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Carminative drops 4When suffering with accumulated gas, bloating or griping of the bowels we should think of the wonderful array of aromatic herbs which are often found in our kitchen cabinets.  Aromatic herbs can help dispel or prevent gas, relax the area and help to ease colic and griping of the bowels; in herbal terms this action is referred to as Carminative.

With any condition we should look to determine the root cause.  The formation of gas is natural although in excess it should be a signal to look at improving digestion.  There are a number of conditions that may be associated with excess gas formation.  For example, Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) occurs when the number of “bad” bacteria in the gut outweighs the number of “good bacteria”.  Because “good” bacteria are essential for proper digestion, SIBO prevents foods from being properly digested.  Undigested foods begin to ferment and the process of fermentation leads to the formation of gas.

Certain foods may contribute to gas formation especially if digestion is poor.  The buildup of gas formation can be reduced by eliminating suspected foods.  Herbs can be wonderful adjuncts while looking for the underlying cause of excess gas.

Some examples of Carminative herbs include Anise, Black Pepper, Cayenne, Cinnamon, Clove, Coriander, Dill, Fennel, Ginger, Nutmeg and Peppermint.

Here is a wonderful recipe I created which was inspired by a formula called “Confection of Pepper”, that I came across in an old herbal I was reading.  The ingredients in my formula include Black Pepper, Caraway seeds, Fennel seeds and Honey.  Aromatic Carminative drops are designed to be taken as an aid to digestion after a large meal or when there is gas, bloating, colic or griping of the bowels.  This formula may be effective as a palliative remedy for those who suffer with Irritable bowel.

Aromatic Carminative Drops

Ingredients:

½ tsp Caraway seeds (powdered)

½ tsp Black pepper (ground)

2 tsp Fennel seeds (powdered)

Honey

Combine the herbs in a small bowl and add enough honey to make a paste.  The paste can be rolled into small balls about the size of a pea and then dusted in licorice root or anise seed powder.  You can also leave this as a honey paste and just take a about 1/8 – ¼ tsp as needed.

 

CayenneBotanical Name: Capsicum annum; C. frutescens

Family: Solanaceae

Parts Used: Fruit

Actions: Stimulant, diffusive, carminative, diaphoretic (stimulating), rubefacient, expectorant (stimulating), antiseptic, astringent, emetic, alterative

 Tissue States: Depression, Atrophy

Energetics: Warming/Drying; Acrid

 Indications:

As a stimulating herb Cayenne acts on the circulatory system spreading throughout, warming and toning the system. Cayenne can warm the periphery where there are cold hands and feet and open the pores to increase perspiration. Herbalist Matthew Wood says it is an herb that is useful when we age and, “the heart muscles are starting to become lazy and the circulation is getting stagnant in places.” Acting on the heart and blood vessels, Cayenne may be beneficial in increasing the strength of the pulse without affecting the rate.

Cayenne increases metabolism, peristalsis and digestion while helping with the breakdown of carbohydrates and fats. Cayenne may be beneficial where there is a lack of function in the stomach or the intestines with poor appetite and weak digestion. As a carminative, Cayenne may be beneficial in helping to relieve gas and bloating or cramping of the stomach and bowels.

Topically, Cayenne increases circulation at the surface bringing oxygen and nutrients into the area helping to expedite healing and relieving pain. In cases of sore throat a compress soaked in Cayenne may be applied to the throat while also taking internal doses. A diluted infusion of Cayenne can also be used as a gargle for tonsillitis and is indicated for hoarseness when the uvula is relaxed.

Uses and Preparations:

- Research suggests that Cayenne may help protect the mucosal lining of the stomach from the effects of NSAIDS. (Stargrove)

- Tincture (1:5 in 25%)

- Infusion/ ½-1 tsp with to 1 cup of boiling water. Steep for 10 mins. Mix 1 tbsp of infusion with warm water and drink as needed (Hoffman)

 

Composition Powder

Bayberry bark (Myrica cerifera) 16 parts

White Pine Bark (Pinus strobus) 8 parts

Ginger (Zingiber officinalis) 8 parts

Cayenne (Capsicum frutescens) 1 part

Clove (Eugenia caryophyllata) 1 part

Combine dried powdered herbs. Add 1 tsp to hot water; Indicated for colds, flu, fever and poor circulation.

Cayenne Gargle for Sore Throat

Ingredients:

1 tsp Cayenne powder

1 tbsp Sage or Thyme(dried)

2 tbsp Apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp Sea salt

2 tbsp Honey

1 pint of water

Make an infusion by pouring boiling water over the herbs and steep for 10 minutes. Strain off the herb and add the remaining ingredients to the sage and cayenne infusion. Use as gargle as often as needed.

 Contraindications:

- In large doses it may cause vomiting and/or pains in the stomach and bowels.

 

 

 

Chamomile 1Life is stressful to say the least.  Consider the burden placed on the body when we are exposed to constant stress.  When under stress the body releases chemicals that trigger physiological reactions such as increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, constriction of blood vessels, and release of glucose into the blood stream for energy.

Imagine what happens if these physiological reactions occur over and over again and what kind of strain that places on vital organs and the body as a whole.  This kind of constant stress can lead to headaches, digestive problems, sleep disturbances, fatigue, weight gain and a host of other health problems.

Not all of us have the luxury of dashing off to some remote and exotic vacation spot where we can lounge on the beach and watch the sun set.  However, there are a number of things that we can and should do to help reduce stress in our lives in order to promote better overall health: Continue Reading »

entEarPinnaGrayBB1207When it comes to Acute Otitis Media (AOM) or the common ear infection there is still much confusion as to whether or not to administer antibiotics.  Generally, antibiotics have been prescribed as a safe guard to bacterial illnesses which may be present.  However, it is reported that at least 60% of cases of AOM will resolve within 24 hours and 80% of cases within 3 days without the use of antibiotics.  (1)

“Acute otitis media (AOM) is responsible for a large proportion of antibiotics prescribed for US children.  Use and overuse of antibiotics is associated with the development and spread of resistant bacteria.” (Coco et al)

If you’re a parent or have raised and cared for children you probably know Continue Reading »

Thymus x citriodorus, (Lemon Thyme) , labeled

 One of my favorite herbs to grow in the garden is Thyme. Thyme is a beautiful perennial herb that adds a lot of beauty to the garden, is very aromatic and extremely versatile.

Botanical Name: Thymus vulgaris

Parts Used: Aerial parts

Energetics: Warming, Drying, Pungent(Spicy), Aromatic, VK-P+

Common name: Garden Thyme; Common Thyme

The common Garden Thyme is not an herb to underestimate; it is a powerful healing plant. Thyme is a very Aromatic herb which is Pungent/Spicy in taste. By just brushing your hand across the top of the herb you get a whiff of the distinct aroma right away.

Aromatic herbs like Thyme are stimulating which allow them to get things moving or increase function. Increased function in the digestive system helps Continue Reading »

Spiced EggsOne of my passions has always been cooking.  As an herbalist I love looking for creative ways to get herbs into each and every meal.  Herbs not only convey their wonderful aroma and flavor, but also allow us the opportunity to incorporate their medicinal virtues into our daily lives.

Although, the quantity of the herbs we use in cooking are usually not enough to be considered for over coming chronic illnesses, their daily use is certainly beneficial for maintaining or improving overall health and preventing more chronic illnesses from arising.

Here is a wonderfully tasty dish Continue Reading »

Courtesy: Centers for Disease Control

Courtesy: Centers for Disease Control

The amount of sleep we get and the quality of that sleep is crucial to overall health. While we sleep our bodies are repairing and rebuilding. If we are not getting adequate amounts of sleep we may feel sluggish upon rising and fatigued during the day.

Sleep deprivation is associated with a host of health conditions to include diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease Continue Reading »

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