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Authentic Herb of the Week: Arnica!

Have you heard of the herb called arnica? Have you ever used it? Many people have purchased it in lotion form to use topically on their skin. But what is arnica and what are it’s healing properties?

What is it? It is an herb with several flower stalks that are can be yellow or orange. They have daisy-like blooms and appear in the midsummer months.

Where is it grown? Arnica is native to Alaska, the Western United States and Mexico.

What are it’s healing properties? This herb has stimulant and analgesic properties.

What does it do? It has been said to relieve the symptoms associated with aches, strains, bruises, and painful injuries (only when the skin has not been broken). Internally, arnica should only be prescribed by a highly experienced natural health practitioner.

Where do you get it? Arnica comes in sprays, gels, tinctures, creams and ointments. You  can usually find different products containing arnica at your local natural health food store or pharmacy.

Fun Fact: To make your own “Oil of Arnica”, simply macerate fresh or dried arnica leaves and flowers in warm sesame or olive oil for three days. Then squeeze and strain it through a cloth.  You can bottle it and keep it on hand in your medicine cabinet!

Words of Wisdom: While natural treatments that use herbs are very beneficial and have been shown to improve health dramatically, always consult your local health care professional or herbalist before introducing a new supplement or herb to your daily routine.

References: The Way of Herbs. Tierra, Michael, L.A.C., O.M.D. 1980. Pocket Books. New York, NY.

Authentic Herb of the Week: St John’s Wort!

What is it? This pretty plant brightly displays it’s yellow flowers and stands at about three feet in height. It’s also known has Chase-Devil and Tipton Weed. 

Where is it grown? You can find St John’s Wort around North and South America, India, Africa, and New Zealand. Some of these countries view this plant as a weed but many have recognized it for it’s awesome health benefits.

What are it’s healing properties? It has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, astringent, and antidepressant properties. It can also be used as a sedative.

What does it do? This herb is most often used in relieving depression and improving peoples’ moods. It’s been said that St John’s Wort actually affects the neurotransmitters in our brain, making them more likely to connect with receptors.  It has been shown to help improve serotonin and dopamine levels which helps to make us feel happy. The Chinese have used St John’s Wort as a way to lessen the symptoms with PMS and it has been shown to have a calming effect on the digestive tract. It’s also been used to help with hemorrhoids, peptic ulcers, and breathing problems.

Where do you get it? Most natural health food stores carry multiple brands of tinctures, teas, and supplements containing St John’s Wort. You can ask the helpful people who work there what will be the best product for you.

Fun Fact: Did you drink too much? St John’s Wort has been used by many people to relieve the nasty symptoms associated with hangovers. You can actually purchase St John’s Wort tea and drink it during the morning after your rough night.

Words of Wisdom: While natural treatments that use herbs are very beneficial and have been shown to improve health dramatically, always consult your local health care professional or herbalist before introducing a new supplement to your daily routine.

References: The Way of Herbs. Tierra, Michael, L.A.C., O.M.D. 1980. Pocket Books. New York, NY.