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.

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