Friday, 18 November 2011

I'm sorry!

I've had whooping cough and so have not been able to update recently, or begin updates at all.

Shame really. I'm tempted to give up on the blog... idk, just getting a bit bored.

Or I may change the title of the blog to something like Herbies' Adventures or something. To those new to the blog, I study Herbal Medicine at Uni. So I am tempted to make the blog more generally about that. May even start a vlog.


Thursday, 13 October 2011


Hey all,
I'm currently at University studying Herbal Medicine. I want to thank you for all the support you guys have given me even though I rarely post now. I'm going to set up some sort of schedule for myself for my homework, my social stuff, and the blog. I feel awful for not updating for such a long time, but what I want to do is to go over all 39 herb posts and update them, rewrite them better, check for any broken links or so forth. Again, thank you very much. I'm amazed I haven't lost any followers.

I may change the name of the blog to something herbal, but not purely about the herb of the day.

Much love!


Sunday, 14 August 2011

Number 29 - Aniseed

Anise, Pimpinella Anisum or Aniseed is a plentiful flavoured flower from the Apiacae family.

The smell and taste of the flower is sometimes overbearing, I know as a child I always found the taste to be very intimidating in the british sweet of aniseed balls. It is said to be a flavour similar to liquorice, fennel and tarragon. Medicinally, Anise can be used in relieving menstural cramps. It can also be used as a natural female hormone suppliment as it contains a type of estrogen. The plant has a calming effect, which could aid with stress and sleep issues. The essential oil can rid the head of headlice and clothes of mites.

When combined with blood, however, aniseed can cause high toxicity levels in the blood and possibily lead to death. Its oil can be harmful to an unborn child. Otherwise, the herb is pretty safe.

The plant is taken and eaten in many different ways around the world. It is often added to food as flavouring. As well as the popular British sweet, Aniseed can also be taken as a tea.

Yes, balls. Typical British. (Aniseed Balls are a traditional treat in the UK. These are branded Sweets 'N' Candy)

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Number 28 - Abyssinian Shrivelfig

The Abyssinian Shrivelfig is a fictional plant from the Harry Potter series. It's Latin name could be Ficus Resilio, meaning 'Shrinking Fig'.

The fig holds shrinking qualities, which is why it is used in Shrinking Solutions. This potion has the ability to shrink the drinker into a infant form, and also works on animals and items. Neville's batch of Shrinking Potion also turns his toad into a tadpole, showing the age reversal techniques in animals.

The colour of the solution is important in indicating the safety of the mix: if the solution is green, it is drinkable. However, if it is orange, it is poisonous. This explains why the potion is only brewed by third years at Hogwarts.

(A successfully brewed Shrinking Potion. Image from one of the Harry Potter video games. Shrivelfigs and other content in this post is the creation of J.K. Rowling)

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Number 27 - Fireweed

Also known as  Rosebay WillowherbEpilobium angustifolium has sprung up all over the UK this summer.

The plant has also been known as bombweed, due to the sudden rise in population of the plant next to railways and in craters made by bombs in World War II. The plant is also known in Scotland as Singerweed, due to its sprouting of the plants on the bombed land of the Singer Sewing Machine Factory.

The plant's shoots can be eaten as an addition to salads, and if preserved, contain Vitamin C and Pro-Vitamin A. It's leaves can be used to make Kapoori/Kaporie/Kapor tea. In North America, Fireweed jelly, sweets and ice cream are popular treats. Rosebay is taken to ease stomach and digestion issues, such as cramps and diaherra.

However, even though the shoots of the plants can be eaten like asparagus, they are incredibly bitter, and are an aquired taste.

Rosebay can be taken as Kapoori Tea, in salads, or as pills and tinctures.

(A jar of Alaskan Fireweed Jelly. Would you eat this with PJ? Product of Alaska Pure Berry)

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Number 26 - Potato

We're all accustomed to the root vegetable of the Solanum tuberosum, but we may not all know about it's benefits to our health.

The potato contains fiber, vitamin C and potassium, all which are essential to a healthy diet. The potato can also be made into a paste for First Aid treatment of sunburn, burns and scrapes, as a potatoes' starch will draw the heat out the injury.

As potatoes are a member of the same family as Deadly Nightshade, the plant itself and the plant's fruits are toxic, and potatoes do become poisonous over time and turn green. Dispose of any green potatoes and cook them well. 

The potato can be used in stews and as a meal by itself. It can also be turned to the paste to treat external injuries. Jacket potatoes contain the most vitamins compared to boiled and peeled potatoes.

The popular Russet Potatoes are also nutritiousness and can be used in first aid treatments. (Product of Green Giant)

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Lectures and Plants Vs. Zombies!

Crikey its been a long time! I'm sorry my followers, after my exams finished, I went out and did a lot of partying. I've very much neglected my blog and it needs some loving.

The first thing which distracted me from doing anything constructive, such as looking for a summer job or indeed updating the blog, is the Popcap video game Plants vs. Zombies. Being a lover of all plants being useful for things, I have really enjoyed the game so far. I completed Adventure Mode and I'm trying to get my Zen Garden producing some good moolah.

Adorable plushies I need in my life. I wish these dropped coins...

- I apologise, I've deleted my notes as there was a lot of identifying information on my time at University here. As I left Uni, I would no longer like this information available online. Sorry! -

I really enjoyed my weekend in Lincoln. It is a beautiful city. Although it has a lot of swans. I am going to the university in September to study Herbal Medicine. I can't wait!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

#1 - #25 Recap

I feel the need to recap all the herbs so far on the blog in order to educate any new readers on the herbs I have covered. I will provide links to each post, which goes into further detail about each.

1. Chamomile. A relaxing herb. Popular as a tea.

2. Horny Goat Weed. A natural aphrodisiac.

3. St. John's Wort. An anti-depressant.

4. Devil's Snare. A deadly plant from the Harry Potter series.

5. Deadly Nightshade. A deadly plant with a strange past use.

6. Siphilium. An ancient plant, rumoured to be the origin of the heart symbol.

7. Dandelion. A common weed with surprising uses.

8. Lily of the Valley. A common perfume with the elderly, with some potential for fertility help.

9. Green Tea. Good for the soul!

10. Marsh Mallow. The origin of the popular sweet.

11. Daffodil. Dementia destroyer!

12. Meadowsweet. Helps soothe flu symptoms.

13. Ginger. The anti-nausea herb.

14. Rosehip. Used in WW2 as a source of Vitamin C.

15. Lavender. A sweet smelling plant.

16. Arnica. Used in treating a number of skin aliments.

17. Tumeric. Popular in Indian dishes.

18. Burdock. A part of the popular drink, Dandelion & Burdock.

19. Vanilla. The tastiest of all the ice-creams!

20. Henna. Popular in skin decoration.

21. Hops. Useful outside of beer!

22. Honey. It is a herb - plant extracts!

23. Witch-Hazel. Good for many skin conditions.

24. Blueberries. A tasty treat with many benefits.

25. Kava. The 'anti-energy' herb.

My next post may be either about cranberries or Plants vs. Zombies plants. I'm obsessed with that game! I apologise once again for how less frequent posts are becoming. By the end of the month, I will have completely finished college, and so can concerntrate on the blog completely.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Number 25 - Kava

Piper methysticum, kava, or kava-kava is the plant of discussion today. The plant is often used for religious and social purposes in countries such as Fiji and Tonga.

Kava can be used for sore throats or tooth ache, as it has a numbing effect. It is also used in a cola called Kava or Lava cola, and is marketed as an 'anti-energy' drink, providing a relaxing feeling rather than the boost energy drinks give.

Plant use has been known to cause certain adverse effects such as liver damage, but it is undetermined whether this is from the plants or how extracts of the plant are taken with use of various chemicals. Overuse of the plant can also cause skin rashes.

Kava can be taken in capsules, in cola or as a tea.

Kava Cola (Source Unknown)

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Number 24 - Blueberry

Today's 'herb', even though we'll be looking at the health enhancements of the berry from Vaccinium plants, is the blueberry.

There are many different berries sold as 'blueberries', these can be bilberries, huckleberriesor many different berries from different blueberry plants. The blueberries themselves have some anti-inflammation properties and can protect against cancers. Blueberries can help ease uninary tract infections, and due to their properties in enhancing memory, are considered important in helping Alzheimers. Blueberries can also help ease depression. As well as the many nutrients present in the berry, it helps the body in both the digestive tract, the heart and even the eyes, helping reduce the risk of blindess.

The only risks from blueberries are that if you eat too many at once, it may conjour diaherra. The blueberry is also a diuretic, which means it increases urine flow.

Blueberries can be eaten in multiple forms: jam, pies, raw, in salads, or even as extracts.

Blueberry extract. (Product of LifeExtension)

Friday, 27 May 2011

Number 23 - Witch-Hazel

The genus Hamamelis is the plant Witch-Hazel.

The main use of witch-hazel is to help reduce bruising in the skin in a similar manner Arnica does. The plant is also used in treating acne and haemorrhoids. It is used in aftershaves and insect bite treatments. It also helps with skin conditions, like dry skin and eczema.Gargling Witch-Hazel tea can help with inflammations of the mouth and throat, and drinking the tea can help with inflammations of the whole digestive system.

Too much or too frequent, Witch-Hazel can cause nausea. Pharmacy bought Witch-Hazel often contains medical alcohols, which mean it is inappropiate for digestion.

Witch-Hazel can be bought as an ointment or cream for external use, and tea for internal use.

Witch-Hazel flower.

PS: I apologise for the lack of posts, I've had alot of work to do for college, and I'm afraid lack of posts may continue until the end of June. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Number 22 - Honey

In herbalism, anything natural can be used. As honey is technically an extract of nectar from many different plants, it is a mix of bee and plant produce.

In Hinduism, it is considered an 'elixir of immortality'. It has many uses due to its antiseptic and antimircobial properties. It has also been theorized that honey and its properties could help cure MRSA. Honey can be used to help burns and cuts heal faster, and to help common ailments such as coughs, colds and sore throats be cured using honey. If you're interested in using herbs in First Aid, honey is an important addition.

In hives of bees in areas which poisonous plants grow, the honey can be toxic to humans but not bees. This honey is usually only found in the wild, and would not be produced under commercial supervision. With the many medicinal properties of plants, there are also many that can harm us in numerous ways. NEVER take honey from the wild; you don't know where those bees have been!

It is taken in many, many different manners. It can be used in a culinary manner, to sweeten herbal teas, and it can also be used as a wound dressing.

The humble honey teddy bear, a popular honey bottle design in the US. (Unknown source)

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Number 21 - Hops

Humulus lupulus contains a hop flower cluster which are usually used to brew beers and ales with many surprising health effects.

Benefits from taking hops include soothing the spasms of irritable bowel syndrome. They can also be included in creating a pillow to help with insomnia. The herb creates 'brewers droop' in men; decreasing libido in men but increasing it in women. Hops also control hot flushes in women and premature ejaculation in men.

There are possibilities of dermatitis when harvesting the plant. Do not take hops when suffering from depression, or on any birth control as it affects the menstrual cycle.

Hops can be taken as a tincture or made into a pillow. The herb is not as effective when taken in beer.

Hops tincture. (Source: Terra Firma Botanicals)

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Number 20 - Henna

The plant Lawsona inermis is popular in dyes.

Henna is used in creating paint for the purpose of decorating the skin. This is mainly popular in Indian weddings. Henna can be used in dying the hair a gingery-red colour.

A form of 'henna' called black henna when applied to the body can cause scarring and permanent damage to the skin if applied. Natural henna does not harm the skin.

Henna is usually applied as a paste or gel.

Henna paste for decorating the skin. (Source unknown. Product of Ranikone)

Friday, 13 May 2011

Number 19 - Vanilla

Taken from the genus Vanilla, an Orchid subgenus.

Vanilla pods are very popular in cooking. They hold a sweet smell. In old wives tales, they were said to be good for sexual drive and a remedy for fevers. Although these methods have never been proven, the extract can increase levels of adrenaline being released into the body.

97% of all vanilla used is imitation vanilla due to the expense of real vanilla. This chemical will not give the exact same health effects or the same scent. It is claimed to not taste as nice, either.

Vanilla is popular in ice cream. It is also popular in deserts, perfumes and in aromatherapy.

Vanilla pod & flower.

Number 18 - Burdock

This article is about the genus Arctium.

The texture of the Burdock seeds and how they latched onto clothes inspired the production of velcro. It is a part of the traditional soft drink Dandelion and Burdock. Extracts from the plant can be used to treat the scalp for dryness and dandruff, and generally increases hair health.

Pregnant women should not use or ingest burdock due to studies which suggest it can induce labour. It's roots resemble that of deadly nightshade, therefore you should never attempt to ingest in the wild.

Burdock can be eaten by itself, or in a tea or drink. Can be applied as a shampoo or a conditioner.

Burdock Flower

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Number 17 - Turmeric

From the ginger family, Curcuma longa is a culinary spice.

Tasty in chicken dishes, it also has anti-inflammitory uses, and is mainly used in Ayurvedic Herbal Medicine. It is also used as a fake tan in India. Research into the plant has shown possibilities in interfering with the herpes virus and some tumours.

There are no apparent health risks with eating Turmeric, except for large doses causing nausea and diarrhea.

The spice can be taken in tablet form or as added to a meal.

Turmeric Root.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Number 16 - Arnica

I'm sorry for my tardiness in blog posts, I have finals and lots of work to do up until the end of June. I will still be updating, but I'm afraid they won't be as frequent.

Arnica, or arnica montana, is a pretty daisy-like flower.

This plant is very useful in treating bruised, strained or sprained parts of the body. It has also been used in helping wounds heal.

However, the plant itself is poisionous if ingested in large amounts. Ironically, unprepared arnica plants can cause skin irritation.

It is used as a gel or as a tincture.

Commercial Arnica gel. (Source SBC. Product of SBC)

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Number 15 - Lavender

The genus Lavandula are sweet smelling purple flowers.

The scent of the plant is used in aromatherapy and can be used to treat issues with sleeping. The oil of the plant can be used as a dissinfectant, and was used for this purpose in WW1 hospitals.

However, the plant can caused harm if ingested during pregnancy and the breast-feeding period.

The flowers of the plant can be included in pillows and as pot pourri, as well as its scent being included in some sprays.

A Lavender pillow, soothing for bedtime. (Source Unknown. Product of Fairydown)

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Number 14 - Rosehip

This fruit from plants of the genus Rosa.

Popular as a herbal tea, the hips provide a good source of vitamin C. During WW2 in Britain, the public were encouraged to make syrups out of rose hips so that their children could get the right vitamins when other sources (such as citrus fruits) were so scarce. It also has vitamins A and B, and has been used to treat arthritis, colds and flu.

Care should be taken if preparing the plants by ones' self, as the hips contain hair in them, which can be used as a form of itching powder.

Rose hip is most popular as a tea, but also can be given as a syrup.

Rosehip syrup (Source: Atkins and Potts. Product of Atkins and Potts.)

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Number 13 - Ginger

The spice ginger, from the root of the plant Zingiber officinale, has many varried uses.

Ginger is popular when used in gingerbread and ginger cookies. In medicinal uses, the spice is used as help in easing nausea (especially that caused by motion sickness) and diarrhea. In treating motion sickness, the root is no more powerful than regular anti-nausea tablets, however they do not produce the same side effects as the regular medicines. There is also evidence for the spice effectively treating some forms of cancer.

However, when taking the root as a medicine, bare in mind that in similar manner to other herbs, they can interact with other medicines such as warifin. Ginger is not recommended for people with gallstones.

Ginger can be taken in foods, as a tea, or as tablets.

Some adorable gingerbread biscuits, one of the most popular Western uses of ginger (Source Unknown. I do not take credit for these gingerbread men)

Monday, 2 May 2011

Number 12 - Meadowsweet

After my vacation, I have returned to hopefully create more frequent posts. I may not be able to post daily due to upcoming exams however.

Filipendula ulmaria is used for its pleasant taste and smell in things such as wine and beer. It is a remedy for diarrhea. If the plant is prepared to be drunk as a tea, it helps soothe flu symptoms.

However, due to it's chemical make up which is similar to aspirin, it can induce symptoms of asthma.

As previously mentioned, it can be taken as a tea, the plant can be eaten as is, or it can be used as a pleasant pot pourri around the home.

Meadowsweet Tea. (Source Unknown. Product of Phytovie) 

Monday, 25 April 2011

Number 11 - Daffodil

The flowers representative of Wales, the Narcissus genus, or the Daffodil, is a symbol of renewal, the begining of a life cycle, and the season of spring.

The juice from a daffodil plant can be used as a treatment of Altzheimer´s Disease.

However, care should be taken in preparing the flower for any medicines - its bulb and in some plants, its petals, are poisonous.

The juice from the flower is taken in a pill form. It is an expensive drug as there is only one commercial plant decicated to producing the chemicals using daffodils. They are currently working out which type of daffodil is the one which produces the most galantamine.

Galantamine is extracted from daffodils. (Unkown Image Source. Product of Galamer)

Friday, 15 April 2011


I will be away for two weeks, but still hope to post during my hols. Thanks for the support so far guys! :)

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Number 10 - Marsh Mallow

Yes, the Marsh Mallow is in fact a plant, Althaea Officinalis.

In making the sweet marshmallow, the root was previously used. Using the root extracts in order to flavour treats  has been practised since ancient Eygptian times. The plant can be used to treat kidney stones and irritable bowel syndrome. It can also help external skin problems such as ulcers and boils. It can be gargled to help mouth ulcers.

It is used in middle-easten foods such as halva, and can be taken as a tea or as an extract.

Marshmallow leaves which can be boiled in water and taken as a tea. (Source unknown. Product of G Baldwin & Co.)

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Number 9 - Green Tea

Recently increasing in popularity in the West, Green tea is produced from the Chinese plant Camellia sinensis.

Teas that can also be created with this plant are white tea, green tea, oolong, pu-erh tea, black tea and kukicha tea. It depends on the maturity of the plant in which tea is made, however kukicha tea is made with branches.

The tea has many health benefits including helping decrease cholesterol  levels, blood pressure, body fat and weight, and possibly helpful to Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and cancer. However, it can cause liver damage, and it is more harmful when digested on an empty stomach.

It is most popular in teas; in premade mixtures and teabags. It also can be used in flavouring food.

Twinings Green Tea (Source Unknown. Product of Twinings)

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Number 8 - Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley, Convallaira majalis, is a very popular garden plant.

It can be used to treat high blood pressure. It is also a potential fertility treatment: Sperm can detect the scent of the lily and are attracted to it.

However, the lily is poisonous and must be prepared properly. It is administered through dried leaves, as a tincture, or as an extract.

Lily of the Valley perfume (Source Unknown. Product of Crabtree & Evelyn)

Number 7 - Dandelion

A surprisingly useful herb, the Dandelion (Taraxfum officinale) is the weed we see in our back gardens and parks, and often remove with weed killers.

It can be used to treat liver and gall bladder problems, and its leaves can treat skin conditions such as eczema. The leaves can also be eaten in salads. However, like many herbs, it can affect other medications being effective.

It can be applied as a tincture, can be eaten as it is, but can also ingested as a tea which has blood purifying properties. It is also sold commercially as this tea, and also in the popular soft drink, Dandelion and Burdock.

A box of dandelion tea (Source Unknown. A Product of Clipper.)

Monday, 11 April 2011

Number 6 - Silphium

The first historical entry for the blog is the ancient Silphium plant. Its seed were used as currency in the North African town of Cyrene. A possible member of the now extinct Ferula genus or as a type of Giant Fennel. Its identity is unknown.

It was used as a method to cure many aliments, such as fevers, aches and pains, but it was also used as a form of contraception, similar to the modern use of 'the Pill'.

Its seeds were shaped like elongated hearts, and it is possible this is the origin of the heart symbol we use today.

A coin from Cyrene depicting a Silphium flower and stalk. (Source:1889 edition of Principal Coins of the Ancients. Wikipedia) 

Number 5 - Deadly Nightshade

Deadly Nightshade, or Atropa belladonna, is the most poisonous known plant in the western hemisphere.

This plant was originally used in Italy in eye drops to dilute the pupil in the eyes of women, producing a desired look at the time. The plant eventually stopped being used for this purpose as the toxicity of the plant lead to blindness. The plant can also be used in treating gastrointestinal issues, and some elements can be used to treat irritable bowel syndrome, even today.

The plant is administered in a powder, a tincture or as a decoction. The plant made an appearance in the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas, due to its association with witches and their spells.

Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas with a jar of Deadly Nightshade (Source: The Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton & Disney)

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Number 4 - Devil's Snare

Our first fictional herb entry is Devil's Snare from the first Harry Potter novel. A possible Latin term for the plant could be Diaboli laqueis.

This plant uses its tentacle-like vines to strangle it's prey, not unlike a snake.

In escaping the Devil's Snare, expose some light upon the plant. It will shrivel and recoil from the light. Casing any lumos spell, or even shining a torch, will cause the Snare to release you.

Harry, Ron and Hermoine fighting the plant. "Devil's Snare, Devil's Snare. It's deadly fun, but will sulk in the Sun." (Image by thepolestar. Devil's Snare is the creation of J.K. Rowling).

Number 3 - St. John's Wort

For our third herb, we'll be looking at the commonly used St. John's Wort, hypericum perforatum.

This herb is used as a treatment for depression and other mental illnesses.

It is dangerous to take St. John's Wort alongside any medically prescribed anti-depressants, as it can cancel out the effects of either medicine, making the taking of them pointless. This is extremely risky depending on the diagnosis. It can also cause photosensitivity.

St. John's Wort can be taken in tablet/capsule form, or as a tea.

St. John's Wort tablets, taken once a day. (Source Unknown.  Product of Kira)

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Number 2 - Horny Goat Weed

For our next herb, we'll look at something a little less unconventional - Horny Goat Weed, or Epimedium Sagittarium.

This plant is a natural aphrodisiac, first realised when goat herders in China saw their goats becoming more sexually active when the herb was present in the fields.

It is used to increase libido and improve fertility chances. 

Usually taken in tablet form similar to Viagra, but can also be taken in a tea.

An example of a product containing Epimedium. (Source Unknown. Product of OPTIMA)

Number 1 - Chamomile

As a basic, let us start with one of the basic herbs to any practitioner: the Chamomile flower, Matricria chamomilla.

Daisy-like in appearance, the chamomile flower is used mainly for relaxation and sleep aid. Used as treatment for insomnia.

However, as with all herbs, be careful in mixing with any prescribed medicines such as blood thinners such as Warfarin.

It is commonly sold in supermarkets as a tea with honey and vanillas. The flowers can also be used in herbal cigarettes as a relaxing smoke.

A box of Lipton's Chamomile tea, displaying the daisy-like white and yellow Chamomile plant. (Unknown Source. Lipton's tea a product of Lipton)