Small Flowered Willow Herb
Small Flowered Willow Herb - Epilobium (Willowherb)
Strong Whole Organic Epilobium Herbal Tincture
Epilobium angustifolium L. is a circumpolar member of the evening-primrose family (Onagraceae). The plant is an abundant perennial that dominates many plant communities undergoing succession, quickly reclaiming disturbed ground such as cut or burned forest, thus explaining its common name, fireweed. It is also commonly known as rosebay willowherb and great willowherb. Willowherb is often employed as the English name for the worldwide species. Canadian Willowherb™ has been used to describe the plant growing in Canada, which appears to possess distinct characteristics from the European plant.
Epilobium in Herbal Medicine
Epilobium includes many varieties that are known collectively by the common name of Willow Herb. Often overlooked as weeds, they have small flowers that resemble wild geranium blossoms, although some of the other varieties have much larger, showier flowers. They like to grow in moist areas like marshes or places where the soil has been disturbed. Willow herb has a long history with the human race, having been used for both food and medicine. It is attributed to be a cooling, astringent herb that is useful for inflammation and problem with the urinary tract.
Epilobium is used to treat prostate problems, bladder problems and bedwetting. It may also be beneficial to the kidneys.
Internally – Traditional uses for this herb includes treatments for enlarged prostate, inflammation of the prostate (prostatitis), gastrointestinal disorders, kidney and bladder disorders, rectal bleeding, menstrual disorders, cystitis, urinary infections, diarrhea, mouth lesions and irritable bowel syndrome. Powdered epilobeum has been used to control internal hemorrhage. It has also proven useful in controlling urinary incontinence in both men and women.
Willow herb has a long history of use as both a food and a medicinal. Historically, medicinal use includes oral use of the plant extracts, often in the form of an infusion or tea, as a treatment for prostate and urinary problems including benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or enlarged prostate; and for various gastrointestinal disorders such as dysentery or diarrhea.
Topically the plant has been used traditionally as a soothing, cleansing and healing agent to treat minor burns, skin rashes, ulcers, and numerous other skin irritations and afflictions. Chemically, the plant contains an abundance of phenolic compounds, tannins and flavonoids, many of which appear to have biological activity.
Willowherb extracts possess antimicrobial effects against a number of bacteria, including recently discovered activity of the Canadian Willowherb™ extract, along with isolated constituents, against the bacteria, Propionibacterium acnes. Myricetin 3-0-glucuronide has been identified as one of the anti-inflammatory components of willowherb.
A special elagitannin, oenothein B, is present in the plant and appears to be an active anti-inflammatory component.
The reported anti-cancer activity of willowherb extract may be related to the content of oenothein B, which has been found to exhibit potent anti-tumor properties, as well as cause inhibition of the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme. This explains the antihyperandrogenic effects that may be useful in the prevention and treatment of BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia (swelling)), as well it supports the use of the extract in the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer.
Scientific research has revealed the potential of oenothein B or similar compounds as useful antiviral and anticancer chemotherapeutic agents. The anti-cancer and analgesic properties of willowherb extract have been the subject of recent investigations, where significant activity has been found. The most tangible commercial applications of Epilobium angustifolium to date appear to be those related to the topical use of the extracts for their potent anti-irritant, anti-inflammatory, and free radical-scavenging effects.
Commercial extracts of the plant are widely used in cosmeceuticals and personal care products ranging from creams, lotions, and shampoos to hair tonics and baby wipes.
Externally – An ointment is made from the plant to treat children's skin problems. Epilobium angustifolia is sometimes added to cosmetics to help prevent and treat acne, and it is widely added to shampoos and skin cleansers. Therapeutic products for eczema, rosacea and other skin conditions often contain willow herb.
Therapeutic products for various skin conditions such as those for eczema, psoriasis, seborrhea, fungal infections, and rosacea have incorporated willowherb as a functional active ingredient. The main nutraceutical, cosmetic and therapeutic uses of willowherb and its extracts have, over the past 20 years, received scientific support and are explainable, at least in part, by the unusual chemical make-up of the plant.
Herbs to Combine/Supplement
Epilobium is often combined with saw palmetto for prostate treatments. It is also often an ingredient in many commercial skin products.
Whole plant – All parts of the plant are used, including the bark, the root, the flowers and the leaves.
Epilobium has been found to sometimes interfere with the hormone progesterone, so if you are pregnant, taking hormone replacement therapy or on birth control pills, you should avoid using this herb.
Preparation and Dosage
Tincture doses are strongest and most effective. 1tsp 2-4 times daily or as indicated by your herbal practitioner.
To make an infusion, use 1 heaping teaspoon of the dried herb per ¼ liter of water. Drink only two cups per day, one in the morning before eating, and the second a half hour before you eat dinner. To make the infusion, pour your boiling water over the herb and let steep for ten minutes. Strain before drinking.
This short steeping time is just right when you are making a tea from the flowers or leaves of epilobium. If you are making an infusion from roots or bark, use cold water and let steep for 12 hours. Heat slowly, and then strain before sipping slowly. Infusions should always be taken slowly.
Our herbal tonic medicines are carefully prepared on a personal and individual basis for your healing by medical herbalist Alan Hopking MA MNIMH FINEH.
Only whole herbs are used in our herbal medicines. Nothing else is added. If you have symptoms which you consider might be helped with herbal medicine please contact herbal practitioner Alan Hopking for a friendly confidential professional consultation. See terms and fees.
Once you have received your herbal prescription you can contact Alan Hopking at any time for more free advice (preferably by email). When you have completed your bottle of herbal medicine and if you want a repeat prescription you are requested to phone or email so that your progress can be assessed and adjustments made if necessary so that there is no break in your treatment. To order or re-order, click here.
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General advice to consumers on the use of herbal remedies from the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency
From the website of the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (www.mhra.gov.uk) Department of Health, UK
• Remember that herbal remedies are medicines. As with any other medicine they are likely to have an effect on the body and should be used with care. • Herbal remedies may sometimes interact with other medicines. This makes it particularly important to tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking a herbal remedy with other medicines such as prescribed medicines (those provided through your doctor or dentist). • Treat with caution any suggestion that a herbal remedy is '100% safe' or is 'safe because it is natural'. Many plants, trees, fungi and algae can be poisonous to humans. It is worth remembering that many pharmaceuticals have been developed or derived from these sources because of the powerful compounds they contain. Any medicine, including herbal remedies, which have an effect on the body should be used with care. • Treat with caution any herbalist or other person who supplies herbal remedies if they are unwilling or unable to provide written information, in English, listing the ingredients of the herbal remedy they are providing. • If you are due to have a surgical operation you should always remember to tell your doctor about any herbal remedy that you are taking. • Anyone who has previously experienced any liver complaint, or any other serious health complaint is advised not to take any herbal remedy without speaking to their doctor first.
Few conventional medicines have been established as safe to take during pregnancy and it is generally recognised that no medicine should be taken unless the benefit to the mother outweighs any possible risk to the foetus. This rule should also be applied to herbal medicinal products. However, herbal products are often promoted to the public as being “natural” and completely “safe” alternatives to conventional medicines. Some herbal ingredients that specifically should be avoided or used with caution during pregnancy. As with conventional medicines, no herbal products should be taken during pregnancy unless the benefit outweighs the potential risk.
Many herbs are traditionally reputed to be abortifacient and for some this reputation can be attributed to their volatile oil component.(6) A number of volatile oils are irritant to the genito-urinary tract if ingested and may induce uterine contractions. Herbs that contain irritant volatile oils include ground ivy, juniper, parsley, pennyroyal, sage, tansy and yarrow. Some of these oils contain the terpenoid constituent, thujone, which is known to be abortifacient. Pennyroyal oil also contains the hepatotoxic terpenoid constituent, pulegone. A case of liver failure in a woman who ingested pennyroyal oil as an abortifacient has been documented.
A stimulant or spasmolytic action on uterine muscle has been documented for some herbal ingredients including blue cohosh, burdock, fenugreek, golden seal, hawthorn, jamaica dogwood, motherwort, nettle, raspberry, and vervain. Herbal Teas Increased awareness of the harmful effects associated with excessive tea and coffee consumption has prompted many individuals to switch to herbal teas. Whilst some herbal teas may offer pleasant alternatives to tea and coffee, some contain pharmacologically active herbal ingredients, which may have unpredictable effects depending on the quantity of tea consumed and strength of the brew. Some herbal teas contain laxative herbal ingredients such as senna, frangula, and cascara. In general stimulant laxative preparations are not recommended during pregnancy and the use of unstandardised laxative preparations is particularly unsuitable. A case of hepatotoxicity in a newborn baby has been documented in which the mother consumed a herbal tea during pregnancy as an expectorant. Following analysis the herbal tea was reported to contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids which are known to be hepatotoxic.
A drug substance taken by a breast-feeding mother presents a hazard if it is transferred to the breast milk in pharmacologically or toxicologically significant amounts. Limited information is available regarding the safety of conventional medicines taken during breast-feeding. Much less information exists for herbal ingredients, and generally the use of herbal remedies is not recommended during lactation.
Herbal remedies have traditionally been used to treat both adults and children. Herbal remedies may offer a milder alternative to some conventional medicines, although the suitability of a herbal remedy needs to be considered with respect to quality, safety and efficacy. Herbal remedies should be used with caution in children and medical advice should be sought if in doubt. Chamomile is a popular remedy used to treat teething pains in babies. However, chamomile is known to contain allergenic sesquiterpene lactones and should therefore be used with caution. The administration of herbal teas to children needs to be considered carefully and professional advice may be needed.
The need for patients to discontinue herbal medicinal products prior to surgery has recently been proposed. The authors considered eight commonly used herbal medicinal products (echinacea, ephedra, garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, kava, St John’s Wort, valerian). On the evidence available they concluded that the potential existed for direct pharmacological effects, pharmacodynamic interactions and pharmacokinetic interactions. The need for physicians to have a clear understanding of the herbal medicinal products being used by patients and to take a detailed history was highlighted. The American Society of Anaesthesiologists (ASA) has advised patients to tell their doctor if they are taking herbal products before surgery and has reported that a number of anaesthesiologists have reported significant changes in heart rate or blood pressure in some patients who have been taking herbal medicinal products including St John’s Wort, ginkgo and ginseng. MCA is currently investigating a serious adverse reaction associated with the use of ginkgo prior to surgery. In this case, the patient who was undergoing hip replacement experienced uncontrolled bleeding thought to be related to the use of ginkgo.
From the website of the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (www.mhra.gov.uk) Department of Health, UK
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