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Herbal Healer: What is kalanchoe?

There are 125 different species of this colorful, easy-to-grow tropical beauty. As a succulent plant -- like aloe vera -- kalanchoe provides a thickened leaf that is easy to penetrate. This facilitates the entry of the Red Pierrot butterfly during its earlier caterpillar stage, where it dines on the leaf from the inside out.

WHAT DOES IT DO?

The healing substances provided by kalanchoe reside in the leaf and its medicinally potent juice. This botanical kills bacteria, viruses and fungi, making it a formidable foe to many sources of disease. The juice effectively knocks out Staphylococcus and E. coli. Kalanchoe blocks histamine, relieves pain, suppresses coughs, relaxes muscles and reduces inflammation. Studies support kalanchoe's reputation as a useful agent for dealing with stomach ulcers.

ABOUT THE HERB

Primarily an Old World plant commonly used as an ornamental indoors or outside in rock or succulent gardens, kalanchoe has a few New World representatives in the wild that appeared after being introduced to this hemisphere. The mature plant rises between 3 and 5 feet above ground. It bears dark green leaves with serrated edges. Its delicate, bell-shaped flowers enhance the beauty of any garden.

RECOMMENDED DOSAGE

Considering the extent of its applications in tropical Old World countries, kalanchoe borders on being a panacea. Its juice can be applied directly to skin infections or dropped into the ear for earaches. A cup of the tea can be taken twice daily to address a variety of painful conditions and also to relieve upper respiratory infections, coughs and fevers. Avoid this herb during pregnancy.

The opinions expressed are solely the writer's. NOTE: Visit herbalastrology.com to read Ted PanDeva Zagar's other articles and columns that discuss the benefits of herbs and natural foods. DISCLAIMER: The author's comments are not intended to serve as medical advice, and he urges his readers to seek qualified wellness professionals to resolve matters of health.

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