Friday, January 21, 2011

Two Herbs That Can be Used as Tea, soaks, ointments or tinctures for Pain and Other Conditions

Catnip (Nepeta cataria), also called Catmint.

This herb can be used for Muscle Cramps, Pms, Migraines and Tension Headaches, Promotes Relaxation, Cold and Flu, and Stomach aches. It is safe for children to drink as well and is used for colic. Pregnant women should not drink Catnip tea.

Making Catnip Tea

Dried Catnip can be made into a tea by adding 10 teaspoons of Catnip in a piece of cheese cloth, teaball, a piece of muslin or loose herbs into one liter of boiled water. Cover the pot to avoid the oil of the herb to evaporate. Let the herb steep for 10 minutes. If you used loose Catnip herb strain before drinking. Refrigerate the remaining tea in a mason jar or similar container.
You can also use the Catnip tea to treat bruises and cuts either as a soak added to bath or make a compress with the tea and place it on injured area. It is a wonderful anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. If you have no Catnip tea available the fresh herb, or wet dried herb can be applied directly to the skin or injured area.

Catnip can be a sedative so it is best not to use if you have plans to go any where, it is not safe to drive or operate heavy machinery after use.
Other common side effects are upset stomach and of course allergic reaction. It has no known interactions with any drugs but may increase the effects of other sedative herbs.

In Hoodoo Catnip is used as a love and attraction herb. It is an ingredient in many love potions and spells. It is also a good herb to use when you want to make a peaceful home brew.

Devil's Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens)

Devil's Claw is a very popular herbal medication in Europe. It is used for a variety of conditions such as; rheumatoid arthritis, arthritis, soft muscle pain(tendonitis), inflammation, fever and headaches.
It is also used as an appetite stimulator and aids with digestion. Another popular use was for some liver and kidney problems, I have not found the studies or confirmed sources on that use other than as folk medicine. In Germany it is used primarily as a pain, inflammation, headache and digestion remedy.
The herb can be taken in capsule form, a tincture, or my favorite, tea. The dosage of the capsule form is usually 50mg a day. As a tincture one teaspoon three times a day on an empty stomach.

Making Devil's claw tea

As a tea Devil's claw can be made by the cup or by the batch just like the Catnip tea. Prepare tea using 1 liter of boiling water poured over 4 teaspoons of the herb or 1 teaspoon to 10.5 oz or 300 ml of boiling water. Some alternative therapy websites and books say that the herb needs anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes to steep to be of use. According to a study done in 1997 by the German Commission E (a commission similar to the FDA), it must be steeped for eight hours. Strain after steeping, if loose herb or root was used and drink warm. It is said to have a bitter taste, you can sweeten with honey or fruit juice. Store the remaining batch in a mason or similar jar in the refrigerator.

The draw back to using Devil's Claw is that it may take up to a month before you will see any noticeable improvement in pain relief or inflammation. People taking blood thinners or who have stomach ulcers should not take this herb. If you are planning surgery of any kind inform your surgeon that you are using Devil's Claw as it can increase bleeding time, you may be required to stop use of it two weeks prior to surgery. Use during pregnancy is uncertain some practitioners say it is safe some say it is not.
As with this or any herbal supplement it is not a replacement for traditional medical care when needed. Always inform your doctor of any vitamin, mineral or herbal supplement you are using. Western medicine is started to come around slowly to some alternative therapy's but not all doctor's are that open minded just yet. If you seriously desire to use only natural remedies consider seeking out a professional herbalist, homeopathic practitioner or naturopathic doctor.

No know Hoodoo properties that I have found.

The supporting material I used for these recipes are;

The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, 2nd edition, 2005