About this Site

Although the site's title and tag line refer only to herbs some of our focus will be on spices and other natural products for health and flavor. We need to remember that home remedies and home tonics are not a substitute for professional health care. (you'll see this warning frequently throughout our site because it's so important. Not all natural and herbal remedies are good for all people) on this site you'll find herbal remedies and and tonics, recipes for preventing some illnesses, plain tasty recipes, and much more.

If you like to gather herbs in the wild or use your home grown plants please play close attention to our lists of poisonous herbs and plants. Where possible lists will be accompanied by pictures to help you identify the dangerous ones. Another important consideration is the environment. There are many plants that are endangered and should not be harvested in the wild, rather grown in your garden or purchased from a reputable dealer. Echinacea is one such plant.

Willow Bark Pain Reliever

November 18th, 2018
Willow Bark Pain Reliever

A Little About Willow Bark

The use of willow bark as a natural pain reliever has been recognized for centuries and is still widely used today. One of the benefits of willow bark over aspirin is that it doesn't cause the same stomach upset. Also is not as hard on the liver. All willows have some salicin in them, salicin being the active ingredient that provides the analgesic effects.

There are several hundred species of willow, all of which contained salicin in varying amounts. Hence, the family name Salicaceae. The most popular tree up for making aspirin is the white willow because of its high concentration of salicin. It is most easily recognized in the early spring by its bright yellow branches.

It is easiest to find willow in the spring as it can be identified readily by the small flowers commonly called pussy willows or katkins. When they are flowering it is easiest time to remove the bark and capture the salicin within.

Like aspirin, willow bark reduces pain and fever and works as an anti inflammatory. It is said to be as effective as ibuprofen in treating lower back pain and could be an effective treatment for osteoarthritis.

Ways to use willow bark

To use as a tea or decoction

Once the strips of bark are harvested, allow to dry at room temperature in a dry and airy spot, stirring frequently, until it is fully dry before placing it in a jar and storing in a cool dry place. To make a tea from dried bark first boil water and add about 1 tablespoon full of bark chips per cup of water. Boil the bark for 10 minutes and allow it to steep off of the heat for 30 minutes. Since some water will be lost to evaporation and absorption by the bark for 1 cup of tea start with 2 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of bark. Once steeping is done the tea is ready to drink. If it is too bitter feel free to sweeten with honey to suit your taste.

To make a tincture

Fill a glass jar with freshly harvested willow bark packing it slightly into the jar and cover with vodka and let stand for about 30 days shaking once or twice a day. After the 30 days strain the liquid into a dark coloured glass jar or bottle and label willow bark tincture. Store you tincture in a cool dark place.

Suggested Dosages:

For tincture take 46 ml three times daily
For tea if you can take up to 4 cups of tea made by simmering 2 teaspoons of dried bark in 1 cup of boiling water for 15 minutes
Side effects

Children under 16 years should NEVER be given white willow bark.

People who are allergic to aspirin must avoid any willow bark remedies as they contain much the same active ingredient as aspirin.

Long-term use of willow bark might cause upset stomach, stomach ulcers, and on some occasions stomach bleeding.

We'll bark infusion could trigger tinnitus(ringing in the ears) which generally goes away after willow bark is discontinued.

Other possible side effects may include discomfort from liver toxicity, headaches and dizziness and on rare occasions renal or kidney injury.

Willow bark has anticoagulant affects and may cause extra bleeding and should be avoided by people who have liver ailments, asthma, hemophilia, stomach ulcers, diabetes, and kidney ailments. People taking anti seizure medicines, potassium, and diuretics, and women who are nursing or pregnant should not take this aspirin like medication. Just ask the


Ginger for Headaches

November 12th, 2018
Ginger for Headaches

The headache is one of the most common ailments that afflicts people and can be extremely debilitating. Ginger, an herb commonly found in the kitchen is very useful for treating headaches, in three different ways. It blocks prostaglandins that promotes muscle contraction, helps control inflammation and aids in the release of certain hormones, all of which influence the effects of a headache.

Here are three methods of using ginger for headaches:

  • Crush fresh ginger, boil for 5 to 10 minutes, filter the decoction and drink the warm liquid.
  • If drinking ginger juice doesn't appeal to you try taking some crushed ginger and adding it to boiling water then inhale the vapors.
  • Ginger can be used topically by making a paste of powdered and applying it to your forehead. Simply make a paste with powdered ginger and water and apply it to your forehead.

If using dried ginger, be sure to get it from a good source. Dried ginger should be zesty and hot. If it lacks this, it may be too old. Ginger is very aromatic with a strong taste. When using it in cooking, small amounts are used. You do not have to peel the rhizome before using it, but if you prefer to do so, use a spoon to gently scrape away the thin outer coat. Dried powdered ginger is also commonly used in cookin

Dosage Suggestions for Ginger: they are just suggestions. If the dosage is not doing as much as you want increase it to 1-2 grams a week till it is effective and if it causes any discomfort or something doesn,t feel right discontimnue use.

  • • Fresh root: 1-15 grams
    • Dried root: 3-12 grams
    • Fresh tincture: 1:2, 60% alcohol, 1-2 mL in water three times a day (Winston/Kuhn)

These are home remedies and should not be taken without the advice of a trained medical practitioner. Your Physician is best trained to diagnose the causes of your headache.





Ginger for Cramps

November 11th, 2018
Ginger for Cramps

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) for Menstrual Cramps and much more.

I am ging to talk about ginger today mostly because it is one that I use the most. It is native in Asia mainly the South-east. But it has spread to many oyter countries like India, Australia, West Africa, Jamaica, the USA and most recently Canada. It requires a rich well drained soil and shade in a tropical climate.Ginger has been used for centuries by Asian cultures in their cooking and medicine. It is one of the ingredients in Indian Chai tea and curry and in western cultures it is used in baking, soda pop and travel sickness pills.

This is the second encounter with a problem solved using herbs that triggered my herbal journey. When I was in my 20's I had terrible menstral cramps sometimes so bad I could not walk and they would last for days. One day when I had company when the cramps started and my friend told she had the same problem and the cure was simple.

"Just take a little ground ginger with some sugar and about an once of warm water and down it like a shooter." she said, so I did. Well, I was very sceptical so I waited. A short time about 15 minutes give or take a couple of minutes and my cramps disappeared and did not come back till the next month. After a few years I realized they had not come back.

And that is just one of the things ginger is good for. It is also good for colds and flu, because it helps strengthen the immune system, make a punch with lemon, cinnimon,cloves and coriander. Dried or fresh it can stimulate circulation, calm the digestive system strengthen the immune system and help stop mild nausia, taken as a tea.

Just a note here, ginger will not relieve morning sickness.

In my next post we dig deeper into the many ways ginger can help.

Shelagh Drew drewgida
Smile, maybe someone will smile back, :)