Taheebo, tart cherry, thyme, turmeric, uva ursi, valerian, vitex, white willow, wild cherry, witch hazel, wood betony, yarrow, yellow dock, yerba santa, yohimbe

Medicinal Herbs T - Y

Medicinal Herbs T - Y

© 2006 Wellness Clubs of America.com

Taheebo is extracted from the inner bark of certain South American trees. It is also known as pau d’arco ipe roxo, lapacho, or bow stick. Its medicinal use dates back to the Incas over 1000 years ago. Two active constituents have been identified. One, xyloidin, possesses antibiotic, antifungal, and antiviral properties. The other, lapachol, improves cellular oxygen usage. Xyloidin is beneficial in supporting the body’s ability to fight infections while lapachol supports the body’s ability to reverse cellular changes known to predispose to diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Parkinson’s Disease.

Tart Cherry juice is noted for its effectiveness in helping the body lower levels of a chemical called uric acid. High uric acid levels predispose to kidney stones and gout, a form of arthritis.

Thyme contains volatile oils that give it a strong aroma. It has been used as an incense and as a seasoning in cooking for thousands of years. Two constituents, thymol and carvacrol have medicinal value. Thyme possess antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and antiparasitic properties. In addition it relieves smooth muscle spasm, making it helpful in relieving bronchial coughs and intestinal cramping.

Turmeric root, also known as curcumin, is closely related to ginger. It is used as a yellow dye and cooking spice in India and China. Turmeric has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It supports liver and gallbladder function, helps to normalize microbial balance in the body, and normal platelet function.

Uva Ursi means “bear berry” in Latin. The berry is grown primarily in Spain at altitudes above 6000 feet. It has diuretic, analgesic, and antiseptic properties making it a valuable component of herbal formulations for support of the urinary tract. It has the potential of causing the urine to appear green.

Valerian root has been studied extensively. It contains substances called valepotriates, which have tranquilizing, sedating, and anti-convulsive properties. Valepotriates can also lower blood pressure. The herb works by helping centers in the brain regulate the autonomic (involuntary) nervous system. It has no known side effects, and unlike many sedative drugs, it actually improves concentration ability, motor coordination, and reaction time. Valerian has been used to calm nervous tension and associated symptoms for hundreds of years.

Vitex is also known as chaste berry, possibly due to its tendency to decrease sex drive. It acts upon the pituitary gland to support the production of luteinizing hormone, which regulates ovarian function. It also suppresses the production of prolactin, the hormone that triggers breast milk production. Vitex is traditionally used in supporting regular menstruation and may also be helpful in easing hot flashes during menopause.

White Willow bark contains salicin, the chemical from which aspirin, acetyl-salicylic acid is made. White willow bark possesses anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties. It has been used for centuries to relieve fever and joint or muscle discomfort. Unlike aspirin, white willow bark does not adversely affect the mechanisms that protect the stomach from ulceration.

Wild Cherry bark is noted for its ability to calm irritation of the bronchial tubes and lessen cough. It was valued by Native Americans in this regard.

Witch Hazel leaves and bark have astringent and styptic properties, meaning that they shrink swollen tissues and stop bleeding. They are also antiseptic, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory. Witch hazel is typically used topically rather than internally. It is ideal for management of hemorrhoids and can also be used on skin ulcers, insect bites, and poison ivy.

Wood Betony is a member of the mint family. It is most useful in the management of chronic headaches, chronic anxiety, and diarrhea. Its medicinal use can be traced back to at least the 1600s.

Yarrow is one of the best diaphoretic (perspiration-inducing) substances known. It also has diuretic properties. It is useful in supporting the body’s ability to release toxins through the sweat glands and kidneys.

Yellow Dock has a long-standing reputation as a blood purifier. American Indians used it to treat the jaundice of liver failure. Yellow dock contains more iron than any other plant. It is also a rich source of thiamine (vitamin B1). It is commonly found in herbal formulations used in detoxification regimens.

Yerba Santa is native to Southern California and Northern Mexico. American Indians and Spanish settlers would either chew on the leaves or make them into a tea to relieve coughs and hoarseness. It is beneficial in easing the symptoms of bronchitis and asthma.

Yohimbe bark is known worldwide for its ability to enhance male sex drive and potency. One of its constituents is yohimbine, which dilates blood vessels in a manner similar to drugs used to treat impotence. The herb also increases the body’s production of adrenalin and norepinephrine, which are needed to obtain and maintain erections. Yohimbe should not be used if a history of heart disease, kidney or liver problems, diabetes, or high blood pressure is present. It should not be combined with alcohol. It should be used cautiously, as it is capable of causing sleeplessness, agitation, headache, anxiety, and rapid heartbeat.

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