Woodland Herbs

Monthly Newsletter: February 2009

In this issue

Welcome to your regular newsletter from Woodland Herbs. We hope you will find it interesting, entertaining and useful. If you do not wish to continue to receive this email please email us at unsubscribe@woodlandherbs.co.uk

Valentines Day – A celebration of Fertility and Love

Heart February the 14th is Valentine’s day. This celebration wasn’t invented by greetings card companies, but developed from many traditions celebrating fertility and love. The importance of fertility and love is eternal, and as a result there are natural remedies and herbs that have been used successfully for thousands of years. Issues relating to love and fertility are still common. We are often asked for advice on many aspects of these issues including natural aphrodisiacs.

For Men

A well reputed herbal aphrodisiac for men is a herb called damiana (Turnera diffusa). This herb can be used where someone is lacking in “passion”. Interestingly there is a herb for too much “passion”, Vitex agnus castus The use of scents as aphrodisiacs is well known. Rose has many links with love (and also has a reputation in improving fertility) it may be used as an essential oil, particularly useful in a massage oil. Adding a deeper scent such as cedar, will make it smell less flowery.

For Women

Although damiana may be useful as a mood enhancer, there are some other herbs and supplements to consider. Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticcosus) is an adaptogen, helping the body to cope with stress, which can help address physical and emotional tiredness, which can be usefulas an useful as an aphrodisiac or also for fertility problems. Depending on the underlying causes other herbs may be appropriate: for lack of sleep consider valerian (Valeriana officinalis) , whereas for low mood a herb such as passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) may be useful. Again scent can be a powerful aphrodisiac, rose and jasmine have been linked with love for thousands of years.

Fertility

Fertility is a complex area and if you are thinking of using herbs to improve your chances we suggest seeing a medical herbalist. For women we generally recommend seeing a Medical Herbalist (at our Glasgow clinic or www.nimh.org.uk for a UK wide list) as any herbs used need to be suitable for the early stages of pregnancy. There are some proven supplements for men including L-arginine and L-carnitine which may improve fertility depending on the problem. If you have not been advised by your health professional that there are specific fertility issues, it has been shown scientifically that a healthy diet and having a relaxed attitude both improve the liklihood of conceiving.

Cautions: We always recommend seeking advice from your Doctor, medical herbalist or other health professional if taking prescription medicines.

Herb of the Month, Rose

 Rose Rose is many people's favourite plant, with its stunning flowerheads and attractive floral, uplifting scent. Looking about the shelves of our shop it is clear how often rose is used in bodycare, facecare and other natural products.

There are over 100 members of the Rose species, with 3 main species being used in skincare: Rosa canina, Rosa rubiginosa and Rosa damascena. Two main parts of the plant are used, the petals and the hips.

  • An essential oil is the concentrated scent of the plant, extracted from the petals of roses such as the damask rose (Rosa damescena), The most common oil is the 'Absolute' which is made by solvent extraction. The only drawback is that rose oil can be expensive, therefore it is also available as a dilution in a non-scented base oil such as jojoba. Rose oil is calming and relaxing. It is also used in skincare especially for mature, damaged or red skin.
  • Rosewater is a byproduct of making the essential oil (not a few drops of essential oils in water). It has a deeper earthier smell and is often used as a toner.
  • Rosehips from the dog rose (Rosa canina) can be eaten as a source of vitamin C and they also have anti-inflammatory properties. They are used as a winter tonic for the vitamin C content and also to reduce arthritic symptoms. Rosehips taste quite nice and can used in herbal teas or the fresh fruit can be used to make a jam.
  • Rosehip Seed Oil is made by crushing the seeds of either Rosa canina or Rosa rubiginosa. These oils are very nourishing to the skin, containing essential fatty acids, vitamin A and vitamin C. It is a classic for a range of skin conditions. Consider using rosehip seed oil for scarring (remember to use gentle massage and apply regularly). It also has anti-inflammatory properties making it useful for red, inflamed skin such as acne rosacea or general redness.
  • Rose petals themselves can be used as an ingredient in a herbal tea or for pot-pourri. They are slightly astringent (drying), but add an extra taste. We use them in our 4 flower tea.

    A truly amazing list of uses from one plant!

    Featured Natural Remedies – 3% Rose Essential Oil

    Rose Essential Oil Rose is a special fragrance. You can use this dilute essential oil directly on the skin as a perfume or to reduce redness and scarring. Alternatively put a few drops in an oil burner or a bowl of water on a radiator or beside a fire to add a warm floral scent to a room. Rose Essential Oil in Jojoba is available online.