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Marshmallow Anyone?


Marshmallow (not the sticky sweet kind!) is a perennial herb which dies back in winter.  It's covered with soft, dense, velvety down and it has small flowers which range from white - pink in colour.  The root is mainly used medicinally (leaves have also been used).

Active constituents within marshmallow are:

• Mucilage
• Tannins
• Volatile oil
• Pectin
• Asparagine

Nutritionally very high in Vitamin A, as well as Vitamin B Complex & minerals Calcium, Zinc, Iron, Sodium & Iodine.

Marshmallow Root main actions:

• Demulcent - soothing & protective internally to irritated tissues and surfaces.
• Emollient - softens, soothes & protects the skin.
• Diuretic - improves the secretion & flow of urine.
• Vulnerary - hastens the healing of wounds.

The mucilage helps to soothe an irritated respiratory tract presumably by a reflex effect on the vagus nerve, making it good for treating:

• Coughs - all causes i.e. smoking, cold, bronchitis, dry cough, ACE inhibitor caused cough etc
• Bronchitis - inflammation of the bronchial tubes of the lungs.
• Respiratory Catarrh (mucous)

It is also very soothing to the intestinal mucosa, helping to reduce peristalsis and the sensitivity of the mucosa to irritants, shown to be healing with the following digestive conditions:

• Gastritis - inflammation of the stomach lining.
• Ulcerative Colitis - chronic inflammation of the large intestine.
• Peptic Ulcers - lesion in the stomach or duodenum.
• Colitis - inflammation of the lining of the colon.
• Enteritis - inflammation of the small intestine.

A 3rd area of health the mucilage within Marshmallow Root helps in is the Urinary System making useful in the treatment of:

• Cystitis - inflammation of the bladder.
• Urethritis - inflammation of the urethra.
• Urinary Calculus - kidney stones.

Externally Marshmallow Root can be used to treat in the healing of:

• Abscesses
• Boils
• Ulcers
• Lacerations
• Inflammation of pharynx/mouth (as a gargle)

To stock up on Marshmallow Root click HERE

Historically Marshmallow was used to ensure speed and ease of delivery of baby; as a compress with honey for all swellings of the eyes; as a poultice to soften tumours; for swellings of the testicles; to stop hair falling out; as a gentle laxative; easing the passage of kidney or gall stones; for hoarseness & coughs; for bruises and sprains, aches in muscles & sinews.

Some studies on Marshmallow Root:


Help with Acne

Acne was described to us at College as .... "an inflammatory papulopustular skin eruption commonly occurring in or near the sebaceous glands in the face, neck, shoulders and upper back"

What can you do to help lessen the effects?

Firstly acne mainly occurs when puberty begins, basically when a hormonal imbalance of the sex hormones i.e. testosterone and estrogen occur.  This is where the liver comes in.  The liver is our body's primary detoxifier and keeping it healthy is critical for our overall health, including metabolism and function of our hormones.  Our liver makes our bodies supply of testosterone and oestrogen hormones, so when there is disruption to our liver there can be disruption to the normal cycle of reproductive hormones.  This can be shown outwardly through our skin as acne.

Health problems generally arise when the things we put into our body, both consciously and unconsciously that are toxic or build up an excess of toxicity over time, such as:

• excess processed/junk food
• man made preservatives, pesticides, lead paints, gasoline, make-up & other beauty products & more
• alcohol, drugs

Health problems also occur if the nutrients that our liver needs to process toxins &/or excesses are in limited supply.  A limited supply means your liver can't process/function as quickly as it should normally and it becomes overburdened.  So the toxins/waste build up can go back into our body and start the dis-ease process.

So to help our health, in particular this time reduce the occurrence of acne, we need to reduce the stress on our liver.  What can we do?

1.  Supply adequate nutrients through a balanced diet i.e. enough protein, fats & fibre (vegetables & fruits), and a healthy supplemental choice, we recommend Cellfood (click on Cellfood to read more), we also recommend Organic vegetables/fruits due to the lack of pesticides and herbicides used (which lessens the load on your liver) & if you live in Canterbury/Christchurch head out to Tuahiwi Market Gardens.

2. Avoid synthetically produced foods (fake foods) and foods containing synthetic preservatives, colourings, flavourings.

3. Exercise at least 30minutes 3 x per week & get at least 30minutes of sun for vitamin D exposure.

4. Lessen alcohol/tobacco/drug consumption, do talk to your practitioner to talk through the best way of weaning off for you.

5. Lessen exposure to chemicals, such as herbicides, pesticides, paints, makeup, hair dye, household cleaners etc, adopt more natural options.

6.  Start the day with a glass of water with a slice of lemon within.  Lemons have constituents within that help with phase 1 & phase 2 stage of detox with the liver.

Herbs that can help with liver function & skin health:

• Calendula
• Red Clover
• Dandelion Root
• Nettle leaf
• Cleavers
• Schizandra
• Burdock
• Pau d'Arco

Naturalus: Skin/Complexion Tea
                 Liver/Detox Tea
                 Roasted Dandelion Root
                 Green Tea

For optimum effects always have 1 cup of any of the above in the evening, as your liver is cleansing throughout the night, but do take throughout the day as well, up to 3 cups daily of any individual or combination of the above.  If tea is not your thing then check out Malcolm Harker LiverNurse.

Topical treatments:
Naturalus: Bye Acne Soap
                 Wound Balm
                 Manuka or Tea Tree Essential Oil
                 Superfruit Facial Serum

The above topical treatments are fantastic for cleansing and healing.  The BYE ACNE SOAP has the cleansing Bamboo Charcoal & specific to healing acne Green Clay to deep cleanse the skin, while the Rosehip & Calendula Oil will help with healing acne scarring.  WOUND BALM is for those who would like a cream but find their usual moisturiser is too oily.  It contains healing Calendula with the antibacterial actions from not only Calendula but Manuka Extract, Lavender & Frankincense.  Just apply very sparingly, rub between fingers first before applying to your face, back, (is beeswax based so goes much further when used this way) use as often as needed. Organic MANUKA or TEA TREE (if you click on this link scroll down slightly below) Essential Oil, either of these can be used as a spot treatment, just dab on any breakouts with a cotton bud morning and night, as easy as that!  For that extra special treatment at night time I would use our SUPERFRUIT FACIAL oil on an oily face you say??!!  Believe it or not but facial oils such as ours will help to balance an oily skin...often with an oily skin we will dry it out too much and we find that we start getting even more acne when we've been trying so hard...I designed the Superfruit Serum to help balance & heal an oily skin as well as maintain the health of all skin types, so massage a few drops through your fingers first and then apply to your skin evenly before going to bed.  If you wear makeup, it's the best to help remove.

(click on the above links to purchase/read more on each individual product)

If you have any questions about the above email me at


Holy Basil

Holy Basil (Tulsi)  -  Ocimum tenuiflorum (sanctum)

Native to India, Eastern Africa, Hainan Island & Taiwan.  Is found grown up to an altitude of 5900 feet in the Himalayas.  Holy Basil (Tulsi) is one of the main herbs used in Ayurvedic medicine.  It is believed that the best way to take Tulsi medicinally is in its raw form as a hot tea infusion.  Purchase now in 30gm or 60gm packs here and/or read on for more interesting facts:

Tulsi's actions are many, including:
Adaptogenic - helps the body adapt to stress or change from any source
Antibacterial - used to prevent, resist and counteract bacterial infection
Hepatoprotective - has the ability to prevent damage to the liver
Hypotensive - lowering of blood pressure
Febrifuge - reduces fever
Antiseptic - used to prevent, resist and counteract infection
Immunomodulatory - modifies the response of the immune system
Antispasmodic - used to reduce or prevent excessive involuntary muscular contractions or spasms
Carminative - improves digestion and relieves the discomfort of flatulence, colic etc
Expectorant - promotes the removal of excess mucus from the lungs and air passages
Nervine - tones and strengthens the nervous system
Stimulant - increases functional activity and energy in the body

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Vol 2.2002 lists Tulsi's uses, including treatment of arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, cold, flu, fever, diabetes & peptic ulcers.  Nowadays it is used to treat head colds, asthma, hiccoughs, coughs, loss of taste, lack of appetite, worm infestation, nerve pain, pleurisy, kidney stones, vomiting & eye disease.

Recent studies of Holy Basil (courtesy of American Botanical Council):

In a 2011 double-blind, randomized, controlled trial, 24 healthy volunteers consumed 300 mg capsules of holy basil leaves (70% ethanolic extract; Dabur Pharmaceutical Ltd., Ghaziabad, India) or placebo on empty stomachs every day for four weeks, followed by a three-week washout period before crossover to the next intervention. The holy basil group had significantly increased levels of IFN-γ, IL-4, and percentages of T-helper cells and natural killer (NK) cells, showing holy basil’s immunomodulatory effects in humans.

Two double-blind pilot studies in 2009 investigated holy basil and four other Ayurvedic herbs for their reputed immune-enhancing effect. The first study included 32 volunteers randomized to two treatment groups of 16 each who consumed three cups daily (over the course of two months) of regular tea or Natural Care tea (Hindustan Unilever Research Center, Bangalore, India), which contains holy basil (0.5%); ashwagandha (Withania somnifera, Solanaceae, 0.5%); licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra, Fabaceae, 0.5%); ginger (Zingiber officinale, Zingiberaceae, 1.5%); and cardamom (Elettaria cardmomum, Zingiberaceae, 1.5%). NK cell activity was measured after one and two months of tea consumption. While there were no significant changes in either group at the end of the first month, NK cell activity significantly increased after two months in the Natural Care tea drinkers but not in the regular tea group.

The second study was a larger, double-blind, crossover study in which 110 subjects (60 male, 40 female [sic]) were assigned randomly to two groups. Each group consumed three cups of tea (Natural Care or regular [Camellia sinensis, Theaceae]) per day for two months. NK cell activity was measured before a 15-day washout period when no tea was drunk. The groups then switched to the other tea for another two months, after which NK cell activity was measured again. NK cell activity increased in both groups after two months, but the increase in the Natural Care tea drinking groups was approximately 4.2 times higher, while the NK cell activity in the regular tea group was about 2.9 times higher.

Holy basil was investigated for its effect on generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in a 2008 study. The study was conducted on 35 patients suffering from GAD from the outpatient clinics of the J. B. Roy State Ayurvedic Medical College and Hospital in Calcutta, India. Each subject was given 500 mg holy basil (70% ethanol extraction repeated three times, reduced in a rotary evaporator, then freeze-dried and packaged in gelatin capsules; manufacturer not stated) orally twice daily after a meal for 60 days. Baseline score index was 84.42±7.56 at the start, decreased to 68.17±7.84 (-19.2%) at 30 days, and 55.54±7.20 (-34.2%) at 60 days. Stress index at baseline was 95.65±8.42 and decreased to 84.32±9.08 (-11.5%) at 30 days and 68.45±9.60 (-27.5%) at 60 days. Additionally, depression index declined from 66.45±5.68 at baseline to 57.65±5.04 (-13.2%) at 30 days and 45.97±6.27 (30.8%) at 60 days.

A 2001 open, prospective, multicenter clinical study investigated the efficacy of an herbal eye drop containing holy basil on various ophthalmic conditions. Ophthacare®is an aqueous extract of six plants and honey made by Himalaya Drug Co. (Makali, Bangalore, India). Ophthacare comprises 0.60% w/v ajowan seed (Trachyspermum ammi, syn. Carum copticum, Apiaceae); 0.65% w/v belleric myrobalan fruit (Terminalia bellerica, Combretaceae); 1.30% w/v amla (Phyllanthus emblica, syn. Emblica officinalis, Euphorbiaceae); 1.30% w/v turmeric rhizome (Curcuma longa, Zingiberaceae); 1.30% w/v holy basil leaf; 1.10% w/v damask rose petals (Rosa damascena, Rosaceae); 0.5% w/v camphor crystal (Cinnamomum camphora, Lauraceae); and 3.70% w/v honey. Eye drops were applied at the rate of two drops four times daily for 15 days on 100 patients with acute conjunctivitis (allergic, bacterial, or viral) (n=35), acute dacryocystitis (inflammation of the nasolacrimal sac) (n=20), conjunctival xerosis (dry eye) (n=7), degenerative conditions such as pterygium/pinguecula (n=15), or who were postoperative cataract patients (n=23). Therapeutic responses occurred in most of the patients with the postoperative cataract patients experiencing the most benefit (95%), followed by dacryocystitis patients (88.2%), acute conjunctivitis patients (87.5%), patients with degenerative conditions (76.9%), and conjunctival xerosis patients (66.7%).

In a 1996 randomized, single-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study, 40 type 2 diabetes patients were randomized to consume holy basil leaf tea for four weeks followed by placebo leaf tea for four weeks or the reverse after a five-day run-in period in which they all consumed holy basil leaf tea. The authors concluded that consumption of the holy basil tea resulted in significant reduction in fasting blood sugar and postprandial blood sugar, as well as a moderate reduction in cholesterol. However, the Jadad score for this study was 1 (on a scale of 0 [very poor] to 5 [rigorous]), suggesting lack of adequate design and controls and that further studies are necessary.

A number of clinical studies were reported in the late 1900s, including ones for treatment of bronchial asthma, viral encephalitis, stress-related arterial hypertension, cell-mediated and humoral immune response, and chronic fatigue.  While these studies suggested some positive benefit for the conditions studied, they were all small pilot studies.

More studies of Holy Basil, click or copy & paste the links to read:


Liver Damage & Cholesterol


Radiation Damage

Gastric Ulcers

Type 2 Diabetes

Content within this blog and all our associated literature are for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.  Please consult with your Natural Practitioner for a more personalised health consultation or email me (Tanya) your site herbalist at for any further questions.



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Naturalus has been making and selling natural products here in Christchurch
New Zealand since 2008. Being a Clinical Medical Herbalist, Tanya has an understanding of how natural ingredients work on the body and how to combine them to give the most benefit. Also over the years more pure essential oils have been sourced and added. To compliment that there is a great range of Ultrasonic Oil Diffusers, being one the first in NZ to have them. There are plenty of other products to check out and if you want to read some feedback its’s here: Feedback.
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