Today's blog is about herbs that begin with the letter F. I also want to talk about how to match herbs to the individual and not just the condition. Herbalism isn't a one size fits all solution. As I have stated before it requires a consultation to determine what herb or herbal remedy is right for you. This begins with figuring out your personal energetics.
Are you a hot person who sweats easily or a cold person with dry skin and hair? Next we try to find the energetics of the condition you want to address. Do you have a dry nose and throat with chills or are you hot and feverish and have a runny nose? This next part is somewhat confusing so now be prepared for some Yoda speak. This line of questioning helps to determine if you are a cold dry person that is currently experiencing a hot moist condition or vice versa (see Yoda speak!) The next step is to find a plant with the proper energetics to treat both the person and the condition. An example of this would be that fennel (one of our feature herbs today) is spicy, warm, dry, and light and would be best used to clear the lungs and intestines in someone who was cold and moist, with lots of mucus.
This is how simple and complicated herbal remedies can be and that’s just the simple version of an herbal consult. Herbs can be very specific to a condition and a person, and yet easy enough to implement in day to day living! Let's begin with how to use fennel.
Parts used - seeds and stem
Warming, sweet, pungent, dry and light.
Constituents - cresol alpha pinene, vitamin C, fiber, potassium, copper, manganese, folate, phosphorus, calcium, iron, vitamin B 3, portothenic acid, rutin, quercitin, glycosides, and a phytonutrient called anethole that fights inflammation.
Internal uses - carminative, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, galactagogue, stomachic, phytoestrogenic, expectorant, emenagogue.
Fennel increases digestive fire without aggravation. It helps to calm nerves, can treat asthma and high blood pressure, gas and can be used to help lactation. Take as a tea until desired lactation results. For chronic digestive/lung issues take 1-2 grams per day. For gas you can chew 1 tablespoon of seeds or you can eat the stem stalks like celery in stews or soups.
Ayurveda name - Methi, or Medhika
Parts used - seeds, stems and greens
Constituents - iron, vitamin C, A, B1, phosphates, fiber, protein, sapogenins, phytosterols, diosgenin, amino acids.
Internal uses - fenugreek is one of the oldest recorded medicinal plants and one of the most versatile. It is a tonic, an expectorant, an anti-inflammatory and a blood sugar stabilizer. Often used as a seasoning in foods it has a bitter, pungent, and sweet taste. Studies have shown it to be helpful in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It has also been shown to increase the production of pancreatic enzymes. Warning - Do not use while pregnant because it is a phytohormone. Doses - 15 grams a day in capsules or sprinkled into food.
Topical uses - anti- inflammatory so can you can mix the powder with water to form a paste to use on eczema, gout, boils or burns.
Chinese name - Lian Qiao)
Parts used - fruit
Constituents - penylethanoids, forsythaside and suspensaside, lignans, phillyrin, pinoresinol, o p d glucoside and phenyllenoids.
Topical uses - antibacterial, antiemetic, parasiticide, antipyretic, and anti-inflammatory. Treats common cold, flu, swollen glands, sore throat, and upper respiratory issues. Take 3-12 grams per day in capsules or as a tea.
Hope any of this was helpful and as always check with a qualified physician before taking any herbs or herbal supplements. Check back next week for helpful herbs that begin with the letter G!
The Way of Ayurvedic Herbs: A Contemporary Introduction and Useful Manual for the World's Oldest Healing System, Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa, Michael TierraThe Way of Chinese Herbs, Michael Tierra, L.A.c. O.M.D
The Way of Herbs, Michael Tierra, LA.c O.M.D.