Herbal Journal

Easy Herbal Remedies

Herbal TeasI can feel the chill in the air in the mornings – and I’m seeing colors changing on the trees – It’s Fall!  I know that also means flu, colds, and various bugs flying around in the air as well.  I’ve put together some recipes that can help you keep your Winter Wellness this season!

There are a great many herbal teas in grocery stores but remember, to get a therapeutic dose using tea bags, you will need to use at 3-4 per serving.  For loose leaf teas, you will need 2 heaping tablespoons per serving. The recipes I’m including are geared for winter but sometimes can be used in spring or summer in iced form.  The best place for quality herbs is Mountain Rose Herbs. I have used them for years and always loved them.

A word on Parts, keep your parts the same, for instance, 1 part equals 1 tablespoon or 1/4 cup. This way, your ratio will be correct for the recipes.

 

 

We’ll start with a good digestive tea – remember, good health starts in the gut!  (From Healing Herbal Teas)

3 parts dandelion root
1 part fennel
1 part ginger
1 part peppermint
1 part spearmint
1/2 part chamomile – use in the evening to calm the nervous system
pinch of marshmallow root to soothe inflamed tissues in the throat, stomach, and intestines – especially useful for acid reflux.

Hot: Pour 1.5 cups of just-boiled water over 2 tablespoons tea. Steep – covered – for 15 minutes.
Cold: Combine 2 cups cold water and 1-2w tablespoons of tea in a jar with a lid. Shake well to saturate all the dry ingredients, place in the refrigerator or a cool place for at least two hours.

Kathy’s Vitamin C Tea:

I love this tea – my own creation! It’s wonderfully fruity and chock full of Vitamin C.  Make a container full of the dried ingredients so that you can whip it together in an instant.

1 part rose hips
1 part Elderberry Flowers
1/2 part lemon peel
1/2 part orange peel
1 part hibiscus
1/2 part elderberries

Hot: Fill with 1.5 cups of just-boiled water and let steep – covered – for at least 10 minutes. Sweeten with honey. Enjoy several times per day.
Cold: Combine 2 cups of cold water into a jar with a lid and steep for at least 2 hours, then strain, sweeten if desired, and enjoy.

Dried Ginger Tea (Kathy’s Recipe)

Dried ginger is more warming than fresh ginger and ideal for helping you warm up after getting a chill, or sweating out a fever. But you can use whatever you have available.

About 2 teaspoons Dried, sifted, organic Ginger
10 ounces of water
1 cinnamon stick (optional)
dash of honey (optional)
Squirt of lemon juice (optional)

Hot: Place the ginger in a small saucepan with the water and simmer for at least seven minutes. Remove from heat and add the other ingredients if desired.

Herbal Inspired Hot Toddy (Kathy’s Recipe)

I love a hot toddy when I’m sick – and this one is a change from the traditional in using herbal ingredients:

1/2 cup water
1/4 cup cranberry or cherry juice
1 cinnamon stick
1 clove
1 slice fresh ginger (or dried if fresh is not available)
2 rosehips
2 teaspoons dried hibiscus
1/2-1 ounce whisky or brandy
slice of orange or lemon (optional)

Simmer water, juice, cinnamon, clove, hibiscus, ginger for about 10 minutes, then strain into a cup. Add honey to taste, whisky or brandy, and a slice of orange or lemon if desired. Drink while warm – preferably in bed because this toddy puts you right to sleep!

Relaxation (AKA Achy Body) Tea

NOTE: This tea is not for pregnant women – no exceptions! Also not for people with blood clotting disorders, or who are on Coumadin, or have kidney or liver disease. Talk to your doctor if you’re unsure you can take this tea

1 teaspoon dried yarrow
1 teaspoon dried feverfew
2 teaspoons dried lavender

Steep with just boiled water for at least 10 minutes. Strain, sweeten with honey. Particularly good before bed.

Enjoy, and if you need any herbal advice going through winter – please let me know.

Recently I was able to visit a country store with an apothecary wall. Hundreds of antique bottles, boxes, and tins lined the shelves and I couldn’t resist taking a picture.

Apothecary Wall, Image by Kathy McCabe
“Apothecary Wall” image by Kathy McCabe, Hilltop Photography.http://www.hilltop.photos

Being an herbalist, this image really spoke to me. These remedies are all from people who came before me and whose work – for good or ill – shaped how medicine is today. I see many ‘miracle drugs’ and must take essential oils, or vitamins for whatever ails a person. It is a reminder that the snake-oil sellers of yesteryear are still out there today.

Do your due diligence. Ask questions. If the seller isn’t responding to your queries, they are probably not the ones you should be buying from.

For me, certain foods will trigger my Meniere’s disease vertigo episodes, so I have to be very cautious. For instance, many CBD oils might be hemp oil, but the carrier oil they use might be walnut or almond which will make me crash into walls with vertigo. And that wonderful relaxation blend you got only to realize it had coconut milk in it AFTER it made you get dizzy. Or you find the perfect salve for sore muscles, only to find that one of the ingredients not listed is causing a rash. And so on… If you’re not sure it’s for you, question it before you buy it to avoid wasting money.

Enjoy the photo of remedies and tobacco (what a combination!), if you’re interested, it can be bought at my photo store, www.hilltop.photos.

I’ve been busy in my kitchen lately. I’m harvesting wonderful goodies such as feverfew, salvias, speedwells, sorrels, lavenders, mint, lemon balm, plantain, and more. All hanging in my little corner to dry for later use – except those I used right away for chickweed, plantain, and lavender salve.

I am loving how wonderful my kitchen is smelling! We even got some gorgeous roses, but I didn’t get a picture before they faded. 🙁

With the herbs that I’m drying, I’ll be able to make my migraine tea, skin healing salves, cough medicine/expectorant, digestive tonics, and more. Just these little herbs. Here are some of my favorites:

Speedwells (veronica): Use the young and small leaves in salads, the older leaves for skin healing salves and in tinctures.

Sorrels: In my yard, we have yellow wood sorrel (oxalis stricta), and it’s such a fun herb. Sometimes while I’m picking, I eat it raw – and love the lemony taste. I developed a tea with it I call “Lemon-not-Lemon Tea. And since normal lemon tends to antagonize my vertigo conditions, it’s a wonderful alternative for me.

Woodland Sage (salvia nemorosa L.): I love these purple salvias – they are long-blooming and gorgeous. Although it’s not the most medicinally useful of the sages (like salvia officianalis) it can still be useful. The leaves are anti-inflammatory and are helpful for reducing hot flashes, and as a gargle for sore throats and expectorant for coughs.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is an amazingly beneficial herb and highly effective aromatic. Who doesn’t feel an instant air of calmness when they smell it? Because of its calming and pain-relieving qualities, Lavender is vital to my pain management. But it’s also very good for the skin so it’s wonderful in salves and lotions. I’m also a big fan of chamomile and lavender tea for when I can’t sleep.

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