Monday, December 21, 2009

10 Herbs & Spices for the (Winter Time) Herbal Medicine Chest

This is a list of 10 herbs and spices that are a wonderful addition to your (winter) home remedy medicine chest. I will be posting remedies throughout this week containing these ingredients as well as more useful information about other herbs, spices and essential oils to use during the winter time months.


Astragalus is a popular Chinese herb. It is immune stimulating, an antiviral as well as a general liver strengthener. It is used in TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) for treating a person with external factors that are affecting one's ability to stay in balance energetically and pgysically. It is a general tonic herb for promoting vitality and building strength. Astragalus protects the body from stress. Be it emotional, physical or spiritual.

Black Pepper

Black pepper is an often overlooked spice. Yet is it useful for so many different things. It is anti carcinogenic and is also useful in treating stomach ailments. Good for gas and a full tummy. It is also a wonderful remedy for skin ailments believe it or not and can help with tooth pain! Most of all it is a warming herb and can help reduce inflammation from different types of winter ailments.


This is a good spice to get your circulation flowing. It is good for many digestive problems as well as a good immune tonic. My favorite thing to use it for is sinus troubles! Clears you right out! FAST! Tortilla soup is my long held remedy for sinus trouble! (That and fire cider!)


Cinnamon is reminiscent of the winter season for good reason. It is stimulating & warming. Did you know cinnamon has anti viral, anti bacterial and anti fungal properties? It is an appetite stimulant as well as a good remedy for flatulence and ailments of the gastrointestinal tract. It is also useful in treating colds/flu and urinary tract infections. This spice is my favorite in tea on top of some freshly whipped cream on a cold winter day!

Fennel Seeds

Fennel Seed tea is a favorite for coughs, bronchitis and sinus issues. It is good for breaking up nasty chest and nasal congestion. It is useful in treating asthma and pertussis It is also an antispasmodic and good for relieving stomach cramps and promotes good digestion. I love the taste of fennel!


Of course garlic is the most common cure all of all the herbs and spices out there. Consuming more garlic can help you build immunity and is basically good for strengthening every organ system in your body! It is a good think to consume if you get sick but good to load up on in the winter months. I love it roasted until soft as butter and spread on toast. I can eat several bulbs in one sitting this way.


Ginger is a wonderful root. It is warming in nature and a wonderful addition to your cupboard for the winter season. No herbalists home should be without ginger root! It is good for stomach ailments, respiratory issues as well as a great circulatory and digestive tonic. It can be made into an infusion, compress, infused oil, eaten,etc. A must have!


Horehound is a root that is good for all respiratory ailments. I like it for making cough syrups and pastilles. As well as in tea. It is something I use for chest colds with my children and they love it. It is the best thing for sore throats besides hot tea!


Stimulating and warm, nutmeg promotes calm. It is good for inducing sleep and for digestive issues. It is a good promoter of the circulatory system. (This spice is toxic in high doses so uses sparingly!) Of course who can resist some eggnog at this time of year!?! Nutmeg is sure to make you merry and promotes good spirits.


Rosemary is useful for probably 100 ailments. From colds to flu and arthritis pain as well as skin irritations. It is a good herb to uplift the spirits and for those recovering from illness. I like to use it too soothe nerves and help relieve muscle pain. It can be eaten, infused into oil and drunk as a tea as well as made into oils or salves.

Try experimenting with any one of these herbs & spices and think about adding some of them to your herbal medicine chest for winter time. They are very versatile and can be used in not only seasoning your food but for medicine too!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Winter Bliss Warming Analgesic Massage Oil

This is a recipe I have used for a warming, soothing winter time herbal infused oil. It is also useful for sore muscles. Wonderful for cold weather! I like it best for a deep tissue massage oil but you can use it in several different ways that I discuss below.

What you will need to make the oil;

10 oz jojoba, apricot or sweet almond oil (apricot is my personal favorite)

1 large piece of ginger root, peeled and cut into smaller chunks/ grated
2 tsp mustard seed oil
1 tsp arnica infused oil
2 oz. st. john's wort infused oil

5 drops cinnamon essential oil
5 drops black pepper essential oil
5 drops chamomile essential
10 drops ginger essential oil
10 drops rosemary essential oil

mesh strainer
12 oz. glass bottle with a lid

Place the ginger root into a pot and cover with 8 oz of jojoba oil. Using the double boiler method or a crockpot & simmer this over low heat for 2-3 hours. Cool and strain reserving the oil. Combine the rest of the ingredients with the ginger infused oil and mix well. Store in a glass bottle. Be sure to remember to label the contents of any herbal concoction you make to avoid confusion later on!

Use liberally as needed on achy joints and for a relaxing and warming massage oil! It can also be used in the bath. Or make bath salts by combining equal parts of Winter Bliss Oil to equal parts of Epson salts. (2 cups each will net you 2 soaks @ 2 cups of salt per bath)

This oil is especially good for those suffering from arthritis or gout and makes a lovely winter time oil to treat yourself with! It is also useful for strains, sprains and tired feet!

~A Week of Winter Remedies~

This week I am going to be writing about winter herbal remedies, stocking the (winter) medicine chest and herbs that are indicated for different winter ailments! I hope you will stop back in!

I think it's really important to arm ourselves with herbal knowledge and stay away from chemical drugs. Although I truly feel there is a time and place for western allopathic medicine, I also believe we can heal ourselves with plant medicine. I feel herbal medicine is gentle medicine and a (re)emerging healing art.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Twitter feed for my articles!

I have decided I don't want to clutter up this blog with my articles but I do want to share them! So, I just set up a twitter account here to post links to my articles at! I will probably be posting 3-5 herb related pieces per week, so check it out! (look for the box on the right side bar to see my feed and then be sure to follow me!)

You can also follow my blog and get updates to your email/ a feed to your Google reader when I publish new posts by following me. (Look at the bottom right of this page!)

Thanks for your support!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Herbal Blog Party

Check out December's Herbal Blog Party!
The theme for this month is herbal aesthetics with some neat projects! Check it out!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Grow a Medicinal Herb Garden on your Windowsill

Winter getting you down? Want to get a jump start on spring starts? Plant a medicinal herb garden in your window! All you need is 3 things. Dirt, seeds and sunny spot!

Here's an article I wrote about planting a windowsill herb garden! Check it out!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Using White Pine as a Healing Medicine

Here is an article I wrote about using white pine for skin and respiratory ailments. Who would have thought pine could be such a healer?