Wormwood

Herbs for ADHD Intensive enrolling thru October, 21st

Wormwood. Sounds like something off of Harry Potter. In fact, the very first time I ever saw this being sold at a nursery a man mentioned it sounded like something from witchcraft while I was browsing and then promptly refused to shop there. Wormwood can play a pretty big role in homesteading though, mostly as a natural dewormer. Read below to discover its many uses.

Anti-inflammatory

Wormwood is an anti-inflammatory, and shows potential to aid in inflammatory bowl conditions. Wormwood is being studied to possibly speed up healing and improve the mood in Crohn’s disease.

Warm

When looking at wormwood in an Ayurvedic perspective, wormwood is a warm herb, so people who naturally have a warm constitution may be aggravated by overuse of this herb.

Bitter

Wormwood is a bitter herb. The bitter taste in an herb or food triggers th vagus nerve to kickstart the digestive flow. This can be especially helpful if you take this about 15-20 minutes before eating a food that’s difficult for you to digest.

Thujone

Wormwood has a large thujone count. In large quantities, thujone can be toxic. It can cause hyperactivity, excitability, delirium, seizures, and more. So wormwood is an herb you take in lower doses.

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Vermifuge

Wormwood is a vermifuge and can be helpful in ridding the body of parasites. I have spoken to a few homesteaders who use wormwood mixed with other herbs for deworming.

Anorexia

The bitter properties of wormwood also increase appetite. Wormwood has been used to help with anorexia due to this property.

Absinthe

Absinthe was banned in the United States in 1912. I encourage further independent research if you’re interested, but the ban was put into effect because of wormwood was a main ingredient, containing thujone. There isn’t much evidence I can find to support that there ever were toxic levels of thujone in absinthe. It’s an interesting little bit of information though. The ban was lifted in the U.S. in 2007, so it was quite a lengthy ban. Google provides many articles if you’re interested in learning more.

Safety

The use of wormwood should not exceed four weeks, because of thujone. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take wormwood in any form. If you are taking any medications for seizures, you should avoid wormwood.

How to Use

Bring 1 cup of water to a boil and steep 1/2-1 teaspoon of dried wormwood for about fifteen minutes. Do not exceed 3 cups a day. 10-20 drops of tincture before meals is okay, too. Again, do not take wormwood over four consecutive weeks.

Want to see what herbs we have in our garden? Take a look here.

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Lemon Balm–Melissa

ava

Hi, everyone! Today we’re going to take a look at lemon balm, also known as melissa officinalis. This grows plentiful in our garden and is one of my favorite things to make a hydrosol from. This herb has several actions one can find helpful to lead a more balanced life.

Sedative

I have never used lemon balm for this purpose, but it can help with light insomnia. Lemon balm brings about a feeling of calmness, but it is also a mild sedative. Something stronger may–or may not–be needed for chronic insomnia. There are varying degrees of insomnia and everyone is different, but if you haven’t tried lemon balm and you’re awake but want to be sleeping, give it a try.

Stress

This is a great herb for tension/anxiety headaches. It probably won’t help for a migraine, but if your headache is more psychological, this is one of your go to herbs. Making a strong tea will help. I actually use my hydrosol for tension headaches, but that’s not always an option and a tea will work just as well.

Depression

Depression is serious and affects the lives of those suffering from it and their loved ones. There are many lifestyle changes and routines to help battle this, but sometimes a little extra help is needed. There are many who, for very good reasons, want to avoid medication. Having a cup of lemon balm tea can be a useful ally in the war with depression. Even the ritual of just making the tea can have its own calming effect.

Diaphoretic

Lemon balm isn’t the only herb that possesses this lovely talent. Anything that is a diaphoretic makes you sweat. Nice, right? In the right circumstances, sweating is the goal. The main reason people want to induce sweating is if they’re trying to break a fever. There is nothing pretty about sweating and fevers, but it’s just one brick on the path of recovering from nasty colds and the flu.

Antiviral

How cool is it that lemon balm is antiviral? It’s very cool, but there are different viruses out there so it’s not effective for EVERY virus. Sorry. Less cool now, but knowledge is power, so knowing what virus lemon balm is best at defeating is important. Herpesviridae is the virus family most effected by lemon balm. Not a very pleasant family, this is where your cold sores come from. Using lemon balm on the effected area topically is best. Other common conditions caused by this virus family are:

  • chicken pox
  • shingles
  • mono
  • sixth disease (roseola infantum)

You can try it with colds and the flu, like previously stated. Honestly though, when using it for other virus families, the strongest way it is going to help is with breaking the fever, which is still important. But actually attacking the virus? Not this herb’s speciality.

Carminative

This is just a fancy word that means this herb can help if you’re a little gassy. It happens and no one appreciates the discomforts paired with flatulence.

Herbs for ADHD Intensive enrolling thru October, 21st

Culinary

You don’t see it called for in a lot of recipes, but lemon balm is a fantastic culinary herb. You can infuse an olive oil and make amazing salad dressings (I do this with garlic, too). Recipe calling for zest of lemon? Don’t have a lemon or just don’t feel like doing it? Don’t. Chop some fresh lemon balm (or use dried) and adjust to your personal tastes.

Growing

Lemon balm is part of the mint family so it’s easy to grow. It’s also invasive. We have a lot of herbs and produce that grow randomly from their designated locations.I have tomatillos that still randomly pop up in the three acres we have. I have not grown tomatillos in THREE YEARS. I blame the birds. It doesn’t really bother us, but if you’re on a smaller lot and have a tidy personality, keeping it in a large pot can help with that invasiveness.

Bees

Bees love it. This is a great herb to keep around other plants that may rely pretty heavily on pollination to be successful in all endeavors of plant life.

Pure Melissa (lemon Balm) essential oil is expensive, but a great way to incorporate it into your life. If you want pure Melissa essential oil I suggest using Rocky Mountain Oils brand. If you can’t afford it but want a blend, try this.

Want to see what herbs we have in our garden? Take a look here.

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Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. I earn from qualifying purchases, at no additional cost to you, if you click the links and make a purchase.

Eucalyptus

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I won’t lie, I will use eucalyptus essential oil in my diffuser even if I’m NOT congested at times. Too much can be too much for me sometimes, but even a little bit smells heavenly.

Eucalyptus is commonly known for congestion of the sinuses and chest. In Ayurvedic practices, it is considered a cooling and moist herb.

Congestion

The volatile oils found in eucalyptus aid in congestion by relaxing airways and actually thinning mucus. Most people are pretty familiar with using it in steam, or as an essential oil in a diffuser. Interestingly enough, this herb can be helpful as a tea. This is a very potent herb though, so use with caution as it can be overwhelming. A safe start would be 1/2 a teaspoon of dried eucalyptus per cup of water. If you grow this herb, you can also use one torn fresh leaf per cup of water. It is not recommended to take more than 3 cups a day. When steeping, do not exceed 15 minutes due to its potency.

Diaphoretic

Eucalyptus is a herb that is diaphoretic and can mildly induce sweating. As much as most of us hate the idea of sweating, it is our body’s natural response to avoid overheating. When we’re sick and we have a fever, that’s our body’s immune system killing whatever is foreign in our bodies. When we finally break into a sweat, our fever will break and we’ll feel a little bit better.

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Expectorant

This herbal action promotes the dispelling of sputum (spit and mucus). This is very helpful for coughs and chest congestion.  Even just inhaling steam that’s been infused with eucalyptus has the potential to be a huge help.

Antimicrobial

Eucalyptus has a pretty major component called eucalyptol. This is the component of eucalyptus that is antimicrobial. Eucalyptol can have the potential to effect many bacteria. The list of bacteria it effects consists of, but is not limited to:

  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
  • various viruses
  • various fungi (even candida)

This herb is a fantastic addition for inflamed tissue in the respiratory tract and even for fever.

Young children should not be exposed to eucalyptus. Eucalyptol can actually have severe effects on young children and babies.

Avoid eucalyptus oil if pregnant or breastfeeding. Using it in food amounts when pregnant or breastfeeding should be fine. If you worry about consuming too much, just avoid it altogether. Always better safe than sorry.

Looking to buy eucalyptus essential oil? My favorite brand is here, with an organic option here.

Want to see what herbs we have in our garden? Take a look here.

Follow our blog to stay updated. We’re also on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. Come check us out.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. I earn from qualifying purchases, at no additional cost to you, if you click the links and make a purchase.

Making Tinctures

Botany & Wildcrafting Course by Herbal Academy

So, I was in the back hanging out with the donkeys and goats when something yellow caught my eyes behind the enclosure. Swaying in the wind, I found goldenrod. I was ecstatic. What caught my eye was too late to harvest, but it meant more was nearby that would be harvestable.

Behind the animal enclosure is a somewhat thick wooded area.

I did not care though. I was going to get some goldenrod.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

I battled thorns, spiderwebs, and a snake to get to my destination. Okay, to be fair, the snake pictured above is a black racer; they’re harmless. This also is not the same snake I ran into–I think. This was taken another day, but I did run into a black racer in the wooded area. I couldn’t snap a picture though, but had to share at least one picture I did have because they’re pretty.

Spiderwebs? They’re not pretty. They suck. I’d rather the thorned plants.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

So, I harvested some goldenrod to dry. I dried it and had enough to fill half of a pint mason jar.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

And what do you do with that much goldenrod? You make a tincture! I use flowers and leaves (mostly flowers).

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

I’m not a big drinker, but I do love Copper Bottom’s vodka when I do drink. Since it’s a product I trust, I also use it for making tinctures.

So, we’re going to let this sit for 6 weeks, shaking everyday. After 6 weeks, we’ll have a lovely natural remedy for allergies. Happy Harvesting everyone!

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Goldenrod

Goldenrod is in full bloom in the back of our lot. This breathtakingly gorgeous herb has so many potential benefits that it’s worth braving its gut wrenching taste. My favorite property of this herb is its potential to alleviate allergy symptoms. goldenrod has large amounts of quercetin, an anti-inflammatory constituent. This, paired with goldenrod’s astringency, makes this herb most effective with allergies that affect the nasal passages. Goldenrod tea can be used in a neti pot for instant relief. Goldenrod possesses other actions that may potentially help alleviate allergy symptoms: goldenrod is expectorant and anticatarrhal. This herb can help with sore throats and expelling mucus from the lungs.

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Although I think of allergies and antihistamine when I generally think of goldenrod, it possesses some other actions that aid in realms outside of nasal issues. Goldenrod can support imbalances in the urinary system due to its diuretic, antilithic (think kidney stones), and anti-inflammatory properties. If you’re prone to UTI’s or kidney stones, incorporating goldenrod consistently into your regimen can be beneficial.

The flowers and leaves can be used on the skin for minor wounds as a poultice. It can work well in a salve with other herbs like St. John’s Wort or plantain.

I don’t grow this herb in my garden because it is found so readily in the wild. Once you see it and identify it for the first time, you’ll never forget it. You want to harvest the flowers just as it starts to minimally bloom. You use the flowers dried for the most part and if you try to dry a flower already in bloom it becomes nothing but fluff.

I’m not a fan of goldenrod’s taste. If I make a tea, I like to mix it with other herbs I like, including mint and ginger. Honey alone is not enough.

This is a very versatile herb. It starts blooming late summer/early fall and is just in time for when school starts. Next time you’re out on a stroll, really pay attention to what’s growing around you. You might find goldenrod.

Avoid this herb if you’re allergic to ragweed.

Want to see what herbs we do have in our garden? Take a look here.

Follow our blog to stay updated. We’re also on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. Come check us out.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. I earn from qualifying purchases, at no additional cost to you, if you click the links and make a purchase.