BASIL: ( Ocimum basilicum )
PART USED: Leaves, seeds, stems.
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES: Basil herb contains good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids, which helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Also, it contain high levels of beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin K, cryptoxanthin, lutein and zea-xanthin. These compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species that play a role in aging and various disease process.
Zeaxanthin, a yellow flavonoid carotenoid compound, is selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea where it found to filter harmful UV rays from reaching retina. Herbs, fruits, and vegetables that are rich in this compound help to protect from age related macular disease, especially in the elderly. Vitamin A is known to have antioxidant properties and is essential for vision. It is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural foods rich in vitamin-A has been found to help body protect from lung and oral cavity cancers. Vitamin K in basil is essential for many coagulant factors in the blood and plays vital role in the bone strengthening function by helping mineralization process in the bones.
Basil leaves contains many health benefiting essential oils such as eugenol, citronellol, linalool, citral, limonene and terpineol. These compounds are known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Eugenol has been found to have anti-inflammatory function by acting against the enzyme cycloxygenase, which mediates inflammatory cascade in the body. This enzyme-inhibiting effect of the eugenol in basil makes it an important remedy for symptomatic relief in individuals with inflammatory health problems like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and inflammatory bowel conditions. Oil of basil herb has also been found to have anti-infective functions by inhibiting many pathogenic bacteria like Staphylococcus, Enterococci, shigella and Pseudomonas. Basil leaves are also an excellent source of iron.
You can’t just shove junk food in your face and expect to have smooth, supple skin. When it comes to your health, the outside reflects the inside. A dull, dry complexion is a blinking neon sign that you’re not eating right. Take care of your skin by eating right and having fun with your food. Drink plenty of water and exercise daily to flush out toxins and don’t put toxins right back in your body! Animal based diet damages healthy skin and makes it more prone to wrinkles and an ashen, gray color – not pretty.
You can put your best face forward with a plant based diet. LOVE !!
This creamy, green fruit is abundant in essential oils and B-complex vitamins that nourish your skin, inside and out. Niacin (vitamin B3) is especially important for healthy skin, and avocados contain lots of it. Niacin, an anti-inflammatory, soothes irritated skin and red, blotchy skin. One avocado has 3.8 mg niacin – 27% of your daily need. Blend half an avocado with nuts and frozen berries to make a creamy, nutty-flavored morning smoothie. An avocado face-mask recipe that will solve your dry skin problems instantly. (Recipe below)
Mangoes have more than 80% of your daily requirements for vitamin A, which is why they’re such a great face food. Vitamin A maintains and repairs skin cells; a deficiency will result in a dry, flaky complexion. As an antioxidant, vitamin A also fights free radical damage that can prematurely age the skin. And with fewer than 70 calories per serving, this succulent fruit is the perfect pick for your figure, not just your face.
Not only is it a gorgeous shape for your eyes, almonds are also great for your complexion. With 150% of your daily need for vitamin E, it’s no wonder that getting a bit nutty is good for you. Vitamin E’s rich oils moisturize dry skin, and its antioxidants protect against skin damage and premature aging.
Your average cherry doesn’t supply a lot of vitamin C, but that’s not true for Acerolas. One of these cherries supplies 100% of your daily allowance for vitamin C, which is great news for your skin. As an antioxidant, vitamin C fights skin damage and wrinkles. It also plays a central role in the production of collagen, the structural protein in your skin.
A plump, steaming baked potato is good for your skin. Eat one baked potato (with the skin) to get 75% of your daily copper need. This essential mineral works with vitamin C and zinc to produce the elastin fibers that support skin structure. Too little copper in your diet can reduce your skin’s ability to heal and cause it to become rigid and lifeless.
It’s no secret that omega 3s are great for your skin, but did you know that flaxseed oil is one of the best sources of this essential fatty acid? Just one teaspoon of flaxseed oil per day provides 2.5 grams of omega 3s, which, in turn, hydrate the skin. Essential fatty acids also dilute sebum and unclog pores that otherwise leads to acne.
Don’t let the “germ” scare you – it’s actually just the embryo within a grain of wheat, and it’s nutritious. Wheat germ is a good source of biotin, a B vitamin that’s crucial to skin health. A mild biotin deficiency can cause dermatitis, a condition characterized by itchy, scaly skin. Sprinkle wheat germ on cereals for a tasty way to get more biotin in your diet.
You don’t have to eat these foods to nourish your complexion.
Some make for great facial masks too.
Try this avocado mask to instantly moisturize your skin:
1. Mash one whole avocado.
2. Add 1 teaspoon flaxseed oil or coconut oil.
3. Mix together until smooth and creamy.
4. Apply to face and let sit for 15-20 minutes.
5. Rinse clean with warm water.
CURLY DOCK: ( Rumex crispus )
PART USED: Leaves, roots.
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES: Iron, calcium, oxalates, tannins, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin C, astringent, detoxifier, and natural blood purifier.
It stimulates bowel movement within a few hours after ingestion to help remove lingering waste from your intestinal tract. Efficient elimination can help prevent toxins from getting into your liver, gallbladder, and bloodstream and this decreases the workload on these systems.
Enhances bile production to break down fatty foods. It improves the flow of bile and other digestive juices. Acts as a mild diuretic and laxative to help flush out toxins. Provides iron and promotes its absorption for optimal blood health. Supports bladder, kidney, and liver function. Helps reduce bowel inflammation and irritation. By increasing urine production, Dock Root helps to eliminate toxins from your body. In this manner, Dock Root effectively aids in eliminating foreign substances that can overburden the liver. Other conditions believed to be reduced by Dock Root include headaches, mental lethargy, general irritability, skin blemishes, and blood and skin disorders — all of these problems are related to the liver not being able to operate efficiently.
LAMB’s QUARTER: ( Chenopodium album )
PART USED: Leaves, stem, seeds.
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES: Calcium, copper, fiber, iron, manganese, potassium, protein/amino acids, Vitamin A, vitamin B1/thiamin, vitamin B2/riboflavin, vitamin B3/niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B9/folate, vitamin C.
The leaves and young shoots may be eaten as a leaf vegetable, either steamed in its entirety, or cooked like spinach, but should be eaten in moderation due to high levels of oxalic acid. Each plant produces tens of thousands of black seeds. These are high in protein, vitamin A, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. Quinoa is a closely related species which is grown specifically for its seeds.It is also used as a medicinal plant in traditional medicine.
SPEARMINT: ( Mentha spicata )
PART USED: Leaves, stem, seeds.
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES: Potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium, vitamin A, beta carotene, vitamin C, folates, vitamin B-6, riboflavin and thiamin.
The leaves and herb parts contain essential oil menthol. However, unlike in peppermint, spearmint does not contain high amounts of menthol, making it least pungent and subtly fragrant herb in mint family. Important chemical components of spearmint are ?-pinene, ?-pinene, carvone, cineole, linalool, limonene, myrcene and caryophyllene. These compounds in mint help relieve fatigue and stress. Excellent remedy for minor ailments such as headaches, nervous strain, fatigue and stress, as well as for the respiratory problems; helping with asthma, bronchitis and catarrh.
Also has analgesic, local anaesthetic and counterirritant properties. Used in toothpaste and mouth re fresheners. On the skin, when used as cream or lotion, it may help relieve the itching of pruritis, dermatitis and hives.
PLANTAIN: ( Plantago major )
PART USED: Leaves
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES: fiber, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus, zinc and copper, as well as vitamins A, C and K. It is also a rich source of numerous phytochemicals, including allantoin, glycosides, phenols, salicylic acid and tannins. Phytochemicals are antioxidant compounds found naturally in plants that prevent free radical induced damage in the body and thereby help to prevent and treat disease in humans.
Plantain leaf has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antibiotic and immune-stimulating properties. The leaves are edible and used in herbal medicine, but can be somewhat tough. The taste is that of very bitter salad greens with a lingering aftertaste not unlike spinach. Younger leaves are recommended as they are more tender. The leaves when dried can be made into a tisane. Plantago major was used traditionally to prevent uterine bleeding after childbirth.
RED CLOVER: ( Trifolium pratense )
PART USED: Leaves, stems, flowers.
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES Calcium, chromium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine, and vitamin C. Rich source of isoflavones (chemicals that act like estrogens and are found in many plants).
Because it contains chemicals called isoflavones, which belong to a larger class of plant chemicals known as phyto (plant-derived) estrogens, red clover is often taken to relieve symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Isoflavones are similar in shape to the female hormone, estrogen. Therefore, they may attach to estrogen receptors throughout the body particularly in the bladder, blood vessels, bones, and heart.
Red clover ointments have been applied to the skin to treat psoriasis, eczema, and other rashes. Red clover also has a history of use as a cough remedy for children. The red flowers at the end of the branched stems are usually dried for therapeutic use.
The dandelion plant is a beneficial weed, with a wide range of uses, and is even a good companion plant for gardening. Its taproot will bring up nutrients for shallower-rooting plants, and add minerals and nitrogen to soil. It is also known to attract pollinating insects and release ethylene gas which helps fruit to ripen. See Herb Properties and Health Benefits
GINGER: ( Zingiber officinale )
PART USED: Root, leaves.
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES: Ginger root is a popular root herb of culinary as well as medicinal importance. The root still finds special place in many traditional medicines for its unique phyto-chemicals that are known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties. The spicy root is actually an underground rhizome of small herb plant belonging to the Zingiberaceae family.
Ginger has been in use since ancient times for its anti-inflammatory, carminative, anti-flatulent, and anti-microbial properties. The root contains many health benefiting essential oils such as gingerol, zingerone, shogaol, farnesene and small amounts of phelladrene, cineol, and citral. Gingerols help improve the intestinal motility and has anti-inflammatory, painkiller (analgesic), nerve soothing, anti-pyretic as well as anti-bacterial properties. Studies have shown that it can reduce nausea induced by motion sickness or pregnancy and can help relieve migraine headaches. Zingerone, which gives pungent character to the ginger root, has been found to be effective against E.coli induced diarrhea, especially in children.
This herb root is very rich source of many essential nutrients and vitamins such as pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), pantothenic acid (vit.B-5) that are essential for optimum health. It also contains good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure.
Ginger root slices boiled in hot water with added lemon or orange juice and maple syrup is a popular medicinal drink to relieve common cold, cough, and sore throat. Gingerols increase the motility of the gastrointestinal tract and have analgesic, sedative, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties.
Ginger plant can be grown at home garden or as potherb so that fresh roots are readily available for use whenever the need arises. In the store, however, choose fresh organic herb over the dried form of the since it is superior in quality and flavor.
Fresh roots should feature heavy in hand, stout, juicy, has grey-yellow peel and free from dark spots or mold. Dried, powdered, or ground root can also be found in these stores; however, they may contain significantly reduced levels of volatile oils like gingerols.
Fresh root can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a month or so. Powdered/ground ginger should be stored in the refrigerator in airtight containers.