Mint (Mentha)

September 17, 2017

THE MINT FAMILY:

Mentha, commonly known as mint, is a genus of plants in the Lamiaceae family. There are a number of different species of mint, along with many hybrids, due to the natural occurrence of cross-breeding between species. Mint plants are aromatic, mainly perennial herbs with highly fragrant, toothed, opposing leaves, and tiny white, pink, or purple flowers, arranged in clusters forming whorls or a spike. Many characteristics of the mint plant can vary with differing species, but will always be characterized by a square stem. The colour of the leaves can vary from a dark green to grey, purple, blue, and even pale yellow. These plants can often grow up to about 2 – 3 feet tall, and will commonly spread out along the ground. Mint plants produce a fruit called a nutlet which contains 1 to 4 seeds. Propagation is considered an easier form of reproduction for mint. The volatile oils which are extracted from the plant are found in resinous dots located in the leaves and stems. The name Mentha is derived from the Greek word minthe, personified in Greek mythology as Minthe, a naiad who was transformed into a mint plant by Persephone when she tried to seduce Hades. The mint plant originated in Europe, Asia, North America, Australia, and Africa, but has been widely distributed throughout the temperate areas of the world, a

April 5, 2017

B VITAMINS

B Vitamins are a group of 8 water soluble vitamins that are essential for certain bodily functions, such as metabolism, energy production, and nervous system function.  

  • Vitamin B-2 (riboflavin): Aids with cellular energy production and is important for protein metabolism. It also affects the metabolism of iron in positive ways, and produces important antioxidants which help to prevent free radical cells. It is also needed to change Vitamin B-6 and folate into forms the body can use. Food sources include: almonds, brewer’s yeast, wholegrains, wheat germ, mushrooms, soy beans, wild rice, dairy, eggs, broccoli, spinach, brussel sprouts, beet greens, asparagus, turkey, beef liver, salmon, and lamb. Riboflavin is destroyed by light so foods containing the vitamin should be stored away. It can also be lost in water when foods are boiled or soaked. It is best absorbed when taken in between meals. Riboflavin is considered safe, even at high doses. Possible side effects include: itching, numbness, burning or prickling sensations, bright yellow urine, and sensitivity to light. Taking only certain vitamin B supplements at one time can upset the balance of the other important B vitamins. This vitamin can interact with other medications so it is best to seek medical advice before taking any supplements.

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April 3, 2017

SAGE

Common sage (Salvia officinalis) is a perennial, evergreen dwarf shrub, which can grow up to 2 feet, and is characterized by woody stems, purple/blue flowers, and grey/green leaves. It is part of the mint family, Lamiaceae and is native to the Mediterranean and the Balkan region (a peninsula and cultural area in South-eastern Europe). The botanical name, Salvia, is derived from the Latin word salvere which means ‘to be saved’. Sage was a sacred ceremonial herb of the Romans, being associated with immortality, and was used by the Greeks as a ‘coronary herb’ because it flushed disease from the body and relieved strain on the heart. In the Middle Ages sage was ingested as a tea to treat colds, fevers, memory and concentration loss, inflammations, ulcers, and many other ailments. There are approximately 8 different types of sage, each differing in appearance and use. These are:

  • Garden sage (Salvia officinalis): This is the most common type of sage, and is used for cooking, tea brewing, decoration, and medicinal use
  • Pineapple sage (Salvia elegans): This variety of sage has tubular red flowers and is used mainly for medicinal purposes
  • Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia): This type has silver/grey leaves, and produces small, blue/purple tubular fl

March 20, 2017

ARNICA

(Arnica montana)   Arnica is a genus of perennial, herbaceous plants in the sunflower family, which is native to the mountainous regions of Europe and Southern Russia. It has also been known to grow in parts of North America and Canada. This herb is also known by the names of Mountain Tobacco, and Leopard’s bane and Wolfsbane. Another herb, Aconite/Monkshood is also known as Wolfsbane. It was used by Swiss mountain guides to prevent fatigue when chewed and was also used as a substitute for tobacco. Arnica montana has been used for medicinal purposes since the 1500’s, and is still popular today. It grows to approximately 1 – 2 feet, has yellow flowers with an orange centre, and has an appearance similar to that of daisies. The stems and leaves of these plants are bright green and hairy, which is the reason for its original Greek name Arni, meaning ‘lamb’ (in reference to the plants soft leaves). The main part of this plant used for medicinal purposes are the flowers, but the roots and rhizomes (continuous horizontal underground stem) are often utilized as well.  

HEALTH BENEFITS OF ARNICA:

  • Reduces inflammation: This is due to the presence of helenalin, a sesquiterpene lactone that is highly effective as an anti-inflammatory agent. It is therefore effective for treating bruises, sprai

December 27, 2016

Eucalyptus commonly known as ‘Gum Trees’, these essential parts of Australian culture belong to a diverse genus of flowering plants and shrubs called the Myrtaceae family. There are almost 900 species of eucalypts, with the majority found in Australia and the rest found worldwide in temperate, tropical climates.  

HEALTH BENEFITS OF EUCALYPTUS OIL:

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antibacterial and therefore prevents infections
  • Antifungal
  • Antiseptic, therefore heals wounds, ulcers, burns, cuts, and abrasions
  • Used to treat herpes, acne, chicken pox, and other skin infections
  • Aids with stress and anxiety
  • Relieves itchiness from insect bites/stings
  • Aids with stomach problems as its vermifugal properties cause it to remove intestinal germs
  • Relieves pain
  • Treats fevers by lowering body temperature
  • Treats respiratory conditions such as colds, coughs, sore throat, bronchitis, asthma, and sinusitis
  • Aids with the removal of mucus from the lungs
  • Alleviates arthritis symptoms due to its anti-inflammatory and pain relieving qualities
  • Works as a stimulant by relieving mental exhaustion
  • Improves and stimulates the immune system
  • Improves oral health by preventing cavities, dental plaque, and other infections
  • Aids with diabe

March 13, 2016

LAVENDER Scientifically known as Lavandula, the name comes from the Latin root name lavare which means ‘to wash’. Lavender is native to the Old World (Africa, Europe, and Asia). Due to its Mediterranean origins, lavender plants prefer hot summers and dry winters. These plants do not do well with humidity. There are four main types of lavender. These are:

  • English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): Known as true lavender, this is usually the variety used in making potpourri and oils
  • Italian lavender (Lavandula stoechas): Identified by two brightly coloured ‘wings’ at the top of each flower
  • French lavender (Lavandula dentata): Identified by grey green serrated leaves and a flat, furry, spiked purple flower
  • Winged lavender (Lavandula Sidonie): Identified by ferny foliage and forked flowers

  Lavender has long been used for its aromatic and healing properties. In the medieval times it was thought to ward off evil spirits. Medicinally, lavender is used as a relaxant, an antibacterial agent, and as a sensory stimulant. It is also used to treat a range of ailments including: insomnia, anxiety, stress, indigestion, alopecia (hair loss), headaches, nervous disorders, exhaustion, infections, acne and eczema, and joint and muscle pain.   Forms of lavender av

January 9, 2016

Scientifically known as Cymbopogan citrates, lemongrass is a herb that is used for its culinary and medicinal uses.       USES:

  • Pesticide/insect repellent
  • Antifungal/antibacterial
  • The oil is used to treat ringworm
  • Used to treat fever by inducing sweating
  • Calm upset stomachs/diarrhoea
  • Alleviates headaches
  • Treats lice, athlete’s foot, and scabies
  • Alleviates cold symptoms
  • Perfumes and soaps
  • Aids with insomnia
  • Powerful antioxidant
  • Aids with stress and anxiety
  • Relieves muscle pains
  • Anti inflammatory
  • Good source of vitamins A and C, folic acid, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and manganese
  • Some studies say lemongrass has anti-cancer properties
  • Aids with arthritis and gout
  • Used to treat skin problems such as acne

   CAUTION: Undiluted lemongrass oil can cause skin irritation, rashes, and burning sensations. Not recommended for children, pregnant women, and nursing women. People with liver or kidney disease should consult a doctor before using this herb.   REFERENCES: http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/lemongrass.html , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

October 16, 2015

Many fruits can be used as alpha hydroxyl acid (AHA) treatments, sloughing off dead skin cells to reveal a smooth complexion.  Pineapple is great for congested, oily, thick skin; guava is a good exfoliator; grapes hydrate the skin; kiwi fruit contains vitamin E; and apples are great for moisturising the skin. Papaya pulp contains natural hydroxyl acids (AHAs).  It cleanses and exfoliates the skin and is a good treatment for itchy skin, acne and psoriasis.   Here’s one for you to try:

Papaya and watermelon treatment

Normal/oily/congested skin

 

Ingredients

185g (6.5oz/1 cup) peeled, seeded and chopped papaya 185g (6.5oz/1 cup) peeled, seeded and chopped watermelon  

Method

Blend the papaya and watermelon in a food processor.  Strain and discard any solid particles, (these can be used in the garden as compost).  Us