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Bladderwrack – the Powerful Alga

Biological Description

Bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus, Ascophyllum nodosum) is an alga with a variety of species. It usually grows up to 100 cm or more appearing in the small gas–filled vesicles which are paired or arranged in series on either side of a central midrib running along the centre of the strap-like frond. Since thallus has tough, air-filled pods (or bladders) to help the algae float, it is associated with the name given to the plant – the bladderwreck.


The sheltered shores from the middle littoral to lower intertidal levels are the preferred habitat for the bladderwrack. It sometimes grows on exposed shores where specimens develop short, stunted and without the air vesicles.

Bladderwrack is found on the Atlantic shores of Europe, the Baltic Sea, Greenland, Azores, Canary Islands and Madeira, on the Atlantic coast of North America from Ellesmere Island, Hudson Bay to North Carolina.

Parts Used

Thallus, the main stem of bladderwrack, is considered to be useful and used medicinally. It possesses antibacterial, antioxidant, diuretic, emollient, endocrine tonic, expectorant, and nutritive properties.


The plant is available at the markets in the forms of a tea, tincture, powder or capsules. It is also a component in the oil for topical application. The bladderwrack is commonly used in culinary purposes too. It is eaten raw or cooked, added into soups and grains for its salty flavor and rich mineral content.


The major chemical components in bladdewrack include mucilage, algin, mannitol, beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, iodine, bromine, potassium, volatile oils, and many other minerals. The bladeerwrack is used in herbal practicing medicine as a great source of iodine, an essential nutrient for the thyroid gland.

Since bladderwrack is beneficial to the thyroid gland due to the presence of these constituents, it shows a good effect on the symptoms associated with the thyroid functions (e.g. obesity). Alginic acid, the chemical found in high amounts in the plant, is used in medical formulas as the heartburn remedy. This acid is also proved to provide laxative properties. Fucoidan, a type of dietary fiber in bladdewrack, shows the results in lowering bad cholesterol levels, blood glucose levels and providing anti-inflammatory activities.

Health Benefits

In traditional herbal medicine bladderwrack has a reputation in helping the relief of rheumatism and rheumatoid arthritis, when used internally and as an external application on inflamed joints. Laxative properties of the plant make it a remedy for digestive disorders. Bladdewrack is also used for treating atherosclerosis and strengthening immunity, although these uses are not supported by the scientific evidence.

As mentioned above, bladderwrack is an effective treatment for the thyroid glands disorder and is helpful for the overweight people. Except contributing to the healthy thyroid gland, the herb improves metabolism in general. Historical topical application of bladderwrack includes using it as the herb component for the bath aimed to reduce cellulite and support weight loss; lotions based on it possess skin-softening qualities.

Anemia and Herbal Remedies


Anemia is a health condition characterized by the abnormally low number of red blood cells or hemoglobin, which contain the iron compound and are called to transport oxygen to the different parts of the body.

Depending on the cause, there are many different types of anemia. The most common one is iron-deficiency anemia. There are also megaloblastic and aplastic anemias; hemolytic anemias, Cooley and sickle cells anemias, and thalassemia.


Anemia signs and symptoms are very numerous and diverse in different individuals. Patients may experience weakness, chronic fatigue, lightheadedness and dizziness, headaches, weight loss, ringing in the ears, rapid heartbeat, etc.

Pale skin and low blood pressure may also indicate anemia. Sometimes, people may suffer from depression, irritability, mental confusion, restless leg syndrome, or even jaundice – all resulting from underlying anemia.


Each anemia type has its own reason and cause.

Iron deficiency anemia develops as a result of poor nutrition (with low iron-containing foods intake), failure of the body to absorb iron from food, and abnormal blood loss due to surgery, heavy menses in women, or ulcers.

Megaloblastic anemia is caused by the deficiency of vitamin B12 and folic acid. It may accompany such disorders as leukemia, multiple myeloma, or a number of hereditary conditions.

Aplastic anemia is caused by the inability of the bone marrow to produce all types of blood cells, including red ones.

Hemolytic anemia develops if the existing red blood cells break down faster than the new ones are produced. This is considered to be an autoimmune disease, in the course of which the immune system attacks and destroys body’s own red blood cells.

Thalassemia, Cooley, and sickle cells anemias are said to be inherited disorders, which are characterized by the formation of defective or abnormal red blood cells and hemoglobin.

Another reason for anemia development may be the existing diseases: juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, endocarditis, osteomyelitis, Chron disease, and some others.

A number of medications, a patient may take trying to fight other health disorders, may also cause anemia. For example, radio- and chemotherapy provoke this condition in a number of people. Even the use of aspirin or other NSAIDs may lead to the development of anemia.

Medical Approaches

Anemia is a treatable condition. The method of its elimination depends on the cause, thus there are different treatment options. A doctor may recommend simply adding more iron-containing foods to the daily menu (liver, meats, seafood, nuts, dried fruits, green leafy vegetables, etc.), or taking iron pills. Folic acid and vitamin B12 medications are a way to eliminate certain types of anemia.

In some cases, blood transfusions, hormone injections, oxygen, fresh frozen plasma and fluids are needed.

Eliminating bleeding is essential, if it is what causes anemia.

In the majority of cases, treatment option depends on the underlying cause of the disease, fighting which will result in anemia lessening and reducing its symptoms.

Alternative Approaches

A number of herbs are traditionally used by herbalists to treat anemia and increase red blood cells count.

One of the most effective herbs to raise haemoglobin is dandelion. 10-15 drops of its tincture in ¼ cup of water should be taken three times a day before meal. It is said that dandelion contains more iron, potassium, folic acid, carotene, and vitamin B12 than any other herb. It also promotes absorption of iron from other foods. It works well for fighting iron, folic acid and vitamin B12 deficiency anemias.

Stinging nettle is another herb frequently recommended for anemic people. In addition to iron and vitamin C (which helps body absorb iron) this plant’s component chlorophyll is good for eliminating iron deficiency anemia.

Many herbalists confirm that dock root is an amazingly powerful means to eliminate anemia. They say some users have managed to raise haemoglobin in several weeks of taking dock root tincture or capsules. At the same time, the gurus of traditional medicine admit that it is unclear how exactly this plant reduces disorder’s symptoms.

Alfalfa is an excellent blood purifier, which can also be helpful in lessening anemia along with reducing a number of many diseases’ symptoms.

Spirulina, which is a rich source of iron, may also be a way to fight anemia, since it is said to improve the functioning of the bone marrow. However, there is no reliable data on this issue today.

Even familiar to everyone onion is a good option when trying to eliminate anemia. It contains large amounts of iron. The benefit of onion treatment is in its iron composition, which allows the component to be easily assimilated in the blood.

It may be difficult to find the herb, which would work effectively for a particular person. It is due to the different causes of anemia in different people. However, a number of herbs, capable to be of help with this condition, gives hopes that everyone will be able to find the most beneficial remedy in the particular case.

The Benefits of Universal Aloe Vera

Biological Description

Aloe Vera (aloe barbadenis) is a short-stemmed (or stemless) succulent plant which belongs to Lily family. The color of its thick and fleshy leaves with serrated margin varies from green to grey-green; and the flowers are pendulous with the yellow tubular corolla about 2-3 cm long.


Aloe vera is usually cultivated in frost-free climates with the well-drained sandy potting soil in moderate light. If it is being planted in pot or other containers, the sufficient drainage with drainage holes must be provided for the plant. Re-watering is done only after the complete dryout of the potted plant. During the winter time little moisture is required. Aloevera has been traditionally cultivated throughout the drier tropical and subtropical regions of the world.

Parts Used

For medicinal purposes the lower leaf of the plant is used. Usually the gel obtained from the sliced open leaf is applied to the affected areas. The two edible parts of aloe vera are leaves and seeds.


The great amount of the products containing aloe vera extracts is available in the today’s market. The ability of aloe vera to naturally balance the pH of the skin makes it a popular ingredient in cosmetics and lotions. Aloe vera gel, juice and aloe vera extracts are released within various brands for various purposes like to treat skin problems, for beauty regimes, to heal internal and external ailments and to heal wounds.


More than 200 biologically active elements are presented in aloe vera. They include minerals, vitamins, polysaccharides, proteins and amino acids, biological stimulators and vitamins. The extracts of aloe vera are used to stimulate the immune system, decreases the allergy symptoms and respiratory infections. Aloe vera gel contains white crystalline oxidation product which possesses the properties that stimulate cell regeneration and provide a number of healing effects.

Health Benefits

Aloe vera juice is effective in enhancing digestive functions, restores the balance of the stomach acids. Gel is effectively used in treating athlete’s foot, any forms of burns, bruises, muscular pains, varicose veins, herpes, eczema, pimples, diaper rash, wounds and cuts, hair loss, allergies, insect bites, furuncles, scleroderma, psoriasis and acne; it also acts as antifungal. But the major use of the aloe vera gel is in wounds healing therapies. Aloe vera active components in medications are beneficial in treatment of bronchial infections, useful in stimulating bile flow and enhancing appetite. The plant is effective for uterus, liver and colon disorders. Aloe vera is also considered to be one of the best natural moisturizer.

Ginseng Your Way to Energy and Vitality

The first recorded use of ginseng is over two thousand years old in Chinese Medicine. Since that time, ginseng has been used medicinally by every culture and healers around the world. Science today is proving what the Ancient Chinese and other healers have known for millennium; ginseng can help boost energy, reduce stress and increase stamina. It all depends on the variety of the ginseng.

All three types share a common constituent, ginsenosides. These ginsenosides are what give ginseng its distinct properties. The amount of ginsenosides in the ginseng depends on how the plant was cultivated and the age of the root.

Wild ginseng, no matter the variety, is rare and commands the highest prices. Most ginsengs on the market today are cultivated and are priced reasonably. Red Panax ginseng is the most popular form available and most often is packaged as a liquid or tea.

Asian or Oriental ginseng (Panax) comes in two forms, red and white. The colors refer to the type of processing. White ginseng is unprocessed and allowed to dry naturally. Red ginseng is preserved with steam and is believed by many to be more potent.

The health benefits of Panax ginseng include increased energy, better body functions and calm a stressful mind. Research has shown that ginseng can lower blood pressure and appears to help those with diabetes.

American ginseng (Panax quinquefolium) either is found growing wild in the mountainous areas of the United States or is cultivated under shade on ginseng farms. In most locations, a license is required to harvest wild ginseng.

Native Americans have long used American ginseng for dry coughs, constipation and fevers. Many women have found relief from night sweats and hot flashes from the use of American ginseng.

The last variety of ginseng is Siberian ginseng, which is not a true ginseng at all, but does have many of the same properties. Siberian ginseng (eleutherococcus senticocus) as the name implies is grown in Siberia and is the least expensive form of ginseng.

Several Russian studies performed on both production workers and athletes proved that Siberian ginseng increased endurance and stamina. Like its cousins, it is also taken to reduce stress and as a calmative.

Ginseng, no matter the type, has also been purported to help in fighting cancer and aging. As science continues to find uses for ginseng, it is a supplement that the Chinese were correct about many years ago. As a daily tonic, ginseng in the recommended dosage is a safe way to boost energy, vitality and overall health.

Feverfew – The Plant Throughout Centuries

Feverfew is the herb that has been given eleven different names. References to the plant were found in the works of ancient Greek physicians. The botanical name of flower group to which feverfew belongs is the derivation from Greek “pur” (fire) which is the metaphoric characteristic of the hot taste of the feverfew root.

The botanical name of feverfew is Tanacetum parthenium, and the number of names for the plant itself includes altamisa, chamomile grande, featherfew, featherfoil, febrifuge plant, midsummer daisy, mutterkraut, nosebleed, wild chamomile, wild quinine. This multi-naming is probably one of the proofs that feverfew has long and widely been known and used in world medicine.

Feverfew is herbaceous and perennial plant. It can grow in any ordinary good soil, although best favors the ground with well-drained, stiff, loamy ground, enriched with good manure. Just once planted, feverfew gives a rich supply of blossoms year after year. The best time for planting is the end of April, but it can also be done in autumn.

The methods of propagation are by seed, (sowed in February and planted in March), by division (dividing roots into 3 or 5 pieces, better done in March) and cuttings (at any time from October to May, by cutting the young shoots and inserting in a bed of light, sandy soil, in the open). A good watch for snails must be kept for slugs, snails and black flies, the latter being fought with the help of plant peppering.

The active elements containing in feverfew decrease the release of polymorphonuclear leukocytes in joints that cause arthritis and inflammation and are effective in treating migraine prophylaxis. Feverfew limits the inflammation of blood vessels in the head. This effect is achieved by the release of serotonin and prostaglandins, both of which are believed to aid the onset of migraines. Parthenolide and tanetin are the elements at action while decreasing migraine.

Numerous studies has proven feverfew’s efficacy in handling such conditions as dysmenorrhoea, sluggish menstrual flow, coughs, wheezing and difficult breathing, pain and swelling caused by bites of insects and vermin. Digestive problems are also treated with feverfew.

There are numerous uses of feverfew that are not related to the medical efficacy of the plant. People use it as an effective insect repellent, atmosphere purifier, and even as a wrist bound which is believed to be a virtue against ague.

That is the universal feverfew. Its long history of use and wide potential is something that makes the plant valuable and appreciated all over the world.

Wood Betony and Its Herbal Properties

Biological Description

Wood Betony is a heeling herb for many ailments that is also known under the names Bishop’s wort, Purple Betony and its biological names Betonica officinalis or Stachys Betonica.

This perennial herb belongs to the family Labiatae. It is rather tall, grows up to 70cm; you can easily find it because of its numerous bright purple flowers ( nearly 15 in one cluster) on the very end of its upright thick green stem.

Flowers can be yellow to red in color; are in bloom during mid and ends of the summer. Betony’s leaves are narrowly oval and hairy, dark green in color, upper leaves are smaller than lower ones; grow from several rosettes on its stem.


Wood Betony is native to Europe, but nowadays can be found in many other countries of Asia, some northern states of America, Mexico and even Africa. Many herbalists find Betony to be difficult to cultivate, as it requires rather moist soil which is well-drained, and sunny (or partially shaded) location.

You can see Wood Betony in open woods, roadsides and meadows, as well as it is also cultivated in lots of regions of temporary climates.

Parts Used

It herbal purposes the entire herb is used: its upper aerial part and its root. As for its aerial part – it should be collected just before it’s blooming, approximately in the beginning of July (in case of hot summer – at the end of June) necessarily in dry weather. This part is then dried and used for various ailments and states. The best way for that is to let it dry in open sunlight throughout summer.


Wood Betony is available on the market in various forms, but mainly in extracts, tinctures and teas. Betony Teas are very good in taste (similar with oriental black), infusions are often drunk as tea as well (from leaves or root). Leaves (fresh or dried) are used for poultice preparation. Betony can be found in form of gargles, wash, capsules and in mixture with other herbs (such as skullcap, yarrow, lavender, etc.) and even wines (for tonic drinks). Fresh roots are very sweet and often used in culinary properties as well.


The herb contains lots of useful active compounds that give it its astringent, tonic, sedative, and relaxing properties. Wood Betony contains various alkaloids, saponins and tannins as active constituents that make the herb rather effective herbal remedy in case of diarrhea, premenstrual pains, palpitations, bronchitis, asthma, and even kidney stones.

For the same reason it is recommended as gargles, as Betony poultices and mouthwash soothe throat‘s mucous membranes. Wood Betony is an effective remedy for headaches and nervousness, due to glycoside constituent, that is believed to lower blood pressure.

It relaxes the whole body (especially the head area) and gives calm and peace, stimulates different body systems (such as digestive). It has been also long believed that Betony gives peaceful sleep and good dreams, purifies the body (especially the blood system), and even gives protection both for good health and good fortune.

Health Benefits

Wood Betony usage is now limited and used for several ailments (it has earlier been used as a cure-all), mainly for:

  • Treating headaches and facial pain
  • Neuralgia
  • Its sedative properties are used for calming down emotional tension and treating anxiety and stress (it also strengthens the nervous system of the body), promotes good sleep
  • Nervous disorders
  • Treating diarrhea (very small doses are used, as in large it gives laxative effect)
  • Memory problems and lack of concentration
  • Depression
  • Nasal congestion and pain in facial region due to sinusitis
  • Nosebleeds
  • Chronic rheumatism
  • Wounds and bruises (poultice from fresh leaves is used), ulcers (when infusion is added to a bath)
  • Mouth ulcers, gum inflammations and sore throat (mouthwash is used)
  • Stomach cramps (as it stimulates and cleanse digestive system) and gastritis
  • For improving of the function of the liver
  • Premenstrual (menstrual )pain
  • May be helpful in case of hard and painful labor (though some sources do not recommend Betony for pregnant women usage)
  • In case of different ailment with lung (bronchitis, asthma)
  • It is even used in case of insect bites, worm and some other ailment

The herb is generally used as a general tonic with ability to cause muscles to relax. The effectiveness is doubled when the herb is used in combination with other herbs, but this is the prerogative of the professional herbalist. The taste of Betony is rather sweet and slightly bitter, so it usually used together with honey or hot milk.

Here are averages doses for using Wood Betony:
  • Infusions, Tea: l-2 teaspoon of a dried herb (or leaves) with 1 cup of boiled water, drink after 10 minutes
  • Capsules: take two capsules twice a day with full glass of water after your meal
  • Tinctures: take 2-6 ml of the tincture 3 times a day

Note, that the herb should be used for a long time (about a month) for the result to be seen. And it is very important to follow the recommended dose and not to exceed it (it is considered to be nontoxic, but still may lead to mild stomach upset).

Wild Jujube: the Taste of Health

Biological Description

Similarly to a great number of plants traditionally used by Eastern herbalists for healing different diseases, Wild Jujube (Zizyphus jujuba) from the Rhamnaceaefamily only now became popular to some extend in the Western world.

This deciduous thorny shrub or a small tree (ranging in height from 4 ft (1.2 meters) to about 40 ft (12 meters)) is often called a Chinese date due to its sweet taste. Wild jujube grows rapidly, quickly developing a taproot and a crown. It has alternate oblong dark-green glossy leaves (about 2.5 inches long) and green or yellow tiny flowers.

The real value of the tree is its multiple fruits, which ripen in autumn, turning from green into deep red. They have quite tough but thin skin and sweet pulp. In general, small oval jujube fruits resemble dates, since they also become wrinkled when ripe. The stone of the fruit usually contains two kernels.

Indian jujube (Jujube mauritiana) is a close relative of Wild jujube with the same properties and only minor differences in the looks (the leaves are more rounded).


Wild jujube originates from China, but now it grows in many parts of the world. It is said to be a kind of tree, which grows well in different areas and it is quite strong to tolerate comparatively low temperatures, although, some myths mistakenly warn about the fragility of the subtropical shrub.

In fact, the best conditions for the tree to thrive are sandy loam, neutral or slightly alkaline, good drainage (although, water-logging is also sometimes tolerated), and full sun for the rich harvest.

Parts Used

The fruits of Wild jujube are the source of health, traditional herbalists claim; however, the leaves of the tree also possess some medicinal properties, thus they are used to eliminate certain diseases along with the fruits. Moreover, some health conditions are treated with Wild jujube heartwood and roots.


The teas of the Wild jujube, its extracts, dried fruits, concentrate juice, and tinctures are available for purchase.


Wild jujube fruits, which are most often used in herbal medicine, contain saponins Jujubosides A and B, which are said to have sedative and hypnotic effects on the human body. Wild jujube also contains fatty acids, flavone glycosides, triterpenes (betulin and betulic acid), sterols, and vitamins B1, B2, and C.

Besides, this healing tree contains oleanolic and ursolic acid, which are suggested to have anti-oxidant properties, thus preventing the aging of the human body. Among the minerals found in Wild jujube potassium, manganese, calcium, and phosphorus are available in the largest quantities. Iron, sodium, zinc and copper are also present, but in smaller amounts.

Health Benefits

Wild jujube has been known to act as a sedative and hypnotic to induce sleep and reduce stress, tension, and anxiety. It is used to nourish the heart, fight hypertension, excessive sweating, and shortness of breath. Jujube remedies are also capable of toning skin up and brightening complexion. The preparations of the leaves of the tree can eliminate intestinal worms and treat diarrhea.

Wild jujube is famous for reversing the disorders, which cause to lose weight. It can increase flesh, strengthen the muscles, stimulate appetite, and treat stomach and spleen disorders. The fruits are believed to fight infections, rejuvenate the body, and purify blood. Special teas of the jujube tree are used as anti-venom.

Finally, the enhancement of liver function is the job Wild jujube can do as well.


Sea Buckthorn – a Cocktail of Vitamins and Health Benefits on the Thorny Shrub

For hundreds of years Sea Buckthorn was used in folk medicine for preventing and treating various ailments. Yes, the berries of it are very acidic and astringent, but in combination with sugar or sweet juice (such as apple or grape) it tastes very good. Just remember the delicious taste of the Sea Buckthorn jam… Very nutritious.

Biological Description

The biological name of the plant is Hippophae Rhamnoides. This deciduous shrub belongs to the genus Hippophae and to the family Elaeagnaceae.

The other known names of the Sea Buckthorn are Siberian pineapple, Sea Berry, Sandthorn or Swallowthorn. The name might be related to the fact that the shrub used to grow on sand dunes along the sea beaches. According to another legend, Sea Buckthorn leaves were the preferable food of Pegasus (flying horse). It’s botanical name “Hippophae” means “shiny horse” in translation from Greek.

Sea Buckthorn has nothing in common with regular Buckthorn, they are from different families.

How does the multi-branched, thorny shrub looks like? It is a medium deciduous shrub 2 to 4 m in height. It is deciduous, there are male and female plants. Only female plants produce fruit. You can never determine what type of plant is growing until the flowers are produced. If it produces the orange berries – you have a female plant, if the flowers are brownish – you have a male plant.

Common Sea-buckthorn branches are very thorny, dense and stiff. The leaves of the shrub are pale silvery-green, the flowers are yellow and very small. The female plants produce orange berries that are extremely juicy and rich in vitamins.


Sea buckthorn plants are very hardy and can withstand temperatures of -43 to 40 °C, the berries of the plant are important food for some birds in winter. It grows almost everywhere from the Atlantic coasts of Europe to northwestern China. In Western Europe it grows mainly in sea coasts, in central Asia it is more widespread in dry semi-desert sites. It was also introduced to the northern Himalayas and Canada.

The shrub is ratherundemanding. The plant grows naturally in sandy soil and in cold climates. As for harvesting – it is rather difficult due to the thorny nature of the shrubs. The common technique ‘to remove an entire branch’ is not very effective though the simplest. The best way is to use a berry-shaker, than the berries and the branch are not damaged.

Parts Used

Most parts of the plant can be used in folk medicine: the bark, leaves, fruits, and seeds. But Sea Buckthorn is especially valued for its golden-orange fruits, which provide plenty of useful components.


The tree and its parts can be useful for lots of products on the market: cosmetics, teas, pharmaceuticals, sport and health drinks, food (jams and jellies), beverages, candy, liqueurs, animal feed, etc.

Most common form of the Sea Buckthorn that is available on the market is different oil extracts (the oil can be prepared from seed, fruit pulp and from fruit residue. The difference is also in the form of the preparation: obtained by expression, solvent extraction, steam distillation or other methods.


Sea Buckthorn is valued for its berries rich in vitamins, flavonoids, oils rich in essential fatty acids, and other healthful components. Fruits combine a cocktail of components that are usually found only separately. It contains the highest content of the vitamin C (for any plant) – takes the 4-th place (after rose-hips, hot chili pepper and sweet red pepper), and stands on the second place for the amount of vitamin E. The high content of b-carotene is also high valued component of the shrub; it gives such a color to the berries (from yellow to red). The berries can contain up to ten different vitamins as well as trace elements, fruit acid, sugar and oil. Sea buckthorn is rich in proteins, and contains up to 18 amino acids. There are also over 24 chemical elements that are present in the juice, including calcium, iron, and manganese.

What does the components of the Sea Buckthorn do? They promote blood circulation by removing blood stasis, eliminate inflammation, kill pain and bacteria, soften blood vessel, prevent arteriosclerosis, protect the heart, treat gastrointestinal disease, prevent cancer and aging( it promotes the formation of antibody). The plant also balances and enhances the immune system, improves cholesterol profit and heart conditions.

Health Benefits

The plant is a good antioxidant mainly thanks to its flavonoids and vitamin C content. Sea Buckthorn contains such vitamins as E, A, B1, B2; carotenoids: beta-carotene, gamma-carotene, lycopene; folate, fruit acids, flavonoids, carbohydrates, essential minerals (K, Ca, Mg, Fe, Mn, Cu, Zn, Cr and Se), amino-acids (proteins), unsaturated and saturated fatty-acids. It’s a splendid healthy cocktail of everything that our body needs for good functioning. Moreover, vitamins with antioxidant properties form a natural line of defense against free radicals on the skin’s surface, or inside the body. They catch free radicals and neutralize them. The main components that are involved in the job are vitamin A (derived from -carotene), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), vitamin E (-tocopherol) and flavonoids.

Sea Buckthorn also contains such an important component as palmitoleic acid, that is a valuable topical agent in treating burns and healing wounds. As well as it has a UV-blocking activity and emollient properties. When taken orally this fatty acid can essentially nourish the skin and help in atopic dermatitis. It is also used topically for burns and infections.

The researches of Sea Buckthorn‘s benefits are still under the investigation. Now there are four more areas of the researches (besides internal and topical therapy for a variety of skin diseases):

  1. It is a great aid to patients undergoing cancer therapy.
  2. Treatment of gastrointestinal ulcers
  3. Long-term therapy for reduction of cardiovascular risk factors
  4. Liver protective agent (for chemical toxins) and a remedy for liver cirrhosis.

Nature gives us wonderful treasures for our health in almost every plant, herb, bush, tree, or flower. Folk medicine and herbalists prove the fact that you can be health with the help of what is around of you. You should just get to know its major advantages.

Reishi Mushroom Basics

Tonic for emperors. Food of gods. Elixir of life. Lucky Fungus. Ling Zhi…

I am absolutely sure that hardly anyone can guess what all these names refer to. Miraculous medicine? Exotic drink? Perhaps, some delicacy? I would like to see your surprise when you learn that these are different names of the Reishi mushroom, one of the herbal mushrooms praised for its numerous health benefits and superior properties to boost energy and prolong life.

Reishi mushroom, or Ling Zhi, belongs to polypore mushrooms. This plant has one more name in Latin – Ganoderma lucidum – which is translated as “shiny skin” and refers to the Reishi caps, which have six colour variations – from reddish-orange to black. Reishi mushroom is kidney-shaped and has approximately 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter. It grows wild on oak and plum tree stumps and logs in dark and damp forests of Asia, Europe, South America, and the United States.

Being practically unknown in the West, Reishi mushroom has a long history in Chinese and Japanese medicine. It has been used for more than 2,000 years to treat liver problems, asthma, cancer, high blood pressure, etc. Reishi mushroom was believed to have superior power, giving strength and long life. Great Chinese emperors and Japanese royalty drank tea of the mushrooms for vitality and longevity.

Wild Reishi is very rare and difficult to cultivate. That is why it was very expensive for a long time and only rich people could buy such a luxury. In the 1980s, a Japanese scientist developed a complex method of cultivating Reishi indoors, which had made the mushrooms more available.

More and more researches were conducted to study and test Ganoderma lucidum. As a result, scientists had identified key chemical elements of Reishi mushroom and explained their influence on human organism.

Reishi mushrooms contain polysaccharides that are known as anticancer agents and immune system stimulators. They help body fight cancerous tumors and protect it from different infections.

Triterpenoids, which have also been found in Reishi mushrooms, are responsible for blood pressure lowering and circulation improving.

Reishi mushrooms also contain sterols, which influence the hormonal system, and natural antihistamines, which reduce allergic reaction. Besides, Reishi is a source of antioxidants that prevent aging of the human tissues.

As you can see, structural elements of Reishi mushrooms have a positive influence on the human organism. That is why Ganoderma lucidum is usually used as a tonic for improving general health and increasing energy.

In modern medicine Reishi mushrooms can be indicated for the treatment of coronary heart disease, cancer, AIDS, bronchitis, hepatitis. They may also help patients with high blood pressure, asthma, nervous disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome and arthritis. In China, they are used by mountain climbers to combat altitude sickness and are given as an antidote to patients, who have eaten poisonous mushrooms.

Reishi mushroom seems to be a real miracle of the herbal medicine. It is non-toxic and can be taken daily without any side effects. Regular consumption of Reishi is said to enhance human immune system and improve general health.

Marshmallow Root – the Root of Healing

For many years marshmallow plant has been used to relieve coughs, sore throats, and minor wounds, as well as immune booster.

Biological Description

Marshmallow plant or Althaea officinalis is an upright perennial from family Malvaceae. The genus name of the plant – Althaea – comes from Greek word that means ‘associated with healing’. The name is given because of the special qualities of the Mallows to soften and heal. More names of the Marshmallow: March Mallow root, White Mallow root, Althea and Cheeses. Some others are Sweet Weed, Mallards, Mauls, Mortification plant, Mortification Koot, Guimauve (French), Schloss Tea (german), and Wymote.

The plant has a fleshy taproot. It is a perennial, thick and long, whitish-yellow outside, white and fibrous within. The stem is downy, generally die down in the autumn until the spring comes and it puts out branches again. Velvety leaves are roundish, irregularly toothed at the margin, and thick. They are soft on both sides, as have covering of stellate hairs. Marshmallow flowers are smaller than common Mallow flowers are, of a pale pink color (also paler than the Common Mallow). They are in bloom during August and September. The whole plant abounds with a mild mucilage (especially the root).


Marshmallow is a native of most countries of Europe (including central Russia south) . To be specific, it is native to Britain and occurs in most of the maritime counties in the south of England. The plant now grows in the United States (from Massachusetts to Virginia) and other countries as well.

The marshmallow plant can be found growing in salt marshes, in damp, wet meadows, by the sides of ditches, by the sea and on the banks of tidal rivers. So, it prefers moist in its growing.

It used to be cultivated always in gardens, thanks to its medicinal qualities. It raises from seed, sown in spring; needs cutting and offsets of the root.

Parts Used

The root and leaves of the plant are used medicinally. Flowers can also be used. The root is used to a greater extent than the leaves, as both fresh and dried leaves (that are used for the same conditions as the root) are considered to be weaker.


The whole and cut-and-sifted root and powder are available in teas (“slimy” teas), capsules, and other formulations. Marshmallow root is more popular in America, while the leaves – more in Europe. Peeled root is considered of higher quality than root with the outer bark. The root and leaves in form of the marshmallow syrups are also available.


The root as well as the leaves contain mucilage – a mucus-like substance that does not dissolve in water (mostly composed of galacturonic acid, glucuronic acid, galactose, arabinose and rhamnose). The root contains 25 – 30 percent of this substance (the leaves – only 16%). Thank to this substance the plant can swell up and become slippery when wet. It gives the root an ability to soothe irritated tissue, particularly mucous membranes, and to loosen a cough.

Other active compound in the root are different polysaccharides, L-rhamnose, D-galactose, D-galacturonic acid and D-glucuronic, as well as highly branched L-arabifurranan and trisaccharide. Also about 35 % of pectin, l-2% of asparagines, starch, oil, sugar, phosphate of lime, glutinous matter and cellulose.

Marshmallow root has the following properties:

  • It is astringent – has a binding effect
  • Diuretic – it increases the secretion and flow of urine
  • Lithotriptic – dissolves urinary calculi (stones)
  • Emollient – soothes inflamed tissue, softens and protects the skin
  • Demulcent – soothes damaged or inflamed surfaces
  • Mucilant – the herb protects mucous membranes and inflamed tissues
  • Tonic – it nourishes and refresh the entire body
  • Galactogogue – Marshmallow promotes the flow of milk in breastfeeding mothers
  • Laxative – it stimulates bowel movements
  • Vulnerary – gives additional help in healing of wounds by protecting against infection and stimulating cell growth
  • Nutritive – assists in the process of assimilating food and nourishes the body

Health Benefits

Its abundance of mucilage makes Marshmallow an excellent demulcent and emollient – these properties make it useful in inflammation and irritation of the alimentary canal, and of the urinary and respiratory organs. Decoctions of the plant (especially of the root) are excellent in painful complaints of the urinary organs, exerting a relaxing effect upon the passages. Powdered root boiled in milk is recommended in hemorrhage from the urinary organs and in dysentery.

The decoctions are also effective in curing bruises, sprains or any ache in the muscles, burns and inflammations. Good for any localized irritations, abscesses, different injuries. Marshmallow helps to minimize skin inflammatory processes, thus improving wound healing processes.

Boiled in wine or milk, Marshmallow will relieve diseases of the chest, it is a nice remedy for coughs, bronchitis, and whooping-cough (in the form of syrups it is available and popular in children treatment). It relieves local irritation and soothes irritated mucous membranes in sore throat accompanied by dry cough; slows down lung congestion in sore throat with dry cough, and relieve mild inflammation of the mucous membranes of the digestive tract.

Marshmallow mildly stimulates the immune system at cellular level.

Ointments of the root may help in case of varicose veins.

The usage of Marshmallow is helpful (though has not been substantiated by human pharmalogical studies) in case of asthma, Crohn’s disease, Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gastritis and others.

It is recommended to use Marshmallow after consulting the doctor, it is considered to be safe (there are no side effects reported), though there are cases when you cannot use this remedy. For example, if you have diabetes it may make your blood sugar falls too low, especially when combined with diabetes medication. Marshmallow may also slow the absorption of other drugs taken at the same time (the mucilage may absorb and hence reduce the action of drugs). Do not use it at all when you are pregnant or breastfeeding the baby.