Herbal Favorites

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Using herbs to bring yourself back to health is a wonderful idea.  I wanted to share with you a handful of my herbal favorites, that you can use on a daily basis to help you on your path to health, or maintain your current state of health.

Bitters – I LOVE bitters, especially bitters made with gentian and bupleurum – it really keeps the Qi flowing.  I have a couple of different kinds here at home that I like using.  I’ll use either whenever there is digestive upset, when I know I’m going to eat something that normally upsets my tummy (like pizza, or anything with an acid/dairy combination), and even after eating way too much at a dinner party then getting home and saying “oh no, I can’t believe I ate that much.”

Chamomile – I grew up in a household where chamomile was the go-to herb.  As a chile I loathed the taste of chamomile, now I love it.  I’ll even poach pears in chamomile tea when I’m not feeling well, it’s delicious!  Use chamomile for  headaches, indigestion, insomnia and menstrual cramps.  I follow a standard Chamomile Tea recipe: take 1oz of chamomile (by weight, by volume this is around 1.5c) steeped in 1pt of boiling water, with two slices of ginger, covered for 20 minutes.  The ginger helps the body assimilate the chamomile faster.

Ginger – I always have ginger root at home.  I put it in soups and stews to help the digestibility of meat, I make strong teas of it for fomentations, use it in baths for an invigorating winter warm-up, and drink a strong tea of it whenever I feel “off”.  Ginger nearly always sets me right.

Slippery Elm and Marshmallow – With all of the recycled air, dry heat in the winter, air conditioning in the summer, dry and irritated sinuses, even a dry throat after a cold – sometimes I feel dry, dry, dry.   Whenever I experience that kind of dryness, I’ll make a tea of slippery elm or marshmallow.  Take 2tsp-2TB of the powdered bark or root, pour 1c of hot water over it, let steep for 20 minutes then drink up!  For irritated stomachs, after a stomach flu for example, I recommend making a porridge of slippery elm (with honey to taste), by combining slippery elm and boiling water together until the desired “cream of wheat” consistency is reached.  If you have dry and irritated eyes or sinuses, you can make a cold-water infusion (pour cold water over the powdered herb, let sit overnight, then use as a tea) and use it as an eye wash or with salt as a neti-pot rinse.  NOTE: if you are using this as a neti-pot rinse, pour the boiled water over the salt, let dissolve and then cool a bit, then stir in the powdered herb.  (As an FYI, Slippery Elm is endangered and if you are using it, please get it from an ethically wildcrafted source.)

If you are looking for a source of herbs, I recommend Mountain Rose Herbs.

That’s the top of my list right now!  What are your favorite herbs at the moment?