Hey, everyone i'm sure many of you know I've been doing an on going series via my Instagram (@Flora_papi) Called the Herb of the Day. I thank you all for tuning into the series as it continues to gain success and renown. To not overload you with information on Instagram I've decided to offer you follow up information here!
Usnea is a lichen, also know as old man's beard. Lichen are a lovely symbiosis Fungi and Algae. This particular Lichen only grows where the air quality is good enough. Usnea's first recorded use dates back to 101 BC in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The primary usage of Usnea is for it's anti-microbial affects. It's primary constituent is Usnic acid. Usnic acid can be found in other lichens as well, and has displayed potent anti-viral. anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-fungal, and anti-protozoan activity. Usnic acid can be extracted an made into tinctures. Usnea it self can be utilized to make dyes for textiles, cosmetic production and as an excellent fire starter.
Fennel (Foeniculum Vulgare)
Fennel has a rich us in herbal culinary history. Originating from the Mediterranean, it's reach is now far and wide. Currently the main producers of Fennel are Asia, Europe, and North America. Fennel's lore dates back as far back to Greek mythology, and the story of Prometheus. Prometheus is the titan god responsible for stealing fire from mount Olympus (home of the gods) and returning it back to man. When he steals the fire, he hid it in a stalk of Fennel! It is primarily consumed as a fresh or dried fruit, or as seeds. Although the whole plant can be utilized in cooking. Fennel is one of the highest sources of potassium, sodium, phosphorous, and calcium. Medical uses for Fennel include its use as a anti-spasmodic (in particular with intestinal spasm), a carminative (expels gas), soothing pain, menopausal relief and its volatile oils are being reviewed as cancer treatments
Dill (Anthum Graveolens)
Dill is believed to be native to South East Asian, It's use dates back from the Egyptians to the Romans. Most most notable use comes from auyverdic medicine. Dill is a great companion plant (helps and promotes the growth of other plants) for corn, cabbage, lettuce, and onions. It inhibits the growth of carrots however. Dill also stabilizes the yield of Fennel seeds. You commonly see dill in seasonings on food, like pickles. Yet it has other more uses and benefits than you may know. Dill is used to make gripe water, a liquid herbal tincture mixed with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). Gripe water is used to relieve colic pain and flatulence in infants and children. The seed is carminative like Fennel, and mildly diuretic. The essential oils relieve intestinal pain and can stimulate lactation in women. In many cultures the seeds are chewed and said to neutralize bad breath. Dill can also be used as a preservative to inhibit bacterial growth. It's said to pick the leaves just as the flowers bloom, or for seeds harvest when the seed heads brown.
Perhaps one of the most well known herbs and essential oils would be Lavender. Its used in a myriad of industries and lives. Lavender is said to originate form Africa/Asia/Europe. Its used in many different ways, Such as an ornamental plant, a culinary herb, essential oil, or or topical extractions. The flowers are used to be extracted or in culinary dishes. Lavender has displayed anticonvulsant, neuroprotective, analgesic, sedative, anxiolytic and most interestingly Anti-conflict effects in animal studies. One study found consistent use of Lavender inhibited anxiety and depression in a study of mice.
Tea Tree (Melaleuc Alternifolia)
Tea tree is a tall shrub native to Australia. Its has been used by indigenous Australians, in particularly the for many years. This included using the leaves as a poultice, brewing teas, to inhaling the oils from crushed leaves. First reports f its anti-microbial activity was recorded on a series of papers between the 1920s-30s by Arthur Pentold and F. R Morrison. Commercialization of tea tree oil didn't begin until the 1970s. Tea tree oil is an anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, and most notably a potent anti-microbiol. It's attracting interest in its effect against antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria. One thing to note is it's help in treating candida a fungal overgrowth affecting over 2 million Americans. Tea tree may be able to help in treating drug resistance candida and making it more susceptible to drugs.