Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Thyme’

Pocket PoulticeFor those of you who enjoy camping, hiking, walking in the woods or just the great outdoors in general, you know that sometimes accidents happen.  I always like to carry along a few first aid items whenever I am “off the grid”.

An application that is often used in first aid situations is called a Poultice.  A Poultice or Cataplasm as it is also referred to is basically a moistened mass of plant or food materials that is applied to various areas of the body in order to impart it’s medicinal benefits and to provide relief.  There are various ways to create a poultice using either fresh or dried herbs.

One of my favorite items to carry along in my first aid pouch is what I like to call the, “Herbal Wound Healing Pocket Poultice”.  If something like this exists on the market, I am not aware of it and so therefore I created my own.  This is great if you are in an area where you are not familiar with the local plants.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

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 (more…)

Read Full Post »

I am an avid gardener and find that being in the garden really helps me to relax.  There is a great sense of satisfaction that I get from growing my own food and medicine.  We often sit at the table marveling over the fact that….”Wow…we grew this”.  I guess you could say it doesn’t take much to impress us.

There are a lot of wonderfully exotic herbs out there that are used medicinally and I have no aversion to using them.  However, there are also plants that can be easily grown in your garden and are truly magical and healing.  Many of these plants you may find in your spice cabinet and you may already be adding them to your food.

If you are just starting out with herbs I think it is so beneficial to attempt to grow some herbs so that you can observe them, taste them, use them as medicine and get a real feel for the plant.  Some really great herbs to start with are some of the culinary herbs that you find in the grocery store such as Thyme, Basil, Bay, Oregano, Mints, and Rosemary.  All of the herbs can be grown either in the garden or in containers if you are limited on space.  Depending on where you are located some other herbs which are easy to grow include Aloe, Chamomile and Calendula.  If you are interested in growing your own medicinal garden check out local resources to see what will grow in your area.

Most culinary herbs we use are very Aromatic.  Aromatic herbs are warming and dispersive which means they spread out through the system, warm things up and get things moving.  If you think about the feeling or effect you get when you inhale the fragrance from an aromatic plant it opens up your head and your respiratory system; that is the effect of dispersive and this effect occurs throughout the body as well.  The movement provided by aromatics increases digestion and peristalsis along with relieving the pain associated with cramps.  Because aromatics alleviate this resistance thereby reducing pain they are often referred to as Antispasmodics.  By reducing tension or resistance aromatics are also considered to be tonics for the nervous system and relaxing nervines.  Most aromatics are also antimicrobials meaning they are effective for a host of infections due to bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Most culinary herbs are also carminatives.  Carminatives are aromatic herbs which help to improve digestion, relieve gas, bloating and cramping.  Many carminative herbs contain volatile oils which help to disperse or create movement freeing up any stagnation that has occurred therefore allowing the body to begin its healing.

BASIL (Ocymum basilium)

An herb used for centuries in both culinary and medicinal applications, Basil is said to be both cooling and heating in its actions. Traditionally, it has been used in instances of melancholy (depression), indigestion, and for insomnia related to nervous tension. Basil is also used for conditions ranging from colds, fevers, kidney and lung troubles.

Remedies using Basil

Make a tea using basil for headaches, indigestion, fevers, colds, flu, menstrual cramps, nausea, and vomiting.

  • Apply as a poultice for bacterial infections and burns.
  • Crush leaves and apply the juice topically to help with the itch of insect bites and inflammation of the skin.
  • Use as a steam for head colds.
  • Mix the juice of the leaves with honey for coughs.

BAY (Laurus nobilis)

Many people know about adding Bay leaves to their foods while cooking.  However, many people may not know that Bay is not just added to food to impart its flavor to the dish.  Bay leaves help to prevent gas and indigestion and were originally added to food as an aid to digestion.

Bay Oil for Arthritis

  • Heat bay leaves in oil on low heat for several hours.  Strain off the oil and apply the oil to swellings, sprains, or achy, arthritic or rheumatic joints.

 CAYENNE (Capsicum anuum)

Cayenne is an herb which is high in Vitamin K making it a natural blood coagulant. With this said it can staunch the bleeding from an open wound almost immediately by just applying it topically.  Cayenne is also a wonderful digestive aid which enhances the metabolism as well as increasing circulation.

Cayenne Liniment for Arthritis:

Add one ounce of Cayenne to one quart of rubbing alcohol and shake well.  Allow the mixture to sit for 2 – 3 weeks.  Apply this liniment to affected joints.

CAUTIONS: Do not get Cayenne in the eyes. Be especially careful if you wear contacts.

DILL (Anethum graveolus)

Traditionally used for colic and gas, Dill is a great herb to grow in your medicinal garden. Dill is an annual and will self seed itself.  Another use for Dill is that it may help stimulate milk in lactating mothers.

GINGER (Zingiber officinale)

Ginger has warming, stimulating, and antispasmodic properties. It is used frequently for stomach cramps, colds, poor circulation, motion and morning sickness. Ginger is also a wonderful herb for menstrual irregularities and discomfort and helps to promote circulation. Ginger can help to relax the smooth muscles thereby helping to alleviate menstrual cramps.

Remedies using Ginger:

Cough/Cold/Flu –  Add a thumb size piece of ginger root to one quart of water and bring to a boil.  Simmer with lid on at low heat for 30 minutes.  Let the mixture cool.  Strain and drink ½ – 1 cup as desired.  May sweeten with honey.  (Do not use for a dry unproductive cough)

Oregano (Origanum vulgare)

Because of its calming action Oregano is a wonderful herb to help reduce tension and nervousness.  Oregano as a tea is also very beneficial for digestion, improving appetite, to relieve flatulence and bloating. When the leaves of the Oregano plant are crushed they can be applied topically to help ease rheumatic, muscle and joint pain, itching, swelling, and to ease the sting of a bee.

PARSLEY (Petroselinum crispum)

Parsley is an outstanding herbal diuretic and may benefit those suffering from bladder and kidney problems. Also high in vitamins and minerals, Parsley is a good herb for the immune system. Eaten or drunk as a tea, Parsley is a great herb to have on hand for stomach cramps associated with gas.

PEPPERMINT (Mentha piperita)

Peppermint is another herb that is great to have on hand in the kitchen as a digestive aid. Not only is Peppermint great for nausea and flatulence but it can help to ease the stomach cramps associated with colic.

 Remedies using Peppermint:

Nausea – Steep 1 tbsp of mint leaves in 1 pint of boiling water for 20 minutes.  Allow to cool and sip on the tea as needed.

ROSEMARY (Rosmarinus officinalis)

A potent antiseptic, antioxidant, and antispasmodic useful in treating circulatory conditions, eczema, rheumatism, stiff muscles, Alzheimer’s, cancer, indigestion, and irritable bowel syndrome.

SAGE (Salvia officinalis)

Sage is a handy herb to have on hand during cold and flu season. A tea made with sage and used as a gargle can benefit someone with a sore throat. There is some research indicating that sage may help to reduce blood sugar levels and therefore benefit those with diabetes.

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

This very aromatic herb can be used internally or externally and is a very powerful antimicrobial herb.  Because of it’s highly aromatic essential oils Thyme can be quite beneficial for treating respiratory troubles such as asthma, coughs, infections and allergies. Thyme also contains strong antifungal properties which make it useful for treating nail fungus, athlete’s foot, and yeast infections.

Thyme and Honey Cough Syrup

Place 3-4 tablespoons of dried Thyme in a pot along with a pint of water.  Bring herbs and water to a boil, remove from heat and allow to cool.  Mix the infusion with 1 cup of honey.  Use 1 tsp as needed for coughs.  Keep refrigerated.

Read Full Post »

There’s nothing like a wonderful soup or stew during the cold winter month’s to help warm your belly and pick up your spirit.  I absolutely love making homemade broths as a base for my soups and stews.  Grandma was right on the money when she recommended chicken soup for, “what ever ail’s ya”.  Hearty and healthy, broth’s are a powerhouse of nutrition and a wonderful way to build up your immune system.  What better way to get your vitamins and minerals than to enjoy a rich and delicious soup.

When I make homemade broth for my family I feel like I’m making them “a pot full of love”, because I know that I am nourishing them from the inside out.  I like to start my broth off with the finest quality ingredients I can find.  If I am not growing it at home I like to buy local organic produce.  I also like to add loads of nourishing herbs and mushrooms to enhance the nutrient value and to help give the immune system a boost.

I start my broth off with organic grass fed/free range beef or chicken bones.  The bones are full of lots of nutrients that are extracted while cooking.  Traditionally, all parts of an animal were used in one way or another.  Unfortunately, these days we disgard the bones and miscellaneous parts of the animal and miss out on all the wonderful goodness that these, “not so choice” parts have to offer.  Today I am using beef neck bones that I was fortunate enough to be given by some friends. 

Along with the bones I add loads of fresh vegetables such as carrots, celery, garlic, onions, shitake mushrooms, etc.  I also add medicinal plants such as Astragalus root, Burdock root and/or Dandelion root.  Really, you could classify everything that goes into this broth as being medicinal.  Even the common kitchen herbs that go into this broth (parsley, basil, black pepper and thyme) contain loads of vitamins and minerals and a host of various constituents which give them medicinal benefits as well.  I also like to add some blackstrap mollasses because it is so rich and nutrient dense and vinegar to help draw out additional minerals from the bones.  I’m not real big on measuring things out, but I will share with you an approximation of the recipe as I make it….

2 – 3 pds of Beef Bones

1 gallon of water (or enough to completely cover bones)

1- 2 hands full of diced carrots

2 large onions (quartered)

6-8 stalks of celery (roughly chopped)

5-6 clove of garlic

6-8 shitake mushrooms

3 tbsp dried thyme, parsley, basil  (or 5-6 tbsp fresh chopped) (actually whatever herbs strike your fancy)

10-15 slices of astragalus root

2 tbsp of Blackstrap Molasses

2 tbsp Apple cider vinegar

The Kitchen Sink (just kidding)

Place everything in a large pot and bring it to a boil.  Turn the heat down and simmer for approximately 1 hour.  Allow the broth to cool and pour into freezer safe containers for later use.  You can also fill up ice trays, freeze them, and then pop the cubes out as you need them.  You can also just strain it and use it right away.  Be as creative as you want and have fun with making up your own recipe.  You can add any combination of herbs which suit your fancy or add sea vegetables in lieu of salt which add additional nutrients.  This broth can be made with either beef, chicken, fish or wild game bones.

Here is just an idea of the health benefits and vitamin content of this broth:

Water = A natural expectorant and helps to keep the body hydrated.

Beef Bones = easily absorbed minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals.

Carrots = High in antioxidants and the richest vegetable source of the vitamin A carotenes. May help protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer and also promote good vision, especially night vision.

Celery = Excellent source of vitamins K and C and a very good source of potasium, folate, manganese, and vitamin B6. 

Parsley = Excellent source of Vitamins A, C, and K, and high in antioxidants.

Thyme = Excellent source of Vitamin K, Iron and Manganese and a very good source of calcium.  Various medicinal properties to include its use as an antiseptic, antispasmodic and expectorant to help clear congestion.

Shitake Mushrooms = Helps to strengthen the Immune System, may help to prevent cancer, high in antioxidants, a very good source of iron and a good source of vitamin C.

Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceous) = Long history of use in Chinese medicine as an immune stimulant, aid to digestion and benefits to the respiratory system.

So the next time your thinking about ways to help keep your family healthy think about making them soup.  Just the aroma coming from the pot is one way of telling them you love them and you care about their health.  

Thought I would conclude by adding in a little joke:

“A Jewish woman had two chickens. One got sick, so the woman made chicken soup out of the other one to help the sick one get well”.

– Henny Youngman

Read Full Post »

A number of people around me have had some sort of crud which starts in the upper respiratory system and moves down into the lungs developing into a cough. Because of the severity of the coughs and congestion they have experienced I thought I would take this opportunity to talk about some of the herbs that are used for the respiratory system.

Pleurisy Root (Asclepia tuberosa) – Is considered a lung tonic which has been traditionally used for conditions such as bronchitis, pleurisy, fevers, dry cough, pneumonia and asthma. Pleurisy root is considered and expectorant and helps to break up phlegm and reduces inflammation.

Marshmallow Root (Althea officinalis)- Traditionally used for dry irritable coughs, pleurisy, bronchial asthma, whooping-cough and congestion.

Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) – Mullein was traditionally smoked as an aid in certain respiratory conditions. Indicated for use when there is a dry irritable cough as it will help to moisten and lubricate. May also be beneficial for conditions including asthma, pleurisy, croup, emphysema and bronchitis which often reoccurs.

Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) – Coltsfoot is also an herb that has been traditionally smoked to help reduce respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, general congestion and spastic coughs.

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) – This is an herb which is commonly found in most peoples spice cabinets. Thyme is a great herb to have around the house. Not only does it have antiseptic properties, but Thyme is also an antispasmodic and an expectorant making it beneficial for breaking up mucous and clearing congestion.

Elecampane (Inula helenium) – Elecampane is indicated for asthma, wheezing, shortness of breath, pneumonia and helps to increase expectoration as opposed to suppressing the cough.

There are a number of other fabulous herbs for the respiratory system which have not been covered here. However, being familiar with some of the herbs listed here that can benefit your family and help relieve their respiratory issues is indispensable.

Read Full Post »