Blog & Writing
An ongoing series of informational entries
Chinese Skullcap: herbal antiviral
By now you may be familiar with skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora), and perhaps you’ve even used it for stress or as a sleep aid. A notable relative exists in Traditional Chinese medicine by the name of Huang Qin: Baikal skullcap or Scutellaria baicalensis. Baikal skullcap shares some nervine (calming) qualities with its cousin, yet it is better known as an ally against allergies and pathogenic microbes. Like S. Lateriflora, it has quite an affinity for the brain. It has also been shown to produce melatonin, which can help us regulate our sleep rhythms.
Evidence for Baikal Skullcap’s use in Chinese medicine dates all the way back to the Second century. In traditional formulations, it was included for allergies, high fevers, thick yellow phlegm, painful urinary disorders, and as an anti-inflammatory.
In his book “Herbal Antivirals”, Stephen Buhner discusses its status as a broad-spectrum antiviral. He outlines Baikal Skullcap’s multiple mechanisms for preventing viral replication, stopping viruses from hijacking healthy cells, and killing viruses on sight. Typically, the herb prefers to work indirectly against pathogens by affecting the body’s immune response. He notes that it should be used in combination with other antivirals, specifically licorice. The herb can also handle both resistant and nonresistant bacterial infections, staphylococcus among them. Being a valuable antimicrobial, Chinese Skullcap can be used in the battle against bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
With its ability to affect immune response, Baikal Skullcap is equally useful against seasonal allergies, food allergies, and immune dysregulation in general. It does so by inhibiting the release of prostaglandins and histamine. Baikal skullcap can be used to treat asthma, allergic skin diseases such as eczema, and has a role to play in the treatment of autoimmune disease.
Buhner, S. H. (2013). Herbal antivirals: natural remedies for emerging and resistant viral infections. Storey Publishing Llc.
Originally written in 2018 for Euphoria Natural Health
Sexy times with Shatavari
February 14, 2020
Common Name: Shatavari
Botanical Name: Asparagus racemosa
Shatavari is a Sanskrit term that translates to “one hundred below”, meaning one hundred roots. However, this Ayurvedic herb is commonly known as “the woman with a hundred husbands”. Notable aphrodisiac effects and an affinity for the sexual organs are what have earned her this reputation. Shatavari is generally known as a female reproductive tonic, having a rejuvenating effect on the system. While the herb has a feminine quality, it can enhance fertility across genders. For those trying to conceive, Shatavari increases ovulation as well as sperm count and sperm quality. It also has a role to play in preventing miscarriage.
For those of us just out to have a good time, Shatavari makes a great wing-woman. She can be in a formula for erectile dysfunction or a general aphrodisiac tonic. Her softening, moistening qualities make her specific for vaginal dryness at any age. A great herb for easing the symptoms of menopause and making us feel young again…especially in the bedroom!
Even after the fact, Shatavari continues to support our sexual health by preventing and treating urinary tract infections. Antibacterial properties stave off infection and her demulcent & anti-inflammatory qualities can soothe any symptoms of burning and irritation. Diuretic and antihaemorrhagic actions make Asparagus racemosa a valuable treatment for existing UTIs and a specific herb for blood in the urine.
Originally written in June 2019 for Apotheka Herbal Boutique.
Common Name: Dandelion Root
Botanical Name: Taraxacum officinale radix
Many of us were raised to believe that dandelions are mere weeds meant to be pulled up or sprayed away. Nothing could be further from the truth. The humble dandelion, from root to petals, is a medicinal treasure that can benefit anyone.
Let’s start at the bottom: the roots. Next time you pull one up from your garden, take a moment to appreciate that dandelion’s roots are among the best detoxification tools that nature offers.
Dandelion root works directly on the liver and gallbladder to help remove waste products. There are several herbs that have this detoxifying effect, but few that will also offer an exit strategy. Any detox herb needs to be combined with products that aid elimination: mainly laxatives and diuretics. The beauty of dandelion root is that it detoxifies the liver and acts as a mild to moderate laxative.
As an added bonus, roasted dandelion root tastes amazing and makes an excellent coffee substitute. If you find yourself depending on that cup of joe to stimulate your morning bowel movement(s), then you can painlessly swap it out for caffeine-free dandelion root. The root makes a great latte and combines well with other herbs like chicory root for a tasty morning blend.
Originally written in June 2019 for Apotheka Herbal Boutique