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Prunella Vulgaris and Herbal Remedies

Biological Description

Biological name of Prunella is Prunella vulgaris L. from family Lamiaceae. A perennial herb also known under the names of Woundwort, Heal-all, Wound Root, Carpenter’s Herb, Heart of the Earth, and other rather poetic words. Prunella is truly considered one of the self heal plant that can cure lots of ailments (but only a qualified herbalist should give you careful recommendation in using it).

Prunella grows up to 60 сm high. It has rather thick dark green stem, few broad leaves and purple-brown, blue-purple or sometimes yellow-white flowers. The plant flowers from May to September.


You can find the plant almost everywhere in Europe, Asia, North America and North Africa. It is a common garden plant that considered being a weed. Prunella is native to all those regions mentioned above.

It prefers to grow in moist and slightly dry soils. You can find Prunella in open woods, fields, gardens, pastures, roadsides and almost in every other sites.

Parts Used

In herbal medicine the above ground part of Prunella is used – Herba Prunellae. It is prepared in flowering season.


Prunella is available in dried form, in form of poultice, tinctures and capsules (most available forms) on the market. The whole fresh plant is also used. You can find also Prunella Tea (often together with some other herbs, for example with Oregano), Prunella mouthwash and Prunella as one of the main constituent in different herbal preparations.


Healing herb is high in antioxidants, essential oil, Pentacyclic triterpenes, tannin, beta carotene, and Rutin. It also contains Vitamin C, Vitamin K and rather important Vitamin B-1.

Prunella is famous for its antibacterial and antiseptic properties, is also a diuretic, liver stimulant, astringent and antispasmodic. The plant is an effective bitter tonic and immune stimulant.

Health Benefits

Along with some culinary usage (for salads as every other plant) Prunella is used internally and externally for different medical purposes.

Internally Prunella is used in capsules, tinctures and teas mainly due to its diuretic and anti-tumor properties for the following conditions and ailments:

– for fever

– in case of sore throat, laryngitis or diphtheria

– for wounds and injury

– colic, spasms and convulsions

– for acne

– for liver disorders and liver weakness

– for jaundice

– for hepatitis

– for lymphatic congestion

– for treating high blood pressure

– in case of limited internal bleeding

– for diarrhea, flatulence, gastritis and gout

– in treating vertigo

– in case of parasites

– in case of food poisoning (especially after eating too many fried foods)

– for Grave’s disease (mainly together with Bugleweed)

Some other internal uses are connected with its antioxidant and stimulant properties, and is used mainly for boosting the immune system or as a bitter tonic.

Externally the herb is used due to its anti-viral and anti-microbial properties for the following conditions:

– for bruises, cuts, wounds (applied topically)

– for burns or some allergic reactions (such as rash)

– in case of mouth infection and gum problems (mouth sores, sore throat and thrush)

– for hemorrhoids

– for gingivitis

– is also used as eyewash for conjunctivitis

It is used mainly in form of poultice, wash, salve or other different preparations.

Some researches have shown that Prunella is very effective in treating herpes simplex virus in oral herpes and genital herpes.

Consult a physician before using Prunella for safer and more beneficial usage of this powerful healing herb.

Aromatic Pine in Herbal Medicine

Biological Description

The aromatic pine plant is a member of pinaceae family which is made up by a big number of species varieties. The family of coniferous pine trees counts more than 115 species and is native to the Northern Hemisphere; spread in Asia, Africa, and North America. Some pine species (such as Sumatran Pine) reach over the Equator, too. Typical pine tree has a straight, smooth cylindrical trunk that reaches up to 80 m high (average – 10-45 m). The spiral branches in the middle and at the top of the trunk carry needle-shaped leaves, that grow in stages through seed, juvenile and scale. The cones on the pines can be both male and female on the same tree, or, in other species, just of one gender. They mature (or fall – in some species) after pollination and release small winged seeds. Pine is considered as a bitter aromatic herb and is known for its resin widely used in production and medicinal applications.


Most pines prefer well drained soil with a good acidity, rich in calcium. The majority of species grows well in sandy ground with a good sun exposure. Within species, pines tolerate latitude and elevation, and extreme conditions such as dry and hot climate.

Parts Used

Pine leaves are usually picked in summer and dried for herbal preparations, such as infusions and pine extracts. They are also used fresh. Branches and needles is the source of the essential oil extracted for medicinal and aromatherapy uses. Its fresh camphor-like aroma is highly valued for a variety of household and personal care uses. Also, antioxidant properties of pine bark make it a popular component in herbal blends. In addition, nuts of some pines are edible and considered a delicacy.


Pine is not only the world’s favorite Christmas tree, but its components serve as a source for a variety of personal care products, as well as medicinal preparations. Branch tips, needles and shoots are rich in resin from which the pine oil is distilled. It is often found in detergents, perfumes, massage oils and cold and cough preparations. Pine bark and oil are used in topical applications for skin and circulation disorders; and the tea brewed from bark extract or the needles is effective against inflammations. Pine bark is also available in tablets, tinctures and capsules.


The rich chemical content makes pine one of the most valuable plants in herbal medicine. The bark is rich in bioflavonoids (natural antioxidants), acts as anti-inflammatory and antihistamine agent.

Cortisone-like compounds in pine help relieving pain in a variety of conditions, and pinolenic acid in the nut oil affects appetite stimulating the release of a hormone responsible for appetite suppression. Other chemical compounds in the plant include amino-acids, fats, and Oligomeric proanthocyanidins known as vitamin P (enhancing vascular functions).

In herbal medicine pine is known as an anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, diuretic, rubefacient, anti-neuralgic, anti-microbial, antiseptic and anti-viral herb.


Health Benefits

Applied externally, remedies containing pine oil are helpful for improving circulation and their mild irritant effects provide blood supply into the application area. These properties are highly beneficial for the patients experiencing muscle pain, rheumatism and neuralgia.

The action of so-called vitamin P in pine bark is characterized by the prevention of permeability of blood vessels and capillaries. It strengthens the whole vascular system and also helps reversing the scurvy effects.


Anti-oxidant properties of bark preparations work well when fighting arthritis, gum disease, ulcers, bruises, varicose veins and other disorders of vascular system, as well as inflammation, cerebral or cardiac infraction. Moreover, these components are able to balance collagen and elastin in the skin, improving its elasticity; and provide antihistamine action which is beneficial in treating allergies.

Used internally, pine extract is effective in treating the conditions of lower and upper respiratory tract, bronchial disorders with heavy secretions. As a vapor agent, pine oil is good against colds, coughs and asthma, sinusitis and even hangover.

Those concerned with weight loss might find it helpful to know that pinolenic acid in the nut oil provides appetite suppression actions by enhancing the release of hormone curbing the appetite.

Also, added into a bath or massage oil, pine oil is known to be effective against cellulite.

Pine oil should be used with a special care, though, since in high concentrations it can be toxic and irritate the skin.

Lavender and Its Common Use

Biological Description

The Lavandula genus consists of about 25-30 species commonly recognized as lavender. This flowering plant belongs to the mint family Lamiaceae, native from the Mediterranean region south to tropical Africa and to the south east regions of India. Annuals, herbaceous plants, subshrubs, and small shrubs make up the lavender genus. The name “lavender” has Latin origin – Latin root “lavare” is translated as “to wash”. This word has the direct relevance to lavender’s use in the variety of products aimed to purify human body and spirit. The plant has woody branches with rod-like leafy sprouts. The oblong leaves are grayish-green, swirled spirally. Lavender small blue-violet flowers produce the oil that makes lavender fragrant herb. Flowers are also spirally arranged, forming spikes on the top of the stem.


Native to the mountainous zones of the Mediterranean, lavender grows best in stony and sunny areas. Cultivated in gardens, it favours sand or gravel soil in dry, open, sunny place. The plant should be kept from damp in cold season and needs good drainage. Lavender usually grown from seed and is generally propagated by layerings and cuttings.

Parts Used

Dried lavender flowers are used with ornamental purposes and as fragrance source, put among stored items. High quality honey is made by the beekeepers out of the flowers’ nectar. Lavender is also the constituent of the flavor sugar and lavender tea. But the plant’s most valuable part is essential oil, extracted from the flowers. It is used in aromatherapy, cosmetics and medicine.


Lavender dried flowers and oil are the constituents of the number of the commercial preparations: bath gels, soaps, foams and lotions, aromatherapy oil, teas, tinctures, extracts and infusions. You may also find whole dried flowers sold for various domestic and medicinal purposes.


The active components in lavender flowers include flavonoids, triterpenoids, coumarins, tannins and 0,5-1,5% oil. These chemicals make lavender the source of the aromatic, carminative, restorative, tonic and nervine properties. Sedative properties of lavender oil have been known for centuries. The mechanism of its action is as follows: nasal mucus absorbs the molecules of the oil and hair-like scent receptors get irritated; these receptors are connected to the brain area responsible for emotion, memory, emotional balance and sex-drive.

Health benefits

Lavender has been for long used as the remedy for a range of mental conditions: insomnia and anxiety, depression and mood disturbances. Hysteria, palsy and similar disorders of debility and lack of nerve power are handled with lavender using its powerful stimulant properties. The plant produces calming, soothing, and sedative effects.

Lavender essential oil and spirit made from it are used against faintness, palpitations of a nervous sort, weak giddiness, spasms and colic. Applied topically, lavender essential oil and spirit relieve toothache, headache, neuralgia, sprains and rheumatism.

Due to its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, lavender oil is applied for fungal infections (like candidiasis), wounds, insect bites, skin burns, eczema and acne. Hoarseness and loss of voice are handled with the distilled lavender water.The variety of conditions for which lavender is beneficial includes hair loss, insomnia, varicose ulcers, postoperative pain and many more.

There’s a precaution about the lavender oil:in too large doses it is a narcotic poison and may cause death by convulsions.

Herpes and herbal Remedies


Herpes simplex (or simply herpes) is a viral infection caused by one of the two major types of the Herpes Simplex Virus. Genital herpes is mostly caused by Herpes Simplex Virus of the 2nd type. Oral herpes is the result of the herpes viral keratitis infection that affects the nerves serving the cornea of the eye. The ways in which herpes infections reveals is different within individuals. The virus in the blood provokes outbreaks on the skin and genitals. While these outbreaks can be prevented and the risk of transformation from partner to partner can be decreased, herpes itself is not curable.


Tingling and itching sensation in the affected location are usually the first symptoms of the herpes infections. These initial symptoms are usually followed by the appearance of a raised or swollen area on the skin. Later the swollen area then becomes painful in general, and if it is scratched, touched or moved – acutely sore. The sore area may become abscess and emits a clear fluid for several days before scabbing over. After this happens lesion usually heals completely during the period of seven-ten days. Headache, fatigue and twitching sensations in the nerves leading to outbreak may accompany the primary herpes symptoms. Additional symptoms for ocular herpes include dull pain deep inside the eye, mild to acute dryness and sinusitis.


The herpes outbreaks are caused and triggered by various factors. Typical common triggers for oral herpes are psychological stress, upper respiratory infections and sunburns. Genital herpes is provoked by the stress, menstruation, diet (food containing arginine, such as nuts and chocolate) and sexual activity.

Traditional Approaches

Two kinds of treatment regimens are commonly prescribed to treat herpes. They are episodic therapy and suppressive therapy. Episodic therapy medications are taken at the first sign of outbreak and continue for several days to prevent its further development. Suppressive therapy is aimed at reducing the number of outbreaks, and the antiviral medications are taken on a daily basis.

Alternative Approaches

A number of herbs are used to control the infection and treat the symptoms of herpes. Some are helpful during the prodromal phase; others are best for the visible open sores or blisters and boost the immune system. Many herbs have multiple effects.

Prunella vulgaris has lately been called the “Herbal Herpes Cure”. This common weed has been used for centuries by herbalists for internal and external wounds. The cream made from Prunella vulgaris constituents lessens the number of outbreaks and lesions. Applied five times a day as a topical ointment, lemon balm ( Melissa officinalis) provides relief for fever blisters and genital ulcers. This action is achieved by the caffeic, rosmarinic, and ferulic acids of lemon balm that possess antiviral properties. High levels of glycyrrhizic acid in licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) have also shown therapeutic benefit in the herpes treatment. Patients should remember that this herb may lead to the high blood pressure if taken during the long period. Golden seal root is also an effective, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, healing tonic which helps to fight with many types of bacterial and viral infections, including herpes.

Drynaria – Herbal Bone Mender

Biological Description

Drynaria is a genus of large ferns most commonly spread in the tropical forests. The numerous species of the fern mostly vary by types of the frond: from the large, long, spore-bearing fronds, to short, sometimes rounded fronds, which collect leaf litter and debris. Drynaria species are called “basket ferns” due to their peculiar function – they collect the rain drops into so-called “nest leaves” providing proper hydration. As the plant grows, maturing fronds droop over the sides of the basket. The most common species of the drynaria genus are drynaria laurentii, drynaria rigidula and drynaria fortunei. The usually reach height 1.2 -2.4 meters, have thick creeping rhizome or stem with several branches of green or yellow leaves.


Drynaria prefers to grow in light, partial or full shade with average watering. The two major methods of the fern propagation are the rootball division and typical natural spread of spores.

Parts Used

Cut and dried into slices, drynaria rhizome is used in the various preparations. Fresh rhizome is valued in the herbal medicine for its benefits in an external uses.


Drynaria rhizome is not only found in dried forms, but may be released in pill, powder and decoction forms. Usually, the variety of drynaria products is sold in most health food stores and herbal shops.


The roots and stems of the plant containnaringin and naringenin from hydrolysis. The active chemicals in the drynaria rhizome positively influence bone cells, protecting and healing them by enhancing the calcium absorption of bones, increasing blood calcium and inorganic phosphorus levels.

Health Benefits

In traditional Chinese medicine, drynaria is greatly favoured for being one of the most important and effective herbs that can be used to heal damaged bones and ligaments (even the Chinese name of drynaria is translated as “mender of shattered bones”) Its bitter and warm properties are also beneficial for kidney disorders and acts as kidney tonic, for liver diseases, diarrhoea, toothache, bleeding gums and tinnitus. In addition, drynaria can be applied topically to heal wounds and stop bleeding. Alopecia, the condition connected with the hair loss, is successfully treated with drynaria too. It stimulates hair growth and strength. Other indicated uses of the herb include dyspepsia, phthsis, and fever. Some researches attribute to drynaria sex- and heart-tonic properties.

Brahmi: for Rest and Mental Alertness

Biological Description

Brahmi is a perennial herb. Its other names Water Hyssop and Bacopa are more common in use. The botanical name of this creeping water herb is Bacopa monnieri from family Scrophulariaceae. Its other not so popular names are Herpestris monnieria, Lysimachia monnieri and Moniera euneifolia. Bacopa leaves are little, thick and green. Its small flowers are white, with several petals.


The herb is very popular to those who have aquarium, as it perfectly grows in water. Commonly it grows in waters, watery lands (especially near ponds) and muddy shores. You can find Brahmi in southern states of the USA, India, China, Taiwan, and Sri Lanka.

Parts Used

The tops of the plant are used in herbal medicine.


It can be found on the market mainly as an extract in form of tablets and as oil. It is also available as an ingredient in other products. Brahmi is sold as a juice and in dried form.


Brahmi is a well known neurotonic (its most popular health benefit used by herbalists) and memory enhancer. Bacopa improves learning skills, thinking process (makes it clearer and faster, thus more effective), stimulates actions in brain, improves concentration. Its another popular property – Bacopa is an effective antioxidant, the herb has been traditionally used for curing epilepsy, as well as depression and anxiety. It helps to reduce the nervousness and stress. As an antioxidant it keeps you from aging in a way (as Bacopa removes free radical molecules). Using Brahmi in these properties give people new energy and make them feel younger than they are. Moreover, it strengthens the immune system.

Health Benefits

Health benefits of Brahmi are numerous. As it is a neurotonic, it is very good during the time of stress in work (meeting the deadlines) or during the time when learning capability and mental alertness is highly needed – as in exam period in students or other stress in everyday life. In India the plant was used for newborns as long ago they believed it would open their minds to intelligence and wisdom.

As an antioxidant, it effectively calms the nerves, gives rest and helps to sleep well (you’ll forget about the insomnia), moreover it promotes thinking and freshness in mind, so you won’t feel tired and exhausted. The most common result after taking Brahmi in medical purposes reported: it helps to feel renewed and refreshed. It enhances the feeling of peace and satisfaction of life. Bacopa is highly used in children, in case of restlessness and hyperactivity, as it is safe.

It can be used during cold and cough. It reduced fever, normalizes the body temperature and reduces the joint paint.

Some believes that Brahmi stimulates not only the brain function, but nail growth and skin growth (that makes it very beneficial to different skin conditions). In these cases it is used mainly in form of oil (mixture of different oil with Brahmi oil) topically.

One more its effective usage – to reduce pain during menstrual periods (as well as to treat various menstrual disorders).

It is very good for singers as it promotes good voice sounding.

There is some evidence, that women who take birth control pills or estrogen replacement therapy should avoid Bacopa, as an interaction is not clearly investigated.

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.

Banaba: the Tree of Beauty and Health

Banaba (Lagerstroemia speciosa), being one of the most beautiful trees, looks spectacular in the streets. Moreover, this plant is also medicinally valuable and used for years to treat diabetes mellitus type 2.

Biological Description

Lagerstroemia speciosa is from the Lythraceae family. The tree is also known as Queen’s Crape-myrtle, Giant Crape-myrtle, or Pride of India. It is a large and tall tree (up to 60 feet), which has a fast growing rate. Banaba’s crown is round, spreading to about 40 feet. The tree is also characterized with thin, smooth and easily injured flaky bark.

The oblong opposite leaves of Lagerstroemia are about 12 inches long. Being dark-green in summer, they turn into bright red in autumn before falling down. The most attractive thing about Banaba is the large panicles of its lavender or pink flowers, which bloom from June to July. The fruit of the tree is a hard round or oval brown nutlet. It is known for its persistent nature.


Lagerstroemia speciosa is native to Asia (mostly to India and Philippines), where it is grown for flowers and medicinal properties. The tree grows well in tropical and subtropical regions. It needs full sun and good drainage, being tolerant to drought. Banaba can grow in different types of soils, except salty ones. This tree is said to be able to tolerate and stand the storms, but it is not frost-resistant.

Parts Used

Leaves of the Banaba tree are used medicinally most often. At the same time, preparations from the bark, roots, and flowers have always been extensively used in Japan, Taiwan, Phillipinea, and other Asian countries.


Tablets, extracts, capsules, powder and tea from Lagerstroemia speciosa are available on the market today.


The potential of Banaba preparations to have insulin-like action is the most valuable and frequently and extensively researched by the modern science. It is known that the tree has a triterpenoid compound called corosolic acid. The latter stimulates glucose receptors increasing their activity and thus aiding in the absorption of blood sugar into the cells of the body. For its action corosolic acid is called “the natural plant insulin”, which helps lower blood glucose level.

By this time it has been found out that the effect of sugar lowering depends on the dose of the plant remedies taken. The larger the dose, the more pronounced results are.

Lagerstroemin, flosin B and reginin A – the ellagitannins isolated from the leaves of Lagerstroemia speciosa – are the other components, which may add to the efficacy of the plant remedies to lower glucose level.

The largest amount of the above mentioned constituents was isolated from the old leaves and ripe fruits of the Banaba tree. The young leaves and the flowers of the plant also contain these chemicals, although in much smaller doses.

Another effect of Lagerstroemia speciosa is promoting weight loss due to suppressing appetite, as well as delaying and reducing the absorption of carbohydrates in the body.

The tree is said to contain high concentrations of dietary fiber and minerals such as zinc and magnesium, 16 amino acids, tannins, and lipids. Due to its chemical composition Banaba may possess antibacterial, diuretic, and purgative properties. It may also be helpful in alleviating fevers.

Health Benefits

The preparations of different parts of Lagerstroemia speciosa are widely used for the treatment of a number of health conditions. For example, the problems of the digestive tract, as diarrhea and constipation, and urinary disorders (dysuria, bladder and kidney inflammations) are often treated with Banaba remedies.

These days Banaba’s potential to fight obesity received wide popularity, thus the plant is used in numerous dietary supplements for weight reduction.

However, the primary action of the tree preparations has always been and still remains reducing blood glucose level in patients with diabetes type 2. Such condition as insulin resistance syndrome is also managed with the same remedies. It is worthy to mention that a consultation with a professional health-care provider and a skilled naturopath is always necessary prior to starting the treatment with Banaba due to its strong action and possible risks of hypoglycemia in case of overdose.

It also looks like the information on Banaba effects on the human organism is not sufficient these days, and more studies are needed to evaluate the possible risks and long-term influence of this plant’s remedies.

Tribulus Terrestris Basics

Our planet is so interesting and diverse. We are astonished at its wealth and variety of forms and species. We are fascinated by its unique beauty and mystery. We praise our Nature for the valuable gifts – healing plants that help solve health problems.

Tribulus Terrestris is a weedy plant, which can be found in the moderate and tropical climate regions of Europe, America, Africa, Australia, and the southern Asia. The Latin word “tribulus” is translated as “caltrop” (a peaked weapon). Tribulus Terrestris has a number of other names: Puncture Vine, Caltrop, Yellow Vine, Goathead. The plant is regarded to be invasive species. The weed may be found on the sides of the roads, pastures, wild and uninhabited places.

Tribulus Terrestris multiple stems spring out from one crown. They usually trail on the ground forming flat patches, but they may also rise upwards in shade or among taller trees. Tribulus Terrestris has pinnate leaves made of two rows of little leaflets (less than a quarter-inch long), which are arranged opposite each other along a stem.

Puncture vine blooms with yellow flowers that are 4-10 mm in diameter and have 5 petals. The fruit appears a week after blooming. It is easily broken into four or five small nuts with a seed inside. The seeds are firm and stiff and have two sharp spines 10 mm long. The seeds look like goat’s or bull’s heads and are very dangerous.

The sharp spines may puncture not only the bare foot, but even a bicycle tyre. Tribulus Terrestris was used as a murderous weapon by indigenous tribes of southern Africa. They tainted the seeds with poison and then put them for the victim to step and press down with the foot.

Tribulus Terrestris was considered in Indian ayurveda practice as a health tonic and aphrodisiac. It was believed to boost immune system and improve sexual function. In European folk medicine it has been used to treat headache, constipation, sexual problems, and nervous disorders. Chinese and Indian people praised the plant for its effectiveness in the treatment of liver, kidney, and cardiovascular conditions. In Turkey, the plant was commonly used to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Puncture Vine consists of different phytochemicals. They include saponins (protodioscin, furostanol), glycosides, flavonoids, alkaloids, resins, tannins, sugars, sterols, and essential oils. Recently, the scientists have isolated two new saponins from Tribulus Terrestris: Terrestrinins A and B. All these compounds are responsible for the most plant’s actions.

In fact, we have not much scientific evidence that proves the wide folk use of Puncture Vine. Nevertheless, Tribulus terrestris demonstrates anti-microbial and anti-tumor properties. The plant’s active substances are able to lower cholesterol as well as act as antioxidants. The plant also shows positive results in hypertension and diabetes treatment. Nowadays Tribulus Terrestris becomes more and more popular among bodybuilders and athletes for its abilities to increase testosterone level.

Stinging Nettle and its Multiple Benefits

Biological Description

Stinging nettle is one of the non-human friendly, touch-wise, and at the same time very helpful, health-wise, herb. Urtica dioica (biological name of the plant) is the best known member of Urtica genus; it is recognized by spiny hairs whose tips come off when touched.

This hair transforms in a needle that is releasing a number of poisonous chemicals – histamine, acetylcholine, 5-HT and formic acid. The commonly known “7 minute itch” on the skin is the result of this “injection”. Other distinctive attributes of the plant are yellow, widely spreading roots and green 3-15 cm long heart-shaped leaves. In summer this herbaceous perennial reaches 1-2 m height, and in winter – dying down to the ground.


The spread of stinging nettle is abundant in Europe and large areas of Asia, usually in their rural parts. The plant prefers moist soil with rich phosphate and nitrogen content. In this case it provides a good quality fibre. Stinging nettle is commonly found growing in woodlands, along stream and river banks, in flood plains and any other areas with moist soils.

Parts Used

Young nettle shots are harvested in spring and are both processed for cooking, and can be dried and stored for winter. The whole plant is usually used for consumption and herbal preparations, but mostly these are the leaves that serve as the source of major active compounds. Old leaves’ chemical content is used for providing laxative properties. Also, the chlorophyll extract from the plant is used as a commercial colouring agent (E140).


Stinging nettle is being sold for consumption as dried leaf, root tincture (root solution in alcohol), as tea, capsules and decoction.


Young leaves of the plant are the rich source of nutritious compounds that are beneficial for various medicinal properties. They include minerals (especially iron), vitamins (especially A and C), flavonoids, potassium. The two latter provide diuretic actions when used for the related conditions.

Stinging nettle plant is also favoured for its astringent, aniasthmatic, haemostatic, hypoglycaemic and tonic properties, as well as for the ability to treat anemia (due to high iron content) and some of the symptoms of BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia). Also, lectin in stinging nettle provides immune-stimulating properties.

Health Benefits

Stinging nettle has been for long used in medicinal history. Far back in medieval Europe the herbalists treated joint problems with the beneficial properties of the stinging nettle as a diuretic plant. Also, some healers used a whipping technique – they stroke the arms and legs of paralyzed patients to get their muscles activated. This also helped to relieve the pain in some inner organs.

Herb’s stimulating actions on kidneys and bladder have also been known for long. Stinging nettle treats inflammation of the urinary tract and kidney gravel, improves excretion of uric acid, with its high potassium content and flavonoids providing diuretic actions. In this way it also reduces the symptoms of gout and arthritis.

The plant provides the treatment for urinary retention caused by prostate enlargement, too. It is successfully used (especially in combination with saw palmetto) for handling BHP symptoms: post urination dripping, reduced urinary flow, incomplete emptying of the bladder, and the regular urge to urinate. Nettle shoots, when eaten, clean the body of toxins and work purifying the blood.

When used externally as topical application (as part of compresses and creams), stinging nettle treats sprains, joint pain, strains, and insect bites. Other medicinal uses of the plant include help for rheumatoid arthritis, hay fever (allergic rhinitis), menstrual bleeding, haemorrhoids, high blood sugar, anaemia, and eczema.