Herbs that heal

Category: Daily Dose 10 years ago
Herbs that heal

Gardeners everywhere are rediscovering the benefits of herbs, not just for the fresh flavour that they add to food, but also for their medicinal properties. So, just as we keep a First Aid Box of medicines in our homes, how about growing our own Herb Aid Garden? Try it, it's easy to do. For herbs, no matter how exotic, are pretty easy to grow-as long as you meet their sun and shade requirements. You don't even require a big garden, they can easily thrive in potted plants in terraces or balconies or even window sills. Here's how to get your Herb Aid Box started:

Aloe vera: This magic herb is used for skin problems, indigestion and even diabetes. One-inch thick piece of a mature leaf, cut into small pieces and chewed daily helps bring down sugar levels. For indigestion, for which its use is miraculous, add black salt and ajwain to the gel or pieces. To grow, plant its cutting in a potting mix of loose and sandy soil. Select a big pot as aloe needs lots of room to grow. During winter, water once every two to three weeks and during summer, water when slightly dry. A good amount of sunlight through the day is a must.

Lemon grass: Herbal tea using fresh lemon grass relieves stress and nervousness. Plant saplings in rich, moist garden soil in an area which gets good sun. When growing in a container, use one-third compost, one-third topsoil and one-sixth vermiculite. Start the seeds in a six-inch pot and move into successively larger pots as the clump grows.

Brahmi: It is known for its effectiveness in enhancing memory and promoting alertness. It's also used for treating various mental conditions, besides being a great antioxidant. You can chew four to five brahmi leaves in the morning or add them to a sandwich-filling. If growing in the garden, water well during dry weather as the roots are fairly shallow. If growing in a pot, move it to a warm, sheltered spot in winter as it is frost-prone.

Stevia: Gaining popularity as a herbal substitute for sugar, all you need to do is pluck off a few leaves, crush them and put them in your tea or dessert. You can also dry the leaves and store them as powder. A semi-humid subtropical plant, stevia can be grown easily like any other vegetable crop even in the kitchen garden. It thrives in well-drained red soil as well as sandy loam soil but not in saline soils. Since seed germination rate is very poor, it is propagated vegetatively.

Basil (tulsi): Every part of basil is useful, that's why it is considered very auspicious in Indian homes. It is an effective preventive aid for many diseases and its fresh leaves can be chewed to cure mouth ulcers as well as cough and cold. It also has anti-stress, antihypertensive and anti-bacterial properties. For planting, scatter seeds in a nursery pot or flat tray filled with any standard potting soil and cover them with a small amount of soil. Water gently but thoroughly and place it in a sunny location. Expect germination in about one week. When young plants are three to four inches tall, transplant them to a sunny spot in the garden. After they're established, they require little water. Tulsi plants will self-sow and often reward you with new plants the following spring.

Ashwagandha: Also called the Indian ginseng, its roots, leaves and fruits (berry) possess tremendous medicinal value and are used as sedatives, cardioprotective and anti-arthritic agents as well as antioxidants. Two leaves eaten with lukewarm water with half a spoon of honey and a pinch of black salt help reduce obesity. It grows well in sandy loam or light red soil and requires dry season during its growing period.

For planting, sprinkle tiny seeds onto the surface and rake in lightly. Mist regularly so that the surface does not dry out at till the seedlings have developed a deep root system. High humidity is good for initial germination but will encourage fungal problems later. Seedlings can be transplanted when 10 cm tall and germination should be expected within two weeks. So, water generously while young and sparingly when older.

Citronella: This plant has been used for years to keep annoying bugs away. So it makes sense to grow it in your garden, doesn't it? It looks especially good when grown as an ornamental grass in mixed borders. It requires abundant moisture and sunshine for good growth. Sandy loam soil with abundant organic matter is the most suitable for its growth, while heavy clay soils and sandy soils are to be avoided.

Propagation is done by splitting large clumps into several smaller ones. Besides these, some equally popular and easy-togrow herbs are mint, parsley, curry leaves, oregano, sage, thyme and rosemary. So go on, let your garden patch bloom with health and happiness.

Reproduced From India Today. © 2010. LMIL. All rights reserved.
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  • Re: Herbs that heal

    by » 10 years ago

    Thanks for sharing information related to herbs like Ashwagandha and Stevia. :) :)

  • Re: Herbs that heal

    by » 10 years ago

    Very useful information given. Thanks for sharing this information.

  • Re: Herbs that heal

    by » 10 years ago

    Herbs for General Health and Healing

    For people who are leery of the alarming side effects of many drugs and medicines on the current market, or just concerned about taking too many pills, there is another option: herbal remedies. The use of herbs for healing has been recorded as early as 2500 B.C. Herbs were widely used as medicines prior to the advent of science with its developments in chemicals, drugs and medicines. Before modern science there were only two basic options for healing - the various plants with known healing properties and the spiritual, including prayer, the laying on of hands, magic and voodoo. For our purposes, we'll concentrate on the world of healing plants and leave the spiritual up to the individual.

    What is an herb? How is it different from a spice? An herb is a seed-producing plant of the type that does not develop persistent woody tissue, such as that of a shrub or a tree, but remains more or less soft or succulent (having thick or fleshy stems or leaves which can hold a large quantity of water). Some examples of common herbs would be catnip, chamomile, hyssop and spearmint. A spice is any of the various vegetable plants that are also fragrant or aromatic and are pungent to the taste. Allspice, cumin, paprika and rosemary are all spices. So an herb may also be a spice, like cinnamon or mace.

    Most herbs and spices are sun-dried or cured in their indigenous environment. For example, the ginger root is harvested then cleaned before it is dried and exported. Sometimes ginger root is also peeled and sometimes the ginger root is boiled in sugar and preserved before its exportation. Cloves are the dried unopened flower buds of the Syzygium aromaticum, a tree of the Myrtle family, while peppercorns are the dried berries of the Piper nigrum plant. The nutmeg is the hard, aromatic seed of an evergreen tree called Myristica fragrans. The seed is dried and ground or grated and used as a spice.

    Herbs can act as astringents (something that slows or stops the flow of blood or other secretions), alkalinizers (something that raises the pH above 7.0), acidifiers (something that lowers the pH below 7.0), tonics (something that refreshes, invigorates or strengthens), diuretics (something that promotes the flow of urine), diaphoretics (something that promotes perspiration), laxatives (something that promotes bowel movements) and also as nervines (something which excites or relaxes the nerves). Many herbs act as more than one of these, such as Acacia, which has a soothing or softening effect on mucous membranes, an astringent effect, limiting secretions of glands and nutritive qualities as well as nourishing the tissues to which it is applied.

    The herbs with mostly astringent (causing blood or other secretions to slow or stop) effects are Acacia, Acorn, Agaric, Agrimony, English Alder, Amaranth, Trailing Arbutus, Balm, European Birch, Bistort, Blackberry, Black Willow Bark, Cinnamon, Black Cohosh, Eyebright, Fireweed, Fluellin, Houseleek, Jambul, Pilewort, Red Root, Red Sage, Peruvian Rhatany, Rhubarb, Rosemary and Scullcap.

    Herbs with a mostly alkalizing (raising the pH) effect are Dandelion and Kelp.

    The general tonic (nourishing, invigorating, strengthening or refreshing) herbs are Agrimony, English Alder, Alstonia Bark, Angustura, Asafetida, Balmony, Balm of Gilead, Bamboo Brier, Barberry, Berberis, Beth Root, Blackberry, Boneset, Box Leaves, Bugle, Catnip, Celery, Chamomile, Culver's Root, Dandelion, Eyebright, Gentian, Golden Seal, Juniper Berry, Lemon, Mistletoe, Nux Vomica, Peruvian Rhatany, Rosemary, Snake Root and Tansy.

    Herbal Tonics for specific areas are the Heart Tonics made from Butterbur and Mescal Buttons, Intestinal Tonics made from Cascara Sagrada, Nerve Tonics made from Damiana and Oats, Stomach Tonics made from Burdock and Sassafras, Strengthening Tonics made from Lucerne and Simaruba and Weight-adding Tonics made from Lucerne.

    Herbs having a mostly diuretic (causing urination) effect are Agrimony, Arenaria Rubra, Asafetida, Asparagus, Belladonna, Bilberries, American Bittersweet, Black Currant, Black Haw, Blue Flag, Boldo, Boneset, Bryony, Buchu, Burdock, Butterbur, Caroba, Celery, Coffee, Black Cohosh, Couchgrass, Damiana, Dandelion, Figwort, Garlic, Goat's Rue, Jambul, Jewel Weed, Juniper Berry, Kelp, Lily-of-the-Valley, Night-Blooming Cereus, Onion, Paraguay Tea, Pitcher Plant, Queen's Delight, Soap Tree and White Bryony.

    The herb with a mostly diaphoretic (causing perspiration) effect is American Bittersweet. Many other herbs have this effect in addition to their main use.

    Herbs having a laxative (causing bowel movements) effect are Agar, American Black Alder, Asafetida, Ash, Asparagus, American Bearsfoot, Benne, Blue Flag, Boneset, Burdock, Cleavers, Culver's Root, Damiana, Dandelion, Fig, Hartstongue, Honeysuckle, Horehound, Olive, Pitcher Plant, Queen's Delight and Rhubarb which has the mildest laxative effect.

    Herbs that affect the nerves are Black Willow Bark, which eases inflammation of the nerves, Passion Flower, which eases nerve pain, Asafetida, which is a nerve stimulant, Gentian, which is another Nerve Tonic and Black Currant, which restores the nervous system. For nervous disorders, use Arrach, Belladonna, Caroba, Chamomile, Gelsemium, Gentian, Golden Seal, Kelp, Lobelia, Mistletoe, Muira-Puama, Oats, Passion Flower, Rosemary or Scullcap.

    Various parts of the herb are used - the flowers, leaves, buds, stems and also the root. Preparations vary as well. Sometimes the part or part used will be steeped and used as a tea, sometimes as a wash, sometimes as a tincture, where alcohol is the activating agent and other ways as well.

    Consult an herbal professional or documentation before using herbs. While most herbs are completely safe to use, some herbs are OK just in small doses, but sometimes harmful in larger doses. Learn as much as you can about the herb and follow dosing instructions carefully, especially if using them for children.

    Luckily, we have much information available on the Internet, on herbs and other topics. There are libraries in most towns and cities where one can find specific information on herbs and herbal remedies. Health stores that carry herbs and herbal preparations are more plentiful than they used to be and there are more and more healing practitioners versed in using herbs, so gathering beneficial and comprehensive information should not be a problem.

    Slow and Steady Wins the Race.

  • Re: Herbs that heal

    by » 10 years ago

    thanks to neetu jain for sharing this information on herbs..keep rocking

  • Re: Herbs that heal

    by » 10 years ago

    plants and herbal remedies. Herbs, spices, information and uses of Concept of Ayurveda and herbal remedies in India is welcome.

    THANKS! THIS REALLY HELPED A LOT! Share with World now


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