Teaching Tuesday-More Healing Herbs

A few times we have gone over some of the reported healing affects of common herbs and spices. There are so many and this Fallish time of year, my thoughts are always leaning toward the herbs and spices, so here are a few more to add to your cabinet! 

Winter always makes me think of Myrrh, but what is myrrh and what can it be used for? Myrrh is a resin that is highly aromatic. Aside from the luscious scent that it produces, myrrh possesses antiseptic qualities, and is, in fact, found in many commercial toothpastes. As an antiseptic, its tincture is used frequently used to treat canker sores and gum disease, as well as minor cuts. When inhaled, its volatile oil is good for relieving congestion.

Another nice Fall/Winter spice is clove. Cloves are high in antioxidants, and are antiseptic and antispasmodic in nature. Direct use of Clove oil is a safe and effective treatment for toothaches. Additionally, cloves are a proven preservative. A ham studded with cloves will last a few days longer (in the fridge) than one that does not contain the cloves. In South America, people routinely drink clove tea and liquor made from cloves, to fight digestive disorders. Since the main ingredient in cloves is eugenol, it stands to reason that this herb would be useful in combating intestinal problems, as eugenol has been known to kill bacteria and viruses for quite some time. In fact, cloves are known/proven to fight e. coli ,  commonly the cause of "travelers diarrhea". Besides an antispetic, the eugenol in cloves also makes the herb effective as a painkiller. Here in the USA, this generally just means that you will find clove oil as an ingredient in most over-the-counter tooth ache remedies. But in other countries, poultices of clove are often used on the skin for cuts, bites and those sort of problems. Studies have shown that clove oil can help kill several strains of staph, and even one strain of pseudomonas, organisms that can cause skin infections. Aside from utilizing the clove oil, you can also make a paste from ground up cloves and water to use as a poultice. To make clove tea (for intestinal issues), use one teaspoon of powdered cloves per cup of boiling water. Steep for ten to twenty minutes, strain and drink when cool enough.

And, of course, what cool weather herb discussion would be complete without cinnamon? Cinnamon is also an antioxidant, and has antimicrobial properties. In fact, it improves insulin sensitivity while lowering cholesterol and triglycerides. Eating 1/2 of a teaspoon twice a day, before meals, can help to lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Cinnamon prevents infections and fights indigestion, and has been used for thousands of years. In fact, it is mentioned by ancient Chinese herbalists as far back as 2700 B.C., and modern day Chinese herbalists still recommend it for fever, diarrhea, and menstrual problems.  Cinnamon not only appears to help diabetics metabolize sugar, but it helps to soothe the stomach lining, suppress the cause of most urinary tract infections (which is e.coli), and the fungus responsible for vaginal yeast infections, cabdida albicans. Because of its tasty and versatile usage, cinnamon is probably the easiest treatment to incorporate into your life.   

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