Category Archives: Family Life

Using Herbs to Combat Food Borne Illness

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Mom's Home Herbal

With all of the fuss around raw milk lately it may be difficult for many people to distinguish fact from fiction, especially if you are just starting out with all natural foods and have not grown up with raw milk like some people have. The truth is that it IS possible to get sick from raw milk. It is also possible to get sick from sushi, eggs (cooked or raw), raw spinach, lunch meat, rare meat, pasteurized milk,  deli cheese, fresh tomatoes, and the list goes on. The question really should be “is there anything out there that IS truly safe to eat, and what can I do about it if I or one of my children get food poisoning?”

For those of us who prefer not to foist our personal responsibility for our food choices off onto health professionals, taking care of the stomach complaints caused by food borne illness is really very simple. The good news is that there are several ways to naturally fight food borne illness, and if caught early, natural remedies can stop a stomach bug in a fraction of the time that antibiotics can. I have had food poisoning from eggs and the remedy that worked for me was simply a mixture of black walnut and olive leaf tinctures, one full dropper of each in a small glass of orange juice; all combined was less than the $30 copay that I would have paid had I gone to the doctor. Both of these herbs have strong parasite killing properties, and I have found them to be effective for stomach flu as well. I gave some to my neighbor once as she was getting ready to walk out her door to take her daughter to the emergency room, and less than an hour later, her toddler was running around as if she had never been sick.

I have read before, that in most cases what we call the stomach flu is actually caused by eating contaminated food. If this is true, then people actually get sick from food a lot more often than they realize. One of the great things about herbs is that often there is more than one way to kill a flu. I recently put the question out to the fans of my raw milk page on facebook. Even though none of these people had ever been sick from raw milk, they have encountered food borne illness from fast food or other packaged factory foods. Here are some of the remedies they have successfully used:

  • Grapefruit Seed Extract as a nutri-biotic with lots of Vitamin D3 and garlic to boost the immune system
  • Oregano oil (best taken in capsules)
  • Colloidal silver or nano silver – 2 to 3 Tbsp every 15 minutes until stomach upset is gone
  • Activated Charcoal capsules
  • Fresh garlic with cayenne
  • Where there is diarrhea also take slippery elm capsules

Any of these remedies should be followed by probiotics, like kefir or yogurt, to restore the intestinal flora and for fastest results, should be taken at the fist sign of stomach upset. It is common for these strains of bacteria to be highly resistant to antibiotics, and if food poisoning symptoms are ignored and you wait until they get really bad as many people do, they can become very serious, even leading to kidney failure or other long lasting health problems, especially in small children, people with compromised immune systems, or with the elderly.

With the food industry and its track record, it is best to be prepared because chances are someone in your family will end up sick with a food borne illness, no matter what you eat.

A Dozen Essential Medicinal Herbs to Grow

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Mom's Home Herbal

If you are thinking of starting your own medicinal herb garden, here are a few ideas of easy to grow herbs that no home herbalist should be without: (listed in no particular order)

  1. Comfrey – Comfrey is a cell proliferator and speeds healing. It is very easy to grow, just get a start from someone and plant it in a well watered spot in your garden in full sun. Soon you will see its large broad green leaves start to come up. These leaves are slightly fuzzy and stick together, making them good to use as a wrap. Pick leaves directly from your plant to add to infused oils, and other herbal remedies.
  2. Garlic – Garlic is one of natures strongest antiseptics. It is very easy to grow, in fact once it takes root, it is nearly impossible to get rid of it, so choose your location carefully!
  3. Cayenne – Cayenne is very easy to grow, and one thing that you may notice after planting is that unwanted wasps will not bother you anymore! Cayenne is good for the circulatory system, and can even stop a heart attack!
  4. Echinacea – Echinacea is beautiful, it has lovely purple cone flowers. Once you plant it will come back year after year, and the seeds will spread. You will want to wait until you have a large patch of it before you harvest the root, but tinctures made from echinacea can detox your system if you receive a poisonous bite, and it is a great immune system support.
  5. Lavender – Lavender is a wonderful calming herb, it is beautiful with all of its tiny purple flowers, and it smells divine! It enhances the properties of other herbs, and has strong anti-fungal properties. Lavender grows as a bush, and can get quite large and unruly if you don’t trim it back, so be sure to plant it in a part of your garden where it can spread out, or it may smother your other herbs!
  6. Calendula – Calendula flower petals have wonderful healing properties and can be infused in oils to be added to ointments, lip balm, and ear oil. These pretty yellow flowers will add a splash of color to your garden, and the petals can even be added to salads.
  7. Aloe Vera – Aloe Vera can be grown in a pot in your kitchen window sill, and is perfect to have on hand in case of burns, sunburn, bruises, and bug bites.
  8. Peppermint – peppermint and other mints are aggressive and spread very quickly, so they are best kept in a pot or in a section of the garden that you don’t mind having them take over. Once rooted, like garlic, they are impossible to get rid of. Peppermint is wonderful for belly aches, gas, heartburn, and makes an energizing herbal tea.
  9. Chamomile – Chamomile is a calming herb, great in a relaxing herbal tea to help on sleepless nights. Chamomile can also be used in an infused oil or added to an ointment or salve as an analgesic to soothe rashes and minor scrapes and burns.
  10. St. Johns Wort – Tinctures made from St. Johns wort are effective pain relievers for burns, shingles, arthritis, and bruises. It is also has antidepressant qualities, and can be used in herbal teas, tinctures and infused oils.
  11. Arnica– Arnica is essential for bruises and swelling. An oil infused with arnica flowers, immediately applied to an injury  will prevent bruising.  Great when you have an accident prone child!
  12. Lobelia– Lobelia and cayenne tinctures used along with CPR can help revive a person who has stopped breathing. It can also help with smoking cessation, or for someone who is in shock, to slow a racing heartbeat, or to help with circulation or blood pressure problems.

I could list many other easy to grow herbs for your medicinal garden, but this is a good start. These essential herbs will help you treat many common health issues at home.