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Herbs & Plants

Goldenseal

Botanical Name : Hydrastis canadensis
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Hydrastis
Species: H. canadensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales

Common Names:  Goldenseal, yellow paint root, orange root, yellow puccoon, ground raspberry, eye root, yellow Indian plant, turmeric root, Ohio curcuma, eye balm, yellow eye and jaundice root.

Habitat :Goldenseal is native to North America, and can be found growing wild from Ontario to Arkansas, across the southeastern U.S. to Georgia and cultivated in Oregon and Washington. The main growing region used to be Ohio valley, before it became the area fell victim to deforestation and development.
It grows in the rich soil of shady woods and moist places at the edge of wooded lands. Goldenseal prefers open hardwood forests, with rich humic soils, and a slight slope around 5% to facilitate drainage. Plants are found to be most vigorous in stands with 60-65% shade, and pH values between 5.5 and 6.5.

Description:
Goldenseal has a thick, yellow rootstock which sends up an erect hairy stem about 1 foot in height which branches near the top, one branch bearing a large leaf and another a smaller leaf and a flower.The stem is purplish and hairy above ground and yellow below ground where it connects to the yellow rhizome. The plant bears two palmate, hairy leaves with 5–7 double-toothed lobes and single, small, inconspicuous flowers with greenish white stamens in the late spring.

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The rhizome is thick, sarcous, oblong, irregular, and knotted, having a yellowish-brown, thin bark, and a bright-yellow interior; rootlets numerous, scattered, coriaceous fibres.This low perennial herb grows from 6 to 10 inches high, its leaves and fruit much resembling those of the raspberry. The flowering stem, which is pushed up early in the spring, is from 6 to 12 inches high, erect, cylindrical, hairy, with downward-pointing hairs, especially above, surrounded at the base with a few short, brown scales. It bears two prominently-veined and wrinkled, dark green, hairy leaves, placed high up, the lower one stalked, the upper stalkless, roundish in outline, but palmately cut into 5 to 7 lobes, the margins irregularly and finely toothed. The flower, which is produced in April, is solitary, terminal, erect, and small, with three small greenish-white sepals, falling away immediately after expansion, no petals and numerous stamens.It bears a single berry like a large raspberry with 10–30 seeds. The fruit ripens in July and has the superficial appearance of a raspberry, with small, fleshy, red berries, tipped with the persistent styles and containing 1 or 2 black, shiny seeds. However, it is not edible.

Cultivation:
Goldenseal can be grown both from seed and from the rhizome. It requires a partially shaded situation (60 – 70%), in a well draining, rich humus soil. Rootstocks can be divided into small pieces and set at least 8” apart. Planting should be undertaken in the autumn. The plants should be allowed to grow for 2 – 3 years before harvesting, though by the 4th year the roots are said to become too fibrous for medicinal use. Transplanting may be undertaken at any time. According to an American grower 32 healthy plants set per square yard will produce 2 lb of dry root after three years of growth. The fresh rhizome is juicy and loses much of its weight in drying. When fresh, it has a well-marked, narcotic odour, which is lost in a great measure by age, when it acquires a peculiar sweetish smell, somewhat resembling liquorice root. It has a very bitter, feebly opiate taste, more especially when freshly dried. The rhizome is irregular and tortuous, much knotted, with a yellowish-brown, thin bark and bright yellow interior, 1/2 inch to 1 1/2 inch long, and from 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. The upper surface bears short ascending branches, which are usually terminated by cup-like scars, left by the aerial stems of previous years. From the lower surface and sides, numerous thin, wiry, brittle roots are given off, many of them breaking off, leaving small protuberances on the root. The colour of the rhizome, though yellow in the fresh root, becomes a dark, yellowish brown by age; that of the rootlets and the interior of the root are yellow and that of the powder still more so. When dry, the rhizome is hard and breaks with a clean, resinous fracture, the smooth, fractured surface is of a brownish-yellow, or greenish-yellow colour, and exhibits a ring of bright yellow, somewhat distant narrow wood bundles surrounding large pith.

Constituents:
Goldenseal contains the isoquinoline alkaloids: hydrastine, berberine, berberastine, hydrastinine, tetrahydroberberastine, canadine, and canalidine. A related compound, 8-oxotetrahydrothalifendine was identified in one study. One study analyzed the hydrastine and berberine contents of twenty commercial goldenseal and goldenseal-containing products and found they contained variously 0%-2.93% hydrastine and 0.82%-5.86% berberine.[18] Berberine and hydrastine act as quaternary bases and are poorly soluble in water but freely soluble in alcohol. The herb seems to have synergistic antibacterial activity over berberine in vitro, possibly due to efflux pump inhibitory activity.

Multiple bacteria and fungi, along with selected protozoa and chlamydia are susceptible to berberine in vitro. Berberine alone has weak antibiotic activity in vitro since many microorganisms actively export it from the cell (although a whole herb is likely to work on the immune system as well as on attacking the microbes and hence have a stronger clinical effect than the antibiotic activity alone would suggest).[citation needed] Interestingly, there is some evidence for other berberine-containing species synthesizing an efflux pump inhibitor that tends to prevent antibiotic resistance, a case of solid scientific evidence that the herb is superior to the isolated active principle. However, it is not yet known whether goldenseal contains a drug resistance efflux pump inhibitor, although many antimicrobial herbs do.

Medicinal Uses:
•The American aborigines valued the root highly as a tonic, tomachic and application for sore eyes and general ulceration.
•It is a valuable remedy in the disordered conditions of the digestion and has a special action on the mucous membrane, making it of value as a local remedyin various forms of catarrh.
•The action is tonic, laxative, alterative and detergent. The powder has proved useful as a snuff for nasal catarrh.
•It is employed in dyspepsia, gastric catarrh, and loss of appetite and liver troubles.
•Goldenseal was used by the American Indians as a treatment for irritations and inflammation of the mucous membranes of the respiratory, digestive, and urinary tracts.
•Its traditional uses include treatment of peptic ulcers, gastritis, dyspepsia and colitis.
•It is said to stimulate appetite and generally have a toning effect on the whole body.
•Its astringent properties have also been employed in cases of excessive menstruation and internal bleeding. It has a stimulating effect on the uterine muscles for which it is sometimes used as an aid in childbirth.
•The decoction is also said to be effective as a douche to treat trichomonas and thrush. As a gargle it can be employed in cases of gum infections and sore throats.
•It was commonly used topically for skin and eye infections.
•It is used for infectious diarrhea, upper respiratory tract infections, and vaginal infections.
•It is used as aremedy for laxative, tonic, alterative, detergent, opthalmicum, antiperiodic, aperient, diuretic, antiseptic, deobstruent.
•Excels for open sores, inflammations, eczema, ringworm, erysipelas, skin diseases, and nausea during pregnancy.
•In combination with skullcap and red pepper it will relieve and strengthen the heart.
•The Iroquois made a decoction of roots for treatment of whooping cough and diarrhea, liver trouble, fever, sour stomach and gas and as an emetic for biliousness. They also prepared a compound infusion with other roots for use as drops in the treatment of earache and as a wash for sore eyes.

Known Hazards:  Goldenseal is considered safe at recommended dosages.But it may cause side effects allergic reaction, headache and many others. Not safe for pregnant women and children.

Other Uses:
•Mixed with bear’s grease it is said to have been used as an insect repellent.
•Native people also valued the yellow roots as a stain and dye

Folklore and Myths:
It is believed that Goldenseal root is a very rare and expensive botanical Curio widely thought to be a powerful Guardian and Healer and to provide Strength and Protection to those who possess it.  Goldenseal root is used by many people for the purpose of Warding off Evil and bringing Good Luck in Health Matters. Some folks says that they place Goldenseal  root in a white flannel bag along with Angelica Root and other Healing Herbs, anoint this conjure hand with 7-11 Holy Type Oil or Blessing Oil and sew it into the mattress of any loved one who suffers chronic pain, serious disease, or acute illness, for Protection and Healing.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goldenseal
http://www.indianmirror.com/ayurveda/goldenseal.html
http://www.medicalhealthguide.com/herb/goldenseal.htm

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Barberry (Berberis vulgaris)/Jaundice Berry

Botanical Name:Berberis vulgaris
Family: Berberidaceae
Genus: Berberis
Species: B. vulgaris
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order: Ranunculales

Other Names: Berbery, Common Barberry, Jaundice berry, Mahonia,Barberry

Common Names/Synonyms :- Oregon Grape Root, Rocky Mountain Grape, Mahonia, Pepperidge, Pepperidge Bush, Holy Thorn, Sowberry, Oregon Grape, Berberry, Jaundice Berry, and Daruharidra.
Pepperidge, Pepperidge bush, Pipperidge bush, Sowberry

Habitat : Barberry is  native to central and southern Europe, northwest Africa and western Asia;  it is also naturalised in northern Europe, including the British Isles and Scandinavia, and North America. In the United States and Canada, it has become established in the wild over an area from Nova Scotia to Nebraska, with additional populations in Colorado, Idaho, Washington State, Montana, and British Columbia.  Although not naturalised, in rural New Zealand it has been widely cultivated as a hedge on farms. It is cultivated for its fruits in many countries. It grows in hard, gravelly soil in the northeastern states, and sometimes in rich soils in the western states.Hard, gravelly soil in the northeastern states, and sometimes in rich soils in the western state.

Description:
Berberis is a deciduous shrub growing up to 4 m high. The leaves are small oval, 2–5 cm long and 1–2 cm broad, with a serrated margin; they are borne in clusters of 2-5 together, subtended by a three-branched spine 3–8 mm long. The flowers are yellow, 4–6 mm across, produced on 3–6 cm long panicles in late spring. The fruit is an oblong red berry 7–10 mm long and 3–5 mm broad, ripening in late summer or autumn; they are edible but very sour, and rich in Vitamin C.
Flowers: The flowers are small, pale yellow, arranged in pendulous racemes, 10 to 20 per raceme, towards the ends of the branches. Petals are not notched. Flowers: April – June
Berries: About 1/2 inch long, the bright red, oblong and slightly curved berries ripen in August and September. Bark: Has a slight odor and a bitter taste; colors the saliva yellow when chewed.
Leaves: Alternate or in rosettes
from previous year’s leaf axils; spatula shaped, with numerous spiny teeth; veins on the underside are prominent.
Root Bark: Yellow.

Parts Used: Bark of root or stem.

Harvest: Gather the Barberry root and stem bark in spring or fall, around March and November.

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History: Barberry has been used in herbal healing for more than 2,500 years. The ancient Egyptians used it to prevent plagues. India‘s Ayurveda healers used it for dysentery.
During the middle ages, European herbalists used Barberry to treat liver and gallbladder ailments, infections, stomach problems and skin conditions. Russian healers used it for inflammations, high blood pressure, and for abnormal uterine bleeding.
Native American Indians made a bitter brew from the yellow root. Used in small doses, Barberry tonic was used as an effective treatment for heartburn, stomach upset and ulcers. It was also used to stimulate appetite.

Edible Uses:
The berries are edible and rich in vitamin C, though with a very sharp flavor; the thorny shrubs make harvesting them difficult, so in most places, they are not widely consumed. They are an important food for many small birds, which disperse the seeds in their droppings.

A widely available Russian candy called  Barberis is made using extract from the berries, which are pictured on the wrapper.

In Europe, the berries have been traditionally used as an ingredient in making jam. The berries are high in pectin which makes the jam congeal as it cools after having been boiled. In southwestern Asia, especially Iran, the berries are used for cooking, as well as for jam-making. In Iran, barberries are commonly used as a currant in rice pilaf.

Constituents: Berberine (a yellow crystalline, bitter alkaloid), oxyacanthine, berbamine (another bitter alkaloid), tannin, wax, resin, fat, albumin, gum, and starch.

Medicinal Properties and Uses :- Barberry is believed to be an excellent remedy for correcting liver function and promoting the flow of bile. Indicated for inflammation of the gall bladder, gall stones and jaundice (when due to a congested state of the liver). As a bitter tonic with mild laxative effects, it is believed to strengthen and cleanse the system. Also said to be effective in reducing an enlarged spleen The root-bark contains berberine, a bitter alkaloid, that aids in the secretion of bile and is good for liver problems, acts as a mild purgative, and helps regulate the digestive processes. The antibacterial properties of the alkaloid berbamine have shown activity against Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Salmonella, Shigella and Eschorichia Coli. It has anti-microbial properties that are especially beneficial for the skin and intestinal tract. Barberry has a beneficial effect on the blood pressure by causing a dilatation of the blood vessels. This herb is also good for hepatitis, colic, diabetes and consumption. Historically, Barberry was used as a bitter tonic to stimulate digestion, and in the treatment of inflammatory arthritic, sciatica, and rheumatic complaints. Use of this botanical decreases heart rate, depresses the breathing, stimulates intestinal movement, reduces bronchial constriction, and kills bacteria on the skin. External applications have included use for sores, burns, ulcers, acne, itch, tetters, ringworm, cuts, bruises. Berberine is highly bactericidal, amoeboidal and trypanocidal. Bitter tonic, cholagogue, hepatic, laxative, antibilious, anti-emetic.

Its main Properties are Anti-emetic, Antiseptic, Astringent, Bitter, Cholagogue, Hepatic, Laxative, Purgative, Refrigerant, Stomachic, and Tonic.

Barberry acts on the gallbladder to improve bile flow and ameliorate conditions such as gallbladder pain, gallstones, and jaundice.  Barberry’s strongly antiseptic property is of value in cases of amebic dysentery, cholera and other similar gastrointestinal infections.  Barberry is one of the mildest and best liver tonics known, good for jaundice, hepatitis and diabetes.
The berberine in barberry has remarkable infection-fighting properties.  Studies around the world show it kills microorganisms that cause wound infections (Staphylococci, Streptococci), diarrhea (Salmonella, Shigella), dysentery (Endamoeba histolytica), cholera (Vibrio cholerae), giardiasis Giardia lamblia), urinary tract infections (Escherichia coli) and vaginal yeast infections (Candida albicans).  Berberine may also fight infection by stimulating the immune system.  Studies show that it activates the macrophages, white blood cells that devour harmful microorganisms.  In Germany, a berberine preparation, Ophthiole, is used to treat sensitive eyes, inflamed lids, and pinkeye (conjunctivitis).  Barberry contains chemicals that may help reduce elevated blood pressure by enlarging blood vessels.
The bark is astringent, antidiarrheal, and healing to the intestinal wall—in short, barberry has a strong, highly beneficial effect on the digestive system as a whole.  It helps in the treatment of chronic skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. The decoction makes a gentle and effective wash for the eyes, although it must be diluted sufficiently before use.  Liquid of the chewed root was placed on injuries and on wounds, while cuts and bruises were washed with a root decoction.  A preparation of the bark or berries will be useful as a gargle for sore mouth and chronic opthalmia.    It has been successfully used to treat Leishmaniasis (infections transmitted by sandflies).  It has the ability to reduce an enlarged spleen and acts against malaria.

Main Uses: Barberry is mainly used today as a tonic to improve the flow of bile in such conditions as gallbladder pain, gallstones and jaundice. Barberry tinctures are used as a treatment for liver problems such as hepatitis and jaundice. It is also considered effective in lowering blood pressure, reducing heart rate and respiration, reducing bronchial constriction, and for menstrual irregularities.
Berberine has strong anti-microbial and fungicidal properties. It is also astringent and anti-inflammatory. It is said to make a good eyewash. Inflamed eyelids or conjunctivitis can benefit from the application of a compress.
Barberry is one of the best remedies for correcting liver function and promoting the flow of bile. It is indicated when there is an inflammation of the gall bladder or in the presence of gallstones. Barberry is also used when jaundice occurs due to a congested state of the liver.
Barberry tea is used as a gargle to soothe sore throats.

Preparation And Dosages:
Tincture: [1:5, 50% alcohol] 3 to 7 drops, 3 to 4 times a day.

Decoction: Use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon root bark with 1 cup water. Boil briefly, then steep for 5 minutes. Take 1/2 to 1 cup during the day, a mouthful at a time.
Ointment: An ointment made from a 10% extract of Barberry can be applied to the skin three times a day.

Combinations: In gall-bladder diseases Barberry combines well with Fringe Tree Bark and Culver’s Root.

Caution! Avoid during pregnancy; Barberry may stimulate the uterus. In high doses, it can cause nausea, vomiting, convulsions, drop in blood pressure, and lowered heart rate and breathing. If you suffer from heart disease or chronic respiratory problems, do not take large doses of this herb and use only with the approval of your physician.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:

http://www.midwestherbs.com/bulk_herbs/barberrybark.htm

http://www.indianspringherbs.com/Barberry.htm

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berberis_vulgaris

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