Horse Chestnut (Aesculus Hippocastanum)

The leaves if this tree leave a horseshoe-shaped scar on the twig as they fall off, but it is named horse chestnut because the fruits were used as fodder for cattle and horses. Herbal medicine has found a number of applications for this herb, particularly as a remedy for treating or easing problems with the circulation.

Origins and Characteristics:
When taken internally, horse chestnut has a mild diuretic activity and an anti-inflammatory effect. This herb can improve the flow and exchange of tissue fluids in the body and reduce swelling associated with poor circulation. Therefore, the congestion that occurs in cases of varicose veins can be relieved by regular use of an extract of horse chestnut.
It’s value in circulatory problems can be seen by the benefit reported by those who have suffered a stroke or suffer from erythema or other conditions associated with poor circulation- it promotes the flow of oxygenated blood to every part of the body.

Parts used:
Bark and seeds.

As a liquid tincture, take 15-20 drops twice daily. For external application, apply as a cream directly to varicose veins.

Potential Benefits:
-acts as a mild diuretic
-regulates circulation
-reduces tissue inflammation
-eases varicose vein symptoms
-promotes flow of oxygenated blood to all areas of the body

Cosmetic Uses:
May be used in a lotion to improve the skin’s circulation.


Sweet Flag (Acorus calamus)

This herb has both medicinal and culinary uses. Candy made from this plant is produced by crystallizing tender slices of the roots (rhizomes). The roots contain volatile oils that have profound antibiotic actions.

Origins & Characteristics:
Taken internally, sweet flag can be very useful in the stimulation of digestion and as a remedy for bronchitis and sinus congestion. As an external application, it can be used to relieve rheumatic joint and muscle pains. It is also a carminative agent and can reduce muscular spasms that are associated with nerve pains.

Parts Used:
Roots, rhizomes and oil extract.

As a liquid tincture, take 20 drops twice daily before eating. For external application, use as a compress for joint and muscle pain.

Potential Benefits:
-helps brnchitis
-reduces sinus congestion
-stimulates digestion
-eases joint and muscle pains
-may help in neuralgia

Culinary Uses:
Used to make candy.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

The Latin name for this plant is believed to come from the Greek hero Achilles. It is said that he used it to heal his soldiers’ wounds during the Trojan War. Taken internally, this herb is used to stimulate the circulatory system and help to reduce blood pressure.

Origins & Characteristics
Yarrow has a diaphoretic action, so it is helpful in reducing fevers brought about by colds and flu. It also has antiseptic and inti-inflammatory properties, so it is used to control excessive bleeding and helps reduce diarrhea and dysentery. This herb can be used to relieve indigestion, flatulence and dyspepsia.
Externally, yarrow is used to help heal minor wounds and for cleansing and toning the skin.

Parts Used:
Leaves and flowers

As a tea, add about 2 teaspoons (5-10ml) of herbs to 2 1/2 cups (600ml) of boiling water and infuse for 5 minutes.
For external application use yarrow as a poultice for minor cuts ans scrapes.

Potential Benefits:
-stimulates the circulatory system
-helps reduce blood pressure
-helps to reduce fevers
-has antiseptic properties
-has anti-inflammatory properties
-can reduce diarrhea
-can relieve indigestion

Cosmetic Uses:
Flowers can be used in creams and lotions to cleanse the skin. Yarrow can also be used in skin tonics as an astringent treatment for oily skin.

Culinary Uses:
The fresh young leaves are used in salads.

Do not use Yarrow for long periods as it may cause skin irritation. Avoid during pregnancy.