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

May 10, 2017

YARROW

(Achillea millefolium)

Yarrow is often used internally to treat excessive bleeding, indigestion, and diarrhoea amongst other ailments, and externally to help heal minor cuts and scrapes. Yarrow is also used in cosmetics to treat oily skin and as a cleanser. It is a flowering plant in the Asteraceae (aster, daisy, or sunflower) family and is native to temperate regions of Asia, Europe, and North America. Its name is derived from the Greek hero Achilles as he supposedly used it to heal soldier’s wounds during the Trojan War. It is also known as: blood wort, carpenter’s weed, knight’s milfoil, old man’s pepper, nosebleed, and staunch grass.  

HEALTH BENEFITS:

  • Reduces fevers by inducing sweating
  • Has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Aids with diarrhoea, indigestion, flatulence, and dyspepsia by getting the bile and pancreatic juices required for digestion flowing
  • Stimulates circulation
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Treats colds and the flu
  • Lessens menstrual bleeding
  • Relieves tooth aches
  • Acts as a decongestant to clear up coughs and sinus infections
  • Treats skin conditions such as eczema
  • Alleviates allergies
  • Prevents haemorrhaging and treats varicose veins by toning blood vessels and dilating capi

April 28, 2017

GINGER

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a flowering plant that is popularly used as a spice or medicinal herb. This plant grows about a metre tall, with narrow green leaves and yellow flowers that originated in the tropical rainforest of Southern Asia. This herb no longer grows wild but is commonly found in India. Indian ginger also has the largest amount of genetic variation. Ginger was exported to Europe in the first century AD and was used extensively by the Romans. The rhizome (root cluster) is the main part of the plant that is harvested and used.  

HEALTH BENEFITS:

  • Stimulates the production of saliva, making swallowing easier
  • Alleviates nausea caused by seasickness/ motion sickness, morning sickness, and chemotherapy
  • Powerful antioxidant
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Decreases blood pressure
  • Alleviates arthritis
  • Decreases the risk of cancer and destroys ovarian and colon cancer cells
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Aids digestion
  • Aids with heartburn and acid reflux
  • Eases headaches and sore throats
  • Helps with the cold or flu
  • Aids with asthma, bronchitis, coughs, and other lung/throat disorders
  • Alleviates colic, loss of appetite, heart palpitations, and diarrhoea
  • Reduces menstrual pain
  • May lower cholesterol levels

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

July 1, 2016

    Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza Glabra): Licorice root contains many anti-depressant compounds and has many health benefits such as: boosts the immune system by increasing levels of interferon; a chemical in the immune system that fights viruses, relieves pain and stress by preventing the breakdown of adrenal hormones such as cortisol (primary stress-fighting hormone), and combats hay fever due to being an anti-allergenic. It is also used for ulcers, indigestion, heartburn, respiratory problems, chronic fatigue symptoms and fibromyalgia, hepatitis, PMS, and heart disease.

March 15, 2016

 

Definition: Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.

 

Stress occurs when the brain releases chemicals which cause an increase in energy and strength. This can be helpful in physical situations but when the stress is emotional, this release of chemicals is detrimental because there is no outlet for this extra energy and strength. These chemicals are: adrenaline (the fight or flight hormone), cortisole, and norepinephrine (similar to adrenaline, with the main intent to cause awareness).

  Stress can be a good motivator, but it can become harmful if it becomes excessive and begins to interfere with normal, everyday life.      

There are three main types of stress. These are: acute stress, episodic acute stress, and chronic stress.

  Acute stress: This stress is usually a brief event and is often due to an impending deadline, performance, or a traumatic event.  

Episodic acute stress: This occurs when people have to deal with acute stress repeatedly. This often occurs when a traumatic event happens and is followed by more stress inducing events. These people have the tendency to believe that, if something can go wrong, it w

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