This is a perennial that grows 3 feet high. The large daisy-like flower has a protruding conical orange brown centre made of scales somewhat reminiscent of a hedgehog.
Initially Echinacea was used by the Choctaws to treat coughs, upper respiratory tract infections and help digestion. Nowadays, it is also used to stimulate the immune system and as an anti-inflammatory. It can optimise the immune system by reducing excessive inflammation and increasing the white blood cells needed to resist infections.
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Pau d'Arco Bark
Parts Used: Bark wood leaves
This bark comes from a deciduous 100 foot tree with very pretty pink tubular flowers that grows in South America. Traditionally it was used by the tribes of Brazil as a blood purifier and for skin infections. Today it has many different uses. It has quinones, a family of compounds which is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
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Nettles horrify people. They are a very unpopular weed with lance-shaped leaves, a serrated edge, stinging hairs and a cluster of small green flowers. However, the nettle is full of polysaccharides that boost the immune system. The nettle also has flavonoids that are a diuretic and are anti-inflammatory. It is effective for alleviating a variety of allergic symptoms.
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Part Used: Roots
Element: Water, Wood
Valerian is a pretty pink and white cluster of flower heads with a musky odour. The roots are used to make tinctures and teas. Valerian was given the name of 'all heal' in the 9th and 10th centuries as it was then believed to be able to cure almost anything. Now it is used more as a tranquilizer, a remedy for insomnia or, as we are using it, for a calming relief from anxiety and stress.
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Skull cap is a slender perennial growing 1 to 3 feet high. It has pretty tiny white, blue, and pink flowers resting on pointed leaves with a cap-like head which bears a slight resemblance to the military helmets worn by the early American soldiers. In recent times, skull cap tea, rich in flavonoids, is used for treating tension, anxiety, insomnia and muscular tension caused by stress. In Chinese medicine, scutellaria Baicalensis is well-known and its root Huan Qin is very important for clearing heat.
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This is a creeper with tendrils that are very visible. It has large impressive flowers. Some varieties of the fruit can be eaten.
Traditionally, it has been used for treatment of anxiety, insomnia, drug addiction, mild infections, and pain. Its relaxation and sedative effects have been scientifically proven and linked to its harmonization effect of the neurotransmitters, especially the GABA.
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Chamomile Matricaria Chamomilla
Part Used: Flower
Element: Fire, Wood
Since the 1st century, Chamomile has been well known for its healing propertie. This annual, with daisy-like flowers and feathery foliage, is sweetly scented and grows to about 2 feet. Today the tea is a classic remedy for easing digestive problems, calming stressed nerves and relaxing tight muscles. It is also an anti- inflammatory and soothes irritations by helping heal the skin, excessive acne, rosacea, allergies and cuts. We are using Chamomile for its calming properties.
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Roses can grow to many different heights. They often have stems with thorns and a beautiful scented flower. Roses have long been used for emotional wellbeing, an aphrodisiac, an antidepressant and a tonic to combat stress. They lower blood pressure, boost the immune system and have a calming effect. They are full of vitamin C and rich in anthocyanin helping to prevent cardiovascular disease.
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Citrus sinensis or aurantium
Element: Wood, Earth
This is bitter in taste. The orange tree was brought to Europe from China by Arab traders in the 10th century. Chen Pi has been used in Chinese medicine for over 2000 years. Its bitter taste contains more than 60 types of flavonoids and over double that of phyto-nutrients
As a herbal medicine, orange peel is used to regulate energy, strengthen the spleen, treat coughs and diarrhoea and also as an expectorant. Nowadays it is used to lower blood pressure. Well known for its high vitamin C and E content, it reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and certain forms of cancer. It is a stimulant so can help induce weight loss.
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The elder is a deciduous tree growing to 30 feet. It has dull leaves with a sweet-smelling flower composite, which later produces shiny black fruits on red stalks
Elder has been used since Roman times with water to keep the complexion fair, flowers for cordials and tea, berries for baking into pies and jams especially with gooseberries. Elder root and leaves have been used as a diuretic, the juice a purgative, and the flower is a spring tonic for its astringent effects.
Here we are using the elderberries for a diuretic and gentle laxative. But it is also antiseptic and anti-inflammatory.
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This is a very pretty bright sunshine yellow composite flower that has been around for over 30 million years. It has a stout tap root and long toothed leaves, which can be used in salads. It gives relief to liver disorder and has many benefits, but we are using it as a sweet diuretic ‘the pissenlit’ as it is sometimes known. The flower reminds us to connect with the sun and not give up. It grows in the worst conditions. The spherical fluffy seed heads are reminding you to follow your wishes. The dandelion is rich in nutrients, including iron, boron, calcium, silicon and, especially, potassium, vitamin B complex, vitamin C. It’s tea is commonly used to assist detoxification and as a natural diuretic to alleviate fluid retention.
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Part used the rhizomes
Element: Water, Fire
Ginger was first written about in 200 BC. It is spicy to the tongue, a soothing digestive, it eliminates intestinal parasites, improves circulation, stimulates digestion and improves liver function. There are two types of ginger important in Chinese medicine the dried and fresh. Dried is much stronger. Dried ginger is used for pains in the stomach, diarrhoea and poor appetite. Fresh ginger is for warming the stomach, alleviating vomiting, and ridding the body of coughs. We are using it as a digestive to warm the stomach.
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Fennel is a 4 to 5 foot perennial, the feathery leaves have fleshy sheaves at their base. There is a yellow umbrella cluster of flowers.
Fennel has an anise taste. It has been a cooking ingredient since Roman times and is used in herbal medicine to help digestion. The Greeks and Romans believed it gave courage and it was used as a nervous tonic. They also believed it cured the wind’s diseases. It has long been used with fish to help digestion and to add taste. Here we are using it as a digestive.
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Cymbopogon citratus or flexuosus
Element: Earth, Fire
Chakra Base Hara, and third eye
Lemon grass grows to 6 foot. It is an aromatic tropical grass with a clumped bulbous stem.
It has a lemon-like smell due to the fact that some of the aromatic compounds are the same as those found in lemons. It has been used traditionally in Sri Lanka for its soothing, calming properties. Lemon grass is used in herbal medicine for colds, indigestion and other digestive problems. It is a diuretic and a stimulating tonic for digestion and the liver. It is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and astringent.
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Peppermint Mentha Piperita
Part Used: Leaves, Stalk
Peppermint is a vigorous aromatic perennial that is spread by runner under the soil and grows to about 2 foot tall. It has been very popular over the years for its minty flavour. It became popular for its refreshing taste that is soothing for digestion. The menthol is an antispasmodic that smoothes muscle contractions in the digestive tract and helps relieve pains, bloating, belching, headaches and colds.
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Element: Fire, Wood.
Lavender is a plant with a tight purple flower that grows to 2 ft. It has historically been used for its wonderful smell and sedating action. It has been used for skin problems and as an antiseptic. Now it is also used for respiratory issues and as a blood thinner. Here we are using it for stress relief. One of its compounds linalool and linalyl acetate can help depress the nervous system, reducing pain. It is thought to lessen anxiety and, in many regions like Tibet, it is used for treating mental illness.
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It is a grass with yellow flowers that resemble a broom, grows in South Africa, and is commonly known as Red tea. It has many healing properties. It is anti –inflammatory, antiviral, anti-mutagenic and it helps stomach cramps. It is full of iron, calcium, potassium, copper, manganese, zinc and magnesium. It aids cardiovascular problems and allergies. Rich in quercetin, an antioxidant, it can help prevent heart disease. Here we are using it for its properties of releasing stress and reducing hypertension.
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