Herbs and Antioxidants

Herbs are rich in antioxidants, phytosterols, vitamins, and other nutrient substances that equip the body to fight against toxins and germs. They help in boosting the immune system as well. In fact, you can call herbs as ‘medicines’ when taken in small doses. I have been making broths out of medicinal herbs along with powerful nutrient-rich vegetables like beets, onions,m celery, carrots, kale, mustard greens, shitake mushroom and red cabbage.

Today I very gently simmered Astragalus Root, Codonopsis Root, Reishi Mushroom, Poria Fungus, Shiitake Mushroom, Jujube Date Fruit and the vegetables I detailed… I simmer for about an hour and then I strain the herbs and the vegetables out of the liquid. I drink the liquid both cold and hot. I may add a freshly squeezed lemon. I also make a clear chickpea miso soup with the broth…

The Herbs

Alfalfa Leaf (Medicago sativa): Naturally high in protein as well as many essential vitamins and minerals, including A, D, E, K, and even the full family of B vitamins. Alfalfa detoxifies the body and purifies the blood.

Astragalus/Huang Qi (Astragalus membranaceus): Astragalus nourishes and tonifies the blood, builds immunity and resistance to colds and flu, promotes skin generation, strengthens muscle, strengthens chronically weak lungs, improves digestion and metabolism, tonifies spleen Qi, and helps to maintain upright posture and positioning of the organs in the body.

Burdock Root (Arctium lappa): A highly nutritive herb, rich in vitamins A & C, burdock root improves gallbladder function, helps to increase the absorption of fats, and aids in the detoxification of excess wastes. Burdock also helps to control sugar cravings as well as treating alcohol addiction. Burdock relieves lymph congestion and cleanses and nourishes the blood.

Cayenne Pepper (Capsicum annuum): Improves circulation, increases metabolism, boosts the immune system, and aids digestion. It breaks up congestion in the body, clearing mucus, moving blood and dispelling cold dampness. With anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties, cayenne may be used internally or externally to treat muscle and joint pain, including arthritis. It is a tonic for the heart, kidneys, lungs, pancreas, spleen, and stomach.

Chickweed (Stellaria Media): Loaded in nutrition and best known for its ability to cool and soothe inflammations, both internally and externally, It can be used to treat blood toxicity, inflammation and other “hot” type diseases.

Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum): Cilantro­ is rich in micronutrients, high in calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium, and has been found to remove heavy metals from the body. There is evidence that consumption of cilantro accelerates the excretion of lead and aluminum deposits from the body

Codonopsis Root/Dang Shen (Codonopsis pilosula): A supreme tonic supporting digestion and the immune system, it is a primary herb used to tonify Qi, particularly in the spleen and lungs. Codonopsis increases vital energy, strengthens digestion and assimilation, and is given in all diseases associated with weakness, debility after illness, tiredness, lack of strength, poor appetite and anemia. It supports breast milk production and can alleviate diarrhea, vomiting, gas, bloatedness, chronic cough and shortness of breath.

Cordyceps/Dong Chong Xia Cao (Cordyceps sinensis): Cordyceps is a parasitic fungus that, in the wild, typically grows on and completely consumes the larvae of certain moths (eg. caterpillars). Cordyceps is a tonic for the kidneys which control sexual function, cognition, structural integrity, and healing ability. It strengthens the skeletal structure; specifically the lower back, knees, and ankles, and is anti­bacterial, anti­viral, and anti­fungal.

Dang GuiDang Gui/Chinese Angelica Root (Angelica sinensis): Alleviates pain, regulates menstruation, and moistens intestines. Dang Gui is used as a blood tonic, vitalizing and improving circulation. It is used for abdominal and menstrual pain, traumatic injuries, arthritis, rheumatism, sores, and abscesses. It normalizes heart contractions and dilates blood vessels increasing peripheral blood flow. It causes red blood cell proliferation and helps treat anemia.

Dioscorea Root/Shan Yao/Chinese Yam (Dioscorea opposita): Best known for regulating female hormones in Western Medicine, Chinese Yam is used as a Spleen Qi tonic and supports both the Yin and the Qi of the spleen, lungs and Kidneys. It is used to treat fatigue, lack of strength, exhaustion, and weakness.

Eleuthero Root/Siberian Ginseng/Ci Wu Jia (Eleutherococcus senticosus): Increases appetite, improves energy and enhances immune system, boosts endurance, stimulates virility and helps the body better withstand stress. Indicated when there is low energy, chronic fatigue, exhaustion, and weakness. As such it is popular as an adjunct treatment for cancer patients. Can be helpful in Lyme disease protocols when there is joint pain and fatigue.

Eucommia BarkEucommia Root/Du Zhong (Eucommia ulmoides): Supports the functions of the endocrine and skeletal systems, particularly ligaments and tendons. It is also known for its kidney tonifying effects and supports normal healthy sexual functions.

Fo­ ti Stem/Ye Jiao Teng (Polygonum multiflorum): A Chinese herb used to nourish the heart and calm the spirit. Helps to quiet the mind and calm the nerves.

Galangal Root/Gao Liang Jiang (Alpinia galanga): Has a stimulating effect on the digestive system. Galangal root is antispasmodic and antibacterial.

Garlic (Allium sativum): Garlic contains a substance called Allicin which has antibiotic properties. It is useful in treating everything from a common cold to allergies to tonsillitis. Garlic contains many sulfur compounds which detoxify the body, boost the immune system, lower blood pressure and improve circulation. Garlic has also demonstrated anti­cancer, anti­fungal and anti­oxidant effects.

Ginger RootGinger Rhizome/Gan Jiang (Zingiber officinale): Ginger is a wonderful herb for digestion. It helps break down proteins to decrease stomach and intestinal gas. It also aids in the digestion of fatty foods. Ginger’s warming quality improves and stimulates circulation and relaxes the muscles surrounding blood vessels, facilitating the flow of blood throughout the body. Ginger also treats nausea and morning sickness. Studies demonstrate that ginger can lower cholesterol levels by reducing cholesterol absorption in the blood and liver.

Berry/Gou Qi Zi (Lycium barbarum): Regular consumption of Goji is traditionally believed to lead to a long and happy life. Goji is also said to brighten the eyes and support vision. It is traditionally said that Goji strengthens the legs and enhances sexual function. Goji fruit contains polysaccharides that have been demonstrated to support the immune system. Goji provides B vitamins and is high in Beta Carotene.

Jujube DatesJujube Date/Da Zao (Ziziphus jujuba): An excellent superfruit that fosters radiant health and provides energy when consumed consistently. Red Jujube Dates nourish the blood, soothe the mind, and build and strengthen muscle. Jujube is considered a mild Shen tonic because it calms the mind ­ without causing drowsiness – while increasing physical energy.

Kaffir Lime Leaf (Citrus hystrix): Aids in digestion and purifies the blood. It is believed to have a positive effect on the mind and the body and leaves one with positive thoughts. The leaves can also be rubbed on to gums and teeth for total dental health.

Kelp/Kun Du (Ascophyllum nodosum): Seaweed draws an extraordinary wealth of mineral elements from the sea including sodium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, chlorine, sulfur and phosphorus. Kelp is rich in natural iodine which benefits proper functioning of the thyroid glands.

Kombu SeaweedKombu/Hai Dai (Laminaria japonica): Kombu is very high in organic iodine, and has been used to treat thyroid disease in China for centuries. It also is very high in calcium and potassium, and contains a number of other minerals and trace elements. The algin in kombu has been found to fix and remove radioactive particles and heavy metals from the body, have a strong blood anticoagulant activity, and reduce blood pressure.

Ligusticum Root/Chinese Lovage Root/Chuan Xiong (Ligusticum wallichii): Ligusticum treats conditions such as upper respiratory infection, helps to promote healthy blood flow and relieves pain. Liguisticum has been known to treat all types of headaches and relieve menstrual symptoms. Because it warms the uterus and decongests blood in the pelvic region, it is especially popular for menstrual cramps.

Lily Bulb/Bai He (Lilium brownii): Lily bulbs are used to relieve coughs, dry throats and other respiratory conditions, to clear away heat, and to treat insomnia and heart palpitations. Its tonic properties make it a good herb for promoting restful sleep and treating restlessness and irritability.

Lotus Seed/Lian Zi (Nelumbo nucifera): Beneficial for the heart, tones the spleen and kidneys, prevents insomnia, and calms the nerves. Lotus seeds have astringent properties, which make them helpful in relieving the symptoms of diarrhea while also improving appetite. The seeds are used to treat weak sexual function in men and leukorrhea in women. The seed also has calming properties that alleviate restlessness, palpitations, and insomnia.

Maitake Mushroom/Hui Shu Hua (Grifola frondosa): A highly nutritious food, traditionally eaten throughout the world. It has a positive effect on the immune system and anti-cancer properties and has been effective in the treatment of diabetes.

NettlesNettles (Urtica dioica): Is a nutritive herb that gently cleanses the body of wastes. Nettles are especially important for women’s health. Through pregnancy, it helps in guarding against excessive bleeding as well as strengthening the fetus. It eases labor pains and increases milk production. Stinging nettle contains natural antihistamines and anti­-inflammatories that open up constricted bronchial and nasal passages, helping to ease hay fever, and nose & sinus type allergic reactions. Nettles is extremely high in essential vitamins and nutrients such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and even protein!

Peony RootPeony Root/Bai Shao (Paeonia lactiflora): One of the most highly prized women’s herbs used traditionally to help regulate the female hormonal cycle and to tonify and purify the blood. It is also used as a pain reducing agent and as an emotional stabilizer by women. It is said to relieve cramps and spasms anywhere in the body. Peony root is also believed to extend life and to promote beauty. Men should use Peony as well since it has an anti-aging effect without affecting hormones.

PoriaPoria Fungus/Fu Ling (Sclerotium Poriae cocos): One of the main benefits of poria is it’s anti­-cancer properties. It is widely used in Chinese medicine to treat malignant tumors. Furthermore, poria stimulates the immune system and helps enhance the positive effects of cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy while negating some of their side effects. Poria is well known for correcting problems related to the digestive system such as diarrhea, constipation, acidity, and other gastrointestinal issues and promotes the secretion of digestive fluids.

Reishi Mushroom/Ling Zhi (Ganoderma lucidum): Considered both the “elixir of life” and the “mushroom of immortality,” Reishi has long been a fundamental ingredient in the attainment of a long happy life and even spiritual enlightenment. It is believed to help calm the mind, ease tension, strengthen the nerves, strengthen memory, sharpen concentration, improve focus, build willpower and as a result, helps build wisdom. Its effect is cumulative; gradually strengthening the nerves and a sense of peace. It is safe to take on a daily basis by most everyone and other benefits include: Supports immune system, antibacterial, adaptogenic qualities protect against stress, tonifies blood and qi and strengthens major organs including lungs, heart, bone marrow and liver.

Rehmannia/Shu Di Huang (Rehmannia Glutinosa): Frequently used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to nourish the kidneys. It is considered the food of the kidneys and is used for loss of blood, yin deficiency, lower back pain with deficiency from overwork. It can also treat cough, diabetes, urinary incontinence, deafness, uterine bleeding, vertigo, tinnitus, and regulate menstrual flow. It helps to protect and support the liver and adrenal glands and is often found in energy tonic formulas used to combat chronic fatigue.

Schizandra/Wu Wei Zi (Schisandra chinensis): Promotes soft, radiant, clear skin and is known to increase sexual fluids, endurance and strengthen the whole body. For this, it is considered “anti-aging.” Used in Chinese medicine as an adaptogenic herb to improve mental function, reduce tiredness and improve endurance. Schisandra is also a recognized lung tonic. It enhances immune response, regenerates liver tissue, and has been proven to treat hepatitis. The Chinese name, wu-wei-zi, means five taste fruits and refers to the fact that sweet, salt, bitter, sour and warmth can all be tasted when it is consumed, distinguishing it as a uniquely balanced herb.

ShiitakeShiitake/Xiang Gu (Lentinus edodes): Shiitake mushrooms have deep immune system healing properties, have been proven to stop or slow down tumor growth and are used in treating a variety of cancers. It is credited with lowering serum cholesterol and contains protein, potassium, niacin, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and B vitamins. Recent studies have shown the ability of shiitake mushrooms to help protect against cardiovascular diseases. They are also strongly anti-viral.

Spirit Poria Fungus/Fu Shen (Sclerotium Poriae cocos Circum Radicem Pini): The poria fungus grows underground in conjunction with pine roots. This is the center of the fungus, containing a portion of the root. It is considered a shen tonic and is sought by many spiritual seekers for its ability to calm emotions and raise shen (spirit). It also strengthens the immune system and fortifies heart, kidney, and spleen function.

Teasel Root/Xu Duan (Dipsacus Japonicus): Known in Chinese as “Repair what is Broken,” Teasel fortifies the lower back, knees and bones as well and sinews and joints. It is used for pain and stiffness due to decreased Kidney energy or traumatic injury and promotes the movement of blood to repair damaged tissues. Used in Lyme Disease treatment, as an analgesic for pain relief, an anti­-inflammatory, and a stimulant for the nervous system.

Turkey Tail Mushroom/Yun Zhi (Trametes versicolor): Common throughout the world, growing on and decomposing logs and stumps, it is used to strengthen the immune system and fight chronic diseases such as hepatitis and cancer. Traditionally, it has also been used for asthma and cough, invigorating digestion in cases of weakness and poor appetite, and clearing dampness associated with arthritis.

Turmeric/Jiang Huang (Curcuma longa): Powerfully anti-inflammatory, healing to the liver, and pain-relieving. Excellent source for beta-carotene. Improves circulation. Treats liver congestion, jaundice, and Hepatitis.

Wakame Seaweed/Qun Dai Cai (Undaria pinnatifida): Aides in weight loss by inhibiting the accumulation of fat in the cells and by stimulating fat oxidation. Also helps our body transfer energy efficiently, regulate hormones throughout the body, and helps our body produce and utilize protein. Wakame balances hormone levels and promotes bone growth and repair. High in trace minerals.

Zao Ren (Ziziphus jujuba): Ziziphus seed is the most commonly used herb in sedative formulas designed to help relax the mind. It is categorized as a heart­ blood tonic in traditional Chinese medicine, therefore it is calming to the heart, which is the Seat of Shen and which determines our emotional stability.