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Tips for Taking Herbs Successfully
Cilantro Substitute
Herbs That Changed the World
Herbal Pet Care
The Real Deal About Healing Herbs
Classic Herb Blends
Sweet Stevia
Vinegar the Miracle Cleaner
Herbs to Enhance Romance
Rites of Passage
Skin Care Naturally
Spring Bounty (Wild and Wonderful Weeds)
Menopause Gracefully
Spring Ritual for the Health Conscious

Herbs That Changed the World
Autumn Crocus
(Colchicum autumnale) has been called "vegetable arsenic." The active ingredient is the alkaloid colchicines. It is a standard treatment for gout, but applied to plant cells when they are dividing, chromosome numbers can be manipulated, rendering sterile hybrids fertile and making food plants bigger and more vigorous.

Coca (Erythroxylum coca) The alkaloid cocaine was isolated in 1860 and used as a local anesthetic in 1884 in the first painless cataract operation. During Prohibition in the US, an alcohol free coca wine imitation became a craze and was sold as the "Intellectual Beverage and Temperance Drink," aka Coca Cola. Until 1902 when it was banned, this popular soft drink contained cocaine.

Ergot (Claviceps purpurea), a fungus on rye, was the cause of a disease called St. Anthony's Fire whose symptoms were intense, firelike pain in the limbs, delirium, and hallucinations. Limbs turned gangrenous and many died from it. Outbreaks have been recorded throughout history. The active ingredients ergonovine and ergotamine, isolated between 1906 and 1920, aids childbirth. Another derivative isolated in 1943, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), attracted attention in the '70s as a potent hallucinogenic.

Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) The active ingredient is salicylic acid. This is the plant that gave us aspirin.

Mexican Yam (Dioscorea species) The active ingredient is diosgenin, which yields steroidal drugs-corticosteroids, oral contraceptives, and sex hormones.

Opium Poppy (Papaver somniferum) is the world's greatest painkiller. There are 20 or more alkaloids in opium-morphine, (first alkaloid to be isolated in the history of chemistry in 1806) codeine, and methadone.

Papeira (Chondrodendron tomentosum) Curare, extract from the stems of this plant, causes instantaneous muscular paralysis. South American native people used it to hunt. It was first used in 1942 and is now essential in all surgical procedures. It cannot be synthesized.

Quinine (Cinchona species) is the drug used in curing malaria.

Rauvolfia (Rauvolfia serpentina) was first mentioned in a Hindu medical treatise written in 600 B.C. The active ingredient reserpine was isolated in 1952, and the term "tranquilizer" was coined the following year. Alkaloids from this plant have revolutionized the management of psychotic patients and led to advances in anti-hypertensive drugs.

Herbal Pet Care
Fido and Fluffy deserve the benefits of herbal remedies as much as humans. There are two basic uses for herbs for pets-as a flea deterrent and as a nutritional support. If you feel your pet has a problem, please see a veterinarian, but for minor problems, use natural means.

Flea infestations are not pleasant for you or your pet. A healthy, vibrant animal with a strong immune system will not be bothered by fleas. Accordingly, excellent nutrition is a must. You can add garlic, parsley, carrots, and fresh herbs to the pet's food. Chop up fresh herbs such as basil, thyme, lemongrass, mint, rosemary, sage, sorrel, dandelion, and couch grass. Add 1 to 2 tsp. to food every day.

The following mixture is an excellent food supplement for your pet. Mix it up and keep it close to your pet's dish so you can sprinkle it on the food.

1 cup nutritional yeast
1 TBS spirulina
cup powdered milk
2 TBS kelp powder
2 TBS stinging nettles powder
2 TBS comfrey root powder
2 TBS comfrey leaf powder
1 TBS garlic powder

If your pet has dry skin, add omega-3 oil (flax seed oil) to the food.

Alfalfa stimulates digestion and helps with joint pain and urinary problems. Give 1 to 3 TBS (depending on the size of your pet), powdered and mixed with food.

If your pet has fleas, use tsp. citronella or eucalyptus oil in water as a rinse after shampooing. A natural flea powder can be made from dried powdered herbs such as rosemary, wormwood, tansy, eucalyptus, pennyroyal, fleabane, and rue. You can also add these to the pet's bedding. Sew a small square pouch, add herbs and tuck the pouch in the pet's bed. For cats, omit the rue and add crushed valerian root and chamomile flowers.

An all-purpose ointment can be made by combining 1 oz. olive oil, 4 drops calendula oil, 10 drops comfrey oil, and a few drops of vitamin E.

A mixture of equal parts raw honey, almond oil, and raw linseed oil, warmed and massaged into nail beds and foot pads is very soothing.

For accidents on rugs-clean the spot with rug shampoo, then sponge with white vinegar. If your pet returns to the same spot, repeat the process, but this time sprinkle generously with powdered ginger or cayenne pepper .