Thursday, February 26, 2015

Licorice Root - Use Glycyrrhiza glabra with Caution

One of the harder lessons I learned in my early days of suggesting herbs for medicinal use was with a dear lady that had her blood pressure under control. She had asked me to get something for her that I had used successfully for a health problem, and I did. 

One of the herbal ingredients in the list of herbs in this formula was Licorice Root. I did not know at the time that it could increase blood pressure in some people, especially those who already are dealing with high blood pressure, and this is just what happened to this poor woman. This was many years ago, and thankfully, she was a kind and forgiving person, but I learned a great lesson that day, which lead me to do more research and gain more knowledge about what I was sharing.

Some say that if you need to use Licorice Root, you should be taking Potassium with it if blood pressure is a concern. All of this should be discussed with your health care provider, especially if you are on medications for blood pressure.  Generally this is used to support the glandular system, I was taking it for a while myself to support my adrenal glands, but would not take it at present as my blood pressure is inclined toward being high.  It is generally a tonic herb, good for many things.

If you would like a fact sheet about any of the items marked in red, please contact me using the comment form, and I will send one, and will not publish such a comment...all comments are moderated. I will need an email to send it to, and will not abuse the email by adding it to a mailing list.

Image Credit: Wikipedia and Gardenology.org.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Spirulina - Herb from the Water

This may not be something you'll grow in your herb garden this year, in fact, it's not necessarily an herb...but it's green and it grows, so it has my attention. It's nutritional qualities are well known by many. The picture is not an attractive one, it looks like little worms or parasites, doesn't it? But they are algae strands, and by looking at the spiral shape, you can see why this algae is called "Spirulina".

Spirulina is a blue-green algae, long before a company decided to make blue-green algae their primary product, I was taking the powder in capsule form. It contains the complete spectrum of 8 amino acids, is high in protein, chlorophyll, and beneficial minerals. There are very few "plant" sources for vitamin B12, and Spirulina is one of them. I still use a liquid B12 as sources I've read show there are still concerns as to the the bodies ability to use the B12 in Spirulina...it's "bio-availability" is in question.

Some like to take Spirulina before their meals, and feel that is suppresses the appetite. It is so rich in protein and nutrients, that it may satisfy cravings for certain foods so that you are not inclined to eat as much.

Though Spirulina grows naturally, it is also cultivated in the waters of warmer climates.

Spirulina Image Credit: Wikipedia

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Stevia, a Sensational Sweetness - Stevia rebaudiana

This wonderful, sweet herb used to grow in my garden (though the picture is not from my garden) and I hope to try again this year when it gets a little warmer. I planted it for the first time two years ago, and hoped it would winter over, but unfortunately, it didn't.

The scientific name for this plant is Stevia rebaudiana. We use it in our home as my husband is a diabetic and it doesn't have any calories or negative affect on his blood sugar. If anything, studies seem to indicate that it has a positive affect on blood sugar. I use it in place of calorie-free artificial sweeteners.

I find that I can use the leaves from my garden in teas, but it's a bit much to use them in any other cooking, so purchase an extracted white powder form of stevia. I have a container with a measure that helps me use the proper exchange for other sweeteners, and packets that I can carry in my pocket book.

Here are a couple of things that I have in my home right now...contact me via comment form if you would like more information about these...I will not publish your comment:

Stevia Powder
Stevia Powder Packets

Stevia Image via Pixabay

Yucca for Aches and Pains - Yucca baccata

We saw Yucca growing in the wild and in gardens when we took a driving trip out west to visit my husband's family in Colorado.

The plants are abundant in the west and southwestern US and in Mexico. This particular variety of yucca is Yucca baccata, or "Banana Yucca" for the shape of the fruits on the plant. There several varieties of Yucca, and several uses.

Native Americans have used the leaves in weaving, or the frayed ends of leaves as paint brushes. The roots & leaves of some varieties of yucca plants provides a soapy substance used as a foaming cleanser, so it is often called "soap plant"...the roots must be pounded to bring out the foamy substance. You can also find this soapy substance in the leaves...rub shredded leaves between your hands with water. The lathering ability comes from large amounts of the steroid, saponin. It is this same property that helps support the structural system by providing anti-inflammatory properties. Many use it to ease joint pain, and reduce arthritic inflammation.

Some eat the root by cubing, boiling until soft, mashing and eating with butter, salt and pepper...and fruits of some varieties of yucca can be eaten, but make VERY sure you know your plants well before ever trying to eat any herb.

Creative Commons Image from Wikimedia