Ingredients Glossary

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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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