Posted by admin in Feb 22, 2013, under Alternative Health and Beauty
I can hear you now. Herbs? Those aren’t herbs. Those are weeds! Well, all I can say to that is…one person’s weeds are another person’s herbs. Believe it or not, the plants listed below have been used medicinally for hundreds of years.
Chickweed – Stellaria media, Stellaria pubera
Other names: Mouse-ear Chickweed, Star Chickweed
Chickweed is edible and can be added to salads or soups, stews, or stir-fries.
Chickweed water is an old wives’ remedy for obesity. It’s a diuretic, expectorant, and a laxative. New studies show it is an effective antihistamine. Applied as a poultice, it will relieve roseola and itchy skin conditions.
To make a medicinal tea, steep 2 tablespoons of fresh chickweed in 1 cup boiling water for 10 minutes. Take in ½ cup servings 2 or 3 times a day to combat coughs from cold or flu.
Dandelion – Taraxacum officinale
Other Names: Lion’s Tooth, Priest’s Crown, Swine’s Snout
Dandelion is not only edible, it’s very nutritious, having more vitamins and minerals than most vegetables. It has a long history of use as a food in many countries. The young leaves are less bitter, and flowers are eaten raw in salads, all leaves can also be cooked, flowers are often dipped in batter and fried, dried roots are used as a coffee substitute.
Place unripe fruit in a bag with Dandelion leaves and flowers, and the fruit will quickly ripen.
The fresh juice of Dandelion is applied externally to fight bacteria and help heal wounds. The plant has an antibacterial action, inhibiting the growth of Staphococcus aureus, pneumococci, meningococci. The plant sap can be used to remove corns and warts.
Dandelion is also used for the treatment of the gall bladder, kidney and urinary disorders, gallstones, jaundice, cirrhosis, hypoglycemia, chronic joint and skin complaints, gout, eczema and acne. Dandelion strengthens the kidneys and is a powerful diuretic.
To make a medicinal tea, steep 2 ounces of dried dandelion root in 1 quart of water and boil for 30 minutes. Take in ½ cup servings every 3 hours for stomach, kidney, gallbladder, and liver problems. This tea is a well-known spring tonic.
Red Clover – Trifolium pratense
Other Names: Meadow Honeysuckle, Meadow Trefoil, Purple Clover, Wild Clover, Cleaver Grass, Cow Grass
Edible and medicinal, the young leaves and new flowers are harvested, and are used in salads, soups, or as a pot herb. The sprouted seeds are edible in salads and have a crisp texture and robust flavor.
Red Clover has diuretic, expectorant, and sedative properties. Red Clover has also shown anticancer activity, poultices of the herb have been used as local applications to cancerous growths. Internally, the Red Clover plant is used as an alternative medicine for skin complaints such as eczema and psoriasis, cancers of the breast, ovaries and lymphatic system, chronic degenerative diseases, gout, whooping cough and dry coughs.
To make medicinal tea, add 1 tablespoon of dry flowers to 1 cup boiling water, steep 10 minutes, sweeten to taste, drink warm for cough and upset stomach.
Spearmint – Mentha spicata
Other Names: Garden Mint, Mint, Sage Of Bethlehem, Silver Mint
The leaves and flowers are edible raw or cooked and have a strong flavor; used in salads or added to cooked foods. Oil from the leaves is used as a flavoring for such products as chewing gum, breath mints, mouthwash, and toothpaste. A medicinal herb tea made from the fresh or dried leaves has a very pleasant and refreshing taste, leaving the mouth and digestive tract feeling clean.
An herb tea made from the leaves is used in the treatment of fevers, bronchitis, chills, cramps, chronic gastritis, common cold, headaches, indigestion, morning sickness, motion sickness, nasal congestion, nausea, halitosis, painful menstruation, and various minor ailments. Externally the stems are crushed and used as a medicinal poultice on bruises. The essential oil in the leaves is a great rub for stiffness, muscle soreness, and rheumatism.
Spearmint tea bags are readily available at almost any grocery store. Follow package directions.
Violet – Viola odorata
Other Names: Viola, Common blue violet, Sweet violet, Garden violet
The flowers are edible and used in salad, made into jelly, and candied for decoration. The flowers and leaves of viola are made into a syrup used in alternative medicine mainly for respiratory ailments associated with congestion, coughing, and sore throat. Large doses of the root cause vomiting. Tea made from the entire plant is used to treat digestive disorders. New studies have detected the presence of salicylic acid (natural aspirin) which substantiates its use for centuries as a medicinal remedy for headache, body pains and as a sedative. Used externally, the fresh crushed leaves reduce swelling and soothe irritations. As a bath additive the fresh crushed flowers are soothing to the skin and the aroma is very relaxing.
To make a syrup: Pour 1 pint of boiling water over 1 cup packed, fresh crushed flowers and leaves. Cover and let stand for 12 hours. Strain and squeeze through cheese cloth, add 2 lb. of sugar and boil for 1 hour or until syrupy. Store in glass jar. Adults take 1 tablespoons (1 teaspoon for children) 2 to 3 times a day for congestion and coughing.
To make a medicinal tea: Steep ¼ cup dried or fresh herb in 1 cup of water for 10 min. Stain and sweeten to taste. Take in ½ cup doses twice a day for upset stomach or other digestive disorders.