Herb recommendations

At the end of last week a couple of the kids pulled up the tomato plants (at my request) and picked all the green tomatoes.  So because I didn’t want them to go to waste, last night I made six quarts of pickled green tomatoes and 2.5 quarts of green tomato salsa.  I bought a few large bags of organic red corn chips last week that will go nicely with the salsa for a yom tov snack.  And the kids tasted the pickled tomatoes tonight and gave them a thumbs up. :)

Then yesterday my wonderful children put the sukka together, and I asked them to plant some seeds for me – but they went on to plant a bunch more than that!  They planted swiss chard, spinach, mache, lettuces, turnips, beets, rutabagas, and snow peas.  Since we all got so much done yesterday, I decided to treat everyone to a trip to the science center this morning, where we spent several hours and had a great time!

>>Your blog is wonderful and so helpful. I was looking to place my first order at Mountain Rose Herbs (perhaps tomorrow) and I recall you wrote somewhere that your midwife had a special mixture of herbs she told you to take postpartum to avoid the discomfort (pain) after the birth. Is there any chance I could have the “recipe” and how it’s prepared/taken?<<

As far as the recipe for minimizing afterbirth cramping, it’s a brew of Chinese herbs that this herbalist created for her clients.  I’d also love to know the recipe, but it seems to be a trade secret! 

>>Besides elderberry, is there anything else you advise getting or having on hand for general purposes?<<

What kind of herbs will be most useful will depend on what you foresee needing them for.  I started off using herbs by taking a blend of several for pregnancy and then I added on as they appealed to me.  I can’t claim that I was incredibly systematic about it – I got the herbs that seemed to have properties I felt would be valuable.  But it’s worked out pretty well since I’ve had on hand the herbs I’ve needed for the most part.  I have a couple I haven’t really done much with yet, though.  Before making an order, it’s best to have some idea of what it does as well as how you plan to use it.

The easiest to include in your collection are the food herbs, like cinnamon, mustard, ginger, cayenne, garlic, tumeric – I get those in the grocery store in the largest containers I can fine.  I have several I’ve harvested from my garden or yard – burdock (blood purifier), plantain (skin issues), fennel (digestive aid), and sage (colds).   Then when I bought herbs, I got several that are natural antibiotics – echinacea, yarrow, and olive leaf.  Comfrey is for contact healing of cuts – I think it’s a must have.  I have pau d’arco for yeast issues (never used this but it seemed like a good thing!), spearmint for digestion, mullein and lobelia for upper respiratory infections.  Then there are herbs like chamomile for calming. 

So the question is, what do you see as being the issues you want to deal with?  If for example, I had restless sleepers or issues of depression, I’d need different herbs than what I have.  I decided this winter to prepare remedies to address the following: flu, colds, upper respiratory distress, ear pain, cough syrup, digestive issues, and a basic first aid salve.  So I’ve made  elderberry syrup (colds and flus) and tonight finished the , echinacea glycerite (colds).  I plan to make ginger syrup for sore stomachs or indigestion (in addition to having fennel and spearmint, as well as peppermint oil), mullein oil for ear pain (this is something we rarely experience – I’m not even sure why I’m preparing it except it seems to be worth having just in case) and am astragulus and wormwood for a couple of other remedies.  I have a first aid salve simmering on the stove right now, my own creation. :)  I’m also planning to make a muscle cream and got arnica flowers and St. John’s wort for that.

So for me at this stage (remember, I’m relatively new herbal healing), the most important herbs would be: echinacea root and leaves, elderberries, mullein, lobelia, comfrey, yarrow, plantain, and licorice root.  For anything else I think I could manage with whatever is in my spice cabinet, garlic, apple cider vinegar, and good nutrition!  


6 thoughts on “Herb recommendations

  1. Thank you so much for asking – I went to my chiro once last week and again a couple of days ago and did a bunch of energy clearing. It BH made an amazing difference – my breathing audibly changed while she was doing the energy work on me. There was a pretty big block that took two visits to clear. Energy is a fascinating thing – there’s a physical component too (mold allergy) but the reason it became problematic at this time was the energy aspect. I’m not a hundred percent but now it’s in the realm of a sometimes annoying (like a mild allergy) instead of scary.

  2. Thank you for posting this information.

    A few questions.

    1. Where do you learn dosing information for yourself and the children? I’ve so far used prepared herbs (already in capsules with dosing information) and I’m not sure how much I would use if I was using even those same herbs, certainly not herbs I’m not familiar with.

    2. Who is your herbalist and how could one get that herbal preparation for a postpartum mother? Does it need/have a hechsher?

    3. Is there a problem using echinacea or elderberry this year because of the swine flu? I remember you mentioned (and I’ve read elsewhere) that upping ones immune system can be counterproductive with this particular virus (although I can’t see lowering ones immune system to be helpful).

    4. Do you find that the food type herbs are as potent/effective when bought in the supermarket (for baking) as they are when bought from an herb specialty source?

    That’s my shopping list of questions for now.

    I’m glad you’re feeling a bit better. Wishing you and your family (and those of your readers) a year (years) of good health and all good things.

  3. 1)I just bought a book this week on using herbs and dosage amounts for children – there are several different formulas to calculate with. It’s called Herbal Antibiotics.

    2) I don’t know how to get the postpartum mix other than through my midwife- she doesn’t sell it. She brings it to the birth as a service to her clients.

    3) Elderberry isn’t problematic with swine flu, echinacea is.

    4) I would think the food grade herbs aren’t as potent because the same kind of care isn’t given to freshness.

  4. I know nothing about herbs, but was wondering if you knew anything or had any concerns about herbs and milk supply. I am nursing a 16 month old so she is getting other food and drinks, but I just wanted to get your advice. In particular, I have heard that sage and parsley reduce milk supply.

  5. Generally I don’t use a lot of herbs; even at this time of the year when it’s much more than the summer, it’s still relatively not a lot (the amounts are really small – a teaspoon of elderberry syrup in the morning, two teaspoons of mullein/lobelia glycerite per day when I was really having a hard time breathing). I don’t know nearly as much as I’d like to about herbs, but at this point I don’t have any concerns with nursing except to avoid herbs that are known to reduce milk supply (like you mentioned).

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