Monthly Archives: June 2011

Dandelion Roots?

The dandelions are all around us now, since about april and while I was gathering the greens for my rabbits to munch it occurred to me to do a blog entry on dandelion roots. I am hoping to get the information out there so that by fall people can start collecting them.

 

While many people think of the dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) as a pesky weed, herbalists consider it a valuable herb that can be used as a food and medicine. Dandelion is a rich source of vitamins A, B complex, C, and D, as well as minerals such as iron, potassium, and zinc. Dandelion leaves are used to add flavor to salads, sandwiches, and teas. The roots are used in some coffee substitutes, and the flowers are used to make wines.

Traditionally, dandelion roots and leaves were used to treat liver problems. Native Americans also boiled dandelion in water and took it to treat kidney disease, swelling, skin problems, heartburn, and upset stomach. In traditional Chinese medicine, dandelion has been used to treat stomach problems, appendicitis, and breast problems, such as inflammation or lack of milk flow. In Europe, it was used in remedies for fever, boils, eye problems, diabetes, and diarrhea.

So far, there have not been any good quality scientific studies on dandelion. Today, the roots are mainly used as an appetite stimulant, and for liver and gallbladder problems. Dandelion leaves are used as a diuretic to help the body get rid of excess fluid.

Dandelion leaves act as a diuretic, increasing the amount of urine the body produces. The leaves are used to stimulate the appetite and help digestion. Dandelion flower has antioxidant properties. Dandelion may also help improve the immune system.

Herbalists use dandelion root to detoxify the liver and gallbladder, and dandelion leaves to support kidney function.

Traditionally, dandelion has been used a diuretic, to increase the amount of urine the body produces in order to get rid of excess fluid. It has been used for many conditions where a diuretic might help, such as liver problems and high blood pressure. However, there is no good research on using dandelion as a diuretic in people.

Fresh or dried dandelion herb is also used as a mild appetite stimulant and to improve upset stomach. The root of the dandelion plant may act as a mild laxative and has been used to improve digestion. There is some very preliminary research that suggests dandelion may help improve liver and gallbladder function, but the study was not well designed.

Some preliminary animal studies also suggest that dandelion may help normalize blood sugar levels and lower total cholesterol and triglycerides while raising HDL, “good,” cholesterol in diabetic mice. But not all the animal studies have found a positive effect on blood sugar. Human studies are needed to see if dandelion would work in people.

A few animal studies also suggest that dandelion might help fight inflammation.

Dandelion herbs and roots are available fresh or dried in a variety of forms, including tinctures, liquid extract, teas, tablets, and capsules. Dandelion can be found alone or combined with other dietary supplements.

Dandelion roots are best harvested from late fall through early spring, when the plant is dormant and has stored up energy in the root.

For long term storage, drying the works best.   Roots should be well scrubbed before cutting.  Thick roots should be sliced lengthwise into strips of uniform thickness to decrease drying time and encourage uniform drying. Dry in a dehydrator or on a screen. Dried roots will keep for about a year.

Ask your doctor to help you determine the right dose for you. Some traditional doses include:

  • Dried leaf infusion: 1 – 2 teaspoonfuls, 3 times daily. Pour hot water onto dried leaf and steep for 5 – 10 minutes. Drink as directed.
  • Dried root decoction: 1/2 – 2 teaspoonfuls, 3 times daily. Place root into boiling water for 5 – 10 minutes. Strain and drink as directed.
  • Leaf tincture (1:5) in 30% alcohol: 30 – 60 drops, 3 times daily
  • Standardized powdered extract (4:1) leaf: 500 mg, 1 – 3 times daily
  • Standardized powdered extract (4:1) root: 500 mg, 1 – 3 times daily
  • Root tincture (1:2) fresh root in 45% alcohol: 30 – 60 drops, 3 times daily

The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, contain components that can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs with care, under the supervision of a health care provider.

Dandelion is generally considered safe. Some people may develop an allergic reaction from touching dandelion, and others may develop mouth sores.

If you are allergic to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigold, chamomile, yarrow, daisies, or iodine, you should avoid dandelion.

In some people, dandelion can cause increased stomach acid and heartburn. It may also irritate the skin if applied topically.

People with kidney problems, gallbladder problems, or gallstones should ask their health care provider before eating dandelion.

Possible Interactions:

Dandelion leaf may act as a diuretic, which can speed up how fast drugs leave your system. If you are taking prescription medications, ask your health care provider before taking dandelion leaf. If you are currently being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use dandelion without first talking to your health care provider:

Antacids — Dandelion may increase the amount of stomach acid, so antacids may not work as well.

Blood-thinning medications — Theoretically, dandelion may increase the risk of bleeding, especially if you already take blood-thinners such as aspirin, warfarin (Coumadin), or clopidogrel (Plavix).

Diuretics (water pills) — Dandelion may act as a diuretic, increasing the amount of urine to help your body get rid of excess fluid. If you also take prescription diuretics or other herbs that act as diuretic, you could be at risk for an electrolyte imbalance.

Lithium — Animal studies suggest that dandelion may make the side effects of lithium worse. Lithium is used to treat bipolar disorder.

Ciproflaxin (Cipro) — One species of dandelion, Taraxacum mongolicum, also called Chinese dandelion, may lower the absorption of the antibiotic ciproflaxin from the digestive tract. Researchers don’ t know whether the common dandelion would do the same thing.

Medications for diabetes — Theoretically, dandelion may lower blood sugar levels. If you take medications for diabetes, taking dandelion may increase the risk of low blood sugar.

Alternative Names:

Lion’s tooth; Priest’s crown; Swine’s snout; Taraxacum officinale

http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/dandelion-000236.htm

 

I bought a new Motorcycle!

 

Well I did it. Here is my new bike. i wanted to keep it vintage (older) and found it on Kijijii. It’s a 1980 Kawasaki KZ750 LTD. 46000 km on it, the guy had it set up as a bit of a racing bike.

It has an inline 4 four-stroke engine, 74 HP with a top speed of 110 miles an hour. Air cooled 5 speed chain driven with Mikuni carbs and a Kerker 4 into 1 exhaust. Its purple so for now I am calling it Barney. It’s the biggest bike I have ever owned. Mike says that he thinks I am too old to have a motorcycle LOL. He doesn’t want me to get hurt. Now I can ride with hubby! Woohoo!

Just need plates and insurance on monday and I’m set!

Aloe Vera

 

The Aloe vera plant has been used for thousands of years to heal a variety of conditions, most notably burns, wounds, skin irritations, and constipation. It is grown in most subtropical and tropical locations, including South Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Aloe was one of the most frequently prescribed medicines throughout most of the 18th and 19th centuries and it remains one of the most commonly used herbs in the United States today. However, oral use of aloe for constipation is no longer recommended, as it can have severe side effects.

Burns

Aloe gel, made from the central part of the aloe leaf, is a common household remedy for minor cuts and burns, as well as sunburns. It can be found in many commercial skin lotions and cosmetics. Aloe contains active compounds that may decrease pain and inflammation and stimulate skin growth and repair. For this reason, aloe vera gel has gained tremendous popularity for relief of burns, with individual success in helping minor burns. In one study, burn sites treated with aloe healed completely in less than 16 days compared to 19 days for sites treated with silver sulfadiazine. In a review of the scientific literature, researchers found that patients who were treated with aloe vera healed an average of almost 9 days sooner than those who weren’t treated with the medicinal plant. However, other studies show mixed results, including at least one study that found aloe actually delayed healing. Aloe is best used for minor burns and skin irritations, and should never be applied to an open wound.

Herpes and skin conditions

Preliminary evidence also suggests that aloe gel may improve symptoms of genital herpes and certain skin conditions such as psoriasis. In fact, one study found that aloe vera gel displayed anti-inflammatory effects superior to 1% hydrocortisone cream or a placebo gel. As such, researchers claim that aloe vera gel may be useful in the treatment of inflammatory skin conditions, such as ultraviolet induced erythema.

Constipation

Aloe juice or aloe latex, a yellow, bitter liquid derived from the skin of the aloe leaf, is a powerful laxative. However, it can cause painful cramping and is not safe to use in this manner.

Diabetes

Preliminary studies suggest that aloe juice may help lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 (adult onset) diabetes. More research is needed to determine whether aloe is helpful for diabetes.

Plant Description:

Aloe vera is a perennial, succulent plant (meaning its leaves hold large quantities of water). The plant can grow up to 4 feet tall, and its tough, fleshy, spear like leaves can grow up to 36 inches long. The clear, thick gel found in the inner part of the leaf is most commonly used for minor cuts and burns.

What’s It Made Of?:

Although aloe is 99 percent water, aloe gel also contains substances known as glycoproteins and polysaccharides. Glycoproteins speed the healing process by stopping pain and inflammation, while polysaccharides stimulate skin growth and repair. These substances may also stimulate the immune system.

Available Forms:

You can get aloe by simply breaking off leaves of the plant (which can be grown as a houseplant), but it is also available commercially in ointments, creams, and lotions. Aloe gel is often included in cosmetic and over the counter skin care products as well. You can purchase aloe in the form of capsules, tablets, juice, gel, ointment, cream, and lotion.

How to Take It:

Pediatric

Pure aloe gel may be applied to the surface of the skin for minor skin irritations. Children should never take oral aloe preparations.

Adult

Slit the leaf of an aloe plant lengthwise and remove the gel from the inside, or use a commercial preparation. Carefully clean affected area and then apply aloe gel liberally to the skin. Do not apply to open wounds.

Precautions:

The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, can trigger side effects and can interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs with care, under the supervision of a health care provider.

Aloe gel is considered safe when applied to the surface of the skin, but should not be applied to open or deep wounds. In rare cases, it may cause an allergic reaction, mainly a skin rash. If you develop a rash, stop using the gel.

Taking aloe latex orally may cause severe intestinal cramps or diarrhea and is not recommended. Pregnant women should never take aloe latex because it may cause uterine contractions and trigger miscarriage. Nursing mothers should not take aloe latex either because the effects and safety for infants and children are not known.

Possible Interactions:

If you are currently being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use aloe vera without first talking to your doctor. Do not take aloe for 2 weeks prior to any surgical procedure as it may cause increased bleeding during surgery.

Medications for diabetes — The combination of aloe vera and glyburide, a medication used to treat type 2 diabetes, may help control blood sugar and triglyceride (fat) levels in the blood. People with diabetes who use aloe either alone or in combination with other medications must be monitored closely by their doctor to make sure blood sugar levels don’t fall too low (a condition called hypoglycemia).

Digoxin and diuretics — Because taking oral aloe can decrease levels of potassium in the body, aloe latex should not be used by people taking diuretics (water pills) or digoxin (a medication used to treat irregular heart rhythms and congestive heart failure). These drugs also lower potassium levels in the body, so a combination of aloe and digoxin or diuretics could cause potassium levels to fall too low.

http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/aloe-000221.htm