Healing Herbs in the Spice Rack
During the winter months, many people become chilled and then may
come down with a cold or flu. For these conditions, it is best to
use warming, spicy herbs which will warm the interior and help to
expel the illness via the skin in the form of sweating. Herbs that
warm you up and make you sweat are called, "warming diaphoretics."
You'll find many of these healing herbs in the spice cabinet. They
can help alleviate various acute aliments such as colds, flu, and
congestion. Here are just a few that you may want to try out.
This common garden herb is indigenous to the Mediterranean region
and cultivated widely. The flowering branches should be collected
on a dry sunny day from May - October in California. The leaves
are stripped off the dried branches and stored in a glass jar in
a dark cabinet. The volatile oil in thyme makes it a good carminative
( an herb that relieves gas, strengthens sluggish digestion). The
oil in the leaves is also a strong antiseptic and can be used to
treat infected wounds. For this purpose you can make a tea from
the leaves by letting them steep for 15 minutes. Strain and then
wash the wound or even let it soak in the tea for a few minutes.
This can be repeated as needed. You can also soak some gauze in
the tea and then bind the wound changing the gauze as needed.
The Thyme tea can be used internally for respiratory and digestive
infections as well. For laryngitis, tonsillitis or sore throats
gargle with the tea as needed throughout the day. For coughs and
bronchitis, it is an excellent expectorant and reduces unnecessary
spasms. A strong tea, 1 tsp. of dried leaves to one cup of boiling
water, can be made and one to three cups consumed per day . Pregnant
woman should not use medicinal doses of thyme, however, due to its
uterine contracting properties.
This common herb is native to the Mediterranean region and cultivated
widely elsewhere. Rosemary is a circulatory and nervine stimulant.
Rosemary has a warming energy and can be helpful if added to a tea
blend to warm up cold limbs, give relief for headaches and help
a person sweat a fever out. It also helps the digestion by relieving
gas and by calming a nervous stomach. Externally, it may be used
to ease muscular pain, sciatica and neuralgia. For this purpose
you may make a strong tea with the leaves ( one ounce) in one quart
of boiling water. Let steep, strain and then add to the bath. Internally,
take one teaspoon of rosemary leaves and let steep for 10 minutes.
Common Garden Sage is native to the Mediterranean region and cultivated
worldwide. The leaves should be gathered shortly before or just
at the beginning of flowering in the dry sunny weather from May
Sage is a classic remedy for inflammations of the whole mouth;
the throat, tongue, gums, and tonsils. This healing action is due
to the volatile oils which are soothing to the mucous membranes.
For the above conditions it can be used as a mouth wash several
times a day or a piece of the leaf may be chewed as needed.
The strong tea can be used to promote the healing of wounds or
the leaves can be soaked and crushed then applied to the wound.
Like so many of the other culinary spices, sage helps digestion
and eases flatulence and bloating. It should not be used in medicinal
doses internally during pregnancy because it stimulates the muscles
in the uterus. For night sweats, sage can be taken as a tea to staunch
Try some of theses remedies out during the winter months. Also,
any of these teas can be used in a foot bath. Take a tablespoon
of any of the above herbs or a combination of them and let steep
in three cups of water for 20 minutes. Strain and pour the tea into
a small basin. Add more hot water if necessary and then relax and
soak the feet. The medicinal properties of the herbs will be taken
up through the skin, and will warm you up and help you to relax.
I love taking foot baths.