Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) belongs to the horsetail family and is mainly found in the northern hemisphere. The name of the plant is based on its stem limbs, which are inserted into each other like a box, but it is also known as tin grass or tin weed because in earlier times it was used to clean pewter dishes. Due to the high concentration of silicic acid in the horsetail surface, the herb proved to be a natural emery paper. In European botany, horsetail is therefore also called the silica herb. Silicic acid and flavonoids are the main constituents of horsetail, but it also contains potassium salts, saponins, phenolic acids, alkaloids, essential oil, phytosterols and triterpenic acids.
The birch (Betula pedula) belongs to the birch family (Betulaceae). There are about 40 species of birch, which are distributed from Central Europe to Asia and America. The most common in our latitudes is the silver birch. It is known above all in European tradition as the "spring tree" and its black and white bark is particularly striking. Both the leaves and the bark of the tree have a long tradition of both internal and external use. Birch contains many different vital substances, including saponins, flavonoids, essential oils, bitter substances, vitamin C and minerals such as calcium and potassium.
The dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) has been known in herbalism since ancient times. Active ingredients are found in almost all parts of the plant, but the highest concentration is to be found in the roots.
The most important active substances of dandelion include bitter substances such as the special class of sesquiterpene lactones, which are found almost exclusively in composite plants. On the one hand, the sesquiterpene lactones are produced by the dandelion to ward off predators, but on the other hand they also act as plant hormones. As highly bioactive substances, they are of particular interest.
The most important bitter substances of the dandelion include tetrahydroiridentin B, ainslioside and taraxacin. It also contains large amounts of the triterpene taraxasterol, which is also said to have numerous positive effects. Other components include sterols such as sitosterol, coumarins, flavonoids, choline, B vitamins, vitamin A, potassium and inulin.
The medicinal plant of the year 2004, Peppermint (Mentha piperita), has been smoked for cleansing rituals or drunk as a stomach-calming tea in many cultures for centuries. To increase concentration, students in ancient times wore a plaited mint wreath during important examinations, as the clear, slightly sweet fragrance was considered a stimulating tonic. Peppermint contains 0.5-4% essential oils of which about 35-50% is menthol. It also contains flavonoids and up to 4.5% lamiaceous tannins. These ingredients protect peppermint against bacteria and viruses. Traditionally, peppermint is drunk as a tea or inhaled in the form of steam baths.
The blueberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), also called bilberry, was first mentioned as a medicinal plant by Hildegard von Bingen. Traditionally, both the berries and the leaves are used for various applications. While the characteristic blue-purple berries are mainly rich in vitamins C and B6, fruit acids, anthocyanins, carotenoids and magnesium, the leaves of the blueberry contain mainly rich tannins, bitter substances, but also minerals such as chromium, manganese, iron, potassium, phosphorus and selenium.
Camellia sinensis leaves (green tea)
Green tea (Camellia sinensis) is traditionally cultivated shrubby. In many countries, green tea is drunk to maintain good health. The sunny period in the cultivation areas leads to an enrichment of the valuable ingredients in the evergreen tea leaves. Green tea is particularly rich in catechins and chlorophyll, but also in amino acids, organic acids and vitamins.
Rosemary and wild thyme
Traditionally, Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) was used in purifying ceremonies to protect against evil spirits and diseases. Throughout the ages, rosemary was used as a traditional home remedy to maintaina good health. The essential oils contained in the plant consist mainly of the terpene oxide 1,8-cineole, which is also called eucalyptol, and the terpenes camphor and α-pinene. They characterise the stimulating, spicy, citrus-like smell of rosemary oil.
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) has been attributed with vitalising and strengthening properties since ancient times. In the Middle Ages, a sprig of thyme was considered a sign of courage and strength. Thyme was used as incense in many ceremonies to honour the gods. In traditional herbalism, thyme is used as a household remedy. Thyme has proved its worth right up to today's medicine and was honoured for this in 2006 as medicinal plant of the year. Above all, the terpenes contained in thyme essential oil, such as mainly P-cymene and ɣ-terpinene, as well as the bioactive phenolic compounds thymol and carvacrol are responsible for its effects.
The hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna/ laevigata), which belongs to the rose family, has always been described in traditional herbalism as calming, stimulating blood circulation and dilating the blood vessels. The flowers, leaves and fruits are used. Especially in tea, the numerous plant substances contained, such as oligomeric proanthocyanidins, Crataegus lactone, tannins, saponins, minerals and essential oils, are released.
Milk thistle herb
Milk thistle, also known as silver thistle, milk thistle or women's thistle, or popularly known as "herb of the liver", belongs to the genus of the composite plants and owes its name to the white speckling of its leaves. It contains a highly antioxidant mixture of ingredients known as silymarin, consisting of silibinin, silydianin and silychristin, of which silibinin is the main component.
Burdock (Arctium lappa L.) is a plant of the composite family and is characterised by its peculiar red to purple flowers with their spike-like bracts. Its roots are long and spindle-shaped. It is native to Europe, North America and northern Asia and grows mainly along roadsides. It was already a popular remedy among the ancient Greeks and in the herb gardens of Hildegard von Bingen and the priest Kneipp. With its variety of different active substances such as inulin, various fatty acids and tannins, phosphoric acids, valuable essential oils, bitter substances, phytosterols, sulphur-containing substances, caffeic acid derivatives and mucilage, it offers a wide range of applications. In addition, the characteristic burdock root lignans arctigenin and arctiin are the subject of current research.
The shrub-like growing rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) prefers the hot and dry climate of the South African mountain regions. Here, the small needle-shaped leaves of the rooibos are traditionally drunk as a tasty tea. Although this tea contains few tannins, it is particularly rich in minerals. The rooibos leaves develop their mild yet intense aroma and their typical reddish-brown colour during the fermentation process.
The wild pansy (Viola tricolor), also known as field violet, is often used in traditional herbalism to stimulate the metabolism. Especially during flowering, the above-ground parts of the plant (the flowering herb) are collected. These plant parts are particularly rich in so-called mucilages (galactose, arabinose, rhamnose), tannins, salicylic acid, phenolic carboxylic acids and flavonoids (quercetin, luteolin, rutin) as well as carotenoids (violaxanthin, antheraxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene).