ELDER has insect-repellent properties, for it is said that people strike or whip fruit trees and vegetables with elder boughs (or better still, drape them over), so that the scent would kill off troublesome insects. Elder is described in Wiltshire as a “charm” against flies. Hampshire people recommended a wash made from elderberries steeped in hot water, to deter gnats from biting. If flies were troubling a horse, Lincolnshire carters would tie a branch of elder in leaf to the harness, and that would keep them away. And elders used to be grown by a dairy door, or by an outside privy, for exactly the same purpose. Elder twigs stuck in along the rows of broad beans will keep blackfly away, though judging from the state of elder blossom towards the end of their flowering period, blackfly are immune there. But they say that elder blossoms picked at full moon and stuck into fruit, drive away weevils. You can get rid of ants, too, by pouring a strong decoction of elder leaves over the nests. And you can actually keep fly off the turnip by making an elder-bush harrow to draw over young turnip crops. Of course, insect bites should be rubbed with an elder leaf. BLACK WALNUT leaves, too, will keep house-flies away, and a Read more […]

Lavender: Practice Points – Patient Counselling. FAQ

• The active part of lavender is the volatile oil, which has relaxing, sedative, antispasmodic and antiseptic activity. • Lavender can be taken as a tincture or tea, or the oil can be applied topically, used in baths or inhaled from a diffuser. • It is advised that topical preparations be tested on a small area of skin before widespread application. • Lavender has traditionally been used for sleep disorders, anxiety and nervous stomach, as well as to treat minor cuts, burns, bruises and insect bites and is commonly found in cosmetics and toiletries. • Lavender contains substances that are currently being studied for cancer prevention. Answers to Patients’ Frequently Asked Questions What will this herb do for me? Lavender oil is used to assist in relaxation, digestive problems and as first aid for minor skin conditions. When will it start to work? As a relaxant, effects may be felt on the first day of use, but this will depend on the dose and form used. Are there any safety issues? Although lavender has not been scientifically studied as extensively as some other herbal medicines, historical use suggests it is generally safe. Read more […]

Lavender: Clinical Use. Dosage

Although few scientific or clinical studies have been conducted with lavender oil, much of the evidence supporting its use is based on the known pharmacological actions of the constituents and a long history of traditional use. ANXIETY, INSOMNIA AND MOOD ENHANCEMENT A number of controlled trials and observational studies suggest that inhalation of ambient lavender oil has a relaxing effect and is able to reduce anxiety and improve mood, concentration and sleep. In a study of 31 healthy volunteers intermittent exposure to ambient lavender oil over a 30-minute period was found to increase the percentage of deep or slow-wave sleep in men and women with corresponding reports of higher vigour the morning after lavender exposure. That study also reported gender-specific effects with increased stage 2 (light) sleep, as well as decreased rapid-eye movement sleep and the amount of time needed to reach wakefulness after first falling asleep in women, and opposite effects in men. In a 4-week randomised double-blind, pilot study lavender tincture (1:5 in 50% alcohol) 60 drops/day was not as effective as imipramine for treating depression; however, a combination of lavender tincture and imipramine was found to be more effective Read more […]

Herbs and Ailments

Herb Ailments Historically Used for… Alfalfa Arthritis, bursitis, rich in minerals; tooth decay, gout, ulcers, nutritional deficiencies (feeds), deodorizes, allergies, anemia, mild diuretic, kidney cleanser, radiation damage, fatigue Algin Radiation, heavy metal poisoning, detoxing Aloe vera Burns (all types), digestive disorders, gastritis, ulcers, arthritis, laxative, scar tissue, deodorant, hemorrhoids, hiatal hernia, wrinkles, heartburn Arnica Bruises, pain, shock, trauma, distress, injuries Bayberry Diarrhea, indigestion, infections, jaundice, hemorrhage, goiter, prolapsed uterus Bee pollen Allergies, asthma, hayfever; immune system stimulant; provides nutrients for survival; nutritional deficiencies, anti-aging, hypertension, radiation sickness, anemia, increases fitness Bilberry Eyesight; improves night blindness; strengthens blood vessels; works as an antioxidant; varicose veins, kidney problems, light sensitivity Black cohosh Bites and stings, female disorders, menstrual pain, menopause, PMS, lungs (expels mucus), high blood pressure, relaxes nerves, eases hot flashes, stimulates estrogen production Black currant oil Multiple Read more […]