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Alfalfa is one of the green grasses, which are some of the most nutritionally rich foods there are. It is a source of chlorophyll, vitamins, including A, D, E, K, and beta carotene, and minerals, including selenium. It is especial- ly rich in minerals, as it pulls up nutrients from root depths as great as 130 feet. It is also an effective overall tonic used for rebuilding the body after serious or prolonged weakness or illness.

Irish Moss Affects: lungs, kidneys, skin

Irish moss contains 15 of the 18 elements composing the human body. It contains vitamins A, D, E, and K and is also high in iodine and calcium.

Marshmallow Root Affects: intestines, kidneys, bladder

Marshmallow root derives its botanical name from the Greek word altho, which means “to heal.” Humbart Santillo, in Natural Healing with Herbs, calls marshmallow root a nutritive. Michael Castleman, in The Healing Herbs, notes that it is a digestive aid. It also has a calming effect on the body.

Oatstraw Affects: nerves, uterus, stomach, lungs

Research has shown that oat bran, and to a lesser extent oatmeal, may help reduce high blood cholesterol. Oats contain flavonoids, a number of minerals, vitamins B1, B2, D, E, and carotene, as well as wheat protein. It is a natural relaxant. Santillo, in Natural Healing with Herbs, notes that oatstraw is good for the nerves, and Penelope Ody, in The Complete Medicinal Herbal, notes that it may help with depression.

Passionflower Affects: nerves, circulation

Passionflower was used by Native Americans to soothe the nerves, and it has been used more recently for hyper- activity, insomnia, Parkinson’s disease, and nervous ten- sion. Its constituents maltol, ethyl-maltol, and some flavonoids are potentially sedating, and another con- stituent, passi-florine, reportedly promotes calmness and ability to sleep. In Europe, passionflower is used in seda- tive preparations.

Shavegrass (Horsetail grass) Affects: kidneys, blood, heart, and lungs

Shavegrass is a member of one of the oldest groups of plants on earth. The plant’s success can be attributed to its ability to grow in poor soil with minimum moisture. It has been used both internally and externally since the 16th century, usually as a powder. As an herb, the entire plant is used. It contains flavonoids and minerals.

Slippery Elm Bark Affects: whole body

Slippery elm bark was used by Native Americans as a skin ointment. It heals burns, wounds, and poison ivy. It also boosts the adrenal glands and respiratory system, and draws out impurities. Castleman, in The Healing Herbs, and Ody, in The Complete Medicinal Herbal, cite the bark as being good for digestion. It neutralizes stomach acids.

Yucca Affects: blood

The yucca is a cactus-like succulent common to the western United States and most of Mexico. It helps reduce inflammation and pain in joints. Native Americans have used it for centuries as a soap. Shampoo made from the root helps with dandruff and scalp conditions.

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