Herbal Information



This information is for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the FDA, nor is it intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Marigold Officinalis or Tagetes/Calendula

Uses for this cheery yellow to orange flower are many and growing it in your garden is easy. Great for skin irritations and most skin conditions, varicose veins, wound healing, as an eye rinse, as a hair rinse to condition and lighten, as a powder for babies, in the bath to stimulate, cleanse and act as a diaphoretic (increasing perspiration).

Calendula can be used as a soothing tea for children with measles, fevers, swollen glands and congested ears and as a gargle for sore throat. Taken as a tea it supports the immune systems and clears the lymphatic systems. This herb is particularly useful for women. Taken regularly marigold tea is helpful for painful periods, tender ovaries and blocked tubes. It helps maintains equilibrium during menopause, and PMS. One teaspoon per cup of boiling water.

It can be powdered and mixed with salt and then sprinkled on meats, added to salads & soups and used as cut flowers in your home to add a cheery color and presence. The flowers also add color to potpourris and can be used as lei making material.

Always use glass or enamel pots and pans to heat herbs and be sure all jars you are using for storage have been washed and then sterilized by boiling in water for about 20 minutes.

All herbal materials are at their best when picked after the dew has dried off and before the sun is too high. Pick on a sunny dry day. When using dried herbs, allow them to dry in a cool and breezy place where air can circulate. You can tie the flowers up in bundles or spread them out on screens. Keep dried herbs out of direct light, moisture and heat when storing. Remember fresh flowers weigh more than dried (about double or a bit more), keep this in mind when reading recipes and deciding how much to use.


POWDER- Blend dried flowers in a blender. You can mix with other herbs such as chamomile and comfrey to make a very soothing powder that is great for babies and those with sensitive skin.

TEAS - Bring 10 oz. of water to a boil and add 1 tsp. to 1 tbsp. of dried flowers, turn off heat, cover and steep for 5 to 15 minutes. Strain and drink.

HERBAL VINEGARS AND HAIR RINSES - Combine 1 part dried flowers with 2 parts heated apple cider vinegar. Cap jar and shake each day, after10 days strain and press through cheese cloth. You can use this vinegar directly on salads. Or use as a hair rinse by mixing 2 tbsp. of herbal vinegar with 1 cup of warm water. Use this to rinse through shampooed hair. Rinse hair again with cool, clear water.

TINCTURES - 1-4 ozs. of dried flowers are mixed with 8 ozs. of 75%-100% alcohol (vodka is good to use, brandy or rum can also be used). Add 4 ozs. of water to this mixture and steep for 2 weeks. Shake now and again. Strain and use.

ELIXIRS - Make as a tincture then before using add another 4 ozs. of

EYE OR FACE WASH - Bring 1 oz. dried flowers and 8 ozs. of water to a boil, remove cover and lower the heat. Simmer for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat. Strain into a sterilized container and refrigerate until cool. Use this mixture within 3 days. to rinse eyes, wounds, face, skin, etc.

POULTICES - Bruise the fresh or dried flowers with some hot water to make a soft mass. Spread this on to a cloth and apply to the bruised or wounded area. Cover the whole thing with a hot cloth. Change the top cloth as needed to keep the poultice hot.

MEDICATED OILS - Put dried flowers into an oil (or blend of oils) of your choice. Be sure the oil covers the flowers to prevent molding. Leave this mixture to infuse in a warm spot, such as a window sill, for 5-10 days. Strain this oil through a cheesecloth without squeezing it. You can now use this oil for anything you would use an oil for. such as, massage, cooking (depending on the oils you choose), moisturizing and soothing. You can add an essential oil or oils to fragrance this medicated oil or to add other medicinal properties you may desire.

OINTMENTS - There are some recipes that require heating the oil to make a salve or ointment. I do not like to heat the oil as it removes the oils own healing qualities. I use the recipe for making an oil (above) and then add melted beeswax to the strained oil. This solidifies the oil.

Also, if coconut oil is used and the mixture is kept in the refrigerator it will solidify. Of course, it will liquefy once taken out of the refrigerator and allowed to warm.

You can experiment with different quantities of melted beeswax shavings to get the solidity you are after. You need to work with the beeswax quickly as it will solidfy quickly after it is removed from the heat

HAVE FUN and ENJOY your own homemade products. They will be fresh and have no added chemicals or preservatives to minimize their healing qualities. They can save you money and will be a loving, health giving gift to yourself or whomever uses them.

Back to the top



Stevia: Natural, No Calories, and Sweeter than Sugar

Taken with permission from an article by Laura Lee

This information is for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the FDA, nor is it intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

We all know the average American diet contains far more sugar, hidden and outright, than it ought. We are advised to forego processed foods for whole foods, but still, they could often use a bit of enhancement. So how to sweeten a cup of tea, a bowl of raspberries or oatmeal, in a healthy way?

The answer is Stevia. It appears there is a God, and a fair one at that. After all, if She was going to give us a sweet tooth, the least She could do is also give us a no-calorie, all-natural sweetener. This gift is the Stevia leaf, which is some 300 times sweeter than sugar and contains not a single calorie. How's that for small miracles? It gets better. Stevia is nutritious, too, containing magnesium, niacin, potassium, and vitamin C. It has been shown to stabilize blood sugar levels. Remember that when you reach for your next dose of refined sugar, which can throw your blood sugar out of whack and then suppress your immune system by up to 50%. And I won't even go into the range of side effects associated with the artificial sweeteners. Stevia has earned its place at the top of my "if I'm ever stranded on a desert isle" list of "must haves" (along with a really good moisturizer and a good book.)

Stevia enhances the taste of tea, which I'm drinking even more of since reading that 5 cups of black or green tea (at only 4 calories a cup) has the same nutrition benefits as two servings of fruit and vegetables, and guards against cancer and heart disease. ( Angela's postscript .. you can find de-caffienated green teas as well, thereby not taxing your adrenal-kidney centers). Anywhere you might use a bit of sugar, try Stevia instead. You can also bake with it.

Pronounced "Steve-ee-ah" or "Steh-vee-ah," (first syllable accented) this leafy green plant has a long history of use. For centuries South American tribes used it internally as a digestive aid or externally as a dressing for skin wounds. Sixteenth century Spanish Conquistadors wrote home about it. Native to Paraguay, Stevia is also grown commercially in Brazil, Central America, Israel, India, Thailand, Korea and China. Here in the U.S., there are a few test plots, and some nurseries offer Stevia plants for kitchen herb gardens.

Food manufacturers should be happy. Stevia is inexpensive compared to chemical sweeteners. Extracts of the sweet tasting phytochemicals, called steviosides, come in powdered and liquid form. This versatile botanical has been widely used for thirty years in Japan, where Stevia extracts comprise over 40% of the market for sweeteners, added to everything from pickles to soy sauce to beverages, including
commercial soft drinks.
Logic would dictate, if logic and the American public's best interests ruled, that American food manufacturers would be jumping on this bandwagon too. Considering the well-established popularity of all things natural and health oriented, you may be wondering why you are not sipping on a Stevia-sweetened beverage right now. Suffice to say that economics rule. No surprise there. Stevia is legal in the US, but only as a nutritional supplement, not as a sweetener. To call it a sweetener would put it into the realm of the food additive. And food additives are the FDA's business.

The FDA's attempt to halt the use of Stevia began in 1986, with a raid on the warehouse of Celestial Seasonings, the popular tea brand. They were told they could no longer include Stevia in their herbal tea blends. In 1987, FDA inspectors began visiting other herb companies, telling them to stop using this "unapproved food additive". In 1991 came the official ban as the FDA declared Stevia "an unsafe food additive" and imposed an import alert.

Some in the health and natural products industry suspected collusion. The big pharmaceuticals who manufacture the artificial sweeteners like to play to win. Might Stevia's many advantages -- it's safe, contains no calories, and has health benefits, not risks -- threaten sales of laboratory-bred sweeteners? The Herb Research Foundation filed a Freedom of Information Act request for correspondence between the FDA and the manufacturer of NutraSweet regarding Stevia. The information was a year in coming, and identification of the company that instigated the FDA ban was blocked.

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) commissioned its own professional review of the scientific literature on Stevia, peer-reviewed by several plant safety experts. They all agreed on Stevia's safety. The AHPA then petitioned the FDA to rescind the ban on Stevia, arguing that Stevia is a food with a long record of safety and not a food additive.

The FDA has all the studies, yet insists that there is insufficient evidence to approve Stevia as "generally recognized and regarded as safe." That leaves some wondering how it could be of questionable safety here in the US, yet of proven safety in Japan, where extensive research provided more sound scientific evidence of Stevia's safety than for most foods and additives, and convinced the Japanese government to approve Stevia for wide use.

While the FDA claimed that Stevia is a chemical food additive, the AHPA argued that the intent of Congress was never to regulate the natural constituents of food itself. The legislation was intended to apply only to chemical additives to food. Therefore Stevia, a natural plant used for food and medicine, and with a long history of safe use, should automatically be exempt from the lab tests required to test new food chemicals.

By this time the FDA's attempts to regulate herbs and nutritional supplements in general prompted the American public to write to their Congress. An avalanche of demand for continued freedom of choice and access to Mother Nature's medicine chest, the one humankind has used for millennia, resulted in the passing of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act in 1994 (DSHEA). This prevents the FDA from regulating herbs and botanicals under the guise of "food additives." It is under the protection of DSHEA that Stevia can be used in the US, but only as a nutritional supplement. (Interesting, the reverse is true in Canada; there Stevia is marketed only as a sweetener and not as a dietary supplement.) Consequently, US food processors cannot use Stevia as an ingredient in foods simply to sweeten as they can in Japan. Stevia and its extracts can be marketed only as dietary supplements, not as sweeteners, and any product listing Stevia as an ingredient can only be marketed only as a dietary supplement. Tea companies may once again add finely cut whole leaf Stevia to their tea blends, as long as they are marketed as health supplements. But your everyday herbal tea formulas cannot include Stevia, with the word "sweet" or "naturally sweet" on the box. Stevia is found in some meal-replacement bars, protein powders and chewing gums touted for their health benefits. Perhaps the FDA reasons that if you cannot suppress the item itself, the next best suppression is information on that item. (Still hard to comprehend book banning in the land of free speech and free choice.) In 1998 the FDA threatened the Stevita Company of Texas, which imports Stevia, with legal action for distributing books and literature about their products. The FDA's Compliance Officer also faxed the Stevita Company a letter requesting the destruction of 2,500 books he considered "offensive." The books in question featured information on Stevia's history and use, as well as scientific studies. Two recent reforms show promise. The FDA must now respond to applications within six months of submission, and must also accept foreign studies, if peer-reviewed and from reputable science institutes. Change is in the air.

Some in the industry predict the FDA will suddenly approve Stevia for wide use as a sweetener the moment the big players come up with their own patent-pending process of extracting the steviocides within the Stevia leaf. Linda Sadler, President of Traditional Medicinals, another popular tea brand, points out that most of the health benefits on Stevia were conducted on the traditional use of the leaf, in its whole state. Once the food manufacturers begin to refine and isolate the steviocides, you loose some of the buffered balance and nutritional benefits of the whole herb.

The Japanese have demonstrated over the last three decades that even highly refined Stevia extract is still safe. And they use Stevia to full advantage for their health, refined and otherwise. Anywhere you find high fructose corn syrup (or the many names of those hidden sugars) you find Stevia in Japanese products. Popular too is some combination of Stevia and sugar, which maintains that real sugar taste while reducing the sugar, calorie, and carbohydrate count by up to 75%. An added benefit is avoiding the problems associated with other sugar substitutes, while maintaining that all important, 'all natural' status. Just what Americans need -- diet gurus are now telling us low-carb and low-cal should be joining low-fat if we are ever to succeed in the slimming of America.

US food manufacturers of all categories ought to be lobbying for Stevia's wide use as sweetener. In the meantime, I'm trying to stay away from processed foods. And a touch of Stevia sure helps replace a lot of sugar in everyday use.


Vitamin C
Vegetable fat

Stevia is one of the most beneficial plants on Earth. What Stevia does both inside the body and on the skin is incredible! Native to Paraguay, it is a small green plant bearing leaves which have a delicious and refreshing taste that can be 30 times sweeter than sugar. Besides the intensely sweet glycosides for which Stevia is renowned, it is remarkably nutritious.

Our quality Stevia leaves, whole leaf concentrate and Stevia extracts are nutritious, natural dietary supplements offering numerous health benefits. While Stevia is used in other countries as a no calorie sweetener, it may only be sold in the United States as a dietary supplement or skin care product.

Copyright © 2000 by Laura Lee and LL Broadcasting Inc.

Listen to the Laura Lee interview with Jim May, founder of Wisdom of the Ancients.
View Sample Recipes that use naturally sweet Stevia! If you'd like to order Stevia, you'll find a description of Stevia products and extracts at www.radiobookstore.com/stevia.htm  

Back to the top



An Old Folk Remedy

Excerpts taken from an article by Simone Gabbay copyright 1999

[according to Ms. Gabbay, who has kindly given me permission to include this article in these pages, A.R.E. may soon be using this article in an up and coming book they are publishing about Castor Oil's healing properties--Thank you. It feels so important to get this simple yet effective information out to as many people as possible. I have experienced, first hand, the many wonders of Castor Oil and would love to see more people using it for their health needs] You can read some of my experiences and input as notes and testimonials included in and at the end of this article.

The "Sleeping Prophet" Edgar Cayce had often suggested castor oil packs for various health problems. The oil is known to penetrate the skin and work its way deep into the tissue. It has a powerful healing force. It has been successfully used in a castor oil pack and as a rub for various kinds of abdominal complaints, headaches, inflammatory conditions, muscle pains, skin eruptions and lesions. You may want to consider castor oil as a staple item in your medicine cabinet at home, and take it along whenever you travel.

Castor oil is extracted from the seed of the castor oil plant, whose botanical name is ricinus communis. Edgar Cayce brought castor oil packs to fame in the 20th century. The oil has a long and varied history of use as a healing agent in folk medicine around the world. According to a research report in a recent issue of the Journal of Naturopathic Medicine, castor bean seeds, believed to be 4,000 years old, have been found in Egyptian tombs, and historical records reveal the medicinal use of castor oil in Egypt (for eye irritations), India, China (for induction of childbirth and expulsion of the placenta), Persia (for epilepsy), Africa, Greece, Rome, Southern Europe, and the Americas. In ancient Rome, the castor oil plant was known as Palma Christi, which translates into hand of Christ. This name is still sometimes used today.

Note: Chemically Castor Oil is a triglyceride (ester) of fatty acids, with approximately 90% of its fatty acid content being ricinoleic acid and much smaller amounts being Linoleic (4.2%) and Oleic (3%) acids.

A book about the Vermont style of folk medicine by D.C. Jarvis published in 1958 lists numerous conditions which respond well to the topical application of castor oil, including irritation of the conjunctiva of the eye; to promote healing of the umbilicus in a newborn; and to increase milk flow in lactating women when applied to the breasts. It is also effective when applied to sore, irritated, or inflamed nipples. You don't have to worry about washing it off before the next nursing as any trace of the oil that may get into the baby's mouth is definitely safe.

Note: Dr. Jarvis also talks about the use of castor oil to soften corns and calluses and remove their soreness. He also recommends it for removing warts, papillomas (pigmented moles) and liver spots.

Testimonial: My dear friend Phyllis Bala, who is a trans-cultural health consultant and Indigenous Doctor, see her site at http://www.phyllisbala.com has had warts disappear after putting bandaids soaked with castor oil over them for a few weeks. She said for stubborn ones she also sprinkled a little baking soda over the castor oil before putting on the soaked bandaid.

No one could claim more experience with the clinical application of castor oil than Dr. William A. McGarey, Chairman of the Board of the A.R.E. Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona. In the course of his medical career spanning over several decades, Dr. McGarey has published numerous articles and books covering treatments with various Cayce remedies.

Dr. McGarey has successfully used the castor oil packs in a clinical setting for numerous conditions, including liver and gall bladder disturbances, abscesses, headaches, appendicitis, epilepsy, hemorrhoids, constipation, intestinal obstructions, hyperactivity in children, and to avert threatened abortions in pregnant women. In The Oil That Heals, Dr. McGarey says that Edgar Cayce described at least thirty different physiological functions that could be changed for the better through the use of castor oil applied topically, mostly by the use of the packs.

In her popular book Take Charge of Your Body, Canadian physician Dr. Carolyn DeMarco recommends the application of castor oil packs at night for the relief of pain and swelling associated with varicose veins. And in a 1994 article in Health Naturally magazine, Dr. DeMarco writes about the recommendation of American gynecologist Dr. Christine Northrup to apply castor oil packs to the lumpy, painful breasts of women who suffer from cystic breast disease.

Testimonial: Phyllis and I were at the Rainbow Gathering this year helping to provide health information, care and empowerment to those in need. While we were there, the woman and children became our "special assignments", as we fondly came to call them. In just two weeks we had two woman present themselves with Bartholin abcesses and cysts. One woman was in such agony she could hardly walk and was almost crawling to us. After having her clean herself up with Safer Soap Non Toxic Soap (for more info click here ), we put a castor oil pack and hot water bottle on to her gential area. After 2 hours she was able to walk back to her camp site. We sent her back with the pack and instructions to keep it on as much as she could for the rest of the day. When she returned the next day, literally skipping up the hillside, the swelling which had been so large that it extended into her thigh and buttocks, now was just a couple of inches wide. She was so thankful and promised she would continue doing the packs until she could get to a medical clinic after leaving the gathering. We also instructed her on how to have the cyst cared for once she left the camp site. Sharing with her teachings that many people do not know about. In this way she could seek better care, it also helped to empower her and she could now ask her doctors for what she needed in order to ensure a more complete recovery.

P.S. I happened to see this woman weeks later in Portland, Oregon on a city street. She told me that she continued to get good results using the castor oil pack and went to a clinic after the gathering where she had her cyst lanced and packed like we told her it was best to do. She said had she not insisted to have the wound packed the Doctor would have only wanted to lance the cyst. With that type of wound care the cyst would be more likely to have come back.

Another woman we met there, already had her cyst lanced (not packed) before she came to the gathering. She was in excruciating pain, when she arrived at our site. She was hysterical and agitated and her fellow campers had transported her in a wheelbarrow to us, as she could not walk. After working with her spiritually, cleaning up the area with Ultra-Safe Solutions and putting a castor oil pack in place with a heating pad, she became relaxed and comfortable. She ended up taking a long nap and was able to walk herself back to her camp.

Susun Weed, author of the book Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year, says that in traditional midwifery, castor oil is used internally and externally to stimulate the uterus, soften the cervix, and help initiate labour. She suggests rubbing castor oil on the belly and covering with a warm towel if the cervix is ripe and labour seems near. Some midwives rub castor oil on the feet to help labour along.

A country doctor whom Dr. McGarey quotes in The Oil That Heals, once said: "Castor oil will leave the body in better condition than it found it." But the physiological workings of castor oil's interaction with the body remain somewhat elusive. Dr. McGarey says: "We still have no explanation why ..... a pack using this oil will help restore normalcy to a hyperactive child, or speed up the healing of hepatitis, or help to get rid of gallstones, or even help heal abrasions and infections.

Perhaps [the explanation] is to be found in the nature of the human body and the secret capabilities of the substances God gave us here on the earth for our use and benefit." Dr. McGarey presents a plausible hypothesis relating to Edgar Cayce's suggestion that castor oil packs can strengthen the Peyer's Patches, which are tiny patches of lymphatic tissue in the mucosal surface of the small intestine. According to Cayce, the Peyer's Patches produce a substance which facilitates electrical contact between the autonomous and the cerebrospinal nervous system when it reaches those areas via the bloodstream. Dr. McGarey thus understands Cayce to say that the health of the entire nervous system is, to an extent, maintained through the substance produced by the Peyer's Patches when they are in good health. Although the Peyer's Patches were discovered in 1677, it is only recently that medical science has begun to recognize them as constituents of the body's immune system.

Current research appears to confirm Dr. McGarey's theory. A double-blind study, described by Harvey Grady in a report entitled Immunomodulation through Castor Oil Packs and published in a recent issue of the Journal of Naturopathic Medicine, examined lymphocyte values of 36 healthy subjects before and after topical castor oil application. This study identified castor oil as an anti-toxin, and as having impact on the lymphatic system, enhancing immunological function. The study found that castor oil pack therapy of a minimal two-hour duration produced an increase in the number of T-11 cells within a 24-hour period following treatment, with a concomitant increase in the number of total lymphocytes. This T-11 cell increase represents a general boost in the body's specific defense status, since lymphocytes actively defend the health of the body by forming antibodies against pathogens and their toxins. T-cells identify and kill viruses, fungi, bacteria, and cancer cells.

Castor oil packs are a simple home therapy which often produces astounding results. When we consider the Cayce statement quoted in Dr. McGarey's book, "There's as much of God in a teaspoonful of castor oil as there is in a prayer!", we may begin to appreciate the powerful healing potential of the "Palma Christi".

Testimonial: I had a young mother write to thank me after having witnessed profound results from the use of castor oil on her young son's head. This woman from Canada sought out a consultation from Phyllis Bala and myself over the phone. It seemed her 4 or 5 year old child was experiencing increased chewing. He would constantly chew on all manner of things and seemed to be physically growing very slowly. She was very concerned. After talking with the Mom we asked if he had ever had a head injury. We determined the child had incurred a severe head injury some years ago. He ran into the side of a cabinet with his full force while running, as kids can do, causing an swelling to develope on his head. An ice pack was placed on his head at the time and eventually the lump went away and the incident was not thought of until this moment.

We instructed the Mom to use a castor oil pack 3 times a week on his head over the area of the old injury. After 2 months she wrote a letter to us. Here are some of the excerpts from her letter:

I have to say I am completely and totally grateful to you both. I have been putting castor oil on Spencer's head like you told me to do and his chewing has completely stopped. Not only that, the left side of his face looks better. He was growing in a lop-sided way. His left eye was much smaller than his right and you could see the structure of his eyebrows were uneven too. It was very noticelable and we could not get his eye glasses to fit well. Now his eyes are the same size, the bony structure over his eyes looks better and get this.... his lazy eye that was very pronounced is gone. This is over 2 months of castor oil packs 3 times a week. I think I love this stuff. Before this all happened the Doctor told us he would have to wear his glasses until he was 8 or 9 years old and then, depending on what developed, he could need them for his entire life. Even if his vision did corrected itself, the Doctor said he might always have the lazy eye and might need surgery. Now in the last weeks Spencer keeps telling me he doesn't need his glasses, he says he sees the same with them on or off. It seems to have corrected his vision and depth perception too. I think a hallelujah is in order here.

Testimonial: I have used packs on many clients who have liver-gallbladder disease. It has helped to alleviate pain and allowed for deep relaxation. One client stated that she felt such a deep sense of peace after doing a castor oil pack and was utterly amazed. This is woman who is rather hyper most of the time and suffers from anxiety.

My Dad who was recommeded to have gall-bladder surgery has not had an attack since doing castor oil packs for only 3 days. He says should he feel pain again at any time he is going to start up the packs again. I encouraged him not to wait but to keep doing the packs 3-4 times a week, taking a dose of 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil after each third castor oil pack treatment. He feels since he has not had any pain he will just wait and see.

I also have a client who is the later stages of liver disease. He suffers terribly from itchiness and anxiety. He is very obstructed so I do not have him do the hot pad or hot water bottle when he sits with his pack. He does find the pack helps him to relax and feel settled, not antsy and anxious. It also brings down the swelling over his liver area.

Castor Oil Pack Instructions

(excerpted from The Oil That Heals by William A. McGarey, M.D.)

Prepare a flannel cloth which is two or three thicknesses when folded and which measures about eight inches in width and ten to twelve inches in length after it is folded. This is the size needed for abdominal application - other areas may need a different size pack, as seems applicable. Pour castor oil into a pan and soak the cloth in the oil. Wring out the cloth so that it is wet but not drippy with the castor oil (or simply pour castor oil onto the pack so it is soaked). Apply the cloth to the area which needs treatment. Most often, the pack should be placed so it covers the area of the liver.

Protection against soiling bed clothing can be made by putting a sheet underneath the body. Then a plastic covering should be applied over the soaked flannel cloth. On top of the plastic, place a heating pad and turn it up to "medium" to begin, then to "high" if the body tolerates it. You can use a hot water bottle here or begin with slightly heated oil. DO NOT overheat oil as it may diminish it's healing properties. It helps to wrap a large towel around the body to hold the pack snugly in place, using large safety pins on the towel. The pack should remain in place between an hour to an hour and a half.

Note: Heating with a pad or hot water bottle is contra-indicated if there is any sign of obstruction. When in doubt it is better NOT to apply external heat. The natural heat of the body will be sufficient to heat the castor oil in this case.

The skin can be cleansed afterwards, if desired, by using water which is prepared as follows: to a quart of water, add two teaspoons of baking soda. Use this to cleanse the abdomen. Keep the flannel pack wrapped in plastic for future use. It need not be discarded after one application, but can usually be used many times.

Note: Always use a high-quality, cold-pressed castor oil. Both Home Health And Heritage make such a product, which should be available at your local Health Food Store.



A Physician's Success with Castor Oil Treatments
by William A. McGarey, M.D.
A.R.E. Press, Virginia Beach, VA, USA
Dr. McGarey's first volume on castor oil,
now superseded by The Oil That Heals
by Harvey Grady
The Journal of Naturopathic Medicine, Volume 7, Number 1
by Dr. Harold J. Reilly and Ruth Hagy Brod
A.R.E. Press, Virginia Beach, VA, USA
Women's Health Advisor
by Dr. Carolyn DeMarco
The Well Women Press
Winlaw, BC
by Susun S. Weed
Ash Tree Publishing
Woodstock, New York, USA

Back to the top




This information is for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the FDA, nor is it intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


I first heard about Moringa about 20 years ago while reading an article in Organic Gardening. I soon realized it was growing in my own backyard. My first landlord here in Hawaii, Mr. Domingo, had planted these trees in the yard of the house I was renting.  He told me how in the Philippines, where he was born, they were used for building blood in new mothers and fed to babies. He said the leaves were considered very nourishing. Both the leaves and pods are eaten, as well as a tea made from the flowers.

Moringa Oleifera is a tropical tree with many uses. It is a deciduous tree that can grow to 30 feet in height. The leaves have a feathery green appearance and the flowers are white to pink. The pods can grow to about 12 or more inches.

Though not really acknowledged here in the USA, Moringa is a valued botanical in many developing countries. This miracle tree grows wild in Africa. The tree is suitable to varied soil types and elevations. It can even tolerate a light frost. A freeze will kill the tree however the roots will re-grow the tree again. It is a very hardy tree and can tolerate up to 120 inches of rain annually.

A Church World Services worker named Lowell Fuglie arranged a program to feed the needy in Senegal using the leaves of this rarely used tree. He documented the results of this program, which got the word out about the benefits of this sustainable tree, known as Moringa. It is because of him we know so much about this remarkable tree.

By using the resources of this tree, the people of many under privileged countries have a readily available "local" resource that those suffering from malnutrition can rely on. This seems a better choice to me, rather than using powdered milk, oil and sugar which most industrial nations use to treat this problem, Here we have a product which is regional and a free resource, rather then a costly industrial and less than healthy product. Over and over again, villagers found they and their children made marked improvements in their health using the powdered leaf of the Moringa in their food and formulas.

There are other uses besides food uses for Moringa. There are many medicinal uses for every part of the tree. (see text below)

The tree has a long taproot and very few lateral roots, it is a rapidly growing plant and it creates minimal shade. It produces large amounts of high protein biomass. It is suited for alley cropping, as an ornamental, for living fences, animal forage, as well as food for fish, such as carp. The wood yields a blue dye that is used in Jamaica and Senegal. Though the wood is too spongy for firewood, it is great for making newsprint and writing paper. The gum from the cut trunk has been used in calico printing and in making medicines. The bark and gum can be used for tanning hides and the bark can be beaten into fiber to make ropes and mats. In Nigeria the crushed leaves are used to scrub cooking utensils or to clean walls and other surfaces. Blending leaves into the soil before planting helps prevent damping-off disease among seedlings. The seed cake, which is left after the seeds are squeezed for oil, can be used as protein rich plant fertilizer. The powdered seeds are used to clarify honey so it does not have to be boiled and the flowers are a good source of nectar for the bees.


The analysis of Moringa leaf powder was a project sponsored by the Church World Services and the Department of Engineering at the University of Leicester. Statistics listing its nutritional values were provided by Lowell Fuglie and are listed in Moringa: Nature's Medicine Chest, by Sanford Hoist.

The leaf powder seems to be more potent than the fresh leaf. This is probably due to the fact that drying removes the water content and thereby makes the resulting powder more concentrated. The leaf contains (per 100 grams) 27.1 grams of protein, specifically as the amino acids lysine, arginine, histidine, tryptophan, phenylanaline, methionine, theonine, leucine, isoleucine and valine. 

Carbohydrates make up 38.2 grams per 100 grams of leaf powder and fats only 2.3 grams. Also there is 2003 mg. of calcium, 19.2 grams of fiber, 386 mg. of magnesium, 1324 mg. of potassium, 204 mg. of phosphorus, 113 IU's of vitamin E, 28.2 mg. of iron, 20.5 mg. of vitamin B2 (riboflavin) per 100 grams of leaf powder.  There are also other less significant vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamins B1, B3 and copper found in the analysis of the leaf,


The uses I have listed below were taken from the booklet, "Moringa: Nature's Medicine Chest" by Sanford Hoist. Mr. Hoist has done an excellent job compiling the research of those who have brought Moringa to the awareness of many grateful people.


Its crushed seeds detoxify and remove hazardous material from aqueous solutions. In the many University and Laboratory studies, the crushed seeds were used to purify water over and over again. The results have been documented in the research of Folkland and Sutherland, which one can find published in Agroforestry Today (1996, pages 5 - 8), as well as other publications. This incredible feat has also been documented by R.Holmes and published in the proceedings of the international conference "Science and Technology in Third World Development" at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland (April 1993, pages 39 - 47)


It is a gentle and natural antibiotic that can be used for the early stages of infection. James A Duke identified it as Pterygospermin in 1983, a bactericidal and fungicidal compound. In 1990 a study using the fresh leaf juice showed there was an inhibition of the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa and in 1991 an in vitro study of an extract made from the seeds was equally effective against Staphylococcus aureus as the antibiotic neomycin. (reference ~ Sanford Hoist) .

Poultices have had great benefits for cuts, scrapes, cracking skin, sores and rashes, in Senegal, Nicaragua and Guatemala. An extract taken from the dried leaves was able to heal ulcers in laboratory animals given a daily injection. This information was reported in the journal Phytotherapy Research in 1995.

Another finding showed a compound called Anthonine was found in the root bark (research of Booth and Wilkens) to be highly toxic to the cholera bacterium.  Spirochin, also isolated in the roots, is found to be anti-gram+ bacteria.

Another compound found in the roots and seeds is called benzylisothiocyanate and works against fungi and bacteria. It can be found to work better than medically utilized similar compounds, such as isothiocyanates. This piece of info was reported in the journal HortScience..


Extracts from dried roots have been applied with anti-inflammatory effects.  In other studies infusions of seeds, flowers and roots were used.


In 1994 the ability of lectin, found in the Moringa pod, was studied and shown to modulate the immune system. The work was published in the Journal of Experimental Cancer Research.


An extract made from the dried powdered leaves had a sedating effect on the central nervous system and led to muscle relaxation, lowered body temperatures and increased the sleep time of laboratory mice.


It was first discovered by James A. Duke in 1983 that Moringa root bark had an effect as a cardiac stimulant due to the presence of an alkaloid called Moriginine. This alkaloid could raise the blood pressure as well. In 1994 another team of researchers isolated nitrile and mustard oil glycosides in the plant and in 1995 an aqueous extract from the stem bark was found to raise the rate of heart contractions when at low concentration and lower them when at high concentrations. This seemed to lead to the lowering of the blood pressure.

So it seems apparent that Moringa has a varied effect on blood pressure, possibly dependent on what is needed. It should be mentioned here that because of the high alkaloid content of the root (especially Moriginine and Bactericide) it is better NOT to use this part of the plant internally. Too high of a dose could be fatal. Better to stay safe and stay away from internal use of the root. There are so many other parts of the plant that are beneficial when taken internally that the root is best to leave for external use only.


Though not as effective as the standard hypoglycemic drugs, an extract from the leaf of the Moringa is effective in lowering the blood sugar levels within 3 hours. It was also found that the effects could be increased with larger doses.


Moringa has been used for the inhibition of spasms of the intestines, as an anthelmintic, which kills intestinal worms, as a diuretic to increase urine flow and as an anti-fungal. It also has an action on the sympathetic nervous system, as a cardiac stimulant and relaxes bronchioles when inflammation is present. Spirochin found in the roots is noted to be analgesic, antipyretic and affects the circulatory system by elevating or lowering the heart beat (dose dependent) and also affects the nervous system. In high doses it can paralyze the vagus nerve. (reference  ~ Sanford Hoist)

Traditionally people have used Moringa for years. Even with daily consumption, NO negative side effects have been apparent, at least none that have been recorded.

(taken from" Moringa: Nature's Medicine Chest", by Sanford Hoist)


*The powdered leaves are reported to provide an energy boost when included in the diet. It seems to provide stamina. This is probably due to the many minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates and proteins available in the leaves. You can eat the leaves fresh or dried, as powder. The fresh leaf of course is readily available and can be eaten at anytime. The tree is very prolific and is ready to harvest after only several months. It grows quickly and once cut back the tree will shoot up new branches, so harvesting is perpetual.

* The dried leaf is more concentrated and contains more of these valuable nutrients per gram than the fresh leaf. One to three teaspoons can be added to any food. I like it sprinkled on all my meals. It is great in yogurt, on rice or in soups. When using the fresh leaf, just drop them in at the very end. You do not have to cook them.

* It is easy to process the leaves. Just cut some branches from your tree, and set them into a basket or mesh bag for a few days. Keep them out of the sun and in a dry place. In a few days the leaves will be dry and will easily fall from their stems. By simply shaking them, they will fall off. Remove the twigs and branches and let the leaves dry for a few more days until they feel slightly crispy. These can then be stored in a clean jar and powdered as needed.

* In India, the leaves and juices of leaves are used for stabilizing blood pressure, fevers, bronchitis, eye and ear infections, scurvy and inflammation of the mucous membranes.

* In Senegal, an infusion of the leaf juice is used for lowering blood glucose levels.

* Mixed with honey and followed by a drink of coconut milk the leaves are used as a diarrhea, dysentery and colitis remedy.

* Leaf juice with carrot juice to increase urine flow.

* In India and the Philippines, a poultice from the fresh leaves is used to reduce glandular swellings.

* In the Philippines it is used to increase milk production after birth and to increase the iron content of the blood.


* Flowers are traditionally used as a tonic, diuretic and abortifacient. 
(CAUTION: do not use when pregnant).

* Flowers are considered anthelmintic (kills worms), used to cure inflammations, muscle disease and enlargements of the spleen. *In India the juice is pressed from the flowers and taken to alleviate sore throats and increase mucous production.

* The flowers are aromatic and a tea can be made that is soothing to cold symptoms or just plain refreshing and relaxing at any time. Bring water to a boil and then drop a cluster of flowers in and let them steep for 5 minutes. You can sweeten, if needed, with honey, stevia or agave syrup. You can also dry flowers and store for future use.

* In Puerto Rico an infusion of the wet flowers is used as a wash for the eyes.


* Pods can be eaten whole when they are young, they look like a string bean and taste like asparagus. Once the pods are too woody to snap easily they can be cut into pieces and cooked until tender with or without other vegetables and spices. New trees will bear pods in about 6 – 8 months from planting.

* The pods are believed to be anthelmintic and helpful to the spleen and liver.

* Used to treat joint pain.

(NOT recommended for those with high blood pressure).

* In India the roots are used as a carminative (promotes the expulsion of gas from the stomach and intestines), as a laxative and for intestinal pain and spasms.

* Juice from the root is used externally as a skin tonic. The bark will also have the same effect.

* Used to treat epilepsy, nervous disorders and hysteria.

* Root juice mixed with milk is considered useful against hiccoughs, asthma, gout, lumbago, rheumatism, enlarged spleen and liver, internal and deep-seated inflammations.

* Used as purgatives.

* In India, Indo-China, Nigeria and Nicaragua, a poultice from the root is used to treat inflammations, especially pedal edema (swelling in tissues in the foot)

* In India and Indo-China also used to treat scurvy, the stem bark is also used for this purpose.

* A powder made from the roots is inhaled to relieve earaches and toothaches.

* Roots have abortifacient qualities and can induce the termination of pregnancy.

* Roots, flowers and leaves are used for various tumors.


* In Senegal the root and stem bark is used to treat sores and skin infections.

* In India the stem and root bark are used as
an appetizer and digestive.

* In Senegal, a decoction of root bark, roots, leaves and flowers is used to treat epilepsy, hysteria and intestinal spasms,

* In India, stem and root bark are considered aphrodisiacs and anthelmintic.

* In India, the root bark is used to prevent enlargement of the spleen and tuberculous glands of the neck. It is believed to destroy tumors and heal ulcers.

* In the Philippines, chewed roots are applied to snakebites to keep the poison from spreading.


* Used with sesame oil to relieve headache.

* In Java given for intestinal complaints.

* In India used for dental caries.

* In India the gum is used to treat syphilis, rheumatism and can be abortifacient.

* In India and Senegal the gum is considered useful in treating fevers, dysentery and asthma.

* Gum is considered diuretic, astringent and can irritate skin.


* Once the pod gets to hard to eat as a tender vegetable you can open them to utilize the seeds within. They can be used when tender as you would a pea. Once the pod has gotten hard and brown you can use these seeds inside for planting new Moringa seedlings.

* Used the seeds to treat fevers and abdominal tumors.

* In Aruba a paste of the crushed seed is spread on warts.


* In India the seed oil is externally applied to relieve the pain and swelling of gout or rheumatism and to treat skin disease.

* Seed oil is also used for prostate and bladder problems, as well as, scurvy and hysteria.

* Seed oil is considered to be tonic and purgative. The extraction of the fatty seed oil, called behenic acid, known commercially as Ben oil from the seed dates back more than 200 years ago. It was useful as a culinary oil and had value as a lamp oil, said to provide a clear light without smoke. It has value as a lubricant as well and was used before sperm-whale oil took its place.

Two watch making businesses in Kingston Jamaica said it was equally as good as the more expensive watch oils. It is also useful in the enfleurage process of extracting fragrance from flower petals.

The seed kernel contains an average of 40% oil by weight and has a high melting point and similar composition as olive oil. In 1993 an analysis revealed it was composed of 72.9% oleic acid, 7.3% behenic acid, 5.9% pamitic acid, 5.1% stearic acid, 3.6% arachidic acid, 2.3% eicosenoic acid, 1.1% palitoleic acid, 0.6% linoleic acid, 1.0% lignoceric acid, 0.1% linolenic acid and 0.1% myristic acid.


The powdered seeds of the Moringa have been found to be as effective as Aluminum Sulphate to solidify impure particles in water. The seeds are peeled and the inner part of the seed is powdered. The powder is poured into the dirty water and stirred a few minutes. Let this mixture rest for a couple of hours and the mud and dirt will settle to the bottom of the receptacle. Take the clean water from the top and let it stand in the sun for a few hours.

Check out this short water purification video:

The rate of infection is lowered by 80 - 90 % with this method. Use 30  - 200 milligrams of Moringa powder per liter of water. The information about water purification was provided by Victor Essou Faguon, a United Nation's volunteer in Africa. Programs to educate villagers about the benefits of Moringa have been sponsored by the Church World Services and other local organizations. Programs were set up in hospitals and clinics, as well as out in the field.


It is noted that many people were shown how this plant could improve their health and how to use it. It should be noted that those using Moringa have found it so beneficial to their health and sense of physical well being that they continued to use it even after the studies were completed. Many different ways of using and preparing Moringa have been sited in various reports. People became inventive and discovered many varied ways to use this miracle plant.

Trees For Life, started in 1984, has been involved with planting more than 30 million trees in developing countries. In 1998 more than 10,000 Moringa trees were planted. For information you can call 316 - 945 6929.

You can buy Moringa Seed from the Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization (ECHO) at http://www.echonet.org or call 941-543 3246.

Another source for seeds online is http://www.seedman.com. Or you can call the seed man, Jim Johnson, at 800 -336 2064. There will be more information on these pages as well.

If you live in Hawaii or some other tropical place, there may be a tree in your yard or your neighbors may have one. The seeds are prolific in the pods. And it will grow from a cutting. However, since it does not have many lateral roots it is better to plant a tree from seed rather than from a cutting.

With its food, medicinal, industrial and agricultural benefits, Moringa seems to be a valuable resource, a plant ally we would be wise to cultivate and access for a healthier, sustainable future.

Back to the top




This information is for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the FDA, nor is it intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

The Goji or Wolf Berry is a berry that grows on the plant Lycium Barbarum, which is native to certain remote regions of China, Tibet, and Mongolia.

Goji Berries have played a role in Chinese medicine for thousand's of years. Scientists now realize that the Goji Berry is one of the most nutritionally dense fruits on earth. In this report will talk about the main nutrients in the Goji Berry that makes it so potent.

The Goji Berry contains 4 polysaccharides that fortify the immune system. Scientists attribute many of Goji's amazing health properties to these special polysaccharides that are called secretagogues. Secretagogues are substances that stimulate the secretion of human growth hormone (HGH), which is a powerful innate anti-aging hormone secreted by the pituitary gland.

Goji Berries contain 19 amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein and include all eight that are essential for life. No other plant can make that claim!

Goji is a powerful antioxidant that can help fortify the body against disease and provides the energy needed to overcome difficult obstacles in healing.

Goji Berries contain a complete spectrum of antioxidant carotenoids, including beta-carotene. Beta-carotene can be transformed into vitamin A under the influence of human liver enzymes. In fact, Goji is a a better source of beta-carotene than carrots! These berries also contains zeaxanthin, an a carotene that supports the eyes. Goji are the best source of carotenoids of any known food.

Being rich in trace minerals, Goji Berries contains significant amounts of zinc, calcium, germanium, selenium and phosphorus, plus small quantities of many other minerals. Goji Berries also include B-complex Vitamins, Vitamin E, Essential Fatty Acids and Betaine.

The Goji Berry has been used in traditional Tibetan medicine for centuries!  The plants grow like bushes with vines that reach over 15 feet. The berries are never touched by hand as they will oxidize and turn black if touched while they are fresh. Instead, they are shaken onto mats and then dried in the shade. Goji Berries or berry juice can be used in smoothies or juice cocktails.

The Goji Berry is among the most revered of sexual tonic herbs in Asian Herbalist Forums and has been recognized for increasing sexual fluids and enhancing fertility. In Mongolia the berries are taken by pregnant mothers in their first trimester to prevent morning sickness. It is a gentle and soothing fruit that is loaded with available vital nutrients so needed during pregnancy.

In several study groups with elderly people Goji was given once a day for 3 weeks, with many beneficial results being experienced. Sixty seven percent of the patients' T cell transformation functions tripled and the activity of the patients' white cell interleukin-2 doubled.  In addition, the results showed that all the patients' spirit and optimism increased significantly, appetite improved in 95% of the patients, 95% of the patients slept better and 35% of the patients partially recovered their sexual function.

The Goji Berry has absolutely no toxicity. However like most fruits, it should not be used if you are suffering from Spleen deficiency with dampness and diarrhea. Goji is now being used in clinical settings for a number of common maladies including the treatment of consumptive disease accompanied by thirst such as early-onset diabetes and tuberculosis, dizziness, blurred vision, and chronic cough. It is also used in the treatment of diabetes. 8-10 grams of fruit was steamed, in order to soften the fruit, and eaten three times daily.

The daily dosage range of 8-30 grams is typical of the medical applications being used. The Goji Berry has also been used in a number of recent clinical trials for treatment of bone marrow deficiency conditions (low production of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets).

The Mongolian Institute of Traditional Medicine reported that Goji has been used in the treatment of atrophic gastritis, which is a weakened digestion secondary to reduced stomach activity. Patients consumed 10 grams of the whole fruits each time. They did this three times daily, before meals, for two months or longer with excellent results.

Goji Berries contains 18 kinds of amino acids. This is six times higher than bee pollen. Eight of these amino acids are indispensable amino acids and include isoleucine and tryptophan, while fifty percent of the amino acids are free amino acids. Goji Berries contain 21 trace minerals, the main ones being zinc, iron and copper and has more vitamin C by weight than oranges. Goji Berries are loaded with vitamin B1, B2, B6 and vitamin E. Mature fruits contain about 11 mg. of iron per 100 grams, as well as glucose, fructose, vitamin C, beta-sitosterol (an anti-inflammatory agent), linoleic acid (a fatty acid), sesquiterpenoids (cyperone, solavetivone), tetraterpenoids (zeaxanthin, physalin), and betaine (0.1%).

Goji Berries are undergoing intense scrutiny as a cancer drug in Tibet, Mongolia, China, Japan and Switzerland.  It has been found that the fruit, as well as an extract from its leaves, can kill many kinds of cancer cells in vitro. In vivo studies and human studies are proving to be highly promising.  Goji Berries contains approximately 124 ppm (parts per million) of organic Germanium which has demonstrated anti-cancer activity.

Japanese studies indicate that organic Germanium is effective in treating liver cancer, lung cancer, uterine cancer, cervical cancer, and testicular cancer when combined with other drugs.  It has been found to induce the production in human beings of g-interferon. Interferon can depress and even kill cancer cells.  Germanium possesses the power to take over the hydrogen ion from cancer cells. Losing hydrogen ions can cause depression and even death to cancer cells. Besides Germanium, it has other anti-cancer components. These components appear to be able to depress or block the synthesis of the cancer cells' DNA, which interferes with the cells' ability to divide and thus lowers the reproductive capacity of the cancer cells.

The Goji Berry of the Solanaceae family has also been tested as an anti-obesity drug. Patients were given 30 grams each morning and each afternoon, made into a tea.  Results were excellent with most patients losing significant weight. Goji Berries are a wonderful and delicious. They have traditionally been used as a blood tonic, used to nurture the heart, to relieve heart palpitation, insomnia, forgetfulness and anxiety associated with blood and chi deficiency, especially when combined with chi tonics.

Would You Like to Grow Your Own Goji Berries?
Note: Goji Berry seeds can be extracted from Tibetan Lycium Barbarum L. and will grow if the product has not been subjected to high heat in the processing. The berries would need to be naturally sun dried and untreated to provide seeds. Each berry contains approximately 20-35 seeds. Some lower quality berries are typical dried in high heat or by chemicals. It is good to know your source to get the best quality. The seeds can be extracted from the dried berries by moistening them between dampened paper towels for 1-2 hours, slicing them open and carefully removing the seeds. Seeds should then be immediately planted about 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep in loose, well draining soil and kept moist and in shade or indirect sunlight at all times. Once sprouted, seedlings should be gradually acclimated to direct sunlight until well established. Once established, they will be quite hardy and prolific growers, reaching maturity in 4-5 years and can grow 10'-12' high with vines reaching to 20' in length.

Goji Berries can be a high source of nutrition in your diet. I love soaking these yummy berries along with other highly antioxidant dried fruits, then putting them in my smoothies or on top of cereals or yogurt. Give Goji a try and see what you feel about these awesome plant helpers.

Resource sites I have used to gather this information include:


Here is an infographic from NaturalNews.com

Back to the top



This information is for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the FDA, nor is it intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Turmeric is a perennial plant in the ginger family. It is grown throughout India, other parts of Asia, Africa and Hawaii. It is propagated in the spring from thick knobby roots, called rhizomes, and from the many side shoots that come off of the root, called fingers. Leaf stalks rise to 1 meter or more high. Leaves are lance-shaped. Turmeric has floral spikes 20cm long, with thick clusters of pale green pockets that contain creamy/yellow foxglove-like flowers that have a mild spicy aroma.

Known for its warm, bitter taste and golden color, Turmeric has long been celebrated for its culinary use as a spice in curries, mustards and cheeses, as well as a fabric dye. It also has therapeutic action. It should not be confused with Javanese Turmeric.

Family: N.O. Zingiberaceae

Common names include Turmeric, Turmeric Root, Indian Saffron, Yellow Ginger and Karmin

Latin names include Curcuma Longa, C. Rotunda, C. Domestica, Amomum Curcuma

Traditional Uses:

* In traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, Turmeric has been used to aid digestion and liver function, relieve arthritis pain, and regulate menstruation.

* Turmeric has also been applied directly to the skin for eczema and wound healing.

* Today, Turmeric is used for conditions such as heartburn, stomach ulcers, and gallstones. It is also used to reduce inflammation, as well as to prevent and treat cancer.

How It Is Used:
Turmeric yields its medicinal properties to water or alcohol. It contains an acrid, volatile oil, yellow to orange in color and has a woody fiber. Its finger-like underground rhizomes are dried or juiced and can be taken by mouth as a powder or in capsules, teas, or liquid extracts. It can also be made into a paste and used on the skin.

Turmeric's active component, Curcumin, has been used for centuries as a potent remedy for liver disorders, rheumatism, diabetic wounds, runny nose, cough, sinusitis and diseases associated with abdominal pain.

Modern research and science is discovering the benefit of using it against cancer as it has the ability to suppress the proliferation of tumor cells. There is also an inhibition of harmful molecules and enzymes in the presence of Turmeric. Certain studies have even related this herb to the inhibition of cancer metastasis (the capability of cancer to spread to different, unaffected parts of the body). Turmeric is also recognized as having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics.

What Science Says:

* Only a few clinical trials have been conducted so science is slow in recognizing Turmeric's potential, though it has been used with good results for centuries.

* Preliminary findings from animal and laboratory studies suggest that Curcumin seems to have anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties, but these findings have not been confirmed in many human trials.

* NCCAM-funded investigators are studying the active chemicals in Turmeric and their effects, particularly its anti-inflammatory quality. Hopefully this will help them to better understand how Turmeric might be used for health purposes.

Medicinal Action and Uses:

In 1990 D.K. Shalini, in 'Biochemical Pharmacology', reported that Turmeric provided DNA protection from oxidative damage, by carcinogens. In 1988, N.T. Huang reported that skin tumors in mice were inhibited at the rate of 98% by Turmeric. Natural health practitioners often recommend Turmeric to cancer patients, (especially for colon and breast cancer) since the spice assists the liver and gall bladder. People with digestive weaknesses and flatulence could consider using Turmeric freely, especially as a flavoring to take with foods that are difficult to digest. Turmeric stimulates the gall bladder muscles and increases bile flow, which is required to digest fats and to lubricate the intestines.

As well as stimulating bile flow, Turmeric increases the output of the pancreas, which means the digestive enzyme production increases. Diabetics have found making a tea daily of 1 tsp. of Turmeric, 1 pinch of Cinnamon and Cloves and 1/2 a crushed Bay Leaf, has enhanced the production of insulin by the pancreas. Research has shown Turmeric helps lower cholesterol, internal blood clots, inhibits platelet aggregation and may be effective in conditions related to arteriosclerosis, particularly those related to thrombosis. Turmeric provides much the same effect as aspirin does as a platelet inhibitor.

According to Isabell Shipard, "When Turmeric is consumed as part of a meal, it is said to have the effect of binding the cholesterol substances in the food, making them incapable of absorption, and stopping them from clinging to the inside of arteries. Turmeric triggers better bile flow when taken with a meal as it helps digest fats and reduces the risk of gallstones. Turmeric also generates the secretion of several enzymes that assist the liver in breaking down and metabolizing certain toxic substances.

According to Dr. Bill Bailey, Ph.D., MH, ND, CNHP, CTN, "More than 40 percent of arthritis sufferers in the U.S. report using complementary and alternative medicine, including dietary supplements and the use of alternative remedies, has increased since the FDA issued health warnings about anti-inflammatory drugs such as Celebrex. However, the effectiveness of many supplement ingredients has not been adequately studied. To complicate the matter, over-the-counter supplements are not regulated in the same way as drugs and their composition can vary widely. A new study published in the November 2006 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism examined the effect and mechanism of Turmeric (a botanical supplement long thought to have anti-inflammatory properties) on arthritis.

Lead Janet L. Funk (University of Arizona in Tucson) and Barbara N. Timmermann (currently at the University of Kansas) had already shown in an earlier study that Turmeric can prevent joint inflammation in rats. In the current study, they expanded their research to compare the chemical composition of an experimental Turmeric extract with those of commercially available over the counter Turmeric dietary supplements. They also examined the dosage of the experimental version on joint inflammation and destruction, determined its effect on inflammation markers, and ascertained the mechanism by which Turmeric protects joints in arthritis. Initial results showed that a version of Turmeric extract that was free of essential oils had a significant impact on arthritis and most closely matched the composition of commercially available supplements. This version was used in subsequent experiments and was shown to prevent acute and chronic arthritis, even when it was administered after arthritis had been induced. In addition, Turmeric significantly inhibited joint destruction due to arthritis, and inhibited NF-kappa B, a protein that controls the gene expression of substances that produce an inflammatory response. Turmeric also altered the expression of hundreds of genes involved in joint swelling and destruction and prevented an increase in osteoclasts (cells that break down bone) in joints."

Further research is being promised to study Turmeric's benefits. In the meantime, I personally have recommended the use of Turmeric for my clients for all sorts of inflammatory problems, internally as well as externally. I have seen almost instant relief of toothache pain (even in the cases of an abcess) when Turmeric is applied directly on the gum line. A small slice is cut from the root and chewed a little to break it open, then placed closest to the tooth that is distressed. This has helped relieve the suffering until the help of a Dentist was obtained. It also seemed to help the infective process and led to a substantial clearing of the infection in most cases. I have also seen sinusitis clear up after using the juice of the Turmeric Root in a nasal douche or cleanse. It is also a winner in healing topical wounds.

To obtain the juice, grate a root and then squeeze the pulp through a cheesecloth or clean handkerchief.  You can also apply the scraped pulp directly to the inflamed or infected area and cover with some bandaging. Turmeric WILL stain, so do not use anything you are not willing to have turn orange for this process. Also be careful not to get it on your clothing. If you use it in the shower for sinus washes etc. it will scrub out of the enamel with a cleaners as well as any of the utensils you use to process it.

Taking Turmeric for arthritis pain, aches and pains secondary to over exertion or connective tissue injury has also proven helpful. It reduces the swelling and therefore the pain. I have also recommended it for skin infections with great success.

Side Effects and Cautions:

* Turmeric is considered safe for most adults.

* High doses or long-term use of Turmeric may cause indigestion, though I have rarely seen this.

* In animals, high doses of Turmeric caused liver problems, yet no cases of liver problems have been reported in people.

* People with gallbladder disease should avoid using Turmeric as a dietary supplement if they find it worsens their condition.

Always consult with your health care providers when using any complementary and alternative practices. It is helpful to give them a full picture of what you are doing to manage your own health in order to help them set up a coordinated and safe care plan with you.

Turmeric is another time-honored herb that deserves a place in your Herbal Tool Kit and kitchen. It is  convenient to use it in everyday cooking as well as a medicinal plant helper.

Information gathered for this compilation came from the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Web Site and the Natural Standard Database Web Site. Other sources of information on Turmeric include the works of Blumenthal M., Goldberg A. and the Herbal Medicine Expanded Commission E Monographs. Newton, MA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2000:379-384.

Back to the top



(Not to be confused with sweet - culinary Basil)

This information is for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the FDA, nor is it intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

English: Holy Basil

Latin: Ocimum sanctum ("sacred fragrant lipped basil") or Ocimum tenuiflorum ("basil with small flowers")

Hindi: Tulsi  

Sanskrit: Tulasi  

Thailand: Bai Gkaprow

Botanical Family: Lamiaceae (mint)

Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum) is an herb native to India, where it is known as Tulsi. Tulsi has been recognized by the rishis for thousands of years as a prime herb used in Ayurvedic treatments. Tulsi is mentioned in the "Charak Samhita", the central teachings of Ayurvedic medicine, a text written at least two thousand years ago. It is considered a sacred herb in the Hindu religious tradition. Called "the incomparable one" it is very important in Indian folk medicine and belongs to the Rasayana herbal category,a category of herbs which supports normal functioning of the whole body. In the Ayurvedic system it is known to support all doshas.

Tulsi grows wild in the tropics and warm regions. Dark (Shyama) or Krishna Tulsi and light or Rama Tulsi are the two main varieties of this basil. The dark possesses greater medicinal value and is commonly used for worship. In India you will see Tulsi growing profusely around Hindu temples. In many traditions a household is considered incomplete if it doesn't have a Tulsi plant. Many passages in the Puranas and Hindu scriptures called Vedas, point to the importance of Tulsi within Hindu religious worship. In Christian tradition it is said to have grown around the place of Crucifixion and it is mentioned in Shiite writings as well.

The leaves of Holy Basil are large, toothed, oval, pointed and the stems are hairy and finely ridged. Small whitish flowers appear in late summer and the plant is self-pollinating. It is characterized by a strong aroma and astringent taste. More clove-like than that of culinary basil, Holy Basil's aroma is also distinctively different from its close cousin, the Thai Basil, which sometimes is wrongly called Holy Basil. These two varieties can be distinguished by their distinct aromas and flavors. Holy Basil has a hot, spicy flavor and does not have the strong aniseed or licorice smell of Thai Basil. Thai Basil is also smooth compared to the hairy Holy Basil.

Holy Basil herb has been used for centuries to treat a variety of medical conditions including heart problems, asthma, bronchitis, arthritis and eye disorders. In the past decade, a number of scientific studies have looked to Holy Basil as a herb for various treatments. Findings from these investigations have suggested that Holy Basil might be useful as a stress-reducer, painkiller, anti-inflammatory, an antioxidant, and as a treatment for bacterial, fungal and even viral infections. Holy Basil is taken for reducing both stress and elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol and to promote physical and emotional endurance. Tulsi is considered to be an adaptogen, balancing different processes in the body and is regarded as an "elixir of life" which is believed to promote longevity and increase vitality.

Holy Basil or Tulsi is considered an adaptogen, which means that it assists the body to adapt to stress (environmental, physical, or chemical), restore balance in the body, and normalize body functions. It also helps in increasing the production of T helper cells that fight infections and antigens,while reducing the impact of free radical damage. Currently it is being studied for its beneficial properties and effectiveness for cancer, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, stress, wound healing, the immune system, inflammation, liver support and protection, hypoglycemic conditions, ulcers, digestion, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, radiation poisoning, cataracts, improving memory, respiratory conditions, urinary problems, eczema, psoriasis and other skin conditions.

Tulsi's extracts have been and are used today in ayurvedic remedies for common colds, headaches, stomach disorders, inflammation, heart disease, various forms of poisoning, and malaria. Modern scientific research indicates that Holy Basil may enhance general health and well being, having a positive overall effect body and mind. Though these statements are anecdotal, they are backed by many thousand of years of positive results. Traditionally, Tulsi is taken in many different forms, which include an herbal tea, dried powder, fresh leaf, or mixed with ghee. Essential oil extracted from Karpoora Tulsi is mostly used for medicinal purposes and in herbal toiletry. For centuries, the dried leaves of Tulsi have been mixed with stored grains to repel insects.

Constituents of Holy Basil or Tulsi:   Eugenol app., B-caryophyllene, sesquiterpenes, monoterpenes viz, ß-pinene, ß-sitosterol, ß -elemene, bornyl acetate, methyleugenol, neral, camphene, a-pinene, ursolic acid, campesterol, cholesterol, stigmasterol, and methyl esters of common fatty acids. It also contains vitamins C and A, and minerals calcium, zinc and iron, as well as chlorophyll and many other phytonutrients.

Parts Used: The leaves.

Precautions: Not recommended for use if pregnant, nursing, or you are considering becoming pregnant as it may have an anti-fertility effect. Do not administer to infants or toddlers. May lower blood sugar levels, however, one should consult a doctor if they are hypoglycemic as in separate studies it has also been shown to be beneficial for those with hypoglycemia. Holy Basil has mild blood thinning properties so again please consult your physician, especially if you are taking blood-thinning meds.

In the past decade a number of scientific studies have been conducted to evaluate Holy Basil for various treatment purposes. All of these studies have been done on animals, mostly on laboratory mice and rats. Therefore we can't be certain that these results will translate to humans. Findings from these investigations however suggest that Holy Basil might have some effects as a painkiller (a COX-II anti-inflammatory agent), probably due to its significant amount of Eugenol (1-hydroxy-2-methoxy-4-allylbenzene) and A.E. Katz, of Columbia University, states the ursolic Acid in Holy Basil adds to its anti-inflammatory properties.

Other experimental studies on albino rats reported that leaf extract of Holy Basil had a hypoglycemic effect. To explore further evidence the effects of treatment with Holy Basil leaves on fasting and post-prandial blood glucose and serum cholesterol levels were studied in humans through randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover single blind trials. Results indicated a significant decrease in fasting and post-prandial blood glucose levels during treatment with Holy Basil leaves compared to treatment with placebo leaves. The lower values of glucose represented reductions of 17.6% and 7.3% in the levels of fasting and post-prandial blood glucose, respectively. Urine glucose levels showed a similar trend. Mean total cholesterol levels showed mild reduction during basil treatment period. The findings from this study suggest that Holy Basil leaves may be prescribed as adjunct to dietary therapy and drug treatment in mild to moderate NIDDM (Non Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus.) Agrawal P, Rai V, Singh RB, Department of Home Science, Azad University of Agriculture and Technology, Kanpur, India.

According to DR. ANDREW WEIL, the most compelling evidence reviewed indicates that Holy Basil may help counteract the effects of stress. In fact, preparations made from Holy Basil are widely used to treat stress-related health problems in India and elsewhere. One study, published in 1991 in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology, compared Holy Basil to Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) and Asian Ginseng (Panax Ginseng) and found that Holy Basil was the most potent anti-stress agent of the three, and also had the highest margin of safety. This study, as well as a dozen others found in the medical literature, was conducted on laboratory animals, not humans. Holy Basil is being promoted as a treatment for reducing both stress and elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and to promote physical and emotional endurance, by supporting and enhancing adrenal gland function.

In all of my research I found the following benefits of Holy Basil to be repeated over and over again. The research states Holy Basil or Tulsi provides significant antioxidant and free radical scavenging protection while neutralizing dangerous bio-chemicals by enhancing the metabolic breakdown of these toxins from the blood. The toxins mentioned contribute to premature aging, cancer, and degenerative diseases. It seems it enhances the efficient digestion, absorption and use of nutrients from food and other herbs. It has been effective in lowering dangerous cholesterol and stress-related high blood pressure, as well as, protecting the heart and blood vessels. It has mild blood thinning qualities, which may be helpful in decreasing the likelihood of strokes. It has been shown to reduce allergic histamine, asthmatic and other adverse immune reactions, as well as reducing inflammation. Tulsi improves stamina and endurance by increasing the body's efficiency in using oxygen while enhancing protein synthesis, leading to the increase of muscle mass and strength. It has been used for the treatment of bacterial, fungal and even viral infections. There is also evidence (again, only from animal studies) that Holy Basil might help control blood sugar (see text above).

Tulsi also seems to enhance the effectiveness and reduce the negative side effects of many standard modern medical treatments. It is antipyretic, which means it prevents, removes or reduces fevers. It has proven to be beneficial to the skin, showing reduction in eczema, psoriasis and various other skin disorders. It also shows some promise for protection from radiation poisoning and cataracts. This includes reduction of cell and tissue damage caused by the harmful rays of the sun, TV, computers, X-rays, radiation therapy and high altitude air travel.

Tulsi helps in relieving the pain of the sting or bite and reduces the inflammation. I personally found Holy Basil essential oil to be very useful when I used it for a centipede sting. It took the pain right away after topically applying it to the area that had been stung. It kept the swelling to a minimum, probably because of its anti-inflammatory qualities. I have also read it is the recommended for ringworm because of its anti-microbial properties. It is also helpful in toning up of the gums and in relieving mouth ulcers.

Holy Basil, or Tulsi promotes respiratory support and is an expectorant. Mixed with honey it makes an excellent remedy to support the throat. Its leaves boiled in water are very beneficial in treating sore throat. In addition to contributing generally to respiratory health it has been shown to be helpful in the treatment of a variety of serious allergic, inflammatory and infectious disorders affecting the lungs and related tissues.

Considered a nervine tonic, Holy Basil strengthens the nervous system, making it a good choice in cases of paralysis and Parkinson. It is said to improve the functioning of the brain and increases mental concentration.

Other accounts state Holy Basil helps stabilize renal disturbances with the juice being effective in treating renal calculi by breaking up these stones in the kidney. The broken calculi can then be expelled through the urine.

This extraordinary plant helper is a blessing to us all, especially in times of high stress. I like making a blend of Holy Basil with Rosemary and the remarkable adaptogen and antioxidant herb called Jiaogulan (Gynostemma pentaphyllum). Sometimes I also add other antioxidant and adaptogenic herbs such as Hawthorn Berry, Schizandra, Bilberry and/or Elderberry. It also blends well with Gotu Kola and Ginkgo. You can experiment to find a blend that works best for you.

We can all use a good cup of tea in trying times. Relax, take a deep breath and enjoy Holy Basil as part of YOUR program to create better health.

Resource sites I have used to gather this information include:

Back to the top



This information is for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the FDA, nor is it intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Jiaogulan (Gynostemma pentaphyllum), also known in China as "Miracle Grass", is a powerful adaptogenic herb. Adaptogens have the ability to adapt to stress by restoring homeostasis, or balance, to the body's systems. This includes blood pressure, reproductive function, digestive function, the immune response, mental function, physical performance, and other physiological markers.

Jiaogulan,also called Xiancao, has been used in China for centuries as a culinary botanical and as a tea herb. Pronounced je-ow goo-lahn, it is considered an immortality herb in China. It has been used for 700 years for its anti-aging properties. From the cucumber family, Jiaogulan has traditionally been grown in the mountainous regions of South Central China, an area known, anecdotally, for the longevity of its inhabitants and low rates of cancer.

It is also known as "Fairy Herb" and "Southern Ginseng" because of its high quantity of special saponins. It contains "gypenosides," which are very similar to the ginsenosides found in Ginseng. These saponins are present in a much higher quantity however then those in ginseng. In fact, a pharmacological review from 1988 identified 82 individual saponins, many of which were effective in treating tumors, decreasing blood lipid levels, and in treating ulcers. And unlike the slow-growing Ginsengs, Jiaogulan is a rapidly growing vine that thrives in warm climates with rich soil. It can grow up to two-and-a-half inches overnight.

Jiaogulan has been available in this country for at least six years and is available in pill form, as a tea (leaves and twigs) and in multi-herb formulas. It is nontoxic, can be consumed daily and has been shown to have no side effects in laboratory tests. It also does not over stimulate like Ginseng can.

In their informative little book called "Jiaogulan, China's Immortality Herb" (Torchlight Publishing, Inc., 1999; ISBN 1-887089-16-0), researcher Michael Blumert and Dr. Jialiu Liu introduce readers to this herb and its therapeutic properties.

Dr. Liu is a Professor of Pathology at Guiyang Medical College (Guizhous Province, China), a nationally respected Western style medicinal and research institution. He has led several studies investigating Jiaogulan. Other sources of citation include: Klotter, Jule. "Jiaogulan" (Shorts) and the Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients 247-248 (Feb-March 2004): 25(1). Health Reference Center, Thomson Gale. Auraria Library. 20 Aug. 2006

Jiaogulan's saponins (gypenosides) have an equalizing and modulating effect on the central nervous system, calming irritated nerves and stimulating under-active nerves. The herb also modulates lymphocyte transformation, enhances lymphocyte activity, and inhibits tumor growth. Two clinical studies found that the gypenosides contained in Jiaogulan encourage the body to produce superoxide dismutase (SOD), an antioxidant enzyme that scavenges free radicals. Animal toxicology tests found no sign of organ damage, cancer growth, chromosome mutation, or teratogenicity. Gynostemma pentaphyllum (Thunb) is the species used in most scientific studies, but other species have similar components and effects.

Overall beneficial effects were supported by the pharmacological assays provided by S. Arichi (1986). They concluded that "saponins" of Jiaogulan are tonics that stimulate tissues to vitalize physiological activities. In fact, due to Jiaogulan's overall protective effects in reducing the damage to our systems and vessels (damage that usually increases as we grow older) Benjamin Lau came to the conclusion that "the data suggest that gypenosides may be beneficial for the prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis and for retardation of the aging process."

Other health-supporting effects of Jiaogulan are regulation of cholesterol (lipid metabolism), increased cardiac output, better oxygen utilization, faster recovery from exercise, improving appetite and the support of the adrenal glands. Some of the medicinal effects of Jiaogulan are due to its antioxidant action.

Jiaogulan targets the key components of heart disease. Its compounds sweep up free radicals (unstable molecules that damage or destroy healthy cells), reduce pressure within the blood vessels, and lower the production of bad LDL cholesterol. Jiaogulan also helps deal with the effects of stress, which can be a major element in the development of heart disease. Jiaogulan, and other adaptogen herbs like it, make the body more resistant to stress.  As a bonus, this herb increases energy levels. Unlike stimulants that may actually damage blood vessels, Jiaogulan makes the cardiovascular system stronger while increasing your get-up-and-go. Source Citation: Schar, Douglas. "Herbal heart defender."

Below are a small sampling of the studies and tests that have been done on Jaiogulan.

Antioxidant/Protective effects. A 1993 study by Benjamin Lau, Ph.D., et al., examined different models of oxidative stress, and found that saponins from Jiaogulan decreased the production of free radicals in immune cells, protected bio-membranes (such as the liver) from oxidative injury, and improved the functioning of vascular endothelial cells. The researchers concluded, "that the extensive antioxidant effect of [Jiaogulan] may be valuable to the prevention and treatment of various diseases such as atherosclerosis, liver disease and inflammation."

Jiaogulan improves the metabolism of the heart directly as well as enhancing the release of nitric oxide in the body, which helps to relax the coronary blood vessels. (Tanner, M.A., et al. "The direct release of nitric oxide is accomplished by the gypenosides, derived from the herb." Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tenn. Nitric Oxide 1999 Oct; 3(5): 359-65

"Cancer and Immune Function", an experiment by W. Chen, Ph.D. that appeared in a 1996 issue of the American Journal of Chinese Medicine, found Jiaogulan helped preserve immune function in rats receiving gamma-ray bombardment, suggesting that the herb may help cancer patients who are undergoing radiation therapy. A 1995 clinical trial was carried out by Qian Hao, et al., at China's Shanghai Medical University to determine its effect on cellular immunity in patients with lung cancer undergoing combined radiotherapy and chemotherapy. The results suggested "that Jiaogulan can protect cellular immunity for those receiving radiotherapy plus chemotherapy."

In 1990 L. Chen, Ph.D. studied the effects of Jiaogulan on heart function and hemo-dynamics in a non-human model. Results indicated that the gypenoside treated animals achieved significantly lowered blood pressure, markedly decreased vascular resistance and increased coronary blood flow [including that to the brain].

Specifically anti-atherosclerotic effects have also been reported. In 1990, the "anti-platelet aggregation effect of gypenosides extracted from Jiaogulan was studied" by J. Wu, et al., in test-tube and in vivo environments. The analysis found that these compounds significantly increased platelet cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) levels which, in turn, held back the sticking together of platelets or aggregation, which causes atherosclerotic plaque. These anti-platelet-aggregation effects also can reduce the chances of thrombosis, developing a thrombus, or fibrinous clot, which can form in a blood vessel or in a valve of the heart.

H. Tan, et al., looked at test-tube samples to observe the action of Jiaogulan on platelet clumpiness. Their results revealed that C. pentaphyllum effectively blocked platelet aggregation that was brought on by chemicals, sped up the breakup of platelets had already started clumping, and prevented thrombosis. Source Citation: Block, Betsy. Jiaogulan: this Chinese herb protects against stress, prevents heart disease, and bolsters the immune system and Jiaogulan, China's Immortality Herb, by Dr. Jialiu Liu, published in 1999.

The anti cholesterol and anti-triglyceride effects of Jiaogulan's saponins were examined in a 1983 study by Y. Kimura, et al. Crude gypenosides were tested for their effect on lipid metabolism in rats fed high-sugar high-fat diets. It was found that giving these extracts reduced levels of serum triglycerides (as important a marker as cholesterol), total cholesterol, phospholipids and lipid peroxidation was also decreased. According to Dr. Jialiu Liu, more than 20 studies of the Chinese herb, "Jiaogulan as a treatment for high cholesterol have been published in China. In a meta-analysis of this research, Liu found that Jiaogulan lowered LDL (bad cholesterol) and raised HDL (good cholesterol) in 67 to 93 percent of the 980 people studied.

A General List of the Health Benefits of Jiaogulan:

1. Cholesterol - Jiaogulan lowers total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and raises HDL cholesterol. More than 20 papers have been published on the subject with effectiveness reported as ranging from 67 to 93%. It also inhibits platelet aggregation (clumping together) that in turn lessens the chance of a stroke or heart attack.

2. Antioxidant - In the simplest terms, antioxidants neutralize excess free radicals, which are unstable and often harmful chemicals, formed in the body through normal metabolic processes and in response to exposure to environmental toxins. Jiaogulan herb has been shown in tests to lower the amount of superoxide radical and hydrogen peroxide in certain white blood cells, an excellent indicator of antioxidant activity. Jiaogulan also has the remarkable property of increasing endogenous SOD (Superoxide Dismutase) in the body. SOD is one of the body's most important antioxidants and studies show that charting SOD levels in various animal species is a reliable indicator of their longevity. Trials in humans showed that SOD levels returned to youthful levels after taking 20 mg of Gypenosides (active principle) daily for one month.

3. Adaptogen - Jiaogulan modulates the nervous system. It calms an overexcited nervous system and stimulates a depressed one. 300 professional athletes were the subjects of a study. All the athletes reported that taking this herb before competition made them vigorous and alert with quick reflexes. Yet, it also made them less nervous.

4. Insomnia - 112 cases of insomnia reported a sleep improvement of 89 to 95 percent.

5. Blood Pressure - 223 patients were divided into three groups. One group took Ginseng, the next took Jiaogulan and the last took the blood pressure medication, Indapamide. The effectiveness was rated at 46% for Ginseng, 82% for Jiaogulan and 93% for Indapamide. This herb modulates blood pressure, lowering it when it is too high and raising it when it is too low.

6. Cardiac function - Jiaogulan increases cardiac function. In a study combined with some other herbs heart stroke volume increased 37% and cardiac output increased by 21% on the average. Ejection fraction increased by 13%. Subjects had normal blood pressure, which did not change, although heart rate decreased by 10%.

7. White Blood Cells - Jiaogulan increases the production of white blood cells in white cell deficient patients such as those who have recently undergone chemotherapy or radiation treatments.

8. Immuno-stimulant - This herb modulates lymphocyte formation and increases lymphocyte activity. It was also found to greatly enhance the activity of NK (Natural Killer cells) in cancer patients.

9. Diabetes - A study of 46 patients with Diabetes Mellitus showed an improvement of 89% in their condition. Another study also showed satisfactory results.

10. Hepatitis B - 100 patients were given Jiaogulan for 3 months. Effectiveness was rated at 89%. Another study of 200 patients yielded similar results. Other studies showed the ability to protect the liver from various toxic chemicals such as carbon tetrachloride.

11. Bronchitis - A study of 86 cases of chronic bronchitis had an effectiveness rate of 93%. Another study of 96 cases had a 92% effectiveness rate.

What makes Jiaogulan unique is the wide variety of therapeutic effects attributed to it, effects that scientists have demonstrated through their research and anecdotal history. This herb deserves to be in your medicinal herbal cabinet. Brew a cup of tea and see for yourself the healing properties of this herbal powerhouse.

Resource sites I have used to gather this information include:


Back to the top



This information is for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the FDA, nor is it intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Schizandra Chinensis (sometimes spelled Schisandra) is also called, Wu wei zi, which means "five taste fruit". The berries have a sweet, sour, hot, salty, and bitter taste. The Schizandra seeds are bitter and pungent. Its other names include Chinese mock-braberry and lemonwood

Schizandra belongs to the family of the Magnoliaceae family. Schizandra is a creeping woody and thorny vine that is native to China, Japan and adjacent regions in Russia and Korea. It is a berry-like fruit of the family Schizandraceae.

The Schizandra plant grows up to 25 ft (7.5 m) and has pink flowers, while the fruit is fully ripened in the fall and appears as numerous spikes of tiny, bright red berries.

In ancient China, Schizandra was used as a staple food of the hunting and gathering tribes. In "Beng Cao Cang Mu", a book on pharmacy written by Li Schizheng in the 16th century, Schizandra is listed as an esteemed herb that was made into a famous tonic of the time. It was consumed by Chinese royalty and Daoist masters. It is said to contain the "three treasures" which are,

1) Sexual enhancement – helps to produce increased sexual fluids and sexual endurance and overall strength.

2) Beauty enhancement – used for centuries a youth preserver making skin supple, moist and radiant.

3) Memory improvement – used in China for centuries as a memory-enhancing herb and for promoting wellness.

As a traditional medicinal herb, Schizandra has been used as an astringent for the treatment of dry cough, asthma, night sweats, nocturnal seminal emissions and chronic diarrhea. It is also used as a tonic for the treatment of chronic fatigue. It is widely known as a longevity herb and aphrodisiac.

Schizandra is said to increase energy, replenish and nourish the viscera (internal abdominal organs such as intestines), improve vision, boost muscular activity and sooth both coughs and digestive problems. It rejuvenates skin, and improves sexual endurance. Schizandra is used for the treatment of insomnia, as a sedatve and for the treatment of skin disorders, irritation, palpitations, dyspnea (difficulty breathing) and is considered a general tonic.

Western herbalists commonly recommend Schizandra for the lungs, liver and kidneys, and to help with depression due to adrenergic (related to the adrenal glands) exhaustion. In Russia, Schizandra is used to treat eye fatigue and to increase acuity and is a registered medicine for vision problems.

Schizandra is a recognized "adaptogen," capable of increasing the body's resistance to disease and stress. These adaptogenic properties are said to stimulate immune defenses, balance body function, normalize body systems, boost recovery after surgery, protect against radiation, optimize energy in times of stress, increase stamina, protect against motion sickness, normalize blood sugar and blood pressure, reduce high cholesterol, shield against infection, improve the health of the adrenals, as well as, energize RNA-DNA molecules to rebuild cells and produces energy.

During the early 1980's Chinese doctors began researching Schizandra as a treatment for hepatitis. Two human trials in China (one double-blind and the other preliminary) have shown that Schizandra may help people with chronic viral hepatitis. This comes from the reports of Liu KT and his studies on "Fructus Schizandre Chinensis". Schizandra lignans seem to protect the liver by activating the enzymes that produce glutathione.

Recent studies have shown that Schizandra possess the following properties: anti-bacterial, cardiac tonic, antioxidant and anti-depressant. Schizandra has been used by menopausal women for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Young Joo and colleagues concluded in their study "Extracts from Schizandra Chinensis Fruits Activate Estrogen Receptors: A Possible Clue to its Effects on Nitric Oxide-Mediated Vaso-relaxation" in Biol.Pharma. Bull 27 (7) 1066-1069 (2004) Schizandra extract acts as a weak phyto-estrogen.

Parts used:
Schizandra extracts are made from the small berries. Most of the lignans are concentrated in the Schizandra Berries. It contains the phytochemicals Schizandrin, Lignans, Beta-Sitosterol and Gomisin. Besides its phytochemicals, Schizandra is also rich in minerals, vitamins and essential oils.

Schizandra is known for its ability to increase levels of nitric oxide. This is an important component of erection physiology. In a cascade of events that starts with erotic thoughts and/or physical sensation, nitric oxide is release from nerve endings in the penis. Nitric oxide acts as a relaxant. It allows blood vessels to dilate, supplying increased blood flow to and swelling of the tissues. This increase in the flow creates an increased tension on the blood vessel wall that activates the release of more nitric oxide. The increase allows the blood within the penis to dilate, increasing the penis' length and girth.

Clinical Studies:
Research has indicated that the supplemental use of Schizandra increases the nitric oxide in the circulation. In a recent study published in Phytomedicine 1999 Mar; 6(1): 17-26, standardized extracts from Schizandra and Bryonia Alba roots were applied to several groups of athletes in a placebo controlled double blind study. The study revealed, those individuals treated with Schizandra Chinensis and Bryonia Alba extracts showed increased concentrations of nitric oxide and cortisol in blood plasma and saliva.

Precautions and/or adverse effects:
Individuals with pre-existing medical conditions should consult with their physician particularly if they are taking prescription or over-the-counter-medications or supplements. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding and children should also consult with their physician prior to taking any new supplements. The few uncommon side effects include decreased appetite, upset stomach, heartburn, and possibly a skin rash. Therefore it is best to be avoided by persons with peptic ulcers, epilepsy and high blood pressure. In general Schizandra is considered safe for long-term use and very few side effects have been reported.

Summary of the Modern Day Uses of Schizandra:
(as prescribed by physicians and herbal specialists. Schizandra is used for the treatment of the following):

Impotence – secondary to Schizandra's ability to dilate blood vessels, men report improve erections.

Anti-hepatotoxic – Schizandra contains lignans that are known to have liver protective qualities including liver regeneration properties. Lignans also interfere with a compound known as platelet activating factor that is responsible for some properties of inflammation.

Antioxidant – the herb has some other antioxidant properties besides Vitamin E and may enhance the immune system through its antioxidant effect, as well as, promote longevity.

Adaptogenic properties – helps the body adapt to changes associated with stress from physical, mental, chemical and environmental sources.

Cardiovascular system - the herb is also responsible for dilating the blood vessels, hence, improving circulation, lowering blood pressure and improving heart function.

Respiratory system – the herb acts as an expectorant (promoting the clearing of lung mucus), and is a cough-suppressant.

Schizandra proves to be another plant helper for YOUR herbal medicine chest. It is a pleasant tasting tea for everyday use. Why not give it a try and see what you think.

Resource sites I have used to gather this information include:


Back to the top