An overview of different herbal realities focusing on the medicinal value of plants, indigenous herbs of South Africa
and aspects of the herbal industry that affect the person in the street.
Since time does not allow most of us to read long newsletters, this newsletter will only deal with one herb at a time starting with the series kitchenwise and streetwise.


• Street-wise----Medicinal herbs growing wild and recognised as weeds in the streets, garden and the wild.
Sleep disorders---Sleep Apnea part 3


History is often myth----media will propagate the myth, as the truth may not be palatable or increase sales—so much so that public image has become more important than the facts. Imagine calling Vervain the herb of grace because the ancient Christians used to sprinkle holy water and use Vervain for purification—what would religion say to that?
Can a herb that calms the mind be holy and bypass the pay for forgiveness system----take 3 cups of Vervain to absolve your sins. Hectic or heretic?


In case that raises your blood pressure then Vervain is not the herb to take—it improves blood circulation and too much of a good thing would lead to high blood pressure.


With aging the decreased efficiency of the body metabolism results in more free radicals and that is currently explained as the cause of Alzheimer’s. Vervain has a substance Ursolic acid that may decrease and also prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s.
Vervain affects the nerves and reduces pain and counteracts depression.

Again the use of excessive medication for minor injury may lead to resistance as in the escalating drugs resistant bacteria and also the ever-present side effects, which are unfortunately becoming rife.

Much ado about nothing is not a cosmic theory of spatial energy. We as a global society have in the majority lost the resilience of the former generations—we are spoilt and pampered and now with the advent of social media we have become too lazy to visit with friends and family---all news is available on facebook and twitter and we rely on Google. Where is this going in the long term---even in these early stages Google and its sisters are the force that rules even though we are balanced in the wonder of it.

Breathing correctly is important and the expectorant quality of Vervain finds use in coughs, colds, flu and asthma.
It is possible that Vervain gets rid of internal parasites and promotes a healthy colon—more research in that area if necessary. We need a number of government officials to volunteer for those experiments. Imagine if a cup of Vervain tea would remove parasites –make it mandatory for every government official to have a cup first thing –perhaps the result would be officials that realize that they work for the people and not vice versa and ending up with at least one representative one could admire and respect would be a big breakthrough not only for South Africa, certainly applies to the whole world. If I were a big crook with endless finance, I would also like a government I controlled.
Like most herbs Vervain multitasks in the body and has expansive uses and here we try holding to the researched findings even though folklore and anecdotal evidence is very applicable.
For example people have used Vervain for epilepsy, headaches, bladder infection, migraine, pmt and many other uses.

Its use in cases of kidney stones is well researched and together with fresh radish may prevent, eliminate and melt stones.
Obtainable from health stores in tea form and capsules and as a tincture.

Avoid Vervain if you have high blood pressure and during pregnancy. Ok during labour as it is a uterine stimulant.


When dealing with a breakdown in one aspect of the body health, it may be wise to treat the whole system rather than focus on a single organ or system. In this way mixtures of herbs may work more effectively than a single herb—some helping with elimination and detoxing.Our mixtures contain herbs, which do all that and fortify the mineral and vitamin supply hence providing a more complete healing process with no side effects.

The process of cutting a herb generates heat so the finer the cut of the herb so too does the potency diminish that little bit. So I recommend the rough tea cut rather than teabags even though it appears to be a mission to make in the rush rush everyday world.

Guidance with professional health practitioners from the naturopath, sangoma, dietician, alternative healer to a MD is an responsible course of action when dealing with any substance affecting your health.

For more in depth details about Lavender and other herbs visit <<our website3>> or go to <<herbal info and pictures>>


These herb properties are directly connected to and derived from the forces of nature - if you want to call it Godhead, Greater hierarchy, Krishna, Yaveh, Allah, it does not matter—these are the forces that we can trust today. So treat the herbs with the respect due to a great natural force, never mind the ravings of a semi lunatic political, media force doing their best to undermine common sense.
Prevention is better than cure.

In the next newsletter we will deal with Lemon Grass in the series called Kitchen wise - talking about medicinal properties of the usual herbs found in the kitchen.


Treatments include:
Behavioral changes,
Dental appliances and mouthpieces,
CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure)
Throat, tongue and other exercises to firm the soft tissue that causes the obstruction, which results in apnea.

Behavioral changes
If you have mild sleep apnea, adjusting sleep position so that you do not lie on your back is a start.
A contributing factor to apnea is obesity—even if that is not true as skinny folk also have apnea—it does no harm to undergo a dietary change and that together with exercise will benefit other problems apart from the apnea and sleep will improve.
Indulge in your laziness and exhaustion or make the effort – even if you are tired as a result of the apnea, the journey of 1000miles begins with the first step.

Doing does it and the effort is the only way to break the never-ending spiral of: apnea – resultant tiredness and then the inability to do anything.
Smoking - say no more.
Simple things would also improve the quality of sleep and these revolve around the bedroom—if you like overhead mirrors with super lightening and heavy music you need to reconsider your relationship to apnea—reduce the lights and noise and you can still have fun. Consider Tantra or Karessa as a new form of sensual relationship with your mate—the ancient sexual arts can only enhance a relationship and lift the sexual act to a new level of enjoyment.

Avoid reading or watching TV in the bed---and use the bedroom for sleeping and keep work related processes out.
Avoid eating or exercise before sleeping.
Relax and maybe a short period of quiet or meditation before sleep can improve your rest time.

Since obstructive sleep apnea is due to an anatomic airway narrowing it has been difficult to find a medication that helps.
If there is chronic nasal airway obstruction and swelling you can be advised to use medication such as nasal steroid sprays. Herbal oils such as peppermint, eucalyptus, tea tree, and oregano can also be advised. Herbal teas are aplenty for mucous removal - plantain, thyme, horehound, sage, and fenugreek are a few.

Nasal decongestants are addictive by causing reflex swelling of nasal tissue and one needs to keep using to reduce swelling…. a vicious cycle can be established so your doctor if he or she is clued up will advise to avoid then.
The advantage of herbal therapy is that the effect will not decrease over time, which may occur with conventional drugs
It is important to note that the primary treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) remains CPAP (described below). It appears that about 33% of CPAP users still experience sleepiness during the day.
Therapy for keeping the symptoms of apnea from being too heavy during the day such as a stimulant pill for wakefulness (modafinil (Provigil) or armodafinil (Nuvigil).) is like treating a flat tire by painting it yellow – effort has to be made to minimize predisposing factors and that needs the participation of the sufferer to do things such as breathing retraining to weight loss.

Continual use of the CPAP machine is essential even if supplementary stimulants are taken. The same applies to the many herbs, which can keep you awake including ginseng, gotu kola, rosemary and gingko biloba.
It makes sense to use the self-help exercises following in the next newsletter

Again you need to watch out for the side effects of the drugs. I am not sure that with the enormous costs to develop a drug that the ultimate prescribing of drugs is not a forceful issue by the medical reps selling on behalf of the powerful pharmaceutical cartels.

The drug side effects are almost always negative whereas the multitasking and broad action of herbs usually always results in positive side effects.

Dental appliances
A dental appliance is similar to a mouthpiece and holds the jaw and tongue forward and the palate up, thus preventing closure of the airway. This small increase in airway size often is enough to control the apneas. For mild to moderate obstructive sleep a mouthpiece is about 75% effective
The appliance requires natural teeth and must be worn every night. It does not work for false teeth and vampires.
Remember, it is always advisable to be fitted by a dentist or oral surgeon because if the jaw is drawn to far forward it could cause pain while eating.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
The aim of any treatment of Obstructive sleep apnea is to keep the airways open during sleep.
CPAP uses air pressure to achieve that aim.
CPAP uses gentle air pressure to hold the tissues open during sleep. As a person breathes, the gentle pressure holds the nose, palate, and throat tissues open.
The machine is small and portable, about the size of a toaster or smaller. The CPAP machine delivers the air through a nasal or facemask. It blows heated humidified air via a short tube to a mask. The mask is important as it must fit snugly and air must not leak out of it
There are many different masks, including nasal pillows, nasal masks, and full-face masks.
You need to choose a mask that you are comfortable with. It’s like choosing a wife---you may not see much of her in the day but she is likely to share your bed at night.

With CPAP it is important to use the lowest possible pressure that will keep the airway open during sleep.

Auto-titrating continuous positive airway pressure machines are designed to adjust automatically to the pressure required during different sleep levels.
When an apnea occurs the machine will adjust the pressure higher to open the airways. So the overall pressure used to keep the airways open is lower through out the night. The thing with the standard machine is that the pressure has to be set to the highest level needed to keep the airways open during apnea and different sleeping positions so one is breathing against a slightly higher pressure and for some it is a setback.

Prevention is better than cure.
The risks of some conditions that are related to apnea and hypopneas are reduced. Research has shown that strokes, hypertension, insulin dependence, ischaemic heart disease, sudden death and abnormal heart rhythms are related to apnea. Driving accidents and pulmonary incidents decreased
So CPAP is very effective if tolerated.

Setbacks with CPAP.
You really have to use it—it is not cheap and is not an ornament to look at. The first month of use is crucial for acceptance of that process and for comfort with the mask.
Change the mask initially if it does not work for you. Be happy with the machine.
Lots of people really benefit tremendously and swear by the machine. Even though a survey shows that only 60% OF people who have CPAP machines actually use them and even less for the whole length of the sleep process.
Some people do not like sleeping with a mask; others do not like the noise of the machine blowing air, which may affect their bed partners. Between 25 to 50% of people who start using the machine, stop using it.

For people who need a higher pressure to keep their airways open. Bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP) machines can be used —the machine goes with the flow of the breath—delivering a higher pressure on the in breath and a lower pressure during exhalation so people don’t feel as if they are breathing in a Jovian atmosphere.
Next newsletter talks of natural exercises to reduce apneas.

So what’s the balance in a society with chemical and pesticide, rich food? You can go organic, plant your own, join an organic co op. Start with doing your own sprouts, so easy and a great source of vitamins minerals and essential nutrients.(see newsletter no 19)

We are also a mail order source for our own organic teas , singles and herbal products.A minimum order of 10 assorted teas. Working with you, we can develop custom formulations specific to your practice. Our goal is long term working relationships that evolve over time.


If you have a problem getting the herbs contact us at << za 2>>and we will do our best to help you find them.
Outlets for our herbal teas are at this address----Shops that sell our teas
A list of our products can be viewed at Our Products on our website.
Some photographs by Ursula van Deventer.


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Glossary(meanings of some fancy words)

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