Category Archives: Natural Healing

Herbs for ADHD, Cognition, and Focus Intensive by the Herbal Academy with Maria Noël Groves

Herbs for ADHD, Cognition, and Focus Intensive

Last week I finished Herbal Academy’s Herbs for ADHD, Cognition, and Focus Intensive with Maria Noël Groves. This course was part of the amazing Herbs and Essential Oils Ultimate Bundle that yours truly was also included in a few months back.

So here’s what I thought about this course. As expected, Herbal Academy did not disappoint! The lessons were presented by Maria Noël Groves who is a knowledgeable herbalist. The information was well-referenced and easy to understand, even for those of us that are not herbalists by profession.

The course was divided into three sections.

INTRODUCTION TO ADHD AND COGNITIVE HERBS
In lesson one, the focus was on ascertaining what ADHD is including causes, symptoms, brain function, and common medications. But that wasn’t all. The text and video component (which have downloadable PDFs and transcripts) highlight non-herbal lifestyle changes that have been shown to help those with concentration deficiency as well as an introduction to herbs used for cognitive support.

This was a fascinating section. While the focus was on ADHD, the material presented was also useful for brain fog, focus issues, memory and dementia prevention. Epigenetics was briefly mentioned which, coincidentally enough, is the subject of the book I’m currently reading The Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton.

The herbs that have been found to be useful in treating cognitive issues were broken down into:

  • Nootropics, which are herbs that support cognition, memory, and the brain’s nervous system like rosemary.
  • Adaptogens that help the body adapt to stress such as Gotu Kola.
  • Nervine herbs support and nourish a healthy nervous system like lemon balm.
  • Circulation Enhancers support circulation to the brain such as Ginkgo.
  • Stimulants which increase brain and dopamine activity including coffee, chocolate and cacao, and green tea.
  • Calming Herbs that promote a calm-alert state like chamomile.

HERBAL MATERIA MEDICA FOR ADHD AND COGNITIVE WELLBEING
The second session was the meat and potatoes of the course. Here Maria discussed a number of herbs that can be used to shore up cognitive wellbeing, even with children. While many of these herbs are unavailable in Mexico, there were some that are already used in traditional herbal remedies here.

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is limoncillo. This herb is used for coraje (emotional upset, anger) and the resulting gastrointestinal and hepatic problems. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is romero. In addition to treating gastrointestinal issues, rosemary is an excellent addition to any diet to prevent Alzheimer’s. Spearmint (Mentha spp.) otherwise known as yerba buena has been in use as a medicinal herb in Mexico since its introduction by the Spanish friars. Who can argue that any tea made from the mint family doesn’t make you more alert?

PUTTING IT TOGETHER – PROTOCOLS AND CASE STUDIES
The third lesson was a review of the material and included a chart with the uses and actions of herbs covered in the course. This lesson was designed more for herbalists or those looking to help people with tinctures, teas, and infusions made from the herbs discussed. There were even several case studies and Maria’s recommendations for each.

If you or someone you love has issues such as the lack of cognitive focus found in those diagnosed with ADHD or suffer from brain fog like I do at times with hypothyroidism, this is an excellent class for you to take.

Herbal Academy Back to School Sale

Right now, Herbal Academy is having their Back to School sale and all courses, including this one, are up to 25% off until September 16th making NOW an excellent time to enroll.

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Natural Healing –Granada

grananda

The granada (punica granatum) or pomegranate is yet another import from Spain. The tree that we planted about 8 years ago is finally starting to produce fruit. It does well in drought conditions typical to La Yacata.

I don’t know about you, but getting at those juicy seeds can be troublesome so I really appreciated this little video.

Granada is the require garnish for Chiles en Nogadas often served during the patriotic month of September.

Naturally, this delicious fruit has medicinal applications.

The bark and root of the granada have antifungal properties. They have traditionally been used against intestinal parasites and to treat, dysentery, and diarrhea.

To rid a body of tapeworms, 60 grams of granada root is boiled in a liter of water. Half is drunk before bed, the other half when you wake up. This is followed up with a 45-gram dose of castor oil. If the tapeworm is not expelled, the treatment can be repeated in a week.

A second herbal remedy for tapeworm is similar. One part root bark for each 10 parts water is soaked overnight. In the morning, boil it down 2 /3. Then, strain. Drink the concoction first thing in the morning before breakfast then 3 ½ cup doses at half-hour intervals. Repeat the process for 3 days. On the third day, take a good dose of castor oil.

A word of caution: Excessive amounts of the bark and root cause nausea and vomiting.

Never fear, other parts of the granada, including the fruit, will not cause such an adverse reaction. Some of it is quite tasty!

The rind of the granada contains three times as much polyphenols as the fruit, including condensed tannins, catechins, gallocatechins and prodelphinidins. It shows promise in treating diabetic nephropathy. The rind is anti-inflammatory and suitable for treating and preventing inflammations of the gastric tract and malaria.

A tea for stomach ailments is made by boiling a handful of the rind, jamaica (hibuscus flower), canela (cinnamon) and membrillo (quince)  in a liter of water for ten minutes. Cool and strain. Divide the dose into three glasses and drink at intervals throughout the day.

Traditional Mexican medicinal use also includes a gargle or mouthwash to treat swollen tonsils, canker sores and inflamed gums that is made from the boiled rind. A piece of raw rind placed directly on a sore will help dry it up too.

The fruit is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antioxidant. This bright red delicious edible has also been shown to be antidiabetic. A glass of pomegranate juice daily lowers hypertension and reduces atherosclerosis. It has properties that protect the kidney as well.

The juice is also effective in treating diarrhea. In Mexico, a mixture of juice and sugar is boiled and given to children a tablespoon at a time for treatment.

Oil extracted from the seeds have inhibitory effects on skin and breast cancers. Pomegranate seed oil has phytoestrogenic compounds and contains punicic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid, oleic acid, and linoleic acid.

The leaves are also antibacterial and can be used to make a poultice to treat wounds. Leaf extract contains compounds that protect the brain from injury.

The flower has been used medicinally to improve insulin resistance in diabetics and is anti-inflammatory. The flowers are antimicrobial, antioxidant, analgesic and used in the treatment of mouth and stomach ulcers.

Now you have just a little something to think about next time you are nibbling some pomegranate!

 

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Natural Healing — Yerba Buena

yerbabuena.jpg

Yerba buena, (also spelled hierba buena) otherwise known as Spearmint, is yet another herb that came with the Spanish friars and was gleefully added to the indigenous medicinal herb garden. 

Curanderas (healers) add spearmint to make a concoction more palatable but it also has its own medicinal value.

To treat acid indigestion, gastritis, heartburn, and nausea steep dried or fresh yerba buena for 15 minutes. Allow the tea to cool to room temperature. Add limón and baking soda and drink as needed. Nausea caused by pregnancy tea is made from yerba buena flavored with canela (cinnamon). Nausea caused by a hangover calls for a tea made from a spoonful of yerba buena flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Intestinal inflammations are traditionally treated with an infusion of powdered root. Spearmint has a proven antispasmodic effect.

For the most part, yerba buena (good herb) is still used primarily to treat stomach ailments in Mexico, although the herb has other medicinal properties worth noting.

Spearmint (Mentha spicata) has been shown to reduce pain for people who have osteoarthritis. The antioxidant properties protect the liver. Regular ingestion improves memory. Spearmint is effective in reducing anxiety and is antimicrobial. Infusions of spearmint have been traditionally used topically as a mild wound wash to reduce the chance of bacterial infections. A poultice of spearmint leaves and a little olive oil is sometimes used to treat burns.

It is both antiproliferative and antidiabetic. It has been effective in the treatment of Polycystic ovary syndrome and hirsutism. Yerba buena has often been used medicinally particularly digestive issues. It has been shown to have anti-obesity properties.

Yerba buena is often used to reduce flem. To make a tea for colds and flu, boil 10 grams of the leaves for each 1 / 2 liter of water. Tea for a headache is made with a sprig of fresh hierbabuena and a few romero leaves (rosemary).

Babies are given teaspoons weak tea made from yerba buena then they have hiccups and are teething. If a baby is colicky, basil, cempasuchil, eneldo (dill), fennel, senna, yerba buena, brook mint, rosa de castilla (rose) are combined in equal parts. Three fingers full (a good pinch) of the mix is steeped in a liter of water.

Yerba buena is a natural food preservative and can be used as an organic insecticide. It also prohibits the growth of certain fungi on plants.

Overall, yerba buena is a good herb to have on hand.

hierbabuena.jpg

 

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Natural Healing — Mesquite

mesquite tree

If you have ever sheltered under the shadow of a mesquite tree on a hot summer afternoon, you will certainly appreciate at least one aspect that this crooked, spiny, unlovely tree has to offer.

Mesquite also spelled mezquite and known as algarroba, belong to the Prosopis species. There are at least 44 clearly defined species and numerous hybrids, making identification difficult.

The word mesquite comes from the Nahuatl word mizquitl. The invading Spanish dubbed this tree algarrobo because of its similarity to the carob tree they were more familiar with.

In Mexico, all parts of this drought-hardy tree are used. The wood is used for cooking, providing an aromatic, slow smoke that flavors the food. The sweet and nutritious pods are used as a quick chewy snack, fodder for animals and processed into flour. The sap, bark, and leaves from the tree have medicinal value including antioxidant hepatoprotective, hemolytic, anticancer, antibacterial, antifungal, antidiabetic, and anti-inflammatory activities

Archeological evidence shows that the pods have been used as a food source as far back as 6,500 BCE in Mexico. These pods, depending on the species, are made up of 41% sugar, 35% fiber, and 22% protein. They contain lysine, potassium, manganese, and zinc as well. My mother-in-law said that chewing these regularly will help increase a mother’s milk production. She would know. She had 11 children. Then again, mesquite pods are high in dietary estrogen. Our dairy goats love them as well!

The pods can be dried or roasted, then ground into a flour. This flour could be used to make cakes that once dry would last long enough to provide essential nutrients during drought. The powdered pods can also be mixed with water to make a sweet drink called añapa or sometimes allowed to ferment into chicha.

Mesquite wood has been so aggressively harvested that it is now illegal to cut down live trees, not that those laws are strictly enforced. Although in some areas, most notably in San Luis Potosi, cutting a mesquite tree that has three branches that form a cross is considered sacrilegious.

To treat an irritated stomach, a weak tea can be made from 50 grams of mesquite bark per liter of water. The bark should only be allowed to steep a few minutes before straining. If the tea was meant to treat dysentery, the dose is doubled. The tea coats the stomach and reduces inflammation.

This same weak tea can be used as a gargle for sore throats, bronchitis or mouth sores. Finely chopped leaves and bark can be used as a soothing astringent.

The sap has traditionally been used topically for lip sores and hemorrhoids. To make treat irritated or infected eyes, the sap is added to distilled water, sealed and shaken. When the gum dissolves, it is used as an eyewash. An infusion of mesquite leaves can also be used to make an eyewash.

Apparently, mesquite sap is used in a treatment for baldness in some areas of Mexico as well. Two types of mesquite grow in our area. The pod on the left is unripe. When it ripens, it is a cream and red mottled color. It’s sweet and chewy. The pod on the left is called vina locally and is a favorite of our goats, especially after a brush fire toasts them to a crisp. 

 

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