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.
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
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.
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.
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
Brahmi was used to increase concentration and devotion to support spiritual practice.
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.
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
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.
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.
This plant can be used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to:
- Promote healthy blood circulation
- Invigorate blood
- Promote the flow of blood
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.
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.
Traditionally used in Ayurvedic Medicine as a rejuvenating brain tonic (medhya) and to:
- Improve memory and cognition
- Promote mental clarity, intelligence and wisdom
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.
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.
Green tea is a source of caffeine and is used to help:
- Increase mental alertness
- Relieve tiredness
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.
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.
Olive leaf can be used:
- As an antioxidant to reduce free radicals forming in the body
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.