Hawthorne, hops, horse chestnut, jalap, juniper, kava kava, kelp, lady’s slipper, lemon grass, licorice, deglycyrrhiznized

Medicinal Herbs H - L

Medicinal Herbs H - L

© 2006 Wellness Clubs of America.com

Hawthorne berry has long been used as a heart support. It is, in fact, beneficial to all muscles. Safe for long-term use, hawthorne increases blood flow, decreases demand for oxygen, and stabilizes nerve action. In doing so it strengthens the heart, improves angina (heart pain), and stabilizes heart rhythms.

Hops is perhaps best known for the role it plays in beer making, but hops flowers have been used for centuries to help induce a restful sleep. Hops give beer its distinctive taste and prevent bacterial growth. Its antibacterial properties were used by the ancient Hebrews to stop the spread of Bubonic Plague. One of its constituents is lupuline, which has been shown to possess muscle relaxing and sedative properties. It also contains phytoestrogens. It is commonly used in formulations that support relaxation and restful sleep.

Horse Chestnut contains substances that strengthen capillaries and veins. It is therefore helpful in decreasing the tendency to bruise, in reducing the size of varicose veins, preventing edema, and decreasing hemorrhoidal swelling. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.

Jalap contains resins that promote peristalsis (proper intestinal function). It is useful in herbal formulations in the management of constipation.

Juniper berries have a diuretic effect. They promote excretion of toxins by the kidneys and soothe the tissues of the urinary tract.

Kava Kava was once widely used as an alternative to prescription tranquilizers such as Valium. Reports of liver toxicity and failure led to its removal from the European market in 2002. While kava kava remains available in the United States at the present time its use cannot be recommended.

Kelp is a type of seaweed. Kelp is technically acophyllum nodosum, but many preparations sold as kelp contain bladderwrack, Fucus versiculosis. Both species of seaweed are good sources of trace minerals. Bladderwrack is a major source of highly bioavailable iodine. Kelp is used primarily to support thyroid function, but it is also reported to improve digestion, stimulate kidney function, increase circulation, and reduce inflammation. It also supports detoxification, helping remove drugs, chemicals, heavy metals, and radioactive strontium 90 from the body.

Lady’s Slipper is sometimes referred to as “American Valarian” since the two herbs have similar constituents and actions. Lady’s Slipper was used by pioneer physicians to treat delirium accompanying fevers. It is very supportive of the nervous system and it has been used for centuries to calm stress and anxiety.

Lemon Grass contains antiseptic and antispasmotic properties. It has been used for centuries to calm bronchial cough.

Licorice is used in Asian, Arabian, and European traditional healing systems. Its use was recorded in Egypt in the third century B.C. and it was found in King Tut’s tomb. It soothes inflamed mucous membranes, making it effective in the management of stomach and duodenal ulcers, bronchial cough, and asthma. Since it is 50 times sweeter than sugar it is commonly used to mask the taste of other herbs in formulations.

One of its constituents, glycyrrhizin, stimulates secretion of the hormone, aldosterone, which triggers fluid retention and raises blood pressure. While amounts significantly higher than those used for cough suppression or ulcer management are required to raise blood pressure in most individuals, blood pressure should be monitored and people with a history of high blood pressure should not use the herb. Individuals with kidney and liver problems, diabetes, arrhythmias, low potassium levels. edema, high sodium levels, heart problems, and those who are pregnant are also advised not to take licorice. A preparation from with the glycyrrhizn has been removed is available, and is said to be effective in healing peptic ulcers. Deglycyrrhiznized licorice is unlikely to be beneficial in lung disorders, however.

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