integrating nutrition, fitness, sprituality, conscious living, and a little sass
So, last week I told you my top 5 favorite essential oils to have on deck ;P… and today I want to share with you my top 5 favorite herbs! These herbs are powerhouses for many different things, so check them out and get them in your cabinets, for teas, tinctures, and so much more! 🙂
Nettles: This lovely plant is packed with essential vitamins and minerals. So much so, that it has been shown to help bring malnourished individuals back to health. A few of the main ones include calcium, magnesium, potassium, silic acid and iron. Nettles is also an alterative which means that it helps to detoxify the blood of toxins and builds the blood up with tons of good stuff. The last thing I’ll mention, although I could keep going for hours, is that nettles works wonders on the lymphatic system and helps to keep you from getting sick. The best way to soak up all the goodness of nettles is to literally soak it. Overnight that is. Herbalists refer to this as an infusion, aka a strong tea. The simplest way to make an infusion is to put 2-3 tsp. of herb/ cup of boiling water in a French press and let it sit overnight. Strain in the morning and drink 3-4 cups throughout the day, 4-5 times a week.
Comfrey: This plant is a double whammy. Not only is it gorgeous to look at, but it is one hell of a medicinal herb. Like lavender essential oil, comfrey, or some comfrey containing product, is a necessity for natural first aid kits. Comfrey is an amazing healer of wounds of the skin and of the bones. It’s one of the only herbs shown to actually heal fractured/ sprained/ and broken bones. Infuse 1/3 part dried comfrey to 2/3 part olive oil in a sun drenched window for 3-4 weeks. Strain and you will have created your very own healing oil. Caution* only apply comfrey to wounds that have already scabbed over because it can cause abscesses.
Thyme: When you or anyone you know is suffering from a sickness, especially a sinus infection, one of the best things you/they can do is a steam with thyme. Thyme will work its magic on bringing your immune system back to strength while the steam helps to break things up and creates energetic movement in the body. The combination has never failed in bringing me back to health. I usually do about 2 tbsp. of the herb in a medium to big sized bowl that is filled with boiling hot water. Put a towel over you to trap the steam, and settle into the herbal embrace for at least 10 minutes or until there is no longer any steam.
Elderberries: Another herb that is great for the immune system, elderberries are amazing at healing the body when experiencing the flu. To make a delicious immune syrup, first make a decoction* of the hard, dried berries for roughly 30 minutes. Strain the decoction and add honey to taste along with a little bit of whiskey to help preserve. To prevent the flu, take 1 tbsp. /day. If the flu is already present, take 1 tbsp. every 1 to 2 hours until symptoms are gone.
Ginger: It’s so good, it’s worth mentioning in both herbs and essential oil must haves. It is a perfectly spicy and delicious tea that helps to ease any sort of nausea quickly. It’s also useful in curbing sugar cravings. And for those times we indulge a little too much, it will help kick start digestion and relieve discomfort.
*A decoction is a term used to describe a tea made of hard part herbs (berries, roots, seeds). Use 2 to 3 tbsp. per cup of water. Let simmer on low heat until the volume of water has reduced to half of its original size.
With all of the herbs I have mentioned above, it’s best to purchase organic and local. Not everyone has access to buying these ingredients local so I’ll share my favorite websites to buy online: Mountain Rose for herbs. I have listed several easy recipes for most of the herbs mentioned to help empower you to become more in-tuned with the things you use in your home and in your body. It’s also completely fine to look for already made products in your local natural health stores that contain real ingredients of anything I have mentioned. Cheers to you all and happy healing!