Herbs for Health

Island Epicure


Whatever health problem besets you, there is a natural remedy that will supplement and make more effective whatever prescription the doctor gave you.  In fact, I’ve found that the appropriate herb or spice may make a visit to the clinic unnecessary and have no unpleasant side effects. For instance, once I had a bladder infection, probably brought on by insufficient hydration. Not running enough water through my body had not washed out bacteria that clung to my bladder wall.

Of course I went to the clinic, got a prescription and took one of the capsules on reaching home. Then I read the page of information that came with the medicine. The first line–and it took a full line–was simply a list of bad side effects, ending with: death.

How many doses of this medicine does it take, I wondered,to kill a little old lady like me? At once I called the doctor, who assured me that only about 2 percent of the people who took this medicine actually died. Most of them just  threw up. Well, I thought, if you throw it up, how can you get any good from it?  If you manage to keep it down, how many doses can you survive? Especially a small person who is also elderly, thus more susceptible to “bad side effects” than a young person,

I decided I’d not put any more of  that prescribed chemical medicine into my body.

I started keeping track of how much liquid–water, soup, juice, etc–that I swallowed in a day, aiming for at least 5 cups. Then I remembered  that the Native Americans in Tillamook County, Oregon where I grew up used leaves of a plant that grew in the rocky soil along the railroad track. The Natives called it kinnikinnik. My mother had called it bearberry. Minglement actually had bearberry  leaves I got some, made a tea of it and took a swig. Bitter!   The Indians must have stirred  large gobs of honey into their kinnikinnick tea.   More research turned up the same herb dried, in capsules, and under its Latin name, uva ursi (egg of bears) among Swanson’s herbs, 1-800-437-4148. The herb is much less expensive than the pharmaceutical medicine that makes its victims vomit and sometimes kills them. uva ursi, and increasing my hydration, soon banished the infection.

Many kitchen herbs and spices kill bad bacteria and/or viruses. They improve the flavor of your foods, act as home remedies, and boost the effectiveness of your immune system.  Colds and the flu can be prevented or at least mitigated with my antibacterial, antiviral solution. It doesn’t taste  bad, especially when you dilute it with spice tea, green tea or  just plain boiled water. I keep a jar of a tincture of this cinnamon and clove solution in my refrigerator.  It’s kept me from colds and flu since 1912. Christmas of that year was the last time I had the flu. If a cold sneaks up on you and you find yourself coughing, simmer up some of this Magic Potion. You may already have the recipe, but if you’ve missed it  or lost it, here’s the easy recipe again. Clip this and post it on your refrigerator door.

Makes about 2 cups

1 cinnamon stick
2 Tablespoons whole cloves
2 cups water, preferably filtered water

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until the water turns a rich, dark brown. Cool, transfer to a pint jar, cap it and refrigerate it.  The cinnamon kills bacteria. The cloves kill viruses.

If you feel a cold coming on, or have been exposed to a cold or flu, pour about ¼ cup of cinnamon & clove tincture into a mug and dilute with hot, boiled water or tea or coffee. Add lemon juice and honey  to tea if desired.  Sip it often.

Good health to you!  Take care not to burn or scald your hand or any other part of you, but if that happens, here’s a remedy for that, too.

Burn Remedies: Aloe vera is primo for taking the hurt out of a burn.  Break off a leaf from your aloe plant, if you have one, and squeeze the inner gel onto the burn.  No aloe vera?  Wash or soak the burned finger or hand or other part with running  cold water or  black tea, or green tea if that’s what’s in your teapot or cup. A used tea bag cools and heals a small burn  Run cold water over the burned area while someone in the family makes  tea  if none is on hand.  Or grab a package of frozen peas from your freezer and hold it against the burned area to take the heat out of it. Then apply aloe vera lotion. I keep a bottle of aloe vera lotion in my kitchen.