I’ve been astounded at the number of queries since I wrote on the healing power of comfrey and plantain. I’d like to look at a few more remedies and foods from the natural world.

Stinging Nettles

Stinging Nettles

Stinging nettles is a plant highly recommended by herbalists as a general tonic. Stinging nettles are absolutely packed with minerals, most notably iron, silica and potassium. David Hoffman, author of The Holistic Herbal, says emphatically, ‘When in doubt, use nettles.’ I’m sipping from a cup of nettle tea as I write. It’s a tasty, mineral-rich brew. Nettles are a blood tonic and improve the body’s resistance to pollens, molds and environmental pollutants. It’s not a wonder they grow so prolifically in Western Europe where air pollution is significant. Stinging nettles are doing their best to neutralize the air-born toxins in that part of the world. The plant is easy to grow but needs to be planted in a place where it can be contained. It will spread rampantly given the opportunity.

The humble dandelion is a plant that seems to follow man wherever he goes. It too is a blood purifier. Dandelion root is useful in treating obstructions of the gallbladder, liver, spleen, pancreas and stomach. In Europe, The Cure involves drinking three cups of dandelion root tea daily for six to eight weeks twice yearly in spring and autumn. Young and tender dandelion leaves make a delicious addition to any salad, as do the dandelion’s bright yellow flowers. The plant is extremely hardy, managing to get a roothold in the cracks of concrete in the middle of cities. It is calling out for us to use it as food and medicine.

Rosemary makes an excellent tea for the elderly as it improves digestion, circulation and memory. It even uplifts the spirits and is used by herbalists for those suffering with Alzheimer’s. Hot rosemary tea promotes sweating for those suffering from a cold or flu. It is one of the best treatments for migraines and other headaches. It is even reputed to strengthen eyesight. Rosemary is used to enhance hair growth. It hasn’t helped me in this regard!

Rosemary is one of the herbs used successfully and deliciously in recipes of the countries fringing the Mediterranean Sea. Rosemary is an essential ingredient in my raw green soups and in homemade salad dressings. I love it. It grows readily in this part of the world.

Thyme is another of those remarkable Mediterranean herbs easily grown and just as easily used as food or medicine. Thyme helps loosen mucus and soothes inflamed mucus membranes. It strengthens immunity and nourishes and warms the lungs. It can even be used as a mouth wash to treat dental decay.

So, once again, when feeling unwell you need look no further than your garden for some relief.

Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.wordpress.com