Health Stewardship Education

" " Herbs Are God's Gifts to Us

A Vital Link In Your Health Stewardship Program

The following herbs are so helpful that I think everyone should keep them on hand. One of my rules of thumb that I have discovered is that if an herb does not taste good, it is medicinal and you probably do not need it very often. If it tastes good, it is primarily nutritive and can be used more frequently.

White Willow Bark (Salix alba)

Properties: anodyne, antiseptic, tonic, antispasmodic, astringent, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge

White will can reduce fevers and relieve pain. The american indians passed on the knowledge of this wonderful herb to early settlers. Eventually, a chemist discovered an active ingredient salicin in White Willow Bark and created Aspirin, which is acetylsalisilic acid. Remember that the way God packages the salicin is perfect.

Historic uses: headaches, fever, joint pain and neuralgia, irritable bladder, poultice for infected wounds, ulcers.

Slippery Elm

The inner bark of the Slippery Elm tree has been used for many ailments; such as bronchitis, colitis, constipation, gas, diarrhea, coughs, flu, diverticulitis, dysentery, ulcers, eczema, hemorrhoids, tonsillitis, and lung congestion.  It can be administered as a decoction, syrup, or gruel, as well as by enema or douche.  And any herb that you might want to use in a plaster can be mixed into a paste of Slippery Elm and spread over the skin.  It is very nutritive and can be beneficial in many wasting diseases.

Parts used: inner bark

Systems affected:  all

Properties:  Demulcent, Emollient, Nutritive, astringent.  Make a paste by adding a small amount of cold water to 1 tsp. of the powder.  Add up to a pint of boiling water until desired consistency is reached.  This mixture will thicken.


This common culinary herb has remedial uses also. As everyone knows, cayenne is hot! It can be used to temporarily bring on a therapeutic fever, when the body is sluggish, as in cold conditions. It increased the circulation and causes perspiration. And therefore can be used in conjunction with other herbs to increase their perfusion and absorption.

Cayenne is also helpful when digestive troubles are caused by lack of stomach acid.

Cayenne can be taken as an infusion, wow! Or in capsule form. It is contraindicated in cases of extreme high blood pressure or gastric ulcer.

Parts used: dried fruit

Systems affected:digestive, circulatory, and any tissue directly applied to.

Properties:antiseptic, stimulant, diaphoretic, carminative, counter irritant.

Infusion: ½ tsp. powder in 1 cup boiling water. Steep until cool enough to drink. Store up to 3 days in frig. Take 1 Tbsp. 3 X a day.

Plaster: Mix part cayenne powder with a paste of 5 parts Slippery Elm powder.


This herb is so useful, always keep a few ounces of the powdered root in your cupboard. It is specifically healing to the mucous membranes, all the moist surfaces like eyes, ears, nose, throat and digestive tract. It may be used internally or externally, as a douche or enema also. For this reason almost all the common ailments in families are alleviated by goldenseal.

To make a decoction place ½ tsp. powdered root in a jar and cover with 1 cup boiling water. Let this steep until room temperature. Then save the yellow liquid and dispose of the sediment. Adults take one tablespoon every hour until symptoms are gone and one tablespoon a day for several days after that. Small children need doses of one teaspoon instead. The liquid may be kept for about 3 days in the refrigerator.


It is a bitter herb and must be tasted in order for your body to respond to it. It is almost useless in capsule form.
If used as an eyewash: Strain liquid through a coffee filter. Heat it to boiling to sterilize it. Then let it cool to prevent burning. 
This herb decreases your body’s absorption of B vitamins when use over long periods. Therefore, you may need to increase your consumption of fresh colorful vegetables and use goldenseal for short periods.
Lastly, this herb is not recommended in large doses during pregnancy because it can stimulate contractions of the uterus.

Parts used: rhizome (root)
Systems affected: all
Properties: alterative (blood cleansing), antibiotic, tonic, anti-septic, stomachic, em-menagogue, laxative.


This mild tasting herb is very good for digestion. It calms the nerves and a tea with a little ginger is soothing for cold and flu, diarrhea, menstrual cramps, insomnia and colic.

To make an infusion (tea), place an ounce of the flowers in a glass or ceramic container and cover with boiling water. Steep until cool enough to drink. Then strain out the flowers and enjoy a cup. The rest will keep a day or two in the refrigerator.

Parts used: flower heads

Systems affected: liver, stomach, lungs

Properties: calmative, nevine, antispasmodic, anodyne (pain reliever), diaphoretic (causes sweating), emmenagogue (helps regulate menstruation), carminative (relieves gas)



Chris Duffy, BS, LM, CNHP, ND

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