An herbal remedy made with only one herb is called a Simple. I can’t think of a more, welcome Simple than Chamomile. Camomile tea is available in the tea section of your grocery or health food store, but this plant is also very easy to grow, and comes back every year by reseeding itself.
Happy yellow heads, delicate white petals and an intoxicating sweet apple scent make chamomile the quintessential herb for any sunny garden. You might know this herb as Garden Chamomile or Ground Apple.
Chamomile is seductively tranquilizing, with relaxant and sedative properties. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed with life, or you just need a good night’s sleep, pick three or four tiny flower heads, throw them into a tea cup and pour boiled water over. Let your tea steep for at least seven or eight minutes before removing the flowers, or just leave them in. Indulge in the calming tranquility of chamomile tea, and forget about the stressful events of the day.
My friend remembers her Italian mother using chamomile tea for everything, and she laughs about the time when her brother was having a severe appendix attack and her mother promptly declared, “You need chamomile tea!”
Words of warning here, it you are having a severe appendix attack ~ see your physician immediately!
Chamomile Tea Benefits:
Chamomile is a cure all, which means it affects many systems of the body in a positive way. It is rich in vitamins and minerals and helps to regenerate your body by reducing acidity, inflammation and irritation, and remineralizing depleted tissues.
It’s medicinal virtues include antispasmodic properties which help to reduce the pain and spasms of injuries; and antiseptic properties, which prevent infection by killing microorganisms. Chamomile is known as a vulnerary or wound healer. This combination of medicinal properties makes chamomile an excellent remedy for wounds and trauma to tissues, such as bruises, bites or sprains. (Schneider, 2002)
Make a strong chamomile herbal tea and let it cool. Soak a flannel or soft cotton cloth in the tea, then lay the cloth over the affected area, refreshing the cloth with tea as needed.
Chamomile is included in many herbal blends to help calm and relax your digestive system as well. For digestive upset, and chronic acidity, such as that caused by a congested Liver and Gall Bladder, try mixing Chamomile with other relaxing, nourishing and healing herbs, such as Lemon Balm and Alfalfa. I used Nourishing Comfort Digestive Tea Blend to heal my entire digestive system, while using liver and gallbladder cleanses to purge out hundreds of fatty deposits or gallstones, lose over 20 pounds, and save my Gall Bladder from imminent extraction! For more information about congested liver and gall bladder, read Conversation with Dr. Gall. To try the cleanse yourself, download Cleanse Your Body!
Chamomile tea is less known for its ability to soothe premenstrual pains and headaches. Drink as a simple tisane, which means by itself as a tea, or mix with equal parts of red raspberry leaves and red clover flowers for a strong, hormone balancing blend. Red clover is especially rich in phytoestrogens, those weaker plant estrogens which help to balance your hormones and your mood, as well as reduce uncomfortable symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and menopause. Be aware… red clover flowers have been used to increase fertility by native women! (Miczak, 1999)
Chamomile is a perfect herb for beginners, so purchase a package and make Chamomile your new garden friend. While on your way home, pick up a package of Chamomile tea bags too as your little friends will take a while to grow from seed to harvest.
Pick your chamomile flowers when they are perfectly ripe and flowery… just like this… after a rain if possible…
Dry them on a cotton napkin or tea cloth, under a ceiling fan if possible, which will help them dry faster. When your chamomile flowers are very dry, store them in a glass jar, in a cool, dark place, like your kitchen cupboard for instance.
In my experience, many people have a slight distaste for Chamomile tea at first try, myself included! Just give it some time, be patient and keep using it. Remember to use it when you’re really down and tired, or stressed and maxed out. Either way, this pretty little plant will grow on you, and you’ll find yourself coming home after a stressful day, rummaging through the cupboards, just begging for one last tea bag…
For detailed information about medicinal herbs and how to use them, check out Wild Medicinal Plants by Anny Schneider.
For Native American herbal secrets, recipes and healing traditions, go to Nature’s Weeds, Native Medicine by Marie Miczak, D.Sc., Ph.D.
Schneider, Anny. (2002) Wild Medicinal Plants. Toronto: Key Porter Books Limited.
Miczak, Marie. (1999) Nature’s Weeds, Native Medicine, Twin Lakes: Lotus Press.
I do not always sleep well and even if I do, I seem to always have bloodshot & burning eyes. I do struggle with low iron and have been using a plant based liquid from the health food store but don”t always feel relief. Could this also be due to premenopause and or under active thyroid?
Hello and thank you for your question.
There are a few issues in your email.
- Bloodshot and burning eyes
- Low iron
Bloodshot and Burning Eyes can be a symptom of many things.
A B2 or Riboflavin deficiency can cause burning eyes. It is caused by poor intake of B2 or digestive disturbances which inhibit absorption.
Other symptoms of B2 deficiency might help to narrow it down for you.
- Dry skin around nose and lips
- Cracks or sores in corners of mouth
- Bloodshot, red or itchy eyes
- Eyes sensitive to light
- Abnormal hair loss
- Painful, purple tongue
- Inflamed scrotum
Dietary sources of B2 include leafy greens, brewer’s yeast, eggs, almonds and all nuts, fish, wheat germ, brussel sprouts.
Dry, red eyes can also be helped by adding more highly unsaturated fats to your diet, such as flax, avocado, hemp oil, and evening primrose oil (supplement form only) every day!
Increasing levels of essential fats, will not only improve dryness in your eyes – it will improve dryness throughout your body, in your arteries, your heart, brain and will help to improve immunity and nervous system functioning. Deficiency of essential fats causes the following symptoms:
- Rough, dry, flaky or scaly skin
- Dry, brittle hair
- Poor memory
- Irregular menstruation
- Auto immune dysfunctions
- Underactive stomach (which can impair digestion of essential nutrients!)
- Increased menopausal symptoms
“I do not always sleep well”
Insomnia can also be caused by many factors, including poor assimilation or deficiency of magnesium.
Now we can see a pattern, because magnesium and the B vitamins work together.
Magnesium is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies, and directly causes insomnia, muscle cramps, irritability, low energy, tooth decay and fluid buildup.
Magnesium is probably more important than calcium, and is easily washed out with diuretics, including coffee and excess water intake.
Dairy products are very high in calcium, but low in magnesium. Long term dairy intake can lead to a deficiency of magnesium.
Deficiency of magnesium can cause the following symptoms:
- muscle spasms
- cravings for chocolate
- gall stones
- irregular heartbeat
- excessive body odour
- neck, shoulder and back pain
- gastrointestinal disorders
- muscle weakness
- ‘hangover’ symptoms
The best dietary sources of magnesium include all fresh, raw vegetables, seaweeds, and raw cocoa (raw chocolate powder), raw nuts and seeds.
“I do struggle with low iron and have been using a plant based liquid from the health food store but don’t always feel relief.”
It is not always a good idea to take iron supplements as iron can build to dangerous levels within your body, especially if you no longer menstruate. You might want to consult your physician about iron levels in your body. It is always better to take nutrients from raw food, so increasing iron rich raw plant foods is a better and more available source of iron.
High intakes of coffee, chocolate and colas can interfere with absorption of iron (and calcium). Vitamin C enhances the absorption of iron.
Deficiency in iron causes the following symptoms:
- lack of energy, fatigue
- poor concentration
Iron rich plant foods include:
- dried peaches
- egg yolk (never over cook your egg yolk, it damages essential fats and vitamins!)
- raw nuts and seeds
- beans and sprouts
- using cast iron pans
Your doctor can check levels of most nutrients, which will give you a definitive answer as to which deficiencies you really have.
Cleansing can help to correct any digestive disorders that may be affecting your ability to breakdown foods and absorb nutrients.
The Brown Rice Cleanse is the perfect cleanse to detoxify, while boosting nutrients. Free download available here: Cleanse Your Body
Smoothies made with raw green leafy vegetables and raw nuts will increase all levels of essential nutrients including magnesium, B2 and iron.
Try Cleansing Green Juice.
Another way to increase essential mineral and vitamin levels is to take a green food supplement every day. These are made from ground up whole plant foods, and are never synthesized in a lab.
It is important to eat foods raw as much as possible, to avoid damaging needed nutrients. These changes will help any symptoms caused by pre menopause, especially if you add hormone balancing foods like chick peas, red clover tea, berries of all kinds, leafy green vegetables and raw nuts and seeds to your diet on a regular basis.
Perrault, Danielle. (2001) Nutritional Symptomatology. Richmond Hill, Ontario: CSNN Publishing.
I hope this information helps. Please let us know what changes you have made and how you are making out by commenting below this post.
Q & A with The Good Witch
I”ve always gotten cold sores, but in the last month and a half I”m being tortured from then. I’ve had 6 or more outbreaks, some which end up on the softer tissue around my lips. Is there anything that you can recommend to reduce the severity or reduce the occurrence of outbreaks? Any help or information is muchly appreciated.
Thank you for your question.
Cold sores are a very common problem, especially as we are entering winter months and spend more time indoors.
But… your problem seems more chronic as you say that you have always gotten cold sores. It sounds like they are getting the better of you!
First of all to give you immediate relief from the sores themselves, you need a little first aid. There are several herbs that work to heal skin eruptions of any kind. Coincidentally these same herbs also help cleanse your blood when taken internally. The root of the Burdock and Dandelion plants both have healing properties. Comfrey root is by far the best healer but must not be taken internally, so don’t drink it! Chamomile or calendula tea dabbed on the cold sore will provide immediate relief and help to gently heal the sores. Whichever herb you choose, make a tea by pouring water just off the boil, over the herbs and let steep for 20 minutes, then cool and refrigerate extra for later use. Put some tea in a small bowl and use a cloth to dab onto the sores.
The garlic remedy kills any pathogens in your body which will immediately slow down the cold sore virus and give your body a break!
Now to address the underlying issue.
Simply put, cold sores are an infection, and any infection requires the assistance of your immune system, not only to kill an active infection, but to never let a pathogen (infection causing organism) to get hold in the first place.
To keep your immune system in tip top shape, and get rid of these cold sores once and for all, there are several easy things you can do:
Cleanse your body! Go to Cleanse Your Body!, and download a free pdf, 19 pages, nine different cleanses.
Eat nutritious foods that your immune system needs to run smoothly, these include lots of fresh raw nuts and seeds and their highly nutritious, unsaturated oils and raw fresh greens like spinach, lettuce, swiss chard, kale and all the seaweeds which are not only the most nutritious foods they are the most perfect immune system foods!
Fruits and vegetables in smoothies, salads and raw juices, check out the Eat section at www.TheGoodWitch.ca for lots of delicious and nutritious recipes, tips and ideas.
Whole grains like Oatmeal, Quinoa and Millet
Chick peas, lentils, and natural peanut butter (Mara Natha is an excellent choice without congesting synthetic shortening or hydrogenated fats)
Eat immune boosting helpers as much as possible like raw garlic and onions, culinary herbs like rosemary, basil, thyme and oregano (with potent anti-viral compounds), shitake, maitake and reishi mushrooms by adding to casseroles, curries, salads and teas.
Do less of the things that impair your immune system’s ability to function optimally:
Reduce stress! This is THE first issue that should be addressed whenever your immune system is compromised.
Stop eating sugar and refined carbohydrates which greatly suppress immunity, eat fresh raw or naturally dried fruits instead
Eat less of the congesting dairy products, cooked meats and highly processed foods with additives
Avoid hydrogenated oils, partially hydrogenated oils and shortening as these synthetic fats congest your cells, impair their ability to protect themselves and cause disease.
All these changes will take time but will work to greatly improve your health and improve your immune system’s ability to fight off infections like cold sores.
Please let us know how you make out by commenting below.
Q & A with The Good Witch
I am wondering do you have any advice on what to do for burning feet? The bottom of my feet burn at night?
Burning feet can be a symptom of deficiency of Vitamin B5, also known as Pantothenic Acid.
To test this deficiency, purchase a bottle of best quality Pantothenic Acid, as well as Vitamin B Complex. Vitamin B’s are always better when taken in a complex form, so you don’t want to take Pantothenic Acid by itself. Take both vitamins together, daily for 2 weeks and see if burning symptoms disappear.
Pantothenic acid is also important in fighting stress, so if you find yourself ‘stressed out’ and not able to cope, this also may be a clue to your burning feet problem.
If taking Vitamin B supplements help, and the symptom disappears after two weeks, gradually add Vitamin B rich foods to your diet and remove an excess of foods which your body uses Vitamin B5 for, such as the manufacture of cholesterol in your liver. These include foods high in saturated fats such as all dairy products and fatty meats.
Add foods rich in all Vitamin B’s such as all whole grains, brown rice, brewer’s yeast, whole wheat, wheat bran, oatmeal, peanuts, raw nuts and seeds, leafy green vegetables, eggs cooked with a runny yolk, cantaloupe, miso, tempeh, sprouted grains, naturally fermented soy sauce, legumes, fresh sprouts, various fruits, and fresh cold water fish. Adding these foods and reducing intake of dairy products and meats, will affect your health in a positive way in general, and may help to reduce other unexplained symptoms.
If you find this information helpful, please comment here so others can learn from your experience.
Reference: Perrault, Danielle. Nutritional Symptomatology, CSNN Publishing, 2001.
I have learned so much from your website already! I hope you don’t mind me e-mailing you, I’d love if you could give me some advice.
I’ve been a vegetarian for 8 years, but spent the majority of that time eating anything out of a box. Since I’ve moved away from home, my diet has completely changed. I spend a lot of time doing research on how I can improve things for myself, and it’s really paying off. About two months ago I started eating high raw, and the changes I have noticed in my body are amazing. For the first time ever I have some control over my weight. However I find I am getting bored of eating the same foods (I’m not very creative!) so am eating less and less of the ‘goodstuff”. I think I need to give some of the recipes on your website a shot!
I have always loved fitness but even though I’m only 19 years old, I’ve had a lot of problems with my body. I have PCOS so I am insulin resistant, and can’t lose weight. I’ve had problems with joints as well. As of September I’m doing the fitness and health promotion program in Kingston, which is even more of a push for me to learn more about helping myself.
Eating raw provides so many more health benefits than cooked food – it’s incredible! As for getting bored – you must try some new recipes. If you intend on eating more raw foods, I would suggest you purchase a dehydrator and blender. You can make so much with these two tools. My favorite raw food chef is Ani Phyo – her recipes are great! I’ll be posting lots more recipes and articles on my website so stay tuned! Or…
As for PCOS, consider a main cause of this condition can be excess estrogen. Remove the excess estrogen, and very often, the PCOS will disappear. The tiny ovarian cysts in PCOS, which sometimes aren’t so tiny, can be unopened egg sacks. Every month an egg migrates through the ovary to the outside. When hormone levels are normal, the tiny sack holding the egg bursts open and releases the egg. The leftover sack is the corpus luteum, it’s job to produce progesterone to hold onto a pregnancy, should the egg be fertilized. Either the egg will be fertilized and a beautiful little baby will be conceived, or the unfertilized egg will just get washed away during menstruation. But…in the case of PCOS, too much estrogen is present, which doesn’t encourage the sack to open. It just sits there, on the outside of the ovary, waiting, forever. The next month, the same thing happens over again, until the ovary is covered with unopened egg sacks, or cysts!
Excess estrogen comes from several places.
- Birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy (these are the same thing).
- Dairy products are high in growth hormones naturally, to cause a baby calf to grow into a massive cow or bull.
- If you purchase packaged products, with U.S. dairy products, these products probably contain synthetic growth hormones, like Estradiol.
- Meat products are also high in growth hormones, you can expect all meat products from U.S. companies to contain synthetic growth hormones. Canadian beef is also fed growth hormones in the last year of life, if not also, before the last year.
Because you have been a vegetarian for 8 years, you would not be exposed to the hormones in meat products and hormones — naturally present or added synthetically to dairy products, can be avoided by replacing dairy with other delicious foods and more healing foods. You can find lots of great alternatives for dairy, starting with making your own nut and seed milks, see Hemp Milk and other easy seed and nut milks.
There are safe ways of controlling pregnancies, and being pregnant is never a trade-off for your health.
Counter estrogen build up in your body by reducing stress, exercising, drinking lots of water, and getting adequate amounts of rest. These things help your body to clear excess estrogen.
The next thing is to eat foods that balance your hormones, which will automatically help you lose weight. These are plant foods, high in phytoestrogens.
- Highly unsaturated fatty acids, which also help to break up trans fat and saturated fat, helping with weight loss. Flax seed oil is high in hormone balancing phytoestrogens, and this alone could be the answer to PCOS and weight gain. Flax seed oil works best mixed into a high quality protein, 2 tablespoons mixed into a smoothie with raw nuts and seeds, daily.
- Red Clover Tea — be careful not to drink too much because Red Clover tea has been used historically to encourage pregnancy!
- Chick peas and other peas and beans, try Heavenly Garlicky Hummus
- Fennel seeds ~ just chew them like Indian women do, or add them to salads
Berries ~ all kinds, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries ~ that’s probably why women love berries so much!
- Fermented organic soy ~ tempeh, miso, Nama Shoyu (naturally fermented soy sauce)
Please share your successes and let us know how you are doing by commenting at the bottom of this post.
A very dear friend of mine has twisted bowels and at this stage cannot do any surgery yet. Is there something she can do to help her calm the bowels etc. She goes from severe constipation to very bad bouts of diarrhea.
Twisted bowel can be very serious, so its great that your friend has already sought medical attention and ruled out any immediate dangers.
In the meantime, there are definitely some things she can do nutritionally, to ease the bad bouts of diarrhea and severe constipation, and begin the healing process.
Nutrition is very important in the health of your bowels and digestive system. They work hard day after day, slugging away, taking in every speck of food we put in our mouth, churning, digesting and sorting. Sometimes our bowels get sick and tired of doing all the dirty work, without any acknowledgement from the person around them. Please be kind to your bowels!
The absolute first thing you must do is give your bowels a rest. Drink lots of fresh water, at room temperature, reducing chill on your stomach, liver and intestines. Give your digestive system at least three hours between meals, drinking only water and healing herbal teas. Eat small portions more frequently, and avoid large meals completely. Sit down and relax when eating. Eat slowly, and chew your food properly, until it is mostly liquid.
Begin to pay close attention to the symptoms you experience. Complete a food diary for at least one week, writing down everything you eat and drink, and the times. Most important, record how you feel, regularly during the day, because this will provide the clues to which foods are causing irritation. As soon as you have identified a food that bothers you, immediately remove it. You can always experiment later by adding back foods that you particularly enjoy, once your condition is healed.
You can download a blank Food Diary from this website. If you forget the download link and ever need another copy, just type food diary in the search bar on this website.
Next, remove the foods that are hurting your bowel ~ these foods are difficult to digest. Use your food diary and the information below to determine which foods to remove.
Then, add back foods that nourish and heal your bowel ~ foods that are nutritious and easy to digest.
To remove foods that irritate your digestive system and add foods that nourish and heal, just follow the ‘Brown Rice Cleanse’, which is included in Simple and Effective Cleanses for Optimum Health. This free pdf is available for download on the sidebar of any page here.
The Brown Rice Cleanse removes allergic and irritating foods and encourages nourishment and healing. This diet is very safe for everyone, and especially for people with diabetes. Please do not undertake cleansing when you are pregnant or nursing as this can cause toxins to be released into your bloodstream.
Now, for some immediate relief and therapeutic remedies.
I used this wonderful herbal blend when I was healing from digestive problems. It will help with inflammation and begin to heal the inside of your intestines. It also kills bacteria, viruses, yeasts and other pathogens. This tea gently calms and uplifts your mood while soothing, nourishing and healing your entire digestive tract. You’ll find the recipe here, Nourishing Comfort Digestive Tea Blend. If you can’t find one or two of the herbs, don’t worry, still make the tea. All the herbs can be used individually as well. Chamomile especially can be taken anytime of day. It’s soothing properties will instantly calm you and your digestive system.
Aloe vera juice will work quickly to heal the inside of your entire digestive system. Purchase 100% Aloe Vera Juice from a health food store. Drink as directed every day, until you feel better.
These changes may take some time, and that’s perfectly okay. Just continue to make positive changes, until you feel better and your digestive system is healed.
Please share your successes and let us know how you are doing by commenting at the bottom of this post.