February Monthly Specials – Herbs

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February Monthly Specials – Herbs

Certified Organic & Kosher Certified

Damiana Leaf

Turnera diffusa

Damiana Leaf

Common Name

Standardized: damiana

Botanical Name

Turnera diffusa Willd. ex Schult. var. diffusa Plant Family: Turneraceae

Parts Used

Dried leaf.

Overview

Damiana has been used in Mexico and southward to Central and South America since the times of the ancient Aztec, and is still quite popular today.2,3 Although its effect on sexual desire was its primary use across cultures, it was also valued as a nerve relaxant, digestive stimulant, mood enhancer, and simply an enjoyable beverage that was given to children. In more recent times it has been used as an herbal smoke, often combined with other herbs, and a liqueur.3,4

Note: We are unable to ship this product to Louisiana.

Botany

Damiana is in the Turneraceae family, yet this family is often included in the same family as Passionflower (P. incarnate) Passifloraceae. Around half of the plants in the Turneraeace family are in the genus Turnera, including T. ulmifolia (Common name “ramgoat dashalong”, one can only imagine what this is referring to) which is similar in appearance yet was traditionally used differently5 and is now widely cultivated in Africa. Damiana is a small sub-tropical shrub bearing aromatic serrated leaves and small bright yellow flowers.2,5 T. diffusa is native to southwest Texas, Mexico, Caribbean, Central America and Brazil.1 According to a variety of baby naming websites, the origin of the common name damiana is from the Old Greek daman or damia meaning “to tame or subdue.” It is the feminine version of Damian and infers that Damiana is the wild one “who tames.”

Cultivation And Harvesting

Damiana is commonly cultivated for commerce in the Baja region of Mexico. It’s native range is tropical, being hardy to zone 9, and requires dry sandy soil and a lot of sun.6 Harvest leaves in warm summer months when flower is in bloom.

History And Folklore

It is believed that the indigenous Guaycura in the Baja region of Mexico were the first to use damiana. It was taken during religious ceremonies, yet eventually banned as its passion inspiring powers got out of hand. According to legend, this herb got distributed when the Guaycura started trading it with the Aztecs.3 Still today in this area, damiana is used as a flavoring for liqueur. There are several large companies located in southern Baja Mexico which distributes this beverage world-wide. The bottle is shaped like a voluptuous woman baring large breasts, full belly, and wide hips, purportedly modeled after an Incan goddess. It is said that the original margarita incorporated this liqueur rather than the standard triple-sec or orange-flavored alcoholic beverage.4 A bottle is often given as a gift to new brides and grooms.3 Damiana was also valued in the ancient Mayan civilization which spanned modern day Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Hondorus. The Maya used this plant similarly to the Aztecs and Guaycara, but also believed that it helped with balance and excessive giddiness.2 Throughout Central and South America, there are ethnobotanical reports of damiana’s therapeutic qualities. In Brazil it was taken as a tea and considered a general tonic.

Damiana was listed in the National Formulary from 1888 to 1947.2 Further, it was written in 1898, in King’s American Dispensatory, that “Damiana has been eulogized for its positive effects, acting energetically upon the genito-urinary organs of both sexes…and upon the system at large, it exerts a tonic influence.”7

This desire eliciting herb invites the mind to relax and go with the flow. It helps those that are too “in their head” to re-establish a connection with their more sensual side. The leaves are used to “relieve excess mental activity and nervous debility” in Germany, and the Dutch are quite aware of this plant’s ability to enhance desire.2

Damiana’s medicinal properties serve to uplift the spirit, improve digestion, relax the nervous system and to stimulate menstrual flow.2,5,6,8,9 Some scientific studies are investigating damiana to see if all of these reports are grounded in any kind of pharmacologic or phytochemical reality.

Flavor Notes And Energetics

Pungent herb with a fig-like flavor8

Herbal Actions

Bitter digestive stimulant, mild purgative, diuretic, tonic (for the nervous and reproductive system) hypochondriastic (quelling hypochondria),5 laxative, stimulant,9 nervine, emmenagogue, astringent, expectorant,2,10 urinary antiseptic

Uses And Preparations

Commonly the dried leaf and stem is used as a tea, tincture, in herbal smoking blends, or powdered and encapsulated, and is also infused in alcohol to make liqueurs or cordials.
A fresh plant tincture of leaf and stem may be made as well.

Constituents

Damianin, resins, tannins, a variety of minerals5,10 alkaloids, cyanogenic glycosides10,11
green essential oil, thought to smell like chamomile,5 perhaps due to the apigenin13 content. The essential oil contains pinene, cineaol, cymol, arbutin, cymene, cadinene, copaenen11,12

Herbal Miscellany

Damiana was a major ingredient (alongside French wine, coca leaf, and cola nut) in the popular 19th century beverage Pemberton’s French Wine Coca which claimed to be a panacea for ills ranging from nerve exhaustion to sexual troubles. This wine was created by the same pharmacist that invented Coca-Cola, and was marketed mostly to upper class intellectuals. Characters such as Jules Verne and Arthur Conan Doyle reportedly enjoyed this brew on occasion.14

T. diffusa leaves are approved for food use as a flavoring agent in the U.S. and appear in the FDA’s list of substances Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS), however this plant is considered illegal, and has been since 2005, in Louisiana. This was due to reported overdoses of synthetic cannabis which consisted of a herbal blend containing Damiana. Laboratory-made, synthetic cannabinoids are added to herbal mixtures often containing damiana and sold in states where cannabis remains illegal. These fake cannabis products are extremely dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.

Precautions

Specific: No known precautions.

25% Off 1 lb. – $10.50

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Hawthorn Leaf & Flower

Crataegus laevigata

Hawthorn Leaf & Flower

Common Name

Standardized: hawthorn
Other: English hawthorn, May tree, white thorn

Botanical Name

Crataegus laevigata (Poir.) DC.
Plant Family: Rosaceae

Overview

Hawthorn leaf, flower, and berry have been praised over the centuries for their heart elevating properties. Believed to uplift and strengthen both the physical and emotional heart, hawthorn, as it supports healthy cardiovascular function, was also revered for ceremonial and spiritual purposes. The flavorful red berries have been used in candies, jams, jellies, wines, and cordials and are widely available in many forms as dietary supplements.

Botany

Crataegus is a thorny shrub or tree with stems and trunks that consist of hard wood and gray bark, often having tri-lobed leaves and white flowers that are similar to other genera in the Rosaceae or Rose family and bearing bright red berries.4 There are around 280 known species,5 several of which are used in traditional medicine and may be used interchangeably. Generally C. laevigata (synonym C. oxyacantha) and C. monogyna are found in commerce.2 In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), C. pinnatifida is used.3 Crataegus oxyacantha is derived from the Greek ‘kratos’, meaning hardness and referring to the wood, ‘oxcus’ which means ‘sharp’, and ‘akantha’ which is a thorn.1 In several countries in Europe, in particularly Germany, the hawthorn was used as a hedgerow, ‘haw’ being an older term for ‘hedge.’ This shrub was also referred to as ‘whitethorn’ due to its light bark.1 C. mongyna or English hawthorn is native to the northern temperate forests of Europe and has become widely naturalized in the United States.2

Cultivation And Harvesting

Most hawthorn that is cultivated for commercial purposes is obtained from the United Kingdom and other countries such as Albania, Bulgaria, Romania, the former Yugoslavia, and Poland.2 Collect the flowering branches in the spring as all parts (leaves, twigs, spines, flowers) may be used for fresh tincturing. Or if drying, discard stems and spines. The berries are best harvested in the fall when they are fully ripe, and before the first frost.6

History And Folklore

Hawthorn has been used for healing since the Middle ages,7 with some accounts going back as far as the first century to Greek herbalist Dioscorides.2 It was later used by Swiss physician Paracelsus (1493–1541 CE).2 Considered to be a particularly symbolic tree with many folktales and magical myths surrounding it,7 hawthorn was “sacred tree medicine” to the ancient Druids, and was said to house fairies, specifically when growing with oak and ash trees.8 However, it was unlucky to bring the flowers into the house, quite possibly because they would bring the fairy folk with them.8 Hawthorn twigs and flowers were incorporated in the marriage wreath symbolizing chastity and insuring prosperity at Greek weddings and were also used to decorate alters worshipping the goddess of marriage, Hymen.7,8 In Ireland, couples desiring hawthorn’s blessing would dance around it at marriage ceremonies.8 The sprigs were attached to newborn’s cradles to protect them from evil7 and also used to decorate the maypole for the May Day or Beltane ceremony, which celebrated fertility and renewal. The blooming of this tree coincided with the first day of summer which occurred in May.7,8 In the traditional medicine of Europe all parts of the tree were appreciated and utilized: leaves, berries, flowers, and the wood. The blossoms were used as a heart tonic and a diuretic, and the berries and leaves were made into an astringent tea to soothe throats.1 The bright red sumptuous berries were also made into a tasty brandy cordial. Additionally, the wood was carved into smaller objects such as boxes and combs and burnt as fuel producing wood fires that were extremely hot.1 Hawthorn or ‘shanzha’ has been used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) since ancient times, however most historical uses were related to digestion until recently.3 It is considered energetically slightly warm, associated with the spleen, stomach, and liver meridians, and reflects both sweet and sour tastes.9 Presently, it is used to support the cardiovascular system as well, and in fact, in China, the berries are so popular that they are made into hawthorn candies that are similar to the ‘fruit roll-ups’ in the West.3 Hawthorn is considered a superior heart tonic by many herbalists6,10 having a gentle restorative effect on the heart over time and being supportive in cases where there is nervous tension.4,6 However, its effects on the heart are manifold. Many consider hawthorn to be transformational for the emotional or spiritual heart as well.7,11 Herbalist Matthew Becker suggests that hawthorn is specifically helpful for woman with “broken hearts” i.e. for those ” feeling wounded and hurt.”11 Often the flowers and leaves are made into floral essences to address these types of emotional issues.7,11

Flavor Notes And Energetics

Slightly warm energetically, being both sweet and sour in taste.9

Herbal Actions

cardiac,1,4,6,7,10 diuretic,1,10 tonic,1 sedative, vasodilator4 astringent, hypotensive, cardioprotective

Uses And Preparations

Dried leaf and flower as a tea or capsule; fresh or dried as a tincture. Dried berry as a tincture, tea, or encapsulated; can also be made into smoothies, punches, cordials or even made into a fresh juice.

Constituents

flavonoids (flavones, flavonols) including hyperoside, vitexinrhamnose, rutin, vitexin oligomeric procyanidins,12 quercitin and others5, pentacyclic triterpenes (such as oleanic acid, ursolic acid, an crataegolic acid), xanthine derivatives (such as adenosine, adenine, guanine and uric acid) amines including acetylcholine and choline, proanthocyanidins, chlorogenic and caffeic acids, vitamins B1, B2, and C, minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, fructose, and others.5

Precautions

Specific: No known precautions.

20% Off 1 lb. – $8.80

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Rosehips

Rosa canina

Rosehips

Common Name

Standardized: rose hips
Other: dog rose, dog brier, brier rose

Botanical Name

Rosa canina L.
Plant Family: Rosaceae

Overview

Introduction

Rose hips develop on wild roses as the flowers drop off. The rose hip, also called the rose haw, is actually the fruit of the rose. These fruits are one of the most concentrated sources of vitamin C available.

The rose hips procured by Mountain Rose Herbs come from the species Rosa Canina, which is commonly referred to as the dog rose. These plants are deciduous shrubs native to Europe and western Asia. They typically grow between 1 and 5 meters in height, and possess attractive flowers which range in color from white to pink. The fruit, known as rose hips, appears in early summer, ripening throughout the season and into autumn.

Constituents

Vitamins A, C, D, E, flavonoids, lycopene, iron

Parts Used

Fruit either shelled or powdered

Typical Preparations

Most commonly found in tea and liquors. Seldom found in capsule or extract form.

Summary

Rose hips have a tart flavor and can be used to make jelly, jam, soup or oil, or can be alternatively used to flavor tea. During World War II, the British government used collected rose hips to make rose hip syrup as a source of vitamin C to replace citrus fruits that were impossible to get. Rose hips have a long history of use in traditional medicine. Rose hip tea is a rich source of vitamin C, carrying all the benefits of that vitamin. In addition, the various flavonoids in rose hips have potent antioxidant action.

Rose hips contain anti-inflammatory properties and may be used to support healthy joints.

20% Off 1 lb. – $8.80

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Spearmint Leaf

Mentha spicata

Spearmint Leaf

Common Name

Standardized: spearmint

Botanical Name

Mentha spicata L.
Plant Family: Lamiaceae

Synonyms

Mentha viridis

Overview

Introduction

A hardy perennial mint with bright green serrated leaves, spearmint has served as an important medicinal herb for millennia. Originally native to the Mediterranean countries, it is now common in many parts of the world. The Bible records that the ancient Pharisees paid tithes to their Temple in anise, cumin and spearmint. The sixteenth century English herbalist Gerard quotes the Roman historian Pliny, “The smell of Mint does stir up the minde and the taste to a greedy desire of meate.” Beginning in about the fourteenth century, spearmint was used for whitening teeth, and its distilled oil is still used to flavor toothpaste and chewing gum, although it is not as commonly used as peppermint.

Constituents

Volatile oil, menthol, menthone, d-limonene, neomenthol, tannins and very small amounts of essential oil containing about 50% carvone.

Parts Used

The leaf, dried and cut.

Typical Preparations

Taken as a tea and added to other herbal mixtures for flavor. Also used in some culinary creations.

The essential oil and hydrosol have also been used for both culinary and flavoring purposes.

Precautions

We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.

15% Off 1 lb. – $12.33

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Slippery Elm Bark

Ulmus rubra

Slippery Elm Bark

Common Name

Standardized: slippery elm

Botanical Name

Ulmus rubra Muhl.
Plant Family: Ulmaceae

Synonyms

Ulmus fulva

Overview

Introduction

The slippery elm is a large, deciduous tree that is native to North American from Texas to Manitoba, and from Florida to Quebec. When growing in well-drained soils, it can reach a height of 60 feet (20 meters). The inner bark of the branches is collected in spring for medicinal use. Slippery elm bark added to hot water has a slippery and mucilaginous consistency. Native Americans used soaked slippery elm bark as a natural bandage, allowing to dry over wounds. Many tribes also wrapped slippery elm around stored food to prevent spoilage. Slippery elm also served as a food during famine and for making porridge for small children and elderly persons.

Constituents

Mucilages.

Parts Used

The chopped bark is suitable for poultices. Use ground bark for tea. The inner bark is preferred and this is what Mountain Rose Herbs exclusively offers.

Typical Preparations

Teas, infusions, poultices. Up to 5 tablespoons (15 grams) of slippery elm bark can be dissolved in a cup (240 ml) of water. Sometimes found encapsulated and as a liquid extract.

Precautions

Specific: Slippery Elm should be taken with at least 250mL (8 oz) of liquid. Other drugs should be taken 1 hour prior to or several hours after consumption of slippery elm. The mucilage may slow the absorption of orally administered drugs.
General: We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.

30% Off 1 lb. – $21.00

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Purchase all of your Aromatherapy Needs at:

http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/index.php?AID=138229

Debra Mauldin, Certified Aromatherapist

Contact: mauldinfamily1@yahoo.com

Please put ‘Aromatherapy’ in the subject line.

Join me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AromatherapyInformation

 

 

 

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