I began studying herbalism (or herbology) in 1994. Since then,I've built a rather large knowledge base. An associate at ryze.com asked for an article over general uses for common herbs.
From the first sprouts bursting into being, plants of all kinds have been used not only for food, but also for healing and wellness. Those who garnered and became masters of this knowledge were sought after and held a status all their own in whatever society they belonged to.
Today, the ancient art of Herbology is a booming business. Thousands will turn to roots, leaves, and berries before a medical doctor. Prescriptions have become a last resort for many. Herbs purchased wholesale and in bulk move off store shelves with an unprecedented speed. This phenomenon leads the mainstream to wonder if there is something they might be missing by depending upon scrawled recommendations and manufactured health in a pill. Teas, aromas, oils and powders are becoming the normal treatments in a multitude of households, including my own. Herein, I will explore a few home remedies that could save a few dollars and a little time.
The Ever-Evil Headache
Headaches cause a large percentage of doctor’s visits across the country. This long-time ailment can be the source of many a missed day at work. The causes of such range from stress to high blood pressure, toothaches to over-indulgence in food, drink or the social whirl. Knowing what causes the headache is the key to actually treating one. See below a few simple remedies to free yourself from that nagging ache.
To treat a migraine headache, brew a pot of coffee, take an Aspirin and a Tylenol. Caffeine is known to open blood vessels. Constriction of blood vessels is a known cause of the excruciating. The “new” discovery of this fact has led to the manufacture of a “migraine pill” which contains the caffeine, acetaminophen and ibuprophen. Take the coffee black and simply sip.
Another treatment for migraine is in your feet. Reflexology has discovered pressure points known for centuries to Asian practitioners of acupuncture. Having someone rub your feet just under the pads and along the toes as well as massaging the heel and instep can ease the pressure of a headache within moments.
And finally, for a sharp, shooting, sudden pain, take a pinch of bay leaf (also known as laurel) powdered or in leaf form. Place it between your cheek and gum for 30 minutes. The saliva will wet the herb, which will then be absorbed into your skin through to tissues of your cheek and gum. Since these locations are so close to the source of your pain, relief should be only moments away.
The Incurable Common Cold
The common cold causes even more sick days than headache. To treat a simple case of the sniffles, drink mint tea with honey and lemon. You may also inhale the steam to help clear sinuses. Mint is a natural anticoagulant, though a weak on. It can clear stopped up noses if the steam from a hot cup of tea is inhaled while drinking.
For colds with a hacking cough, mint is also a key ingredient. Peppermint is stronger than it’s close-cousin Spearmint, but both are useful and priceless in a home with tons of little noses. Mint acts as an antispasmodic, which can soothe a cough faster than an over-the-counter syrup. Inhaling the steam from boiled eucalyptus and mint is another easy treatment for sinusitis.
For sinus infections, chew chunks of ginger root for relief. If you are made of hardier stuff, horseradish root not only eases the suffering, but heals the damage left by this common onslaught of the allergy season.
And For Not-So-Common…
See the simple recipe below to make your own cough syrup for more intense coughs and lung ailments. This will get all the junk out of your chest when you have a bad cold or bronchitis. This works well for chest complaints and stores in the fridge for quite a while.
1 lb of honey
1 medium knuckle of ginger (a little more than you can cup in your hand)
Small pot with lid
Fine Sieve or strainer.
Potato Masher, Blender or Food Processor.
Peel ginger and slice. Ginger juice will seep out. Try to reserve it.Cut lemon in half. Cut one half of the lemon into 1/4" slices. Leave the skin on! Reserve the other half of a lemon.Put ginger & cloves in pot, cover with liquid. Add lemon slices. Simmer till ginger is soft. Keep adding water as water boils out. This will take quite a while.
Throw in blender and pulp mixture. Not Puree. Just chop it and mash it. (Use a potato masher if you don't have a food processor or blender)
Add ginger mix and entire bottle of honey. Return to boil. Squeeze rest of lemon into pot. Cover and simmer for about an hour.
Using a fine sieve or strainer, strain liquid while hot. Return to pot. Boil until it becomes a dark, thick liquid and kind of syrupy.
Let cool and pour into the jar the honey came out of.
Use a tablespoon of syrup in each cup of tea. Drink at least 4 cups per day.
Source- SheDiva, my dear Sister-Wife.
Ginger acts as an expectorant to loosen the phlegm trapped in the lungs. The cloves work in tandem with the ginger to help bring up the phlegm and free the lungs for breathing. For painful coughs, also add a touch of valerian root (powdered or ground in a coffee grinder). Chamomile will also help in getting sleep, or calming a restless child so the medicine can do its work.
If fever is a factor, strip down to underclothes and keep wet, lukewarm clothes on the head and back. Bathe every thirty minutes with lukewarm water and do not allow anything heavier than a bed sheet to cover the patient.
To relieve water retention, chew juniper berries. Juniper is a natural diuretic, and tastes great (if you can get passed the lack of processed sugar). It also helps clean the teeth and the breath.
To ease a sweet tooth, chew licorice root. This naturally sweetened root helps work your teeth and is far better for you than gum and candy. It’s also an expectorant that can help clear up mild lung congestion from allergies or a cold.
To ease cravings for cigarettes, chew burdock root. After chewing burdock, smoking is almost impossible. Burdock is a cleanser and can be taken with licorice root if the taste is just unbearable.
To lessen hunger when going out to eat, drink a cup of apple juice with a ˝ cup of psyllium mixed in. Psyllium expands and takes up space in the stomach. It also acts as a scrubbing agent to remove undigested remnants from the lining of the stomach and intestines.
I’m Not the Doctor!
As with any home remedy, please seek the advice of a physician if you suffer from chronic illness. Also, check labels of any medications you may be currently taking to make sure there are no clashes to be found. Always exercise caution when trying herbs, as much as you would with a new prescription. This is medicine, in its most basic form, and not to be taken lightly.
Inspired by She of 10,000 Names
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