Tag Archives: St John’s wort

Herbal Remedies: Insomnia

     Insomnia=Clock Watching.  Have you ever stayed up all night?  If so, you may be able to imagine how lack of sleep diminishes the quality of living.  Approximately 20-50 million people in the United States suffer from chronic insomnia.  It is so very important to get a good night’s sleep to keep our nervous system operating smoothly! While stress, worry or simply drinking too much caffeine or eating right before bedtime can occasionally keep you up at night…chronic insomnia is quite different.  Let’s look at the differences.


Chronic Insomnia

Sleep Eludes You

Chronic Insomnia is actually a symptom of various disorders, not a disease in itself.  It’s the inability to fall asleep for as long as one wants due to other issues.

How To Help Yourself – First Step

If you suffer from more than an occasional sleepless night then it would be wise to have your doctor check:



Low Blood Sugar

Chronic Heart or Lung Conditions

Chronic Pain

Chronic Insomnia can contribute to everyday headaches, dizziness, mental confusion and eventually lead to emotional instability.

How to Help Yourself – Second Step

One way that we can turn the sleepless tide for the better is to improve our sleeping environment:

  1. Make sure the bed, pillow and room temperature are comfortable.
  2. Have the bedroom be dark and quiet.
  3. Don’t use the bedroom for ANYTHING but sleeping and sex.
  4. No reading, no needlepoint, no computer!
  5. Wait until you are sleepy before going to bed.
  6. Let your body know it’s sleep time by listening to relaxing music.
  7. Do some slow, gentle stretching for a few minutes.
  8. Take a hot, relaxing bath.
  9. Have a slow, gentle massage.
  10. Deep, rhythmic breathing also helps.


How To Help Yourself – Third Step – HERBS!

Man-made chemical sleeping pills do certainly provide relief, but long-term use does have certain side-effects such as:

Liver Damage

High Blood Pressure

Suppressed Immunity

So, with Sleeping pills comes dependency and withdrawal symptoms when you realize that the enormous amount of pill are still not doing the trick!

Herbs to the rescue….



Valerian has been compared to various over prescription drugs.  One compound found in this herb depresses the central nervous system so well that the effect is similar to that of the sedative barbiturate phenobarbital.  And Valerian does this without causing any dizziness, blurred vision, drowsiness or poor physical performance and concentration.  It does not even affect your ability to recall dreams or to awaken refreshed in the morning.


Catnip, with it’s similar components to Valerian,  is a potent sleep inducer for humans.  Also like Valerian, catnip calms you without disrupting performance the following day.


Plenty of research has been done on Chamomile and it’s ability to relieve pain and insomnia.  The German’s call Chamomile “Capable of anything”.


Passionflower has been a popular sleep inducer since the days of the Aztecs and the Incas and is still widely used in Brazil.  Combined with Valerian, this herb makes one of the most popular sleeping aids in Europe.  Passionflower is especially helpful when tight muscles or an overactive mind disturb your sleep.


 St. John’s Wort

If you’re having trouble falling asleep at night or you wake too early in the morning, try St. John’s Wort to help regulate disturbed sleep patterns.  St. John also adjusts brain chemistry, helping to increase the availability of the neurotransmitter serotonin which is responsible for promoting sleep and relaxation.

Gotu Kola

In India, Gotu Kola is taken to overcome insomnia and to help make on calm.  Besides other sedative compounds, Gotu Kola contains an abundance of the anti-stress B vitamins.


Hops is another important sleep promoting herb with a unique way of working.  It acts directly on the central nervous system, and takes effect in 20-40 minutes when taken as a tea or tincture or in pill form.

Even sniffing Hops helps you to doze off. For centuries, pillows in Europe have been stuffed with dried hops to help induce sleep.  And the more it is exposed to air, the better it gets and it’s sedative effects increase.

2 Recipes For You

Hops Sleep Pillow

2 pieces of fabric 8 inches square

¼ C. Hops

1/8 C. Chamomile Flowers

1/8 C. Lavender Flowers

  1. Sew fabric pieces together wrong sides together around 3 sides, turn inside out.
  2. Combine all herbs and stuff your little pillow.
  3. Sew up remaining edge.
  4. Lay Hops pillow under your normal sleeping pillow.

Insomnia Formula

 ½ tsp. tinctures of: Valerian, Hops, Passionflower and Chamomile

  • Combine tinctures into one, fill bottle and store.
  • Use alone, in tea…juice or water.
  • Take one dropper full 1 hour before bedtime.

“O sleep, o gentle sleep, nature’s soft nurse, how have I frightened thee, that thou no more will weigh my eyelids down, and steep my senses in forgetfulness?”

― William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 2

This post can also be viewed here:  www.modernhomesteaders.net

Herbal Remedies-Depression

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Been feeling down in the dumps lately?  Maybe for awhile?  You might be suffering from depression.  One of North America’s most common ailments.  While mood swings are a normal part of life, chronic depression is a serious disorder that limits the quality of life and suppresses the immune system.

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The face of depression


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Characterized by feelings of chronic sadness, melancholy and disinterest, depression is classified  as a mental illness that affects sufferers in a variety of debilitating ways.  Many individuals  suffering from depression experience difficulty carrying out everyday activities, and have trouble  coping with life in general.

As symptoms of depression are varied and complex, receiving an  accurate diagnosis can be a lengthy process.  Some symptoms of depression may include the following:

Frequent feelings of guilt or  worthlessness about past mistakes

Recurring thoughts about death and/or suicidal thoughts


Lack of energy

Extreme tiredness

Lack of motivation






Inattentiveness and difficulty concentrating

Trouble  with memory and thinking

Decreased libido

Sudden bouts of  intense crying “out of the blue”

Unexplained weight  gain or loss

Physical problems with no apparent cause

Symptoms of  depression are not the same for everyone, and depends on a number of things including age,  gender, environment, and hereditary factors.  People who experience five or more of the above  symptoms for over a two week period may meet the criteria for clinical depression, also  referred to as major depression or major depressive disorder.

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Let’s pause here to offer the followingDISCLAIMER.

  Do not switch to herbal treatments for serious emotional disorders without consulting a professional health care practitioner with whom you are working with and is familiar with your issues.


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Perhaps it’s NOT Depression!

Because depression is quite often a symptom of some other condition, you should attempt to eliminate its source first instead of looking for a quick fix from a drug or an herb.

Other possible issues:

Allergies to food and other substances

Low blood sugar levels

Some prescription drugs

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What is a MAO Inhibitor?

Many commonly prescribed antidepressants work by keeping the neuro-transmitter serotonin circulating in the brain.  If you are at all familiar with antidepressant drugs, you have probably heard of tricyclic drugs.  MAO (Monoamine Oxidase) inhibitors and serotonin uptake re-inhibitors such as Prozac.

These drugs work by keeping the level of serotonin level and circulating in the brain.  There are also natural herbal ways to achieve this as well…Siberian Ginseng, Licorice and St. John’s-wort also increase the availability of serotonin in the brain.

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Another face of depression

Herbs CAN help…let’s look at three:

St. John’s Wort

Indigenous to Europe, St. John’s wort has a history of use in traditional herbalism as a remedy  for various mental and emotional disorders.  The herb is available in powder, tea, tincture and  capsule form.  Used today by practitioners of alternative and naturopathic medicine, St. John’s  wort has been studied in recent years regarding its effects on brain chemistry.   A number of  clinical trials have suggested the effectiveness of St. John’s wort as a treatment for mild to  moderate depression.  According to a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-center  clinical trial published in a 2006 edition of BMC Medicine, St. John’s wort was superior to  placebo in treating symptoms of major depression. As determined by laboratory  experimentation, active constituents in St. John’s wort prevent reabsorption of serotonin in the  brain, and might be used as a natural alternative to man-made depression  medications.


This little-known treatment for depression is actually quite effective – it has more antidepressant compounds than St. John’s Wort, but it has not enjoyed the same press. Many of its compounds are, in fact, MAO inhibitors. Better known for its role in candy flavoring, the root contains glycyrrhizin, which stimulates the adrenal glands to produce hydrocortisone in the body. Interestingly, adrenal gland dysfunction has been linked to depression and related disorders.  Licorice root can be drunk as a tea, up to three cups a day, or taken in capsule form. But be cautious about taking licorice for prolonged periods of time (more than 4 weeks) as it can cause water retention and high blood pressure.

Siberian Ginseng

Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) has been shown to have a number of beneficial effects on humans. One of this herb’s most important effects appears to be an ability to protect the adrenal glands, increasing their capacity to withstand prolonged stress, and because it might also help strengthen the immune system and prevent people from getting sick, resulting in less depression.  Taking ginseng for depression has been shown to treat symptoms and improve mood. Ginseng is also thought to work by balancing serotonin and dopamine, which are neurotransmitters that regulate the mood.

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We all need a little at some time or another…


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Herbal Remedies

Here are 2 herbal remedies to help alleviate the symptoms of depression

Antidepressant Tincture

Click the Picture for your PRINTABLE recipe:

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Moody – Blues Tea

Equal amounts of the following herbs, place in tea ball or strainer, brew and drink 2-3 cups a day or as needed.

Nettle leaf

St. John’s wort


Damiana leaf

Kava Kava root

pinch of organic Stevia

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Generally speaking depression can be managed and/or alleviated all together.  It takes alot of determination and persistence in finding what works specifically for YOU.  This is trial and error and when you eventually find what works, sticking with it.  I leave you with just a few simple bullet points for consideration:

1- Eliminate all exterior possible sources of depression; foods, allergies, medicines, ect…

2- Find, commit to and develop a relationship with a health practitioner with an open mind for alternative medicine.

3- Commit to possibly using 1/2 man mad medicine and 1/2 herbal medicine with a goal of 100% conversion to herbal.

4- Work on all other areas of your life that may be contributing to your depression; relationships, work situations, home life, ect…

5- Never stop growing, learning or giving up hope!


Happy with that peaceful inner glow…

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Next Week:

Next time on Herbal Remedies-Common Ailments, we will be learning all about Headachesand how to soothe them!

This post can also be viewed here:  www.modernhomesteaders.net

Herbal Medicine Kit – Cuts & Scrapes

Ode to the Herbalist who gives from their soul For helping the ill once again feel whole.

~Natalie Vickery

Welcome Back…

…to another posting of the Herbal Medicine Kit. Today we are learning about and discussing Herbal Preparations for Cuts & Scrapes. We will be discussing Comfrey and Calendula, the essential oil Tea Tree and making a Herbal Healing Salve.

Let’s get to it…

Cuts & Scrapes


Cuts and scrapes, we all get them. Everybody…everyday. This is probably one of the first times you will reach for your Herbal Medicine Kit.

The first step in treating Cuts and Scrapes is to stop the bleeding. The second step is to treat the wound to prevent infection and promote speedy healing. There are as many studies on herbs and their beneficial properties as there are studies about them. For instance:

Studies show that tea tree, lavender, lemon, thyme, sage, eucalyptus and garlic are potent germ fighters.

Lavender, lemon, bergamot, thyme, chamomile, pine and sandalwood are know to increase the number of white cells, which are your fighters, attacking infection-causing bacteria.

We can’t forget antiseptic type herbs such as tea tree, goldenseal, barberry or Oregon grape root.

To encourage healing try plantain, comfrey, aloe vera, lavender, baptisia, calendula, St. John’s Wort,rose geranium.

Also try; cinnamon, eucalyptur, garlic, lemon, oregano, sage, sandalwood, tea tree and thyme for their healing properties as well.

Healing Herb Salve

Click HERE to print

Herbal Healing Salve



Comfrey is a perennial herb that is believed to have originated in Europe and Asia. The plant belongs to the family Boraginaceae. The plant can grow up to a length of 5 feet, and has hairy, large and broad leaves. The roots of the comfrey are usually black, while the flowers are small and white, pink or purple in color. The plant has been renowned for a long time for its medicinal properties. However, some of its species are poisonous. Its name is derived from the Latin word comfera, which means knitting together.

Advantages of Comfrey Herb

It has been considered a healing herb since ancient times. The ancient Greeks and Romans, used this wonder herb for alleviating a number of ailments including bronchial problems, wounds, heavy bleeding and broken bones. Its popularity grew during the middle ages, mainly for healing fractures. Its main active ingredient is allantoin, which has the ability of stimulating cell proliferation. So, it can be effective in replacing the damaged cells of the body. Besides allantoin, another important compound found in it is mucilage. Both allantoin and mucilage have anti-inflammatory properties. So, they are used in alleviating the pain and inflammation associated with broken bones, sprains, arthritis, wounds, etc. Mucilage is also effective in intestinal disorders, while allantoin augments the immune system to fight against infectious diseases. The roots and leaves of comfrey can be applied as a wash, ointment and poultice. It is an expectorant and a mild sedative. It can induce blood clotting and heal ulcers, both external and internal ulcers. Many use it as an herbal remedy for diarrhea, bleeding gums and gangrene. It can also be used to enhance skin and alleviate skin problems like acne, boils and abscesses. It is widely used in homeopathic treatment for several diseases. According to some studies, it can be beneficial in diabetes and reducing the level of cholesterol. Roots of this plant have been used for a long time in relieving lung problems. In Ireland, it is mainly used for treating problems associated with the circulatory system. It is abundant in protein and vitamins. Vitamin A and C are abundantly found in comfrey. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, that protects the body from the damaging effects of free radicals and also reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. On the other hand, vitamin A is required for improving vision and proper growth and development of bones. It is one of the rare plants that contains the vitamin B12, essential for the formation of red blood cells, cell division and proper development of nerve cells. Besides, these essential vitamins, it is also rich in minerals such as calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, zinc, selenium and germanium. Germanium is a powerful antioxidant, while calcium and phosphorus are required for healthy teeth and bones. Potassium is essential for maintaining the electrolyte balance in the body. In addition, it assists in regulating the blood pressure level and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Zinc facilitates energy metabolism and strengthens the immune system, while magnesium is important for a healthy heart, teeth and bones.

Comfrey Root

  • The presence of the anodyne substance in the comfrey root helps in relieving severe and chronic pain along with the inflammation that injuries bring along.
  • It treats ulcers of the mouth as well as internal ulcers that might develop in the throat. It destroys the parasites that cause these ulcers and lead to relief.
  • It is infused with the properties of demulcent. This lends it the ability to smoothen the inflamed mucus membranes and thereby cures coughs and sore throats along with any other irritation that is caused in the throat.
  • Comfrey root tea has been known to provide relief and cure several skin conditions like burns, abrasions, insect bites, boils and other irritations.
  • The ingestion of comfrey tea has been known to lead to the production of new cells thus leading to the faster healing of sprains, injuries and fractures.
  • A powdered form can be prepared and then made into a paste. This paste can be applied directly to the wounds. It can also be used as a wet bandage over the sprains and fractures for faster healing.
  • The comfrey root extract is used as a very effective diuretic. It lends the body to accumulate great amounts of water and then dispels it. In that way, it leads to dispelling of the varied toxins and waste matter from the body. It thus prevents kidney and urine infections like kidney stones and urinary tract infections.
  • With the toxins being flushed away, the results are seen on the skin as well. It leads to the cure of varied skin diseases like acne and eczema which are caused by excess heat and inflammation in the body.
  • The comfrey root is also a very effective expectorant because it leads to clearing of the blocked airway by allowing the mucus to loosen and thereby free the lungs.
  • It also has the properties that allow it to clot any wound faster and therefore helps in healing as well.
  • It strengthens the pituitary gland in the body.
  • It has been used as an agent to strengthen the bones for several centuries. It causes the bones to regain strength and thereby prevents osteoporosis and any other diseases that come about due to weak bones.
  • It has a high content of proteins which help in carrying forth several bodily functions as well.
  • It helps in the treatment of fever and helps to quell frequent thirst.

As is clear, there are varied forms that the comfrey root can be consumed and used in, both internally and externally. The roots can be dried and the powder used in several forms. For example, to make tea. Which is done by boiling the powder in water for 20 minutes and adding sugar or honey for taste. The powder can also be used as a dressing on varied wounds. One can also use the extracts for the same purpose.

Though comfrey has been used internally to relieve a number of disorders like indigestion, stomach and bowel problems, thyroid disorders, hernia, coughs, lung problems, hemorrhage and even cancer, recent studies have shown that its consumption can be dangerous. Studies conducted in this regard have revealed that it contains a compound, known as pyrrolizidine alkaloid (PA), which is hepatotoxic and carcinogenic. Accumulation of pyrrolizidine in the body, may block the hepatic vein and cause liver failure. These findings induced the United States Food and Drug Administration to issue a warning in 2001, against the internal usage of herbal products containing comfrey. Please use your own informed judgement or consult your medical practioner of choice when deciding to use Comfrey internally. However, it can be applied externally, as no known side effect of external application has been discovered so far.



Medically referred to as calendula officinalis, the calendula flower is basically native throughout the Mediterranean region, with its name having been derived from the Latin calend, meaning the first day of the month. As a herbal medicine, calendula gained its significance, to cure skin ailments and injuries. Calendula is acknowledged to be a rich source of antioxidants, and helps prevent skin cells from damaging. What’s more, it is highly recognized for its anti-bacterial characteristics, as a result of which, it is used as a salve to cure dry skin rash, and foster healing of wounds.

Calendula Cream

While calendula cream is used as an ointment, countering several skin ailments, it can be easily made at home with the help of some dried calendula petals. Being a rich source of natural antioxidants, as mentioned above, calendula cream helps in recovering damaged cells, and preventing further damage. Research suggests that calendula is also known to relieve menstrual cramps in females, and stomach aches as well. Calendula oils, creams, and ointments are used for topical applications, and are acknowledged as effective moisturizer to dry and chapped skin. Calendula cream is so soft, that it can be applied to infants too in case of diaper rash, without caring much. Those suffering from dermatitis or eczema have gained immense relief from calendula creams as it reduces skin-inflammation to a great extent. If a person is plagued by a lot of acne scars, calendula cream for acne serves as a great remedy to eradicate those scars, for it prevents the formation of scar tissues.

Calendula Ointment

Calendula Oil & It’s Uses

It is cherished for its mildness, for which it can be used even by those people who have a sensitive skin. Apart from being a mild and soothing oil, calendula has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibacterial and anti fungal properties, which make it an ideal oil to treat a number of skin disorders and infections. More commonly, it is the oil preferred for treating dry and chapped skin, skin rash, wounds, burns, inflammation, skin irritation and several other skin disorders. Commercially, it serves as an excellent base for salves, lotions, creams, herbal ointments and many other natural cosmetics. It is also one of the commonly used base oil in aromatherapy.

Calendula Oil Benefits

Its benefits can be attributed to its medicinal properties. This oil possesses anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antiseptic and antimicrobial properties. At the same time, it is so mild that it can be used on infants and young children as well. Even people having sensitive skin can also benefit from this oil.

  • It is an excellent remedy for soothing and moisturizing dry and chapped skin.
  • Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, this oil can be used for skin sores and inflammation.
  • It can relieve the swelling and inflammation caused by bruise or muscle sprain as well.
  • This oil is gentle enough to be used on babies or infants. Using this oil for diaper rash can help to provide significant relief in this skin condition.
  • The oil extracted from calendula blossoms can also be used for accelerating the healing of minor cuts or wounds, acne, burns, insect bites, bed sores and sore feet.
  • It is a traditional remedy for some common digestive problems like, stomach cramps, flatulence, constipation and colic.
  • People suffering from dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema can also benefit from the topical application of calendula extract and oil. This oil can reduce the skin inflammation associated with such conditions.
  • It is renowned for its antifungal properties. It can work as an amazing remedy for ringworm, jock itch and athlete’s foot.
  • This oil can also be helpful for conditions like, varicose veins, spider veins, leg ulcers and chilblains. Chilblains is the condition characterized by the inflammation of the hands and feet, due to an exposure to extreme cold or moisture.
  • Apart from these, you can use it for scars, or for preventing or reducing the formation of scar tissues. Oil derived from calendula can increase the collagen level, and this is the reason why it can prevent the formation of scar tissues, while facilitating the healing of wounds.

So, this oil can be considered beneficial for maintaining a healthy and problem free skin. It can be termed as an invaluable oil, when it comes to skin care. Using this oil for massaging the skin can help in cell regeneration, besides making your skin soft, supple and radiant.

Calendula Tea Recipe

Herbal Tea

This herbal tea is made of fresh or dried flowers of calendula plant. The fully open flowers are usually hand picked and washed gently with a light spray of water, before the petals are removed. Once removed, the moisture has to be blotted with tissues and then, the petals have to spread evenly on screens that are placed in a warm, dark location that has good ventilation. Make sure to turn the petals frequently, so as to ensure proper drying. Once dried completely, collect them in plastic bags that have to be stored in the refrigerator. You may also use store bought organic calendula tea. In order to prepare a cup of this herbal tea, add two teaspoons of calendula petals into a tea infuser and place it in a cup of boiled water. Let it steep for around ten to fifteen minutes and after that, you can use it with or without sweeteners.

Benefits of Calendula Tea

As mentioned, calendula has been used by humans for a very long time, in various forms. This herb can be used in various ways and calendula tea is very popular. This herbal tea is said to have various health benefits.

  • It is widely used for treating bowel problems like, stomach ulcers, heartburn, acid reflux, indigestion, stomach upset, gastritis, etc.
  • It is said that calendula can protect the lining of the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Calendula tea is also claimed to have detoxifying properties.
  • Gargling with this herbal tea is said to be good for relief from sore throat and inflammation of the mouth.
  • It is also beneficial for conjunctivitis or pink eye, as cool calendula tea is used to rinse the eyes.
  • It is also said to be effective in regulating menstrual cycles.
  • It is claimed that this herb can fight infections, arrest bleeding, help in collagen production and sooth skin.
  • So, it is used to treat burns, cuts, wounds, bruises, etc.
  • Some people use it for relief from pain and inflammation caused by bee and wasp stings.
  • Even fever and common cold is said to be treated with calendula tea.

Calendula tea is not to be consumed for more than three times a day. In short, calendula tea is said to improve health in many different ways. However, it should be avoided by pregnant and breastfeeding women. Even though calendula is said to be one of the safest herbs, it may cause allergic reactions in people, who have ragweed allergy or those with pollen allergies. It is also suggested that if you want to use calendula tea for treating health problems, consult a qualified herbal practitioner and act as per his instructions.

Tea Tree Essential Oil

Tea Tree

Tea tree oil is also known as the Melaleuca Oil or the Tea Tree Oil. This highly effective and useful oil has many benefits and uses. The oil is native to Australia and now we have other varieties of oil cultivated elsewhere. Studies have shown that the plants belonging to this family are always aromatic because they have glandular dots on their leaves. This, when crushed, releases essential oils of varying amounts and constituents. This oil has antifungal, antiviral, antibiotic and antiseptic properties. The oil is obtained by the steam distillation of the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia. It has also been discovered that the aborigines used a number of tea tree leaves to concoct medicines for coughs and colds. They crushed the leaves and inhaled or soaked them, which was then applied to the various pains and aching parts of the body. The research has shown it to have many beneficial uses, which is why we have this oil being used for various reasons.

Benefits and Uses

Tea Tree

  • Tea tree oil has properties that can be help one feel fresh early in the morning. How? Simple, just add a few drops of this oil in water and it can be used as an effective mouthwash.
  • The oil has got beneficial properties for the skin. Tree tea oil soap is available very easily in the markets. This soap has softeners and conditioners that help to gently cleanse away the dirt and odor. The soap renews the softness of the skin and adds to the suppleness.
  • This oil is also beneficial for the hair. The shampoo has properties to help you tackle the dandruff problem. Tea tree oil shampoo can be used for a lot of other scalp problems. Look for shampoos that have this oil or simply add some drops to the shampoo you currently use.
  • You can use the oil for your skin problems as well. Tea tree oil is commonly used for acne treatment and is found in most products. Here, even a tiny drop, if applied directly to the acne, can help to clear the skin from acne.
  • It is also used in moisturizing lotions.
  • It is also used to prevent or treat athlete’s foot. This is especially useful when you go camping, backpacking and in such cases, you can simply rub a few drops over your feet or even sprinkle the bottom of the shower area with it.
  • Tea tree oil has also been used for a lot of dental problems. Studies have shown that a consistent use of the oil based dental products when combined with nutritional products have shown to be very effective in various cases that can range from mild to moderate cases of dental disease.
  • This has often prevented the use of antibiotics. If you are out camping or even at home and need to protect yourself from insects, you can go in for tea tree oil based gel or ointment. You can even apply it neat to the area if you want it be relieved from pain and itching of that area.
  • The oil also has antiseptic and bacterial properties, which is why it is used in the treatment of cuts, burns, infected splinters and all kinds of wounds.
  • This oil also is highly useful for aromatherapy. You can add a few drops of it to 30ml of base oil. Massage it in your body to relieve pain from rheumatics.

We can thus see the benefits of tea tree oil are many. One can add the use of tree tea oil to the daily life and see a how it can help in improving your life to a considerable extent!

Recap: Today we looked at several new herbs; Calendula, Comfrey and Tea Tree essential oil. We also made Herbal Healing Salve.

Looking ahead: Next post we will looking at Cuts & Scrapes part 2. This will cover the herbs Oregon Graperoot, Goldenseal and Lemon essential oil. We will be making Tincture of Goldenseal and Lemon & Tea Tree Antiseptic Spray.

Reminder: Have on hand Goldenseal, Lemon Essential Oil, Tea Tree Essential Oil, Oregon Graperoot and Aloe Vera.

I am participating in the following Blog Hops:

Homestead Barn Hop

Eco KIds Tuesdays

Wildcrafting Wednesday

Until next post…

Blessings to you and yours,





I am also a Contributing Author at:

Modern Homesteaders



Herbal Medicine Kit – Bruises

“My little herb garden along the stonewall

The thyme and rosemary beginning to crawl

Onto the path that lies under my feet

In and out of the crevices, ever so sweet”

~ Linda R. O’Connell

Welcome Back…

…to another posting of the Herbal Medicine Kit. Today we are learning about and discussing Herbal Preparations for Bruising. We will be discussing Arnica, Witch Hazel,Chamomile & St. Johns Wort. And crafting a Herbal Ice, Tincture of Arnica and a recipe for Bruise Compress.

Let’s get to it…


Medical dictionaries define a bruise as:
“an injury just below the skin where the skin is not broken,”

For simple, uncomplicated bruising, herbs can be quite helpful! The best herbs for treating bruises are those that discourage swelling and promote quick healing, such as Arnica, Chamomile, Lavender, St. Johns Wort and Witch Hazel.

In Germany, pharmacies sell more than 100 different arnica preparations to reduce inflammation caused by bruising. Arnica is also popular in North America, although many turn to our ever popular St. Johns Wort too. Another classic remedy is Witch Hazel tincture.

Whichever herb you choose, the sooner you get it on the bruise, the better! To further diminish swelling, apply a tincture-soaked compress that has icel slipped inside its folds. Or use herbal ice cubes.


Arnica Montana

Arnica herb, known for its medicinal properties is a genus of 30 species. This plant belongs to the Asteraceae family of sunflowers. It offers many benefits and therefore, finds an important place in the list of medicinal herbal plants. Arnica plant is mainly found in Europe and North America. However, eastern region of Asia also has many Arnica species. In olden days, the North Americans used this medicinal herb for improving blood circulation and in the treatment of sore throat. These people also used the herb as a febrifuge. A febrifuge is a medicine used in the treatment of fever. Following are some of the arnica uses which will help you to get a wider view of this herb.

The use of arnica for medicinal purposes has a long history. This plant was used by the famous German poet, Goethe in the treatment of chest pain. Tea prepared from leaves of arnica was used by Goethe for the treatment of chest pain. It is important to note that one shouldn’t take arnica without the guidance of a medical practitioner. Arnica is most commonly used as a topical medicine i.e. for the treatment of skin disorders. However, there are many other purposes for which this herb can be used.

The herb is effective in the treatment of pain. A component called sesquiterpene lactone present in this herb is helpful in the healing of pain. Applying arnica externally results in proper blood circulation to that specific body part. The increase in blood supply automatically warms that body part and reduces pain to a great extent.

Arnica oil is mainly used for the treatment of injuries, bruises, swellings, sprains and dislocation. The macerated oil especially proves to be helpful in the treatment of strained muscles and bruises. The macerated arnica oil is prepared by infusing the arnica plant in a certain base oil. Muscle relaxation is one of the important benefits of arnica oil. It helps by reducing the soreness of muscles.

The oils obtained from flowers, roots and rhizomes of arnica plant are used in the preparation of perfumes; these are volatile oils present in small amounts. Arnica is used in reducing the recovery time of physical trauma; it is also used to recover from overexertion. Arnica oil is used for stimulation of hair follicles and rejuvenation of scalp. Creams made from arnica are used to provide temporary relief from skin-related problems like sunburn. Similarly, insect bites can also be treated with medications that are prepared from arnica. The sesquiterpene lactone component of arnica also acts as anti-inflammatory agent.

Tincture of Arnica

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St. Johns Wort

St. Johns Wort

Hypericum Perforatum, also known as St. John’s Wort, has been used from ancient times and throughout the Middle Ages, when it was considered to be a magical plant which could ward off evil spirits and keep disease away. This plant has the best reputation among medicinal herbs. Thousands of tons of St. John’s Wort plants are turned into medicinal products every year. St. John’s Wort seems to have gained a lot of success as an antidepressant remedy. That is primarily because depression is the most spread-out disease in the world these days.

But the plant use cannot be limited to depression. People suffering from weather sensitivity for instance, and who are confronted with headaches, anxiety, sleep disorders, concentration problems and so on because of the meteorological phenomena, fully benefit from the St. John’s Wort treatment. Patients who suffer because of the gloomy weather respond the best way to this kind of natural remedy. The result of using this plant is a positive mood, filled with joy and optimism.

They say obsessive compulsive disorders could also be treated with St. John’s Wort. One half of a cup for several times a day is said to have a good effect on people suffering from this condition. Although the studies made in this respect are rather few and sometimes contradictory, based on the practical evidence taken by doctors by observing how their patients’ state of mind improved after the constant use of this plant, one could say that with the help of this remedy one can obtain good results in curing such a disease, or at least in reducing the intensity and frequency of the patients’ manifestations.

St. John’s Wort is not as efficient for curing anxiety as it is for depression, numerous patients and especially the ones suffering from anxious depression have obtained encouraging results with the use of this plant. It’s highly recommended to use a mixture of St. John’s Wort with linden, in equal proportions.

It is also excellent for curing obesity and weight problems. It’s a well-known fact that overeating and eating too little are both related to emotional unbalances in the human system. And many doctors in Germany and in the US have obtained remarkable results by treating patients suffering from obesity with this plant. Since it gives a state of positive energy and of vigilance, it reduces the suffering produced by the reduction of food intake. It puts somebody in the mood of leading an active, sportive life and because of that it’s really efficient against obesity. The treatment does not aim only at losing a few pounds. These pounds might in fact be regained when the next emotional crisis comes along. St. John’s Wort is said to resolve the patients’ main issue, i.e. their lifestyle.

Some other problems that can be solved with the help of this miraculous plant are nicotine or alcohol addiction. This has been tested on animals which had been previously induced alcohol or nicotine addiction. When these two have been instantly ceased, they had a lot fewer negative symptoms. In practice, patients who wish to give up on these vices have higher chances to succeed if they follow a St. John’s Wort treatment, which on one hand can help reduce the adjustment period’s negative effects, and on the other hand can help put into motion the psychological resources for getting through difficult times. A cure can last for about 6 weeks and it must generally be followed by another 3-4 weeks of pause.

PMS syndrome can also be efficiently treated with this plant. Of course, every patient’s symptoms may vary. In this respect, the observations made by Bratman and Rosenthal show that the patients’ psychological dispositions are highly improved; thus, there is a reduction in symptoms such as mental irritability, depression, attention and concentration deficiencies, as well as mental hyper excitability. All these are typical of the premenstrual or menstrual period and can be successfully treated with St. John’s Wort. The very same doctors have noticed an improvement in the general mental state of women in their pre-menopausal period. In all of these cases, one can take St. John’s Wort powder four times a day (one teaspoon), during a period of 28 days with 10-14 days of break.



Chamomile (also spelled camomile) plant got its name from the Greek words chamos and milos, which represent ground and apple respectively. This means low-growing (ground level) shrubs with the smell of apples. A variety of these plant species can be found in Europe, North Africa and some parts of Asia. English chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) and German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla ) are most commonly used for medicinal purposes, in comparison to their counterparts. Though, both of them have almost similar properties, German chamomile oil is more potent than the English chamomile. Dried flower heads of both varieties are used in manufacturing herbal tea, ointments, potpourri, herb pillows, shampoos, herbal medicines and cosmetics.


Use of chamomile dates back to the time of ancient Egyptians. They believed that the plant is a sacred gift from God, and a cure for many diseases. They used to offer the flowers of this plant, to the Sun God. This herb was an important ingredient of the embalming oil used for mummification. It was also used for cosmetic purposes in ancient Egypt. While the Romans used chamomile to make incense and beverages, Hippocrates, the Greek physician believed that this herb is also useful in treating congestion and dysmenorrhea. In the middle ages, Anglo-Saxons graded this plant as one of the Nine Sacred Herbs. Monks also played an important role in experimenting and propagating knowledge about the medicinal properties of chamomile. During this period, alchemists in Europe started extracting essential oil from these herbs through distillation. It was the predecessor of the present-day distillation process. Over centuries, the popularity of these plants increased and spread to different parts of the world. Today, with the advent of aromatherapy and other types of alternative medicine, these plants are grown commercially.


Chamomile has a long history of medical use. Though there is no scientific research conducted to back the efficacy of its medicinal properties, it has been widely used in the treatment of a variety of diseases and disorders. Some people have reported side effects like allergies, after being treated with this herb.

Chamomile is said to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Experts also believe that this wonderful herb has antifungal properties too. Chamomile tea is no stranger to us, and we all know the various benefits of chamomile essential oil. Similarly, chamomile extract is also said to be very beneficial, medically. The extract is in powder form and ethanol is used to extract various compounds from the chamomile flowers. This extract has been very useful since a long time due to its soothing powers. Let me introduce to you the chamomile benefits for your health.

There are several health benefits of chamomile. Chamomile extract helps to provide relief to a person suffering from cardiovascular diseases. This extract is also helpful in treating fever, common cold, sinus infections, etc. Due to the anti-inflammatory properties of chamomile, the extract is used to treat various skin problems like eczema and skin disorders. The anti bacterial properties of this wonderful herb make the extract a wonderful treatment for intestinal problems. Minor health issues like teeth pain, indigestion, sore throat and diaper rash are also treated with the help of this extract. Due to the smooth fragrance of the extract, it can be mixed with water and used as a mouthwash.

Chamomile extract is also used to treat the more serious problems like blood clots and a lowered immune system. People suffering from jaundice are recommended to take this extract in the form of tea to get the chamomile tea benefits. Alternative medicine suggests the use of chamomile in treating water retention and inflammation in the digestive system of the human body. Due to the sedative properties of this herb, people suffering from insomnia and migraine are also suggested to consume this extract as it will enable them to fall asleep. Cramps in the stomach and other muscle cramps can also be treated by consumption of this extract. Pain in the joints due to arthritis, osteoarthritis and swelling of the limbs can also be treated by drinking herbal tea made from this extract.

The cosmetic uses of chamomile include the use of this extract in lotions, face creams and in shampoos. Chamomile oil is popular for aromatherapy. Adding a cupful of this extract into a hot water bath will help the person relax as chamomile extract helps in relieving stress from the body. Gels containing chamomile and chamomile oil also help in reducing various skin disorders like acne and scars. If the skin is irritated or inflamed, applying this extract to the skin will help in providing relief to the person.

Herbal Ice

1. C Distilled Water

1 tsp Chamomile Flowers

1 tsp Lavender Flowers

Pour boiling water over the herbs and let steep in a covered pan for about 15 minutes. Strain out the herbs and freeze the tea in a medium size ice cube tray. One the cubes are frozen, pop them out and store them in a plastic bag in the freezer. Herbal Ice can then be ready for any bruise emergency. Simply apply directly to the bruise or wrap inside a Bruise compress.

Witch Hazel

Witch Hazel

Witch hazel uses are mostly attributed to promoting skin health and hair care. Other than these, it is effective to treat diarrhea, dry mouth, hemorrhoids and infections. For know what else witch hazel is employed for, read on.

Witch hazel is an ornamental shrub or small tree that bears bright yellow blooms in winter season, when other flowers are hardly present in the garden. This plant not only yields breathtaking fragrant blooms, but it is used in herbal medicine for treating several health conditions. The effectiveness of witch hazel for treating skin symptoms has been known since a long time by now. In fact, the oldest skin care product commercially sold in the United States was based on witch hazel. With this brief introduction, let’s delve more on witch hazel uses and benefits.

Uses of Witch Hazel

Witch hazel applications are many and varied, while this plant is specifically known for its therapeutic benefits on skin and hair care. All parts of the shrub or tree are useful, including the leaves, bark, flowers and twigs. The curative effect of this plant is credited to the presence of catechol tannin, a phenolic derivative. Witch hazel extract is a clear solution sold as over the counter liquid in pharmacy stores. Listed below are some of the profound witch hazel uses that you may prefer to know about this wonderful plant:

Witch Hazel for Skin
Witch hazel benefits for skin in many ways. Be it the unsightly acne, itchy poison ivy rash, diaper rash or painful chickenpox blisters, witch hazel is the ultimate remedy. You can use a cotton ball dipped in witch hazel water over the affected skin areas to quicken the healing time. Using it in the same way helps combat the discomfort symptoms of sunburn and windburn.

Witch Hazel for Tired Eyes
Another witch hazel usage is for refreshing tired eyes. This also includes getting rid of bags under eyes. Never indulge in putting witch hazel directly over the eyes. What you can do is soak a clean rag in cold witch hazel water and place it over closed eyes for about 5 minutes. Repeating it twice daily will cure redness, puffiness and swelling of the eyes caused due to eye stress.

Witch Hazel for Hair
There are a plethora of hair care products that contain witch hazel as one of the ingredient components. To mention a few, you may come across hair toner, hair oil and anti dandruff shampoos that contain witch hazel. A common non medicinal usage of this plant extract is to set hair while perming or curling. In short, you can apply witch hazel solution instead of hair holding sprays.

Witch Hazel for Hemorrhoids
Witch hazel usage in terms of alleviating hemorrhoids is worth mentioning. Indeed, it is known as one of the most effectual home remedies for treating annoying hemorrhoid symptoms, including bleeding, swelling and at times, infections. When used with glycerin and other skin formulations, witch hazel has shown positive responses in shrinking external hemorrhoids.

Witch Hazel for Pregnant Women
It is effectual to treat varicose veins during pregnancy. The astringent property of witch hazel helps constrict the blood vessels, thus reducing swelling, pain and discomfort symptoms. Nevertheless, as with any herbal remedy, some women may be oversensitive to witch hazel water. Hence, it is always safer to take advice from the concerned physician before using witch hazel extract or other products.

Other Uses
Besides the above mentioned points, witch hazel is beneficial to reduce muscle aches, swelling and inflammatory responses. Adding few drops of witch hazel in mouth rinsing or gargling soothes soreness in the mouth, gums and throat. Other therapeutic uses of witch hazel include stopping minor bleeding, and treating infections, diarrhea, dry mouth and mucous colitis.

Bruise Compress

Click HERE to print recipe!

Recap: Today we learned about Herbal Preparations for Bruising. We discussed Arnica, Witch Hazel, Chamomile & St. Johns Wort. And crafted a Herbal Ice, Tincture of Arnica and learned a recipe for Bruise Compress.

Looking ahead: Next post we will be learning about Burns & Sunburns…just in time for the upcoming Summer! We will take a look at Aloe, Lavender & Comfrey more in-depth and craft a homemade Aloe Gel, Aloe Burn Spray and a recipe for a “Bath for Burns”.

Reminder: Have on hand Arnica, Witch Hazel, Chamomile, Comfrey, Plantain leaves, Calendula Flowers. Lavender Essential Oil, Colloidal Oatmeal or regular rolled oats milled, Aloe Vera Juice, Vitamin E, Aloe Vera Leaves, Vitamin C powder.

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Blessings to you and yours,


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