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Health Blog

Helpful herbs from A to Z - the letter K

    Today’s blog is on the letter K and three herbs in Western, Chinese, and Ayurveda medicine that are useful. But first we have to begin with the traditional disclaimer. This blog is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure any disease. Always check with your physician before taking any herbs or herbal supplements.
Western Herb

 Kava Kava (Piper Methysticum)

Energy and Taste:Pungent, bitter, and warm.

Parts Used - Root

Constituents – Resin, kavalactones, yagonin, methysticin, glycosides, starch, analgesic, antispasmodic, antiseptic, sedative, diuretic, tonic.
Treats – Relives rheumatic pain, alleviates insomnia and nervousness.
Dose – 10-50 drops of tincture a day

 Internal uses- In Europe Kava is an approved phytomedicine which is used to treat anxiety and depression. The kavalactones in Kava Kava act primarily on the limbic system. Do not take if you have liver toxicity, renal disease, bile duct obstruction or hepatic disease.  Do not take if you have heart issues or if you are on anti-coagulants. Do not take with alcohol, barbiturates, or any other anti-psychotic medications or anti-anxiety medications, or while pregnant or nursing. Short term use is best.

Topical uses - The tincture (1 part kava tincture to 2 parts glycerin) has a numbing effect when applied topically and is anti-fungal.

Chinese Herb

Kombu (laminarice japonica)
Sea cabbage – Edible seaweed in Japanese. It is a kelp that grows in tropical waters. Large brown algae.

 Constituents – Polysaccharides, lipopolysaccharide, amino acids, volatile oil, carotene, vitamins B1, B2, C, and P, sulfur, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus iron, manganese, molybdenum, iodine, aluminum, phosphate.

Parts used – All parts of the plant are used.

Energy and taste – Cold and salty.

Internal uses – Reduces edema and helps renal health, helps with atherosclerosis, hypertension, chronic bronchitis, chronic hepatitis, anemia, helps with endocrine function, constipation, helps with skin and hair.

Dose - 5 to 15 grams in pills or tincture daily.Because this is cold in nature it should be avoided by cold deficient people. High in iodine and potassium so avoid if you have kidney issues, hyperthyroidism or are breastfeeding or pregnant.

Topical uses – High mineral content helps add important minerals to skin in masks or creams.

Ayurveda Herb

Kutki (Picrorhiza Kurroa)

Ayurveda name - Katuka

Parts Used - Root

Energy and taste - Cold and pungent.

Constituents - Kutkin molecules, glycosides picroside I, II, III, picrorhizin, androsin, apocynin, drosin and cucurbitacin.

Internal uses - These constituents alter the structure of the outer membrane of the hepatocytes in such a way as to prevent penetration of the liver toxins into the interior of the cell. It stimulates the regenerative ability of the liver, and is anti-inflammatory. Good for coughs, asthma, liver issues, bronchitis and eye inflammation. Do not take if you are hypoglycemic as one of the purposes of this herb is to stimulate digestive secretions, normalize the function of the liver and help to store blood sugar in the form of glycogen.
Dose - 250-500 mg daily.

Hope the above information was helpful! Next blog will be on helpful herbs that begin with the letter L.

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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