Mother Earth Living

Herb Basics

A Place to Start

January/February 2005
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HERBS AND MASSAGE: A NATURAL COMBINATION

Treating yourself to a massage is great for both body and soul: Besides the obvious relaxation benefits and physical pleasure, massage helps the lymph nodes cleanse the body of toxins. Try the following herbal tea to continue the detoxification process. Make yourself a cup and continue to relax after your massage is done.

POST-MASSAGE HERBAL TEA

Mix equal parts of each of the following dried herbs together in a jar.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
Cleavers (Galium aparine)
Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
Linden (Tilia ¥europaea)
Peppermint (Mentha ¥piperita)
Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

Use 1 teaspoon of the herb blend per cup of boiling water. Steep for 10 minutes, strain and drink.

QUEASY? TRY AROMATHERAPY

Several essential oils have a history of use for treating nausea. Try putting a drop of one of the following oils onto a hanky or into a small, capped vial. These methods are simple and portable — sniff often to settle your stomach.

Be sure to buy pure essential oils, not synthetic fragrance oils.

• Peppermint
• Sandalwood
• Basil
• Ginger
• Rose

BUILD STRONG BONES WITH FRESH GREEN JUICE

In their book The Juicing Bible (Robert Rose, 2000), Pat Crocker and Susan Eagles write that the calcium, boron and magnesium derived from the ingredients in this green drink make it good for bones.

BONE BUILDER
Serves 2

1 cup hot water
1/2 cup dried, whole kelp or another sea vegetable
2 stalks broccoli, washed and cut into pieces
2 kale leaves, washed
Half a green bell pepper, washed and cut into pieces
4 sprigs parsley, washed
1 apple, washed, cored and cut into pieces

In a medium bowl, pour water over kelp. Soak 15 to 20 minutes or until kelp is reconstituted. Drain the soaking water.

Using a juicer, process, kelp, broccoli, kale, green pepper, parsley and apple. Whisk the mixture and pour into glasses.

Source: Crocker, Pat and Susan Eagles. The Juicing Bible. Toronto: Robert Rose, 2000.

THE MANY USES OF ROSEMARY

Common names: Rosemary

Latin name: Rosmarinus officinalis

Family: Lamiaceae

Part used: Leaf

Medicinal uses: Rosemary has many uses. It has long been considered an effective memory aid. It helps improve digestion, treating upset stomach and gas. It stimulates the appetite and promotes digestive secretions. The herb also stimulates blood circulation for those with circulatory disorders. Rosemary is a potent source of antioxidants.

Forms commonly used: Fresh herb, dried herb whole and ground, tincture, extract and tea.

Side effects: In medicinal doses, rosemary should not be used by pregnant women. (It is safe to use in small quantities as a spice.)

Notes: To make rosemary tea, steep 1 teaspoon dried herb in 1 cup boiling water for 10 minutes. Strain and drink.

Rosemary’s reputation as a memory enhancer was cemented when Ophelia, in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, said, “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.”

Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean, from Spain and Portugal south to Morocco and Tunisia. Some rosemary is grown and produced commercially in the United States, but most is imported from the Mediterranean.

The herb has been used for hundreds of years as a cosmetic aid, with beneficial effects for both hair and skin.

Herbalist Christopher Hobbs recommends rosemary as a tonic herb for the elderly, to invigorate the nervous and digestive systems, and to help preserve good health.

HOLISTIC HEARTBURN HELPERS

Veteran herbalist Rosemary Gladstar has several herbs she likes to use for heartburn — an unpleasant burning sensation behind the breastbone caused by spasms and irritation in the esophagus or upper stomach. Common causes of heartburn include overeating, stress and a rich diet.

To prevent heartburn, try these helpful hints:

• Drink an infusion of 1 part licorice, 1 part chamomile and 2 parts lemon balm 30 minutes before and after meals.

• Add a drop of peppermint essential oil to a glass of water and drink small sips throughout your meal.

• Relax during and after meals, and avoid eating when you’re upset.

Source: Gladstar, Rosemary. Rosemary Gladstar’s Family Herbal. North Adams, Massachusetts: Storey Books, 2001.


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