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Health Blog

Helpful herbs from A to Z- The letter I

    Today's blog is helpful herbs that begin with the letter I. Before we get into the amazing properties and uses of these herbs I want to talk about how important it is to know the energy and taste of an herb and the energy of the person taking the herb so they can be effective. One great example of this that I recently learned in one of my classes was the difference between Cruella de Vil and the Queen of Hearts. If you are familiar with these characters you can see that one is cold and dry in nature (Cruella) and the other is hot and moist in nature (Queen of Hearts) you would not use the same herbs on these two characters because of their underlining energies. One would need warming and moist herbs while the other would need cooling and drying herbs to be effective. This is why seeing an herbalist and always checking with a physician for any contraindications is important when using herbs and herbal remedies. If an herb isn't working for you it could be that the energetics of that herb and your energetics don't go together. This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure, just to inform.

Western Herb

Irish Moss(Chondrus Crispus)

Parts used - seaweed

The energy and taste is sweet, salty, and cold and moist

Constituents - vitamins A, B1, amino acids, sulphur, polysaccharides, proteins, mucins, iodine, bromine, manganese salts, carrageenan, iron.

Internal uses - a demulcent tonic, nutrient rich and emollient herb that is used for lung issues. This herb also supports skin health, bronchitis, thyroid issues, (caution: do not use in hypothyroid conditions), tones and strengthens all glands in the body and has shown to be helpful in digestive conditions. Taken as a tea, tincture or pill. If taking as tinctures take 1 to 2 ml 3x a day.

Topical uses - softens and soothes mucus membranes so it is great for chapped dry skin, sunburns, eczema, and psoriasis. Find in creams or skin care products.

Chinese Herb

Isatis Root(Ban Plan Gen)

Radix isatidis

Parts used - root

Energy and taste is cold, and bitter and drying

Constituents - sinigrin, indigo, clamastanin b, alkaloids, indirubin, lindioil, salicylic acid.

Internal uses - antibacterial, antiviral, parasiticide that is good for colds, flu, and sore throats. Take 10-30 grams per day till symptoms subside. Do not take if you are cold in nature and if you have an aspirin allergy due to the high salicylic properties of this herb.

Topical uses - for psoriasis of the nails apply oil from this herb to nail and nail bed 2x a day for 24 weeks. A chemical component (indigo and the lindioil in particular) have shown to be helpful in treating the psoriasis in some scientific studies.

Ayurvedic Herb

Indian Corral Tree( Erythrina Variegata)

Parts Used - leaves and bark

Constituents - alkaloids, flavonoids, triterpenoids, lectin, isoflavonoids, pterocarpan, steroid, proteins, amino acids.

Energy is light, bitter, pungent, cooling, and drying.

Internal uses - treats inflammatory conditions, menstrual pain, digestive problems, fevers, edema, painful urination, liver function and blood vessels. Specific studies have found that isoflavonoids in this tree can help protect the bone mass in mice (2007, Zhang Y. et.all Journal of Ethnopharmacology Vol. 109 (1) pop.165-9)
Bark 50- 100 ml or fresh juice from leaves 10-20 ml

Topical uses - The leaves can be used as a paste applied to wounds or over swollen joints.

     Hope any of the above information was helpful. Have a happy thanksgiving! I won't be posting next week but check back the week of December 1st for helpful herbs that begin with the letter J!


The Way of Ayurvedic Herbs: A Contemporary Introduction and Useful Manual for the World's Oldest Healing System, Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa and Michael Tierra
The Way of Chinese Herbs, Michael Tierra

The Way of Herbs: Fully Updated with the Latest Developments in Herbal Science, Michael Tierra

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