Why The Law Forbids The Medicinal Use of Natural Substances

According to the FDA’s legal definition, a drug is anything that “diagnoses, cures, mitigates, treats, or prevents a disease.”The problem with this definition is that there are numerous substances, as readily available and benign as found on our spice racks, which have been proven by countless millennia of human experience to mitigate, prevent and in some cases cure disease, and which cannot be called drugs according to the FDA.

Source: Why The Law Forbids The Medicinal Use of Natural Substances

Healing Herbs!

cropped-handful-herbs.jpg

 

Herbs have caught the imagination of mankind ever since its advent on the earth. They have been admired for their beauty and fragrance, and savored for their flavor, for thousands of years. Moreover, they have been used as medicines for common ailments and injuries like sore throat and battle wounds, as well as more difficult health conditions like hypertension and heart diseases, since the earliest of times.

All ancient systems of medicine have been based upon the use of herbs. All ancient civilizations of the world – Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Indian, Chinese, as well as Greek and Roman – are known to have used herbs, not only for the treatment of various diseases but also for revitalizing the body and mind. Plants were even believed to possess mystical or supernatural powers to cure various ailments. It was as a result of these beliefs that many superstitions also grew round plants and herbs, like the belief in witches deriving their power from various herbal potions which was at its peak in Britain in the Middle Ages. Ironically, herbs were used even to counteract the effects of these evil powers. Garlic, hyssop, wormwood, all fell in this category of herbs.

Even in modern times, herbs have taken their rightful place as the ill effects of processed food and prolonged medication have come to be realized. Apart from their use as cures for various diseases in alternative systems of medicines, they are also being used in foods, beverages and cosmetics. In fact, they are a very important part of the shift towards a healthier lifestyle that recognizes their importance in maintaining and enhancing our health.

The way of using herbs may differ, but the purpose of using them always remains the same – to make them interact with our life processes taking place within our bodies. Whether they are used as food or medicine, for fragrance or for beauty, they should be used in a way that the body absorbs their active constituents in order to benefit from their properties. When the body absorbs these active constituents, they are circulated through blood to all its cells to positively affect the whole system. The effect of these active constituents is fundamentally different from that of modern medicine. While modern medicine imposes its effects on the body’s inherent healing mechanism and thus disturbs it, herbal constituents restore and strengthen it so that the healing is natural and does not produce any long term negative effects.

There are several ways to make the active elements of these herbs interact with the life processes within the body. Most commonly, they are orally consumed so that the digestive system may absorb them and take them to the circulatory system. But they can also be taken in by the body in other ways. For example, their aromas can be inhaled through the nose to take in the vapors of their essential oils. They can be applied on the skin or the scalp in the form of poultices or through cosmetic products from where they are taken in by the skin pores. In the form of liquid extracts, they can also be dropped into the eyes or nose for local benefits.

Usually herbs have no harmful side effects, but we can’t generalize the statement. Some people may experience slight problems consequent upon their use. Therefore, when using a new herb, you should try it as a single product, and wait and watch for its effects. If no problem is experienced, you can increase the dosage cautiously. Further, you should remember that everybody is different, and the herb which benefited some may not show the same benefits on you. Finally, you should never replace proper medication with herbs, if you are facing a medical emergency or suffering from a serious chronic condition.

Apart from the medicinal benefits, herbs are of great value in maintenance of general health and well-being. They are rich, natural sources of vitamins, minerals, and other micro-nutrients. Some of them are delicious to taste, like betel leaf or mint, some others extremely difficult to tolerate, yet all of them are full of beneficial properties in their different spheres.

Herbs positively influence blood circulation and aid in detoxifying the system in a natural way. Because of detoxifying effect, they alleviate the effects of food poisoning. Besides, they also aid digestion and thus enhance the body’s ability to absorb various nutrients derived from food consumed.

Herbs improve the functioning of various internal organs of the body which results in correction of the hormonal imbalances. Their regular use improves the functioning of the immune system which results in reduced cases of seasonal infection like common cold or cough. They also soothe the mucous membranes which reduces inflammation and internal pain. On the whole, they strengthen the body in several ways.

Herbs are used both, internally and externally. The internal use involves taking them in the form of tea, or infusion of tinctures, or for gargles and mouthwashes. The external use mostly consists of massage with the essential oils, taking herbal baths or saunas, or applying in the form of creams or poultices.

The same herb can be used for different benefits by altering the way of its use. For example, flax seeds taken with cold water, morning and evening, act as a good laxative. But when applied on the skin after dissolving them in hot water, the same seeds counter skin infections.

However, care is required in selecting and procuring herbs to be used as medicines. If a herb is not pure, it won’t give the desired benefits. So, always buy them from an authentic and trusted dealer. Further, if a herb is not used in the correct way, it may again not be as beneficial. For example, herbal infusions (teas) should be taken hot and should have been prepared using 1 tbsp of the dried herb with a cup of water. However, if fresh herbs are used, the amount should be doubled. If these instructions are not followed, the tea may lose much of its effectiveness.

Many people believe that herbs, being natural products, will not be harmful even if taken in larger than required quantities. It’s true that the human body is often able to metabolize natural plant constituents even in large quantities, but again we cannot generalize the statement. Some herbs, taken in high doses, may indeed be toxic and therefore sufficient care has to be taken even while using herbal products.

Today, scientific research is increasingly confirming what was known to our ancestors from experience. While plants continued to provide us pleasure with their beauty, color and fragrance, and enhance the taste of our food by their flavor, we seemed to have become oblivious of their importance as medicines. It is indeed a matter of great satisfaction that we have now rediscovered this particular aspect of herbs which has the potential of providing the greatest benefit to mankind.

Herbs – The Basics

Herbs have always been the basic source of medication in all the cultures across the world. We find mention of herbs and their uses in history, literature, the Bible as well as several other religious texts. What is more significant is the fact that the Bible lets us know that ‘God has provided man with all herb bearing seeds that is upon the surface of the earth and all the trees, wherein is the fruit of a tree producing seed, it should be considered as meat by us’. For thousands of years, man has been using the herbs to cure his ailments. Most importantly, compared to other types of medications, herbs are safe for use and very consistent having little or no side effect whatsoever.

First and foremost, it needs to be mentioned that term ‘herb’ denotes plants that of non-woody nature. In contemporary times, the term ‘herbs’ means any plant or part of a plant that is used to flavor foods or in the form of medications. Herbs are almost present everywhere. For instance, they are present even in your kitchen – the mustard on your table as well as several other spices that line your kitchen shelf originate from herbs. Actually, there are numerous instances of herbs in our daily life. Herbs are often described as wonders of Mother Nature.

Since the prehistoric days, people have always been seeking help via the herbs, as they are natural resources. In fact, herbs are dissimilar to contemporary medications that result in numerous side effects and they possess the aptitude to restore the defenses of the body, thereby, assisting the body to heal itself without any side effects.

All herbs are natural medications and they have been the natural medicines for the humans all the times. While writing about herbs, it is essential to mention the different types of herbal medicine systems that are in use even to this day – for instance, European, Chinese, American, Ayurveda, Western and Native are the most established systems. All these systems help to cure the body as a whole and each of them make use of the force of the herbs to function as required in collaboration with the natural energy in every individual. Therefore, it is advisable that you should use herbs to possess natural, vital energy to undertaking things that you take please in, to possess the capability to sustain the normal immune system of your body to protect yourself from different ailments.

Precisely speaking, the herbs provide us with numerous health benefits. Here we shall discuss about a few of them. Herbs are effective in cleansing as well as sanitizing the body with no side effects whatsoever. In addition, herbs help to control and nature the glands so that they function as usual. Herbs also enclose high levels of different vitamins, minerals as well as other nutrients that nurture as well as build the body. Herbs also enable the body to possess additional vigor/ energy so that it is able to heal itself. Last, but not the least important, herbs encourage the good bacteria present in our body naturally.

Herbs actually absorb various substances from the soil and subsequently transform them into minerals, vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates and fats that are used by our body for nourishment as well as healing itself. By making use of the herbs or whole plants, we soak in all the essential ingredients they enclose. Almost all herbs enclose numerous active substances, one among which normally dominate and help us to decide on its choice as a medication. Different other curative factors of the herbs ought not to be ignored since they also assist the body to absorb its benefits and safeguard against side effects.

It may be noted that the herbs always function in synergy and, hence, combining them improves the properties of each herb, facilitating to obtain better curing to the body. For instance, a good combination of herbs like hops, valerian and passiflora works wonderfully to induce sleep. All the three herbs mentioned here possess relaxant attributes, while passiflora focuses on facilitating sleep. At the same time, valerian helps to unwind the tense muscles, while hops have a distinctive impact on calming the nervous system.

In the study of herbs (herbology), herbs are supposed to possess changing combinations of properties and extent of each property also. Herbs have the ability to heat as well as dry or heat and moisturize. In addition, herbs may be cooling and drying or cooling and moistening. For instance, one herb may possess highly warming qualities, while another one may simply be somewhat warming. But, both these herbs would be regarded as heating herbs.

The manner in which these attributes are allocated to the plants is quite simple. The herbs that possess heating properties are thought to generate warmth inside the body. Plainly speaking, all the aromatic herbs, for instance, caraway and anise, are deemed to be warming. Interestingly enough, even several bitter herbs, for example Oregon grape, are also categorized as herbs possessing heating properties.

Conversely, cooling herbs are basically those herbs, which medical practitioners consider, that take away the heat from the body or some body part. Generally, herbs that enclose extremely volatile natural oils, for instance spearmint or wintergreen, are classified as cooling herbs. Borage is another example of a cooling herb and, like other cooling herbs, is also referred to as refrigerants. In order to obtain some notion or awareness regarding what a refrigerant actually is, you may imagine of a scorching summer day and subsequently envisage a slice of cucumber or watermelon. In fact, cucumber and watermelon are among the two best refrigerant foods.

It may be noted that the categorization of an herb as drying or moistening also largely depends on the individual properties of a particular herb. Any herb which is effective in augmenting urine passage, for instance bearberry, is considered to be a drying herb. Similarly, all herbs possessing astringent properties, for instance sage or oak bark, too are also known as drying herbs. Generally, aromatic herbs, such as caraway or anise, are also believed to be drying herbs. However, there are exceptions to this general rule too. For instance, fennel is considered to be a moistening herb – it is known to augment milk secretion in lactating women. If an herb is demulcent (soothing) or mucilaginous, it is also considered to be a moistening herb. Other herbs that are also classified as moistening herbs include marshmallow, flax seed, slippery elm and licorice.

The European herbalists had developed a novel way of understanding the properties of different herbs. What they actually did was to imagine that each herb had a specific activity on the different parts of our body. Precisely speaking, they started defining specific activity hubs within the body for every herb. For instance, cayenne pepper, which was categorized as a heating herb, was identified as having an affect on the circulatory system since it was found to enhance the blood flow, particularly to the capillaries close to the skin’s surface. Possibly this clarifies the reason why people who inhabit extremely hot climatic conditions generally use hot peppers in their culinary. In effect, ingestion of hot peppers assists them to disperse the body heat by flowing it to the surface of the skin, where it results in cooling in the form of perspiration and evaporates, while the heat is spread out into the nearby atmosphere.

Another good example of heating herb is ginger which is said to possess the same properties as those of cayenne pepper. Nevertheless, the center of activity of ginger is described as basically lying in the internal organs. According to the conventional European medicine system, ginger is believed to generate a type of heat that remains within the body. Hence, ginger is often used by people during the winter months and in more proportions in the cool northern climatic conditions. People inhabiting these regions use ginger as a medication to treat colds as well as to reinforce the bladder and the kidneys. The basic dissimilarities between cayenne pepper and ginger are owing to the different activity centers of each herb within the body.

Making issues further complicated, it may be noted that herbs are not confined to merely one activity center. There are several herbs that people use for treating numerous dissimilar problems at the same time and instantly, for instance headaches, acne, weariness, constipation and indigestion. The main activity center for such herbs may possibly be the gall bladder and liver, where they would be considered to result in augmenting bile secretion. In fact, the hypothesis goes something like this: enhanced secretion of bile augments digestion of fats and oils, which, in turn, enhances the complexion. Increase bile secretion will also facilitate in easing chronic constipation. Rinsing out the colon is also a vital function.

Build up of toxic substances in the bowels owing to poor decomposition of ingested foods and their elimination from the body also adds to the common toxic condition that may lead to several of the symptoms mentioned earlier in this article. The toxic substances present in the colon are taken up by the blood and, hence, the cleaner the colon will be, the purer will be the blood. It may be noted that the liver being the natural filter of the body, facilitates in straining toxic substances from the blood. If the pace of the liver’s activity is enhanced, it will result in the blood containing lesser impurities or toxic substances. Like Oregon grape, there are a number of herbs that have their activity center in the liver and gall bladder and they influence the body in several ways – most are discussed above.

Hypothesis like these are unsophisticated in contemporary medical terms and mostly unproven by medical research. However, traditional herbology or the study of herbs need not deal with curing from the viewpoint of analysis done in the laboratories. In fact, herbology has always been founded on experimental observation of people as individuals.

It may be noted that the earliest nations or cultures, for instance, the Egyptians, were extremely proficient in using herbs appropriately. An antique text written in 1500 B.C. mentions about over 700 herbal medications, counting herbs like aloe vera, caraway seeds, garlic and poppy. Nevertheless, people in China have been practicing herbal medication for more than 5000 years. In fact, the Chinese are renowned for their understanding as well as use of ginseng. Hence, there is no reason to be apprehensive to use herbs in your kitchen. On the contrary, you should discuss about herbs and their significance in our life. There are infinite other subjects that endorse the gainful consequences of using herbs, inclusive of the quality of herbs, different herbal formulations, procedures to prepare herbal medication, the nutritional content of herbs as well as the dosage of herbal medicines. At the same time, it is important to always bear in mind that using herbs or any product containing herbs, denotes a more vigorous life. Therefore, take pleasure in the herbs, vitamins, aromatherapy and your life!

Honeysuckle – August Flower of the Month.

Lonicera japonica

Family: Adoxaceae, syn. Caprifoliaceae

honeysuckleThis lovely, cascading, woody vine, with its divine scent, is often planted as a landscape attraction. It dazzles the eye with its gorgeous blooms in warm weather and retreats to a pleasant but unremarkable placeholder at other times of the year. Its name refers to the fact that fairies {and everyone else} love to sip the nectar from the flowers. There are well over 100 different species, and at least 15 are used medicinally.

Description..

Honeysuckle is a perennial, deciduous or evergreen climbing shrub that typically wraps tightly around other plants or a support. It can grow to over 20 feet long and is invasive enough to be considered a noxious weed in the eastern United States. The tubular flowers bloom in the summer and are a pale yellow, sometimes tinged with pink, that turns a darker golden color as they age. Orangish red fruits that are rather nasty-tasting but are attractive to birds occur in clusters following the flowers in the fall.

Preparations and Dosage..

Make a strong infusion by steeping the flowers for as long as 30 minutes, or even gently simmer them, and drink 1/2 to 1 cup twice daily, or as often as desired. Honeysuckle also makes a delicious syrup. It’s found commercially in powder, granule, extract, and tablet form. Follow the directions on the product label.

Healing Properties..

The flowers {or flowers plus young stems} are mildly antibiotic and antiviral and are used to treat colds and flu. They are also recommended in traditional Chinese medicine {TCM} for relief of upper respiratory tract infections, fevers, bronchitis, sore throat, heat stroke, and diarrhea. The tea is also known for healing boils and other skin infections, as it helps to remove “fire toxins” {a TCM description that refers to metabolic waste buildup and inflammation} from your body. Teenagers and anyone who is prone to acne, boils, and sties can drink the refreshing tea daily to reap the strongest benefits.

Western herbalists recommend taking the flower tea or extract to relieve hot flashes, to prevent and promote healing of urinary tract infections, and to treat skin conditions like acne, boils, and eczema. The whole vine, including the leaves and twigs, can be decocted and used as a compress for treating burns, sores, and acne.

Safety..

The flowers and twigs are considered nontoxic by traditional Chinese medical practitioners.

In the Garden..

Honeysuckle is frost hardy, heat tolerant, and sturdy; it’s an easy plant to have around. If you want to create a hedge or fence-row, plant honeysuckle vines 3 feet apart, and expect them to push those bounds unless you trim them back during the dormant season. Honeysuckle likes moist, rich soil but is adaptable and somewhat drought tolerant once it’s large, and it will do well in full sun {or even partial shade, in hot climates}. Start it from seed, if you’re willing to wait a month or two for germination {stratification helps}, or take stem cuttings in the spring or woody cuttings in the fall. Easier yet, try layering a neighbor’s plant. Be sure to provide a trellis or fence for it to climb. Stems will trail along the ground, and you may want to prune them back for a tidier look.

Harvesting Honeysuckle..

Collect the flowers when they are just starting to open and are lovely, fresh and have a creamy hue. {Older, orange flowers will dry to a brown color.} Be sure to pick them every few days. As with all flowers, honeysuckle blooms are fragile and will bruise easily, so gather them in the morning, before the warmth of the day has compromised their freshness. Dry them immediately after harvest, at a low temperature and out of the sun. Tender stems may be collected also; they contain many of the same compounds.

Let’s Create Some Herbal Medicine – Tinctures.

tincture1Just as you can make a tea and extract your herb’s medicinal constituents with hot water, you can do the same with a cool liquid – alcohol. You can grind and soak your fresh or dried herbs in an alcoholic liquid or solvent {such as Vodka}, then strain out the herbs. The resulting liquid is called a tincture.

Alcohol is an excellent solvent {meaning that the medicinal constituents of herbs dissolve in it very well}. In our opinion, alcohol is second only to water. For most herbs, a hot tea will make the best herbal preparation, but in a few cases, tinctures can be an excellent choice.

Why make a tincture instead of a tea? One reason is that alcohol will pull out the active constituents of the herbs as a cool liquid instead of as a hot one, which will better protect certain delicate constituents that can be boiled or steamed away by hot water {such as the oils that contribute to peppermint’s lovely scent, or valerian’s heat-sensitive active compounds}. Alcohol carries the healing components of the herbs into your bloodstream quickly when you drink a tincture. In addition, alcohol is a very good preservative, so tinctures stored away from heat and light remain medicinally active for a year or more {and, depending on the herb, can sometimes remain viable for 2 to 3 years or longer}. Tinctures are also portable and convenient – you can carry a small bottle with you and take it directly by mouth or by adding a few droppersful to water.

Tinctures are made by grinding or finely chopping up fresh or dried herbs, adding them to a solution of alcohol, letting the mixture stand for 2 to 3 weeks, and straining out the herbs. It’s that simple!

You will need to pay attention to the strength of your alcohol, because different herbs extract somewhat differently. Alcohol’s strength is known as it’s “proof,” and proof is written as twice the percentage of alcohol in the liquid. Some herbs need a higher proof alcohol to extract all of their medicinal constituents, while other herbs will yield their components better when the level of pure alcohol is lower. If the herb you want to tincture needs a very high alcoholic percentage, you will need to use a higher proof alcohol, for other herbs, you can use a spirit with a lower level of pure alcohol, or you can dilute a high-proof alcohol with water to change its strength. When you are making a tincture, the alcoholic liquid is technically called the “menstruum,” and the herb, when you strain it out at the end, is called the “marc.”

Finding the Right Solution:

To obtain the correct level of alcohol for a menstruum, you have several choices. You can make your tincture with 100-proof vodka {50 percent pure alcohol}, 160-proof vodka {80 percent pure alcohol}, or 190-proof pure ethyl alcohol {95 percent pure alcohol}. Ethyl alcohol is the strongest alcohol you can purchase, but it is restricted in some states; if you can obtain it, pure ethyl alcohol is often superior to vodka as a solvent. Traditionally, brandy has been used as a menstruum {it is 40 percent alcohol by volume}, but modern brandy may contain pigments, flavoring compounds, sugars, and other components that diminish its ability to draw out the medicinal components of the herbs. We recommend using vodka or pure ethyl alcohol when available.

Basic Tincture:

tincture bottles littleA basic tincture is made with an herb {by weight, given in ounces}, and a menstruum {by volume, given in liquid ounces}. This recipe will make a little more than 1/2 cup of finished tincture.

2 – 3 ounces ground or finely chopped fresh or 1 ounce dried flowers, leaves, bark, seeds, or roots

5 liquid ounces vodka or ethyl alcohol

In a clean glass jar with a lid, combine the herb and the alcohol, making sure that the herb is completely submerged in the menstruum. If it’s not, add more alcohol until the herb is completely covered by about 1 inch of liquid. Many herbalists recommend whirring the herb and the alcohol in a blender or food processor until pureed to make sure that lots of surface area is exposed on the herb. Cover the jar and store it in a dark place, shaking it daily for 2 to 3 weeks. Do not allow the herb to float above the level of the alcohol or the tincture will spoil; add more alcohol if necessary to keep the herb submerged. When the tincture is finished, filter it through cheesecloth, a coffee filter, or a fine-mesh strainer. Then put the herbs into a muslin bag, square of cheesecloth, or even a length of clean hosiery, draw the sides together, and squeeze out the last drops of liquid from the herbs. {You can even buy special herb presses that do the job well.} Compost the herb, pour the tincture into amber bottles, label the bottles with the contents and date, and store.

Dosage: 2 to 4 droppersful tincture, every 2 to 3 hours.

Echinacea Tincture:

tincture bottles littleYou can take this tincture when you feel a cold coming on, or if you’re treating an infection.

12 tablespoons fresh or 6 tablespoons dried ground or finely chopped echinacea root

2 cups 160-proof vodka {if using fresh herbs} or 100-proof vodka {if using dried herbs

In a blender or food processor, combine the echinacea and alcohol. Blend or process until pureed. Pour the liquid into a clean glass jar with a lid, making sure that when it settles, the herb is completely submerged in the menstrumm. If it’s not, add more alcohol until the herb is covered by about 1 inch of liquid. Cover the jar and store it in a dark place, shaking it daily, for 2 to 3 weeks. Add more alcohol if necessary to keep the herb submerged. When the tincture is finished, filter it and then squeeze out the last drops of liquid from the herbs. Compost the herb, pour the tincture into amber bottles, label the bottles with the contents and date, and store.

Dosage: 2 to 4 droppersful tincture, every 2 to 3 hours.

Let’s Create Some Herbal Medicine – Syrups.

herbal syrupSyrups are useful for coating your throat and are helpful if you {or your children} have trouble swallowing capsules or pills. Any herbal tea can be concentrated and added to a sweet base to create a syrup. Because this process concentrates the herb’s active constituents, a syrup can be very effective at treating and healing a wide range of ailments, especially upper respiratory infections and sore throats.

After making your syrup, bottle it, label it, and store it in the refrigerator. If no preservatives are added, the syrup will probably last 2 to 3 weeks. You can add a few drops of an essential oil or vitamin C powder {1/2 to 1 level teaspoon to 1 cup of syrup} to increase its refrigerated shelf life by 1 to 2 weeks or even longer. If it’s impractical to store the syrup in the refrigerator, add the vitamin C powder and grain alcohol so that the finished product is 25 percent alcohol and 75 percent syrup. These additions are particularly helpful for keeping syrup viable and safe for consumption when you are traveling. Take 1 teaspoon two to three times daily or as needed.

Sweet Syrup Bases and Herbal Syrups:

Sweet Syrup Base: If you are using sugar for the sweet syrup base, you will want to make a simple syrup by dissolving 1 cup of sugar in 1 cup of water by simmering it for 30 to 40 minutes. Add this syrup to the strained tea. Add the vitamin C or alcohol and bottle, label, and store your finished syrup.

To create an alternate sweet syrup base using honey, you can combine 1/2 cup each of honey and barley malt, or combine 3/4 cup of honey and 1/4 cup of glycerin; either of these two additions will create a smooth consistency.

Herbal Syrups:  If you are including scented leaves and flowers such as anise hyssop, basil or tulsi, catnip, lavender, lemon balm, lemon verbena, oregano, peppermint, sage, spearmint, or thyme to make syrup, keep in mind that the plant material itself shouldn’t be boiled. These aromatic herbs contain volatile oils that will be lost when subjected to the high heat of boiling. You will want to add them to the liquid after you have finished simmering it, and steep them for 20 minutes.

If you are only using aromatic herbs, follow these guidelines for making syrup: Reduce the water from 5 cups to 1 1/2 cups and steep your herbs for 20 minutes. Strain and compost them, and then add the sweet syrup base and optional essential oils.

Basic Syrup:

Use the amounts below for each cup of finished syrup; you can double or triple the recipe.

1 – 1 1/2 cups fresh or 1/2 – 2/3 cup dried herbs

5 cups purified water

1 cup of a sweet syrup base, such as dehydrated cane juice, sugar, or honey

Essential oils {optional}

1/2 – 1 level teaspoon vitamin C powder or 1/3 cup alcohol {optional, to preserve}

Blend or process the herbs to a coarse or fine consistency. Combine the herbs with the water in a saucepan, stir, and gently simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

Turn off the heat and let the mixture steep for 20 minutes longer. Strain and compost the herbs. Pour the liquid back into the pan. Simmer and reduce the heat, and gently simmer, uncovered, until the liquid is reduced to about 1 cup. {If you’re using sugar, add it halfway through the reducing process to make sure that it dissolves and thickens properly.} Let the mixture cool until warm, and add the sweet syrup base. Add a few drops of the optional essential oils and vitamin C powder or alcohol. Bottle, label, and store.

Garlic Syrup:

An excellent way to take garlic as an antibiotic preventative when a cold is coming on.

2 – 5 cloves of garlic

1 cup sweet syrup base

5 drops oregano essential oil {optional, for an antibacterial boost} or 2 or 3 drops peppermint or orange essential oil {for a flavor lift}

In a blender or food processor, combine the garlic, sweet syrup base, and essential oil. Blend or process until creamy. Bottle, label, and store.

Cough Syrup:

This tasty syrup coats your throat, reduces irritation, and calms a persistent cough.

3 – 4 teaspoons fresh or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried echinacea leaf, flower, and/or root

1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons fresh or 3/4 teaspoon dried licorice root

2 heaping teaspoons fresh or 1 teaspoon dried marshmallow root

3 – 4 teaspoons fresh or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried orange peel

1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons fresh or 3/4 teaspoon dried sage leaf

3 – 4 teaspoons fresh or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme herb

5 cups purified water

1 cup sweet syrup base

Optional Ingredients:

2 – 3 teaspoons fresh or 1 teaspoon dried wild cherry bark {Prunus serotina}

3 – 4 teaspoons fresh or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried horehound leaf {Marrubium vulgare}; this herb adds extra cough-reducing power, but also has a bitter taste}

7 drops orange essential oil

3 drops peppermint essential oil

Pinch of stevia per cup of finished liquid {optional, for sweetness}

If you are using fresh herbs, whir them in a blender, and if you are using dried, grind the herbs to a coarse or fine consistency. In a saucepan, simmer the echinacea, licorice, marshmallow, orange peel, and optional cherry bark in  the water, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the sage, thyme, and optional horehound. Steep the entire mixture for 20 minutes longer, then strain and compost the herbs. Pour the liquid back into the saucepan, return it to a boil, reduce the heat, and gently simmer, uncovered, until the liquid is reduced to about 1 cup. Let it cool until it’s warm and add the sweet syrup base and the optional essential oils. Stir well, bottle, label, and store.