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DANDELION

Taraxacum officinale

Ah, the common dandelion. As children, we would close our eyes and make a wish, blowing you into the wind, so you could could grow to grant more wishes. Such a profound and prolific sunny creature you are, yet so many would love to see you dead. Your leaves serve as a potassium-rich addition to salads, smoothies, or main dish accompaniment. And your root, if harvested in the spring or fall after a year of establishment, are supportive to our busy livers and gallbladders, stimulate both our digestion and circulation, and relieve us from constipation. One great way to benefit from this gentle yet effective plant is to roast its dried roots for a bitter-toasty morning coffee alternative. Perhaps this plant is better avoided in situations of gallbladder attack, chronic liver disease, stomach inflammation or IBS due to the stimulating effect on the liver.

Urtica dioica

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NETTLE

Urtica dioica

She demands your respect. Anyone who’s ever ploughed into this sharp-tongued lady without excusing yourself knows the wrath of her sting. But she’s a giver. Every herbalists’ favorite tonic is there for you when you’re full of life’s toxins. Plus, her nutritive value is unparalleled, her defense against allergies staunch, she quells internal bleeding, aids gastric ulcers and improves connective tissue tone. And if you harvest her seed in early maturity, she can save you from diarrhea, dysentery, and venomous bites. A wise man once said, “When in doubt, use Nettle”. Just don’t let her getcha where the sun don’t shine. Be wary of using her you are taking blood thinners, the uticaria constituent can decrease the efficacy. Oh, and she makes a mean soup. Call me, I’ll give you the recipe.

Actaea racemosa

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BLACK COHOSH

Actaea racemosa

I reach for the bottle with this one. Indispensable when it comes to muscle ache due to athletic injury. Helps heaps with cramping and bloating on your moon cycle, when it just won’t come already, and when you’re feeling dark and brooding. Many menopausal women have experienced symptomatic relief of headaches, hot flashes, depression, headache (ocular), dizziness, poor sleep, and nervous irritability. But when I think of muscle pain, i think of this soothing goddess. She’s literally got your back for sciatica in weather changes, fibromyalgia, tightness and pain in general. Also there to cradle your whiplash and hold your hand with rheumatism and rheumatoid arthritis. You can make a bitter decoction with the root or make your own sore muscle salve if you’re feeling adventurous. Not for the pregnant or nursing. Or so some say.