Ingredients Glossary

Fruit ingredient

Acerola / Malpighia glabra

Native to the West Indies and tropical America, it is now cultivated throughout the tropics and in subtropical areas around the world. Acerola strongly resembles the cherry, giving it the nick name Barbados cherry and West Indian cherry and is known to have one of the richest natural sources of vitamin C.

Although commonly called a cherry (due to the size), the odour and flavour of cooked acerola are similar to tart apples or crab tree apples.

More information

The fruit is a natural source of vitamin C which is used as an antioxidant and to:

  • Support healthy immune system function
  • Reduce free radicals formed in the body
  • Support wound healing
  • Support collagen formation and healthy connective tissue important for skin health
  • Support skin integrity, repair and regeneration
Traditionally

The Amazonian Indians were the first to notice the beneficial potential of this fruit. The Spanish conquistadors also developed a keen interest in the properties of acerola upon their arrival in South America.

Fruit ingredient

Amla / Phyllanthus emblica

Native to India and now grown throughout the world, this tropical tree is also referred to as Indian Gooseberry and Amalaki in Ayurveda.

It is said that the Amla berry comes from the first tree to appear on earth, manifested out of the tears of Brahma while he was meditating.

A much-beloved staple of traditional Ayurvedic medicine, this plum-sized berry is considered a cooling ‘pitta’ herb (aids metabolism and digestion), and is said to possess five of the six tastes (sour, bitter, pungent, astringent, sweet), although sour is its main taste.

More information

The fruit is a rich source of vitamin C which is used to:

  • Support connective tissue production important to maintain healthy skin elasticity, integrity, structure and firmness
  • Support collagen health and formation
  • Support skin healing and repair
  • Provide as an antioxidant support to protect against free radical damage
Traditionally

Its fruits possess multiple benefits and are of immense use in folk medicine. It is considered the “Mother” because it is considered as the ultimate healer due to its restorative properties

Leaf ingredient

Andrographis / Andrographis paniculate

Commonly known as King of Bitters or Indian Echinacea this tall herb is native to India, Ceylon and Java however is now naturalised in other parts of the world.

Andrographis has been widely used as traditional medicine in China, India, Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries to help treat various health ailments.

Andrographis is a bitter-tasting herb (acknowledgment to the nickname King of Bitters) rich in compounds known as andrographolides. These compounds are thought to have anti-inflammatory, immune and antioxidant properties.

More information

The aerial parts of the plant are used to:

  • Reduce symptoms of common cold
  • Relieve the severity of symptoms of mild upper respiratory tract infections
Traditionally

Also known as Green Chiretta in Ayurvedic medicine, Andrographis has a long history of traditional use in India, various parts of South-East Asia, Central America and the Caribbean.

Root ingredient

Ashwagandha / Withania somnifera

Native to India through to South East Asia this short, perennial shrub is now grown throughout the world.

Ashwagandha is often referred to as Indian ginseng even though botanically, ginseng and Ashwagandha are unrelated. In Sanskrit, ashwa means ‘horse’ and gandha means ‘smell’ which refers to the root of the plant having a horse-like smell.

More information

Traditionally used in Ayurvedic Medicine as an adaptogen, a rasayana (tonic) and to:

  • Maintain vitality
  • Support a healthy stress response in the body
  • Soothe and calm nerves
  • Support refreshing sleep
  • Relieve nervous tension
  • Support the nervous system
  • Assist with recovery from illness
Traditionally

Ashwagandha is a highly regarded plant used in Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India. It is traditionally used in Ayurvedic Medicine as a rejuvenative and restorative rasayana (tonic).

Root ingredient

Astragalus / Astragalus membranaceus

Originally native to southeast Asia, this sprawling, hardy plant with pale yellow roots, is also referred to as Huang Qi or Milk Vetch.

Its Chinese name, Huang Qi, means “yellow leader” and refers to both the coloured interior of the root and the plant’s position of prestige among Chinese medicine practitioners. Astragalus root is one of the fundamental herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and is regarded by some as the king of Chinese tonic herbs, often used as a Qi tonifying herb.

More information

Traditionally used in Traditional Chinese Medicine as an adaptogen and to:

  • Help the body adapt to stress
  • Support healthy immune system function
  • Tonify and strengthen Qi
  • Strengthen lungs
  • Support vitality
Traditionally

Astragalus the one of the most widely used herbs of Traditional Chinese Medicine where it is primarily used to tonify lungs.

Grain ingredient

Avena Sativa / Oat seed

Commonly known as oats this plant is grown for its edible starchy grains. Eaten worldwide as a food staple it is also recognised for its nutritional value and added health benefits.

More information

Traditionally used in Western Herbal Medicine as a calmative nerve tonic to:

  • Support and relax the nervous system
  • Relieve nervous tension
Traditionally

Oat is amongst one of the oldest cultivated grains used as a food source all around the world.

Stem ingredient

Bamboo / Bambusa textilis

Bamboo is native to most continents except for Antarctica and Europe. Belonging to the grass family, it is considered one of the fastest growing plants in the world. Bamboo grows in a short but strong growth spurt during summer and then remains near dormant over winter.

Bamboo is used for everything from construction to irrigation systems, from musical instruments to food, fuel and medicine.

More information

Bamboo is a natural source of silica which can help:

  • Support connective tissue production
  • Maintain healthy skin elasticity, structure and firmness
  • Support collagen health and formation to support skin health
  • Support hair and nail strength and thickness
Traditionally

Early Chinese books were once written on bamboo slats and bamboo has been used as a source of medicine and construction material since ancient times.

Fruit ingredient

Baobab / Adansonia digitata

Native to Africa and Australia, and now introduced to tropical and subtropical regions, this iconic tree of African savannahs has a lifespan of several hundreds of years.

With social and economic importance, it is known to be one of the most important indigenous fruit trees of sub-Saharan Africa. The tree provides food, medicine and fibre, and almost all tree parts including the fruit pulp and shells, seeds, leaves, flowers, roots and bark can be used. Baobabs contribute significantly to economy of many rural communities. Mainly leaves and fruits are collected for food and sold as raw or processed into a variety of products.

More information

The tree is different from any other, when bare of leaves, the spreading branches look like roots sticking up into the air, rather as if it had been planted upside-down, which is where its nickname, Upside-down tree, originated. The trunk is also smooth and shiny, not at all like the bark of other trees, and usually grows as a solitary individual.

An old Baobab tree can create its own ecosystem, as it supports the life of countless creatures, from the largest of mammals to thousands of tiny insects. Birds nest in its branches; baboons devour the fruit; fruit bats drink the nectar and pollinate the flowers, and elephants have been known to chop down and consume a whole tree.

Traditionally

Along the Zambezi, the tribes believe that when the world was young the Baobabs were upright and too proud, lording over the lesser plants. The gods became angry and uprooted the Baobabs, thrusting them back into the ground, root upwards.

Leaf ingredient

Brahmi / Bacopa monnieri

Brahmi is native to India, but due to its widespread availability across the globe, it is often recognised by different names including, Water Hyssop, Herb of Grace and Indian Pennywort. It is a perennial, small creeping succulent and water-loving herb.

Brahmi is the Sanskrit name for the herb and originates from the Hindu god Brahma. Divinity responsible for all of the creative forces in the world, Brahma is also referred to as the ‘cosmic consciousness’, leading to the association of learning, memory and concentration.

Often revered as the herbal star of traditional Ayurvedic Medicine, the whole plant can be used for many purposes.

More information

Traditionally used in Ayurvedic Medicine to:

  • Support cognitive function
  • Enhance cognitive performance
  • Improve memory recall
  • Maintain brain health
  • Support mental clarity and intelligence
  • Support the nervous system
Traditionally

Brahmi was used to increase concentration and devotion to support spiritual practice.

Seed ingredient

Cacao / Theobroma cacao

Native to South and Central America, and now grown throughout the world, Cacao is known for being the raw material of chocolate.

Revered as sacred for thousands of years by the ancient Mayan, Aztec and Olmec civilizations, Cacao was originally ground with other ingredients, whipped into a frothy drink and offered to royal guests and priests ceremonially.

More information

Its botanical name, Theobroma, means ‘food of the gods’ and is derived from the Greek words theo meaning ‘food’ and broma meaning ‘of Gods’.

The word cacao itself comes from the Mayan word for the bean, Ka’kau, while the English word ‘chocolate’ derives from the Mayan verb Chocol’ha, or ‘to drink cacao’.

Cacao is a source of caffeine and is used to help:

  • Increase mental alertness
  • Relieve tiredness
Traditionally

The edible properties of Cacao were discovered over 2,000 years ago by the local people of Central America living deep in the tropical rainforests and they were thought to have eaten the fleshy fruit that grows around the bean rather than roasting the bean itself.

Flower ingredient

Calendula / Calendula officinalis

Native to Egypt, the Mediterranean through to Europe, this annual aromatic herb is now grown throughout the world. The bright orange daisy-like flower is also referred to as English Marigold or Pot Marigold has an aromatic odour and slightly bitter taste.

More information

Its name is derived from the Latin word calends, meaning the first day of every calendar month as Calendula flowers open as the sun rises and can be found blooming in some parts of the world every month.

The flowers are the part of the herb used medicinally, either in the form of infusions, tinctures, liquid extracts, creams or ointments.

Traditionally

Calendula has been used as herbal medicine since the 12th century and has been cultivated by the Egyptians, Greeks, Hindus and Arabs. It also grew in Europe where it was cultivated in the kitchen garden as ornamental flower. These are dried for broth, which is said to comfort the heart and spirits.

Fruit ingredient

Camu Camu / Myrciaria dubia

Native to the Amazon river region, Camu Camu is now grown throughout the world in tropical and subtropical climates. This water-loving shrub prefers growing on banks of streams, lakes or in swamps, where the lower part of the plant is often submerged.

More information

The cherry-like fruit contains one of the highest recorded amounts of natural vitamin C known on the planet (2800mg of vitamin C per 100 grams), second only to the Kakadu Plum (3100 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams)[1].

Camu Camu is a very juicy berry but has a sharply acidic flavour, which is why it’s rarely eaten in its natural state, except by the indigenous people who inhabit the fruit’s natural territories. Rather, it is generally consumed in the form of juices, purees, ice-creams and more. It is often used medicinally for its high vitamin C content and a variety of other reputed benefits.

Traditionally

Camu Camu fruit was not widely eaten as a traditional food, rather it was used by the Amazonians to treat a variety of health ailments. Very occasionally the local people would suck the fruit, usually when they were very thirsty, because at times, the flooded black waters where Camu Camu grows weren’t drinkable. More often the fruit was used as fish bait for Gamitana fish.

Reference:

1. Langley, P., Pergolizzi, J., Taylor, R. and Ridgeway, C., Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, accessed 7 Dec 2020,  Antioxidant and Associated Capacities of Camu Camu (Myrciaria dubia): A Systematic Review

Berry ingredient

Chaste Tree Berry / Vitex agnus-castus

Native to the Mediterranean through to Asia, and now grown throughout the world, this small flowering shrub is also referred to as Chasteberry, Chaste Tree, Cloister Pepper and Monk’s Pepper.

Its botanical name vitex, is derived from the Latin word vieo meaning to ‘weave’, referring to the ancient use of its bark and twigs in basketry. Agnus-castus meaning ‘chaste lamb’ refers to an old belief around chastity.

More information

The dried fruit (berry) is used to:

  • Relieve symptoms of premenstrual tension
  • Help reduce occurrence of premenstrual tension symptoms
  • Relieve breast tenderness associated with premenstrual tension
  • Maintain healthy menstrual cycle
  • Reduce menstrual cycle irregularity
  • Support healthy female hormonal balance
  • Relieve symptoms of menopause
Traditionally

It is believed that monks would eat the berries and leaves of this tree to help promote chastity, hence the name variations Monk’s Pepper, Chaste Tree and Chasteberry.

Fungus ingredient

China Root / Wolfiporio cocos

Known as Fúlíng in Chinese, this edible mushroom is native to East and Southeast Asia, and now grown throughout the world in subtropical and humid climates.

These mushrooms are only found underground (like truffles) and are recognised for its large, underground sclerotium that resembles a small coconut. The sclerotium can grow quite large, with a white interior and a dark brown exterior that may develop a mottled appearance like tree bark.

More information

Known as a wood-decaying fungus, it parasitises the roots of conifers as well as hardwood trees, growing on the dead host trees while large sclerotia are formed close to the roots of the host. These mushrooms contain enzymes that degrade the structural component of wood, cellulose.

Traditionally

First recorded in an ancient Chinese medical masterpiece “Sheng Nong’s herbal classic”, China Root has been used as famous traditional Chinese medicine herb for centuries.

Bark ingredient

Cinnamon / Cinnamomum verum

Native to Sri Lanka, Cinnomomum verum, is a small, slow growth evergreen tree, which is now grown across the world. The spice is obtained from the inner bark of the tree and used for culinary, aromatherapy and herbal use.

Its botanical name is derived from the Hebraic and Arabic term amomon, meaning ‘fragrant spice plant’.

More information

Traditionally used in Western Herbal Medicine to:

  • Relieve symptoms of indigestion
  • Reduce abdominal bloating
  • Relieve digestive discomfort
Traditionally

Since ancient times, this spice has been used for a variety of purposes including in food preparations as well as a variety of herbal uses. It was valued as a precious commodity and was so highly prized that it was regarded a gift fit for monarchs. It is believed that its source was kept secret in the Mediterranean world by those in the spice trade to protect their monopoly as suppliers.

Leaf ingredient

Curry Leaf / Murraya koenigii

Native to the India and southeast Asia, this small evergreen tree is grown throughout the world.

Also referred to as Curry Patta in Hindi, the leaf has a distinct curry-like flavour and odour, and often used as a common ingredient in curries, chutneys and stews.

The botanical name Murraya koenigii, commemorates two botanists. The generic name, Murraya, derives from the surname Johann Murray and the specific name koenigii from the surname of Johann König.

More information

Curry leaves are a rich source of iron which can help:

  • Relieve tiredness and fatigue
  • Maintain cognitive function
  • Assist healthy red blood cell production and transport of oxygen in the body
  • Support healthy immune system function
Traditionally

The history of curry leaf is seen in early 1st to 4th century AD. In the early literatures of Tamil and Kannada the use of Curry leaf is described as the flavouring agent for vegetables.

Flower ingredient

Dandelion / Taraxacum officinale

Usually regarded as a common garden weed, the Dandelion grows wild throughout much of the world. Other common names include Blowball, Puffball, Swine Snout and Wild Endive.

A member of the Asteraceae family (a relative to sunflowers and daisies), it is distinguished by its single yellow flower which opens at dawn and closes at dusk. Once the flower has matured the plant forms a puffball of seeds that are dispersed by the wind.

More information

Its botanical name Taraxacum originates from the Arabic word tarakhaqun meaning ‘wild chicory’. Its common name is thought to be a corruption of the French word dent de lion meaning ‘lion’s tooth’, a reference to the coarsely toothed leaves. Officinale is traditionally used to refer to a plant with health and medicinal properties that was sold in the apothecary.

Traditionally used in Western Herbal Medicine to:

  • Support gallbladder function
  • Promote bile flow from gall bladder
  • Promote healthy appetite and relieve loss of appetite
  • Support healthy digestion
  • Reduce symptoms of indigestion
Traditionally

Traditionally, Dandelion has long been used in Western Herbal Medicine to support healthy digestion and was also consumed by many different cultures as a food source.

Root ingredient

Dong Quai / Angelica polymorph

Native to China this aromatic perennial herb is now grown throughout the world. A relative to celery and a member of the parsley family, Dong Quai is a hardy plant that likes to grow in cold, damp and high-altitude regions.

Also known as ‘female ginseng’ in the Orient, Dong Quai root is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to help support female health.

More information

Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine as a blood tonic and to:

  • Activate and replenish blood
  • Regulate healthy menstrual cycle
  • Relieve menstruation pain
Traditionally

A popular herb used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Dong Quai was traditionally used as a blood tonic to help invigorate and replenish blood. When used in Traditional Chinese Medicine different parts of the root are used for different ailments.

Flower ingredient

Echinacea / Echinacea purpurea

Native to North America it is now widely grown across the world. Echinacea is a member of the Asteraceae family which includes daisies as well as edible herbs like Dandelion and Arnica. It does not hold many common English names, but one of the few is the Purple Coneflower, named because of the attractive flower head with purple, pink petals and cone-shaped centre.

Echinacea is derived from the Greek word echinos, meaning ‘hedgehog’, which refers to the cone-shaped, prickly centre which is said to resemble the spines of a hedgehog.

More information

Traditionally used in Western Herbal Medicine to:

  • Maintain healthy immune system function
Traditionally

Echinacea was one of the most widely used medicinal plants of the Great Plains Native Americans used to treat a variety of ailments including colds and infections.

Flower ingredient

Elderflower / Sambucus nigra

Native to most of Europe and North America, this small, fast growth deciduous tree is now grown throughout the world. Elderflower also referred to as Elder and Black Elder is one of the commonly used herbs in Western Herbal Medicine, traditionally used for immune health, as well as having a long tradition of culinary use including in cordial, wine and jam.

Its fragrant, white flowers are large and bloom in small clusters, which are then followed by the berry like fruits. Its botanical name is derived from the Latin word nigra, meaning “black”, and refers to the deep dark colour of the berries.

More information

Traditionally used in Western Herbal Medicine to:

  • Reduce symptoms of common cold
  • Clear respiratory tract mucous
  • Relieve symptoms of sore throat
Traditionally

The traditional uses of elderflower plants involved the whole plant, with teas and tinctures made from the bark and fruit. Native Americans also used the branches of Elderberry to make flutes, so it is sometimes called “the tree of music.”

Fungus ingredient

Enokitake (Enoki) Mushroom / Flammulina velutipes

Believed to have originated in Asia, this popular culinary fungus is now grown worldwide. Due to its widespread availability across the globe, it is also referred to as Golden Needle, Velvet Shank and Winter mushrooms.

This cold loving mushroom fruit through winter and naturally grows on the stumps of the Chinese hackberry tree (Celtis Sinensis, ‘enoki’ in Japanese), and on other trees including Ash, Mulberry and Persimmon trees.

More information

Its botanical name Flammunlina derived from the Latin word flammeus meaning ‘small flame’ refers to the orange caps that shine like ‘little flames’ in the winter sunshine. Velutipes meaning ‘with velvet legs’ is a combination of two Latin words velutinus meaning ‘covered with fine hairs’ and pes or ‘foot’ in reference to what the stems look and feel like.

There is a significant difference in appearance between the wild and cultivated varieties of this mushroom. Cultivated mushrooms have been unexposed to light, resulting in a white colour, whereas wild mushrooms usually display a dark brown to orange colour. The cultivated mushrooms are also grown to produce long thin stems, whereas wild mushrooms produce a much shorter and thicker stem.

Traditionally

Long used in Chinese and Japanese cuisine it has now gained worldwide recognition as a culinary mushroom.  Enoki is available widely, including from leading Australian supermarkets.

Fruit ingredient

Finger Lime / Citrus australasica

Originating in Australia, this plant is native to the Bundjalung region, growing in the tropical to subtropical rainforests of NSW and QLD.

Known as Gulalung in the Bundjalung language, this fruit is prized for its unique caviar-like pulp and various colours which can vary between yellow, green, pale pink and crimson.

More information

Lime finger can be boiled up added to drinks, meals and also eaten raw.

The botanical name Citrus is derived from the Greek word citron which in turn is derived from the word kédros, as cedar and citrus fruit and leaves share a related scent. Australasica is reference to the plant’s Australian origin.

Traditionally

The small fruits were originally used by Indigenous tribes as a food source; the limes were foraged in tropical jungles for their tangy pulp.

Root ingredient

Ginger / Zingiber officinale

Believed to have originated in southeast Asia, Ginger is a tropical loving plant which its root is grown worldwide for culinary and medicinal purposes.

The botanical name Zingiber originates from the Greek word zingiberis, which was derived from the Sanskrit word shringavera, meaning ‘shaped like a deer’s antler’, an acknowledgment to the shape of the root. Officinale is traditionally used to refer to a plant with health and medicinal properties that was sold in the apothecary.

More information

Traditionally used in Western Herbal Medicine to:

  • Relieve symptoms of indigestion
  • Relieve digestive discomfort and abdominal bloating
  • Reduce abdominal and digestive spasms
Traditionally

Obtained by the Greeks and Romans from Arab traders, it was one of the first oriental spices to arrive in Europe.

Leaf ingredient

Ginkgo / Ginkgo biloba

Native to China and now grown throughout the world, it is revered for its beautiful fan-shaped leaves and edible seeds.

Having no living relatives, it is believed to be biologically one of world’s oldest living tree species, earning it the name “living fossil”. It is also a dioecious, meaning there are both male and female trees.

Its botanical name is derived from the Chinese word ginkyo meaning ‘silver apricot’, which refers to the fruit’s silver bloom, and the seed’s size and appearance resembling a small apricot.

More information

This plant can be used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to:

  • Promote healthy blood circulation
  • Invigorate blood
  • Promote the flow of blood
Traditionally

The Chinese culture has admired the ginkgo tree for centuries. Its prominent fruit is considered a delicacy for food and medicinal purpose. It’s been revered as a sacred plant and as such, nicknamed by the Chinese as the Ancestor Tree, Buddha’s Fingernail Tree and Eyes of the Cosmic Spirit Tree. It was also a tributary item offered to the Imperial Court, to be used in the Emperor’s banquets.

Vegetable ingredient

Globe Artichoke / Cynara scolymus

Originating from the Mediterranean regions, this perennial plant is now widely cultivated all over the world.

The botanical name Cynara scolymus is derived in part from the tradition of fertilising the plant with ashes (Latin: cinis, cineris), and partly from the Greek word skolymos, meaning “thistle” from the spines found on the bracts (they are not leaves) that enclose the flower heads forming the edible portion of the plant.

According to Greek myth, the artichoke owes its existence to Zeus who fell in love with Cynara, a mortal. He took her to Olympus however, the beauty missed her life on earth and one evening Cynara snuck back to her hometown. Upon her return to Olympus, Zeus was enraged and sent her home, in the form of an artichoke.

Globe artichokes are not only a culinary delight, but also a well-known and popular herbal medicine.

More information

Traditionally used in Western Herbal Medicine to:

  • Relieve symptoms of indigestion, flatulence and abdominal bloating
  • Relieve nausea
  • Reduce abdominal feeling of fullness
  • Support digestive system health
  • Promote bile flow from gall bladder
Traditionally

Artichoke has been known since the 4th century B.C. as a food and remedy. This plant has been appreciated by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, who used it both as a food and as a medicine.

Berry ingredient

Goji Berry / Lycium

Also referred to as Chinese Wolfberries, this deciduous woody shrub is native throughout China, Tibet and Mongolia and is now grown worldwide. The etymological origin of “Goji” is unclear, but it is likely a simplified spelling of the Mandarin word gǒuqǐ.

More information

Described to have a tangy yet sweet taste, the small teardrop-shaped, vibrant red-orange berries are delicate, and must be shaken from the vine rather than picked in order to avoid spoiling. Besides the fruit, use of other parts of the Goji berry plant, including flower, leaf, seed, and root bark, are also recorded.

Traditionally

Traditionally, dried Goji berries are cooked before they are consumed and also are commonly used in Chinese soups and as herbal tea. Used in Traditional Chinese medicine to help treat ‘yin deficiency’ in the body, the health benefits of the Goji berry, has been recorded from the empirical insights of Chinese doctors over hundreds of years, and was believed to be considered beneficial for strengthening the body and easing life through all the seasons.

Leaf ingredient

Gotu Kola / Centella asiatica

Native to India, this perennial is distinguished by its low growing, cupped leaves which are used for both food and medicinal use.

A member of the parsley family, the fan-shaped leaves with its frilled edges and whitish veins are sometimes compared to the left and right hemispheres of the brain.

Gotu Kola is an example of the ancient practice called doctrine of signatures. Based on the belief that various physical features of a plant is directly linked to the plant’s affinity in the human body.

More information

Traditionally used in Ayurvedic Medicine as a rejuvenating brain tonic (medhya) and to:

  • Improve memory and cognition
  • Promote mental clarity, intelligence and wisdom
Traditionally

Regarded highly in Ayurvedic Medicine as a rejuvenative tonic. it is traditionally used to help bring balance to all three of the Ayurvedic body types, vata, pitta, and kapha.

Fruit ingredient

Green Banana / Musa

One of the most cultivated fruit in the world, the banana belongs to the Musaceae family of flowering tropical plants and is distinctively recognised by the banana fruit clustered at the top of the plant.

More information

Not really a tree by true definition, the banana plant is a giant clumping tropical herb. Even more confusing, bananas are botanically a berry, making them a fruit and a herb.

The plant is a natural source of resistant starch used for its prebiotic fibre to help keep the gut happy by maintaining bowel regularity.

Traditionally

Buddha named the banana to be the symbol of the futility of earthly possessions.

Leaf ingredient

Green Tea / Camellia sinensis

Native to China and south east Asia, this slow growth evergreen tree is now cultivated throughout the world.

Also referred to as Tea plant, the leaves are used to make traditional caffeinated teas, including black, white, oolong and green tea.

According to Chinese legend, the tea plant was first stumbled upon by accident. The emperor at the time was boiling water in his garden when a leaf from the overhanging tree drifted into his pot. The combination yielded a drink that compelled him to research the tree further, uncovering both medicinal and palatable properties.

More information

Green tea is a source of caffeine and is used to help:

  • Increase mental alertness
  • Relieve tiredness
Traditionally

The tea plant has been cultivated by the Chinese people for more than 2700 years. The leaves of the tea plant were considered for medicinal purposes first, and only later included as a drink.

Fruit ingredient

Guava / Psidium guajava

Guava has been cultivated for so many centuries that its place of origin is uncertain. Believed to have originated from Mexico through to Central America, this small, resilient, evergreen tree is now cultivated throughout the world for its medicinal and food value.

The fruit of most varieties is round, though some types are pear shaped. They have white to salmon-pink, juicy seedy flesh and an aromatic fragrance aroma.

Various parts of the plant, including the leaf and the fruit are used for medicinal purpose.

More information

Guava is a natural source zinc which is used to:

  • Support skin health
  • Reduce free radicals formed in the body
  • Maintain hair health
  • Support nail health
Traditionally

The fruit, leaf, stem and bark of this berry fruit has been used from ancient times for various ailments.

Vegetable ingredient

Jerusalem Artichoke / Helianthus tuberosus

Native to central North America, Jerusalem Artichoke is now grown throughout the world in cold-tolerant temperatures. Also referred to as Sunroot, Sunchoke or Earth Apple, this perennial plant is recognised for its small yellow flowers, hairy oval shaped leaves and an underground rhizome system which bears small tubers.

More information

Interestingly, the name “Jerusalem artichoke” is misleading as it is a type of sunflower in the same genus as the garden sunflower; however, it has no relation to Jerusalem, neither is it a type of artichoke.

The plant is a natural source of inulin used for its prebiotic fibre to help keep the gut happy by maintaining bowel regularity.

Traditionally

Jerusalem artichoke tubers have a long history of human consumption, and the plant’s green matter has a long history as animal food.

Nut ingredient

Kola Nut / Cola Nitida

Native to Africa, this plant is generally known for its fruit the kola nut, originally used to mimic the cola flavour in Coca-Cola. Now grown throughout the world in tropical regions, the fruit’s aromatic seed contains a natural source of caffeine and are chewed fresh.

It is also believed to modify the taste sensation so that any food or drink consumed immediately after being chewed, seems sweet.

More information

Traditionally used in Western Herbal Medicine to:

  • Increase mental alertness
  • Relieve tiredness
  • Reduce cognitive fatigue

Root ingredient

Korean Ginseng / Panax Ginseng

Native to China, Korea and Siberia, this perennial plant is now grown throughout the world.

Its botanical name is derived from the Greek word panax meaning “all-healing” and is also referred to as Asian ginseng. The word ginseng is derived from the Chinese term rénshēn, meaning ‘essence of man’, a reference to the root’s characteristic forked shape, resembling the human body and the legs of a man. The part of the plant most frequently used for health purposes is the root.

More information

Traditionally used in Western Herbal Medicine as an adaptogen and to:

  • Support healthy stress response in the body
  • Relieve fatigue

Traditionally used in Chinese Medicine to:

  • Increase vitality
  • Promote energy levels
Traditionally

Korean Ginseng has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years to promote health and is used as a general tonic or adaptogen.

Herb ingredient

Lemon Balm / Melissa officinalis

This mild lemon-scented member of the mint family is a European native and is now grown throughout the world.

Its botanical name Melissa officinali is derived from the Latin word meaning ‘honey bee’. It refers to the plant being considered a favourite food of bees, with a connection to the ancient religious thought that any plant that kept bees away from their hive was considered sacred.

More information

Traditionally used in Western Herbal Medicine to:

  • Reduce nervous unrest
  • Relieve restless sleep
  • Support refreshing sleep
  • Relieve symptoms of stress
  • Reduce symptoms of indigestion
  • Support healthy digestion
  • Maintain healthy gastrointestinal functio
  • Relieve flatulence
Traditionally

This herb has historically been valued as a culinary, medicinal and cosmetic herb.

Fruit ingredient

Lucuma / Pouteria lucuma

A delicately flavoured fruit, native to the Andean valleys of Peru, Chile, and Ecuador, Lucuma is now grown throughout the world in subtropical and humid climates.

More information

Its appearance is similar to an avocado or unripe mango with a green outer skin and dry flesh. Its texture is not soft or slimy, but instead dry, which is why it’s often added into smoothies, ice cream and other sweets rather than eating out-of-hand. The fruit is so popular in Peru, it is said to be one of their best-selling ice-cream flavours.

Traditionally

Due to its high nutritional value, it was once referred as the ‘Gold of the Incas’ and been used in sacred Inca ceremonies since ancient times. This is shown by the many ceramic remains from the Moche and later Inca cultures.

Fungus ingredient

Maitake Mushroom / Grifola frondosa

This wood-inhabiting fungus is native to China however is now naturalised in other parts of the world. Maitake forms at the trunk base of old trees or dead trunks, typically oak but also other deciduous hardwoods or conifers.

More information

The meaning of Maitake translates as ‘dancing mushroom’ with mai meaning ‘dance’ and take meaning ‘mushroom’. It is also commonly known as Hen of the Woods, as it closely resembles the texture and meatiness of cooked chicken. It also looks like a hen sitting on her nest in the woods.

Recognised as a wood-decaying fungus (commonly known as lignicolous), it grows on and digests moist wood, causing it to rot. By helping start the decomposition process, it serves as an important and unique function in forest ecosystems. It breaks down the lignin (organic polymer) found in the wood of the trees so that other soil organisms can access the nutrients. Without the help of mushrooms, dead trees and fallen branches would simply sit on the forest floor and not decompose into rich forest soil.

Traditionally

Historically, the Japanese culture has revered Maitake as a popular and highly prized edible mushroom. It is now widely commercially cultivated and marketed.

Algae ingredient

Marine Algae

Algae are almost ubiquitous, between microscopic and macroscopic species, and can be found in either fresh water or in oceans. Marine macroalgae, commonly known as seaweed, are plant-like organisms that can be seen by the naked eye and come in many varieties ranging from a few millimetres or centimetres in size, while the largest grow to a length of 30 to 50 meters.[1]

Botanically, macroalgae are classified as green, brown, or red and is estimated to be at least 30,000 known species of macroalgae found in the marine environment.[2]

Given that all the substances that seaweeds need in order to survive are dissolved in the water, macroalgae, unlike plants, have no need of roots, stems, or real leaves. Nutrients and gases are exchanged directly across the surface of the seaweed by diffusion and active transport.

Marine algae draw from the sea a wealth of mineral elements, and also known as a source of vitamins.

More information

Marine algae is used as a natural source of vitamin D to:

  • Support healthy immune system and muscle function
  • Support bone strength and bone mineralisation
  • Support calcium absorption. A diet deficient in calcium can lead to osteoporosis in later life.
  • Support muscle function
Traditionally

For several centuries there has been a traditional use of seaweeds as food in China, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

 

Resources:
1. American Scientist, accessed 14 Dec 2020, The Science of Seaweed
2. Sustainable Energy Ireland, accessed 14 Dec 2020, A review of the Potential of Marine Algae as a Source of Biofuel in Ireland (2009)

Root ingredient

Marshmallow / Althaea officinalis

Native to Europe, this perennial is now widely cultivated as an ornamental flower as well as for its medicinal properties (leaves, flowers and the root). The typical habitat for the Marshmallow plant is near marshes, riverbanks and other damp areas.

The botanical name Althaea is derived from the Greek word althein meaning “to heal” whilst Officinale is traditionally used to refer to a plant with health and medicinal properties that was sold in the apothecary.

Although the confectionary marshmallow does not contain the extract of the marshmallow plant, this was not always so. The original making of marshmallow included egg whites, sugar and the sticky contents of the marshmallow plant’s root – now evolved, today’s marshmallow no longer contains the plant’s extract.

More information

Traditionally used in Western Herbal Medicine to:

  • Soothe irritated tissues
  • Support gastrointestinal mucosal membrane health
  • Relieve mild gastrointestinal tract inflammation
  • Soothe gastrointestinal tract mucous membranes
Traditionally

Ancient Egyptians were said to mix the Marshmallow roots with nuts and honey to make a sticky treat. It was considered sacred where it was only reserved for gods and royalty.

Flower ingredient

Milk Thistle / Silybum marianum

Milk Thistle is native to the Mediterranean, but due to its widespread availability across the globe, it is also recognised as Saint Mary’s Thistle, Blessed Milk Thistle, Holy Thistle and Our Lady’s Thistle.

It is a member of the Asteraceae family (a relative to sunflowers and daisies) and is recognised as an annual or biennial herb. With its dense-prickly flower head and reddish-purple tubular flowers, this plant is considered a weed and invasive in some parts of the world because of its ability to spread quickly.

Its common name, Milk Thistle, derives from its characteristic milky-white veins on the leaves, which when broken open, produce a milky sap. According to legend, it was believed to carry the milk of the Virgin Mary, which may help explain its name variations.

More information

Traditionally used in Western Herbal Medicine as a liver tonic and to:

  • Support healthy liver function
  • Protect the liver
  • Support natural liver cleansing and detoxification processes
  • Relieve symptoms of indigestion
Traditionally

Milk Thistle has a rich history in Western Herbal Medicine to help support healthy liver function.

In the Middle Ages, the leaves and stalks were used in salads, soups and pies, with the leaves said to surpass the finest cabbage.

Leaf ingredient

Olive leaf / Olea europaea

First cultivated in the Mediterranean basin, this small evergreen tree is now grown throughout the world. As its Mediterranean origins might suggest, the olive tree prefers warm weather, full sun and the dry, rocky soil characteristic of mountainous coasts. A single tree can live for hundreds or even thousands of years.

Olives are not used as a natural fruit due to their extremely bitter taste but are rather consumed either as olive oil as the main culinary usage. This may help explain why its botanical name Olea is derived from elaia, the ancient Greek work for olive, and oleum the Latin word for oil.

More information

Olive leaf can be used:

  • As an antioxidant to reduce free radicals forming in the body
Traditionally

Olive leaf has been closely associated with religion, sociocultural and medicinal needs, used as a symbol of peace, purity and goodness by ancient Romans, Greeks and Egyptians. The leaves represented heavenly power in the tombs of ancient Egyptian pharaohs and benediction in the gilded crowns of Roman Caesars. To the ancient Greeks, victors in the ancient Olympic Games were crowned with wreaths of its leaves. Peace remains the most popular association, with the olive branch appearing on the seal of the United Nations and on British and American coins as a symbol of peace.

Fungus ingredient

Oyster Mushroom / Pleurotus ostreatus

Named because of its resemblance of an oyster; oyster-shaped cap, very short stem, pale colour and slippery texture, the Oyster mushroom grows in temperate and subtropical regions throughout the world. It grows in abundance on the trunks of dead or dying deciduous trees.

More information

Its botanical name Pleurotus is Latin for ‘side ear or sideways’ and refers to the lateral attachment of the stem, Ostreatus meaning ‘oyster’ which acquired its name through its resemblance of oyster shells.

Recognised as a wood-decaying fungus (commonly known as lignicolous), it grows on and digests moist wood, causing it to rot. By helping start the decomposition process, it serves as an important and unique function in forest ecosystems. It breaks down the lignin (organic polymer) found in the wood of the trees so that other soil organisms can access the nutrients. Without the help of mushrooms, dead trees and fallen branches would simply sit on the forest floor and not decompose into rich forest soil.

This fungus is one of the few species of carnivorous mushrooms, having been known to eat bacteria and tiny worms called nematodes. Scientists suggest that this fungus utilise the nutrients in their prey to supplement the low levels of nitrogen available in wood.

Traditionally

Historically found in Japanese, Chinese and Korean cuisine. It is often picked young for the kitchen due to its taste, smell and tender texture during its earlier years of growth.

Flower ingredient

Passionflower / Passiflora incarnata

Native to South America and now grown throughout the world, this exotic vine flower is also referred to as Maypop, Apricot Vine and Maracuja.

Its botanical name Passiflora incarnata was coined by Spanish missionaries who saw the flower’s resemblance as the crown of thorns, a symbol of the crucifixion. Incarnata is derived from the Latin word carn, meaning ‘flesh’ and atus, meaning ‘like’.

More information

Traditionally used in Western Herbal Medicine as a calmative and to:

  • Soothe nerves and relieve nervous tension
  • Reduce symptoms of stress
  • Relieve excess nervous energy
  • Relieve restless sleep
  • Support refreshing sleep
Traditionally

Spanish explorers in South America learned of the Passionflower’s medicinal benefits and brought it back to Europe. It quickly became widely cultivated and introduced to European folk medicine.

Fungus ingredient

Reishi Mushroom / Ganoderma lucidum

Native to Asia, but due to its widespread availability across the globe, this oriental fungus is also recognised by its Chinese name, Lingzhi, or more commonly referred to by its Japanese name, Reishi.

Its botanical name Lucidum, is derived from the Latin word meaning ‘shiny or brilliant’, referring to the varnished glossy appearance of the mushroom’s surface.

The Chinese name, Lingzhi is symbolic for spiritual potency, representing success, well-being, divine power and longevity.  Reishi is the Japanese interpretation of the mushroom’s ancient Chinese name ruizhi meaning ‘auspicious mushroom’.

Recognised as a wood-decaying fungus (commonly known as lignicolous), it grows on and digests moist wood, causing it to rot. By helping start the decomposition process, it serves as an important and unique function in forest ecosystems. It breaks down the lignin (organic polymer) found in the wood of the trees so that other soil organisms can access the nutrients. Without the help of mushrooms, dead trees and fallen branches would simply sit on the forest floor and not decompose into rich forest soil.

More information

Reishi is used as an antioxidant and traditionally used in Chinese Medicine to:

  • Relieve cough
  • Support healthy immune system function
  • Relieve tiredness
  • Maintain vitality
  • Replenish Qi
Traditionally

Reishi has a long history of use. It is also rooted deeply into Chinese and Japanese culture where it is a focal point in ancient works of art due to its association with royalty, wisdom and eternal life. For example, the Forbidden City, the heritage site at the heart of Beijing, is carved with Lingzhi throughout the imperial palace.

Herb ingredient

Rosemary / Salvia rosmarinus

Native to the Mediterranean region, this woody, fragrant perennial is now widely available all over the world as a culinary condiment, medicinal benefits and fragrance properties.

More information

Rosemary is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae, along with many other herbs, such as Oregano, Thyme, Basil and Lavender.

Its botanical name, Rosmarinus, is derived from the Greek word ros and marinus meaning ‘dew of the sea’, drawing on its Mediterranean origins.

Traditionally

Enriched with meaning from folklore, this herb has been used to celebrate weddings, grieve at funerals and act as a token of remembrance on ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day in Australia, due to its growth on the Gallipoli peninsula.

Berry ingredient

Schisandra / Schisandra chinensis

Native to East Asia, but due to its widespread availability across the globe, it is also recognised as Magnolia Vine or by its Chinese name, Wu Wei Zi, meaning five-flavoured fruit.This deciduous aromatic woody vine is also referred to as dioecious, meaning there are both male and female plants. Only the fruit (red berry) of Schisandra is used for medicinal purposes and has been described to possess all five basic flavours: salty, sweet, sour, sour, spicy and bitter.

More information

Traditionally used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to:

  • Reduce symptoms of stress
  • Support healthy liver function
  • Support healthy sleeping patterns
Traditionally

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, this herb is considered harmonising because of its ability to contain all five basic flavours.

Fungus ingredient

Shaggy Ink Cap Mushroom / Coprinus comatus

Also referred to as Shaggy Mane, Lawyer’s Wig and Ink Cap, this culinary mushroom has a cylindrical white shaggy cap that becomes bell shaped as the mushroom matures. It favours growing in meadows and open woodlands and is commonly found in groups or long lines.

More information

The unique feature of this species is that it is edible only when young and fresh. When it matures, it secretes a black liquid that is laden with spores.

The botanical name Coprinus means ‘living on dung’ – which is true to many of the ink caps (e.g. Snowy Inkcap) but not particularly apt for this species. Comatus means ‘hairy’ and is a reference to the shaggy scales that stand out from the cap’s surface.

Traditionally

The history of practical uses of this mushroom is quite limited and it is one of the few beneficial mushrooms with little history of application. It was not until the 20th century that some initial knowledge on the benefits of the Shaggy Ink Cap was gathered.

Root ingredient

Shatavari / Asparagus racemosus

Shatavari is native throughout Sri Lanka and India and now naturalised in other parts of the world.
With leaves like pine needles and small white flowers, this woody climber is a member of the common asparagus family Asparagaceae.

Its name Shatavari is derived from Sanskrit, shat means ‘100’ and vari meaning ‘root’ or ‘husband’, translating to “she who possesses a hundred husbands”. Implying its traditional use in Ayurvedic Medicine as an aphrodisiac.

More information

Traditionally used in Ayurvedic Medicine as an adaptogen, a female tonic and to:

  • Support healthy stress response in the body
  • Increase virility (Vrishya)
  • Promote healthy libido
Traditionally

Long used in Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India, it is often considered an aphrodisiac and a female tonic.

Root ingredient

Shiitake Mushroom / Lentinula elodes

Also referred to as Shaggy Mane, Lawyer’s Wig and Ink Cap, this culinary mushroom has a cylindrical white shaggy cap that becomes bell shaped as the mushroom matures. It favours growing in meadows and open woodlands and is commonly found in groups or long lines.

More information

The meaning of Shiitake translates as ‘oak mushroom’ with shii meaning ‘oak’ (a reference to its common host tree) and take meaning ‘mushroom’.

Recognised as a wood-decaying fungus (commonly known as lignicolous), it grows on and digests moist wood, causing it to rot. By helping start the decomposition process, it serves as an important and unique function in forest ecosystems. It breaks down the lignin (organic polymer) found in the wood of the trees so that other soil organisms can access the nutrients. Without the help of mushrooms, dead trees and fallen branches would simply sit on the forest floor and not decompose into rich forest soil.

Traditionally

The cultivation of Shiitake is believed to date back thousands of years with a belief it originated in China during the Sung Dynasty (960-1127). Chinese legend credits Wu San Kwung as the originator of Shiitake cultivation, and as such, almost every mushroom growing village in China has a temple in his honor.

Root ingredient

Siberian Ginseng / Eleutherococcus senticosus

Native to Russia through to China, this small, woody plant is now grown throughout the world.

Despite its name, it is not a member of the ginseng family rather the word ginseng is derived from the Chinese term rénshēn, meaning ‘essence of man’, a reference to the root’s characteristic forked shape, resembling the human body and the legs of a man.

More information

Traditionally used in Western Herbal Medicine as an adaptogen and to:

  • Support energy levels and vitality
  • Support a healthy stress response in the body
  • Maintain immune system health
  • Relieve weariness
  • Assist with recovery from illness
Traditionally

This ancient plant was used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to help support immune system health, vitality and energy levels.

Fungus ingredient

Silver Ear / Tremella fuciformis

Native to Asia, this popular culinary and medicinal fungus is now grown worldwide. Due to its widespread availability across the globe, it is commonly known as Snow Fungus, Snow Ear and White Jelly mushroom and grows primarily in tropical regions on dead or fallen tree branches.

Named because of its peculiar appearance, the fungus has a pale yellow to translucent white colour with gelatinous lobes that closely resembles human ears.

More information

Recognised as a wood-decaying fungus (commonly known as lignicolous), it grows on and digests moist wood, causing it to rot. By helping start the decomposition process, it serves as an important and unique function in forest ecosystems. It breaks down the lignin (organic polymer) found in the wood of the trees so that other soil organisms can access the nutrients. Without the help of mushrooms, dead trees and fallen branches would simply sit on the forest floor and not decompose into rich forest soil.

Traditionally

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is used for health promotion and longevity. According to Chinese history, the use of Snow mushroom as a fountain of youth goes back to the Tang Dynasty. Legend has it that during the eighth century, Yang Guifei, one of the Four Beauties of ancient China—relied on snow mushroom to maintain her glowing, youthful complexion.

Herb ingredient

Skullcap / Scutelleria lateriflora

Skullcap is native to North America, but due to its widespread availability across the globe, this hardy perennial is often recognised by different names including, Blue Skullcap, Mad Dog Skullcap and Side-Flowering Skullcap.

Its botanical name is derived from the Latin word scutella, meaning “small dish, tray or platter”, referring to the shape of the flower’s calyx, and lateriflora, meaning “flowering on the side”.

More information

Traditionally used in Western Herbal Medicine as a calmative and to:

  • Relax the nervous system
  • Decrease nervous unrest
  • Relieve restless sleep
  • Support refreshing sleep
Traditionally

European settlers and herbalists learned how to use skullcap medicinally from indigenous tribes of North America, specifically from the Cherokee women, where the herb’s leaves were steeped as tea.

Bark ingredient

Slippery Elm / Ulmus rubra

Native to North America, this medium-sized, fast growth tree is now grown throughout the world and is also referred to as Red Elm, Grey Elm or Indian Elm.

 

The plant’s bark and root are used medicinally for the soothing properties in the case of inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.

More information

Traditionally used in Western Herbal Medicine to:

  • Support gastrointestinal mucosal membrane health
  • Soothe gastrointestinal tract mucous membranes
  • Relieve mild gastrointestinal tract inflammation
  • Soothe irritated tissues
Traditionally

Native Americans also used the bark to quench thirst by chewing the sweet, fibrous inner bark peeled from twigs and branches.

Algae ingredient

Spirulina / Arthrospira platensis

Is a type of microscopic bacteria called cyanobacterium grown in both fresh and salt water and is often referred to as blue-green algae. The name originates from the Latin word for ‘helix’, or ‘spiral’, referring to the spiral nature of its filaments. Coined a green superfood, it is packed with a high concentration of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Traditionally

With a history of human consumption dating back to the Aztec period, Spirulina is one of the oldest life forms on Earth. In fact, this simple life – form is partly responsible for the Great Oxidation Event, where scientists believe it was producing oxygen in the planet’s atmosphere billions of years ago, which triggered the evolution of complex life. Its oxygen production allowed the planet’s originating life forms to begin and develop.

Flower ingredient

St. John’s Wort

Native to Europe this upright perennial with showy, star-shaped yellow flowers is now grown throughout the world.

The name, St John’s Wort, is related to John the Baptist as its yellow flower comes into bloom in late June, the time of the feast of Saint John the Baptist. The term wort is the old English word for ‘plant’.

More information

St John’s Wort can be used to:

  • Support healthy mood balance and emotional wellbeing
Traditionally

It was recognised by early Greek physicians as being both an excellent herb for internal use and also a ward to keep evil spirits at bay.

Fungus ingredient

Trumpet Mushroom / Pleurotus eryngii

Native to North Africa, Asia and Europe, it is now grown commercially across the world. The Trumpet or King Oyster mushroom is the largest species in the oyster mushroom genus (Pleurotus).

It naturally grows on the roots of Apiaceae plants unlike its Pleurotus relative the Oyster mushroom which is a wood-decay fungus.

Known for its thick, meaty white stem and small tan cap, it is a popular culinary mushroom due to its flavour and texture qualities.

Traditionally

Historically, the Japanese culture has revered Trumpet Mushroom as a popular and highly prized edible mushroom. It is now widely commercially cultivated and marketed.

Fungus ingredient

Turkey Tail / Trametes versicolor

Native to Europe, Asia and North America it is now grown commercially across the world. The fungus uniquely features no stalk, only a concave cup that directly attaches to the tree or log on which it lives. Its series of multicoloured stripes, ranging from white, brown, red and purple, is said to resemble that of a turkey’s tail.

More information

Recognised as a wood-decaying fungus (commonly known as lignicolous), it grows on and digests moist wood, causing it to rot. By helping start the decomposition process, it serves as an important and unique function in forest ecosystems. It breaks down the lignin (organic polymer) found in the wood of the trees so that other soil organisms can access the nutrients. Without the help of mushrooms, dead trees and fallen branches would simply sit on the forest floor and not decompose into rich forest soil.

Turkey tail does not have a culinary use, but is said to make a pleasant, mushroom flavoured chewing gum.

Traditionally

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is known as Yun Zhi, and is believed to promote health, strength and longevity.

Root ingredient

Turmeric / Curcuma longa

Turmeric is a product of Curcuma longa, a flowering perennial plant belonging to the ginger family Zingiberaceae, which is native to tropical South Asia. This broad-leaf tropical looking plant is now widely cultivated and goes by different names in different cultures and countries, including by its Chinese name, Yu Jin or by its Sanskrit name, Haldi.

The name turmeric derives from the Latin word terra merita meaning “meritorious earth”, referring to the colour of ground turmeric, which resembles a mineral pigment.

More information

Traditionally used in Ayurvedic Medicine to:

  • Relieve inflammation
Traditionally

The use of turmeric dates back nearly thousands of years to the Vedic culture in India, where it was used as used not only as a principal spice but also as a component in religious ceremonies.

Root ingredient

Valerian / Valeriana officinalis

Native to Europe through to western Asia, and now grown throughout the world, this tall perennial topped with clusters of small pale pink to white flowers is also referred to as Garden Heliotrope, Common Valerian or All-Heal.

The etymology surrounding its botanical name has been a source of disagreement. One common belief comes from the derivation of the Latin word valeo, meaning ‘I am well’. It is also thought to originate from the Latin verb valere, meaning ‘to be strong’. Contrary to popular belief, the herb’s name may not have Latin roots, rather it has been suggested it shares an etymological connection to where it was first discovered, in the Roman province belonging to the Valerius clan.

More information

The strong-smelling root is traditionally used in Western Herbal Medicine to:

  • Decrease restless sleep
  • Relieve sleeplessness
  • Support refreshing sleep
  • Relieve excess nervous energy
  • Relax and support the nervous system
  • Relieve nervous tension
  • Soothe and calm nerves
  • Reduce symptoms of stress
  • As an antispasmodic
Traditionally

Valerian has been used as a valuable medicinal herb in Western Herbal Medicine since ancient Greece and Rome, used to relieve sleeplessness and to help support the nervous system.

Flower ingredient

White Peony / Paeonia lactiflora

White Peony is native to Asia, but due to its widespread availability across the globe, it is often recognised by different names including, Garden Peony and Chinese Peony, or by its Chinese name Bai Shao, meaning White Peony. It is a perennial known for its large showy white, pink or crimson flowers.

The name White Peony is referencing the colour of the root (not the colour of the flower), and is the medicinal part of the plant historically used in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Its botanical name is after the mythical Greek figure Paeon, who was said to be a student of Aesculapius, the Greek god of medicine and healing. According to Greek mythology, Zeus saved Paeon from the wrath of Aesculapius by turning him into a peony flower.

More information

Traditionally used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to:

  • Nourish the live
  • Regulate healthy menstrual cycle
Traditionally

Originating from the Far East, peonies appear strongly in the cultures of Chinese, Tibetan and Siberian folk medicine.

Bark ingredient

White Willow Bark / Salix alba

Native to Europe, Asia and North America, and now grown throughout the world, this tall, fast-growth, deciduous tree is also recognised as Brittle Willow or simply Willow.The name, White Willow, derives from the white tone to the undersides of the leaves. It is also a dioecious, meaning there are both male and female trees.

More information

Traditionally used in Western Herbal Medicine to:

  • Relieve mild fever and reduce body temperature
Traditionally

The use of willow bark dates to the time of Hippocrates when people were advised to chew on the bark to help reduce fever and inflammation.

Fruit ingredient

Zizyphus / Zizyphus Spinosa

Native to China and now grown throughout the world, this perennial woody plant is also commonly known as Chinese Date, Date Seed, Red Date or by its Chinese name Suan Zao Ren.

In Chinese, suan means ‘sour’, zao means ‘date’ and ren means ‘seed’ in other words “seed of the sour date”. The medicinal part is the seed, also called the jujube kernel.

More information

Traditionally used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to:

  • Nourish heart-yin and balance spirit
  • Relieve sleeplessness
  • Reduce symptoms of mild anxiety
  • Relieve excessive perspiration
Traditionally

From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, it is commonly known to nourish the heart (yin) and calm the spirit (shen).