Health Benefits of Butterbur

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Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Butterbur has a plant extract used in alternative remedies. But what are its health benefits and are there any risks involved in using it?

Butterbur comes from a shrub that grows in Europe, Asia, and parts of North America, and is available as a natural remedy in many health food stores and pharmacies. It is most commonly used to treat migraines and hay fever, although it has a number of other potential uses.

What is butterbur?

Butterbur plant and flower.Butterbur extract comes from the bulb, leaf, and roots of the plant.

The proper name for the butterbur plant is petasites hybridus. It grows best in wet marshland, damp forest soil, or on riverbanks.

The name butterbur is thought to come from the fact that its large leaves were traditionally used to wrap butter and stop it from melting in summer.

Butterbur extract is taken from the leaf, roots, or bulb of the plant.

The use…

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Welcome October: Calendula, October Birth~flower

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Good Witches Homestead

COMMON NAME: calendula
GENUS:Calendula
SPECIES, HYBRIDS, CULTIVARS:
C. Officinalis ‘Golden Gem’- dwarf; double; yellow. ‘Pacific Beauty’- double; yellow, orange, apricot; more heat tolerant than other cultivars. ‘Orange Gem’- double; medium orange. ‘Chrysantha’- double; buttercup yellow.
FAMILY: Compositae
BLOOMS: summer and fall
TYPE: annual
DESCRIPTION: Calendulas have light green aromatic leaves and large {up to 4 inches across}, daisy-like flowers that come in shades of yellow and orange. Plants get to be approximately 2 feet tall with a spread of 12 to 15 inches though dwarf varieties that grow only have that size are also available.
CULTIVATION: Calendula performs best in cool weather and is often used as a fall bedding plant. For fall bloom, the seeds should be sown outdoors in mid-June. The seeds, which should be sown 1/4 inch deep, germinate best at temperatures ranging from 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. They need total darkness, so be sure…

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Analysis of Helichrysum (Immortelle) Chemistry, Antioxidant Activity, and Chemotaxonomy

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Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Traditionally, helichrysum (immortelle; Helichrysum italicum, Asteraceae) has been used for the treatment of scars and cuts, as well as used as a liver stimulant and diuretic. The essential oil of helichrysum has been found to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, fungicidal, and astringent effects. As an emollient and fragrance in the cosmetic and perfume industry, the chemical composition of helichrysum essential oil has been somewhat characterized. The aim of this study was to further characterize the chemical content and antioxidant activity of helichrysum aerial parts and to assess the chemotaxonomy of the H. italicum taxa.

The flowering aerial parts of helichrysum (H. italicum ssp. italicum) were collected in May 2011, near Valdanos, Montenegro. The air-dried aerial parts of the plant were extracted with 45% ethanol and dried. The air-dried flowering upper parts of helichrysum were submitted to hydrodistillation to produce the essential oil.

The essential oil was characterized by…

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Fall Allergies ~ An Herbal Approach

Good Witches Homestead

Seasonal allergies can really get you down, and over-the-counter meds can knock you out. Try these natural herbal remedies to soothe pollen induced headaches, scratchy throats, chapped skin, and more.

allergy-teaAs allergy sufferers, we’re acutely aware of seasonal changes in air quality. Earth’s reawakening in spring brings us welcome warmth, but it also delivers not-so-welcome tree pollen. Summer’s riot of plant bounty includes grasses and the associated output of pollen. Fall has its own offenders in the form of ragweed pollen and mold from fallen leaves.

If you’re an allergy sufferer, you may be thinking about closing the shutters and latching the door. Venturing out into this minefield of airborne plant pollens can feel treacherous. Fortunately, Mother Nature has provided us with a phyto-pharmacy that can help carry you comfortably through each season.

What’s an Allergy?

Seasonal allergies are common, affecting more than 35 million people in the United States and…

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Herbs To Have In Your Medicine Cabinet This Fall

Good Witches Homestead

It’s the time of year, where more often than not we are turning to our medicine cupboard to support our bodies and our families. An abundance of tea herbs, honey, and lemon, fresh herbs like ginger, turmeric, cayenne, and garlic are all great to have on hand throughout the winter. A few herbal tinctures also play useful roles and are key ingredients in the medicine cabinet.

elderflowerElderberry | Elderberry is an excellent superfood-like ally safe to take in large quantities. With elderberry and plenty of rest, our body’s natural response kicks in–that’s why elderberry syrups and tea have long been used to help support optimal immune function. All these amazing herbs come in handy when our resources are low: elderberry helps our body maintain its normal immune response. Because it’s so much like food, it’s incredibly safe for kids, and happens to taste divine when combined with honey–hence the elderberry syrup! This one…

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Ozark Encyclopedia – H – Horsemint

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Mountain Man Traditional Healing

Horsemint – Monarda bradburiana (often several of the Monarda genus)

Parts used: leaf, flower

Traditional uses: Infusion used for colds, chills, as a febrifuge, and for bowel complaints. Can be used externally in oils and salves for dermatological needs. Used in many of the same ways as Monarda fistulosa.

For stomach cramps and bellyache – “Red-pepper tea, catnip tea, horsemint (Monarda) tea all of these are mightily cried up as remedies for stomach cramps or bellyache.” ~Randolph OMF 95-96

Tea used for worms – “Horsemint tea is supposed to be a sure cure for rectal worms in children.” ~Randolph OMF 106-107

For diarrhea – “Horse mint (Monarda) is good for diarea.” ~Parler FBA II 2067

For kidney health – “Horse Mint (Monarda) leaves to make a tea out of helps the kidneys.” ~Parler FBA III 2596


Moerman, Daniel E. Native American Ethnobotany (NAE)

Parler, Mary Celestia Folk Beliefs from…

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Ozark Encyclopedia – G – Goldenseal

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Mountain Man Traditional Healing

Goldenseal – Hydrastis canadensis

Parts used: root

Traditional uses: Infusion used as wash for local inflammations and skin complaints. Generally alterative, anti-catarrhal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, bitter tonic, laxative, anti-diabetic and muscular stimulant.

“The action is tonic, laxative, alterative and detergent. It is a valuable remedy in the disordered conditions of the digestion and has a special action on the mucous membrane, making it of value as a local remedy in various forms of catarrh. In chronic inflammation of the colon and rectum, injections of Hydrastine are often of great service, and it has been used in haemorrhoids with excellent results, the alkaloid Hydrastine having an astringent action. The powder has proved useful as a snuff for nasal catarrh. It is employed in dyspepsia, gastric catarrh, loss of appetite and liver troubles. As a tonic, it is of extreme value in cases of habitual constipation, given as a powder, combined with…

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Ozark Encyclopedia – G – Garlic

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Mountain Man Traditional Healing

Garlic – Alium sativum

Parts used: bulb

Traditional uses: “Diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, stimulant. Many marvellous effects and healing powers have been ascribed to Garlic. It possesses stimulant and stomachic properties in addition to its other virtues. As an antiseptic, its use has long been recognized. In the late war it was widely employed in the control of suppuration in wounds. The raw juice is expressed, diluted with water, and put on swabs of sterilized Sphagnum moss, which are applied to the wound. Where this treatment has been given, it has been proved that there have been no septic results, and the lives of thousands of men have been saved by its use. It is sometimes externally applied in ointments and lotions, and as an antiseptic, to disperse hard swellings, also pounded and employed as a poultice for scrofulous sores. It is said to prevent anthrax in cattle, being largely used…

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Health and Beauty Benefits of Grapeseed Oil

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Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Fast facts on grapeseed oil. Here are some key points about grapeseed oil. More detail is in the main article.

  • Grapeseed oil is high in omega-6 fatty acids.
  • The oil can be used in hair and on the skin as part of your beauty regimen.
  • Buy expeller- or cold-pressed oil for use in the kitchen.

Grapeseed oil is a byproduct of winemaking. After the wine is made by pressing grapes, grape seeds are left behind. Grapeseed oil is extracted from these leftover grape seeds. Grapeseed oil is used as a natural beauty product. It’s also marketed as a healthy alternative to vegetable oil.

Is grapeseed oil safe to consume?

The health benefits of grapeseed oil are controversial. Part of this controversy is because of how the oil is processed. Most commercially available grapeseed oil is made using chemical solvents like hexane. Hexane is classified as an air pollutant and neurotoxin.

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Ozark Encyclopedia – G – Ginseng

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Mountain Man Traditional Healing

Ginseng – Panax quinquefolius

Parts used: root

Traditional uses: Root used for headache, colic, colds, as an expectorant. Chewed for thrush. Decoction used for palsy and vertigo. Poultice applied to wounds and bleeding cuts. Decoction used as a febrifuge. General tonic.

“In China, both varieties are used particularly for dyspepsia, vomiting and nervous disorders. A decoction of 1/2 oz. of the root, boiled in tea or soup and taken every morning, is commonly held a remedy for consumption and other diseases. In Western medicine, it is considered a mild stomachic tonic and stimulant, useful in loss of appetite and in digestive affections that arise from mental and nervous exhaustion.” ~Grieve MH

*** Cautions: Plant is listed as “vulnerable” and may be illegal to gather in your area outside of a certain season. Ginseng gathering is legal in Arkansas, but the plant is hard to find and has almost been…

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