Word of the Week

It’s Monday again, and just so you know there are only 13 more Mondays in 2013!!!!  Boy where has the time got to?  Well for today anyway here is a word for your pleasure?… or consideration?… or just because.

ALTERATIVE \ˈȯl-tə-ˌrāt-iv, -rət-\

Definition – a tonifying herb that restores proper body function and vitality to the blood by correcting impure conditions and improving its composition.  Essentially meaning an herb that is tonic to the blood.  Sometimes old herbals refer to alteratives and blood “sweeteners” or blood “purifiers”.

Blood is actually a liquid tissue and has specific functions in the body.  So any herb with an alterative action will help correct  and improve the function of the blood itself.  Impurities often occur due to a malfunctioning of the organs of elimination. We have four primary eliminative channels: the bowel, the kidneys, the lungs, and the skin.  Before an herbalist suggests an alterative, they need to know which organs are involved  in causing the constipation of the blood.  Some alteratives are stimulating and toing, and some are relaxing.

Some of the best used alteratives are Echinacea, Burdock root, Chaparral, Garlic, Plantain, Red Clover, Sarsaparilla, Sassafras, Golden Seal, Nettles, and Yellow Dock.

Stinging nettle

Stinging nettle

I have used all of these in herbal tea, capsules, tinctures, and fomentations with excellent success.  Red Clover is a sweet tasting tea and easy to grow and dry for later use.  Employ alteratives for any infection, blood poisoning, animal bites, anemia, ulcers, inflammation, cancers, or malfunctioning organs.

Red clover

Yellow Dock is a super blood builder, and loaded with lots of iron, sometimes as much as 40%!

English: Rumex crispus, Polygonaceae, Curly Do...

English: Rumex crispus, Polygonaceae, Curly Do…
Yellow Dock

Love Life and Breathe Deep, Angela


Word Of The Week

This week’s word is yet another “action” given to herbal medicine:  NERVINE.

A nervine in simple terms is any substance that is nourishing and calming to the nerves.  Their function is to feed, regulate, strengthen, and rehabilitate the nerves cells.  There are tonic and relaxant nervines which lessen the aberration, irritability, or pain in the nerves.   An herbalist believes that drugs should never be used to stimulate the nerves. This is because this form of stimulation is irritating to the nerve fiber itself and counterproductive to improving nerve fiber function.  Nerves are in essence live electrical wires with electrical impulses running through them at all times.  Our brains gather information from these nerve impulses and react instantly, an amazing creation we are.  Without going into the Nervous System fully, (that is another post 🙂 ), just know that many problems arise from the nerves being shorted out, frayed, malnourished, or stimulated too much.

The two main categories of nervines as I mentioned are tonic and relaxants.  Let’s look at some of each.

Tonic nervines strengthen and nourish tissue thus supporting organ and body functions.  And that’s what Vitalistic herbalists want, to support and help the function of the body.  Some tonic herbs are:  Oats, yes regular oatmeal not instant, oat straw, damiana, blue vervain, skullcap, and wood betony.




English: Wood Betony (Stachys officinalis ) An...

wood betony

Relaxant nervines lower the functional activity of the nerves engendering a calming effect.  I can hear you now “You said herbalists support the function of the body!”  That is absolutely right. There are times, whether due to malnourishment, over stimulation, or emotional upset, when the body is functioning too high.  And in the case of nerves – pain is produced, and no one wants to be in pain. So sedatives are a great way to alleviate the pain while nervine herbs along with other herbs work to nourish and cleanse to help bring back healthy functioning tissue.  Pain is our bodies’ number one way of telling us something is wrong.  If we simply take a pain reliever, the actual problem is ignored.  Because we feel better, we continue with movement that further damages tissue and the drug used can debilitate tissue to the point of damage for life.  Some relaxant herbs are:  Black cohosh, bugleweed, chamomile, catnip, cramp bark, hops, lady’s slipper, lobelia, peppermint, skullcap, and valerian.


Chamomile (Photo credit: Lynne Hand)

Headaches, stress, anxiety, depression, pms, hyperactivity, insomnia, MS, and shingles are some ailments that have been helped by the use of a nervine or a combo of nervines, anti-spasmodic and/or demulcent herbs.  Do your research to find what combo is best for you.

Love life and breathe deep,


Word of the Week

Word of the Week (even though it is not a Monday :))

I have to post when I have time; and between a new grand baby, I have two now!!, starting my garden seed, and putting up shelves in the basement, I have not had much of that precious commodity – time.  However some blogging is better than none, I guess.

Anyway the word I have chosen this week is: ANTIVENOMOUS

Definition:  herbs used as antidotes to animal, vegetable, and mineral poisons.

Many  herbs have this action.  Some are:  Beth Root, Black Cohosh, Blood Root, Borage, Chaparral, Cornflower, Echinacea, Elecampane, Fennel, Garden Carrot, Garlic, Gentain, Hyssop, Juniper berry, Lobelia, Calendula, Olive oil, Plantain, Rue, Sassafras bark, Scullcap, Slippery Elm, Sundew, Sweet Basil seeds, White oak, Wood betony, and Wormwood.


Plantain (Photo credit: katlupe)

Some that I put to use frequently are garlic, hyssop, slippery elm, calendula, and plantain.  Plantain is a powerful drawing herb.   Plantain is one of those broadleaf  “weeds” that many try to extirpate from their yards, which is sad because it is quite a wonderful healer to the body.  I use it fresh, frozen in paste form, and in ointments.

Antivenomous herbs can be used when stung by any insect, dog bites, snake bites, infected lacerations or wounds, septicemia (blood poisoning), gang green, boils, and acne.  Poultices, ointments, fomentations, or bathes are excellent ways to apply an antivenomous herb.

This is great info to have.  Every time I am outdoors, whether at a park, campground, or visiting someone, I locate patches of plantain and commit the spot to memory.  That way I am ready to harvest at a moments notice!!

Be prepared!

Love life and Breathe deep,


Word of the Week

As I have shared with you all before, herbs have dozens of known actions. Herbalists consider these actions when putting a formula together.  One of the most common actions employed from natural healing plants is the demulcent. And that is our word of the week.

DEMULCENT   [di múlssənt]  n.

soothing substance: a substance that soothes irritated or inflamed skin or mucous membranes.
Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Throughout our internal environment, we have  mucous membranes.  This thin layer of mucous is vital to organ, tissue, and cell function.  Inflammation caused by poor diet, damage to cells, medication, or system malfunction (allergies is one) affects this mucous layer in a negative way.  Dairy causes mucus (notice the different spelling) in the body.  This kind of mucus is low-vibrating, thick, sticky, and inorganic and leads to localized pain, general pain, and blockages in the body.  Any number of problems can and do arise from this condition.  The most common illness thought of is the common cold, but other illnesses can take hold in this thickened layer of mucus.  All chest and nasal complaints arise to cause us misery when we  have a  dirty inside hampering our immune system.  The intestinal tract has a mucous layer as well.  Inflammation is this area can be debilitating.  Arthritis is inflammation localized to the joint area.  The suffix -itis means inflammation of, so any ailment with this suffix would be helped by demulcents.

Marshmallow - Lægestokrose (Althaea officinalis)

Marshmallow – Lægestokrose (Althaea officinalis) (Photo credit: Isfugl)

Some herbs with demulcent action include:  balm of Gilead, bladderwrack, borage, burdock root, cayenne, chickweed, coconut oil, comfrey root, corn silk, elm, fenugreek, figs, flaxseed, ginseng, glycerine, golden seal, grindelia, heartsease, hollyhock, hops, Irish moss, Iceland moss, licorice, lobelia, marshmallow root, mugwort, mullein, oats, plantain, prunes, psyllium, pumpkin, ragwort, rice water, sage, sarsaparilla, sassafras pith, slippery elm, sorrel, sundew,white pine, white pond lily.

My favorites are comfrey, marshmallow root, Irish moss, mullein, slippery elm, heartsease, and lobelia.  Any of these are super to use when you need a demulcent.  Make a tea, compress, capsule, or fomentation.

The powers that be recommend, or rather prohibit the internal use of comfrey.  No product can be sold for internal consumption can contain  comfrey, but external use is ok.  I make a wonderful comfrey mucilage for bronchitis, chest congestion and colds, flu, and tuberculosis, and have never had any problems.   The reason is the alkaloids in comfrey are said to damage the liver and could cause serious problems.  My opinion is that if someone has been taking some major pharma drugs, the liver is already in a weakened state and may not be able to metabolize the alkaloids.  Comfrey is a great herb that has been vilified unnecessarily.  Do your own research and study.

Love life & breathe deep,


Word of the Week

Onward with the actions of herbs.  Here is a wonderful action many herbs possess that produce super cleansing on the digestive tract and thence the whole system.



definition: A substance that promotes the discharge of bile from the system.

Cholagogues are  often classified with the tonics and bitters.  They directly affect the gallbladder, promoting bile secretion into the duodenum.  This action helps all the body systems in a positive way.  Bile itself has a laxative effect in the digestive system.  The liver draws toxins from all areas of the body, especially the pituitary, pineal, thyroid, reproductive glands, and spleen.  The toxins are then converted into the bile solution and eliminated.  You can see how cholagogues support the vital liver function.  If gallstones are actually clogging the bile ducts, the use of cholagogues should be delayed until the ducts are clear. 

All other systems are improved when cholagogues are used because the digestive system and liver are cleansed and nourished allowing deeper cleansing to occur.

Deutsch: Echte Aloe (Aloe vera)

Herbs with cholagogue action: Aloe, Ash Bark, Balmony, Barberry, Beets, Blue Flag, Boldo leaves, Boneset, Butternut, Dandelion, Fennel, Fringtree, Fumitory, Gentain, Golden Seal, Hops, Horseradish, Parsley, Self Heal, Stillingia, Turkey Rhubarb, Wahoo, Wild Yam, Wood Betony

Heal Happily!!

Love life & breathe deep,





Word of the Week

Happy Monday everyone!

Being a herbalist and natural healer,  I have had to learn the actions of over 100 herbs.  Since I plan to share about herbs on my blog,  I thought I would familiarize you with some of these actions.  Herbs cannot be separated from their actions,  herbs are defined by their actions.  This weeks word is an important vitalistic fundamental.  Herbal healers use diaphoretic herbs as a means to cleanse toxins from the internal environment.

Here is this weeks word:

(d-f-rtk, df-)


Producing or increasing perspiration.

A medicine or other agent that produces perspiration

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) found at Los Vaq...

Yarrow tea drunk as hot as can be tolerated produces diaphoresis, which speeds healing.

Yarrow - a very useful herb - ...

Love life & breathe deep,

Word of the Week

This is Angela At Her Home’s one month anniversary!! Time has absolutely flown by.  I have had so much fun meeting new people and reading some super funny, informative, sad, interesting, and thought-provoking blogs.   And not to mention the people who write them!!!  Wow, what I would have missed out on had I not started down this road.  I am so happy I bundled up my courage so I could experience this.  Believe me, it took an army of courage to start this blog.  I just want to share and inspire and learn. 😉


And I have a super word for ya:



adj.  showing extreme or excessive economy or frugality

1590s, from L. parsimonia “frugality, thrift” (see parsimony) + -ous. Not originally with the suggestion of stinginess. Related: Parsimoniously; parsimoniousness. (online etymology dictionary)

A society that is parsimonious in its personal charity (in terms of both time and money) will require more government welfare. —William J. Bennett, The Death of Outrage, 1998


Love life & breathe deep,