Morgan Botanicals

  (Loveland, Colorado)
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Boneset: Is It A Silly Name For A Fever Herb?

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

People often ask me "Why such a silly name for a fever herb?" So, I'm clearing up this matter right away: the name boneset implies that this plant is used to treat broken bones, but actually has nothing to do with that, well.......not really. The names of plants often reveal useful information about them, but they can also be very misleading. With a name like boneset, you are likely to lead one astray since the plant was traditionally used in the treatment of fevers, not to mend broken bones. However, with a quick understanding of how the name came to be, it all makes a little more sense.

Boneset's name comes from its traditional use as a treatment for "breakbone fever," an old term for dengue fever. Dengue is a mosquito-borne, viral disease that causes muscle pains so intense that people imagined their bones were breaking, hence its traditional name.

As one of early America's foremost medicinal plants, boneset today has been pushed aside and simply regarded as a weed with a somewhat interesting past. The Indians introduced this native perennial to early Colonists as a sweat-inducer, a beneficial treatment for fevers. The Indians used boneset for all fever-producing illnesses: influenza, cholera, dengue, malaria, and typhoid. Appropriately, but somehow less used, boneset's original common names were feverwort and sweat plant. This forgotten wild flower is known to treat minor viral and bacterial illnesses as well by revving up the immune system's response to infection and initiate profuse sweating. When you run a fever, and employ herbs that cause the body to sweat, the sweat itself helps cool the body down naturally as well as open the pores and restore circulation. The Indians knew this all to well and I'd say we are lucky to have been introduced to this herb that was used for centuries by indigenous North Americans.

Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) was listed as a treatment for fever in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia from 1820 through 1916, and in the National Formulary, the pharmacists' manual, from 1926 through 1950. It had no equal as a cough, cold and fever remedy during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. But over time it fell from favor, replaced by another fever fighter, Aspirin.

Traditionally, boneset is taken as a tea using the leaves and flowering tops. To prepare a tea, infuse 1 Tbsp. herb in a cup of boiled water and allow to steep, covered, for ten to fifteen minutes. Drink half cup every 2-3 hours. It's pretty bitter and well, kinda gross, but very effective and well worth the effort. Boneset also has the ability to loosen phlegm and promote productive removal which makes it a beneficial herb for colds.

A favorite tea that I use and like to call 'Fever Break Tea', is a personal blend of Elder Flower, Yarrow, Peppermint and Boneset. Then wrap up warm and allow the herbs to do their magic.

***Please keep in mind that boneset should be taken for acute conditions and for a limited amount of time, as long term use can cause degeneration of the liver and kidneys. However, it is still far safer than Acetaminophen and tastes equally as bad- so I personally will choose the boneset cure.

If you're looking for Boneset or other quality herbs, check here on my site morganbotanicals.com or in my Local Harvest store.

As always, please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 

 

 

 
 

Asthma: And The Amazing Herbs That Help

,Jessica Morgan, M.H.

Growing up as a child with extreme asthma, I spent my initial herbal learning years trying to understand the whats and whys of this condition.  Was it stress, weak immune system, our animals, what? I grew up in a non smoking home with a health freak mother and an environment that was cleaner than any hospital. So why was I having such a hard time. Ultimately, I believe it was stress induced asthma, and I had to find a way to control it.

So, being dependent on an inhaler for what seemed most of my childhood, and despising that I felt  'addicted' to this silly breathing apparatus, I searched for alternatives. I first turned to eucalyptus essential oil to ease my breathing troubles. I found that by simply inhaling straight from the bottle, my whole body relaxed. This was simply amazing to me. I mean really...it really was amazing. I had control for the first time, not my inhaler. So now that I could relax enough to catch my breath, I thought, maybe I needed to strengthen my lungs and immune system. I was on the hunt for herbs and oils that were going to help me breath. I so wanted to just breath. Sounds silly to those who have never suffered an asthma attack, but for those who have, not being able to breath is hell.

I spent my time learning about asthma and what triggers it. Asthma can caused by all sorts of things such as allergens from foods, food additives, pollen, mold, dust, mites, and pet dander, smoke, air pollution and toxins, colds, flu, or pneumonia, strenuous exercise, weather; such as extreme changes in temperature, drugs, and even emotional stress and anxiety. There is also often a strong link between seasonal allergies and bronchial asthma. Those with other respiratory disorders such as chronic sinusitis, middle ear infections, and nasal polyps were also likely to have nighttime awakening due to asthma.

That was me, I had numerous ear infections and tubes put in my ears three times. I grew up in the city with all kinds of little pets and I'm sure there was pollen in the air and what not, but I really believe it was emotional stress, as stress is the one things I have manage to eradicate from my life. I strive to live simple, silly, happy and stress free... period. But the good news is, that I have over come my daily asthma and when I do have trouble breathing (usually after weed eating/heavy yard work, or sometimes during outdoor activities in the cold or snow) I am now better equipped to control it.

Below are some herbs and essential oils I have found over the years to be very useful between and during an asthma attack. Learn about them, they may be helpful for you.

Herbal Remedies

There are herbs that will reduce attacks by strengthening the lungs and the immune systems as well as calming and relaxing.

Angelica -  possess anti-inflammatory properties and increases immune system function; which is why the root is often used in treating allergies as well.

Anise - often an ingredient in cough syrups and lozenges as an expectorant, which means it helps in the coughing up of mucus in conditions like asthma, bronchitis, the common cold and whooping cough. 

Coltsfoot -   since the principal active ingredient in the plant is a throat-soothing mucilage, it has been used medicinally as a cough suppressant and remedy for asthma and bronchial congestion.

Elecampane - long valued as a tonic herb for the respiratory system. It is often used as a specific remedy for chronic bronchitis and bronchial asthma. Elecampane soothes the bronchial tube linings and acts as an expectorant.

Horehound - anti-inflammatory and is often used to treat respiratory aliments such as asthma, bronchitis and whooping cough. 

Licorice - has been used traditionally to restore breathing and calm the breathing passageways.

Lobelia -  is a bronchodilator and antispasmodic which explains its popularity as a medicinal herb for asthma, spasmodic croup, pneumonia and whooping cough. It is thought to stimulate the respiratory center of the brain resulting in deeper and stronger breathing.  

Marshmallow -  a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant. The soothing and healing properties that are found in the mucilage in marshmallow make it a valuable herb for many lung ailments such as asthma.

Motherwort - decreases the severity of lung spasms but also reduce anxiety, thus lessening the chance of an attack. 

Mullein - contains antiseptic agents and is mostly used today for chest ailments including asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, pleurisy and whooping cough. 

Passionflower - decreases the severity of lung spasms but also reduce anxiety, thus lessening the chance of an attack.

Skullcap - due to its anti-spasmodic and sedative effects, it is also great for treating throat infections and incessant coughing.

Slipper Elm - has anti-inflammation and anti-irritant properties and is often recommended for lung conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, sore throats, coughs, pleurisy, or lung bleeding.

Turmeric - powerful anti-inflammatory and it is believed to reduce inflammation. Shows a similar efficacy to cortisone.

Wild Cherry -  is an expectorant, antispasmodic, and antitussive. These properties indicate its usefulness as a preparation for bronchitis or whooping cough and can be helpful in coughs that accompany pneumonia. It is also helpful in coughs with influenza, where there is associated shortness of breath and or wheezing.

Aromatherapy Remedies

Aromatherapy can also be very beneficial in controlling asthma as a number of essential oils have healing properties that reduce inflammation, encourage emotional balance, ease pain, discomfort and the struggle to breathe, and cause bronchodilation.

**Always check with a trained aromatherapist when choosing the appropriate essential oils for treatment of asthma. 

Bergamot - anti-inflammatory and is reputed to strengthen the immune system and combat tension and anxiety.

Chamomile- anti-inflammatory and some studies have shown chamomile to slow allergic reactions, such as those that trigger asthma attacks.

Clary Sage - sedative and anti-inflammatory properties  contains several estrogen-like oils that, when blended together, work for this condition. Blend these oils together for a massage oil or add them to bath water.

Eucalyptus - reduces swelling in the mucus membranes. A valuable oil for fighting respiratory inflammation.

Lavender -   is relaxing, calming, anti-inflammatory and a gentle antispasmodic that soothes and comfort distress. Facial steams help open airways and the lavender can quickly relax lung spasms.

Pine Needle - in the bath or in steam inhalation or in a diffuser, will help reduce the incidence of attacks.

Rose Absolute - is an antispasmodic oil and can be used in steam inhalation to calm attacks due to stress.


As always, please email any questions to

herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

Follow me on Twitter - MorganBotanical 

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 
 

Basil: The Beneficial Medicinal

 

Jessica Morgan, M.H. Basil, beyond being one of my most valued culinary herbs, is also one of my most valued medicinal herbs. Basil is known to be a great source of vitamin K, calcium, and other nutrients, as well as being abundant in antioxidants.

There are many different varieties of basil used for their medicinal and culinary attributes, but two of my favorites are the simple garden basil (Ocimum basilicum), and Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum) also known as Tulsi. Ancient cultures have long used basil to treat various stomach and respiratory problems.

Basil Leaf (Ocimum basilicum) is known to impart sedative, diuretic and antiseptic properties.  The essential oil content of basil helps in the treatment of gastro-intestinal and renal affections, bronchitis and fever. It is also beneficial to the heart, as it helps reduce cholesterol. The herb is safe for children to take, and can help chicken pox to hurry through its course. It's leaves can be chewed to relieve mouth infections. Powdered dried leaves can be used to brush the teeth, which freshens the breath, cleans the teeth and stimulates the gums. A simple cup of tea can help with headaches. The use of basil leaf tea is also recommended in nervous system fatigue, insomnia and painful menstruation. Fresh basil leaf compresses are useful to aid the unpleasant effects of insect stings. 

Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum) contains hundreds of compounds known as phyto-chemicals that work together to create strong anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and immune-enhancing properties. Often used to treat cough, sore throat, rash, stings, night blindness, hives, ear infections and fever. Leaves contain a tonic for the nerves and can improve memory. It helps to remove phlegm from the bronchial tubes and strengthens the stomach. Leaves can be chewed to aid colds and flu. One with kidney stones would benefit from basil as it is known to help expel stones from the urinary tract.

Consuming the warm brew of basil herbal tea can promote a more balanced metabolism, build stamina, and increase mental clarity. It is recommended to drink a cup after every meal.

If you're looking for loose leaf, you can buy Dried Basil Leaf and Dried Holy Basil here in my Local Harvest store.

As always, email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

Follow me on Twitter - MorganBotanical 

Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 

 

 
 

Yarrow...A Local Favorite

Jessica Morgan, M.H.Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) belongs to the sunflower family and can be recognized by its highly segmented leaves (millefolium means "thousand leafed"), and the clusters of daisy-like white or lavender umbel shaped flowers at the top of the stalk. The entire plant is strongly aromatic and similar to mothballs ( as fresh or dried yarrow repels moths). This drought tolerant plant can easily be grown in most yards and responds best to soil that is poorly developed and well drained. It is frost hardy and can easily be grown from seed and/or division. It is a perfect addition to an ornamental bed or border, as well as the herb garden. Seeds require light for germination, so optimal germination occurs when planted no deeper than a quarter inch. Seeds also require a germination temperature of 65-75°F.  Yarrow is a weedy species and can become invasive so should be divided every other year, and planted 12 inches apart. You can find Yarrow Seeds here in my Local Harvest Store.


Yarrow is one of the best diaphoretic herbs and is a standard remedy for aiding the body with cold and flu symptoms as well as breaking fevers. I like mixing yarrow with elderflower and peppermint for an effective fever reducer for my family. Simple yarrow herb tea has also been used in the past for stimulating appetite, helping stomach cramps, flatulence, gastritis, enteritis, gallbladder and liver ailments and also aids internal hemorrhage - particularly of the lungs.

Externally, yarrow has been used for all sorts of external wounds and sores from chapped or broken skin to sore nipples and varicose veins. I include yarrow in my Sitting Pretty Sitz Bath because it is one of the best herbal antiseptic and hemostatic herbs that help stop bleeding and prevent infection in tears from child birth.

Although yarrow should not be used internally during pregnancy, it is otherwise a very safe herb and is a good first herb in the home apothecary for the beginning herbalist. You can find dried Yarrow Herb here in my Local Harvest Store.

***Use yarrow with caution if you are allergic to ragweed. Its use is not recommended while pregnant.

 

As always, please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

Follow me on Twitter - MorganBotanical 

Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 
 
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