Beginner Friendly Herbs For Your Home Apothecary
by Jada Tam Creator of Medicine Kid
Hearing more about natural remedies and the great potential of herbal healing? Yes, it is catching fire once again, returning us to the sweet embrace of natural healing. It may be time to gather your sacred basket of tools to empower, cleanse and restore your body in so many ways. It’s been a wonderful return to simplicity and power in our home, while deepening our level of gratitude and respect for connection of all kinds.
Not sure where to begin? You are probably already working with herbs in your own kitchen although may not regard some of your herbs as sacred and medicinal yet. Let’s see what you already have in the cupboard waiting to come alive and serve in the highest!
Benefits – antimicrobial, antioxidant, whole body tonic, cleansing, digestive support and much more.
Rich in allicin, garlic has remarkable therapeutic qualities. Often called nature’s antibiotic you can take your garlic raw to fight off infections and viruses of many kinds. I turn to garlic every time I an infection, severe digestive or respiratory challenge. Chopped and added to every meal brings the dish to a fullness, delicious taste and is historically known to improve cardiovascular health. Garlic is great for regulating blood pressure, cholesterol and can improve artery function. To access the full strength of this medicine, try eating a half full clove of the raw garlic. Chew it like an apple and swallow with warm water! Appetizing, no, works yes! Fantastic for fungal infections of any kind.Garlic is a powerful immuno stimulant so avoid eating it raw every day but cooked is just fine.
Benefits – anti inflammatory, antifungal, digestive aid, supports nausea, morning sickness, motion sickness, natural anodyne (pain reliever).
The root of ginger or rhizome, the underground stem is often used fresh or dried, made into a juice, applied to meals of all kinds and diced fresh to add to herbal teas. We turn to ginger when our body needs additional support by first cutting off the skins the fresh ginger root, carving a one inch rectangular shaped lozenge to set it alongside the gums of the mouth. Without chewing you can suck on it like a throat lozenge and this will mend up a scratchy throat. Pungent indeed so ginger more regularly ends up in our stir fry’s or grated into chai or home made apple cider and teas.
Benefits – antibacterial, antiseptic, antifungal, sedative, carminative (gas relief, aids in peristalsis), gastrointestinal support.
This ancient herb has long been the go to remedy for digestive troubles while also providing its aromatic and soothing essence to many meals, ciders, desserts and more. Personally, I mix up a half a teaspoon of powdered cinnamon with apple cider vinegar and honey in a small cup and serve a spoonful of what looks like cinnamon fudge to my little one and myself when feeling challenged with the common cold. We also sprinkle cinnamon onto our GF honey toast, add to oatmeals, ginger rices, and even in my coffee, (dandelion root or the good old coffee bean). Cinnamon can also support with conditions like diabetes by helping to metabolize sugars more easily.
Benefits – antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, cleansing, supports allergic response.
Nature’s sweet treasure or liquid gold, brings us natural energy, healing and so much more. Medicine all on its own, we often scoop a spoonful of quality honey onto a spoon and call it a lollipop. Kid’s just love it. Honey gets added to our teas, coffee, and anywhere we seek out something sweet. There is no sugar source in our home, so we always turn to a quality honey, preferably local honey or a high grade maple syrup to create a sweet sensation to baked goods and breads.
Benefits – antibacterial, antiseptic, cleansing, healing, supports circulation.
Pink himalayan, black lava salts, celtic sea salts, lets just replace the white table salt that has been bleached and chemically rolled for a mineral rich supply of sacred salt. Water follows salt so add a pinch of it into your water to support dehydration. Add crushed sea salts to every meal and sprinkle on salads. Massage a batch of raw dark leafy green kale with olive oil, sea salt and a squeeze of lemon for a nutritious salad. Add sunflower seeds, nuts, raisins and all the beneficial herbs listed here!
Benefits – antiseptic, aromatic, disinfectant, stimulant, sedative, nervine (strengthens functions of the nervous system)
Crush dried or fresh thyme into every meal. It’s a significant part of every foundation of every dish in our home and also the final touch as well. My son loves to pull apart the fresh herb or crush thyme leaf into our sauces and stews. Add thyme to homemade medicinal tinctures, home made cough syrups and healing soups.
Benefits – antiinflammatory, antiseptic, aromatic, anodyne (pain reliever), stimulant, nervine (strengthens functions of the nervous system)
Fresh from the garden or dried, crush your rosemary into stews, soups, stir fry’s or make a fresh or dried rosemary tea infusion (dark, deeply steeped tea) for purification. Make a handmade oil with rosemary or use essential oils to make a rejuvenating bath. Add to a diffuser to enliven the scent of your home and cleanse everything in it. I even mop my tile floors with warm water and a rosemary essential oil, leaving our home aromatic and pure.
Benefits – anti inflammatory, detoxifying, cleanser, purifier, pain reliever, immune support.
Powdered or from the root, add tumeric to all meals. Take a powdered teaspoon with warm water for muscle soreness, torn ligaments or overall inflammation. Sprinkle some tumeric powder onto a spoon with quality honey and give to the kiddos to combat inflammation in their body. Tumeric is recognized as the greatest anti inflammatory herb known to man. Tumeric provides overall immune support. Add it to your baked dishes, rices and all meals.
Apple Cider Vinegar:
Benefits – natural antiseptic, digestive support, whole body tonic, removes arterial plaque, balances pH levels of acidity, soothes joint pain/ arthritis, acid reflux, cleansing, excellent for skin ailments and irritation.
This age old cider has such a lovely long list of benefits, you can find pages about its benefits! Make your own cough syrup using apple cider vinegar, honey, tumeric and cayenne or drink a cup or warm water at the start of your morning adding apple cider vinegar and lemon to naturally cleanse the colon. Can be excellent for arthritis, developing beautiful skin, reducing inflammation and so much more.
Benefits – Antiinflammatory, digestive aid, antioxidant, supports cholesterol levels, regenerative, laxative, cardiovascular support.
All on its own, olive oil is just medicinal. Avoid cooking olive oil with high heat as it tends to turn toxic under high heat conditions. Instead, add it to salads, rices, bean marinades, dressings and everything you can think of. Olive oil assists with constipation and soothes the intestinal walls. Still to this day is one of the best oils to apply to face and skin for nourishment and a beautiful glow. I remember asking my great Italian aunt long ago what her secret was to her beautiful skin. She said extra virgin olive oil with a proud smile. Be sure to seek out extra virgin olive oil with a green pigment as it will be rich in chlorophyll, nutrients and an overall higher quality medicine.
Naturally speaking, the medicinal list goes on and on. Additionally, it may seem necessary or alluring to work with herbs that are grown clear across the world when really the most powerful medicine grows in your natural environment. Have a look a round your front door, wild canyon, forest and trails to see if you can start identifying some native plants near you. The native Americans always believed that what we need the most grows wild in our natural surroundings. Next time you go for a walk in nature pay close attention to the abundance of medicinal energy that surrounds you. Always be sure to have a clear understanding of a plant before working with one.
Begin by cross referencing facts and details in three or more published books that are reputable and reliable before working with a wild plant or any herb for that matter as each physical and emotional body varies greatly from one to the next. There are different active constituents in each plant and you want to know about these first. Read through studies and clinical trials to learn more regarding botanical medicine although try not to solely rely on the internet for your information. Instead, find your truths from a sundry of resources and adequate reading that come from text books, paperbacks, encyclopedias, hands on courses, ancient readings and from ancestors who have long lived with herbs and plant medicines for quality of life. Work methodically, consciously and mindfully. Always listen to your body and your intuition before introducing something new. The medicinal treasures you will find in the infinite supply of earth medicine, easy and rare to find herbs, will speak to you and your body specifically.
You can work closely with an herb or medicinal plant and connect, commune, work as one to achieve healing and guidance. This has been the journey since the beginning of time. Keep the magic alive in your kitchen and start with these! Things become sacred because we choose to make them that way. Essentially, we can breathe life into anything, put forth our creative energy to awaken heal manifest. There is a healer within us all.
If you haven’t tried our delicious herbal medicine yet, head over here to pick up a bottle of our tasty immune support formula. Add sweet droplets under your tongue or to herbal teas when feeling down.
May the Medicine Kid, Mama and the Medicine Man return!
The Little Herb Encyclopedia by Jack Richardson N.D (Third Edition)