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.

How to Get Rid of Chest Congestion

January 13th, 2019

How to Get Rid of Chest Congestion

Over the counter treatments for common respiratory ailments, including chest congestion can do more harm than good. Some times the drugs do more harm than good by disrupting the body’s normal recovery process.
Natural remedies work with the body not against it to achieve a full recovery. There are some methods listed below that will help you get rid of your congestion and help you breathe easier.

Method 1: Use a DIY Decongestant
This DIY decongestant has all the right ingredients to help ease symptoms and promote healing.
Apple cider vinegar contains probiotics that can help beat your congestion at the root by targeting the infection itself. You should get more vitamin C, it will help neutralize the effects of the pathogens in your body.
Cayenne pepper will clear your sinuses and thin the mucus. Ginger help your immune system to do the job it is meant to do, prevent the build-up in the first place.
Honey has many bactericidal properties that can treat the infection, relieve the soreness in your throat and improve the taste.
Things you’ll need

• Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (ACV) (targets the infection) – ¼ cup
• Lemon juice, freshly squeezed (helps neutralize the effects of bacteria) – ¼ cup
• Raw honey (treats the infection) – 3 tablespoons
• Ginger powder (prevents mucus buildup) – ½ teaspoon
• Cayenne pepper powder (helps clear sinuses) – ½ teaspoon
Step 1. Simmer lemon juice and ACV in a pan
• Pour ¼ cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice into a pan.
• Pour in ¼ cup of raw, unfiltered ACV as well.
• Place the pan over heat and bring the mixture to a boil.
• Turn the heat down and let it simmer for about 2 minutes.
Step 2. Stir in cayenne and ginger powder along with honey
• Take the pan off the heat.
• Add ½ teaspoon each of cayenne pepper and ginger powder to it.
• Pour in 3 tablespoons of raw honey.
• Mix the ingredients thoroughly.
Step 3. Store and use the decongestant daily to clear chest congestion
• Pour the mixture into a container.
• Shake well before each use to get the most out of the remedy, as the powders in the recipe tend to settle.
• Take 1 to 2 tablespoons of the mixture daily to relieve chest congestion.
Repeat the remedy until the congestion clears.
Method 2: Use Onion
Onion is one of the oldest natural remedies used to get rid of chest congestion. Sulfur and quercetin present in onions are responsible for the stinging and the waterworks that get going when you get near a fresh-cut onion. They can also be of immense help to facilitate decongestion when you’re struggling to breathe.
Things you’ll need:
Step 1. Cut and heat an onion
Peel an onion and cut it into 4 parts.
Heat the cut onion in the microwave for 2 minutes.
Step 2. Make a poultice
Remove the hot onion pieces from the microwave and put them into a small towel.
Bundle up the towel to make a poultice.
Step 3. Place the warm onion poultice on your chest or back
Test the temperature of the poultice so that it’s bearable.
Place the onion poultice on the bare skin of your chest or back. Keep it there for 30 minutes at a time.
For best results, cover the poultice with a warm compress.
Do this daily until the chest congestion is gone.
Method 3: Use Steam with Essential Oils
The best way to break up congestion is to steam it out with essential oils. Steam carries the essential oil vapors through the nasal cavity to the area gripped with congestion. The antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of essential oils make them effective against the infection that’s causing the congestion.
Eucalyptus and peppermint essential oils are the most appropriate choices when it comes to decongestion, as both are effective in clearing out the nasal passages. Eucalyptus oil is considered an excellent expectorant. Not only does peppermint oil soothe and calm the body, it also has analgesic properties.
Things you’ll need:
Water – 2 cups
Eucalyptus essential oil (clears nasal passage) – 5 to 10 drops
Peppermint essential oil (soothes and calms your body)– 5 to 10 drops
Step 1. Boil the water and pour it into a bowl
Pour 2 cups of water into a pan and bring it to a boil.
Pour the steaming hot water into a bowl.
Step 2. Add in the essential oils
Put 5 to 10 drops each of eucalyptus and peppermint essential oils into the bowl of steaming water.
Step 3. Steam out the congestion
Cover your head with a towel, making a sort of tent to trap the steam.
Bend over the bowl to breathe in the vapors of the essential oils. As your nasal passages start opening, breathe in as slow and deep as you can.
Repeat 2 or 3 times daily until the congestion goes away.
Method 4: Use a Vapor Rub
# Vicks Vapor Rub
Vicks Vapor Rub is a common household name and is considered a cure-all for a majority of cold-related ailments. Some of the active ingredients in the popular brand formula are eucalyptus oil, turpentine oil and camphor, all of which are considered very effective decongestants.
When applied on the chest, you can breathe in its vapors. This helps the active ingredients reach into the body easily and work to relieve congestion.
Single-Step Treatment: Apply Vapor Rub on your chest and breathe
Take some Vicks Vapor Rub on your fingers and rub it over your chest and throat.
Cover the area with a towel or a thick cloth.
Repeat the remedy until you find relief from congestion.
Note: The normal Vicks formulation is not suitable for children under age 2.
# DIY Vapor Rub
If you’re wary of the popular vapor rub brands and don’t trust the ingredients that they might be using, a DIY vapor rub is just what you need. It’s simple to make, easy to use and can be applied to people of all ages without fear of any side effects.

It contains choice essential oils in a skin-friendly base of coconut oil and shea butter. Eucalyptus and peppermint oils, known for their benefits against colds, congestion and mild fevers, are the main constituents.
Lavender and lemon oils lend more than calming effects to the rub and work as an antihistamine and an immune-booster, respectively. This recipe also contains tea tree oil for added benefits.
All you need to do is gather the ingredients, whip them up, store the resulting vapor rub and use as needed until your chest congestion is treated completely. This gentle formulation can be safely used on children.
Note: Do not apply this DIY vapor rub directly over or under the nose. For infants or small babies, rub a small amount on the bottoms of their feet only and put their socks on.
• If the DIY homemade decongestant proves too strong for you, reduce the amount of cayenne pepper and ginger powder to half.
• When stored in a cool and dark environment, the DIY decongestant can keep for a long time.
• Shea butter can be substituted with cocoa butter in the DIY vapor rub recipe or skip it all together, if need be. A simple coconut oil base can be used in a pinch.
• Add beeswax to the DIY vapor rub to give it a firmer texture.
• Some other essential oils that can be used to make a DIY vapor rub to get rid of chest congestion include thyme, basil, rosemary, pine, clove, marjoram and chamomile.


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.