Tuesday, 28 June 2011

(5) Medicinal Lichen Profile

There are many different medicinal lichens, Robert Rogers (1) neatly notes all the medicinal lichens in his work “Medicinal Lichens”.

Robert Rogers states: “Did you hear the one about the fungus and the alga… they took a lichen to each other” – commenting on how the lichen was first formed.

Lichen means “leprous” in Greek, the plant was named by Dioscorides, he thought it resembled the skin of people with leprosy, and this encouraged the Doctrine of Signatures to use the lichens as an attempted cure for leprosy. In 16th century Europe they thought the lichens were secretions of soil, rocks and trees. Then in the 19th century some experts thought lichens were composed of air and/or water, while others though they found an example of spontaneous generation. However, lichen’s are a slow growing symbiotic combination of fungi and algae – it is believed that it is a mutually beneficial partnership, as the alga is green and can utilize sunlight and carbon dioxide to make food, while the fungus holds water and provides structure.
Many scientists now believe, following laboratory studies, that the fungus is really a parasite. When lichens were experimentally separated in labs and grown apart, the algae grew more quickly and the fungus more slowly; however, when the two join forces, they can survive where neither would make it on its own. In fact, scientists could only get the two to re-join when the conditions would not support their individual growth – a survival technique perhaps?

In 1869, the German, Simon Schwender wrote: “This fungus… slaves are green algae, which it has sought out or indeed caught hold of, and compelled into its service. It surrounds them, as a spider its prey, with a fibrous net of narrow meshes, which is gradually converted into an impenetrable covering, but while the spider sucks its prey and leaves it dead, the fungus incites the algae found in its net to more rapid activity, even to more vigorous increase.”
The term helotism, suggesting a master-slave relationship, may be describe lichens.

Lichen’s are very adaptable to becoming dormant during dry periods and at low temperatures, they can remain this way for years, reviving when the conditions improve. They have the ability to grow in the coldest, snow-free alpine and boreal forest, often growing less than a milimeter a year, and if left alone can reach an incredible 2000 years old! Typically, lichen’s prefer to grow on tree trunks – however, it must be noted that they are not parasites, as they do not penetrate the bark. Often lichen’s grow on the North facing side of the tree, this was an advantage to traveller’s, especially travelling in the woods at night.
It is estimated that there are 13,000-30,000 lichen species that inhabit the plant. Within over 20 species added to the list in British Columbia each year.

The great mystery when it comes to lichen’s, is their chemical “secondary compounds”, which are not by-products of normal plant metabolism, due to the energy required to produce them. During World War II, both the Germans and Americans investigated lichens for their antibiotic potential, and found over 50% of species tested showing activity. Over 700 secondary lichen substances have been identified, with new compounds being described all the time. Aromatic compounds, such as depsides, desidones and carotenoids, are unique to lichens. Studies out of India have shown species of Lepraria to exhibit hypotensive, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic and neuro-muscular-junction-blocking activity.
There are two notable exceptions within the lichen’s: Wolf Lichen (Letharia vulpina) and Powdered Sunshine (Vulpicida penastri), both contain pinastric and vulpinic acids – both of which are extremely poisonous. Be careful if ever collecting L.vulpina as it can cause severe respiratory irritation and nosebleeds in closed environments.

Lichens, especially Usnea spp., are an indicator of pure air. They are more susceptible to damage from sulphur dioxide than other plants, and good monitors of air quality. Researchers from Italy, in a 1997 article in Nature, suggest a strong correlation between lichen biodiversity and lung cancer. The lichen Hypogymnia physodes is the most tolerant macrolichen to sulphur dioxide pollution, and will incorporate it into cellular tissue, as a measure of toxicity in the area. Lichen’s are resistant to radiation, and in one experiment they survived 1000 rads a day for nearly two years from a distance of 8 metres and continued to grow - a single exposure of 400 rads will kill a human.
Two of the very few organic chlorine containing substances occurring in nature, gangaleoidin and diploiein, have been isolated from lichens.

We will be looking specifically at Iceland Moss as a medicinal lichen.

Iceland Moss, Cetraria islandica, although called a moss, this brown lichen attaches to rocks in open sub-alpine forests. It is best collected when green and fully-grown between May and September. An average yield of 700kg per acre or air-dried Iceland moss could be expected if solidly covered, the exception rather than the rule.
The lichen is symbolic of health, and associated with the birth date January 16th. It is associated with the second Rune, UR.

In Iceland, it is called Fjallagros, and as far back as 1280 AD, the first written laws of that country banned people picking it on one another’s land. The Chipewyan used Tsanju as a source of both food and medicine. Iceland moss is used as a source of glycerol in the soap industry, and because of its lack of odour, in cold cream manufacture. In Russia, during World War II, Iceland Moss, Alectoria ochroleuca and various Cladina spp. were used to make a type of molasses, with the glucose yield from Iceland Moss at 78% of dry weight. Bread Moss, or Brodmose, is a Scandinavian name for Iceland Moss due to its use in extending wheat flour or potatoes in times of famine.

Iceland Moss is both antibiotic and heat stable and safe for human consumption. Water extracts of the lichen have been found to inhibit development of the tobacco mosaic virus – even at 1:500, it reduced the number of brown lesions on leaves by 80% due to an enzyme called ribonuclease.

Medicinal Constituents
Lobaric acid, glucans lichenin (polysaccharides 30-40%), isolichenin (10%), lichenan (17%), galactomannan (7.6%), various usnic, salicylic, cetraric, physodalic and fumaric acids, estrosterol peroxide, protolichesterinic acid (0.1-0.5%), lichester-inic, protocetraric acid (2-11%), aromatic lichen acids (1-1.5%), cetrarin, pocrolichenin, oxalic acid, furan derivatives, iodine, vitamin A, trace minerals including iron, iodide and calcium salts, fatty acid lactones, terpenes, mucilage, fibre, and gums.

Historically, Iceland Moss has been used to manufacture antibiotic to inhibit tuberculosis, 1kg of antibiotics from 40kg of plant material. In Finalnd, an anti-fungal cream called USNO is made for treating athlete’s foot and ringworm. The lichen entered the Finnish Pharmacopoeia in 1915. In Switzerland, Iceland Moss is used for sore throat pastilles and as an additive to luncheon meats and pastries to retard spoilage.
Iceland Moss is a nutritious and soothing tonic, with slight laxative effect. It helps improve the appetite and digestion of the elderly and those recovering from a debilitating illness. The bitter principles benefit the stomach in both tincture and infusion form, stimulating the production of saliva and gastric juices. It, therefore, can be used like Queen of the Meadow, for both hyper- and hypo-acidic stomach conditions.
Decoctions are used for chronic diarrhoea and respiratory problems. Like Lungwort, it increases the flow of breast milk but not with inflamed or sore breasts. Both low thyroid and anaemia conditions are helped by trace levels of iodine and iron and other nutritive properties as well.
Lichenin is soluble in hot water and upon cooling forms a gel; while isolichenin, present in smaller amounts, is soluble in cold water. Lichenan is a polysaccharide similar to beta glucan, found in Oats and Barley. Stubler et al found lichenan exhibited strong anti-viral activity.

It soothes nausea from gastritis and vomiting, combines well with Borage and Chickweed for peptic ulcers, hiatal hernia, and esophaheal reflux. In fact, for those individuals with a fluid deficiency, it would work better than a straight astringent herb.

In an open clinical trial, 100 patients with pharyngitis, laryngitis or bronchial ailments were given lozenges containing 160mg of an aqueous extract of the lichen. There was an 86% positive response with good gastric tolerance and lack of side effects. Perhaps it should be considered in cases of diverticulitis and even cystic fibrosis in children.
Mild infusions of Iceland Moss can be used as a vaginal douche for its soothing, demulcent properties. Tincture form is best for whooping cough, asthma, TB, and kidney/bladder complaints; especially those related to a dry, irritating conditions. Here, the sweet, moist and astringent nature of Iceland Moss helps address the underlying concern. It may also be used for night sweats or fevers, but is taken during the day to prevent re-occurrence. Do not use Iceland Moss when a fever is present.

Protolichesterinic acid has been found to exhibit anti-tumour activity in mice. More recent studies have shown protolichesterinic acid to be a potent inhibitor of HIV. Other components, such as polysaccharides, have been found to stimulate the immune system. Studies have shown that the polysaccharides identified are comparable to the fungal polysaccharide lentinan (Shiitake) used for clinical cancer therapy in Japan. Whilst Iceland Moss also appears to suppress the growth of Heliobacter pylori, which contributes to gastric and duodenal ulcers.
Lobaric acid, another constituent, has been found to be significantly anti-carcinogenic with regards to two breast carcinoma and erythro-leukemia cell lines as well as anti-inflammatory properties. Studies by Haraldsdottir et al found lobaric acid very effective against a number of human cancer cell lines in vitro. While studies by Gulcin et al determined that Iceland Moss contains significant potential as a natural antioxidant.

In homeopathy, Iceland Moss is used for acute and chronic bronchitis; asthma and pains in the chest while coughing. Dose: 10-20 drops of tincture as needed. The mother tincture is prepared from the dried lichen.

Iceland Moss is steam distilled to produce a brownish essential oil. The bulk is composed of aliphatic acids are saturated (66.8%), composed mainly of palmitic, stearic, and behenic acid. Unsaturated acids compose the rest, with oleic and linoleic acids being the most common.

Iceland Moss and its spiritual properties are related to the signature of this lichen. Individuals struggling with their personal spiritual evolution, or those in difficult environments, physically and emotionally, will benefit from this lichen. When an individual comes close to achieving deeper awareness of God, there is often great fear and unwillingness to continue. This is often related to the incorrect belief that nothing will remain to be done on earth. Those working towards spiritual goals based in Eastern philosophies will also be helped. In the martial arts, one seeks to let go of the mind, and yet be ready for full physical response. Iceland Moss will help develop this trust as well as help an individual discover and feel comfortable with their own level of spiritual purpose.

1.       “Medicinal Lichens” by Robert Rogers

Sunday, 19 June 2011

A Vulnerary Selection for Poultices & Pastes

Today we looked at the herbalist's "First Aid Kit" and the various herbs that can be used to make up such a kit.

The first thing in a herbalist's first aid kit should be a selection of dried herbs that can be made into a herbal tincture or decoction. These decoctions can be used as antiseptic rinses with astringent properties, to clean, disinfect and in some cases begin the healing process of topical wounds.

Useful herbs for antiseptic rinses are:

Skin: Myrrh, Goldenseal, Marigold, Thyme, Sage, Spagnum moss and Witch Hazel.

Eyes: Marigold and German Chamomile.

Nose: Yarrow and Eucalpytus Oil.

Throat & Mouth: Goldenseal, Sage and Cinnamon.

Mucous Membranes: Goldenseal, Echinacea and Myrrh.

Next, would be the herbs suitable to create poultices. Firstly, what is the difference between poultices, hot and cold, and compresses.

Poultices: A classic poultice is a soft, moist mass of material, typically plant material, applied topically to a wound to relieve aching, inflammed or pain. Traditionally this is done by preparing an infusion of, either dried or fresh herbs, in hot water, then wrapping them in muslin and applying directly to the skin. Depending on the desired affect, placing the veiny side of the leaves against the skin will draw poison away from the tissue, through osmosis. Whereas placing the soft side of the leaf against the skin will send healing elements downward, and protect the skin.

The choice of whether to apply the poultice hot or cold will depend on the type of wound sustained:

Hot poultices are best for superficial wounds - as the heat helps to draw blood to the surface, open the pores and assist the assimilation of the herbs through the skin.
Cold poultices are best for deep wounds, such as contusions, bruises, fractures etc; the affected area will usually feel 'hot' to touch and so the cold poultice (made either by preparing herbs with cold water, or by cooling a previously prepared one) will act as an analgesic - helping to draw the beneficial effects of the herbs down deep into the tissue.

Whereas, in comparison, a compress: is best described as a cloth soaked in a herbal infusion. The infusion can be hot or cold, and before application the cloth is squeezed fairly dry - they should then be changed frequently to ensure maximum effect. Compresses are best applied to open wounds, specifically where there is a requirement for bandaging or swabbing prior to subsequent treatment - Chamomile, Calendula and Hypericum are all good compress herbs, helping to cleanse and begin the healing process.

Poultice and Paste Herbal Selection

  • Arnica - Arnica montana
  • Comfrey - Symphytum officinale
  • Chamomile - Matricaria recutita
  • Chickweed - Stellaria media
  • Goldenseal - Hydrastis canandensis
  • Hebridean Moss - Chondrus crispus
  • Horsetail - Equizetum arvense
  • Linseeds (Flax) - Linum usitatissimum
  • Marigold - Calendula officinalis
  • Marshmallow - Althaea officinalis
  • Oats - Avena sativa
  • Self-heal - Prunella vulgaris
  • Slippery Elm Powder - Ulmus fulva
  • St. John's Wort - Hypericum perforatum
  • Woundwort - Stachys palustris
  • Yarrow - Achillea millefoium

Parts used: Dried Flower Heads

For external use only – some contra-indications when used on broken/bleeding (lacerated) body tissue. An excellent remedy for bruises or contusions (closed wounds only) – A contusion is a bruising formed through relatively a minor haematoma of tissue in which capillaries and sometimes venules are damaged by trauma, allowing blood to seep into the surrounding extracellular space. Bruises can involve capillaries at the level of the cutaneous tissues, subcutaneous tissue, musculature, or bone.
A bruise may be named by the length of its diameter: Ecchymosis (1 to 3cm), Purpura (3mm to 1cm), or Petechia (<3mm) – although these terms can also refer to internal bleeding not caused by trauma.
Protected species – Do Not Collect

Podlech: Externally (though not on broken skin) as antiseptic ointment to discourage infection in wounds and promote healing, to treat torn muscles and bruising and for rheumatic problems. Also used as a gargle to treat inflamed gums and mouth and throat infections. Internally to improve circulation and treat venous disorders. In homeopathy to treat inflamed veins, haemorrhage, weak heartbeat, arteriosclerosis and angina. Also used to treat epilepsy and sea-sickness.
Bartram: Bruises and contusions where skin is unbroken. Severe bruising after surgical operation. Neuralgia, sprains, rheumatic joints, aches and pains after excessive use as in sports and gardening. Combination: 1 part Tincture Arnica to 10 parts Witch Hazel water as a lotion.
Hoffmann: Whilst this herb should not be taken internally as it is potentially toxic, it provides us with one of the best remedies for external local healing and may be considered a specific when it comes to the treatment of bruises and sprains. The homeopathic preparation is entirely safe to take internally, especially when taken according to homeopathic directions. The herb itself, used externally, will help in the relief of rheumatic pain, the pain and inflammation of phlebitis and similar conditions. It may in fact be used wherever there is pain or inflammation on the skin, as long as the skin is not broken.

Bartram: Compress: handful of flowerheads to 1 pint boiling water. Saturate handtowl or suitable material in mixture and apply. Tincture: 1 handful (50g) flowerheads to 1 pint 70 per cent alcohol (say Vodka) in wide-necked bottle. Seal tight. Shake daily for 7 days. Filter. Use as a lotion or compress: 1 part tincture to 20 parts water. Or Weleda Lotion, Nelson’s Arnica cream, ointment and wet dressing.
Hoffmann: You can prepare your own tincture of this herb as follows: pour ½ litre (one pint) of 70% alcohol over 50g (2 ounces) of freshly picked flowers. Seal it tightly in a clear glass container and let it stand for at least a week in the sun or in a warm place. Filter it and it is ready for use. To store it, put the tincture in a sealed container and keep it out of direct sunlight.

Parts used: Root and Leaf.

A rapid wound/connective tissue healer (including bone fractures). Comfrey repairs at cellular level due to the allantoin content. Useful wherever a mucilaginous tissue restorative is required. Demulcent, astringent and haemostatic. Useful poultice combination: Comfrey and Slippery Elm – the latter prevents excessive fluidity.
There are concerns that Comfrey is hepato-toxic (pyrrolizidine alkaloid content) are unsubstantiated by centuries of empirical evidence to the contrary – “attempts to equate the effects of its isolated compounds apart from the whole plant yield conflicting results” (Bartram). No plant restriction has been placed on dried Comfrey leaf as a tea.
Internal use not recommended, as plant may have some carcinogenic effect. Nevertheless, Comfrey is also being investigated for possible anti-tumour activity.

Podlech: In homeopathy for fractures, bruises, painful joints and circulatory problems. Leaf tea used for coughs and digestive ulcers, and a poultice for sprains, burns, sores, cuts and eczema.
Bartram: Ulceration anywhere along the gastro-intestinal tract; colitis, hiatus hernia. Bleeding from stomach, throat, bowel, bladder and lungs (haemoptysis) in which it reduces blood clotting time. Once used extensively for tuberculosis (pulmonary and elsewhere). Irritating cough, ‘dry’ lung complaints; pleurisy. Increases expectoration. Should not be given for oedematous conditions of the lungs. Bones – fractures: to promote formation of a callus; rickets, wasting disease. Skin – varicose ulcers and indolent irritating sores that refuse to heal. Promotes suppuration of boils and gangrene as in diabetes. Bruises. STD skin lesions, internally and externally. Blood sugar control: assists function of the pancreas. Urine: scalding. Rheumatoid arthritis: improvement reported. Malignancy: cases of complete regression of sarcoma and carcinoma recorded. Rodent ulcer, (as a paste).
Hoffmann: The impressive wound-healing properties of Comfrey and partially due to the presence of allantoin. This chemical stimulates cell proliferation and so augments the wound-healing both inside and out. The addition of much demulcent mucilage makes Comfrey a powerful healing agent in gastric and duodenal ulcers, hiatus hernia and ulcerative colitis. It’s astringency will help haemorrhages wherever they occur. It has been used with benefits in cases of bronchitis and irritable cough, where it will soothe and reduce irritation whilst helping expectoration. Comfrey may be used externally to speed wound-healing and guard against scar tissue developing incorrectly. Care should be taken with very deep wounds, however, as the external application of Comfrey can lead to tissue forming over the wound before it its healed deeper down, possibly leading to abscesses. It may be used for any external ulcer, for wounds and fractures as a compress or poultice. It is excellent in chronic varicose ulcers. It has a reputed anti-cancer action.

Podlech: As a poultice. Boil 100g root in 1 litre of water for 10 minutes.
Bartram: Thrice daily. Using the dried herb, one heaped teaspoon to each cup; or 1oz to 1 pint boiling water; infuse for 15 minutes. Dose half-1 cup for no more than 8 weeks. Or a tincture using the leaf or root (separately), a poultice, a compress, an ointment, or an oil.
Hoffmann: Decoction: put 1-3 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb in a cup of water, bring to the boil and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day.

Chamomile Flowers
Parts used: Flowers.

Wild or German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is the more potent and bitter of the Chamomiles. It is the wild Chamomile that yields that azure blue chamazulenes upon distillation. They are one of nature’s finest anti-inflammatory remedies. The fresh pulped flowers may be used externally as a poultice, or the aqueous extract applied as a compress – Bartram recommends Oil of Chamomile – and excellent remedy for neuralgia. Constituents: volatile oil, flavonoids and tannic acid.
Bartram: Both Chamomiles are relaxants (mild sedatives). Both have a gentle soothing action on the fretful child, relaxing nerve tension without undue sedation and side-effects. The difference between German (wild) and Roman: German is stronger, acting beneficially on mucous surfaces. Roman Chamomile, is less bitter, more soothing to the lungs, and more directly hastens menstrual flow.

Podlech: As appetite stimulant and digestive tonic. A tea from dried flowers relieves nausea and indigestion. On poultice for eczema and wounds.
Bartram: Internal use. Nervous excitability, convulsions, restlessness, hyperactivity in children, insomnia, early stages of fever, measles (warm tea), travel sickness, pin and thread worms, peptic ulcer, gastro-intestinal spasm – calms down digestive system, pre-menstrual tension, hysteria from womb irritation, candida albicans, inflammation of respiratory and gastro-intestinal tracts, sore throat and mouth. Psychosomatic illness. May be used in pregnancy. External use. “Inflammation and irritation of skin and mucosa, including the oral cavity and gums, respiratory tract and anal and genital area”.
Conjunctivitis – cold tea. Gangrene – poultice with a few drops of Myrrh tincture. Combinations: with Valerian, Passion flower and Hops (equal parts) for nervous excitability. With Liquorice 1 and Chamomile 4 for gastric ulcer and chronic dyspepsia. Chamomile works well with Peppermint and Balm; equal parts.
Hoffmann: Chamomile is renowned for its medical and household uses. The apparently endless list of conditions it can help all fall into areas that the relaxing, carminative, and anti-inflammatory actions can aid. It is an excellent, gentle sedative, useful and safe for use with children. It will contribute its relaxing actions in any combination and is thus used in anxiety and insomnia. Indigestion and inflammations such as gastritis are often eased with Chamomile. Similarly, it can be used as a mouth wash for inflammations of the mouth such as gingivitis and for bathing inflamed and sore eyes. As a gargle it will help sore throats. As an inhalation over a steam bath, it will speed recovery from nasal catarrh. Externally it will speed wound healing and reduce the swelling due to inflammation. As a carminative with relaxing properties it will ease flatulence and dyspeptic pain.

Bartram: One teaspoon to each cup boiling water; infuse for 5-10 minutes; one cup freely. Or a powder, a liquid extract, a tincture, the Oil of Chamomile, an essential oil, a compress, a Chamomile bath – add strong infusion to bath water for irritable skin rash, Chamomile enema – 1 tablespoon flowers in 2 litres (3 and a half pints) boiling water; infuse, strain and inject warm.
Hoffmann: Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 2 teaspoonfuls of the dried leaves and let infuse for 5-10 minutes. For digestive problems, this tea should be drunk after meals. A stronger infusion should be used as a mouthwash for conditions such as gingivitis. Half a cup of flowers boiled in two litres (four pints) of water make a steam bath. Tincture: take 2-4ml of the tincture three times a day.

Part used: Complete Herb.

Chickweed (sometimes referred to as Starweed) is a good source of Vitamin C – it is an ancient English remedy for chronic ailments of the cutaneous tissues (e.g. boils, painful eruptions, variscose ulcers). It is one of the most effective  antipruritic remedies in our herbal pharmacopoeias. Renown as a cooling refrigerant remedy that will dispel excess heat from the body, soothe and relieve irritation – these properties make Chickweed a valued anti-rheumatic when taken orally).
Most often used in the form of an ointment – Culpepper writes of an ointment made by boiling the herb in “oil of trotters”. Chickweed is still used as an ointment in contemporary herbalism – although not in the same base. A refrigerated Chickweed lotion may also be prepared to cleanse and cool ‘hot’ wounds.

Podlech: In homeopathy for rheumatism, arthritis and bronchitis. Internally for coughs, externally as a wash for wounds, rashes or sores. Infuse 2 teaspoonsful in 250ml boiling hot water for 5-10 minutes. Take 2 cups daily (warm).
Bartram: Ancient English remedy for chronic skin conditions. Boils, painful eruptions, varicose ulcers, abscess, etc. Muscular rheumatism, inflamed gouty joints (ointment or poultice). Takes the heat out of itchy skin.
Hoffmann: Chickweed finds its most common use as an external remedy for cuts, wounds and especially for itching and irritation. If eczema or psoriasis causes this sort of irritation, Chickweed may be used with benefit. Internally it has a reputation as a remedy for rheumatism.

Bartram: Thrice daily. 2 teaspoons dried herb to each cup or, 1oz to 1 pint boiling water; infuse for 15 minutes. Fresh herb, double quantity; simmer for 10 minutes. Dose 1 cup. Or a liquid extract, a tincture, a poultice, a Chickweed ointment – 1 part clean Chickweed to 4 parts fresh salt-free lard and 1 part Vaseline. Place all in a stone jar in a hot oven. Steep 2-3 hours. Strain through a wire mesh strainer or clean cloth into another jar. When cold, ready for use; or a lotion – take a pot or other suitable receptacle, fill with fresh Chickweed well pressed down. Pour on Sunflower seed oil to saturation point. Allow to steep for 2 weeks, strain and bottle. Apply lid or cap and use for eczema and other skin diseases.
Hoffmann: Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 2 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb and leave to infuse for 5 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day. For external use Chickweed may be made into an ointment or can be used as a poultice. To ease itching, a strong infusion of the fresh plant makes a useful addition to bath water.

Parts used: Root and Rhizome.

Antibiotic – topical, the resinous root makes an excellent herbal salve, antiseptic – potent, haemostatic and drying. Bartram recommends: “Lotion: Equal parts, tincture Goldenseal and Glycerine” – may be applied as a herbal ‘paint’ for wounds.
Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.) is a highly valued medicinal herb which has been collected from the Eastern forests in North America for hundreds of years – distinguished by its thick, yellow knotted rootstock (the medicinal part used), distinctive flower, and big rounded Ranuculaceae leaf structures. However, now rare in the wild, Goldenseal is listed in the Convention for International Trade on Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), an international treaty monitoring trade in threatened and endangered species. Fortunately, cultivation of this herb is fairly easy.
It is often sold as a “Cleanser” or depurative and alterative remedy. It may also boost the effects of other herbs within the body – it is to be noted that Goldenseal is potentially toxic. It is therefore not to be used for more than one week at a time, and then only when prescribed by a Qualified Medical Herbalist.
Do Not Take Hydrastis as a Blood Tonic.
Because Goldenseal contains potentially toxic alkaloid compounds (hydrastine, berberine, canadine) it is not recommended here that it should be taken as a depurative agent.
In high doses, Goldenseal and some of its components can cause fatal respiratory failure. Over a period of time, does of Goldenseal will reduce absorption of B vitamins. Berberine has a stimulant effect on the heart, and it can potentially interefere with the anticoagulant activity of heparin.

Bartram: Mucous membranes generally. Ulceration of mouth, throat, intestines. Heartburn, chronis dyspepsia, gastric and duodenal ulcer, diverticulosis, ulcerative colitis, liver damage. To assist function of old age. Drying to mucous surfaces and therefore indicated in all forms of catarrh (respiratory, vaginal etc.) Proteinura. Painful, excessive menstruation and bleeding from the womb for which the addition of Beth root (equal parts) enhances action. Itching of anus and genitals. Ear infections: internal and topical medication. Prostatitis. Bleeding gums. Tinnitus. Has a long history for use in sexually transmitted diseases. Once used to stimulate contractions of the womb to hasten delivery.
Hoffmann: Goldenseal is one of the most useful herbs available to us. It owes most of its specific uses to the powerful tonic qualities shown towards the mucous membranes of the body. It is thus of service in all digestive problems, for example in gastritis, septic ulceration and colitis. Its bitter stimulation gives it a role in loss of appetite. All catarrhal states benefit from Goldenseal, especially upper respiratory tract catarrh. The tonic and astringency contribute to its use in uterine conditions such as menorrhagia (excessive menstruation) and haemorrhage. With the additional stimulation of involuntary muscles, it is an excellent aid during childbirth, but for just this reason it should be avoided during pregnancy. Externally it is used for the treatment of eczema, ringworm, pruritis (itching), ear ache and conjunctivitis.
As Goldenseal stimulates the involuntary muscles of the uterus, it should be avoided during pregnancy.
Combinations: In stomach conditions it combines well with Meadowsweet and Chamomile. In uterine haemorrhage it is best combined with Beth root. Externally as a wash for irritation and itching it combines well with distilled Witch Hazel. As ear drops it may be combined with Mullein.

Bartram: Standard dose: half-1 gram. Thrice daily. Or a decoction – quarter to half a teaspoon dried rhizome to each cup water simmered gently in a covered vessel 20 minutes, dose: half a cup. Or a liquid extract, a tincture, a powder, a lotion, a solution, an ointment, a mouth wash, or a vaginal douche or enema.
Hoffmann: Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto ½ - 1 teaspoonful of the powdered herb and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day. Tincture: take 2-4ml of the tincture three times a day.

Hebridean Moss
Parts used: Fragments and Fronds – of the whole Seaweed.

Carrageen is one of the Red Seaweeds and a source of the wondrous Seaweed Gum Extract: Carrageenin. It’s polysaccharide content makes it one of the most mucilaginous of the sea botanicals and therefore a fantastic vulnerary agent. Full of trace elements and minerals, such as iodine, iron and bromine. Carrageen is both a nutritive and restorative remedy, but its principal therapeutic properties are as a demulcent and emollient agent.
The extracted gel may be used as a base ingredient for a variety of aqueous infused preparations, e.g. salves and cosmetic creams etc.

Podlech, Bartram and Hoffmann have no noted uses for Hebridean Moss.

Podlech, Bartram and Hoffman have no noted remedy’s for Hebridean Moss.

Parts used: Dried Stems.

A natural source of Silicic Acid that yields 70% of Silica, soluble in water. Silica preserves the elasticity of the connective tissues – it helps to control the absorption of calcium. Horsetail is haemostatic and styptic, it increases the ‘coagulability’ of the blood. Re-mineraliser – silica, selenium and zinc, astringent and white blood cell stimulant – all hastens repair of damaged tissues. Its cleansing properties rapidly remove urates, uric acid and cellulites from the blood.
The heavy mineral content of Horsetail (Pewterwort) requires that oral administration be staggered so as to avoid renal strain.

Podlech: To treat kidney and bladder disorders. Also sometimes used in cases of bed-wetting, and for arthritis, eczema and ulcers.
Bartram: Blood in the urine, prostatitis, bed-wetting, dropsy, chronic bladder infections, incontinence in the aged, catarrh of the urinary organs, gravel, urethritis of sexual transmission with bleeding, stricture, severe pain in the bladder unrelieved by passing water, constant desire to pass water without relief. Carcinoma of the womb: cure reported. Foetid discharges of STD. Arteriosclerosis.
Silica, as in Horsetail, preserves elasticity of connective tissue; controls absorption of calcium and is a necessary ingredient of nails, hair, teeth and the skeleton. Its cleansing properties rapidly remove urates, uric acid and cellulites from the system. Hastens repair of tissue after lung damage of tuberculosis or other diseases.
Combinations: (1) With Shepherd’s Purse for blood in the urine. (2) With Pulsatilla to inhibit growth of uterine fibroid. (3) With Buchu for cystitis. (4) With Oats and Goldenseal for renal exhaustion. “Combines well with Hydrangea for non-malignant prostatitis”
Hoffmann: Horsetail is an excellent astringent for the genito-urinary system, reducing haemorrhage and healing wounds thanks to the high silica content. Whilst it acts as a mild diuretic, its toning and astringent actions make it invaluable in the treatment of incontinence and bed wetting in children. It is considered a specific in cases of inflammation or benign enlargement of the prostate gland. Externally it is a vulnerary (healing wounds). In some cases it has been found to ease the pain of rheumatism and stimulate the healing of chilblains.
Combinations: Horsetail is often combined with Hydrangea in the treatment of prostate troubles.

Bartram: Horsetail has a heavy mineral content (silica, selenium and zinc) therefore treatment is best staggered so as to avoid kidney strain – one month, followed by one week’s break. Average dose: 1 to 4 grams, thrice daily. Tea: half-1 teaspoon to cup water; bring to boil; simmer for 5 minutes; infuse 30 minutes. Dose: half-1 cup, cold. Or a liquid extract, a home tincture, a poultice, an enema or a bath – 9oz leaves, bring to the boil in 1 gallon of water. Simmer for 5 minutes; strain and add to bath water.
Hoffmann: Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 2 teaspoonfuls of the dried plant and let infuse for 15-20 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day. Bath: a useful bath can be made to help in rheumatic pain and chilblains. Allow 100 grams (3 ½ ounces) of the herb to steep in hot water for an hour. Add this to the bath. Tincture: take 2-4ml of the tincture three times a day.

Parts used: Dried Florets.

The perfect cleansing and healing agent for cuts, lacerations and bleeding wounds. Calendula encourages the rapid ‘epithelisation’ if damaged cutaneous tissue – especially in its alcoholic tinctured extract form – encourages rapid wound adhesion and granulation without suppuration (Weleda). May also be applied for chilblains, dry and chapped lips, wind burn and bee stings etc. Constituents: volatile oils, resin and flavonoids – especially vitamin A.

Calendula cream is one of the most useful vulnerary remedies. Calendula lotion may be applied locally as a Simple. Calendula and Witch Hazel water is a synergistic combination.

Podlech: Antiseptic and antifungal. Internally to stimulate the liver. In conventional and homeopathic medicine used externally as a salve to promote healing on cuts, grazes and spots. Also as a gargle for mouth and throat infections. Petals yield soothing eyewash.
Bartram: Internal. A remedy which should follow all surgical operations. Enlarged and inflamed lymphatic glands, gastric and duodenal ulcer, jaundice, gall bladder inflammation, absent or painful menstruation, balanitis, rectum – inflammation of, gum disease, nose-bleeds, sebaceous cysts, measles (cup of tea drunk freely), pneumonia – a cooling drink which is anti-inflammatory. Vaginal thrush.
External. Rapid epithelisation process in damaged skin tissue, especially alcoholic extract; rapid wound adhesion and granulation without suppuration (Weleda). Wounds where the skin has been broken: laceration with bleeding (Arnica for unbroken skin). Sores, leg ulcers, abscess etc. Sore nipples in nursing mothers, varicose veins, nosebleeds, grazed knees in schoolchildren. Bee, wasp and other insect stings. Chilblains, fistula, inflamed nails, whitlow, dry chapped skin and lips, wind burn, air pollution. Dentistry: tooth extractions: rinse mouth with infusion of the florets or much-diluted tincture – 5-10 drops in water. Malignancy: strong tea, 1-2oz to 1 pint boiling water; use as a wash to cleanse exudations. STD purulent discharge: inject douche of strong infusion as above.
Hoffmann: Marigold is one of the best herbs for treating local skin problems. It may be used safely wherever there is an inflammation on the skin, whether due to infection or physical damage. It may be used for any external bleeding or wound, bruising or strains. It will also be of benefit in slow-healing wounds and skin ulcers. It is ideal for first aid treatment of minor burns and scalds. Local treatments may be with a lotion, a poultice or compress, whichever is most appropriate. Internally it acts as a valuable herb for digestive inflammation or ulcers. Thus it may be used in the treatment of gastric and duodenal ulcers. As a cholagogue it will aid in the relief of gall-bladder problems and also through this process help in many of the vague digestive complaints that are called indigestion. Marigold has marked anti-fungal activity and may be used both internally and externally to combat such infections. As an emmenagogue it has a reputation of helping delayed menstruation and painful periods. It is in general a normaliser of the menstrual process.
Combinations: For digestive problems it may be used with Marshmallow Root and American Cranesbill. As an external soothing application it can be used with Slippery Elm and any other relevant remedy. A useful antiseptic lotion will be produced by combining it with Goldenseal and Myrrh.

Bartram: For internal or external use. Average dose, 1-4 grams, or equivalent. Thrice daily. Tea: dried petals/florets. 1-2 teaspoons to each cup of boiling water; infuse for 15 minutes. Drink freely. Or a tincture, a poultice or a lotion.
Hoffmann: Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoonfuls of the florets and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day. Tincture: take 1-4ml of the tincture three times a day.

Parts used: Leaf and Dried Peeled Root.

Constituents: mucilage – proven to stimulate phagocytosis, the root is an especially abundant source, flavonoids – e.g. kaempferol, quercetin and scopoletin, polyphenolic acids – including salicylic, and tannins.
The whole herb is demulcent and emollient. Marshmallow may be used on open wounds to cleanse and heal (Bartram). A poultice or ointment of the root of Marshmallow combined with Slippery Elm powder may be applied to boils etc, and to old wounds to ‘draw’ them – i.e. encourage effete (worn out and degenerate) matter, to the tissue surfaces, before expulsion from the body.

Podlech: To treat mouth and throat infections and gastric ulcers. Roots and leaves can be used as a poultice.
Bartram: Inflammation of the alimentary canal, kidneys, bladder. Ulceration of stomach and duodenum, hiatus hernia, catarrh of respiratory organs and stomach, dry cough, open wounds – to cleanse and heal, cystitis, diarrhoea, septic conditions of moderate severity. Plant supplies an abundance of mucilage for protection of mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and urinary tract in the presence of stone. A poultice or ointment is applied topically to boils, abscesses, ulcers and old wounds to draw effete matter to the surface before expulsion from the body.
Combinations: With Comfrey and Cranesbill (American) for peptic ulceration. With White Horehound, Liquorice and Coltsfoot for pulmonary disease.
Hoffmann: The high mucilage content of Marshmallow makes it an excellent demulcent that can be used wherever such properties are called for. Whilst having broadly similar effects, the root is used primarily for digestive problems and on the skin, whilst the leaf is used for the lungs and the urinary system. In all inflammations of the digestive tract, such as inflammation of the mouth, gastritis, peptic ulcer, enteritis and colitis, the root is strongly advised. For bronchitis, respiratory catarrh and irritating coughs Marshmallow should be considered. In urethritis and urinary gravel, Marshmallow Leaf is very soothing. In fact this herb is very soothing for any mucous membrane irritations anywhere. Externally, the root is indicated in varicose veins and ulcers as well as abscesses and boils.
Combinations: In ulcerative conditions, internal or external, it may be used with Comfrey. For bronchitis use with Liquorice and White Horehound. It is often mixed with Slippery Elm to make ointments.

Podlech: As gargle for mouth or throat infections. Leave 2 teaspoonsful to stand in 250ml cold water for half an hour. Drink 1-3 cups (warmed up) daily, or use as a gargle.
Bartram: Average dose, 2-5 grams dried root. Thrice daily. For best results plant should not be boiled. Cold decoction: Half-1 teaspoon shredded root or powder to each cup of cold water; stand overnight. Dose: half-1 cup. Also used externally as a douche for inflamed eyes. Or a liquid extract, a tincture, a traditional ‘drawing’ ointment – combining with Slippery Elm, an ointment, or a poultice.
Hoffmann: Decoction: the root should be made into a decoction by putting a teaspoonful of the chopped herb into a cup of water and boiling it gently for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day. Infusion: for an infusion of the leaf, pour boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoonfuls of the dried leaf and let infuse for 10 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day also. Compress: a valuable compress or poultice can be made from this herb. Tincture: take 1-4ml of the tincture three times a day.

St. John’s Wort
Parts used: Whole Herb.

St. John’s Wort, otherwise known as Blood Wort, was traditionally used as a vulnerary herb in the form of a poultice or compress. Oil glands appear as translucent ‘perforations’ (dots) on the leaf surface and also as black dots along the lea margins and yellow flower petals. A ruby red therapeutic oil may be obtained by maceration of the fresh flowers in clear base oil. This herb yields several valuable vulnerary constituents: volatile/essential oils (including pinene), hypericins (a red-coloured anthraquinone-derivative, which, together with hyperforin, is one of the principal active constituents of hypericum – it is believed to act as an antibiotic) and flavonoids. Properties: antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and analgesic (mild).

Podlech: To treat depression, nervous disorders, bed-wetting, and stomach, intestinal and gallbladder problems. Externally for healing wounds, relieving the pain of sprains and bruises, and for rheumatism and lumbago.
Bartram: Neuralgia (facial and intercoastal), sciatica, concussion of the spine, post-operative pain and neuralgia, physical shock. Pain in coccyx, polymyalgia with tingling of fingers or feet, to reduce pain of dental extractions. Injuries to flesh rich in nerves – finger tips or sole of feet. Shooting, stitching pains. Punctured wounds: bites of dogs (rabies), cats, rats where pain shoots up the arm from the wound. Painful piles. Chorea. Tetanus. Temporary relief reported in Parkinsonism. Has been used with some success in relieving cramps of terminal disease. Anxiety, stress, depression. Menopausal nervousness. Menstrual cramps.
Researchers have shown that the herb possesses radioprotective properties.
Hoffmann: Taken internally, St. John’s Wort has a sedative and pain reducing effect, which gives it a place in the treatment of neuralgia, anxiety, tension, and similar problems. It is especially regarded as a herb to use where there are menopausal changes triggering irritability and anxiety. It is recommended, however, that it not be used when there is marked depression. In addition to neuralgic pain, it will ease fibrositis, sciatica and rheumatic pain. Externally it is a valuable healing and anti-inflammatory remedy. As a lotion it will speed the healing of wounds and bruises, varicose veins and mild burns. The oil is especially useful for the healing of sunburn.

Podlech: For depression. Boil 2 teaspoonsful in 250ml water. Drink 1 cup daily. For external use buy Hypericum oil from the chemist.
Bartram: Average dose: 2-4 grams, or equivalent in fluid form. Thrice daily. Tea: 1 heaped teaspoon to each cup of boiling water; infuse for 15 minutes. Dose: half a cup. Or a liquid extract, a tincture, a compress, keymote, the oil, or the flowers: steeped in Olive oil offer a good dressing for burns, sores and stubborn ulcers.
Hoffmann: Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day. Tincture: take 1-4ml of the tincture three times a day.

Slippery Elm
Parts used: Dried Powdered Bark.

One of the most widely used herbal agents (Bartram). Readily yields an abundance of mucilage – mostly in the form of galactose. A soothing demulcent and excellent emollient remedy.

Bartram: Inflammation or ulceration anywhere along the digestive tract. Gastric or duodenal ulcer, acute or chronic dyspepsia and wind, diverticulosis, colitis, before a journey to allay travel sickness, summer diarrhoea in children (also enema), irritable bowel, before festivities to avoid ‘hangover’.
It’s blanketing action protects the gastric mucosa from the erosive effects of too much acid. Gastro-oesophageal reflux is one of the most common causes of dyspepsia; Slippery Elm powder protects the oesophageal mucosa and relieves pain of indigestion. Lasting protection against acid reflux. Suppresses acid production during the night when mucosal damage may occur. Together with carminatives such as Chamomile or Ginger it allays abdominal distension, reflux oesophagitis and hiatus hernia.
Of value during convalescence. Cachexia and wasting diseases to increase body weight. Boils, abscesses or discharging wounds, varicose ulcer (poultice or ointment). Vaginitis (power on tampon).
Hoffmann: Slippery Elm Bark is a soothing nutritive demulcent which is perfectly suited for sensitive or inflamed mucous membrane linings in the digestive system. It may be used in gastritis, gastric or duodenal ulcer, enteritis, colitis, and the like. It is often used as a food during convalescence as it is gentle and easily assimilated. In diarrhoea it will soothe and astringe at the same time. Externally it makes an excellent poultice for use in cases of boils, abscesses or ulcers. Combinations: For digestive problems it may be used with Marshmallow.

Bartram: Powder: Taken as a food (gruel) mixed into a paste before adding boiling water or milk: quarter to half a teaspoon to each cup. Sprinkle powder on porridge or museli. Or a tincture, a poultice, or a traditional English ‘drawing’ ointment.
Hoffmann: Decoction: use 1 part of the powdered bark to 8 parts water. Mix the powder in a little water initially to ensure it will mix. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes. Drink half a cup three times a day. Poultice: mix the coarse powdered bark with enough boiling water to make a paste.

Parts used: Seeds.

Oats are highly mucilaginous and a good source of Vitamin E oil. Used externally they are wonderfully emollient and the colloidal fraction may be used in bath preparations for irritated, tickling or eczema troubled tissues etc.

Podlech: In homeopathy to treat insomnia and nervous fatigue. Oat bran helps reduce cholesterol. A decoction treats colds, depression, menopausal problems, muscular sclerosis and shingles. Fine oatmeal is a soothing wash for dry skin.
Bartram: Benzodiazepine, valium or other drug addiction – with Valerian and Skullcap to assist withdrawl. Alcoholism. Nerve and physical weakness with depression and anxiety. Debility following illness; recovery from surgical operation. Neurasthenia. Tension and irritability through overwork. Headache with pain at back of the neck; sleeplessness, shingles, hyperactivity in children. Nerve tremor in the aged not caused by Parkinson’s or other nerve degenerative diseases. May be taken with benefit for general well-being in chronic nerve dyscrasies but with limited improvement in basic condition. Sometimes proves of benefit for schizophrenic tendency. Sexual weakness with night losses and impotence. Combines well with Saw Palmetto for spermatorrhea. Combines with Valerian and Wood Betony for nerve weakness, to minimise attacks of petit mal, chorea and other convulsive states. Does not combine well with Passion flower or Cypripedium.
Contra-indicated in cases sensitive to gluten.
Hoffmann: Oats is one of the best remedies for ‘feeding’ the nervous system, especially when under stress. It is considered a specific in cases of nervous debility and exhaustion when associated with depression. It may be used with most of the other nerviness, both relaxant and stimulatory, to strengthen the whole of the nervous system. It is also used in general debility. The high levels of silicic acid in the straw will explain its use as a remedy for skin conditions, especially in external applications.
Combinations: For depression it may be used with Skullcap and Lady’s Slipper.

Bartram: Average dose, 1-2 grams or equivalent. Thrice daily. An older generation of herbalists prepared their tinctures and extracts from the green flowering unripe wild Oats as the effective constituent is unstable. Taken hot, effects are more immediate. Tea: oatstraw: 1-2 teaspoons to each cup boiling water; infuse for 15 minutes. Drink freely. Or a tincture, an extract, an Oatstraw bath, a liquid extract, or a traditional combination: equal parts – Oats, Passion flower, Hops and Valerian.
Hoffmann: Oats may most conveniently be taken in the form of porridge or gruel. Fluid extract: in liquid form it is most often given as a fluid extract. Take 3-5ml three times a day. Bath: a soothing bath for use in neuralgia and irritated skin conditions can be made: 500 grams (1 pound) of shredded straw is boiled in 2 litres (2 quarts) of water for half an hour. The liquid is strained and added to the bath.

Parts used: Herb (Leaf and Stem)

Constituents: Vitamins A, B complex, C, K, flavonoids and rutin. Self-heal is antibacterial, astringent and haemostatic.

Bartram: Injuries, wounds with bleeding. Haematuria (blood in the urine). High blood pressure.
Hoffmann: As its name suggests, Self-heal has a long tradition as a wound-healing herb. The fresh leaf may be used or a poultice or compress made to aid in the clean healing of cuts and wounds. As a gentle astringent it is used internally for diarrhoea, haemorrhoids or mild haemorrhages. For sore throats it may be used as a gargle, sweetened with honey. For bleeding piles it may be used as an ointment or lotion. Self-heal may be used as a spring tonic or as a general tonic in convalescence.

Bartram: Tea: 1 teaspoon dried herb, or 2 teaspoons fresh herb to each cup boiling water; infuse for 10 minutes. Dose: 1 cup 2-3 times daily. Professional opinion should be sought for blood in the urine and serious injury. The tea is used also as a gargle and mouth wash for laryngitis. Eyewash: 5-10 drops fresh juice in eyebath half-filled with milk; used as a douche for conjunctivitis or eye injury. Ointment: for bleeding piles. Poultice: pulp of washed fresh leaves for healing of wounds.
Hoffmann: Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day or used as a gargle or lotion. Tincture: take 1-2ml of the tincture three times a day.

Linseed (Flax)
Parts used: Seeds and Oil

Constituents: Oils, mucilage, omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Linseed oil is an ingredient of Liniments for Burns and Scalds.

Bartram: Its healing mucilage is beneficial for inflammation of the digestive and respiratory tracts, and of the gall duct. To soothe irritable mucous membranes. Spasmodic cough, bronchial, asthma, bronchitis. To reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and thrombosis. Heart disease. Persistent constipation.
Hoffmann: Flax may be used in all pulmonary infections, especially in bronchitis with much catarrh formed. It is often used as a poultice in pleurisy and other pulmonary conditions. As a poultice it can be used for boils and carbuncles, shingles and psoriasis. As a purgative it relieves constipation.
Combinations: As a poultice for the chest is combines well with Mustard. For boils, swellings and inflammations it combines with Marshmallow Root and Slippery Elm.

Bartram: Average dose: 3-6 grams or equivalent. Thrice daily. Tea: 2-3 teaspoons to cupful boiling water; infuse for 15 minutes. Drink without filtering, with honey for sweetening if necessary. One-third-1 cup. Or a cold tea for stomach disorders, a tincture, a poultice, the linseed oil: an ingredient of liniments for burns and scalds, or linsuit: organically cultivated golden Linseed.
Hoffmann: Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 2-3 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk morning and evening. Or a poultice, or a tincture: take 2-6ml of the tincture three times a day.

Parts used: Herb

This herb contains allantoin, also found in Comfrey. It is an excellent ‘wild herb vulnerary’. It is antiseptic and anti-haemorrhagic. Traditionally it’s been used as a poultice ingredient applied to wounds.

Hoffmann: As its name implies, Woundwort is renowned in folklore as a wound healer. Used as a vulnerary it is an equivalent of Comfrey in its effect on wounds. It may be used directly on the wound or as an ointment or compress. Internally it will ease cramps and some joint pains, and also relieve diarrhoea and dysentery.

Hoffmann: Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 1 teaspoonful of the dried herb and let infuse for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day. Tincture: take 1-2ml of the tincture three times a day.

Parts used: Herb

Other common names for this herb include Milfoil and Nosebleed. Constituents: volatile/essential oils – including pinene, salicylic acid, azulenes – organic dark-blue coloured compounds also found in wild Chamomile and with anti-inflammatory properites, flavonoids – e.g. apigenin, an anti-inflammtory, and alkaloids.
Many samples of Yarrow reveal high concentrations of azulenes (up to 50%) including Chamazulene (“achillea azulene”) and although these are now thought to be absent from the true A. millefolium they are present in closely related species.
Azulene has a long history, dating back to the 15th century as the azure-blue chromophore obtained by steam distillation of German Chamomile. The chromophore was discovered in Yarrow and Wormwood and named in 1863 by Septimus Piesse.

Podlech: For loss of appetite and digestive problems; also liver and gall-bladder complaints. In homeopathy to treat internal bleeding. Fresh leaves inhibit bleeding and are useful on a bandage. Flower-oil used to treat colds and flu.
Bartram: Used internally and externally for a wide range of conditions. For temperature reduction in the early stages of fevers, influenza, the common cold. Dry skin and absent perspiration. Measles., chicken pox and feverish children’s complaints. Haemorrhage of mucous surfaces, nosebleed. High blood pressure with thrombosis  - cerebral, coronary or other BHP (1983). Biliary colic, diarrhoea, dysentery, stomach cramps (tea, with cold wet packs externally), obstructed menstruation, non-specific vaginal discharge (injection), to cleanse wounds (tea). An ingredient of Maria Treben’s tea. Internal and external bleeding. For toning veins (varicose veins). To prevent blood clots.
Combinations: Nettles and Lime flowers for high blood pressure BHP (1983). With Elderflowers and Peppermint for colds and feverish conditions.
Hoffmann: Yarrow is one of the best diaphoretic herbs and is a standard remedy for aiding the body to deal with fevers. It lowers blood pressure due to a dilation of the peripheral vessels. It stimulates the digestion and tones the blood vessels. As a urinary antiseptic it is indicated in infections such as cystitis. Used externally it will aid in the healing of wounds. It is considered to be a specific in thrombotic conditions associated with high blood pressure.
Combinations: For fevers it will combine well with Elderflower, Peppermint, Boneset and with Cayenne and Ginger. For raised blood pressure it may be used with Hawthorn, Lime Blossom and Mistletoe.

Podlech: As digestive tonic; also externally to wash wounds. Infuse 2 teaspoonsful in 250ml boiling hot water for 15 minutes. Drink 2-3 cups daily.
Bartram: Tea: One heaped teaspoon to each cup of boiling water; infuse for 10 minutes. 1 cup thrice daily (chronic); every 2 hours (acute). Or a liquid extract, a tincture, a poultice, fresh juice from the leaves and flowers – take half-1 teaspoon, or a Yarrow bath: to lessen pain and inflammation. Handful dried or fresh flowers or leaves in 1 pint (500ml) boiling water; infuse for 15 minutes: strain and add to bath water.
Hoffmann: Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk hot three times a day. When feverish it should be drunk hourly. Tincture: take 2-4ml of the tincture three times a day.

5 Useful Vulnerary Astringents
  • Witch Hazel - Hamamelis virginiana
  • Horse Chestnut - Aesculus hippocastanum
  • Oak Bark - Quercus robur
  • Wild Geranium - Geranium maculatum
  • Beth Root - Trillium erectum
During this class we also made an oleowax infusion, using Calendula, Chamomile, Marshmallow and St. John's Wort. Similar to making a wax-based balm. The oleowax infusion was not to be used on open wounds, but those that had already begun to heal - it soothed and increased the speed of the healing process.

Awaiting Image - Gardener's Remedy

  1. Firstly, place a handful of dried Calendula flowers in 200ml of Sunflower oil and heat slowly in a water bath for 40 minutes. 
  2. Infuse a good handful each of: Chamomile, Chickweed and Marshmallow root in 100mls of hot water. 
  3. Strain the Calendula oil, put into a clean bowl beforing adding 40 grams of beeswax flakes and melt, continuously stirring slowly. 
  4. Remove from the heat and add 2-3 drops of Goldenseal oil.
  5. Whisk oil together with the strained herbal infusion and jar quickly as the infusion sets quite quickly. 
The Beekeeper

In the afternoon, we spent time with Alan, who had been RBGE's head beekeeper for 36 years. Due to health and safety, beehives are no longer allowed in the main gardens, however, Alan and some of his students keep a hive up at the Nursery. 
Hidden in a far corner of the Nursery, in a small garden created for the bee's, stood the lone beehive. Alan regaled us with his stories of beekeeping over the years, from chasing and capturing wandering swarms, to the mystery of bee beards, and the entertaining story of moving the hive - in his own car, on the day of the Nursery sale. 
Before accompanying us back to the class room, showing us his own samples of Botanic's honey - a potent mix of botanical's from throughout the garden, and his samples of wax, propolis and dead bees, maggot included!

Awaiting image

Monday, 13 June 2011

The Spring Remedies

Back to class after our long Easter break, Catherine handed out a new wedge of notes - we'd be looking over the Spring Remedies.

The Spring Remedies really are designed around rejuvenating your body after the winter. A traditional way to encourage spring rejuvenation is to make a herb 'pudding' - a range of herbs can be used in these traditional 'puddings'.
The base of the recipe is, pearl barley which is left in a bowl of cold water overnight to swell, boiled until the barley is soft, then mixed with the chosen herbs and vegetables of choice over simmering heat, after draining beaten egg and butter is added to the mix. It is then transferred to an oven-proof bowl, baked and served.
Suitable spring 'pudding' herbs would be nettle, dandelion, sticky willie, bistort and wild garlic.

With their seven synergistic effects:
  • Eliminative (diuretic, laxative, diaphoretic)
  • Depurative (removes congestion) or Alterative (cleans the blood)
  • Blood Circulatory Stimulant (re-oxygenates and enhances uptake of nutrients)
  • Lymphatic (encourages lymph node action and removes congestion)
  • Bitter or Hepatic (works on the alimentary tract, liver and gall bladder)
  • Astringent/Tonic (helps to tighten and tone body tissues)
  • Re-Mineralizer (replenishment of essential minerals and salts)
Most grow freely and are found commonly in gardens. A few of the herbs we looked at were:

Bitter hepatic tonic (benefits the liver), deobstruent (removes any blocking components in the body e.g. stones), cooling and anti-inflammatory, alterative, eliminative (Bogbean is a mild laxative if taken in concentrated doses) and anti-rheumatic (suppresses manifestations of rheumatic disease or the progression of such).
Bogbean yields bitter Iridoids - the most bitter of all plant compounds. Bitters increase digestion secretions - (including bile flow) and are regarding as cooling remedies. Gentian is also found in Bogbean, from which the bitter alkaloid Gentianine is found. Tannins, another bitter principle, has been listed amongst the miscellaneous constituents of Bogbean, as well as vitamin C and flavonoids.
Protected Species - Do Not Collect.

Podlech: Appetite stimulant, an aid to digestion, and to treat diarrhoea. In homeopathy to treat flu. Also thought to regularise periods.
Bartram: Diseases of liver and gall bladder, stomach. Anorexia, migraine of liver origin. Gout. Rheumatism and rheumatoid arthritis; muscular rheumatism with physical weakness.

Podlech: Tea for loss of appetite and diarrhoea. Boil 1 teaspoonful in 250ml of water for 1 minute. Drink 1 cup, just before meals.
Bartram: Thrice daily. Infuse one teaspoon in boiling water for 10 minutes. Dose 1-half cup. Or a liquid extract or a tincture.

Nutritious blood tonic, re-mineraliser (Nettle yield's high volumes of calcium, iron and vitamin C), eliminative, detoxifier, anti-allergic (Nettles are a natural source of botanical antihistamines), anti-rheumatic (Nettles reduce levels of uric acid in the body), hypotensive (lowers blood pressure) and galactogogue (promotes lactation).
Nettle's are also antiseptic, haemostatic and astringent.

Podlech: Relieves symptoms of rheumatism and sciatica. Also lowers blood pressure and improves the circulation; also as a diuretic. As iron-rich tea for anaemia. On a poultice to treat eczema.
Bartram: Iron-deficiency anaemia, gout (acute painful joints - partial amelioration). First stage of fevers (repeat frequently), malaria. Uvula - inflammation of. Foul-smelling sores. To stimulate kidneys. Detoxifies the blood. Pregnancy (Nettle and Raspberry leaf tea for iron and calcium. To withstand onset of uraemia in kidney disease; chronic skin disease, melaena with blood in stool, splenic disorders, high blood sugar in diabetes, burns (first degree), feeble digestion due to low level HCL; bleeding of stomach, bowels, lung and womb. Has power to eliminate urates; expulsion of gravel. On taking Nettle tea for high blood pressure passage of gravel is possible and should be regarded as a favourable sign. For women desiring an ample bust.

Podlech: For rheumatism and urinary problems. Boil 2 teaspoonsful in 250ml water for 5 minutes. Drink 1 cup each morning and evening.
Bartram: Thrice daily. 1oz herb to 1 pint boiling water; infuse for 15 minutes. Dose 1 cup. Or a liquid extract, tincture, or a powder.

Eliminative, detoxifier, bitter hepatic tonic (cholagogue and choleretic) and re-mineraliser (Dandelion yields a wealth of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin's A, C, D and B complex and high levels of magnesium, zinc, potassium, iron and calcium).
When Dandelion leaf is made into a tea, the tea has a warm, gentle amber glow and a soothing aroma, its flavour is light and refreshing, aiding to cleanse, purify and relax.

Podlech: To treat liver and gall-bladder problems. Leaves are dieuretic. Also used for treating acne and eczema. Sap used on corns, verrucas and warts.
Bartram: Liver disorders, inflammation of the gall bladder, to counter tendency to form gallstones; mild jaundice, to clear a yellowish complexion and brighten the eyes; to stimulate flow of bile. Not given in presence of blocked bile duct. Indigestion, lack of appetite, sweating in the anal cleft, muscular rheumatism, hypoglycaemia, anorexia nervosa, cachexia and other washing diseases. Congestive heart failure: should be prescribed for every case of oedema of heart origin. Warts: express milky sap and wipe wart frequently. Has a reputation for splenic and pancreatic disorders as an ingredient of diabetic and anaemia prescriptions. A decoction of the root has been taken with success for infective hepatitis. An older generation of gardeners chewed the root for bladder disorders. Promotes loss of weight during dieting.

Podlech: To purify the blood. Put 1-2 teaspoonsful in 250ml water; bring to the boil for 1 minute. Drink 2 cups daily, for 4-6 weeks.
Bartram: Thrice daily. 3-4 tablespoons per cup or 2oz of leaf to 1 pint boiling water, infuse for 15 minutes. Dose half to one cup freely. Also dandelion coffee, which is the roots roasted and ground. Drink freely. Or a liquid extract, tincture, capsules, or juice of the fresh root.

Sticky Willie:
Lymphatic, alterative, detoxifier (contains a constituent called asperuloside which is a bitter principle with mildly laxative effects), eliminative (fluids and mild aperient) and a mild astringent tonic.
Anthraquinone derivatives (e.g. Alizarin) are found in the roots of Sticky Willie. Alizarin occurs in the root of the common madder (Rubia tinctorium) and in various other members of the Rubiaceae family.

Podlech and Bartram have no uses for Sticky Willie.

Podlech and Bartram have no remedy's using Sticky Willie.

Antioxidant (flavonoids and other polyphenolic compounds e.g. tannins (ellagic acid)), detoxifier (emodin - a purgative resin, is found in the root) and astringent.

Podlech: The Latin name 'bistorta' (meaning twice-twisted) refers to the shape of the rootstock. The species was quoted in the 16th Century herbals as Snakeroot, and extracts from the roots were used to treat snake bites. Previously the rootstock was held by apothecaries under the name of 'Radix Bistortae'. It is used as an internal medicine to treat diarrohea, and externally for infections of the mouth and throat.
Bartram: Chiefly to arrest flow of internal bleeding. Haemorrhage from lungs, stomach or bowel. Irritable bowel, diverticulosis, incontinence of urine, uterine infection with discharge (vaginal douche), ulcerated mouth and spongy gums, nasal polypus (juice of fresh plant or decoction injected into nostrils), nosebleed (powder snuffed into nose), sore mouth (mouth wash).

Podlech: As a gargle for mouth or throat infection or as a poultice for infected wounds. Put 2 teaspoonfuls in 250ml of luke-warm water; leave to stand for 5 hours before use.
Bartram: Thrice daily. Gently simmer 1 heaped teaspoon into one cup of water for 20 minutes. Dose half a cup. The decoction can also be used as a douche. Or as a liquid extract, powder or tincture.

Wild Bear's Garlic:
Antioxidant, depurative (sulphur compounds e.g. allicin) and stimulant biliary/hepatic tonic (in other words a cholagogue).
Aqueous and Alcoholic extracts of wild garlic have been shown to reduce the intensity of generated free radicals... it can therefore be assumed that Allium ursinum has significant antioxidant properties.

Podlech: To treat digestive problems, rheumatism, high blood pressure and asthma.
Bartram: Only notes uses of cultivated garlic.

Podlech: For loss of appetite or digestive disorders. Eat fresh leaves, chopped up small.
Bartram: Only notes remedies using cultivated garlic.

The Blood Cleansers and Detoxifiers


Blue Flag Iris:
Alterative (blood and lymph purifier), hepatic (cholagogue), eliminative (fluids and aperient), anti-inflammatory (especially recommended for congested/engorged lymphatic glands) and astringent (hepatic).
The dried root is a potent alterative/depurative, lymphatic, blood circulatory stimulant, diaphoretic and expectorant - it has been used in Green Pharmacy preparations for winter lozenges.
The fresh root of the Water Iris may be gently boiled and then crushed to make a poultice for external ulcerations - a Native American remedy.

Podlech and Bartram have no uses for Blue Flag Iris.

Podlech and Bartram have no remedy's using Blue Flag Iris.

Sweet Violet:
Lymphatic (helps congested lymph glands), anti-neoplastic (inhibiting or preventing the development of neoplasms - an abnormal mass of tissue), vulnerary, mild antiseptic and mild analgesic (a painkiller).
Sweet Violet syrup (made from the flowers and leaf) makes a soothing expectorant remedy for coughs, colds and children's chest troubles - the herbs gentle sedative and relaxant properties have been attributed to the phenolic compounds present i.e. the phenolic glycosides (gaultherin and violutoside). Violets also contain mucilage, flavonoids (particularly rutin) and saponins.

Podlech: In homeopathy for earache, rheumatism, asthma and whooping cough.
Bartram: Has a long traditional reputation as a mild analgesic for cancer of the lungs, alimentary canal, and breast (poultice).
When the wife of General Booth, Salvation Army Chief, was dying of answer the one drink that gave her relief from the pain was Violet leaf tea made from leaves foraged from railway embankments by devoted members of the Army.
Lady Margaret Marsham, 67, was cured of a malignant tumour in the throat (epithelioma of tonsil) with Violet leaf tea (1oz to 1 pint boiling water) teacupful taken freely. Compresses of the leaves were also applied, with immediate relief from pain and breathing difficulties. Within 7 days the swelling disappeared; within 14 days the tonsil growth also.
Other uses include bronchitis and children's chest troubles, mouth ulcers (tea used as a mouthwash), congested lymph glands, cystitis - with hot acid urine, urethritis, vaginal trichomonas, fibroids - as a douche to alleviate pain and a persistent cough.

Podlech: For bronchitis and coughs: 2 teaspoons in 250ml cold water; bring to the boil and simmer, leave to infuse for 5 minutes. Drink 2-3 cups a day, sweetened with honey.
Bartram: The traditional method is by simple infusion (tea) from which best results are achieved - in preference to use of alcohol. Past successes have shown that use of the wild plant, and not the cultivated, is the more successful. Average dose, 2-4grams or fluid equivalent, thrice daily.
Otherwise make a tea, using 1-2 teaspoons to each cup boiling water; infuse for 15 minutes. Dose, half-1 cup freely. Or a liquid extract, or a home tincture - fresh leaves in white wine to saturation point. Macerate for 8 days. Decant. Dose, 2-5 teaspoons.

Wild Pansy (Heartsease):
Alterative, depurative and eliminative.
An excellent remedy for 'weeping' cutaneous tissue disorders (e.g. moist eczema, milk crust, purulent sticky discharges) and the mucous membranes. Therapeutic effects enhanced when combined with Red Clover - equal parts - for cutaneous tissue problems (Bartram). The herb helps to prevent capillary fragility and thence haemorrhae, especially when under corticosteroid therapy. The herb is regarded for its expectorant, anti-inflammatory and anti-rheymatic properties . Wild Pansy yields traces of Methylsalicylate - indeed its entire phyto-pharmacology is remarkably similar to that of the Sweet Violet.

Podlech: In conventional and homeopathic medicine internally and externally to treat various skin complaints, respiratory illness and dry coughs.
Bartram: Has no noted uses for Wild Pansy.

Podlech: For skin problems such as acne. Put 2 teaspoonsful in 250ml boiling water; allow to stand for 10 minutes. Drink 3 cups daily. Can also be used in a poultice.
Bartram: Has no noted remedies for Wild Pansy.

Wild Indigo:
Antiseptic (Baptisia is an extremely potent anti-infective agent), alterative, lymphatic (the root yields strong lymphocyte synthesis-stimulating activity), febrifuge (especially for fevers that arise from blood infection) and eliminative (aperient).
Baptisia may be combined with the alcoholic extracts of Myrrh and Echinacea... in equal parts (Bartram). An excellent remedy for exhaustive feverish ailments and infective sore throat, oral (aphthous), ulcers, inflamed gums, tonsillitis, pharyngitis etc. The root and leaf may be used as ingredients in topical ointment preparations. Polysaccharide factions found in Wild Indigo may enhance antibody production. Baptisin is one of the Bitter principles present (Bartram), isoflavones (e.g. genistein - are phyto-oestrogens), flavonoids (antioxidant) and coumarins (may be impart an anti-bacterial and anti-thrombotic (i.e. blood thinning) action).

Podlech and Bartram have no uses for Wild Indigo.

Podlech and Bartram have no remedy's using Wild Indigo.

Red Clover:
Deobsturent, alterative and lymphatic (with reputed anti-neoplastic properties).
Used by Hippocrates and physicians of the ancient world. Clover's principle therapeutics are as an alterative remedy with a speical reference to the cutaneous tissues but it does have other uses (e.g. expectorant). Clover is a source of isoflavones (e.g. genistein), flavonoids and voltaile oils (the latter including furfural) and coumarins.

Podlech: Earlier used to treat coughs. Recent research has revealed anti-coagulant and anti-tumour activity.
Bartram: Mouth ulcers and sore throats (strong tea gargle, swallowing a mouthful at each session). Skin diseases: scrofula, eczema, old sores that refuse to heal. Promotes healthy granulation tissue. Dr Margaret Wilkenlow used Red Clover to good effect for cough and night sweats of tuberculosis. Whooping cough, bronchitis in children (tea drunk freely). Combine with Yellow Dock for chronic skin disease. Combine with Chaparral and Ginseng for cachexia, anaemia, wasting and chronic blood disorders.

Podlech: For coughs. Infuse 4-6 dried flowerheads in 250ml boiling water; stand for 15 minutes. Drink 2-3 cups daily, sweetened with honey.
Bartram: Thrice daily. 1oz to 1 pint boiling water; infuse for 15 minutes. Dose, 1 cup. Or a liquid extract, power, capsules, or a home tincture - 1 part flowers to 5 parts vodka; macerate for for 8 days. Decant. Dose: 5-10ml (1-2 teaspoons).

Curled Yellow Dock:
Alterative, bitter, tonic (re-mineraliser), lymphatic, and eliminative (aperient - anhraquinone glycosides (e.g. emodin) have a laxative effect).
Roots of Yellow Dock attract iron from the soil - this is transformed into organic iron in the plant tissues - (an older generation of herbalists sprinkled iron filings on the soil in which their Yellow Docks grew). The plant thus became enriched with the metal: extracts and tinctures made from its roots make invaluable blood tonics for simple iron-deficinency anaemia. Yellow Dock also holds sulphur - of value in chronic cutaneous tissue disorders (Bartram). Due to oxalates do not take big doses.

Podlech and Bartram has no uses for Curled Yellow Dock.

Podlech and Bartram has no remedy's using Curled Yellow Dock.

Antibiotic blood tonic ('one of the most powerful and reliable blood tonics in herbalism' - Bartram), alterative, adaptogen, lymphatic, hepatic, bitter and eliminative (fluids and aperient).
Burdock (or Beggar's Buttons) is often found combined with other ingredients in various herbal detox preparations e.g. Potter's 'Compound Elixier of Trifolium'. It yields iron, sulphur, B vitamins, phenolic acid, lignas, mucialge, fatty acids, tannins and insulin, amongst other constituents. The roots are a rich source of dietary fibre known in Japan as 'gobo' - Burdock is also orexigenic (i.e. an appetite stimulant).

Podlech: Young shoots and roots infused to make a tonic. Root said to prevent colds and flu; also used to treat rheumatism and cystitis. Should not be taken when pregnant. Externally the oil can be used to treat dandruff and hair loss. In homeopathy for skin complaints, including eczema.
Bartram: Arthritis, gout, rheumatism, boils, styes, seborrhoea, cystitis, anaemia, anorexia nervosa. To lower blood sugar. Skin diseases - especially psoriasis, acne, eczema. To reduce cholesterol level. Measles (Chinese traditional). Insulin is present in the root, of value in diabetes treatment.

Podlech: As blood-purifier, and externally as skin tonic. Infuse 2 teaspoonsful in 250ml cold water for 5 hours. Then boil for 1 minute. Drink 3 cups daily; externally as a wash.
Bartram: Thrice daily. Persistence with low doses is more favourable than larger, over short periods. Some herbalists have observed more favourable results from use of the decoction - half-1 teaspoon root to each cup water, simmer gently for 5 mintues in a closed vessel. Dose half-1 cup. Or a liquid extract, tincture, powder or topical - compress: 2 teaspoons shredded root or powder to two cups water simmered 5 minutes and allow to stand for 30 minutes; saturate piece of suitable material and apply.

Barberry Bark:
Bitter, hepatic (detoxifier), alterative, digestive tonic, antiseptic, anti-haemorrhagic and white blood cell proliferater.
One of our most potent medicinal natives - Barberry is a distinctive spiny deciduous bush, that bears pendulous clusters of small yellow flowers followed by red berries amongst its autumnal foliage. Alkaloids found in the root are believed to impart sedative, febrifuge (to reduce fever), hypotensive and anti-inflammatory properties.

Podlech: There are no noted uses for Barberry Bark.
Bartram: Sluggish liver, jaundice, biliousness, gastritis, gallstones, itching anus, ulcerated mouth, malaria, sandfly fever, toxaemia from drugs and environmental chemicals. Shingles, bladder disorders, leucorrhoea, renal colic. Old gouty constitutions react favourably. Cholera (animals). Leukopaenia due to chemotherapy. Combine with Yarrow for malaria. Combine with Gelsemium for pain in the coccyx (tailbone). Combine with Fringe Tree bark for skin disorders.

Podlech: There are no noted remedy's for Barberry Bark.
Bartram: Thrice daily. 1 teaspoon to each cup cold water left to steep overnight. Dose half-1 cup. Or a liquid extract, tincture, or powdered bark.

Mountain (Oregon) Grape:
Alterative, bitter, hepatic, tonic and astringent (for loose bowels). Oregon Grape is an evergreen shrub related to the Barberry. Some authors place Mahonia in the barberry genus, Berberis. The Oregon-grape is not cloesly related to grapes, but gets its name from the purple clusters of berries whose colour and slightly dusted appearance is reminiscent of grapes.
Oregon Grape is native to much of the Pacific Coast and found sparsely east of the Cascades. Its year-round foliage of pinnated, waxy green leaves resembles holly. the plant bears dainty yellow flowers in early summer and a dark blue berry that ripens late in the fall. The fruit is delicious added to porridge or museli - reminiscent of Blackcurrants.
Oregon Grape root is commonly used medicinally as an effective alternative to the threatened Goldenseal - (both herbs similarly hold the bitter yellow plant alkaloid berberine, that has been used to ameliorate infection). Recent studies indicate that M.aquifolium (Mahonia) holds a specific multidrug resistance pump inhibitor that may augment the effects of antibiotic/antibacterial agent within the body.
Oregon Grape should not be used with the Glycyrrhiza genus (Liquorice) because this nullifies the effects of teh berberine.

Podlech: There are no noted uses for Mountain (Oregon) Grape.
Bartram: Similar to those of Barberry. Dyspepsia. Blood impurities. Skin diseases: especially eczema, psoriasis.

Podlech: There are no noted remedy's using Mountain (Oregon) Grape.
Bartram: Thrice daily. Quarter to half a teaspoon to each cup of water, simmered for 20 minutes. Dose, half a cup. Or a liquid extract, or powder.