Are you ready? It's time for our 14th annual photo contest! Enter your best pictures of the year, for a chance to win a calendar and annual subscription here. Hurry! Deadline for entries is October 21.
This is a link to my herb garden photos. I had a medicine wheel in mind, but it's not entirely just medicinal plants. However, there are LOTS of medicinals in it -- aloe, comfrey, St.John's Wort, echinacea, valerian, etc. I have a book "The Medicine Wheel Garden" by E. Kavasch and it is excellent. Anyone else doing a medicine garden?
The picture is my lovely granddaughter in the middle of the herb garden, taken just before Christmas.
Thank you! Unfortunately a windstorm took the arbor. :( I have a little arch in there just to keep the jessamine up, but plan to build a nice little pergola when I have the time and the inclination. Certainly not until the weather cools down -- I'll probably wait until after hurricane season is over, just in case!
Brigid, just wondering - do you use your herbs medicinally? I see a lot of research about this herb is good for this ailment but I'm wondering, is that just then, or is it now too? I mean obviously there are "herbal" or "natural" preparations at every Walgreens, but that's not quite the same.
carrielamont - A lot of herbs have proven or simi-proven medicinal benefits.
disclaimer Information provided here is to be used at your own risk. Talking to a doctor or expert is suggested before using remendies. Use all alternitive remendies carefully. Even if they are "natural" they can be as dangarous as perscriptions. Do not replace any medications that you have been perscribed without talking to a physician. It is generally a good idea to discuss interactions before taking any herbal remendies with your doctor. Make sure you have a positive ID before eating anything.
Did I miss anything?
But in any case, that being said... Here are some common herbs that have medicinal properties:
Catnip Nepeta cataria - Reduces nervous tension, induces sleep, and lower fevers.
Echinacea Echinacea purpurea - Treats colds and flu, boosts immune system, helps with respiratory and skin conditions.
Garlic Allium sativum - Lowers blood sugar and cholesterol, cures fungal infections, and boosts immune system.
Onion Allium capa - Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, helps with blood clotting and other circulatory issues.
Raspberry Leaf Rubis idaeus - Is an anti-spasmatic, helps with cramps for instance.
Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis - Is anti-septic and anti-bacterial, it is used to treat depression and anxiety, and to treat canker sores.
To those good points zhinu, I would like to say to Carrie...I don't think a pill form of an herb works like a tea or tincture form of an herb does (generally, there are always exceptions). I'm not talking about pure, ground dried herb you put in a capsule. I'm talking manufactured pills or tablets. One, you never know if a pill form of that herb actually contains the herb. There have been many reports of testing and the herb stated on the label isn't even found in the pill. If it does contain the herb, often it has been "standardized" to a certain substance that someone "thinks" is the active ingredient. Often, that substance isn't the only substance that is active in the herb. Oftentimes, many substances within the plant work in a synergistic fashion. Isolating one substance doesn't give you the full picture. It's like taking a pill of Vitamin A rather than eating a carrot. And whether you take a tea or tincture is dependent upon which constituents you are looking to extract. As a side point, many manufacturers can use hexane or benzene in pill production, yet not have to state so on the label as the FDA deems the amounts left after the process aren't enough to harm you. Yeah, and I remember my sixth grade science teacher letting each child play with mercury on our desks and we pushed it around with our bare hands. Heck, he even let us take it home so we could show our families how cool it was. Now, if a mercury thermometer breaks in a school broom closet and stays in the closet, the entire school is evacuated (this happened in town).
carrie, I'm pretty careful about what I ingest. If my stomach is upset, I'll make some catnip tea, or if I'm tense some chamomile (next time I may try the valerian or the SJW). I've given dill water to colicky babies. I do put comfrey and/or aloe on topical wounds or burns, and occasionally chunk some aloe innards into a smoothie. I'm pretty healthy (thank Heaven) and don't take anything but calcium regularly (and I probably don't need that, but I'm 56 and my 89-year-old mother is bent over with osteoporosis). If I did develop something like high blood pressure, I would go to the local herbalist (and believe it or not there is an actual certified herbalist in Lumberton, Texas) and try what he suggested before I bought into any pharmaceutical. I'm still learning, and would try things on myself before I gave anything to anyone else, except for topical stuff.
But I'll tell everyone my biggest health/life secret: everything in moderation. Too much of anything will poison you, including water, and too little of what you like takes the joy out of life. Have some chocolate. Eat the rainbow of vegetation nature gives us. Avoid empty calories. And if chewing on a willow stick doesn't make the headache go away, take an aspirin.
Betty, that's exactly what I was asking. When my kids had asthma, I would see "herbal" products (as you say, in pill or capsule form) that contained echinicea. Well, heck, I've got coneflowers in my garden, and fresher than their pills by a year! Happily, their asthma is no longer so severe that it's a big concern.
carrielamont - When I thought I was coming down with strep about a year ago I made a concoction of echinicea, garlic and two anti-bacterial herbs, I can't remember what now. Tasted like hell. I ended up adding some stuff and making it into soup. Still not great tasting but far easier to get down. But within two days my throat had stopped hurting.
Echinacea Echinacea purpurea - For immune system boost.
Garlic Allium sativum - For the immune system boost.
I used to dose my kids with apple cider vinegar and honey in hot water. It's very tart and they didn't mind it -- very soothing on a sore throat. HUGE boost to the immune system, and vinegar will kill just about any germ that comes near it. You can also use it to make Four Thieves Vinegar -- it's a concoction that (legend tells us) kept four brothers, who were thieves during the Black Plague times, from getting sick even though they robbed the houses of plague victims.
I seem to have a weak immune system against it. I've had it four times (maybe five if I cured it that time), one time, due to no health insurance, I let it become bronchitis before I went into the doctor. I might be allergic to penicillin so I couldn't take it in that situation. Bronchitis is bad, pneumonia must really suck, even if it's not as severe case as you had.
I know there is walking pneumonia, but I had nearly dying pneumonia! I have no problem with penicillin; in fact, it saved my life. I have to take a lot of other medications anyway, and I'd rather not take anything I don't have to take in terms of drugs but penicillin is one of my old friends.
If you are, in fact, allergic, you definitely should stay away from it, though!
Our conventional, allopathic medicine is "battlefield" medicine. If you are dealing with an acute condition or acute trauma, that's where you want to go. For staying healthy and dealing with non-acute issues, most other industrialized nations will offer naturopathic/homeopathic/traditional treatments first.
My mother received penicillin for a serious throat ailment during WWII and nearly died from it. Apparently the women on her side of the family are all allergic to pennicillin (we go into shock).
We keep an echinacea/goldenseal tincture in the medicine cabinet for use with stronger (but not medically acute) symptoms of infection. Since goldenseal has been wildcrafted to near extinction, we are now looking at echinacea + oregon grape, barberry or coptis (goldthread) tinctures.
Another staple in our medicine cabinet is Wood Betony or Stachys betonica (aka stachys officionalis). This beatiful and easy to grow member of the mint family is excellent for tension headaches. We have both the "loose leaf" from from our own garden and the capsules from Solaray. My DH takes the capsules if he gets a severe headache.