First Aid with Herbs: M to W

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Morning sickness

Morning sickness is a common occurrence in the first few months of pregnancy. It seems to be associated with changes in hormonal levels combined with a low blood sugar level and possibly a low blood pressure. While it is best to avoid medication during pregnancy there are some specific and safe remedies that can be used when needed. Black horehound, Irish moss and meadowsweet are generally considered safe as well as the nervines chamomile and hops.A useful mix is:

  • 2 parts meadowsweet
  • 1 part black horehound
  • 1 part chamomile

Combine all the ingredients. Take 1 teaspoon of the herb blend and place into a suitable sized saucepan and add one cup of boiling water. Allow this to stand for 10-15 minutes. Strain out the herbs. Drink 1 cup three times per day or as needed.

Another approach is the following:

  • small piece of ginger roughly chopped
  • three apples roughly chopped
  • squeeze of lemon juice

Put the apples and the ginger through the juicer then add the lemon juice.

You need to drink a glass twice a day. It will work for nausea up to half an hour and will help to stop vomiting.

Ginger should not be taken too often while you are pregnant.

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Mouth abscess

This is a very painful condition and is best treated by anti-microbials and lymphatic cleansers as follows:

  • 2 parts echinacea
  • 1 part blue flag
  • 1 part cleavers
  • 1 part poke root

Combine all the ingredients. Take 1 teaspoon of the herb blend and place into a suitable sized saucepan and add one cup of boiling water. Allow this to stand for 10-15 minutes. Strain out the herbs. Drink 1 cup three times per day.

The treatment will protect the system from a spreading infection which could occur as the existence of an abscess indicates that the body's defences are reduced.

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Mouth ulcers

Mouth ulcers are an indication of a run down condition and are best treated by improving the overall general health. They commonly occur after a course of antibiotics or recovering from influenza. Orthodox medicine puts them down to viruses but I doubt this. They almost certainly are a form of allergy or sensitivity.

The following herbs will be of assistance:

  • basil
  • chamomile
  • echinacea
  • elder flowers
  • lady's mantle marigold
  • sage
  • tea tree
  • myrrh

At the same time take vitamin C and a vitamin B complex to assist in the healing and recovery processes.

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Ringworm

Ringworm is caused by a fungal infection of the skin. It can occur in various parts of the body and it gives rise to the symptoms of athlete's foot. It commonly occurs between the toes, in the groin or in circular patches anywhere on the body. It is not caused by and has nothing to do with worms!

The herbal remedy consists of internal and external mixtures that raise the body's resistance and increases lymphatic drainage. The following mixture should be useful for internal treatment:

  • 2 parts echinacea
  • 1 part cleavers
  • 1 part poke root
  • 1 part wild indigo
  • 1 part yellow dock

Combine all the ingredients. Take 1 teaspoon of the herb blend and place into a suitable sized saucepan and add one cup of boiling water. Allow this to stand for 10-15 minutes. Strain out the herbs. Drink 1 cup three times per day.

Externally anti-fungal herbs such as the following can be used:

  • echinacea
  • garlic
  • golden seal
  • marigold
  • myrrh

These can be applied as a lotion or as tinctures. Marigold is the most effective especially if it is used 50:50 with myrrh. The tincture is applied undiluted three times per day.

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Sinusitis

Sinusitis is an infection of the sinus cavity, it can turn from acute to chronic and for some people it is very persistent.

For a short term treatment an effective mixture is:

  • 1 part echinacea
  • 1 part golden seal
  • 1 part golden rod
  • 1 part marshmallow leaf

Combine all the ingredients. Take 1 teaspoon of the herb blend and place into a suitable sized saucepan and add one cup of boiling water. Allow this to stand for 10-15 minutes. Strain out the herbs. Drink 1 cup every 2 hours.

In the long term, particularly with persistent cases, the diet has to be examined.

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Sore throat

Sore throats generally accompany colds, influenza and other respiratory infections such as tonsillitis and laryngitis.

The following may be of assistance:

  • 6 fresh bay leaves (or 4 dried)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Place the bay leaves and the water into a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and keep it boiling for 5 minutes. Pour the water into a cup and add the honey. Sip or gargle the solution.

Another sore throat gargle consists of the following:

  • 1 tablespoon of crushed fenugreek seeds
  • 2 cups of boiling water

Pour the boiling water over the seeds and allow them to stand for 10-15 minutes. Pour through a sieve and use the liquid as a gargle.

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Stomach ache

Colic and griping pains are due to intense muscle spasms in the stomach or digestive tract. The root of the problem needs to be removed but useful antispasmodics for the short term include:

  • caraway seed
  • ginger
  • valerian
  • wild yam

Another useful approach is:

  • 1 heaped teaspoon dill seeds or anise seeds
  • 1 cup of boiling water

Combine the dill seeds and water in a saucepan and boil for 2-3 minutes. Pour through a sieve to remove the seeds.

Sip one cup. This can be repeated three times a day if necessary.

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Toothache

First aid treatment for a toothache (which is most commonly cause by tooth decay) is to chew some cloves which are rich in the analgesic oil eugenol. Alternatively you can soak a pad of cotton wool in clove oil and place it by the tooth. Peppermint oil also acts as an analgesic but it isn't as effective.

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Travel sickness

The motion involved in any travel, but especially by sea, can cause nausea and vomiting. This affects many children and some adults. The following herbs will be useful:

  • chamomile
  • ginger
  • peppermint
  • turmeric
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Varicose veins

These are the swollen and twisted veins that are usually seen in the legs. They have a number of causes including, the lack of exercise, pregnancy, obesity, sitting cross legged and anything that reduces the circulation to the legs, such as tight clothing. It is essential that sufficient exercise is taken and that the feet are elevated when sitting for a long period of time, to counteract the effects of gravity. The diet should also be rich in fruit and vegetables and constipation has to be avoided. Supplement the diet with vitamin B complex and vitamin C (with bioflavonoids).

The herbs to be used should stimulate the peripheral circulation and thereby aid the blood flow in the legs. The appropriate herbs are:

  • cayenne pepper
  • ginger
  • prickly ash as bark or berries

Herbs that strengthen the blood vessels should also be included, for example:

  • hawthorn berries
  • horsechestnut

The following mixture should be of assistance:

  • 3 part hawthorn berries
  • 3 part horsechestnut
  • 2 parts prickly ash bark (or berries)
  • 2 parts yarrow
  • 1 part ginger

Combine all the ingredients. Take 1 teaspoon of the herb blend and place into a suitable sized saucepan and add one cup of boiling water. Allow this to stand for 10-15 minutes. Strain out the herbs. Drink 1 cup three times per day.

When there is local inflammation or pain a lotion or compress of witch hazel will often ease the discomfort. The following (as a compress) can also be used:

  • marigold
  • comfrey
  • hawthorn berries
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Warts

The treatment of warts is surrounded by folklore and myth and associated with drastic removal methods of conventional medicine.

Warts are caused by a viral infection. The herbal treatment aims at creating a clean internal environment so that the virus is unable to take hold.

You need to look to the diet and lifestyle as these provide the basis of a clean and healthful internal environment.

The following herbs will be useful for cleansing the lymphatic system.

  • cleavers
  • garlic
  • poke root
  • prickly ash
  • wormwood

For external treatment and quick removal of the wart greater celandine and thuja are the herbs to use.

Greater celandine is used by expressing the juice from a fresh stem and applying it directly onto the wart. Thuja is made into a lotion and should be used often.

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References

Duke, J. A. 2000, Anti-aging Prescriptions. Rodale.

Hoffmann, D. 2000, The New Holistic Herbal. Element Pub.

McIntyre, A. 1995, The Complete Women's Herbal. Henry Holt Reference Books

Shaw, N. 2002, Herbalism. Element

Woodward, P. 2003, Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies. Hyland House.

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