Natural Health: Essential oils and herbs.
Herbs and their essential oils
Allium Schoenoprasum (Chives or onion chives)
A hardy perennial growing as a cluster of bulbs, the leaves of onion chives are hallow, cylindrical, green, and spear-like. A cluster of lavender colored florets, resembling purple pom poms grow on top of each stem.
Chive Uses: Freshly snipped chives aids in digestion. Add generous amounts to cheese, eggs, sauces, vegetable dishes and soup. In the garden, chives repel aphids, apple scab, and fungi.
Grow from seed or bulb in a sunny location in well-drained soil. Pick the flower buds and the leaves grow much more luxuriantly. Pick leaves from the base, using your fingers or with scissors causes the leaves to die back. Dried chives tend to lose their color and flavor.
This succulent perennial reaches 2-3 ft., growing straight from the soil as a rosette of thick, fleshy, spear like, spiny toothed of green leaves.
Aloe Uses: The best known use for the aloe plant is the topical treatment of minor burns and scalds. Slice open the leaf and apply the clear, pale green gel for pain relief and antiseptic. The gel can heal wounds, soothe irritable rashes, stings, bites, and ulcers. It can also help manage acne and eczema.
Caution: Do not ingest aloe Vera if you are pregnant, breast feeding, or if you are experiencing upset stomach.
Growing: Aloe is easily grown. It needs a dry, well drained spot. Aloe will quickly die in wet soil. Aloe won't tolerate heavy frost. As the plant grows and matures, it will produce little suckers at its base that can be plucked and planted into pots, or directly into the garden.
Apium Graveolens (Celery Seed)
Wild celery is a strong smelling vegetable, but has been domesticated for some 2,000 years to produce the popular vegetable that is enjoyed in soups, salads, and fresh.
Celery Seed Essential Oil Uses: Include in massage and bath blends for arthritis, gout, rheumatism, and sciatica. It also helps to ease the symptoms of cystitis and urethritis because it helps increase urine flow. As a compress, celery seed oil relieves cramps and spasms in the uterus, encourages and regulates menstrual flow. It also helps increase breast milk.
Caution: Avoid using while pregnant.
Boswellia Sacra (Frankincense)
This ancient essential oil comes from a small, resinous evergreen tree native to Arabia and Africa. This essential oil is used for incense in perfumes, soaps, and cosmetics.
Frankincense Essential Oil Uses: Frankincense helps destroy infection causing bacteria and contracts and tones tissue. It is a gentle balancer of oily skin. It can also help keep wrinkles at bay and even regenerate aging skin. This oil is very valuable for congestive lung problems because it helps loosen mucus. When used as massage oil, it helps slow the breathing, which aids in asthma attacks. It also helps regulate menstrual flow. Its diuretic and antiseptic properties help with urinary tract and genital infection such as cystitis, urethritis, and leucorrhea.
Caution: Use a patch test as it may cause irritation to very sensitive skin.
Calendula officinalis (Calendula flower)
Calendula’s bright flower range from yellow to orange and they grow to a height of about 18 in”. Be sure not to confuse the calendula with the African marigold. This is the herb you want to take with you as an ointment or tincture on trips.
Calendula Infused Oil Uses: The leaves and the flowers are used in poultices, washes, compresses, and as an astringent or antiseptic. It can help reduce bleeding and heal wounds. It is a good treatment for sore nipples, ulcers, sprains, and varicose veins. When made as a very strong tea, it can be used as a spray. It can help reduce inflammation and pain from stings, measles, and chicken pox.
Growing Calendula: Calendula is very easy to grow from seeds. Plant seeds in the spring directly into the garden in a sunny spot. Pick the flower heads daily to encourage more growth. Use the flowers, fresh or dried, in infusions, tinctures, or in your cooking.
Citrus Aurantiifolia (Lime)
Lime Essential Uses: Limes have a stronger flavor and are more acidic than lemons; the essential oil has a similar fragrance, the same properties, and can be used in just the same way. In skin care products such as body lotions and creams, lime helps contract and tone tissue. In healing ointments, it is useful in removing warts, and it soothes and prevents infect of insect bites and stings. With its antibacterial and fever lowering action, it is an extremely valuable oil in the treatment of sore throats, bronchitis, coughs, colds, and flu.
Taraxacum Officinale: (Dandelion)
The dandelion is usually seen as a weed especially for people trying to remove it from their lawns. But the dandelion is a powerhouse of greatness. The dandelion is right up there with broccoli and spinach.
Dandelion Uses: When drunk as a tea, the dandelion is a powerful and safe diuretic. They are a very good source of potassium. When drunk as a concoction, the roots stimulate the liver and gall bladder. The roots and leaves are used for their anti-inflammatory cleansing properties. The white latex that oozes out of a cut dandelion is traditionally the best way to rid yourself warts. Apply several times a day to the wart only and not the surrounding skin, as it may cause irritation.
Caution: Do not use the dandelion if you have problems with your bowel.
Sweet Almond Oil: May be used in creams and lotions formulated for dry, normal, and combination skin. For massage oils, use 50 percent of almond oil and 50 percent of lighter oil, such as grape seed. Bitter
Thymus Vulgaris: (Thyme)
There are between 300 to 400 different types of thyme. All have slightly different aromas. Thyme is a powerful essential oil doubly distilled from the flowers in order to remove some of the irritant properties.
Thyme Uses: Thyme is a powerful healer for all types of skin infections and is suitable for treating abscesses, acne, boils, and carbuncles, bruises, burns and scalds, and cold sores. Thyme leaves, taken as tea, aid in digestion, relieving cramps and spasms in gastric infections. Thyme is also an expectorant. Use it as a gargle to treat tonsillitis, and sore throats.
Growing: Grow thyme in a sunny spot from seed. It requires moderate water. Once it is established, garden thyme will grow better and have more flavor in slightly dryer conditions. Harvest leafy branches just before it flowers and dry for making infusions, tinctures and extracts.
Caution: Not to be used during pregnancy. Avoid using if you have high blood pressure.
We must remember that no matter how much we know about natural health, herbs and their oils, we should not avoid seeing a doctor for serious conditions.
© 2013 Dannell