The Herbalist - theherbalist.com.au - Dipaunka Macrides

Spring

Spring
Spring is just around the corner { the best time of the year of course , being a spring child myself } so get busy preparing your gardens for planting . If you have access to the internet then check out this site , http://www.richters.com . They have the most amazing range of Non Hybrid Herb and Vege seeds I have ever seen.

Aniseed-Pimpinella anisum
Most will be familiar with this herb which is used primarily in cooking these days , it is a member of the Umbelliferae family , like Angelica {last month}.You will note similar properties with members of this family . It has many uses and is a valuable herbal medicine . It was cultivated by the Egyptians, Greeks and Arabs as a spice . In the middle ages it was largely used as a spice and a carminative but also featured in several aphrodisiac recipes !!!
Parts Used : The seeds , Leaves , Essential Oil
Properties : Antispasmodic, aromatic, carminative, digestive, expectorant, galactagogue , laxative{mild} ,stimulant, stomachic , tonic .

Uses : Aniseed aids digestion and improves appetite by stimulating gastric secretions . It helps alleviate digestive cramps , relives nausea , flatulence and is especially good for colic in infants . Again Nature does it”s fantastic work by combining of properties in this herb ,as it also stimulates milk production in nursing mothers and what better way to administer a medicine to a colicy baby than through his/her favourite and best food !

Aniseed can be used in combination with other laxatives to assist with constipation especially if there is any accompanying griping . Its antispasmodic and expectorant actions makes it very useful in treating coughs , bronchitis , whooping cough and sore throats . It used to be used in asthma powders. The leaves like other members of this family can be used as food in salads or flavouring in stocks for soup.

The oil can be used externally in a lotio of ointment for treating scabies , or in a vegetable oil base to treat lice . You can chew the seeds to sweeten your breath , especially if like me you enjoy garlic . The tincture can be added to herb mixtures to help improve the taste especially for children.

Magic and Folklore : The folk names used are Anneys, Aniseed .
Its gender is Masculine , Element is Air and it is ruled by Jupiter .Aniseeds powers are Protection, Purification , Youth.
Magical Uses : To ensure you have no nightmares sleep with a small sachet of aniseed under your pillow. It is used ground up in protection and meditation incenses. The fresh leaves hung in a room keep away negativity or on the bedpost to restore lost youth. Aniseed in combination with Bay is used in purification baths before rituals .

Astragalus - Astragalus Membranaceus
Chinese - Huang qi : It is part of the Leguminosae family like Alfalfa, Fenugreek, Licorice . Astragalus is a very wonderful herb which is widely used in TCM { Traditional Chinese Medicine } as a chief or main herb . When you see what its actions and uses are you will understand why .
Parts Used : The roots
Nature/Energetics: Sweet , slightly warm.
Meridians /Organs :Lungs, Spleen
Properties : Anhydrotic , chi tonic , diuretic, immuno-stimulant.
Uses : It strengthens the immune system , lungs and increases metabolism. It helps healing of wounds and abscesses by boosting the immune system and increasing white blood cell production via its action on the spleen . It strengthens digestion , is used for prolapsed internal organs like the uterus and relieves edema . Because of its effect on the immune system and its ability to increase Chi or energy it is a great herb to use if you have a cold/flu , viral infection or are convalescing after an operation or illness . For those of you who swear by Echinacea to keep the winter blues away , try this as an alternative or in combination .
Magical Uses : As far as I know and from my research , there are no magical properties associated with Astragalus , but going on my observations of the connections between medicinal and magical properties , I would say that Astragalus could be used for protection , to ward off negativity , Healing and to give strength and courage .

Atractylodes -Atractylodes Macrocephala
Chinese -Bai zhu
It is a member of the compositae family like Arnica, Coltsfoot, Dandelion, Feverfew, Mugwort, Wormwood .
Atractylodes is said to be a sedative to restless foetus , so obviously can be used in small amounts during pregnancy . It does have some similar properties to Astragalus .
Parts used : Roots .
Nature / Energetics : Bitter , sweet . Warm .
Meridians / Organs : Spleen, Stomach.
Properties : Chi tonic. Carminative , diuretic .
Uses : It primarily works on the digestion by tonifying , increasing appetite , stopping diarrhea and counteracting vomiting . It is good for chronic gastroenteritis and abdominal bloating especially that full feeling after not eating very much .
Atractylodes alos increases Chi /energy in cases of spleen deficiency that has resulted in water retention . Along these lines it is also good for fatigue and being a spleen tonic would be very good to give to anyone who has had malaria or dengue fever.

Magical Uses : As with Astragalus

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