Page 1

Table of Contents

MOTHER EARTH NEWS • Premium Guide to Super Herbs

48 48 Flourish With Adaptogens

71 Medicinal Motherwort

53 Natural Insect Repellents

74 All-Purpose Pine

Provide support to your life and garden with these healthful herbs and roots.

Making your own elderberry syrup is both rewarding and cost-effective.

6 Homegrown Medicine

Explore the many benefits of planting medicinal herbs in your own backyard.

12 Create an Herbal Medicine

Chest at Home

Grow and dry these essential herbs to whip up some simple and effective remedies.

ADOBE STOCK/NATIKA

20 Pairing Herbs With Meds Understand the most common herb-drug interactions so you can add herbs to your wellness routine safely.

20

Don’t get bugged out. Follow these simple DIY recipes to keep pests at bay.

40

56 Essential Oils:

First Aid at Home

24 Educating Budding

Herbalists

Learn the art and science of plant medicine from anywhere in the world.

28 Tinctures for Health

& Well-Being

They may be small, but these extracts pack a powerful punch. Discover the benefits of tinctures and how to make and use them.

33 Healing With Poultices

Treating minor ailments with herbal remedies may be as easy as finding the right plant.

28

Pack your family’s pharmacy full of natural essential oils that are fit to treat any ailment.

36 Stay Well With Oxymels Use vinegar and your favorite herbs and flowers to create this sweet and zesty everyday remedy.

62 Natural Sinus Support

Bolster your immune health and eliminate sinus pain by incorporating these herbal sinus remedies into your everyday routine for long-term relief.

40 Make Your Own

Elderberry Syrup

A reader shares how to make medicinal elderberry syrup at home.

66 Beat Winter Blues

With Essential Oils

There’s no shortage of essential oils that can improve mental focus, invigorate our senses, and boost our moods. Discover how to harness these scents.

42 Natural Perfumery

Craft evocative personal scents using natural ingredients, which lend delicate nuances to fragrances and evolve over time.

42

WWW.MOTHEREARTHNEWS.COM

56

1

74

This purple-flowered member of the mint family is easy to grow and endlessly useful. Add pine to your medicine cabinet and enjoy its ability to soothe coughs, congestion, muscle pains, and more.

78 Recipes for an Annual

Wild Edible: Chickweed Salve & Pesto

Let this star-shaped plant shine by using its invigorating properties in a potent healing salve and nutrient-rich wild greens pesto.

82 Get Better Sleep Naturally

Let Mother Nature’s herbal remedies work on your behalf to obtain the rest you need.

86 Pain, Pain, Go Away

When managing chronic pain, natural options can be just as effective as pharmaceuticals— with fewer potential side effects.

82

90 90 Grow Improved Digestion Learn how to use simple, effective herbal remedies for a range of common digestive complaints.

92 5 Best Herbal Antibiotics

These common and humble herbs have proven potential against a variety of nasty bacteria.

99 Wildcrafting Herbs

If you develop the skills and know your local area well, you can harvest wild medicinal plants for edible and medicinal use.

102 Spice Up Your Garden

With Ginger and Turmeric

These pungent cousins favor warm climates, but with a little care and attention, you can grow them almost anywhere.

106 Landscaping With

Medicinal Herbs

Fill your home and garden with herbs that will not only bring brightness and intrigue to your landscape, but can be crafted into natural, nurturing medicines.

106

WWW.MOTHEREARTHNEWS.COM

3


parts of the homestead can be planted with chaste berry, lovage, milk thistle, rosemary, rue, clary sage, hyssop, lavender, lemon balm, and thyme. Wetter areas might host mullein, peppermint, selfheal, angelica, cardinal flower, goldenrod, and skullcap. I planted a woodland garden of medicinal and culinary herbs in a fold of our small woodlot, which is more likely to stay moist than any other location on our property. Shade-loving herbs growing there include goldenseal (an important antimicrobial for acute infections, a key medicinal plant of many Native American tribes), bloodroot, downy rattlesnake plantain, Solomon’s seal, wild ginger, spikenard, wild yam, black cohosh, and blue cohosh. You may have been told herbs like to grow in poor soil. Although it’s true most herbs do not have the high nitrogen requirements of heavy feeders like corn and squash, every plant prefers to grow in soil that is loved and nurtured. Just as in the rest of the garden, do everything you can to increase the organic matter in your soil (adding composts, using mulches, growing cover crops), and your medicinal herbs will respond accordingly. Many medicinal herbs also can be found in the wild, but unfortunately many are threatened by overharvesting. Responsible herbalists avoid “wildcrafting” of endangered herbal species. Help preserve these precious parts of our ecological heritage by growing and propagating herbs such as goldenseal, pipsissewa, black cohosh, American ginseng, and bloodroot.

Left: Black cohosh is threatened by overharvesting in the wild, but it looks lovely in this garden. Below: Mullein can be used to treat a sore throat.

8 MOTHER EARTH NEWS GUIDE TO SUPER HERBS

How to Make Plant Medications

Simple Cultivation Tips

DAVID CAVAGNARO; LYNN KARLIN (3)

Where should you grow your medicinal herbs? Everywhere you can. There are traditional medicinal plants to fit any microecology on the homestead. For example, the drier, more exposed

LYNN KARLIN (2)

Medicinal herbs as foods: Many of the plants we’ve come to rely on for food also offer medicinal actions. In some cases, the medicinal part is different from the food part—for example, it is often the root bark of blackberry that is used medicinally. But in many cases, it is the edible part of the plant itself that is a kind of “superfood,” toning and balancing the body while adding “punctuation” to our meals, such as cayenne (a general, circulatory and digestive system tonic), fennel, ginger, and peppermint. We should incorporate such herbs more frequently into our diets, and explore their use in a more directed way when there is a special need. We might make an infusion of fennel, for example, to treat colic, or to stimulate digestion or appetite. Herbs can be used to make other foods with medicinal effects. In previous eras, a wide range of medicinal herbs—yarrow, ginger, wintergreen, licorice, St. John’s wort, elder flowers and berries— were used to flavor and preserve beers and ales. Mead, a fermented beverage made from honey, has medicinal effects in its own right, but can also be made with herbs such as heather that boost its medicinal properties. Vinegars and vegetable oils can be infused with herbs such as rosemary, garlic, and cayenne, and used on salads and other dishes to promote health. Boosting insect diversity: Wise homesteaders know the solution to damaging insects is not a program for killing insects, but encouraging even more insect diversity, especially by cultivating plants that flower throughout the growing season. Many common medicinal herbs—such as calendula, chamomile, echinacea, fennel, peppermint, and yarrow—are flowering plants, and offer the valuable “fringe benefit” of providing food and shelter for beneficials as well. Plantings of flowering herbs are more effective at encouraging our insect buddies if incorporated among the crops to be protected, rather than planted in their own little fiefdoms.

Herbs as fertility plants: Smart homesteaders also know it is possible to grow more of our own soil fertility. Isn’t it fortunate that some of the best fertility plants have medicinal properties as well? Comfrey (used for healing wounds and broken bones) and nettle are high in protein (nitrogen), and can be used as nutritive mulches or to “spark” a compost heap. Dandelion and yellow dock are deep-rooted dynamic accumulators that “mine” minerals from the subsoil and make them available to more shallow-rooted crops. Herbs as fodder crops: Many medicinal plants do double duty to provide fresh green (or dried) fodder for our livestock. I find that dandelion and yellow dock stay green deeper into winter’s chill than any other forage plant—I dig them up and feed them to my winter poultry flock. Oats make an excellent nerve tonic, and can be used to feed livestock as well, either cut and fed green, or self-harvested by the animals. My geese love comfrey. Other ecological or landscape uses: Hawthorn and willow might be planted for shade, as a windbreak, or as a “living fence.” As such they also offer important ecological benefits (bird and wildlife shelter, and moderation of the effects of wind, heat, and loss of soil moisture to evaporation).

Let your kitchen be your pharmacy. With a reliable beginner’s guide to home medicine, you will require no equipment other than the pans, bowls, strainers, funnels, measuring utensils, and electric coffee grinder probably already in your kitchen. If you get excited about the process, you can add items such as presses and distilling equipment for making more sophisticated extractions. You will be amazed that you can duplicate in your kitchen all the forms in which you have encountered “medicines” in the past: tinctures (based on alcohol, glycerin, vinegar, and even wine), infusions (herbal medicines can be as simple as a cup of tea), and decoctions, lozenges, capsules, syrups, salves, and lotions—as well as some that are new to you (but would not have been to your grandmother) such as poultices, fomentations, and herbed water baths. Traditional herbal practices almost always use the whole plant, or extracts of them, as medicine. Modern pharmaceutical preference for isolating a single component of a plant as the “active ingredient,” and administering that element in isolation from its hundreds of other compounds, may be one reason for the greater incidence of unintended side effects of modern medicines, to say nothing of their vastly increased cost. Not only do the complementary compounds of the whole plant help balance its actions and alleviate possible side effects, there is evidence that some may help “feed” our vital intestinal flora, and thus act as a beneficial (and free) probiotic in the digestive tract.

Echinacea

St. John’s wort

Stinging nettles

Safety First! Common Sense Guidelines

The fact that herbal medicines are “natural” does not mean they can be used without regard to possible hazards. Some of

Calendula www.MotherEarthNews.com

9


Pairing Herbs With Meds A Understand the most common herb-

By Maria Noël Groves

drug interactions so you can add herbs to your wellness routine safely.

mericans are popping more pills than ever, and the older we get, the more meds, herbs, and dietary supplements we take. About 60 percent of all adults—and 90 percent of elders—take at least one pharmaceutical. Meanwhile, 76 percent of adults use dietary supplements. Although most dietary supplement use consists of vitamins and minerals, one-fifth of Americans take medicinal herbs each year. Unfortunately, with greater consumption of all these substances in combination comes a greater risk for interactions. Fortunately if you take pharmaceuticals, you can take a few steps to ensure safe herb use alongside them.

est risk of severe side effects and interactions. Here are some steps you can take to safely combine herbal supplements with pharmaceuticals.

20 MOTHER EARTH NEWS GUIDE TO SUPER HERBS

ADOBE STOCK/WONG SZE FEI

Certainly, we should take herb-drug interactions seriously and do our best to avoid them. However, it helps to gain a little perspective on the fear and hype around herb-drug interactions. Though some serious interactions really do exist, the risk and severity of most herb-drug interactions appears to be relatively low and largely theoretical. On the contrary, with more Americans (particularly elders) taking several pharmaceuticals together, the risk for potentially severe drug-drug interactions is more likely. Case in point: One study of nearly 500 outpatient veterans found that 43 percent were taking at least one dietary supplement alongside their prescription medications. The researchers analyzed the potential interactions these veterans were exposed to and found that 45 percent had the potential for a drug-dietary supplement interaction—yet 94 percent of the interactions predicted were not expected to pose a serious danger. This left only 6 percent of the study participants (30 people) at risk of a serious drug-dietary supplement interaction. Meanwhile, drug-drug interactions represent nearly 20 percent of all drug-related adverse effects. The data for death due to dietary supplements is less thorough than that for death due to pharmaceutical drugs, but while more than 100,000 people die annually because of adverse drug effects in general, data from the American Association of Poison Control Centers attributes less than one death per year to the use of herbal and dietary supplements. Herbs are overall quite safe compared with pharmaceutical drugs, but they can indeed have side effects, and some herb-drug interactions may be severe. Drugs for energy, weight loss, libido, and sports performance have the high-

ADOBE STOCK/OLGASUN

Herb-Drug Interactions in Perspective

quantity of drug will stay in your system. Among the drugs metabolized by CYP pathways are birth control, heart medications, and anti-rejection medications. St. John’s wort tends to clear drugs out of the system too quickly, which Common Herb-Drug Interactions could decrease their efficacy. St. John’s wort also decreases Some herbs and pharmaceuticals are more prone to interserotonin uptake, increasing the amount available in the actions than others—and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. brain, and thus may increase the risk of serotonin syndrome Synergistic interactions increase a drug’s activity or effects, when combined with other serotonin-boosting substances while antagonistic interactions decrease them. Herbs may (primarily antidepressants, but also certain mood, sleep, also affect a drug’s clearance from your system (or vice versa). and pain drugs). The risk here is somewhat theoretical and We’re focusing here on how to avoid potentially damaging likely lower than the risk of combining two pharmaceutiherb-drug interactions, but many positive herb-drug interaccals that affect serotonin; however, serotonin syndrome can tions also exist. For example, combining berberine derived result in agitation, confusion, rapid heart rate, increased from goldenseal with antibiotics reduces bacteria’s ability to blood pressure, sweating, diarrhea, twitching, and othbecome resistant to the medications; and studies have found er serious symptoms, and it requires immediate medical that combining curcumin from turmeric with fluoxetine attention. In the absence of pharmaceuticals, St. John’s (commonly sold as Prozac) increases the drug’s efficacy in wort tends to be quite safe. alleviating major depression. Licorice: Most people don’t think twice about the safety By far, the two greatest areas of potential for real, detof licorice. It’s in so many teas, candies, and herbal forrimental herb-drug interactions surround blood-thinning mulas—and yet, safety issues are a concern, especially for medications (with many herbs) and St. John’s wort (with those taking large amounts. Licorice can cause hypertenmany drugs). sion; phytoestrogen and anti-androgen activity; and liver I’ll also go over a few other herb and pharmaceutical catetoxicity. It may also interact with various medications, gories known to have potential for undesirable interactions. particularly anti-hypertensive and other cardiac drugs. St. John’s wort: St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforaDeglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) is generally safe because tum) is the most commonly used herb that poses a high glycyrrhizin, the compound responsible for the therapeutic risk for herb-drug interactions because of two underlying effects, has been removed. mechanisms. First, it increases the activity of cytochrome Blood-thinning medications: Coumadin (sold as P450 enzymes, including CYP3A4. These enzymes—and Warfarin), aspirin, apixaban (sold as Eliquis), and dabigaCYP3A4 in particular—process drugs and toxins in the tran (sold as Pradaxa) thin the blood to prevent strokes and liver, and their activity affects the length of time a certain other health issues, but they may have life-threatening interactions with herbs, dietary supplements, and foods that increase or decrease clotting time. High or therapeutic doses of ginger, garlic, vitamin E, fish oil, Japanese knotweed, and dong quai, as well as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, are of particular concern in combination with any bloodthinning medications. Other potentially problematic supplements when paired with blood thinners include evening primrose oil, feverfew, angelica, ginseng, ginkgo, cranberry, red sage, alcohol, blueDrugs for energy, weight loss, berry, saw palmetto, green tea, sealibido, and sports performance weed, turmeric, reishi mushroom, have the highest risk of severe large amounts of leafy greens, viside effects and interactions. tamin K, and high-salicylate herbs (such as meadowsweet, winterwww.MotherEarthNews.com

21


The Herbal Academy: Educating Budding Herbalists Learn the art and science of plant medicine from anywhere in the world. Story by Hannah Kincaid Photos by The Herbal Academy

I

first became interested in plant-based medicine while I was working at a tea shop during college. We sold more than 300 tea blends, and I learned very quickly which teas to recommend to customers who were having trouble digesting a big meal (chamomile), or were needing some help falling asleep (lavender), or were hoping to calm their nerves before a big exam (lemon balm). I loved opening the aromatic tea jars, researching the ingredients, and helping to ease the customers’ minor discomforts. I started reading as many books on herbalism as I could get my hands on, and a few years later, 24 MOTHER EARTH NEWS GUIDE TO SUPER HERBS

I enrolled in a six-month apprenticeship with a local herbalist. My apprenticeship was everything I had hoped for, and with my teacher’s help, I established a working knowledge of how to grow, harvest, and use native medicinal plants. A few years after my apprenticeship ended, however, I found I was hungry for a structured environment that would allow me to expand my herbal education even more. I don’t have any intentions of opening my own clinic, so pursuing a full-blown medical degree was both unnecessary and beyond my financial means. I simply wanted to learn as much as possible about medicinal herbs, help my friends and family members make smart decisions about

their health, and potentially start selling herbal body-care products locally. I spent days researching online herbalism programs, and after much consideration, I enrolled in the Entrepreneur Program through the Herbal Academy (theherbalacademy.com). I chose the Herbal Academy because of its impressive teacher lineup, respected presence in the herbal community, wide variety of affordable course options, and focus on organically growing and sustainably foraging plant material.

The Herbal Academy

Herbalist Marlene Adelmann founded the Herbal Academy in 2010 to provide a supportive learning space for aspiring and advanced herbalists alike. “Our school started with a dozen students gathering together on weekends in a small lakeside cottage in greater Boston,” Adelmann says. “Who knew

Find a Local Mentor If you’re lucky enough to live near an experienced herbalist, contact them to see if they offer any sort of mentoring opportunities or apprenticeship programs. Offer to help them tend their herbal garden in exchange for their guidance, and try to attend any classes they offer at nearby health-food stores or community centers. See if they’d be willing to share their email address or phone number with you so you have a person of whom to ask questions. You’ll quickly learn that herbalists are, in general, a very warm and welcoming bunch. To find an accredited herbalist near you, visit the American Herbalists Guild website at americanherbalists guild.com/member-profiles.

www.MotherEarthNews.com

25


Flourish With

Adaptogens

It should come as quite a relief that many plants categorized as “adaptogenic” can easily be grown in a temperate garden. With a bit of information on how each adaptogen grows in its native environment, you can readily add adaptogens to your garden plans for next year.

Eleuthero Family: Araliaceae (ginseng family) Hardiness: Zones 3 to 7 Pests: Very few pests or diseases Part Used: Root bark harvested in the fourth year, summer or fall • Benefit: Eleuthero is an immune support often used alongside chemotherapy and radiation therapy. It’s been tested and studied for improving endurance, stamina, and muscle and tissue recovery after physical exertion. • • • •

Provide support to your life and garden with these healthful herbs and roots.

P

By Dawn Combs

lants that are used for human health can be grouped into many logical classifications, and the truth of the matter is that one herb can fall into multiple categories. Take chamomile for instance: It’s definitely a nervine, as it contains chemicals that are beneficial to the nervous system. Then again, we can easily classify chamomile as a carminative, because when steeped for more than a couple of minutes, it releases bitter compounds that can mildly irritate the mucous membrane of the stomach, soothing digestion as it relieves cramping. So, which is it? Herbalists are constantly devising ways to classify herbs, and this is a testament to the plant world’s continuous defiance of our ability to fully understand it. With that in mind, it’s not too surprising that we’re still inventing new words for the benefits we receive. And the plants defined by one of those words are rapidly gaining popularity amongst modern herbalists and home gardeners: adaptogens.

48 MOTHER EARTH NEWS GUIDE TO SUPER HERBS

FROM TOP: ADOBE STOCK/SKYMOON13; GETTY IMAGES/SIRISTAFFORD; ADOBE STOCK/ONLYFABRIZIO

In 1947, Soviet scientist N.V. Lazarev introduced the term adaptogen to describe herbs that create nonspecific reactions in the body in response to negative stimulation. At the time, he was describing the very first representative of Eleutherococcus senticosus (eleuthero). In 2007, herbalist David Winston and researcher Steven Maimes defined “adaptogens” as a group of herbs that help the body to adapt to stress, support normal metabolic processes, and restore balance. In the majority of the population, they cause few to no side effects. Today, we’ve progressed in our understanding of adaptogens, and I think we’ll continue adding herbs to the adaptogen group. These herbs are preferred by traditional healing modalities around the world because their medicinal use includes few, if any, side effects, while their efficacy increases— often with greater, broader benefits—the longer they’re used. And although adaptogens don’t target any one issue, they support an individual’s collective body systems in adapting to disease symptoms and disruptions to health, whether physiological, emotional, or environmental.

GETTY IMAGES/GIORGIOMAGINI

Identify Your Adaptogens

Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is native to China and Russia, where it typically grows along the edges of forests in sunny spots or in areas with dappled shade. In my Ohio garden, this rather large shrub grows in full sun, but if you live in the South, you’ll want to keep this plant in a shadier location. We’ve had success in heavy, moist clay soil. That’s not surprising, as the plant isn’t picky about soil so long as it doesn’t dry out. When I first planted eleuthero, I bought three cuttings and planted them close together; I didn’t think they would grow well for me. I couldn’t have been more wrong! The cuttings should be planted 10 feet apart for good reason. Nearly 10 years later, those shrubs tower over me and fill an entire portion of my medicine wheel. I enjoy their palmate glossy leaves in spring, but I haven’t seen them grow any of the thorny stems for which the genus is known. In fall, the leaves turn a beautiful yellow color, and the blue-black berries contrast perfectly. The flowers are pollinated by a wide variety of insects, including bees (although in my observation, not the honeybee), flies, and wasps. Each plant sports both male and female flowers. Eleuthero has a bit of an identity crisis. Previously, this plant was called “Siberian ginseng,” but it lost that name after many found it too confusing, as eleuthero is unrelated to American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius). In China, the plant continues to be known under the genus name Acanthopanax. If you’d like to try growing your own eleuthero, you can do so by seed or by cuttings. (See

Dried root and root bark of the eleuthero plant can be used in teas and tinctures, or it can be powdered and encapsulated.

“Seed Sources” on page 51 for known carriers.) The seeds are slow to germinate, requiring six months of warm stratification followed by three months of cold stratification. Alternatively you can simply place them in a cold frame in fall and allow nature to take its course. This will most likely take two winters to achieve, so keep them protected from rodents, and mark them well so you don’t accidentally plant something else over top of them. Starting the plant by cuttings is a bit faster, or you may choose to layer a few stems. Greenwood cuttings can be taken in July or August, while hardwood cuttings can be taken in late winter.

Licorice • Family: Fabaceae (legume, pea, and bean family) • Hardiness: Glycyrrhiza uralensis Zones 5 to 11; G. glabra Zones 7 to 11 • Pests: None • Part Used: Root harvested in the fourth year, spring or fall • Benefit: Licorice is considered the grand harmonizer in many cultures. It’s used often to support adrenal health, and is especially beloved for respiratory issues and sore throats. Licorice (Glycyrrhiza uralensis or G. glabra) is native to many countries around the world, including Greece, Turkey, India, and China. I’ve grown G. glabra in an unheated greenhouse here on the farm for years. It makes me wonder if I couldn’t set it out and keep it well-mulched in www.MotherEarthNews.com

49


By Stephanie Tourles

Y

ou’ve probably heard plenty about essential oils over the last few years. These intensely aromatic, highly concentrated, organic liquid compounds are derived primarily through the steam distillation of various plant parts such as leaves, flowers, resins, roots, berries, and wood. They’re also derived by cold-pressing citrus peels. Essential oils give plants their distinctive smells and tastes, and they play a vital role in plant biochemistry, attracting pollinators, and helping plants maintain their health. These botanical jewels offer myriad

56 MOTHER EARTH NEWS GUIDE TO SUPER HERBS

benefits for humans as well. Often sought by those who desire natural, safe alternatives to the synthetic chemicals that have invaded our lives and homes, essential oils have become incredibly popular, and their applications more widespread than ever. When used properly, top-quality, superior-grade oils can elevate and sustain the health of your mind, body, and spirit. As with any new health practice, continuous use of essential oils is best approached with research and care. Although these natural extracts are generally safe, some people will be more sensitive to their properties than others. Because of this, and due to

their concentrated nature, properly dilute essential oils prior to application unless otherwise instructed. Before using an unfamiliar oil topically, always perform a skin-patch test. Dilute one drop in ½ teaspoon of a carrier oil, and apply to a spot of skin such as your wrist to make sure you don’t have a reaction over the course of the day. Finally, while some essential oils are promoted as safe to ingest, research on the safety and efficacy of ingesting oils is ongoing, therefore seek guidance from a natural health professional.

All-Purpose Essential Oil Options I’ve been regularly working with essential oils since the late 1980s, long before they were the “trendy new kids” on the natural-medicine block. So for

GETTY IMAGES/HOPE CONNOLLY

Pack your family’s pharmacy full of natural essential oils that are fit to treat any ailment.

FROM LEFT: GETTY IMAGES/MADELEINE_STEINBACH; GETTY IMAGES/DIRKRIETSCHEL

Chamomile

this article, I’ve chosen a core group that I consider to be the most versatile and useful for treating common health concerns and supporting overall wellness. These particular aromatics have potent therapeutic properties and are known to safely and effectively address a wide range of physical and emotional issues. Additionally, none are derived from endangered plants, and the majority are inexpensive. My hope is that you’ll find endless uses for this fragrant pharmacy.

German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita; M. chamomilla)

Semiviscous, with a sweet, warm, herbaceous, almost tobacco-like aroma, this essential oil contains chamazulene and bisabolol, chemical constituents known for calming inflammation and soothing skin irritation. Chamazulene, which is produced during distillation, gives the oil an unusual inky-blue color (azul means “blue” in Spanish). German chamomile improves conditions

exhibiting heat, including gout or strained muscles, tendons, or ligaments. Possessing remarkable antihistamine properties, it’s recommended to those suffering from dermatitis and other skin conditions. It’s also effective in formulas to treat menstrual cramps and PMS symptoms; in fact, its genus name, Matricaria, refers to its role as a gynecological herb.

However, Roman chamomile contains less chamazulene than German chamomile and smells intensely sweet, floral, and apple-like. This gentle oil is safe even for infants. I often use it singularly or in combination with lavender, cardamom, or frankincense in formulas designed for massage and bathing to calm irritability and induce sound sleep, as well as in topical blends to ease painful teething, earache, and colic. Because of its cooling, deeply relaxing nature, Roman chamomile is a good choice for addressing hot flashes, stress-induced skin conditions, and tension or migraine headaches. Bouts of sciatica, neuralgia, lower back pain, spasmodic muscle cramps, and menstrual cramps respond favorably as well. Regarding psychological benefits, Roman chamomile eases irritability, nervous tension, and the emotional swings of PMS and menopause.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: May cause dermatitis in some individuals

CONTRAINDICATIONS: May cause der-

matitis in some individuals; avoid in cases of extremely low blood pressure or if taking sedatives; not for use alongside certain drugs, including some anti-arrhythmic, antipsychotic, antidepressant, and analgesic medications, as well as those containing estrogen or serotonin

Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile; Anthemis nobilis)

Roman chamomile’s essential oil shares many of the German variety’s properties and applications.

Chamomile

Clove Bud (Syzygium aromaticum; Eugenia caryophyllata)

Clove essential oil should always be used in moderation and highly diluted because of its hot, potentially irritating nature. However when used correctly, this familiar, spicy-sweet aromatic offers a host of remedial www.MotherEarthNews.com

57

Profile for Ogden Publications Marketing

9930 Mother Earth News Premium Super Herbs  

9930 Mother Earth News Premium Super Herbs