- Alternative & Natural Medicine
Holistic, Herbal, Medicinal Remedies
Plants, Flowers and Herbs
We grow our favorite plants, flowers or herbs in the garden to either visually enjoy, smell, or even cook with, but we rarely think about the medicinal value these plants and herbs can bring to our lives. Take a look around your garden and notice not only the leaves, flowers, and seeds, but look at the bark, fruits, roots, and sap as well. Basically all parts of certain plants have a medicinal purpose, and if properly prepared, can be used to relieve a multitude of ailments.
Ways to Prepare Plants, Flowers and Herbs for Medicinal Use
The most popular way to prepare herbs is through steeping. This method involves taking the flowers and leaves and steeping them in hot water in order to prepare a tea or mixture. This method allows for internal consumption, so Chamomile flowers, for instance, would be a good choice.
Another method is taking the different parts of the plant and puréeing them. This will result in a salve that can be applied to an affected area. Adding a little water or oil will make the mixture easy to spread.
Herbs and Plants for Medicinal Use
Terms and Helpful Hints:
Infusion – boiling water, pouring over ingredients and allowing the ingredients to sit in hot water – covered - for 3 to 5 minutes – this way you get the benefits of the herbs – If you find you need it stronger, increase the amount of herbs – not the amount of time you steep.
Tea – bring ingredients to a boil, then remove – results in a weaker flavor
Salve - mush together the ingredients to form a paste - you can add a little oil or water to make it easier to spread
NEVER steep herbs in an aluminum container – it will interfere with the concentration of the flavor
Flavor your infusions, or teas with sugar, honey, milk, lemon, ginger, etc.
Ginger roots aid in soothing an upset stomach - that’s why Mom always said to drink a little ginger ale when you were little and had an upset stomach. It also helps to relieve a hangover, sprains and aches
½ ounce ground root to 1 pint of water
Ingestion - chewing the root and swallowing the juices will relieve vomiting and nausea
Tea – boil – you can drink up to 3 cups a day – helps with digestion and will relieve bloating and flatulence. Drink 2 cups in the morning to help with the hangover
Grated – apply externally as you would an ice pack to help relieve aches and sprains
Rosemary leaves possess an oil that is known to mollify headaches and insomnia
1 teaspoon of dried flower tops or leaves to ½ cup water
Infusion - steep – you can drink up to 1 cup of this per day.
Tea - boil - you can drink up to 3 cups per day. Try adding a dash of ginger to spice things up (no pun intended)
Chamomile flowers aid in calming nerves – that’s why it is said to drink Chamomile tea before bedtime – it will help you sleep. Also helps with diarrhea, fever, colds, muscle cramps and arthritis
1 tablespoon flowers and leaves, 2 slices of ginger to 1 cup of boiling water
Infusion – steep - NEVER BOIL Chamomile flowers – add them to boiling water - drink in small doses to relieve menstrual cramps, pains and flatulence
Bath additive – put flowers and leaves in bath water to alleviate hemorrhoids and muscle cramps
Hollyhock flowers help with inflammation of the throat, ease earaches and are used as a diuretic as well as aid in drawing out splinters and bee stings when applied as a salve
No determined quantity – personal preference
Tea – boil flowers in water and drink to ease throat inflammation
Warm Compress – use the tea to ease an earache (do not pour it in the ear – use as a compress)
Salve - create a salve with the flowers and apply as a bandage of sorts to draw out a bee sting or splinter
Thyme aids in reducing fever, eliminating gas, halitosis, athlete’s foot and coughs
½ teaspoon to ½ cup water
Infusion – steep ½ teaspoon of fresh thyme in 1 cup of water up to 5 minutes – you can have 1 to 1-1/2 cups a day, but ONLY a mouthful at a time – do not drink a whole cup at a time – it will make you ill
Bath additive – add the infusion to the bath water.
Sage is known as the "wonder" herb. Sage leaves help relieve so many ailments there are just too many to name. A few are: relieves digestive problems, prevents hair loss, helps with nervous conditions, improves memory, and helps with canker sores
1 teaspoon leaves (leaves that are collected before they flower) to ½ cup water
Infusion – steep ½ cup water to 1 teaspoon leaves (collected before flowering) for 30 minutes – you can have up to 1 cup a day, but ONLY a tablespoon at a time. Children may have up to 1/2 cup per day and only a teaspoon at a time.
Aloe sap helps relieve burns – (especially sunburn), herpes, canker sores and wrinkles – you should always have an Aloe plant in your home – they are easy to care for and all you do is pinch of a leaf and rub the gelatinous juice on the affected area as needed
No determined amount
Gel - break off a leaf and rub on affected area
Ingestion - you can ingest 1 tablespoon of the juice up to 3 times a day
Bath additive or wash - take 1/2 teaspoon of the aloe gel/juice and dissolve it in 1 cup of water
Dill seeds and leaves are known to stop hiccoughs, stimulate appetite and quiet nerves, help with halitosis, start the onset of milk production for nursing mothers, and relieve flatulence
1 teaspoon of dill seeds to 1 cup boiling water
Infusion - steep 1 teaspoon of dill seeds in 1 cup of boiling water for up to 15 minutes then strain – you can have ½ cup up to 3 times a day and on a daily basis
Ingestion - chewing the seeds will help with halitosis
Nettle has salts, iron and histamines in its leaves, stems and roots that relieve some skin ailments, irregular menstrual cycles, boils, and insomnia
2 teaspoons of the flowers or the plant to 1 cup of water
Infusion – add 2 teaspoons of the flowers or plant to 1 cup water – you can have up to 1- 1/2 cups per day, but ONLY unsweetened and a mouthful at a time.
Basil is known to help depression, headaches, digestive tract issues, vomiting, diarrhea and can help relieve itching from hives
1 teaspoon dried to ½ cup water
Infusion - steep 1 teaspoon of dried basil in 1/2 cup water – you can have 1 to 1- 1/2 cups a day, but only at a mouthful each time
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Coriander seeds and leaves have oils in them that help aid in diarrhea, flatulence and vomiting
2 teaspoons of dried seeds to 1 cup of water
Infusion - steep 2 teaspoons of dried seeds in 1 cup water that has been boiled - you can have up to 1 cup per day
Asparagus is known to increase urine production and help with bowel movements
There is no determined amount
Ingestion - eat the young shoots and seeds
Other Herbs, Plants and Flowers
There are so many plants and herbs that are used for medicinal purposes that I could go on for days, so I have only listed what grows in my yard or have been told really works. However, here are a few others that I have been told about that you could look into.
- Evening Primrose - known to ease PMS, aid in weight loss and help with alcoholism
- Fennel - will soothe a sore throat, flatulence, colic and relieve pain in joints
- Parsley - good for swollen glands, bed wetting, menstrual cramps and jaundice
- Onion - helps loosen phlegm, help colds, quiets coughs, relieve earache and eliminate fluid retention
- Inula - helps quiet coughs
- Lavender - quiet coughs, heals cold sores, and eases headaches
Warning: Every Plant is not Suited for Herbal Remedies
You may notice different plant extracts or herbs listed on the bottles that are readily available for sale. Understand that just because they are listed there does not mean that you can go out into your garden and start picking everything you see that was listed in order to prepare them for “at-home” use. Certain parts of certain plants and herbs possess very poisonous chemicals and if not prepared properly and in the correct dosage, can be lethal. So please investigate thoroughly, the plant or herb of choice, before you start making home remedies to help relieve any symptoms.
The remedies below are not intended to replace any medications you are taking. Please seek advice from a doctor or someone who is qualified in medicinal herbal remedies before preparing are using anything that you ingest. Remember, although herbal remedies are natural, they are still regulated by individuals who determine proper dosages and some, if not used properly, may be lethal.
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