Herbs List R – S

Raspberry

Raspberry

For centuries raspberry has been used as a remedy for diarrhea, the treatment of nausea and vomiting (especially during pregnancy), to prevent miscarriage, and as an astringent.

Raspberry leaves contain tannins, which have astringent properties and therefore help with diarrhea, although the fresh raspberry fruit taken in large doses, can cause diarrhea in those with sensitive stomachs. The Native Americans used it as an astringent for cuts and bruises and to put on sore eyes.

Raspberry’s most common and well known use is to aid during pregnancy. If drunk in a tea, used as a syrup or mixed with wine vinegar it is a great remedy for nausea and vomiting associated with morning sickness. Raspberry is benificial to women who may have a history of miscarriages and before labour, it is used for an easy birth. During nursing, it increases the amount of milk the mother produces.

In the seventeenth century, raspberry was used to remove tartar from the teeth by many Europeans, although it was thought of as second in its ability to do this next to the strawberry. In the 18th century its focus was changed, with a concentration as a remedy for heart disease. An animal study showed its positive effect on the reduction of blood sugar, glucose. This may be benificial in diabetes research.

Harvesting and Growing

Raspberry is perennial and can grow up to a ten foot bush. It is very hard to root and it is advisable to contain them while growing them, as this is an intrusive plant. A shallow amount of soil to plant in with plenty of room to grow. Place within this a 1/2 inch piece of root. The plant prefers full sun and the fruits are ripe during summer. Keep the plant fertilized and feel free to harvest the leaves at any time, unless you intuitively feel you should not. My personal policy is to never take more than 1/3- especially if it is still small, and always give something of yourself back to the plant. It’s only fair. You could pull a hair from your head, arm, leg, etc, give a nail clipping or a drop of your blood, you could simply spit into it.

Magical Uses

The raspberry plant is considered feminine, its element is water and its powers are protection and love. Raspberry is a love-inducing food, pregnant women should carry the leaves loose or in a sachet so as not to have pregnancy or childbirth pains. The branches are hung at the doors and windows of the house for protection. Be cardful, however, not to keep it too close to the bed, being a pregnancy herb it is likely to promote fertility in the bedroom.

How to Prepare

Tea: To treat diarrhea or pregnancy, make a tea with 1-2 teaspoons dried herb. Infuse in one cup boiling water. Steep 10-15 minutes. Let it cool and enjoy. Cream can be added for pregnancy relief.
Tincture: As a premade tincture take 1/2 -1 teaspoon up to three times a day.
Syrup: Cook seven parts fresh juice with 10 parts sugar until you reach desired consistancy.
Vinegar: Mix 1 part raspberry syrup with 2 parts wine vinegar.

For infants, dilute tea for diarrhea. Start with a weak infusion to help prevent miscarriage. The use of any drug during pregnancy has a risk of harming the fetus. Be sure to consult with your doctor before ingesting. Even if you are not pregnant, always check with your doctor before taking anything out of the ordinary. If it causes stomach discomfort use less or stop using. 

Rosemary

RosemaryWhat an interesting herb to learn about! There is so much folklore surrounding rosemary! For instance, rosemary just happens to be one of the oldest incenses! When a twig of rosemary is burned (you know-the ones you lost trying to overwinter them!) it is said that it rids the place of negativity because of its cleansing vibrations. It was burnt at shrines in Ancient Greece, and burned to drive away evil spirits and to drive away illnesses. Place a fresh twig beneath your pillow to drive away nightmares, or lay it under your bed for a good nights sleep. A necklace made from rosemary preserves your youth and is said that it is also grown to attract elves.

The oil of rosemary is extrated by distillation by steam of the flower tops for the purer oil, and of the whole plant for a poorer quality. Once you feel the rosemary plant, you can easily see where the oil comes from, being you have this sticky stuff on your fingers! The constituents include cineole, camphor, and borneol as the main componets. The flowers are small and blue, sometimes pink and white. The essential oil is blended well with lavender, citronella, oregano, basil, peppermint, cedarwood, thyme, and cinnamon. The oil is used for many things, including aromatherapy, which includes health care for acne, varicose veins, muscular pain, asthma and broncitis, colds and flu, headaches and stress related disorders. It is used in the making of soaps and perfumes, household sprays, cosmetics and alcoholic beverages. The plant itself is used in cooking fish, chicken, lamb, veal, pork and game. It enhances the flavor of eggs and cheeses, vegetables, and when added in a recipe with chives, thyme, parsley and bay- you have something very good to eat! I have induced 3-4 twigs of rosemary into lemonade for a delightful and refreshing drink!

The plant itself is very pretty in the herb garden-and most herb gardens have this plant in it! You can get rosemary in a prostrate or creeping variety. The leaves look like a pine tree, with some rosemaries taking on the odor of pine. You can start the plant by layering or cutting or from seed, however, that takes the longest. Plant it in a well drained spot to keep it from root rotting. It is recommended to take 4″ cuttings when harvesting-which can be done anytime of the year. 

Rue

RueSometimes known as ‘garden rue’, and ‘herb of grace’, many people mainly grow it in their garden because I think it is pretty! Considering that, I think where do I put it? I decided to plant it as the entry to my miniature rose garden because it defers the little pesty visitors that like my roses! Keeping critters from entering a dirt footed home was one of rue’s basic jobs in olden times! It is known as a “strewing” herb. And also known to be the inspiring plant for the suit of clubs in a playing deck of cards. It is also known as being a witching herb, for it sends back any evil spells against you, and was your basic herb for protection.

The plant itself, or the one I grow: “Jackman’s Blue”, has small rounded-lobe, blue-green leaves. There is a variegated variety called: “Variegata”. I haven’t seen this one in this area, however. It does have a small greenish-yellow flower in the late summer-kind of looks like a small mini-daisy. It grows in full sun to part shade. Most of the books will tell you full sun, however, I know it grows in part shade, and I prefer the part shade for it doesn’t flower so soon! The soil is not the best where I have some of my rue planted–alittle sandy and dry, so I conclude it is not to picky where I plant it! Remember, though, it grows best when stolen!

You will find rue in some medicinal recipes, however, you will NEVER see me use it in medicinal or culinary uses! It has an oil that in the heat of the day may cause, has caused, a rash on my skin! (Some people wear gloves when handling rue.) The best time I pick it is in the morning before full heat of day. (The oils haven’t been released by the sun). So, why do I pick it if I’m not using it for medicinal or culinary uses? I love it dried for flower arrangements and pressing for other craft items! It is a nice addition to nosegays or vase flowers. Rue, when dried, does not usually cause any skin irritations. I use the newer starts from the plants for the stem is not woody. The plant comes back every year by seed and it is a perennial. The second year, after it starts to come back, you may have to trim it to shape it better. This is an excellent knot garden plant, and grows to 1 1/2-3 feet tall. The more you clip rue, the fuller the plant will be. I will always have rue in my garden!

Sage

Sage

It’s that powdery stuff you sprinkle on your Thanksgiving turkey, right? Well, believe me, it’s more than that! While you are looking for it in your garden, you will be looking for a grayish green, growing 12″-30″, blue flowered, velvety-leafed plant (and that is if your are looking for the “regular” sage plant called: salvia officianalis.) There are mant different “flavors” of sage including: one of my favorites for teas: pineapple sage. There is Mexican bush sage which grows to four or so feet and has lavendar flowers. There is a golden sage, a variegated sage–sometimes known as tri-colored sage, clary sage–which has lilac or pink flowers, and of course, the well known purple sage, which is one of the first herbs grown in my garden. The purple sage re-seeds itself, the “regular” sage comes back after winter, and so did my variegated and golden sage, but I don’t think it was suppose to. (It didn’t this year.) Other than those few, the sage plant is not winter hardy.

The history of SAGE refers back to the ancients who say it will cure warts, epilepsy, measles, and worms. After that time, it was mainly used for coughs, colds, and fevers, and as a basic tonic. These days, under scientific studies, sage has been found to have voliatile oils and tannins which clears up perspiration. These oils have antiseptic, astringent, and irritant properties, which makes this a good herb for treating sores and mouth irritations. This is still listed in the currant British Herbal Pharmacopeia. It is said to keep the blood vessels soft and supple, helping in the healing of bruises, blood circulation, and helps in dissolving blood clots–keeping them from forming. A simple tea made from sage:

Steep 1 teaspoon leaves in 1/2 cup hot water. Take 1 cup per day, 1 tablespoon at a time.

When using essential oil of sage, know that it comes from the distillation of the partially dried leaves. This oil blends well with rosemary, rosewood, lavendar, hyssop, lemon and other citrus oils for the making of some wonderful perfumery! The principal constituents are: Thujone (42%), cineol, borneol, caryophtllene, and other terpenes. It is suggested not to take to much of sage at a time because of the thujone. You will find the seeds germinate quickly, however, they do not store well. Sow in late spring and transplant 20 inches apart when seedlings are 3″ tall. Prune back plants to keep them from becoming leggy, plus you get more to harvest. Spider mites, spittlebugs and slugs like sage, along with the root rot and wilt. Keep the area clean to help prevent these things from happening. When time to dry, you can bundle them and hang up-side down (in a paper bag to keep dust off) and wait. The leaves are a bit thick and therefore takes more time for this plant leaves to dry. After they are completely dried, you can crush the leaves, or pack them whole into jars with an airtight lid. Fresh sage and dried sage have difinite different taste.

You can use the dried sage in potpourris, crafts, perfumes, soaps, flower arrangements, aftershaves, and cooking. It can be planted with cabbage and carrots being it helps repel moths and flies. It attracts bees, and beekeepers say it makes a wonderful flavored honey. So…you see, there is more to sage than you think! It is written: Why should a man die, when he can go to his garden for sage?!” 

Sallow (Goat Willow)

Sallow (Goat Willow)The Sallow, or Goat Willow, is small, and though not as well know for its medicinal value as its close relative the White Willow, helps with the same ailments. The medicinal Willows have been well known for thousands of years for their healing value. The very popular pain reliever Asprin(copyrighted) is a derivitive of the White Willow. The active ingredient in the formerly noted pain reliever is Salicylic Acid. This is also found in the human body after having ingested any of the medicinal Willows. The Willow’s active ingredient is called Salicin, which is what is converted to Salicylic Acid when taken inwardly. Though lesser known, the Sallow has all of the same healing properties as the White.

Dosage and Medicinal Value

The medicinal Willows have been known to reduce inflamation, to treat articular rheumatism, help with internal bleeding, and are also good for heartburn and stomach problems. They help with headaches, minor aches and pains, as well as arthritis. The Sallow has all of the same healing properties of its relative, the White, but it has been know to do some others as well. This type of Willow can also be used for indigestion, whooping cough, catarrh, as well as an antiseptic. The medicinal part of the Willow tree is the bark.There are a few different ways to prepare it. First, it is best to collect the bark in Springtime. One preparation option would be to boil the bark for at least 20 minutes, then either take internally or as a poultice. A decoction can be made by soaking up to three teaspoons of bark in one cup of cold water for up to five hours, and then boil down to a potent formula. To intake this you should take one cup unsweetend, no more than one a day.

A decoction of Willow can be used to help with mouth problems, ie. you can gargle with it to help with inflamations of the gums and tonsils. A decoction can also be used externally for sores, burns, and cuts. To make a cold extract, soak one teaspoon of bark in one cup of cold water for up to ten hours and strain. You can make a powder by taking one to one and one-half teaspoons, three times a day. Everything I’ve read about intaking a hot Willow drink says that it is important that it is taken in large gulps, not small sips.

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