Next on our list of herbs is Echinacea also known as Black Sampson it is referred to by the native Americans of the plains as snake root, because it was traditionally used to treat snake bites. Natives have also used the plant to treat tooth aches. The Omaha-Ponca and Cheyenne Indians were probably the most notable groups to use the plant. They would rub the juices of the roots on their bodies to heal burns, or like mentioned above would use it to treat toothaches. Today echinacea is used to boost the immune system and speed up recovery of the common cold. There are three common types of Echinacea; Echinacea purpurea is the most common it can be found from Georgia to Oklahoma, north to Michigan and east to Ohio. Echinacea pallida is most commonly found in open woods and prairies, people in states like Michigan, Arkansas, Texas and here in Nebraska can find this species of Echinacea. Echinacea angustifolia tends to grow on roadsides, prairies, and outcrops; people living in Texas all the way north through the Dakotas and southern Saskatchewan you can also expect to find it growing in Montana and Colorado.
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You don’t usually think of pineapple as a cough remedy, but that’s probably because you’ve never heard of bromelain. There’s evidence to suggest that bromelain — an enzyme found only in the stem and fruit of pineapples — can help suppress coughs as well as loosen the mucus in your throat. To enjoy the most benefits of pineapple and bromelain, eat a slice of pineapple or drink 3.5 ounces of fresh pineapple juice three times a day.
The most common uses for Aloe would have to be for treating burns, wounds and skin conditions. This along with the ease of growing an Aloe plant make it an excellent choice to have in your herbal first aid kit. The real magic of the Aloe Vera plant comes from the gel inside the leaves, to extract this all you need to do is take a knife and take off the thick skin on the outside of the leaf. The part you're after is the clear inner gel, sometimes referred to as the inner fillet, because you're sort of filleting the leaf. When used on minor burns you should run the affected area under cool water for about ten minutes before applying the Aloe gel. Continue to apply the gel several times per day for both burns and skin conditions. If you're using the Aloe gel for lowering blood sugar levels take about one tablespoon daily (be sure to use an aloe gel that's free of aloin if taking orally).
Peppermint is a great herb to have when it come to combating the flu and colds. Peppermint has the ability to alleviate the symptoms of a sore throat by cooling and soothing the pain, this is due to the menthol that is found inside of peppermint. Make a tea with some peppermint and add a little honey with lemon, it's a great way to reduce the symptoms of a sore throat. If your sinuses are congested try adding some peppermint oil right into your humidifier (the ones with the medicine chamber).
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Lavender is probably best noted for its fragrance and is a great herb to use for a stressful day. The lavender is commonly used in soaps, detergents, or just as an essential oil due to the calming effects it produces from the fragrance. Lavender is also commonly used in teas for the same reason. The history of lavender is quite long stretching back about 2500 years to the Mediterranean. Today it is mostly grown for its uses as an essential oil. In addition to brewing tea with lavender it also ha many other culinary types of uses, lavender can add a floral type of taste with a little sweetness. It works great in some seafood, soups, salads, and baked goods.
According to studies, cinnamon may have a positive effect on the glycemic control and the lipid profile in patients with diabetes mellitus type 2. This is because it contains 18% polyphenol content in dry weight. This popular Indian spice can improve insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control. According to a study published in Journal Of The American Board Of Family Medicine, “cinnamon lowered HbA1C by 0.83% compared with standard medication alone lowering HbA1C 0.37%. Taking cinnamon could be useful for lowering serum HbA1C in type 2 diabetics with HbA1C >7.0 in addition to usual care.”
One of the best and well known ways to get the benefits of turmeric is to just simply eat it. Maybe not plain but adding it to dishes is a great way. Don't be fooled into thinking that eating turmeric in food is the only way to reap the benefits of this amazing herb. You can use it in teas too, or as a toothpaste you can on occasions dip your tooth brush into some turmeric powder brush it onto your teeth and allow it to sit for about 3 minutes. It won't stain your teeth but the same can't be said for your toothbrush or sink. You can also make a turmeric paste by mixing some of powdered turmeric with a little water and use it topically.