This page is sort of an index to all the other pages about handy herbs, and how to recognize them, and use them as natural remedies for your various ailments. It will grow as I add more of these pages to this site.
When reading up on herbs, we need to know the definitions of medicinal benefits of herbs. We may have no clue what those big words mean. I have found a handy reference section in Jethro Kloss' book, Back to Eden. It seems wise to share it here with you. I'm taking the liberty to add other definitions as I come across them.
Back To Eden by Jethro Kloss was recommended to me by an elderly woman in a nursing home when I was visiting my grandmother there. We were talking about herbs under our feet, seen only as weeds. Because of that older woman's reference, I went looking for this book, Back to Eden, and found the authorized family edition of his classic book in a health food store.
The more I read in it the more enthused I became. Jethro Kloss, though he was born April 27, 1863, (before my beloved Grosz'mama in 1896, making him about 85 years older than me), showed a lot of wisdom and knowledge. I was impressed. I began to try out the herbal remedies he suggested, and discovering they helped!
Herbal remedies are in the common plants and weeds growing all around us; they have been provided by God for the healing of our ailments and diseases - and I'll tell you about my earliest efforts to learn about them."
Many of the plants around us, underfoot on your property, or that you see beside the city sidewalk, are herbal remedies, part of God's pharmacy to provide healing solutions for even the poorest of the poor. The animals and birds know it is there, but in North America especially, over the last 200 to 300 years, we've become convinced that only doctors with training in medicines and medical procedures and surgeries know what is best for us. I'm sure they do know a lot of valuable information, but I'm still convinced that God knows far more than we do, and He is gracious enough to provide simple answers. If only we will be open-minded and willing to learn about those resources abundantly provided all around us.
Usually seen as a weed, plantain can be found almost anywhere in Europe and the USA and in Canada, and I am sure it shows up in other countries as well. It grows in sun or shade equally and in dirt where most other plants won't grow. It is likely on your property right now, or alongside the sidewalks in your neighbourhood.
It is possible that you have learned to know it by another name. Here are some other names used for this same herb; waybread, waybroad, cuckoo's bread, englishman's foot, white man's foot, buckhorn plantain, dog's ribs, hock cockle, rub grass, dooryard plantain, round-leaved plantain, broad-leafed plaintain, ripple grass, slan-lus, snakeweed. In some other languages it is known as (Anglo-Saxon) weybroed, Che Qian Zi (China), Breitwegerich (German), Tanchagem-maior (Portuguese), Llantén común (Spanish), Llantén major (Spanish). Do you recognize it now?
Calendula is sort of a wildflower cousin of the little French Marigold. I've always liked the vivid gold and russetts in my little marigolds. Yet I had no idea there is a family of flowers. Marigolds are edible in salads, and calendula is so beneficial to us for skin conditions, so I make ointments out of it.
Some years ago, Dad bought a box of seeds at an auction, most of them unlabeled. I sowed a number and watched to see what would come up. Nothing seemed to come up in those particular rows the first year, so I thought the seed had been too old, or useless. However, the following year, in that area of the garden, a whole crowd of new plants came up. Dad weeded some out but when I saw that they had nice golden orange flowers, I urged him to leave them alone until I found out what they were and if they might be good for anything.
Almost everyone recognizes the taste and smell of mint. Perhaps because it is often used in toothpaste, and breath-freshening candies. It is one of my most favourite herbs, especially for a refreshing tea that soothes away gas and pain and rattled nerves!
I can't even recall when I first met up with the plant itself, and discovered that I could easily grow it and make myself mint tea, or shred bits of mint leaves into my salads, and other dishes. I can't say the mint-flavoured toothpaste excited me much, but I sure do love my mint tea. Especially when I make a large pitcher full and then add ice cubes. Whenever I serve this to guests I hear praise, and requests for more.
You can be sure I don't mind it spreading in my flowerbeds and multiplying at all. I encourage that!
Comfrey is the plant that can knit or close up your wounds and put you back together.
The book, "Back to Eden" by Jethro Koss, introduced me to comfrey, though I think I may have slipped over it's mention in literature before that.
The botanical name: Symphytum officinale. Its common names are Gum plant, healing herb, knitback, and slippery root. It has large dark green leaves with a furry, raspy texture, and had little bundles of white/reddish flowers.
I've discovered Malva - a lovely plant with pretty mauve flowers and lovely leaves. I bought a packet of seeds as flowers for my garden two years ago and sown them by the fence. They didn't really begin to flower until the fall. Then they didn't want to die when the rest of the garden quit and browned off for the winter.
Last year these malva plants showed up as volunteer plants ranging further away from the fence. Somewhere I spied some mention of this plant as an herb. So this year, when it began to pop up all over my garden I was okay with it. In the last fall weeks, as I was cleaning up my garden for the winter, I saw that these malva plants were thriving and looking so healthy and beautiful - I just hesitated to pull them up.
Suddenly I decided that I should go back inside and check online to see what malva plants are good for as herbs.
I harvested all my Italian parsley just before supper, on what had already been a busy domestic Saturday for me that sunny day in September. That is pretty powerful herb!
I guess I didn't think that through because then I spent another two and a half hours on my feet by the sink, just cleaning and sorting the long white roots for freezing and the leaves for drying. However, I'm grateful for this good a harvest. (Ignore the lilies in the photo, if you can).
There are basically two kinds, the curly leafed parsley that garnishes a lot of restaurant dishes, which does not have a big root, and the Italian flat leaf parsley which has a stronger flavour, and that my mom insisted on growing when we could. Some years it would not grow in our garden. But Mom liked to dry or freeze the roots for a stronger flavour in her borschts and soups.
Helen also has an Excellent and thorough article with arthritis remedies.
I looked for natural arthritis remedies before when I was caring for my Dad, but I decided that it would pay to research this deeper now. Too many people are suffering from rheumatism and arthritis, and I'd like to have some intelligent and helpful answers ready for them. One or two good tips could make such a difference, giving them relief from arthritic pain. So much money is going into paying for prescription arthritis treatment, and a lot of that only compounds the problems and the pain. Natural arthritis remedies need to be brought front and center for these dear folks.
When looking for herbal respiratory remedies, are you confused in a health food store, or a drugstore? You want something for your respiratory ailment, but there are so many products? Which will be effective? Which ones could you avoid?
It would help if you knew what some of the terms you find on the packages mean. Like what exact is anti-catarrhal? Or, demulcent? Let's spell out a brief glossary here, and offer some hints for guiding your choices. I can't speak for the pharmaceutical field, but I've learned some terms that herbalists use.
There is no placebo effect when you work with animals, they genuinely respond to the healing benefits of natural therapies, they like the gentleness; the holistic nature. They can intuitively recognise and self-select from nature's pharmacy and they relax and absorb without question or analysis the subtle healing therapies. You have probably seen your animals indulging in natural therapies. Your cat rolling around euphoric in catnip herb or other plants from your garden, maybe your dog grazes on a particular patch of grass or licks the soil in a certain spot. Maybe your animals enjoy a massage asking for your hands to be placed on specific parts of their body. Our animals are great communicators and wonderful teachers, we can learn so much from them.
In case you have never heard of it, BACTERIAL VAGINOSIS, also known as BV is easily one of the most annoying, persistent and wrongly diagnosed of female conditions. It is a condition where the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina is disrupted and replaced by an overgrowth of certain bacteria.
If you go to your doctor you are likely to get antibiotics, which clears it up temporaily, but then then your bacterial vaginosis comes back more intensely after a while. The medical route is a very frustrating merry-go-round. You may have found this page because you are desperate to get off of it.
Good news! There are natural home remedies that don't cost you more than about $5.00 and if you use it in the prescribed steps, you will be free of BV forever.
I've taken up making ointment from the medicinal herbs in my garden and flowerbeds. I seem to do better every time I try, and my ointments improve. You too, can do this up as it is not hard to do. If you have certain herbs in your garden, or can find them wild nearby, you are nearly there. Olive oil and beeswax give the herbs a medium to apply to skin.
If you do not have a double-boiler pot in your kitchen, you can find a stainless steel bowl that fits into one of your small to medium pots. Then you are almost ready for making ointment!
If you go looking online for vinegar uses, or more specifically, apple cider vinegar uses, you will come upon sites that have up to 100 such ideas or more! I use white vinegar with water in my compost pail after I've buried the food skins and waste in my garden. I do that to freshen the pail and kill any mould spores that may have started there. I also put a splash of apple cider vinegar in my bath to help with itchy skin patches. I've read before that there are many, many vinegar uses, but this last time I went to check online I discovered so many more that surprised me.