What's one of your favorite herb/herbal treatments?

silversword(9A)January 21, 2009

I'm drinking green tea right now and marveling at the benefits of a few little green leaves. I can't say it's my favorite, but it made me curious about what others use and find effective in everyday life. When I drink green tea I feel better. Since last year I've reduced my coffee intake because I didn't feel very well a few hours after drinking it. I don't think it was the caffeine, because green tea has it too. Replacing it with green tea is a good alternative for me.

Also, having a Stevia plant really opened my eyes to different sugars. Growing up around the toxicity of sugar cane manufacturing... all I can say is what an amazing plant!!

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luckygal(3b)

I love to use green tea as well altho don't like the flavor so usually mix it with another tea. Green tea is the only thing I can substitute for coffee w/o getting withdrawal migraines. Possibly because of it's protective anti-inflammatory action, not sure. I'm pretty addicted to coffee but don't think it's harmful so continue to use it. I also use many other herbs for tea.

My absolutely fav herbals are essential oils. They have enabled me to avoid the toxic commercial body care products which caused me so many allergic reactions in the past. I use them for skin care, scenting my home, as well as health reasons. So many yummy scents to choose from and so many good uses.

Other herbal "treatments" I enjoy are using fresh or dried herbs in my bath water, homemade herbal ointments, using edible flowers on salads, and even simply crushing leaves while gardening for a good reviving "sniff". The olfactory benefits of herbs are possibly not well known by some.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2009 at 1:25PM
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silversword(9A)

Hi Lucky!
I was just reading the other day that scent is the strongest link to memory and has been effective in patients with Alzheimer's. If you're interested, here's the link:http://www.ecu.edu/cs-admin/news/poe/1005/scent.cfm

I found this fascinating, but to be true for me too. Certain scents take me right back. And when I smell certain things I am more relaxed, and others make me feel different ways (patchouli makes me tense). My daughter loves to rub her hand against rosemary and then give me her hand to smell. I love rosemary.

I still love coffee, but give it to myself more as a "treat" these days rather than my morning beverage :) I don't think it's bad either. It just wasn't working for me in such high doses anymore (3-4 cups daily).

What kind of edible flowers do you use? I have nasturtiums growing but don't use them very often.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2009 at 1:40PM
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luckygal(3b)

Thanks for that link, silversword, always glad to see more recognition of the benefits of EO's.

Might find some good info if you google "essential oils and the limbic system".

Interesting your reaction to patchouli - when I first discovered essential oils it was one of the oils I really disliked. Over the years I've come to appreciate it and now use it in moderation in blends. I also couldn't stand jasmine at first but now it's one of my fav oils. May have had unpleasant memories of association which have been worked thru.

The only flowers I've used in salads are nasturtiums, johnny-jump-up pansies, and chive flowers. Nasturtiums can be quite spicey but I like them. Aside from the flavor and the nutritional benefits I like the appearance. I've also tasted lavender flowers in various recipes done by a friend. Important to only use organically grown flowers with no chemical sprays which I'm sure you know but some may not think of it. I've heard of using dandelion flowers but don't like the flavor. Keep thinking I really should eat fresh dandelion greens in the spring since a local herbalist advised the benefits of bringing one's energy more in tune with the changing energy of earth by doing this. Free salad ingredients anyhow so I might give it a try this spring.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2009 at 2:47PM
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silversword(9A)

Yes, I'm an organic gardener too :) I keep thinking about dandelion greens for a few years now and somehow never get around to it. Hear they are very very good for me... I never thought of using the flowers. Perhaps this spring I can get motivated to do some foraging!

Oh yeah, I forgot about chive flowers. I like them too. Don't have any chives right now. Can't wait for spring!!!

I always thought I really hated patchouli... haven't smelled it in a while, then came across a woman recently who really stunk of it. Asked her politely what scent she was wearing, and had it confirmed. I think it may be personal body chemistry combined with using too much. I'm sensitive to heavy perfumes/scents. Interestingly enough my husband wears a cologne that I find intoxicating, and the base note? Patchouli. Very ironic, since neither of us professes to like it!!

I love jasmine. We had night blooming jasmine everywhere when I was growing up and it brings back lovely memories. The scent was so thick in the air! It gave some people headaches.

I used to have a really great vacuum that had a special essential oil diffuser at the top... put a few drops on a cotton ball, put it in the thinger bobber and vacuum away. Kind of like a Glade plug in, but much much nicer. Interestingly enough it was the same vacuum that was used at the hotels in my home state.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2009 at 3:05PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

My top two favorite herbs in the garden are sage (Salvia officinalis)and calendula (Calendula officinalis). I love the green-gray leaves and purple-blue flowers of sage and the sunny, cheery flowers of calendula that last until the hardest frosts are marvelous. Echinacea, any of the species, is a close third.

For herbal effects, I have lots of favorite herbs all for different reasons. But I suppose my top two favorite herbs for their benefits/taste are stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) and lemon balm (Melissa officinalis). Of course the reviled weed dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is the one I harvest the most of for medicinal use. I harvest many, many pounds of leaf and root each year for use in tinctures.

FataMorgana

    Bookmark   January 21, 2009 at 4:39PM
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silversword(9A)

Hi Fata,
Do you eat the dandelion ever? Or just use it in tinctures? What do you use the tinctures for?
~silver

    Bookmark   January 21, 2009 at 4:47PM
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eibren(z6PA)

I love to eat stir-fried young dandelion leaves, stems, and buds in a side dish with scrambled eggs.
They have a slightly bitter taste, but to me are delicious.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2009 at 5:42PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Fresh dandelion is a bit too bitter for me but the flowers are very munchable and tasty! :)

I don't use tinctures as a rule. I like using teas or even my food as medicine - many foods have medicinal qualities and are herbs in their own right. I harvest herbs for a naturopath and he uses dandelion chiefly for its diuretic properties.

FataMorgana

    Bookmark   January 21, 2009 at 6:54PM
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gringojay

Speaking of flowers: my #1 = borage; always "glad" to eat them, as sayeth ye olde herbal tome. Plant them if you can, mooch them if necessary & go try them if never have before.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2009 at 9:43PM
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eibren(z6PA)

I like elderberry (American) flowers and berry juice for bronchitis, as well as horehound, which grows fairly well for me (it is quite bitter). I have been able to collect elderberry flowers from bushes I planted, but the birds usually eat the berries-- I purchase Sambucol syrup instead. The English elderberry tree is more poisonous, and there are several types of American ones as well which are more so, so elderberry needs to be used with caution after reading up on it a bit.

I like to substitute Dandelion root for coffee, and occasionally drink Pau D'Arco tea when I start to feel paranoid about cancer. My theory is that it may not cure a full-blown cancer, but might be discouraging to a few cancerous cells floating around. I purchase both of those.

During the summer I just make teas out of whatever I can find growing well in my garden. Japanese honeysuckle blossoms are supposed to have some antibacterial properties, and taste nice with various mints. Sometimes I make a tea with ground ivy (not really an ivy; a weedy little ivy-like thing with purple flowers that I think is cute) or violet leaves.

Supposedly forsythia buds have some antibiotic value; the Chinese grow a special strain of forsythia that is supposed to be more effective. I haven't tried any yet to see what they taste like. I also like to mix pineapple mint and pineapple sage in a tea, as is suggested in one of my books on herbs. That has a very nice fragrance.

I found an hebal salve in the local health food store with comfrey gel in it that seems to help my arthritis, so I also like that.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2009 at 10:51PM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

I'd have to vote for sage and garlic.

Even if garlic doesn't pan out as a cancer preventative, it has other benefits, not the least of which is in cooking. I need to start growing some different varieties and sample more than what's available in the grocery store.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2009 at 10:56PM
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luckygal(3b)

Garlic is the one I always forget in herbal discussions! I usually think of it as more a vegetable like onion and we use a lot of it. On one of our little jaunts around the province this fall we found a woman who grew some 40 varieties of garlic. We buy it whenever we can directly from the grower, seldom buy it in the grocery store, and never buy the stuff grown off shore. I should grow it but in this cold climate it needs a full year to reach a decent size.

Garlic is supposed to be much more effective for what ails you when eaten raw. I've crushed it and mixed it with yogurt cheese, chives, and s&p as a veggie dip. Also love it baked.

Eibren, I wonder if your cute "weedy little ivy-like thing with purple flowers" is creeping thyme. I have some plants inset in the patio and they get walked on so I haven't used any. Might move some to the garden and try it in tea.

Here is a link that might be useful: creeping thyme

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 1:39AM
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eibren(z6PA)

I forgot to mention thyme, which I do grow in pots, where it will winter over for me, and use in spaghetti sauce. Oregano is also a reliable grower for me, and another food favorite. I think I read somewhere that thyme tea can have medicinal qualities of some sort.

I was actually referring to Glechoma hederacea, which I only use in moderation. It was once called "poor man's tea" in England, and is definitely not what is usually meant by Colt's Foot, which has similarly shaped leaves about the size of a hand. Glechoma's leaves are about the size of a thumbnail. It is also not what is usually sold as Creeping Jenny. the Wiki link has a photo, but don't take the full article literally unless you find any important facts backed up by other sources.

Here is a link that might be useful: ground ivy

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 2:39AM
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herbalbetty

Eric, you need to get yourself to a Garlic Festival and try the many different varieties. We've been to the Gilroy Garlic Festival in CA, the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival in Saugerties, NY, the Southern Vermont Garlic Festival, Little Falls (NY) Garlic festival, etc. There you can try any number of varieties and buy some to plant in your garden. And sample some really good garlic-infused foods. Yum! Nary a vampire in 100 miles.

I can't limit myself to just a few herbs. I grow over 300 and enjoy them. But, at least MUST have sage, calendula, St. John's (makes the best infused oil for nerve damage), thyme, roses, chamomile, lemon balm, mullein, etc. And I agree with GringoJay - I eat a few borage flowers whenever I am in the garden and the borage is blooming. Make sure the calyx is removed, as that is hairy like the leaves. Eibren, I use Glechoma if I have one of those unproductive, nagging little coughs. The kind of cough that isn't post nasal drip and isn't deep in the lungs. And it's a sort of a repetitive, tiny cough.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 7:44AM
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Daisyduckworth(Aust)

My all-time favourite herb is lavender - love the perfume, and it has multiple uses as well - medicinal and culinary. Second-favourite is calendula - pretty in the garden, and also with multiple uses.

My favourite herbal remedy is elderberry syrup - tastes like heaven, and is excellent for treating the symptoms of cold and flu.

My favourite flower for eating is daylily. Refreshing, sweet and nutty.

This comes with apologies to all my other herbs, of which I have many. I love them all, really!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 4:26PM
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silversword(9A)

Hi daisy... do you eat your daylilies out of your yard? or is this something special?

I've heard of sauteeing them but have never known anyone to do that. Can you elaborate?

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 1:04PM
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Daisyduckworth(Aust)

I only eat the flower petals - and yes, I grow my own, which I believe is the original version, not one of the many modern cultivars (although they're all edible).

Plenty of recipes if you Google!

Here is a link that might be useful: laylily recipes

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 3:21PM
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silversword(9A)

Thanks!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 4:48PM
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