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Herbs - Make your own medicine

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Sarah Hughes - Medical Herbalist

VALERIAN - Valeriana officinalis

The universal relaxant

Parts used: roots
Actions: sedative, anti-stress, nerve tonic, anti-spasmodic

. Insomnia - produces good quality, deeper sleep
. Calming to the nervous system
. Reduces stress, anxiety, depression, restlessness from pain, restlessness from fever, panic attacks
. Reduces gut spasm, tension in gut, IBS, colic, period cramps
. Reduces tension headaches and migraine
. Reduces rheumatic pain

Valerian Hot Chocolate for Sleep and/or Anxiety


To make 1 cup:

. 1 tbsp fresh/dried valerian root
. 1 tsp fresh lavender flowers
. Peel of 1/2 orange
. 300 ml full-fat milk
. Dessertspoon of good quality chocolate powder (or dark chocolate 200g melted)
. 2 - 3 drops of vanilla extract


1) Chop the top and bottom from the fresh Valerian root.

2) Add the Valerian, Lavender, orange peel, and milk to a pan and gently heat for 5-10 minutes. Strain.

3) Pour the infused milk back into the pan, then add the chocolate and vanilla extract and stir until melted. Drink at once.

USE: You can drink upto 3 cups a day.
CAUTION: Do not take if on anti-depressants, sleeping pills, or if breast feeding or pregnant.

Anti Dandruff Hair Oil


. 6 tbsp fresh rosemary
. 3 tbsp fresh thyme
. 3 tbsp fresh lavender
. 250ml coconut oil
. 20 drops peppermint essential oil


1. Wash and chop all the herbs, removing from woody stems. Place in a glass heatproof bowl. Stir in the coconut oil so it is covering herbs.

2. Cover bowl with a lid and place over a pan of boiling water to create a double boiler. Heat on a medium to low flame for 1 hour. Leave to cool.

3. When cool, stir in peppermint essential oil. Strain and pour the oil into bottle.

4. To use: apply 3 teaspoons to hair and massage well into scalp. Wrap hair in a towel and leave for 30 minutes. Wash hair with normal shampoo twice to get rid of oil. Use 3 times a week for the 1st 2 weeks and then once a week as a preventative.

CAUTION: Avoid getting in the eyes. If you feel any discomfort wash it off immediately

Storage: Will keep for up to 1 year in a cool, dark place.

ROSEMARY - Rosmarinus officinalis

Parts used: Leaves
Actions: Circulatory tonic, stimulant (esp. head), anti-depressant, anti-septic, anti- fungal, supports nervous system, anti-flatulent, immune stimulant

. Reduces depression
. Stimulates hair growth
. Reduces indigestion, especially with wind
. Reduces headaches
. Aids poor memory and concentration
. Treats fungal infections - athletes foot, thrush
. Reduces colds and rheumatic aches and pains

THYME - Thymus vulgaris

Parts used: Leaves and flowers
Actions: Tonic, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, antioxidant, expectorant, anti-spasmodic

. A powerful antiseptic that boosts immune system, fighting off bacterial, viral and fungal infections especially upper respiratory
. Throat and lung infections - cough, whooping cough, sore throat, mouth ulcers, strep throat, laryngitis, pharyngitis

LAVENDER - Lavendula augustifolia

Parts used: Flowers
Actions: Anti-septic, anti-fungal, anti-spasmodic, sedative

. To relieve stress, anxiety and aid calm
. Insomnia
. Fungal infections

LIQUORICE - Glycyrrhiza glabra

Parts used: Root
Actions: Adrenal restorative, soothing, expectorant (expels mucus), anti- inflammatory, mild laxative, anti-ulcer, anti-viral

. Adrenal exhaustion found in long term stress
. Catarrh, bronchitis, dry cough, colds, chest complaints

Mint & Liquorice Cocktail for Indigestion

For the tincture:

. 25g fresh mint leaves
. 50g dried licorice root
. 4 tsp fennel seeds
. 4 tsp dried german chamomile flowers
. 500ml vodka

For the cocktail:

. Sprig of mint
. Lime slices
. Ginger beer or ginger cordial


1. To make the tincture place mint, licorice, chamomile and fennel in a glass jar. Pour on vodka to cover herbs. Seal the jar and leave to steep in a cold dark place for 2 weeks

2. When ready strain through muslin, keeping the liquid. This should produce about 400ml of vodka tincture

3. Put a shot of tincture (35ml) in a glass. Add sprig of mint a and lime slices in a tall glass. Top up with ginger beer or ginger cordial

USE: Before meals to aid digestion or after meals if experiencing indigestion

CAUTION: Do not take if you have stomach ulcer or inflamed stomach lining. This is for indigestion only. Do not take if pregnant or breastfeeding.

SPEARMINT - Mentha viridis

Parts used: Leaves
Actions: Antispasmodic, anti-wind, decongestant

. Indigestion, wind, stomach cramps
. Fever, cold and flu

Herbal remedies mentioned on the show:

Nettle - for increasing Iron levels

Fennel or Chamomile - for bloating

Rosemary - for thinning hair

Lemon Balm (also known as Melissa) - for cold sores

Meadowsweet - for heartburn