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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.




AGAR-AGAR
aka Kanten
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CONTRAINDICATED: In cases of bowel obstruction.

CONTAINS: Glose (powerful gelatanizing agent) and is high in calcium and magnesium

A type of seaweed from Japan which is brownish-white in color with thorny projections on its branches. After collection it is spread on the beach and left till bleached, then dried. It is then boiled and the solution strained. The filtrate is allowed to harden before being dried again in the sun, cut into strips, stored in a cool place to prevent growth of bacteria and mold, and then finally ground into a flaky powder which is ready for use.
It is collected spring and fall and processed from November to February.
Used as a laboratory culture medium and commonly used as a stabilizer in jellies, jams, sweets, and canned meats as a neutral tasting thickener.
It is a principle export of Japan and is utilized as a vegetable alternative to animal derived gelatin. It is most conveniently used in the form of flakes.

MEDICINAL:
It is mildly laxative and excessive amounts can cause flatulence and loose stools.
Used for constipation, although usually mixed with cascara where atony of the intestinal muscles is present since agar does not increase peristalsis itself.
Soothing and relieves inflammation. It is usually given in small shreds mixed with food. The powdered form should not be used internally as it can be irritating. By itself it provides bulk fiber.
Firm gelatin = 1 Tbsp of agar per 1 cup of liquid. (Agar will not gel in the presence of acetic, hydrochloric and oxalic acids)
Agar also has a high protein content and is a suitable food made into a jelly for the infirm.

DOSE = TRADITIONAL DOSAGES FOR PROFESSIONAL NOTE ONLY
All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully.

1/2 to 1 oz. at a time. Usually given in small shreds mixed with fruit or other food. 1 oz. to 1 pint boiling water for jelly for invalids (to be flavored with lemon).




©2000 by Ernestina Parziale, CH

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