Around 1750 BC Hannibal waged war to control the areas in North Africa where aloe vera flourished. It’s no wonder when you understand the powerful medicine contained in this plant Continue reading
For more than 2,000 years, a spiky purple plant known as the “liver herb,” has been used in traditional medicine for healing a wide range of conditions from mushroom poisoning to indigestion. Modern researchers have now added the prevention of photo-aging and skin cancer to the long list of milk thistle’s benefits. Continue reading
If you have struggled with the pain, swelling and unsightliness of spider and varicose veins, butcher’s broom (Ruscus Aculeatus), also known as box holly, could be the answer you’ve been looking for. Continue reading
Most Europeans are under the wrong impression on the origins of this wonderful plant. The Gladiolus was first discovered near the end of its range in KwaZulu Natal in the late 1820’s. The name G. natalensis was then used for species farmed in Holland. Professor C.G.C. Reinwardt at Leyden distributed plants under this name to growers. No other species of the genus has caused so much taxonomic confusion and misunderstanding. Continue reading
Research backs up the ancient use of topical aloe vera as a skin treatment, at least for specific conditions. Studies have shown that aloe gel might be effective in treating psoriasis, seborrhea, dandruff, and minor burns and skin abrasions, as well as radiation-induced skin injuries. Aloe gel also seems helpful in treating the sores caused by genital herpes in men.
There’s also strong evidence that aloe juice (also called latex) taken by mouth is a powerful laxative. In fact, aloe juice was once sold in over-the-counter constipation drugs. But because aloe’s safety was not well-established, the FDA required that aloe be removed from all medicines in 2002.
Other uses of oral and topical aloe vera have been studied, ranging from cancer prevention to diabetes to easing the side effects of radiation therapy. For example, aloe vera gel taken orally seems to help people with diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels. It may also help to lower cholesterol. The results for other medical conditions have been less clear.
How much Aloe Vera should you use?
Creams and gels with aloe vera vary in dosage. Some creams for minor burns have just 0.5% aloe vera. Others used for psoriasis may contain as much as 70% aloe vera. As an oral supplement, aloe has no set dose. For constipation, some use 100-200 milligrams of aloe juice — or 50 milligrams of aloe extract — daily. For diabetes, 1 tablespoon of the gel has been used daily. High oral doses of aloe or aloe latex are dangerous. Ask your doctor for advice on how to use aloe.
Can you get Aloe Vera naturally from foods?
There are no food sources of aloe vera.
What are the risks of using Aloe Vera?
• Side effects. Topical aloe vera might cause skin irritation. Oral aloe, which has a laxative effect, can cause cramping and diarrhea. This may cause electrolyte imbalances in the blood of people who ingest aloe for more than a few days. Aloe gel, for topical or oral use, should be free of athroquinones (primarily the compound aloin). These are the compounds that can be irritating to the gastrointestinal tract.
• Risks. Do not apply topical aloe vera to deep cuts or severe burns. People allergic to garlic, onions, and tulips are more likely to be allergic to aloe. High doses of oral aloe are dangerous. Long-term use may increase the risk of colorectal cancer. Don’t take oral aloe if you have intestinal problems, heart disease, hemorrhoids, kidney problems, diabetes, or electrolyte imbalances.
• Interactions. If you take any medicines regularly, talk to your doctor before you start using aloe supplements. They could interact with medicines and supplements like diabetes drugs, heart medicines, laxatives, steroids, and licorice root.
Given the lack of evidence about its safety, aloe vera supplements should not be used by children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Other names: Geranium maculatum, American cranesbill, alum root, wild geranium, spotted cranesbill
Cranesbill is a herb common to eastern North America. The part used medicinally is the root. Cranesbill is found in tea, capsule, and liquid extract forms.
Why Do People Use This Herb
Cranesbill has been used by indigenous peoples in North America to stop bleeding and to treat diarrhea.
- Crohn’s disease
- Heavy menstrual periods
- Uterine bleeding
- Bladder inflammation
Some people develop indigestion after using cranesbill. It shouldn’t be taken for more than three consecutive weeks unless recommended by a qualified practitioner.
Cranesbill shouldn’t be used by pregnant or nursing women.
Cranesbill was a folk remedy to stop bleeding, but it shouldn’t be used in place of conventional care.
Bilberry fruit is a close relative to the American blueberry. It’s a common ingredient in pies, cakes and jams. The active constituents are thought to be antioxidants called anthocyanins.
Why Do People Use Bilberry
Bilberry is primarily used for eye conditions and to strengthen blood vessels. During World War II, British Royal Air Force pilots reportedly found that eating bilberry jam just before a mission improved their night vision which prompted researchers to investigate bilberry’s properties.
Bilberry is also used for glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and cataracts.
The anthocyanins in bilberry may strengthen the walls of blood vessels, reduce inflammation and stabilize tissues containing collagen, such as cartilage, tendons and ligaments. Grape seed contains similar substances, however, bilberry’s anthocyanins are thought to have particular benefits for the eye.
Because bilberry is thought to strengthen blood vessels, it’s sometimes taken orally for varicose veins and hemorrhoids.