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 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

January 16, 2017

ALOPECIA

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease in which hair loss occurs in some or all areas of the body due to the body misrecognizing its own cells as a threat, and destroying them as a result. In this case, the ‘threatening’ cells are the body’s hair follicles. This condition mainly occurs on the scalp, with small bald patches appearing on usually one side of the head, but can spread to the scalp causing total baldness (Alopecia totalis), or the entire body (Alopecia universalis). This condition can occur at any age, but usually first develops in teenagers and children. Women and men are equally likely to get the disease, and there is no differentiation of susceptibility between races. When developed at an older age, symptoms are usually milder and last for shorter periods. With the common, milder cases, the symptoms of this disease will subside without requiring treatment. 50% of sufferers will recover after 1 year (with possible reoccurrences), while 10% will go on to develop alopecia totalis or alopecia universalis. The causes of this disease are both environmental and genetic. Alopecia is a polygenic disease, meaning that both parents must contribute a number of specific genes in order for a child to develop it. In identical twins, there is only a 55% chance that if one has the disease, the other will develop it too, and theref

October 31, 2016

  Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that is caused by the immune system attacking healthy cells and tissues. The immune system produces excessive amounts of antibodies compared to a normal person, and these antibodies can attach themselves to various bodily structures, causing inflammation and pain as a result.   This disease is quite rare and affects women more than men. Women of childbearing age are also more commonly affected. Statistically Lupus affects over 20, 000 Australians, and 90% of those affected are women aged 15–45.   for full article go to Lupus