The Herbal Apothecary C-E
Get to know the herbs that are the miraculous and the natural basis of every ancient healing tradition in the world... Calendula (Calendula officinalis) Calendula or Marigold is soothing for all skin and intestinal tract issues, particularly those with inflammation and ulceration. It is excellent for both internal use and topical healing. Calendula heals wounds and is an antiseptic. It helps to improve blood flow to the affected area and as an antifungal agent, it can be used to treat athlete’s foot, ringworm, and candida. Topically it is great for cold sores, acne and diaper rash, while taken internally it is good for digestion and relieves colitis and symptoms of menopause.
Celery Seed (Apium graveolens) Celery seed is one of the lesser-known herbs in Western herbal medicine. However, it has been used for thousands of years in other parts of the world for a variety of reasons. During ancient times, Ayurvedic physicians (vaidyas) used celery seed to treat people with colds, flu, water retention, poor digestion, various types of arthritis, and certain ailments of the liver and spleen. The diuretic action combined with the presence of anti-bacterial compounds in celery seed also make it useful in treating urinary tract infections. Laboratory studies have found that compounds in celery seed and its essential oil may also help reduce muscle spasms, calm the nerves, and reduce inflammation. In fact, some experts claim that celery seed alleviates the pain associated with certain inflammatory health conditions such as arthritis and gout.
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) There are many plants that have "chamomile" as part of their common name, but German Chamomile is the one we choose to use medicinally. Chamomile is an antiinflammatory, inhibits spasms in the digestive tract, inhibits olceration, promotes wound healing and stimulates skin metabolism. It is believed to affect both sensory and motor nerves, particularly when aplied to the gastrointestinal tract. Large doses promote diaphoresis, which has even been said to relieve dysmenorrhea and to prevent clotting. We also use it topically for eczema and wounds, and it is the staple of our intestinal inflammation tonic formula.
Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus-castus) This is the basic treatment for every menstrual issue under the sun. PMS, especially mastalgia, fluid retention and facial herpes all benefit from Chaste Tree, not to mention endometriosis and fibroids. Women that are experiencing infertility due to decreased progesterone levels and menopausal symptoms due to raised prolactin can all benefit from Chaste Tree. It also helps to regulate the Luteinizing Hormone surge during the menstrual cycle. And at a dose of 1 talbet 3 times per day, it can increase melatonin release for insomnia issues. But beware, as higher doses can actually decrease libido.
Clivers (Galium aparine) Cleavers is edible and medicinal, it has been used for centuries as an alternative medicine by indigenous peoples on many continents. A valuable diuretic, it is often taken to treat skin problems such as seborrhoea, eczema and psoriasis, and as a general detoxifying agent in serious illnesses such as cancer. It has a mild laxative effect and stimulates the lymphatic system and has shown benefit in skin related problems. The infusion is also used to treat liver, bladder and urinary problems. The plant contains the valuable constituent asperuloside, a substance that is converted into prostaglandins by the body. Prostaglandins are hormone-like compounds that stimulate the uterus and affect blood vessels.
Codonopsis (Codonopsis pilosula) Also known in the Chinese herbal as Dang Shen, this plant is the perfect "vacation tonic" for when you can’t even leave your desk. It is an adrenal restorative and rejuvenator, enhancing the Qi and providing an adaptagenic quality for the daily stresses of life. It is excellent as a tonic for the blood and the immune system and has antiinflammatory qualities as well.
Coleus (Coleus forskohlii) Coleus is an aromatic digestive which increases saliva and gastric acid output. It is excellent for congestive heart disease, asthma, psoriasis and hypertension. It is a great topical treatment for glaucoma and has the incredible effect of increasing ATP production in mitochondria by catalyzing the production of cAMP. This is the reason for its success with psoriasis patients and people with low Kreb’s cycle activity. It has a similar effect on the thyroid gland to TSH. It potentiates the intracellular effects of many hormones and has a significant effect on lowering blood pressure.
Cramp Bark (Viburnum opulus) Cramp Bark does exactly what its name implies. It reduces smooth muscle cramping, which is amazing for menstrual cramping, spasms of the gastrointestinal tract such as in Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease or colitis.
Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) Cranberry has long been known to aid with urinary tract health by preventing bacteria from adhering to the lining of the bladder and accessory ducts. In this way it can prevent infection and treat chronic UTI problems. But now a new study shows cranberry extract may actually prevent stroke-related brain damage and aid in stroke recovery. Researchers found that a concentrated cranberry extract reduced brain cell death by as much as 50% when given immediately after a stroke in laboratory tests.
Damiana (Turnera diffusa) This is one of the best formulations for balancing the male and female energies. It even reduces "teariness" in women. Damaiana is a nervous system tonic for anxiety, nervousness and depression. We recommend it for sexual dysfunction and libido issues as well, since nerves and stress play a big part in healthy sexual function. So for every women with hormonal issues and nervousness, this is the main formula.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) Dandelions don’t just grown in your lawn to spite you... they are an important source of health and are there to remind you! Dandelion flowers are sensitive to light, so they open with the sun in the morning and close in the evening or during gloomy weather. But the flowers are not the part that interests us most from a medicinal point of view. The leaves of the dandelion have diuretic activity and high levels of potassium, which can be very beneficial for anyone with adrenal stress. They can be useful for the treatment of elevated systolic blood pressure in the elderly. The root however has a bit more effects, particularly for the liver. The root is very bitter and actually has a mild laxative effect. It is perfect for indigestion or lack of appetite and as a liver tonic, it improves bile production.
Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis, Angelica polymorpha) Dong quai has been used for over a thousand years as a spice, tonic, and medicine in China, Korea and Japan. It seems to relieve constipation, increase red blood cell count (which helps treat anemia), and to provide relief from menstrual disorders such as cramps, irregular menstrual cycles, infrequent periods, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and menopausal symptoms. Dong quai grows at high altitudes in the cold, damp, mountain regions of China, Korea and Japan. It takes three years for the plant to reach maturity, after which time the root is harvested and formulated into tablets, powders, and other medicinal forms. Dong quai contains compounds that, in laboratory tests, have demonstrated activities that may translate into reduction of pain, dilation of blood vessels, and stimulation as well as relaxation of uterine muscles.
Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea Purpurea) Known for immune system strengthening, Echinacea works best if it is already in the system before an illness or infection strikes, therefore research has demonstrated that it should be taken on a long-term basis regularly to maintain and tonify immune response. It is a strong immune modulator (specific immunity) by enhancing phagocytic activity. It is excellent for auto-immune diseases, lymphatic support, sialagogue, prophylactic for influenza, colds and septic processes, treatment for allergies and skin disorders such as psoriasis, used for immune depletion caused by chemotherapy or post-viral syndromes. It not only enhances the activity of the phagocytic cells, but will also help to prevent any complicating infection during a healing process. Echinacea angustifolia root was used by Native Americans, according to one historian, as a "remedy for more ailments than any other plant". It’s original use was for snakebite, however the Eclectic physicians took up its use and englarged its application to infections. By the 1920’s, Lloyd Brothers, the major herb company supplying the Eclecic physicians, stated that it was the most popular treatment prescribed by Eclectic physicians for venomations and infections. Echinacea angustifolia is very difficult to grow, which explains why many companies use other forms of Echinacea that are not as effective. Echinacea angustifolia is not metabolized in the first pass through the liver, therefore protecting other herbs dosed with it from being detoxified by the liver. Echinacea purpurea is not metabolized in the first pass through the liver, and therefore is a better choice for treating the liver directly.
Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) You may know this herb as Siberian ginseng, but it’s actually only a distant relative of true (Panax) ginseng. Eleuthero was popularized in the 1950’s by Soviet researchers looking for new adaptogens. Animal and human studies in Russia and elsewhere have found it may improve physical stamina and performance, increase mental alertness and productivity and help people resist illness. Its general restorative effects are excellent if you feel exhausted, are coping with a heavy work schedule, or just need more energy. At ISIS we have used it for multiple chemical sensitivity and as an adjunct for cancer patients to improve immune function, protect against radiation stress and to decrease side effects from orthodox therapy.
Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis) Medical research on the oils of this plant have revealed some interesting characteristics. The plant may have an anti-clotting factor useful to heart attacks caused by blood clots. Because of its effect on blood flow, it is used in diabetes to correct nerve blood flow and nerve conduction velocity. It is antiinflammatory and antiallergic, helping to correct omega-6 essential fatty acid deficiency. It has been used for schizophrenia, Raynaud’s Syndrome, ulcerative colitis and PMS. It has even shown some benefit for hypertension by lowering blood pressure. There may also be some interest in this plant for people suffering from atopic diseases such as migraine and asthma.
Eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis) Eyebright is also known by the name Euphrasia derived from the Greek word meaning gladness. But the name Eyebright indicates its use since the 14th century as an eye medicine. It is slightly tonic and astringent with a great application for eye conditions such as irritation, redness, infection and inflammation, particularly blepharitis and conjunctivitis. It is also used where there is extensive watery discharge, such as for sinusitis, chronic sneezing, hayfever and middle ear problems. Because of its aucubin content, it may even be useful in the treatment of bacterial infections and liver toxicity.