Saturday, August 4, 2012

what heals you?

I no longer carry conventional health insurance. I gave up the coverage for prescriptions and office visits when I gave up my corporate job, it's part of the trade off for working at home on the farm. Instead I pay $163 a month to Empire Health and that covers hospital care I may or may not need in case of an emergency. So when I feel a little under the weather, I don't call the doc. I go out to the garden. Now it is traditional herbal medicine I turn to and as of last week's upset stomach that meant blackberry root tincture. You see, I had a common stomach problem, one we are all familiar with (the one that involves fast expulsions of food from non-mouth orifices) that lasted too long. I did some research with my homegirl Rosemary Gladstar and found that Blackberry roots tinctures are the remedy. I didn't have blackberries handy, so I ordered some online. A company in the Ozarks mailed me a combination of pressed roots and grain alcohol and after a few doses s in tea three times a day and I was back to normal.

This was not my first adventure in healing myself. Do you remember me writing about the serious carpal tunnel I had? When I still had that health insurance I went to an orthopedic center to get an electronic test through wires and electric shock to monitor the seriousness of my wrists. I was told I needed surgery. Then I mentioned it to one of the elders at Common Sense and he kindly and patiently shook his head at me. He told me his carpal tunnel was so bad he couldn't hold a pencil. Then he started taking 100-mg of B6 and 50-mg of B2 a day and within three months he was back to normal. I've been taking the same and no longer sleep with wrist braces and unless I am typing for a long amount of time I do not even feel pain anymore.

I'm not saying there are supplements or natural cures for everything. I'm not against doctors either. You better believe I am keeping up with tetanus shots and doxy after deer tick bites...but I know a lot of people who heal many things with herbs and vitamins. I know someone who overcame depression with Niacin. And folks who flush Vitamin C through their systems and cure the flu. Many of us calm ourselves down from stress with a cup of chamomile tea or drink mint tea when we get an upset stomach. There are endless and ongoing things to learn in this field. And I have an idea...

I'd like to collect a pile of reader herbal remedies or folk medicines here in the comments. If you have or know of any herb lore or healing arts, share your homemade teas and tinctures here and all of us as a community can take notes. While some of you may be advanced herbalists, some of you may be more like me. So I shared my blackberry root tincture and carpel tunnel cure. What heals you? Share your own remedies and out of all the comments I will send one random winner a copy of Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Recipes. A wonderful beginner's guide to backyard herbalism and healing! P.S. Hey folks! Today is the last day to share your herbal remedies and stories. I had no idea there was this much interest out there! I'll keep you updated on my own herbal stories but for the now, you have till dusk EST to get in your ideas to win the fancy book. So keep the responses coming! I am taking notes like crazy!


Blogger Kelsie said...

I'm a big fan of creating salves for bruises, cuts, sprains, burns, and other afflictions that can be treated with such an application. I get the herbs for all of my remedies from my own small (but densely planted) permanent medicine garden. I have an all-purpose salve that I use when there isn't a really deep cut involved. It contains olive oil infusions of comfrey, plantain, yarrow, lavender, and wood betony mixed with organic beeswax. I have also made salves that are more case-specific. For burns, I have a salve made with lavender, calendula, and St. Johnswort. For deep wounds, I use calendula, plantain, and yarrow. My all-purpose salve is well-known in my little community and has been used by many happy "customers" for various afflictions. Salve takes a little patience and experimentation, but once you get the method and a few recipes under your belt, you'll never go back to Neosporin again.

For tinctures, I make quite a few, but one I rely on consistently is a fresh horehound and hyssop tincture I make every summer for winter cold and flu season. It's potent stuff and will beat the crap out of whatever it is that's got your lungs and sinuses down.

Finally, I can't say enough good things about garlic. Garlic (combined with a good diet, of course) has, I believe, kept me healthier in the past few years than I would have thought possible. I rarely get colds and I haven't had the flu in years. I do get an annual stomach bug, but garlic broth helps restore my strength. I love to chop it up in great quantities and spoon it raw into homemade soup. I put garlic in almost every savory dish I cook, and I think it's due to garlic that when all my hiking companions are covered in ticks and mosquitoes, I'm barely bitten at all!

Those are a few of my favorite herbal cures/remedies. Garlic is by far the cheapest and easiest (and tastiest!. I can't recommend it highly enough.

August 3, 2012 at 10:18 AM  
Blogger Joie said...

Every time I start to feel the familiar tickle of a cold in the back of my throat, I brew up a tisane of thyme and drink it Sometimes with honey, depending on how sore my throat is. Thyme is an antibacterial (seriously, it's the active ingredient in green' anti-bac cleaning products) and for me, at least, it works very well at reducing the duration and intensity of a cold. I was so, so sad when I learned I couldn't use it while pregnant - and wouldn't you know it, that was the first cold I've had in a while that lasted a full 10 days. Awful!

August 3, 2012 at 10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love this post, Jenna! I'm going to try the carpal tunnel remedy. I've used marshmallow root to cure an ulcerative type issue (undiagnosed). It's also good for most stomach issues related to reflux, etc. It's amazing and I'm so thankful. Dealing with the same issue, I learned that licorice root works for relieving the symptoms during an episode. I'm fairly new to herbs, but love learning and trying new things.

August 3, 2012 at 10:25 AM  
Blogger Missy said...

I use homemade mugwort tincture for insomnia, PMS, or other sleep issues. I've been making a healing salve since the late 90s that helps cuts, stings, and burns (and the occasional yeast infection on parts of body. i had a baker co-worker, years ago, who would get horrible yeast/fungal infections on her hands. i gave her a jar of the salve and it cleared up within a week.). My most recent obsession is herbal honeys that I keep around. I love my lemon thyme honey - which the husband is now using for his sinus funk he's been fighting. Herbal honeys are very easy to make. Pour organic raw honey over washed herbs (packed 3/4 way in jar) and let sit for at least 6 weeks. Leave herb in. For cuts, just use the honey. For a tea that is good for sinus/respiratory issues - use a tablespoon of herb and honey. Wonderful stuff. I'm making a garlic honey this week for the upcoming seasons.

I've used this book (among others) for about 20 years now - for salves and making tinctures:

Also, if you want an absolutely wonderful resource, go check out Susun Weed. Here is her page on herbal honeys:

If you ever have a chance to hear her speak, go. I can't say enough about her.

Good luck!

August 3, 2012 at 10:34 AM  
Blogger Leah said...

Arnica is great for sore joints. I am a knitter and whenever my wrists and finger joints start to give me pain I use a simple salve I made with arnica extract in it.

I think what most people miss with herbal remedies is that in order for them to work you have to use a good amount. I think a lot of people write them off because they aren't using them correctly.

Your new health care system sounds like a winner to me :-)

August 3, 2012 at 10:34 AM  
Blogger Katie said...

We have an old family recipe we call Aunt Vinie's tin-pan mender, which is a balm made from celandine poppy roots, lanolin and bee's wax.. it works wonders on cuts and scrapes.

August 3, 2012 at 10:36 AM  
Blogger rocy + indiana said...

I feel the same way about horseradish root that Kelsie does about garlic, haha. My grandfather was constantly giving it to me as a child. I was very, very prone to sinus infections as a child, and a little (or a lot!) of grated, vinegar-ed horseradish root in a cup of warm-hot V8 tomato juice never failed to make me feel better. Nowadays, I drink that mixture 2-3x a week from October to May. Haven't had a full-blown sinus infection in almost three years.

It helps that horseradish is scrumptious. We always add it to our mac n' cheese for a little extra zing.

August 3, 2012 at 10:48 AM  
Blogger Maggie in Tally said...

Black elderberry syrup is a good cold preventative. If you're not on it and get sick, take 1 stp of the syrup every couple of hours. (thankfully it tastes okay) Keep it up for a couple of days and you should start feeling better. It will umm....get you going, which helps when you're sick.

August 3, 2012 at 10:53 AM  
Blogger MIB said...

Here are a couple that I picked up from Patrick MacGregor of the pharmacy garden at the Farmers Museum in Cooperstown.

Coltsfoot is great for breathing problems. Tea is fine, but funnily enough, it works best if you smoke it. (!)

Plantain can be used to take the "ouch" out of insect stings and the like. Just crush it (or chew it up a little bit), enough to get the juices flowing, and apply directly to the bite or sting.

I've had first-hand success with both of these.

August 3, 2012 at 10:53 AM  
Blogger MIB said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

August 3, 2012 at 10:54 AM  
Blogger greendria said...

For upset stomach, I first try a cup of rosemary "tea" and usually that perks me up (just a sprig of rosemary in a cup of boiling water).

August 3, 2012 at 11:05 AM  
Blogger Anna said...

I just started making kombucha and while I haven't been drinking it for very long some of my friends have found that it really helps with digestive issues. You can drink it regularly for general well being and especially healthy digestion. And it is fun to have another fermenting/culturing project that takes almost no time to maintain.

If you don't have one already, I can send you a kombucha starter in a few weeks if you want.

August 3, 2012 at 11:06 AM  
Blogger Sandy said...

i loved your definition for your "ailment" =o)

August 3, 2012 at 11:10 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

I am a huge fan of peppermint tea with honey for colds. I can't say it cures the cold, but it sure makes me feel better.

Also a fan of elderberry syrup. Last year I only had a few berries off of my new shrubs, so I dried them, then soaked them in hot water, filtered the 'tea' and added honey. Sambucus is reported to be an anti-viral...

August 3, 2012 at 11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since we're going into Elderberry season soon, I recommend that you pick as many elderberries as you can find this year and stick them in the freezer for cold and flu season. I have a great recipe from Rosemary Gladstar for an elderberry-honey cough syrup; it's probably in the book.

I've read that drinking elderberry juice daily is said to protect you from getting a cold or flu, as they have strong anti-viral properties.

August 3, 2012 at 11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like to use a lavender scented eye pillow to relieve stress and stress headaches. I tend to think too much when I'm trying to fall asleep so I put on my eye pillow and just concentrate on breathing. It is also great for tired eyes, put it in the fridge or freezer for a while (in a plastic bag so it doesn't pick up any funky scents) or if you have the space you can just keep it in there, then relax for 10-15 minutes.

August 3, 2012 at 11:16 AM  
Blogger Linda Hall said...

Hi, Jenna! I've been reading your blog for some time now and always find it enjoyable. I started a website It's just been up for about a month and I write about the nutritional value of our food. I have an sauve I make with beeswax, tea oil, lanvander oil, lemon oil, and coconut oil. It helps take the itch out of bites and helps them heal.

August 3, 2012 at 11:17 AM  
Blogger Tealah said...

My go-to remedy is usually a cup of mint tea, but a word of warning to breastfeeding moms - mint has been known to reduce milk supply. Great for helping avoid engorgment when you are weaning! But not so great when you are trying to keep a little one.ged.

August 3, 2012 at 11:23 AM  
Blogger Michelle @ Give a Girl a Fig said...

I am just getting into herbal remedies, as well. We were self-employed for 12 years and at one time insurance was so expensive we could no longer afford it. It was a good excuse to get good at healing what I could at home with natural remedies. One time my husband received second degree burns on his arm, chest and forehead from a radiator blow up. We rushed him home, he stood under the cold shower until he could stand the pain long enough to run to the bed where I was waiting with a pot of ice water and clean rags to continue taking the heat out of the burns. After about an hour the extreme pain was gone. We continued with cold compresses for an hour more then covered all the burns with aloe and/or neosporin. He doesn't have one scar.

I recently took an herbal class at a local herb farm. We made a salve with infused olive oil, cocoa butter and beeswax. The infused oil was made with apprx. 1/4 cup each of the following: usnea, rose petals, mint, lavender, calendula, chamomile, nettles, verbena, meadowsweet, rosemary, oat straw. So I made the salve with the class, brought it home and there it has sat for a few weeks. (Along with the scoby I'm afraid to make kombucha!)

Well, I'm embarassed to say that I had one spot of athlete's foot that I could NOT get rid of for about 8 weeks. I used over the counter sprays and creams and it seemed to only get worse. It was so painful that it woke me up at night!! I know, ick!! Out of desperation and as a last resort, I began applying this herbal salve to the athlete's foot. It eased the pain in about 10 minutes and didn't feel itchy again at all. I applied it 2-3 times a day and it never hurt again and it is now almost gone. I will continue to apply the salve to make sure it goes away for good.

Herbal remedies...they work!! And what a feeling of empowerment to know that we can heal so many things on our own and without putting poison into our bodies. Like you, I am grateful for modern medicine and will use it when I need to. But for those little things? I'm taking care of everything that I can at home!

August 3, 2012 at 11:26 AM  
Blogger Justine Navarro said...

I've found that drinking LOTS of nettle tea with local honey during allergy/hay fever season really helps suppress the symptoms!

August 3, 2012 at 11:27 AM  
Blogger Justine Navarro said...

I've found that drinking LOTS of nettle tea with local honey during allergy/hay fever season really helps suppress the symptoms, and makes life bearable again!

August 3, 2012 at 11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used crushed white sage leaves that steep in water for 10 minutes to help with stress and to calm down the nervous system. It works really well and is even better when mint is added.

Grace and Peace,


August 3, 2012 at 11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you! for the CPS info. I might have that (or tendonitis), but hands and right arm have been sore lately. Lots of typing in my job. Will have to try your remedy.

Super Blue Stuff works great for muscle pain. It's not a home-made remedy, but as far as I know it's at least a natural remedy. Sometimes my back will hurt and I used to take 3 Advil. Now I put that on and sleep great til morning. Google it.

Also "Run for the Cure" on YouTube.


August 3, 2012 at 11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a one year old baby, and I have never once used desitin or any other diaper cream on her. What works the best? Calendula oil! I give it out to everyone now at any baby shower I go to. =)

August 3, 2012 at 11:37 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

I make a tea of freshly picked lemon balm, catnip and mint to drink before bed. It's very relaxing, and the catnip is said to help with sore muscles. I also make my own face cream using a lemon balm infused oil and goats' milk, with lavender essential oil and coconut oil - it smells great and makes my skin glow. Have to keep it in the fridge, though.

August 3, 2012 at 11:37 AM  
Blogger IM=X Pilates Blue Bell said...

I've already got this Rosemary book (love it! Use the miracle grains every day in the shower) so you don't need to enter me in the giveaway. But wow did you hit on my favorite topic! So much info, and recipes, and seasonal updates. Great site.

I make tinctures like they're coming back in style, with 100 proof vodka (no grain here in PA). Nervines are important to me, like skullcap, as are the brainy ones- I'm experimenting with gotu kola and bacopa (which I grow in pots) and gingko. And passionflower is SUPER for turning off my over active brain at night.

Finally, straight lavender essential oil on burns is miraculous- stops the pain and heals the skin.

I could go on and on, but I'm moving house and you've inspired me to go unpack my tincture bottles

August 3, 2012 at 11:39 AM  
Blogger Clare said...

I regularly infuse olive oil with calendula flowers, which is then used as a base for a very healing and restoritive skin creme. I would love to learn more from Rosemary's book! Glad you are feeling better now, too.

August 3, 2012 at 11:40 AM  
Blogger Crisy said...

My local wild life refuge offered a Medicinal Herb Walk and I was completely blown away by the resources, literally, under foot. I arrived halfheartedly thinking I would be the only one there - the parking lot was packed! People brought cameras, notebooks, lists of questions! Apparently many people are on the same wavelength - cheers to that!

August 3, 2012 at 11:41 AM  
Anonymous Chris B said...

For most of my life, in the winter I would get a respiratory infection that would be really bad, and last a long time. These would really take a toll on me, and were very frustrating because they're viral, so no antibiotics (I don't like to use drugs much anyway, but this wasn't even an option really). Finally, when I was in my 20's, someone recommended I try echinacea. Can i tell you how it changed my world? Now in all honesty, it does not prevent you from getting sick, but it radically changes how I get sick, and for how long. If I start to feel something coming on, I take the tincture,pretty much the upper end of recommended dosage, and it has made a WORLD of difference. Like I said, I'll still get the cold, virus, whatever, but it does not settle in my lungs for the long winter any more. I have the cold for a few days or what not, and it's done. Really, can't tell you enough how wonderful this little herb is. And don't pay attention to "studlies" that have been done that say it doesn't work, because it does!

August 3, 2012 at 11:43 AM  
Blogger seagoddess said...

Well I love Rosemary Gladstar, too. I also like the book "The New Holistic Herbal."

Garlic is one of my steadies - if I feel a cold coming on, I try to eat an entire raw clove. Mullein oil for an earache. Astragalus all winter long to keep my immune system strong.

Having an allergy to ragweed, chamomile does not work for me when my stomach hurts, but mint does.

Valerian for those rough nights. I also give my dog valerian when people feel the need to blow off firecrackers on a Sunday night (they're legal here now). And when I give her valerian, she simply goes into her crate and lays down calmly, rather than running around trying to find a hiding spot.

I have serious tendonitis in my elbow and am going to try the Vitamin Bs you mention in your post and see if that helps me.

So that's my list of essentials!

August 3, 2012 at 11:45 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I have come to swear by raw organic milk for most of my prevention methods. There is this really great, small, local dairy (Benedickt Dairy, Bedford, NH) near me and they are the real deal. I have never felt healthier since my 8oz glass each morning. All those good bacteria are the best medicine for me.

In my medicine cabinet you will find arnica oil as a topical anti-inflammatory.

August 3, 2012 at 12:01 PM  
Blogger Jamie Woodside said...

Lavender is my go to remedy for almost anything. Tinctures, oils, ointments, even just eating it...

August 3, 2012 at 12:11 PM  
Blogger Brenda said...

I agree that echinacea works. When my son was about 6 or 7 yrs. old he had a very large, ugly wart on his thumb. I seemed to be spreading. We had used all the "normal" remedies, but one night, since he said he felt like he was getting a cold, I gave him a couple of capsules of echinacea. This was probably 15 years ago, and it was being touted as a great anti-viral remedy. I was simply trying to stave off his cold, but the next morning when he got up, he and I were both amazed to see that ugly wart was gone, too.

August 3, 2012 at 12:43 PM  
Blogger J.D. said...

My herbal remedies are:

elderberry cough syrup with honey homemade, of course.

slippery elm cough drops (again homemade) for sore throats.

Lemon Balm Tea 3 x a day to build the immune system.

Anise hyssop tea for general wellness.

Mullein for general wellness (dried and added to tea mixture.)

astragala for wellness.

St. John's Wort (only blooms in June) to chase away the blues.

Calendula first aid ointment.

Lavender for relaxation.

Spearment for tea and for a burst of energy.

August 3, 2012 at 1:12 PM  
Blogger J.D. said...

Licorice root helps to get engine running young. It is gaining in popularity. I add it to my elderberry syrup.

August 3, 2012 at 1:16 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

Well, I don't know much (which is why i am entering for the book!) but I'll share what I know. I learned from Edwardian Farm that if you have head lice, you should just pour oil on your head (any kitchen oil will do), rub it in, leave it for a bit, then wash it out. Since lice breathe through their skin, the oil suffocates them. I've never had head lice, but after hearing this tip I feel prepared!

August 3, 2012 at 1:16 PM  
Blogger Sonya Chisenhall said...

flaxseed for topical pain. my brother-in-law taught me this one and apparently it's an old native american remedy. my roommate had an abscessed tooth and none of the pain medication was doing any good. i felt so bad for her and she was desperate enough to try anything. so i put some whole flaxseed in a small saucepan and covered it with water. i simmered it long enough for the flaxseed to release a glutenous substance that makes a gluey sort of paste. after it cooled i put a generous dub of it (paste, seeds and all) on some gauze and taped it to the side of her face within a couple minutes the pain from the tooth went from a 8 to 1. she said she could actually feel a drawing sensation in her cheek. she was able to finally relax and sleep. as long as the mixture stays moist and on the area affected by pain it seems to continue to work.

i'm also a huge fan of arnica for pain. especially if you sprain or injure yourself in a way that bruises. it's very effective in reducing swelling and bruising. i often you arnica in conjunction with lobelia tinture for a tight, sore back. the arnica pulls out the pain and the lobelia relaxes the muscles. i also used lobelia when i would start in on a panic attack. i'd rub it on my chest and take some under my tongue and it would help relax the symptoms. i've also hear that it is good to use it in the same way with asthma sufferers.

August 3, 2012 at 1:19 PM  
Anonymous Sarah F said...

I find time and rest cure most things but I do have some favourite herbal remedies.
I highly recommend raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy. It tones the uterus and also helps with menstrual irregularities
I drink mint tea for headaches. For upset stomachs I add a few fennel and dill seeds to the mint or for nausea try chewing a little crystalised ginger.
Ginger tea is what we use for fever and colds.
Hey soon you'll have a book!!!:-)

August 3, 2012 at 1:21 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

I hope you make your information and tips availible on your website. My Oma got me up early in the morning to walk thru the dew in the grass. That got rid of athlete's foot.

Sliced onion soaked in vinegar cures planters warts when applied directly to wart overnight.

I'm one who has avoided doctors and pills my entire life. I believe God gave us everything we need in food to stay healthy. Eat the foods as they grow. The brighter the color - beets, carrots, deep greens - the better for you. Stay away from any food man has processed. It's not going to benefit you.

There are many great books on nutrition. I recently discovered Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions. Wow - soups made from bones. Just like grandma made. Back in the days when todays diseases didn't exsist. We should learn to eat like that again.

August 3, 2012 at 1:34 PM  
Blogger ebwhite said...

I am so glad you mentioned the B-6 and B-12 for carpal tunnel problems. My physician,an MD, just told me to take B-6, B-12 and a multi-B vitamin for my carpal tunnel and hand problems.
My favorite, well known home remedy, is candied ginger for an upset stomach or nausea. And to sooth the intestines after some infection/upset, I always like Greek yogurt.

August 3, 2012 at 1:35 PM  
Blogger BJ Gingles said...

I use mint tea when my stomach feels a bit upset. Apple cider vinegar when I have heartburn and I have found, for me, eating a cucumber kills my headaches better than Advil (who knew?). I am a rank beginner in herbal remedies but am very eager to learn. I would absolutely adore winning this giveaway. Thanks Jenna.

August 3, 2012 at 1:36 PM  
Blogger ebwhite said...

I am so glad you mentioned the B-6 and B-12 for carpal tunnel problems. My physician,an MD, just told me to take B-6, B-12 and a multi-B vitamin for my carpal tunnel and hand problems.
My favorite, well known home remedy, is candied ginger for an upset stomach or nausea. And to sooth the intestines after some infection/upset, I always like Greek yogurt.

August 3, 2012 at 1:37 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Some of my favorite remedies: are Plantain for insect bites/stings, Valerian for insomnia, tension, and cramps, Goldenseal for natural antibiotic, Osha for lung complaints, Alfalfa with spearmint for allergies, Arnica for sore muscles and bruises, and Elderberry for viruses, Enjoy!

August 3, 2012 at 1:38 PM  
Blogger Gelfling said...

For my night terrors and insomnia, I take a tincture of hops, zizyphus berries, and valerian. 2 dropperfuls each night before bed, and after a day or two of the routine I sleep like a baby.

I am also prone to UTIs, so I drink a tonic tea of nettles and dandelion, mixed with some lemon balm and lemon verbena to make it super tasty hot or cold!

August 3, 2012 at 2:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been heading this route as well - although I've never really used medical services all that much to start with, I think getting away from pharmaceuticals and back to more holistic medicine is a good idea for problems that are easily and safely treated at home.

I try to work herbals into my regular routine. For instance, I have very sensitive skin that gets cranky easily, so I treat it with apple cider vinegar that I've infused with sage and lavendar (this is also supposed to be very good for dandruff). To soothe, I use oil infused with chamomile as a moisturizer.

When I'm stressed, I drink tea made of borage, sometimes with some extra herbs like mint or chamomile added in as well. (Sadly, I drink this a lot...)

If I get a cold, I use a facial steam with sage, rosemary, and mint to help clear things out. I follow that with a homemade cough syrup made with honey, lemon, and garlic (and sometimes hot pepper, if I'm feeling really lousy).

August 3, 2012 at 2:09 PM  
Blogger Moose Hollow Farm said...

Growing up in a rural area with an elderly grandmother living next door, we were always using plantain leaves for cuts, scratches scrapes and other non-serious wounds. We would tape the leaves to the afflicted area and, within a day, the sore was much better.
These days, I use sunshine, fresh air and a visit to the garden to cure what ails me (I am the grandmother now).
On days when I'm feeling down, I visit with my daughters and grandsons for a pick-me-up that lasts for days.

August 3, 2012 at 2:13 PM  
Anonymous Jenna said...

I recently went to a workshop hosted by an herbalist called "Remedies: Beneath Your Nose and Beneath Your Toes." :)

One of the remedies she threw our blew my mind. She said that pouring in a teaspoon of lemon juice into the water in your household's humidifier will sanitize the air in a room. Perfect for flu and cold season!

August 3, 2012 at 2:23 PM  
Blogger Jimmie said...

I keep an aloe plant in the kitchen window for cuts and burns. It is so soothing and has no odor whatsoever. Just cut a small piece from the plant, squeeze the sticky juice from it and apply to a cut or burn. Makes me smile to think of how much joy this plant gives me for nothing in the world but a little drink of water from time to time.

I love this subject and can hardly wait to hear more from the posters. I've already read some things I want to try. I also love that you didn't discount the worth of traditional medicine and doctors. I believe there is a place for both.

Diane in North Carolina

August 3, 2012 at 2:27 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

For reflux I take 1 teaspoon of Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar 20 minutes before every meal. I did this for two years and then felt so good I went to warm water vinegar and honey first thing in the morning and did well with that. My acupuncturist just switched me to Aloe Vera Juice and I"m still doing great. My doctor wanted me on the little purple pill for the rest of my life, UGH. I am thrilled to be medication-free.

My cure for depression isn't herbal but it works, exercise! I move my body every day and find that keeps my emotional health high. Good smells in the garden, especially basil and tomato plant smell help as well.

I would love to learn more about herbal remedies. Running to the medical community every time something isn't right just invites prescriptions. I mean, if I cut off a finger then yes, let's go to the doctor but if I can help myself I'd much rather.

LOVE this post and reading all of the comments.

(Just got my fiddle book and can't wait until camp!!!)

August 3, 2012 at 2:34 PM  
Blogger corcoranpuppets said...

Smash your thumb with a hammer? Apply chopped onion! And stick some chopped onion in a baggie in the freezer to apply later. Or, if you tend to be klutzy, keep some chopped onion in the freezer ready to use.

August 3, 2012 at 2:45 PM  
Blogger Sue said...

I love using garlic and onions. Mint tea steeped until it is a luxurious deep brown helps a scratchy throat, as does gargling warm salt water. I, too, have followed Susun Weed's herbal remedies, and she has a wealth of knowledge.

Sometimes a good walk will help a head cold loosen its grip.

Also, local honey can help with allergies, since it is made of pollen, and it is a lot better than the pharma's chemical alternatives.

August 3, 2012 at 3:10 PM  
Blogger becky said...

my aunt would always give us mullein tea when we were sick mix in a little honey to help a sore throat and to try and make it taste better and sometimes a little whiskey to help you sleep

August 3, 2012 at 3:17 PM  
Blogger Helena said...

We're fans of grapefuit seed extract around here. Also apple cider vinegar to ward off the stomach flu. For colds/respiratory illnesses, chicken soup made with plenty of garlic and chunks of ginger root, plus hot herbal tea with honey and ginger.

August 3, 2012 at 3:39 PM  
Blogger pawsfurme said...

Looooove this post!! I can't wait to see what crazy concoctions we can gather up!
One of my goats has what is either an injury to his eye or (God forbid) pinkeye. I went looking online and found several references for using breast milk or raw goat milk in the eyes several times a day as a cure for humans. Don't have breast milk, but I've got PLENTY of raw goat milk. I started this morning so I'll be keeping close watch on him.

August 3, 2012 at 3:57 PM  
Blogger Shelley said...

I've always relied on Swedish Bitters from NatureWorks for stomach upsets. A wonderful (bitter) herbal infusion that has always done the trick.
Recently I moved to a new state and am suffering from seasonal allergies for the first time in my life. I've found relief in using homeopathic over the counter allergy tablets along with using the sinus rinse bottle/tablets available from NeilMed. Easy, inexpensive, and natural!
As you note, there are many other options other than Western Medicine to alleviate our common ailments - go natural!

August 3, 2012 at 4:00 PM  
Blogger Ruby said...

I learned from a neurosurgeon years ago that almonds work for many people for migraines. I had battled them for years, and was willing to try anything, let alone something I love. I ate about a quarter cup of roasted almonds the next time I felt a migraine coming on, and it completely went away. I has worked every time.

August 3, 2012 at 4:11 PM  
Anonymous Alexandra said...

I love organic coconut oil for any skin issues--not only to keep my skin soft (especially in the winter) but also for irritation or itchiness related to yeast infections--works beautifully with no stinging. I also find eating plain yogurt every day is great for keeping digestive issues at bay.

August 3, 2012 at 4:21 PM  
Blogger Mare said...

Hi Jenna, i have Rosemary's book(s) and it's a great book not only for beginners but for everyone. I have just this Spring and Summer begun to make my own herbal tinctures and flower essences. It's a very simple procedure and you don't need many supplies to start. I also recommend any books written by Matthew Wood on the subject of herbalism, and i love to read anything by Machaelle Small Wright of Perelandra. Her Book: Flower Essences~Reordering Our Understanding and Approach to Illness and Health, is a great resource. Also, a big help with my health issues, her book/program: MAP, The Co-Creative White Brotherhood Medical Assistance Program. Very Interesting Stuff.....

August 3, 2012 at 4:48 PM  
Blogger Misty said...

There's a book called "Back to Eden" that has all kinds of good home remedies in it. My g'mother and mother were deeply into home remedies and I continue to use it, too. Even with health insurance, I can't afford the cost of the office visits for simple things.

August 3, 2012 at 5:31 PM  
Blogger Lauren said...

I love using tea as a way to maintain health. I always have a collection of Yogi or Traditional Medicinal teas in the cabinet. My favorites include raspberry leaf for monthly womanly problems, a detox tea for when I'm feeling hormonal/I need to get something out of my system (which is often), Yogi's Muscle Recovery and Joint Comfort teas for when I'm feeling sore for work, and a bunch of others. Buying herbal teas is obviously slightly more expensive than growing the herbs myself but I unfortunately don't have the space for the variety of herbs that are typically included in all these teas.
Right now I'm making iced tea in big batches that are mostly your regular black tea with a number of herbal tea bags thrown in for health. Tasty!

I recently made some general salve that has echinacea root, calendula, st. john's wort, chickweed, yarrow, oats, witch hazel bark, thyme, and plantain steeped in the oil. I also made some body lotion with calendula, comfrey, witch hazel, and oats in the oil.

For tinctures I've made an echinacea tincture and and "sleepy time" tincture for my boyfriend that he likes for his insomnia (lemon balm, oats, valerian root, st. john's wort, skullcap, chamomile, lavender, and borage flowers).

I love my local Whole Foods as a source for bulk herbs. I don't have to pay or wait for shipping and it's all sourced from Frontier Herbs!

PS - I already own Rosemary Gladstar's book. I also recently purchased her new book Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner's Guide, which I highly recommend even if you're not a beginner. It's got some great recipes in it and it organized really well by a variety of useful herbs.

August 3, 2012 at 5:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny you should post on this as I recently started to get into this myself. Plantain in a compress is good to help stop bleeding of minor cuts and scrapes.

here is a nice recipe for a Calendula balm:
good for abrasions, cuts, blisters.

2/3 cup calendual oil
1 to 2 tablespoon beeswax
5 drops lavender essential oil
5 drops tea tree essential oil

Tina H

August 3, 2012 at 5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also want to toss in Jewelweed as a cure for poison ivy. you can make a salve or a lotion and even soap out of it . It grows near banks of creeks , damp woodys areas ( usually where you find poison ivy growing)


August 3, 2012 at 6:04 PM  
Blogger kaelak said...

I love arnica for any kind of muscle soreness, bruising and also for bug bites - a few drops of cinnamon leaf oil in a tsp/Tbsp of carrier oil.

August 3, 2012 at 6:22 PM  
Blogger Rosie said...

I have always been a fan of doing thing with herbs and home remedies. My Dad made "cough syrup" for us as kids that was whiskey, lemon and honey and it worked. If I have a scratchy throat coming on I make it or a small hot toddy of the same ingredients.
Right now I use Tea Tree oil for the bug bites, put it on before pulling a tick and the tick comes out easily. But it also takes the itch out of the other bug bites and dries them up quickly as well.
Arnica creams and such work great for sore muscles and have even given the arnica tablets to my horse when he got hurt under the guidance of a homeopath doctor.
I would love to learn more about using the natural herb that grow around here. There is a field of echinacea just down the way and I am sure there are herbs right under my nose I don't even recognize.

August 3, 2012 at 6:46 PM  
Anonymous Daisy Farm said...

Do I see a future workshop ?? I think it's a great idea. By the way, are you a "business" when it comes to running these workshops? Are you able to deduct expenses and improvements to your property if they involve the workshops? Just curious. I wish I lived closer. Wisconsin is just a few miles too far!! Plus, I still have that day job to maneuver time off around.

August 3, 2012 at 6:47 PM  
Blogger Peacemom said...

For anyone suffering from cold sores, Lysine does the trick! Take a capsule a day when you first feel the "tingle" and you probably won't have an outbreak. Works great!

August 3, 2012 at 7:11 PM  
Blogger Samantha said...

I have IBS and I use a lot of ginger root tea or chews to deal with the bowel and inflammation problems. One day I could hardly walk and I went with my friend to a coffee shop. While there I asked if they had anything for upset stomachs. She gave me ginger root tea and after two cups I walked out of there with no pain. HURRAY GINGER!

August 3, 2012 at 7:22 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

Oh, I was going to add jewelweed, too! We used to make a tea out of it, then store it in the fridge. The cool liquid soothed immediately, and the tea helped heal. It helped a bit with stings, too, I think--though we usually treated them with a baking-soda paste.

Here's our favorite remedy for the hiccups (just 'cause you got me going doing memory lane). It sounds ridiculous, but I've never seen it fail. Put a pencil in your mouth behind your teeth, like a bit in Merlin's mouth. Hold it with your teeth and drink a full glass of water. My theory is, your body's so concentrated on not drowning that it forces your diaphragm into submission. :)

August 3, 2012 at 8:02 PM  
Blogger laurie said...

Any time I feel a cold coming on I make a vat of chicken soup made from my chickens. It works to knock it out every time. Supermarket chicken never worked that way!

I've used Valerian for sleep troubles. My favorite licorice - peppermint tea relaxes me while making me feel more alive. Lavender oil for stress relief.

I also make my own bug spray because I can't use the poisons. Non-GMO soy oil for a base if I want it to stick or water or witch hazel if I want a mist. Mix in 60 drops of essential oils per2-3 oz of water. Lemongrass, geranium, tea tree, citronella, all work. I mix for my nose more than anything. I don't get bit when I wear it.

August 3, 2012 at 8:05 PM  
Anonymous Wendy said...

I complained to doctors for TWENTY YEARS that something was wrong. *I* finally discovered that it was gluten that was my enemy. Since going gluten free (and having a confirmed diagnosis of Celiac from my doctor) I no longer have migraines, eczema, depression, night sweats, bloating, stomach issues or chronic fatigue!!!! If I had only figured it out 20 years ago!

August 3, 2012 at 8:18 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

I think part of being self-sufficient involves addressing one's health needs, as much as possible. Love mint for calming down as well as addressing stomach upset. Would like to learn much more to "doctor" self and animals:)

August 3, 2012 at 8:27 PM  
Blogger Chris Davis said...

I am not so great at the herb stuff, though I would like to be. However, I am a big believer in the judicious use of epsom salts, apple cider vinegar, raw honey, and organic coconut oil...those things seem to take care of many, many of our issues around here. Recently, though, I totally knocked out my son's ear infection by roasting an onion in the oven, squeezing some juice out of it and mixing it with just a dab of olive oil and pouring it in his ear. I then took half of the warm onion, wrapped it in a rag, and had him hold it on his ear for about 15 minutes. Oh, and I also rubbed it over his forehead, temples, and the back of his neck just a bit. He fell asleep for about an hour and woke up cured, after three days of whining and crying about his ear. So...I'm pretty pleased with that.

August 3, 2012 at 8:37 PM  
Blogger Sewing Machine Girl said...

Elderberry outperformed Tamiflu in actual flu cases I've read. NIH paper about it online...

August 3, 2012 at 8:40 PM  
Blogger Snarled Yarns said...

We've had a lot of success with Gas and Constipation with this advice: Drink a lot of water, and take a walk.
It's worked for me several times!

August 3, 2012 at 8:50 PM  
Anonymous Debra said...

Echinacea drops are great to stave off a cold for me but it tastes yucky, so I put in Welches grape juice to hide the taste. Thank you for the oppoturnity to win the book; it looks very interesting.

August 3, 2012 at 8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I came across a great herbal apothecary in Eugene Oregon - Mrs. Thompson's . The Herbalist Heather Nic An Fhleisdeir was very knowledgable. She practices Scottish herbalism. She sold us foot spray to treat my husbands very sore cracked feet. The spray is made of European daisy in a witchhazel distillate with essential oils of lavender and yarrow. It works great, and is supposed to treat foot fungus as well. Heather teaches herbalism classes at her store and through distance learning. The course is called the Village Herbalist. It looks excellent and I am planning on taking it. Thought others might be interested. Here is a link to her herbalism course

-Hilary in the Pacific Northwest

August 3, 2012 at 8:53 PM  
Blogger Finding My Roots said...

I bet this has been mentioned but my go to for morning sickness and motion sickness is Ginger. You can go with ginger tea or candy but I also really like ginger pills that you can get at a health food store.

I also use Epsom salt for everything from a sore back to helping with blossom end rot in the garden.

August 3, 2012 at 8:55 PM  
Blogger Toronto Girl said...

I use lavender often for stress relief and sleep aid. I'm trying to learn about other naturals remedies.

August 3, 2012 at 8:56 PM  
Blogger Jasmine said...

Cough: coltsfoot tea

Flu/cold symptoms: just as you're starting to notice under the weather, strong tea of yarrow. induces light fever that can burn out bugs bfore you go into full immune response sickness.

bugbites: plantain

bee stings: plantain

(note: for plantain, chewing it is good before application for bites and stings cause the enzymes in saliva activate good stuff in it.)

cuts and scrapes: wash well. poultice or wash with tea of calendula and/or yarrow and/or plaintain

infected cuts and scrapes: plantain

bruises: calendula, plaintain, chickweed.

that time of the month/pms: red raspberry leaf tea.

lady cramps: willow and crampbark (highbush cranberry) and red raz leaf. clover is nice too.

Urinary tract infection: lots of cranberry - juice or pills, just not sugary

Headache: willow and chammomile tea. red clover tea.

stomachache: chammomile, mint, lavendar, clover tea. the top of my head...

August 3, 2012 at 8:59 PM  
Blogger Jasmine said...

Cough: coltsfoot tea

Flu/cold symptoms: just as you're starting to notice under the weather, strong tea of yarrow. induces light fever that can burn out bugs bfore you go into full immune response sickness.

bugbites: plantain

bee stings: plantain

(note: for plantain, chewing it is good before application for bites and stings cause the enzymes in saliva activate good stuff in it.)

cuts and scrapes: wash well. poultice or wash with tea of calendula and/or yarrow and/or plaintain

infected cuts and scrapes: plantain

bruises: calendula, plaintain, chickweed.

that time of the month/pms: red raspberry leaf tea.

lady cramps: willow and crampbark (highbush cranberry) and red raz leaf. clover is nice too.

Urinary tract infection: lots of cranberry - juice or pills, just not sugary

Headache: willow and chammomile tea. red clover tea.

stomachache: chammomile, mint, lavendar, clover tea. the top of my head...

August 3, 2012 at 8:59 PM  
Blogger Dirt Worshipper said...

At the first sign of bladder trouble or a UTI, I beginning eating cranberries or drinking cranberry juice or tea. Also a HUGE fan of arnica for bruises. Anise tea for a sore throat.

August 3, 2012 at 9:36 PM  
Blogger Dirt Worshipper said...

Witch hazel on scrapes

August 3, 2012 at 9:37 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Cold/flu symptoms: minced garlic clove, 1 tbsp lemon juice and 1 tbsp honey in 2 cups boiling hot water
**garlic is anti everything!

Itchy bug bites/stings: plantain infused salve
**rub it in and away goes those mosquito itches

August 3, 2012 at 9:42 PM  
Blogger mush said...

I make a tea using one tablespoon rosemary and one tablespoon thyme. I drink this after my evening meal. Eat the peel from several organic apples each day. Chew the peel slowly and for a long time. Rosemary, thyme, and apple peels all contain ursolic acid. Mice who consume ursolic acid from apple peels have greater muscle mass and no obesity. I have been eating healthy and exercising(walking) for four months now. I have lost forty pounds so far.

August 3, 2012 at 10:31 PM  
Blogger Frugal David said...

Way back in 1999, I was a Produce Manager in a small town grocery store. As part of my job I was responsible for maintaining the garden center in the spring. At the end of planting season there were always some items left over that did not sell even when they were on clearance. I asked the store manager if I could take everything that was left for $20 and he agreed. Besides several fruit trees, perennials and bushes, there was a full flat of Catmint that I took home. Up until that time I had not known anything about Catmint, so I threw it in the ground in an unused flower bed. Boy, did it grow like crazy! I started to read all I could find on Catmint and the first thing I used it for was to make tea to calm an upset stomach. Over the years I have found that it is also good for controlling fevers, lowering stress, aiding in digestion, reducing inflammation, reduces pain and headaches, helps you to fall asleep, it stimulates your appetite, and reduces the effects of colds and flu. The leaves and flowers can be used to make the tea. Just pour a cup of boiling water over the material, let stand 5 minutes, strain, and drink. I love this stuff!

August 3, 2012 at 10:41 PM  
Blogger English sheep gal said...

I haven't got any experience with herbalism, this is fascinating reading. I'm sorry nothing much to share, other than Lavendar essential oil on my pillowcase has really helped on nights when I can't sleep. Especially interested in reading about the remedies for sinus problems, and teatree for insect bites. Would love a chance to win the book, thanks for another great Giveaway.

August 3, 2012 at 11:00 PM  
Blogger Jeane said...

I just started learning about herbal remedies last year, and one book I read mentioned using plantain, a weed I'd been trying to eradicate from my yard! My daughter got a splinter and she hates me using tweezers or needles to get splinters out. So instead we crushed a bit of plantain leaf and taped it around her finger for the night. In the morning, the redness was gone, and so was the splinter. I was skeptical before that plantain juice could actually draw out foreign bodies from the skin but this was pretty impressive.

August 4, 2012 at 12:00 AM  
Blogger lemontreelane said...

arnica for bumps/bruises, and calendula on cuts (and baby bums!)... also ice packs work for everything around here (we have about 10 in constant rotation from freezer to child to freezer to child etc etc!)

August 4, 2012 at 12:00 AM  
Blogger Jenny Glen said...

I have Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. I'm actually in remission right now. I was diagnosed at 16 and became so bad at 25 (maybe because of hormonal changes?) that I moved like an 80 year old. I couldn't kneel anymore, I couldn't put a cup to my mouth because that would require bending my elbow. I often fell when I first got out of bed in the morning. Drs kept giving me more NSAIDS. It didn't help. A veterinarian I used to work for told me to take Devils Claw Root. I didn't believe it would work but promised to take it for a month. Within 2 weeks I was 50% better and by the end of the month I was 80% better. I stayed on it for a year and then came off and had another flair up so I stayed on it for two years. I don't need it now but I wonder if I would have ended up in a wheelchair if I hadn't tried it.

August 4, 2012 at 12:06 AM  
Blogger Chessa said...

Definitely cranberry for UTIs. That has saved me many times - straight, unsweetened juice and capsules.

Gargling with saltwater when I have a sore throat. Sounds simple, but it has such a healing effect for me.

I'm also a fan of nettles infusions (spiked with a little mint tea - makes it a bit more palatable).

And just recently I kicked a really bad coughing-cold's ass by taking my vitamins and echinacea tincture. The other members of my family were not so proactive and their colds lasted at least a week longer than mine.

August 4, 2012 at 12:09 AM  
Blogger Fernleaf said...

I don't do any fancy herbal medicine, although it's on my to-do list to learn more about it. I use mint tea for stomachaches and chamomile tea or a sachet of hops flowers in my pillowcase when I'm having trouble sleeping. A good friend drinks lots of nettle tea for various ailments and self-medicates with local raw honey to help mediate her allergies.

Love hearing about all your experiences, wishing you the best from the other side of the country :)

August 4, 2012 at 12:21 AM  
Blogger Angela said...

I am so happy to have found your website!!! I enjoyed your Made From Scratch book a couple of years ago (borrowed from the library) and forgot to write your name down. And here you are!!!
My herbal remedy is a replacement for medicated lip balm (not sure if I can name the brand). My husband has worked outside most of his life and gets cracked lips. He was using the name brand medicated lip balm. And when I looked up the ingredients... Oh My! Petroleum by products. Yuck!
So I made him a healing lip balm from all natural ingredients. Lanolin is the main ingredient. Beeswax, comfrey, menthol, calendula, vitamin e, coconut oil, olive oil. His lips are so kissable now!!! lol!

August 4, 2012 at 12:25 AM  
Blogger Deb Naydan said...

Hi Jenna, It is great to read all the suggestions here. Thanks for posting this and sharing all these helpful remedies.

For anxiety my naturopath/acupuncturist prescribed a tincture of chinese herbs called Quell Fire by Kan. I haven't had an anxiety attack for about a year and a half since I started taking this.

I use pau d'arco tea to clear out any yeasts or molds and red clover tea flushes out toxins and purifies the blood.

Vitamin C for sinus problems, cranberry capsules for urinary tract. Probiotics for digestion. Saurkraut works wonders for the digestion.

A very powerful cold/flu buster of essential oils taken at first signs of illness:
4 drops of hyssop essential oil
3 drops of rosemary essential oil
3 drops of peppermint essential oil
3 drops of eculayptus essential oil
3 drops of lemon essential oil.
Mix together in small amber bottle. To use in steam inhalation, put 2 to 3 drops in bowl of hot water. Cover head with towel and catch the steam and inhale. Do 2 to 3 times a day.
8 drops can be used in bath water. Rest. (taken from Aromatherapy by Valerie Gennari Cooksley)

I make an all purpose cleaning product using filterd water, white vinegar and orange essential oil. Sometimes lemon or grapefruit. I like the orange the best. Shines up countertops, sinks, floors, anything. Dump it on, wipe its gone is what I call it.

The list goes on, I love using herbs and essential oils every day.

August 4, 2012 at 12:52 AM  
Anonymous Tamara said...

When my stomach is hurting from an overdose of movie theater popcorn or I can't even think about food bacause of nausea from headache or stress. I drink a brew of strong Ginger root tea.

August 4, 2012 at 2:49 AM  
Blogger The 4 Bushel Farmgal said...

My mother has told me of how my Italian grandmother used Common Mallow as a medicinal. She would dry the plant by hanging it in the cellar, then boil it with whatever fruit she had on hand to make a mixture for colds and sore throats. (The fruit was just to make it palatible.)

August 4, 2012 at 6:38 AM  
Blogger Holly said...

I am a huge fan of Kris Carr. She is amaizing, look her up! She is about preventative suppliments, and she has got my ibs under control, unlike my dr, who for 3 years we have had no success! Herbal suppliments are the way to go!

August 4, 2012 at 7:34 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

For indigestion, I use DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice)--basically, licorice that's had the "bad" compound that raises blood pressure removed.

August 4, 2012 at 7:35 AM  
Blogger Tigersmom said...

Gargle apple cider vinegar for a sore throat. Followed by a shot of apple cider vinegar to drink. I was able to get rid of strep throat in one day doing this multiple times in a day.

August 4, 2012 at 8:26 AM  
Blogger lemontreelane said...

i forgot to say that our ice packs that soothe anything are basically fabric bean/rice bags that go in and out of the freezer
i love reading these remedies! great post and great comments!

August 4, 2012 at 9:46 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

For me nothing works better for an upset stomach or cramps than ginger tea.

August 4, 2012 at 10:26 AM  
Blogger Paulette said...

Tumeric is our new aspirin. It helps control inflammation. And I concur with those who recommended ice. It has worked to lessen, if not eliminate, mosquito bites, bruises, minor burns, bee stings, and muscle strain.

August 4, 2012 at 10:28 AM  
Anonymous Magislibri said...

For me nothing works better for an upset stomach or cramps than ginger tea.

August 4, 2012 at 10:29 AM  
Anonymous Kate said...

I am a total noob at this, but I'm interested in learning more. I've been browsing a book lately about herbal medicine, but I haven't needed anything yet. Though, earlier this summer we were at my in-laws and my mother-in-law had a cold. I was feeling a little under the weather and took some elderberry syrup and I never did the full fledged cold.

August 4, 2012 at 11:11 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...

Like many others, I am new to using herbs... We have mullein, oregano, callendula and echinacia growing in our garden. My husband swears by oregano oil for keeping cold viruses at bay. Thanks for the opportunity. I love, love, love reading about your adventures! I want to be you when I grow up :)

August 4, 2012 at 11:26 AM  
Blogger CarolG. said...

For an upset stomach or an excess of gas I use a mixture of candied ginger, ground cardamon seeds and mint oil. I grind them together in a mortar and pestal, form small balls and store until needed in either sugar or honey. At times I leave out the mint. They will keep for months.

August 4, 2012 at 11:44 AM  
Blogger Aila_Susan said...

A HUGE word of warning here, most herbs/herbal tinctures should not be taken while pregnant. Some herbs are emmenagogues (they increase blood flow to the reproductive organs) and some herbs are phytoestrogens (they mimic the estrogen hormone in the body); neither of these things are good if your working on building a wee little one in the tummy!

In terms of herbal remedies that I find absolutely awesome:

*Uva Ursi and Licorice (tinctures) for UTIs, licorice supports and nourishes the kidneys and Uva Ursi just plain helps fend off the infection

*Oregon Grape Root tincture, the bitterness stimulates digestion and the herb supports liver function

August 4, 2012 at 11:50 AM  
Anonymous Donna said...

This is a recipe from my Mom's family farm days in Schenevus NY, Haymakers punch called Switchel. It quenched thrist during hay time, carried in tin or glass containers to the hay fields: 1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 gallon cold spring water
Good when you work outside in garden on hot days!

August 4, 2012 at 12:10 PM  
Blogger J.D. said...

Just a wee caution about using ginger. In my herbal education courses I've learned Ginger can raise one's blood pressure, so please be careful.

Also, please exercise caution in sharing herbal remedies with elderly family members. Some herbs result in bad reactions with drugs such as blood thinners, aka Warfarin, Coumadin.

A innocent cup of herbal tea might cause major problems. Thank you!

August 4, 2012 at 12:18 PM  
Blogger kbrow said...

When I feel a cold coming on, I make a smoothie using 4-5 cloves of fresh garlic, an inch of ginger root grated, 20-30 drops of echinacea/goldenseal tincture and the juice of a couple of lemons, sweetened with honey to taste - all blended up in 2 cups of unsweetened cranberry juice. A fierce drink, but it fights a cold like nobody's business.

Sore throat and cold: juice of a whole lemon, 1/4 tsp of cayenne, 1 tbsp. honey, 1 tsp grated fresh ginger, all mixed in 1 cup of boiling water. Super soothing!

I make a lot of infusions, as well: nettle, oatstraw, red clover, per my herbal advisor, Susun Weed. I find the oatstraw infusion (1 big handful of the dried herb + a quart of boiling water, let sit overnight) to be extremely soothing, and calming. The nettle infusion, in the same proportion and process is energizing.

This fall I am going to experiment with making elderberry syrup, as I've had really good results with the commercially available Sambucol - I want to make my own, though.

August 4, 2012 at 12:24 PM  
Blogger Charlotte Boord said...

I love orange spice tea with honey for a tender throat, aloe vera for cuts, and my lavender bud pillow brings relief for headaches and stress.

August 4, 2012 at 12:28 PM  
Blogger Charlotte Boord said...

I love orange spice tea with honey for a tender throat, aloe vera for cuts, and my little lavender bud pillow for relieving stress and minimizing headaches.

August 4, 2012 at 12:30 PM  
Blogger Keli Martin said...

I am just getting into making our own medicines. Actually, some friends of mine are gonna join me in this and help pitch in for supplies and ingredients we aren't growing. We're gonna make a day if it and get our families all set for the winter. We plan on doing the same in the spring to be prepared for the summer months. The things we're making this fall is:

Horehound lozenges
Elderberry cough syrup
Cold/flu prevention tincture
PMS tea
Sore muscle salve
Chest rub
Migraine tincture

An excellent resource for these things is


August 4, 2012 at 2:29 PM  
Blogger Ngo Family Farm said...

WOW, So much wisdom here - I love it! I grow calendula, dry the petals a bit, steep in a jar with olive oil in the sun for a couple weeks, strain the oil, then melt and mix with beeswax to make a good all-purpose salve. Love it for hands after gardening and for all manner of healing for the baby's skin.

August 4, 2012 at 3:01 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

I am going to try cod liver oil and bone broths to reverse tooth decay. I am hopeful.

August 4, 2012 at 4:27 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

I am a big believer in coconut oil after giving birth to my son a year ago. He got oral thrush and I cured it and prevented myself from contracting it by putting coconut oil on myself before breast feeding. It also works better topically than any diaper cream out there.

August 4, 2012 at 5:13 PM  
Blogger maria said...

Lemon grass and mint brewed into a tea not only makes my home smell wonderful, but it makes the most refreshing and quenching tea- I've been using it while I am trying to eat less and exercise more and I it just feels like I'm flushing out all the bad stuff. I don't know that there is any basis for feeling this way, but it's keeping me motivated and hydrated! Diane Maria

August 4, 2012 at 5:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love all the information!
There's a lot of information in this series:
Victorian Pharmacy -

Best to all.

August 4, 2012 at 6:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ginger for nausea – I know it was said before but nothing soothes a queasy stomach for me like ginger, and I know because I’m prone to carsickness. Crystallized ginger works but I prefer it as a tea so I can sip it and give myself a boost. It really helped with seasickness for me as well. And it works for dogs!

Mint tea for gas/indigestion – a cup of mint tea really helps me when I am uncomfortable.

My Armenian Great-Grandmother swore by a slice of onion on a bee or wasp sting.

Apple Cider vinegar in your bath (about a cup) really helps a sunburn. And you can dab it on a regular burn as well.

And while I’m talking about vinegar, well, I love cleaning with white vinegar and it really does a great job repelling ants as a bonus – granted your house smells like pickles for a few hours, but I like pickles.

Tea Tree oil is a great anti-fungal, for your or diluted in some water and sprayed to kill off mold/mildew/mustiness. I spray it in my cupboards. It is also an antiseptic. And I dilute some and spray it on me and my dogs feet while hiking since it repels ticks.

I have horrible allergies/sinus issues and I have to say for that the best defense is a good offense, so I use a neti pot. It has changed my life.

August 4, 2012 at 6:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have an illness it causes alot of extreme upset stomachs, after years of gingerale, and prescription medications they use for chemo theapy to calm stomachs, i came upon my own remedy that works for me everytime. I grate lemon zest into a glass of water i heate it for about a minute and let it sit for an hour as i stir it every now and again. Nothing has worked better for me, and by the way the medicine i was on for it was 80 bucks a pill, lemons are cheaper!!!!

August 4, 2012 at 9:10 PM  
Blogger Maggie in Tally said...

Tea tree oil for any fungal issues including jock itch. My boss came scratching outta the bathroom a few years ago..."Dangit---this jock itch is KILLING ME. What do I do for it?" I handed him the lil bottle of tea tree oil & he dashed back into the bathroom BEFORE I got to tell him that it will be umm...rather refreshing when applied straight. He yowled a coupla times but then said the itching had subsided immediately. I told him to keep that particular bottle.

August 4, 2012 at 9:50 PM  
Anonymous H said...

I have a serious question for anyone without health insurance (or only carrying emergency coverage). What are your plans, if any, if, dog forbid, you find yourself with a serious illness, lump, injury, etc. that herbs can't heal?

August 4, 2012 at 10:07 PM  
Blogger Little Home In The Country said...

1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar, taken in 1/2 cup of water at the FIRST sign of stomach upset, can and does ward off a GI bug. Usually, we only need 2 or 3 doses to feel 100% well. The key is to take it at the first sign of a queazy/rolling stomach and repeat every 15-30 minutes until you feel normal again. We have 5 kids and this works EVERY time. Hands down my favourite most effective remedy.

Also for a threatening head cold, mix up a warm saline solution, plug one nostril and "sniff" it up the other nostril off of a teaspoon (over a sink). Blow nose immediately after (into a Kleenex) and be scrupulous about hand washing after. 2 or 3 doses of this and the cold/runny nose is GONE! Again, this is most effective when done at the first sign of a cold.

Sore throats are always cured here with oregano oil under the tongue, chased with juice taken every hour starting at the first sign.

August 5, 2012 at 12:56 AM  
Blogger laura said...

The most important thing to do to stop a cold/flu from coming or shorten the time you are sick is garlic lemonade. I got it from Aviva Romm's book "Naturally Healthy Babies and Children". My whole family uses it, adults and kids alike. Steep raw chopped garlic in boiled water for a half hour. Add lemon and raw honey, drink it all day every day when ever you think you may be getting sick, when those around you are sick or even when you are already sick. It works like magic!

August 5, 2012 at 1:02 AM  
Anonymous Carly said...

For the last few years I have been flavoring vodka with summer fruits as a new a nd different way to preserve the harvest and a way to beat the winter blues. A friend of mine also got interested in flavored vodka and she created a potent vodka blend of cloves, cinnamon stick, allspice, and nutmeg. When I have a cold and have run through all the vitamin C and echinachea this is what I reach for. This is one of the few things that I can still smell and taste when I am really stuffed up. It warms you from the inside out and seems to almost burn out any bad things. I realize drinking while you are sick is probably not the best idea but a small glass of this dark brown liquid makes you feel better about being so miserable.

August 5, 2012 at 7:33 AM  
Blogger L said...

I've actually also just started delving into Community supported medicine - what a wonderful idea! Although its small, my little garden already has plantain and yarrow, garlic and rosemary in it, ready to create some of my medical remedies!

August 5, 2012 at 10:11 AM  
Blogger Linzleh said...

Elderberry tincture in tea is wonderful for colds, sore throat. Valerian for sleep. I also am a big fan of garlic in foods. Lots of good old water. When I'm traveling I use the Airborne product.

August 5, 2012 at 11:32 AM  
Blogger Linzleh said...

Elderberry tincture in tea for cold or sore throat. Valerian for sleep. Lots of garlic in food. Lots of water and when I'm traveling I use the Airborne product.

August 5, 2012 at 11:35 AM  
Blogger Lee said...

As I've gotten older, I've developed a problem with motion sickness, specifically on trains and planes. When I know Im going to be travelling by these means, I make sure to drink ginger tea, about a thumb-sized plug steeped in boiling water for about 10 minutes. I strain it off, drink it and then make sure I have candied ginger or even sushi ginger with me to plop in my mouth every time I start getting woozy. Its worked everytime and makes my travel more pleasant

August 5, 2012 at 11:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been drinking ginger tea when I feel an upset stomach coming on. Helps settle it down.

ps how can I get your blog to come to my email account -

August 5, 2012 at 11:59 AM  
Blogger karen said...

What a great post-so much good information.

Peppermint and chamomile for upset stomach and feeling low

A dish with hot chili peppers when I feel like I am coming down with something or just feeling all over yucky. Burns out what ever ails me!

Arnica gel for impact injuries. If you apply it right away the pain and swelling goes right down and you will not even bruise. The trick is to put it on right away. Keep tubes in several places so you don't get caught without.

dried lemon balm and lavender in a cheesecloth bag tied to your tub faucet so the water runs through it will make a nice relaxing tub bath. It also smells wonderful.

Ginger tablets to prevent carsickness

Garlic and onions in almost every dish seems to keep us pretty healthy, we hardly ever get sick.

I am currently looking for a replacement for Vicks vapor rub. I use it for getting rid of bad headaches by rubbing on my forehead and then laying down with a cold cloth over my forehead and eyes.

Karen from CT

August 5, 2012 at 12:58 PM  
Blogger Justine said...

I love the idea of herbs to heal I havent gone fully into it yet but I tell you I do have a pot of aloe vera sitting on my table that has seen its fair share of burns and scrapes.... its technically not an herb but im breastfeeding my 9 month old and breastmilk is like a super healing go to... cuts infections bug bites its amazing for everything!

August 5, 2012 at 1:08 PM  
Blogger seagoddess said...

Oh I just discovered kava - what a deep sleep without the over-the-counter hangover feeling!

August 5, 2012 at 4:55 PM  
Blogger J.D. said...


Here's a non-petroleum vaporub:

August 5, 2012 at 5:58 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Lemon balm is my favorite helper herb. I pick pounds and pounds of it every spring and early summer then dry it, blend it briefly in a clean coffee grinder, put it into a glass jar until its two-thirds full, then slowly fill the jar to the top with a mixture of high proof vodka, glycerine and filtered water. I let it tincture in a dark cool place for four week, then filter out the leaves and use the tincture liberally for:

- panic attacks
- stress relief
- cramps and upset stomach
- protection from any virus (flu, wart, strep, etc)

I discovered quite by accident that it's most potently administered neat, directly under the tongue by droppers full. For serious mood adjustment, I take six droppers full and hold it there for the count of ten or twenty, then sit back and wait for the joy to come rushing in. It's a beautiful miracle every time. I recommend this one solution above all others, especially for mothers or others taking care of cranky little ones.

August 5, 2012 at 6:29 PM  
Blogger Stacie said...

I didn't realize how many "alternatives" I use until recently-- I take Lysine for sores in my mouth (I HATE the shape of Lysine tablets, but it's so worth it), I eat raw, local honey daily when I'm having seasonal allergies, I drown colds in vitamin C, and use baking soda for topical soreness, beestings, and stuff like that. This is a super list of stuff, though, that I'm going to have to look at when I have more time!

August 6, 2012 at 12:00 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

When I was little I had a wart on my hand. My grandma said to put milkweed milk on it and cover it with a bandaid and do this for a week. It worked! I got rid of the wart and have never had any warts on my hands again. She said it was an old Indian cure. My mom would always make mustard plasters for us when we had really bad chest colds. And of course we always used baking soda paste for bee stings. I also highly recommend nettle root tablets for hayfever symptoms. It always worked for me. If you have a boil, put the membrane from a fresh egg on it. It draws out the infection.

August 6, 2012 at 12:28 PM  
Blogger J.D. said...

Did somebody win the book? Inquiring herbalists would like to know. LOL

August 7, 2012 at 4:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

for anyone interested in herbal remedies, Ive been using King of Bitters for years,I found them here

August 31, 2012 at 5:07 AM  

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