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Health: Herbs & Their Many Uses "D"

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.

Dakota Vervain (Glandularia bipinnatifida)

As an effective sedative tea, particularly in the early feverish states of a cold or flu. It also stimulates sweating. It is a good remedy for children, although the taste leaves much to be desired. The powdered tops are mixed with lard or Vaseline and applied to the back of the neck for back or neck pain. The herb or tea is used for goats that have just kidded and have udder infections.

Daisy (Bellis perennis - English)

Flowers are used externally in lotions for skin disease, wounds, varicose veins, sore and watery eyes and bruises. An infusion of the flower was drunk in the morning and at night for a fever. Daisy is under investigation for possible use in HIV therapy. The flowers contain compounds similar to those in Castanospermum. It is most often used as a gentle laxative. Its fresh flowers are anodyne and help heal inflamed swellings and burns. It is also beneficial for colds and chest problems, coughs and mucous congestion. The tea is good for stomach and intestinal problems where some sort of internal fermentation is the source, also for catarrh, colic, and liver, kidney and bladder problems. The juice can be used externally for injuries and suppuration. As a double treatment to relieve stiffness or soreness, wild daisy can be taken internally as a tea and applied externally in compresses.

Damiana (Turnera diffusa)

As an aphrodisiac, damiana works by sending blood to the genital area. It must be used consistently for several weeks before an effect is noticed. The leaf is infused to treat sexual trauma, frigidity, and impotence. It also clears the kidneys, helps the digestion, relieves constipation, and benefits lung problems and coughs. Due to its testosterogenic quality, damiana has always been seen as an herb for men, helpful in treating premature ejaculation and impotence. It works well in combination with saw palmetto berry and/or ginseng and was used that way by Native Americans for this purpose.

It is a blood purifier with many of the same properties as parsley. Its essential oil is irritating to mucous membranes, increasing the production while decreasing the thickness of fluids produced by these membranes and may account for its success as a diuretic, laxative, blood purifier and expectorant. The effect is most pronounced in the reproductive and urinary systems. It’s used in the treatment of urinary infections such as cystitis and urethritis due to the constituent arbutin, which is converted into hydroquinone, a strong urinary antiseptic, in the urinary tubules.
It is a relaxing nervine and tonic with an affinity for nervous system problems that affect the reproductive system. It works by increasing blood flow, blood oxygenation, and energy in the affected area while it relaxes the whole person. It is also used for debility, depression and lethargy. It has mild laxative properties. It has traditionally been used to treat coughs, colds, enuresis, nephritis, headaches and dysmenorrhea.

Damianita (Chrysactinia mexicana)

The flower is used for fever, rheumatism, and as a diuretic, sudorific, antispasmodic, and aphrodisiac

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Dandelion contains much that is beneficial to our bodies: bitter compounds, choline, inulin, large quantities of minerals such as calcium, sodium, silicic acid, sulfur and, in the fresh leaves, a high content of potassium. The bitter compounds stimulate the appetite and promote digestion. Choline affects the gallbladder and the intestines, often stimulating the mucous membranes of the large intestine in a laxative effect. It also has a relationship to the liver’s lipid metabolism. Our daily requirement of choline is 2-3 grams and a lack of it increases fatty degeneration of the liver. Dandelion can promote bile production in the liver and its secretion from the liver. Dandelion root is a "blood purifier" that helps both the kidneys and the liver to improve elimination. It helps clear up many eczema-like skin problems because of this. The root has also been successfully used to treat liver diseases such as jaundice and cirrhosis along with dyspepsia and gallbladder problems. Its use as a diuretic is favorable because it replaces the potassium that most diuretics remove. It's the herb of choice for treating rheumatism, gout and heart disease as well as regulating hormonal imbalances. Fresh latex removes warts if applied several times daily. The Chinese have prescribed it since ancient times to treat colds, bronchitis, pneumonia, hepatitis, boils, ulcers, obesity, dental problems, itching, and internal injuries. A poultice of chopped dandelion was also used to treat breast cancer. Traditional Ayurvedic physicians used the herb in a similar manner. Recent research shows a wide number of possibilities using dandelion. It's diuretic property can make it useful in relieving the bloated feeling of PMS and in help with weight loss. One study shows dandelion inhibits the growth of the fungus responsible for vaginal yeast infections. It stimulates bile production and prevents gallstones. There is a German preparation Chol-Grandelat (a combination of dandelion, milk thistle and rhubarb) prescribed for gallbladder disease. Traditional formulas: dandelion and barberry; dandelion and parsley; dandelion and purslane

Darnel (Lolium temulentum)

Occasionally used in folk medicine to treat headache, rheumatism, and sciatica. It is occasionally used externally in cases of skin eruption and tumorous growth. It is sometimes used by doctors to treat dizziness, insomnia, blood congestion, and stomach problems. It may also be used for skin problems like herpes, scurf, and sores.

Date (Phoenix dactylifera)

The fruit, because of its tannin content, is used medicinally as a detersive and astringent in intestinal troubles. In the form of an infusion, decoction, syrup or paste, is administered as a treatment for sore throat, colds, bronchial catarrh. It is taken to relieve fever, cystitis, gonorrhea, edema, liver and abdominal troubles. And it is said to counteract alcohol intoxication. The seed powder is an ingredient in a paste given to relieve ague. A gum that exudes from the wounded trunk is employed in India for treating diarrhea and genito-urinary ailments. It is diuretic and demulcent. The roots are used against toothache. The pollen yields an estrogenic principle, estrone, and has a gonadotropic effect on young rats.

Day Flower (Commelina communis)

The leaves are used as a throat gargle to relieve sore throats and tonsilitis. A decoction of the dried plant is used to treat bleeding, diarrhea, fever etc. Extracts of the plant show antibacterial activity. An extract of Commelina communis after decoction in water has been traditionally used for the treatment of diabetes in Korea.

Death Camas (Zygadenus elegans)

Death camass was once used as an external medicine. The Blackfoot Indians applied a wet bound dressing of the pulped bulbs to relieve the pain of bruises, sprains and rheumatism.

Deertongue (Carphephorus odoratissimus (Trilisa odoratissima, Liatris odoratissima))

The roots have been used for their diuretic effects and applied locally for sore throats and gonorrhea. It has also been used as a tonic in treating malaria. Demulcent, febrifuge, diaphoretic. A powerful stimulant, highly regarded by Native Americans as an aphrodisiac, and said to induce erotic dreams.

Desert Lavender (Hyptis emoryi)

Both the flowers and the leaves can be used to make a minty-tasting tea that is good for the stomach and throat. It’s an anesthethic to the esophagus, thus extremely soothing to inflamed tissues. It is also a hemostatic, used by desert Indians to treat heavy menstruation and bleeding hemorrhoids as well as being given to women in childbirth. Desert lavender is an excellent tea for hangovers and helps rid the mouth of the sour taste that comes with stomach flu. Betulinic acid, with tumor-inhibitory properties, was identified from a chloroform extract by Sheth et al. (3). Tanowitz et al. (4) identified 34 constituents from the oil of a collection from San Diego Co., California, with 11.9% borneol as the most abundant constituent

Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens)

It has been recommended for treating a wide variety of conditions: cholecystitis, cholelithiasiss, gout, obesity, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis; Dyspepsia; Hypercholesterolemia; Hyperlipidemia. It is a remedy from the Kalahari desert in Namibia with a well deserved reputation as an effective rheumatic remedy. A group of glycosides called harpagosides found in the root show a marked anti-inflammatory effect. Devil’s claw is also considered by herbalists to be a potent bitter. Bitter principles, like the iridoid glycosides found in devil’s claw, stimulate the stomach to increase the production of acid, thereby helping to improve digestion.

In the west, Devil's claw has been recommended for treating a wide variety of conditions including diseases of the liver, kidneys, and bladder, as well as allergies, arteriosclerosis, lumbago, gastrointestinal disturbances, menstrual difficulties, neuralgia, headache, climacteric (change of life) problems, heartburn, nicotine poisoning, and above all, rheumatism and arthritis.
Externally, devil's claw root is made into ointments for skin rashes, wounds and the like.

Diabetes, hepatitis, kidney and bladder deficiency, nervous malaise and respiratory ailments are all treated with devil's claw preparations. Insofar as hardening of the arteries pertains to complications of aging, devil's claw finds application. There is some concern in the industry about the difficulty of obtaining good devil's claw root; only certain portions of the root contain active constituents, and often the whole root is supplied to manufacturers. To help circumvent this problem, standardized preparations are now being produced.

Not much research has been done in this area, but it has been established devil's claw root possesses a bitter value of 6,000, equal to the main Western bitter, gentian root. It would therefore be expected to possess similar gastro-intestinal properties. Indeed, in the few reported studies on g.i. problems, harpagophytum proved effective in treating such complaints as dyspepsia and conditions relating to the proper functioning of bile salts, the gallbladder, and the enterohepatic circuit. In a related manner, the herb helps to raise cholesterol and fatty acid levels in the blood. As one author points out, devil's claw may be the perfect treatment for elderly people with arthritis, obesity and hyperlipemia.

An early review paper on devil's claw suggested the plant was a good stimulant of the lymphatic system, with detoxifying effects that extended to the whole organism, and provided evidence from clinical studies involving close to 400 persons. The plant was indeed effective for most of the conditions listed in the folklore section above, especially as pertaining to the liver, gallbladder, bladder and kidneys.

More recent studies have found devil's claw preparations are generally well suited for the treatment of chronic rheumatism, arthritis, gout, spondylosis-induced lower back pain, neuralgia, headaches, and lumbago. One study found its anti-inflammatory effects equaled those of pyrazolone derivatives and the commonly prescribed anti-arthritic phenylbutazone. Analgesic effects of a subjective nature are reported, but objective tests are ambiguous on this point. Relief of pain is probably a side benefit of reduced inflammation. Improved mobility in the joints is often reported, as well as improved feeling of well-being. Currently, physicians in Europe are injecting devil's claw extract directly into arthritic joints, where it acts much like cortisone in terms of reducing inflammation. As in the case of most arthritis treatments, not everybody benefits, but there are enough to do to warrant further investigation of this plant, and to recommend it as a possible treatment option. A clinical study carried out in Germany in 1976 reported that devil's claw exhibited anti-inflammatory activity, comparable in many respects to the well-known anti-arthritic drug, phenylbutazone. Analgesic effects were also observed along with reductions in abnormally high cholesterol and uric-acid blood levels.

Devil’s Club (Oplopanax horridum)

Devil's Club is used to stabilize blood sugar levels. It is used routinely in the treatment of diabetes as a natural alternative to insulin. Although devil’s club shares some pharmacological and therapeutic similarities with ginseng, it is not the same medicine. It is a strong and safe respiratory stimulant and expectorant increasing the mucus secretions to initiate fruitful coughing and soften up hardened bronchial mucus that can occur later on in a chest cold. The cold infusion, and to a lesser degree the fresh or dry tincture, is helpful for rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders , taken regularly and with sensible modifications to the diet. It is more helpful when taken during remissions and has little effect during active distress. Its main value is in modifying extremes of metabolic stress and adding a little reserve to offset the person’s internal cost of living. . Its use by Native Americans as a treatment for adult-onset diabetes has been substantiated by scientific studies in this century. It seems to decrease the lust for sugars and binge food in those trying to lose weight or deal with generally elevated blood fats and glucose. Seems to work best on stocky, mesomorphic, anabolic-stress-type, middle-aged people with elevated blood lipids, moderately high blood pressure, and early signs of adult onset, insulin-resistant diabetes. Indians also used it to treat cancer. Root strongly warms lymphatic system function; weakly warms central nervous system activity; weakly warms hepatic activity.
Root weakly warms immunologic activity; weakly warms mucosal activity; weakly warms parasympathetic nervous system activity; weakly warms renal activity; weakly warms reproductive system function; weakly warms respiratory system function; weakly warms skin activity; weakly warms sympathetic nervous system activity; weakly warms thyroid stress; weakly warms upper GI activity; weakly cools adrenal stress; weakly cools anabolic stress.

Devil's Horsewhip (Achyranthes aspera)

The plant is highly esteemed by traditional healers and used in treatment of asthma, bleeding, in facilitating delivery, boils, bronchitis, cold, cough, colic, debility, dropsy, dog bite, dysentery, ear complications, headache, leucoderma, pneumonia, renal complications, scorpion bite, snake bite and skin diseases etc. Traditional healers claim that addition of A. aspera would enhance the efficacy of any drug of plant origin. Prevents infection and tetanus. Used to treat circumcision wounds, cuts. Also used for improving lymphatic circulation, strengthens musculatured, improves blood circulation; Cold with fever, heat stoke with headache, malaria, dysentery; Urinary tract lithiasis, chronic nephritis, edema; Rheumatic arthralgia (joint pain). Used traditionally for infertility in women: Two ml decoction of root and stem is administered orally thrice a day for three months. Younger women respond better to this therapy.

Dewberry (Rubus caesius)

The fruit is commonly used for a treatment for diarrhea and dysentery. Combination of the roots is treatment for coughs and also fevers.

Dill (Anethum graveolens)

Carvone is a carminative. Limonene and phellandrene--an irritant found in oil of dill and many other essential oils--are photosensitizers. Dill seed improves digestion and appetite and sweetens the breath. The oil kills bacteria and relieves flatulence. It is frequently used in Ayurvedic and Unani medicines for indigestion, fevers, ulcers, uterine pains and kidney and eye problems. Ethiopians chew the leaves along with fennel to treat headaches and gonorrhea. In Vietnam it is used to treat intestinal diseases. Contemporary herbalists recommend chewing the seeds for bad breath and drinking dill tea both as a digestive aid and to stimulate milk production in nursing mothers. The herb helps relax the smooth muscles of the digestive tract. One study shows it's also an antifoaming agent, meaning it helps prevent the formation of intestinal gas bubbles.
Historically, injured knights were said to have placed burned dill seeds on their open wounds to speed healing. A mixture of dill, dried honey and butter was once prescribed to treat madness.

Dittany of Crete (Origanum dictamnus)

As a medicinal plant, the herb has been utilized to heal wounds, soothe pain, and ease childbirth. The root has been used in a salve to treat sciatica, and the juice was consumed in wine to cure snake bite. In addition, it has been used as a remedy against gastric or stomach ailments and rheumatism.

Dock, Bloody (Rumex sanguineus)

Has been used medicinally for cancer and for various blood diseases. An infusion of the root is useful in the treatment of bleeding. The root is harvested in early spring and dried for later use. A decoction of the leaves is used in the treatment of several skin diseases.

Dock, Japanese (Rumex japonicus)

For internal use it is similar to da huang: nose bleeding, functional bleeding of the uterus, purpura due to thrombocytopenia, chronic hepatitis, inflammation of the anus, constipation. Fresh squeezed juice is effective for fungus infection of skin, hemorrhoids, inflammation of the mammary glands, and eczema.

Dodder (Cuscuta epithymum)

A mild laxative and a well regarded hepatic. It is of value for the treatment of bladder and liver troubles. It is also considered a remedy for kidney complaints.

Dodder, Big Fruit (Cuscuta megalocarpa)

Indians used the plants in a bath for treatment of tuberculosis. Early settlers put their fevered children in the same kind of bath. A poultice of the plant has been used to treat insect stings. Indians believed the plant to be a useful contraceptive and gave it to their women. It has also been considered a bile stimulant and a laxative.

Dodder, Common (Cuscuta europaea)

In traditional folk medicine, a decoction was used as a laxative. The entire plant is used in Tibetan medicine, where it is considered to have a bitter, acrid and sweet taste with a heating potency. It is aphrodisiac, renal and a hepatic tonic, being used to increase semen, to treat pain in the wrist and limbs, vaginal/seminal discharge, polyuria, tinnitus and blurred vision.

Dodder, Japanese (Cuscuta japonica)

Internally used for diarrhea, impotence, urinary frequency, vaginal discharge, and poor eyesight associated with liver and kidney energy weakness. Also used for prostatis and neurological weakness. It builds sperm, builds the blood, strengthens sinews and bones. It also treats enuresis and seminal emission; constipation, backache and cold knees; and rheumatoid arthritis. One of the safer and more affordable yang tonics. The herb is reputed to confer longevity when used for prolonged periods, particularly in combination with Chinese yam. The herb is nontoxic and can be used continuously for long-term periods except for the contraindication below.

Dog Lichen (Peltigera canina)

Liver tonic. The whole plant is used in the form of an infusion of 1 oz to 1 pt of boiling water and taken in doses of 2 fl oz as a liver tonic. It is laxative. It is best combined with other remedies for the liver such as dandelion

Dog's Tongue (Psychotria sulzneri)

Added to a mixture of medicinal leaves (usually 9) to make an herbal bath formula for bathing wounds, rashes, swellings, and for those who feel nervous and sleepless. Mash leaves and flowers to apply as poultice on infected sores.

Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis)

Often called “the female ginseng.” Though dong quai has no specific hormonal action, it exerts a regulating and normalizing influence on hormonal production through its positive action on the liver and endocrine system. It has a sweet and unusually thick pungent taste and is warming and moistening to the body. Chinese angelica is taken in Traditional Chinese Medicine as a tonic for “deficient blood” conditions, anemia and for the symptoms of anemia due to blood loss, pale complexion, palpitations, and lowered vitality. Chinese angelica regulates the menstrual cycle, relieves menstrual pains and cramps and is a tonic for women with heavy menstrual bleeding who risk becoming anemic. Since it also stimulates menstrual bleeding, other tonic herbs, such as nettle, are best taken during menstruation if the flow is heavy. It is also a uterine tonic and helps infertility. Chinese angelica is a “warming” herb, improving the circulation to the abdomen and to the hands and feet. It strengthens the digestion and it also is useful in the treatment of abscesses and boils. Research has shown that the whole plant, including the rhizome, strengthens liver function and the whole rhizome has an antibiotic effect. In China, physicians inject their patients with Dong quai extract to treat sciatic pain. Clinical trials show that when this extract is injected into the acupuncture points used to treat sciatica, about 90% of people receiving treatment report significant improvement.

Dragon Arum (Dracunculus vulgaris)

Dioscorides thought it resembled a dragon. In ancient medicine it was used for the eyes and ears, for ruptures, convulsions and coughs. Dioscorides says, “But being beaten small with honey, and applied, it takes away the malignancie of ulcers.”

Dragon's Blood (Daemonorops draco syn Calamus draco)

A stringent, and regarded as effective for the treatment of dysentery. It is applied externally as a wash or liniment to stop bleeding and promote healing. Internally it is used for menstrual irregularities, chest pains, post-partum bleeding and traumatic injuries. Doses of 10 to 30 grains were formerly given as an astringent in diarrhea, etc., but officially it is never at present used internally, being regarded as inert. The following treatment is said to have cured cases of severe syphilis. Mix 2 drachms of Dragon's Blood, 2 drachms of colocynth, ½ oz. of gamboge in a mortar, and add 3 gills of boiling water. Stir for an hour, while keeping hot. Allow to cool, and add while stirring a mixture of 2 oz. each of sweet spirits of nitre and copaiba balsam. Dragon's Blood is not acted upon by water, but most of it is soluble in alcohol. It fuses by heat. The solution will stain marble a deep red, penetrating in proportion to the heat of the stone.

Dragon's Blood (Croton lechleri)

For centuries, the sap has been painted on wounds to staunch bleeding, to accelerate healing, and to seal and protect injuries from infection. The sap dries quickly and forms a barrier, much like a "second skin." It is used externally by indigenous tribes and local people in Peru for wounds, fractures, and hemorrhoids, internally for intestinal and stomach ulcers, and as a douche for vaginal discharge. Other indigenous uses include treating intestinal fevers and inflamed or infected gums, in vaginal baths before and after childbirth, for hemorrhaging after childbirth, and for skin disorders.

It is also used internally for ulcers in the mouth, throat, intestines and stomach; as an antiviral for upper respiratory viruses, stomach viruses and HIV; internally and externally for cancer and, topically, for skin disorders, insect bites and stings.

Some studies have found that the taspine, found in the red sap of dragon’s blood, appears to accelerate the healing of wounds. But later research at the University of London, School of Pharmacy has cast doubt on taspine’s wound-healing power, suggesting instead that substances known as polyphenols may be responsible. The same British study also examined the ability of dragon’s blood to kill certain human cancer cells and bacteria. In laboratory tests on samples of human oral cancer cells, dragon’s blood sap proved toxic to those cells. In addition, other components in the sap were believed to be valuable in killing off bacteria, making dragon’s blood useful as an anti-infective.

Drumstick (Moringa oleifera)

The flowers, leaves, and roots are used in folk remedies for tumors, the seed for abdominal tumors. The root decoction is used in Nicaragua for dropsy. Root juice is applied externally as rubefacient or counter-irritant. Leaves applied as poultice to sores, rubbed on the temples for headaches, and said to have purgative properties. Bark, leaves and roots are acrid and pungent, and are taken to promote digestion. Oil is somewhat dangerous if taken internally, but is applied externally for skin diseases. Bark regarded as antiscorbic, and exudes a reddish gum with properties of tragacanth; sometimes used for diarrhea. Roots are bitter, act as a tonic to the body and lungs, and are emmenagogue, expectorant, mild diuretic and stimulant in paralytic afflictions, epilepsy and hysteria.

The juice from the leaves is believed to stabilize blood pressure, the flowers are used to cure inflammations, the pods are used for joint pain, the roots are used to treat rheumatism, and the bark can be chewed as a digestive.

A decoction of the root bark of Moringa is used as fomentation to relieve spasm. The juice of the leaves is given as an emetic. The root and bark are abortifacient. The expressed juice of the fresh roots, bark, and leaves of Moringa is poured in the nostrils in stupor and coma. In Guinea, the bark and the roots are considered rubefacient and they are used as vesicants. The ground roots are mixed with salt and applied as a poultice to tumors. The bark and the leaves ground together are applied on head for neuralgia.

In the Indian indigenous system of medicine (Ayurveda), the leaves of Moringa oleifera are described to remove all kinds of excessive pain, useful in eye diseases, cure hallucinations, and as an aphrodisiac, anthelmintic, dry tumors, hiccough, asthma etc.

Drumsticks have been confirmed as a natural antibiotic and antifungal agent. Pterygospermin, which clinical tests seem to confirm is antitubercular, has been isolated in the drumstick’s root, although Ayurvedic medicine uses the root for liver disorders.

Medicines made from drumsticks are also gynecologically valuable in childbirth as an aid for difficult deliveries. Externally, applications compounded from drumsticks are used for leg spasms, while the seeds are ground and administered for unblocking nasal catarrhs.

Moringinine acts on Sympathetic nerve endings and can: Produces a rise in blood pressure; Acceleration of heart beat and constriction of blood vessels; Inhibits the tone and movements of involuntary muscles of the gastrointestinal tract; Contracts the uterus in guinea pigs and rabbits; Produces a slight diuresis due to rise of blood pressure; Relaxes bronchioles.

Drumstick Tree (Moringa peregrine)

The seeds of the common small tree Moringa peregrina are turned into a yellowish oil that cures abdominal pains, infantile convulsion and for childbirth. The testa is removed, powdered and then has salt and water added.

Du Huo (Angelica pubescens)

The roots and rhizomes are used to treat nose bleed, blood in urine, rheumatic arthritis, lumbago, common cold, headache; increase menstrual flow. A decoction is used to promote menstruation, to treat rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatism, headache, toothache and abscesses.

Dulse (Rhodymenia palmate)

In several traditions of European herbal medicine, dulse was used to remove parasites, to relieve constipation, and as a treatment for scurvy. It is a superior source of the iodine the body needs to make the thyroid hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine which affect weight and metabolic rate. The complex polysaccharides in the herb make it a gentle alternative to psyllium or senna in the treatment of constipation.

Externally, the fresh blades can be used to treat skin diseases, headaches, and to help expel placenta. It is used as a gentle laxative. Dulse has also been used to help prevent fibroid tumors of the breasts, the uterus or the ovaries and in cases of swollen lumps or enlargements of the intestinal area. Natural, organically-bond iodine extracts from Dulse are used for the treatment and prevention of thyroid disease, and clinical trials on daily molecular iodine supplementation have shown that cyclical breast lumps and cysts are completely resolved within two months. The iodine in Dulse can also prevent goiter.

Dulse has an alkalizing effect on the blood that neutralizes wastes that build up in the body and also aids in removing radioactive and heavy metals from the body. It also prevents the absorption from the gut by binding these elements, which include radioactive strontium, barium, and cadmium. This is done by transforming them into harmless salts (via a substance called alginic acid) that are easily eliminated. Dulse has elements to eliminate excess uric acid from the system and has been used for genitourinary problems such as kidney, bladder, prostrate, and uterus. Clinical documentation shows that taking some each day can reduce enlarged prostrates in older men and urination can become painless.

Seaweeds may reduce the risk of poisoning from environmental pollution by providing fiber that increases fecal bulk and also reduces cholesterol levels through the retardation of bile acid absorption. Recent research has suggested that Dulse may help reverse hardening of the arteries, reduce high blood pressure, regress and prevent tumors Research has shown that Dulse extracts inhibited HeLa cell proliferation that is found in human cervical adenocarcinoma and has also been found in animal studies to reduce the risk of intestinal and mammary cancer.

It has been used to treat the problems associated with thyroid malfunction. Liquid Dulse can help to soothe an irritated throat and mucous membranes. It has been used for enlarged thyroid and lymph nodes, swollen and painful testes and to reduce edema. Seaweeds are used to promote wound healing. New generation dressings such as the hydrocolloid dressings are seaweed base as they provide optimal conditions for healing to begin. It is known to prevent seasickness. Thus it should be of value in other conditions where motion sickness is the cause such as vertigo and labrynthitis or Meniere's Disease.

Durian (Durio zibethinus)

The flesh is said to serve as a vermifuge. In Malaya, a decoction of the leaves and roots is prescribed as a febrifuge. The leaf juice is applied on the head of a fever patient. The leaves are employed in medicinal baths for people with jaundice. Decoctions of the leaves and fruits are applied to swellings and skin diseases. The ash of the burned rind is taken after childbirth. The leaves probably contain hydroxy-tryptamines and mustard oils.

The odor of the flesh is believed to be linked to indole compounds which are bacteriostatic. Eating durian is alleged to restore the health of ailing humans and animals. The flesh is widely believed to act as an aphrodisiac because it improves sexual function for those who are kidney yang deficient.

In the late 1920's, Durian Fruit Products, Inc., of New York City, launched a product called "Dur-India" as a "health-food accessory" in tablet form, selling at $9 for a dozen bottles, each containing 63 tablets–a 3-months' supply. The tablets reputedly contained durian and a species of Allium from India, as well as a considerable amount of vitamin E. They were claimed to provide "more concentrated healthful energy in food form than any other product the world affords"–to keep the body vigorous and tireless; the mind alert with faculties undimmed; the spirit youthful.

A toothpaste flavored with durian is currently marketed for durian fanciers. The Malays, besides looking on the durian fruit as tonic, consider the root medicinal, taking a decoction of it for a fever, which has lasted three days. The leaves and root are used in a compound for fevers. The leaves are utilized in medicinal baths for jaundice. The juice enters into a preparation for bathing the head of a fever patient. In Java the fruit-walls are used externally for ski complaints. Considered by many to be the strongest aphrodisiac in the world

Decoction of the leaves and roots is used as antipyretic; the leaves are used in medicinal baths for people with jaundice; decoctions of the leaves and fruits are applied to swellings and skin diseases; the ash of the burned rind is taken after childbirth.

Dyers Greenwood (Genista tinctoria)

Both the flowering stems and seeds are the medicinal parts. Dyer's Greenweed was used as a laxative, to expel uroliths and for gout. It has strong diuretic, weak cardioactive and laxative properties. Besides being a remedy for kidney and urinary disorders, it has also been used to strengthen heart action, to raise blood pressure and to alleviate rheumatic and arthritic pain. It has diuretic, cathartic and emetic properties and both flower tops and seeds have been used medicinally, though it has never been an official drug. The powdered seeds operate as a mild purgative, and a decoction of the plant has been used medicinally as a remedy in dropsy and is stated to have proved effective in gout and rheumatism, being taken in wineglassful doses three or four times a day. The ashes form an alkaline salt, which has also been used as a remedy in dropsy and other diseases. In the fourteenth century it was used, as well as Broom, to make an ointment called Unguentum geneste, 'goud for alle could goutes,' etc. The seed was also used in a plaster for broken limbs. A decoction of the plant was regarded in the Ukraine as a remedy for hydrophobia, but there's not much scientific evidence on this use.
Health: Herbs & Their Many Uses "D" Health: Herbs & Their Many Uses "D" Reviewed by Candace Salima on Tuesday, November 18, 2008 Rating: 5