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  • Articles in 'Natural Remedies'

    Top Ten Herbs to Have in a Home Medicine Garden

    By Darren Huckle L.Ac. Herbalist

     

    1) Stinging Nettle Leaf (Urtica californica or dioica)

    A potent source of bio-available minerals including Ca, Mg, and Silica. Also contains caretenoids, and vitamins. C, B group. and K. Used as a nutritive tonic, as well as for allergies, and eczema. The stingers are used externally for aches and pains.

     

     

     

    2) Lavender Flowers (Lavendula spp.)

    Lavender tea drunk internally is a great calmative, digestive, anti-nauseal agent and treatment for stress related headaches. When used externally it makes a great bath or compress for sore muscles relating to overexertion, sprain, or stress.

     

     

     

     

    3) Mint Leaf (Mentha spp.)

    Mint tea is useful in the early stages of cold as a diaphoretic (sweat inducer), It makes a soothing yet stimulating tea useful for tiredness due to stress. One of the best digestive remedies, it is useful for indigestion and gas due to culinary libations.

     

     

     

     

    4) California Poppy Plant (Escholtzia californica)

    All parts of California poppy are used as a safe and effective remedy for occasional sleeplessness or anxiety. Can be used effectively as a tea or tincture.

     

     

     

     

    5) Valerian Root (Valeriana officinalis)

    As a tea or tincture, Valerian is a soothing digestive and anti-spasmodic herb. Useful for menstrual cramps, indigestion, stress related muscle tension, and sleeplessness. Especially effective for sleeplessness due to eating too late at night.

     

     

    6) Thyme Herb (Thymus vulgaris)

    A great digestive herb to be cooked with or drunk as tea. Due to its high thymol content,, Thyme is strongly Antimicrobial with a special ability to treat respiratory and digestive tract infections. Also useful as an antiseptic wash for wounds.

     

     

    7) Sage Herb (Salvia officinalis, mellifera, clevandii)

    Sage is especially useful for thin copious mucus that occurs after eating or a bout of the cold. It strengthens and tones the digestive system while eliminating excess mucus. Also useful as a gargle for sore throats, when mixed with honey and a slice of lemon.

     

     

    8 ) Rosemary Herb (Rosmarinus officinalis)

    An abundant and potent source of anti-oxidants Rosemary makes a great health promoting and uplifting tea. Internally it is useful for delayed menses, poor circulation, colds, indigestion, and mild bouts of depression. Externally as a soak or bath Rosemary is a great wound healer for conditions including ankle sprains and carpal tunnel syndrome.

     

     

    9) Chamomile Flower (Matricaria recutita)

    One of the safest and most versatile garden herbs, Chamomile is especially useful for issues of the digestive and nervous systems. Promotes a healthy digestive tract, gently cleanses the liver, and soothes frazzled nerves. Useful internally and externally for healing injuries especially when associated with trauma.

     

     

    10) Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

    Yarrow is one of the easiest grown first aid remedies. The crushed leaves applied to a bleeding wound will stop bleeding almost instantly. When applied to bug bites, bee stings and burns Yarrow will greatly reduce the associated pain and inflammation. Useful for the early stages of colds as a diaphoretic tea, as a mild substance to promote delayed menstruation, and for strengthening the digestive system.

    Mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris)

    Mugwort, in English and Artemesia Vulgaris in Latin, is a fairly common shrub herb and yet a very powerful herbal ally. Mugwort is just one of approximately 300 species in the genus Artemesia, named for the goddess Artemis. A tall-growing plant approximately 3 feet, with stems that are angular and often of a purplish hue, Mugwort is used both externally in the form of dried Moxa and internally decocted as a tea or tincture. With a unique spongy texture and a long history of medical use, Mugwort is one of the favored herbs of Chinese Medicine.

    The part of the plant used for medicinal purposes is the leaf. The leaves are gathered in the spring and summer, while the plant is flowering, and dried in a shady place. According to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, Mugwort leaf has bitter, pungent and warm properties, and is associated with the Liver, Spleen and Kidney meridians. Its main functions are to warm the meridians, stop bleeding, to dispel cold and stop pain.

    Moxa is prepared by grinding dried Mugwort leaves or by scraping the soft downy fuzz from the underside of them. This fluff can then be used loose in warming Moxa pots, compacted into a cigar-like roll called Moxa Sticks (with its warming ember hovered over the skin), or rolled into small balls and burned on the end of an acupuncture needle.

    Moxibustion is the practice of burning Mugwort in order to deliver its deep penetrating heat to various areas of concern, thereby invigorating circulation, easing pain, and releasing constraint.

    CAUTION: Pregnant women are not to use Mugwort. Skin contact with Mugwort leaf may also cause an allergic reaction in some individuals. Make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking or using Mugwort leaf.

    Energetic Nutrition: Eating The Wild

    by Liz Koch

    Summer is here and all around are signs of abundant life.  In back yards, fields and mountains there are wild plants paying homage to the sun.  Vibrant and strong these wild plants offer life sustaining energy, medicinal support, and tasty enhancements to our daily fare.

    Medicinal plants from many parts of the globe have found their way into Santa Cruz county landscapes.  Although the word medicinal may conjure up medicine and illness, many herbs are traditionally used simply to nourish, ward off, and protect. They are best thought of as prevention foods. Our ancestors used these medicinal plants as a primary form of maintaining health. Eating “wild” takes us back to our primal roots and reconnects us to the earth’s essential energy.

    In the Secret Teachings of Plants, author Stephen Harrod Buhner writes “for most of our million years on this planet human beings have daily eaten the wild.”

    Domesticated store bought foods are raised for other properties such as long distance travel, visual appearance, and shelf life.  These “foods” may not offer vigor, nutrients, or even much taste.  Much of the flavor and bold character of vegetable plants have been bred out over the centuries. Herbalist believe that because medicinal plants are in a sense less tame and more wild they offer a stronger influence per serving than store bought foods.

    Medicinal herbs are best looked at as “special foods” that have a more pronounced influence on our body systems than the normal foods in our diet.  When used with balance, conservation, and sensitivity they offer a powerful energetic nutrition.

    Fear of mistaken identity, being poisoned or sickened often keeps us from experiencing the wildness of our own back yards.  We may have lost touch with our senses so we simply do not know one plant from another.  However master gardeners such as local herbalist Darren Huckle, nationally recognized Christopher Hobbs, or author Herbalist Michael Tierra assures us that harvesting herbs from our gardens is not only a great way to increase our connection to nature but that many wild plants are not only very safe but are simply unmistakable.

    Santa Cruz County is a great place for taking wild crafting classes and herb walks that help you recognize herbal medicine.

    Huckle for example comes to people’s home to help them learn about the wild plants in your yard.  He encourages everyone to begin connecting with the plant world by learning about the medicinal plants growing right around us. Doing so he says is a step towards re-establishing a deep relationship between plants and humans.

    Stephen Buhner couldn’t agree more.  He assures and invites us to Mother Natures table  “Once we have tasted this wildness, we begin to hunger for a food long denied us, and the more we eat of it the more we will awaken.”

    Fall/Winter TEA TIP

    Are you looking for a soothing and stimulating tea for the flu season? Way of Life’s custom bulk tea blend, entitled “Cold and Flu”, is ideal for the beginning signs as well as to ease symptoms throughout. This blend, which consists of organic yarrow, elderflower and peppermint, is anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and especially helpful for fevers.

    Simply pour 8 oz. boiling water over 1 Tbs. bulk tea, cover, and let steep for 15 minutes. Sweeten with local honey and enjoy!

    Tara, Bulk Herb Buyer

    Help for Life's Discomforts

    Simple Natural Remedies for  Life’s Discomforts

    by LIZ KOCH – SENTINEL CORRESPONDENT
    Article Launched: 02/21/2005 3:00:00 AM PST

    In the not so distant past, taking care of health was a part of everyday life and disease or major injury the uncommon occurrence demanding strong intervention. Taking care of oneself as well as ones’ family was most often deemed part of a mother’s repertoire, and she would hone her knowledge from her mother and grandmother.

    Little things, a tummy ache, toothache, bruise or scratch were problems every home remedy cabinet could handle. Seeing the doctor was for the big things like setting broken bones, high fevers and chronic illness.

    This week for the alternative health lecture, I’ll be talking about some of the natural remedies that can be used for easing the little discomforts of life.

    Read more…

    Create a self-care kit

    For travel or home care

    by LIZ KOCH – SENTINEL CORRESPONDENT

    Original article Launched: 03/28/2005 3:00:00 AM PST reprinted with permission

    Having a safety kit in your car, home, RV, purse or backpack can be a life-saver at best and simply take up a bit of space at worse. With spring here and summer plans in the works, it’s the perfect time to expand and create a self-care kit to go along with your basic safety kit.

    A self care kit can include personal items for putting you at ease, a book of poems, pictures of loved ones or paper and pen for journaling and should include specific items such as a list of important contacts, statements from your doctor describing any medical problems, prescriptions that may be required, treatment information regarding your health problem, and a very clear explanation about any drugs or medical paraphernalia you are carrying with you.

    Read more…

    Simple natural remedies

    To relieve life’s little discomforts

    LIZ KOCH – SENTINEL CORRESPONDENT

    In the not so distant past, taking care of health was a part of everyday life and disease or major injury the uncommon occurrence demanding strong intervention. Taking care of oneself as well as ones’ family was most often deemed part of a mother’s repertoire, and she would hone her knowledge from her mother and grandmother.

    Little things, a tummy ache, toothache, bruise or scratch were problems every home remedy cabinet could handle. Seeing the doctor was for the big things like setting broken bones, high fevers and chronic illness.

    This week for the alternative health lecture, I’ll be talking about some of the natural remedies that can be used for easing the little discomforts of life.

    Natural remedies are most often used as preventative care. By caring for oneself, the slight sniffle doesn’t become an upper respiratory infection. The first sign of a headache, rather than a signal to reach for the pain killer, might simply suggest a need to slow down, exhale deeply or take notice of what happens as a result of skipping too many meals or eating too many sweets.

    A natural remedy might be a cup of warm broth, electrolytes in the form of a squeezed lemon or orange in fresh water, or chewing a fresh sprig of peppermint.

    Read more…

    Making winter tonics

    …with your garden herbs

    LIZ KOCH – Special to the Sentinel Article Launched: 10/07/2002 3:00:00 AM PDT