Homemade Herbal Medicines for Common Ailments

Simple and safe, homemade herbal medicines can help you heal common ailments on a shoestring.

| February/March 2014

  • Turn your kitchen into an herbal apothecary for a safe and effective way to remedy common ailments.
    Photo by Jason Houston
  • Take your healing into your own hands for a powerful and practical way to get well.
    Photo by Jason Houston
  • Comfrey root prompts healing and makes for a good wound powder ingredient.
    Photo by iStockphoto/ErikaMitchell
  • Some plants' roots are medicinally potent. Oregon grape root, a berberine plant, is a disinfectant, and thus a good additive to wound powder.
    Photo by Dreamstime/Jpldesigns
  • Bearberry is handy for handling urinary tract infections.
    Photo by Dreamstime/Sever180
  • The aerial plants of jewelweed can create a potent poison ivy remedy.
    Photo by iStockphoto/NNehring
  • Though they're spiky on the outside, the insides of prickly pear cactus pads will soothe burning skin.
    Photo by Rick Wetherbee
  • Wild geranium is one of several astringent plants that will help regulate digestion.
    Photo by Dreamstime/Victoria L. Almgren
  • Spanish Needles
    Some common “weeds” with healing properties are likely growing right in your yard.
    Photo by Steven Foster
  • Plantain is a common weed with healing properties, and is not related to the banana of the same name.
    Photo by Steven Foster

  • Spanish Needles

Somewhat glumly, I celebrated my 61st birthday this past July. In the back of my mind, I’ve been sure for 45 years that God would make an exception to my normal and natural biodegrading process, thus allowing me to remain 35 years old well into my 90s. Somehow, it escaped the Universe’s notice that some fine print in my birth contract negates, in my case, the aging process. A failing I am trying to get across, without success (so far).

In general, however, I am very healthy and I do have one very special thing going for me: I don’t use any pharmaceuticals, unlike nearly everyone I know in my age group. On the rare occasion I do visit a physician, that statement always generates a great deal of surprise. It is, as I have found, a very unusual event in these early decades of the 21st century. (It wasn’t when I was young.)

The reason I don’t take even one prescription pharmaceutical every day is mostly due to my lifestyle — primarily because of my reliance on herbal medicines. I have been using homemade herbal remedies as my primary health care for about 30 years. I’ve successfully treated everything from minor colds, flus, cuts and scrapes, which we all encounter on our journey through life, to irritable bowel syndrome and staph — with visits to many interesting conditions in between. Though herbal medicines may not be right for everyone’s lifestyle, I have found the natural approach life-enhancing, self-empowering, inexpensive and safe.

The best treatments I’ve found for common ailments all use herbs you can grow in your garden or likely have in your kitchen cupboards, disguised as condiments and spices. And, of course, these remedies are not the final answer on what works; nearly every plant you see around you can heal something.



Skin Conditions

Burns. I usually just pace around while verbally — and loudly — exploring the world of expletives. But sometimes I also use the following remedies.

1. Honey: This is especially good for severe burns. It will stop infection, stimulate skin regeneration and keep the burned area moist. Honey is better for burns than nearly all medical interventions, even for third-degree burns.






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