Plant: Garlic

 

GarlicGarlic

Garlic has been used for centuries as a culinary spice and medicinal herb. Garlic has been cultivated in the Middle East for more than 5,000 years and has been an important part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The region with the largest commercial garlic production is central California. China is also a supplier of commercial garlic. The bulb is used medicinally. Continue reading “Plant: Garlic”

Plant: Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne-PeppersCayenne Pepper

Taxonomists have only recently begun to agree regarding classification of the domesticated species of Capsicum. Although five species are described, only two, C. annuum and C. frutescens have any significance commercially in the U.S.A. Of the two, C. annuum is the most important domesticated species in the U.S.A. The only C. frutescens pepper of any significance is Tabasco. The Tabasco pepper is difficult to cross with C. annuum types. Hot peppers may belong to any of above species and others. The C. chinense varieties, Habanero and Scotch Bonnet, are considered the hottest. Continue reading “Plant: Cayenne Pepper”

Fruit: Grape Seed Extract

 

GrapeSeedGrape Seed Extract

The grape has a long history of medicinal uses. Ancient Egyptians treated asthma with grapes. More recently, sap from grape branches was used to treat skin issues and scrapes.

The seeds inside grapes used to be considered the worthless by-product of wine production. In the past, they were thrown out as waste. Come to find out, the seeds are extremely valuable. Instead of getting rid of them, grape seeds are in demand to create the extract. Because, let’s face it, eating fruit seeds is not enjoyable and it’s difficult for the body to digest. Continue reading “Fruit: Grape Seed Extract”

Plant: Hawthorn Berry

Hawthorn-BerriesHawthorn Berry

Hawthorn is a plant in which the leaves, berries, and flowers are all used in naturopathic medicines.  According to the Natural Medicines physicians reference, the name has a Greek derivation, Crategus, meaning “always been there”.  It is suggested that in Christianity, the hawthorn thorns formed the crown of thorns placed on Jesus’ head.

Crataegus monogyna (Hawthorn) is native to Britain and Europe but is naturalized in the United States and Canada. It can be found north and east of Tennessee, up the west coast from California to Alaska, as well as in Utah, Montana and Arkansas. Local and regionally known Hawthorns are C. aestivalis (commonly known as the May Haw). Continue reading “Plant: Hawthorn Berry”

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”

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”

Plant: Boswellia Serrata (Frankincense)

Boswellin (Boswellia serrata extract, aka Frankincense)

Boswellia is a large branching tree native to India, Northern Africa, and the Middle East. The trunk is tapped for its resin, which is purified and used in herbal preparations. The resin, known as frankincense, has been used in religious and cultural ceremonies since antiquity. This resin, or gum, also contains the primary active components, boswellic acids, used in modern herbal preparations. Clinical trials have demonstrated that boswellic acids have anti-inflammatory action similar to that of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). However, unlike NSAIDS, long-term use of boswellia does not appear to lead to irritation or ulceration of the stomach. Continue reading “Plant: Boswellia Serrata (Frankincense)”