Herbal Healing

This blog is dedicated to herbal healing and other natural health remedies. In an attempt to deepen my own knowledge, I will share information on a variety of herbs, focusing largely on easy to find Western plants, as well as methods for preparing herbal medicines and natural beauty treatments. I am not a certified herbalist, licensed cosmetologist, or physician, so please use the information on this blog at your own risk! I've been an aspiring herbalist for several years, and I hope to finally get my certification sometime this year.

Cold and Flu Tea
When you’re huddled at home nursing a cold  or flu, a warm cup of herb tea is comfort in itself. An advantage to  drinking tea is that the liquid thins congestion and flushes out toxins.  Drinking two to three cups of the following tea, nice and hot, will  make you sweat and lower a fever. If possible, tuck yourself into a warm  bed afterward!

1/2 teaspoon yarrow flowers (Achillea millefolium)
1/2 teaspoon elder flowers (Sambucus canadensis)
1/2 teaspoon peppermint leaves
1/2 teaspoon echinacea root
1/2 teaspoon schisandra berries
3 cups boiling water 
Combine the herbs in a teapot and pour the  boiling water over them. Steep for at least 20 minutes.  Strain and  drink throughout the day. You can make a double batch and keep it in the  refrigerator, just be sure to warm it before drinking.

Cold and Flu Tea

When you’re huddled at home nursing a cold or flu, a warm cup of herb tea is comfort in itself. An advantage to drinking tea is that the liquid thins congestion and flushes out toxins. Drinking two to three cups of the following tea, nice and hot, will make you sweat and lower a fever. If possible, tuck yourself into a warm bed afterward!

  • 1/2 teaspoon yarrow flowers (Achillea millefolium)
  • 1/2 teaspoon elder flowers (Sambucus canadensis)
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon echinacea root
  • 1/2 teaspoon schisandra berries
  • 3 cups boiling water 

Combine the herbs in a teapot and pour the boiling water over them. Steep for at least 20 minutes.  Strain and drink throughout the day. You can make a double batch and keep it in the refrigerator, just be sure to warm it before drinking.

I am seriously addicted to caffeine. I have been drinking at least one(lately two) energy drink every day for the last 3 or 4 years. I know this is horrible for me, and it is starting to get to the point where I can feel my body physically hurting from it (constant head aches if I do or don't drink it, and heart burn and stomach aches when I do drink it). I want to stop, but I have a total mental and physical addiction to it. It's basically gotten to the point where I crave it with the meals I eat. About two months ago I went about a month and a half without it, but then started drinking it again when I was having a hard time concentrating at school. I've now been going a couple days without and it, and then I'll start drinking it again for the last three weeks. Any advice on what I can eat and/or take to help me finally kick the habit! It's the energy boosts from it that I crave the most. I've tried tea and I've just never been a big fan of it. I just read your bee pollen post, and I want to look more into finding that in my neighborhood. I swear, this must be what nicotine addiction is like.
Anonymous

Caffeine is a drug like any other, it’s simply more socially acceptable, even expected.  An occasional cup of coffee can be lovely and stimulating, but it’s high in a variety of alkaloids that can be very taxing on the body.  Caffeine in general has a very negative impact on adrenal glands if used over a period of time, as well.  Daily consumption has a detrimental effect on overall energy and vitality and will drain - not restore - your energy.

It’s good that you’re aware of your addiction and wiling to wean yourself off of caffeine.  First things first: get enough exercise, get enough relaxation and sleep, and maintain a balanced diet.  The more centered your mind & body, the easier it will be to kick the habit.

In this post, I discuss some of the herbs that will build and restore energy over a period of time.  Also focus on nourishing and strengthening the nervous system by using herbs such as nettle, oats and Siberian ginseng.  You will begin to experience a sense of calm and relaxation, and it is when we reside in the center of calmness that tremendous energy is available.

Although you may have an aversion to tea, I think you’ll enjoy this blend of energizing roots.  It has a warm, spicy, sweet taste to it and is a great alternative to any energy drink that is loaded with sugar and all kinds of icky chemicals.  Definitely check out the bee pollen, too.  Thanks for your question and good luck! 

Energizing Root Tea

This is an incredibly energizing and revitalizing tea made of roots.  Combine the herbs, prepare as a decoction, and drink 1 cup three times a day.

  • 2 parts dandelion root
  • 2 parts Siberian ginseng
  • 1 part astralagus root
  • 1 part burdock root
  • 1 part cinnamon
  • 1 part licorice root
  • 1/2 part cardamom seeds
  • 1/2 part ginger
  • 1/2 part ginseng root, sliced
Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris) 
Pine is a plant I have never worked with before, but in researching it, I’ve found it has a myriad of uses!  It is largely used in Europe in folk herbalism and can be used in cases of colds, bronchitis, siusitis or upper respiratory catarrh, both as an inhalant and internally.  Pine is also a stimulant, so it may be used for rheumatism and arthritis.  Pine twigs are traditionally added to bath water to ease fatigue, nervousness and sleeplessness, as well as the healing of cuts and soothing skin irritations! 
If you wanted to make it into a tea, use a teaspoonful of dried needles in one cup of boiling water, letting it steep for 15 minutes.  I think a bath would be a wonderful idea, too - toss about 3 handfuls of twigs in 1.5PT of water for half an hour to extract the constituants, then bring to a boil, simmer for 10 minutes and add to a hot bath.  I believe essential oil of pine could be used in your bath as well, and probably much less of a hassle - but be careful to only a few drops of the essential oil, as it can irritate the skin if too much is used.  As a steam/inhalant for respiratory issues, bring 2-3 handfuls to a boil in 2L of water and let simmer for 5 minutes.  Pour the water into a large bowl, lean your face over it and cover your head with a towel, inhaling the steam for 15 minutes.

Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris)

Pine is a plant I have never worked with before, but in researching it, I’ve found it has a myriad of uses!  It is largely used in Europe in folk herbalism and can be used in cases of colds, bronchitis, siusitis or upper respiratory catarrh, both as an inhalant and internally.  Pine is also a stimulant, so it may be used for rheumatism and arthritis.  Pine twigs are traditionally added to bath water to ease fatigue, nervousness and sleeplessness, as well as the healing of cuts and soothing skin irritations! 

If you wanted to make it into a tea, use a teaspoonful of dried needles in one cup of boiling water, letting it steep for 15 minutes.  I think a bath would be a wonderful idea, too - toss about 3 handfuls of twigs in 1.5PT of water for half an hour to extract the constituants, then bring to a boil, simmer for 10 minutes and add to a hot bath.  I believe essential oil of pine could be used in your bath as well, and probably much less of a hassle - but be careful to only a few drops of the essential oil, as it can irritate the skin if too much is used.  As a steam/inhalant for respiratory issues, bring 2-3 handfuls to a boil in 2L of water and let simmer for 5 minutes.  Pour the water into a large bowl, lean your face over it and cover your head with a towel, inhaling the steam for 15 minutes.

Herbal infusions and decoctions (a.k.a. teas)!

Making herbal tea is absolutely the simplest form of medicine!  Honestly, who among us has never made a cup of tea before?  All you need to make an herbal tea is your desired herb, boiling water and a cup or jar.  For medicinal herbal tea to be effective, it should be administered in small amounts several times a day.  You can easily make a whole quart-full and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Infusions
Infusions are made from the more delicate parts of the plant - leaves, flowers, etc.  These fragile plant parts must be steeped rather than simmered.  Simply boil 1 cup or water to 1 tbsp herb, pour, and let steep for anywhere between 10-30 minutes.  Time will vary depending on the herb, and some herbs might even need to be steeped up to a full hour.  Let your taste buds and senses guide you!

Decoctions
Decoctions are made from the more tenacious parts of the plant, such as the roots, bark and seeds.  It’s a little harder to extract the constituents from these parts, so a slow simmer or overnight infusions is often required.  To make a decoction, place the herbs in a small saucepan and cover with cold water.  Heat slowly and simmer, covered, for 20-45 minutes.

Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) 
Another must-have herb!  Chamomile is a cheery plant that looks and smells beautiful. It makes a wonderful ground cover in gardens, producing a sweet scent when walked upon.  Chamomile is a very well known herb that has been used by everyone from the Ancient Egyptians to modern day Peter Rabbit who was given chamomile tea before bed.  To harvest this plant, gather the flowering tops just before they fully open.
Like many herbs, chamomile is multi-purpose:
Externally, it can be used as a poultice or salve to heal burns, rashes and eczema.
Safe for young children, it’s often the preferred herb for a wide range of common childhood complaints such as restlessness, colic, teething, whining, and fevers.
Adults can also enjoy a cup of chamomile tea to soothe the nervous system, allaying stress and irritability, and thereby promoting calmness.  
Chamomile’s common genus name, Matricaria, insinuates its affinity for women and mothers. The tea can be drunk to bring on delayed menses, reduce uterine cramping, and relieve heartburn when pregnant. 
Chamomile is easily prepared as a tea. To make it by the cup, steep one teaspoon of dried chamomile for ten minutes. This makes a delicious tasting tea. For a more medicinal brew you can steep it for 30 minutes.

Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)

Another must-have herb!  Chamomile is a cheery plant that looks and smells beautiful. It makes a wonderful ground cover in gardens, producing a sweet scent when walked upon.  Chamomile is a very well known herb that has been used by everyone from the Ancient Egyptians to modern day Peter Rabbit who was given chamomile tea before bed.  To harvest this plant, gather the flowering tops just before they fully open.

Like many herbs, chamomile is multi-purpose:

  • Externally, it can be used as a poultice or salve to heal burns, rashes and eczema.
  • Safe for young children, it’s often the preferred herb for a wide range of common childhood complaints such as restlessness, colic, teething, whining, and fevers.
  • Adults can also enjoy a cup of chamomile tea to soothe the nervous system, allaying stress and irritability, and thereby promoting calmness. 
  • Chamomile’s common genus name, Matricaria, insinuates its affinity for women and mothers. The tea can be drunk to bring on delayed menses, reduce uterine cramping, and relieve heartburn when pregnant.

Chamomile is easily prepared as a tea. To make it by the cup, steep
one teaspoon of dried chamomile for ten minutes. This makes a delicious
tasting tea. For a more medicinal brew you can steep it for 30 minutes.

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