Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Herbs for a gum infection

Once again, I'm dealing with a gum infection. It hurts all the time and it leaves a funny taste in my mouth. Usually I just use Echinacea but this time I'm using a combination of Echinacea and Licorice. I'm drinking a cup of Echinacea tea (recipe found here) every 8 hours. And yesterday I made some Licorice Lozenges (recipe found here) to place directly on the sore.

For some pain relief, I tried something I've never done before. I took a little crushed dried licorice root and added just enough water to cover it. I boiled it and when the water was almost gone, I added a little more. I did this for about 30 minutes, adding water 6 or 7 times. When the juice turned thick and dark brown, I strained out the licorice pieces. Then I soaked one end of a cu-tip and applied it directly to the sore. The relief was immediate and intense. I was even able to eat without wincing. This is definitely a recipe I'm going to try again in the future.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hibiscus vs. Hawthorne for High Blood Pressure

Something strange happened the other day. My Mother-in-Law, Patsy, came to me and asked if there was an herb that could lower her high blood pressure. Apparently, she's scared that if she starts taking a prescription blood pressure medication, she'll never be able to stop. After getting over my shock, I agreed to lend her a hand.

We discussed 2 different herbs that help lower blood pressure, Hawthorne and Hibiscus. At first I was leaning towards Hawthorne because it's the first herb that comes to any herbalists mind for high blood pressure. It's been proven effective in numerous studies and it has a very few side effects. Unfortunately, it tastes horrible and I was worried that the bitter taste would keep Patsy from using it effectively.

So, we decided to go with Hibiscus. In 2004, a study compared the effects of drinking 2 cups of Hibiscus tea a day for 2 months to the effects of taking a prescription blood pressure medication for 2 months. At the end, both groups had very similar results. That was enough to convince Patsy to give it a try. I made her some tea the next day and even I was surprised at how delicious it is! Here's the recipe:

Hibiscus Tea
6 cups water
1 1/2 Tbsp dried Hibiscus
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 cup sugar
2 Tbsp honey
1 orange, unpeeled and cut into rings
1 lemon, unpeeled and cut into rings

1. Boil water and remove from heat. Add Hibiscus and cinnamon. Cover.
2. Let steep for exactly 15 minutes. Set a timer because at 20 minutes, your tea will turn bitter.
3. Strain tea. Use something like a coffee filter to strain the cinnamon out.
4. Add sugar, honey, orange and lemon rings.
5. Refrigerate and serve cold.

She started drinking it 3 days ago and I think she's going to stick with it. We won't know if it's working for a couple months, but I'll let you know.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Licorice Root: Healer or Harmer?

Licorice Root is a very powerful herb. It's ability to heal illness has been well documented in almost 200 clinical trials. Although it's commonly used to treat everyday ailments, licorice root has also been found to help major illnesses like cancer and HIV. Most studies show that it heals better than the pharmaceutical drugs because in most cases, it only affects what it's treating. For example: Chemotherapy kills everything in it's path. But the polyphenols in licorice root have the ability to kill cancer cells without having any negative affect on the bodies healthy cells.

But power isn't always a good thing. Licorice root has just as much ability to harm as it does to heal. Glycyrrhizin is the active compound responsible for a lot of the healing abilities in licorice root. But ingesting too much of it can cause major health problems ranging from fatigue to death. Here are almost 200 documented cases of death and other adverse affects of licorice root.

Because glycyrrhizin is the only compound in licorice root that causes these side effects, doctors figured out how to remove it. DGL, short for deglycyrrhizinated licorice, can be used without fear of causing additional health problems. But it won't treat as many ailments as whole licorice root. For instance, DGL is almost useless in treating hepatitis, herpes, arthritis, fibromylagia and asthma because they all require the anti-inflammatory properties from the glycyrrihizin. In those cases, ingesting less than 500 mg of glycyrrihizin a day lessens the chance of unwanted side effects.

In conclusion, as long as you're careful about the amount and type you use, licorice root will be a powerful and effective healer.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Many people think the benefits of Echinacea are limited to helping out with a cold. But that's just not true. Echinacea purpurea is actually a very effective herb for many other ailments, especially for fighting against infections and boosting your immunity.

Drinking echinacea tea daily can actually help your body build up it's own defenses so it can fight off more types of infections. Echinacea can even be made into a poultice and placed directly on burns, cuts and scrapes. This will keep your wound from getting infected while encouraging your skin cells to heal faster. Faster healing means less chance of scarring. Seriously, echinacea is an amazing herb.

Natural Remedies using Echinacea  has a wealth  of information concerning the many benefits of echinacea. Benefits, side effects, dosage, recipes and even facts about studies being done on echinacea. 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cooking with Essential Oils

I don't use herbs and essential oils exclusively for herbal remedies. I also like to use them to cook! Just using a few drops of the right essential oils can add an enticing flavor, an intoxicating scent and romantic overtones to your meal.

There are certain essential oils that have the power to invoke feelings of passion and romance. Rose oil, ylang-ylang oil, jasmine oil and geranium oil are the ones I use the most because  they're readily available and they also work wonders.

These oils rely on one things to work their magic: Aromatherapy. You see, fragrance and the sense of smell cause a quicker reaction in the brain than anything else. So when you infuse a box of chocolates with ylang-ylang, the first thing that's going to hit their brain when they open it is the aphrodisiac aroma.

I like to focus on desserts when adding essential oils. Since the oils have more power when they aren't cooked, they work best as icings and other toppings. This isn't to say that they don't work if you cook them. It's just that their aroma and taste are reduced.

I've gathered up some of my favorite dessert recipes using essential oils to add romance to your meal. Take a look and try a few out. I promise you won't be disappointed!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Herbs for cancer treatment

I don't understand why there isn't more research being done on treating cancer with herbs. There has been study after study that's shown that certain herbs can shrink tumors, stop cancer cell growth, and even kill cancer cells. But it seems like every time they reach that conclusion, they stop researching. Keep going!

I have a 7 year old niece that has multiple tumors growing in her heart and brain. Conventional medicine hasn't helped. Maybe herbs could. I mean, just look at this list!

Black Cohosh
Cascarsa Sagrada



Celery Seed




Red Clover

Every single one of these herbs has been shown to have some kind of tumor shrinking or cancer fighting abilities. Any one of them could potentially be "the cure". But, until someone figures out that these herbs are killing cancer cells because they are meant to kill cancer, we'll just have to sit around and watch more people die.

Sorry. I didn't mean to go on a rampage, but......

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chamomile: A healing herb

As a healing herb, chamomile is invaluable. I drink chamomile tea every night to help me sleep and, in the past, I've used chamomile oil as an antiseptic to prevent infection on a burn. Those are just two things on a very long list of health benefits of chamomile.

Since the time of ancient Egyptions, chamomile has been a very effective treatment for many ailments. Right now chamomile is listed as a treatment for over 100 different health conditions. Of course very few studies have been done on chamomile, so the only proof we have to rely on is the fact that it's been used for thousands of years.

Recent studies have shown that chamomile could be useful in preventing and treating cancer. One study showed that women who increased their intake of the flavones and flavonols found in chamomile could lower their risk of getting breast cancer. Another study showed that chamomile extracts slowed the growth of cancer cells and promoted cancer cell death while leaving healthy cells untouched. The same study showed that our body's natural digestive process converts the active ingredient in chamomile into a powerful cancer fighter.

Chamomile can also help with normal everyday health conditions like acne, dandruff, menstrual cramps and headaches. It's safe to use at home and has very few side effects. The only precaution I've heard of is not to use it if you're pregnant or nursing.

If you would like to learn more about the many uses of chamomile, please read Natural Remedies using Chamomile. It explains the difference between chamomile German and chamomile Roman and details what each is used for. Plus there are some great herbal recipes!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Healing with Herbs and Oils

I've always been fascinated with the healing powers of herbs and oils. As a child, I would eat dandelions leaves because I just knew they couldn't be all bad (I was right!). As a teenager, I would take long walks in the woods and just stare at all the different plants, wondering which plant could heal which ailment. But it wasn't until I became an adult that I indulged my curiosity. I'll never forget what happened the first time I used essential oils to heal.

It was May of 2004. I was outside playing with my son when I heard my step-daughter scream. Upon running into the house, the first thing I saw was a big red mark on her face. A closer examination revealed it to be a pretty nasty carpet burn (that's it's very own story!). I'd never seen a carpet burn like this one so I took her to her doctor. But the doctor wouldn't even give her a salve or anything! That's when I decided to take matters into my own hands. We went home and I immediately started pouring over all my herb and oil books.
Eventually I decided to use Lavender and Chamomile German. I chose Lavender because of it's ability to promote healing and prevent scars. I chose Chamomile German because of it's antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties. I added 5 drops of each to a pint of warm water and used a cotton ball to apply it to her face. We did this 3-4 times a day and three weeks later, she was all healed! I was amazed because she didn't even have the faintest trace of that horrible rug burn left on her face.

So, then I was hooked! Ever since then, I've used essential oils and herbs whenever I could. As with any amateur, I've had my share of successes and failures (but I've learned from them all). I'm going to use this blog to track my herbal journey. Care to join me?