Wednesday, October 16, 2013

List of 150 Herbs & their Benefits


On this page you will find our alphabetical list of 150+ 160+ herbs! Every herb in our list has its own dedicated page on this site - with pictures and very detailed info! Follow the links to learn more about each herb. The goal of the individual herbs' pages is to gather information about the plant in one place, so that anyone researching it can have quick access to information.

Please bookmark this page so that you can use it as a "quick lookup" when you want to learn all about a herb. You can also share our image on Facebook and Pinterest. Each herb page follows a similar format - starting with names for the herb in different languages, then giving background and history, common and traditional uses of the herb, scientific research, esoteric uses and safety notes.

Our method of organization intentionally follows the style of the old herbals, which listed the plants in alphabetical order and often compiled the writings of other herbalists from past times. There is much material to work through and so this list is continuing to expand. Ok, here is the list!
The Herbs:

Agrimony | Ajwain | Alfalfa | Allspice | Aloe Vera | Althaea Officinalis (Marsh Mallow) | Amla | Angelica |Angostura | Anise | Arabian Jasmine | Arnica | Arrach | Artemisia | Asafoetida | Bashful Mimosa | Basil | Bay Laurel | Bean | Bears Breech | Betony | Bitter Melon | Black Pepper | Blackberry Bush | Blumea Camphor |Borage | Brooklime | Bryony | Bugle | Burdock | Cacao | Calendula | Canella | Capers | Cardamom | Cascara Sagrada | Catnip | Cat's Whiskers | Cayenne | Celery | Centory | Chamomile | Chervil | Chinese Honeysuckle |Chives | Cilantro | Cinnamon | Clavo Huasca | Clove | Coltsfoot | Comfrey | Cordyceps | Cumin | Dandelion |Deadly Nightshade | Dill | Echinacea | Elder | Epazote | Female Peony | Fennel | Fenugreek | Feverfew | Five Leaved Chaste Tree | Frankincense | Galangal | Garlic | Gentian | Ginger | Gingko Biloba | Ginseng | Goat's Rue | Goji | Golden Seal | Gotu Kola | Green Tea | Guarana | Guava | Hearts Ease | Heavenly Elixir | Hedge Nettle | Henna | Hibiscus | Hollyhocks | Holy Basil | Honeysuckle | Hops | Horny Goat Weed | Horseradish |Horsetail | Hyacinth | Indian Laurel | Jew's Mallow | Juniper | Kava | Ladies Mantle | Lady's Thistle | Lavender |Lead Tree | Lemon Balm | Lemongrass | Licorice | Lily of the Valley | Male Satyrion | Marjoram | Milk Thistle |Moringa | Mountain Apple | Mugwort | Mullein | Neem | Nelumbo Nucifera | Nutmeg | Nymphaea Caerulea |Onion | Oregano | Orris Root | Paprika | Parsley | Passion Flower | Pepper Elder | Plantain | Primrose | Queen's Flower | Red Clover | Reishi | Rhubarb | Ringworm Bush | Rooibos | Rosemary | Rue | Saffron | Sage | Saw Palmetto | Senna | Slippery Elm | Snake Needle Grass | Snakeweed | Soapnuts | Solomon's Seal | Spearmint |Spiny Sapindus | St. John's Wort | St Thomas Bean | Star Anise | Starfruit | Stinging Nettle | Sweetsop |Tamarind | Tarragon | Tea | Thyme | Turmeric | Uva-Ursi | Vanilla | Vervain | Water Hyssop | Wild Oregano |Wild Tea | Witch Hazel | Yerba Mate |


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Sunday, October 13, 2013

14 Ways to Use Ground Ginger

I know when I was first learning about herbs, I would excitedly read a new recipe or tutorial only to find out it needed some exotic-sounding special ingredient that required an internet order to obtain. I remember that feeling of frustration and thought that today, I’d share with you fourteen ways to use ground ginger, easily obtained from the spice section of your local supermarket.
Optimally, you’d want an organic brand, but these recipes should work with whatever type is available to you. For this post, I went to my local WalMart and spent $3.98 for a 1 ounce bottle of ground ginger. Normally, I use ginger purchased in bulk from Mountain Rose Herbs, where 4 ounces of fresh, high quality, organic ground ginger root only costs $3.50. The savings really add up when you buy all of your herbs & spices at a price like that!

Before we get started, a quick rundown on some of the potential benefits of ginger:
  • anti-inflammatory, useful for rheumatic & arthritic conditions that feel better when heat is applied
  • helps warm & energize the body when you are chilled and/or sluggish feeling
  • helps with colds & flu when chills & congestion are among the symptoms
  • and it really stars in alleviating upset stomach, nausea & vomiting
It’s important that if you have high or low blood pressure, have any bleeding disorders or are on blood thinners or other such medications, that you consult your health care professional before using a lot of ginger in therapeutic doses. Eating a piece of ginger candy here and there will not hurt you, but taking large concentrated doses of ginger very well may exacerbate your symptoms or alter how your medication works. Only your doctor or naturopath, with the knowledge of your medical history, will know this for sure, so always seek out their wise council first.

Okay, now that you’ve got the basic info and disclaimers, let’s get started!

1. Tea

Ginger tea is easy to make. Measure 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger into a heat proof mug or glass and pour 1 cup of boiling water over it. Cover with a saucer and let sit until cool enough to drink before straining. Sweeten with honey or sugar as desired. The dose for children: 1/4 cup every two to three hours and aim for no more than 1 to 2 cups total per day.

2.  Compress

A compress, or fomentation, is helpful for painful joints, muscle sprains or stomach aches. Make a tea (see #1 for directions), soak a piece of flannel or washcloth for about 5 minutes, wring out and immediately place on painful area. Cover with a towel, then a heating pad or hot water bottle, then another towel. Leave on for 20 minutes. Repeat if needed.

3. Herbal Jello

I recently covered this in the posts Herbal Jello and Healthier Herbal Jello. If you use regular jello, lemon or orange are fabulous flavors to blend with ginger!

4. Candy

Ginger candy is a yummy way to help alleviate the queasiness that sometimes accompanies pregnancy or traveling. To make herbal candy you will need: 1 cup of prepared ginger tea (you may want to increase the amount of ginger if a stronger flavor is desired) and 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Stir together well in a deep, heavy saucepan. Boil over medium to medium-high heat, without further stirring, until mixture reaches 300 to 310 degrees F, periodically wiping the sides down with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystallization.
I like to use homemade corn-free powdered sugar as molds. You can see more details about that method and this recipe at my Rose-Petal Peppermint Drops post. It is essentially the same recipe, only the “rose petal tea” is changed to ginger tea. You can use this method with virtually any herb or edible flower you’d like! (Elderberry is another favorite!)

5. Ginger Ale Fizz

This is a fun drink, especially for kids. The recipe comes from A Kid’s Herb Book by Lesley Tierra. This is a wonderful book that both my daughter and I have poured over many times. It’s a highly recommended resource for your home library! Make a tea, as directed in #1, only use twice as much ginger. So the ratio will be 1/2 teaspoon ginger to 1 cup boiling water. Simmer the mixture for 5 minutes to reduce it a bit, then let sit for ten minutes before straining. Stir in 2 teaspoons of sugar/honey (adjust to taste) then gently add up to 1/2 cup carbonated water. Drink right away to preserve the fizz factor. You can also omit the sugar/honey and replace the carbonated water with 1/2 cup ginger aleor other light tasting natural soda. (This is a useful alternative for those accustomed to a “soft drink” type taste, but still gets the helpful herb in them.)

6. Foot Bath

A ginger foot bath is invigorating! It helps warm up and stimulate the entire body by increasing circulation to the feet and legs. Persons with diabetic retinopathy may find this helpful, however, it would be wise to double check with your health care provider first.
Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil then add up to 2 tablespoons of powdered ginger and a pinch or two of sea salt (optional.) Let this cool quite a bit before pouring into a basin or tub that will fit your feet comfortably. For your first ginger footbath, start with a smaller amount of ginger then work your way up. Soak feet for ten to twenty minutes at a time.

7. Oil

Ginger root oil can be rubbed onto achy joints to help relieve some of the pains associated with arthritic conditions. Another use is placing 2 to 3 drops on a piece of cotton or cotton ball and placing in an aching ear for several hours. I like to use it in salves and balms that I make intended for sore muscles. See my Aches & Pains Balm recipe for an example of this.
To make the oil, place several pinches or spoonfuls (you don’t really have to be exacting on this) of ground ginger in a small jar. Pour olive oil or sweet almond oil over the spice. Shake well and allow to infuse for several weeks in a cool, dark place. Shake every couple days or as often as you remember. After about four to six weeks, strain out the oil and store in a sterilized jar with a tight cap. This will keep about a year if stored properly.

 8. Salve

While you can use the ginger root oil directly as is, sometimes it’s more convenient and less messy to apply in salve form. To make a salve from the oil you made in #7 above: Measure out 1 tablespoon ginger oil and 1/2 teaspoon of beeswax. Combine together in a heat proof small jar such as a jelly jar. Set this into a pan with a few inches of water. Slowly heat the water (not to boiling!) until the beeswax melts. Pour into a small 1/2 ounce tin. Allow to set up then cap and store in a cool, dark cabinet. Apply as needed.

9. Capsules

Capsules of ginger are great to take right before a trip, if you are prone to motion sickness. They’re also helpful for when you’re feeling a bit icky, run down, or your stomach feels yucky. I make my own capsules two ways. The first is by using encapsulation tools I bought from Mountain Rose Herbs.
My other, really cheap way that I often employ is to reuse tiny supplement capsules that we only take a sprinkle of at a time. For instance, germanium is excellent to take when you’re sick. But, I don’t like to take large amounts of any one vitamin or mineral because that’s a good way to upset the balance of its cofactors; I’m a micro-doser. So, if someone is under the weather, I might mix a spoonful of honey with a tincture or a bit of herb like olive leaf and I will also add a sprinkle of germanium. I save all of the capsules once they’re empty and toss them back in the bottle. I repry them open and use a tiny measuring spoon to refill with powdered ginger. Then, I have an easy-to-swallow sized pill perfect for kids and those with a sensitive gag reflex.

10. Tincture

I can’t make this list without mentioning tinctures! To make one, put a generous pinch or two of ground ginger in a small jar then cover with 80 proof or higher vodka or brandy. Cap and shake well then store in a cool, dark place like a cupboard. After six weeks or so, strain out the herbs and rebottle the tincture in a sterilized jar. Label clearly with the date and ingredients. These will keep for years!
A general dosage for adults is 3 dropperfuls, three times a day, half as much or less for a child. I usually dispense tinctures to my children about 3 drops at a time. I like to dose ginger tincture in a glass of ginger ale. But, you can also mix some with a spoonful of honey. Some brave souls even take a dropperful directly in the mouth, followed by a swig of water. (I am not so much a brave soul!)

11. Liniment

When I was a kid, my parents had this bright green, minty smelling alcohol I would rub on my legs when I had growing pains. Now I know that this is called a liniment and is easily duplicated at home. Depending on which herb you choose, your liniment will be warming or cooling. A ginger liniment is warming and can increase blood circulation and help when you’re feeling stiff and achy – especially if the discomfort is a result of cold weather.
To make a liniment: place several pinches of ground ginger in a jar. Cover completely with rubbing alcohol (you can also use witch hazel extract or vinegar) then cap. Let this sit in a cupboard for a couple of weeks, shaking whenever you remember. After this amount of time, strain out and discard the ginger. Rebottle the liniment in a (preferably dark) bottle. Make sure to clearly label that this is for external use only and keep out of reach of children. If you have any concern at all about children getting into this, then use vinegar as your menstruum instead of rubbing alcohol. Rub this on strained muscles and areas of arthritic pain.

12. Medicinal Vinegar &/or Oxymel

I covered this in the post How to Make Medicinal Vinegars & Oxymels. Ginger Oxymel is helpful for chest congestion and queasy tummies.

13. Ginger Syrup

Before I found out my issues with gluten, I almost constantly felt sick. It was reminiscent of the morning-and-all-day queasiness I felt when pregnant. For a few years, Maalox was my lifesaver and I went through bottle after bottle of it. (Eek! I know!) Then, I became more health-conscious and switched to some tiny, expensive bottles of ginger syrup from the health food store. Eventually, I figured out that food can be the root of many illnesses, dropped the gluten and queasiness became a thing of the past! I now also know that I could have saved a ton of money by making my own ginger syrup.
While there are several methods of making ginger syrup, I’ll share an easy honey-based one with you now.
First, make a very strong tea (see directions on #1 of this list.) Use twice as much ginger or half as much water when making your tea – you may want to experiment to find what strength works best for you, but that’s a good starting point. Measure out a small amount of tea and put into a saucepan. Next, measure out two to three times as much honey, as tea. I can’t recommend raw, local honey highly enough, but use what you can get. Stir this together and heat gently over low heat. You don’t want your syrup to get over 110 degrees F in order to preserve the benefits of the raw honey.
Once the ingredients are fully incorporated, remove from heat and pour into a sterilized jar. Store for up to six months in the refrigerator. Dosing: 1 to 2 teaspoons for children, 1 tablespoon for adults up to five times per day, as needed.

14. Honey Mixture

Finally, the last way you can use ground ginger is the quickest, easiest and my most favorite way. Just put a spoonful of honey into a tea cup or small bowl, put in a tiny pinch of ginger, stir together then eat! Can’t beat the simplicity of that!

I hope these fourteen ways to use a bottle of ground ginger from the grocery store helps you realize that you don’t have to wait until you can buy expensive, exotic sounding ingredients to start experimenting with herbs. Use what you have handy, right now!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Make Your Own Reusable Kitchen Clean-up Wipes

Full Credit Blongs To This Awesome Blog------>

Note:  I think I would use Natural Lavender Essential Oil
These simple-to-make kitchen wipes are the perfect example of a great all-natural alternative cleaning product!  #1) They are REUSABLE, #2) they’re RECYCLED, and #3) they’re completely CHEMICAL-FREE.
peppermint kitchen wipes
Take an old t-shirt (or PJ’s, or whatever) that is bound for the donation bin, and cut it up into “rag-size” cloths.

peppermint kitchen wipes
Pour 1 cup warm water, 1/8 cup (or 1 ounce) liquid castile soap, and 5 – 10 drops of your favorite essential oil into a jar with a tight-fitting lid.

peppermint kitchen wipes
With its refreshing minty scent and powerful antibacterial properties, peppermint essential oil is a perfect complement to many homemade cleaning products.
peppermint kitchen wipes 6
Place the rags into the jar with the liquid. (I think I ended up with about 8 or 10 rags.)
peppermint kitchen wipes
Put the top on the jar (or whatever lidded container you prefer) and turn upside down a few times until all the rags are soaked.
After being used, the cloths can be washed and returned to the jar for RE-use over and over again.
peppermint kitchen wipes
Now whenever you have a messy spill or just want to freshen up the countertops after you’ve finished kitchen clean-up for the day…pull one out and enjoy knowing you’re saving time and money because you now have one less cleaning product on your shopping list.

peppermint kitchen wipes

Friday, March 1, 2013

Six natural alternatives to ibuprofen

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The saying used to be, “Take two aspirin and call me in the morning,” but many people turn to ibuprofen to relieve inflammation, pain, and fever. This nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), available both over the counter and by prescription, is commonly used to treat arthritis, menstrual symptoms, headache, general aches and pains, and various inflammatory conditions.

Side effects of ibuprofen

Although many people think of ibuprofen as being rather benign, it is associated with an increased risk of heart and circulation problems, including stroke and heart attack, as well asgastrointestinal problems, such as bleeding or perforation of the stomach or intestinal tract. These risks increase the longer you take the drug, although the length of time until it affects any one individual varies depending on their overall health, use of other medications, age, and other factors.


Natural alternatives to ibuprofen
Many studies have been done on various natural pain killers and anti-inflammatories that can be used as alternatives to ibuprofen. They generally have mild to no side effects. Here are a few you may want to consider. You should always consult a knowledgeable health-care professional before starting a new treatment program.

Boswellia: This anti-inflammatory remedy comes from theBoswellia serrata tree that grows in India. The anti-inflammatory properties of boswellia are attributed to the boswellic acids that it contains. These acids improve blood flow to the joints and prevent inflammatory white cells from entering damaged tissue. Also known as “Indian frankincense,” boswellia is available as a supplement and a topical cream. For pain and inflammation, a suggested dose is 450 to 750 mg daily for three to four weeks.

Capsaicin: The active component of chili peppers, capsaicin is often used topically to nerve, muscle, and joint pain. It works by interfering with substance P, a chemical that helps transmit pain signals to the brain. It is available as a topical cream or gels in several different potencies (most often, 0.025% to 0.075%) and is usually applied three to four times daily. It can cause some stinging and burning initially, but it typically subsides with use.

Cat’s claw: Uncaria tomentosa, or cat’s claw, also known as una de gato, grows in South America. It contains an anti-inflammatory agent that blocks the production of the hormone prostaglandin, which contributes to inflammation and pain. Suggested doses are 250 to 1,000 mg capsules one to three times daily. Taking too high a dose may cause diarrhea.

Curcumin: Curcumin is a component of the herb turmeric, and it is a potent painkiller that can block proteins in the body that cause inflammation and also stops the neurotransmitter called substance P from sending pain message to the brain. Studies show that curcumin is effective in easing the chronic pain of rheumatoid arthritis. A suggested dose is 400 to 600 mg of curcumin taken three times daily for pain and inflammation.

Omega-3 fatty acids: The omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that have proven beneficial for people who suffer with arthritis, other inflammatory joint conditions, and inflammatory bowel diseases. Omega-3s also reduce cardiovascular risk, which is especially helpful for people with rheumatoid arthritis, which carries an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. A suggested dose of omega-3 fatty acids as fish oil is 1,000 mg daily.

White willow bark: This herb is the predecessor of aspirin. White willow bark contains salicin, which converts to salicylic acid in the stomach. White willow bark is much less irritating to the stomach than the synthetic drug, aspirin, while it works to relieve pain, inflammation, and fever. A suggested dose is 1 to 2 dropperfuls of white willow bark tincture daily.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

How to Make Plant-Based “Milks”

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How to Make Plant-Based “Milks”

By Tess Masters

You can make a variety of plant-based “milks” by blending raw nuts, seeds, and grains with water. Almonds, cashews, macadamias, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, coconuts, soybeans, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, sacha inchi seeds, flaxseeds, quinoa, millet, rice, and oats can all be liquefied into delicious milks. Homemade milks are fresh, free of additives and preservatives, and you can completely control the integrity of the product: the quality of the ingredients, the sugar levels, and the texture.

“Milking” raw nuts, seeds, and grains is quick and easy. Here’s how to do it:

SOAK nuts, seeds, or grains by placing in a bowl with filtered water and a pinch of sea salt. Different foods require different soak times. Get my recommendations for soaking times here.Soaking removes enzyme inhibitors, improves digestibility and nutrient bioavailability, and helps everything blend more easily. Rinse thoroughly and drain.

BLEND with filtered water. A high-speed machine like a Vitamix is preferable to really pulverize the mixture. A 1:3 ration of nuts/seeds/grains to water generally yields good results. I start with 2 cups of water and gradually add more water until I get the taste and consistency I like. Blend for about 1 minute. This can warm the mixture. Chill in the fridge, or blend with ice to consume immediately.

SWEETEN the milk to taste with pitted dates, stevia, maple syrup, agave, honey, coconut sugar, etc. You can also add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to boost flavors, and 1 tablespoon of NON-GM soy or sunflower lecithin and coconut butter to emulsify ingredients. You can also jazz up your milks with raw cacao, fruit, cinnamon, nutmeg, or anything else that tickles your fancy.

STRAIN Some foods like cashews, macadamias, and pecans yield smooth milks. However, with most other foods, like almonds, you will get some texture. You can enjoy this fibrous milk, or strain it for a smoother, more commercial-style blend. Place a nut milk bag over a large container, pour the milk in, and gently squeeze the bag until all liquid has passed through. You can repurpose the pulp as a body scrub by mixing with some coconut oil, or dehydrate it for use in cookies, crusts, and crackers.

ENJOY Most milks will keep in the fridge in a sealed container for two or three days. Freeze any leftovers in ice cube trays for use later. Homemade milks can separate when stored. Just shake or blend again before drinking.

Makes 3-4 cups milk

1 cup nuts, grains, or seeds
3 cups filtered water
3 Tbs. sweetener (such as maple syrup, raw agave, raw honey, coconut sugar), or 3-4 pitted dates, or stevia to taste
1 Tbs. coconut butter (optional, for texture)
1 Tbs. Non-GM soy or sunflower lecithin (optional, to emulsify and add creaminess)
1 tsp. natural vanilla extract
Pinch of Celtic sea salt (optional, to bring out flavors)

1. Soak nuts, grains, or seeds for desired time. (Get my recommendations for soaking times here.)

2. Drain nuts, grains, or seeds. Rinse, and then place in blender with 3 cups filtered water. Add remaining ingredients, and blend on high until fully liquefied, about 1 minute.

4. If consuming immediately, add a few ice cubes to cool milk.

5. Strain with a nut milk bag, if desired. Milk will keep for two days stored in a sealed glass jar in the fridge.