Friday, January 22, 2010

20 Herbs You Must Have - Part III

Here is the third and last part of the series that Karyn Sanders did on her show, "The Herbal Highway" on KPFA radio. After the 20 herbs, she talks about some flower essences she uses a lot.

Sweet Leaf also known as bee balm, monarda, or wild bergamot

Used much more in south east and east. It is cooling. You can use the leaves, stems and flowers, fresh or dried. When you use the stems, use them dry.

Good to use when there is shut down energy which tends to 'shoot all over the place' and heat up. It re-organizes and calms down energy. Very good to use when you get burned. Best to use the flowers. Chew it, because your saliva contains enzymes that help. Then apply to burn. Don't leave on more than three to five minutes. It draws out the heat and the pain. After 3-5 minutes remove and discard, put fresh poultice on as needed. If you leave it on too long, it will start burning and thus add to the problem.

Great wash for wounds, keeps them clean and prevents infection. Good for poison oak and poison ivy as a wash to cool off the rash and dry it out. It helps with nerve pain, especially surface pain. She has used it for teeth. Takes the pain away. Short term relief.

Useful with menstrual cramps, nausea, sore throats, gas, intestinal discomfort and coughing. Use as a tea. It is a nice under-utilized plant. A good muscle relaxant if you are really tense or you have overdone it.

With burns, it will prevent scarring and will also soften old scars, so she uses it when people are trying to get rid of old scars. Well known for this.

The leaf or flower good for kidney, bladder, or yeast infections. It mixes well with yerba buena for a hangover. Make an infusion/tea and drink it. An infusion is steeped overnight and is medicinal in strength.

You can make a tincture using fresh or dried plant. You can make capsules out of dried powdered plant.

It enters through the arms, so, spiritually that is where it works. Think about where plants enter the body as to what plant you will use. It calms down agitation.

Spiritual use: It is ghost medicine, so used when there is 'corpse sickness.' She gives it to people who work around death a lot, such as morticians. Also good for PTSD, especially for corpse sickness in soldiers. She has used a lot with veterans. Inhale the flowers, don't need to ingest. Bundles of flowers. Flowers also calm down negative thoughts. It invites internal passion to come through when it is stuck deep inside.

Not used much on this coast, but very popular in the east.

True Solomon's Seal

Becoming endangered, because it likes to grow on the edge of forests and meadows. That land is less available as population increases. When it comes to putting plants (or animals) on the endangered list - you have to do it way in advance, because by the time they truly are endangered, it is too late. If the territory it normally resides in is rapidly diminishing, it is a sure bet that it will soon become endangered or extinct. While plants and animals have known to adapt to new conditions, it takes decades or longer for that to happen. They can't just pick up and leave like humans can.

Also known as "High John the Conqueror". It is wolf medicine and works where there is a lot of fracturing going on and a lot of energy splitting off from the body, way too much heat. When people are too 'edgy' that is often caused by too much heat.

Native to east, mid-west, heading down into the south. It has large leaves, flowers and berries grow in clusters. Good for relaxing joints and muscles. Good for tendon and connective tissue repair. Use when there is any kind of tendon issue, when having surgery. Use for carpal tunnel.

Repairs inflammation and tears, which occur during body building as well, since you are constantly ripping muscle - part of what occurs in the 'building' process. Can be used as a liniment or tincture. Not easy to find. For those whose joints or vertebrae pop out of place, use externally or internally. It helps keep them in place by keeping the fluidity in the area. Bones pop out of place when they are rigid. It dissolves excess cartilage and calcium deposits in the body. Good for people who are not assimilating calcium and start to get bumps on their fingers and other bones.

Works well with rheumatoid arthritis pain. She uses figwort for the disease long term and true solomon seal for the pain. It also works well with osteo-arthritis, because of its effects with bones, calcium density and similar issues.

Use with broken bones, back injuries such as herniated disks.

It can be used for easing the pain of fibromyalgia. Does not remove the illness, just the pain. The plant can be useful when there are back and neck injuries. It is slightly anti-inflammatory... not her first choice however. Since it is becoming endangered, she only uses it when she needs it specifically. Many other better anti-inflammatories, so best not to waste in this way.

Has laxative properties if you take a lot of it. It works for dry cough. It helps with indigestion or sour gut. It is a nice tonic for irritated mucus membranes. It reduces excess mucus. It is a blood balancer to bring the ph back to balance. To remain in good health, the blood should be alkaline, not acidic. Blood acidity can develop due to diet although some people tend that way naturally. Sugar, meat, and junk foods make the blood acidic.

Make a tincture of fresh root. You can also use it dry. You don't need a lot. 10 to 15 drops twice a day.

Spiritual use: This is wolf medicine and conjuring medicine. Good for creating substantial change when you are called to make a big change in who you are and the direction of your life and you don't know how to do that.

This next year is going to be very intense energetically. It is going to be a 'Kali' year, a year of change - what has been in personal structure, work, relationships, self is not going to be there anymore. A good time for True Solomon Seal because you want to go with that kind of change even though it is hard and going to feel intense. Many people are already feeling this. It started in November and will continue for a year. It is "Kali" time. Best to go with the change which is required, rather than resist. I believe, like Karyn that Kali tells us "resistance is futile".

True Solomon Seal provides protection against enemies and it equalizes power in an unbalanced situation such as business deals, banks, landlords. If you have to take an exam, put a little Solomon Seal in your pocket to even the playing field. Put some in your pocket if you are going into a casino.

Not a hard plant to grow. It is a beautiful plant. It has notches on its root to tell its age, like ginseng. It grows at the edge of the trees and likes to have really good drainage. If you keep it in a pot, it must be half gravel otherwise it rots out easily.


Another cooling plant. Use the aerial parts, anything above the ground, fresh or dried. It works where energy is splitting off and the light is too intense. Light not diffusing but intensifying in the body and you need to tone it down.

A great tonic for the nervous system. It is mildly sedative, not hugely so, but because it tones the nervous system down and even it out, it feels sedating. When you are ampted up and are then brought down to 'normal' it feels sedating. Hard for people who are used to being overstimulated to get used to a 'normal, healthy' degree of energy.

Vervain a great one for 'mind chatter' especially when grief or depression is present. When you are going over the same story over and over all the time, vervain can stop that.

It works well with OCD Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Here we are talking about small amounts - 1 to 3 drops - spirit doses. Anxiety and paranoia can benefit from vervain.

Use where there is cramping during menses. It helps with hard painful heavy bleeding. Good to give to young girls when they first begin to have their menses 2 to 5 months.

It makes you sweat if you drink a hot cup of it, so use for bringing out a fever and breaking it. Use to sweat out an illness to release toxins. Unless working with babies, where you must be very careful about fevers, but with adults and older children, you want to let them have a fever because fevers are a way for the body to kill viruses and heal itself. But this should not continue too long. You want to break the fever before it gets to a dangerous level. During the early stages of an infection, vervain is anti-viral. At this stage, most people do nothing. They tend to ignore until they are really sick. Because of this, they tend to miss a lot of plants that could be used to stave off the illness at the early stages. By the time you are 'full-blown sick,' vervain won't help.

It cools the liver and stimulates it slightly, so it is a good one for stagnation, especially where it is really hot. People don't realize that stagnation can create heat because you have blocks then you have build-up.

It helps with gall bladder inflammation, especially when the inflammation is associated with jaundice and headache. This type of headache can occur when you have eaten a really greasy meal too late at night or you are not used to it. It might taste great, but an hour later you have a huge headache and your right side hurts. Usually caused by the gall bladder not happy with the meal.

A tincture of the root can be used for irritable bowel syndrome.

It is a great one for animals who have nervous tension and insomnia. For animals that pace and carry nervous tension. use 1 or 2 drops in their drinking water. They really respond to this plant.

It is the antidote for poke poisoning.

You can drink it as a tea. She prefers them that way and prefers to give them that way, but because some plants don't taste good, people have a hard time complying. so she tends to do tincture in her practice. She would love to just use teas.

A good one for mind chatter, especially when it is negative. It helps when mind chatter gets in the way of sexuality and you can't shut the mind up and relax and be present.

Spiritual use: It was used in Europe quite a bit to cleanse an area to make sacred space. it was either burned or put in water and sprinkled. It tends to promote visions and prophetic dreaming. It has been used to conjure love and sexual fulfillment. When you are doing this, be very specific and what you ask for. You will get what you want, but if you leave something important out.... This is a plant for poets, writers, and singers. It also removes unnecessary burdens and emotional pressure. She uses it for type A people a lot - people who push themselves and always feel pressured. She also uses it for people who like to stay on the surface and don't like to go deep. It helps to send people down into deeper realms.

It enhances the effect of gem and flower essences.

It can be found in dry fields and meadows.


Easy to grow. Will grow in blazing hot full sun and in partial shade. Vervain is not picky. She thinks people should grow their own plants, developing an association with the plant that they can then use for medicine.

Yarrow Achillia millifolium

She believes every herbalist in the west would have this one one their list, if you had to pick 10 or 20 herbs. It does so much. It grows on every continent except for Antarctica. It is Wolf medicine. Used by Achilles to heal his soldiers' wounds on the battlefield. Millifolium means 'thousand leafed'. It does not have a thousand leaves but it does have delicate, fern-like leaves.

Most people recognize yarrow when they see it. It grows in many conditions. Easy to grow - wet or dry and at all altitudes.

The Druids used the stalks to divine the weather. In China the stalks were used to make the sticks for the I Ching.

It works on fractures and densities, it forms light. It goes in and does what it has to do in the body.

It stimulates the uterus, so good for women who have density and stagnation.

It is extremely anti-bacterial, works on staff. Wash with yarrow then use golden seal and chamomile, or golden seal and marshmallow internally. This is one you think about for any kind of wound. Probably one of the best wound healers there is. Yarrow will start closing a wound within half an hour. She has seen that on deep cuts out in the middle of nowhere - just chewing it and putting it on a wound. Stops bleeding. (In my own herbal medicine kit, I keep a jar of dry powdered yarrow for this use.) It is a great plant to stop bleeding both internally and externally. Put yarrow on a bad cut as quickly as you can.

It is good in the lungs and throat and pulls out mucus. If you have a lot of excess mucus use yarrow. It is an astringent.

Great when there is a fever but no sweating, a hot cup of yarrow tea will bring on sweating.

It helps with the menstrual cycles that are very long with extended blood flow or when there is periodic flooding. Especially during menopause when menses are getting off the usual pattern.

Good for blood vessel elasticity if there is any issue with that. It lowers blood pressure because it dilates the blood vessels in the fingers, toes, and the periphery of the body. It works well on hemorrhoids by tightening them up and toning and elasticity to the blood vessels. Beneficial to the venous system because it keeps it from becoming brittle. Every smoker should be taking because smoking takes away elasticity and creates brittleness.

It is a tonic, promotes bile flow for digestion, and is a good cardio-vascular tonic because it reduces inflammation in the heart area.

It helps with fibroid and uterine prolapses. Can be used with varicose veins externally. It improves the integrity of the blood vessels. Use it for nose bleeds
It moves, removes and breaks up old stagnant blood. Bruising is blood stagnation. Even if the wound was years ago, yarrow will go to that sight and break up and remove remaining stagnant blood. You need to move stagnant blood. That's where injury and illness happens. Cancer cells go to stagnated blood. Cancer starts where there has been bruising or puncturing. If you get hurt or bruised use yarrow with the arnica.

Good for chronic cystitis and urethritis when there is inflammation. Use for bladder, kidney and prostate irritation. Any chronic reproductive congestion where there is dull pain. This is for both male and female.

Use when there is tearing after child birth or post-partum bleeding. Do a sitz bath. Helps with anal fissures, use in a sitz bath.

Yarrow root is good for tooth pain. You can chew it. Mixed with white oak bark. Can store in alcohol and water so they don't dry out as fast.

Use when there is chronic dysentery where there is diarrhea caused from bacteria in the gut - 'traveller's gut.' It helps with intestinal flus because it is anti-inflammatory. Use when there are stomach ulcers.

It can be used with mild joint and muscle pain.

When there is blistering of the skin or skin rashes use yarrow.

The flowers make a yellow dye using alum as a mordant. if you use iron mordant, you will get an olive green color. Yarrow salve is good for joint inflammation. It enters through the arms.

Spiritual use: Used in love spells and wedding bouquets in other countries. A wish made on the first spring blossom you see will come true. Helps remove negativity in a person, place or thing. Use in a negative work environment. Helps with boundaries. No sense of personal boundary. Either spirit drops of tinctures (1 to 3) or as a flower essence. When there are problems with relationship boundaries. Helps you create healthy boundaries.

Some people get a rash from it if they are super sensitive.

Use when you are working with clients and you want to make and maintain good boundaries.

Not that good for animals who cannot deal with some of the constituents - cannot break down the oxalates.

Yerba Santa

Only see in California and dry areas. It is warming. It works on densities and blocks. In Mexico and Central America used for everything. It is a holy herb, it is used for just about any kind of illness.

She uses it for damp, wet lung conditions. Slightly stimulates the lungs so it brings things up. You think about it more when there is a lot of mucus and congestion.

Use for wetness in the lungs: wet pneumonia, bronchitis, lung infections, colds. If not wet, don't use because it could actually harm you by drying you up too much. Use when there is white phlegm and constant coughs. It is an anti-inflammatory in the lungs, sinus, bronchi.

It is good in the urinary tract and the gut. Another plant that likes to go in and 'do its thing.' Use when there is bladder and urinary tract infections.

It's a great wound wash because it is anti-bacterial. It will start the healing process going.

You want to harvest in late summer when shiny because contains a lot of sugars and resins then. Be careful because so sticky. it will clump up and mold before drying. Spread it out. It takes a lot of alcohol when you make a tincture. If you make an infusion, you want to cook it for hours and then let it sit overnight. Not good for kidneys or bladder long term due to the resin.

Not a tonic. Not for long term use.

Spiritual use: As an offering on all altars. It opens a person up to respect the sacred. It needs to grow in hot places, although it will grow in the worst soil and heat. Will grow in clay with no water. Will grow in disturbed soil.

Essences she uses a lot.

Lady's Tresses Alaskan

Spiral back into the self and into the body. For a person who is hig functioning on many levels but has unseen emotional blocks. People who are out of their body, but don't know it.

Peace Beach Hawaiian

For most type A westerners. People afraid to slow down and be in the quiet. Helps the self and the body slow down and really rest. It allows you to recharge and be on healthy energy. For the wired out and crackly people. To let all parts of the body rest.

Oriental Plane Tree Essences of Greece

Allows your emotional self to change to make better decisions. For those who make most of their emotional decisions based on old hurts, traumas, betrayals and pain. It allows you to let go of and break that pattern. Helps you to start living in present time.

Green Rose Luna Fina

Opens the heart. No way you can be in health and balance unless your heart is open. To know what you are feeling. EVERYTHING enters the heart first. Science is finally catching up with what indigenous peoples have always known.

Violet Rose Luna Fina

Lets light and love into the body and the soul. That is what we all are when we are in balance - light and love. The green and violet pair well together to work with softening the heart and bringing love in.

Liard Hot Springs Alaskan

Helps get rid of old patterns that don't work. Releases feelings of negativity. Melts away feelings of guilt or shame. Brings back the feeling of love and innocence to a person.

Glacier River Alaskan

Allows for release of old patterns. Want to change but can't because old beliefs are standing in your way. Creates movement so the energy can move to bring about change. Create new patterns.

Emerald Alaskan

Opens the heart to love. Lets in light and energy into the body and the heart. Love in the heart is the key.

Saguaro Cactus Desert Alchemy

Cacti have intensity because they survive harsh environments. It balances male and female energy. It gives self-empowerment. Use when there are/were difficulties with the father. Provides healthy male imagery. Helps you to father yourself. It restores will to live and heal. Use with wild animals.

Mariposa Lily Desert Alchemy

When you didn't have healthy mothering or didn't have a healthy relationship with you mother. Helps you to mother yourself. Helps when you are feeling alone and isolated.

This is my trascript from the recorded show. They archive the shows for a short time. Go to