Common herbs & weeds

Acacia mearnsii (black wattle)

The bark is rich in tannins and so can be used in the many ways that astringents can be employed such as to treat diarrhoea and dysentery, to treat haemorrhoids, stop internal bleeding, bathe cuts and abrasions, as a mouthwash to tighten the teeth in the gums etc.

The bark of all Acacia species contains greater or lesser quantities of tannins and are astringent. Astringents are often used medicinally – taken internally, for example. they are used in the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery, and can also be helpful in cases of internal bleeding. Applied externally, often as a wash, they are used to treat wounds and other skin problems, haemorrhoids, perspiring feet, some eye problems, as a mouth wash etc.

Many Acacia trees also yield greater or lesser quantities of a gum from the trunk and stems. This is sometimes taken internally in the treatment of diarrhoea and haemorrhoids

Lavender

Anxiety Management Lavender essential oil can ease symptoms of anxiety, although how and why it helps is debated. Sleep Aid Studies have shown that inhaling essential oils — including lavender essential oil — may be a safe alternative to other medications for mild to moderate sleep disturbances. Wound Healing Using lavender essential oil can promote wound healing. It speeds up the rate of healing, increases the expression of collagen — which keeps your skin elastic and your joints healthy — and enhances the activity of proteins involved in rebuilding tissue.

Comfrey

Comfrey is considered an important herb in traditional folk medicine, long used in poultices proven helpful for bruises, sprains, muscle tears, and to help heal broken bones. To craft a drawing salve for infections, splinters, or lesions, add powdered marshmallow root or slippery elm to a comfrey-based salve or ointment.

SALVE: A simple drawing salve only requires about 3 cups of freshly cut and finely chopped comfrey and 1 cup of extra virgin coconut oil. Mix comfrey and coconut oil in a double boiler and simmer over low heat to extract the healing essential oils.

Remove the oil mixture from the heat and strain through cheesecloth into a glass measuring cup with a spout. Add two tablespoons of chopped beeswax to the mixture to achieve a salve with a firm consistency. Stir to blend and melt the wax. Pour the mixture into sterile, small glass jars. If you use dark-colored glass jars with sealable lids, the antiseptic ointment will store well for several years.

Fresh comfrey steeped in coconut oil is an excellent base for a diverse array of homemade salves and ointments that offer natural relief from burns, abrasions, insect bites, and chaffing. Experiment with the addition of freshly cut flowers and leaves of your favourite medicinal herbs.
A salve combining peppermint essential oil and comfrey provides relief from the burdensome pain of burning, aching feet and is especially helpful to persons suffering from diabetic neuropathy.
However, for homesteaders, one of the plant’s most useful qualities is its role in maintaining healthy permaculture systems. Every homestead should grow a plot of comfrey. Comfrey decomposes to create great moisture-holding mulch and the most nutrient-rich compost you can imagine. Comfrey also helps repel invasive predators that damage the homestead harvest. It’s a fact! Comfrey mulch, spread around the base of plants in the garden, is the best slug deterrent I have ever used.

Calendula (Calendula officinalis): for skin inflammation and bruises
1. Boost Wound Healing – Due to the antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, this herb has been used in preparations for insect bites, sunburns, rashes, and also other skin irritations. Due to its antibacterial qualities help deal with the minor infection that can occur along with wounds as well in order to ensure this healing process safe and effective.
2. Reduce Inflammation – No matter where the inflammation occurs, this herb can considerably reduce the discomfort. In case you suffer from congestion or a cough, you should drink a cup of calendula tea as a natural remedy. And in cases your joints become hurt because of arthritis or gout, you can apply some calendula oil to your skin balm to get a quick reduction in pain. Finally, in case your stomach is upset, this herb can help normalize the gastrointestinal system as well as eliminate any inflammation that causes discomfort.
It can be used for bee stings, psoriasis, and dermatitis due to the reaction of the anti-inflammatory properties in it. Moreover, herbalists also suggest applying calendula to gastric and duodenal ulcers because of these anti-inflammatory activities.
3. Reduce Infection – This herb is believed to have antiviral qualities that play a role in combating bacteria causing fever and infections. In addition, this herb is additionally used to deal with minor sunburns, bee stings, rash, skin rashes, and even snake bites in combination with its anti-inflammatory properties
4. Prevent Cancer – Calendula oil contains anti-tumor properties that are considered to be very valuable for the new research on cancer exploring natural solutions to this dangerous disease. In addition, the presence of specific flavonoids and antioxidants in Calendula herbal tea can stop the oxidation in along with irregular cell growth and development.
5. Improve Heart health
6. Aid In Digestion – In brief, you should drink calendula tea in order to maintain the healthy digestive organs. This herb tea can work deep inside the body treating upset stomach, bladder infections, and ulcers. Also, it helps prevent the risks of metabolic ailments, clean the digestive tract, and remove out any digestion related disorders.
7. Detoxify The Body – In addition, calendula is believed to decrease a sore throat and fever associated with common cold and other bacterial infections. And by consuming the tea of this herb, the body will be soaked up with food, particularly fatty food items and avoid the signs of heartburn as well.
8. Support Oral Health – And when mentioning to oral health, you may think about the conditions of the teeth and the breath which fortunately receive the support of calendula with its toothpaste and mouthwashes that are really beneficial in killing bacteria causing from gingivitis to cavities.
9. Improve Vision Health
10. Reduce Cramping
11. Regulate Menstruation – Can aid in reducing menstrual cramps, relieving breast tenderness, and reversing some certain symptoms associated with menopause. Moreover, this herb has been used to promote uterine contractions and, aid in delivering placenta after childbirth, and resolve aching nipples caused by nursing.
12. Treat Ear Pain – Make ear drops containing calendula, lavender, garlic, mullein, vitamin E, St. John’s wort or olive oil to give a significant enhancement in pain after 3 days if using. In addition, the patients who used ear drops alone experienced a better response than those who used both ear drops and amoxicillin in fact.
13. Prevent Muscle Spasm
14. Used For Radiation Therapy Dermatitis – As you know, radiation treatments for people with cancer can cause at the radiation site the pains, sores, and dermatitis in which calendula cream is often used to soothe the pains and heal these skin conditions. It is the reason why calendula cream is recommended for this type of specific application by homeopathic doctors.
15. Prevent Premature Aging
16. Prevent Sun Damage
17. Remove Stretch Marks
18. Cure Rashes

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum): for burns and rheumatoid arthritis

Carrot(Daucus carota): for itchy skin and eczema.

Purslane

This common weed is called purslane; it has hidden health benefits that many people have no idea about. Instead of pulling and tossing this weed, you might want to consider harvesting it instead. The health benefits associated with this weed can save you trips to the doctor and the pharmacy. Purslane isn’t only edible, but it contains more nutrition than the greens and vegetables you’re eating now. By quite a significant amount, too. Many weeds are edible but none are as rich with nutrients than purslane — chances are it’s in your backyard right now. This succulent weed is bursting with vitamins and minerals which are essential for overall health and well-being. Purslane has high amounts of calcium and iron which are great for keeping your bones strong.
Its seeds are super strong and can create a plant that can live up to 25 years. It’s no wonder this miracle weed does wonders for your immune system. It’s truly a secret superfood.
Purslane has seven times the beta-carotene than carrots, six times more vitamin E than spinach, and fourteen times more Omega 3 fatty acids.

Dandelion

First up, if you eat it like a veggie, it’s a very nutritious veggie. The leaves are loaded with vitamins and minerals, including the anti-oxidant beta carotene. (See below.)

DIGESTIVE AID

The bitterness of dandelion increases stomach acid, improving digestion. (Contrary to popular belief, acid reflux is often due to inadequate stomach acid.) Dandelion acts as a cholagogue, increasing flow of bile from the gallbladder into the duodenum. It also acts as a choleretic, increasing bile production. You can try some dandelion tea before meals, or steeping some chopped greens in white wine to accompany your meal, or add the greens to your salad.

MILD LAXATIVE

The inulin of dandelion roots helps to bulk up stool, while the potassium and magnesium in the leaves may help relieve bloating and constipation. (Constipation is commonly associated with potassium and magnesium deficiencies.)

SKIN FRESHENER

Use dandelion flowers to lighten freckles and age spots, relieve sunburn and tighten pores. In Healing Wise, Susun Weed suggests covering freshly picked dandelion blossoms in boiling water. Cover your container and let steep for one hour. Strain and reserve liquid.

Place warm flowers on your target skin areas, and relax for ten minutes. Remove flowers and rinse with the flower liquid. Treat before bedtime and leave the dandelion water residue on overnight for best results.

WART REMOVER

Apply the sap from the flower stalk directly to warts, calluses corns and rough skin. Rub in and repeat as needed. (The sap is antimicrobial.)

HELP REGULATE BLOOD SUGAR

Is dandelion good for diabetes?

Initial studies say “yes”, dandelion may be helpful for regulating the blood sugar of type 2 diabetics. Volunteers in a 2016 study who consumed 5 g of dandelion root and leaf powder for nine days significantly reduced their fasting blood glucose levels

Plantain (Plantago lanceolata, P. major, P. rugelii)

Fresh plantain leaf poultices are famous for insect stings, such as a wasp or bee sting. You simply chew up a fresh leaf, and then place it on the affected area. It can immediately relieve pain and reduce swelling, heat, and redness.

I’ve also heard of plantain being used for serious spider bites; it’s really a potent plant! Plantain has many uses beyond bug bites.

It can be used topically to address infections and to heal both burns and wounds. Also consider it for an emergency toothache (however, since toothaches can be quite serious, also make that dentist appointment).

Plantain has antimicrobial properties as well as vulnerary or wound-healing abilities.

Plantain has both antiviral and immune-modulating effects.

How to Identify and Harvest Plantain

There are two types of plantains that are regularly used as first-aid medicine. One type is commonly called broadleaf plantain. It has oval or egg-shaped leaves. Plantago major (Eurasia native) and P. rugelii (North America native) are both examples of broadleaf plantain.

Plantain loves to grow right on walkways, lawns, and disturbed areas.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

For thousands of years, yarrow has been used to heal wounds and stop bleeding. It has been called by many names over the centuries, including the descriptive names spearwort, staunchweed, and woundwort. Yarrow offers a complete package that is well suited for healing injuries. When used as a topical poultice, both fresh and dried yarrow can encourage blood to coagulate, helping to stop bleeding.

Using yarrow to stop bleeding can be as simple as bruising or chopping the leaves to form a poultice and applying them to the area. It’s famous for stopping nosebleeds.

Yarrow is broadly antimicrobial and antiseptic. When used on a wound, it can help keep clear infection or it can be used to address signs of infection such as heat, redness, or yellow discharge.

One study showed that oil infused with yarrow was effective in reducing inflammation on the skin.

How to Identify and Harvest Yarrow

Yarrow loves to grow in sunny fields and meadows, although it can tolerate some shade as well. It commonly grows all over the globe. It reaches one to three feet in height and is a perennial herbaceous herb, meaning it dies back each year but emerges again in the spring from the roots. The flowers grow as a compound corymb and are most often white but can have some pinkish hue. The flowers have a distinctive aromatic scent. Yarrow has both the ray and disk flowers characteristic of the Asteraceae family. I like to harvest both the leaves and flowers for this herbal first-aid ointment.

Self-Heal (Prunella vulgaris, P. lanceolata)

Commonly found growing in lawns and other disturbed places, self-heal is an often overlooked weed It is used for all sorts of wounds.

Self-heal is used for wounds on the skin, including cuts, scrapes, and burns. It’s also used for drawing out infections, such as abscesses and boils. It’s also been shown to have antiviral properties against the herpes virus.

How to Identify and Harvest Self-Heal

Self-heal is a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae) and has the classic characteristics of this family: The purple flowers have a lipped-shape appearance and grow on spikes. The leaves are opposite each other on the stem. The stems are square. The plant grows close to the ground, up to one foot in height. It loves damp shady places and often grows in lawns. It will also grow in full sun. It grows all over the globe and readily spreads once established. Harvest the leaves and flowers when the plant is in bloom.

Make this herbal first-aid ointment and you’ll have a safe, effective and super simple remedy to use on bites, stings, bumps, bruises, burns, and clean scrapes and cuts. This salve can also be used on herpes outbreaks.

(Caution: don’t use oil- and beeswax-based preparations on already infected wounds.)

I recommend using fresh herbs that have been slightly wilted. In my climate, wilting them overnight works well. Ideally the plants lose about 50 percent of their water as they wilt. What you’ll need…

  • Large handful of fresh plantain leaves
  • Large handful of fresh yarrow leaves and flowers
  • Large handful of fresh self-heal leaves and flowers
  • 1 1/4 cup olive oil (or other oil of your choice)
  • 1 ounce beeswax (by weight)
  • 40 drops lavender essential oil (optional)
  • Tins or containers

Leave them in a cool and dark place overnight to allow them to wilt and lose some of their water content. The next day finely chop the herbs.

For this recipe you’ll want a 1/3 cup of each plant.

Place the wilted and finely chopped plants in the top of a double boiler (or a bowl placed over a pot). Pour in the oil. Gently heat the oil via the double boiler.

You can use a thermometer to measure the exact temperature, ideally around 100° F. I just keep a close eye on it and turn off the heat once the oil is warm to the touch. Continue to heat the oil several times a day for 3 to 5 days.

You’ll know you’ve extracted the plants well when the oil has turned green and it has the aromatics of the plants.

Strain off the plant material and measure out 1 cup of oil. (If you have more than 1 cup, you can use the remaining amount as a nourishing body oil; if you have too little, add a bit more oil until you have 1 cup).

On low heat, very gently heat the beeswax in a small pan. Once it’s melted, add the oil and stir well. It’s normal for the beeswax to harden slightly in this stage. Stir until everything is melted and combined. Remove from heat.

Add the optional lavender essential oil. Stir well. Immediately pour into tins or containers. Let stand until thoroughly cooled and solidified. Store in a cool place and use within a year. For clean up, wipe down all oily surfaces with a paper towel before using hot soapy water to wash everything.

1. ACHES & PAIN HERBAL SALVE

Ingredients:

6-oz. apricot kernel (Prunus armeniaca) oil

1-oz. beeswax (Cera alba)

10 drops peppermint (Mentha × piperita) essential oil

15 drops rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) essential oil

10 drops clary sage (Salvia sclarea) essential oil

Add the essential oils to a glass beaker and mix well. Add the essential oil blend to the beeswax and apricot kernel oil as instructed above under How to Make the Basic Salve.

To Use: Apply to point of pain twice a day. This is a potent blend and should be used sparingly. Stop use immediately if adverse reactions occur.

Cautions: Avoid use around and with babies and children. Avoid use in pregnancy. Avoid use in epilepsy. Avoid use with high blood pressure. Possible skin sensitivity. 

2. HERBAL SALVE FOR BURNS

Ingredients:

6-oz. St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) oil

1-oz. beeswax (Cera alba)

10 drops helichrysum (Helichrysum angustifolia) essential oil

20 drops lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil

5 drops vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides) essential oil

Add the essential oils to a glass beaker and mix well. Add the essential oil blend to the beeswax and St. John’s wort oil as instructed above under How to Make the Basic Salve.

To Use: Apply to the burn up to three times a day. Stop use immediately if adverse reactions occur.

Cautions: Possible skin sensitivity.

3. BOO-BOO HERBAL SALVE FOR CHILDREN

6-oz. calendula (Calendula officinalis) oil

1-oz. beeswax (Cera alba)

5 drops Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) essential oil

5 drops lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil

8 drops sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) essential oil

Add the essential oils to a glass beaker and mix well. Add the essential oil blend to the beeswax and calendula oil as instructed above under How to Make the Basic Salve.

To Use: Apply to any bumps or minor bruises that children tend to incur during daily activities. Stop use immediately if adverse reactions occur.

Cautions: Use with children aged 5 years and over. Possible skin sensitivity.

4. HERBAL SALVE FOR SKIN IRRITATIONS & BUG BITES

6-oz. carrot (Daucus carota) oil

1-oz. beeswax (Cera alba)

15 drops geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) essential oil

6 drops frankincense (Boswellia carteri) essential oil

15 drops lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil

Add the essential oils to a glass beaker and mix well. Add the essential oil blend to the beeswax and carrot oil as instructed above under How to Make the Basic Salve.

To Use: Apply to minor skin irritations and bug bites as they occur. Use up to three times a day. Stop use immediately if adverse reactions occur.

Cautions: Possible skin sensitivity.

5. HERBAL SALVE FOR DIGESTIVE COMPLAINTS

4-oz. calendula (Calendula officinalis) oil

2-oz. carrot (Daucus carota) oil

15 drops sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) essential oil

12 drops ginger (Zingiber officinale) essential oil

8 drops dill (Anethum graveolens) essential oil

Add the essential oils to a glass beaker and mix well. Add the essential oil blend to the beeswax, calendula oil, and carrot oil as instructed above under How to Make the Basic Salve.

To Use: Massage a small amount over the abdomen area in a clock-wise direction. Use up to three times a day. Stop use immediately if adverse reactions occur.

Cautions: Avoid use in pregnancy. Possible risk of phototoxicity. Possible skin sensitivity.

Massage Oil Blend using comfrey

Calming lavender essential oil

  • Magnesium oil – made from magnesium chloride and rainwater – receive transdermal magnesium therapy while massaging the emollient goodness of the oils into your skin – pure bliss!
  • Lavender Massage Oil – contains South Australian produced olive infused with my own garden grown calendula for its wonderful soothing properties for your skin.
  • With sweet almond oil – light in texture and high in vitamin E, plus with
  • Extra vitamin E added into the formula this oil is incredibly moisturising.
  • With lavender essential oil for its total calming and relaxing benefits – beautiful aromatherapy before heading off to bed for a good nights sleep!

Muscle Relief Massage Oil

  • Magnesium oil
  • Olive infused with comfrey. Comfrey is an excellent herb for helping with muscle and joint sprains and strains.
  • With sweet almond oil – light in texture and high in vitamin E,
  • Extra vitamin E added into the formula this oil is incredibly moisturising.
  • With essential oils of wintergreen, camphor, lemongrass, eucalyptus, ginger and ylang ylang – warming, relieving oils that are all good for helping with sore muscles and joints.