Peppermint Oil

 The herb peppermint, a cross between two types of mint (water mint and spearmint), grows throughout Europe and North America. Peppermint is often used to flavor foods, and the leaves can be used fresh or dried in teas.

Common Name—peppermint oil

Latin NameMentha x piperita

Noni

Noni is an evergreen shrub or small tree that grows throughout the tropical regions of the Pacific Ocean, from Southeast Asia to Australia and especially in Polynesia. Noni has been traditionally used in Polynesia as a dye.

Common Names—noni, morinda, Indian mulberry, hog apple, canary wood

Latin Name—Morinda citrifolia

Mistletoe

 European mistletoe is a semiparasitic plant that grows on several types of trees in temperate regions worldwide. Where the term "mistletoe" is used in this fact sheet, it refers to European mistletoe. (European mistletoe is different from American mistletoe, which is used as a holiday decoration.)

Common Names—European mistletoe, mistletoe

Latin NameViscum album L.

Milk thistle

Milk thistle is a flowering herb that is native to the Mediterranean region. It has been used for thousands of years as a remedy for a variety of ailments, especially liver problems.

Common Names—milk thistle, Mary thistle, holy thistle. Milk thistle is sometimes called silymarin, which is actually a mixture of the herb's active components, including silybinin (also called silibinin or silybin).

Latin NameSilybum marianum

Licorice root

 Most licorice is grown in Greece, Turkey, and Asia. Licorice contains a compound called glycyrrhizin (or glycyrrhizic acid). Licorice has a long history of medicinal use in both Eastern and Western systems of medicine.

Common Names—licorice root, licorice, liquorice, sweet root, gan zao (Chinese licorice)

Latin NamesGlycyrrhiza glabra, Glycyrrhiza uralensis (Chinese licorice)

 

Lavender

Lavender is native to the Mediterranean region. It was used in ancient Egypt as part of the process for mummifying bodies. Lavender's use as a bath additive originated in Persia, Greece, and Rome. The herb's name comes from the Latin lavare, which means "to wash."

Common Names—lavender, English lavender, garden lavender

Latin NameLavandula angustifolia

Kava

Kava is native to the islands of the South Pacific and is a member of the pepper family. Kava has been used as a ceremonial beverage in the South Pacific for centuries.

Common Names—kava, kava kava, awa, kava pepper

Latin NamePiper methysticum

 

Horse Chestnut

 Horse chestnut trees are native to the Balkan Peninsula (for example, Greece and Bulgaria), but grow throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Although horse chestnut is sometimes called buckeye, it should not be confused with the Ohio or California buckeye trees, which are related but not the same species.


Common Names—horse chestnut, buckeye, Spanish chestnut

Latin NamesAesculus hippocastanum

 

Hoodia

Hoodia is a flowering, cactus-like plant native to the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa. Its harvest is protected by conservation laws.

Common Names—hoodia, Kalahari cactus, Xhoba

Latin NamesHoodia gordonii

 

Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera’s use can be traced back 6,000 years to early Egypt, where the plant was depicted on stone carvings. Known as the "plant of immortality," aloe was presented as a burial gift to deceased pharaohs.

Astragalus
 astragalus

 astragalus—common names, uses, potential side effects, and resources for more information. Native to China, astragalus has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine. In the United States, the herb gained popularity in the 1980s. There are actually over 2,000 species of astragalus; 

The root of the astragalus plant is typically used in soups, teas, extracts, or capsules. Astragalus is generally used with other herbs, such as ginseng, angelica, and licorice.

Bitter Orange
Bitter Orange

The bitter orange tree is native to eastern Africa and tropical Asia. Today, it is grown throughout the Mediterranean region and elsewhere, including California and Florida. Bitter orange oil is used in foods, cosmetics, and aromatherapy products. Bitter orange oil from the tree’s leaves is called petitgrain, and oil from the flowers is called neroli.

Common Names—bitter orange, Seville orange, sour orange, Zhi shi

Latin Name—Citrus aurantium

What Bitter Orange Is Used For
Bitter orange has been used in traditional Chinese medicine and by indigenous people of the Amazon rainforest for nausea, indigestion, and constipation.
Current uses of bitter orange are for heartburn, loss of appetite, nasal congestion, and weight loss. It is also applied to the skin for fungal infections such as ringworm and athlete's foot.

How Bitter Orange Is Used
The dried fruit and peel (and sometimes flowers and leaves) are taken by mouth in extracts, tablets, and capsules. Bitter orange oil can be applied to the skin.

What the Science Says
There is not enough scientific evidence to support the use of bitter orange for health purposes.
Many herbal weight-loss products now use concentrated extracts of bitter orange peel in place of ephedra. However, bitter orange contains the chemical synephrine, which is similar to the main chemical in ephedra. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned ephedra because it raises blood pressure and is linked to heart attacks and strokes; it is unclear whether bitter orange has similar effects. There is currently little evidence that bitter orange is safer to use than ephedra.
  
Side Effects and Cautions

Because bitter orange contains chemicals that may speed up the heart rate and raise blood pressure, it may not be safe to use as a dietary supplement. There have been reports of fainting, heart attack, and stroke in healthy people after taking bitter orange supplements alone or combined with caffeine. People should avoid taking bitter orange supplements if they have a heart condition or high blood pressure, or if they are taking medications (such as MAO inhibitors), caffeine, or other herbs/supplements that speed up the heart rate.
Due to lack of safety evidence, pregnant women or nursing mothers should avoid products that contain bitter orange.
Bitter orange oil used on the skin may increase the risk of sunburn, particularly in light-skinned people. 

Dandelion

Dandelion greens are edible and are a rich source of vitamin A. Dandelion has been used in many traditional medical systems, including Native American and traditional Arabic medicine.

Common Names—dandelion, lion's tooth, blowball

Latin Name—Taraxacum officinale

Ephedra

 Ephedra is an evergreen shrub-like plant native to Central Asia and Mongolia. The principal active ingredient, ephedrine, is a compound that can powerfully stimulate the nervous system and heart.

Common Names—ephedra, Chinese ephedra, ma huang

Latin Name—Ephedra sinica

Yohimbe

The yohimbe tree is a tall evergreen that is native to western Africa. The bark of the tree contains a chemical called yohimbine. The amount of yohimbine in dietary supplements may vary; some yohimbe products have been found to contain very little yohimbine. A drug form of yohimbine—yohimbine hydrochloride—has been studied for erectile dysfunction.

Common Names—yohimbe, yohimbe bark

Latin Name—Pausinystalia yohimbe

Ginger

Ginger is a tropical plant that has green-purple flowers and an aromatic underground stem (called a rhizome). It is commonly used for cooking and medicinal purposes.

Common Name—ginger

Latin NameZingiber officinale

Ginseng

Asian ginseng is native to China and Korea and has been used in various systems of medicine for many centuries. Asian ginseng is one of several types of true ginseng (another is American ginseng, Panax quinquefolius). An herb called Siberian ginseng or eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is not a true ginseng.

Common Names—Asian ginseng, ginseng, Chinese ginseng, Korean ginseng, Asiatic ginseng

Latin NamePanax ginseng

Grape seed extract

 The grape seeds used to produce grape seed extract are generally obtained from wine manufacturers. The leaves and fruit of the grape have been used medicinally since ancient Greece.

Common Name—grape seed extract

Latin NameVitis vinifera

Bilberry
Bilberry

Bilberry

Keywords: bilberry, European blueberry, whortleberry, huckleberry, night vision

Common Names—bilberry, European blueberry, whortleberry, huckleberry

Black Cohosh
Black Cohosh

 Black cohosh, a member of the buttercup family, is a plant native to North America. It was used in Native American medicine and was a home remedy in 19th-century America

Common Names—black cohosh, black snakeroot, macrotys, bugbane, bugwort, rattleroot, rattleweed

Latin Names—Actaea racemosa, Cimicifuga racemosa

Echinacea

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Echinacea

There are nine known species of echinacea, all of which are native to the United States and southern Canada. The most commonly used, Echinacea purpurea, is believed to be the most potent.

Common Names—echinacea, purple coneflower, coneflower, American coneflower

Latin Names—Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea pallida

Elderberry

European elder is a tree native to Europe and parts of Asia and Africa, and it also grows in the United States. There are several different types of elder, such as American elder, but European elder is the type most often used as a supplement.

Common Names—European elder, black elder, elder, elderberry, elder flower, sambucus

Latin Name—Sambucus nigra

 

Garlic

 Garlic is the edible bulb from a plant in the lily family. It has been used as both a medicine and a spice for thousands of years.

Common Name—garlic

 Latin NameAllium sativu

Taking Dietary Supplements Wisely

 Many people take dietary supplements in an effort to be well and stay healthy. With so many dietary supplements available and so many claims made about their health benefits, how can a consumer decide what's safe and effective? This fact sheet provides a general overview of dietary supplements, discusses safety considerations, and suggests sources for additional information. Check Out Living Well Magazine's  list of supplements and fact sheets  http://www.livingwellmagazine.net/health/vitamins-supplements-herbs/

Goldenseal

Goldenseal is a plant that grows wild in parts of the United States but has become endangered by overharvesting. With natural supplies dwindling, goldenseal is now grown commercially across the United States, especially in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Common Names—goldenseal, yellow root

Latin NameHydrastis canadensis

Ginkgo biloba

The ginkgo tree is one of the oldest types of trees in the world. Ginkgo seeds have been used intraditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, and cooked seeds are occasionally eaten.

Common Names—ginkgo, Ginkgo biloba, fossil tree, maidenhair tree, Japanese silver apricot, baiguo, bai guo ye, kew tree, yinhsing (yin-hsing)

Latin Name—Ginkgo biloba

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