Properties and Uses: Excellent first aid treatment of burns, especially if the area had been flushed with cold water immediately after the burn occurred. Also used for wounds, scalds, scrapes, and sunburn. May help prevent infection in injured skin.
Preparation: Split a lower leaf from the plant and apply directly to the injury. Aloe gel is also available in bottles at many drug stores (chemist's).
Cautions: Do not take internally. Consult a physician if wounds/burns do not heal significantly within two weeks.
Properties and Uses: Most often used as a mild, natural tranquilizer. Also known to be useful in treating colic and fighting infection-causing bacteria in wounds. Lemon balm (one of my personal favorites) is a good herb for beginners because it is not only safe and tasty, it works noticeably! Have a cup of lemon balm tea when you're feeling "down" or "stressed out." Just in case you question whether its effects on you are imaginary, offer a cup to a friend or family member who's been showing signs of slight depression without discussing its "possible" medicinal effects. (A cup of lemon balm tea is harmless and tastes good.)
Preparation: Infusion for tranquilizer. To help treat wounds, make a hot compress using 2 teaspoons of leaves per cup of hot water. Boil 10 minutes, strain, and apply with a clean cloth.
Cautions: Anyone with a thryroid condition should first consult a physician concerning balm's thyrotropin-inhibiting effect.
Properties and Uses: The berberine in barberry has remarkable infection-fighting properties. Studies show it kills microorganisms that cause wound infections, diarrhea, dysentery, cholera, giardiasis, urinary tract and vaginal yeast infections. Barberry has a traditional (and effective) use in treating conjunctivitis (pinkeye).
Preparation: Decoction, compress
Cautions: Do not administer to children under two.
Properties and Uses: Most often used as a diuretic
Preparation: Infusion. Capsules are available in many health food stores and pharmacies.
Cautions: Increase potassium intake (bananas and fresh vegetables) when using any diuretic, including buchu.
Properties and Uses: Digestive aid; also relieves menstrual cramps.
Preparation: Fresh seeds may be mixed into food or chewed a teaspoonful at a time. A pleasant infusion may be made after bruising or crushing the seeds.
Cautions: None known.
Properties and Uses: Constipation
Cautions: Never use for more than two weeks. The bark must be stored for a year before use. The fresh bark contains chemicals that can cause severe intestinal cramps.
Properties and Uses: Coltsfoot has been a cough suppressant mainstay of Asian, and European herbalists for over 2,000 years. A German study showed that the herb increases the activity of microscopic hairs in the breathing tubes that move mucus out of the respiratory tract.
Preparation: Infusion. (Note: coltsfoot used to be smoked in order to obtain positive results until recently.)
Cautions: In very large quantities, may cause liver damage. Anyone with a history of alcoholism or liver disease should not use coltsfoot.
Properties and Uses: Wound healing and casts for minor broken bones
Preparation: Ointment, Poultice
Cautions: Do not use the ointment on dirty wounds; comfrey will heal the wound so quickly that dirt and pus could be trapped. Do not use internally without having researched further.
Properties and Uses: Urinary tract infection prevention.
Preparation: Cranberry juice is available in most supermarkets. Pure cranberry juice is too acidic and sour to drink.
Cautions: If urinary tract infection develops, consult your physician. Antibiotics are usually necessary.
Properties and Uses: Infectious diseases (colds, flu, tonsillitis, bronchitis, tuberculosis, meningitis, wounds, abscesses, pertussis, and ear infections); may help preserve white blood cells and protect radiation patients from infection; rheumatoid arthritis.
Preparation: Decoction or tincture.
Cautions: For children over 2 and adults over 65, start with a small dosage and adjust if necessary.
Properties and Uses: Intestinal parasites, lowering blood pressure
Preparation: Decoction or tincture
Cautions: Begin with low-strength dosages in children over 2 and adults over 65.
Properties and Uses: Decongestant. E. sinica has the most potential as a decongestant; the other species have milder effects.
Preparation: Decoction, tincture
Cautions: Do not use if suffering from heart disease, diabetes, glaucoma, or an overactive thyroid gland. May cause insomnia.
Properties and Uses: Migraine headaches
Preparation: Chew two fresh leaves a day or take a capsule containing 85 milligrams of leaf material. Use as an infusion to help lower blood pressure.
Cautions: May inhibit blood clotting; do not use if taking anticoagulant medication. May cause mouth sores. Feverfew suppresses migraines but does not prevent them. Migraines typially return once usage is stopped.
Properties and Uses: Antibiotic; reduces blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels; eliminates lead and other toxic heavy metals from the body.
Preparation: Cook with garlic; may also be used as an infusion.
Cautions: Do not use if you have a blood clotting disorder; do not use garlic if it causes a rash.
Properties and Uses: Motion or morning sickness
Preparation: Infusion. Drink about 30 minutes before traveling.
Cautions: Do not use while pregnant if you have a history of miscarriages.
Properties and Uses: Antibiotic; may also boost the immune system
Preparation: Infusion or tincture
Cautions: Should not be used by those with histories of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, glaucoma, or stroke. Goldenseal is difficult to grow, and it is expensive when available. Try the less expensive barberry first.
Properties and Uses: Colds, flu, cough. Horehound is an excellect expectorant.
Cautions: Should be avoided by those with heart conditions.
Properties and Uses: Herpes treatment; cough remedy.
Preparation: Compress (for herpes), infusion or tincture (for cough)
Cautions: No reports of harm due to hyssop use; however, make sure that what you are using is H. officinalis, not Gratiola officinalis or species of the genus Agastache, as these should not be ingested.
Properties and Uses: Digestive aid, possible decongestant (peppermint)
Cautions: Peppermint should not be given to children under the age of 2; use diluted spearmint instead.
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