By Raven Fon
I love herbalism and biology. Learning about the medicinal properties of plants is fascinating. Everything we truly need is provided for us on this beautiful blue ball called Earth- if you know where to look and what to look for.
I’m going to tell you about the medicinal uses of several different plants and herbs, but I recommend that you explore the subject further on your own. Research into this area will help you to remove unnecessary and toxic chemicals in your body, then you can implement plant-use instead of chem-use.
Basil, or Ocimum basilicum, is a delicious culinary addition found in most kitchens. Basil can help settle an upset tummy, improve appetite, and is a natural disinfectant. The scent of basil essential oil can improve concentration and lift your spirits. “The Art of Aromatherapy“, by Robert Tisserand reads, “Oil of Basil is an excellent, indeed perhaps the best, aromatic nerve tonic. It clears the head, relieves intellectual fatigue, and gives the mind strength and clarity. It is uplifting, clarifying, and strengthening.”
To use basil as a medicine/remedy:
- To relieve insect bites, take a few leaves of basil and crush them up till a bright green liquid emerges. Rub the crushed leaves on the insect bite to instantly relieve pain.
- To remove warts, take a leaf of basil and tear it several times. Place the shredded leaf on the wart and cover with a bandage. Repeat daily until wart disappears.
- To improve clarity and alertness, take 5 leaves of basil and cut them in half. Pour one-and-a-half cups boiling water over the leaves. Allow to cool, and drink. For an added boost, add a fresh slice of lemon!
Dill (Anethum graveolens) has many uses for adults and infants alike. Dill has been known to aid with IBS, bloating, and other uncomfortable digestion issues, as well as helping breastfeeding mothers produce more milk. It is preferable to use fresh dill rather than dried, as the flavour will be much more subtle.
To use dill as a medicine/remedy:
- To aid in the production of breast-milk, breast-feeding mothers should take a few fresh sprigs of dill and add to hot water. Allow to steep for 5 minutes, and drink. Alternatively, adding fresh dill to yogurt will help as well.
- To cure an upset stomach, take 2 teaspoons of dill seeds and slightly bruise them. Add 1 cup of hot water. Steep for 10 minutes. Strain seeds from water and drink.
- For colicky babies, gripe water can be made. Take 1 teaspoon dill seeds, and one bag of chamomile tea. Pour 1 cup hot water over and steep for five minutes. Strain seeds and remove bag from water. Refrigerate until cool. Dispense in 1 teaspoon doses.
Also known as Allium sativum, garlic has been curing a plethora ailments for generations. Garlic contains allicin, a most impressive broad-spectrum antimicrobial as well as over thirty other medicinal compounds. When using garlic as a medicinal food, a wide range of benefits can be experienced.
To use garlic as a medicine/remedy:
- To boost immunity and fight colds, use garlic liberally in all foods. This recipe for 52 clove garlic soup has proven to be extremely effective in combating the flu and similar illnesses.
- To use garlic as an insect deterrent in the garden, simply plant cloves around your plants, spaced 5-10 inches apart and 3 inches deep in the soil.
- To cure ear infection, take one clove of garlic and cut a piece small enough to comfortably rest inside the ear but not too small to where it would become lodged. Wrap garlic piece in tissue and place in the ear. Leave overnight if possible, but remember to make sure the piece is big enough to avoid becoming stuck in the ear canal. The pain will subside and the infection should clear up overnight.
- To relieve tonsillitis, peel one clove of garlic and cut in half, lengthwise. Boil for 3 minutes in 2 cups of water. Add a pinch of salt, a dash of pepper, and sprinkle nutmeg on top. Stir and allow to cool, then drink.
Mint, or Mentha piperita, has almost as many medicinal uses as the aforementioned garlic. Even though there are countless products with mint flavouring, you need the real thing to reap the benefits.
Mint can be used to soothe stomach aches, calm nerves, reduce stress levels, relieve nausea, prevent gas and bloating, among many other things. Even the scent of mint can rejuvenate the senses and clear the mind.
To use mint as a medicine/remedy:
- To relieve menstrual cramps, boil 1/4 cup of mint leaves in milk. Allow to cool to a warm temperature. Remove leaves, and place them directly on the pained area. Drink the milk, and after 15 minutes the pain should subside.
- To relieve nausea, boil 1/3 cup mint leaves in water. Allow to steep for 3 minutes. Remove leaves from water and drink remaining tea. Chewing on mint leaves works well if you suffer from motion sickness as well.
Oregano, or Origanum vulgare, is typically thought of as a flavourful addition to pizza or pasta, but it’s actually one of the most powerful herbs, regarding anti-bacterial and antioxidant benefits.
To use oregano as a medicine/remedy:
- To relieve tension headache, make a tea from fresh oregano leaves. Take 1/4 cup fresh leaves, and add 1 cup boiling water. Steep for 3 minutes, then remove leaves.
- To relieve toothache, boil one cup oregano leaves in 3 cups water. Allow to cool. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate. This can be used as a mouthwash to help reduce tooth and gum pain.
- To reduce swelling, crush together several fresh leaves of oregano with a mortar and pestle, and apply to swollen area. Cover with a bandage and leave on for 1 hour. This poultice also works well in relieving painful sprains and boils.
I hope you find these medicinal uses to be helpful in your daily lives, or when you need them most, but please keep this in mind: if you suffer from any heart conditions, have allergies, or are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult with a doctor before attempting any new herbal treatments.