Health Benefits of Organic Greater Celandine

Chelidonium majus, or greater celandine, has a long history of use in many European countries. Ancient Greeks, Pliny the Elder and Dioscorides all called celandine an effective detoxifying agent. The Romans used celandine as a blood cleanser. The French herbalist Maurice Mességué cited celandine tea for help with liver problems.

Its use also extends to traditional Chinese medicine, and it’s become an important part of western phytotherapy. Extracts of greater celandine have exhibited a broad spectrum of toxicity to harmful organisms as well as liver protecting activity. This has led to the inclusion of greater celandine in liver and gallbladder cleansing and support protocols.

Benefits of Greater Celandine

Greater celandine extract has strong antioxidant potential, specifically from the alkaloid and flavonoid components. The greatest content of the beneficial alkaloids has been found in the root, sometimes achieving 2-3% concentrations. This has prompted greater celandine to be included in preparations designed to support the biliary tract and liver, such as Livatrex®, our enhanced blend of herbs that help detoxify and support the normal function of the liver and gallbladder.

Greater celandine extract has been shown to support bile production. Extra bile helps the body’s digestion processes perform more effectively, specifically by breaking down fat and facilitating toxin removal.

Greater celandine contains chelidonic acid, which has been found to relieve discomfort and be aggressive against certain harmful organisms. In one study, chelidonic acid was found to temper indications of ulcerative colitis and provided the foreground for examination into greater celandine’s therapeutic role in relieving other intestinal irritation.

Defense Against Harmful Organisms

The School of Stomatology at China Medical University studied the effects of greater celandine extract on streptococcus; researchers noted significant activity against harmful organisms. The University of Milan in Italy also found greater celandine extracts and isolated compounds to exhibit significant activity against harmful organisms.

The Department of Tropical and Subtropical Crops at Czech University in the Czech Republic tested the activity of extracts from 16 Siberian plants against five species of microorganisms. Greater celandine was among the five plants shown to have the highest activity.


The preliminary reports really provide a positive glimpse into the potential for greater celandine. As always, consult your healthcare provider before taking any supplement, especially if a history of liver disease exists in your family. A few reports have been passed around of some people experiencing liver problems as a result of very large amounts; however, these reports are anecdotal. Regardless, if you’re pregnant or nursing, avoid greater celandine for the time being.


Uses, Chemistry, and Pharmacology of Lemon Balm

  • Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis, Lamiaceae)

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis, Lamiaceae) is widely used in European traditional medicine and Iranian traditional medicine (ITM) for various diseases, as well as being consumed as a salad vegetable and food flavoring. The authors searched unpublished old texts and several databases of published literature to review the botanical characteristics, traditional uses, phytochemistry, pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, and toxicity of lemon balm.

Lemon balm, also commonly known as balm and bee balm, is a perennial lemon-scented herb. The Eastern Mediterranean region, Western Asia, Southern Europe, Caucasus, and northern Iran are considered its areas of origin, but it grows worldwide. Its medicinal properties were first documented by Dioscorides (40-90 CE), who recommended a leaf decoction for spider, scorpion, and dog bites, and for amenorrhea, dysentery, mushroom poisoning, scrofulous tumors, and other indications. Paracelsus (1493-1541) prescribed lemon balm for nervous system disorders. Since 1984, it has been listed in the German Commission E monographs and is included in several pharmacopeias. In Danish folk medicine, lemon balm is used for sleeplessness caused by heartbreak or melancholy; in Austria, its essential oil (LBEO) is used for gastrointestinal, nervous, hepatic, and biliary problems. Lemon balm was used by Avicenna (981-1037) for all diseases caused by black phlegm and black bile. He attributed its antidepressant effects to its aroma. The plant has also been reported to be used as a cardiac and gastric tonic, memory enhancer, wound disinfectant, and for certain eye diseases. It is most often used in multiherb preparations, with varying dosages. It is a component of about 400 ITM medicinal preparations.

Lemon balm’s main active components are volatile compounds, triterpenes, and phenolics. LBEO, widely used in the pharmaceutical and food industries, is considered to be responsible for lemon balm’s antibacterial and antifungal effects. Obtained from fresh or dried flowers, leaves, and branches, LBEO is expensive due to its low yield; it comprises only 0.02-0.30% of plant material. While its composition varies by region and climate, most studies report that LBEO contains oxygenated monoterpenes, including the citral isomers geranial and neral, as well as citronellal, geraniol, and geranyl acetate. The main triterpenes in lemon balm are ursolic and oleanolic acids, with reported biological effects including antifungal, cytotoxic, and hemolytic activities. Antioxidant and antimicrobial effects also are attributed to its triterpenes. Phenolic compounds in lemon balm, including derivatives of benzoic and caffeic acids, likely exert antioxidant and free radical scavenging effects. Lemon balm’s rosmarinic acid (RA) component, with four hydroxyl groups, may be a stronger antioxidant than vitamin E or Trolox. Many flavonoids, including flavones, flavanones, flavonols, and flavanols, are found in lemon balm, with numerous biological effects.

lemon-balm-flowers-img-e1474270692497Traditional uses of lemon balm have been supported by its pharmacological anxiolytic effects, possibly due to gamma-aminobutyric acid transaminase (GABA-T) inhibition and/or reduced levels of corticosterone. In vivo studies were supported by two human clinical trials; however, more randomized clinical trials (RCTs) are needed to better understand its mechanisms of action. While animal studies support lemon balm’s use as an antidepressant, studies to date used doses so large as to be unfeasible for clinical use. Antidepressive effects of lemon balm need more study, especially the monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) inhibitory activity of compounds other than RA. Neuroprotective effects of various fractions of lemon balm have been demonstrated in vitro and in vivo, with significant protection against oxidative stress and amyloid beta (Aβ)-induced toxicity. Benefits to mood, cognition, and memory also have been supported in vitro, with acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibition seen as especially relevant. RCTs confirmed lemon balm’s benefit for some symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive impairment. Lemon balm’s cardiovascular, cytotoxic, anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive, hypoglycemic, hypolipidemic, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiviral, antispasmodic, antiangiogenic, and antiepileptic effects all have support in various research models, with the general proviso that many doses used in animal trials cannot realistically be applied in clinical practice. Results need to be supported using lower doses of lemon balm extracts.

lemon-balm-flowersThere are few pharmacokinetic studies of lemon balm, with most focusing on its hydrocinnamic acid derivatives, especially RA, absorbed via paracellular diffusion. Much remains unknown about the bioavailability of lemon balm extracts and components. Microbial metabolites of RA may account for many of its activities. While lemon balm has been reported to be relatively well tolerated in humans when used for up to eight weeks, some adverse effects have been noted with both oral and topical administration. Care should be exercised with regard to high dosage or prolonged use until in-depth evidence from toxicity and dose-escalation studies are available. Current evidence suggests that a daily oral dose of 600 mg lemon balm extract is possibly safe and effective in treating memory, mood, and cognition problems, and topical formulations containing 1% lemon balm are effective in treating very early stages of herpes simplex virus 1 and 2.

Future research needs include mechanisms of action, efficacy, and proper dosages for other ethnomedical uses of lemon balm, as well as proof-of-concept clinical trials evaluating its usefulness as an adjunct to conventional treatment for depression. In vitro studies reveal lemon balm’s inhibition of several human cancer cell lines, but a great deal of research needs to be conducted before any clinical applicability could be assessed.

Echinacea 101

If you taste echinacea’s powerful root, you’ll be surprised by the tingling sensation that soon follows. While many herbalists enjoy echinacea’s root, the entire plant can be used for its immune boosting properties.* The alkyamides in echinacea help stimulate the immune system, but this is only one set of constituents that work in harmony with many others in the plant. Perhaps this is why it is one of the most studied plants in Western herbalism. The true identity of all the active principles still remains open, making echinacea’s true powers another plant mystery!

All the plants in the echinacea genus are indigenous to North America and originally dwelled in prairie lands. In the mid-1800s, the American Eclectic physicians began to use echinacea and its healing powers reached beyond the New World.  By the beginning of the 20th century, it was one of the most frequently used herbal preparations in the United States, and overharvesting of the wild perennial flower soon followed.

Fortunately, United Plant Savers works to restore native populations of plants, and echinacea can now be cultivated in many different regions of the world. The best way to start your echinacea seeds is to have them endure a period of cold, moist stratification. What’s that, you ask? Some seeds are very hardy and lay dormant until awakened by the cold weather. Stratification either stimulates or creates winter conditions to encourage germination or sprouting. In the wild, echinacea’s dormancy is naturally overcome by spending time in the ground and enduring long winters.

The easiest way to start echinacea at home is to sow echinacea seeds about ¼ inch deep in fall, cover with a thin layer of rich compost and let nature take its course over the winter. Another option is to place the seeds in a small jar with some sawdust, vermiculite or peat moss. Then moisten and place the jar in the refrigerator for about a month. Once spring arrives, the seeds can be planted a ¼ inch deep into a large pot or directly into the soil. These purple coneflowers enjoy partial to full sun, ample water (but can handle some drought) and good drainage. You can expect the perennial to bloom fully by the summer of its second year.

tradmed_bp_november_embed_echinacea101_04-webThe leaves of Echinacea purpurea sometimes have “covering trichomes,” which are hairs, emerging right from the skin (or epidermis) of the leaf. Our microscopist helps to identify plants and saves photos like the above to deepen our knowledge of key plant identification features.

If you think you have found this plant in the wild, you will be able to identify it by some of its most pronounced features. All members of the Echinacea genus are perennials that bloom with both disk and ray flowers. The purple ray flowers attach to a round, high and spiky cone – hence the common name “purple coneflower.” Technically speaking, this thick and spiky cone is actually hundreds of more flowers, all tightly packed together.

So when you’re feeling like you need a plant ally to give you a boost, think of echinacea.

Now when you see a beautiful echinacea flower while you are out and about, its radiant purple flowers and sturdy structure will remind you of just how powerful this plant really is.

echinacea02Cold Stratification of Seeds for Growing Echinacea Purpurea

Attract goldfinches and butterflies to your garden with a healthy stand of Echinacea purpurea, or purple coneflower. The plant is a native perennial that thrives in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9. Purple coneflower grows from 2 to 4 feet tall, depending on variety, producing purple petals around a cone-shaped center in late summer that first draws butterflies, then finches as it becomes a bristly seed head. Once established, the plant is easy to care and readily self-seeds in place. When starting purple coneflower from seed indoors, you’ll get the best germination rates if seeds are cold stratified.

Cold Stratification

Cold stratification is a seed treatment developed to help gardeners mimic the winter conditions many seeds need to break dormancy and germinate. Many plants, both perennial and annual, that grow in a cold-winter climate evolved winter seed dormancy to keep them from sprouting when conditions are too cold or dry for sprouts to survive outdoors. Some seeds need only dry stratification — exposure only to temperatures between 33 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit — to germinate, while others need moisture in addition to the cold treatment. The length of stratification required also varies by plant species.

Purple Coneflower Stratification

Purple coneflower seed germinates best with moist stratification. Mixing the seeds with a small amount of sawdust, vermiculite or peat moss inside a plastic zipper bag or small jar for cold stratification keeps the seeds moist without hindering germination later. Seeds are sown one-quarter inch deep in containers of moist potting soil and covered with plastic to retain moisture. These containers go inside a refrigerator or other area where the temperature is consistently between 33 and 60 F for the entire stratification period. The temperature experts specifically recommend for E. purpurea coneflowers varies from 40 through 59 F, with the majority at the lower end of the range. Gardeners in areas with winter temperatures consistently in this range can place trays outdoors. Packaged seed often is pre-stratified and does not require any chilling to germinate.

Timing Stratification

The time required for stratification to be effective varies as well, from as little as two weeks up to a month for the seed to break dormancy. Planning for four weeks of cold prevents any question, as chilling for too long is not harmful to the seeds. Stratification time should be figured into your propagation time so that seeds are removed from chilling when it is time to sow. Seeds germinate in 10 to 30 days at 65 to 70 F and are often ready for transplanting within 30 days. The higher the temperature for both the seed and the seedling, the faster the germination and early growth. Purple coneflowers prefer slightly cool temperatures as seedlings and can be planted out just after the last predicted frost. Stems may be stronger and develop more flower buds when they experience cool temperatures of about 40 F after planting out.

Growing Purple Coneflower

Purple coneflowers grow in full sun to partial shade — dappled shade is ideal — in pH neutral, well-drained soil. Plants started from seed may not bloom for two years after planting. Transplants need at least 15 inches between them for the air circulation necessary to avoid disease, but no more than 24 inches to avoid spindly growth that requires staking. They are drought tolerant once established, but low to moderate water throughout the summer results in the prettiest plants. Like most natives, coneflowers have low fertilizer requirements, although a slow-release, high nitrogen fertilizer, like a 12-6-6, is beneficial in early spring as new growth begins. Deadheading keeps the plant blooming and compact and prevents self-seeding. Basal foliage is evergreen in zone 9 but can be cut back in early spring if it needs to be refreshed.

Natural Remedies for ADHD

ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is a neurodevelopmental disorder, typically first diagnosed when an affected individual is elementary school age.

It is identified by behavior that makes it difficult for affected individuals to function effectively, or mature and develop as other children normally do. In general, people with ADHD behave in ways that show a pattern of:

  • Hyperactivity: Extremely high and changeable levels of agitated actions
  • Inattentiveness: Distracted, unfocused, unable to complete activities
  • Impulsivity: Acts hastily, without thinking of what could happen as a result

While most children and adults may occasionally behave in ways that seem hyperactive, inattentive, and impulsive, it is the intensity and consistency of this sort of behavior that could result in an ADHD diagnosis.

List of natural remedies for ADHD

General interest in complementary and alternative medicine continues to grow. Particularly in light of concerns about the safety and effectiveness of standard medical treatments, half of all parents of children with ADHD use alternative treatments in some way, according to studies cited in Neural Plasticity.

From taking supplements and avoiding food coloring to breathing exercises, a wide variety of natural remedies have been used to address ADHD and the symptoms that accompany it.

According to studies reviewed in Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics, the natural supplements with the most evidence to support their use are:

  • Polyunsaturated fat supplements: For heart health and a possible reduction in inappropriate behavior and speech
  • Melatonin: May help with problems going to sleep
  • Iron and zinc: Could help to reduce ADHD symptoms when children are not getting sufficient amounts in their diets

Other clinical trials have found that a number of herbal treatments and nutritional supplements may be helpful in treating ADHD, according to a 2016 study. This include:

  • French Maritime pine bark extract, or pycnogenol: May increase visual-motor coordination and reduce hyperactivity and inattentiveness
  • Ginseng: Could reduce hyperactivity and inattentiveness
  • Ningdong: A Chinese medicinal that may be as effective at reducing ADHD symptoms as Western prescription medication
  • Bacopa: An Ayurvedic treatment, which preliminary studies suggested could reduce restlessness and improve self-control in children with ADHD

Combination therapy, in which one or more natural remedies are used in combination with each other or prescription medication, shows promise in addressing the many ways in which ADHD can affect individuals.

However, more research is needed to determine its efficacy and safety, as well as the strength at which it can be used safely in humans if found to be effective.

Lifestyle changes that can help

Some practices – such as biofeedback, exercise, and connecting with nature – are widely considered to be calming. Researchers are studying these activities to see if they really do reduce symptoms of ADHD.

Neurofeedback, in which individuals with ADHD learn how to perform tasks while trying to maintain typical, and not hyper-aroused, brainwave patterns, has shown promising results. However, it is an expensive process and is only in the early stages of development.

Some studies have suggested that studying yoga, particularly it’s breathing, focusing, and relaxation components, can help to relieve certain symptoms of ADHD. Yoga and regular exercise of any kind are also regarded as a helpful and stress-reducing activity for parents and children with ADHD to pursue together.

Other studies have suggested that children with ADHD saw an improvement in their ability to concentrate after spending time in a green space. More research is needed to know how much time individuals need to spend in green spaces to see improvements, and how long these improvements can last.

Diet plan

Parents take their children for a walk.
Children with ADHD may be better at concentrating after spending time in a green space.

Conventional wisdom may link eating lots of sugar with hyperactivity in children, but research does not show this to be the case. Yeast is also not considered a likely culprit in ADHD.

However, eating a healthful, well-balanced diet with lots of fresh fruits, whole grains, and vegetables is beneficial for everyone. Individuals dealing with a complex brain disorder like ADHD will benefit from a sound diet.

Some researchers suggest avoiding the following foods:

  • Soft drinks
  • Fast food
  • Processed meat
  • Potato chips
  • High-fat dairy products
  • Red meat

In addition, since some children may be extremely sensitive to artificial food coloring and preservatives, avoiding exposure to these substances could help to address symptoms of ADHD.

How do recommendations differ depending on age group?

Most individuals with ADHD are diagnosed when they are children, but the condition can continue to affect individuals throughout their lives.

Creating systems for getting ready for school and other regular activities can help children with ADHD to learn how to recognize and feel comfortable following routines. Even something as simple as organizing storage for toys and clothes can help young people to learn how to manage their ADHD.

Adults with ADHD may find that organizational guidance from professionals can help them to manage their lives more effectively. Learning how to use calendars, lists, and reminders to keep on top of events can help to keep people focused and on schedule.

Just as with ADHD in children, treatment for adults with this condition seems to be most effective when it combines medication with therapy focused on changing behavior.

Cognitive behavioral therapy, a form of therapy in which therapists work with patients to alter thought patterns in order to change behavior, has shown encouraging results in trials with adults.

Reasons why people may wish to avoid medical treatments

People with ADHD, as well as their families, may be reluctant to use traditional medical treatment and use prescription drugs due to:

  • Difficulty dealing with side effects
  • The prospect of long-term use of a drug that affects a child’s thinking
  • Worries about becoming dependent on a drug
  • Concerns about potential illegal use of their medication

Stimulants are often prescribed to address behavioral problems associated with ADHD, and this approach is effective in 70-80 percent of children, according to a study published in Neural Plasticity. However, some individuals cannot handle the side effects of these drugs, which can include:

  • Nausea
  • Twitching muscles
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Stomach pain
  • Headache
  • Anxiety

Since most people are diagnosed with ADHD when they are children, starting medication at this time could mean that children are taking mind-changing drugs for several years, if not their entire childhood. Many parents are not comfortable with this.

Some medications for ADHD can lead to addiction in certain individuals. People with ADHD and their families may be reluctant to use these drugs because they don’t want to risk becoming dependent, or “hooked,” on the medication. Some people may also fear that their medication will be stolen because of its abuse potential.

Individuals with ADHD and parents of children with ADHD are encouraged to discuss their concerns about medication with their healthcare providers and inform their physicians about “alternative” treatments they may be considering.

Overview of ADHD

A child makes a mess of his breakfast cereal.
ADHD is a common disorder that can lead to hyperactivity and impulsive actions.

In 2011, 11 percent of children aged 4-17 were diagnosed with ADHD, making it one of the more common brain disorders, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Diagnosis of ADHD is made after a medical professional gives an individual a thorough evaluation. Medical evaluation and diagnosis usually happen during the elementary school years, although symptoms can appear in 3-year-olds and continue into adulthood.

The disorder is most often treated with a combination of medication and behavioral therapy, which is counseling designed to help people change the way they act. ADHD is not the sort of condition that can be cured, although it can be managed.

It is not a contagious disease, although it may run in families due to a possible genetic link.


The key problems associated with ADHD reveal themselves in a variety of ways. For children, these can include:

  • Inability to pay attention in class
  • Difficulty completing assignments
  • Easily distracted
  • Inability to easily play quietly
  • Frustrated by waiting to take a turn
  • Fidgeting and moving around inappropriately
  • Interrupts games and play activities
  • Squirms in seat
  • Frequently loses things needed for assignments

As children mature, their ADHD symptoms usually begin to moderate and change. In adults and older teenagers, ADHD symptoms are often different from the more common behaviors seen in children. They may appear as:

  • Difficulty organizing activities
  • Feelings of restlessness
  • Interrupting people’s conversations
  • Frequently talking too much
  • Finding it difficult to keep still
  • May avoid projects that call for sustained mental focus

Herbs may help strengthen and tone the body’s systems. As with any therapy, you should work with your healthcare provider before starting treatment. You may use herbs as dried extracts (capsules, powders, or teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Unless otherwise indicated, make teas with 1 tsp. herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 to 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, and 10 to 20 minutes for roots. Drink 2 to 4 cups per day. You may use tinctures alone or in combination as noted.

Several herbal remedies for ADHD are sold in the United States and Europe, but few scientific studies have investigated whether these herbs improve symptoms of ADHD. One or more of the following calming herbs may be recommended for people with ADHD:

  • Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). Chamomile may cause an allergic reaction in people sensitive to Ragweed. Chamomile may have estrogen-like effects in the body and therefore should be used with caution in people with hormone-related conditions, such as breast, uterine, or ovarian cancers, or endometriosis. Chamomile can also interact with certain medications; speak with your doctor.
  • Valerian (Valerian officinalis). Valerian can potentially interact with certain medications. Since valerian can induce drowsiness, it may interact with sedative medications.
  • Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis). Lemon balm may interact with sedative medications.
  • Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata). Passionflower may interact with sedative medications.

Other herbs commonly contained in botanical remedies for ADHD include:

  • Gingko (Gingko biloba). Used to improve memory and mental sharpness. Use gingko with caution if you have a history of diabetes, seizures, infertility, and bleeding disorders. Gingko can interact with many different medications, including but not limited to, blood-thinning medications.
  • American ginseng (Panax quinquefolium) and gingko. One study suggests that gingko in combination with ginseng may improve symptoms of ADHD. Use American ginseng with caution if you have a history of diabetes, hormone-sensitive conditions, insomnia, or schizophrenia. It can interact with several medications, including but not limited to, blood-thinning medications.

Medical Reference Guide:

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; University of Maryland Medical Center


About Piñon Pine Essential Oil

Piñon pine essential oil possesses a fabulous richness that is unique among conifer oils. Distilled from piñon pine needles wild-harvested during fire mitigation projects in Colorado’s Sangre de Cristo mountains, this oil is distilled on-site at high-altitude, meaning less heat is required during distillation. The cooler distillation temperatures in turn endow this fresh, sumptuous pine elixir with exceptional aromatic and aromatherapeutic qualities.

Pine oil, in its many varieties, might be among the most common and most recognized household fragrance, so popular is this aroma in the world of disinfectants and deodorizers. This essential oil of piñon pine is a much more refined version of the more crude, often synthetic variety. A superior cleaner, pine essential oil can be used for keeping our homes and the air we breath fresh and clean.

In aromatherapy, pine oil is known for its uplifting and purifying qualities, which support nearly every system of the body. Known to have an uplifting, cleansing effect which can dispel worry and tiredness, invigorating pine oil can clear the air and release negative emotions. You can also keep pine running in your diffuser to help promote winter wellness for your whole family.

How to Use Piñon Pine Essential Oil

  • In the Diffuser: Piñon pine oil can be used to deodorize your rooms; add as often as needed for a great boost in pure, fresh air quality. You will also get a boost in feeling alert, clear and productive. Add several drops to your diffuser along with bergamot and lavender to create an aromatically pleasing and effective blend.

Other ways to use Piñon Pine Essential Oil

Piñon pine oil can be applied topically (diluted), as a compress, in the bath, through direct inhalation, or used with a diffuser.

  • Inhale piñon pine essential oil directly when you need a boost of strength and vitality. Add a drop or two to the palm, rub palms together lightly, bring palms toward the face and breathe deeply.
  • For deep household cleaning, add several drops to warm water or to your favorite cleaner.
  • You can also add a drop or two to the laundry or alongside soaking gym shoes.
  • Add several drops to steaming water to assist in opening and clearing a deep, penetrating breath.
  • Add 4 drops pine to 1 oz lotion or massage oil and massage regularly into areas of the body that have been busy in the garden or at the gym.

Piñon Pine Essential Oil Recipes

  • Wintertime Assist Blend: 2 drops pine oil, 2 drops Eucalyptus smithii oil, 2 drops lemon oil, 2 drops marjoram oil, 1 drop rosemary oil and 1 drop thyme oil. Add to a bowl of steaming water, cover head and bowl with a towel and inhale slowly, taking deeper and deeper breaths through nose and mouth with eyes closed.
  • Cleaner House Spray: 12 drops pine oil, 12 drops eucalyptus oil, 12 drops tea tree and 12 drops cajeput oil. Add to water in 8 oz mist bottle.

Interesting Piñon Pine Essential Oil Information

Historically, Native Americans use piñon pine sap for aiding with respiratory problems and infections as well as with wound healing and tissue regeneration. They also used pine needles for bedding, as it was believed to deter pests, while pine tea was used to fight numerous diseases and ailments, from muscular pain to scurvy. Pine needle oil is now most commonly found in cleaning products and as an ingredient in popular bath, fragrance and food products.

Safety Considerations for Piñon Pine Essential Oil

Piñon pine oil is non-toxic and non-irritant but may cause allergic reactions in sensitive or allergy-prone individuals. Do a patch test first and use sparingly. Do not take piñon pine essential oil internally.

Aromatic Profile and Blending of Piñon Pine Essential Oil

The aroma of this piñon pine essential oil is distinctly different from other conifer oils. The fragrance has soft, floral-fruity top notes, a range of terpenic-balsam heart notes, and a deep resinous base. The impression is that of resinous trees exuding their perfume in the hot summer sun, yet there is also an almost buttery scent that reminds one of the tastes of piñon nuts.

  • Perfumery Note: Middle to top
  • Odor: Soft, floral-fruity, terpenic, resinous, buttery
  • Strength of Initial Aroma: Mild to medium
  • Blend Well With: Citrus oils such as bergamot oil, grapefruit oil, and neroli oil; conifer oils such as cedarwood oil; also eucalyptus oil, rosemary oil, sage oil and lavender oil.

The Healing Power of Nature

Just a few miles east of the Phoenix Maricopa County Extension office, near the juncture of Price and Broadway Road, is one of only four nationally accredited naturopathic colleges in North America where botanical medicine is both studied and practiced. The Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences, as part of its curriculum, teaches how traditional and contemporary cultures use plants for their healing properties, remembering that within the plant kingdom is found the origins of most of the today’s pharmaceutical drugs.

Debra Brammer, N.D., is a Naturopathic Physician and Chair of the college’s Department of Botanical Medicine. Her practice is based on the principle of Vis Medicatrix Naturae, “the healing power of nature,” and part of her tutelage includes the creation of healing gardens. These may be visited by community gardeners who wish to see the cultivation of a variety of common and unusual herbs and plants which possess curative properties.

Coming from a family tradition of rural healers, Dr. Brammer first learned the many uses of medicinal plants in the gardens of her great-grandmother, making up teas, liniments, compresses, tinctures, concoctions and salves, along with the production of food crops. Creating botanical medicine was a way of survival in isolated, rural areas. Like her ancestors, Dr. Brammer sees the healing applications of horticulture, not only in its medicinal usage but also through the benefits of the cultivation itself as therapy and a powerfully effective method to manage stress: “We are cyclical creatures‹gardening is a way to slow down and tie ourselves down. A lot of illness is exacerbated by not remembering our own rhythms. Illnesses, such as insomnia, are so much easier to treat if we remember this.”

This type of horticultural therapy can be practiced with common plants through container-cultivated gardening. Easy-to-grow potted herbs may then, in turn, be prepared as botanical medicines and can become a patient’s symbolic method of physically taking charge of his or her health. Such simple efforts can show beneficial results for a variety of patients whether confined by health restrictions or physically able.

Dr. Brammer explains that standard naturopathic practice considers the whole person, and examines the causes of “disease” and the “obstacles to cure,” such as lifestyle factors. She cites, as an example, a former patient suffering from frequent headaches, who expected to receive white willow bark, Salix alba L., Saliccacere, from which aspirin was originally derived; instead, this patient was examined for what life factors contributed to the development of headaches. New patients receive an extensive initial interview appointment. This interview is conducted by naturopathic physicians in assessing the many lifestyle factors affecting health, helping educate patients to see the bigger picture contributing to their overall health condition and well-being.

Many botanical remedies come from texts such as The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology, and Therapeutics by Felter and Ellingwood or Culpeper’s Complete Herbal, which originated in the medieval period when botanical medical practice often went hand in hand with alchemical and metaphysical experimentation. For example, Aconitum napellus, Monkshood or wolf’s bane, was grown for medicinal uses, but was also considered useful in becoming invisible and as a protection from werewolves and vampires!

In general, therapeutic plants are found in most gardens today because of their sundry culinary uses. Some commonly cultivated medicinal plants include chili peppers, Capsicum, a member of the Solanaceae family. Peppers, which are all considered useful as circulatory stimulants and digestive aids, are in addition, an excellent source of antioxidants, and contain more Vitamin C than oranges, according to Dr. Brammer. Garlic also possesses many health benefits, being considered an effective blood tonic, circulatory stimulant, digestive enzyme, natural cholesterol reduction agent, and as both an antibacterial and anti-parasitic agent. Passionflower, Passiflora incarnate/edulis acts as a general central nervous system depressant, which in small doses can have a calming, relaxing and anti-anxiety effect.

Other frequently cultivated plants containing therapeutic properties include the toxic botanicals, designated as such to naturopathic physicians because they can “be strong allies when used appropriately and with a full understanding of their action and the sequelae of toxicity,” according to Brammer. Some Southwestern plants in this category include Cactus grandifuloru, Night-blooming cactus, which is well known as a treatment for cardiac conditions. ) Turpentine Bush, Ericameria (Haploppappus) laricifolia (Gray) and Desert Broom, Baccharis sarothrodies (Gray), are both used for anti-inflammatory baths.

They may be made into teas or salves, helpful for conditions ranging from arthritis to muscle pain. Some say the Apache leader, Geronimo, used Turpentine Bush as his most effective medicine.

A walk through the well-labeled medicinal gardens at the college reveals an arrangement of plants based on their therapeutic applications, including respiratory, sedative, cardiac, and circulatory uses. The community is welcome to explore the possibilities in creating botanical medicine gardens. Each April interested gardeners may also attend the Southwest Conference on Botanical Medicine in the college’s exhibit hall. Topics on ethnobotany, such as “Obscure Medicinal Plants of the Southwest,” are presented by well-respected authorities, such as Michael Moore, director of Bisbee’s Southwest School of Botanical Medicine and author of Medicinal Plants of the Desert and Canyon West, the Mountain West and the Pacific West. There are also guided herb walks through the Desert Botanical Gardens with ethnobotanists, such as Phyllis Hogan, founder of the Arizona Ethnobotanical Research Association and an instructor in bilingual programs with the Pima, Hualapai, and Navajo tribes, or popular Sonoran Desert botanical illustrator, Mimi Kamp.

Photos by Janice Austin