Over the next four weeks, I am going to tell you how you can make your own herbal first-aid kit from common herbs that are readily available. Sources of the herbs include your kitchen, garden, fields, woods and occasionally, herb or natural food stores. I will teach you techniques for herbal medicine making as well as provide you with recipes and simple healing techniques that you can apply at home or in nature.
The easiest way to administer herbs for first-aid is simply to eat the herb. Herbs are rich in vitamins and minerals. Be sure to properly identify any plant prior to eating it. A simple remedy for indigestion is to eat a little bit of dill, mint, or fennel. You can eat either the seeds or the leaves. Usually, about a tablespoonful will do the trick.
If you prefer to make a tea for indigestion, use any of the following herbs individually or in combination: fennel, catnip, chamomile, mint, ginger, or dill.
Teas made with flowers or leaves are called “infusions.” They are not boiled. Seeds and roots are usually boiled to extract their healing properties, and these are called “decoctions.”
The standard recommendation for making herbal teas is to use 1 teaspoon of dried herbs or 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs per cup of water. For my own use, I prefer to double that amount.
Let’s try some easy recipes. I usually make a quart of tea at a time, but you can make whatever amount serves your purposes. Generally speaking, adults should consume about a cup of tea four times daily to reap the healing benefits of the tea.
Always compost the spent herbs from your tea recipes as herbs are excellent additions to the compost pile. Some will activate your pile to help it heat up and break down the ingredients quicker.
Amounts suggested in this series are for adults. The remedies are suggestions only. Remember, they are not a substitute for medical advice. No claim is made to diagnose, cure, mitigate, or treat any illness. Keep the herbs used in the series on hand and you will always have first-aid available for everyday health issues.
Infusion for Indigestion
2 teaspoons dried catnip leaf or 2 tablespoons fresh catnip leaf
2 teaspoons peppermint leaf or 2 tablespoons fresh peppermint leaf
1 quart of water
Place herbs in a Mason jar or heat-proof bowl. Bring water to a full boil. Pour water over herbs. Cover. Let sit for twenty minutes. Strain the herbs out and compost them. Drink one cup of warm tea 4 times daily.
Decoction for Diarrhea
4 teaspoons dried blackberry root or 4 tablespoons fresh blackberry root
2 teaspoons fennel seed, fresh or dried
1 quart water
Place herbs in a one quart sauce pan. Cover with water. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for twenty minutes. Strain and compost the herbs. Drink ½ cup warm tea. Follow with ½ cup of tea after each loose stool.
Here is an easy remedy to prevent constipation:
Flax Seed Remedy for Constipation
3 tablespoons flax seeds
Use a coffee grinder and grind the flax seed freshly each day. It goes rancid if ground ahead of time. Flax seed should be stored in the refrigerator. Add the seeds to yogurt, applesauce, or juice. Consume immediately with a full glass of liquid. Flax prevents constipation. It also prevents breast cancer and reduces unhealthy cholesterol. Flax reduces inflammation throughout the entire body and is nutritious as well.
Infusion to Relieve Nausea
I make this tea a little more concentrated then usual so that you can get the healing benefits of the herbs without consuming a lot of liquid (in case you can’t keep the liquid down). An alternative to this recipe would simply be chewing on a piece of ginger root or candied ginger. Candied ginger is delicious. It is excellent for relieving stuffy heads also. Though ginger is a root, I prepare it as an infusion so that I do not lose any of the volatile healing oils. Marshmallow root is best prepared as an infusion as well. It has a thick constancy which soothes the stomach.
4 teaspoons fresh ginger root or 2 teaspoons dried
4 teaspoons dried marshmallow root
4 teaspoons fresh or dried chamomile flowers
1 quart water
Combine herbs in a heat-proof container. Bring water to a boil. Pour over herbs. Let sit, covered for twenty minutes. Strain and compost herbs. Drink 2 tablespoons of tea. Repeat in 15 minutes. If no vomiting occurs, increase to ¼ cup every 15 minutes until relief is felt.
Now you know how to make effective herbal teas which relieve common digestive ills. Next week we’ll learn how to make some remedies for respiratory illnesses.