Jump to content

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'herbs'.



More search options

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


Columns

There are no results to display.

There are no results to display.

Categories

  • Articles

Categories

  • Books
  • Software
  • Guides
  • Preparedness Drills's Files
  • Paleo Recipes's Files
  • Plant Propagation's Files

Categories

  • Consulting
  • Nursery and Seed
  • Educational (Online)
  • Educational (Location)
  • Tactical
  • Farms

Categories

  • ThriveThrough Enhancements and Features
  • Gatherings
  • Workshops
  • Full Courses
  • Micro-Courses
  • Quick-Wins
  • PETV

Categories

  • General
  • ThriveThrough

Categories

  • Livestock
  • Intentional Community
  • Other (no category exists yet)
  • PETV and Clubs
    • PETV Presentations
    • Progressive Farming
    • Permaculture Smackdown
  • Fired and Free's Videos

Found 9 results

  1. Today I show you how to turn two comfrey plants into almost 30! Comfrey is an incredible plant and grows easily from root cuttings as small as 2 inches long!
  2. Rosemary

    If you would like your Christmas celebration on a smaller scale this year, you might consider using a rosemary plant, available at plant nurseries, as a Christmas tree. A dense, evergreen, aromatic shrub, it has resinous, needlelike leaves and soft blue flowers. The upright varieties are hardier, while prostrate ones are more tender. “Arp” is the hardiest rosemary, taking temperatures as low as -10 degrees F. Instructions for overwintering are to wrap in plastic sheeting and shelter from winter winds. Many folks grow them in pots and bring them in for the winter, just in time for use as a Christmas tree. It succeeds best in a light, dry soil and sheltered situation, such as the base of a low wall facing south. Rich in tradition, the Spaniards revere it as one of the bushes that gave shelter to the Virgin Mary in the flight into Egypt and call it Romero, the Pilgrim’s flower. It was introduced in England by Phillippa of Hainault, wife of Edward III in the 14th century. When trimming your “tree”, save the needles for use in cooking. Rosemary roasted potatoes are especially delicious. The best lamb roast I have ever eaten was in New Zealand, with a rosemary herb crust. Known as the herb of remembrance, rosemary is said to improve memory and fidelity for lovers. Because of this symbolism, it is used at weddings, funerals, decking churches and halls, and as incense in religious ceremonies. This is one of the greatest medicinal herbs, especially considering how affordable it is. Rosemary increases the blood supply to the skin, reducing pain in rheumatic muscles and joints. Rosemary baths help with low blood pressure, varicose veins, bruises, and sprains. Because it helps to relax muscles, use for indigestion, cramps and irritable bowel syndrome. Its fungicidal action kills Candida albicans, the cause of yeast infections. Dilute the essential oil using 10 drops per tablespoon of vegetable oil, such as olive, sunflower, almond or jojoba oil. I use the essential oil in pain relieving formulas. It is also a good rub, applied topically, for congested lungs. Add a few drops to the bath after a long, tiring day. It can be applied to the scalp to promote hair growth. Rub on your temples to lessen headaches. Essential oils are too highly concentrated to use internally. Harvest the aerial parts of the plant (the needles and flowers). It is best to steep one ounce of dried herb, or two ounces of fresh herb, in 5 cups of water. Make it fresh each day. Drink hot or cold. A tea can be used for colds, flu, rheumatic pains, and indigestion. It is stimulating, so avoid use before bedtime. Since this herb is a uterine stimulant, it should not be used medically during pregnancy. You should never ingest the essential oil. Small amounts of rosemary used in cooking do not pose a risk of any side effects. Enjoy the holidays, and winter, with rosemary! Sources: The Complete Medicinal Herbal, Penelope Ody, DK Books, 1993 A Modern Herbal, Mrs. M. Grieve, Dover, 1971 Prescription for Herbal Healing, Phyllis Balch, Avery, 2002 Sunset Western Garden Book, Sunset Publishing, 2001 Rosmarinus Officinalis illustration, from NRCS Plants Database, Britton, N.L. Disclaimer: Herbal medicine and teas, as a method of healing, are not recognized in the USA. Lynn Wallingford makes no health claims. Any herbal or tea information is not intended to treat, diagnose, or prescribe in any way, and is for informational purposes only. She does not take responsibility for your experience using them. She trusts that you will consult a licensed healthcare professional when appropriate, especially pregnant women, nursing mothers, anyone over 60 years of age, anyone under 12 years of age, or anyone with a serious medical condition.
  3. Garlic

    GARLIC ~ Allium sativum As a cultivated plant, garlic is of such antiquity that it is difficult to know its origin. Some consider it indigenous to southwest Siberia, where it spread to Europe and has naturalized in Sicily. The Greek poet, Homer, tells of the virtues of "Yellow Garlic” that Ulysses owed his escape from being changed into a pig by Circes. It flourishes best in sandy, rich moist soil. Plant cloves two inches deep, about 6 inches apart, in a sunny spot. Keep free from weeds, and gather the soil around the roots. Most commercial garlic growers plant in the fall, even in our cold climate. That way it is ready to produce roots before the ground can be worked. My experience has shown that it likes plenty of nitrogen rich compost and manure. As with onions, bulb formation is influenced by day length. So an early start is essential to get large bulbs. This herb has been used to heal everything. It is very antiseptic and has been used in many wars to prevent festering of wounds. The raw juice is expressed, placed on sterile pads and applied to the wound. From leprosy to the plague, garlic is attributed as a great healer. Fresh garlic may be applied to acne, warts, and corns. Orthodox medicine acknowledges that the plant reduces the risk of further heart attacks in cardiac patients; it is also a stimulant for the immune system and an antibiotic. Over 1,800 scientific studies support the use of garlic in lowering cholesterol levels and blood sugar, preventing heart attack and stroke, and treating infections and cancer. Diabetics can use garlic to stimulate the pancreas to secrete insulin, without stimulating weight gain. When garlic oil is applied directly to the ear canal, it stops the growth of two fungi that sometimes cause ear inflammation. Raw garlic can counteract the effects of probiotic digestive cultures taken to restore normal digestion and has been known to cause an upset stomach. Avoid using garlic if you take a blood-thinning drug, such as Warfarin, because it will add to the drug's effects. Nursing mothers should use garlic with caution because it can cause colic in some babies. Thirty-five years ago, I would make a garlic syrup for coughs and colds. I used to sell it at art fairs, but I spent so much time explaining it to people, I wasn’t able to sell anything else! It is also a delicious marinade for meats. Here is the recipe: Cut a pound of garlic, cleaned, into slices. Or you can crush it with a garlic press. Pour a quart of boiling hot water over it in a closed pot (glass or stainless steel is best). Let it sit for twelve hours. Make a syrup with one quart of apple cider vinegar and two cups of honey; add the garlic solution and gently simmer to reduce to a syrup. You could strain it, but I enjoy chewing the small pieces. You can add caraway and fennel seed bruised and boiled for a short time in the vinegar. They are good for tummy aches and women’s complaints while adding extra flavor to your syrup. Sources The Complete Medicinal Herbal, Penelope Ody, DK Books, 1993 A Modern Herbal, Mrs. M. Grieve, Dover, 1971 Prescription for Herbal Healing, Phyllis Balch, Avery, 2002 Herbal medicine and teas As a method of healing, are not recognized in the USA. Lynn Wallingford Cochrane makes no health claims. Any herbal or tea information is not intended to treat, diagnose, or prescribe in any way, and is for informational purposes only. She does not take responsibility for your experience using them. She trusts that you will consult a licensed healthcare professional when appropriate, especially pregnant women, nursing mothers, anyone over 60 years of age, anyone under 12 years of age, or anyone with a serious medical condition.
  4. Hawthorn

    It is likely that the Hawthorn trees found locally in parks and yards will be Crataegus oxyacantha, English Hawthorn. However, the Downy Hawthorn (Crataegus mollis) is native to central North America, so it may be found growing as a native in Montana. Cratagegus odoratissima has an agreeable scent when flowering and is used as a fruit. A member of the Rose family, Hawthorns are known for clusters of pretty, white flowers and for showy fruit that looks like tiny apples in summer and fall. I have often collected the fruits to use for color in potpourri. The leaves are three lobed, with indentations resembling an oak leaf. It grows more like a shrub, multi-branched with thorny branches. It is a very hardy shrub, and species are able to grow in Zones 2 and up. Hawthorns make great hedges, and have been used as such in England and Germany for over a thousand years. European tradition regards the tree as sacred, having furnished the Crown of Thorns for Jesus. It makes an excellent fuel, making the hottest wood fire known. Evidence of benefit of Hawthorn compounds that support the heart and circulatory system are numerous. It is used at the beginning stages of heart disease, for mild heart muscle weakness, pressure and tightness in the chest, and to speed recovery from heart attack. Substances in Hawthorn interact with key enzymes in the heart to increase the pumping force of the muscle. By dilating the blood vessels, more oxygen rich blood gets to the heart to relieve chest pressure and tightness. Hawthorn’s action develops slowly, though. The flowers contain more cardiac influencing properties than the berries. Because of circulatory benefits, Hawthorn is good for arthritis and osteoporosis, in stabilizing the collagen in cartilage and bone. Extracts of Crataegus laevigata or oxycantha relieve restlessness and anxiety in children with ADD. Benefits for capillaries make Hawthorn a useful treatment for bloodshot eyes, swollen ankles and varicose veins. Leukemia and cancer patients benefit from compounds that deactivate plasmin, a chemical that allows cancerous tumors to spread through the body. Fatigue caused by Lupus is reduced when using Hawthorne extracts. FLOWERING TOPS: As an infusion for cardiac disorders, use 1 oz. of dried flowers, or 2.5 ounces of fresh flowers, in 2 cups of water taken off the boil (not boiling). Put the herb in a pot with a close fitting lid (such as a teapot). Pour hot water over the herb. Infuse for 10 minutes, then pour through a strainer into a teacup; store the rest in a pitcher in a cool place. Ingest ½ cup, three times a day. Make a fresh pot daily. Tincture: Use 1 cup of alcohol (Everclear is best) to 3 cups of distilled water. Put 20 oz. fresh flowers, or 7 oz. dried herb into a large jar with 1 quart of tincture base and cover with the mixture. Seal the jar and store in a cool place for two weeks, shaking occasionally. Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth or a paper coffee filter. Store in clean, dark glass bottles. Ingest one oz. (two tablespoons) three times a day. As with most horticultural varieties of plants, isn’t it a gift that this pretty landscaping tree is so good for us? Bibliography: The Complete Medicinal Herbal, Penelope Ody, DK Books, 1993 The Woman’s Herbal, McIntyre, Ann, Holt, 1994 Sunset Western Garden Book, Sunset Publishing, 2001 A Modern Herbal, Grieve, M, Dover, 1971 Prescription for Herbal Healing, Balch, Phyllis, Avery, 2002
  5. Peppermint

    LOCAL HERBS AND HOW TO USE THEM ~ PEPPERMINT (Mentha piperita) Greeks and Romans used peppermint at their feasts and on their tables in sprays. There is evidence that mint was cultivated by the Egyptians, but it came into use in Western Europe about 1750 and was first used in England. Of course, the English now consider their local peppermint as the best in the world. Some fine peppermint is grown in the Flathead Valley of Montana and carries a distinctive “green” flavor. Even though the cultivar may be a clone, the flavor of peppermint changes noticeably in every locale it is grown and the conditions of weather, water, and soil. Hence, peppermint from Yakima differs from peppermint from Flathead Valley. Some peppermint has much more menthol, which clears breathing passages. Both peppermint and spearmint do best in a fairly warm, moist climate in deep soils rich in humus, but is a cold hardy herb (down to -20 F in Montana). Peppermint will succeed in most soils when once started. It grows so very well under my outdoor faucet and outgrows any weed. Of course, quack grass moves in eventually, so I replant my peppermint in a new spot every three years, taking care to separate the weed roots from the peppermint rhizomes (wide-spreading, fleshy, and bare fibrous roots). For peak essential oil content, harvest, when the flower buds are forming after the dew, has dried on a sunny day. This herb is so prolific, I harvest it much more frequently, and a small patch of it provides herbs for hundreds of sleep pillows every year. Peppermint is a good decongestant, so helps a person to sleep more soundly. Peppermint is a superior anti-spasmodic herb (reduces muscle spasm and tension) and is widely used for stomach aches, cramping, flatulence, and colic. It is used with purgatives to prevent griping and used with drugs and formulas to disguise the taste. In slight colds or early indications of disease, Peppermint tea will help ward off the problem. Use one ounce of dried herb to 2 cups of boiling water, let steep for one half hour, then take ½ cup every few hours. According to Mrs. M Grieve, Peppermint blended with an equal quantity of Elderflower, as a tea, will banish a cold or mild attack of flu within thirty-six hours, and there is no danger of overdose or harmful action on the heart. Peppermint promotes sweating in fevers and flu. In fairly high doses, Peppermint Essential Oil is analgesic (relieves pain) and promotes calming. It is cooling, so is good for fever, headaches, menstrual pain and migraines. Apply to forehead and temples for headaches. Used as an inhalant, it clears nasal congestion. 2-3 drops of oil in a saucer of water left in the room at night will reduce nasal congestion. As a wash, use 2-3 drops of oil in ½ cup of water for itching, burns, ringworm, and skin irritations. Peppermint oil is used for Crohn’s disease and hepatitis to relieve digestive disturbances and stimulate the release of bile. It is easy to see why peppermint is used extensively in after dinner mints, gum, mouthwash, and toothpaste. Do not give any form of mint directly to young babies. It can reduce milk flow, so take internally with caution if you are breast feeding. Avoid peppermint if you have a gallbladder disorder. If you have chronic heartburn, avoid this herb. If you drink peppermint tea on a regular basis, take a few days' break after a week or two. Sources: The Complete Medicinal Herbal, Penelope Ody, DK Books, 1993 A Modern Herbal, Mrs. M. Grieve, Dover, 1971 Prescription for Herbal Healing, Phyllis Balch, Avery, 2002 Sunset Western Garden Book, Sunset Publishing, 2001 Mentha piperita illustration, from NRCS Plants Database, Britton, N.L. Disclaimer: Herbal medicine and teas, as a method of healing, are not recognized in the USA. Lynn Wallingford makes no health claims. Any herbal or tea information is not intended to treat, diagnose, or prescribe in any way, and is for informational purposes only. She does not take responsibility for your experience using them. She trusts that you will consult a licensed healthcare professional when appropriate, especially pregnant women, nursing mothers, anyone over 60 years of age, anyone under 12 years of age, or anyone with a serious medical condition.
  6. Raspberry

    LOCAL HERBS AND HOW TO USE THEM - Raspberry, Rubus idaeus Used as a flavoring for many delicious jams, jellies, fruit juices and yogurts, raspberries are a traditional favorite household remedy. The berries are taken for indigestion and rheumatism. They are rich in minerals and highly nutritious. A vinegar, made from the fruit juice and white wine vinegar with sugar added, is used for a cooling drink for fever. Raspberry vinegar is also used as a gargle for sore throats. Raspberry syrup dissolves tartar of the teeth. But that is just half of it! Raspberry leaves are used medicinally as well. They are a rich source of vitamin C and contain manganese, iron and niacin. Taken during late pregnancy and childbirth, the leaves are a uterine tonic. During the first trimester of pregnancy, do not use more than two cups in any single day, or more than twice in any given week. Let your doctor know you are using raspberry leaves. Raspberry leaf can help to relieve menstrual cramps. While relaxing the uterus itself, it stimulates supporting muscles to allow for easier menstrual flow. Raspberry leaf is traditionally used for bed wetting because it tones pelvic muscles. It is useful for diarrhea, wounds and sore throats because of its astringency. In France, Raspberry leaf tea is regarded as a tonic for the prostate gland. Harvest the leaves in summer before the fruit ripens. The leaves are usually available at our local natural food stores in bulk, or as a tea. When planting raspberries, place suckers of new shoots about 2 feet apart in rows, with 6 to 10 feet between rows, in good loam soil. It must be slightly acid, with a pH of 6 to 6.5 as the ideal. They need plenty of air to produce fine fruit. Mulch plantings to discourage weeds and keep soil moist, using a wood based mulch. I find that constant watering with a soaker hose throughout bloom and fruiting produces abundant fruit if rain is not abundant. To make Raspberry Tea: Used to ease childbirth, take one cup daily in the last six to eight weeks of pregnancy, and drink plenty of warm tea during labor. During labor, add rose petals to your tea. Raspberry leaf tea can be used for mild diarrhea or as a gargle for mouth ulcers and sore throats. The tea is used for washing wounds, and applied to varicose ulcers and sores. It also makes a soothing eyewash. Use 2 cups of water, just off the boil, to 1 oz. of dried leaves, 2 oz. of fresh leaves. Pour hot water over the herb in a tea pot. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes, then strain and drink warm. Store the rest in a pitcher in a cool place. To make Raspberry Vinegar: Steep one pound of Raspberries in one quart of white vinegar for two weeks, then strain. Use as a cough mixture or gargle for sore throats. Its pleasant flavor can be used to disguise the flavor of other herbal remedies. When sugar or honey is added, it makes an excellent cooling drink in summer. Sources: The Complete Medicinal Herbal, Penelope Ody, DK Books, 1993 A Modern Herbal, Mrs. M Grieve, Dover Publications, 1981 Western Garden Book, Sunset, 2001 Prescription for Herbal Healing, Phyllis Balch, Avery, 2002 Disclaimer: Herbal medicine and teas, as a method of healing, are not recognized in the USA. Lynn Wallingford makes no health claims. Any herbal or tea information is not intended to treat, diagnose, or prescribe in any way, and is for informational purposes only. She does not take responsibility for your experience using them. She trusts that you will consult a licensed healthcare professional when appropriate, especially pregnant women, nursing mothers, anyone over 60 years of age, anyone under 12 years of age, or anyone with a serious medical condition.
  7. Marshmallow - Althaea officinalis

    Sorry, I have not been able to find any connection to those puffy white confections we all know as marshmallows, except that the powdered roots mixed with water make a fluffy paste. If you know of any such folklore, please let me know! Marshmallows proper (Althaea officinalis) grow wild in the eastern part of this United States, but there are many species that grow wild in our neighborhood. The most common garden variety is the Hollyhock, and it can be used as marshmallow in the following treatments. Marshmallows possess the highest concentrations of mucilage, polysaccharides, asparagin and tannins of the group. I grow both Hollyhocks and Marshmallow at our organic farm. Externally, it is good for wounds, burns, boils and skin ulceration. Marshmallow and Hollyhocks grow about three feet tall, with pretty hibiscus like flowers in pinks, white and purple. They will thrive in any soil or situation, but grows larger in moist than in dry soil, and can be cultivated in any unused, wet ground. I like to grow them as a background in borders. Although the flowers and leaves can be used, the roots have the most nutrients, are thick, long and tapering, very tough and pliant. They are white and fibrous inside. Most of the Mallows have been used as food. It is boiled first and then fried with onions and butter. Remember that when you are lost in the woods! It can be raised from seed, or divisions made from the roots. The leaves and flowers are picked in August, the root is harvested in the fall and winter. Marshmallow water is made by soaking one ounce of roots in four cups of cold water, then simmering down to three cups. Strain through loosely woven cloth to keep as much muclilage as possible. This decoction can be used for inflammations of the mucous membranes: gastritis, esiphagitis, enteritis, peptic ulcers, hiatus hernia and for urinary inflammations such as cystitis. The result of these preparations is a gummy paste, great to use as a poultice externally, and soothing for sore throats and stomachaches when taken internally. Leaves may be used in a tea to soothe and heal bronchial and urinary disorders. They are expectorant, diuretic and demulcent. Try growing some of these pretty, easy plants. Look for them as weeds in your garden! Identify what you have before using medicinally. Harvest roots and make your preparations in the fall to ease colds and flu this winter. The Complete Medicinal Herbal, Penelope Ody, DK Books, 1993 A Modern Herbal, Mrs. M. Grieve, Dover, 1971 Prescription for Herbal Healing, Phyllis Balch, Avery, 2002 NRCS Plants database images Disclaimer: Herbal medicine and teas, as a method of healing, are not recognized in the USA. Lynn Cochrane makes no health claims. Any herbal or tea information is not intended to treat, diagnose, or prescribe in any way, and is for informational purposes only. She does not take responsibility for your experience using them. She trusts that you will consult a licensed healthcare professional when appropriate, especially pregnant women, nursing mothers, anyone over 60 years of age, anyone under 12 years of age, or anyone with a serious medical condition.
  8. Elder Flowers and Berries

    Sambucus nigra Canadensis is a black berried deciduous, shrubby tree that seems to grow everywhere in the world! They grow wild in Montana, in moist areas, especially along rivers and streams. Elder has serrated leaflets, usually five to a group, opposite of one another. There are ornamental varieties as well. The flowers are in an umbel, creamy white, are muscatel-scented; used to flavor sweet and savory dishes and elderflower water for eye and skin lotions. The berries add flavor, color and vitamin C to jams, pies, and the famous elderberry syrup for colds. Leaves, stems, and roots are also useful medicinally. The pithy stems can be hollowed out and used for pipes and pop guns. Shakespeare mentions Elder as the Judas Tree (from which he hung himself) in Loves Labour Lost, reaffirmed by herbalist Gerard. Another old tradition is that the Cross of Calvary was made of it. Because of these old Anglo traditions, the Elder became the emblem of sorrow and death. Many country folk in Europe will not cut an elder. It was believed to drive away evil spirits by the Russians, and Serbs use Elder in their wedding ceremonies to bring good luck. It is heralded by many poets and herbalists throughout literary history. With the many medicinal uses of Elder, I can see why these beliefs are held. Each part of the plant is used for different purposes. Mrs. M. Grieve goes into great detail on the uses and constituents in A Modern Herbal, but here I will discuss the Elderberry and Elderflower. Elderberry is one of the most effective herbs for preventing and treating upper respiratory infections, constipation, and fever. The ripe berries are rich in vitamins A and C. Harvest in the fall. It stimulates the immune system. Compounds in elderberry protect against at least eight strains of human flu virus. A clinical trial of elderberry found that it cured 90 percent of flu infections within 72 hours, usually taking six days for recovery. For this purpose, the patented herbal medicine “Sambucol” or a cooked elderberry syrup is preferred. Large doses of uncooked berries can cause digestive problems. To make a syrup, make a decoction by heating 3 cups of cold water with 1 ounce of dried elderberry, or 2 ounces of fresh elderberry. Place the herbs in a stainless steel or glass saucepan and add cold water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for up to one hour, until the volume has been reduced by one-third. Strain through a sieve, filter paper, or cloth. Add 1 cup of honey and stir constantly until dissolved. Allow the mixture to cool and pour into a dark glass bottle. Seal with a cork stopper and store in the refrigerator. Elderflowers are used to reduce phlegm and encourage sweating. Useful for colds, flu and hay fever; they are made into a tea and flavored with honey. A gentle laxative and expectorant, it induces perspiration. The tea can be used as a mouthwash/gargle for mouth ulcers, sore throats, and tonsillitis. It can be used as an eyewash when cool, and in a cream for chapped skin and sores. The tea may be combined with peppermint and yarrow for flu and hay fever. Elderflower water, in our great grandmother’s day, was used for clearing the complexion of freckles and sunburn and maintaining a smooth complexion. It was often mixed with glycerin and borax for blemishes and moisturizing. Elderflower water is also used in the bath, aiding in cases of irritability of the skin and nerves. Elderflower water is made by pressing an ounce of the dried flowers in a glass or stainless steel container, covered with 2 quarts boiling water and an ounce of Everclear or vodka. Allow it to thoroughly cool, then strain through a paper or cloth filter. Refrigerate for long life. Use it in a spray bottle as an astringent after cleansing your face. We are fortunate to have such a beautiful, as well as medicinal, plant growing around us! Sources: Herbs, Eyewitness Handbrook, Lesley Bremness, DK Books, 1994 The Complete Medicinal Herbal, Penelope Ody, DK Books, 1993 A Modern Herbal, Mrs. M. Grieve, Dover, 1971 Prescription for Herbal Healing, Phyllis Balch, Avery, 2002 Sunset Western Garden Book, Sunset Publishing Corp. 2001 Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. Illustrated flora of the northern states and Canada. Vol. 3: 268. Courtesy of Kentucky Native Plant Society. Robert H. Mohlenbrock. USDA SCS. 1989. Midwest wetland flora: Field office illustrated guide to plant species. Midwest National Technical Center, Lincoln, NE. Courtesy of USDA NRCS Wetland Science Institute Disclaimer: Herbal medicine and teas, as a method of healing, are not recognized in the USA. Lynn Cochrane makes no health claims. Any herbal or tea information is not intended to treat, diagnose, or prescribe in any way, and is for informational purposes only. She does not take responsibility for your experience using them. She trusts that you will consult a licensed healthcare professional when appropriate, especially pregnant women, nursing mothers, anyone over 60 years of age, anyone under 12 years of age, or anyone with a serious medical condition.
  9. Echinacea

    It happened again today. I could feel a cold coming on last night, and this morning I felt phlegm in my throat. So I took 2 teaspoons of Echinacea tincture, and could feel the characteristic tingling on my tongue and cheeks. Within an hour the symptoms vanished. I took another dose tonight, although I feel fine. Although recent studies are telling us Echinacea is ineffective, centuries of use have proven it boosts the immune system. It is used to treat colds and flu, fight infection, help speed wound healing, and reduce inflammation. It was introduced to Europeans by the American Indians, who have used it for centuries. It is the most prescribed herb in Europe. Echinaceas are a group of North American perennial flowering plants, commonly known as coneflower when grown as a cut flower. The magenta-purple petals radiate around a high cone. In the Flathead Valley of Montana, Echinacea blooms in early August. I have seen it in the wild here, but it is rare. It enjoys full sun and average soil. Two species are most often used medicinally. One is the common garden variety, Echinacea purpureum. It grows to about three feet tall. The other species, Echinacea Angustifolia, is shorter and has smaller leaves and flowers. The leaves have small hairs. There is some debate about which is most effective. The appropriate species to use for particular disorders is listed in Prescription for Herbal Healing by Balch. Some of the conditions that studies have proven to help are: Acne and infected nails. Echinacea based creams can be used to protect acne damaged skin against sun damage. Cancer. German researchers have found Echniacea purpurea extended life expectancy of people with colorectal and liver cancer, when combined with phamide and thymostimulin. It also offsets depression of white cells during radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Yeast infections. Acts against Candida albicans. Colds, cough, flu, and strep throat. Double-blind studies show Echinacea makes colds shorter and less severe. Parasites. Echinacea is nontoxic to our system, but not so to parasites. September and October are good months to harvest the roots of Echinacea. After a frost, the plant sends nutrients to the roots to prepare for dormancy, so it will be able to spring to life in April. I cut the stems, then dig the roots and soak them briefly in water to loosen the soil around them. Then I take them into the kitchen and rinse with warm water, using a nail brush to clean around the tapering, fibrous root system. As with most roots, the medicinal properties of Echinacea are best extracted by the use of alcohol and water. Use 1 part Everclear or vodka to 3 parts water. Chop the fresh root into ½ inch pieces and weigh it. Place in a blender. Add twice the weight in ounces of liquid mixture (one ounce of fresh herb root in two ounces of liquid). Blend thoroughly, place in a glass jar with lid. Store it in a dark place for two weeks; strain through a paper filter, then bottle in a dark jar. Use 1/2 teaspoon to 2 teaspoons, according to your weight. Use your tincture when you feel the first symptoms of a cold or flu. Isn’t it wonderful to make your own medicine! Sources: The Complete Medicinal Herbal, Penelope Ody, DK Books, 1993 A Modern Herbal, Mrs. M. Grieve, Dover, 1971 Prescription for Herbal Healing, Phyllis Balch, Avery, 2002
×