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Home sick? Medicine you can find in your kitchen.

Have you ever had your child cry from ear pain Friday night at midnight?  Have you ever had your digestion go “off” but knew you just had to ride it out?  There are so many wonderful remedies that are right in your kitchen that could help, especially if you haven’t been to the health food store lately.  As much as I love herbal medicine, most exotic plants are hard to find.  Here is a quick list of amazing healing herbs, spices, and teas that you just might have in your cupboard right when you need it.

Of course, never self diagnose and always see a doctor if something persists. 

GASTROINTESTINAL

Nausea:

Ginger root (Zingiber officinalis): peel and slice into penny slices and boil for 20 minutes.  Estimate about 3 rounded tablespoons for 4 cups of water.   Drink throughout the day for its anti-nausea effects.

Indigestion/ Gas/ Bloating:

Chew on or make a tea out of Fennel seed (foeniculum vulgare) or Anise  seed (pimpinella anisum) after a holiday meal.  These are considered carminatives that help soothe digestion.

Mint (Mentha piperita) – chew on leaves to get more of the carminative oils.  Mint tea will not capture the oils as well, however can still be beneficial. I sometimes give mint tea mixed with water in small sips after a vomiting spell from gastroenteritis to soothe the stomach, once the stomach can hold something down.

Ginger – also aids in digestion; prepare as mentioned above

In addition, many other herbs have carminative action which you can try to steep as a tea such as chamomile tea, marjoram, cardamom, and oregano.

IMMUNE SYSTEM:

Cough/Cold/flu:

Thyme  (thymus vulgaris)– thyme has antiseptic, antibacterial, expectorant, spasmolytic properties; this means that it will kill bugs and soothe a dry spastic cough; The German Commission E monograph recommends a cup (250 ml) of tea made from 1/4–1/2 teaspoon (1–2 grams) of the herb taken several times daily for a cough.  This is safe in children.

Ginger – boil the root as described above.  For children, I usually also add lemon juice for some vitamin C and some raw honey.  Ginger has more than a dozen anti-viral properties, especially against rhinoviruses.  They also mildly reduce pain and fever.

Oregano (origanum vulgare) - Oil or oregano is a common supplement sold these days for colds and flus. While it is the oil that is effective, try making a tea with the oregano if that is all you do have.  It is anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.

Bacterial infections (sinusitis, mastitis, pneumonia, tooth infection, ear infection, tonsillitis, etc):

Garlic – many of my patients have been amazed by the effectiveness of RAW garlic.  Garlic can be used for any bacterial infection, especially in the early stages.  Raw garlic can burn on swallowing so I recommend taking 1 medium clove loosely chopped with a bolus of food 3-4 times a day until infection has cleared for 72 hours.   It must be raw to be effective and must be at a fairly high dose.   For children, do a percentage of an adult dose based on weight. 

Other antimicrobial herbs in the kitchen are; Thyme, Rosemary, and Oregano

NERVOUS SYSTEM and PAIN:

Stress

Chamomile – Most people know of this calming mild herbal tea. 

Pain

Turmeric – This herb is an effective anti-inflammatory.  If you have had swelling or an acute bursitis or tendonitis, mix 1/2 teaspoon of this herb 3-4 times a day into your smoothies, curries, soups, or on your vegetable stir fries.  This must be at high dose to be effective.  This herb can interact if you are on drugs that affect blood clotting. 

FIRST AID:

Bee stings

Baking soda paste – mix a bit of  water and baking soda to make a paste and apply to calm the pain and inflammation.

Hives

Sip on ¼ to 1/2 tsp baking soda (depending on size of person) mixed into 4-5 oz of water and slip on it slowly.  Apply a cold cloth on topically.  Consult with one of our doctors if you are prone to having hives because we are not recommending this as a self treatment in anaphylaxis. 

Heavy bleeding:

Cinnamon – mix ½ tsp cinnamon with warm water and sip slowly as a tea for excess menstrual bleeding.