If you find commercial soap products too drying for your face, check in your local health food store for facial soaps and cleansers derived from Almond (Prunus amygdalus). The kernel from the Almond plant provides us with one of the best face scrubs Mother Nature has to offer. Almond is also an excellent emollient.
A recent study suggests that Almond oil may also help prevent heart disease. At the Health Research and Studies Center in Los Altos, California, Almond oil was shown to lower serum cholesterol levels in people who consumed it in place of saturated fat. According to this study, Almond oil was a more potent cholesterol-reducing agent than olive oil!
Possible benefits are cleansers made from Almond help to remove excess oil and dirt from skin. Almond butter and oil can moisturize and soften skin, and Almond oil shows promise as a potent cholesterol reducer.
Almond can also be used externally as either Almond meal or oil. A handful of Almond meal makes a great face scrub, and applying the Almond oil directly into rough areas helps moisturize and soften skin, particularly hands and heels of feet.
Aloe Vera *****
is an exceptional healing plant with an extensive history of use covering 18 centuries. World-wide, there exist hundreds of species of this succulent, yucca-like plant, but those most often used are Aloe barbandensis, Aloe perryi, Aloe ferros, and the ever-popular houseplant Aloe vera, whose fresh leaves can serve as an effective treatment for minor burns, abrasions and cuts.
Aloe Vera gel, derived from the "mucilaginous cells" contained inside the leaves, is widely used in a variety of forms such as lotions, moisturizers, cosmetics, and shampoos. Aloe powder, derived from the tough outer leaf of the plant, is a strong 'cathartic' consumed internally as a cleanser, and often touted as a treatment for a variety of conditions ranging from liver disease to AIDS.
Clinical evidence supports many of the health claims attributed to Aloe Vera. Researchers have found that fresh Aloe gel promotes wound healing by speeding up the growth of skin cells and aiding recovery from surgery. Aloe has also proved effective in treating pressure sores, chronic leg ulcers, and frostbite.
Aloe Vera has also been shown to have strong antibacterial and antifungal properties against a broad range of microbes. Carrisyn, an extract of aloe, has shown recent evidence of being able to inhibit a number of viruses 'in-vitro'. Carrisyn appears to work by stimulating the immune system to trigger the production of T cells, thereby increasing immune function.
Other active ingredients of the Aloe plant include 'salicylates', which control inflammation and pain, and an enzyme that inhibits 'bradykinin', the chemical messenger responsible for transmitting pain signals through the nerves. Aloe also contains 'magnesium lactate', a chemical known to inhibit the release of histamines responsible for skin irritation and itching.
While generally regarded as safe, some people using Aloe products may experience a form of hypersensitivity, evidenced by skin rash, which disappears soon after discontinuing use of the product. When choosing an Aloe Vera product for topical application, look for a product high in Aloe content, which should appear as the first item listed on the ingredients panel.
There are drinkable forms of aloe liquid now available with flavoring, or without at your health food store or online stores. Since our GI system is also made from epithelial cells it may also help in treatment of GERD, [ esophageal reflux ] and help heal the lining of the gut.
from the plant Angelica archangelica, is similar to the Chinese herb 'Dong Quai', which is derived from the closely related plant Angelica sinensis. Other species of Angelica are commonly used as flavoring agents for wines, liqueurs, and perfumes.
Angelica has recently become a very popular herb in the United States, and is often recommended by herbalists as a treatment for flatulence and stomach pains, and as a stimulant to invigorate circulation and warm the body. By far, the most common use of
Angelica is as an 'emmanagogic' agent to promote menstrual flow and help regulate irregular menstrual cycles. In some cases, large doses of Angelica have been consumed in an attempt to induce abortion, but such use runs the risk of also inducing severe poisoning.
Angelica contains a number of compounds called 'furocoumarins' that are photosensitizers, which upon direct contact with the skin may lead to a skin rash after being exposed to the sun. Researchers have also found several of these compounds to be extremely toxic carcinogens in laboratory animals, though no human studies are currently available.
Angelica should not be used by pregnant women .
Caution also to those with immune problems
The volatile oil in Anise provides the basis for its internal use to ease griping, intestinal colic and flatulence. Anise also has an expectorant and anti-spasmodic action, and may be used in cases of bronchitis, in tracheitis where there is persistent irritable coughing, and in whooping cough.
Anise has middle estrogen effects thought to be due to the presence of the elements di-anethole and photo-anethole, which explains the use of this plant in folk medicine to increase milk secretion, facilitate birth . Anise is considered an herbal stimulant and carminative; used in cases of flatulence, flatulent colic of infants, and to remove nausea.
Indicated for respiratory infections such as sinusitis. Combats infection and relieves mucus from air passages. Good digestion aid. Helpful during menopause. Increases milk production in nursing mothers.
is a traditional Chinese herb derived from the root of the perennial Astragalus membranaceus. In China, Astragalus enjoyed a long history of use in traditional medicine to strengthen the Wei Ch'i, or "defensive energy", or as we call it, the immune system. Regarded as a potent tonic for increasing energy levels and stimulating the immune system.
Astragalus has also been employed effectively as a diuretic, a vasodilator and as a treatment for respiratory infections. Astragalus has recently become popular with western herbalist and alternative med providers. Astragalus replenishes vital energy, and may also reduce blood pressure by helping to rid the body of excess water weight. It is currently being investigated as a possible treatment for AIDS.
Astragalus has been used by Oriental herbalists for centuries for diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Recent studies suggest that it may help activate the immune system, thus enhancing the body's natural ability to fight disease. It has been found to restore normal immune function in cancer patients with impaired immunity. In fact, some herbalists routinely give Astragalus to patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
It promotes resistance to disease, and may also prevent the spread of malignant cancer cells to healthy tissue.
Other studies in China have also led researchers to report that Astragalus can be part of an effective treatment for supporting the immune systems of cancer patients. Two separate studies followed cancer patients receiving traditional Western hemotherapy and radiation treatment. These forms of treatment typically ravage the body's immune system and leave patients weak and susceptible to new opportunistic infections.
Researchers reported that cancer patients receiving Astragalus extracts had twice the survival rate of those only receiving standard therapies. U.S. studies have further confirmed that Astragalus possesses unique immunity boosting qualities. Researchers at the University of Texas found that Astragalus exhibited strong immunity response on in-vitro cancer cells.
Scientists have isolated a number of active ingredients contained in Astragalus, including bioflavonoids, choline, and a polysaccharide called 'Astragalan B'. Animal studies have shown that 'Astragalan B' is effective at controlling bacterial infections, stimulating the immune system, and protecting the body against a number of toxins.
Astragalan B seems to work by binding to cholesterol on the outer membranes of viruses, destabilizing their defenses, and allowing for the body's immune system to attack the weakened invader. Astragalus also increases interferon production and enhances NK and T cell function, increasing resistance to viral conditions such as hepatitis, AIDS and cancer. Astragalus shows support for peripheral vascular diseases and peripheral circulation.
which is also called "Oregon grape root", is derived from Mahonia Aquifolium, a small evergreen that grows wild on mountains in the Pacific Northwest. Early settlers first learned of the therapeutic use of Barberry from native American Indians who made a bitter brew from the yellow root (or rhizome) of this small shrub. Used in small doses, Barberry tonic was believed to be an effective treatment for heartburn, stomach upset, ulcers, and to stimulate appetite.
Current herbal literature commonly recommends Barberry tinctures as a treatment for liver problems such as hepatitis and jaundice. It is also considered effective in lowering blood pressure, reducing heart rate and respiration, reducing bronchial constriction, and as a 'palliative' for menstrual irregularities. It is also used as a topical antiseptic.
Researchers studying Barberry have determined that it does contains a number of physiologically active alkaloids, chief among them 'berberine', 'berbamine', and 'oxyacanthine'. Berberine has been found to exhibit some antibacterial activity, accounting for its traditional uses as an antiseptic when applied to the skin. Barbering is also known to possess sedative qualities, and can act to lower blood pressure and stimulate the uterus. Reduces heart rate, breathing, bronchial constriction. Do not use if pregnant. Promotes intestinal movement. Kills bacteria on skin.
Bilberry plant is closely related to blueberries and currants, all of which belong to the genus Vaccinium. The whole fruits from these plants contain important tannins, as well as vitamins A and C. The specific activity of Bilberry comes from concentrated fruit pigments called 'anthocyanins' which have a specific strengthening effect on the walls of the vascular system.
Collagen protein in the vascular wall becomes stronger in the presence of Bilberry, and the fine capillaries become less susceptible to leakage. Hemorrhoids and varicose veins are both examples of the weakened vascular tissues that can manifest during pregnancy and under stress.
Bilberry fruit extract also possesses strong antibacterial and antiviral activity, mainly from the tannin compounds. The usual application of Bilberry is for reducing eyestrain and improving night vision. In addition to helping the capillaries supply blood to the eyes, Bilberry pigment helps produce visual purple, an important chemical that helps convert light into electrical signals for the brain. Bilberry enhances vision in low light conditions often encountered by truck drivers, pilots, and military personnel.
Bilberry also reduces general eye strain which makes it particularly beneficial for students, computer operators, and anyone who must use their eyes for long periods without rest.
Helps control insulin levels. Diuretic. Antiseptic for the urinary tract. Indicated for: hypoglycemia, inflammation, stress, night blindness, cataracts. Strengthens connective tissue. When taken internally can interfere with iron absorption
Black Cohosh comes from the root of the North American forest plant Cimicifuga racemosa. Also known as 'black snakeroot', 'bugbane', 'bugwort' and 'squawroot', Black Cohosh has an extensive history of safe use by Native Americans who revered it as a remedy for a host of common ailments.
Native Americans employed Black Cohosh as an effective treatment for fatigue, neuralgia, rheumatism, sore throat, asthma, bronchial spasms, bronchitis, and whooping cough. Mixed with chamomile, ginger and raspberry leaf, Black Cohosh has been used for centuries by women to stimulate menstrual flow, ease the strains of childbirth, and confer relief from the symptoms of menopause.
In Europe, Black Cohosh products are regularly used in the treatment of (PMS) and menopause. Contemporary herbalists also hold Black Cohosh in high regard as an antispasmodic for relief from cramps, muscle pains, and menstrual pains. With its mildly sedative and relaxing effect, Black Cohosh is used also to treat nervousness. Modern herbalists also recommend Black Cohosh as a cough suppressant and expectorant, a diaphoretic for eliminating toxins, and consider it to be an excellent treatment for lowering high blood pressure.
Researchers studying Black Cohosh have isolated chemical derivatives mimicking the effects of estrogen, supporting the use of the herb in the treatment of female conditions. Black Cohosh was found to contain the glycoside 'acetein', a steroidal derivative that is effective in lowering blood pressure in animals. While adherents claim the same effect in humans, no research is available to verify this. Researchers have also determined that Black Cohosh contains compounds that support its uses as a sedative and an anti-inflammatory agent.
There are few known health concerns regarding Black Cohosh, but consuming large amounts are known to cause nausea, dizziness and vomiting. Expectant mothers should only use Black Cohosh under the supervision of a health professional, since Black Cohosh has a reputation of stimulating the uterus to speed childbirth, and large doses could lead to premature birth.
Indicated for: blood pressure, cholesterol, mucus production, cardiovascular & circulatory disorders, arthritis, poisonous snake bites, relieving hot flashes, menstrual cramps, morning sickness, pain. Induces labor and aids in childbirth, so should not be used during pregnancy until needed for delivery.
Black Walnut Bark*****
including the kernel and the green hull, have been used to expel various kinds of worms by the by the Asians, as well as by some American Indian tribes. The fruit, leaves and bark of the Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) tree offer many benefits. Taken internally, Black Walnut helps relieve constipation, and is also useful against fungal and parasitic infections. It may also help eliminate warts, which are troublesome growths caused by viruses. Rubbed on the skin, Black Walnut extract is reputed to be beneficial for eczema, some viruses, psoriasis, and skin parasites.
External applications have been known to kill ringworm. The Chinese use it to kill tapeworm with extremely good success. The high tannin content is primarily responsible for its anthelmintic property, although other constituents such as juglandin, juglone and juglandic acid may also be involved. It is known that Black Walnut oxygenates the blood to kill parasites. The brown stain found in the green husk contains organic iodine which has antiseptic and healing properties.
Black Walnut is also used to balance sugar levels and burn up excessive toxins and fatty materials. The use of this herb has also been shown to exhibit anti-cancer properties due to its content of both strong and weak acids, and alkaloids.
Black Walnut has the ability to fight against fungal infections, and acts with an antiseptic property which helps fight bacterial infection. Others benefits are that it helps promote bowel regularity and acts an antiparasitic.
An extract of Black Walnut can be used in one of two ways: it can be taken orally by mixing 10 to 20 drops in water or juice daily, or it can be used externally by rubbing the extract directly on the skin 2 times daily.
Anti-inflammatory, circulatory aid, blood purifier, liver healer, and heart strengthener. Increases appetite and stomach secretions. Has been recommended as a brain food. Good for female disorders and increases milk flow for nursing mothers. May produce toxic skin effects, so handle carefully.
also known as Indian paint, Indian Plant, Indian red paint, pauson, red paint root, red puccoon, red root, sanguinaria, and tetterwort, is a small perennial plant about 6 inches high, found in shaded, rich soils in the northeastern states of the U.S. The finger-thick rootstock contains red juice when fresh; when dried it is yellow inside and brown outside.
Bloodroot has been used as a diuretic, emetic, emmenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge, stimulant, and tonic. Bloodroot has been used historically in numerous topical preparations for the treatment of various skin cancers, and also for sores, warts, eczema, and other dermal & epidermal problems. It has also been used internally in herbal preparations for congestive lung conditions such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis. and ulcers, arthritis, rheumatism, and cure skin diseases such as acne and psoriasis.