GROW: The Book
Challenge to all..... What is your favorite or most used medicinal herb and why.....???
I use chammomile number one. It's an excellent pain reliever when made very strong. I pour boiling water over 10-15 TBS (or enough to fill the center of the palm of my hand 10 times) crushed chammomile flowers in a half gallon jar. Place the lid on it and let it sit overnight. There ya go- strain it in the morning and sip on it all day- if there's any left at night I freeze it and then I can thaw it when I'm short on time.
Hi @dalans Not sure if I have said Welcome to TGN. There have been so many new people lately. Anyhow, WELCOME.
That is a very difficult question. But I would have to say that Oregon Grape Root is one that I use all the time. It is excellent for the digestive system and liver, improving liver function and encouraging the production of bile which aids digestion. Assisting the liver can help with skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema. A good combination for skin conditions is with Dandelion. It has been shown to be effective against H. pylori which can be the cause of stomach ulcers. It helps modulate blood sugar levels in Type 2 Diabetes. It is a very effective topical antibacterial, specifically against Staphylococcus aureus (including MRSA) and Group A Streptococcus (Impetigo) infections. Good for cleaning wounds. It can be added to sprays or syrups for sore throats. Helpful with mouth infections. Used alone or in combinations with other herbs for UTIs. It is quite bitter so could be added to bitters recipes. Being high in berberine, it is a good substitute for endangered goldenseal. It is very common in my area, so easily harvested without damaging the population. I probably use more Oregon Grape Root tincture than any other herbal medicine in my cabinet.
Then there the other uses. Dye plant. Edible berries that make one of the finest wild berry jellies ever! I have had Oregon Grape Wine from a small BC winery that just does wild fruit wines. Holly substitute for Christmas decorations. Often used as landscape plants.
Just one of the most all round useful plants.
@nicksamanda11 and @torey - thanks for answering. I thought it might be fun to see what everyone's favorite was.
Both of them sound like they have lots of great uses, especially the Oregon Grape Root. Sounds like that's a good one to have in the medicine cabinet. Once you put it in a spray or syrup or tincture, do you want to use it up quickly or does it have a good shelf life?
@dalans Tinctures have a very long shelf life (years). One combination for a throat spray might be Oregon Grape Root tincture and Propolis. Or Oregon Grape Root tincture mixed with echinacea and licorice root tinctures with a bit of honey added. There are a number of different combinations depending on your symptoms. Because you are using tinctures, the sprays will last a long time. For a syrup, I would add the tincture to the finished, cooled syrup. It would last as long as the syrup recipe that you are using says it will last. Oregon Grape Root is best tinctured. You can dry the root and save it but it will keep much better if you tincture it. It is too bitter to be used as a tea. If you were adding it to a bitters recipe, you could use a small amount of the dried root as one of the ingredients. Other than that it is mostly used as a tincture.
This one is tough. I dont know that I can narrow it down to just one. There are just too many that I use regularly. Obviously it depends on the season and the person and all of that.
Dandelion was my favorite today because that was the tea I opted for.
Nettle is a current favorite for this week for myself to help keep myself nourished well during my cycle.
Chamomile and lavender are current favorites for the kids to help calm and prepare for sleep.
For me, Garlic hands down. Some will say it's a vegetable but I consider it a medicinal herb. It's in our smoothies for breakfast, fire cider, salads and evening meals, most days. For flavour, health and a tonic. Can't get enough. Mostly the hard necked russian type. We grow it and have a friend that grows it commercially. Availability abounds.
Lately Tumeric has been my first grab. I make it in tea with pepper and ginger and sprinkle it on all my food. I have been in a chronic state of stress so that is probably why I crave it so much right now.
But I truly love lavender and as mentioned above Garlic goes in everything!!! I just ordered more for the garden to plant this fall!!
I have my two favorite ones: garlic and lemon balm we call it Melissa. If I don't have any of these two, it's a disaster. :))
as with others it is hard to say. Like one responder I love garlic and probably eat it in some form everyday. it is difficult to grow here. when i get a patch of garlic that has spread into a clump I pull it - tiny cloves - peel and drop in a jar of vinegar. I swear by tulsi for respiratory problems and always have seeds germinating. the scent is heavenly and the flowers are great in a salad.Then there is tumeric which others have mentioned. I have found that making golden milk before bed is wonderful for flu and sleeping. right now I have four clumps growing and a bowl of the dried tubers. I always hold back a piece of tuber and plant somewhere it hasnt grown before. Ginger of course is another medicinal powerhouse but not easy to grow and I havent found any in the garden which is worrisome. My ecuador family upstairs are always gathering tilo flowers and borage branches from my garden for colds but I havent tried that yet - cause I get very few colds and rely on lemon and ginger tea with honey.
I use quite a few herbs, and try to grow as many as I can. I try to add to the herb garden every year. The ones I miss the most if I run out are white willow (keeps my back pain at bay) and milk thistle (I'm on some Rx but also have a family history of liver cancer so I always want to keep up with it). I do use other herbs as well for pain and some for liver health. Some for kidneys, some for energy, some for keeping my mood more mellow, some for allergies...see my dilemma lol? Herbs and I have a healthy relationship 😂
@seeker.nancy - Central Texas what do you use for pain besides white willow? How do you use the willow? I would love to get off Rx and get to more natural herbs? I have chronic back problems, have had 3 surgeries, and ended up with chronic nerve pain, as well as still having back pain. Also, what do you use for energy? You sound a lot like me.. 😉
Dried corn silk used in hot water to make a tea helps with bladder and urinary tract infections. The information was given to me by a friend in Southern California. I actually dried the corn silk and then canned in dry in a jar and it lasted for years until I needed it again.
@dalans right now I am using white willow bark capsules, one in the morning and one at night. It is not something I grow so hopefully next bulk herb order I do (Mtn. Rose) I will get some for tincturing. I also use California Poppy that I tincture and the same for Devil's Claw. These two I take a dropper each morning and night. When I am really hurting I take some Kava tincture, it seems to relax some of the painful muscles. I made the wild lettuce tincture, triple extraction, but I have not experimented much with it yet. I take skullcap at night as a tincture for it's muscle relaxing and overall relaxing for better sleep. I'm almost out of that so I will need to go thru my herbs and find a replacement until I can get some more; I don't have any valerian to substitute either. It may take some experimenting to find what works for you. It's unfortunate that some people will try one herb and if it doesn't work for them they say that herbs don't work.
We use a lot of comfrey for aches and pains as well as injuries. It is also helpful for skin rashes. Valerian root, hop flowers and passion flower root in combination for muscle cramps and for sleep. There are others but right now those are the most used.
I use turmeric every morning with ginger in my tea. I use licorice in a tincture for energy for my adrenal fatigue. I use lavender and chamomile at night for rest. I put parsley in my smoothies, cuban oregano when I have digestive issues and I use many essential oils for pains like Frankincense, basil, peppermint, ecalyptus. Unfortunately I cannot use dandelion, it closes up my throat and I am wondering about the use of Melissa or Lemon Balm @dalans @seeker.nancy - Central Texas @Nicoleburba @herbantherapy @GardenMama@torey . Great discussion. Thank you @dalans for posting this. Namaste, Andrea
This might be my most favorite because I can grow it without doing much... comfrey! My mother in law blew out her ankle and she used it as a pustules to help the bones grow back and mend. I also fed it to my goat who was nearly trampled by elk. He seems to be on the mend already. I also use comfrey tea during pregnancy to help the placenta form strongly. (You just need to stop it after the third trimester, or you will have a mermaid baby). I also just enjoy it all around. The flowers are beautiful and the plant itself is huge pretty and hard to kill, lol.
I want to say thanks to all of you that's responded to my question/challenge!! I really appreciate your insights.
@dalans @VickiP I totally forgot about hops! I bought a tincture of it when I was out of town. It was amazing. I've been using the capsules which help but not as much as the tincture. When I'm able to do a bulk herb order again it will be on my list.
I have never tinctured it, I do have a supply I need to give that a try!
@andrea745 I love my Melissa/Lemon balm. Super refreshing and soothing in teas. Be aware: very aggressive. She is a mint. Keep her in a container. Beautiful lush plant, more dense than most mints. You only need one leaf, it’s flavor and smell is strong.
I rented a house years ago who’s backyard was over run with Melissa officinalis and every time we mowed our garden smelled like pledge!! Not the worst thing ever, but still a whole lawn😯
***A note on Comfrey!!
I cut my finger using new pruners and sliced a good 1/4 into my pinkie finger. I had to go by comfrey on my way inside to care for the cut so I grabbed a leaf and wrapped the cut. My husband was sleeping so it took a few minutes to get his help and pull out the first aid kit. When I first took off the leaf the blood pooled in coagulation but then began pouring. I put the leaf back on as I waited for the hubby. We were able to dress up without too much blood and now 4 days later it looks like a scratch with hardly any scabbing. It’s healed like it is sealed with glue. And (sorry for the graphics) there was NO blood droplets anywhere from garden through house to bathroom where we dressed it. That is the power, absorption, and ability of comfrey in even small emergencies.