This blog is a way of sharing the information and resources that have helped me to recover my son Roo from an Autism Spectrum Disorder. What I have learned is to view our symptoms as the results of underlying biological cause, which can be identified and healed. I say "our symptoms" because I also have a neuro-immune disorder called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.

And, of course, I am not a doctor (although I have been known to impersonate one while doing imaginative play with my son)- this is just our story and information that has been helpful or interesting to us. I hope it is helpful and interesting to you!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Medicinal Herbs, Plants, and Other Foods

The medicinal uses of plants, whether taken as herbs or foods, is something that has fascinated me and has made a significant difference in my family's health.  When doing a lot of dietary management to address certain health issues it can be easy to focus on removing foods from the diet, but adding healing herbs/foods into the diet can be just as powerful.  I've also seen others have amazing progress and healing from incorporating healing plant compounds in their diets.  Herbalism is not something I understand very well so I'll leave the explanations of the "hows" and "whys" to others.  Below are my notes for the plant compounds that we use (or have used) that have been helpful for us.


The Herarium- fee-based database of herbal medicine

Vitamin and Herb University

11 plants native Americans used for medicine

10 culinary herbs and their healing abilities

Tea Brewing Guide for Beginners

How to make herbal infused butter


Aloe Vera- Soothes burns, stimulates the production of collagen.

Apigenin (a phyto-nutrient found in parsley, chamomile tea, cruciferous vegetables, celery, and more)- induces autophagy, reduces some drug resistance (such as to chemo drugs), protects kidneys (especially from drug injury), decreases the buildup of amyloid plaques (that are found in Alzheimer's and some other disorders). 

Arnica- Helps heal sprains, bruises, and other soft-tissue injuries.  The flowers can be infused into oil, or combined with other ingredients to make a salve or lotion.  With the exception of homeopathic arnica, it should not be used internally or on open wounds.

Astragulus- Immune system support
Astragalus polysaccharides can regulate cytokine and P-glycoprotein expression in H22 tumor-bearing mice.

Evaluation of the efficacy of Withania somnifera(Ashwagandha) root extract in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder: A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial
"Treatment with W. somnifera extract improved OCD symptoms and was safe."

Anxiolytic-antidepressant activity of Withania somnifera glycowithanolides: an experimental study
"The investigations support the use of WS as a mood stabilizer in clinical conditions of anxiety and depression in Ayurveda."

Berberine- Anti-microbial

Black Seed (Nigella Sativa)- Mast cell stabilizer
The Remedy For Everything But Death


Burdock Root- Contains butyric acid and lauric acid.

Camel Milk (see this post)

Here is the post that I made about Camel Milk

Chaga Mushroom- Immune support (Chaga mushrooms grow on birch trees so people with a birch tree allergy and/or Oral Allergy Syndrome associated with birch trees may want to be cautious with this one).

Chamomile- Calming and soothing to the nervous system.

Chanca Piedra- Supposedly breaks up oxalate stones.

Chili powder- Reduces pain.  The sensation of pain depletes a chemical called substance P, and when substance P is used up, the ongoing tissue damage of arthritis, shingles, cluster headaches, fibromyalgia, or lower back injury does not result in pain.

Chrysanthemum- Supports eye health. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) teaches that the herb corrects imbalances in liver and kidney function that cause blurred vision, dizziness, dry red eyes, excessive tearing, or spots in front of the eyes. Chrysanthemum also treats headaches accompanying infection, carbuncles, furuncles, and vertigo.

Cod Liver Oil (CLO)- Source of healthy oils as well as vitamin A and vitamin D.

Curcumin- Anti-inflammatory.
Curcumin, Compound In Turmeric, Found To Impair Fear Memories And Ease PTSD Symptoms
Epigenetic changes induced by curcumin and other natural compounds. 
Anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effect of curcumin in connective tissue type mast cell

Echinacea- Basic immune system support.

Elderberries- Immune support.  Extensive research show that elderberries stop the production of hormone-like cytokines that direct a class of white blood cells called neutrophils to cause inflammation, and they increase the production of non-inflammatory infection-fighting cytokines as much as 10 fold.

Ginger- Anti-inflammatory, aids in digestion, and can reduce nausea.

Green Tea (extract)- Immune support, anti-viral, mast cell support.
Mast cell stabilizing and anti-anaphylactic activity of aqueous extract of green tea (Camellia sinensis)

Gymnemma- Helps control blood sugar levels.
Research treats the fungus among us with nontoxic medicinal compound

Lactuca Virosa (Wild Lettuce)- Pain reduction.
Pain relief, said to be as powerful as morphine

Manuka Honey- Anti-microbial
Manuka honey can help treat drug-resistant bacteria

Milk Thistle- Supports detoxification in the liver
Randomized controlled trial of silymarin treatment inpatients with cirrhosis of the liver.

Mint - Calming to the nervous system and supports digestion.

Olive Leaf Extract (OLE) - anti-microbial
Olive leaf extract protects against lead-induced brain damage

Passionflower- is a GABA reuptake inhibitor

Pau D’Arco- Immune system support that helps keep the gastrointestinal system healthy, making it less hospitable to yeast, parasitic, bacterial, fungal and viral infections. Studies have shown it to have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties as well.

Quercetin- Mast cell stabilizer
Quercetin attenuates neuronal death against aluminum-induced neurodegeneration in the rat hippocampus.

Bioavailability of Quercetin for certain foods

Raspberry Leaf- Good source of B vitamins, minerals, and vitamin C.  Especially good at supporting women's reproductive health.

Reishi Mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum)- Reduces insulin resistance, supports immune system.
Ganoderma lucidum reduces obesity in mice by modulating the composition of the gut microbiota

Low dose resveratrol ameliorates mitochondrial respiratory dysfunction and enhances cellular reprogramming

Rhodiola- Adrenal support.  Rhodiola compounds stimulate the release of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin into ascending pathways that activate the cerebral cortex, stimulating analyzing, evaluating, calculating, and planning functions. The stimulant effect then moves to the prefrontal cortex, where it contributes to memory functions including encoding, sorting, storage, and retrieval.

Red Tea - Contains anti-oxidants, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, sodium, copper, and manganese.

Rosehips - Excellent source of vitamin C.

Sauerkraut - One of the best dietary sources of vitamin C, and also provides healthy microbes and support for the gut flora.

St John's Wort- Boosts serotonin levels so can help some people with depression and anxiety.
Medical Attributes of St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)


Stinging Nettle- Helps to clear excess histamine from the body, good for reducing allergic symptoms.

How To Harvest Nettle Without Getting Stung

Sulforaphane (Extract from Broccoli Sprouts)-
Chemical Derived from Broccoli Sprouts Shows Promise in Treating Autism
"Sulforaphane, which showed negligible toxicity, was selected because it upregulates genes that protect aerobic cells against oxidative stress, inflammation, and DNA-damage, all of which are prominent and possibly mechanistic characteristics of ASD."
Sulforaphane treats skin cancer


Wakame- The fucoidan sugars in wakame are antiviral against herpes viruses; a study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine reported that taking an extract of wakame prevented and reduced the severity of recurrent herpes outbreaks.

Wild Blueberry- High content of the amino acid tyrosine, which is the precursor to dopamine.  Blueberries are also high in anti-oxidants.


Anti-Fungal- Garlic, thyme, grapefruit seed extract (GSE), pau d'arco, caprylic acid (found in coconut), coconut oil, and camel's milk..

Anti-Inflammatory- Omega-3 oils, ginger, camel's milk, curcumin
21 Anti-histamine Foods That Fight Inflammation And Stabilize Mast-Cells

Anti-Microbial- Manuka honey, oil of oregano (OOO), grapefruit seed extract (GSE), camel's milk, garlic, and berberine (Oregon grape extract is a common source).

Anti-Oxidants- Ellagic Acid (found in pomegranates, cranberries, red raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, walnuts, and pecans), sour cherry juice, pau d’arco, dried oregano, wild blueberry
Improved antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential in mice consuming sour cherry juice (Prunus Cerasus cv. Maraska).

Anti-Parasitic- Diatomaceous Earth (DE), garlic, wormwood, and black walnut shells.

Anti-Proliferative (Anti-Cancer) - Ellagic Acid (especially for prostate cancer), Ojibwa tea, and curcumin.

Anti-Viral- Lauric Acid (from coconut), camel's milk, green tea, olive leaf extract (OLE), and wakame (a type of seaweed).

Sulforaphane and skin cancer

Connective Tissue Support- Aloe Vera juice, vitamin C, gelatinous broth, and diatomaceous earth.

Mast Cell Stabilizers- Black seed (Nigella Sativa, aka black cumin seed), quercetin, green tea, mangosteen, lutein, rutin (found in buckwheat), fresh dill, raw red onion, and capers.


NeuroProtek- Mast cell support, especially in the brain.
A case series of a luteolin formulation (NeuroProtek®) in children with autism spectrum disorders
This article discusses how these two flavonoids protect the brain from the effects of inflammation, especially that caused by mast cell reactions. "Luteolin is found in parsley, thyme, peppermint, basil, celery and artichoke. Quercetin is commonly found in capers, whortleberries, apples and red onions. Both also are sold as supplements in health food stores nationwide."

Ojibwa Tea- Immune system support

Speak - This is a supplement that is a combination of oils that supports brain function, especially in regards to speech.