Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Dandelion (Taraxacum Officinale)

For many people, dandelions are simply a yard pest; a pesky weed.  However, dandelions are very rich in nutrients.  For herbalists though the dandelion is a valuable herb with many culinary and medicinal uses.  The bitter dandelion root is a favorite in folk medicine, and particularly useful for stimulating a sluggish liver.  The dandelion is a rich source of vitamins A, B complex, C, and D, as well as minerals such as iron, potassium, and zinc. The most active ingredient in dandelions, eudesmanolide and germacranolide, are found only in dandelions.  They also have high levels of minerals like iron, magnesium, zinc potassium, manganese, copper, choline, calcium, boron, and silicon.  

Native Americans have used dandelion decoctions (liquid made by boiling down the herb in water) to treat kidney disease, swelling, skin problems, heartburn, and stomach upset. Chinese medicinal practitioners traditionally used dandelion to treat digestive disorders, appendicitis, and breast problems (such as inflammation or lack of milk flow). In Europe, herbalists incorporated it into remedies for fever, boils, eye problems, diabetes, and diarrhea.

Many herbal doctors use dandelion to purify the liver and gallbladder of toxins.  Research has indicated that dandelions can treat pneumonia, bronchitis and other respiratory disorders.  The dandelion has shown to improve general health and is also beneficial to the kidneys, pancreas, spleen, stomach and other organs.  It has also been recommended for the treatment of tinnitus, tonsillitis, osteoporosis, abscesses, anemia, boils, mammary tumors, cirrhosis, water retention, hepatitis, jaundice, rheumatism and warts. 
Along with all these uses, the root of the dandelion can be used as an alternative to coffee (see recipe below) for which it is believed to have a tonic effect on the pancreas, spleen and female organs, while the leaves are wonderful in salads, sandwiches and teas.  So what we have thought of as such a pesky, horrible weed has now turned out to be a most beneficial herb and herbal medicine. 
Dandelion Benefits also include:
  • It is a gentle diuretic
  • It can purify the bloodstream and liver, and it can stimulate the manufacture of bile
  • It can decrease the amounts of serum cholesterol and uric acid
  • It can maximize the performance of the kidneys, pancreas, spleen, and stomach
  • It is very beneficial to menopausal women
  • It is effective in treating abscesses, anemia, boils, breast tumors, and cirrhosis of the liver
  • It may avert the development of age spots or breast cancer
Adult Usage
Dandelion may be used in a variety of available forms:
  • Dried leaf infusion: 1 - 2 teaspoonfuls, 3 times daily. Pour hot water onto dried leaf and steep for 5 - 10 minutes. Drink as directed.
  • Dried root decoction: 1/2 - 2 teaspoonfuls, 3 times daily. Place root into boiling water for 5 - 10 minutes. Strain and drink as directed.
  • Leaf tincture (1:5) in 30% alcohol: 100 - 150 drops, 3 times daily
  • Standardized powdered extract (4:1) leaf: 500 mg, 1 - 3 times daily
  • Standardized powdered extract (4:1) root: 500 mg, 1 - 3 times daily
  • Root tincture (1:2) fresh root in 45% alcohol: 100 - 150 drops, 3 times daily
Dandelion Coffee
Although dandelion is a wonderful plant it does not always grow where it is wanted.  When weeding, keep the long taproots.  Scrub all the dirt off the roots, chop into pieces, and roast in a medium oven until dry and slightly burnt.  Make a decoction and take 1 or 2 cups a day as a liver strengthener and tonic.

This information is not intended as medical advice. 
Please consult your physician or other qualified health professional before taking supplements of any kind.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Sage (Salvia Officinalis)

Sage, often referred to as the herb of longevity has been used for thousands of years medicinally. Although best known as a main ingredient in poultry stuffing, it has been used since the Middle Ages medicinally as it was thought to promote longevity. Its name comes from the Latin Salvare, which translates roughly as "to rescue" or "to heal."

Sage is a remedy often used for respiratory infections, congestion, cough, sore throats, mouth sores, mouth ulcers, appetite stimulant, indigestion and is also said to be beneficial for the liver. It is also sometimes given to help with fever, night sweats, and urinary problems. Some women have found that it also helps ease menopausal symptoms.

One of the reasons Sage is so good for sore throats, mouth sores and mouth ulcers, are because of the oils and tannins. These oils and tannins have astringent, antiseptic and irritant properties in them. For a sore throat mix a Sage tea with apple cider vinegar and salt for gargling. Another wonderful aspect of Sage is that it is reported to have moisture-drying properties and can be used as an antiperspirant. As an astringent it can be used as a refreshing after-shave and a Sage tea can be used to help digestive problems and flatulence.
Herbs can be very powerful medicines, whether used in a tincture, tea or capsule they hold an incredible and potent medicine quality. Some herbs such as Sage, when burnt offer various remedies for many physical, emotional, spiritual or mental imbalances.

Sage is held sacred by many Native American Indians and, I, myself as a kitchen witch cleanse my house frequently with sage. It heals by bringing the person back into balance and cleanses the body and mind of negative spirits and impurities and thus is wonderful to use to clean your home of unwanted negative energy. This would be called smudging. I personally use a bundle of white sage and light the end, let it flame for a while and then blow it out. With a feather I then direct the smoke throughout the house. Depending on my intention I sometimes I have a chant or blessing I say while doing this. After completion I am always amazed at how calm and balanced the air is.

Another method of smudging is to use a loose mixture, place it in a shell, piece of pottery or a stone bowl. In this mixture you could have the sage, cedar (for healing) sweet grass (brings positive energy) and juniper (for healing) and a feather (if you do not have a feather you can make a feather like object from a piece of paper). Use your hands to roll the dried leaves, crumbling them into your bowl or shell. Burn the mixture until it begins to smolder and give off clouds of smoke. Begin fanning the smoke with the feather, starting at your heart and working your way up to the head and continue this process all the way down the body and back up again. Pray to your spiritual deity and ask for good, positive energy. Offer the smoke to the 5 directions – North, South, East, West and Spirit asking them to rid the negativity that is attached to you and your life. At this time you can then move through your home and cleanse and also you family or friends.