Each week I’m going to be adding a new plant that I’m studying and use this as my holistic health glossary.
ALOE VERA: I’m starting with Aloe Vera because it is one of the most popular kept house plants, it is incredibly easy to grow, and has so many healing properties. It is a truly amazing healing agent for burns. When applied topically, the thick gel is soothing and pain relieving, and it contains rich concentrations of anthraquinones, which promote rapid healing and tissue repair. Aloe Vera not only soothes burns it also prevents scarring. Aloe gel contains natural sunblock that blocks 20-30% of ultra violet rays. Taken internally, Aloe Vera is one of the most widely used laxatives. A majority of over the counter laxatives contain dried aloe. But be careful when using the outermost layer of the aloe leaf– as it can quite powerful. A few weeks ago, Harpers Bazaar UK shared one of Gisele’s secrets to glowing skin and it was a home made juice that contained a fresh peeled aloe among other ingredients. Aloe is said to have been the favorite herb of Cleopatra. The gel from aloe leaves is one of the most healing, soothing, remedies for digestive irrations and inflation such as stomach ulcers and colitis. Aloe soothes inflammation and is a great remedy for arthritis pain.
- Aloe is a low-maintenance, sun loving native to dry climates that prefers full sun and sandy well-drained soil
BASIL: Oh sweet basil! With over one hundred and fifty varieties, basil is known for its flavor, scent, essential oil, (pesto, yum!), and healing properties. The kind most commonly used in the kitchen is sweet basil and it acts principally on the digestive and nervous systems easing gas and stomach cramps and preventing or relieving nausea and vomiting. Basil can also be beneficial to those with anxiety, depression, insomnia as it is mildly sedative so it calms the nervous system. Basil also has antibacterial properties and the juice of the fresh leaves relieves the itch and pain on insect bites and stings.
- Sweet Basil is a sun-loving, warm weather plant that loves full sun.
BURDOCK: Burdock root is quite simply one of the safest and most effective detoxifying and cleansing herbs in western medicine and it grows with reckless abandon. This tenacious weed is one of the best herbs for skin issues and can be ingested or used topically to treat acne, eczema, psoriasis, scalp irritation, or any other skin ‘diseases’. Burdock contains a number of medicinal properties and is a specific remedy for the liver as it produces a detoxifying effect on the body as it is a diuretic. It also contains inulin, a carbohydrate that strengthens the liver. Burdock is currently being studied for its anticancer, anti tumor potential. It is also found to be beneficial on the lymphatic system which is an important part of the immune system.
- I purchased and organic tincture of burdock root to ease an itchy scalp while I was living in Nevada. I put four drops in 6oz of water and drank every morning to ease itchy dry scalp
CALENDULA Officinalis: Calendula flower is amazing at healing wounds by promoting cell repair and growth. The flower is an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. It can be applied topically or taken internally to aid the healing process of infections. Calendula is one of the best herbs for cleansing the lymphatic system and calendula tea is useful in keeping a fever from rising.
Photo from www.blossomjar.com
Calendula flower (as pictured in the right top corner) is quite costly but so worth it!