Category Archives: Health

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. ArnicaРArnica 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.

Make your Own Herbal First Aid Kit

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Mom's Home Herbal

It irritates me when people want to run to the doctor for every little cough, sneeze, sniffle or fever. I know I shouldn’t be impatient, since I was in that place once. I remember taking my oldest daughter, who is now 15, to the doctor for ear infections, fevers, and sometimes just plain fussiness. I remember the fear and insecurity that came with that, not being able to get a hold of a doctor over the weekend and my poor little baby suffering the whole time while she waited for me to take her to a doctor.

It’s like night and day – once helpless, dependent, and full of worries and fears; now empowered and confident. It is such a comforting feeling to know that for most family illnesses and health emergencies, I have the tools and know-how to take care of them myself! No waiting on a doctor over the weekend or dealing with a screaming child for an hour or more in an emergency room or doctors office waiting room full of sick people. If you have not yet educated yourself on simple herbal remedies for basic family health care, I strongly encourage you to do so – it is one of the best things I have ever done!

To make a family herbal first aid kit, the first thing that you will want to do is take inventory of your family’s health. Are you in basically good health, or do you catch every bug that goes around? What are your most common illnesses? Do you have an extremely clumsy kid? (Zee is very clumsy, and I have gotten calls from the school twice this year about bruises, one of which DCFS sent a social worker to investigate my husband and me at our home!) There are a few things that every family with small children should be prepared for – here is a basic list of some of the most common things that people go to the doctor for that can easily be treated at home:

  • ear infections
  • colds
  • stomach flu
  • pink eye
  • parasites
  • headlice
  • staph infections
  • yeast infections
  • warts
  • strep throat
  • chicken pox

And a few basics, usually treated with over the counter medicines:

  • indigestion
  • diarrhea
  • bug bites
  • sunburn
  • cuts
  • scrapes
  • bruises

All of these can be treated at home naturally without commercially prepared medicines, and would all but completely remove any need for a doctors visit, with the exception of real medical emergencies like broken bones or other traumatic injuries.

The ideal would be to have a small travel size kit with just the basics for the car, and a larger one that is kept in a safe place at home in a container like a large fishing tackle box with plenty of room for ace bandages, and supplies like a capsulator and a mortar and pestle, etc.

The following is a fairly comprehensive list of things that would be good to keep on hand and their uses (chose the items that are most relevant to your family. You can also add other items that you feel your family needs – if you feel the list is missing something important, please leave a comment!): read more »