Sage

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 flowers. It is not

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:

  • 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, sprains, muscular aches, super

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 therefore resul