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Vitamins, Herbs and Nutrients - A page listing medicinal and nutrient herbs, vitamins and minerals

Caution: Many herbalists, on line herbal web sites and health food shop proprietors do not offer genuine expert advice and many simply pass on what they learn from the sales representatives of the supply companies. All such advice is to be balanced with information from reliable and scientifically sound sources. The information given here has been taken from multiple sources and is given in good faith but please be aware that much of the the information has not been rigorously and critically assessed. 

Aloe Vera - The juice of the plant has been shown to have a beneficial effect on the digestive system and antibacterial and antifungal properties. It has also been suggested that Aloe Vera also has immuno-stimulating properties.

Asafoetida (Ferula assa-foetida L.) usually abbreviated to Asafetida, it originates in Persia and Afghanistan. It belongs to the Apiaceae family of plants - Related to Parsley

Asafetida is available as a resin or powder, the resin should be dissolved in oil before use and only minute quantities are sufficient, a pinch or pea sized piece is sufficient for a pot of stew.

Some European names refer to it as 'Satan's Faeces' for its strong and, to most people, disgusting smell.

In India it is used as a substitute for garlic and onions. Some religions and traditions proscribe onions and garlic (Brahmins, Jains who are not permitted to use plant grown under the soil). Its use in India is mainly with vegetarian dishes such as Dal

It is extremely sulphur-rich and is very beneficial as a detoxing agent, even more effective than garlic, it is used in very small quantities only a pinch being required. It is also credited with being an antiflatulent. Indian tradition has it that those who do not use it do not live as long as those who do   
Farsi: آن غوزه (Anghuzeh or  ح لتيت Rechina fenah).
Arabic: تيتلح Haltit 

Balm of Gilead - A member of the mint family, believed by the ancients to have aphrodisiac properties

Black Pepper - Peppercorns are the seeds of the Asian vine Piper Nigrum, one of our most common spices. The active ingredient is Piperine, Chemical formula: C17H19NO3, Threshold of taste is approximately 700ppm. 

Borage: Borago officinalis Caution, Borage contains minute quantities of serious liver poisons (pyrrolizidine alkaloids) and should be used sparingly

Camomile: - German camomile, also known as manzanilla (Matricaria recutita) Camomile (or Chamomile) is used as a tea or a lotion. As such it is a mild sedative and is sometimes called the nighttime tea and is believed to be effective in cases of mild to moderate insomnia. The tea is made with the flowers and leaves. 

Camomile tea is used for a range of ailments, including digestive problems and ulcers, colds, toothache andsore throats,  As a lotion Camomile is used for insect bites,  skin disorders; acne, eczema and psoriasis.

Some research has shown anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-bacterial properties, it contains an anticoagulant -  Coumarin. 

Caution: As with all herbs your physician should be consulted. A Camomile user in Canada suffered hemorrhaging caused by using both tea and lotion while also being prescribed Warfarin for a heart condition.

Chondroitin - A cartilage extract, can be extracted  from fish or mammal sources.  Fish is claimed to be superior. It is often supplied with Glucosamine.  Chondroitin sulphate,  is a substance that is also found naturally in the cartilage's  sponge-like shock absorber matrix.

Cilantro - Popular in Mexican and Far-Eastern cuisine, cilantro has in a few studies have shown to be an effective chelating or purifying herb. Some researchers believe that it can remove mercury from the brain and body.

Cobalt - An element, cobalt is essential to all red blooded animals, it is involved in the production of red blood cells via vitamin B12.

Cod Liver Oil - contains important nutrients Omega 3 'fatty acids' that they contain. The two most important are called EPA and DHA,  heart, circulation and brain function. It is also rich in Vitamins A and D, which are essential for the maintenance of healthy joints, skin. hair and strong bones. 

Coltsfoot - (Tussilago farfara): Caution, Coltsfoot sometimes appears in herbal remedies but contains serious liver poisons (pyrrolizidine alkaloids)

Comfrey. - (Symphytum officinale). Ofter prescibed for intestinal troubles and diarrhoea and dysentery, also whooping-cough broken bones and bruises. Comfry is prepared by boiling the crushed root in water or milk  Comfrey is elated to Borage Caution, This too is a liver toxin in large quantities. The less common Russian Comfrey is thought to be the more toxic. It seems to be unwise to use the herb regularly.

Cranberry -  Believed to contain a specific group of polyphenols called proanthocyanidins Cranberry also possesses strong antioxidant properties and can also help to deodorise urine. Believed by some to be able to cure urinary infections.

Evening Primrose Oil contains  GLA (Gamma Linolenic Acid). A natural fatty acid used by the body to form prostaglandins Its purpose is to help control and regulate cell growth and the maintenance of hormonal balance It also helps maintain a healthy skin.

Folic Acid - Essential iin pregnancy and believed to be important in brain health, especially for the elderly.

Germander. - (Teucrium chamaedrys) Caution,  contains serious liver poisons (pyrrolizidine alkaloids)

Ginger - A remedy for digestive disorders, relieve the aches and pains of arthritis and has anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties. Ginger is also widely used to prevent motion sickness.  The active constituents are 'gingerols'.

Glucosamine  - As we get older, our cartilage gradually degenerates through wear and tear. This can lead to osteo-arthritis; a joint disorder characterised by Joint stiffness and pain. This condition must not be confused with osteoporosis, which is characterised by brittle bones of low mineral density. Glucosamine in its natural form exists in all of our joints and muscles, playing a role in the everyday mobility and smooth working of cartilage, tendons and ligaments. It is a major building block of the complex proteins that form part of the structure of cartilage. 

Garlic - The benefits include helping to maintain a healthy heart and circulation as well as helping to maintain the body's immune defence. The most important quality is perhaps the ability to assist in the elimination of toxins. This is due to particularly effective sulfhydryl group compounds. Some say that it is a good source of germanium which may be beneficial trace element.

Inositol  - Aids redistribution of fat. Helps nourish brain cells. Maximises effect of vitamin E. 

Iodine - A mineral essential for the correct functioning of the thyroid gland, one of the most important glands in the endocrine system. A deficiency in this element can cause Cretinism in children also Thyroidism a swelling of the neck due to enlargement of the thyroid.

Kava Kava - Taken to relieve stress  Kava Kava is derived from the root of the Australasian shrub Piper methsticum.  active constituents in Kava extract are called Kava-lactones, (sometimes referred to as Kava-pyrones). root.  Kava supplements help reduce anxiety, aid restful sleep help during menopause. 

Kelp - Kelp has a high Iodine content. Iodine  is also used by the thyroid gland to produce a hormone that regulates the metabolic rate, the speed at which the body burns fats and sugars as well as controlling cholesterol levels. It is needed to maintain healthy hair and skin. It is not stored in the body so a regular intake of iodine is essential  

Lecithin - Helps the body synthesise Acetylcholine,  found in cell membranes and essential for the functioning of the brain and nervous tissue. Also aids the digestion and metabolism of fats.

Lycopene The substance that gives tomatoes their red color. It is a powerful anti-oxidant  and has been found to benefit enlarged prostate glands 

Pokeroot or pokeweed. (Phytolacca americana)  Caution,  contains serious liver poisons (pyrrolizidine alkaloids)

Q10  Co-enzyme Q10 is a naturally occurring substance found in all our body cells, particularly those of the heart muscle. It is also called 'ubiquinone', Its function is to help release energy from food. As we get older we produce Q10 less efficiently so taking a supplement could help maintain Q10 levels.

Royal Jelly  fit for a Queen, Royal Jelly is a highly nutritional nectar produced by the salivary glands of the worker bees as a food source for the Queen Bee. The fact that Royal Jelly enhances the growth, fertility and longevity of queen bees has led many people to think that it will do the same for humans. The Chinese view Royal Jelly with high regard as a traditional medicine for its efficiency in restoring strength after illness. Royal Jelly is a complex substance that is not fully understood. It is known to contain bee hormones, B vitamins, minerals and trace elements such as copper, iron, silicon, phosphatesand potassium, . It also contains acetylcholine, essential for the transmission of nerve impulses and inositol which helps with fat and cholesterol levels.

Savory  - A plant of the Satureja family, it is used as a flavoring for beans and green vegetables. Popular in Italy it is often used in Salami sausage. Yerba Buena is in fact a variety of Satureja.

Saw Palmetto - Traditionally  used as remedy relief of urinary problems. Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA)  5-alpha-reductase inhibitor is important for prostate health and also for the maintenance of a healthy immune system. 

Selenium An element, selenium is important micronutrient and is required in the functioning of all life forms, it has also been claimed that it can reduce the deterioration due to AIDS and to enhance the effect of several anti-cancer drugs. Natural sources include Brazil Nuts.

St John's Wort  A natural anti-depressant, the active ingredient is called Hypericin.  If you are taking prescribed drug consult your doctor before taking this product. Herbs should be treated with respect!  

Starflower Oil like Evening Primrose Oils another rich source of natural GLA and is taken for similar reasons.

Taurine  Believed to help control heart rhythm and body temperature. Also thought to absorb excess sodium and improves muscle metabolism. - an ingredient in a popular stimulant drink - Red Bull.

Valerian is an aid to a deeper, sleep. The root of the plant contains valerenic acid, which are believed to be responsible for Valerian's soothing sleep inducing properties. 

Willow-herb (Epilobium ) Urinary problems, unlike cranberry this is not thought to be able to work on infections but does ameliorate urinary discomfort and reduces difficulty in passing water. Please note that anyone experiencing urinary discomfort should visit a doctor as it is frequently a symptom of something more serious.

Zinc is essential for the maintenance of healthy skin, hair and nails - and for an effective immune system. It has also been found to shrink enlarged but non-cancerous prostate gland. In men fertility, potency and testicular function are all affected by deficiency. Most men only get two thirds of their daily requirements. Zinc is believed to help reduce the conversion of the male hormone testosterone into DHT which, in excess affects prostate growth.


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