Category Archives: Herbs

Mullein for Respiratory Complaints and Much More

Mullein

Have you had that nasty cough and sore throat that hangs on and on? You might try some MULLEIN,  an herb that actually grows naturally in my local area of Southeast Arizona on Mt. Graham.

Mullein is an herb that has been used for hundreds of years and the whole plant is used: the leaves, flowers and roots.  You’ll find it common in the United States.  It flowers in July and August and will often be found growing by banks, roadsides in gravel or sandy soil.  Native Americans used this plant and many parts of Europe used this plant traditionally.  It is considered one of the top herbal plants in Ireland.  Click here to learn more.

Historical Benefits of Mullein

  • All respiratory complaints, clears congestion, soothes mucus membranes
  • Eases coughs, help for dry or unproductive coughs
  • Helps symptoms of asthma
  • May help bronchitis
  • Sore throats and tonsillitis
  • Earaches
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Gout
  • Bruises
  • Burns
  • Supports the thyroid
  • Helps swollen glands
  • My help a migraine
  • Helps with pain
  • Mastitis
  • Diuretic 

You can make a mullein tea and it is wonderfully soothing for coughs and sore throats. Just take 1 rounded tsp of the dried herb and steep with boiled water for about 5 minutes. Drink as is or for even more healing benefits add raw local honey which is often used for cough syrups.

Mullein tea without the honey (make a stronger batch) can used topically. Just soak a natural fiber cloth in the strong tea and wrap areas affected with a wound or by gout, bursitis, bruises, achy joints and more. You can also mash and bruise fresh mullein leaves and flowers and apply a poultice.  It has great anti-inflammatory properties and acts as an antiseptic.  Use the mullein tea as a rinse on the head for dandruff.  You can also apply mullein extract to the scalp.

Some people will soak mullein in olive oil for 3 weeks and then strain. The oil can be used as a chest rub and applied to bruised skin - it is even a great topical application for hemorrhoids. Try it over areas experiencing gout. Rub this mullein oil around the ears for infection. It is beneficial for your dog’s ear infection as well.

People have used mullein to treat dry skin.   Use the mullein oil topically.  Add some dried and ground herb to coconut oil and let sit for a couple of days then rub into the dry skin for an easy preparation and natural moisturizer. 

Mullein is also used in capsule form and is found by itself or in many different combinations with other herbs.  It is considered an herb for acute respiratory and other illnesses and a tonic for the endocrine system in supporting the thyroid and reducing cortisol levels in the body which can help restore the natural sleep rhythms of the body.

You’ll find this herb in Dr. Christopher’s Master Gland formula, Lung and Bronchial formula, Cough formula, in a single herb capsule; and in Nature’s Sunshine ALJ formula. 

Mullein is generally considered safe with no serious side effects.  It is loaded with minerals and vitamins.  It combines well with black cohosh, lobelia, comfrey, plantain, and garlic. 

The herb was a favorite of Dr. John R. Christopher who said we should all keep some handy. 

If you are wild harvesting, please make sure to learn all you can to get the right plant and proper preparation.  You may want to lightly scrub the hairs of the plant leaves as they can be irritating to some.  Remember don’t take all you find in nature – leave some for the next person and for nature.

For us when we catch a cough or sore throat, I brew up large pots of herbal tea with mullein, usually comfrey, marshmallow root, catnip, peppermint and red raspberry leaf.  Sometimes I'll add fresh ginger root to the mix but you can use dried ginger root as well.  You don't have to use all those herbs, just mullein will work great on its own.  I add honey and keep everyone drinking.  It helps hydrate by keep fluids in the system and helps speed up healing.

Have a wonderful day and thanks for stopping by.  If you feel this information is valuable, please pass it along.  As always we appreciate you supporting our business.

Kally
Indigo Mountain

 

Natural Remedies to Help an Urinary Tract Infection or UTI

The Urinary System by cuteimage at FDPIf your a female, at some point in your life you will probably deal with an urinary tract infection or UTI.  If you suspect a UTI, you will want to talk to your doctor.  Men do get UTIs and these remedies will work for them as well.

Symptoms of a urinary tract infection can be:

  • Pain or burning when you urinate.
  • The need to urinate frequently and urgently.
  • Your urine smells off and can be cloudy or even bloody.
  • You may even feel the need to get up at night to urinate.
  • Lower abdominal pain and pressure.
  • A mild fever.
  • Not feeling well.

A bladder infection can spread to the kidneys if not treated.  If this happens you will have a higher fever, shaking and chills, nausea and even vomiting.  You may even experience pain on the back or side around waist level.  Always seek medical care if this happens.

If you are put on antibiotics, be sure to take them according to the directions given you and finish your antibiotics.

One challenge many face, is that a round of antibiotics doesn't clear up the infection.  Talk to your doctor about solutions and you may want to try some alternative remedies in addition to your doctor's recommendations.  Always tell your doctor what you are doing.  It is important to heal the body in addition to clearing up the infection.

It is possible to treat a bladder infection effectively with alternative treatments.   Nature has provided many natural anti-biotics.

Be sure to drink plenty of water.  Yes, I know you will need to urinate even more, but it is important.  Every time you empty your bladder you get rid of the bacteria causing the problem and help flush your bladder.  This is a good thing.  So keep the water coming or even better, add some of the teas listed below.

Many people reach for cranberries to treat a UTI.  They can be a helpful remedy.  It is thought they interfere with E. coli attaching to the bladder wall and help the pH of the bladder.  Cranberry capsules or fresh cranberries are a better option than commercial juices. Cranberries don't work for everyone.  And they don't cure the infection or help with inflammation, they just make it harder for the bacteria to stick to the bladder.  So you should use other remedies as well.  Cranberries do not appear to be as effective once you have symptoms.  But they can be a great support for several months following an infection.  If your infection is not caused by E. coli, cranberries may not be useful.  But do be cautious as it can cause stones to form in people that tend to get oxalate stones.  If you are on blood thinning medications, you should avoid cranberries.

Other remedies that can be very helpful in treating a urinary tract infection are not so common.  But we have found them to be very beneficial.

  • Dr. Christopher's Bladder Formula has been a very effective herbal remedy to treat UTI's and helps prevent reoccurring infections.  It also helps to heal the urinary system after an infection.   This formula contains many herbs that have traditionally been used to treat infections and all bladder and kidney infections.
    • Ingredients:  Black Cohosh Root, Ginger Root, Gravel Root, Juniper Berries, Lobelia Herb, Marshmallow Root, Parsley Root, Uva Ursi Leaf and White Pond Lily.
  • Parsley - yes the stuff used as a garnish on your plate, is a great remedy for the bladder.  It is the number one herb for the bladder.  You can make parsley tea or juice parsley.  It can support Parsley by James Barker at FDPyour healing and can often heal an infection.   Parsley is full of vitamins and minerals including providing lots of vitamins A and C which are important when fighting an infection.  Parsley literally helps clean out the bladder and the kidneys and is a wonderful diuretic.  And recently Germany's version of our USA FDA approved parsley as a treatment of kidney stones and bladder infections.  It is easy to grow in the garden.  To make a cup of tea use about 1/4 cup fresh parsley with one cup boiling water and allow to steep about 5 minutes.  Add raw honey, stevia and/or lemon and enjoy.  If juicing, just grab a handful and juice.  We feel that parsley is best used fresh.
  • Cranberry & Buchu Concentrate Capsules combines the detering effects of cranberry with Buchu herb.  Buchu has often been referred as woman's best friend.  It is rich in selenium.  It is a diuretic and urinary tract antiseptic as well as helping with inflammation.  Please research as there may be contraindications with Buchu.  Buchu may even help a yeast infection.
  • Cleavers is an herb that has been used for a very long time.  I have seen it give relief for a bladder infection in just a day or two.  It is an effective diuretic.  It helps rid the kidneys and bladder of gravel and stones.  It can clear the urinary tract of infections.  It helps alleviate prostate disorders and other acute urinary diseases.  Cleavers is generally considered safe with no contraindications.
  • Take extra Vitamin C or consume foods high in Vitamin C.
  • Eat foods that will help to alkalize the body.  Being too acidic helps the bacteria to grow.  Avoid acidic foods, which also included refined foods - especially sugar.0137d8e93bb6c27c7db910ab789d43dd1d6c12913f
  • Fresh squeezed lemon juice in water may offer benefits of cleansing the body and helping to alkalize the body.
  • We don't recommend commercial yogurts as the processing they go through destroys most of the beneficial good bacteria and they can often be full of sugar.
  • We do recommend cultured foods.  Check out that link to cultured foods to see how she cured her UTIs with these foods.  Cultured food include:  kefir, kombucha and cultured veggies.  They are a good preventative for UTIs.  We make homemade kefir nearly everyday and it provides us with tons of helpful good bacteria. If you do take antibiotics, you will want to get on homemade cultured foods to balance your system.
  • You may also benefit from taking a good probiotic supplement.
  • Goldenseal contains berberine and other alkaloids that kill bacteria and stimulate the immune system.  They also inhibit bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall.  It is a wonderful natural anti-biotic and is known for treating UTIs.  You can drink a tea, take the extract or use capsules.   And it is excellent combined with Echinacea.
  • Uva Ursi is an herb used in Europe to treat UTIs.
  • Homeopathic remedies can be very helpful for a UTI.  It is based on a philosophy that 'like cures like'.   We like the NOVA Bladder Complex and find it to be very effective.  It contains key remedies known help a bladder infection and address the symptoms of painful burning and/or soreness when urinating, and the frequent urge to urinate.  It comes in a liquid and is easy to take.  Even better, you can take more frequently at the onset of symptoms.  Just don't take immediately with food - wait 20 minutes before or after and don't use with essential oils as they counteract each other.
  • Essential oils can also be an effective treatment.  You will want choose some essential oils and put them in a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil at about a 20% dilution.  Apply to the lower abdominal area and on the back where the kidneys are two times a day while treating an infection.
    • Some good oils to choose from are:  bergamot, cedar-wood, chamomile, eucalyptus, frankincense, juniper berry (don't use for a kidney infection), lavender, pine needles, fennel, tea tree, and thyme.  Choose one or more and see what works for you.

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Whatever your course of action, you will benefit from increasing your water intake and improving your diet.  This is the case whenever there is sickness.  Discuss with your health care practitioner your concerns and desire to use alternative remedies.  You may find they are very supportive as many doctors are fully aware of the dangers of over prescribing antibiotics.  Many people are now finding themselves in a situation of having reoccurring bladder infections that antibiotics are not helping.  Some people dealing with candida and other conditions are even finding themselves A Kally editedhaving reactions to antibiotics.  If you do take antibiotics, these remedies may be helpful in healing your body and preventing future UTIs.   Be persistent and if something doesn't work, try something else.  I have seen people make a simple tea and see results that day.  Others, do not see results for a couple of weeks.  If your symptoms become severe, please go see your doctor.

Natural remedies support and heal the body and work differently for each person.

Do you have a favorite remedy that has worked for you?  Please share.

Kally

This information is solely for informational and entertainment purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Indigo Mountain, the owners, the editors, the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider. Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies.   Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness. It is always best to speak with your primary health care provider before starting any new therapeutic technique. 

Photo credit by cuteimage at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Plantain an Amazing Healing Herb that is a Common Weed

When you think of healing herbs, most people don't think of plantain.  It has been used as a healing herb for hundreds of years.  It grows like crazy in most of the world,even coming up through sidewalks.  The only place I have not seen this wonderful herb growing is in the deserts of Arizona.  So I bought some seeds and I planted and grew this common weed in my garden. 

I'm not talking about the banana shaped fruit. I'm talking about a green herb that most people try and get rid of as a weed.

This is what plantain looks like and there are many varieties of the species Plantago,  I planted the 2 common ones:  

Plantago major, broadleaf plantain or greater plantain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and Plantago lanceolata, narrowleaf plantain, or ribleaf.

The common identifier of this plant, is the parallel veins running through the leaves.  The properties of the two are nearly the same.  It is native to most of Europe and northern and central Asia, but has widely naturalized nearly everywhere in the world.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plantain is one of the most widely distributed medicinal crops in the world.  A poultice of the leaves can be applied to wounds, stings, and sores in order to facilitate healing and prevent infection; you can make tea; you can eat it as you would spinach; it is used to make extracts and salves; and it can be dried and put into capsules.  Even the root can be used.

The active chemical constituents are aucubin (an anti-microbial agent), allantoin (which stimulates cellular growth and tissue regeneration), and mucilage (which reduces pain and discomfort).Plantain has astringent properties, and a tea made from the leaves can be ingested to treat diarrhea and soothe raw internal membranes.

Plantain is very nutritious, it is high in calcium and vitamins A, C, and K.The young, tender leaves can be eaten raw, and the older, stringier leaves can be boiled in stews and eaten.

When I first moved to Tennessee,this noxious weed was growing everywhere and I tried to get rid of it.   After I went back to school to study herbs, I discovered what a wonderful healing herb it was.  I began eating the young leaves and the mosquitoes left me alone. If I did get a bite from a mosquito or an ant or anything, I quickly grabbed a leaf and chewed it and put it on and the itch and pain was gone within minutes. 

I recently recommended this amazing weed to someone for an injury on their leg, it seems to be helping.  They shared with me this portion from Romeo and Juliet:

BENVOLIO 
Tut, man, one fire burns out another's burning, 
One pain is lessen'd by another's anguish; 
Turn giddy, and be holp by backward turning; 
One desperate grief cures with another's languish: 
Take thou some new infection to thy eye, 
And the rank poison of the old will die.
ROMEO 
Your plantain-leaf is excellent for that.
BENVOLIO 
For what, I pray thee?
ROMEO 
For your broken shin.
BENVOLIO 
Why, Romeo, art thou mad?
ROMEO 
Not mad, but bound more than a mad-man is; 
Shut up in prison, kept without my food, 
Whipp'd and tormented and—God-den, goodfellow.
 
Years ago I went on a Kayaking trip for a 1 week.  I was not a kayaker.  But the trip sounded fun. We were on a river going from the top of the Andes to the Atlantic ocean for a week, camping and eating the food in the Kayaks that the guides brought.  I wore gloves to protect my hands from paddling. On the very first day – by noon (I still had a whole week left), I developed a huge blister on my thumb. How in the world do you paddle and have a good time with a giant blister? As I sat eating lunch I was looking around the river bank, knowing there had to be an herb that could help me.  I saw lots of plantain growing.  I knew of its benefits for insects bites.  I was soon to find out, it was excellent for wounds as well.  I grabbed several leaves and made a poultice for my thumb.  By the end of lunch, dark hard skin had formed where the blister was.  It was only slightly tender, but it was usable. By the next day – only the dark circle remained as evidence. My thumb was completely fine.  As the skin healed underneath, the hardened skin protected it and in a week or so it looked perfect.  

It was nothing short of a miracle from this common weed that at one time was considered to be a panacea or a cure all and has been recommended for nearly everything.

Please note – do not harvest where there is a chance of weed spray and be careful alongside roads.   I allow it to grow in my garden and yard and I know it is safe.   Plantain is generally classified as safe to use. 

Here are just a few uses of plantain:

·         Edible wild green (no need to starve when there is plenty of it growing) – full of nutrients and I add it to my green smoothies all the time.  You can eat it like spinach also or use the young leaves in a salad.

·         Bug bites of all kinds from mosquitoes to ants to bees
·         Anything that itches
·         diuretic
·         wounds, cuts and scratches
·         It is an antivenomous herb and may help with snake bites and scorpions (please get adequate medical attention – but if you’re out in the woods, it can help.)
·         Poison Ivy
·         plantain tea or juice would be good for sunburns or mild burns
·         use the root for toothaches
·         respiratory conditions including asthma
·         blood purifier
·         weight loss as discovered by a Russian scientist
·         lowers bad cholesterol
·         baby skin condition (use plantain oil)

 It grows abundantly as a weed and grows easily if you want to cultivate some in your own yard.  I hope to have a garden full of plantain next year.  We carry Dr. Christopher’s Stings and Bites salve which is plantain in olive oil and bees wax for use topically.  We carry the dried herb for making tea.  It is also found in many of Dr. Christopher’s formulas. 

 When things get tight, look around.  nature has remedies for us.  Keep a look out for this weed come spring.

 

Kally

Connect with me at www.facebook.com/indigomountain

This is not intended to diagnose or prescribe.  Please seek medical care for any health issues you may have.