Category Archives: Medicinal Herbs

Headache Remedies from A to Z

Headache remedies are usually treated by taking a pill and waiting for it to work.But do we know the side effects of these pills?

Is there anything more annoying than having a headache? I don’t mean the headaches we have when we don’t want to be bother.

Some of the herbs used in headache remedies include, feverfew, lavender, ginger, cayenne pepper, and peppermint.

Some doctors are becoming more in tune with using non drug methods of relieving headaches. The side effects from most headache drugs can cause more problems in the long run. Always check with your health care professional before trying any headache remedies.

White willow bark was the original ‘aspirin’ before it became chemically produced. White willow bark can be found in capsule forms at your favorite health store. Its main ingredient is salicylic acid which is what works on the pain.

Medowsweet a bitter tasting herb contains methy salicylate which when dried turns into salicylic acid. If using as a tea be sure and cover when brewing as the steam contains the salicylic acid.

Many have used fresh feverfew for migraines and headaches. One leaf eaten once or twice a day on a daily basis may prevent migraines. Be careful, some have reported mouth irritation when using feverfew, start slow.

Feverfew, an anti-inflammatory, dilates the cerebral blood vessels, easing the migraine associated with constricted blood vessels. Feverfew can be found in capsule form.

Another type of headache may be caused by overindulging especially with alcohol and/or sugar. Success has been found in drinking a tea of 1 tsp. alfalfa seed and 1 tsp. orange leaf and steep for five minutes in almost boiling water. Stain and sip for this headache remedy.

Rosemary tea and peppermint tea may help with food-related headaches. Peppermint oil has been used for years. When using peppermint essential oil, mix it with a carrier oil such as almond oil or grape seed oil. The proportion of essential oil should be about 10% essential oil to the carrier oil.

Other types of headache oils include Lavender oil with the same proportion of essential oil to carrier oil. Lavender is a sedative, analgesic with antispasmodic action, cooling bitter remedy useful for migraines and tension headaches.

It is never a good idea to use essential oils straight from the bottle, they can cause burns. Do not take internally unless aided by a health care profession with the knowledge of essential oils.

Tension headache are usually at the back of the neck and travels up the head. Try chamomile flower tea in 1 c. almost boiling apple juice. Steep for 5 minutes and sip.

Other headache remedies:

Relax and use acupressure for headache remedies. Press on the back of the neck at the indention where the neck attaches to the skull. At the same time press gently on the bridge of the nose between the eyes. Press gently and increase pressure if you can tolerate the pressure.

Ginger tea is folk remedy for headaches and a ginger bath may reduce the tension causing the headaches. Another folk remedy is gently rubbing a cut lemon on the affected area, or used well diluted lemon oil with a carrier oil. Only about 5 drops should be mixed in 25 ml of oil.

Cayenne Pepper may help; one way is to smell the spice and another way is to rub capsicum cream on the affect area.

Sometimes laying down with an ice pack on the top of the head or back of the neck with feet elevated above the heart may help, be sure and keep warm by covering with a blanket and adding something warm to the top of the feet such as a heated towel.

Headaches may respond to relaxing and drinking a strong cup of black tea. Some food can cause headaches. Keep a food diary and when a headache occurs take stock of what you had to eat.

Always start slow when trying any herbal headache remedies and take time to smell the roses or maybe the cayenne pepper.






A to Z of Herbal Remedies-Why most herbalist use herbs

Today and every Monday, I am starting a new series on herbal remedies for everyday problems. Folk remedies for anti-aging, arthritis, acne, and aches and pains are just a few topics this blog will covered. A to Z.

The remedies mentioned in this blog at any time are for the traditional, historical and folk uses of herbs. Always consult your health care professional before trying any herbal remedy especially for the first time. Some herbs may react with your medication and some people may have allergic reactions.

Today as well as yesterday, families created simple cures at home for a a variety of common ailments. With the advance of medicine, as a culture we have allowed our home remedies to lapse in favor of conventional treatments. But the popularity of herbs is coming back with a vengeance.

As a culture we go to the doctor for the simplest thing and the emergency rooms are filled. Learning to use herbs, we could treat many common ailments at home. And with the new health care laws who knows what going to happen in the future.

We add chemicals to our body and we saturate our liver and other organs and they can become overworked. Herbs are usually safer and don’t require a prescription, at least not yet.

Doctors are needed in our lives to help us to decide the best course of action for our health. Knowing what is wrong can help in this decision making process and what steps to take. Herbal medicine and conventional medicine can go hand in hand.

Break a leg, and you need a health care professional to treat your leg.  But if I get a cold, with knowledge I can treat it my self. With a little research and study you might the solution to common ailments. Learn the properties of herbs before using them, check their cautions and if they have any side effects. What has worked in the past, works today for the most part.

Interest in herbal medicine is soaring and more and more people want to take charge of their health and are checking out the therapeutic value of herbs. Herbs don’t change over the year, just the information and research. More and more research have been and is being conducted all over the world in the use of herbs.

Growing our own herbs in our home gardnes have gain in popularity, in fact gardens of all kinds are popping up everywhere. I think many of us are tied of our vegetables ect. traveling such long distances before reaching our supermarket shelves.

Cooking shows are using herbs in many of their dishes, and it seems almost every recipe contains some herb. Go to your local farmer’s markets and usually will find a vendor selling herbs.

There are dozens of ways of using herbs medicinally and in this series I will try and explain them.

What is an infusion?

An infusion is prepared like a tea and is used for herb leaves and flowers that easily give up there medical properties. When making an infusion it is better to use glass, china, or enamel teapot with a lid. Use pure water such as distilled or bottle mineral water. Most ‘city’ water contains chemicals which may inhibit the medicinal properties of the herb, such as water with a high lime content.

Use about 1/2 c. fresh herb (dried half of the amount) to a pot of tea. (about 2 cups of water)

Pour almost or boiling water that has stopped boiling over the herb, cover and allow to steep about 10 minutes. Stain and drink. Honey can be added for flavor and added health benefits.

Most medicinal teas are taken about 3 times a day. Store the remainder in a cool place.


Castor Oil Pack

Castor oil pack equipment

Castor oil pack equipment

The following books were used to research this subject.

  1. Dr. John R. Christopher Herbal Home Health Care
  2. William A. McGarey, M.D. The Oil That Heals

What is a castor oil pack?

A Castor oil pack is an oil soaked cloth preferably flannel wool with no color dyes laid on the skin over an ailment and cover with moist heat.  It is usually left for about one hour. Repeat several times until the ailment has cleared. It also can be placed on the skin and left overnight which is my preferred method.

According to both books, the castor oil should be massage into the skin above the ailment in a circular motion clockwise.

Dr. McGarey recommends massaging on the left side of the body clockwise and on the right side counter clockwise. He also list castor oil’s chemical makeup which consists of triglyceride of fatty acids. Ninety percent of the fatty acids contains Ricinoleic acid and small amount of seven other acids.

According to Dr. McGarey books: Edgar Cayce’s works list several ailments castor oil helps: These historical uses include.

  • Increases eliminations
  • Stimulates the liver
  • Dissolves and removes adhesion
  • Dissolves and removes lesions
  • Relieves pain
  • Releases colon impaction
  • Stimulated gall bladder
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Increases relaxation
  • Reduces swelling
  • Stimulates organs and glands

Following are the two methods I have used over the years. If you dislike the feel of wool, use 100% cotton with no dyes. I like to use cotton diapers.

Always test for allergic reactions when using anything on the skin for the first time.

Castor oil packs work for me but not everyone will achieve the same results. Our body makeup is different from our neighbors and nothing works for everybody for everything.


  1. 100% soft wool or 100% soft white cotton. 2-4 thickness
  2. Castor oil
  3. Plastic Wrap
  4. Ace bandage
  5. Bath towel
  6. Hot water bottle
  7. Baking soda with warm water

Overnight Method:

Pour castor oil on your choice of cloth and place over the area affected, cover with plastic wrap and cover this with some type of holding material. Cloth should be folded 2-4 thickness and large enough to cover area.

If you are using on the upper body, it sometimes can be held in place with a old snug tee shirt or some areas will work using an Ace bandage.

This may take a little experimenting to find the best way to hold the pack in place while you sleep. In the morning remove the pack and wash the area with 2 tsp. baking soda mixed with about 1 quart of warm water. This will remove the toxins the castor oil has brought to the skin’s surface. I like to repeat this method until the problem has resolved itself.

The castor oil pack can be used again until the cloth starts to change color. When this happens it is time to throw the cloth away and start with a fresh cloth. Some may be more comfortable with using the cloth only a few times before disposing. I usually use it for about a month.

Caution: This may stain your sheets and if this is a problem try the One Hour Method. I use old sheets on the bed.

One Hour Method:

Use the same pack of oil and cloth covered with plastic wrap, but add a warmed bath towel and cover the towel with a hot water bottle. Be careful don’t get burned. Lay still for about an hour. Wash the area with the baking soda wash. Repeat this as often as need to resolve the problem.

I have used these methods for a number of years. I use it on my knee when it starts to act up and I use the overnight method. I have known friends who have used the pack  for lumps until they can get a doctor appointment.

Dry patches: Massage the castor oil on dry patches on your skin or any where you have a wart. If you want to leave the castor oil on the wart for a time, use a bandage with a few drops of oil.





Sunburn Care and Aloe Vera

As the weather starts to warm we find ourselves outside and working in the garden. Don’t forget about the sun. Even in spring the sun can caused sunburns.

Sunburns are caused by overexposure to the sun without protection. We get sunburns on places we forget to cover such as the back of the neck, tip of the nose, and don’t forget those domes (bald heads).

Following are some sunburn care tips:

Aloe Vera is a great relief for the discomfort and burning of sunburn. It helps to seal in the skin’s natural moisture, which helps in the healing.

The aloe’s gel forms a coating on the skin but does not hold in the heat and burning like other ointments. It helps the skin to heal from the inside out.

To use aloe for sunburn care, simply cut open the leaf and smear (don’t rub) the gel on. It can be bandaged in place but may be better to leave it exposed to the air.

Aloe Vera also mixes well with lavender essential oil to help cool a sunburn. This mixture may be helpful to someone with chemotherapy burns. This combination will help prevent infection, which can be a problem with burns of any kind.

Combine 4oz. of Aloe Vera with 1/2 tsp. lavender oil, 1 tsp. apple-cider vinegar and a few drops of vitamin E oil. Shake the mixture before applying. Reapply to keep cool.

Apple Cider vinegar feels cool on sunburns. Keep applying as needed, and ignore the smell.

Recently I burned my thumb on the stove and nothing felt good on it except ice. I keep ice on it all night long because as soon as I took off the ice it starting burning again.

Once the burn stop burning where I could stand taking off the ice, I slather it with Aloe Vera to speed in healing and to help with infection. It healed in just a couple of days.

So watch out for the sun and take precautions by wearing sunblock even in the spring. But if you do get a burn try Aloe Vera for your sunburn care.

Happy Gardening