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August 31, 2009 01:36 PM
Horsetail has been used for healing in both Chinese and Asian cultures. During times of famine, the Romans ate horsetail shoots, while Native Americans used horsetail as a diuretic for kidney problems, cancer, and dropsy to increase blood circulation. The Hopi tribe in New Mexico mixed horsetail and Cornmeal as a mush and in their bread. One of the oldest plants on the earth, horsetail is approximately two hundred million years old. It used to be a giant fernlike plant. However, there are now around twenty species of the original plant living today. These species are small in comparison to the original plant and are usually considered to be a nuisance. The species Equisetum arvense is a small perennial fern plant that is most common in North America.
The horsetail plant is a descendent of huge tree-like plants that thrived 400 million years ago during the Paleozoic era. The plant is a non-flowering weed that can be found throughout parts of Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and North America. This plant returns each year with hollow stems and shoots that resemble asparagus. As the plant dries, silica crystals, which form in the stems and branches, give the plant the scratching effect that made it historically useful for polishing metal.
Horsetail is believed to aid the immune system and the nervous system because of its silica content. The nerves contain almost the same amount of silica as does the albumin in the blood. The pancreas is especially rich in silica. Silica is found combined with fluorine in the enamel of the teeth. Additionally, hair needs silica to grow, and it is needed as a protection for the skin and cell walls. This herb helps in treating urinary tract problems. It contains silicic acid, which is responsible for helping with circulation of the blood. This herb is also credited with helping coagulate the blood and decreasing blood flow. An externally-applied decoction has the ability to stop bleeding of wounds and help with healing. Horsetail can also be used as a mouthwash for mouth infections. Often found in calcium combinations, horsetail is helpful in building the skeletal system and improving bone structure. The silica that is found in horsetail also helps in healing bones, keeping the arteries clean, and facilitating the absorption of calcium in the body.
This herb is known for its antibiotic properties and its contribution to the overall healing process. Horsetail is also thought to help with bleeding, urinary and prostate disorders, bed-wetting, skin problems, and lung disease. Horsetail also possesses a weak diuretic effect, which is most notably due to the equisetonin and the flavone glycosides.
In short, the entire horsetail herb is used to provide alterative, antilithic, antineoplastic, astringent, diuretic, emmenagogue, galactogogue, lithotriptic, nephritic, nutritive, and vulnerary properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are flavonoids, iodine, iron, manganese, PABA, pantothenic acid, silicon, sodium, and vitamin E. Primarily, this herb is extremely beneficial in treating arthritis, poor circulation, diabetes, glandular problems, weak hair, kidney stones, weak nails, nervousness, osteoporosis, parasites, rheumatism, and urinary problems.
Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with edema, eyestrain, gas, gout, heart problems, hemorrhage, incontinence, liver disorders, membrane irritations, neuralgia, palsy, skin disorders, tumors, and water retention. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by horsetail, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store.
April 09, 2009 03:08 PM
Amaranth is an herb full of vitamins. It was traditionally used by Native Americans in both Central and North America as a survival food. This herb has been cultivated for thousands of years in many different cultures due to the fact that it grows well in most climates and uses a very small amount of water. Amaranth contains a huge amount of protein and a lot more calcium than milk provides. It also contains the amino acid l-lysine, which is not often found in plants. Amaranth seeds were used by the Aztecs in their pagan ceremonies. Additionally, mature seeds of the amaranth plant were eaten raw, mixed with Cornmeal, or added to soups. The leaves, which taste similar to spinach, can also be eaten.
Often, amaranth is used for gastroenteritis or the stomach flu. It helps to lessen the irritability of the tissues. A strong decoction of amaranth can be used to remove worms and other parasites from the digestive tract. Applying amaranth topically can help to reduce tissue swelling. The herb can be used with bandages for medical treatment. Additionally, it can help stop excess bleeding which is often caused by sore gums, nosebleeds, and heavy menses. Amaranth is highly digestible and is recommended for infant formulas.
Amaranth is a traditional food plant in Africa with the potential to improve nutrition greatly. There are several species of amaranth grown in Asia and the Americas for grain. Ancient grains still used to this day include three species: Amaranthus caudatus, Maranthus cruentus, and Amaranthus hypochondriacus. Even though amaranth was grown on a small scale in parts of Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, India, and Nepal, there is a huge potential for future cultivation in the U.S. and tropical countries. Because of this, this herb is often referred to as “the crop of the future.” Because of a weedy life history, amaranth grains grow very rapidly, with their seedheads weighing up to 1 kilogram and containing a half-million seeds. Amaranthus species have a 30% higher protein value than rice, wheat flour, oats, rye and other cereals.
Amaranth was revived in the 1970s because of it is very palatable, easy to cook, and a protein that is well suited to human nutritional needs. This herb was recovered in Mexico from wild varieties, now being commercially cultivated. A popular snack sold in Mexico City, this herb is often mixed with chocolate or puffed rice. Its use has recently spread to Europe and parts of North America. Amaranth is a pseudo grain because it has a very similar flavor and cooking ability to grains. Along with protein, amaranth provides a great source of dietary fiber and dietary minerals including iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and manganese.
The leaves, seeds, and flowers of the amaranth plant are responsible for all of the health benefitis provided. Amaranth’s properties include: alterative, astringent, demulcent, diuretic, and nutritive. Primarily, amaranth is used for diarrhea, dysentery, excessive menstruation, and nosebleeds. Amaranth can also be used for canker sores, bleeding gums, stomach and mouth ulcers, worms, and wounds. For more information on the benefits of this herb, please contact your local health food store.