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rosadee(7)October 10, 2004

What is one of the most effective medicinal herbal remedies? One that you would not want to be without! How do you make it?

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Huh? Are you asking what our favorite herbal remedies are? You don't have a specific question? There are several for me, but I like Mullein tea a lot of decongestion. But there are so many.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2004 at 7:17PM
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Most EFFECTIVE herbal remedy in your collection. One that you can not live without. One that works most of the time. One that you have tested and used. Generally accepted by most herbalists to be very effective.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2004 at 8:22PM
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I understand that I should not have posted this question on two forums at the same time. Therefore, I am referring everyone to Herbs Forum with the basic same question. I am building gardens and currently working on an herb garden. I am wanting to make medicinal herb rememedies in the future but do not want to waste space planting herbs that I will never use. I am trying to find out what remedies are the most important to have available to me and then I am going to plant the herb. Hopefully, someone will share the recipe for their favorite remedy. Meanwhile I have to get the herbs in the ground. ie refer to Herbs Forum

    Bookmark   October 11, 2004 at 7:44AM
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I think you can be forgiven for posting this question on both forums. Not everyone interested in herbs will think of them in medicinal terms, and there is a lot of crossover! Don't get your knickers in a twist about it.

Below is a table of suggested herbs for use in a herbal First Aid kit. It's a table which doesn't translate well here, but you should be able to follow it OK. Of course, you are going to select herbs which YOU think would be useful for yourself and your family. It would be impossible to cover all possible ailments and all possible remedies for all people. The thing you should really remember is that culinary herbs have medicinal uses, too, so if you do some research, you can save yourself a lot of hassles by worrying about 'purely medicinal' herbs. I also think you should do some homework about herbal remedies, searching for 'herbal remedies', or for particular ailments eg 'herbal remedy headache' or for 'medicinal uses rosemary'. You will be overwhelmed with ideas for your garden! You should grow mint - good for the digestion, smelling it helps in cases of shock (after bad news, a fall etc). Nasturtiums are good for cystitis etc. Sage or thyme make a good gargle for sore throat. Garlic and parsley are very useful medicinally.

When hunting for suitable plants, armed with your knowledge, make sure to search for the botanical names of plants (eg make sure a plant labelled 'Marigold' is really Calendula, and not the French marigold), and make sure to label each plant in the garden. It's SO easy to forget which is which in the heat of the moment and when you have many herbs. For each plant you acquire, add it to a printed list, showing what it's used for, which parts of the plant to use, and how to prepare/apply it. Keep your list in a place where it's easily referred to.

Also think about vegetables and fruit in medicinal terms. For instance, you can rub a cut tomato or cucumber or potato onto sunburn and minor scalds, tape on a banana skin to soften and remove corns etc. Some bicarbonate of soda mixed to a paste with water is soothing for insect bites, nappy rash etc. Lemon juice is excellent for a sore throat, and for a threatening cold. Alpine strawberries are great for removing tartar from teeth.

Yep, it's a BIG topic! Here's the 'table'. You don't have to stick to it like glue. Remember that creams and lotions have a limited shelf-life.

Agrimony Diarrhoea. Sore throat. Cystitis. Infusion.
Aloe Vera Burns including sunburn. Wounds. Fresh leaf gel, or cream
Arnica Bruises. Sprains Make up into a cream as required
Blackberry leaves Diarrhoea. Infusion.
Calendula Minor wounds. Rashes. Burns. Tinea. As in infusion, or in a cream.
Chamomile Restless or teething babies and children. Rashes. Burns. Infusion. Cream or lotion.
Clove oil Toothache Applied direct. Whole cloves can also be used.
Comfrey Sprains. Wounds. Skin problems. Fresh leaf poultice. Cream.
Cramp Bark Menstrual pain. Muscle cramp or spasms. Decoction or cream.
Dandelion Fluid retention. Warts. Infusion. Sap of fresh plants for warts.
Echinacea Improve immune system Tablets or capsules.
Elderflower Hay fever. Colds, flu. Infusion. Elderberry syrup may also be used.
Eucalyptus oil Colds, flu Inhalation.
Evening Primrose oil Premenstrual syndrome. Hangover. Eczema. Capsules.
Fennel seeds Colic in babies. Indigestion. Infusion. (Dill, Caraway or Aniseed can be substituted.)
Feverfew Headache. Rheumatic pain. Fresh or dried leaf, infusion
Figs Laxative Fresh or dried fruit, or syrup
Garlic Antiseptic. Colds, flu. Wounds. Earache. Food poisoning. Fresh bulbs or tablets. Juice for earache.
Ginger Nausea. Colds and flu. Menstrual pain. Fresh or powdered root. Infusion
Lavender oil or flowers Antiseptic. Wounds. Minor burns. Bites and stings. Headache. Relaxant. Use externally only. An infusion of fresh or dried flowers can also be used.
Lemon Balm Insomnia. Bites, stings. Infusion. Fresh leaf for bites and stings.
Liquorice root Colds and flu. Menopausal symptoms. Sore throat. Infusion.
Marshmallow Boils. Splinters. Sore thoat. Decoction.
Mint Shock. Indigestion Infusion
Rosemary leaves Headaches. Pick-me-up. Infusion.
St Johns Wort Burns. Earache. Depression Infusion.
Tea Tree oil Tinea. Wounds. Cold sores. Use externally only.
Thyme Chest congestion. Worms. Infusion
Valerian Anxiety. Insomnia. Muscle spasms. Decoction
Yarrow Nosebleeds. Bleeding wounds. Fever. Bruised fresh leaf. Infusion.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2004 at 6:33PM
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Just the kind of advice I needed!!!!! Thanks Daisyduckworth
I made a road trip today to a green house two hours from my home. I came home with Burnett; Roman Chamomile; Lemon Verbena; Red Apple Mint; Lemon, Oregano & English Thyme (got a little carried away), Prostrate Rosemary, French Tarragon, Bronze Fennel; 'The best Spearmint' mint; Greek & Italian Thyme, Black Chervil, Society Garlic, Helmsdale Lavendar, Lemon Balm, Bloody Sorrell, Greek Columnar Basil (a tender one) & Balm of Gilead. Parsley, Tarragon, & Rosemary is in the ground already. I also have an antique rose called Cramoisi Superieur that I use the petals for garnishes. I have four packs of pansies too for garnishes & salads. For culinary purposes, I am still missing sweet majoram, borage, dill, bee balm, loveage, cilantro and sweet cisley. I asked about Good King Henry but everyone thinks I am crazy, picking some name off the bathroom wall. Guess the only way to get a start of that stuff is from a gardenweb buddy. I don't know what to use "Balm of Gilead" for, but I could not resist the smell. It is very strong! Now I need to research the ones that you have suggested and decide which ones I will use. I will definitely make labels for each plant using the botanical name. I am already beginning to recognize some botanical names although I still can not pronounce them. I came across Gotu Kola and bought it too. Don't know how to use it but it is a lovely plant. I am very excited about using all these. I need to get a good encyclopedia on herbs. I think I have herb fever!! Which one is good for that?

    Bookmark   October 11, 2004 at 9:39PM
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post on the seed and plant exchanges and people can give you most of what you want. or heck some of these are nectar sources as well as host sources for butterflies so they can give you some. for instance bee balm. or scientific name would be monarda. the native is monarda fistulusa i think, but their are several varieties. I'm not sure what balm of gilead their is but depending you may have a tree or something else. IF you got it from a nursery their should be a latin name on it. if so google it. and just for culinary purposes as well as others grab some garlic bulbs. chives are yummy too and very very very easy to grow.

richters has some seed to help you their as well as do several herbal nurseries that i'm sure others here can supply you the name because they have all escaped my limited memory:)

So you dont' get your plants nibbled on get some parsely and rue for the catepillars(blue mound rue looks pretty and helps repel ants so does tansy but not sure how invasive) get more bronze fennel black swallotail catepillars like it a lot. dill can be invasive. The rosemary doesn't like to be drenched in water and needs good drainage. So you may want to amend the soil a bit around her. Enjoy. btw their are many yummy different types of thyme. Theirs one that can be used for culinary purposes and looks great as a groundcover called mother of thyme.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2004 at 3:27PM
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    Bookmark   October 12, 2004 at 4:37PM
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Uh oh! You are definitely a herb addict. Sorry, there is no cure. Try to be a bit more selective in what you grow. You'll find over time which ones you are using, and ignore the rest. Best to learn about the plants before you buy.

Balm of Gilead (Cedronella canariensis) or Canary Balm is sometimes used as a tea to dry up breast milk. Leaves and flowers can be dried for moth and insect repellent potpourri. Infuse leaves in alcohol with other perfume ingredients to add a musky scent, reminiscent of lemon, camphor and cedar combined. Note that this is NOT the Balm of Gilead mentioned in the Bible - I don't have any information on that plant.

Gotu Kola is Pennywort (Centella Asiatica, Hydrocotyle asiatica). It can easily become a groundcover weed. It's often called the Arthritis Plant. Some people call it Brahmi, but it's not the REAL Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri). Leaves can be eaten in salads. Leaves are eaten to help problems associated with ageing, such as memory loss, poor circulation, loss of concentration, and arthritis. Also used to treat anxiety and stress, and to improve the immune system, to reduce inflammations and improve the immune system. Has a balancing effect on the nervous system. Dried, powdered leaves can be sprinkled over wounds to aid healing and reduce scarring. Used to treat chronic skin conditions including leprosy, psoriasis and elephantiasis; venereal diseases, malaria, fever, varicose veins, haemorrhoids and dementia, colds and flu, liver disorders; to increase blood sugar levels where required; for healing of wounds, muscular atrophy, eye lesions, gastric ulcers, phlebitis. Recent studies have shown that it may destroy tumour cells. It has been used successfully to treat phlebitis, leg cramps, swellings of the legs and heaviness or tingling in the legs. The tea is used as a wash to help healing after surgical incision of the vulva (episiotomy) during childbirth. May be useful in children suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2004 at 5:51PM
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flowersandthings(MidAtlantic 6/7)

Since you are looking to grow plants in the garden...... plant peppermint (and or spearmint..... but peppermint's better)!!!! It is useful for such a wide variety of complaints.... just put it in an area where it can be contained or spread......
Other useful herbs you can grow are
comfrey...... good for skin complaints...... also used to heal wonds.....
calendula...... good for sking complaints....
hyssop, horehound, thyme and sage..... some used in cooking.... all god for throat and lung problems come flu and cold season....
chamomile is very good but you'll have to grow alot ot harvest enough blossoms......

Echinacea root is used as an immune builder and is easily grown in the garden.... you could grow different varieities (pallida, purpurea, reflexa)..... but I'd stay away from hybrids....
Rose hips are an excellent source of vitamin c.... good in teas.... plant a rose with good hips in the garden.....
Holy basil is an easy to grow annual one of the principle herbs of ayruvedic medicine very good for chest complaitns menthol like :)
Dandelion is also really useful for water retention....
Parsley is a tonic herb... good for skin complaints and containg very high amounts of vitamins and minerals (the most nurtitious food on earth) good to take if you're feeling sick or just want a boost.....
licorice is a nice herb...... but its only hardy to zone seven require well drained soil and root can only be harvested after a couple of years......
lavender doesn't have a variety of medicinal uses but is very useful in aromatherapy... as well as being lovely!!!!! (its one of my favorite plants)
For women's complaints lemon balm and lady's mantle are supposed to be good
Witch hazel is useful and very pretty... I'm am not sure how you distill the useful parts though..... used as a shrub.....
Fennel is a pretty herb usef for baby colic soothing sore throats and as a demulcant for hte skin (i.e. sooting) it has a slippery feel..... I have seeds if you'd like some.....
As a general sedative catnip and valerian are good (be aware valerian is VERY strong and should be used sparingly)......
gingko is also very useful but is a tree.....
there is dispute over whether feverfew cures headaches.....I think it does in my personal experience (although it could have been placebo)....... It is also a pretty addition to the herb garden though.....
As daisy duck worth says
garlic is good for a variety of complaints
and st. john's wort can be grown easily and is fairly pretty in the garden though there is a dispute over its efficacy concerning depression and depression relief......
cramp bark is supposed to be VERY good for menstrual cramps but is a tree so plant it if you have room.....
marshmallow is very good for the throat
goldenseal is also a very useful herb but it takes a long while to harvest and you need perfect! woodland conditions......
slipper elm is also good for the throat but is also a tree.....
with most "rooty" hebs (those cultivated for the root) the root is most useful after a couple of years......
As far as things you couldn't or might not want to grow in your garden......
Tea tree oil is useful for a variety of complaints
potato skins work to cure warts
apple cider vinegar is useful in the treatment of funguses
vitamin e is good for a variety of skin complaints.....
Hope this helps...... :)

    Bookmark   October 14, 2004 at 5:31PM
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An excellent post, flowersandthings! But I must disagree with you on lavender, also one of my favourite herbs. Lavender has a number of medicinal uses, see below, and if you grow the true English lavender it also provides a culinary flavour, as well as household uses like potpourri, incense, etc. It also has insecticidal properties, one reason so many people put lavender sachets in with their clothes and linen. So it is a truly versatile herb, and an absolute essential in any herb garden.

Other good plants to consider would be ginger (excellent for nausea, cold and flu etc); and arrowroot (a good substitute for slippery elm for digestive problems, convalescence, and of course for cooking); motherwort (female problems and a whole lot more); lemon balm (a mild sedative, good for insect bites and more); stevia (a good sweetener for sufferers of diabetes and also useful if you often suffer from yeast infections); yarrow (great for nosebleeds, colds and flu and as a general vulnerary); a lemon tree provides food and the juice makes an excellent anti-everything household cleaner, and is indispensible as a medicinal herb for sore throats and more, alone or included in a variety of remedies; meadowsweet is one of the original sources of aspirin (along with white willow bark) - a good general analgesic, but not if you're allergic to aspirin. Honestly, the list of 'possibles' is endless!

Here's just some of the medicinal uses of lavender:

Used to treat insect bites, fever, headache, sleeplessness, to soothe frayed nerves. A tea made from the flowers reduces flatulence, treats dizziness, nausea (including travel sickness), mild burns, depression and bad breath. Crushed leaves and the oil relieves pain of insect bites. Add the oil to baby oil and apply to painful areas when suffering from shingles, or to cold sores or tinea. Diluted oil is used to treat cuts, minor burns, abrasions, sores, wounds, acne, eczema and scars. It's also great to include in scented soaps, cosmetic creams etc.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2004 at 6:25PM
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flowersandthings(MidAtlantic 6/7)

I loooove lavender but have never really used it internally..... save in lavender honey or to flavor a dessert...... I do love it for its aromatherapy qualities and it is good for the hair or some greasy skin conditions...... but I didn't know it had many other uses ..... i have used lavender honey when I had a cold..... nice to know you can use it for many things..... :)

    Bookmark   October 21, 2004 at 4:25PM
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Bethany_Z5(Rural Z5)

A Comfrey poultice works great to reduce swelling and stop itching.
I bruise a big handful of leaves, soften them in some hot water and apply directly to injury or irritated skin.
Do not take internally.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2004 at 2:09PM
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habitat_gardener(z9 CA/Sunset15)

EASY to grow, will spread if you let them, and many uses, including edible flowers: lavender, calendula, borage

Also easy to grow, you can pick the leaves throughout the season tu use fresh or dried and the plant will grow more: mullein, sage, comfrey

I grow oregano for the bees.

Echinacea: the root is the part typically used (must be at least 3 years old), but if you grow it yourself, you can use the fresh leaves -- they have the same components as the roots but must be used fresh.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2004 at 12:30PM
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paradisi(Sunshine Coast)

gotu kola - for arthritic pains, back aches

I broke my back in 1978 playing rugby union but the break wasn't found by my specialist until 2002. For all that time I was treated for soft tissue injury and was lucky to survive the chirporactory, the manipulation, the massages, the stretching.

In all that time I relied on pretty strong painkillers to help me through the day. Because of the break and because I couldn't exercise properly I now have spurs growing on most of my lower verterbrae.

Two weeks ago I finally found some gotu kola plants at a local fruit and veg shop.

I planted the gotu kola and gave it a week to set its roots. Then I tried the two leaves a day for four days.

The relief was almost instantaneous.

To test the experiment I went off the gotu kola and my pain and stiffness returned as did the need for pain killers. That lasted four days.

This evening I chewed two gotu kola leaves (Centella asiatica)and the pain and stiffness was gone within twenty minutes.

I'm a convert and if worse comes to worst all you've done is waste a couple of dollars on another garden plant.

try it. and let everyone know if it worked for you

    Bookmark   February 27, 2006 at 7:45AM
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Rodales "Encyclopedia of Herbs" is an excellent book to begin with. It's one I would definitely purchase again after my 1st one falls apart. Lots of great info here.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2008 at 1:03PM
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