If you enjoy cooking then you're bound to have a well stocked pantry containing ingredients that are also herbal remedies.
Take dill for instance, the seed improves appetite and digestion and sweetens the breath while the oil kills bacteria and relieves flatulence. In Ethiopia dill and fennel leaves are chewed to treat headaches, and in Ayurvedic medicine dill is used to treat indigestion, fevers, ulcers, kidney and eye problems, and uterine pains. It's also one of the ingredients in the popular colic medicine for babies, Gripe Water.
In the Orient chives are used to treat the common cold, flu, and lung congestion while coriander tea is used to treat measles and dysentery. In other parts of the world coriander seeds aid digestion, improve the appetite and reduce gas, and in East India an eyewash is made from the seeds to help prevent blindness in smallpox patients.
Powdered caraway seeds have been used as a poultice for bruises and a once common indigestion remedy was a cordial made by infusing 28 gram seeds in cold water for 6 hours. After it was strained up to 15 ml was given every hour to infants suffering from colic.
Saffron, although quite expensive, is still used by the Chinese to treat depression, shock, menstrual and menopause problems. They also believe it has actions that are related to the heart, spleen, and liver.
Fennel seeds aid digestion, relax smooth muscle, and are said to be very helpful in digesting fat, and it promotes milk in nursing mothers. Eating the inside of a stalk is said to promote a restful state. It improves eyesight and is reputed to reduce the effects of alcohol on the body; Culpeper, a seventeenth century herbalist, used fennel seeds to help the liver neutralize poisons.
There are many more herbs and spices that are usually found in the kitchen such as basil, garlic and ginger and I will be writing about them in the near future. Until then take a look and see what herbal remedy is lurking in your pantry.
Proprietor, author, and tutor of The Home Herbalist Online Course.