Merry meet all,
A harsh winter awaits us. It nips our noses and stings our toes. We retreat indoors and watch the snow fall to the frozen ground. Winter’s chill means we need warm drinks to comfort our spirits. Here are some suggestions to try. The herbs we commonly use to support our health are peppermint, cinnamon, ginger, lemon, sage, garlic, chamomile and lemons. Enjoy these herbs as teas, ciders, or in soups. They promote health and keep you warm.
Garlic possesses health and immune system boosting qualities. Garlic lowers blood pressure and increases the body’s resistance to infections. Garlic is an antiseptic. Apply garlic in ointments and lotions, and to disperse hard swellings as a poultice. Garlic is indispensable in a kitchen witches’ pantry, for many health reasons. Weave garlic stems into a braid, adding some protection to your home.
Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory qualities that loosen joint pain and muscle pain, including arthritis. It regulates blood sugar levels and improves circulation. Cinnamon cuts stomach pains, relieves menstrual cramps, and prevents the growth of bacteria. Cinnamon is good to have in supply for urinary tract infections, gum disease, tooth decay, and other bacterial infections.
Peppermint has a refreshing taste and aids in digestion. Peppermint tea soothes headaches and menstrual cramps, stomach upsets, and helps clear sinus problems. Peppermint has antibacterial and antiseptic properties. The active ingredient in peppermint, menthol, is an anti-spasmodic. That is why peppermint cures stomach upsets fast.
Lemons protect health during the dreary winter. Lemons are antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, and an antibiotic. They lighten dark spots and blemishes, treat acne, and help prevent heart disease. They contain vitamin B6, iron, potassium and Vitamin C. Lemons contain copper, calcium, folic acid, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus. The fresh scent of lemon is good for house cleaning.
The two kinds of Chamomile: German (Matricaria recutita) and Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) contain the volatile oil anthemic acid, which is a bitter principal and tannin. The other active ingredients in the flowers are essential oils that calm the irritated skin or tissue. Flavonoids stimulate the body’s healing process and guard the body from the damages of free radicals. Chamomile relaxes the muscles in the brain, cures insomnia and acts as a mild sedative.
Chamomile is a muscle relaxant. It helps with menstrual cramps and can be taken internally. Chamomile can be found in tablets, cream or you can brew it as a tea. People often drink chamomile tea before retiring for the evening. Combine chamomile with poppy seeds to make a poultice to heal abscesses, toothaches and earaches. Use chamomile to dye blond hair. Chamomile softens the pain associated with burns, allergies or other problems. It can be taken as a cream because the creams contain an oily substance that trap the heat, which irritates the burn. It has antibacterial properties that enhance the immune system.
Lemon balm is available in dried leaf form and tea, capsule, extracts, tinctures, and oils. For difficulty in sleeping, or to reduce stomach complaints, choose from the following. Tea: 1.5 to 4.5 grams of lemon balm herb, several times daily. Tincture: 2 to 3 mL (40 to 90 drops), 3 times daily, or an equal in fluid extract or encapsulated form.
Garlic syrup is a wonderful medicine for asthma, hoarseness, coughs, difficulty in breathing, and acute bronchitis. Pour a quart of hot boiling water upon a pound of the fresh root, cut into slices, and let to stand in a jar for twelve hours. Add sugar to give the syrup a consistency. To sweeten the syrup, add some caraway and fennel to sweeten the strong smell and taste.
½ ounce of fresh sage leaves, 1-ounce fine sugar, ¼ ounce grated lemon rind
1-quart water, boiling
Simmer the ingredients for thirty minutes. Strain the herbs and serve hot. Sage helps reduce night sweats.
Ginger Lemon tea
½ tsp honey
Slice the ginger and add to a mug. Pour boiling water in the mug. Squeeze a lemon and add the juice to the mug. Allow it to steep.
Ginger Bath: 1 cup of grated or sliced ginger and 1 muslin bag
Place ginger in the bag and tie securely. Place muslin bag in tub of hot water and steep for ten minutes. Alternatively, attach bag to faucet and allow hot water to run through bag. Soak in hot bath for 20 to 30 minutes.
Zesty cider cold and flu formula
25 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp of dried or dried organic Echinacea, grated or chopped
1/3 cup fresh horseradish root, grated
¼ fresh gingerroot, peeled and sliced
1 large white onion, diced
Honey to sweeten, if desired
Raw apple cider, 1 quart or less
Place all dry ingredients in a 1-quart wide mouth jar. Fill to the top with white vinegar. Cover the top of the jar with plastic wrap, and then screw on the lid.
Refrigerate for 6 weeks so the flavor can develop and soften. Shake daily. The flavor improves the longer the formula steeps. At the early sign of a cold or flu, take 2 tbsp of this formula with a warm water chaser. Rinse mouth out well after swallowing the cider. Repeat once or twice daily while you are ill. You should feel the sinus and bronchial passages open and your breathing become easier.
Guard your health using these recipes this winter. Sip some hot lemon tea as you gaze at the drifting snowflakes and visions of skating rinks dance in your head.
This was published in a recent issue of Essential Herbal magazine.