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Health: Herbs & Their Many Uses "B"

Continuing with what we started, let's continue exploring the different uses of herbs, which should be used in conjunction with the advice and prescriptions of your medical doctor. Many doctors now have had a semester of schooling on herbs and natural healing. Some are very dismissive, others are willing to accept that mankind existed for millennia with only herbs and natural medicine to help them along.

This, in no way, negates the value of modern medicine. But I believe in a careful balance between the two. Therefore, here we go:

Herbs and Their Multiple Uses

The main resources for this section are Herbnet, and Prescription for Nutritional Healing.

Baical Skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) The root is used.

Applied to the skin, it treats eczema, sores, swelling and boils.

Baical Skullcap appears to be helpful with oppression in chest, thirst with no desire for water, dysentery and diarrhea, jaundice, body heat, irritability, blood in the stool and sputum, nosebleeds.

Clinical tests in China found it improved symptoms in over 70% of patients with chronic hepatitis, increasing appetite, improving liver function and reducing swelling. Other studies show it reduces inflammation and allergic reactions. It is also likely that Baical skullcap may help venous problems and fragile capillaries.

The herb may be useful for problems arising from diabetes, including cataracts. In the Far East it is prescribed for conditions such as high fevers, coughs with thick yellow phlegm, and gastrointestinal infections that cause diarrhea, such as dysentery. It is also given to people suffering from painful urinary conditions.

It is now used for allergic conditions such as asthma, hay fever, eczema, and nettle rash, although its anti-inflammatory action is most useful for digestive infections. It is a valuable remedy for the circulation, even in circulatory problems which arise from diabetes. The seed is used to cleanse the bowels of blood and puss.

Balloon Vine (Cardiospermum halicacabum)

Eases inflammation, swelling, scaling, blisters/vesicles, dry skin, itching, burning and pain. A tea made from the leaves is used in the treatment of itchy skin.

Across the world Balloon Vine is used for a variety of reasons. In India it is used to bring on delayed menstruation and to relieve backache and arthritis. The leaves stimulate local circulation and are applied to painful joints to help speed the cleaning of toxins. The seeds are believed to help in the treatment of arthritis. The plant can be used to treat rheumatism, nervous disorders and chronic bronchitis. A paste of the leaves is a dressing for sores and wounds. Crushed leaves can also be inhaled to relieve headaches and the seeds used to relieve fever and body aches. Salted leaves are used as a poultice on swellings. The leaf juice has been used as a treatment for earache.

Barberry (Berberis vulgaris)

It is useful in the treatment of chronic skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

Barberry acts on the gallbladder to improve bile flow and ameliorate conditions such as gallbladder pain, gallstones, and jaundice. Barberry’s is of value in cases of amebic dysentery, cholera and other similar gastrointestinal infections. Barberry is one of the mildest and best liver tonics known, good for jaundice, hepatitis and diabetes.

“The berberine in barberry has remarkable infection-fighting properties. Studies around the world show it kills microorganisms that cause wound infections (Staphylococci, Streptococci), diarrhea (Salmonella, Shigella), dysentery (Endamoeba histolytica), cholera (Vibrio cholerae), giardiasis Giardia lamblia), urinary tract infections (Escherichia coli) and vaginal yeast infections (Candida albicans). Berberine may also fight infection by stimulating the immune system.

Studies show that it activates the macrophages, white blood cells that devour harmful microorganisms. In Germany, a berberine preparation, Ophthiole, is used to treat sensitive eyes, inflamed lids, and pinkeye (conjunctivitis). Barberry contains chemicals that may help reduce elevated blood pressure by enlarging blood vessels.” www.herbnet.com

The bark has a strong, highly beneficial effect on the digestive system as a whole. The diluted decoction makes a gentle and effective wash for the eyes. Liquid of the chewed root has been placed on injuries and on wounds, while cuts and bruises were washed with a root decoction. A preparation of the bark or berries can be useful as a gargle for sore mouth and chronic opthalmia. It has the ability to reduce an enlarged spleen and acts against malaria.

Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

Indian researchers have reported that basil kills bacteria when applied to the skin and have used basil oil successfully to treat acne, and irritable skin conditions.

In past centuries, basil has been used to treat stomach, kidney and blood ailments, cancerous tumors, colds, warts and intestinal worms. In other parts of the world, the juice is recommended for snakebites, chills, coughs, skin problems and earaches. The oil kills intestinal parasites and as a stomach soother and treatment for a broad range of intestinal ailments. One study shows basil stimulates the immune system by increasing production of disease-fighting antibodies by up to 20%.

In the West it is considered a cooling herb and is used for rheumatic pain and for those of a nervous disposition. Basil is one of many healing herbs containing both pro-and anti-cancer substances. On the prevention side, it contains Vitamin A & C, anti-oxidants that help prevent cell damage. But basil also contains a chemical, estragole, that produced liver tumors in mice, according to a report published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. However, the cancer risk, if any, remains unclear. It is on the FDA list of GRAS herbs.

Bayberry (Myrica cerifera) A key herb in the Thomsonian system of medicine.

Used externally for dandruff, hair loss and itching skin conditions.

Mainly used as an astringent for “any stomach or bowel derangement, particularly after fevers.” Internally used for fevers, colds, influenza, excess mucus, diarrhea, colitis, excessive menstruation, and vaginal discharge. Externally for sore throat, ulcers, and sores.

Bayberry is commonly used to increase circulation, stimulate perspiration, and keep bacterial infections in check. Colds, flu, coughs, and sore throats benefit from treatment with this herb as a hot decoction. It helps to strengthen resistance to infection and to tighten and dry mucous membranes. An infusion is helpful for strengthening spongy gums, and a gargle is used for sore throat.

Bayberry’s astringency helps intestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and mucous colitis. It increases circulation to the area while acting to tone tissues involved. An infusion can also help treat excess vaginal discharge. A paste of the powdered root bark may be applied onto ulcers and sores. It has been used to treat post-partum hemorrhage and taken internally and used as a douche is recommended for excessive menstruation and leucorrhea. The powder is strongly sternutatory and excites coughing. The leaves have provided vitamin C for curing scurvy.

Bishop’s Weed (Ammi majur)

Bishops’ Weed reputedly helps treat patchy skin pigmentation in vitiligo. It has also been used for psoriasis.

The seeds in an infusion or as a tincture, calm the digestive system. They are also diuretic and have been used to treat asthma and angina.

Bittersweet (Solanum dulcamara)

Bittersweet is used mainly as an alterative internally for eruptic skin diseases and ulcers including eczema, itchiness, psoriasis and warts. Externally a decoction of the twigs, applied as a wash, may also help to lessen the severity of these conditions.

Bittersweet is useful for most inflammatory conditions, including ulcerative colitis and inflammatory rheumatic diseases. It also is used for severe high fevers with extreme excitability and acts as a cooling sedative for hysteria and anxiety as well as chronic jaundice. The herb may also be taken to relieve asthma, chronic bronchitis and rheumatic conditions, including gout. Recent research indicates that bittersweet contains a tumor-inhibiting agent, beta-solamarine, which may have some promise in treating cancer.

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)

Bloodroot has been used historically in numerous topical preparations for the treatment of various skin cancers, and also for sores, warts, eczema, and other dermal & epidermal problems. The root, in a vinegar extract, makes a very good antifungal wash for athlete’s foot. The paste of the root has been recommended to remove warts and the powder is used in a number of cancer salves. Carcinomas of the human nose and ear have responded to topical treatment with a preparation containing bloodroot extract.

Bloodroot has been used as a diuretic, emetic, emmenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge, stimulant, and tonic. It has also been used internally in herbal preparations for congestive lung conditions such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Studies find that sanguinarine, a compound found in bloodroot, kills bacteria, stops them from converting carbohydrates into gum tissue-eating acid, and blocks enzymes that destroy collagen in gum tissue. Some companies are now making toothpaste and mouthwash using it as an active ingredient.

Buckthorn (Rhamnus catharticus (R. frangula) )

In ointment form it is very effective in treating warts and various skin problems.

Buckthorn bark treats stubborn constipation, liver congestion, dropsy, hemorrhoids, colic and obesity. It is milder than its near relative cascara. It has a generally calming effect on the gastrointestingal tract and may be used for an extended period of time for chronic constipation. It also is good for treating ulcerative colitis and acute appendicitis. Taken hot, it will induce perspiration and lower fevers. It is used with alterative formulas in small amounts, since its mild laxative effect helps eliminate toxins and treat conditions such as gallstones, itching, lead poisoning, parasites, skin diseases and worms. In ointment form it is very effective in treating warts and various skin problems.

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Health: Herbs & Their Many Uses "B" Health: Herbs & Their Many Uses "B" Reviewed by Candace Salima on Monday, November 03, 2008 Rating: 5