Herb: Basil

Basil

Basil, (Ocimum basilicum), also called sweet basil, is an annual herb of the mint family (Lamiaceae), grown for its aromatic leaves. Basil is likely native to India and is widely grown as a kitchen herb. The leaves are used fresh or dried to flavor meats, fish, salads, and sauces; basil tea is often used as a stimulant.

Basil leaves are glossy and oval-shaped, with smooth or slightly toothed edges that typically cup slightly; the leaves are arranged oppositely along the square stems. The small flowers are borne in terminal clusters and range in color from white to magenta. The plant is extremely frost-sensitive and grows best in warm climates. Basil is susceptible to Fusarium wilt, blight, and downy mildew, especially when grown in humid conditions. Continue reading “Herb: Basil”

Herb: Dandelion

Dandelion

Closely related to chicory, dandelion is a common plant worldwide and the bane of those looking for the perfect lawn. The plant grows to a height of about 12 inches, producing spatula-like leaves and yellow flowers that bloom year-round. Upon maturation, the flower turns into the characteristic puffball containing seeds that are dispersed in the wind. Dandelion is grown commercially in the United States and Europe. The leaves and root are used in herbal supplements and are valued for their various medicinal uses. Continue reading “Herb: Dandelion”

Herb: Green Tea

GreenTea2What is Green Tea?

Green tea, also known as unoxidized tea, is made solely from the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant. The leaves are plucked, slightly withered, then immediately cooked to preserve the green quality and prevent oxidization. As a result of these methods, green teas have a much higher concentration of chlorophyll, polyphenols, and antioxidants than other types of tea. The growing conditions for green tea can be broken down between two different types: sun grown and shade grown. The leaves are generally harvested three times a year with the first flush producing the highest quality leaves. The heating process differs greatly depending on the region and the tea maker’s techniques. Some of the mainstream methods of manufacturing green tea include: Continue reading “Herb: Green Tea”

Herb: Cat’s Claw Bark

cat_s_clawCat’s Claw Bark

Cat’s claw has been used for centuries by Native Peruvians, and now you can get this effective herb as a supplement or extract. The alkaloid constituents in cat’s claw bark help support immune system wellness and digestive health. Cat’s claw grows wild in Central and South America, especially in the Amazon forest. It is a tropical vine that has small curved spines on the stem at leaf juncture. Continue reading “Herb: Cat’s Claw Bark”

Plant: Arbinogalactan

Arabinogalactan-AG-WesternLarchArabinogalactan (AG)

What is it? Arabinogalactans have long been used as a dietary fiber and have recently been shown to significantly boost the immune system. Arabinogalactan (AG) is a unique polysaccharide, or complex carbohydrate.

Where does it come from? Arabinogalactans have been part of the human diet for thousands of years. They have been detected in seeds, leaves, roots, fruit and xylem sap of representatives of all higher plant families. Dietary sources of arabinogalactans include leek seed, carrot, radish, pear, maize, wheat, and tomato. Sources also include medicinal herbs such as Echinacea species, Baptisia tinctoria, Curcuma longa, and Angelica acutiloba, which are cultivated all over the world. Continue reading “Plant: Arbinogalactan”