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Uses for Herbs, Vegetables and Other Plants

Jay Long

If your lazy Susan looks anything like mine, it’s probably stuffed full of various herbs that you picked up thinking you’d definitely use them for some special recipe but you haven’t touched them in who knows how long.  Am I right?

I’ve got more Valerian than I know what to do with.  Actually, I don’t know what to do with it.  And there it sits making my whole lazy Susan stinky.  When I have back spasms, I use Valerian capsules to help loosen my muscles, but last year I found a ton of the tea version and it was really cheap and I thought I’d give it a shot.  Expect there were no directions on the package.  And I have no idea what to do with it.  Or had, I should say because I found an amazing article written by a guy named Don Bobbit with suggestions on what to do with all sorts of herbs, veggies and plants.  Here are a couple of his tips and a couple of my own tips (including what to do with Valerian):

Basil- Basil, is a member of the Mint family and has great medicinal properties, such as;

  • Cholesterol- Drink the tea daily to help reduce your Cholesterol levels.
  • Diabetes- Use 1-tsp of Basil leaf juice daily to fight diabetes.
  • Digestion- Basil Tea is recommended for Stomach cramps, Gas, vomiting, and constipation.
  • Insect Stings- Place Basil leaves over Insect stings to relieve the pain.
  • Kidney Stones- A good treatment for kidney stones is to make a tea by mixing 1-tsp of minced Basil leaves with 1-cup of boiling water, and letting it sit for 10 minutes before filtering it. Drink it daily for six months to help eliminate Kidney Stones.
  • Sore Throat- Drink the tea to reduce the pain of a Sore Throat.

Cilantro- Cilantro is a popular cooking herb that has been used for thousands of years. It’s seeds are also known as Coriander. Some other uses are:

  • Breath Freshener- Chew on a few leaves of Cilantro to freshen the breath after eating onions.
  • Digestion- Cilantro promotes the appetite, and enhances Gastric secretions.
  • Halitosis- Mix the following; Boil 2-qts of water with 4-twp of Cilantro to 1/2 volume, and add Lemon zest and 2-tsp Ground Cilantro and 1-tsp Mint. Let sit and cool, and gargle with the liquid.
  • Infusion- Make a Tea by adding 1-tsp of minced Cilantro with boiling water, and let it sit until it cools.

Cucumbers- Cucumbers are both eaten fresh and cooked in every imaginable way in thousands of recipes, around the world. Here are a few other applications you might find interesting;

  • Bad Breath- Place a slice of cucumber on the roof of your mouth for about 30-seconds, and reduce bad breath.
  • Cleaner- Rub Cucumber slices on your faucets and sinks. It will clean them, and remove tarnish.
  • Cellulite- Rub a few slices of cucumbers on problem areas to tighten the skin.
  • Energizer- 1 Cucumber provides enough B-vitamins and Carbohydrates to act as a good pick-me-up for several hours.
  • Garden Grubs- Place a few slices of cucumbers in a pie tin and place it in your garden. The Cucumber reacts with the Aluminum to give off a pungent scent that the bugs hate, but humans cannot smell.
  • Lubricant- Rub a slice of cucumber on a squeaky hinge to eliminate the noise.
  • Nutritional Content- Vitamins- B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and C, in addition to; Calcium, Folic Acid, Magnesium, Potassium, Phosphorus, and Zinc.
  • Shoe Shine- Rub a slice of cucumber on a dirty shoe, and clean the leather, and provide a nice shine.

Daisy- the Daisy has some very interesting uses:

  • Colds- Drink the tea to aid in curing colds.
  • Daisy Tea- Soak 2-tbs of Daisy leaves in boiling water fro about 10-minutes, filter and drink the liquid slowly.
  • Diuretic- It’s Diuretic properties make it a good tea for swollen ankles.

Dill-Dill is about 4% essential oils, and is also used in many soaps and perfumes. It is used in recipes around the world, but it also has other healthy uses, such as:

  • Breast Congestion from Nursing- Dill helps relieve this problem for many women.
  • Dill Oil- Place 4-ounces of fresh Dill (2-oz dried) with 1-pint of Olive oil, and heat over low heat for 1-hour. Strain the mixture, and seal in a bottle for future use.
  • Mothers Milk- Dill aids in the production of Mother’s Milk.
  • Stomach Gas- Take up to 6-tsp a day for Stomach Gas, and to calm the stomach.
  • Also good for; Bad Breath, Indigestion, insomnia, lactation, Digestive aid.

Marigold- the Marigold, can be found in colors from Orange to Red, and has many other applications. Here are a few;

  • Inflammation- Good to reduce inflammation such as Ulcers, upset stomach.
  • Bee Stings- Rub on sting to relieve pain.
  • Insect Repellant- Great plant to repel; ants, Caterpillars, Snails, Slugs and flies to name a few.
  • Mouth Ulcers- Drink a Marigold Tea to ease and heal.
  • Wounds- Helps heal wounds.

Onion- Onions, are used in many recipes. There are some varieties, such as Scallions which have much higher levels of potency and thus higher levels of healing capabilities. They have a number of other uses, such as:

  • Anti-Cancer- Onions are high in Anti-Oxidants, and Flavonoids, and provide the benefits subscribed to them in reducing the chances of developing cancers.
  • Bronchitis- Mix 1-tsp of honey with 1-tsp onion juice, for a liquid used to treat Bronchitis, Influenza and colds, and improve your overall health.
  • Cholesterol- Eating Onions helps lower your bad Cholesterol and helps reduce heart disease.
  • Decongestant- Onion is a natural decongestant as it helps with sinus drainage.
  • Indigestion- Onion helps resolve indigestion.
  • Intestinal Disorders- Eating Onions increases the contraction and expansion of the intestines, thus helping remove old stool and gas.
  • Jaundice- Eating onion in the morning and at bedtime, helps in the treatment of Jaundice.
  • Sore Throat- Eating an Onion helps cure a sore throat.
  • Tooth Decay- Eating raw onion helps reduce tooth decay.
  • Wart Remover- Rub a Wart with a raw onion dipped in salt. Repeat several time and the Wart will disappear.

Oregano-Oregano has been used for centuries for medicinal purposes, here are a few;

  • Indigestion- Drink 1 or 2 cups a day.
  • Mouthwash- Gargle with the Tea, unsweetened.
  • Oregano Tea- To make this tea, add 2-tbs of fresh Oregano to 1-cup of water, and boil for about 5-minutes. Allow it to cool and strain, and drink.
  • Oregano Paste- Pound Oregano, along with some oatmeal, into a thick paste to treat Rheumatism, aching muscles, and itching.
  • Urinary problems- Drink 2-3 cups a day for relief.
  • Also used to treat ailments such as; Flatulence, bronchial problems, Diarrhea, Vomiting, as well as Jaundice.

Parsley-That tasty, pretty piece of fresh greenery you see on so many of your restaurant dishes, has several good medicinal uses.

  • Bad Breath- Eat a few sprigs of fresh Parsley to reduce Bad Breath.
  • Bladder Infections- Drink 2-4 cups a day of the tea.
  • Diuretic- Parsley, pound for pound, is one of the strongest natural diuretics known.
  • Jaundice- Drink 4-5 cups of the tea a day.
  • Menstrual Pain- Eat fresh Parsley to relieve.
  • Parsley Tea- Make the tea by boiling 2-tbs of fresh minced Parsley with 1-cup of water, and boil for 10-minutes. Allow to cool, filter and drink.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis- Parsley helps relieve the pain.

Potato-The lowly potato has some interesting other applications, such as;

  • Hand Cleaner- Rub a slice of a potato on your hands to easily remove stick or greasy substances.
  • Sleep Aid- Eat mashed potatoes before going to bed to help reduce stomach acids that disturb sleep.
  • Peppermint
  • Arthritis- Topical application can ease arthritis.
  • Bug Bites- Topical application can eliminate itch.
  • Indigestion- Peppermint Tea can calm the muscles of the digestive tract.
  • Mucus and Phlegm- Peppermint Tea can thin these.
  • Muscle Cramps- Topical application can ease muscle cramps.
  • Sore Throats- Peppermint Tea can soothe a sore throat.

Rosemary- Rosemary is a great Herb and is used today in thousands of recipes. It has a strong fresh aroma, and flavor in cooking, and the plant itself is hearty, and very easy to grow. Here are some interesting uses:

  • Joint Pain- Rosemary eases Joint Pain.
  • Topical Ointment- Soak Rosemary needles in Almond Oil for 2-weeks, filter and rub on joints to ease local pain.

Sage- Sage is another great flavorful Herb, also of the Mint family, that, aside from cooking, has other applications, such as;

  • Bacteria fighter- Sage works great to help eliminate bacteria.
  • Breath Freshener- Because of it’s bacteria fighting properties, it is a good Breath Freshener.
  • Sore Throat Pain- Mixed with Echinacea, it can be as effective as Lidocaine in reliving sore throat.
  • Sage Mouthwash- Mix 1-tbs Sage leaves with 1-cup hot water. After about 5-minutes, strain the mixture, and gargle with the liquid.

Tea Bags-What do you do with those used tea bags? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Fertilizer- Empty old Tea bags around your Rose Bushes to nourish.
  • Pain Relief- Place a used, wet tea bag over a skin rash, cut or injection to get relief of any pain.
  • Sunburn- Gently rub a few wet tea bags onto a sunburn area to relieve the pain.
  • Toothache- Place a wet tea bag over a sore tooth for pain relief.

Valerian-Valerian is a medicinal Herb. Some of it’s uses are:

  • Insomnia- Valerian extract is a good treatment for Insomnia, and helps people fall to sleep quickly.
  • Sedative effect- Acts as a mild Sedative.
  • Valerian Tea recipe- Soak 6-leaves in 1-cup of boiling water and let it sit for 5-minutes. Strain the liquid and drink.

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