Herbs in Common With The Tropics

How interesting!  Given that the tropics are such a long way away from Europe and given the fact that these are the same herbs used for the same medicinal purposes, it remains to be found out how they got here.  Or vice-versa?  Were they brought in as medicinal herbs, the plants and their uses by man coming across together as food crops have done at other times?  This would underline the value they must have represented.  And this utility is undiminished – they remain potent herbs to date.


Taraxacum officinale

Isn’t it beautiful! – But a nonsense when it takes over our lawn! However, many of us know that the leaves make a delicious salad and the roasted root has been used for many years to make a delicious drink.  This is another plant we share with the tropics. It doesn’t grow as abundantly here as it does in the UK, thus, it is quite precious.  It’s root and leaves are of  great nutritional and medicinal value.   It has been used for centuries, not only in the Western Tradition of Herbal Medicine, but also in the Traditional Chinese Medicine.

The leaves are rich in potassium, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus. It is one of the best diuretic herbs known.  When used for this purpose it does not deplete the body of its potassium, which is one of the side effects of chemical drugs used for that purpose.

The root is one of the most gentle but effective liver tonics.  It also improves the flow of the bile from the gallbladder and therefore can help to prevent gallstones. It can be used to treat a sluggish pancreas, improving insulin production.  It is an overall digestive tonic and can be used to balance the digestive system as well as improve the metabolism.

Note: Please consult a qualified medical herbalist before using this herb.


Herbs In Common with the Tropics


Rosemarinus officinalis

This beautiful garden herb does not grow as happily in Brazil as it does in the UK.  It is not seen in many gardens and doesn’t seem to grow in the wild.

Rosemary is traditionally used as an antiseptic, astringent and a food preservative. It is used in facial cleansers for oily skin, and in compresses in treatment of bruises and sprains. It is a very helpful muscle relaxant, and can relieve muscle cramps and improve circulation in the affected area. It also improves relaxation of muscles of the digestive tract and uterus. Therefore, it can be used in cases of digestive complaints and menstrual cramps. Some studies suggest Rosemary’s beneficial effects on our brain. Used in aromatherapy, Rosemary oil is said to improve concentration and memory.
Note: Before using this herb consult a qualified medical herbalist.


Herbs In Common With The Tropics



Verbascum thapsus 

Mullein has been used as an alternative medicine for centuries, and in many countries throughout the world including Brazil. The value of Mullein as a proven medicinal herb is now backed by scientific evidence. I have used this herb successfully for many years to improve digestion and for conditions of the respiratory system including dry cough. Research also indicates that this herb has anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antioxidant, antiviral and anti-bacterial, properties.

Note: please consult a qualified medical herbalist before using this herb.



Herbs in Common with the Tropics


Plantago major

The medicinal properties are found in the leaves and the seeds. The plant has astringent and demulcent properties, and is used as an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. Conditions treated with this herb include: respiratory problems such as; asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, coughs, hay fever. It also can be used to treat irritable bowel syndrome, gastritis, haemorrhoids and cystitis. The heated or “chewed” leaves can be used as a dressing for wounds, skin inflammation, stings and swellings.

Note: Please seek advice from a qualified medical herbalist before using this herb.