Herbs

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What are Herbs?

In general, herbs are food.

 Genesis 1:29 says that God gave us herbs for food.

Some are common such as garlic and cayenne pepper.

All use some part of the plant such as the root, leaves, fruit, or bark.

Over 100 herbs are mentioned in the Bible.

-Trinity School of Natural Health

Join me every day in August as I introduce you to a new herb. You will learn how do identify many in the wild, different methods of preparation of herbs along with emergency uses. There is so much to learn about these wonderful plants God gave us.

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Welcome to my basic herbal introduction class:

31 Days of Herbs

Here, I will give you a closer look at 31 of my favorite herbs. We will discuss the basic history of herbs, different delivery methods, and then different herbal actions. This class is to inform only and all material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.

All information is for the sole purpose of education and is to be kept within the organization of The Fit Farmacy’s clientele. Only sharing through sharing buttons is allowed.  NO copying or distribution of class outside of original form is allowed.

Everyday we will discuss a new herb with a few highlighted actions. This doesn’t mean that the actions listed are the only actions the herb has. Herbology is very intricate and detailed. If you wish to dive further into herbs, I recommend being added as a client so we can discuss personally how different herbs and methods can help support you, your family, or farm best.

Become a client today!

Let’s Get Started…

What are herbs?

According to the Cambridge Dictionary: a type of plant with soft stem, used in cooking and medicine.

According to Merriam-Webster:  a plant or plant part valued for its medicinal, savory, or aromatic qualities.

In general, herbs are plants that can be used for flavoring, food, medicine, or fragrance.

Ayurveda, the world’s oldest recorded healing system along with TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) both have thousands of years of recorded study using herbs.

Delivery Methods…

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  • TEAS (INFUSION)
    • internal use
    • weakest form
    • can help a weakened immune system accept the herbal support
    • easily absorbed
    • can be made as an infusion or decoction
    • when brewed, herbal properties are released
  • CAPSULE
    • internal use
    • preferred delivery method for taking dried or liquid herbs without any ‘taste’
    • convenient
    • capsules can be animal or vegetable gelatin and popular sizes are 0 or 00
  • EXTRACTS (DECOCTION)
    • internal use
    • concentration of plant by pulling out or drawing from raw material accomplished by using a solvent like ethanol or water
    • sold as tincture or powdered form
    • powered extract can be 10x as potent as original raw material
    •  can be made by any, or combination of: expression, absorption, maceration, distillation, or spray dried
    • can be incapsulated
  • TINCTURES
    • internal use
    • preferred method for fast action
    • potent liquid extract made from single or combination of herbs
    • easily preserved
    • concentrated
    • effective in drawing out essential compounds of herbs
  • HERBAL BATHS
    • external use
    • diluted medicinal tea that you soak in
    • allows skin to absorb healing properties in contrast to oral intake which moves through the digestive tract
    • enjoyable process, aids in relaxation
  • OINTMENTS and SALVES
    • external use
    • used for healing, disinfecting softening, burns, scrapes, and drawing
    • convenient and portable
    • have a collection in your herbal medicine cabinet
  • COMPRESS, POULTICES, and PLASTERS
    • external use
    • used to draw toxins through the skin for cysts, abscesses, splinters, bites, and fatty deposits

For more help with delivery methods, reach out to me for personalized instruction.  Correct amounts, methods, storage, and application can be tricky.  The procedures can be simple and effective.  However, no ones needs to play doctor with herbs.

Herbal Action Terminology

  • Analgesic- nervine (calms nerves, helps with pain)
  • Antacid- neutralizes stomach acid
  • Antibiotic- inhibits the growth of microbes
  • Antipyretic- counteracts fever
  • Antiscorbutic- has high vitamin C content
  • Antiseptic- destroys microbes topically
  • Antispasmodic- relaxes muscles
  • Antiemetic- sooths nausea or and vomiting
  • Astringent- tones tissue and is naturally drying
  • Bitter- digestive
  • Demulcent- soothes tissue by making them slick
  • Diuretic- increases urine flow
  • Emetic- induces vomiting
  • Expectorant- expels mucus from lungs and throat
  • Galactogogue- increases milk production
  • Hemostatic- stops bleeding
  • Laxative- stimulates bowels
  • Lithotriptic- breaks stones
  • Nervine- calms nervous tension
  • Vulnerary- wound healing

I will discuss these actions in relation to the herb of the day.  This is a good list to go back to and check to see if the action you are needing is listed.

NOW, LET’S GET TO THE HERBS!

For those of you who need help identifying herbs, I highly recommend getting this app “PLANTSNAP”.

You can take your phone with you anywhere and with one snapshot of the plant, you will have the name of the plant within seconds.

Day One

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✔️ Internal and External

✔️Teas (infusion)

✔️Extracts (decoction)

✔️Herbal Baths

✔️Ointments and Salves

✔️Compresses, Poultices, Plasters

✔️ Have in your herbal medicine cabinet for wounds, burns, and sleep aid

Of course I would start with lavender.  This herb has so many uses.  It’s pretty much the kitchen sink of herbs.  Lavender has been used for centuries and has become popular for its calming and soothing action.  Studies have shown that lavender is nervine which helps in promoting relaxation, eases emotions, and can improve the quality of sleep.   Lavender can have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, which gives it analgesic actions that can help to heal minor burns and bug bites.

PLANT PARTS USE

The flowers 🌼

TO HARVEST

Lavender is a hardy plant, able to grow in many regions, that blooms typically from June through September.  Harvest the flowers when they have just bloomed.  This is when they are most fragrant.  By harvesting them early, this also allows time for a second harvest if your climate permits.  Gather a bunch (as much as you can hold in one hand) and then cut about 2” above the woody part of the stem where it is still green.  Remove any dead parts of the plant or weeds that might have joined the party prior to drying.

  • TIP* usually…..you should always cut herbs in the morning after the morning dew has dried. I could go into depth about energy and charging but that’s for another day 🙂

DRYING

There are many ways to dry your herbs.  You can hang them, place on screens, use ovens, and even dehydrators.  I prefer the old-fashioned way of hanging them.  For more info on drying herbs:

Dry Your Own Herbs

With your freshly dried lavender, you can now make soaps, tea, tinctures, herbal baths, ointments, salves, compresses, poultices, and plasters.

🌱FOR PERSONALIZED HELP, SET UP AN APPOINTMENT FOR A CONSOLATION🌱

Holistic living is a decision you will never regret. Let me help you get started! 

Day Two

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✔️ Internal and External

✔️Teas (infusion)

✔️Extracts (decoction)

✔️Ointments and Salves

✔️Compresses, Poultices, Plasters

✔️Smoked

Travel to any rural area and you will see these towering plants along open pastures, ditches, and fences.  I grew up knowing how these ‘weeds’ could take over a pasture very quickly so we were quick to mow them down in early summer to keep the seeds from spreading.  I had no idea all of the actions this one plant was capable of.

I highly recommend to those of you who love research to spend a little time reading the history behind this herb.  It is amazing the diversity in which it has been used and through many different cultures, too.  Historically, this herb has been known to man for its remarkable narcotic properties.  The positive to this plant verses others is that it has these narcotic qualities without being poisonous or harmful (which that’s plus ;)) Dr. John Christopher states, “It is a great herbal pain killer and nervous soporific, calming and quieting all inflamed and irritated nerves.”

It has also been shown to strengthen the bowels and renal system, supports mucus membranes, and helps to eliminate toxins.

PLANT PARTS USED

Leaves 🌿

Flowers 🌼

Root 🥔 fresh or dried

TO HARVEST

Collect the leaves mid-summer before they turn brown.  Dry in shade.

Collect the flowers just after opening during dry weather. (Flowers can turn brown with moisture which can make them ineffective.

Collect roots and use either fresh or dry.

ACTIONS

Expectorant, demulcent, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, nervine, anti-spasmodic, astringent, antiseptic, hemostatic, narcotic, anti-asthmatic, and many more.

The bodily systems that have been shown to benefit from mullein are the lungs and respiratory system, glands, lymphatic system, nervous system, urinary system, intestinal system, and the skin. The most popular preparations are teas, capsules, poultices, and believe it or not, smoking (although personally, I would not choose that method).

📌 For more info on drying herbs and setting up consultations, see Day One’s posting.

 

Day Three

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✔️ Internal and External

✔️Teas (infusion)

✔️Baths

✔️Extracts (decoction)

✔️Ointments and Salves

✔️Compresses

✔️Infusions

✔️Urtication

✔️ Have in your herbal medicine cabinet for pain relief

Nettles (Urtica dioica) also known as stinging nettle is a beautiful, green perennial that is so well known it usually needs no discription.  Once you brush up against it, you will know you came into contact with it. The “stinging hairs” which covers this plant consist of sharp, tiny, hollow barbs that contain venom. When the barb pierces the skin, the venom is instantly expressed causing some pain and inflammation.

*The nettles completely loses its stinging effect once cooked or dried.

So why bother with this nuisance of a plant? Besides its nutritional value, just a few indications for the use of Nettles are: diarrhea, dysentery, hemorrhoids, hemorrhages, febrile affections, gravel, nephritic complaints, chronic diseases of the colon, eczematous affections, eczema, arthritis, and chronic cystitis.

When cooked, it makes a very healthy vegetable which has a cleansing effect and is easy to digest. Some people even have a plant that they grow inside for the purpose of “Urtication”, a lashing with nettles formerly used to treat a paralyzed part of the body but now people use it for arthritis.

If you know anything about homeopathy then you know that Urtica is one of the most popular remedies in regards to astringents.  It can be used both internally and externally for so many issues and is useful even is very small doses.

*FUN FACT: Nettles beer has been used as a remedy for gouty and rheumatic pains (according to country folk)

PLANT PARTS USED

Flowering tops 🌼

Leaves🌿

Roots 🥔

TO HARVEST

To Cook:

With long gloves, harvest young tops when they reach 6-8” high.  Wash throughly with running water (again wearing gloves or with a long wooden spoon). Place in dry pot while still dripping wet and cook with lid on for about 20 minutes on low heat.

To Dry:

Collect flowers in full bloom in the morning after dew has dried.  Cut plants (wearing gloves) just above the roots.  Discard any dead or diseased parts of the plant and tie in loose bunches to hang dry. When stems and leaves are dried and crisp, cull and store in airtight container.

ACTIONS

Astringent, diuretic, tonic, nutritive, hemostatic and are shown to benefit the lungs, kidneys, bladder, blood, GI tract, and the skin. The most popular preparations are infusion, tincture, capsule, and urtication.

Nutritionally, Nettles is a good source of vitamin C, A, Calcium, silicon, potassium chloride, and has protein and dietary fiber.

📌 For more info on drying herbs and setting up consultations, see Day One’s posting.

 

Day Four

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✔️ Internal and External

✔️Teas (infusion)

✔️Extracts (decoction)

✔️Tinctures

✔️Ointments and Salves

✔️Poultice

✔️ Have in your herbal medicine cabinet for wounds and to stop minor bleeding

 

This feathery, fern-like plant is common here on Colorado’s plains.  With practicing just a bit, it’s easy to spot in most pastures.  Standing anywhere from 12-30 inches tall, Yarrow blooms mid-summer and tops off late fall with small clusters of white flowers.

Historically, Yarrow was popular for being used as a hemostatic.  It was used widely in old wars as a way to stop minor bleeding such as small wounds and nose bleeds. When used in cold preparations, this can help stimulate the appetite and can clean up those digestive organs.  This can be beneficial at the first stages of acute fevers (not all fevers are bad), colds, respiratory issues, diarrhea and even intestinal bleeding.

When used as a diaphoretic, you use hot preparations and copiously (in large quantities) which can raise the heat of the body.  This increases circulation and perspiration and helps to stimulate sweat glands that help flush out toxins. Yarrow can regulate the liver and it tones many digestive mucus membranes starting at the stomach and ending in the bowels.

PLANT PARTS USED

Stem 🌱

Leaves 🌿

Flower🌼

TO HARVEST

Gather the whole plant (above ground) in bunches when plant is in full bloom.  Tie in loose bundles and hang to dry in the shade.

ACTIONS

Diaphoretic, astringent, hemostatic, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, anti-microbial, anti-viral, and bitter and can benefit circulation, lungs, skin, mucus membranes, and urinary system.  The most popular preparations are decoctions, infusions, tinctures, extracts, ointments, and poultices.

Nutritionally, Yarrow has good amounts of potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, silicon, and vitamin C.

*FUN FACT  It is very hard to produce powdered form of Yarrow.  It is best to be used as extracts.

📌 For more info on drying herbs and setting up consultations, see Day One’s posting.

 

Day Five

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✔️ Internal and External

✔️Teas (infusion)

✔️Extracts (decoction)

✔️Tinctures

✔️Capsules

✔️Ointments and Salves

✔️Compress

✔️ Have in your herbal medicine cabinet for fever, headaches, and nausea

Oh, peppermint, how I love thee! First of all, this is one of the easiest perennials to grow and a bottle of peppermint essential oil can be used as an emergency remedy for dozens of conditions.  It literally is a medicine cabinet in your pocket.

There are many members of the mint family so identifying peppermint can be tricky.  Luckily, most of the actions of the mint family are the same so if you mixed them up, it would come with little to no harm.  Peppermint leaves are smooth on top and bottom but their edges are finely toothed.  The stems are generally purple.  Reddish-purplish flowers bloom on the upper clusters of the plant forming long spikes.  The plant gives off a wonderful fragrance and when you chew the leaves, it produces a nice, hot taste that quickly changes to a cool sensation because of the menthol in the plant.

Historically, this herb was used primarily for digestion health.  It stimulates digestion, curbs nausea, stays hiccups and supports the liver. It is nervine and analgesic so it works great for any localized pain.  More up to date research shows the herb having significant antiseptic and antiviral properties too.  Especially popular in essential oil form, this plant has a huge range of medicinal and culinary uses. This is my go-to oil for tension headaches and a bottle of essential oil goes with me everywhere.  At any sign of nausea, a few deep breaths of peppermint EO and you will be able to manage through.

PLANT PARTS USED

Aerial parts (any part of the plant that is completely exposed to air) fresh or dried

TO HARVEST

Harvest above ground parts just before flowering in the morning after morning dew has dried.

To Dry: Tie in small, loose bundles and hang to dry in the shade.

ACTIONS

Anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, aromatic, diaphorectic, anti-emetic, nervine, anti-microbial, analgesic, and a stimulant and can benefit the stomach, intestines, liver, muscles, nervous system, and circulation.  The most popular preparations are infusions, essential oils, tincture, capsules, and compresses.

 

*FUN FACT  Place a few springs of peppermint in your picnic basket or pantry to make a natural deterrent for ants.

📌For more info on drying herbs and setting up consultations, see Day One’s posting.

 

Day Six

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✔️ Internal and External

✔️Teas (infusions)

✔️Extracts (decoction)

✔️Tinctures

✔️Capsules

✔️Ointments and Salves

✔️Plasters

Red Clover is found in many pastures and meadows in North America.  I grew up with the common recognition of this plant because we put up 100s of acres of hay every year. We made sure that the clover was sparse.  However, it would make it into one or two of my famous, childhood bouquets of wildflowers.

Red Clover grows in independent clumps and can reach 1 to 2 feet tall.  Each stalk has three leaflets and tops off with a majestic, purplish blossom.  The blooms can grow as wide as an inch in diameter.

Not a lot is known historically on Red Clover.  Most of the information we have is from the past 100 years and from the Eclectic Materia Medica of 1922. What we know of it from there is that Red Clover is known to be an alterative (blood purifier) and an antispasmodic.  It is popular with many respiratory issues and helps relieve dry, irritable, and spasmodic coughs.  The topic of it being used as an anti-cancer agent is growing.  It is a key ingredient in many cancer formulas such as Jason Winter’s Tea, The Hoxsey Cancer Formula, Essiac Tea, and Christopher’s Anti-Cancer Remedy.  Many people have used with ointments and plasters for ulcers, boil, and abscesses as well.

PLANT PARTS USED

Flower 🌼

TO HARVEST

Gather flowers in full bloom and can be used fresh or dried.

To Dry: Cut blooms and dry on screen in the shade.

ACTIONS

Alterative, expectorant, anti-spasmodic, depurant, and alkalizer and can benefit the nerves, lungs, blood, liver, and lymph. The most popular preparations are extracts, infusions, capsules, tinctures, ointments, and plasters.

Nutritionally,  the plant is a good source or calcium, niacin, and tin.

📌For more info on drying herbs and setting up consultations, see Day One’s posting.

 

Day Seven

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✔️ Internal and External

✔️Teas (infusions)

✔️Extracts (decoction)

✔️Tinctures

✔️Capsules

✔️Ointments and Salves

We have arrived at one of my absolute favorite herbs.  The Red Raspberry, members of the bramble fruit family, grow wonderfully in the wild and are cultivated in our zone here in Colorado.  These beauties can grow to become troublesome.  If not maintained, they will quickly become unpenetratable thickets.  The have deep green, toothed leaves on the upper side and lighter green leaves underneath. Flowers will appear early summer and then quickly fall off leaving the fruits to cluster and form juicy, bright red berries. The canes are well armed with thorns and do not root.  Rather, they have runners that take root.  

Historically, the roots and leaves were used as astringents along with helpful remedies  for digestion issues, specifically diarrhea. Also popular for the use during labor to increase the activity of uterine contractions and useful with the afterpains of labor. 

A quote from Henry Box, a renowned Quaker herbalist, “A tea from Red Raspberry leaves is the best gift God ever gave to women.” The many uses of the wonderful herb before, during, and after child birth is be taken under special considerations and direction.

Dr. Christopher states, “When taken regularly in pregnancy, the infusion will quiet inappropriate premature pains and produce a safe, speedy, and easy delivery. Red Raspberry leaves stimulate, tone, and regulate before and during childbearing, assisting contractions and checking hemorrhage during labor, relieving after-pains, then strengthening, cleansing, and enriching the milk of the mother in the post-delivery period.”

Just a few of the other uses are for canker sores and mouth ulcers (use as mouth wash), indigestion, morning sickness, nausea, thrush, wounds, and burns.

PLANTS PARTS USED

Fruit 🍓

Leaves 🌿

Roots 🥔

TO HARVEST

Fruit are to be gathered when fully ripe.

The leaves can be collected throughout the growing season, dried slowly on a screen.  Turn often to avoid molding and discoloration.

Dig up roots when plant is dormant, fall or early spring. Wash and lay on screens to dry in warm ventilated room.

ACTIONS

Astringent, tonic, alterative, anti-emetic, antiseptic, hemostatic, anti-abortive, parturient (assists in labor-leaves) and benefits urinary systems, mucus membranes, stomach, intestines, blood, and all soft tissue. The most popular preparations are infusions, decoctions, tinctures, capsules, and ointments.

Nutritionally, leaves and fruit are very high in iron and calcium.  Fruits are high in soluble fiber.

📌For more info on drying herbs and setting up consultations, see Day One’s posting.

 

Day Eight

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✔️ Internal and External

✔️Teas (infusions)

✔️Extracts (decoction)- and STRONG Decoctions

✔️Tinctures

✔️Capsules

✔️Ointments and Salves

✔️Plasters, Poultice, and Compress

When we first purchased our land and began the homesteading process, the ground surrounding the old existing structures was covered with burdock.  Of course, my dogs decided to investigate the property only to come back covered in burrs.  Sometimes I wonder if this plant is worth it….

When first growing, the plant reminds me of wild rhubarb but then quickly shows itself for what it truly is.  A biennial plant, that forms large, green leaves at the bottom and narrows out at the top where it forms blossoms that are covered in stiff hairs (burrs).  It can grow to be 3-4 feet tall.

Historically, the plant along with old wine was used for serpent bites.  Bruised leaves mixed with egg whites were also applied to burns (from heat) for sudden comfort and healing.  The seeds have also been said to break stones.

More recently, burdock has been used for removing waste products in the body such as eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, boils, carbuncles, styes, sores, rheumatism, gout, and sciatica.  Seeds have been used as a diuretic and have actions impacting the urinary tract.  It is mostly used for skin issues, fever, kidney health, and a detox for mercury.

PLANT PARTS USED

Root 🥔

Fruits (Seeds) 🌾

Leaves 🌿

TO HARVEST

Harvest roots in late fall of first year.

Fruits (Seeds) develop in second year plants.

Leaves- collect fresh or to be dried, generally in second year plants.

ACTIONS

Root- Alterative, diuretic, diaphoretic, bitter, anti-psoriatic, and demulcent.

Seeds- All the same plus nervine and tonic.

Burdock can benefit the skin, liver, lungs, and digestive tract.  The most popular preparations are decoctions, capsules, tinctures, ointment and poultices.

Nutritionally, burdock provides good amounts of chromium, copper, iron, and magnesium.

*FUN FACT  Burdock Root is a popular vegetable in Japan.

📌For more info on drying herbs and setting up consultations, see Day One’s posting.

 

Day Nine

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✔️ Internal and External

✔️Teas (infusions)

✔️Tinctures

✔️Capsules

✔️Ointments and Salves

✔️Poultice

Sage is one of the easier herbs to spot in a garden.  It grows to be a foot or so tall and has woody stems.  They leaves are paired on the stems and rounded at the ends.  They have a beautiful, grayish tint to them and are velvety to the touch.  Sage blooms in late summer and the blooms have lipped whorls, a bit like a snapdragon’s whorl.  The dominant fragrance is very strong and is easily provoked when bruised.

Historically, Sage has held its own in regards to the opinion of Hippocrates himself who said, “Why should a man die while Sage grows in this garden?” Sage has been used for hundreds of years as a way to relieve joint and head pain, to help memory and awaken the senses.  Tea has been used for high fevers and nervous excitement.  The Chinese has put a high value on its ability to be a stimulating tonic for the digestive system. It was even listed as a useful medicine during the typhoid fever epidemic. When fresh leaves were rubbed on teeth, it would clean them along with strengthening the gums.

Modern day herbalists have found Sage to have tremendous anti-fever properties when taken hot and helps in all troubles in the mouth and throat.  When taken hot, it can help break a fever by stimulating a fever sweat and when taken cold or in capsules, it can dry up breast milk and reduce mucus congestion.

It is very popular to grow as a culinary herb to flavor chicken, turkey, and many fall vegetables.

Burning dried herbs is a ritual that is common to many different cultures.  From Frankincense to Sage, the reasons and methods are a bit different.  Burning Sage is one of the oldest methods in ways people would cleanse a person, group, or space….. and, some people just like the way it smells.

PLANT PARTS USED

Leaves 🌿 fresh or dried and in EO form

TO HARVEST

Gather leaves before flowering begins in sunny, dry weather.  Dry on screens or loose bunches and dry and shady area.

ACTIONS

Aromatic, digestive, diaphoretic, stimulant, anti-spasmodic, anti-microbial, antioxidant, expectorant, hypotension, astringent, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal and can benefit the lungs, sinuses, mucus membranes, bowel, bladder, stomach, brain, heart, nerves, skin, and hair.  The most popular preparations are infusions, capsules, tinctures, poultices, and even mouth washes and syrups.

*Fun Fact-  It is said that the wife rules where Sage grows by the garden gate.

📌For more info on drying herbs and setting up consultations, see Day One’s posting.

Day Ten

E360D092-2B9C-4033-A009-DEA4BF4489D6

✔️ Internal and External

✔️Teas (infusions)

✔️Extracts (decoction)

✔️Tinctures

✔️Capsules

✔️Ointments and Salves

✔️Poultices

✔️ Have in your herbal medicine cabinet for wounds and burns

The Calendula blossom, also knows as the Pot Marigold, is one of my favorite flowers to grow. This little annual packs a punch and continues to grow all summer long. The mighty Calendula can stand up to two feet tall with yellow-to-orange ray flowers topping it off. The leaves are thin and smooth with finely toothed edges. My gardens are always surrounded by a row of Calendulas because of the repelling effect it has on insects. I also LOVE to use goat’s milk soap that has been infused with Calendula blossoms.

Historically, Calendula has been used for wound healing and ulcer treatments. Others have used it for varicose veins and severe burns. This has carried on throughout time and is still used very much for a wide range of skin issues such as fungal conditions, eczema, psoriasis, sunburns, burns, scalds, and wounds. It truly is one of the best herbs for treating local skin problems…..as why I love it in my goat’s milk soap.

PLANT PARTS USED

Flower heads and petals 🌼

TO HARVEST

Harvest flower heads when fully opened on dry morning after morning dew has dried. Dry on screens in the shade.

ACTIONS

Anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, astringent, vulenary, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, lymphatic, and diaphoretic and can benefit the blood, mucus membranes, skin, and gastro-intestinal tract. The most popular preparations are extracts, infusions, capsules, tinctures, poultices, and salves.

*Fun Fact- Don’t mistake the Calendula with the garden marigold, French marigold, or targets. Look for Calendula. Also, make sure to save a few blossoms so they go to seed for next year’s crop.

📌For more info on drying herbs and setting up consultations, see Day One’s posting.

Day Eleven

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✔️ Internal and External

✔️Teas (infusions)

✔️Extracts (decoction)

✔️Tinctures

✔️Capsules

✔️Ointments and Salves

✔️Poultice

✔️ Have in your herbal medicine cabinet to help stop external bleeding.

Also known as Cayenne, Chili, or Chili Pepper, the great Capsicum Frutescens needs no introduction.  This culinary favorite has been used in dishes all around the world.  Its magic doesn’t stop there.  Applied topically, Capsicum can relieve pain by confusing the body’s chemical pain messenger, a lot like peppermint EO does.

*Note, this doesn’t repair the damage, just gives relief from pain.

Historically, Samuel Thomson first brought about its medicinal uses in the early 1800’s.  He is quoted as saying, “I have made use of Cayenne in all kinds of disease, and have given it to patients of all ages and under every circumstance that has come under my practice; and can assure the public that it is perfectly harmless, never having  known it to produce any bad effects whatsoever.”

Today, its greatest influence lies over the circulatory system.  It has shown great results in removing congestion, by its actions, upon the nerves and circulation.  Poor circulation,  sore and tired muscles, and stiff joints can be improved by Capsicum. Used as a first aid, it can help control or to stop external bleeding.

PLANT PARTS USED

Fruit 🌶

TO HARVEST

Harvest fruit when fully ripe.  Dry on screens in shade or strung on ropes.

ACTIONS

Stimulant, astringent, hemostatic, anti-tumor, counter-irritant, analgesic, anti-ulcer, anti-microbial, thermogenic and can benefit the circulatory system, nervous system, digestive system, skin, and mucus membranes.  The most popular preparations are infusions, capsules, tinctures, extracts, and poultice.

Nutritionally, Capsicum is a good source of beta-carotene, vitamin C, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, potassium, and molybdenum.

📌For more info on drying herbs and setting up consultations, see Day One’s posting.

 

Day Twelve

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✔️ Internal* and External

FDA advises taking Comfrey internally due to trace amounts of purrolizidine alkaloids (PA’s) but studies show that Comfrey taken internally is less toxic than an equal amount of beer.

✔️Teas (infusions)

✔️Extracts (decoction)

✔️Tinctures

✔️Capsules

✔️Ointments and Salves

✔️Poultice

✔️ Have in your herbal medicine cabinet to help with rapid healing of wounds.

Comfrey is a perennial that is grown throughout North America.  Standing up to three feet tall, the thick-stemmed, hairy plant has earned its way to my 31 Days of Herbs class because of its anti-inflammatory, expectorant, and deep healing actions. If you own any livestock, you will want this on hand!

Its leaves, large and hairy, grow from a very strong, hairy stem that makes it very difficult to pick.  The leaves form rosettes from where beautiful, bell-shaped, purple flowers emerge.  The roots are most importantly identifiable.  Comfrey (first year plants) look similar to the Foxglove, which is toxic.  The roots of the two plants are completely different.  Comfrey’s roots are thick, often hollow and will take over an area if not thinned properly.  On the outside the roots appear to be brownish-black, but once cut open you will find them to be a tannish-white and slimy if smashed.

Historically, Comfrey was known as a wonderful healer; helping all inward hurts, bruises, and wounds.  Our historical herbalists have given us specific indications for coughs and colds, gastric and duodenal ulcers, GI inflammation, bruised and damaged joints, hurt muscles and tendons, and fractures.  It is also recommended for almost all respiratory issues.

PLANT PARTS USED

Root🥔 (fresh or dried)

Leaves 🌿 (fresh or dried)

TO HARVEST

Leaves can be collected throughout the growing season and dried in shade.

Roots should be collected in the spring or autumn.  Split roots down the middle and dry in temps between 120-145*F

ACTIONS

Vulnerary, demulcent, anti-inflammatory, astringent, expectorant, anti-tumor, nutritive, and hemostatic and can benefit the structural system, respiratory system, mucus membranes, stomach and digestive system, and skin.  Most popular preparations are extracts, infusions, capsules, tinctures, ointments, and poultices.

📌For more info on drying herbs and setting up consultations, see Day One’s posting.

 

Day Thirteen

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✔️ Internal and External

✔️Teas (infusions)

✔️Extracts (decoction)

✔️Tinctures

✔️Capsules

✔️Ointments and Salves

✔️Poultice

This woody perennial is a culinary favorite that can grow up to 8” tall.  The plant is procumbent and likes to spread around on the ground.  The leaves are petite and generally a grayish-blue to dark green color.  Small flowers follow the whorls and when the plant is snipped, you have a wonderful earthy fragrance.

Historically, Thyme was said to deliver great courage to the knights and the ladies would embroider a sprig of Thyme on their scarves and hand it to their “knights”.

We recognize Thyme for its proper place in the culinary field however, ancients believed it for medicinal powers.  It was commonly used for whooping cough and to help the body purge phlegm.  Ointments were made to rid the body of warts, reduce pain, and internally, it showed great help to ease the stomach.

Today, herbalists use Thyme as an expectorant and for its antibacterial properties.  In EO form, it is a great disinfectant and a natural preservative that is favorable when making skincare products.

PLANT PARTS USED

Flowering tops 🌼 (fresh or dried) and EO form

TO HARVEST

Cut back the top third of plant once it is in full bloom.  Use fresh or dry on a screen in the shade.

ACTIONS
Aromatic, anti-septic, anti-viral, expectorant, astringent, antioxidant, and preservative and can benefit the lungs, throat, stomach, intestines, and skin.  The most popular preparations are EO, infusions, capsules, tinctures, and poultices.

*FUN FACT- Thymol, the main, active ingredient in Listerine Antiseptic, is the same element found in Thyme’s oil….without all the other…not so positive… ingredients.

📌For more info on drying herbs and setting up consultations, see Day One’s posting.

 

Day Fourteen

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✔️Internal (Dandelion is not commonly used externally)

✔️Teas (infusions)

✔️Extracts (decoction)

✔️Tinctures

✔️Capsules

Okay, would any intro to herbs class be complete without the mighty Dandelion? This hollow stalked, bright yellow flower needs very little discription. Almost everyone knows what a Dandelion is.  Most people see it as a pesky weed that takes over a lawn very quickly. However, this little “weed” is one of the most effective, natural diuretics in contrast to the diuretic drugs that produce nasty side effects and mineral depletion.

Historically, the Dandelion is known as a “bitter” herb that aided in digestion, helped relieve a stressed-out liver, and was a wonderful cleansing agent. Its historical actions are carried over to today and is used in powerful cleanses and in removal of blockages in the liver, gall, and spleen.

PLANT PARTS USED

Root 🥔

Leaves 🌿

Flowers 🌼

(fresh or dried)

TO HARVEST

Harvest tender leaves in early spring (great for tea…dried and salads….fresh). Dry leaves on screens or hang to dry.

Roots are harvested mid-summer for high bitter actions.

ACTIONS

Diuretic, bitter, digestive, laxative, tonic, and nutritive and benefits the urinary system, circulatory system, digestive system, liver, kidneys, stomach, spleen, and skin. The most popular preparations are extracts, tinctures, capsules, and infusions.

Nutritionally, the Dandelion is a good source of lecithin, helenin, choline, Vitamins A and B-2 (riboflavin).

*FUN FACT- The root of a Dandelion, roasted, makes a great coffee substitute.

📌For more info on drying herbs and setting up consultations, see Day One’s posting.

 

 

Day Fifteen

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✔️Internal and external

✔️Extracts (decoction)

✔️Tinctures

✔️Capsules

Willow grows rapidly where I live.  We are lucky enough to live close to many creeks that are lined with Willow.  The entire Willow family have comparable medicinal actions but the White Willow is the one I will go into depth on.  The bark covering a thick trunk of the Willow is deeply grooved and gray in color.  Most of the branches are slender that gives way to long but petite leaves.  The tree blooms in early spring, after the leaves have budded out, producing soft catkins.

Historically, the Willow is known for its source of Salicin (precursor to aspirin).  Willow has strong abilities to reduce fever and to subside pain and has been used for centuries for these issues.

Current herbalists like to use Willow bark as a mild analgesic for a aspirin substitute.  It can also be used for many issues such as digestive conditions, anti-aging, to warts.

PLANT PARTS USED

Inner Bark 🌴

TO HARVEST

Gather large branches throughout summer when the tree is in leaf.  At this time the bark can easily be stripped from the wood.  Separate the inner bark from the outer bark and dry in strips in the shade.

ACTIONS

Analgesic, anti-inflammatory, tonic, bitter, astringent, antiseptic, and diuretic and can benefit the stomach, kidney, bowels, nerves, and circulation.  The most population preparations are tinctures, capsules, and extracts.

Note* Willow can lead to a similar response if one has an aspirin allergy.

*FUN FACT- Activated charcoal is made from White Willow.

📌For more info on drying herbs and setting up consultations, see Day One’s posting.

 

 

Extra research:

Fritchev, Philip, MD, ND, CNHP. (2004). Practical Herbalism. Retrieved August 3, 2018

Disclaimer
All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.

All information is for the sole purpose of education and is to be kept within the organization of The Fit Farmacy’s clientele. No reproduction of material is permitted without authorization.  Sharing buttons is allowed.  NO altered text is allowed. 

There are always special considerations with using herbs, particularly if too much is consumed for too long.  Attempting to use an herb for an isolated effect is potentially an unhealthy approach.