Both Black Cohosh and Blue Cohosh are herbs originally used by Native Americans for various cures. Though the names are similar, they are not in the same family, nor are their uses or safety precautions the same. The Native Americans introduced these herbs to early colonists.
The use of aloe-vera dates back to the Ancient Egyptians 6,000 year ago. Many Egyptian hieroglyphs depict this plant as the plant of immortality, and it was offered to pharaoh upon his death. Today, Aloe Vera is one of the most popular and common houseplants throughout Europe and the United States.
This herb has been used for centuries for healing wounds, as a laxative, and for different skin conditions. Aloe Vera can be found in many skin care products from sun-blockers to lotions. This flexible herb is also used for burns, osteoarthritis, and psoriasis. The FDA has approved this herb as a natural food flavoring as well.
The leaves contain a gel that is commonly used as a topical ointment. Growers of this plant simply snap open a beefy leaf, and apply the gel directly to a wound, or burn with great results. One study claims that aloe vera can speed up the healing process on surgical wounds and prevent burns from radiation therapy.
Many studies have shown this herb's effectiveness in treating frostbite, wounds, burns, and general skin soothing. Many people use aloe vera to alleviate dandruff, or treat frizzy hair by using it as a conditioner.
Research is underway to determine whether aloe vera can be used in the treatment of cancer, or blood diseases such as leukemia. There are many Veterinarians who use aloe vera extracts in treating feline leukemia, and cancer in animals.
Researchers are also looking into the possible effects aloe vera might have in preventing breast and ovarian cancers.
Aloe Vera is considered safe for adults and children when applied topically. If taken orally, aloe vera can cause abdominal cramping, and diarrhea in some individuals. It can decrease drug absorption, and therefore, caution should be shown by those with diabetes or other ailments where drugs are a critical part of treatment. If you are on any prescriptions, it is advised you speak with your doctor before taking aloe vera orally.
This herb was commonly used throughout the 1950’s for treatment of various female ailments. Since then, it has been used to treat menopause, menstrual cramping, PMS, osteoporosis, inducing labor, and curing acne.
Black cohosh was once used for sore throats, coughs, and fevers, though there is little evidence whether this herb showed any effectiveness.
Black cohosh is used for improving skin appearance by applying it directly to the skin. Though not that common anymore, it was used for acne, moles, and to shrink warts.
In the 1700's and 1800's, people used this herb for snake bites, and as an insect repellent. Due to the latter use, this herb took on the name "bugbane".
The Roots Are the Thing
The roots of the black cohosh are used for many different medicinal purposes. These roots contain various compounds that have an effect on the body. Some affect the immune system, including its defenses against diseases. Others work in a similar way to a chemical in the brain called serotonin.
Some believe that black cohosh works effectively on female hormones and estrogen. It might increase estrogen, but should not be confused as a type of estrogen, or a substitute for estrogen. This herb simply acts in a similar way as estrogen.
Research shows that black cohosh may be safe for adults when taken through the mouth, but not to exceed one year of use.
Some side effects are cramping, headaches, upset stomachs, weight gain, vaginal bleeding, and rashes. Researchers are studying this herb to find out if it has any association with liver damage.
For those who take black cohosh, it is highly recommended that they watch for jaundice (yellowing of skin and eyes), fatigue, or darkening of the urine. Should any of these signs show up, use of this herb should stop immediately. Pregnant and nursing women should consider this herb off limits. Because it acts like female hormones, there is a risk of miscarriage. Women who are suffering from breast cancer, or have in the past, should stay away from this herb.
Until more research can be conducted, it is not clear whether this herb has caused liver damage or not. It is highly recommended that anyone considering using black cohosh consult with their doctor first. Any kidney conditions or patients who may have future kidney operations should steer clear, as this herb will increase blood clotting.
Again, this herb mimics estrogen, and can narrow blood vessels to the heart, while decreasing oxygen. Some believe this herb is effective for constipation, cramping, seizures, sore throats, and menstruation issues. A great deal more research needs to be completed before there is any evidence to support these claims.
Blue Cohosh is considered unsafe for both adults and children. Increased blood pressure, increase in blood sugar, stomach cramping, and diarrhea are just a few of the many side effects associated with this herb.
There are literally thousands of herbs that offer many medicinal properties, and have been used for centuries with great healing components. Herbs have also graced our tables in many food preparations as spices or accents.
Herbs offering positive effects through inhalation, such as lavender, are being placed in vaporizers or hookahs. These devices offer the highest levels of potency, and are a very clean way to administer the aromas.
Herbs are one of the most popular plants grown in hydro gardens due to their size and prolific growth. Others grow herbs in their gardens, and then stow them when the season is over for use during the colder months.
Reading up on herbs and their healing properties is always advisable, depending on your own health issues, or any medications you might be using at this time. Whether you wish to grow your own herbs, or prefer to purchase herbs in caches, gels, or pills, understand their benefits, as well as their precautions before proceeding. Note; make sure to see a doctor, or health professional before taking herbal supplements.
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