Growing up in a large Lebanese family, herbs and spices were not only used to flavor food, but to cure common ailments. I distinctly remember ginger for upset tummies, and barley water for babies recovering from illness. Mom came upon these homemade remedies naturally from her healing herbs list. Our ancestors used herbs medicinally and as beauty aids. When our country was young, every household, whether rich or poor, had an herb garden for seasoning foods, doctoring illnesses, etc. Herbs were greatly valued as insect repellents, cosmetics, dyes and medicines.
Now there’s a renaissance of sorts going on regarding the interest in the healing aspects of herbs and people are interested in getting their hands on a healing herbs list. What’s old is new again!
I wanted to share with you some home remedies using herbs and spices which are safe, effective and fun to make.
Aloe is soothing and healing for burns, cuts and blisters. Squeeze gel from the leaf onto the affected skin. I like to mix some of the gel with hand cream for a soothing body cream. To make aloe body cream, whip together 2 tablespoons of aloe gel with 1 cup hand cream.
Basil tea is being used in chemotherapy to help relieve nausea and uplift mood. I enjoy making a face splash with basil. To make it, add a handful of basil leaves to very hot water. If you like, toss in some rose petals, which are astringent. When cool enough, strain and use on your face, avoiding the eyes. This helps remove environmental toxins from skin.
This daisy-like flowering herb gets high marks on the healing herbs list. The petals make a soothing tea for anyone stressed or a bit under the weather. Chamomile tea is good for teething pain as well. Just soak a cloth in chamomile tea and rub on a baby’s gums. To make a chamomile flower tea, place a heaping tablespoon of flowers into a teapot and pour 2 cups of boiling water over the flowers. Let infuse several minutes, strain, sweeten to taste and drink. Add a slice of lemon if you like.
Once a common herb in household gardens, comfrey is enjoying a comeback. It is an excellent wound healer because of the regenerative allantoin contained in the plant. Here’s my go-to salve for cuts and bites. Over low heat, melt 1 cup Vaseline. Add 2 tablespoons ground comfrey root or 1/2 cup dried crumbled leaves. Simmer for 20 minutes. Strain and store covered at room temperature.
Elderberry syrup is an effective natural cold remedy and it can also be used for flu and upper respiratory ailments. It tastes yummy. And you can buy dried elderberries online if they’re not readily available. At the onset of a cold or flu, I’ll take a tablespoon every 4 hours.
1-1/2 cups fresh elderberries or 3/4 cup dried berries
4 cups water
1” piece ginger root, smashed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
Organic raw honey to taste – start with 1 cup
Bring everything but the honey to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until reduced by half. Pour through a strainer, cool to room temperature and add honey. Store in the refrigerator up to 2 months or freeze up to 6 months.
Garlic keeps blood running clear through arteries so it’s good for your heart and blood pressure. Garlic is also antiseptic and antibacterial and it makes a wonderful oil for earaches. Smash a clove of garlic and add 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil. Heat to a simmer. Cool, strain and store in the refrigerator. Before using, warm gently, making sure the oil is not too hot to place several drops in the affected ear. Place a cotton ball in the ear to keep the oil inside. This keeps 2 weeks refrigerated.
This anti-inflammatory rhizome reduces motion sickness and arthritis pain. Grow ginger root in a sunny window. Ginger tea is also great for colds. To make a soothing ginger tea, pour 2 cups of boiling water over a generous tablespoon of smashed ginger root. Let infuse 5 minutes or so, strain, add lemon and honey. The honey is pre-digested for instant energy and soothing to the throat and the lemon is good for immune system health.
This calming herb made into a spray is just the ticket for calming nerves at bedtime. Spritz some of this spray onto your pillows before bed. We like to carry it with us when we travel, since lavender is antiseptic and anti-bacterial.
1/4 cup vodka or witch hazel
Lavender essential oil: 20 drops or so
3/4 cup distilled water
Put everything in a jar and shake well. Pour into a spray bottle. The vodka/witch hazel helps distribute the essential oil into the water and helps the spray dry after applying.
I like to make a mint sugar scrub because mint contains vitamins C and A for skin health and sugar is anti-bacterial. Start with 1 cup organic brown or white sugar and 1 tablespoon finely crushed dried mint. A teaspoon or so of dried crushed rose petals gives an astringent quality. Add enough jojoba, almond or olive oil to sugar to make a thick mixture. Rub on skin, avoiding eyes. Rinse well. Store in the refrigerator.
I hope this healing herbs list inspires you to try some of these wonderful herbs to treat your next ailment.