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Herbs that Should be in Every Kitchen Cupboard

Updated on December 20, 2009
These herbs should be in your kitchen cupboard
These herbs should be in your kitchen cupboard

Great Grandma Knew, Do you?

There are a few simple herbs that should be in every kitchen cupboard. They are safe and effective for treating a few of the common ills that plague all families.  Our great grandmothers knew about them but somehow they got lost along the way.  I hope they prove as helpful to you as they were for me.

Catnip Isn't just for Cats

The first herb to keep in your cupboard is catnip. Catnip has more than one use and it is considered an herb that is safe for babies.

Catnip is a nervine. It helps to relax nerves and muscles and is a godsend for colicy babies. A teaspoon or two every couple of hours should do the trick.   It is also a very effective yet gentle way to lull children and adults to sleep. Unlike prescription sleep aids you don't have to worry about driving your car or coking while you are sound assave leep.

Catnip is also a fever reducer. A cup of catnip tea will help bring down a fever without the worries of aspirin or acetaminophen. Both have side effects, in children with viral illnesses aspirin can cause Reyes Syndrome and acetaminophen is toxic to the liver.

Some health food stores carry catnip in tea bags. I like to use loose tea so I have a little tea scoop that holds enough tea for a cup. I also have a tea sock that I use when I brew a pot full. I buy mine loose from a small tea and herb supplier on line. Do not use the catnip marketed for cats in the pet departments. How it has been grown or what it has been treated with is an unkown.

To make a cup of catnip tea, simple bring the water to a rolling boil and then pour it over the catnip. Let it steep for five minutes. I think that catnip tea as a rather boring taste, so I add a little lemon and honey to it. My children also preferred it this way. Remember that children under the age of 1 should not be given honey.


Mmmmm Pepperment for Your Stomach

I always thought that peppermint was just a flavor.  But I found out that it does wonders for nausea and upset stomachs.  It is also great for morning sickness and nausea of pregnancy.

I get my peppermint right out of my garden.  It is easy to grow.  I simply pick it, put it on a microwave plate, nuke it until it is dry and store it in a glass jar. When I want a cup of peppermint tea, I just add boiling water to three or four leaves and its ready to go.  What could be simpler.


Sage to Relieve Cold Symptoms, Gas and Bloating

Did you know that when Europe was importing black tea from China, China was importing Sage from Europe? It is one of my favorite teas especially in the winter time. It is great for helping to unstuff noses and calm coughs from colds. Sage is also one of the best herbs I know of for relieving gas and the bloating that goes with it.

Again, I grow my own sage but it is available in health food stores. Don't use the sage in the spice department of your supermarket, it doesn't make a very good cup. A tea bag or a couple of leaves of dried sage (I do it like my peppermint in the microwave) in boiling water, a little lemon, a little honey, what a delight and it will make you feel better too.

Sage Tea
Sage Tea

Lemon Tea for Colds

This is a remedy that I learned from a good friend of mine, many years ago.  It is great for head and chest colds.  It soothes coughs and helps break up chest congestion.  All you need is a fresh lemon, some honey and a dash of alum.

Take the lemon and slice it from one end to the other but stop just short of the skin on the other side.  Put the lemon into a small sauce pane with 3 cups of water.  Add a 1/4 cup of honey to start and a dash of alum.  This needs to boil until it starts to thick up a little.

Now have the person with the cold take a long hot bath.  After they are all dried off and comfy give them a cup of the lemon tea.  It is a little tart but it will thin up the mucus making it easier to get it up and out.


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