Tag Archives: herbal remedies

  • Herbal Remedy: Nettle (Stinging Nettle)

    Hopefully you haven’t had many real life encounters with nettle (Urtica Dioica)—also called “stinging nettle,” it grows in temperate climates and its stinging hairs and leaves can cause nasty hives. The hives, formally called urticaria, produce pale red, itchy, raised bumps (in fact, the Latin root of Urtica is uro meaning, "I burn"). The upshot: Avoid the fresh leaves of this plant, and use it instead for its powerful medicinal qualities that can strengthen and support the whole body.

    Nettle is considered a nutritive; it provides the body with a multitude of minerals, vitamins, proteins and dietary fiber. Nettle can support the urinary tract and serve as a diurectic. Nettle is also readily known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine effects.

    Nettles help tonify [can be briefly say what this means?] mucous membranes in addition to helping stop bleeding (as a hemostatic) and supporting breast milk production. Nettle is a hypotensive, assisting the heart by decreasing blood pressure, and is considered an astringent as it helps to shrink or constrict body tissues.

    Talk to a practitioner about the potential uses of nettle for the following conditions:

    • Chronic inflammation in the body
    • Excessive mucus discharge (non-stop runny nose)
    • Burning or difficulty urinating
    • Allergies (runny nose and stinging eyes)
    • Hemorrhoids
    • Arthritis and gout
    • Profuse menstruation
    • Suppressed milk flow in breastfeeding
    • Skin conditions such as eczema (especially in children), psoriasis, chicken pox, poison   ivy, rashes and insect stings/bites
    • Benign prostatic hypertension (the nettle root is especially good for this)

    We carry the following nettle products at Pharmaca:

    Herb Pharm’s Nettle Blend
    Pharmaca Nettles Caps or Tincture
    Gaia Herbs’ Nettle Leaf Caps
    or Tincture
    Eclectic Institute (in stores only)

    Though nettle has a multitude of uses, one of its most common uses is for seasonal allergies. Try using nettle to combat your runny nose and itchy eyes thanks to its antihistamine and astringent properties, which is why, if you suffer from seasonal allergies, many practitioners recommend taking it throughout allergy season (including Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, a member of Pharmaca’s Integrative Health Advisory Board).

    As always, please consult with a practitioner before taking any herbal remedies.

    Kate Brainard earned her degree as a naturopathic doctor from Bastyr University. She currently manages Pharmaca’s La Jolla store.

  • Herbal Remedies: Oil of Oregano

    You may already love it for what it adds to Italian meals, but true oregano is a potent herb that, when its oil is extracted, can serve a variety of health needs. Our practitioners often recommend it as a potent immune booster, and it’s also lauded for its antiseptic and antifungal properties, ideal for skin conditions, infections and candida.

    The wild oregano plant (origanum vulgare) grows mainly in the Mediterranean region, in countries such as Greece and Italy. The resulting oil contains powerful plant phenols, notably carvacrol and thymol, which help support a healthy microbial environment in the body.

    In addition, Oil of Oregano has been proven to be an effective anti-inflammatory for joint pain, sore muscles and other aches and pains. The oil contains naturally occurring calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, potassium, copper, boron, manganese and vitamins C and A, all of which can be beneficial both internally and externally.

    Oil of oregano is sold as a liquid extract and in capsules, and can be taken several times a day when trying to fight sickness. Taking it internally can also help alleviate allergy symptoms, respiratory problems and stomach problems. Because of its potency, most experts recommend that the oil first be diluted in extra virgin olive oil or unrefined coconut oil, but many extracts are already available in this diluted state (such as Pharmaca’s own Oregano Oil).

    Other uses:

    • Add a few drops of oil of oregano to your shampoo for natural dandruff relief
    • Rub into sore joints and muscles to relieve pain
    • Apply to bee stings and insect bites to speed healing
    • Apply to skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis or eczema
    • Inhale vapors directly from the bottle to relieve respiratory congestion

    Look for oil of oregano products at Pharmaca from Natural Factors, Herb Pharm, Gaia Herbs. As always, please consult a Pharmaca practitioner or your physician before taking any herbal supplement.

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