Achiote, otherwise known by its Aztec name of achiotl, comes from the Annatto tree (Bixa orellana), and is known for the brilliant saffron color its seeds exhibit after the pods split open to reveal their tiny inhabitants. The intense vermilion hue comes from the high concentration of bixin that the annatto seed contains.
Chamomile and lavender are two unique flowers, both valued for their calming and relaxing effects on the human body and mind. Lavender tends to reach the mind/body channel through the olfactories, while chamomile is less pungent and is typically ingested or used topically. However, both flowers are used in a variety of different ways: tisanes, creams, oils, perfumes, and in cooking.
Once upon a time, though, ho shou wu was a crucial part of the ancient Chinese apothecary. Its delicate flowers and rapidly vining stalks were a common sight, and it was second only to ginseng in its variety of uses. Ho shou wu was, and still is, used to treat the common ill effects of old age, including appetite loss, sexual dysfunction, and, most interestingly, hair loss.
Dandelion is one of those plants we tend to think of as a weed. But few people regard dandelion for its forgotten use as a medicinal herb. For centuries, perhaps even millennia, this “weed” was highly prized in ancient China as well as in Tibetan medicine and the Ayurvedic healing tradition for its use as a natural liver detoxifier and diuretic and to treat gallstones, eczema, and even cancers.
Bergamot (citrus bergamia) is best known for lending its strong flavor to Earl Grey tea. But, within its herbal family is another species of bergamot called Monarda (also known as bee balm, oswego, and horse mint) which has strong antiseptic properties within the stalks, leaves, and flowers.
Licorice was estimated to first be used by the Egyptians in 3rd Century B.C., but it has long been a significant herb in ancient healing, with evidence found on nearly every continent that the plant was cultivated for medicinal purposes.
Hawthorne (Crataegus) trees are named for their thorny hedged brush and produce a tart, red berry that has been used in folk medicine as a heart tonic since the Middle Ages. The tree, which can grow up to five feet in height, is native to the Mediterranean, but is common in Northern America, Western Asia, and Europe.
Love-making in and of itself can be a stressor. Many factors – such as fatigue, menopause, certain medications or medical conditions – can cause disturbances in sexual desire. But if you’re not ready to hop on the Viagra bandwagon, there are alternative choices that may improve your feelings of desire.
Echinacea became widely used as a form of medicine in the United States during the 18th and 19th century, but has since declined, most likely due to the development of modern antibiotics. Despite the decline, Germany has taken interest in Echinacea and has become one of the leaders in researching the medical benefits of the plant.
Goji berries, native to the regions of China, Mongolia, and the Himalayas in Tibet, have been used for over 6,000 years for various health reasons such as: protecting the liver, improving eyesight, improving sexual function, boosting immune system, and are notoriously known for promoting longevity. And who doesn’t want to live longer, right?