Save the drugs for serious conditions: many common ailments can be effectively treated with homemade remedies and the natural healing power of herbs.
Important note: Don’t mess around with your medical needs! These homemade natural remedies are for minor complaints that it is OK to self-medicate. Please consult a trusted medical professional for anything serious or unusual.
[in the works]
The following recipes, which are all very safe to make at home, were contributed by Suzanna Thelwall from Totally Natural Skincare, clinical aromatherapist and medical-herbalist-in-training . General instructions:
- The herbs mentioned are all used in their dried form (organic is best as it’s much more potent). They can be sourced from Neal’s Yard Remedies or Baldwin‘s in London, Woodland Herbs in Glasgow, or the Organic Herb Trading Company (wholesale only). Totally Natural Skincare stocks combinations and teas.
- For teas (infusions), use 1 teaspoon of herbs to 1 cup of water. This can be doubled if needed, for medicinal value. Pour boiling water over the herbs and leave to infuse for at least 12 minutes.
- When drinking the herbs is indicated, they need to be powdered (either bought that way, or in a coffee grinder). Then mix them in liquid (I use orange juice), swallow quickly and follow with a chaser. They may not taste very nice, hence the orange juice, but you can also just use water and add honey. Some people use a straw as it bypasses the taste buds! The dosage here is 1 teaspoon 3 times a day for something acute, or 1/2 tsp twice a day for something chronic. For children, use half a dose, and for babies up to 2 years, use just a pinch of herbal powder.
Mix 1 part skullcap and 1 part valerian and drink 1 tsp 3 times a day or as needed. This combination is also useful to help you relax before you sleep. It doesn’t taste very pleasant, so use honey to sweeten.
It is important not to suppress the symptoms, but to work with the body back to health. Often a cold is an indicator that things are out of balance, and rest may be needed. My favourite herbal combination is elderflower, peppermint and yarrow, in equal proportions, as an infusion. This should be drunk at least 3 times a day (preferably much more) to flush out the system and eliminate toxins.
A simple mucus congestion formula is black pepper, aniseed and ginger root, powdered and drunk. This can be used for colds, flu and hay fever, and can be used in combination with the Infection formula below. Drink the powdered herbs in juice, or make an infusion.
A basic internal treatment for eczema is figwort, nettles and red clover. This should be drunk 3 times a day. At first symptoms may get worse, but then should start to improve. Externally, using natural moisturisers like shea butter and chickweed ointments will also help.
An eye wash can be made with eyebright and golden seal root. Pour boiling water over the herbal powders, steep until they cool, then strain through a fine cloth. Using an eye cup, open and close each eye under the infusion for 1 minute. Do this up to 3 times a day, as needed. Continue until the condition improves. Use 1/8 teaspoon of herb to 1/2 cup water.
A formula for infection is 2 parts echinacea root, 1 part each garlic, golden seal root (leave this out if pregnant), mullein and plantain. Mix the powdered herbs and drink 1 teaspoon 3 times a day in fresh orange juice. You can also make an infusion and drink it hot with honey, although the taste is not so pleasant! This mixture can be used for colds, flu, abscesses, infected wounds, bronchitis and burns. Rest is also important.
Mix 1 part passionflower and 1 part valerian. Drink a dose just before going to bed. The strength needed for this varies from person to person.
A pain relief formula is white willow bark, Jamaican dogwood, Valerian root and cramp bark. This can be used for acute injuries, headaches, burns or for chronic diseases like arthritis and rheumatism. Drink the powder in juice or take as a herbal infusion. The dosage for this formula is 3 times a day with meals, but it can be given much more frequently if needed. It is important to also try to also relieve the cause of the pain.
A period pain formula is 1 part of each blue cohosh, lemon balm, ginger root, turmeric and valerian root mixed with 2 parts of cramp bark. Drink 1 tsp 3 times a day. Chamomile tea also helps if taken immediately.