BORAGE

Borage

Do you suffer from stress?  Do you need a moment’s respite from the cares of the day?  Make yourself a cup of Borage Tea to wind down.

Borage Tea

1 teaspoon dried Borage leaves and flowers

1 cup boiling water

Pour water over dried Borage leaves and flowers

Let steep for 10 minutes

Sip slowly

Borage in Your Garden

Borage grows well in just about any garden.  You only need to plant it once, because it seeds itself down.  After you have one growth of Borage in your garden, plant the seeds where you want them later, interplanting them among your other vegetables.  They attract bees and have been known to repel the tomato hornworm.

Borage also works well planted among your strawberries.  It is said the Borage plants improve the flavor of the strawberries, but it may be because Borage feeds minerals into your garden soil as well, the way legumes feed nitrogen into your soil.

Borage has a lovely blue star-shaped flower.  The flowers are attractive and edible, and are used in ice cubes for summertime drinks.

Borage has been use for:

Restoring Strength After Convalesce

Diuretic

Expectorant

Anti-Inflammatory

Stress

Restoring Strength After Convalesce

Borage is so loaded with nutrients that with a little honey added to Borage Tea, the person who has been ill has an excellent chance of regaining his or her strength much more quickly.  Always remember to sip the tea slowly and enjoy the moment.  This part of convalescence is an important part of getting healthy.

This tea also works for those who are  taking steroid treatments, regardless of the reason.

Diuretic

Borage helps the body produce urine.  Drink lots of water if you are in the habit of taking a diuretic such as Borage.  Urine collects the waste and impurities from your body’s systems, and flushes them out.  Keep your body healthy by sipping a Borage Tea.

Expectorant

Borage Tea is an excellent solution to reduce fevers, address colds, coughs (including dry cough), and throat irritations.  Just add a little honey and sip as needed.  You will find that Borage Tea promotes sweating.

To make a Strong Borage Tea, just double the amount of dried leaves and flowers before adding the boiling water.  Let steep 10-20 minutes.  A Strong Borage Tea can be used  as a gargle and for tired eyes.

Anti-Inflammatory

As an anti-inflammatory, Borage tea works to reduce conditions that result in inflammation.  It even works to reduce irritable bowel syndrome.  Because it also helps with digestion, it can also relieve gastritis.

As a topical anti-inflammatory, just take the fresh Borage leaves and crush them.  Apply as a poultice to insect bites, stings, and to reduce swelling.  It can even be used to heal boils and rashes.  Wrap the freshly crushed leaves in a thin, wet cloth first, since the hairs on the leaves can be irritating to the skin.  Keep the poultice damp.

Stress

The anti-stress components in Borage Tea also work to promote lactation.  It does not interfere with any drugs you may be taking, and it provides an overall feeling of well-being.

 

SWEET CLOVER

Compliments of Arkive.org

Compliments of Arkive.org

It almost looks like alfalfa until its yellow or white flowers bloom.  When you cut it, it smells heavenly.  When you dry it for tea, you know you’ve prepared something that will feed you.

In ages past, before innerspring mattresses, when many people stuffed a mattress with herbs, hair, fibers and plants for bedding, sweet clover was one of those herbs that was added to the mattress stuffing.  Its fragrance alone made for a good night’s sleep.

Sweetclover has been used for:

  • Moth Repellent
  • Digestion
  • Inducing Urination
  • Anti-Coagulant
  • Anti-Inflammatory (including Painful Menstruation)
  • Nervous Tension and Insomnia
  • Wounds, Cuts, Bruises and Hemorrhoids
  • Protein Source

 

Moth Repellent

All right, so we no longer stuff our mattresses with Sweetclover to make them smell good.  But it is handy to know that as much as humans love the smell of Sweetclover, moths do not.  So place a sprig in your drawers, fold some into your blankets, hang a sachet in your closet, and repel moths.

Digestion

If you’ve eaten a meal full of delicious dried beans, no matter how much you like them, they cause gas.  Or if you’ve eaten too much or ingested too many sweets, the same result can happen.  The best way to take care of this issue – and delicious as well – is to have a cup of Mint-Sweetclover Tea either during or after your meal.

Mint-Sweetclover Tea

1/2 teaspoon dried Mint

1/2 teaspoon dried Sweetclover

1 cup boiling water

Honey to sweeten, if desired

Pour water over dried leaves.

Let steep for 5-20 minutes.

Sip slowly.

Yumm!

Inducing Urination

Although Sweetclover is not a cure-all, it has been used to increase urination in those who have had difficulty in the past.  Does this mean Sweetclover is a diuretic?  I don’t know.  I’m not a doctor, and I’ve never claimed to be.  But it has been used for this purpose in the past.  It is mild enough to try for this purpose.  If you’re concerned, I recommend you see your physician.  Just be aware that he may know less than you do about herbal cures.

Anti-Coagulant

One of the amazing things about Sweetclover is that it has been used as an anti-coagulant.  This is good news for those prone to blood clots, those on high cholesterol drugs, or those who need to use blood thinners for a number of other reasons.  It also increases blood circulation.

However, if you’re already on blood thinners, you really do need to check with your doctor before you sip Mint-Sweetclover Tea.  This may interfere with your current medication or actually cause bleeding.

Nervous Tension and Insomnia

However, if it’s safe for you to sip Mint-Sweetclover Tea, try a cup before bed or in the evening after supper.  It will reduce tension and help you enjoy a more relaxed evening.

Wounds, cuts, bruises and hemorrhoids

A Sweetclover wash or oil can be made to address wounds, cuts, bruises, and, yes, hemorrohoids.  It has an anti-bacterial effect that is good for injuries.

Sweetclover Wash

1 teaspoon dried Sweetclover

1 cup boiling water

Pour water over leaves and cool

Apply as needed to affected areas

Sweetclover Oil

Stuff a jar with fresh, coarsely chopped Sweetclover flowers, stems and leaves.

Fill jar with olive oil or other pure vegetable oil.

Attach lid and shake to get all leaves covered with oil.

Set jar in sunny area.  Unscrew lid and put over top loosely.  You want moisture to evaporate and air bubbles to release.

Poke chopstick or table knife into mixture daily for one week to get rid of air bubbles, then weekly after that.

Leave in windowsill for 4 weeks.

Through strainer, strain leaves into dark glass jar with tight-fitting lid.  Store in dark place.

Use as a topical remedy.

Protein Source

Although Sweetclover is not a complete protein, it complements brown rice and whole grains nicely.  So if you’re going through a difficult time and you need extra protein in your diet, remember Sweetclover.  It can be a great help.

Caution: Sweetclover can interfere with anti-coagulant medication, or if you already have bleeding issues, you may wish to avoid Sweetclover.

 

Osha Root  

Compliments of SustainableHomesteading.com

Compliments of SustainableHomesteading.com

If you are lucky enough to live in the mountainous West of the United States, you will come across Osha Root naturally.  Because the this plant is in danger of becoming extinct, if you live in the western mountains, only harvest Osha Root in the fall when the seeds are already loose in their seed heads.  Place the dried seed heads upside down on the forest floor and cover lightly with dry twigs to protect the next year’s sprouts.  This caution also goes out to herbalists who harvest Osha Root for profit.  Take care of your environment, and its bounty will reward you.

 

Osha Root is also called Bear Root because bears really love this plant, especially in the spring when they are hungry and malnourished.  They will dig it up, chew it up, and spray their saliva over their coats as well.  I’m not sure of the purpose in this behavior, but I’m not a bear.

 

Osha Root, a part of the parsley family, looks similar to Wild Carrot.  But it also looks so much like poisonous hemlock that you must smell the harvested root to make sure you have the right herb.  Osha Root will smell like strong celery.

 

As a Vegetable

 

All parts of the plant are useful.  The stalks and leave can be eaten as a vegetable, but until you know the difference between poisonous hemlock and Osha Root, it’s not wise to go munching on its greens.

 

Unlike a vegetable, however, is that it is almost impossible to cultivate.  The best way to get Osha Root is to gather it yourself.  Herbalists who harvest the root for their own profit have made this plant nearly extinct.  But you can buy Osha Root if you live in areas where it does not grow naturally.

 

Osha Root has been used for:

 

  • Gum Health
  • Lung Health
  • Anti-viral
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Anti-fungal
  • Anti-inflammatory

 

How to Use Osha Root

 

Osha Root keeps the gums healthy.

 

Chew It

 

“Osha root, otherwise known as bear root, is a very potent herb. It promotes health of your mouth, gums, and throat. Maybe even your whole immune system. My gums used to be pretty sickly, and I almost lost all my teeth because of it. Now my gums are super healthy (sorry Dr. Periodontist, I don’t need you any more). I also no longer get respiratory infections after a long allergy season. I just chew a tiny piece of Osha root each morning, slosh it around in my mouth, and then floss my teeth.”  http://bushcraftusa.com/forum/showthread.php/35032-Osha-root

 

Osha Root helps keep the lungs healthy.  If you are suffering from a cold or flu, bronchitis, tonsillitis or other lung conditions, you have several options to address your condition.

Breathe It

Put some root into a pot of boiling water and breathe in the steam.

Poultice It

Make a mash of Osha Root, wrap it in a warm cloth and place it on a chest.  This works very well for a sorely congested chest.

Drink It

In the fall, chop or grind Osha Root to keep all winter long.  Then you have the necessary ingredients to get your family through the cold and flu season.

Osha Root Tea

1 teaspoon dried Osha Root

1 cup boiling water

Let the ground root steep in the boiling water for 10-20 minutes.

Strain into cup.  May add honey to taste.

Sip slowly.

Cough Remedy

Because Osha Root has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, it is an excellent remedy for the flu.  Drink the tea as needed, or put some of the dried herb into some honey as a cough remedy.

Promotes Lung Health

Take Osha Root with you when hiking.  It will help you breathe easier.  It also helps with leg cramps and stomach irritations.

Caution:  Do not use if pregnant or lactating.

Extreme Caution:

Because Osha Root looks very much like Poisonous Hemlock, the best way to know which one you’re using is to smell the root before harvesting.  Osha Root will smell like strong celery.  Poisonous Hemlock will not.

Poisonous Hemlock flowers

Compliments of HerbalFire.com

Compliments of HerbalFire.com

Two kinds of Poisonous Hemlock leaves.  On the left are Water Hemlock leaves.  On the right are Poisonous Hemlock leaves.  Wash your hands after you pick them, and never ingest them.

Compliments of Invasive.org

Compliments of Invasive.org