WELLNESS | Herbs To Incorporate Into Your Everyday Life
You do not have to be a practicing herbalist to integrate herbs into your everyday routine. Below are a few suggestions of readily available herbs to use for cooking, healing, body care, and the home.
Garlic is one of the best-known natural medicines and frequently referred to as a “cure-all.” This pungent herb contains the antibiotic allicin, which was used in World War I to treat wounds. Garlic can be used as a lung decongestant and a powerful defense against high blood pressure. In addition, it can prevent the recurrence of heart attacks by increasing the body’s ability to dissolve heart-threatening blood clots. It is also delicious and a great addition to a wide-variety of dishes.
When taken as a tincture, grindelia can help eliminate the congestion that occurs with spring allergies and asthma. It can also be used topically to alleviate the symptoms of contact dermatitis, poison ivy, and insect bites. It is a “sticky, balsamic-smelling, yellow flowering herb” that works as an herbal alternative to calamine lotion. To prepare, put the leaves, stems, and flowers of the grindelia into cold water, bring to a simmer, and leave to cool. This will make a fragrant concoction that can soothe irritation.
Body Care: Herbal Baths
In an herbal bath, warm water opens the pores of the skin and enables health-giving essences to seep through and reach all parts of the inner organism. These baths generally contain at least one cup of a potent herbal extract. It is advisable to soak for at least 15 minutes in warm water to reap the greatest benefits. Thyme makes for an excellent herb to put into a leisurely bath. It is a natural decongestant that is commonly found in cough syrup. Soaking in a thyme bath helps relax the lungs and bronchi. Rosemary is another great herb to include. It helps stimulate the circulation and can be used for a “wake-up” bath in the morning. It helps energize and invigorate people with low-energy.
Home: Lavender Smudge Sticks
A smudge stick is a bundle of dried herbs that are tied together by a string. When lit, the smudge stick releases fragrant smoke that can be both calming and cleansing for the home. Fresh lavender can be found in the wild and dried for smudging. Many people will opt to ‘smudge’ their homes several times a year to cleanse stagnant energy. The smoke releases many of lavender’s powerful properties and helps relieve tension, depression, headaches, and nervous exhaustion.
Those interested in learning more about how to use and prepare their own herbs should check out these North Atlantic titles:
Lavender Image By Démosthène (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons