my brothers and sister were off playing I be in the yard helping my grandfather doing the yard work or helping my grandma re-potting her plants. As a young teenager I loved to wander the Los Padres in my hometown.

I had a infinity for trees and in my early 20's I joined the California Conservation Corp for a year. Then I met my mentor in Boulder, CO who first set me feet to the Druidic path. Later at 24 I got involved with EarthFirst! and was involved with the Redwood Summer rally. Around this time I begin to realized I was starting to pick up a little here and there and thought it be cool to actually learn about herbs .
Over the years I continue to pick up a bit here and a bit there on herbalism. I worked on a few organic farms and started to get really interested in sustainable living and homesteading. By my mid 30's I had decided I wanted to homestead and started really researching and learning all I could.

During this time I went out with a lass who was training to be a midwife and this was my first real introduction to herbalism. I had wandered through a few ICs (intentional communities) and realized that the medical field was the one area they were not looking seriously at. Oh many dabbled in kitchen herbalism, but there were very few medically trained herbalist. It was strange too. There were a lot of trained masseuses and yoga instructors and Reiki practitioners and energy workers. But medically trained herbalist were majorly lacking in numbers. Being organic farming seemed to be at the center of this whole movement I would have expected herbalist to be at the top of the list among these communities. I started studying herbalism seriously on my own.

In 2003 I joined ADF and a homesteading plan begun to formulate in my mind. At first I was thinking purely a Druidic farm. My hearth culture is Gaelic,so it didn't take long for my work with herbs to attract Airmid to me. In 2007 I contacted Chris at Austrasian College about my interested in the Master Herbalist program. It took me 2 more years before I was finally able to find the funding to enter ACHS. In that 2 years I was encourage by my friends and the leadership within ADF to start a Order dedicated to Airmid and work towards getting a herbal training program going within ADF. I formed Ord na Airmid, and begun planning how to go about setting up a Druidic monastery and herb farm. I begun my work on my Dedicant studies. It will take me a year to complete that then start my Clergy Studies. My goal is to earn my clergyhood about the time I complete my herbal schooling and get my certification as a Master Herbalist. Education, knowledge, science and scholarship is taken seriously within Druidry and believe there should be accountability in any field one claims to practice. Hence my desire to get certified by a respected accredited college. My specific tradition follows the path of Knowledge (herbalism), Devotion (Airmid) & Service (tending to the health of the poor & needy). So you see I will be able to meet all three paths as a herbalist. Oh and for those who do not know, Airmid is the goddess of herbalism in the Gaelic hearth of Druidry. If you are interested you can read a great piece about her at: http://www.seanet.com/~inisglas/airmid.html

The picture above is of me at the Earthfirst Redwood Summer rally. Darryl Cherney is on guitar. My work within the environmental movement played probably the greatest role in my interest in herbalism because I studied the eco-system of the great red giants and I became fascinated by the diverse plant life that depended on them.

So what do I hope to gain from this course? A deeper and better scientific understanding of herbs to compliment my spiritual understanding and relationship with them. To help not only preserve a practiced once revered among my ancestors, but also teach it to others. And to be able to offer alternative healthcare to the needy who can't normally afford it.

Some who know me are probably wondering, "What about Brighid? Isn't she you matron?" Yes and no. Brighid is more like my spiritual mother. She has seen fit to foster me off to Airmid. So I am a child of Brighid, a Devotee of Airmid. It's actually a beautiful relationship, since my mother is a goddess of healing as well.

Beannachd leat!

Update: Laptop Virus

Wow! It's been awhile since I have posted to my blog. I am so sorry! I recently got a virus in my laptop and am waiting for my new laptop to arrive. In the mean time I have manage to get limited access to my laptop (still won't let me access the net). I can't remember if I backed up all my school papers on my external harddrive (A friend has it). So I have decided to post them here and back them up by doing so. So the following string of post will be those papers from my Herbs 201 class. Enjoy!