Author Topic: Learn the basics of effective herbal medicine  (Read 485 times)

HarbingerofBunnies

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Learn the basics of effective herbal medicine
« on: January 13, 2018, 09:18:29 AM »
Herbal remedies are a huge topic, even if you narrow the topic from all historical ones to ones with modern scientific evidence behind them.

Here are some I'm either actively engaged in using or interested in learning more about. I also increasingly use herbals with my livestock but we'll keep this to humans in this thread.

Elderberry tincture/syrup - A proven antiviral and immune booster. Tincture made in vodka without any added sweetner (for my health reasons) is nasty tasting stuff, like old school cough medicine, but it seems to work for me to avoid getting sick and/or shorten the duration and intensity. We grow our own but dry elderberries are easily bought online.

Echinacea - Another broad immunity booster. Familiar with this more from researching it for rabbits, but I'm going to see about it for humans - probably in tea form?

Mint - Haven't looked into scientific research, but using it as a tea helps settle my stomach if mildly upset and seems to also soothe sore throats and relieve mild nasal blockage. Taste wise, my kids and I prefer chocolate mint versus the much more common pepper or spearmint.

Comfrey - comfrey salve is proven to help skin regeneration after small cuts, scrapes, and burns. I currently use a commercial salve  but will likely make my own homemade salve this year as I grow a lot of it as a livestock feed/medicinal. Good plants to add to comfrey for skin healing are calendula and arnica, among others like plantain below.

Plantain - works amazingly well for bug bites, minor wounds, etc. We're constantly keeping an eye out for this herb while on hikes during mosquito season.

Witch hazel - if applied very quickly after stings, drastically reduces pain and swelling. This is very cheaply available as a commercial product.

Are you interested in herbal medicine? What are some plants you're fond of?
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ElleFiji

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Re: Learn the basics of effective herbal medicine
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2018, 09:51:32 AM »
Use all this with caution and with checking cross reactions and preferably with a pro

Oregano oil - boss as decongestant with anti bacterial/virus qualities
Valerian - nature's little Benzo, may have additional seizure fighting benefits
Ginger - stomach soothing, anti-inflammatory
Turmeric - anti-inflammatory
Red raspberry leaf (esp tea) - magic cramp remover hero drug
Nettle- diuretic anti-inflammatory, antihistamine
St. John's wort - magic for mild to moderate depression
Parsley - @snacky 's fav decongestant, possible emmenagogue, makes you smell nice
Marjoram oil - anti snoring, decongestant, sedative
Bamboo leaf tea - beautiful hair possibly due to high silica
Senna leaf tea for when you need a lil 💩
Honey, local honey
Lavender, calming, child safe
Tea tree oil, lavender oil or water, minor skin stuff

I will add more... In due time.

I very much enjoy that we are two very similar sides of a coin. Imagine if we were 39 years younger and had to make friends by corresponding through mother earth news?


That's just my basic list
Edit one

What about that willow bark though?
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HarbingerofBunnies

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Re: Learn the basics of effective herbal medicine
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2018, 09:58:33 AM »
You added a bunch of stuff Iíve heard about but havenít tried, except turmeric. Turmeric never seemed to do much for me.

Willow bark is a natural form of salicyclic acid (aspirin) but I donít know much about human use/doses.

 Itís got anti-parasitic properties for my rabbits. I need to find someone with some willow trees i can harvest from :) Willows are a bit bigger than I want on my property but I might put one or two in and just keep them heavily coppiced.
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Chippewa

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Re: Learn the basics of effective herbal medicine
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2018, 10:21:14 AM »
in my house, I use (and already mainly named above):

mint good for gas relief
ginger for upset stomach
cinnamon (tea) for upset stomach. but also supposed to be good for those with high cholesterol and diabetes
Valerian for chilling out
used to take St. Johns Wort when I was younger for depression
lavender, calming.
witch hazel, face tonic.
echinacea when feel a cold coming on

not herbs, but aloe and/or vitamin e capsules on scrapes and cuts.

HarbingerofBunnies

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Re: Learn the basics of effective herbal medicine
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2018, 10:27:35 AM »
You might like comfrey as an alternative to aloe, especially when paired with plantain, calendula, and/or arnica.

Comfrey has the same active ingredient as aloe, but typically much stronger. The other herbs mentioned add some antibacterial and other healing properties.
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ElleFiji

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Re: Learn the basics of effective herbal medicine
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2018, 01:03:56 PM »
You added a bunch of stuff Iíve heard about but havenít tried, except turmeric. Turmeric never seemed to do much for me.

Willow bark is a natural form of salicyclic acid (aspirin) but I donít know much about human use/doses.

 Itís got anti-parasitic properties for my rabbits. I need to find someone with some willow trees i can harvest from :) Willows are a bit bigger than I want on my property but I might put one or two in and just keep them heavily coppiced.

My property is a one bed apartment....so I buy a lot and forage from friends.

Turmeric you need a lot to be effective. A starting dose is like 1 tsp 3x daily. Eventually I bought caps - you can smell if they are fresh. Now I'm on 1)day unless things are bad, then 3-6) day. Fat and black pepper help with absorption

Willow bark I've had tea but never foraged. I should, because it's so basic, and is also an antipyretic, as is ginger (not to the same extent as standard ones... But still good).
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HarbingerofBunnies

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Re: Learn the basics of effective herbal medicine
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2018, 01:23:48 PM »
Turmeric you need a lot to be effective. A starting dose is like 1 tsp 3x daily. Eventually I bought caps - you can smell if they are fresh. Now I'm on 1)day unless things are bad, then 3-6) day. Fat and black pepper help with absorption

I was taking standardized capsules. Tried a couple different reputable sources, didn't see an improvement, but glad it works for you :)
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ElleFiji

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Re: Learn the basics of effective herbal medicine
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2018, 05:04:24 PM »
Turmeric you need a lot to be effective. A starting dose is like 1 tsp 3x daily. Eventually I bought caps - you can smell if they are fresh. Now I'm on 1)day unless things are bad, then 3-6) day. Fat and black pepper help with absorption

I was taking standardized capsules. Tried a couple different reputable sources, didn't see an improvement, but glad it works for you :)
You also might not have needed it :)

Maybe you needed a different thing.

Do you have a practitioner or mentor who helps you figure out your remedies?
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Chippewa

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Re: Learn the basics of effective herbal medicine
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2018, 05:29:01 PM »
You might like comfrey as an alternative to aloe, especially when paired with plantain, calendula, and/or arnica.

Comfrey has the same active ingredient as aloe, but typically much stronger. The other herbs mentioned add some antibacterial and other healing properties.

Thank you for the info! We had aloe growing up and my mom used it plenty on me. Will be sure to check out comfrey. Although I am not as rough and tumble anymore. I think I’ve used calendula before but can’t recall for what... hmm. Google research time.

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Re: Learn the basics of effective herbal medicine
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2018, 12:58:08 AM »
I use calendula as an edible flower, and to help ward off insects from my tomato plants.

Arond the house my go-to herbal remedies are chamomile for physical relaxation, valerian and passionflower likewise. My most effective knockout remedy is what I call my "9/11 potion": a infusion using 2 cups of water with 2 tsp chamomile, 1 tsp apiece of valerian and passionflower. Drain it and mix with a shot of strong-tasting whiskey such as a spiced rum. Then get in position and be prepared to not move for ten hours. If you're not wired on caffeine or stimulants it will knock you out. Don't drive if you've had it; it's like having had four to five drinks of strong alcohol although you will not feel drunk since the chemicals are different and a person's alcohol tolerance is not relevant. Caffeine and stimulants can block the knockout effect but not the impairment.

Essential oil of cloves, or a clove bud if necessary, is a topical dental anaesthetic that works for most. The active ingredient is called "eugenol" and it's sometimes sold as an emergency dental painkiller.

For a sore throat I make an infusion of eucalyptus, rose hips for the vitamin C, and sometimes something to make it taste less nasty.

I keep alum as an effective emetic if I need to vomit out a migraine.

To shorten the duration of cold and flu upper respiratory symptoms, take a cubic inch of ginger (root and all), chop it coarsely, and boil it in 8-10 cups water with one lemon. After 10 minutes of boiling stab the lemon and crush out the juice. Strain the results and serve it hot with honey. This one scored better than a placebo or any contemporary OTC remedy in terms of shortening the duration of the symptoms and it has the virtue of not tasting nasty.

Tea tree oil is an effective skin disinfectant. Essential oil of pine and actually any evergreen oil appears to have antifungal properties, which is why they are routinely added to floor soap, but they are known carcinogens so avoid skin contact.

Now, lavender essential oil is an effective treatment for burns if you get it on immediately. It can prevent scarring and is an effective topical painkiller for both humans and cats. It has mild antiseptic properties so it's good on wounds, and unlike most of the essential oils it's quite mild. Many people add raw lavender to laundry. I don't approve: it's a plant estrogen so I use it only for emergency medicine. Don't give it to a man for any other purpose unless you want him to grow tits. I've had good feedback from female friends and relatives who use it in lieu of estrogen treatments, along with adding significant amounts of tofu to their diet.
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Rural

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Re: Learn the basics of effective herbal medicine
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2018, 09:45:37 AM »
I use a lot of these. Elderberry doesn't have to be in ticture or syrup form, though that's a fine way to do it if you like; I bake a lot of elderberry muffins or pie in winter to stave off flu.


One I haven't seen listed here is garlic - also has antibiotic and antiviral properties.


Clover tea for cramps/menopause symptoms (avoid if pregnant/trying - lots of pytoestrogens)


Also good for sore throats/immunity: rosehip tea or jelly, (also hibiscus, though I can't grow it here).


I'll second the plantain and add it's good for poison ivy (make a poltice, which you can do in the filed by partially chewing it).


Basil tea is good for sore throats.


If you want to harvest willowbark, don't follow the websites that suggest cutting a plug of bark from the trunk (!) - the bark of the switches is fine and won't kill the tree. Dry the bark for storage, administer in tea form (will go down better with sweetener).


The inner bark of wild cherry for cough syrup/ tea. Collect in spring, again from branches.


Licorice for asthma and bronchial ailments generally.


I buy, not grow or forage, but cayenne pepper for arthritis, either in a capsule or (if you're tough) in a tea, or in an ointment or poltice (Take precautions/ don't rub eyes/ don't go to the bathroom in the middle of making the ointment. etc).


Blackberry leaf tea for general immunity (because of Vitamin C content, mostly). Also because it's yummy.


I'm sure there are more; will post as I think of them/use them.

HarbingerofBunnies

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Re: Learn the basics of effective herbal medicine
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2018, 10:16:47 AM »
Iíll have to try the blackberry leaf tea when spring comes back around, Iíve got two patches of them.

We eat a lot of garlic. Itís probably my most used spice.
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Serendip

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Re: Learn the basics of effective herbal medicine
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2018, 10:17:01 AM »
Now, lavender essential oil is an effective treatment for burns if you get it on immediately. It can prevent scarring and is an effective topical painkiller for both humans and cats. It has mild antiseptic properties so it's good on wounds, and unlike most of the essential oils it's quite mild. Many people add raw lavender to laundry. I don't approve: it's a plant estrogen so I use it only for emergency medicine. Don't give it to a man for any other purpose unless you want him to grow tits. I've had good feedback from female friends and relatives who use it in lieu of estrogen treatments, along with adding significant amounts of tofu to their diet.

This was super interesting for me to hear as I use lavender frequently!

 I looked up the research and this conclusion was based on a incident involving only three boys and the product they used had other estrogen-mimicking ingredients in it, so a bit hard to isolate lavender I would think.

I read the NIH news release and also this article

https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/lavender-tea-tree-oils-may-cause-breast-growth-boys
https://www.annmariegianni.com/is-lavender-estrogenic/

Rural

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Re: Learn the basics of effective herbal medicine
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2018, 10:34:17 AM »
Iíll have to try the blackberry leaf tea when spring comes back around, Iíve got two patches of them.

We eat a lot of garlic. Itís probably my most used spice.


Harvest the blackberry leaves before the flowers open ideally, then dry them for year-round storage. I don't think I've ever done tea from fresh leaves.


Oh, and I grow stevia and dry the leaves for teas. Don't know that it's actually useful in itself, but tiny amounts make many other things palatable without adding calories or affecting glucose levels. I've used a strong tea as the sweetener in baked goods, even- it does give a certain distinctive greenish tinge to anything not dark-colored.


westtoeast

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Re: Learn the basics of effective herbal medicine
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2018, 12:04:10 PM »
Awesome thread!

I use a lot of these, and also just gained some great ideas from reading.

I never thought to grow my own Stevia leaves. I use store bought extract in my tea and coffee.

I have one herb to add off the top of my head... olive leaf capsules seem to stop colds in their tracks if you start taking them as soon as you notice symptoms. Olive leaf also has heart health benefits and can help eliminate bad bugs from your microbiome. (of course, do your own research before using)

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Re: Learn the basics of effective herbal medicine
« Reply #15 on: January 14, 2018, 12:15:52 PM »
I use olive leaf also for colds...as stated before use as soon as you feel symptoms.
If you have allergies to grasses, ragweed or other things like that be very careful with Camomile.  I was using this to help with sleep and got VERY sick.  It has been know to cause anaphylactic reactions.
I love peppermint tea when I am unwell...so soothing.

HarbingerofBunnies

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Re: Learn the basics of effective herbal medicine
« Reply #16 on: January 14, 2018, 01:01:47 PM »
I use olive leaf also for colds...as stated before use as soon as you feel symptoms.
If you have allergies to grasses, ragweed or other things like that be very careful with Camomile.  I was using this to help with sleep and got VERY sick.  It has been know to cause anaphylactic reactions.
I love peppermint tea when I am unwell...so soothing.

Stevia is also something to avoid if you have ragweed allergies, as it's in the same family. I hadn't heard that about chamomile though.

I've personally avoided stuff like valerian and chamomile because I'm not sure how they would interact with the SSRI antidepressant I take.
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ElleFiji

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Re: Learn the basics of effective herbal medicine
« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2018, 06:07:27 PM »
I use olive leaf also for colds...as stated before use as soon as you feel symptoms.
If you have allergies to grasses, ragweed or other things like that be very careful with Camomile.  I was using this to help with sleep and got VERY sick.  It has been know to cause anaphylactic reactions.
I love peppermint tea when I am unwell...so soothing.

Stevia is also something to avoid if you have ragweed allergies, as it's in the same family. I hadn't heard that about chamomile though.

I've personally avoided stuff like valerian and chamomile because I'm not sure how they would interact with the SSRI antidepressant I take.
Ask your pharmacist! At least here they can run a check :)
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Re: Learn the basics of effective herbal medicine
« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2018, 08:36:44 PM »
Yes.

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