Herbs for Addictions
Kutki | PICRORHIZA KURROA ROYALE EX BENTH.
Locality: It is found in the Himalayan region
from Kashmir to Sikkim at an elevation of 2700-4500m and in Nepal, found abundantly between 3500 and 4800m.
Characteristics: 5–15 cm long leaves, almost all at the base, often withered. Rhizomes of the plant are 15– 25 cm long and woody. Flowers are small, pale or purplish blue, borne in cylindric spikes, spikes borne on almost leafless erect stems. Fruits are 1.3 cm long.
Parts Used: Root and rhizome
Medicinal Uses: Loss of appetite, indigestion, hepatitis, fevers and cirrhosis.
Kudzu | PUERARIA MONTANA (LOUR.) MERR.
Locality: A native of Asia, kudzu was introduced into the United States at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876. Kudzu grows well under a wide range of environmental conditions.
Characteristics: This aggressive vine can grow 60 feet per year forming a continuous blanket of foliage. This massive covering often chokes out competing native vegetation that provides food and habitat for native animals. Perennial vines reach 30 m (98 ft) in length. Kudzu roots typically reach a soil depth of 1-3 m (3-9 ft).
Parts Used: The leaves, vine tips, flowers, and roots are edible; the vines are not. The leaves can be used like spinach and eaten raw, chopped up and baked in quiches, cooked like collards, or deep fried.
Medicinal Uses: To treat alcoholism and to reduce symptoms of alcohol hangover, including headache, upset stomach, dizziness, and vomiting.
Valerian | VALERIANA OFFICINALIS L.
Locality: A perennial flowering plant native to Europe and Asia.
Characteristics: Valerian is a perennial plant with an extremely varied morphology. It comprises a sturdy rhizome with many secondary roots and short runners. In spring the plant develops a basal rosette with pinnate leaves.
Parts Used: The roots and rhizome
Medicinal Uses: Restlessness, sleeping disorders based on nervous conditions. Valerian root is often referred to as "nature's Valium." May also be helpful for menopause, premenstrual syndrome, painful menses, restless legs syndrome and neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease.
Dandelion | TARAXACUM OFFICINALE COMPLEX
Locality: Native to temperate areas of the Northern Hemisphere. Native to Eurasia, introduced to North America, South America, India (where it hadn't reached naturally), Australia, New Zealand.
Characteristics: Leaves form a whorl about the base of the dandelion where it emerges from the ground, growing to lengths between 2 and 16 inches, with most no longer than 8 inches. These basal leaves are bright green and feature the irregular teeth all along their edges that give the weed its name.
Parts Used: Leaves, roots and flowers
Medicinal Uses: Dandelion root has long been used to treat stomach and liver conditions. Can be used for anorexia (which hurts the spleen). Herbalists today believe that it can aid in the treatment of many ailments, including acne, eczema, high cholesterol, heartburn, gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, and even cancer.
Neem | AZADIRACHTA INDICA A. JUSS.
Locality: Native to the Indian subcontinent.
Characteristics: Neem is a fast-growing tree that can reach a height of 15–20 metres (49–66 ft), and rarely 35–40 metres (115–131 ft). The opposite, pinnate leaves are 20–40 centimetres (7.9–15.7 in) long, with 20 to 30 medium to dark green leaflets about 3–8 centimetres (1.2–3.1 in) long.
Parts Used: The bark, leaves, and seeds are used to make medicine. Less frequently, the root, flower, and fruit are also used.
Medicinal Uses: To improve liver function, detoxify the blood, and balance blood sugar levels. Neem leaves have also been used to treat skin diseases like eczema, psoriasis, etc. Caution: In adults, short-term use of neem is safe, while long-term use may harm the kidneys or liver; in small children, neem oil is toxic and can lead to death. Neem twigs can also be used as a toothbrush.
Shilajit | ASPHALTUM BITU
Locality: Shilajit is formed and found primarily in Asia in the Himalayan ranges in India, Nepal, Pakistan, China, Tibet, and part of Central Asia and Scandinavia.
Characteristics: Shilajit, also called mineral pitch, is the result of a long process of breaking down plant matter and minerals. It is a sticky, black, tar-like substance that comes from rocks in high mountain ranges.
Parts Used: Purified Exudate.
Medicinal Uses: Found to reduce alcohol withdrawal anxiety in a dose-dependent manner. Also can be used for asthma and allergic conditions, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, joint disorders, antioxidant, anemia, asthma, cystitis, diabetes, dysuria, edema, epilepsy, gall stones, hemorrhoids, insanity, jaundice, kidney, obesity, sexual debility, skin diseases, menstrual disorders, and parasites.
Bacopa | BACOPA MONNIERI (L.) WETTST.
Locality: Native to the wetlands of southern and Eastern India, Australia, Europe, Africa, Asia, and North and South America.
Characteristics: The leaves of this plant are succulent, oblong, and 4–6 mm (0.16–0.24 in) thick. Leaves are oblanceolate and are arranged oppositely on the stem. The flowers are small, actinomorphic and white, with four to five petals.
Parts Used: Whole plant
Medicinal Uses: Loss of memory, anxiety neurosis, depression, ADHD, epilepsy, insomnia, May improve cognition.
Skullcap | SCUTELLARIA LATERIFLORA L.
Locality: Native to North America
Characteristics: It has an upright habit, growing 60 to 80 centimeters in maximum height. It is a wetland- loving species and grows near marshes, meadows, and other wet habitat. The blue flowers are just under a centimeter long. Most of the flowers do not appear at the top of the main stem, but are produced along the length of side branches that grow from the leaf axils.
Parts Used: Roots and leaves
Medicinal Uses: Used to treat trouble sleeping (insomnia), anxiety, stroke, and paralysis caused by stroke. It is also used for fever, high cholesterol, “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis), rabies, epilepsy, nervous tension, allergies, skin infections, inflammation, spasms. and kidney problems.
Ashwagandha | WITHANIA SOMNIFERA (L.) DUNAL
Locality: It is cultivated in many of the drier regions of India. It is also found in Nepal, China and Yemen. It prefers dry stony soil with sun to partial shade.
Characteristics: This species is a short, tender perennial shrub growing 35–75 cm (14–30 in) tall. Tomentose branches extend radially from a central stem. Leaves are dull green, elliptic, usually up to 10–12 cm (4 to 5 in) long. The flowers are small, green and bell-shaped. The ripe fruit is orange-red.
Parts Used: Roots, leaves and fruit
Medicinal Uses: Boosts brain function, lowers blood sugar and cortisol levels, and helps fight symptoms of anxiety and depression. Can boost testosterone and increase fertility in men.
Shankapushpi | CONVOLVULUS PROSTRATUS CHOISY
Locality: Found in India and Burma.
Characteristics: The plant is about 2 to 3 inches in height. Its leaves are small in size and are about 0.5 to 1.5 inches in length. Its leaves are alternate, elliptical. Flowers are about white or red in color, they are round or bell shaped.
Parts Used: Whole plant, roots and seeds
Medicinal Uses: Traditionally as a brain tonic and is believed to help a wide range of issues. It is believed to have demonstrated potential for anxiolytic, relaxant, and anti-obsessive effects, as well as nootropic effects. Has been found to help significantly with memory retention.
Milk Thistle | SILYBUM MARIANUM (L.) GAERTN.
Locality: Originally a native of Southern Europe through to Asia, it is now found throughout the world.
Characteristics: Can grow to be 30 to 200 cm (12 to 79 in) tall, and have an overall conical shape. The stem is grooved and more or less cottony. The leaves are oblong to lanceolate. They are either lobate or pinnate, with spiny edges. They are hairless, shiny green, with milk-white veins. The flower heads are 4 to 12 cm long and wide, of red-purple color.
Parts Used: Whole herb, root, leaves, seeds and hull
Medicinal Uses: Treatment of liver disease, prevention and treatment of cancer, and supportive treatment of poisoning from death cap mushrooms.
Burdock Root | ARCTIUM LAPPA L.
Locality: Native to northern Asia and Europe, though it now grows in the United States, too.
Characteristics: Burdock is a tall, unmistakable plant. It flowers from July until frost, and reproduces by seed. The barbed flowers and seeds will attach to almost anything. Flower heads are purple, stalked, 1⁄2 - 1 inch thick, numerous, and occur at the ends of branches and axils of upper leaves. The deep roots of the burdock plant are very long and either brown or nearly black on the outside.
Parts Used: Roots, leaves and fruits
Medicinal Uses: For the liver and kidneys to flush them out. People take burdock to increase urine flow, kill germs, reduce fever, and “purify” their blood. It is also used to treat colds, cancer, anorexia nervosa, gastrointestinal (GI) complaints, joint pain (rheumatism), gout, bladder infections, complications of syphilis, and skin conditions including acne and psoriasis.
*This information is for educational purposes only. Please consult with an Ayurvedic Doctor before taking any herbal remedies.
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