Monday, December 7, 2009

Basic Herbs for Home Use - Part I

I haven't written for awhile because I was busy preparing for a pre-Christmas show where I usually do very well. I made some new products (Return of Venus soap, spray and bath salts); made some products that were great sellers in the past (Cocoa Rose Cordial); and made more of some great sellers (Mayan Chocolate Body Butter). I don't have photos of them yet, so they are not in my Etsy store.

Today while listening to Karyn Sanders on The Herbal Highway show on KPFA today, I was inspired to pass on what she talked about. This is even more relevant today where people are losing their health care plans (like me) and as we approach winter. Now, more than ever, we need to be able to take care of our own health. Karyn planned to talk about 20 most important herbs to have on hand. She only got to six and promised to do the rest in the next couple shows. This is actually archived on the website, so you can go there to hear the show.

First of all, before you treat yourself or anyone else with herbs, make sure that there has been a diagnosis from a physician and that physician has approved complementary use of herbs. DO NOT USE HERBS IN LIEU OF MEDICAL TREATMENT. I have to say this because that is the LAW in this country. They make it so that you cannot afford to go to a physician, then they make it a crime to take care of yourself or help anyone else. But, I don't want any liability. These are just suggestions, not prescriptions. Do more research yourself before you use any of these herbs. You are allowed to grow them all yourself and make teas or tinctures.

The following is from Karyn Sanders on KPFA December 3, 2009 show. Listen to it yourself at:


A cooling herb that moves and channels energy. It breaks things up and brings down heat. It is considered wolf medicine. It dries up excess fluid. It helps stop bleeding and can be used with bloody colitis. It can be used with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or situations where there are loose stool with or without blood. It can be used with gall bladder issues such as headaches that arise from eating too much fat, known as a gall bladder headache. It can be used with peptic ulcers and bleeding ulcers. When there is damage to the liver due to alcohol or drugs, agrimony may be helpful. Used in combination with sweet leaf, it can help with appendicitis. When there ids dark orange urine due to cystitis or nephritis, or other problems with the urinary tract, agrimony can be useful. It is a diuretic. With external issues like burns, you can make a poultice with honey, then follow with agrimony. For the conditions of the lungs where there are wet coughs, asthma, or sore throat, mix with honey in a tea. When the chest is tight on the inhale or when there is thick yellow mucus, use agrimony. You can use agrimony for kidney pain due to kidney stones. It can also be used to tighten and tone the urinary tract when there is dribbling - like when you laugh and pee a little. It tones. tightens and pulls out moisture and cools. It can be used when there is edema after chemotherapy or with post partem edema. With oily skin and acne due to poor digestion, make a wash. It can be used for the lower back pain due to menstruation It is best to use fresh plant, but dry is okay.

Energetic use: Tension and anger under surface but under control but when anger out it is extreme. It helps remove critical thoughts. Use areal parts.


Use good quality organic roots. Astragalus is long term deep. profound and slow. It is safe for all ages. It moves blocks out of the way of healing. It is an anti-viral anti-microbial. deep immune tonic. It is also a kidney and spleen tonic. It can be used for people who have long term burned out bodies, for those who are weak but don't know why. It restore chi. It is a mild diuretic and helps get rid of pus. It can help regulate sugar. It supports and strengthen tissue and can be used with different types of prolapses. It can be used in situations where there is a need for tissue regeneration, to increase vitality and with wasting syndrome where people can't hold on to fat, especially due to AIDS or chemo therapy. It requires long term cooking, put in a crock pot for a slow cooking process. Can be added to soups and stews.

Energetic use: To open the heart and soul. Good for people who are too much in their heads. For people who have difficulty with intimacy.

Use caution with leukemia or situations where there is white blood cell proliferation.

Blue Cohosh

Often called a shy plant, it needs to be approached quietly and carefully. It is known as deer medicine. It gets rid of things that are not moving. If there is mucus membrane bogginess, reproductive congestion, it gets things moving. It is not astringent, but rather is warming and lightens things up. It can cause bleeding so it should not be used during pregnancy. It stimulates oxytocin. It can bring on after birth. It can be used with spastic colon and small intestine and other types of painful cramping. It can be used with such gut issues as intestinal flatulence. Use with dull frontal headaches. It is helpful with gout, arthritis, lupus, and rheumatism. It cleans out bladder because it moves fluids. Helpful with leg cramping. During menopause when there are hot flashes with rage, blue cohosh calms you down.

Energetic use: A quiet and strong herb that works on density. It opens the heart. Helps with fear that turns to anger and rage. For people who are shut down and their hearts have gotten mean. For people who are full of jealousy because they do not trust that their partner loves them. Those who don't feel love, and don't see love. Plant in a safe quiet place, not along the path. Blue Cohosh wants to hide.

German Chamomile

Can use pineapple weed too. Use when there is snappy and fractured energy and when it is not being well channeled. Can be used with hay fever and asthma. It gets the gut to work better. It is anti-microbial and anti-bacterial. Use at the start of an infection. It is anti fungal and can used with candida. Most German chamomile we get grows in Hungary and Turkey and there has been a lot or research done on its anti fungal properties. If you make a strong tea, it is very bitter and thus can be used like other bitter herbs in the digestive process. It soothes inflamed skin. You can use it in steams for the sinuses. An effective eye wash but it must be strained because it has fine hairs. It can help with intestinal tract flu, and for the pain, ache and cramping that go with it. It can also be used to fight against intestinal flu. It rids the intestines of pus and inflammation. It is an effective ingredient in salves for burns or as a wash for burns. A mild tea of blue chamomile can be given to babies when they are teething. Or use the diluted oil on the outside of the cheek for teething. Dilute a little oil in olive oil and put on the outside on the cheek. As an anti-spasmodic, it is helpful against indigestion and gas. It also helps with anxiety, since it is a nervous system tonic. It can help with the fear and anger that may accompany Alzheimer's and dementia. It helps with anxiety that may interfere with sex. To get rid of impacted mucus in sinus, use a neti pot or steam. It can help with vertigo and frailty in elders or babies. In cases of conjunctivitis make a warm infusion strain in coffee filter, and apply with a cotton ball. Make sure you use separate cotton balls so that you do not pass the infection. You can make a creme for burns or salves for dry skin. For those who lose sense of humor because they are too sensitive. Assists with anxiety attack. It also heals the garden itself because it heals the other plants. It helps bring clarity. It helps you focus on present time and gives one a sense of direction if muddled and uncertain. Good quality has a vibrant alive smell like apples. Don't use old plant material. It goes bad fast.


You can use all parts of dandelion, but they are good for different things. Karyn says dandelion is good for junctures. When there is nervous energy with underlying depletion on all levels. It is a bitter root. You can cook the leaves and they are great in stir fry. It is good for stomach and liver. It can have a diuretic. It moves fluid through the urinary tract but rather than depleting potassium and sodium like other diuretics tend to do, it actually adds potassium and sodium. Use the leaves for high blood pressure. In the old days, dandelion root was remedy for the liver. Leaves and flowers keep the urine acidic, which helps prevent infection. Helps with gout and all issues related to the liver including hepatitis, jaundice and liver cancer. It is a good bitter that stimulates digestion. Since it stimulates peristaltic action, it is good for constipation. It reduces inflammation and supports the spleen. Skin conditions that are related to bad diet and stagnant diet are improved.

Energetic use: Moves repressed anger that manifests as depression. People pleasers who cannot express negativity and repress or deny emotions, may have a lot of built up anger. Dandelion releases that.

Not to be used when there is renal failure.

Golden Seal

This is an endangered species, so it should never be wild-crafted. You can purchase high quality organic golden seal leaf now. Don't use any other kind. It is anti-bacterial. In the sinus can dry excess mucus. Not a tonic and you should only use short term. It is anti fungal and can be used with ring worm and candida. When there is inflammation of the stomach and can stimulate stomach acids. It is a bitter that can be used with peptic ulcers, and IBS colitis with bleeding. It stimulates bile in a sluggish liver. Brings blood to spleen. Inhibits tumor growths When conjunctivitis does not respond to chamomile, use golden seal. Can be used with abscesses after cleaning. It tightens boggy uterus, it reduce nonmalignant tumors in breast. It can be used on anal fissures and hemorrhoids. First use yarrow then golden seal. Use as a wound wash. Deep immune response strong stimulant. Mix with marshmallow for tissue damage.

Energetic use: Helps people see past, present, and future to see what to do next. Helps you to open up and access your own power. Helps you sit with your shadow and get into your own power. Not to be use when pregnant. Not for long term use, only short term chronic internal problems or with wounds.


comfrey cottages said...

hi hamida! thank you for the most informative post! and also for the link to the broadcast by karyn:) i have never worked with blue cohosh, but am going to try to see if it will grow in my gardens next year. i have yet to find it in the countryside. have a good day:)

erin said...

What do you mean when you say "sweet leaf" ? Do you mean stevia?

(I like SweetLeaf stevia).

Maris said...

I agree. That is indeed one very informative post. Dill is my favorite herb. It goes well with soups, especially salads.