Natures Creation

NATURE’S CREATION – Knowledge & Guidance through Healing Plants – Book & Cards

A wonderful book and card set for those who are passionate about medicinal plants. Use the book and cards to learn about over 40 medicinal plants, their history, myths and, most importantly, their healing properties. Discover how to utilise the plants’ medicinal qualities through a variety of herbal preparations. Tinctures, decoctions, flower essences, essential oils and herbal teas can be powerful tools in healing on all levels…physical, mental and emotional.

Each card has also been designed to provide insight and to aid in recognising an issue and facilitating its release or simply in using a particular plant for personal support. Choose a card daily or whenever you need guidance and support. Browse the corresponding chapter to get a feeling for the plant and what it’s offering you and to reflect on the gentle lesson it teaches.

Many of the insights in the book embrace spiritual practices for personal growth and balance. Yoga, meditation, fire ceremony and other modalities can be used to strengthen the plants’ healing abilities and assist in transforming, aligning and bringing balance.

Check out the book/cards set. The perfect Christmas gift!

Buy the book/cards on the website: www.naturescreation.biz

 


I’m beginning to gather my annual and perennial medicinal herbs to plant out in my garden and/or in pots. In the photo above (left) I have comfrey, viola, calendula, mint varieties, Herb Robert, yacon, and nasturtiums ready to plant. In the pots, I have strawberries and lavender. Below are pictures of my herb garden, comfrey, and Herb Robert.

I like to plant mint and comfrey in pots as both of these species can take over the garden very quickly if left to their own devices. Comfrey will re-grow from the most minuscule piece of root left under the earth. A trick I’ve used in the past is to plant them in good sized pots, dig a hole in my garden and put the whole pot, with the plant potted inside into the hole. This method prevents the roots from escaping and the plant taking over the garden. They then become part of the herb garden and stay within their boundaries.

My little herb garden has been fertilised, mulched and left over winter. It’s now ready to plant out. This garden gets lots of sun in the summer so I have another little garden space for shade-loving plants like Herb Robert (above). My climate is sub-tropical, therefore the herbs I’m planting grow well in this climate. It is best to do some planning and figure out which plants will be happy planted in your garden bed and which ones would prefer a pot outside or even inside on the kitchen windowsill. I planted my lavender in a pot so I can control how much water it gets. Lavender does not particularly like the humid, sub-tropical climate or wet feet. My strawberries are in pots on the edge of my garden bed as strawberries are another plant that spreads rapidly and takes over. I only have a small herb garden so I have to plan it out well. I like to have a low maintenance, easy to manage garden. Everything comes down to how much space is available in your garden and what you choose to plant. It is important not to overcrowd the garden and to leave space for each plant to stay healthy and to grow to its optimum size…especially if you are using the plant medicinally.

Companion planting is also something I like to do. I know that nasturtiums and calendula like kale so I will plant a few kale plants with them. I’ve learned that kale isn’t keen on strawberries so I will keep the strawberry pots well away from the kale. Mint is good around cabbage and tomatoes but not parsley or chamomile. Lemon balm is often called bee balm as it attracts bees that pollinate other plants in the garden. Check out companion planting as a diverse mix of plants that are compatible makes for a healthy and beautiful herb garden.

Nature’s Creation Book and Cards have lots of good information about many of the available herbs and how to use them medicinally. www.naturescreation.biz

 


Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum) or Saint Robert’s Herb is a European woodland geranium with an extremely long history as a valuable medicinal herb. It had all but disappeared from medicinal herb gardens. However, with its amazing healing qualities, this little herb is making a well-deserved comeback.

Very little information is written on Herb Robert’s healing constituents but this special plant has repeated time and time again, that it has supreme therapeutic qualities. It has proven that it has the capabilities to enhance the immune system. Research has established that the source of germanium in Herb Robert is a beneficial element in the body…having the ability to make oxygen available to the cells. This ability gives the body the opportunity to fight disease enabling the cells to regenerate and heal quickly. Free radicals cause a lack of oxygen in the cells and disease such as cancer can manifest.

Germanium’s outstanding effects on the immune system have been well documented in medical journals. As an adaptogen herb, it increases the body’s resistance to stress, trauma, anxiety, and fatigue. Adaptogens generally work by strengthening the immune system, nervous system and/or glandular system…helping to boost, balance and normalise functions in the body. Herb Robert has earned a reputation as a cure for cancer with testimonials to back up the claims.

This is a herb that can be of great benefit and used daily. The plant provides vitamins A and C, as well as B. It is full of minerals such as iron, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, and calcium. Fresh leaves and flowers can be steeped to make a tea or dried and stored to use throughout the winter months as a tea or tossed into salads as a nutrient booster. The root can also be dried and used.

 


If we can do one thing to benefit our overall well-being we should focus on maintaining vigorous gut health. I ended up with fairly severe gut issues because I ignored the obvious signs of food intolerances and allergies. I continued eating gluten loaded food (because I love crispy French bread) and dairy until my gut said, “NO MORE!” I began to listen after I was tested for food intolerances and allergies and clearly explained the dire consequences of continuing to eat these foods.  Most of us have an idea of what foods our gut likes and deep down we know which ones we are intolerant of. However, we tend to ignore the signs because we love our food and we really don’t want (or know how) to change anything.  I was aware I had gut issues with certain foods but I didn’t realise how much damage I was creating by continuing to eat these foods. When I developed arthritis along with my gut issues, I decided it was time to get to the root cause and make whatever changes necessary.

Researchers have discovered that a lesser known nervous system in our guts (our “second brain”) communicates with the brain in our head. Together, “our two brains” play a key role in certain diseases in our bodies and overall health.

If you have been having gut issues for a while and none of the recommendations below help, I suggest you look into having food intolerance and allergy testing. I recommend going to a Naturopath or Integrative MD to find out your options. Also, look into having an analysis that will identify parasites, abnormal bacteria, yeasts and other gastrointestinal issues, which will help you create a supplement plan.

Excerpts from Kris Carr’s – 7 Ways to Improve Gut Health

Your gut holds trillions of bacteria that help process your food, produce nutrients, and fight disease. In fact, there are ten times more bacteria in your gut than cells in your entire body! Balanced gut bacteria is fundamental to overall health. Since what you eat, drink and think affects the environment in your gut. Your daily choices play a critical role in whether those trillion plus bacteria help or hinder your wellbeing.

But when the harmful bacteria stage a revolt, all hell breaks loose. They totally gum up the works and cause painful problems like inflammation and infection, which can then lead to health issues such as constipation, candida, allergies, arthritis, headaches, depression, autoimmune diseases and more.

Medications (especially antibiotics and antacids), environmental toxins and chemicals, stress and illness greatly affect the ratio of good to bad bacteria. When bacteria is wiped out indiscriminately, the good guys get mowed down, giving the bad guys a chance to increase their ranks. Hello, chronic health issues.

The food you eat also affects the ratio of good to bad bacteria. Everything you consume is processed and either absorbed into your body or eliminated via your gut. Your gut completes the amazing task of digesting your food and pulling the nutrients, vitamins and minerals out of the food so that they can be absorbed into your bloodstream.

Your gut is a major component of your immune system.

Did you know that about 60-70% of your immune system lives in your gut?

Gut

Meet your GALT, also know as gut-associated lymphoid tissue. Your GALT lies just below the mucosal lining of the gut wall. It’s very thin (only one cell thick!), and most importantly — it’s integral to your immune system. The GALT contains specialized immune structures called Peyer’s patches that are filled with immune cells, such as B cells and T cells, which are responsible for recognizing and neutralizing harmful bacteria. When pathogenic bacteria visits your gut via food or your environment, the Peyer’s patches trigger your immune response to prevent them from passing through the gut wall.

Another way your gut protects you from infection and disease is through an abundance of healthy bacteria.

To keep harmful bacteria from overthrowing your gut, healthy bacteria need to thrive and cover your gut wall — the only thing standing between everything inside your gut and your bloodstream. It helps to imagine that your gut wall is a parking lot. There are a limited number of “parking spots” along your gut wall. You want good bacteria parked in those spaces so bad bacteria is crowded out. Keep those spaces filled by adopting the following gut health.

Now that you know how important your gut health is to your overall wellbeing, how can you take care of your spectacular gut?

 1. Take a probiotic supplement: A daily probiotic supplement will help boost the good bacteria in your gut, keeping the bad guys under control, boosting your immune system and easing digestive issues. This is especially helpful when you’re taking a medication, such as an antibiotic that has wiped out a large amount of gut bacteria. Any health food shop can recommend a probiotic.

2. Eat probiotic whole foods: You can also eat whole foods that are fermented and contain large amounts of good bacteria. Sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, microalgae and coconut kefir are fantastic plant-based probiotic-rich foods. When looking for probiotic-rich foods, avoid vinegar-based and/or pasteurized varieties, since these elements kill good bacteria. You want to pick up (or make!) lacto-fermented probiotic foods (FYI–this is a plant-friendly approach, no whey is necessary). If you’re interested in making your own probiotic foods, Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz is a popular book on the subject. Word to the wise: Get educated on fermenting at home before diving in–it can be risky if you don’t know what you’re doing!

 3. Eat prebiotic whole foods: Certain foods feed and support the growth of good bacteria. By eating more whole, plant-based, fibre-filled foods, you’re fuelling the bacteria that support your health. Raw onions, garlic, dandelion greens, artichokes, and bananas are some of the best prebiotic foods to add to your diet.

 4. Eat regularly, but not constantly (eat your last meal of the day preferably before 6pm): To give your gut a chance to clean up and clear out bacteria and waste, it needs a rest from digestion. Every 90 minutes to two hours, the smooth muscle in your intestines move and groove to keep bacteria and waste truckin’ through your digestive tract. But this process is put on hold every time you eat. Can you see why snacking constantly slows down digestion and contributes to bacterial overgrowth? I’m not saying that you need to fast for long periods — eating regularly helps prevent constipation and bloating — but it’s best to take breaks between meals.

 5. Stay hydrated: A good rule of thumb for staying hydrated is drinking half your body weight in ounces of water each day. For example, if you weigh 130 pounds, you should drink about 65 ounces of water. That’s about eight 8-ounce glasses of water. Your gut needs water to keep bacteria and waste moving through your digestive system, which will help prevent constipation and bloating. When you’re dehydrated, these issues can throw off the balance of bacteria in your gut and lead to inflammation. Give your gut a hand and drink more H2O!

 6. Cut out refined sugar and processed foods: When you consume processed, sugar-laden, refined foods, you’re giving bad bacteria an all-you-can-eat buffet, which increases the likelihood of developing gut issues and associated illnesses.

7. Reduce stress:  The brain and the gut are closely connected and communicate with each other. When you experience chronic stress, your brain goes into fight or flight mode, causing your digestion and blood flow in the gut to slow down, the muscles that push along waste and bacteria to freeze up and the secretions for digestion to decrease. All of these stress responses equal a poorly functioning gut! Take care of your gut health by coping with stress through breath work, yoga, meditation, therapy, time in the outdoors and the countless other stress reduction techniques available to you.


When British explorer, Captain Cook landed in Botany Bay, Australia in 1770 the Gwyeagal people inhabited the land around Botany Bay at that time. The Aboriginal people had a deep knowledge of native edible and medicinal plants passed down from generation to generation over thousands of years. They shared some of their secret knowledge with Captain Cook and his party, including botanist, Joseph Banks. The British spent a great deal of time studying and experimenting with the native botanicals. Melaleuca alternifolia and Melaleuca quinquenervia were amongst the plants studied and sketched by botanist, Joseph Banks.

Approximately 230 species of Melaleuca are indigenous to Australia and vary, depending on the species, from small shrubs to 30 metre tall trees. Melaleuca alternifolia is indigenous to northern New South Wales and Queensland and now most of the commercial Tea Tree comes from this region and this species. Melaleuca quinquenervia is indigenous to the East coast of New South Wales and Queensland usually along watercourses and swamps.

Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) and Niaouli (Melaleuca quinquenervia) are members of the Myrtaceae plant family and are related to myrtle, clove, and eucalyptus. Although in the same family Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) should not be confused with Niaouli (Melaleuca quinquenervia). Tea Tree has needle-like leaves whilst Niaouli is commonly known as broadleaf paperbark. However, both varieties have strong medicinal qualities and similar chemical properties. Tea tree oil has highly effective antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties. It is great for acne, athlete’s foot, contact dermatitis or head lice.

The Aboriginal people of Australia had multiple uses for Melaleuca quinquenervia. The bark was peeled off in layers and is used for shelter, bedding, containers, storing and cooking food, fire tinder, watercraft, fish traps and wrapping the deceased. In traditional medicine, an infusion from leaves was drunk, inhaled or used for bathing to treat coughs, colds, congestion, headache, fever, and influenza. Today…Melaleuca quinquenervia is known for its strong antiseptic and stimulating qualities. It is still extensively used to clear infections such as bronchitis, catarrh, and sinus, as well as acne, boils, burns, ulcers and cuts. It is known for its analgesic, antiseptic, bactericide, insecticide, decongestant and ability to treat intestinal worms.


 NATURE’S CREATION TURMERIC

Family: Zingiberaceae

Plant of Veracity

Botanical Name: Curcuma longa

Planet: Mars, associated with Jupiter

Element: Fire

Known as Indian saffron, Turmeric has been used historically as a component of Indian Ayurvedic medicine since 1900 BCE to treat a wide variety of ailments. It is one of the most important herbs ever discovered.  Native to India and Southern Asia, few plants possess such a wide spectrum of qualities and medicinal uses as Turmeric.  Use of this brilliant, versatile herb for myriad ailments dates back thousands of years.  It is most renowned as an effective and powerful anti-inflammatory that compares to many of the popular pharmaceutical medicines and has proven successful in the treatment of some of the most debilitating ailments today including: arthritis, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, gastrointestinal problems, liver disease and kidney and urinary tract infections…to name but a few of its healing abilities.

Turmeric is a leafy plant similar in appearance to its relative, ginger. The healing properties of Turmeric lie in the golden fingerlike stalk, or rhizome. It has occupied the shelves of every Indian kitchen for the last 6000 years and is commonly found in Indian curries, giving the food its familiar golden orange colour. It is often substituted in cooking for the more costly saffron.  In the 13th century, Marco Polo praised the spice and marveled at its likeness to saffron. It has always been considered a sacred and auspicious herb in Indian culture and its value likely extends back to ancient indigenous peoples of India.

Nowadays, Turmeric is grown widely throughout the tropics. It was thought to be cultivated first as a dye and then became a valued condiment and medicinal herb. Research is ongoing to prove scientifically what the ancient people of India have known for centuries: that Turmeric is one of the most powerful plants on the planet.  It has been worshipped and revered for thousands of years and one of the most significant players in the prevention of serious disease still today. Turmeric has been studied for thousands of years in the ancient Indian medicine of Ayurveda,.

Dr. David Frawley, Ayurvedic doctor and director of the American Institute for Vedic Studies notes, “If I had only a single herb to depend upon for all possible health and dietary needs, I would without much hesitation choose the Indian spice turmeric.” Ayurvedic science is based on the principle of preventing diseases. Turmeric finds its place in almost all Ayurvedic preparations related to liver and skin disorders.  In Sanskrit and Hindi Turmeric has acquired many names such as, haridra, kanchani, and gauri.  These names date back to the Vedic culture and refer to the “one who is golden coloured” or “the golden Goddess” as Turmeric is known in India.

The Vedic culture existed in the Saraswati Valley from approximately 4500-1800BC. The Vedic people worshipped the solar system and Surya, the sun. Turmeric was very sacred in the Vedic culture, due to its golden yellow colour that represented the sun.  They believed it had special protective properties.  Many of these ancient practices and beliefs still survive today.  The Vedic people believed that Turmeric contained the energy of the Divine Mother, and helped to grant prosperity and cleanse the chakras (energy centers in the body).  Today, Hindus still consider Turmeric to have auspicious qualities and use it in many sacred ceremonies. It is commonly made into a paste and applied to the forehead (ajna chakra or third eye) during devotional ceremonies such as yajna (sacred fire ceremony for purification).  The yajna exemplifies the unity of God and humanity and Turmeric is often used to decorate the vedi (the alter for the fire). Turmeric is also associated with fertility and prosperity, and brings good luck if applied to a bride’s face and body, as part of the ritual purification before a wedding.

In India, Turmeric is considered the standard anti-inflammatory.  It also has a special action to help the entire Gastro-Intestinal system by increasing intestinal flora and generating healthy digestion.  It is added to the food, not just for flavour but also for medicinal purposes.  In Ayurveda, Turmeric is believed to balance the three doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha or biological energies in the body). The literal meaning of doshas is “that which contaminates is called dosha.” Therefore the doshas may be considered the disease-causing agents in the body. Imbalance of vata, pitta and kapha doshas cause disease in the body.  Ayurvedic doctors use Turmeric as a medicine in the form of fresh juice, tea, tinctures or powder.  It is often used topically as a cream, lotion or ointment.  The principle organs that Turmeric deals with are the skin, heart, liver and lungs. It has proven effective as an analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumour, anti-allergenic, antioxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, cholagogue, digestive, diuretic, stimulant, and vulnerary. Carminatives also tend to increase absorption and nurture the intestinal flora.  Modern science is beginning to recognize and understand the amazing healing qualities of Turmeric and much research is currently being conducted.

Research in the latter half of the 20th century has identified the compound curcumin as responsible for most of the biological activity of Turmeric.  Curcumin is one of three curcuminoids in Turmeric and responsible for the bright yellow colour.  The other two are demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin. Curcumin has known antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antifungal actions.  Turmeric has hundreds of molecular constituents, each with a variety of biological activities. In one database it was noted that Turmeric contains over 326 known biological activities. At least 20 molecules have anti-biotic properties, 14 that are known cancer preventatives, 12 that are anti-tumor, 12 are anti-inflammatory and at least 10 different anti-oxidants. Rudolf Steiner once identified Turmeric as having a “magnetic nature”, meaning that it literally attracts illness out of the body and therefore eliminates toxins in a most comprehensive way.

As indicated in current statistics the molecule, NF-Kappa B is responsible for 98% of all diseases.  NF-Kappa B is a powerful protein that promotes abnormal inflammatory response in the body. Excess of this molecule can lead to cancer, arthritis, and a wide range of other diseases. Studies show that curcumin subdues NF-Kappa B, indicating that it may work to prevent many of the diseases inflicting the world today.  According to Dr. Bjarat Aggarwal, from the Jawaharial Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research in Bangalore, India, “We have not found a single cancer on which curcumin does not work”.  Recent research also suggests that Turmeric may play a vital role in fighting HIV/AIDS, particularly HIV, Type 1.  In a recent study at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre, when scientists “fed” curcumin to HIV-infected cells in the laboratory, the virus stopped replicating. Turmeric also protects the liver from toxins and pathogens. It is known to both destroy toxins in the liver, and to rebuild the liver after a toxic attack.

Parts Used Medicinally

Dried rhizome

Remedies:

Taken as a tincture or pill-form to treat specific issues or powdered rhizome added to food.

NoteNo major side effects have been reported in the medical literature, however as with all medicines, Turmeric should not be taken long term unless directed by health professional. 

Insight (the lesson that Turmeric teaches)    

Astrologically, Turmeric is associated with the most beneficial of all planets, Jupiter.  The main significant function of Jupiter is that it initiates life on earth by stimulating the Sun. It is therefore, an integral part of many sacred Vedic rituals connected to the sun and fire ceremony. Jupiter, by nature is the most brilliant and all-embracing planet and is known as Guru, meaning “remover of darkness” in Sanskrit.  According to Hindu mythology, Jupiter is the planet of bravery, audacity, power, hard work, liveliness, knowledge and speech and signifies good luck and good fortune.  It is considered a dignified and positive planet and represents wisdom. It is a planet of freedom, tolerance and plenty.  Jupiter rules the blood circulation, liver, thighs and fat in the body. If Jupiter is strong, it supports the immune system. If it is weak, it raises problems like arthritis, jaundice, weak liver and pancreas and diseases associated with the respiratory system. 

Due to their close association with each other, Turmeric and Jupiter together have great power and work as a team to benefit overall health and vitality and support the body systems. Turmeric is the warrior herb…it is veracious in destroying the enemy within on all levels.  It is diligent in eliminating the demons that cause disease in the body and a world-class herb with amazing purifying qualities.  If Turmeric has manifested into your life today, it is letting you know that you have the full support of perhaps the most beneficial, miraculous healing herb available. 

Receiving the Turmeric card may be an indication that your digestive system needs balancing.  It is possible that too much fire is present in the intestinal tract and affecting the liver and other related organs.  On the other hand, it may also be a reminder that it is time to look towards bringing balance into the spiritual side of your life; a time to cleanse and purify the body, mind and emotions. One of the most powerful ways of purification and transformation is fire. In ancient and modern Yogic tradition the fire ceremony (or havan) is believed to be cleansing, not only for the body, mind and emotions of those present, but also the whole area around the fire pit and environment within several kilometres of the havan.  Fire is also known to raise awareness and accelerate spiritual growth. Turmeric is used in various ways in the havan ceremony.  Many yogis today practice what is called Agni Hotra.  It is a specific fire ritual performed daily with miraculous results. The ash from these fires is considered sacred and used in meditation, sprinkled on gardens, placed in temples.  Many traditional ashrams (yoga centres) today practice havan (see index for information).

To support you on all levels, use Turmeric in every day cooking to detoxify the liver, lower cholesterol, remove skin related problems, fight allergies and stimulate digestion.

“There is never any end
There are always new sounds to imagine
New feelings to get at
And always there is a need to keep purifying these needs and sounds
So that we can really see what we’ve discovered in its pure state
So we can see more clearly what we are
In that way, we can give those who listen to the essence
The best of what we are”

˜John Coltrane˜

©


 

Suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has always been a difficult one to determine the cause and diagnose. However, in a groundbreaking study by Dr. W. Ian Lipkin at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health found that people with Chronic Fatigue have different bacteria in their intestines than healthier people. Dr. Lipkin isn’t certain or clear as to whether the differences in gut bacteria are just a sign of Chronic Fatigue or part of the cause. But…he believes that gut bacteria could be tied to the severity of the disease and may help with diagnosis and treatment.

Dr. Lipkin has identified a distinct set of bacteria in 21 people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome who also had irritable bowel syndrome…conditions that often occur together. His study, accepted for publication in the journal ‘Microbiome’ also links both diseases to changes in body processes influenced by gut microbes.

Sourced from: Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health website.


 

Herbal Attack on Arthritis

Arthritis and joint pain can strike at any age

I have become aware of the medicinal plant, Artemisia annua recently. It has come to my attention lately…enough times to push me into doing some research on this medicinal plant. As a herbalist and an osteoarthritis sufferer, I came across this article below. It jumped out at me and I felt compelled to share it. I have tried just about every alternative remedy to change the course of my arthritis without success. Artemisia sounds so promising that I’m willing to try one more.

Arthritis and joint pain are not ailments reserved for the elderly. In fact, arthritis is a very common condition that affects more than 50 million adults and a surprising 300,000 children. Arthritis simply refers to the inflammation of the joints and comes in more than 100 different types.  According to mayoclinic.com, the signs of arthritis may include: pain, stiffness, swelling, redness, and a decreased range of motion.

What are the most common types of arthritis?

Although there are over a hundred different recorded types of arthritis, there are only three commonly known types. These can be put into three major categories:

Inflammatory Arthritis –  this happens when the body’s defense system starts to attack its own tissues instead of fighting off germs, viruses and other foreign substances.  This then leads to pain, stiffness and joint damage.  One of the most common forms of this type of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis – is systemic in nature and affects the entire body.  It can either be mild with minor symptoms and far less risk of developing misshapen joints, or it can be chronic which is more painful and does result in misshapen joints. It can also last a lifetime with just short periods of remission.

Degenerative or mechanical arthritis – is a group of conditions where the main problem is damage to the cartilage that covers the ends of the bones. It is commonly known as osteoarthritis and generally affects older people. The parts of the body where osteoarthritis commonly appears are those that are heavily used, such as hips and knees.

Article

Herbal Attack on Arthritis

Excerpts from an article written by Rosemary McLennan in 2012

A malaria treatment that unexpectedly improved the lives of people in Papua New Guinea who also had arthritis has been turned into a nutritional supplement by a New Zealand company.

The people were being treated with an extract from the herb artemisia annua which is effective against all strains of malaria, including those resistant to quinine derivatives.

Those who also had arthritis began to report to their doctor an improvement in joint movements and swelling. The doctor suggested a New Zealand trial by people with arthritis.

It took place in 2010 and 2011 and produced impressive results for 70 per cent of the participants.

Upper Hutt business developer Garrick Wells owns a supercritical CO2 extraction facility in Lower Hutt which processes artemisia imported from Tanzania…considered the best place in the world to grow it.  Mr Wells, has a background in the wood processing industry and his facility produces an extract that is 100 per cent pure with 98 per cent of the components of the plant remaining in the synergistic balance nature designed.

According to Mr Wells, scientific papers have suggested that artemisia helps arthritis by suppressing inflammatory and autoimmune aspects of the condition. In a 2008 trial in China scientists found the joints of animals who had induced arthritis significantly improved after they were given artemisia.

Turangi nurse Claire Birsse, 73, had suffered from arthritis for 27 years and had tried everything orthodox and complementary medicine had to offer. Her joints continued to swell and she suffered constant pain and disability. Within four months on the artemisia extract, she became free from pain. She now uses stairs, does household chores with ease and has returned to university.

Another arthritis sufferer was facing knee replacement surgery when he started taking the extract. Three months later he resumed his regular daily activities and no longer considers knee surgery.

Despite the success stories, Mr Wells says the supplement Arthrem will be ineffective for about 30 per cent of people. Those people, who have purchased his supplement are promised a refund. The product, initially being called Benefit Arthritis is made under the Dietary Supplements Regulations 1985.

What research has been done on Artemisia annua?

Western medicine has seen a lot of potential in Artemisia annua, enough reason for certain groups to pursue research on its efficacy in helping arthritic patients. Some of these studies are:

Immunoquantitative analysis of artemisinin from Artemisia annua using polyclonal antibodies

Biosynthesis of artemisinic acid in Artemisia annua 

Component composition of essential oil from Artemisia annua and A. scoparia 

These studies are evidence of the increasing interest in this herb and its many uses to aid and complement traditional medicine.

It is available online at:

https://arthrem.com/thank-you-trial

https://arthrem.com/buy-now/

https://arthrem.co.nz/ 


Herb Garden1

I have compiled a list of herbal teas, most from Nature’s Creation Book. The majority can be grown in herb pots and used fresh. I live in a sub-tropical area of Australia and I’m able to grow Turmeric and Ginger outside but both Turmeric and Ginger can be grown inside in pots. http://www.containergardens101.com/2015/05/25/how-to-grow-turmeric-indoors/ 

Herb Garden2

Anise

Parts Used: leaves

Digestive, calmative, soothes dry coughs, good for colic, breath freshener.

Side Effects: Can aggravate high blood pressure, and have a negative effect if taking iron supplements.

Cardamom

Parts Used: seeds within pods

Tonic for digestive system, relieves nausea, congestion, stress reducer, breath freshener.

Side Effects: None known.

Cleavers (Sticky Weed)

Parts Used: leaves/stems

Considered one of the best herbal cleansing tonics known…purifies the blood, lymphatic system and kidneys, as well as remove toxins from the body. Clears skin conditions.

Side Effects:  None known.

Chamomile (German)

Parts Used: flowers

Calming, soothing…calms nervous and digestive systems, anti-inflammatory. 

Side Effects: None known.

Cinnamon

Parts Used: Sticks

Awakens the 5 senses allowing full enjoyment of meals, clears a path to the intuition, warming…fights off winter chills, anti-inflammatory, digestive, antibacterial, antifungal.

Side Effects: Considered safe.

Coconut

Considered by Pacific Islanders as a cure for all illnesses.

Side Effects: Ripened coconut not recommended for those suffering from diarrhea, dysentery and colic disorders. Should not be given to people suffering from liver disorders and higher cholesterol.

Cloves

Numbs pain (good for toothache), kills bacteria, good for viral infections, upset stomach and as an expectorant. Clove oil can be used for intestinal gas, nausea, and vomiting.

Side Effects: Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not take clove in medicinal doses.

Fennel

Parts Used: Seeds, root, essential oil.

Properties very similar to Anise.  Digestive, breath freshener, expectorant, good for chronic coughs. Specifically effects the digestive, urinary, and nervous systems.

Side Effects: Excess amount fennel can disrupt the nervous system. May produce contact dermatitis.

Feverfew

Parts used: leaves and flowers

An effective remedy in preventing migraines, headaches, nervousness or pain.

Side Effects: Allergic reactions to feverfew are rare. May effect some prescription and non-prescription medications.

Ginger

Parts Used: Fresh or dried rhizome

The Ginger rhizome contains the constituent gingerol, found to inhibit the production of prostaglandins, which induce inflammation and considered a successful herbal alternative to many arthritis drugs. It is also excellent in the treatment of nausea and extremely effective when taken for travel/motion sickness, morning sickness and postoperative and chemotherapy-induced nausea. Ginger is known to stimulate the circulatory system and activate and warm the body.

Side effects: Rare

Lavender

Parts Used: flowers

The flowers contain high levels of the volatile oil that produce a soothing and calming effect physically, mentally and emotionally. Has the ability to cure headaches and relieve anxiety associated with the nervous system.  Balances emotions.

Side Effects: Side effects are rare but some people may develop an allergic reaction.

Lemon Balm

Parts Used: leaves

Tonic to the heart, nervous system and digestive system…anti-allergenic, anti-asthmatic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-microbial, antiviral and antiseptic.  It is carminative, digestive, sedative and anti-spasmodic.

Especially useful for those who have mild anxiety, tension, insomnia and feeling depleted of energy physically, mentally and emotionally.

Side Effects: Rare

Lemon Verbena

Parts Used: leaves

Soothes stomach spasms, calms nerves, reduces fevers, calmative, antispasmodic.

Side Effects: Rare

Marjoram

Parts Used: leaves

Helps hypertension, anxiety, insomnia, warming and good for colds.

Side Effects: None known

Mint

Parts Used: leaves

Soothing effect on the mucous membranes of the gastrointestinal tract, easing the discomforts of indigestion, including heartburn, flatulence, abdominal cramping, bloating. Calms a queasy stomach and is good for nausea and vomiting and is especially calming for the lower bowel and helpful in relieving diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome.

Side Effects: Rare

Nettle

Parts Used: leaves

Medicinally, Nettle is used (in the form of infusion) as a cleansing tonic and blood purifier for hay fever, arthritis, and anemia. It is also excellent in the treatment of excessive menstruation, hemorrhoids, arthritis, rheumatism and skin conditions, especially eczema and burns.

Side Effects: Rare

Nutmeg

Part Used: Seed

Sedative, stimulant, relaxant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, bactericide. helpful remedy for many digestive problems, especially gastroenteritis…relieves stomach pain.

Side Effects: Safe in low medicinal doses and culinary amounts. Can cause toxicity at high dosages

Red Clover

Parts Used: seed heads

A remedy for respiratory conditions, excellent blood purifier, treatment for coughs and bronchial ailments, skin conditioner.

Side Effects: None

Rooibos (Red Bush)

Parts Used: leaves

Rooibos tea is used for its anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties. Beneficial in the treatment of high blood pressure, insomnia, nervous tension, mild depression, diabetes, skin problems, liver diseases and cataracts.

Side Effects: Can slow down the absorption of iron in consumed foods.


Rosemary

Parts Used: leaves

Increases circulation, improves memory, alleviates headaches, soothes and nourishes skin conditions, stimulates the liver, gall bladder and intestinal tract and possesses marked anti-bacteria, antiviral and antifungal properties.  An effective nerve tonic, anti-inflammatory, carminative and stimulates the central nervous system and circulation.

Side Effects: People with high blood pressure, ulcers, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis should not take rosemary. May interact with certain drugs.

Sage

Parts Used: leaves

Safe natural disinfectant. antimicrobial properties, astringent, antiseptic, tonic herb. Effective laryngitis and sore throat cure. Sage tea can also be used to relieve the discomfort of measles, dizziness, colds, fever, and headaches.

White Sage: Sacred to Native Americans

Side Effects: Should not be used by people with epilepsy or other seizure disorders. Not recommended for stomach problems.

No drug interactions have been noted with sage use.

Turmeric

Parts Used: rhizome

Turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. 

The principal organs it deals with are the skin, heart, liver and lungs. It also nurtures the entire gastrointestinal system and generates healthy digestion. Modern science has recognised the amazing healing qualities of Turmeric and much research is currently being conducted. Ayurvedic doctors use Turmeric as a medicine in the form of fresh juice, tea, tinctures or powder.

Side Effects: Rare

Thyme

Parts Used: leaves

Warming herb that is astringent, aromatic, antiseptic, and anti-fungal. It helps to improve digestion, relax spasms and controls coughing.

Side Effects: Side effects are uncommon with thyme teas and tinctures.


If we can do one thing to benefit our overall well-being we should focus on maintaining vigorous gut health. I ended up with severe gut issues, bordering on leaky gut because I ignored the obvious signs of food intolerances and allergies. I continued eating gluten loaded food (because I love bread), high GI sugar foods and dairy. I was aware that my gut was in poor shape and what was causing the problem but I was stuck in a “Ground Hog Day” scenario where I was repeating these lifelong habits until my gut finally said, “NO MORE!”

Almost a year ago I went to an amazing wellness retreat and I began to listen after I was tested for food intolerances and allergies and clearly explained the dire consequences of continuing to eat these foods. Most of us have an idea of what foods our gut likes or dislikes and deep down we know which ones we are intolerant of. However, we tend to ignore the signs because we love certain foods and we really don’t want (or know how) to change anything. As a herbalist, I was aware I had gut issues with certain foods but I didn’t realise how much damage I was creating by continuing to eat these foods. I was taking all the right supplements, however in the wrong form. Because of my severe gut issues, I was unable to assimilate these supplements in the solid form. I was literally “spinning my wheels” and going nowhere. With fairly severe arthritis, along with my gut issues, and my continued weight gain, I decided it was time to get to the root cause and make whatever changes necessary.

If you have been having gut issues for a while and none of the recommendations below help, I suggest you look into having food intolerance and allergy testing. I recommend going to a Naturopath or an alternative doctor who can do live and dry blood testing or

guide you to a practitioner who can. In Australia, I know of only a small handful of people who do this type of testing. This testing will also identify parasites, abnormal bacteria, yeasts and other gastrointestinal issues, which will help you create a supplement and diet plan. The test will also show up heavy metals in the body but an additional test like the Oligo scan will identify which heavy metals are involved. I had mercury, cadmium, and lead. Heavy metals can cause myriad health problems, but a good Naturopath will know how to eliminate them.

Excerpts from Kris Carr’s – 7 Ways to Improve Gut Health

Your gut holds trillions of bacteria that help process your food, produce nutrients, and fight disease. In fact, there are ten times more bacteria in your gut than cells in your entire body! Balanced gut bacteria is fundamental to overall health. Since what you eat, drink and think affects the environment in your gut. Your daily choices play a critical role in whether those trillion plus bacteria help or hinder your well-being.

But when the harmful bacteria stage a revolt, all hell breaks loose. They totally gum up the works and cause painful problems like inflammation and infection, which can then lead to health issues such as constipation, candida, allergies, arthritis, headaches, depression, autoimmune diseases and more.

Medications (especially antibiotics and antacids), environmental toxins and chemicals, stress and illness greatly affect the ratio of good to bad bacteria. When bacteria are wiped out indiscriminately, the good guys get mowed down, giving the bad guys a chance to increase their ranks. Hello, chronic health issues.

The food you eat also affects the ratio of good to bad bacteria. Everything you consume is processed and either absorbed into your body or eliminated via your gut. Your gut completes the amazing task of digesting your food and pulling the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals out of the food so that they can be absorbed into your bloodstream.

Your gut is a major component of your immune system.

Did you know that about 60-70% of your immune system lives in your gut?

Meet your GALT, also known as gut-associated lymphoid tissue. Your GALT lies just below the mucosal lining of the gut wall. It’s very thin (only one cell thick!), and most importantly — it’s integral to your immune system. The GALT contains specialized immune structures called Peyer’s patches that are filled with immune cells, such as B cells and T cells, which are responsible for recognizing and neutralizing harmful bacteria. When pathogenic bacteria visit your gut via food or your environment, the Peyer’s patches trigger your immune response to prevent them from passing through the gut wall.

Another way your gut protects you from infection and disease is through an abundance of healthy bacteria.

To keep harmful bacteria from overthrowing your gut, healthy bacteria need to thrive and cover your gut wall — the only thing standing between everything inside your gut and your bloodstream. It helps to imagine that your gut wall is a parking lot. There are a limited number of “parking spots” along your gut wall. You want good bacteria parked in those spaces so bad bacteria are crowded out. Keep those spaces filled by adopting the following gut health.

Now that you know how important your gut health is to your overall wellbeing, how can you take care of your spectacular gut?

1. Take a probiotic supplement: A daily probiotic supplement will help boost the good bacteria in your gut, keeping the bad guys under control, boosting your immune system and easing digestive issues. This is especially helpful when you’re taking a medication, such as an antibiotic that has wiped out a large amount of gut bacteria. Any health food shop can recommend a probiotic.

2. Eat probiotic whole foods: You can also eat whole foods that are fermented and contain large amounts of good bacteria. Sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, microalgae and coconut kefir are fantastic plant-based probiotic-rich foods. When looking for probiotic-rich foods, avoid vinegar-based and/or pasteurized varieties, since these elements kill good bacteria. You want to pick up (or make!) lacto-fermented probiotic foods (FYI–this is a plant-friendly approach, no whey is necessary). If you’re interested in making your own probiotic foods, Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz is a popular book on the subject. Word to the wise: Get educated on fermenting at home before diving in–it can be risky if you don’t know what you’re doing!

3. Eat prebiotic whole foods: Certain foods feed and support the growth of good bacteria. By eating more whole, plant-based, fibre-filled foods, you’re fuelling the bacteria that support your health. Raw onions, garlic, dandelion greens, artichokes, and bananas are some of the best prebiotic foods to add to your diet.

4. Eat regularly, but not constantly (eat your last meal of the day preferably before 6pm): To give your gut a chance to clean up and clear out bacteria and waste, it needs a rest from digestion. Every 90 minutes to two hours, the smooth muscle in your intestines move and groove to keep bacteria and waste truckin’ through your digestive tract. But this process is put on hold every time you eat. Can you see why snacking constantly slows down digestion and contributes to bacterial overgrowth? I’m not saying that you need to fast for long periods — eating regularly helps prevent constipation and bloating — but it’s best to take breaks between meals.

5. Stay hydrated: A good rule of thumb for staying hydrated is drinking half your bodyweight in ounces of water each day. For example, if you weigh 130 pounds, you should drink about 65 ounces of water. That’s about eight 8-ounce glasses of water. Your gut needs water to keep bacteria and waste moving through your digestive system, which will help prevent constipation and bloating. When you’re dehydrated, these issues can throw off the balance of bacteria in your gut and lead to inflammation. Give your gut a hand and drink more H2O!

6. Cut out refined sugar and processed foods: When you consume processed, sugar-laden, refined foods, you’re giving bad bacteria an all-you-can-eat buffet, which increases the likelihood of developing gut issues and associated illnesses.

7. Reduce stress:  The brain and the gut are closely connected and communicate with each other. When you experience chronic stress, your brain goes into fight or flight mode, causing your digestion and blood flow in the gut to slow down, the muscles that push along waste and bacteria to freeze up and the secretions for digestion to decrease. All of these stress responses equal a poorly functioning gut! Take care of your gut health by coping with stress through breath work, yoga, meditation, therapy, time in the outdoors and the countless other stress reduction techniques available to you.