Plant Family: 

Zingibereaceae

 

Habitat & Cultivation: 

Fennel originates from the shores of the Mediterranean but also grows through parts of temperate Europe. Since Italians have colonized, Fennel grows throughout the world particularly in dry soil and near the coast or river banks.

 

Parts Used/Collection: 

Stalk, bulb and leaves. Fennel can grow up to 6 and a half feet high.  It looks quite a bit like dill, upright, cylindrical, smooth stalks and stems, is bright green, and has very fine, feathery leaves, becoming threadlike at the end.  The flowers are umbels - so like umbrellas - and are bright and golden colored.  The “fruits” or fennel seeds are greenish yellow, oblong, sometimes elliptical, and have ribs down the sides, and are about 3-5mm long.   

 

Herbal Actions: 

  • Carminative

  • Aromatic

  • Antispasmodic

  • Anti-inflammatory

  • Galactagogue

  • Hepatic

 

Indications:

Indications for fennel include:

  • Supporting milk supply in lactating individuals

  • Stomach and intestine remedy for gas/ bloating

  • Helps calm coughs/ bronchitis

  • Used externally, fennel can help with muscle pain

  • Can also be used externally on the eyes to help treat conjunctivitis and inflamed eyelids

 

Contraindications:

There is a contraindication for those with a sensitivity to Umbelliferae species (Mills & Bones, 2005). For pregnancy, fennel, is a B3 category (Mills & Bones, 2005).  The traditional use is to enhance milk supply.

 

Plant Constituents: 

Phenols, phenolic glycosides and volatile aroma compounds such as trans-anethole, estragole and fenchone have been reported as the major phytoconstituents of this species. 

 

System Affinities:

 

Energetics: 

Dense, Sweet, Heavy, Slightly cooling, Stable, and Bold.

Fennel can be somewhat amphoteric in regards to heavy/light. It helps counter depression by its uplifting qualities but is also grounding and helpful when there is too much lightness.  This is why we see that it is neutral for all three doshas. VPK=

 

Safety: 

Fenugreek is considered pregnancy category B3, which indicates that there is no evidence of harmful effects on fetuses with “limited use,” but that there is some evidence of harm in animal studies.  Romm (2010) claims that it should not be taken during pregnancy in “medicinal” amounts and that it is considered to be in safety class 2b, and is not to be used in pregnancy due to its abortifacient properties.  

That said, Mills & Bone (2005) note that this may be a largely theoretical concern, or at least one more likely to be relevant at very high (excessive) doses, but also cite historical associations between fenugreek and inducing abortion.  It is, however, considered safe during lactation.  Mills & Bone (2005) assign it lactation category C, though recommend caution if thyroid levels are low, which can be a postpartum concern.

 

Personal Experience:

I added fennel to some homemade chicken and gnocchi soup and it turned out delicious. The flavor was sweet and dominant in the soup. Next time I will not add so much. I enjoyed it, but my family didn't favor it as much. 

 

Research:

Grieve, M. (n.d.) Fennel. Retrieved online from http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/f/fennel01.html

 

Hoffmann, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.

 

Mills, S. & Bone, K. (2005). The essential guide to herbal safety. London, England: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone

 

Romm, A. (2010). Botanical medicine for women's health. St. Louis, MO: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier.

Ginger (Zingiber officinalis)

Plant Family: 

Zingiberaceae Family

 

Habitat & Cultivation: 

Ginger is an herbaceous perennial plant that is native to southern Asia (Srinivasan, 2017). 

Ginger has been used in various cultures since antiquity. It has been used as a culinary spice/food, as well as medicinally to treat ailments from nausea to inflammation. According to the ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs, ginger has been mentioned in Chinese, Greco-Roman and Indian medical text. Some of the ethnobotanical uses of ginger throughout these regions, as well as many others, include -

  • Tx of nausea/vomiting caused by motion sickness, pregnancy, postoperative or chemotherapy treatments, illness such as the flu, etc.

  • As an alternative to antihistamines; tx of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis

  • As an anticholinergic - reducing spasming of smooth muscle such as occurs with menstrual cramps

  • Vasodilation - may help reduce headache pain

  • Gastrointestinal disorders

 

Parts Used/Collection: 

Root

 

Herbal Actions: 

  • Stimulant

  • Diaphoretic

  • Expectorant

  • Anti-inflammatory

  • Circulatory stimulant

  • Carminative

  • Antiemetic

  • Analgesic

 

Antiemetic-Has been shown to decrease vomiting in rodents and dogs who ingest ginger prior to radiation therapy (Ali, Blunden, Tanira, & Nemmar, 2008, p. 415).   Ginger constituents: gingerol, shogaol, and galanolactones act directly on the digestive system by stimulating gastric juices and stimulating gastric motility (Ali, Blunden, Tanira, & Nemmar, 2008; ABC). Blocks nausea feedback loop between brain and GI tract (ABC).  Also, as an effective antispasmodic, it stops the spasms of the stomach that are often associated with N&V.

Anti-inflammatory- Inhibits cyclooxygenase (enzyme that helps for prostaglandins) and lipoxygenase (enzyme that increases oxygenation of unsaturated fatty acids) (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 597).

Contains constituents: gingerdiones, shogaols which act as NSAIDs (Ali, Blunden, Tanira, & Nemmar, 2008).  Has been shown to suppress arthritic inflammation by suppressing cytocines and chemocines. This is done without upsetting the stomach as some NSAIDs do (Ali, Blunden, Tanira, & Nemmar, 2008).

Antispasmodic/anticholinergic

Inhibitory effect on pre-synaptic muscarinic receptors like muscarinic antagonists (Ali, Blunden, Tanira, & Nemmar, 2008).

 

Indications:

  • Nausea - “morning sickness”

  • Vomiting

  • Hyperemesis

  • Stomach cramping

  • Colds

  • Sore throat

  • Flu

  • Fever

  • Infectious disease

  • Abdominal pain

  • Arthritis

  • Slow digestion (constipation, indigestion)

  • Circulation support (cardioprotective)

  • Muscular-Skeletal injury (sprains, aches, pains)

*bold* for pregnancy specific indications…

Contraindications:

  • Client presenting with excess heat (Riccio and Zollinger, 2018) (ie heartburn, diarrhea) as ginger can act as a gastric irritant (Ali et al., 2007)

  • Client experiencing bleeding (Riccio and Zollinger, 2018)

  • “Caution advised against using excessive dosages of dried ginger during pregnancy,” (American Botanical Council, n.d.)

 

Plant Constituents: 

Phenols, phenolic glycosides and volatile aroma compounds such as trans-anethole, estragole, and fenchone have been reported as the major phytoconstituents of this species. 

 

System Affinities

  • digestive

  • respiratory

  • immune

  • muscular-skeletal

Energetics: 

Energetic qualities

  • Pungent 

  • Sweet

  • Heating 

Constitutional patterns or imbalances aggravated by Ginger

  • Too much heat (high fever, inflammation) 

Constitutional patterns or imbalances supported by Ginger

  • Cooling (colds, coughs, vomiting) 

 

Safety: 

Ginger is considered a safety class 1 and interaction with class B (Mills & Bone, 2005). There are no known contraindications for the use of ginger (Mills & Bone, 2005). Most Chinese medicine references caution against the use of ginger in pregnancy (Mills & Bone, 2005). Mills and Bone (2005) reviewed a study in which 900 pregnant people consumed 1 to 2 grams of ginger daily, which showed no reverse outcomes on their pregnancy. For lactation, there has not been any studies or literature on the safety of use of ginger while breastfeeding (Mills & Bone, 2005).

 

Personal Experience:

I used ginger tea to treat my headaches regularly, we also use ginger for my son's nausea that he often gets during long car rides; often times we offer him the Asian ginger candy.

 

Research:

 

Hoffmann, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.

 

Mills, S. & Bone, K. (2005). The essential guide to herbal safety. London, England: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone

 

Romm, A. (2010). Botanical medicine for women's health. St. Louis, MO: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier.

 

Srinivasan, K. (2017). Ginger rhizomes (Zingiber officinale): A spice with multiple health beneficial potentials. PharmaNutrition, 5(1): 18-28. doi: 10.1016/j.phanu.2017.01.001

Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

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