Herb Blurb

Herb Blurb

Over the thousands of years it’s been cultivated, flaxseed has had a variety of health and industrial uses. Around 500 B.C., Hippocrates wrote about flaxseed being a laxative, and pioneers in North America made flaxseed dressings for cuts and burns. Fiber from the plant is made into linen, and oil…
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 funeral gift to pharaohs. Historically, aloe vera has been used for a variety of purposes, including treatment of wounds,…
Yohimbe is an evergreen tree native to western Africa. It has a compound called yohimbine in its bark. The bark is used to make extracts, tablets and capsules. In parts of Africa, tea made from yohimbe bark has been used as an aphrodisiac (to increase sexual desire). Yohimbe is used…
Hawthorn is a flowering shrub or tree of the rose family. It is native to Europe and grows in temperate regions throughout the world. Historically, hawthorn has been used for heart disease as well as for digestive and kidney problems. It has also been used for anxiety. Extracts from the…
Most licorice root grows in Greece, Turkey, and Asia. Anise oil is often used instead of licorice root to flavor licorice candy. Centuries ago, licorice root was used in Greece, China, and Egypt for stomach inflammation and upper respiratory problems. Licorice root also has been used as a sweetener. Today,…
The bilberry bush is a relative of the blueberry and is native to many areas, including the Rocky Mountains and regions of Europe and Asia. Its berries and leaves have been used for medicinal purposes since the Middle Ages for a variety of conditions, including diarrhea, scurvy, infections, burns, and…
Ginkgo, one of the oldest living tree species in the world, has a long history in traditional Chinese medicine. Members of the royal court were given ginkgo nuts for senility. Other historical uses for gingko were for asthma, bronchitis, and kidney and bladder disorders. Today, the extract from ginkgo leaves…
Green, black, and oolong teas all come from the same plant, camellia sinensis, but are prepared using different methods. To produce green tea, fresh leaves from the plant are lightly steamed. Tea has been used for medicinal purposes in China and Japan for thousands of years. Current uses of green…
There are nine known species of echinacea, all of which are native to North America. They were used by Native Americans of the Great Plains region as traditional medicines. Echinacea is used as a dietary supplement for the common cold and other infections, based on the idea that it might…
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. Today, peppermint oil is used as a folk or traditional remedy for…
The leaves and fruit of the grape have been used medicinally since ancient Greece. Today, grape seed extract is used as a folk or traditional remedy for conditions related to the heart and blood vessels, such as atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and poor circulation;…
The acai palm tree, native to tropical Central and South America, produces a reddish-purple berry. The acai berry’s name, which comes from a language of the native people of the region, means “fruit that cries.” The acai berry has long been an important food source for indigenous peoples of the…
Sixteenth-century Spanish explorers learned of passionflower in Peru. Native peoples of the Americas used passionflower for boils, wounds, earaches and liver problems. Today, passionflower is used as a dietary supplement for anxiety, stress and sleep, as well as for heart ailments, asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, burns, and hemorrhoids. Passionflower is…
This fact sheet provides basic information about noni—common names, what the science says, potential side effects and cautions, and resources for more information. Noni is an evergreen shrub or small tree that grows throughout the tropical regions of the Pacific Ocean, from Southeast Asia to Australia. Noni has a history…
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