Horsetail Nail & Cuticle Salve

 



A new salve! It's high in silica. It is infused with horsetail, as well as other healing and strengthening herbs in lesser amounts, including usnea the strong anti-fungal lichen, stinging nettle, rosemary and olive oil.  All containing healing and strengthening compounds for nails and cuticles.

Horsetail is high in silica, so promotes nail hardness and health. It's also antimicrobial and antifungal, so the horsetail, along with the usnea, helps to protect nails against fungus infection. Horsetail has also been found to help prevent and heal nail psoriasis and has strong healing compounds for the cuticles. 

Horsetail is great for your hair! It strengthens the hair and speeds growth. Partly due to the silica, but also to the other healing and antifungal compounds. The usnea, rosemary and nettle in the salve make it a good warm oil treatment for hair and scalp, as well as hands! 


Creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea)


For many generations, Creeping Charlie (also called ground ivy) has been used to relieve several ailments.


Creeping Charlie helps ease headaches that arise due to stuffiness and sinus pressure, as well as the cough and other cold symptoms. If you wake with these types of headaches, try ground ivy tea. Steep fresh leaves in boiling water, with a lid, for an hour. It has a mild minty flavour. You can sweeten it, if needed. 


Creeping Charlie has been used for coughs, and bronchitis, arthritis and other joint pain, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), stomach problems, diarrhea, hemorrhoids, bladder infections, bladder stones, and kidney stones. 


Creeping Charlie has been used as a tea to ease gastritis and acid indigestion, bloating and nausea. 

It has also been applied directly to the skin for wounds, ulcers, and other skin conditions. It is antiseptic and can be a help in treating urinary tract infections and clearing toxins out of the body. 







Sow Thistle (Sonchus oleraceus)

 

Sow thistle is a nutritious plant that contains several minerals (calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium and zinc) and vitamins (A, B1, B2, B3, B6, & C), has a high carotenoid content, and is used as a sedative and diuretic. Sow thistle is also an anti-inflammatory, helping to relieve pain and inflammation.


The sap is said to be very effective in removing warts, just apply daily directly to the wart and in two weeks the wart should be gone.

Sow thistle is a good fodder for any stock. Cows, pigs and chickens love it, and I imagine it would be good for sheep and goats, as well, so you might consider encouraging or even planting it in the pasture.

Precautions:
Sow thistle is high in oxalic acid, and can contribute to the formation of kidney stones in the human body.
If you or someone else who would be consuming sow thistle has previous history with kidney stones, or has medical history with other kidney health concerns, it is recommended to avoid taking sow thistle internally.






Henbit & Dead Nettle

Henbit

Henbit & Dead Nettle are close cousins, both members of the laminum - mint family. (It's called "dead" nettle because it doesn't sting.)  is it a weed? What is a "weed". If it's anything that you don't want growing in your garden, then I think henbit and dead nettle are not weeds. Henbit is a beautiful, edible groundcover for all those empty areas and bees like it too. Its one of the earliest blooming flowers in the spring when bees need food. It's also good for humans! 

Dead Nettle
Both are close to the ground and grow similar purple flowers. Dead nettle is larger, with larger purplish leaves on top as it matures. Both are edible raw or cooked. Henbit can be a bit peppery, tasting but mild otherwise and not at all like mint. Dead nettle is milder, more like spinach and is good in any dish where you would put spinach, but too much dead nettle can have a laxative effect. Both are high in vitamins and minerals, as are many of the edible "weeds" that grow in the lawn and are pulled out of the garden. They are a source of vitamins, A, C,  K, and iron. Dead nettle is also high in calcium, magnesium and manganese. 

Dead nettle is anti-microbial, anti-fungal and is a source of quercetin, making it anti-inflammatory. Henbit is a fever reducer, diuretic and helps aid digestion. It has been known as a "bloat-buster". Henbit is also a mild stimulant. Overeating either one can have a laxative effect.

One should wait to harvest these plants until after they flower. Once they have their distinctive flowers, they are not easily confused with other plants that should not be eaten.

Henbit
Henbit can be invasive and self seeds easily everywhere. Like any mint, if you are interested in growing it for food, maybe keep it in a large pot. It might take over the garden. I have it growing in my lawn but I am considering putting some in a pot where it is easier to separate from the grass. 


I would like some dead nettle, as well, and do know someone who has it growing in her yard. I might cut it down for her and move a plant to my garden. (I probably won't get there. It's a time issue. I don't have any!!)


Ref:

https://theherbalacademy.com/purple-dead-nettle/

https://foragedfoodie.blogspot.com/2017/02/identify-deadnettle-and-henbit.html

https://www.outdoorapothecary.com/purple-dead-nettle/

https://eattheplanet.org/henbit-the-elegant-and-nutritious-wild-edible/

https://www.ediblewildfood.com/henbit.aspx

https://hillsborough-homesteading.com/wild-edibles-henbit/

http://www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net/herbs/l/lamium-amplexicaule=henbit.php

https://www.foragingtexas.com/2009/12/henbit.html

https://homesteading.com/medicinal-uses-for-weeds-part-4/

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/321547395_Medicinal_phytochemicals_and_health_effects_of_henbit_lamium_amplexicaule_L_Based_on_their_evidences

https://www.motherearthnews.com/sustainable-living/nature-and-environment/foraging-wild-henbit-ze0z1610zfis/

https://thegrownetwork.com/weed-garden-henbit-deadnettle/




Goldenrod


Goldenrod is one of those wild flowers that people take for granted and consider a weed. So did I, until this year. I have begun to do a lot of research into medicinal herbs, focusing on what I have growing here. We have been blessed with so much growing here in the way of medicinal herbs, right at our fingertips! Goldenrod is one of them!

Goldenrod (Solidago) flower tea is used to treat most urinary tract problems, as well as inflammation of the intestines and kidney problems, especially kidney stones.

It is antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antifungal making it useful for healing all kinds of sores and wounds externally.

The chemicals in goldenrod are specifically effective against infection from the Candida fungus, which causes all kinds of yeast infections and oral thrush in the human body. Goldenrod tea is also effective in the treatment of chronic sore throats, in alleviating chronic congestion in the nasal passages as well as in treating problems such as diarrhea and other digestive disorders.

Goldenrod tea can also be used as a mouthwash or as a douche for the treatment of yeast infections in the vaginal cavity.

Another "weed" that turns out to be a great herb. I have some drying now for tea and plan to cut and dry a lot more before winter comes. I am putting it in my immune boosting winter tea
.

Stinging Nettle - A Strong Medicinal Herb


Stinging Nettle

One of the Strongest Herbs for 
Health Out There! 

Stinging nettle (Urtica 
dioica) is packed with vitamins, minerals, and trace minerals along with hefty dose of potent phytonutrients including deep-green chlorophyll and carotenoids. In fact, more than 100 chemical components have been identified in nettle, including:

Minerals – iron, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper, boron, strontium

Vitamins - A, C, K, and B vitamins

Phytonutrients - chlorophyll, beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, quercetin, rutin
NOTE: The sting isn't dangerous, and the red skin + itch will subside within about half an hour ... there's really no need to find the nearest ER and rush over there, just cos a nettle stung you. 

Nettle tea, made from dried nettle leaves, is perhaps best known for its high mineral content. The leaves are packed with more minerals, especially magnesium and calcium, than a number of other medicinal herbs. One recent study found that dried nettle leaf has more magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, boron, and strontium than dried chamomile, peppermint, sage, St. John’s wort, linden, and lemon balm. 
Nettles in any form are good for hayfever allergies. 
That translates into having more energy, mental acuity, disease resilience and radiant well-being
In addition to its high nutrient content, results from preliminary studies show that stinging nettle has many other health-promoting properties. For example, nettle has been shown to:
  • The natural polyphenols in nettle leaves are thought to be responsible the powerful antioxidant abilities of nettle tea. 
  • Fight infections. Nettles have antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal effects. 
  • Decrease inflammation. Nettles work as a natural anti-inflammatory through a number of different mechanisms.
  • Lower blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Nettles are used in diabetics to combat high blood sugar and cardiovascular risk factors. 
  • Fight cancer. Nettles have a beneficial effect in prostate cancer. 
  • Heal stomach lining. Nettle tea helps heal the mucosal lining of the stomach in the case of ulcers or stomach irritation.
  • Nettle roots instead of the leaves are used to decrease symptoms of enlarged prostate. 

Nettle seeds are the most nutritious part of nettle plant. They contain all the goodies of nettle, vitamin A and C, iron, calcium, magnesium and silicon. What is more, they contain essential fatty acids and vitamin C which are especially good for skin and brain.

Nettle seed is considered a Western adaptogen herb that supports the adrenal glands and endocrine system. This is why in herbal medicine it is used as a tonic for fatigue and adrenal exhaustion; for people who are burnt-out, run down and low in energy, zest for life and libido. For those interested in biochemistry, the ‘feel-good’ factor from eating raw, dried nettle seeds is caused by the neurotransmitters acetylcholine and serotonin, closely followed by choline and histamine.

Acetylcholine binds to the mood receptors in our brains. It stimulates the autonomic nervous system, improves mood and heightens sensory perception, attention span, vigilance and intuition.
Nowadays medical herbalists mainly use nettle seed to increase energy, as an anti-inflammatory and as a highly effective kidney trophorestorative. It slows down renal failure, evidenced by increased kidney glomerular function and lowered serum creatine levels. Modern clinical studies have shown that it also protects the liver, repairing it and restoring liver function after oxidative damage. Another macronutrient found in nettle seed called choline (a component of lecithin vital to liver function). Choline is sometimes used to treat liver cirrhosis and hepatitis. Studies have also shown that it is indeed anti-inflammatory and will soothe colitis

Pick the seeds green, then dry them and rub gently to remove the stems. Start with just 1 teaspoon per day. Build up to 1 tablespoon a day slowly, when you know you can handle it. Sprinkle the in cereals or other foods. If you are picking the seeds, please leave enough on the plant for it to reseed.Be careful when eating nettle seed not to exceed 30 grams a day. It can be over-stimulating and, like an amphetamine, prevent you from sleeping 

Wear gloves when picking nettles! When dried or cooked the plant parts have no more sting. To dry the leaves or seeds, lay them out on a paper towel before storing and turn occasionally. If you are unsure of the dryness of the seeds, put them in a paper envelope for a few weeks before storing in glass, plastic or metal. Label the envelope. I store all my seed in envelopes labeled with type, dates and other notes.  

Nettle Tea: Steep 1/4 cup of dried, crushed nettle leaves in a quart or litre of boiling water for 30 minutes, covered. Make a healthy mixed herbal tea by adding rose hips, yarrow flowers, fireweed flowers, red clover flowers, lemon grass or any combination of the above additives. Add a drop of honey if desired. Maximum recommended dose of nettle tea is four cups a day.

Make iced tea in the hot weather! Delicious! 

WARNINGS: 
1. If pick nettles where fecal matter has been deposited, like pastures or barn areas, let it sit for a few days to lower the nitrate level.
2. Don't give nettles to babies or nursing mothers. 

I might be planting stinging nettles in my garden this year! I'm considering planting an herbal health garden. 



Sources: 
(Mother Earth News), (Schoolofthewild.com), (Napiers.net), (Henrietttes-herb.com)

Plantain

Most of you will recognize this as a common weed that grows everywhere. You probably pull it out of your gardens and toss it away. It grows anywhere there is disturbed soil, along roadsides, in fields and in gardens. It is a very well known weed, but is also one of the best healing herbs out there!


Plantago, generally called "plantain" (no relative of the small banana) was first brought to the US with the first colonizers, where it quickly spread. The aboriginal people called this plant “white man’s footstep”, as it followed the path of the white settlers, growing along wagon roads and railroads. The Latin name of the common plantain also echoes this, Plantago majorPlantago referring to the sole of the foot.

At first the Native people were distrustful of a plant that came with so much trouble trailing behind. But those people knew that all things have a purpose and that we must not interfere with its fulfillment. When it became clear that White Man’s Footstep would be staying on Turtle Island, they began to learn about it’s gifts. This wise and generous plant, faithfully following the people, became an honored member of the plant community. White Man’s Footstep, generous and healing, grows with its leaves so close to the ground that each step is greeting to Mother Earth.”

From: "Braiding Sweetgrass" a book by botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer, a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.

Unlike many other introduced plants, plantain has never reached invasive status. Instead, it’s considered a naturalized plant, being a good neighbor and fitting in the ecosystem, not bullying or displacing the local plant residents. Eaten by wildlife and pastured animals.


There are a few different varieties of plantain that grow in this area, all are edible and used in the same way. 

The most common is Plantago major, broad leaf plantain, white man's foot or greater plantain, with rounder leaves, seen in photos below. 





Also growing here, but less common is Plantago lanceolata, ribwort, ribleaf, narrowleaf plantain, English plantain, with longer, thinner leaves, shown in photos below.



Both the leaves and the seeds (psyllium) are eaten and used in medicine. 
LEAVES: 

Plantain leaves are anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving and work very well applied topically to insect bites, rashes, eczema, scratches, splinters, poison ivy and any other skin irritations or wounds. Just crush a leaf and apply, or chew slightly to make a poultice. You can also make a tea and, after cooling, apply to wounds to aid in healing. I use it in my healing salve, along with 9 other healing herbs. It is also part of my soothing, paint relieving salve, not yet on the market.



The tea can be taken internally to help with gut irritation, ulcers, heartburn, bowel problems, lung congestion. "Plantain acts as a gentle expectorant while soothing inflamed and sore membranes, making it ideal for coughs and mild bronchitis,” wrote David Hoffmann, FNIMH, AHG, in his book Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine.

Plantain leaves are decent sources of magnesium, potassium (more than bananas), vitamin A, and vitamin K. They also supply some vitamin C and B vitamins, such as thiamine and riboflavin. Young leaves can be added to cooked dishes where you would use spinach. Use young leaves in salads, soups, stews, smoothies or stir-frys or as a steamed vegetable. Simmer in water for 15 minutes and eat like spinach. Older leaves tend to be too tough, thanks to the fibres that form the deep veins, but can be used in a vegetable stock or they can be used as a wrap for a dolma like dish.





You can make your own herbal teabags using coffee filters. You can get directions from a previous blogpost  "Making Your Own Herbal Teabags"







Plantain is high in calcium, it's antibacterial, antiseptic, and has silica which can help with remineralization of teeth. As such it makes a great mouthwash. 


You can also turn the leaves into an herbal salve or ointment. 



Seeds: 

The seeds are also called psyllium. Its the source of psyllium for most commercial psyllium powders, (i.e.  Metamucil). 


The psyllium in plantago has been used for GI conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diarrhea, constipation, and hemorrhoids. It has also been used to treat hyperlipidemia and for its anticancer effects, and it may be useful for glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes. Although some clinical data exist to support use of plantago in constipation, respiratory infections, and hyperlipidemia, clinical information regarding other potential psyllium uses is lacking.



Avoid the use of psyllium if you are pregnant or lactating. 
Very high doses of psyllium may affect blood pressure or cause diarrhea.