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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.



• Kitchen-wise-Medicinal herbs and spices in the kitchen
• Hormones pt 4: Thymus

Armoracia rusticana.

Have you noticed how many new super foods keep appearing regularly on the health market—kale was once used for garnish in butchers now it’s the healthy alternative. At least the name is pronounceable.

Naturopaths profess that food is your best medicine. Believe it or not the herb of the year 2011 was named horseradish by the international herb association. This year it is summer savoury.

Horseradish is a traditional medicinal herb that belongs to the cabbage family---Cancer research indicates that Horseradish root is very high in Glucosinolates (high sulphur containing substances). These compounds are responsible for the hot taste of the root and when broken down in the body these Glucosinolates increase the liver ability to detoxify carcinogens and suppress tumour growth.
Sinigrin is one that is a potent anti oxidant and detoxifier.
A small dab of horseradish with your food goes a long way to prevent bladder infections- it is believed that the chemicals of horseradish accumulate in the urine so it has an anti biotic effect on bladder pathogens.


Different parts of the plant have different effects—in the days of yore in the times of civilization when doctors were worthy of respect and corrupt big Pharma and rampant iatrogenesis (any complication brought about by a healers’ balls up ) was not yet born, the traditional treatment for sinusitis was to take half a teaspoon grated horseradish both morning and afternoon. It seems natural today that quick fixes take precedence.

Traditional remedies are strongly rooted in certain cultures and those living alongside them may never have considered such practices, as they may seem too weird. For example, for stomach pains a bit of sweet oil and the Canna leaf placed on the abdomen brings relief. Similarly the horseradish leaf has such analgesic effects when put on the head during a headache.

Using the roots as a poultice alleviates gout and those extreme joint pains that you figure you have to live with. Nicholas Culpepper, the seventeenth century English herbalist, reported its use as a poultice for local application to treat sciatica, gout, joint-aches, and hard swellings

Horseradish has been used since biblical times to represent bitter herbs on the Seder plate for Jewish Passover. That bitter note has a curious effect on other flavors, sometimes creating an unexpected sweetness in cooked dishes. Research indicates that horseradish is not indigenous to the middle east yet the effect of bringing tears to the eyes helps to remind of the painful oppression that was and is still metered out on a very minority religious group by aggressive forces.

Why some people react to herbs quicker than others is not such a mystery, just difficult for the herbalist when the ill person complains that the herb does not work. I expect it has to do with the art of blending herbs to work together to effect a physiological change whereas one single herb may be limited in its range of action and sensitivity of the being..

The use of horseradish is pretty widespread and recognised In Germany as approved by the Commission E for treatment of infections of the respiratory tract and as supportive treatment in urinary tract infections. In the United States, horseradish root is the active ingredient of a urinary antiseptic drug. It is listed as generally recognized as safe by the FDA's Code of Federal Regulations (The FDA is a regulatory authority that has been infiltrated by officials with their own agenda so cannot really be regarded as an unbiased authority but then all political groups without exception is thus tainted).

Horseradish has also been used somewhat in North American aboriginal medicine. The Cherokee people use it as a urinary aid for gravel, as a diuretic, as a gastrointestinal aid to improve digestion, and as a respiratory aid to treat asthma

Very high in potassium, horseradish may play a part in regulating blood pressure and heart health.

When grating it may cause skin irritation: the reaction can be stopped by lemon or vinegar.
Not recommended during pregnancy and lactation.

Wasabi is called Japanese horseradish –very rarely seen outside Japan. The fake Wasabi is nose tingling and made from a mixture of horseradish, mustard powder and green food colouring. And that is likely what you are eating with your sushi.
The difficulty in growing and cost of real Wasabi had led to the fake being acceptable.
If you don’t like the gunk used in anti dandruff medication, horseradish vinegar is an alternative for getting rid of dandruff.

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 herbs visit < our website > or go to <<herb info and pictures page.>>



In the next newsletter we will deal with GINKO BILOBA in the series called Streetwise - talking about medicinal properties of herbs found growing in the streets, garden and the wild.

Endocrine glands part 4---THYMUS

The Thymus situated at the upper chest behind the sternum and between the lungs
is an endocrine organ with very close associations with the immune system.

The function of the Thymus is to receive immature T cells that are produced in the red bone marrow.
T cells, an extremely important type of white blood cell, defend the body from potentially deadly pathogens such as bacteria, viruses.
Several hormones including Thymosin, produced by the thymus promote the maturation of the T cells prior to their release into the bloodstream.
The now mature T cells circulate through the body where they recognize and kill pathogens, produce antibodies, and store the memory of past infections.

Unlike most organs that grow until the age of maturity, the thymus enlarges throughout childhood but slowly shrinks from the onset of puberty and throughout adulthood. As the thymus shrinks, its tissues are replaced by adipose tissue.
As a person ages, the defenses against infection become less vigorous and the immune system grows more and more likely to mistake friend for foe and attack the body's own cells and tissues. This mistaken attack on ''self'' produces what are called autoimmune diseases. Rheumatoid arthritis is commonly believed to be such a disorder, and some specialists suspect autoimmune processes are important factors in much of heart disease. Weakening of the immune system's surveillance against abnormal cells has been blamed for a rise in cancer risk with increasing age.

In medical terms, the thymus is one of the pillars that support our health, through the maintenance of the immune system, producing the T cells that recognize and
destroy any threat to the organism or to the healthy cells. They are the “intelligent” force that can discern the protection of the entire system at the cellular level.
Despite the fact that the thymus has its growth stopped after childhood, it continues to be very active, collaborating with the immune system.

This gland grows when we are happy and shrinks when we are stressed out. Along with the adrenals and the spinal cord the thymus is directly linked to the five senses,
to the sense of awareness and consciousness, and to the center of language. It is an organ that is extremely susceptible to images, colors, smells, gestures, touches and sounds.
Love and hate are emotions that can affect it strongly, as negative thoughts and words tend to influence the thymus as a viral infection, therefore loosing strength, and can bring down the ability to fight colds, herpes and other immune systems attacks.

The heart chakra corresponds to the thymus gland. Some consider that the thymus may be the basic receptor of light energies beyond our normal range of vision.

So what’s part of 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). Spend sometime in nature, quietly. Link with people who create wellbeing and good vibes. Save and swop organic seed. Consider alternatives to surgery (2nd opinions from Homeopaths, reputable alternative practitioners including sangomas) and keep the faith china.

We are also a mail order source for our own organic teas , singles and herbal products. 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 <<herbs@herbsorganic.co za 2>>and we will do our best to help you find them.

A list of our products can be viewed at Our Products on our website.



Glossary(meanings of some fancy words)

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