The goal of the medicine chest is to introduce you to the wonderful world of herbs and their many uses. Herbs have traditionally been used as foods, supplements and to cure ailments. Their use can help support your health from a very basic level, just as foods do. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, you could walk into a drug store in the United States and find hundreds of herbal extracts for sale. Upwards of 90 percent of the population at that time knew how to use the medicinal plants growing in their backyards to treat common illnesses and injuries.
I believe that herbs are a girl's best friend. They are nature's super foods and vitamin pill in one. Dried herbs come with minimal processing which means your body can utilize and digest them effectively. In Ayurveda and Western herbalism, herbs are consumed in groups or formulas. That's because as a group, they enhance the potency of the formula and balance any unwanted aspect that an individual herb may have. You will notice that all the teas on this site have at least 4 herbs. The herbs in this formula are rich in minerals, calcium, silica and posses antioxidant qualities. They support the mineralization of bones and supply nutrients, vitamins, moisture and elasticity to the body.
- Nettle leaf
- Oat straw
- Hibiscus Flower
- Horse Tail
All have a long and safe history of use in both Ayurvedic and Western herbalism. If you have not drunk strong herbal teas before, you may find that they have a grassy flavor. Add some honey and this will make the tea taste great!
I have been drinking variations of this tea for two years now. My goal is to feed my body micronutrients in their natural form. I feel great, my skin feels supple and nourished, my bones are strong and flexible and my energy and vitality is of good quality and constant.
When using fresh or dried herbs and teas, we use larger amounts. For this tea I use 2 Tablespoons of each herb to 40z of boiled water. Stir and let sit overnight. The next day, strain and sip throughout the day. You can reheat if you like.
A herbalists best friend. Nettle is nutrient dense plant and a wonderful tonic Many of nettles benefits are due to its high mineral content that are easily assimilated and provide a wealth of nutrients to the system. Its the best source of digestible plant iron magnesium, calcium, Vitamin A and high levels of chlorophyll. It contains potassium, phosphorous, manganese, silica, iodine, sulphur, sodium and is rich in Vitamin K content ( assists with bone formation). Its also a good source of carotene, Vitamin C and the B vitamins along with high levels of protein.
Many people are well aware of the benefits of oats and oatmeal. Oats help reduce blood cholesterol levels, remove body fat, soften skin(baths and facial masks) and provide an excellent source of healthy carbohydrates. However, not as many people are aware of the healing properties contained in oat straw. Calcium-rich oat straw (avena sativa), is the green oat grass and tops in the “milky” stage before the mature oat grains form a head. Western herbalism promotes oat straw for osteoporosis and osteopenia. Oat straw is also promoted as being a calming nervine herb, which can be used as a remedy for anxiety. The herb has been recently proven to aid in cognitive performance in the brain.
Is a pleasant tasting herb that is rich in polyphenols. It possess anti oxidant actions and has demonstrated liver and heart protective actions along with anti obesity effects Hibiscus tea inhibits calcification. An important factor in building bone is getting calcium into the bone as opposed to creating calcification or hardness of the bones, arteries or kidneys. I love hibiscus and drink it as part of this mixture as well as making a cold water infusions ( 1oz herb to 2 quarts/liters of room temperature water. Allow herbs and water to sit overnight for 8-12 hours) Refrigerate and enjoy! It helps beat the summer heat and is a refreshing naturally cooling drink.
Horsetail has traditionally been used by many herbalists for its soothing diuretic properties It is also recommended for the treatment of urinary tract infections. Due to its high level of silica, it is used to support all the structures of the body that utilize silica. The structures that Horsetail nourishes are the bones, cartilage, hair, nails, skin and mucous membranes. All structures with collagen will be supported by this herb.
**** this herb should not be consumed long term by pregnant women due to its diuretic effects.
Winter Tonic / Kashaya Tea
A sweet and spicy herbal drink form South India prepared using aromatic spices based in Ayurveda.
Kashaya can cure nagging colds, chest colds, loss of appetite, clear sinuses, and nausea. Its a wonderful substitute for caffeinated loaded drinks and it aids in weight loss.
- Part 1 Making Kashaya Powder
- 1 cup coriander seeds
- 1/3 cup cumin seeds
- 1/4 cup fennel seeds
- 1-2 TBS black peppercorns
- 1-2 tsp dry ginger ( optional)
Dry roast the herbs separately on a low flame till the heady aroma of the spices fills your home. Spread the roasted spices on a wide plate and let them cool to room temperature. Grind al the spices along with the ginger root to a fine powder and store in an air tight jar.
Part 2. Making Kashaya Drink
- 1 heaped tsp Kashaya powder
- 1/4 cup milk( add more or less based on your preference) I use coconut milk
- 1 cup water
- 1/2-1TBS Jaggery/molasses/coconut sugar. Adjust for taste
- 1/2 tsp cinamon, a pinch of cardamom or turmeric powder( optional)
Take 1 cup water in a sauce pan and bring to boil. Once water has come to a boil, mix a heaped tsp of kashaya powder and sweetener to taste. Let it boil for 1 minute and mix in 1/4 cup milk along with cardamom, cinnamon/turmeric powder if using. Switch off flame and let rest for one minute for the flavors to infuse. Strain it through a fine sieve and drink whilst hot.
adapted from my Herbalist teachers notes. KP Singh Khalsa- Natural Healing Specialist www.kpkhalsa.com
Coriander - Improves digestion, Rich in antioxidants, Normalizes blood sugar and cholesterol, fights infection. Use in combination with Fennel and cumin will strengthen digestion without aggravating pitta
Safety profile: if have allergic reaction to cilantro then avoid coriander
Cumin - Great warming spice for all types, gas reducing, rich in flavonoidse, excellent source of iron and minerals,Stimulates and strengthens digestion, Regulates blood sugar helps to normalize cholesterol, demonstrated cancer fighting potential, prevents bone loss, kills bad bacteria (traditionally used to preserve food)
Safety profile: excellent safety profile
Fennel - Strengthens Digestion, reduces intestinal gas and cramping making it an effective pain reliever, reduces inflammation, kills toxins, powerful antioxidant, cancer fighter
Safety rating: excellent safety profile
Cinnamon - Great warming spice for irregular agni, Increases circulation, reduces intestinal spasms and gas, lowers cholesterol and blood sugar, reduces inflammation, anti microbial
Safety Profile: safe in doses of 1 tsp daily
Cardamom - Cardamon is a relative of Ginger and Turmeric. It increases digestion, particularly heavy, hard to digest food, warming anti mucous herb, pain relieving, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory. Sprinkled in coffee will reduce acidity and mucous from milk
Safety Profile: No herb drug
Turmeric - Blood purifier, liver restorative, antimicrobial and anti bacterial, antioxidant, anti inflammatory, anti cancer, Its nourishing to the heart. Helps with blood circulation and stops the formation of new plaque.Reduces existing plaque in the arteries.
It protects the liver by increase bile flow. It normalizes cholesterol and has been used in the treatment of diabetes. It strengthens digestion & helps to restore intestinal flora.
Turmeric is a member of the ginger family. This is one of my top 5 herbs that I use daily and prescribe widely to my students.
Every person should consume this herb as a food and supplement daily. It has so many wonderful benefits. Current studies have confirmed its cancer reducing, anti inflammatory effects, along with its use in thetreatment of benign tumors.