Category Archives: Medicinal Herbs

St John’s Wort used for depression.

St John’s Wort   Hypericum Perforatum

Parts Used: Flowers, stems and leaves

Primary uses for St John’s Wort: Mild depression, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, Anti-viral, used for PMS ,pre-menopausal and menopause. External: wounds, bruises and first degree burns.

Comes in: Tea, tincture, tablets, capsules, salves, creams and oil

Suggested dosage: capsules or tablets take 300 mg 3 times a day. Tinctures 10-15 drops a day

Flowers: Are used to make St John’s Wort blood red infused oil. The oil can be used topically for mild burns, wounds and inflammations. Harvest just when the buds began to open on a sunny day. To tell if they are ready, press a bud between your fingers, if there’s a spurt of purple or deep red they are ready to pick, if not it is either too early or too late. Check every day. St John Wort blooms bright yellow flowers the middle of summer and early fall. The flowers are edible.

Growing: This short term perennial grows 1-3 feet tall, with branching two edge stems and loads of flowers. The leaves are pale green, oblong and covered with tiny pinholes which are oil glands. The flowers are lemon scented. Zone: 3-9. Tolerate most soils in sun and light shade. It is considered an invasive in Missouri. It grows from runners; cuttings and it will self sow. Be sure and use the Hypericum Perfortum variety, if using for medicinal purposes.

Medicinal: For treating mild depression, anxiety, stress, tension, nerve damage, and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It needs to be used over a period of time for full effect 2-4 weeks. To treat chronic stress and depression it should be used over several months. It is antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory, which make it helpful for treating bacterial and viral infections such as shingles and herpes. It is also being studied for its capability to hinder the AIDS and HIV virus, but research is still ongoing. Use correctly, St Johns Wort is very effective antidepressant, and over the past 30 years its efficacy has been proved by extensive clinical and scientific studies.

History of St John’s Wort: it has been used as a wound healer since 500 BC. When John the Baptist was beheaded, where his blood spilled it is said that St John’s Wort grew from the blood.     European peasants burnt the plant on June 24, which is John the Baptist birthday, to dispel evil spirits. Because the plant “bleeds red” it was used for wounds during the crusades. During ancient times the way to know what a plant was good for it should look like, or act like the ailment it was treating.

To make St John’s Wort oil: As the flowers start to bloom you will need to squeeze the flowers and if they bleed red they are ready to pick. If they don’t have the red/purple liquid then it is either too early or too late. You need to check every day. Shake off any dirt, and pat dry. This is one of the oils that should be made with fresh material. Most oils are made with dry to prevent mold. They should be picked on a sunny day, but it might be a good idea to wear gloves to prevent any dermatitis. Put one cup of fresh yellow flowers in a quart jar and cover with cold process olive, or safflower oil. Place jar in window or a warm spot and shake daily. Check often for mold. (If mold occurs, throw away.) After two or three weeks, the oil will turn red, strain off the oil, bottle, label and store in a cool place. When staining, line a fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth and squeeze as much oil out as possible. You can tie off the cheesecloth and place in a wine press or coffee press to get the last few precious drops.

St John's Wort Hypericum Perforatum

St John’s Wort

Precautions: do not used for severe depression, do not use if pregnant or planning to get pregnant. Do not quit all at once, taper off. SJW can cause photo sensitivity in some individuals, (sensitive to sun). If you are taking antidepressants medications and want to substitute or complement them with SJW, check with your health care provider. The University of Maryland Medical center has a whole list of medications to avoid if taking SJW. Do not take a week before or after surgery.

This information is for informational and educational purposes only, not intended to treat, cure, diagnose or prevent any disease. Sharon

Garlic, nature’s medicine

Ready for the oven Garlic


Garlic, nature’s medicine (allium sativum, a member of the lily family) is fairly easy to grow and offers satisfaction when one small clove will grow a bulb of garlic.

Check out my previous blog on how to roast garlic.

Following are the historical and traditional medicinal uses of garlic. Not meant to prescribe or treat any diseases.

Every heard of an apple a day keeps the doctor away, well the same thing can be said for garlic.                “ A garlic a day helps keep the doctor at bay”

Few facts about the health benefits of garlic:

  • Fresh garlic can prevent arteriosclerotic changes and blood thickening.
  • Helps to normalized blood pressure
  • Good for cardiovascular diseases, to help prevent strokes, and shortness of breath
  • Garlic has been used for yeast, bacterial and viral infections, colds and reduces allergic reactions
  • For a cough, grate garlic and mix with honey
  • Helps with heart and circulation problems, 1-3 cloves of fresh garlic a day for about 3 months
  • Garlic may help to reduce cholesterol levels and other fatty sediments in the arteries
  • Use for sinus congestion, headaches, stomachaches, dysentery, gout and rheumatism
  • Research shows eating garlic on a regular basis may prevent heart attacks. It renders the blood platelets less sticky, making it harder for blood to form clots, a principal trigger of heart attacks
  • Garlic may lower blood sugar levels
  • Treat toothache and earache
  • Folk lore suggest using it to treat cancer
  • Some of the cancers include, stomach, skin, breast, oral and colon cancer
  • Garlic contains a mineral call gernanium, which helps prevent cancer cells from reproducing and the body to produce cancer fighting interferon
  • In the past they used garlic to ward off the plague
  • Garlic regulates the action of the liver and gallbladder
  • It is helpful for all intestinal infections such as cholera, typhoid and intestinal bacterial

Now all this garlic does have a side effect, it can produce bad breath which can be helped with chewing parsley or fresh tarragon.

Following is a list of vitamins found in garlic:

  • Potassium
  • Vitamin c
  • Vitamin b
  • Vitamin b1
  • Selenium
  • Sulfur
  • Calcium
  • Manganese
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • About 17% protein

In both World Wars it was applied to the soldier’s wounds to prevent septic poisoning and gangrene. Garlic can cause some irritation to the skin when applied directly.

It was used for ringworm, acne, skin parasites, tumors and warts. The cloves are cut and the juice is applied directly to the skin. Oil of garlic can be used to lessen the irritation on the skin.

There has been some talk about garlic in oil and the fact it could mold. Keep all infused oils in the refrigerator and use within two weeks.

To make oil of garlic, peel fresh garlic (4 or 5 cloves), mash it and put it into a small jar. Cover with cold-pressed olive oil until all the garlic is covered. Close tightly and allow to set for 3 to 7 days. Shake daily. Stain, label, date, and store in the frig.

Some herbs are water soluble and some herbs are better in oil or alcohol. Garlic is one of those herbs that releases it essence in oil.

One of the benefits of garlic, it’s quite tasty and is great in almost any savory dish. Sauté garlic in oil and add herbs such as rosemary, parsley, oregano or your favorite savory herb. I even tasted a cake made with garlic at an herb festival. It was surprising good.

Almost any dish that includes onions can properly benefit from garlic. Just don’t let it burn, or you will have to start over. Burnt garlic is indescribable and you won’t forget the smell or the taste.

Depending on what part of the county you are from, some say add the garlic first, other say add the onions and then the garlic.

Check out my next blog on how to grow garlic with a few recipes included. Here’s to your good health.


Skullcap herb

If you are having a bad day, skullcap herb (scutellaria spp.) is one of the more recognizable herbs used for nervous disorders in today’s herbalism. It is considered an antispasmodic, antibacterial, cooling, diuretic, and promotes bile flow.

It was used by the Native Americans for treatment of rabies, menstrual problems and to bring on menstrual period, quiets cramps, soothes breast pain, and ease kidney problems.

Scutellaria lateriflora, also known as Blue Skullcap, Hoodwort, Virginian Skullcap, Mad-dog Skullcap is a hardy perennial herb native to North America. It is a member of the mint family.

  • Height: 1-3 feet, with branching stems and oval toothed leaves.
  • Flowers: Pretty tiny blue flowers emerge along the stem in mid-summer.
  • Roots are stringy and yellow and should be at least 3 years old before harvesting.
  • Cultivation: Grows in ordinary well drained soil in sun or light shade.
  • Propagation: Sow seeds in late winter, and divided root in early spring.

Medicinal: The whole plant is considered medicinal. Scullcap nourishes and revitalizes the nervous system, thanks to the minerals it supplies, which include calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium.

It is good in times of stress, easing tension headaches, stress, anxiety, exhaustion and depression. May help to promote sleep, and won’t leave you feeling groggy in the morning.

Scullcap is calming for many nervous conditions and has a tonic effect on the central nervous system and helps with nervous fatigue and hysteria. An antispasmodic is a drug or an herb that suppresses muscle spasms.

Scullcap is very quieting and soothing to the nerves of people who are easily excited. It is used in such diseases such as shaking palsy, convulsion, fits, rheumatism, hydrophobia, epilepsy, and bites for poisonous insects and snakes.

Scullcap is used medicinally as a strong tea also known as an infusion for insomnia and as a tincture for extreme anxiety or pms.

The tincture is best using the fresh herb and a strong alcohol such as 190 proof.  Mix with lemon balm for depression.

Root: Make a decoction with the root and mixed with other herbs that are considered cold and bitter.

Caution: Can be mistaken for germander which should not be taken in large doses. In some US markets Germander is sold as Scullcap. Germander can cause liver toxicity.

Indigestion A to Z or Herbal Remedies

Medical first aid kit

Medicinal Preparations

Tummy troubles, gas, bloating, heartburn, discomfort, irritation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or burning sensation after eating are just some of the symptoms of indigestion. These are not words we like to hear.

Acute indigestion also known as immediate or persistent known as chronic is usually a symptom of improper eating and stress. The buzz word “stress” has its own set of problems and it is often used in conjuncture with most health problems, another subject for another day.

Eat too much and you may suffer the consequences, this includes eating food that does not agree with you, or poor food combinations, foods high in acid, eating too fast, too frequently, swallowing too much air, foods that are spicy or too hot or cold.  What’s left!

Unrelenting indigestion may be caused by a lack of hydrochloric acid or not enough digestive enzymes when eating liquid with foods which dilutes the juices in our stomach.

What the first thing a waitress or waiter asks you when you sit down in a restaurant? “What can I bring you to drink?” Our answer should be nothing, but most of us and me included like something wet when we eat a meal.

Does this sound like you?

Food allergies, ulcers, smoking, or problems with liver and or gallbladder may also cause your tummy troubles. Green or red peppers, raw onions, cabbage, citrus fruit, tomatoes, spicy foods, or fried foods cause indigestion for many people.

What we eat is usually the cause, and since we can’t stop eating, using the right combination and the right amount, and thoroughly chewing our food, and the use of herbs may help us conquer or control our tummy troubles.

Keep a diary and try leaving off your dinner plate certain foods or combination of foods for a few days and see if symptoms persist.

Avoid eating in pairs the following:

  • Fruits with vegetables
  • Fruits with starches
  • Sugars with proteins
  • Sugar with starches
  • Liquids with solids
  • Citrus juice with cereal
  • Cherries with dairy products
  • Miso with fruit

Huh did this just ruin your breakfast?

Taking an antacid can do more harm than good, some contain aluminum and sodium which can change the acid/alkaline balance of our tummies, and long term usage may cause kidney damage. Hey we need our kidneys. Over the counter antacids are two of the top ten items purchased.

Vitamins which may help with indigestion:

  • B-complex, B vitamins are essential for normal digestion
  • Folic acid deficiency may cause poor digestion
  • Vitamin C: bioflavonoid ascorbic acid form if hypo-acid or sodium acerbate from if hyper-acid
  • Vitamin E
  • Calcium/magnesium taken between meals
  • Acidophilus is necessary for normal digestion
  • Digestive enzymes such as papaya or pineapple

Papaya and Pineapple contains enzymes that break down foods and protein. Other fruits such as kiwi fruit and figs contain digestive enzymes, in smaller amounts.

Herbs good for indigestion:

  • Drink pure aloe vera juice ¼ c on empty stomach in the morning and bedtime. Avoid if pregnant or nursing.
  • Catnip, helps with diarrhea, calms nervous stomachs
  • Peppermint, help with morning sickness (tincture works better than  tea)
  • Fennel seed, relives nausea
  • Chamomile, relaxants, carminative, good for digestion (tincture works better than tea)
  • Ginger, aids digestion, reduces nausea
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Spearmint, stimulates digestion, cooling
  • Slippery elm
  • Mallow root, soothes the digestive tract
  • Meadowsweet, hyperacidity
  • Parsley, healing ulcers, diuretic

More good news for the aged, as we grow older the levels of our hydrochloric acid (HCL) lessens due to deficient diet and stressful life.

Many will tell you, ginger is good for motion sickness and nausea, but it is also good for ingestion. Ginger contains compounds that will sooth the tummy and aid digestion.

Chew your food and eat slowly to give time for your digestive enzymes to get moving. Lifting weights over time can help to speed up the digestion by cutting the time it takes to move through the system.

Add tarragon, rosemary, and marjoram to your recipes, these herbs help to digest food. Add parsley whenever you add garlic to help with any garlic related problems.

Here a tasty treat for over indulging in dinner: Drink 1 tsp. lemon juice mixed with ½ tsp. baking soda to a glass of water. Drink quickly. I know sound awful, but it works.

For a better tasting drink: Add 3 drops peppermint oil to a cup of warm water mixed with honey.

Too much acid in the gut: eat dried rolled oats and chew thoroughly.

Not enough acid: Drink 1 Tbsp. honey, 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar in a cup of warm water.

Use a juicer and make this drink for indigestion: Mix ginger root with fresh mint, kiwi fruit, and about one cup fresh pineapple.

Tummy Soother Breakfast drink:

  1. Mix 1 ripe papaya, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks
  2. Splash of vanilla
  3. 1 to 3 packets of stevia
  4. Dash of cinnamon
  5. 1 c. milk or yogurt
  6. Ice cubes made with crushed mint
  7. Fresh mint leaves to garnish

Mix papaya, vanilla, stevia, cinnamon and milk or yogurt. Blend until smooth. Add ice cubes and process until thick and creamy. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.

Note: If you freeze the papaya it will make a creamer drink, and most of the ice cubes can be left out.

For mint ice cubes: add crushed mint to an ice cube tray and fill with water. Check out my blog on harvesting herbs.

Hope these hints and suggestions help to take away your tummy troubles.

Dandelion, an herb or a weed?

This little distinct yellow flower (dandelion, taraxacum officinale) with its tooth shape leaves is usually consider a pest, a weed, a nuisance, but in the herb world, it is considered an herb.  Dandelion has a flat daisy like bright yellow flower with bright green leaves and a huge, fleshly taproot.

When you want to take a picture of dandelion don’t wait until after the lawn is mowed, which is what I did, so I had to find a part of my garden that needed weeding.

History: In the 7th century it was mentioned in Chinese herbals and in Europe it appeared in the 15th century when a surgeon compared the leaves to the teeth of a lion and coin the name of the plant which came from French dents de lion. In the 16th century, dandelion was known as Herba urinaria because of the strong diuretic effect.

Dandelion was brought to the new world by the early colonists. Some of the common names include fairy clock, blowball, piss-a-bed, lion’s teeth, priest crown, puffball, white endive and swine snout. According to some experts, dandelion was the first green food Adam ate, after he was banished from the Garden of Eden.

When you were a kid you properly blew the round seed heads to watch the seeds fly, which is one of the reason dandelion is so prevalent. Believe it or not but some people actually grow dandelion in their garden as an herb and salad green. The whole plant can be used from the flower to the root.

Growing: Dandelion grows in cool to warm climates and like rainfall with full sun. If you look around you and find the plant it usually grows in any kind of soil, but the better the soil the less bitter the leaves of the herb. In the early spring dandelion is more prevalent than in the hot sun.

The roots will grow extremely deep and if you allow the seed heads to develop they can become an invasive weed.

Harvest: Fresh spring leaves can be picked when they first start to grow and are young. The older the leaves the taste can become very bitter. To help reduce the bitter taste, soak the leaves in water mixed with salt, or sauté the leaves in oil. The leaves are better fresh rather than dried.

The roots can be dug up and roasted or dried to use in a variety of ways. For lasting freshness store the roots in the freezer like you would fresh coffee.

To make the dandelion “coffee”: Use either dandelion or chicory root. Wash the root carefully, try not to damage the roots, and spread out on a large cookie sheet and place in the oven at 180 to 200 degrees F. for up to four hours. Turn the roots to ensure even and consistent drying. When the roots are completely dry and cool, store them and grind fresh each time you make a cup of “coffee”.  Some like to mix half and half, half coffee and half dandelion roots. One level teaspoon per cup.

As a Dye: The whole plant will dye wool a magenta color and the flowers can be used to make yellow.

Culinary: Add the spring leaves to garden salads and smoothies for cleansing and for diuretic action. The roots which are cleaned, chopped and roasted until dark brown, are ground and used as a healthy caffeine-free coffee substitute. Dandelion coffee has the opposite effect of caffeine coffee. Use the flowers in jelly, beer and homemade wine. Try adding dandelion greens when cooking green beans.

Medicinal: As an herbal medicine, dandelion root has been held in high esteem in Europe for centuries. Folklore has using the sticky white sap of the dandelion to remove warts. Dandelion root coffee is known to help with sleep and is good tonic for the kidneys and liver. It is considered cool, bitter, and sweet. Dandelion contains vitamins A, B, C, D, potassium salts, iron, thiamine, niacin, calcium, sodium, pectin and carotenoids.

The roots will promote bile flow and is mildly laxative. As a diuretic, the leaves are high in potassium. Because of this potassium content it is said to be good tonic for the heart as well. The whole herb is used to clear heat and toxins from the blood and used for boils and abscesses.

The root can be made into a tincture or a decoction. Dandelion helps to remove poisons from the body and is known to be good for diabetics and for someone suffering from anemia. It is considered a natural spring tonic for the liver and gallbladder. Dandelion is considered a good blood cleanser and especially in cases of skin diseases. Dandelion makes a good digestive tonic for constipation.

When searching for medicinal recipes using dandelion, many of the recipes will include other herbs. A blood builder recipe mixes equal parts each of dried comfrey, fenugreek seed, along with dandelion. Dandelion sleep remedy contained equal parts of dandelion root, chamomile, and valerian.

For the above recipes, steep one heaping teaspoon of herbs per cup of boiling water for 10-20 minutes, strain and drink with lemon and honey.

So is dandelion an herb or a weed, well it depends on what you plan on using it for. If you want the perfect lawn, then dandelion is a weed, if you want to improve your health by making tinctures, dandelion teas, adding to salads, making jelly or many of the other uses culinary and medicinal then dandelion is an herb.


Dandelion herb or weed?

Hair Loss, A to Z of Herbal Remedies

Hair loss is not just for men anymore, women suffer from hair loss as well. We lose hair due to pregnancy and childbirth. But if it continues, it may be a serious problem. Hair usually grows back when the child is six months old.

Our hair grows about 25 feet in a lifetime and on average we lose about 100 hairs a day from our scalp. Most of our baldness is attributed to hereditary factors. In other words we inherited it.


It is normal for women going through menopause to have thinning hair and the hairs grays. Menopause thinning hair usually has a hormone link and they are ways to prevent or reverse it.

Radiation around the head or chemotherapy for cancer will cause hair loss, but should re-grow after treatments are finished.

Outside of the above reasons, sudden loss of hair loss in women’s hair in large numbers or in patches is called alopecia and can be cause by a number of things.

Deficiency in nutrition, vitamins such as B-Complex, poor scalp circulation, illness or surgery, diabetes, too harsh shampoos, hair dyes, hot dryers, fevers, heavy metal poisoning, anemia, alcohol and smoking can be factors in hair loss.

Glandular imbalances are found to be major reason women lose their hair, such as an imbalance in the adrenals, thyroid or pituitary glands. Imbalances can be caused by stress, emotional or physical trauma or shock.


To counteract, add a multi vitamin and B-complex to your daily vitamin routine. Take about 50-100mg of B-complex three times a day. Your vitamin routine should also include pantothenic acid.

Minerals and amino acids are important to hair growth such as calcium/magnesium, biotin, folic acid, zinc, and iron.

Essential fatty acids which can be found in evening primrose oil, fish oils, or wheat germ oil are good for both growth and helping your hair retains its natural color.  Try adding kelp to the diet, which is great for thin, falling or brittle hair.

To help control hair loss, avoid harsh shampoos that contain dyes and chemicals, avoid using hot dryers, harsh brushing, and harsh conditioners.

Other herbs good for hair is horsetail which is rich in calcium and silicon. Sage tea is used for dark hair and chamomile tea is good for blond, comfrey is good if you hair is dry and lavender for oily hair.

Good hair nutrition includes whole foods, fish, onions, garlic, eggs, greens, carrots, nuts and seeds such as sesame seeds and wheat germ. These foods contain the necessary vitamins and minerals to help with the problems of hair loss.

Herbs known to help with hair loss include:

  • Dried nettle
  • Yarrow
  • Rosemary for light hair
  • Black walnut for dark hair

Hair Loss formula:

Mix the three herbs according to your hair color, make a strong tea by bringing the water to a boil, pour over herbs and allow to cool completely. Strain out the herbs and place the liquid in a pint plastic container, adding just enough water to fill. Use as a hair rinse every time you shampoo. DO NOT RINSE out the mixture.  This mixture is known to encourage growth; make the hair shine and control dandruff. Over a period of a few months it may even re-grow your hair.

When washing hair, alternate using both hot and cold water ending with cold, do this three or four times.

According to James A. Duke the author of “The Green Pharmacy” Sal palmetto for men helps with baldness and tincture of stinging nettle can help prevent balding in those with thinning hair.

Oil Treatments:

Rubbing an oil in the scalp can help to stimulate the hair frolics, these include; castor oil, aloe vera gel, olive oil, or wheat germ oil. Rub oil in your scalp the night before you plan on shampooing your hair. Wrapping your hair with a turban before bed will help to prevent the oil from staining your pillowcases.

According to Dr. John Christopher, massage the scalp with castor oil and apply hot wet toweling over the head and leave for thirty minutes. Leave the oil on the head until morning and wash with tar soap or a good bio-degradable soap and rinse. Repeat a second wash and rinse with a tea made of sagebrush, chaparral and yarrow. Leave the rinse in the hair. Repeat this same process except one night use olive oil and the next night use wheat germ oil.

Folk Treatments:

Another oil treatment is make an olive oil infusion with garlic and rub this formula on the scalp and leave overnight, repeat this for several weeks until the hair has stopped falling out or you just give up. Or make a rosemary olive oil infusion and use on the hair.

Mix onion juice with honey, ¼ c. to 1 Tbsp., and massage it into the scalp every day. Make an infusion with olive oil and rosemary and rub this mixture in the scalp every day.

Mix 2 tsp. of cayenne pepper with 1 c. olive oil. Massage into scalp every day.

One formula I found mixed onion, garlic, cayenne, and honey, rub into scalp and rinse with rosemary tea.

Rub the bald area with apple cider vinegar using a soft brush two times a day. Vinegar is good for the scalp and can be used for all kinds of problems with the hair.

Southernwood is a traditional remedy for hair loss. It can be taken internally in a tincture and made into an infusion as a hair rinse.

Hair loss especially in women can be a traumatic and affect the ways we feel about ourselves. Some of the remedies may sound a little far fetch but the problem is not. Maybe some of these will help you, and if nothing else, by increasing nutrition in your diet you will feel good even if you don’t like the way you look in the mirror. All of us have some problem or other we are self conscious about.

Here to your good health! Sharon K

Insomnia Natural Cures

Insomnia is a problem many face and herbs might be the answer to your sleeplessness.

Night after night we lie awake and try and count sheep. We hit a 1000 and we realized we are still wide awake and the alarm clock is telling up to get up and face the world.

Over half Americans suffer from insomnia, which means we simply cannot get to sleep.

Some triggers for insomnia include:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Too much activity right before bed time
  • Mentally challenging work just before bed
  • Stress
  • Low production of female hormone estrogen, premenstrual or during menopause
  • Emotional problems
  • Medication
  • Smoking within two hours before bedtime

The National Sleep Foundations estimates 40% more women have trouble sleeping compared to 30% men.

Drugs to help you sleep can do more harm in the long run than they do well; while the help you sleep sometimes we experience a hangover like system the next morning. We have trouble getting out of bed, even more so than if we had no sleep.

Some of these aids can also cause dependency of these drugs and we can’t get to sleep naturally.


Natural methods of getting to sleep include the use of herbs and meditation. Herbs have been used for thousands of years to help induce sleep gently.

Lemon balm helps to aid in sleep and the treatment for sleep disturbances. Chamomile has been used successfully for the treatment of insomnia.

Drink a tea make out of chamomile or lemon balm about 30 minutes before bed time.

Valerian root is the most widely used sleep aid in the world. Valerian is safe and effective substitute for sleeping pills and sedatives. Valerian can be found in pill form, teas, tablets and tinctures. The tea can taste bad and smell of feet. No kidding.

Lavender has a mild sedative effect, spray the oil mixed with water in the air just before bedtime. A little lavender oil can be rub on the temple area, just keep it away from the eyes. Lavender is one of the essential oils gentle enough for the skin. Smelling lavender may help to you to get the rest you need.

Lavender, rose petals, and catnip will help to ease insomnia.

Combinations of herbs such as chamomile, skullcap, oatstraw and catnip have been used in folk medicine for treating insomnia. Use equal parts, either fresh or dried. Drink a tea with about 1 Tbsp. of the mixture 30 minutes before bedtime.

A good bedtime tincture includes equal portions of the tinctures of passion flower, hops, skullcap, wood betony and catnip. Take about 20 drops of the mixture before bedtime and again right before you retire.

Passionflower and hops have been used in folk medicine for years for sleep. In fact try it in pillow to help induce sleep.

Wood betony is known as a relaxant and tonic for the nervous system.

A future blog will on making and the ingredients of dream and sleep pillows.

Change your lifestyle:

  • Exercise a few times a week, early in the day
  • Set a routine before bed such as making a cup of tea and relaxing
  • Try meditation to manage stress or positive reinforcement
  • Drink relaxing aids and stress aids during the day to help relaxation
  • Stop and smell the roses, take time for yourself
  • Go to bed at the same time, and get up at the same time
  • Don’t nap during the day
  • Keep your bedtime dark and quiet
  • Avoid watching TV
  • Read boring books
  • Reduce salt in your diet
  • Get massages or biofeedback before bedtime

Some other aids in getting to help with insomnia:

  • Image a calm setting as you lie in bed, mentally feel yourself relaxing and calming down.
  • Slowly count to 100 and if you lose your place just start over.
  • Take a calcium/magnesium tablet about one hour before bedtime.
  • Drink a cup of warm milk mixed with honey and nutmeg.
  • Drink some warmed grapefruit juice mixed with raw honey
  • Drink some orange juice or pineapple juice mix with lemon juice
  • Yellow onions are suppose to help, so smell one before going to bed
  • Elderberry juice at room temperature, may help you get to sleep
  • Keep the temperature of the room cool, but keep the feet warm
  • Avoid eating two or three hours before bedtime
  • Take a warm bath with baking soda an hour or two before bed
  • Take a multi vitamin daily with cooper, iron, manganese, calcium and B-complex
  • Eat cucumbers, lettuce, and yogurt in your diet

Tryptophan is an amino acid that is a relaxant and found in milk, yogurt, bananas, milk, figs, dates, tuna, turkey, and nut butters. Tryptophan is directly involved in the production of serotonin which is a sleep inducer.

As a child we are told we need eight hours of sleep a night, and maybe as children we did. But as an adult, we may not need the same amount as children, or we may need more. Get the sleep your body needs and you will feel rested in the morning. We can dwell on the need for eight hours, relax some simply do not, in fact I met a women who in her life she had never slept more than five hours a night. I never knew a women who was as talented in such a large variety of crafts.

So relax and get the sleep you need, maybe with the help of herbs or routines established.




Bladder Infections- Herbal Remedies from A to Z

Bladder infections do not know or care if you are a man or women, (even though women are more likely to suffer bladder infections), or if you are rich or poor. Millions of people suffer from this ailment every day and in some cases it can lead to serious problems.

The urinary system includes the kidneys, ureters, bladders, and urethra. The urinary tracts main function is to excrete urine and control the other parts of the body’s organs. Without this excretion we would be poisoned by the toxins in our body.

Blood enters the kidneys and is then filtered out and sent to the bladder for elimination. On average our bodies loose about five pints a day, three pints through our urine and the other two pints through other means such as breathing, sweat ect.

Around 98% of the water we drink is absorbed by the body along with nutrients we consume. Proteins breakdown is called urea and is passed into the urine, which then leaves the body. Urine collects in the pelvis of the kidneys and passes into the bladder, where it stored until we go to the bathroom.

Those suffering from kidney problems should seek medical help before using any alternative methods. If you are prone to kidney stones, check with your doctor or health care professional.

Too much eliminating at too fast a pace can cause damage to the kidneys. When using herbs as a diuretic, pick an herb that is gentle and include mallow root or marshmallow which helps to protect the kidneys.

What this blog is going to address is bladder infections.

Some foods that may help prevent bladder infections include:

  • Yogurt
  • cucumbers
  • dandelion greens
  • cranberry juice
  • lemon-aid
  • parsley
  • onions
  • carrot tops
  • celery tops
  • pumpkin seeds
  • asparagus
  • strawberries
  • blueberries
  • purslane

The culture in yogurt may help prevent and cure bladder infections. Another way to include yogurt is to add it to a bath of warm water, yes add to your bath water.

Eating cucumbers and drinking basil tea may reduce the symptoms of bladder infections, and liberally add fresh parsley to your food. Parsley is a diuretic along with onions which may help to cleanse the body.

Dandelion and other diuretic foods increase the body’s urine output and may stimulate the blood flow through the kidneys. Some medicines which contain diuretics may reduce the potassium levels in our bodies. Herbs such as dandelion increase the flow of urine but also contain the necessary vitamins and potassium our kidneys need. Lemon-aid or adding lemon to water has been known to help the kidneys.

Coffee and other caffeine drinks may irritate and cause problems with the kidneys. Cut back on coffee, green tea, black tea, alcohol and soda. Drink cranberry or blueberry juice instead. Drink at least two cups a day. These drinks may even help the bladder infection go away. Include a tea from mallow root or marshmallow, dandelion and plantain to combat current infections.

The mallow root is a demulcent herb which will help soothe the tissue surrounding the bladder and kidneys. By including a soothing herb along with a diuretic may decrease the pain of urination.

Vitamins such as C, and B6 have been known to increase the health of the kidneys.

Other teas or tinctures which has been shown to help include:

  • rose hip tea
  • parsley tea
  • marshmallow tea or tincture
  • saw palmetto tincture

Studies have shown that some over the counter pain killers may cause more problems with the kidneys and too much of the vitaminchromium picolinate (which is used for other ailments) may cause problems with the bladder.

Wear cotton underwear to avoid the bacteria and moisture which can be trapped by synthetic fabrics. Drink lots of water to dilute any bacterial concentrations in the body and the water helps to eliminate bacteria.

Food allergies may cause irritation which increases the risk of bladder infections. The body wants to quickly eliminate any thing harmful to the body.

Apple cider vinegar can help to flush the kidneys and provide natural acid if needed. Some problems may be cause by too much acid in the urine, if this is the case avoid the vinegar and include food high in alkaline. Baking soda is high in alkaline but if you have any heart issues do not use baking soda.

Uva Ursi is the herb most people use for bladder infections, it strengthens the urinary tract, but should be taken in small doses and take a break from taking the herb once a week. Do not take for long periods of time.

Some herbs that treat infections may help with urinary tract infections such as garlic, Echinacea, Usnea, and Golden-seal. Note Golden-seal should not be taken for longer than a week or 10 days.

Saw Palmetto is believed to reduce the pressure on the bladder, and has a general tonic effect for both men and women and may help to prevent future outbreaks.

Just a final note, always check with your health care professional especially for serious problems with bladder infections.




Growing and Using Echinacea (Purple Cone-flower)

Purple Cone flower

Echinacea or Purple Cone Flower

Purple cone-flower also known as Echinacea was once at risk as an endangered plant. It was over harvested in the wild and some states took action to protect the remaining Echinacea also know as purple cone-flower.Today we are growing these purple daisy like flowers in our gardens and perennial herbaceous border.

Purple cone-flower or echinacea has widespread medicinal applications. The Native Americans used Echinacea to treat all kinds of ailments such as snakebites, fevers, colds, and influenza. They used the roots for their painkilling and blood purifier properties. Native Americans were the first to discover the root had the most medicinal properties.

In the 1920’s it became popular by practitioners and was widely prescribed, but when antibiotics was introduced Echinacea was all but forgotten. With the over use of antibodies, today’s herbalists have popularized the herb again. Echinacea is now found in most herbal first aid kits and can be purchase in most health food stores, including the big box stores.

Millions of Americans and Europeans use purple cone-flower as their main go to for colds and flues. It is known for its antibiotic qualities and general immune boosting effects.

Purple cone-flowers well known species include: Echinacea purpurea, E. pallida, and E. angustifolia. All three can be grown in our garden and in some states pallida is a native.

Parts used: The whole plant which includes the root, flowers, leaves, and seed.

Site: Its native habitat of prairies is found from Texas to southern Canada. E purpurea likes a richer soil with rock phosphate and compost in the soil. E. angustifolia and pallida like a leaner soil with less water. Pallida is not as showy or tall as E. purpurea. The growing zones for purple cone flower or echinacea is 3-9 and likes full sun to part shade.

Blooms: E. purpurea has a bright pink flower with a hairy stem and will bloom from mid to late summer. The more water it receives, the longer the blooms. E. pallida has paler pink flowers, fewer leaves and is not as tall. Purple cone-flower’s stunning flowers make a wonderful border plant for any size garden. Purpurea has a slight honey like scent.

Growing: Perennial. Purple cone-flower will grow from seed with about 50% germination. It needs a cold period for about 3 months. Sew the seeds in the fall or indoors in very early spring with stratified (exposed to cold)  seeds. Echinacea is slow to grow and may take several months to reach a size to transplant in the garden. The seeds take about 2 to 6 weeks to germinate. Purple cone-flower likes to grow in clumps, so plant about a foot apart. It can be divided or grown from root cuttings.

Harvest: Roots should be about three years old before harvesting. Any sooner and the roots are too small to harvest. Pallida and angustifolia have fibrous roots and are easier to harvest, but unless you are growing these in your own garden, please be aware of the laws of harvesting in the wild. Your neighbors may allow you to harvest, but ask first.

Properties: Bitter and slightly aromatic, antibacterial and antiviral. Cool, dry and pungent.

Primary medicinal uses: Immune system function, colds, flues, minor infections, wounds, psoriasis, eczema, Echinacea is being study in aids therapy, digestion, fungal infections, blood poisoning, boils, abscesses, respiratory tract, and venereal diseases.

Cautions: Few if any, mostly extreme use can cause throat irritation. Autoimmune suffers should check with their health care professional. Echinacea, if strong enough, will numb the tongue.

Applications: Root (decoction) tinctures, wash, gargle, powdered, capsules, syrups, compress, poultice, lozenges, infused oil, and liniments. The leaf and flower can be used in the same applications as the root except the leaf and flower should be brewed as an infusion.

Decoction is used for bark and roots. Place roots in simmering water for 10 minutes and strain.

An infusion is for the soft parts of the plant. Take boiling water off heat and allow to cool one minute and pour over leaves and steep for 2-5 minutes. Delicate leaves and flowers should be steeped for about one minute.

All medicinal information is for your information and not intended as medical advice.

Happy gardening!

High Blood Pressure- Herbal Remedies from A to Z

High Blood Pressure (HBP) also known as Hypertension is today’s A to Z

Over 65 million Americans have been diagnosed with HBP, not to mention those who have it and are not aware or have not been diagnose. It is the most common heart disease in the USA and HBP an lead to stroke, heart attack, kidney damage, pancreatic damage and eye diseases.

Hypertension occurs when cholesterol, toxins, and plaque deposits are found on the walls of the blood vessels. Which in turn causes the blood flow to be constricted and less blood flows through the veins causing HBP.

HBP is known as the silent killer because many do not know they have HPB until the symptoms become severe enough.

High blood pressure is a serious condition and should be monitored by a health care professional. Your blood pressure should be taken on a regular basics. If you do not have a monitor at home, try your local pharmacy they usually have a blood pressure station.

Try taking your blood pressure at the same time, every time and in the same situation. Research has shown the arm should be bent and near the heart. Normal reading is 120/80.

Blood pressure is represented by a pair of numbers.The first is the systolic pressure which is the pressure exerted by the blood when the heart beats, forcing blood into the blood vessels. This reading indicates blood pressure at its highest.

The second reading is the diastolic pressure, which is recorded when the heart is at rest in between beats, when the blood pressure is at its lowest. Both represent a ratio of systolic blood pressure to diastolic blood pressure.

Research suggests HBP is higher in women after menopause, men and African Americans.

While researching this subject, I found most of the books and doctors same the same thing. Diet and Exercise!. UGG! for some of us. In this case it is absolutely true, both diet and exercise can help to lower your HBP.

Diet plays an important part and some of the food recommended for reducing HBP include:

  • Potatoes, and the water they were cooked
  • Watermelon seed tea
  • Avocadoes
  • Lima beans
  • White and pinto beans
  • Dried peas
  • Almonds
  • Parsley, benefits the blood and is a natural diuretic
  • Yams
  • Bananas
  • Carrots, benefits the blood
  • Celery and celery seed, benefits the blood
  • Green leafy vegetabels
  • Garlic, raw, benefits the blood, contains chemicals that help in lowering HBP
  • Reishi oriental mushrooms
  • Onions, lipid lowering activity
  • Cucumbers, high in potassium, phosphorus and calcium diuretic and calming
  • Apples and apple cider vinegar

You’ve heard of an apple a day will keep the doctor away, but with HBP it should be two. Apple Cider vinegar taken on a regular basis mixed in with grape juice may help.

Research have shown herbs that may help include:

  • Hawthorn berries, nourishing the heart and will dilate and strengthen the blood vessels
  • Yarrow relaxes the blood minor blood vessels and improves blood flow
  • Rosemary is a general tonic for the circulatory system
  • Cayenne pepper may help to stabilize the blood pressure
  • Raspberry leaf tea
  • Hyssop tea with honey and lemon
  • Marjoram ease effects of blood pressure for dilating blood vessels

Vitamins: B-Complex may help to detoxify the liver and prevent fatty deposits in the arteries. Vitamin C nourishes the veins and improves arterial function. Vitamin E supplies oxygen to the blood. CoQ-10 along with omega 3’s are nutrients that provide oxygen to the vessels and help with HBP.

Calcium and magnesium may be missing in those suffering from HBP, along with potassium.

Research has shown deep breathing may help to lower blood pressure. Take a deep breath and hold it for 10 seconds, and exhale slowly for ten seconds. Repeat these deep breathing exercises two or three times a day, for a minute or so.

The less oxygen we take in, the harder the heart has to work, the harder the heart works the higher the blood pressure.

Stress can cause problems with HBP so take time to relax and meditate with no distractions or noise. I know not an easy task in today’s world. But your health is important so take time to smell the roses.

Some have found help using foot reflexology for lowering blood pressure:

  • Use both thumbs and rub the center of the arch at the point between ball and heal of the foot
  • Rub your foot for about a minute or two.
  • Or Rub the arch of the foot with a tennis ball if the using your thumbs is a problem.
  • The tennis ball will help to stretch the arch of the foot as well

Most health care professionals recommended taking in less salt. Salt retains water which puts extra pressure on the veins.

Sugar can have an effect by retaining salt in the body which can increase HBP. OH OH! Here is the bad news, milk chocolate, coffee, sodas, and tea can increase the blood pressure. There are some herbs to avoid as well, licorice and ephedra.

Always check with your health care professional before trying any home remedies, high or low blood pressure is a serious condition.

Good Health!