Healing With Dill

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As a child, my only association with the dill herb was with pickles. I don’t remember my mom or grandmother adding dill to potato salads or other dishes. However, as my appreciation for plants continues to grow, this aromatic herb ranks high on my list of favorites.

Dills grows in my herb garden. I add it to potato dishes, salads, dressings and other recipes. I’ve yet to brew dill tea, but why not? The more I study this herb, the more I love it and appreciate its health benefits.

Join me in healing with dill.

Healing with Dill title meme

Origins of Dill

Dill, also commonly called dill weed, originated in the Mediterranean region. It’s been used medicinally and as a spice since ancient times. Dill, which means “calm” or “soothe”, is related to parsley, cumin and the bay leaf.

Long ago dill was primarily used to calm the digestive system and soothe colicky babies. Greek doctors treated wounds with it and believed the herb delivered courage to those who consumed it.

Dill grows 16 – 30 inches tall. The thin leaves are delicate, finely divided and very soft. It blooms in clusters of yellow or white flowers.

Fresh dill weed contains fiber, protein, manganese, folate, calcium, iron and vitamins A and C.

Baked Potato with Dill and Chives

Healing with Dill

Health benefits of dill include:

Protects Against Free Radicals

Dill helps antioxidants to attach to oxidized molecules that damage the body.

Aids Digestion

The fatty acids in dill soothe an upset stomach and improves the whole digestive system. The herb increases energy levels as well.

Lowers Cholesterol

Dill lowers bad cholesterol and helps to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

Relieves Depression

The herb has antidepressant and analgesic benefits, without the negative side effects of drugs.

May Help with Epilepsy

Dill leaf extract shows promise as an anticonvulsant, which aids in the treatment of epilepsy.

Possesses Antimicrobial Properties

Dill fights fungi, bacteria and mold, making it helpful against fungal and bacterial infections.

Sweetens the Breath

For centuries, people have chewed on the leaves of the dill herb to freshen breath and cleanse the mouth.

Helps to Relieve Menstrual Cramps

Dill weed reduces menstrual discomfort and pain.

Relieves Arthritis Pain

Dill is an anti-inflammatory that reduces inflammation and the associated pain of disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and arthritis.

Using Dill

Dill weed is available in fresh or dried form at most grocery stores. It is also fairly easy to grow. The herb prefers a sunny location and thrives well in heat. Due to massive amounts of rain this spring, I moved my dill plant into a container. The water drains more quickly, keeping the soil from getting boggy.

Use fresh or dried dill in potato or veggie recipes, soups, salads and sauces. One of my favorite uses for fresh or dried dill is as a seasoning on oven roasted potatoes. Dice up four potatoes and place in a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon coconut oil, and a teaspoon each of dill, rosemary and thyme. Stir well to coat potatoes. Roast on a parchment paper covered baking sheet in 400 degree oven for 40 minutes.

I also love the simplicity of snipping fresh dill and chives from my garden to top a plain baked potato. Delicious! It is also easy to prepare a wonderful DIY salad dressing using Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise, fresh or dried dill and lemon juice.

Try these great recipes as well, featuring dill:

Radish, Cucumber & Dill Salad

Cucumber, Tomato & Dill Salad

What’s Next with Dill

I love dill so much. I’m not only healing with dill, I’m learning how to use the herb in ways that go far beyond pickles. Dill tea is definitely on my list of herbal teas to try. I’ll let you know when I experience it!

Dill Weed

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Health Benefits of Purslane

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In this next installment in the Wild Edibles series, let me introduce you to another health boosting weed. Purslane, like cleavers, commonly grows in backyards and gardens, and along sidewalks and pathways.

I found this wild edible by accident this afternoon, growing near my tomato plants. However, the plant announced itself in a peculiar way before that. I  recently dreamed that I found purslane growing near my front deck. Recognizing its value, I felt thrilled by the discovery and in my dream, I told others about the health benefits of purslane.

A sense of deja vu came over me today, when I spied several plants growing in my raised vegetable bed, which happens to be near my front deck. I looked around to see if there was anyone to share this discovery with!

Health Benefits of Purslane title meme

What is Purslane?

Although considered a weed by many, purslane is a member of the succulent family. The herb goes by other names, including duckweed, fatweed and pursley. Originally from India, the healing herb is now found across the US and in Asia, Central Europe and the Mediterranean. It typically appears in spring and thrives throughout the summer.

Purslane has smooth, reddish stems and leaves that cluster at stem joints and ends. Tiny yellow flowers can appear at any time during the growing season although the blooms only last for a few hours. I observed that the leaves of the plant close together as the sun sets.

Another identifying characteristic of purslane is the juice from the leaves. Tear a leaf in two. If the juice is clear, the plant is a purslane. If the juice is white, it’s a different plant that is not to be consumed.

Often removed from gardens as a weed, purslane has many healing properties, making it a plant worthy of attention.

Health Benefits of Purslane in the Garden

Health Benefits

Purslane is rich in essential nutrients such as vitamins A, B6, C and E, magnesium, manganese, calcium, potassium, iron, copper and phosphorus. It also offers disease fighting antioxidants and plant based omega-3 fatty acids.

Benefits include:

Source of Beta-Carotene

Purslane provides beta-carotene, a pigment that the body converts to vitamin A. This potent antioxidant helps to maintain healthy skin, neurological function and excellent eyesight. Beta-carotene prevents chronic disease by protecting the body from the damage of free radicals. It also supports respiratory and pulmonary function.

Lowers Inflammation

Purslane’s high vitamin C content helps to neutralize free radicals as well, reducing inflammation throughout the body and lowering the risk for chronic disease. Vitamin C boosts the immune system, improves heart health and promotes glowing skin. In addition, vitamin C lowers the risk of death from stroke or heart disease and reduces levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

Supports Bone Health

Purslane provides a great vegan source of omega-3 fatty acids. These improve heart health, reduce inflammation, improve mental health and support bone health.

Fights Diabetes

Research suggests that consuming purslane helps to lower systolic blood pressure and improve glucose levels, making it a companion treatment for type 2 diabetes.

Treats Intestinal Disorders

Purslane’s organic compounds help to treat intestinal disorders, from diarrhea to intestinal bleeding to hemorrhoids.

Improves Circulation

The iron and copper in purslane helps to stimulate the production of red blood cells. These minerals boost circulation by delivering more oxygen to essential parts of the body. Iron and copper also increase healing within cells and organs and improves hair growth.

Health Benefits of Purslane Tea

How to Enjoy Purslane

The leaves and stems of the purslane plant are edible. Add raw leaves and stems to salads or steam them lightly with other greens. Purslane can be added to soups, stews, sauces and smoothies.

The leaves and stems also make an excellent tea. Steep a small bunch of purslane in very hot water for 15 minutes. Sweeten with raw organic honey, if desired, or add a squeeze of lime juice.

Purslane is crunchy and slightly peppery, with a fresh, spinach like flavor. I created purslane tea this evening, to sip on as I wrote my blog post. The flavor is mild with a hint of that peppery taste.

Health Benefits of Purslane Herb

No Longer Just a Weed

I’m glad I dreamed about purslane. The dream created a heightened sense of awareness about the plant, so that when I discovered it today, I recognized it.

I no longer see dandelions, cleavers, plantain, clover and purslane as weeds. Instead, I honor them as healing assets in my garden. They are herbs that I did not plant, and yet their value is just as great.

The purslane plants remain in my vegetable garden, for me to appreciate and harvest. I look forward to enjoying occasional cups of freshly prepared purslane tea and adding the leaves to salads.

Health Benefits of Purslane

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Broadleaf Plantain Benefits

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The desire to learn about the healing properties of plants is closely connected to my own journey. As I heal, I appreciate more and more that plants play such a vital role in my health.

My garden is full of herbs that supply me with the makings for tea. However, I love foraging too, and discovering that plants I consider weeds are actually wild herbs. They are full of healing benefits as well.

The broadleaf plantain benefits are many. And yet, until last fall, I considered this common plant an annoying weed. I’ve been aware of plantain since childhood. Mowing over the broad leaves created a funny brrrr – up-up-up noise that reminded me of sound of playing cards attached to bicycle spokes.

My research of broadleaf plantain benefits inspires me to protect several plants in the garden area, keeping them for medicinal purposes.

Broadleaf Plantain Title Meme

History of the Broadleaf Plantain Plant

This herb is one of the most abundant and widely distributed medicinal plant in the world. In ancient times, broadleaf plantain, not to be confused with the banana like fruit also called plantain, treated digestive and female disorders along with snake and spider bites.

Native Americans used the herb for snake bites as well, earning the plant the name Snake Weed. They also applied the leaves to wounds.

Another name for broadleaf plantain is soldier’s herb because of its on-the-spot use as a first aid plant for injuries and illnesses.

Today broadleaf plantain is readily found in yards, along sidewalks and fencerows, and anywhere the soil has been disturbed. It thrives in high foot traffic areas as easily as it does nestled against a rocky outcropping. It tolerates poor soil conditions and doesn’t seem picky about the amount of sun that it receives.

Broadleaf Plantain for ForagingBroadleaf plantain growing in my yard.

Broadleaf Plantain Characteristics

The plant’s leaves may be eaten raw, in salads, or steamed with other greens. Small leaves are the most flavorful and tender, although the larger leaves may be used for teas and tinctures. Plantain possesses a slightly bitter taste. The larger the leaves, the more bitter the taste.

The plant sends up stalks that produce tiny flowers and then even tinier light brown seeds. The seeds and stalks are edible as well.

The herb is high in iron and calcium, and vitamins A, C and K.

Broadleaf plantain is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antimicrobial, making it a great medicinal herb for “hot” conditions in the body such as fevers, infections, inflammation and irritations.

Broadleaf Plantain IdentificationThese hardy plants return after the lawn is mowed. The new leaves are perfect for salads and teas and first aid use. See the tiny white flowers opening on the stalks?

Broadleaf Plantain Benefits and Uses

External Use

For external use, plantain is the perfect first aid herb. Crush, or chew, one or two leaves and apply to the skin or brew a strong tea from the leaves and use in a spray bottle.

  • soothes the pain, itching and swelling of insect bites and stings by calming the histamine response
  • relieves irritation and discomfort of skin rashes, hives, eczema and psoriasis
  • takes the heat out of burns and sunburns
  • eases pain of cuts and scrapes and keeps them from getting infected
  • calms poison ivy and relieves itching and swelling
  • draws out embedded splinters
  • also has a drawing effect on boils and soothes pain and swelling

Because this plant is found everywhere, it can quickly be utilized when first aid is needed. Suffering from a sudden wasp sting? Crush or chew the leaves until broken down and then spit the mass of leaves onto the bite. The relief is immediate. Yes, it sounds gross to chew up leaves and spit them out. Remember, however, that you are creating a poultice that is very healing and soothing.

Internal Use

As powerful as the broadleaf plantain benefits are for skin irritations and wounds, the wild herb is equally suitable for a host of symptoms and disorders within the body.

  • lowers cholesterol
  • helps control diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels
  • reduces the pain, swelling and discomfort of hemorrhoids
  • heals irritable bowel syndrome
  • soothes the entire digestive tract and urinary tract
  • treats bladder and kidney infections
  • relieves indigestion, acid reflux and ulcers
  • as a mouthwash heals canker sores and gum irritation
  • acts as an expectorant
  • calms a dry cough as well
  • treats and helps to prevent seasonal allergies

 


Dried broadleaf plantain
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Foraging for Broadleaf Plantain

As you mow the yard, watch for this amazing wild herb. Perhaps before the blades mow it down, you might collect a few of those healing leaves. Create a tea by steeping the leaves in very hot water for 15 minutes, for drinking. Steep the tea overnight to create a strong brew for topical use. Store in the refrigerator.

Or, in the manner of our wise and resourceful ancestors, chew up a leaf to apply to a bite, sting or scrape for soothing, cooling relief. The next time I slice into my hands and fingers as I’m pulling weeds in the garden, I’ll pluck a couple of leaves to make an on-the-spot poultice.

That simple act makes me feel like a healer.

Broadleaf Plantain

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6 Bedtime Teas

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When I talk to people about their health, insomnia comes up frequently. Defined as sleeplessness, insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep.

In the US, three million people a year experience sleeplessness. Causes include poor sleep habits, depression, anxiety, lack of exercise, certain medications or chronic pain and illness.

Most sufferers rely on over the counter or prescription drugs to help them fall asleep and stay asleep. For years that was true for me. I took allergy meds every night for the drowsiness they induced. When I realized how dull they made my brain, I switched to melatonin.

Since embracing a plant based lifestyle, my ability to sleep has improved greatly. I no longer take anything at night, to help me sleep.

I’ll be sharing several posts around this difficult to heal condition. Today I start with herbal remedies…six bedtime teas.

6 Bedtime Teas

6 Bedtime Teas

Easing insomnia is a complex matter of changing habits, eliminating foods and situations that impede sleep and consuming the right foods to help calm and relax the mind and the body.

Instead of reaching for meds, try drinking one of these herbal bedtime teas about an hour before turning in.

Chamomile

Long used as a healing herb for inflammation, chamomile also reduces anxiety and soothes the body into sleep. The antioxidant apigenin binds to receptors in the brain, lowering anxiety and initiating drowsiness.

Regularly drinking chamomile tea helps people to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, improving the overall quality of their rest.

Steep two teaspoons of fresh or dried chamomile in a cup of hot water for 15 minutes. Sweeten with raw organic honey, if desired.

6 Bedtime Teas

Passionflower

Passionflower tea is made from the dried leaves, stems and flowers of the plant. Traditionally, passionflower decreases anxiety and improves the quality of sleep.

In a recent study, those who drank passionflower daily for a week reported better sleep quality, compared to those who did not drink the tea. Another study showed that passionflower, when combined with valerian root and hops, is as effective as the prescription drug Ambien in improving insomnia.

Steep two teaspoons of dried passionflower in one cup of hot water for 15 minutes. Sweeten with raw organic honey, if desired.

Lavender

This aromatic herb helps calm the body and mind through its healing properties and its scent. For centuries lavender has helped people to sleep better, especially those with anxiety disorders or chronic insomnia.

Drinking the tea and inhaling the soothing fragrance from the hot drink lowers heart rate and calms nerves. Those who drink lavender tea frequently find that their quality of sleep improves. Plus, they awaken with more energy and less fatigue.

Steep two to three teaspoons of fresh or dried lavender blooms in one cup of very hot water for 15 minutes.

6 Bedtime Teas

Lemon Balm

One of my go to herbs, lemon balm is a member of the mint family. It has many healing properties. As one of the bedtime teas, lemon balm calms inflammation, relaxes tense muscles, reduces stress and improves sleep by initiating a sedative effect.

With its citrusy scent, lemon balm offers aromatherapy benefits as well. And it is extremely easy to grow your own plants.

Steep this mildly flavored tea by combining two teaspoons of fresh or dried leaves with one cup of very hot water. Sweeten with raw organic honey, if desired.

Peppermint

Another member of the mint family, peppermint contains anti-inflammatory properties that relax tense muscles and reduce stress. In fact, peppermint’s ability to work as a muscle relaxant induces feelings of calm and peace, making it an ideal tea to drink before bedtime.

Peppermint also relieves nausea, an upset stomach, and gas and bloating, soothing the digestive system so that sleep can occur.

Steep two to three teaspoons of fresh or dried peppermint leaves in a cup of very hot water for 15 minutes. As a bonus, peppermint is very easy to grow in the garden or in containers.

6 Bedtime Teas

Ginger

For a few people, ginger acts as a stimulant. However, if digestive problems such as an upset stomach or nausea are keeping you awake, ginger is an effective sleep aid. Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties calm achy muscles and joints, soothing pain so that the body can relax into sleep.

Ginger also relieves tension and lowers stress.

Steep a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger in a cup of hot water for 15 minutes. Or combine a teaspoon of dried ginger with a teaspoon of dried turmeric and add a 12 to 16 ounces of warm almond/coconut milk to create this wonderfully healing nighttime drink.

Bedtime Teas for a Better Night’s Sleep

Consistently drinking one of these bedtime teas signals the body that it is time to prepare for sleep. The healing properties of the herbal teas soothe the body in myriad ways while lowering anxiety and stress.

Choose one tea and try it for a week or enjoy a different tea every evening. Herbs can be combined too, to create fresh, delicious blends that are just as effective.

In the coming weeks, watch for posts with more tips for eliminating insomnia from your life.

6 Bedtime Teas

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10 Herbal Teas that Will Boost Your Health

I have enjoyed drinking hot tea for years. When I visited Scotland in 2014, I adopted the custom of afternoon tea, which I still practice at home as often as I can. And what’s even better than indulging in afternoon tea? Boosting my health with one of these delicious and good for me herbal teas! 

10 Herbal Teas that Boost Your Health
1. Cat’s Claw 

This herb is one of the most powerful substances for reversing today’s epidemic of chronic and mystery illnesses. Cat’s Claw can aid in alleviating symptoms from neurological to digestive. The herb fights the pathogens that cause inflammation, including bacteria, patasites, and viruses. For the best effect, drink this tea in the evening, and avoid Cat’s Claw if you are pregnant. 

2. Lemon Balm

This herb is essential for calming nerves, especially those involved with digestion. Lemon Balm’s soothing properties calm the nerve receptors along the digestive tract so that nerves become less sensitive and inflammation reduces. Antiviral, antibacterial and anti-parasitic, Lemon Balm fights viruses such as Epstein Barr, shingles and other herpetic varieties. Plus the herb detoxifies the liver, spleen and kidneys and reduces bladder inflammation. Lemon Balm is extremely easy to grow, in the garden or in a container. Drink right before bed for a great night’s sleep. 

10 Herbal Teas that Boost Your Health
3. Licorice Root

Anthony William, the Medical Medium, calls Licorice Root one of the most important herbs in the world. Why? Because it is the ultimate weapon against viral infections. Herpetic viruses, including Epstein Barr, HHV-6, and shingles, are often behind mystery illnesses and autoimmune disorders such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, Lyme disease, rheumatoid arthritis and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Licorice Root also helps with low blood pressure, soothes the liver and supports the adrenals. Drink this powerful tea plain, or combine with cinnamon and cloves for a warm, fragrant treat. 

4. Raspberry Leaf

This herb is ideal for women. It protects the reproductive system and balances hormones. In addition, Raspberry Leaf supports the adrenals, and the production of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. In fact, this crucial plant supports the entire endocrine system. For women in the child bearing years, Raspberry Leaf aids in fertility, helps to prevent miscarriage and addresses exhaustion and postpartum depression after childbirth. It also enhances the prodction of breast milk. For men Raspberry Leaf acts as a blood cleanser and an overall detoxifier. 

10 Herbal Teas That Will Boost Your Health
5. Nettle Leaf

This herb supports the body during times of stress. It also contains a vast amount of phytochemicals, making Nettle Leaf life giving, life extending and extremely anti-inflammatory. Nettle is a potent pain reliever and with more than 40 trace minerals, it is also bone building and bone protecting. For its effects to be most powerful, drink Nettle Leaf tea in the afternoon, or before meditation, as it is a very centering herb. 

6. Red Clover

Red clover is very common, and considered a weed by many. However, this herb offers powerful support to the lymphatic system, cleansing the lymph fluid. It is effective against cancer, and is a diuretic and the ultimate blood builder. Red Clover is full of nutrients and disease fighting alkaloids and it aids in breaking up and reducing stored up, unnecessary fat. This herb has an energizing effect, making a great tea when feeling exhausted, fatigued or depleted. Drink this tea in the evening so that the cleansing properties can work overnight. 

7. Rose Hips

Rose Hips contain the most bioidentical, bioavailable form of vitamin C, in a form most usable for our bodies. They are not only anti-inflammatory, they also increase our blood’s white blood count and boost our immune system. Rose Hips are helpful for battling virtually any type of infection, and brings relief to those who suffer from irregular heartbeats. They alleviate urinary tract infections and heal skin conditions.  

10 Herbal Teas That Will Boost Your Health
8. Oregano

One of a group of powerful aromatic herbs, Oregano kills off unproductive bacteria such as H pylori, Strep and E coli, which minimizes the possibility of SIBO, peptic ulcers, strep throat, sinusitis and ear infections. Long considered an important herb for cooking, Oregano makes a flavorful tea as well. 

9. Rosemary

Another antibacterial, this herb specializes in fighting antibiotic resistant bacteria, such as those found in hospitals. It is effective against C difficile and MRSA. 

10. Thyme

This herb is antiviral, enabling it to destroy viruses such as the flu, and herpetic viruses that are responsible for autoimmune diseases. Thyme has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, making it effective against viruses that have started to attack the brain or spinal cord, resulting in neurological conditions. 

Regularly consuming these extraordinary herbal teas will boost the immune system and fight viruses and diseases. Many of these herbs can easily be grown in backyard gardens or containers. Fresh herbs may be purchased in the produce section at the grocery store or dried herbs can be found at health food stores. 

Add dried or fresh herbs to a diffuser and steep in hot water for 5-10 minutes. I often drop fresh herbs from my garden directly into the cup of hot water and cover the mug with a saucer while it steeps. 

The next time you crave a hot drink, reach for one of these health boosters instead of a coffee or hot chocolate. Your body will flourish and benefit from your healthy choice! 

10 Herbal Teas That Will Boost Your Health
Please check out Life Changing Foods, by Anthony William. I rely on the info in this amazing book every day! 


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