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March 30, 2009
Laryngitis and Hoarseness
4 parts Coltsfoot leaves
2 parts Thyme herb
1 part Liquorice root
4 parts Marshmallow root
1 part Cayenne Pepper
Infusion: 3 cups per day, in small doses if desired
Infusion of any of the above, alone or in combination: 3 cups per day, in small doses if desired
Liquorice root (powdered)
Combine with honey in equal parts and take 1 teaspoon 3-4 times daily
A general lung tonic:
3 parts Horehound leaves
2 parts Angelica root
3 parts Mullein leaves
1 part Vervain leaves
Prepare an infusion of the herbs and with each cupful also eat 1 fresh Garlic clove chopped and mixed with honey. Dosage: 3 cups of the infusion and 3 Garlic cloves per day. (The Garlic clove may be replaced by a Garlic Oil capsule if desired.) If preparing a tincture (dose: 2-5 ml, 3 times per day), add the Garlic as 2 parts to the above formula.
The above formula may be used as an extended course of treatment where general lung weakness or a tendency to chronic lung complaints exists (asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, pleurisy, emphysema, recurrent colds, chronic cough or bronchial catarrh, etc.).
External treatment for bronchitis, pneumonia or pleurisy:
Hot poultice or ointment prepared from either or both of the above: apply to chest area, renewing frequently
The following is an outstanding remedy with a long history of use in cases of severe lung weaknesses and/or extreme debility:
2 parts Mullein leaves
1 part Comfrey root
Prepare a combined decoction and infusion of Comfrey and Mullein, and with each cupful also eat 1 fresh Garlic clove chopped and mixed with honey. Dosage: 3 cups of the infusion and 3 Garlic cloves per day. (The Garlic clove may be replaced by a Garlic Oil capsule if desired.) If preparing a tincture, add the Garlic as 1 part to the above formula.
2 parts Alfalfa herb
2 parts Peppermint leaves
1 part Ginger root
Infusion: 3 cups per day
Lemon Balm leaves
Infusion of any of the above, alone or in combination: 1/2-1 ñèð as required
For chronic indigestion:
1 part Chamomile flowers
1 part Hop flowers
1 part Lemon Balm leaves
1 part Meadowsweet herb
1 part Fennel or Anise seed
1 part Angelica root
Infusion: 3 cups per day
Liver and Gall-Bladder Ailments
8 parts Dandelion root
4 parts Vervain leaves
2 parts Lemon Balm leaves
1 part Parsley root
1 part Liquorice root
Combined decoction and infusion: 3 cups per day
This tonic is excellent for the liver and gall-bladder. It is useful in the recovery from hepatitis or jaundice, and for a variety of complaints associated with liver and gall-bladder function: liver congestion, gallbladder inflammation, biliary insufficiency, chronic constipation, sluggish digestion, etc.
Dandelion is unexcelled as a liver tonic and many of the virtues of the above remedy will still be obtained with a simple decoction of the root:
Decoction: 3 cups per day
Action: Sedative, astringent, analgesic, antiseptic, antibacterial, cholagogue
Systems Affected: Nerves, heart, circulation, stomach, liver, gall-bladder, intestines, kidneys, bladder, general effects on the whole body.
Preparation and Dosage (thrice daily): Dried flowering plant, dose 1-5 grams by infusion.
St John’s Wort has been closely associated with magic and folklore since the ancient Greeks gave it the name hypericon (meaning ‘over or above an apparition’). The leaves and flowers contain oil glands which, when crushed, release a balsamic odour similar to incense: the smell was used to drive away evil spirits and to purify the air.
The yellow flowers turn red when crushed due to the release of the red fluorescent pigment hypericine, and as St John was beheaded and the plant is in full flower on St John’s Day (24 June), in later times it became known as herba Sancti loannis or St John’s Wort.
Besides its magic and folklore associations the plant has definite healing properties and is still widely employed in herbalism and European folk medicine.
St John’s Wort is a perennial rapidly spreading from long runners produced at the base and growing to a height of 90 centimeters. Native to temperate zones of Europe and western Asia, it has naturalized in the Americas and Australasia.
Taken internally the herb stimulates both gastric and bile secretions and is effective in treating uterine pain and irregular menstruation. It improves blood circulation and is of use as a nervine or sedative in conditions characterized by nervousness, excitability and disturbed sleep patterns. It is considered specific for menopausal neurosis and is sometimes used for bedwetting and insomnia in children.
It is one of the most effective agents for healing wounds or burns when applied externally, especially where nerve tissue has been damaged.
The fresh flowers, steeped in olive oil for a fortnight, yield the famed Oil of St John’s Wort, much used by the Crusader knights for healing their battle wounds. The flowers, combined with Chamomile and mixed into melted lard or vegetable oil (with some beeswax added to firm it), make an ointment highly valued for its pain-quelling and healing properties.
Externally, as an oil, ointment, compress or poultice, St John’s Wort is of particular value for all cuts and wounds, bruises, abrasions, burns and scalds, blisters, inflammations, eruptions and rashes. It is also used for neuralgic and rheumatic pain, fibrositis and sciatica. The herb, combined with Hamamelis Water (distilled water of Witch Hazel), makes an excellent soothing and healing lotion for application to cuts and wounds and haemorrhoids.
Modern research indicates the presence of antibacterial and possibly antiviral substances in the plant. An alcohol extract of the flowers dyes silk and wool a violet-red but does not colour cotton.
Cautionary Notes: St John’s Wort should not be used in depressive states. Some reports have indicated that if eaten by light-skinned cattle and sheep, it may cause photosensitization, leading to swelling of the face, irritation of unpigmented skin areas and, in some cases, death. The herb is widely used as an external application but is best used internally only for specific treatment of a particular problem.
Action: Demulcent, expectorant, laxative, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, alterative.
Systems Affected: Lungs, stomach, intestines, spleen, liver, kidneys, endocrine system, mucous membranes, general effects on the whole body.
Preparation and Dosage (thrice daily): Dried root (powdered form prepared by infusion; the whole root cut or bruised prepared by decoction), dose 1-4 grams.
Liquorice has been used medicinally since the time of the ancient Assyrians and Egyptians. Both its English name and botanical name are derived from the mediaeval gliquiricia which comes from the Greek glykos (sweet) and riza (root), the name given to it by Dioscorides in recognition of its extremely sweet taste.
The plant is native to southern Europe and Asia Minor. Several species and varieties exist and it is now extensively cultivated in temperate zones. It is official in most national pharmacopoeias. It is one of the most important herbs in Chinese medicine, frequently prescribed in many formulas for its synergizing effect on other herbs.
Liquorice contains substances similar to the adrenocortical hormones and for this reason is beneficial in treating adrenal insufficiency and other glandular problems. Large and frequent doses, however, will exacerbate high blood pressure. It also contains oestrogen-like compounds.
Liquorice is an excellent expectorant for treating coughs and bronchial congestion. It is a soothing and restorative remedy for sore throat and laryngitis, and it is a good mild laxative that can be given to children and those who are debilitated. Its anti-inflammatory action has been used to treat stomach and intestinal ulcers.
In preparing the root it is advisable to remove the bitter outer bark.
Liquorice is often added to herbal mixtures and pharmaceutical preparations to alleviate a bitter or unpleasant taste. It is used to flavour beers such as Guinness, and large quantities are employed in flavouring tobaccos (some contain 10% Liquorice) and confectionery.
Cautionary Notes: Liquorice should not be taken in large or frequent doses or over prolonged periods of time. Large doses may cause sodium retention and potassium loss, leading to high blood pressure, fluid retention, headache and shortness of breath. Those suffering from diabetes, hypertension and related cardiovascular disorders, fluid imbalance, bleeding ulcers, kidney disease or pregnancy disorders should not take Liquorice except under direct professional supervision.
Action: Demulcent, emollient, vulnerary, alterative, nutritive tonic, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, antipruritic.
Systems Affected: Blood, liver, lungs, stomach, intestines, kidneys, bladder, skin.
Preparation and Dosage (thrice daily): Dried flowering plant, dose 1-5 grams by infusion. Fresh or dried leaves and stems applied locally to skin conditions.
A European native, the plant is now naturalized worldwide as a weed, and is considered a curse by many gardeners because of its creeping and twining growth among other plants.
Chickweed is both a valuable healing herb and a good nutritious food which can be eaten raw or cooked in the same way as any other vegetable. Long used by country folk as a fresh vegetable in winter, its seeds also provide food for birds and poultry; hence its name in English, in French (herbe a I’oiseau) and in German (Vogelmiere).
Internally, it is used for inflammatory conditions of the lungs, bowels or stomach. Boiled, eaten and the water drunk freely, it has a soothing and healing influence.
Externally, it is an extremely valuable and reliable remedy for all inflamed and pruritic skin conditions. It can be used safely for wounds, sores, conjunctivitis and styes, dermatitis, eczema and all kinds of skin eruptions or irritations. Bathe the affected parts with a strong infusion at least twice a day and apply Chickweed ointment. The plant can also be taken internally at the same time.
As a poultice, compress or ointment, it is useful for carbuncles, abscesses and indolent ulcers. The ointment alleviates itching and burning around the genitals and anus. In blood poisoning, the infusion taken internally and a poultice applied locally give good results.
The plant is of value in debility, anaemia and rheumatism. It has been claimed that people with general weakness and children suffering from malnutrition ‘will quickly gain strength if this herb is used as a food’. Nutritionally, the plant contains B-complex vitamins and vitamins A and C, plus calcium, iron, sodium, phosphorus, zinc and molybdenum.
Of great value for treating blood toxicity, inflammatory conditions and other characteristically ‘hot’ diseases, Chickweed is a mild herb used for food as well as medicine, and is considered safe to use in large doses whenever needed.