Tea time! There are so many available tea options though, so which one should you choose? Better yet, which one would your body choose for you? All you have to do is walk into Teavana, Davids Tea or any health food store and you have shelves upon shelves dedicated to loose or bagged teas. Sometimes it can be a tad overwhelming. For your convenience, I have narrowed it down to the 3 teas that I think will do the most good for your beautiful body at any stage of your life.
Dandelion Root & Leaf Tea
This is NOT just an obnoxious weed growing all over your yard. It’s a magnificent herb used to help digestion, gently stimulate the liver and help with constipation. I started taking this tea a couple years ago when I was healing my bowel issues. Dandelion tea has a earthy slightly bitter taste that the liver and bowels love. The bowels and the liver go hand in hand, so if one is not working, 99.9% of the time the other is struggling as well. This beautiful tea gently stimulates the liver/gallbladder to help it secrete bile. Bile is the bodies natural laxative that aids in digestion of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. When your food is properly digested and bile is flowing it helps combat inflammation in the intestines and allow your body to properly eliminate waste. Benefits of dandelion root and leaf tea include:
- Infuses the body with vitamins and minerals
Dandelion root – vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D and vitamin B complex, as well as zinc, iron and potassium.
Dandelion leaf – vitamins C and B6, thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, iron , potassium, and manganese. Other nutrients present in dandelion greens include folate, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper.
- Helps heal liver and skin disorders
- Neutralizes an acidic body
- Mild natural laxative
- Helps digestion ( bitter tonic)
- Helps fight inflammation in the body
- Helps fight seasonal allergies
- Soothes heart burn
- Helps balance blood pressure
- Helps strengthen the immune system
- Gently cleanses the body
- Great coffee substitute
- Dandelion greens are great in a salad
*Do not ingest/use dandelion greens or roots if you suspect they have been sprayed with weed killer.
Red Raspberry Leaf
This plant has been used for hundreds of years as a yummy food (the berries) and the leaves as a great healing herb, especially for woman. But beware! This tea does not taste like the fruit it produces! It has more of a green tea taste, that’s earthy and slightly bitter. If you are looking for a great multi-vitamin drink, look no further than 1-3 cups a day of red raspberry leaf tea! I love drinking a cup first thing in the morning to start the day off right. I started drinking this tea more than ever during pregnancy to provide body-building and body-sustaining vitamins and minerals. I personally drank red raspberry leaf tea to help build my blood and boost iron levels, keep leg cramps away and balance out my hormones. Balanced hormones are key to a happy pregnancy! When your hormones are balanced and your body has been given the right fuel you don’t have a lot of common pregnancy symptoms like restless leg syndrome, varicose veins, rapid weight gain, and mood swings to name a few. And this tea is not just for women, men and children can also benefit greatly from this tea. Benefits of red raspberry leaf tea include:
- Infuses the body with vitamins and minerals such as the vitamins C, E, A and B complex and the minerals potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron and chromium.
- Helps stop diarrhea
- Helps fight inflammation in the intestines
- Swish tea to help with gum disease or canker sores
- Helps balance hormones in males and females
- Tones the female reproductive system
- Helps increase fertility in men and woman
- Diuretic – helps eliminates fluid retention
- Helps reduce fevers
- Strengthens the immune system
- Prevents miscarriages and brings on labor when the body is ready
- Helps fight off flues and colds
Nettle Leaf Tea
Mother Nature’s gift to this world and basically my go to tea for just about anything! Some of my health clients complain that this tea is hard to swallow because of its bitter, grassy taste. Yep, there is nothing sweet about this tea besides its health benefits. I love to pair this healing tea with a peppermint tea to make it more palatable. I started taking nettle leaf tea (it has to be nettle leaf, not the root) in my 2nd trimester of pregnancy to help increase my bowel movements, elevate mood and energy levels, and infuse my body along with baby’s body with vital plant vitamins and minerals. Its a fantastic everyday tonic for the body. Benefits of nettle leaf tea include:
- Infuses the body with vitamins and minerals such as the vitamins A, C, *D and K and the minerals calcium, potassium, phosphorous, iron and sulfur. *Nettle supplies your body with vitamin D3 (calcidiol) which is a precursor to biologically active vitamin D.
- Increases fertility in men and women.
- Nourishes mother and fetus during pregnancy, especially during the 2nd trimester
- Eases leg cramps and other body spasms
- Diminishes pain during and after birth
- Increases the richness and amount of breast milk
- Gently cleans the blood stream
- Helps relieve seasonal allergies
- Energizes the body without caffeine
- Promotes lymph drainage
- Helps fight Inflammation throughout the entire body
- Diuretic without taking potassium out of the body
- Helps heal kidney/bladder infections
- Helps with gout by reducing the amount of uric acid in the body
- Great tonic for pregnant woman due to high mineral content
- Helps with prostate enlargement issues
Blood is quite literally the river of life. Your vitality is greatly influenced by your blood purity and whether or not your organs and tissues can get a constant sufficient supply of blood. Blood is composed of plasma, red and white blood cells and platelets with its major role to regulate the body’s systems and maintain homeostasis. Blood keeps you alive by transporting nutrients and oxygen to your cells while also removing metabolic waste products away from those same cells. In addition to the need of clean blood, another need are clean channels that blood flows through. Similar to your home, it is not only important to have pure water to drink, but also to have clean, strong pipes to transport the water.
Blood makes up around 7-8% of the weight of a human body with pregnant women having approximately 50% more blood by week 20 than they did at time of conception. The tiny vessels that transport blood throughout the body would cover a distance of roughly 100,000 miles and one red blood cell can complete a circuit around your entire body in 30 seconds. And did you know that in times of emergency coconut water can actually be used as a substitute for blood plasma? (1) Crazy! (I still prefer drinking my coconut water).
Dr. Christopher’s Blood Stream Formula includes various herbs with the intent to clean and purify, help remove cholesterol, kill infection and to strengthen the veins and artery walls. It is the last herbal formula included on the Extended Herbal Cleanse. This herbal formula includes the organic and wildcrafted herbs of red clover blossoms, chaparral, licorice root, poke root, peach leaves, Oregon grape root, stillingia, prickly ash bark, burdock root and buckthorn bark.
Red Clover Blossoms
Red Clover is unusually high in phytoestrogens, particularly isoflavones, making it a great herb for women going through menopause or while on their period. But this is not why red clover is in the blood stream formula. Red Clover also has shown the ability to lower LDL cholesterol levels while raising HDL cholesterol levels, improve blood circulation and maintain flexibility in arterial walls. Red Clover’s alterative properties help in removing metabolic waste products (blood cleanser) and is why it is often used to treat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
Chaparral is a desert shrub found growing mostly in Mexico and the southwestern United States. Some refer to the plant as greasewood due to its unique tar-like fragrance. Native Americans would make a tea out of the herb to treat a number of ailments. Chaparral contains powerful antioxidants and strong antifungal and antimicrobial properties. It has been used for centuries as a blood purifier and heavy metal detoxifier. It is also a good expectorant, helping to alleviate respiratory difficulties.
Licorice Root is obtained from the small shrubs grown typically in Europe and south west Asia. Similar to Red Clover, Licorice Root contains various isoflavones (powerful antioxidants) that help protect LDL cholesterol from being oxidized, thus reducing plaque formation in arteries. Licorice is also a good blood cleanser. Surprisingly, Licorice Root is a very effective anti-depressant and can often be used as an alternative to St. John’s Wart. Licorice is mostly known for its demulcent, pectoral and emollient properties and is a great digestive soother and anti-inflammatory. We love taking licorice and slippery elm together when we feel our digestive system/bowels could use some soothing.
Poke root is a powerful cleansing herb, especially used to clear and move congested lymph. Many will find Poke Root as a great headache remedy and the root is also believed to strongly support the reproductive organs. It has been used to help treat mastitis and even cancer of the breast. Too much of the herb can cause an emetic or purgative effect, so this is one herb that really should be taken in small quantities.
When picking fruit from trees you usually don’t give much thought to the leaves; this is one fruit tree though you might want to gather some leaves as well. Peach Leaf is good depurative, helping the body to detoxify and supports the elimination channels of the body. Peach leaf can also act as a demulcent, mild laxative, sedative, diuretic and expectorant.
Oregon Grape Root
Oregon Grape Root is most renowned for its ability to stimulate the liver and increase bile flow, but also possesses powerful blood cleansing properties as well. Oregon grape root, much like Golden Seal, contains berberine and therefor exhibits antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral and antiseptic characteristics while simultaneously boosting the immune system. If you ever run out of Golden Seal or can’t afford the high price tag, Oregon Grape Root is an excellent alternative.
Stillingia, also known as Queen’s Root, is another good alterative herb and similar to Poke Root, is great at clearing and moving congested lymph. It is an exceptional depurative herb, helping the body to detoxify and cleanse the blood. Stillingia also possesses laxative, expectorant and diaphoretic qualities. As a depurative, Stillingia works great when combined with other depurative herbs to clear up skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis.
Prickly Ash Bark
If any of you suffer from Raynaud’s disease, like myself, this is one herb you won’t want to overlook. Prickly Ash Bark is great at improving blood circulation and would work great along with other stimulatory herbs like cayenne, ginger and garlic. Prickly Ash finds itself in the Blood Stream Formula as blood circulation is critical to detoxification. Prickly Ash also has diaphoretic and antibacterial properties. Native Americans used to chew the bark to help relieve toothaches.
Burdock Root is renowned as a liver tonic and also helps to clean and build the blood. Like the other herbs in the formula, Burdock is a great depurative, assisting the body in eliminating toxins and waste. Burdock also possesses diuretic properties, supporting the kidneys in waste elimination. Interestingly, this medicinal herb is actually often eaten as food in many cultures and is rich in various vitamins and minerals. Burdock root contains reltively high amounts of fiber, vitamin B6 and the minerals iron, magnesium and manganese.
Cascara Sagrada Bark (Rhamnus Purshianus)
It isn’t a surprise why this herb with laxative effects was given the name Cascara Sagrada by Spanish conquerors, or Sacred Bark in English. If one day goes by and I don’t have at least one elimination, I can develop a pretty sour mood indeed. For those who have experienced days of constipation (unfortunately, I am a member of this group), a good bowel movement is like a gift from God, relieving tension, pressure, irritation, frustration, anxiety and even depression. The active constituents in Cascara Sagrada are anthraquinone derivatives and their action is to stimulate peristalsis. The good thing about Cascara Sagrada, when taken as a whole herb as opposed to a tea or a decoction, is that the herb not only stimulates peristalsis, but also heals and strengthens the colon muscles. Proper elimination is key when detoxifying, and Cascara Sagrada helps support the digestive elimination channel.
Buckthorn Bark (Rhamnus Frangula)
Very similar to its cousin, Cascara Sagrada, Frangula bark is also a laxative. Frangula bark is more gentle and slower acting than Cascara Sagrada, making it a great herb for those suffering from chronic constipation, but perhaps not strong enough for those with acute constipation. Frangula bark will help re-educate the bowels to function properly. The bark needs to be aged (dried) for one to two years as fresh Frangula bark acts as an irritating poison on the intestines. Again, Dr. Christopher wants to make sure all elimination channels are working properly when the blood is being cleaned and purified.
Sarsaparilla Root is native to Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. It has been used medicinally for millennia. Sarsaparilla Root is a great depurative, promoting detoxification and blood purification through its alterative, diaphoretic and sudorific properties.
For more information on the Extended Herbal Cleanse, click here!
The bowels are the foundation of health and are composed of the small (upper bowel) and large (lower bowel) intestine. The small intestine is roughly 20 feet long with the large intestine measuring 5 feet in length. It’s amazing to think they fit so compactly inside you! Most people think that the stomach is where the majority of food is digested, when in fact 90% of digestion actually occurs in the small intestine, with the remaining 10% in the stomach and large intestine. The small intestine is devoted to digesting carbohydrates, proteins and fats, along with absorbing water and the various vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients your body needs to thrive and survive. The large intestine is basically the sewage system of the body, designed to move any waste and toxins leftover from digestion out of the body.
On top of all this, the bowels also house some very important microbes, your personal gut flora. That’s right, there are billions upon billions of bacteria living harmoniously or inharmoniously inside your bowels. This gut flora can influence bodily processes such as metabolism, nutrition, energy production and even gene expression. When your bowels are not functioning properly or there is an imbalance of gut flora you may get gassy, bloated, stinky, irritated, headaches, lowered immune system, lethargic, back aches, loss of nutrients, acne, constipated, diarrhea etc.
The Lower Bowel Formula was created by Dr. Christopher to repair and strengthen not only the lower bowel but the entire intestinal tract. The formula is a brilliant combination of Barberry bark, Cayenne Pepper, Ginger Root, Lobelia, Cascara Sagrada, Turkey Rhubarb, Fennel, Goldenseal and Red Raspberry leaf. This formula is not a regular laxative; think of it more like bowel food that will feed, nourish, repair and rebuild. The herbs in the formula are all whole plants and contain no isolations of molecules. We use whole herbs so we can get the maximum healing properties from them.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these herbs and why they are in the Lower Bowel Formula.
Barberry Bark is an excellent liver tonic and has been used to help treat non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (1). Why is a liver supporting herb in the Lower Bowel Formula? Barberry helps clean the liver and stimulate bile production. Bile is your body’s natural laxative and helps break down protein, fats and carbs. Without adequate bile production, your food becomes more difficult to digest and eliminate.
Cayenne pepper is a healing spice from the Gods. In this formula it was put in to stimulate peristaltic motion of the intestines, draw out toxins and help close small lesions on the delicate colon wall. Contrary to popular belief, cayenne pepper actually helps rebuild the tissue in the stomach and heal stomach and intestinal ulcers. I know, you are thinking we are crazy for saying that a hot spice will help heal ulcers, but it’s true. Try it!
Ginger is the leader herb in this formula, guiding the herbs deep into the bowels for maximum repairing. Ginger also helps keep flatulence and is a well known digestive aid helping relieve feelings of nausea, motion sickness, upset stomach and bloating. Ginger is also a diaphoretic, stimulating the body to sweat. Try drinking ginger tea on a cold day to help warm you up.
Lobelia is an antispasmodic herb and was added to the formula to calm a spastic bowel and strengthen the bowel nerves.
Golden Seal is quite possibly the “golden” herb for health. Golden Seal is a known stomachic, tonic, detergent, alterative, antiseptic and even antineoplastic! Goldenseal was added to clear up any infection in the GI tract, tone the bowel muscles, increase appetite and help fight inflammation.
Fennel is a soothing/relaxing herb used to help with flatulence as well. Fennel can break up obstructions in the liver, spleen and gall. Fennel also has antiseptic properties.
Turkey Rhubarb increases peristalsis by stimulating the muscular layer of the bowel, tones the bowel tissue and stimulates the liver to produce bile for better digestion and easier flowing bowel movements. Turkey Rhubarb also fights inflammation in the bowel which heavily influence the occurrence of constipation and diarrhea.
It isn’t a surprise why this herb with laxative effects was given the name Cascara Sagrada by Spanish conquerors, or Sacred Bark in English. If one day goes by and I don’t have at least one bowel elimination, I can develop a pretty sour mood indeed. For those who have experienced days of constipation (unfortunately, I am a member of this group as well), a good bowel movement is like a gift from God, relieving tension, pressure, irritation, frustration, anxiety and even depression. The active constituents in Cascara Sagrada are anthraquinone derivatives and their action is to stimulate peristalsis. The good thing about Cascara Sagrada, when taken as a whole herb as opposed to a tea or a decoction, is that the herb not only stimulates peristalsis, but also heals and strengthens the colon muscles. Proper elimination is key when detoxifying, and Cascara Sagrada helps support the digestive elimination channel.
Red Raspberry leaf is extremely high in vitamins and minerals that feed the colon tissue and cleanse the colon walls. It has amazing anti-inflammatory properties and also helps soothe and calm the digestive tract. Red Raspberry leaves make for a great tea for children suffering from stomach and bowel complaints.
For more information on Dr. Christopher’s Extended Cleanse, click here!
If you’re like me, you might get lost sometimes when pretty big words get thrown around in talking about the medicinal properties of herbs, like antiemetic or carminative. Just what exactly do these words mean? This glossary page is dedicated to you 🙂
ABORTIFACIENT – Induces the premature expulsion of the fetus.
ALTERATIVE – Herbs that gradually convert an unhealthy condition of an organ to a healthy one. Gradually facilitates a beneficial change in the body.
ANALGESIC – Any substance that relieves pain.
ANAPHRODISIAC – Herbs that decrease or allay sexual feelings or desires.
ANODYNE – Relieves pain and induces the sensitivity of the nerves
ANTACID – Neutralizes the acid produced by the stomach.
ANTHELMINTIC – An agent that destroys and expels worms from the intestines.
ANTIBILIOUS – An herb that combats biliousness. The term biliousness refers to a group of symptoms consisting of nausea, abdominal discomfort, headache, constipation, and gas that is caused by an excessive secretion of bile.
ANTIEMETIC – Prevents or alleviates nausea and vomiting.
ANTIEPILEPTIC – An agent that combats the convulsions or seizures of epilepsy.
ANTILITHIC – Aids in preventing the formation of stones in the kidneys and bladder.
ANTIPERIODIC -Prevents the periodic recurrence of attacks of a disease; as in malaria.
ANTIPHLOGISTIC – An agent that counteracts inflammation.
ANTIPYRETIC – Reduces fever. Same as FEBRIFUGE or REFRIGERANT.
ANTIRHEUMATIC – An agent that relieves or cures rheumatism.
ANTISCORBUTIC – Effective in the prevention or treatment of scurvy.
ANTISEPTIC – Prevents decay or putrefaction. A substance that inhibits the growth and development of microorganisms without necessarily destroying them.
ANTISPASMODIC – An agent that relieves or prevents involuntary muscle spasm or cramps. For example: camomile.
ANTISYPHILITIC – Herbs that improve or cure syphilis. Also called antiluetic.
ANTITUSSIVE – Prevents or improves a cough.
ANTIZYMOTIC – Herbs that can destroy disease-producing organisms.
APERIENT – A mild or gentle laxative. Also called APERATIVE.
APHRODISIAC – Restores or increases sexual power and desire.
AROMATIC – An herb with a pleasant, fragrant scent and a pungent taste.
ASTRINGENT – Causes a local contraction of the skin, blood vessels, and other tissues, thereby arresting the discharge of blood, mucus, etc. Usually used locally as a topical application. The word topical pertains to a certain area of the skin or to a substance that affects only the area to which it is applied.
BALSAM – The resin of a tree that is healing and soothing. For example: myrrh.
BALSAMIC – A healing or soothing agent.
BITTER – A solution of bitter, often aromatic, plant products used as a mild tonic.
CARMINATIVE – An herb that helps to prevent gas from forming in the intestines, and also assists in expelling it.
CATHARTIC – Causes evacuation of the bowels. A cathartic may be either mild (laxative) or vigorous (purgative).
CEPHALIC – Referring to diseases affecting the head and upper part of the body.
CHOLAGOGUE – An herb that stimulants the flow of bile from the liver into the intestines.
CONDIMENT – Enhances the flavor of food.
CORDIAL – A stimulating medicine or drink.
DEMULCENT – Soothes, protects, and relieves the irritation of inflamed mucous membranes and other surfaces.
DEOBSTRUENT – Removes obstructions by opening the natural passages or pores of the body.
DEPURATIVE – Tends to purify and cleanse the blood.
DETERGENT – An agent that cleanses boils, ulcers, wounds, etc.
DIAPHORETIC – Promotes perspiration, especially profuse perspiration. Same as SUDORIFIC.
DISCUTIENT – An agent that dissolves or causes something, such as a tumor, to disappear. Also called DISCUSSIVE.
DIURETIC – Promotes the production and secretion of urine. For example: parsley.
DRASTIC – A violent purgative.
ECBOLIC – See ABORTIFICIENT.
EMETIC – Causes vomiting. For example: ipecac, lobelia.
EMMENAGOGUE – An herb that brings on menstruation. For example: camomile.
EMOLLIENT – A substance that is usually used externally to soften and soothe the skin.
ESCULENT – Edible or fit for eating.
EXANTHEMATOUS – Refers to any eruptive disease or fever. An herbal remedy for skin eruptions such as measles, scarlet fever etc.
EXPECTORANT – Promotes the thinning and ejection of mucus or exudate from the lungs, bronchi, and trachea; sometimes the meaning is extended to all remedies that quiet a cough.
FARINACEOUS – Having a mealy texture or surface.
FEBRIFUGE – Reduces body temperature and fever. Same as ANTIPYRETIC and REFRIGERANT.
HEPATIC – An herb that promotes the well-being of the liver and increases the secretion of bile. For example: golden seal.
HERPATIC – A remedy for skin eruptions, ringworm, etc.
HYPNOTIC – Tends to produce sleep.
LAXATIVE – An herb that acts to promote evacuation of the bowels; a gentle cathartic.
LITHOTRIPTIC – Causing the dissolution or destruction of stones in the bladder or kidneys.
MATURATING – An agent that promotes the maturing or bringing to a head of boils, carbuncles etc.
MUCILAGINOUS – Herbs that have a soothing effect on inflamed mucous membranes.
NARCOTIC – An addicting substance that reduces pain and produces sleep.
NAUSEANT – An herb that causes nausea and vomiting. Somewhat similar to an emetic.
NERVINE – A substance that calms and soothes the nerves and reduces tension and anxiety.
OPTHALMICUM – A remedy for diseases of the eye.
PARTURIENT – A substance that induces and promotes labor.
PECTORAL – Relieves disorders of the chest and lungs, such as an expectorant.
POULTICE – Plant material that is prepared in a special way and applied to the surface of the body as a remedy for certain disorders.
PUNGENT – Irritating or sharply painful. Producing a sharp sensation of taste or smell.
PURGATIVE – A substance that promotes the vigorous evacuation of the bowels. Usually used to relieve severe constipation.
REFRIGERANT – Relieves fever and thirst. A cooling remedy. Lowers body temperature.
RELAXANT – Tends to relax and relieve tension, especially muscular tension.
RESOLVENT – Promotes the resolving and removing of abnormal growths, such as a tumor.
RUBEFACIENT – An agent that reddens the skin by increasing the circulation when rubbed on the surface.
SEDATIVE – Allays excitement, induces relaxation and is conducive to sleep.
SIALAGOGUE – Promotes the flow of saliva.
SOPORIFIC – Herbs that help to produce sleep.
STIMULANT – An herb that increases the activity or efficiency of a system or organ; acts more rapidly than a tonic.
STOMACHIC – Herbs that give strength and tone to the stomach, stimulate digestion, and improve the appetite.
STYPTIC – Astringent: arrests hemorrhage and bleeding.
SUDORIFIC – Herbs that cause heavy perspiration.
TINCTURE – A solution of the active principal of an herb in alcohol.
TONIC – Herbs that restore and strengthen the entire system. produces and restores normal tone. A general tonic would be the one that braces up the whole system, such as a cold bath.
VERMIFUGE – An agent that expels intestinal worms or parasites. Same as ANTHELMINTIC.
VESICANT – An agent that causes blistering, such as poison ivy.
VULNERARY – An herb used in treating fresh cuts and wounds, usually used as a poultice. A healing substance.
The average adult is approximately 50-65% water. Lean muscle contains more water than fatty tissue, thus as body fat percentage increases, water percentage decreases. Roughly 2/3 of the body’s water is in the intracellular fluid while the remaining 1/3 is in the extracellular fluid. Crazy to think that more than half of your body weight is simply water!
It is important to keep all of this water clean; and the kidney’s do just that. The body has two kidneys and are extremely sophisticated filters, each roughly the size of your fist and bean shaped. Kidneys do much more than just remove excess fluid, waste products and toxins from the body as urine. They play critical roles in balancing the body’s fluids, releasing blood pressure regulating hormones and controlling the production of red blood cells. In a 24 hour period your kidneys receive, filter and return to the body approximately 200L of fluid and in that same time period the entire blood in your body will get filtered around 400 times!
The herbal kidney formula was created by Dr. Christopher to help clean, detoxify, support and strengthen these precious life sustaining organs. It is our favorite herbal kidney formula to date. Considering that 1/10 adults suffer from some kind of kidney impairment, this kidney formula is a much needed herbal support.
What’s In It???
Juniper Berries are not actually berries at all, but rather a cone with a berry-like appearance. Juniper Berries are a natural diuretic, increasing the rate of kidney filtration and thus urinary flow. They are also a natural antiseptic, helping remove waste and acidic toxins from the body while supporting the fight against bacterial and yeast infections, especially in the urinary tract, bladder, kidneys, and prostate. Juniper Berries also have antispasmodic, carminative, depurative, stimulant and stomachic benefits.
Parsley Root’s nutritional value alone is enough to warrant the eating of this herb. Just one cup of parsley contains 1200% of the recommended amount of vitamin K, 100% of vitamin A and 130% of vitamin C. It is also a significant source of folate and iron. Medicinally, Parsley is no slouch either, with the root proving to be more beneficial than the leafy greens. Especially known for it’s diuretic properties – thus explaining the inclusion of the herb in the kidney formula – Parsley also displays carminative, tonic and aperient qualities. So while the herb’s main effect is supporting kidney function, filtration and detoxification, parsley also plays a secondary role in aiding the bowels as well, reducing gas and toning and strengthening the entire colon itself.
Marshmallow Root, or more accurately written as “marsh mallow”, is an herb belonging to the mallow family and the commonly used herb is found growing in marshes. A primary constituent of marshmallow root is mucilage, thus like Slippery Elm, it is a gentle demulcent and emollient. Marshmallow Root treats inflammation and irritation of not only the entire digestive system, but also urinary and respiratory organs. Marshmallow Root has been linked to help repair the gut lining and prevent leaky gut syndrome.
Golden Seal Root
Golden Seal is quite possibly the “golden” herb for health. Golden Seal is a known stomachic, tonic, detergent, alterative, antiseptic and even antineoplastic! Golden Seal is a key component in the Kidney Formula not only for its cleaning, toning and strengthening abilities of the bowels, blood and urinary tract, but also because it is a natural antibiotic and immune system booster (maybe only outdone by the well-known echinacea). This herb is especially great for getting over those irritating UTI’s (urinary tract infections). The fact that Golden Seal has been shown to literally help your body fight cancer is just an added bonus 🙂 (1,2)
Uva Ursi Leaf
Uva Ursi leaves, also know as Bearberry, are in fact the only part of the plant used in medicine and are very astringent by nature. Bearberry is great at strengthening and toning the bladder and kidneys. Uva Ursi leaves also act as a great diuretic, due to the glucoside Arbutin, which is excreted by the kidneys. During excretion, arbutin displays antiseptic qualities on the urinary tract, killing bacteria (like the much dreaded E.coli) and washing them out. Coupled with Golden Seal, this makes a powerful UTI-fighting kidney strengthening combination.
I don’t know about you guys, but when I was little and had a tummy ache, my grandma would always get me some ginger ale to drink. It has been well known that ginger is a fantastic digestive aid, helping relieve feelings of nausea, motion sickness, upset stomach and bloating. Ginger is also a diaphoretic, stimulating the body to sweat. Try drinking ginger tea on a cold day to help warm you up. Ginger is also a great anti-inflammatory, especially for the digestive tract.
For more information on the Extended Herbal Cleanse, click here!
The liver is probably one of the most under-appreciated organs in the body. Located on the right side of your body just under the rib cage and weighing up to 3 lbs, the liver is involved in over 500 bodily functions including metabolism, regulation of glycogen storage, hormone production, recycling red blood cells, synthesizing plasma protein, and general detoxification. And did you know that your liver is the only organ that can actually grow back? Liver donors only donate part of their liver, then grow that part back!
The liver also produces bile, which is stored in the gallbladder directly under the liver. Bile is needed to help the body digest and absorb fats along with eliminate certain waste products. Bile is also a natural laxative and helps keep the bowels moving. It’s no surprise that those who have their gallbladders removed often suffer digestive and intestinal elimination difficulties.
While your tongue may love sweetness, your liver loves bitter. Foods such as beets, lemons and limes, dark leafy greens and cruciferous veggies are especially good for the liver. Herbs such as Milk Thistle, Burdock Root and Dandelion are also very powerful liver supporters and cleansers.
Dr. Christopher’s Liver and Gallbladder Formula not only supports the liver, but also helps clean the blood and contains the herbs Barberry, Wild yam, Cramp bark, Fennel seed, Ginger, Catnip and Peppermint. Why these herbs? Let me break it down for you so you know what you are taking and why.
Barberry Bark is an excellent liver tonic and has been used to help treat non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (1). The main constituent of Barberry is Berberine (a bitter alkaloid). Berberine is not only responsible for supporting healthy liver function and bile secretion, but also a multitude of other health benefits, including regulating blood sugar levels, weight loss, boosting the immune system and reducing inflamation (2).
Wild Yam Root
Wild Yam is most known for its antispasmodic properties, relaxing muscles, relieving abdominal and intestinal cramps and helping many women through painful menstruations and pregnancies. In fact, Wild Yam is a powerful emmenagogue, Wild Yam also stimulates the gallbladder and increases bile flow, helping treat hepatic congestion, bilious colic and gallstones. Wild Yam also has diaphoretic, diuretic, hepatic, stomachic, tonic, anti-emetic, anti-rheumatic and anti-asthmatic properties (3).
Cramp Bark, like Wild Yam, is an excellent antispasmodic and one of the best herbs at relaxing the ovaries, uterus and abdomin. It also aids in female regulation as well. In addition to its antispasmodic, emmenagogue and relaxant properties, Cramp Bark also acts as a nervine, tonic, diuretic, astringent and sedative (4).
Fennel is most known for its carminative properties, great for treating cases of flatulence, colic and indigestion. Fennel’s presence in the Liver and Gallbladder formula however is due to its ability to help break up obstructions in the liver, spleen and gallbladder (Back to Eden, 239). Fennel can also be used to help increase the flow of breastmilk.
Ginger is mostly used as a spice in many cuisines, but also possesses various medicinal benefits as well. Ginger is a great carminative. As the liver and gallbladder are strengthened and supported, bile will flow more freely into the intestines. This influx of bile has a tendancy to form pockets of gas when mixed with old fecal matter, and ginger will help treat this condition. Ginger also contains high amounts of antioxidants and enzymes that help with inflamation and digestion. Ginger is a mild stimulant as compared to cayenne, and can also act as an antispasmodic, diaphoretic, aromatic, sternutatory, rubefacient, anodyne, sialagogue, pungent, condiment, aphrodisiac (5).
Catnip is most renowned for its ability to relieve colic and is very gentle acting, thus very suitable for children. Catnip is an excellent relaxant and can help the liver and its bile ducts to relax. Due to its name, its no surprise that the herb greatly affects cats, displaying a drug-like effect. Google catnip and cats and you’ll find some hilarious photos and videos. Catnip, along with its relaxant properties, can also act as an aromatic, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, nervine and sedative (6)
Peppermint is probably one of the most common herbs used and well known for its relaxant and antispasmodic properties. It must have been popular long ago as well, as some Egyptian manuscripts contain distilling instructions for the herb! (7) Peppermint can help reduce inflammation in the stomach and intestines. It is also a powerful aromatic; there is nothing quite like the sweet, intense scent of peppermint! And unlike many other herbs, peppermint actually tastes good 🙂
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Latin Name: Allium sativum
When Hippocrates declared, “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food”, he probably had garlic in mind. This plant from the onion family is a medicinal powerhouse, not to mention extremely nutritious! My wife and I use garlic in almost everything, from home-made hummus to salad dressings to roasted veggies. Some days we might eat a little too much as there have been times when people (mostly family) will comment to us that they can smell us before they see us. Whoops!
Some of you may only associate garlic to bad breath and potent smells. This odor unique to garlic is attributed to the organosulfur compound diallyl disulfide. Thankfully, mother nature has provided some additional plants to help counteract the ever penetrating garlic smell. Try chewing a handful of fresh parsley or mint leaves, or eat an apple or green beans.
Not only does the bible reference garlic a number of times, but ancient medical texts from various cultures and countries including Egypt, Greece, Rome, China and India each used garlic for medical purposes. Grecian olympic athletes were administered garlic to promote strength and reduce fatigue (1). So olympic athletes have been using performance enhancing drugs since the beginning!
What’s Garlic Good For?
Boosting Immune Function
Eating garlic can boost the number of virus-fighting T-cells in your bloodstream. Instead of going to your doctor when cold and flu season hits, try reaching for a few cloves of garlic each day. Some studies show garlic to reduce your chance of catching the common cold by up to 60% and shorten its symptoms from 5 days to 1.5 days (2). Not bad if you ask me.
Garlic contains a myriad of nutritional substances including mucilage, enzymes, albumin, amino acids like tryptophan, vitamins A, C, B1 and B2, and the minerals manganese, copper, iron, zinc, sulfur, calcium, chlorine, phosphorous, iodine, sodium, potassium, and selenium. Wow.
Antibacterial / Antibiotic
Whole garlic contains a compound called alliin. When garlic is crushed or chewed, this compound turns into allicin which is the main active ingredient in garlic and said to have antibacterial action equivalent to 1% penicillin. Garlic oil is great for treating athletes foot and earaches.
Lower Blood Pressure
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in North America, responsible for 1 out of every 4 deaths. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a main contributing factor to heart disease. Various human studies have shown garlic to significantly impact the lowering of blood pressure. One study actually showed garlic to be as effective as the drug Atenolol in lowering blood pressure (3).
Slows Aging Process
When you hear antioxidant you probably think of some expensive exotic fruit from far away when in fact all fruits and vegetables contain these health promoting compounds. Garlic is no exception either, especially aged garlic, and contains numerous antioxidants which help protect cells from damage and aging. Oxidative stress is associated with heart disease, DNA damage, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and nerve damage.
Heavy Metal Detox
Foods containing high amounts of sulfur help the liver detoxify itself of heavy metals, especially the heavy metals lead and arsenic. Foods high in sulfur include garlic, onions, cabbage, broccoli, eggs and legumes. One study found garlic to help reduce lead levels in the blood of battery factory workers by 19% over a four-week period (4).
Athlete’s foot – Wash the area in hot soapy water, rinse, and dry thoroughly. Massage the area with garlic oil three to four times a day.
Boils, sores and wounds – Apply as a poultice: Chop cloves, mash with warm water, and apply locally.
Colds – Use four to six chopped cloves at the first sign, or leave the cloves to soak in honey for two hours, and then use the syrup.
Earache – Drop four to six drops of warm garlic oil into the ear. Repeat four times a day.
Worms – Use 1-30 drops of fresh juice first thing in the morning, or chop the cloves and swallow with water on an empty stomach. Fast until lunch and repeat for two to three days.
Garlic is generally considered nontoxic. Some suggest using garlic with care during pregnancy and especially while nursing, but clinical reports have not shown any adverse effects. High doses of garlic may interfere with existing hypoglycemic and anticoagulant therapies. Garlic in high amounts has the potential to increase the antithrombotic (reduces blood clotting) effects of antiinflammatory drugs such as aspirin.
Photo by Matthew Pilachowski on Unsplash
Latin Name: Capsicum Annuum
Cayenne pepper is one of our favorite herbs! Many cultures simply use the herb in cooking, but cayenne pepper is a medicinal superfood that can aid in healing just about any ailment.
Cayenne pepper is particularly high in vitamin A, but also contains vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin B6, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, choline, along with the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium. Wow.
Below are cayenne pepper’s top 9 medicinal properties (in our humble opinion).
Ever been told that spicy foods irritate the stomach lining? Actually, the opposite is true. Hot spices like chiles and cayenne contain the active substance known as capsaicin, which, “does not stimulate but inhibits acid secretion, stimulates alkali, mucus secretions and particularly gastric mucosal blood flow which help in prevention and healing of ulcers.” (1) So, cayenne has the ability to sooth upset stomach and sore throats, heal ulcers, and alleviate diarrhea. If you have stomach ulcers, the best thing you could do is take a capsule of cayenne pepper just before each meal. Trust me 🙂
2. Fights against the Cold and Flu
Cayenne pepper helps break up and move congested mucus, and with the elimination of mucus, cold and flu symptoms diminish. Cayenne pepper also aids the body in detoxifying and eliminating the build up of toxins that accumulate in the body.
4. Improves blood circulation
Cayenne pepper improves the circulatory system by widening the capillaries and regulating blood sugar. On a cold day, take a capsule or two of cayenne pepper with a glass of water and feel the warmth travel throughout the body.
5. Equalizes blood pressure.
If someone gets a serious cut, put some cayenne on the wound and have the person ingest a few capsules of cayenne. Very soon the blood pressure will equalize in the body, allowing the blood to cot. Due to its blood pressure equalizing properties, cayenne pepper also promotes heart health and balances the body’s LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
6. Digestive Aid
Cayenne is a well-known digestive aid. It starts by stimulating the production of saliva, an important part of proper digestion. Cayenne pepper also stimulates the digestive tract, the production of enzymes and gastric juices. Cayenne pepper is believed to aid in intestinal peristalsis, enhancing both assimilation and elimination.
7. Boosts metabolism
Cayenne pepper has shown the ability to suppress hunger and regulate glucose levels in the blood. It also aids in lowering LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels and aids the body in burning excess fats
8. Topical poultice
Cayenne has been used to treat snake bites, various sores and wounds. Mixed with wintergreen/peppermint oil in an coconut oil/beeswax base, you have yourself one of the best natural sore muscle ointments!
9. Anti-Bacterial Properties
Cayenne has been used traditionally to protect food from bacteria contamination and is an excellent preservative. Try adding a little cayenne to some of your favorite dishes!
Photo by Jonathan Niederhoffer on Unsplash
Latin Name: Hypericum Perforatum
If you are anything like me, the name of the herb kind of throws you off – Excuse me, St. John’s what??? Let me first explain the meaning of the name, before I delve into this plant’s magical powers. This incredible herb blooms right around June 24th, which is when the early Christians celebrated John the Baptist’s birth. Although wort has a very different meaning today, in Old English the word simply meant herb or plant. And if you still are turned off by the name, here is the Latin name for you: Hypericum perforatum (sorry Harry Potter fans, this is not a spell). It’s indigenous to Europe and Western Asia, but can now be found in California, Oregon, Australia and New Zealand. Now that history is out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff!
Depression / Anxiety
Just exactly how St. John’s wort works to help with depression and anxiety is still somewhat of a mystery. Two active compounds have been identified, hypericin and hyperforin, and it is believed that these two compounds may affect serotonin in the brain (1). Serotonin is a neurotransmitter and helps with mood, sleep and appetite regulation. Studies indicate that lower levels of serotonin are associated with depression, anxiety and suicide. Conventional antidepressant drugs, such as Prozac, are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). That’s just a fancy way of saying they help increase serotonin levels in the brain 🙂 Essentially, St. John’s Wort is also an SSRI, but in a less concentrated form. Because of this, the herb is mostly used to treat mild to moderate depression or anxiety and has much fewer and less severe side effects than common depression drugs out on the market today (2). Finally a little recognition for the healing plants!
St. John’s Wort has also been found to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, astringent, and sedative characteristics.
Dosage is typically based on hypericin content, with 1.0mg of hypericin daily usually recommended. The typical dose is 0.3% hypericin at 300mg, three times daily*.
Because St. John’s Wort as anti-depressant and anti-anxiety characteristics, it also can interact negatively with various pharmaceutical drugs. If you are on any medications, please check with your doctor before including St. John’s Wort in your diet. Also, the website drugs.com has a list of medications that St. John’s Wort will interact with.
Fun fact: St. John’s Wort is the favored treatment for depression in Germany, outselling Prozac and other conventional drugs many times over.
There you have it folks! Another weed with amazing health benefits!