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.