Brickellia Grandiflora is a wonderful herb which has an historical use in the Mexican and Native American herbal traditions, for combating high blood glucose levels. It can be one of the greatest of herbal allies and can prove extremely useful in type 2, insulin-resistent diabetes.
Brickellia is a fairly common herb, found in sandy areas in and along dry washes (arroyos) in the Southwestern United States. It grows anywhere from 3 to six feet tall (1 -2 meters). Older Brickellia plants produce many stalks from one main root, each having alternate, ovate-lancelate leaves, with serrated edges. It forms side stems at the axials, from which the flowers and seeds grow, along with more foliage. It is a lovely lime-green color, and is intensely sticky, and pleasantly aromatic. When collecting Brickellia, I advise taking along a clean rag and some rubbing alcohol or hand cleaner to assist with the removal of the sticky resins before trying to drive. Otherwise, you may find (as I did), that it is nearly impossible to remove one's hands from the steering wheel... making driving hazardous (and pretty interesting).
This plant is a perennial, and is a fine candidate for creating a medicinal hedge in your yard, from which one can harvest the leaves and stems to make a blood sugar-regulating tea. It is possible to transplant smaller plants from their habitat (only where they are abundant), and place them into an area with sandy soil (or add sand) in your own yard. However, whether you grow your own herbs yourself for medicines or not, just using herbs gives an empowering sense of being in control of one's own health.
Brickellia grows more slowly through the first part of the summer, but by late July and August, its growth rate explodes, as the weather becomes hotter and the daily "monsoon" rain patterns set in. Brickellia gratefully uses the moisture offered from the rains. By the end of August, its buds swell and burst open into abundant tiny, yellow flowers. After another two weeks have passed, the flowers wither and dry, and the plant begins to scatter its seeds on fine parachute-like structures, borne on the desert breezes. I like to collect this herb in August, on warm, overcast afternoons.
Brickellia in flower August - September.
This plant has three major medicinal uses.
First, it helps lower blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes (insulin-resistant adult onset type). For this purpose, a cup of tea taken once in the morning, and again in the afternoon, helps to control elevated blood sugars,(along with dietary changes). An extract of the fresh or recently dried plant makes accurate doseages easier. The extract specifications for making the extract are: Strength: 1:5, using a 50% ethyl alcohol, 50% H20 solvent. The dose range is 30 - 60 drops taken 3 times daily.
Second, Brickellia helps to improve the quantity and quality of the hydrochloric acid secretions in the stomach, most probably due to its bitter taste. Bitter foods are well-known to help improve the function of the digestive system by increasing secretions of bile and stomach acids.
Third, Brickellia helps improve bile synthesis in the liver, and improves the evacuation of the bile from the gall bladder. This is a good thing for people who are beginning to have the first symptoms of gall stones, or have had a diagnosis of small gall stones. The regular improved flow of dilute bile will, in many instances, begin to dissolve the stones which have already formed. Cutting back or eliminating poor quality animal fats from the dietary intake will also improve the situation. Plant oils are much better for our bodies, and do not contain cholesterols, which is the substance of which most gall stones are made.
In any event, the constant flow of bile through the gall bladder can help prevent the formation of gall stones, which occur most with impaired or sluggish liver metabolism, and irregular gall bladder evacuation. The avoidance of bitter foods or herbs as a regular part of the dietary intake, (which would normally stimulate the regular bile evacuation) is one of the primary reasons for this particular health scenario. This pattern of irregular gall bladder evacuation allows the bile to sit for some time in the gall bladder before being evacuated into the small intestine. While the bile sits in the gall bladder, water is drawn away from it and recycled back into the body. This is a normal function of the gall bladder. As a result, the bile becomes so concentrated that the dissolved substances within it begin to stick together and precipitate out of solution. This forms the first "seeds" for gall stone formation. So.. the suggestion for gall stones is eat bitter things or take bitter extracts (known as bitters.... and given names like "Swedish Bitters, etc.) regularly.
Dosages: A standard infusion of the herb for tea, used in 2-4 oz. doses, or the extract, ( @ 1:5, 50% alcohol ), taken in doses of 15-30 drops; use both forms up to three times each day.
This herb should be avoided when trying to help insulin-dependant, type 1 diabetes (usually called juvinille onset diabetes). Also, avoid this herb when there are already blockages of the bile ducts due to gall stones. Finally, this herb should not be used in cases of excessive stomach secretions, since it stimulates gastric secretions even more.
If you have diabetes, or know someone else who does, you can get more herbal information about herbs and other things which can help the condition by clicking HERE
If you would like to see which forms of this herb we can supply and for pricing, check our our master herb table
Check out our really effective tea, Diabetes-Aide Tonic Tea
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