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A - Z Herbs With Nicky - D, E, F! 

Thursday, 6 April 2006


Following massive interest with our Power Herbs, Nicky Treacy Kohler is back to give us a run down of the A-Z of essential herbs every week until the end of the series. Today we'll be looking at D, E and F and they are Dill, Echinacea and Figs.

Dill usually has one upright, hollow stem with waxy or powdery leaves divided into filaments. Umbels of small yellow flowers appear in summer, which are followed by flattish, oval seeds. It is digestive, pungent, cooling and diuretic herb that controls infection.
It has anti-spasmodic, carminative (Inducing the expulsion of gas from the stomach and intestines), digestive, disinfectant, galactagogue (An agent that promotes the secretion and flow of milk.), sedative and stomachic properties.
Dill is used for windy stomachs from badly eaten food and food intolerance, including children's colic. It is also excellent for bad breath.
How can it be Taken
. Seeds
. Leaves
. Oils
What it's good for
. problems of the digestive tract
. good for the bowels
. promotes milk production in breast feeding mums
. helps heal skin
Possible Side Effects
Do not use in pregnancy.

Dill Water
Simply leave two handfuls of dill in one litre of water overnight.
The next day it will be ready to use as a mouthwash.

It is the second most common herb. Echinacea is a tall perennial with lance-like leaves about 15cm long. Purple-pink, daisy-like flowers that smell like honey, with orange-brown centres, are produced in summer to early autumn.
It has immune stimulant properties as well as antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties and is used both topically and orally. It should be taken from the start of autumn, through winter and stopping in spring, otherwise use as needed.
It is a bitter herb with some aromatic properties, and is used for the boosting effect it has on the immune system. This healing herb also has anti-bacterial and anti-viral effects.
How can it be Taken
. Roots
. Rhizomes
. Parts above ground
What it's good for
. Boosting the immune system
. Helps clear up chronic infections
. Skin diseases
. Fungal infections
. Septicemia
. Slow-healing wounds
. Chronic fatigue syndrome
. Venereal diseases
. Early stages of coughs and colds
. Infection of the respiratory and urinary system
. To treat herpes
. Acne
. Psoriasis
. Infected injuries
. Sore throats
. Treating wounds
. Ulcers
. Skin inflammations
. Regulating blemishes
. In dry and cracked skins
Possible Side Effects
May counteract immunosuppressive drugs.

The Jelly
Mix five mls (one teaspoon) of Echinacea with 200 grams of blackcurrant jelly. Pour it into an ice cube tray and leave in the fridge to set.

Although considered a fruit, the fig is actually a flower inverted into itself. The seeds are the real fruit in figs. Figs possess laxative properties. Most of the fiber in figs is insoluble, but about one-fifth is soluble There are many ready made preparations in health food stores. Figs are rich in calcium, iron, phosphorus and potassium. Vitamin C and the B group vitamins are also present in small quantities.
In Ancient Greece the export of figs was forbidden as they were so valuable.
How can they be Taken
. Seeds in cookery
. As a syrup
. As a whole fruit (buy them with stems at the end, ripe figs produce a sticky clear syrup from the blossom end)
What they're used for
. Digestion
. They're a great source of vitamins, potassium, iron, calcium and phosphorus

Fig Syrup

5 Figs
100 grams brown sugar
1 litre of water
. Cut five dried figs in two.
. Boil the figs, water and sugar for 1/2 an hour.
. Remove the mixture and allow to cool.
. Strain the syrup off the figs and bottle the mixture.