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Mugwort

Mugwort:
A Powerful Ally for Women's Health and Spiritual Growth

Zola Kojo

I’m Zola Kojo, a Master Herbalist, and I want to share my deep appreciation for mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris). This remarkable herb has been a true ally in my herbalist journey, offering potent healing benefits for women’s health and profound spiritual and emotional support.

In Greek mythology, Artemis, the goddess of wilderness and childbirth, is believed to have bestowed mugwort upon humanity. This sacred plant has been revered for inducing vivid dreams and connecting with the divine energy of Artemis. Known by many names such as Felon herb and Riverside Wormwood, mugwort is a perennial herb used in traditional medicine for centuries.

Mugwort blooms from July to September with yellow or reddish-brown flowers. The plant’s parts—flowers, leaves, stems, and roots—are used to make tinctures, extracts, teas, and essential oils. It has also been used as a spice and flavoring agent in various beverages, including beer.

Being in the “right relationship” with a plant means properly and safely using it based on understanding both the plant and your body. It means knowing how to prepare it and perceiving how you feel when working with it. This is how I feel when I work with comfrey—grateful for its gifts and healing benefits.

This unsung herbal hero deserves much more recognition!

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Herbal Tips

Motherwort

Motherwort:
The Sacred Herb for Women's Heart Health

As an herbalist, I am fascinated by the healing properties of plants. Among them, motherwort stands out for supporting heart health, especially in women. I’m Zola Kojo, a master herbalist, and I want to share how this sacred plant can benefit women.

Motherwort, or Leonurus cardiaca (“lion-hearted”), has been used for centuries to treat heart palpitations, anxiety, and menstrual disorders. It supports the heart physically and emotionally, helping to regulate the nervous system, reduce stress, and improve heart health. Many of my female clients report feeling calmer and more balanced with regular use.

Additionally, motherwort supports healthy menstrual cycles and eases PMS and menopause symptoms. It contains alkaloids that relax smooth muscle tissue, relieving menstrual cramps and regulating flow.

To prepare motherwort, use the aerial parts (leaves, stems, and flowers). Steep 1-2 teaspoons of dried motherwort in hot water for 10-15 minutes. For a more concentrated form, a tincture is a great option.

Nicknamed "heart lover," motherwort helps with various heart-related issues:

  • Congenital heart defects: Improves circulation and oxygenation, reducing heart strain.
  • Weakened heart muscle: Compounds like leonurine strengthen heart muscle and improve function.
  • Arrhythmias: Regulates heart rhythm and calms the nervous system.
  • High blood pressure: Acts as a mild diuretic, relaxing blood vessels and improving circulation.
  • Coronary artery disease: Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties protect arteries and improve blood flow.
  • Emotional heart health: Reduces stress, anxiety, and depression, benefiting heart health.

Motherwort is called the heart lover’s herb because of its ability to support and protect the heart in many ways. Whether you have a specific heart condition or seek to maintain cardiovascular health, motherwort offers wide-ranging benefits.

This sacred plant has supported women’s health for centuries, strengthening the heart, regulating the nervous system, and supporting menstrual health. If you’re looking for a natural way to enhance your well-being, I highly recommend motherwort.

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Herbal Tips

Comfrey

Why I Love Comfrey:
A Healing Herb

Comfrey is one of my favorite healing herbs due to its exceptional ability to heal wounds, bruises, sprains, fractures, and more. Its traditional names like “knit bone” and “boneset” reflect its remarkable healing properties. Comfrey has become a staple in my herbal practice for its potent and versatile medicinal benefits.

1

Magnificent Healing Properties:

Comfrey accelerates the healing of wounds, bruises, sprains, fractures, and damaged skin. Its botanical name, Symphytum officinale, means “to unite” in Greek, highlighting its ability to regenerate skin and heal injuries. Traditionally called “knit bone,” comfrey is remarkably effective for healing cracked skin, scars, cuts, and burns.

2

Versatile Uses:

Comfrey helps heal broken bones and can speedily reduce the discoloration of bruises. Used in poultices and salves, it is a remedy for various hard-to-heal skin disorders. Comfrey salves aid in reducing wrinkles and aging skin.

3

Rapid Growth and Resemblance to Human Anatomy:

Comfrey grows rapidly, producing abundant leaves that regenerate when cut. Its leaves resemble skin, while its roots, shaped like bones, joints, and marrow, indicate its traditional use in healing wounds, bruises, sprains, and fractures.

4

Nutrient-Rich Composition:

Comfrey contains protein, antioxidants, and B12 vitamins. It soothes mucous membranes due to its demulcent properties.

5

External Healing Benefits:

Topical comfrey is well-known for healing wounds. Compounds in comfrey accelerate cell proliferation to restore skin and tissues. Comfrey salves offer relief from eczema, psoriasis, and lesions without internal risks, making it one of the best external healing herbs known.

Being in the “right relationship” with a plant means properly and safely using it based on understanding both the plant and your body. It means knowing how to prepare it and perceiving how you feel when working with it. This is how I feel when I work with comfrey—grateful for its gifts and healing benefits.

This unsung herbal hero deserves much more recognition!

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Herbal Tips

Cleavers

The Powerful Benefits of Cleavers:
A Must-Have Herb

Cleavers, an unassuming weed, should have a place in every herbalist’s apothecary. This underrated herb offers outstanding lymphatic drainage, diuretic action, and detoxifying properties that make it invaluable for detoxification protocols and beyond.

Here are 5 compelling reasons why cleavers is a must-have herb:

1

Stimulates Lymphatic Flow: Cleavers excellently stimulates lymph drainage to flush away wastes, toxins, and excess fluid buildup. It’s ideal for addressing lymphatic congestion and fluid retention issues.

2

Soothes Skin Irritations: With its high chlorophyll content, cleavers cleanses the blood and reduces inflammation. It helps with skin problems like acne, psoriasis, and eczema when used internally or in salves.

3

Supports Kidney Function: Cleavers gently supports kidney function and the lymphatic system with its diuretic action, helping remove excess water without taxing the body.

4

Eases UTIs: Cleavers contains antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory compounds that soothe urinary tract infections when taken as a tea or tincture. It flushes out bacteria that cause infections.

5

Helps with Emotional Clarity: Cleavers, as a flower essence, aids with emotional attachment issues. It promotes healthy bonding while relieving neediness and possessiveness.

In my herbal practice, hardly a week goes by when I don’t recommend cleavers in some form for my clients. It’s easy to prepare as a tea, tincture, infusion, or skin product. I urge all herbalists to make room for this versatile healing ally!

Simple To Use

Cleavers are easy to add to formulas, teas, smoothies, and even skin products like facial steams. It has a pleasant, grassy taste and is safe and well-tolerated. With its stellar ability to flush away wastes, toxins, and pathogens while easing inflammation, every herbalist can benefit from having cleavers in their apothecary. This unsung herbal hero deserves much more recognition!

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Herbal Tips

Cat’s Claw

Discover the Incredible Benefits of Cat's Claw: My Herbalist's Experience

As an experienced herbalist, I’ve encountered numerous medicinal plants, but one that stands out is Cat’s Claw (Uncaria tomentosa). This remarkable plant, native to the Amazon rainforest, has been used for centuries by indigenous tribes for its potent medicinal properties.

Cat’s Claw is traditionally consumed as a tea, made by boiling the roots and bark of the vine. The Amazonian tribes have used it as a general tonic to promote good health, and its reputation as a “cure-all” is now supported by modern science.

This woody vine has a lengthy history dating back to the Inca civilization. It has been used to treat inflammation, gastric ulcers, rheumatism, dysentery, intestinal complaints, and wounds. Cat’s Claw is rich in antioxidants, which help neutralize harmful free radicals, promoting overall health and longevity.

One of Cat’s Claw’s most remarkable benefits is its ability to boost the immune system. It contains a unique combination of alkaloids, flavonoids, and glycosides that stimulate the immune system, helping the body fight off infections and diseases.

Moreover, Cat’s Claw is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, making it effective in alleviating pain, stiffness, and swelling associated with various inflammatory conditions like arthritis. It also supports brain health and cognitive function, improving memory, concentration, and mental clarity.

Choosing a high-quality, sustainably sourced supplement is essential to experience the full benefits of Cat’s Claw. Look for products that use the inner bark of the vine, as this is where the highest concentration of active compounds is found.

Incorporating Cat’s Claw into your wellness routine can transform your well-being, promoting overall vitality and protecting your body from age-related diseases. As an herbalist, I highly recommend trying Cat’s Claw and experiencing its life-changing benefits for yourself. Trust me, your body will thank you!

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Herbal Tips

Burdock

Master Herbalist Story on Burdock

Zola Kojo

Why I use and love burdock root and Why Burdock Root is My Go-To Herbal Ally.

Of all the herbs I regularly use, burdock root is hands-down one of my favorites. As both a food and medicine, burdock is a powerhouse plant that offers some amazing benefits. Here’s why this unassuming herb has become a staple in my herbal apothecary.

Potent Antioxidant and
Anti-Inflammatory

Burdock contains quercetin, luteolin, polyphenols, and other   and inflammation-fighters. This makes burdock excellently suited for addressing chronic inflammation and the free radical damage at the root of many modern diseases. It protects cells and tissues on a deep level.

Super Liver and Blood Cleanser

Burdock has long been revered as an alternative or “blood cleanser” in traditional herbalism. It stimulates bile flow to improve digestion and liver function. The inulin fiber and antioxidants in burdock’s roots sweep away toxins. This spring tonic herb purifies the system.

Immune-Boosting Benefits

Studies reveal burdock has   Its antioxidants also protect the immune cells against oxidative stress. Having burdock regularly can help avoid colds, flus, and infections. It keeps immunity strong.

A Nutritive Root Gem

In addition to vitamins and minerals like manganese, magnesium, and iron, burdock contains beneficial plant compounds like quercitrin, luteolin, and stigmasterol. Its energy-promoting, nutritive properties make burdock an excellent restorative herb.

Versatile Herb with Many Uses

I enjoy burdock year-round as a cooked vegetable and a decocted medicinal root. It shines in formulas for skin, respiratory, rheumatism, hormonal, and digestive issues. This versatile herb has become indispensable in my herbal pantry.

For its protective antioxidants, nourishing nutrition, and broad healing abilities, burdock root has me deeply hooked. This unsung herbal hero has rightfully earned a permanent place in my apothecary.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking burdock if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

 

Bleeding disorders: Burdock might slow blood clotting. Taking burdock might increase the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.

Allergy to ragweed and related plants: Burdock may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae family. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many others. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking burdock.

Diabetes: Some evidence suggests that taking burdock might lower blood sugar levels. Taking burdock might lower blood sugar levels too much in people with diabetes who are already taking medications to lower blood sugar.

Surgery: Burdock might increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery. Stop taking it at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

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Herbal Tips

Boneset

Boneset: A Powerful Herb with a Fascinating History

Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) is a remarkable herb with a rich history and diverse applications.

boneset - ohremedies

Introduction:

  • Boneset, scientifically known as Eupatorium perfoliatum, is a perennial plant native to eastern North America.
  • Used by Native Americans for centuries, boneset earned its name due to its distinctive leaves appearing to be pierced by the stem.

 

Historical Significance:

  • During the devastating “Spanish Flu” pandemic of 1918, boneset emerged as a powerful remedy, alleviating symptoms and preventing pulmonary complications.
  • Employed by Eclectic physicians, boneset played a crucial role in combating influenza and promoting overall wellness.

Traditional Uses:

  • Boneset is highly effective in breaking fevers, relieving pain and inflammation, and supporting immune function.
  • It has been traditionally used to treat colds, flu, fever, rheumatism, and arthritis.

Scientific Evidence:

  • Studies have confirmed boneset’s effectiveness in treating the common cold and flu, reducing symptoms and promoting recovery.
  • Its phytochemical composition provides anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immune-boosting effects.

Safety Concerns:

  • While boneset contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), which are considered potentially toxic, its traditional dosage range ensures safety.
  • When consumed within recommended limits, boneset poses no risk of hepatotoxicity (liver toxicity).

Dosage and Medicinal Uses:

  • Boneset can be consumed as a tea, tincture, or capsule, with typical doses ranging from 20-60 drops of tincture or 60-120 mL of infusion, three times daily.
  • Its primary uses include breaking fevers, relieving pain and inflammation, and supporting respiratory health.

Conclusion:

Boneset’s long history of medicinal use, coupled with its diverse therapeutic benefits, makes it an invaluable herb in natural medicine. As we continue to explore its potential, boneset remains a promising ally in promoting overall health and wellness, particularly in the face of pandemics.

Let’s keep exploring the potential of this remarkable plant to tackle future health challenges!

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Herbal Tips

Blending Herbs

Blending Herbs: Guidance for Crafting Effective Herbal Formulas

Nature offers a bounty of solutions to improve our health.

Here’s my advice for creating herbal remedies:

1. Follow Herbal Energetics:
Understand the properties of each herb (alterative, diuretic, nervine, etc.) and blend them appropriately. Pair stimulants with relaxing nervines to prevent overstimulation.

2. Include Supporting Herbs:
Some herbs enhance each other’s benefits. For instance, black pepper boosts turmeric absorption, and ginger and turmeric have synergistic anti-inflammatory effects.

3. Get the Dose Right:
Dosage can vary due to plant parts, growing conditions, and preparation methods. Consult resources to determine safe, effective dosage ranges.

4. Aim for Balance:
Create blends that support different body systems needing assistance. For example, a stress formula could include nervines, adaptogens, and herbs for adrenal and thyroid function.

5. Avoid Excessive Ingredients:
Simple, elegant blends allow each plant to shine. Too many herbs may reduce effectiveness or cause adverse interactions.

 

By understanding the unique properties of each plant and thoughtfully combining them, herbalists can create remedies that work in harmony with the body to support optimal wellness.

As an Herbalist, blending medicinal plants is a truly amazing gift.

Peace and Blessings as you serve as a Herbalist!

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Herbal Tips

Alfalfa

Alfalfa

My Herbalist’s Journey is a fascinating one, especially my First Encounter with the Alfalfa Herb.

As an herbalist, I’m always eager to explore the vast world of medicinal plants and discover their unique properties. My name is Zola Kojo, and I’m a master Herbalist. My first experience with the alfalfa herb left me thoroughly impressed by its remarkable qualities.

Alfalfa, scientifically known as Medicago sativa, is a perennial flowering plant belonging to the legume family. With its deep roots and vibrant green leaves, alfalfa has been used for centuries as a nutritious feed for livestock. However, it was only when I delved deeper into the plant’s medicinal properties that I truly understood its potential.

Upon my first encounter with alfalfa, I was struck by its rich, earthy aroma. As I carefully examined the leaves, I noticed their delicate texture and vibrant green color. Intrigued, I began researching the herb’s traditional uses and modern scientific findings.

I discovered that alfalfa is packed with an impressive array of nutrients, including vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as minerals like calcium, potassium, and iron. These nutrients work together to support overall health and well-being. Alfalfa is also a rich source of chlorophyll, known for its detoxifying properties and ability to support healthy blood production.

As I continued my exploration, I became excited by my findings and decided to incorporate alfalfa into my herbal remedies. I experimented with various preparations, including teas, tinctures, and even adding fresh alfalfa sprouts to my salads. The results were astounding. I noticed improvements in my digestion, increased energy levels, and a general sense of well-being.

One of the most remarkable aspects of alfalfa is its versatility. Whether taken as a supplement, brewed as a tea, or enjoyed as a nutritious addition to meals, alfalfa offers a wide range of health benefits.

As an herbalist, my first encounter with alfalfa opened my eyes to the incredible potential of this unassuming herb. Its nutrient-dense profile, combined with its traditional medicinal uses, makes it a valuable herb in promoting optimal health and wellness.

So, as flowers begin to blossom and animals come out of hibernation, one special herb to keep in mind this beautiful spring season is Alfalfa. Some people shy away from smelling the flowers during Spring because they suffer from allergies. More and more people each year are starting to be affected by the pollen released by trees, plants, and weeds. Instead of resorting to over-the-counter medications such as Claritin or Benadryl or simply avoiding all the beauty nature has to offer altogether by staying indoors, why not try another method first? Simply try brewing a tea with Alfalfa.

The word ‘Alfalfa’ translates to ‘father’ in Arabic, which is well-suited considering it is also known as ‘The Father of all Foods.’ Some may infer that Alfalfa translates to the word ‘father’ due to its impressive natural ability to solve many problems within the human body. Alfalfa acts like an antihistamine, stimulates the immune system, and is a great candidate to treat allergies. It can be used to alleviate symptoms such as sneezing, sinus congestion, runny nose, and difficulty breathing. Alfalfa can even help with asthma.

Alfalfa isn’t just good for treating seasonal allergies; it’s also beneficial for the stomach and blood. It aids in the absorption and digestion of food, helps with weight gain, and addresses various conditions such as prostate inflammation, kidney and bladder issues, high cholesterol, arthritis, diabetes, insomnia, regular bowel movements, increasing milk supply for nursing mothers, and more.

Research has shown that Alfalfa can lower high blood pressure and decrease menopausal symptoms, such as cramping. Today, Alfalfa can be found in the form of tablets or capsules, but alfalfa sprouts are more frequently consumed. Every part of the Alfalfa plant is used to make herbal supplements, making it a great way to get essential vitamins and minerals like amino acids, chlorophyll, and fiber.

In Ancient Medicine, Alfalfa was used to treat kidney issues and digestive diseases such as gallstones, acid reflux, and celiac disease. Alfalfa tea is great for calming the nerves due to its high mineral content. One of the best ways to use Alfalfa is to make an infusion, in which the herb is simply infused in hot water. Alfalfa is used as one of the ingredients in many of our Herbal blends here at Zola’s Original Herbal Remedies.

Here’s how to make Alfalfa tea using specifically Alfalfa leaves:

What you’ll need:
– A quart (32 oz.), sealable mason/preserving jar (preferably made of glass)
– 1 ounce of cut & sifted Alfalfa leaf
– Pot or electric water boiler to bring 16 fl. oz. of water to a boil

Instructions:
1. Place plant material into a pint jar and pour 16. fl. oz. of boiling water into the jar (make sure all plant material is submerged)
2. Give content a good stir, then cap and seal the jar
3. Allow plant material to infuse for at least 8 hours or overnight
4. Strain off plant material and discard (compost if possible); the infusion is now ready for serving

Standard usage:
Drink 32 oz. throughout the day. You can drink this nourishing infusion daily; this infusion should be consumed within 36 hours at most.

Alongside comfrey, oat straw, horsetail, and various seaweeds like kelp, alfalfa

Precautions and Contraindications: Long-term use might cause reactions similar to the autoimmune disease called lupus in some people.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Using alfalfa in amounts larger than what is commonly found in food is possibly unsafe during pregnancy and breast-feeding.

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Herbal Tips

Best Herbs To Start Your Herbal Journey

Best Herbs To Start Your Herbal Journey

Creating a natural medicine cabinet stocked with therapeutic herbs is a deeply meaningful endeavor, whether you cultivate your own herbs, harvest wild plants, or craft medicines from scratch. Of course, it’s also entirely feasible to curate a robust apothecary by sourcing high-quality herbs from local farms and online bulk suppliers. 

So, where should you begin? Drawing from years of teaching, running a clinical practice, and raising a family, I’ve discovered that certain herbs hold universal value for a personal medicine chest.

These herbs boast a high safety profile, are generally budget-friendly, and easy to obtain. Moreover, their versatility means you’ll have a variety of options at your disposal when addressing minor health concerns. Many of these herbs are safe for children and even boast pleasant flavors. It’s essential to review our Safety and Contraindications for each remedy to determine whether there are any herbs you should avoid based on your constitution, medications, or life stage.

The medicinal herbs featured in our top ten list offer both internal and topical benefits. We trust that as you embark on establishing your own home apothecary, you’ll develop a deeper connection with each of these herbs!

1. Calendula

Calendula stands as an iconic medicinal flower and a cornerstone of herbal medicine. Its vibrant orange and yellow blossoms are highly regarded for their topical healing properties, making them effective for a wide range of skin conditions. These include wounds, rashes, insect stings, swellings, eczema, acne, chickenpox, burns, sunburns, and cold sores.

Calendula can be harnessed in various ways to promote skin healing. For in-depth information, you can refer to our article on ‘The Topical Benefits of Calendula,’ which also offers tried-and-true recipes for creating your own infused oils, salves, and poultices. When utilizing calendula in medicinal preparations, ensure you use the whole flowers, as the healing oils are predominantly concentrated in the resinous green bases of the flower heads.

Internally, as a tea or tincture, calendula holds a time-honored reputation for bolstering the immune and lymphatic systems. Its blossoms, reminiscent of sunshine in every hue, gently elevate the spirits and provide a ray of hope during dark days. Furthermore, calendula serves as an effective remedy for digestive issues, making it particularly recommended for addressing heartburn, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), and peptic ulcers.

Precautions and Contraindications: Do not use calendula internally during pregnancy as it is an herbal emmenagogue. Because calendula is in the aster family, it may cause a rare allergic reaction in people who are highly sensitive to other Asteraceae plants like ragweed (Ambrosia spp.) and chamomile (Matricaria recutita).

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