Herbal Pharmacy – 11

st-johns-wort

St. John’s Wort [ Hypericum perforatum] is probably the best known wort in modern medicine. Other common names are The Grace of God, and Touch and Heal. It is believed to reach its apex of healing on St. John’s Eve (June 23). It was and still is used to relieve headache, back pain, ulcers, sunburn and more. Just be sure to follow directions on the package if you purchase the capsules. It’s also a good idea to check with your doctor before you begin using St. John’s Wort.

Low on energy? Snack on a small bunch of fresh parsley leaves. Chew the leaves slowly, and they’ll release easily-absorbed iron and vitamin C into your bloodstream.

What grandma used to call a “hot toddy” is a warming drink used to improve circulation and open up sinus passages. Add a spoonful of sugar or honey, a whole cinnamon stick, and juice from 1/2 fresh lemon to a large mug. Fill with boiling water, add 1 tablespoon of whisky or rum. Stir with the cinnamon stick and drink while hot.

Curcumin (the compound in turmeric that makes the spice yellow) is an anti-oxidant which raises serotonin and dopamine levels in the body. Together these two neurotransmitters reduce emotional stress and brain fog.

Onion Power: Peel two or three small white onions and insert a few whole cloves in them. Add the onions to a small pan and pour in 2 cups of water. Simmer gently on low heat for 30 minutes. Allow the beverage to cool slightly, then sip slowly. Great for stuffy noses, sinus drainage, or that “blah” feeling from colds or the flu. My grandmother called it “onion broth”, and prepared it for me when I was a little girl. It’s a lot healthier than today’s OTC medications.

Inhaling eucalyptus-scented steam for 15 minutes may help with a mild sinus problem. The steam opens and helps unclog your sinuses, while compounds in eucalyptus help heal irritated membranes. Heat four cups of water almost to boiling in a small sauce pan. Remove the pan from the stove and place it in the sink. Add eight drops of eucalyptus essential oil to the water. Place a towel over your head and lean over the sink, keeping your head about ten inches away. Inhale the scented steam for up to five minutes. Repeat if needed.

Add a small chunk of peeled, fresh ginger to a large coffee mug, pour ten ounces of boiling water over the ginger and allow it to steep for five minutes. Remove the ginger and add the liquid to a glass jar with a lid- refrigerate. Gargle with this infusion daily for a bacteria-zapping mouthwash.

Healthy Winter Snacking: Toss cleaned, dry pumpkin seeds with a little olive oil, 1 teaspoon minced fresh or dried rosemary, and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Spread on a foil -lined baking sheet and roast in a 300 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

Dozens of studies seem to show that sipping three mugs of black, green or white tea daily can reduce cancer risk by 25%, and help to curb brain aging by 50%. Buy the loose teas and prepare your own teas using a tea ball. Loose tea usually contains more antioxidants than what is pre-packaged in commercial tea bags. No tea ball? Use a tea strainer. Add the loose tea to the strainer, pour boiling water over it and you have tea !

Top Ten Herbs for Health and Healing: Lemon Balm, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Eucalyptus, Basil, Oregano, Lavender, Peppermint and Cinnamon.

Blessed be, sweet ones

~ Meadow Walker

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