Friday, June 29, 2012

Rehydrate with Homemade Electrolyte drinks

The summer sun is upon us and dehydration is a problem that can be avoided. When we sweat our body is trying to maintain a constant core temperature and in doing so, we lose electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals that when in solution contain ions that conduct electricity. This is important for proper functioning of nerves and muscles because they function via electrical impulses. Electrolytes also have a role in blood pressure and blood pH. When there is short term depletion of electrolytes it can cause cramps, nausea, GI discomfort, vomiting and heat stoke. Long term imbalances can have more drastic consequences.
Electrolytes present in drinks help to more quickly rehydrate the body. They do so by decreasing the time it takes for fluid to pass from the stomach to the intestine, decreasing the absorption time in the intestines and encouraging fluid retention.  
When it comes to commercial sports and electrolyte drinks the execution is poor although their intention is positive. They contain artificial food colorings, and are loaded with sugar, high fructose corn syrup or contain fake sugar that can negatively affect the nervous system. Some of the sports drinks can contain more than 30grams of sugar per bottle. Plus they contain synthetic sources of minerals that either pass right through the body or can make your depletion of minerals worse by competing with natural sources. Electrolyte drinks can also be expensive.
My first suggestion as an alternative to sports drinks is coconut water. This fluid is identical to our blood plasma, containing the same balance of electrolytes present in the blood. Being identical to human plasma, coconut water can be injected directly into the blood stream in severe cases of dehydration. To combat dehydration, coconut water can be drank before, after or during a strenuous work out. You can also dilute it down with regular water to make your money go farther. 
Coconut water is a wonderful source of electrolytes but it can also be kind of pricey. Another way to replenish your electrolytes is to make your own electrolyte drink. This is the recipe I use:
  • 1 L of water
  • the juice of 1 1/2 fresh lemons
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup of raw honey or agave nectar
  • 1/2 tsp of sea salt
  • fruit juice concentrate to taste
Mix all of the ingredients together. You may want to boil some of the water and then add the honey to more easily dissolve the honey. I would also suggest getting an all natural fruit juice concentrate with no sugar added from the health food store. Black cherry concentrate is fairly inexpensive and tastes delicious. You can also make a bigger batch and save it in the refrigerator for a few days of workouts. This homemade electrolyte drink is easy to make, very inexpensive and helps the body combat dehydration.

So next time you're considering buying one of those sugary electrolyte drinks at the store, rethink it and instead try one of these healthier options.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Stop the Itch with Natural Remedies for Athlete's foot

Athlete's foot, or tinea pedis, is a fungus that can be itchy and bothersome. It can cause cracking and peeling between the toes and on the sides of the feet with red, itchy patches. It is contagious and can be spread on pool decks and public showers. So this summer let's try and keep our feet free of athlete's foot with ways to prevent and ways to get rid of this nasty fungus.

For preventing athlete's foot, first and foremost wear flip flops on pool decks and in public showers. I'm not a germaphobe but there is something about my feet touching the floor of public showers that makes me cringe every time. Tinea pedis thrives in moist, warm conditions so be sure to thoroughly dry your feet after you get out of the shower. Be meticulous and dry in between your toes. Some suggest getting the hair dryer out so that you can make sure those feet are dry. Expose your feet to as much sunlight and fresh air as possible by wearing flip flops and sandals. Also take a pass on wearing socks made from synthetic fibers or pantyhose.

Topically, there are many things you can do to get rid of Athlete's foot. My favorite is to do a foot soak in half vinegar and half warm water for about 15 minutes. It may sting at first but keep with it because after several consecutive days of soaks the fungus will go away. Make sure you thoroughly dry your feet after they are done soaking. I also suggest rubbing several drops of lavender essential oil and several drops of tea tree essential oil directly on the affected area. This blend of oils can also be put on a cotton ball and then rubbed on the inside of your shoes, helping to get rid of any lingering fungus and bad smells. Garlic is another ally against foot fungus. Garlic powder can be sprinkled on you feet and in your shoes or fresh garlic can be dipped in a little olive oil and applied directly to the foot. Be careful when you are using fresh garlic because it may burn the skin.

If athlete's foot continues to be a reoccurring problem it may be time to address any internal fungal overgrowths that might be present. Take probiotics to help replenish your good bacteria. Pau d'arco and black walnut are two stand out herbs that can be taken both internally and externally to help with fungal infections of all sorts. Echinacea may also be helpful to boost the immune system.

Don't let the itchy redness of athlete's foot continue. With these tried and tested tips, you are bound to have happy feet.


Duke, J. A. (2000). The green pharmacy herbal handbook: your comprehensive reference
to the best herbs for healing. Emmaus, Pa: Rodale Reach.

Gladstar, R. (2001). Rosemary Gladstar's family herbal: a guide to living life with
energy, health, and vitality. North Adams, Mass.: Storey Books.

Battaglia, S. (2003). The complete guide to aromatherapy (2nd ed.). Brisbane:
International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy.

Fontaine, K. L. (2005). Complementary & alternative therapies for nursing practice (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Daily Herb-o-Scope - The Wisdom of the body

Today, I want to speak very briefly to the wisdom of our bodies. Anyone who has ever taken a human anatomy or physiology course knows that the body is a very amazing and well oiled machine. Its capacity to fix itself is miraculous but we must first, hear what it is saying. Trust your instincts when it comes to your body because no one knows it better than you do. When you feel like something is wrong, it probably is and if you listen to what your body has to say, chances are, it will tell you how to fix the problem. Now don't get me wrong, sometimes things get so out of whack that you need the help of a trained professional to get you back on track, but so often our body tells us exactly what we need, whether its a nap, relaxation time, the need for certain foods or out of the blue some herb or vitamin that you really know nothing about. The body has its own wisdom outside of the conscious mind and we need to learn to listen to what it has to say. Call it intuition or a sixth sense, whatever name you give it we all should try and find time to hear what our bodies are telling us. So today, take a few minutes of quiet time, with no one else around, and really try to listen to your body. Are you carrying pain anywhere? Focus on the pain and see if you can find a cause or a solution. Are you experiencing digestive upset? Ask your body what it is from and see if you can come up with a way to fix. It may sound silly, but I feel the more time you spend alone really trying to get to know the innate wisdom of your body, the more you will learn how to help and heal yourself.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Daily Herb-o-Scope - Natural remedies for Sunburn

Yesterday I talked about natural ways to protect yourself from getting sunburned and the obvious next blog should be about natural ways to treat sunburn. Colorado weather has been brutally hot theses last few weeks, and any time spent outside has been miserable and burn laden. First and second degree burns can be treated at home, just as long as the area is kept clean and infection free. For third degree burns medical attention must be sought.

First and foremost, the area must be immediately cooled. Cold water or ice should be applied to the area for about 30 minutes. Do not put any ointment or cream on the burnt area until the skin is cooled because the ointment may lock in heat, making the burn worse. Egg whites on the burned skin is another way to help draw out the heat from a sunburn and this may happen so quickly the the egg may actually cook on the skin right before your eyes. Once you initially draw out the heat, there are several other ways to continue to cool the skin and help the burn to heal. 

Aloe vera plants are such a helpful and easy houseplant to have around and they have documented use of for over 2000 years. The gel in the stalks are antibacterial, vulnerary and anti-inflammatory, helping to cool, disinfect and heal the affected area. By dilating capillaries and increasing blood flow, aloe gel helps to increase blood flow to the burnt area and encourages healing. The inside of aloe vera leaves contains a gel that has a pH of 4.3, which is great for the skin.

Fresh aloe vera gel is always better than a bottle bought from the store. To harvest the fresh leaf, tare one of the lower leaves from plant. Slice the leave length wise up to the point you plan on using because the leaf will heal itself and when it is placed in the fridge it can keep for several months.Then peel the leaf open and scrap the gel from the tough outer part. I like to put the gel in the refrigerator before slathering on the goo for an extra coolness. When purchasing aloe vera gel form the store, beware of preservatives and food coloring that might present in the gel. Aloe vera gel should be more a a clear color and any artificial food colorings placed on the skin are readily absorbed into the blood stream and can be toxic.

Black and green and tea (Camellia sinensis) are sunburn tools that you can find in any grocery store and most hotel rooms. When your skin is burnt and crawling, just brew a cup of tea and then chill it. When the tea is cool, soak a cloth in the tea and ring out. Place the wet cloth directly on the burnt skin for 15-30 minutes. Reapply as needed. The tea will help to reduce inflammation, deter infection and help heal the skin. I tend to use this remedy when I am vacationing on the beach simply because of its convenience and availability.

Vinegar application is also another folk treatment for sun burn. Make a solution of half white distilled vinegar and half water, use a cotton ball to apply the vinegar solution to the skin. It isn't a pleasant experience, mainly because it smells so bad, but it really helps to take the sting out of a raw and irritated sunburn.

Lavender essential oil is one of my favorite remedies for a sunburn. Its usefulness in the treatment of burns occurred in the 1920's when perfumer Rene-Maurice Gattefosse set his arm on fire. He thrust his arm in the nearest cold liquid which happened to be a big vat of lavender essential oil. He noticed almost instant pain relief and later, abbreviated healing time with minimal scaring. Not only have studies shown that lavender essential oil is beneficial to the actually burnt skin but it is soothing properties help to ease the tension and aggravation associated with being uncomfortable. A cool bath with several drops of lavender essential oil and no more than 8 tablespoons of cider vinegar can be very helpful to a sunburn.  Lavender essential oil is something that I always bring on vacation or camping trip. It most certainly is a first aid kit in a bottle.

These are my suggestions to help sooth a raw sunburn and help the skin heal faster. I hope they are helpful to you or you loved ones this summer.


Culpeper, N. (1950). Culpeper's complete herbal. London: W. Foulsham & Co., LTD.

Duke, J. A. (2000). The green pharmacy herbal handbook: your comprehensive reference to the best herbs for healing. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Reach.

Fontaine, K. L. (2005). Complementary & alternative therapies for nursing practice (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Gladstar, R. (2001). Rosemary Gladstar's family herbal: a guide to living life with energy, health and vitality. North Adams, MA: Storey  Books.

Mars, B. (2007). The desktop guide for natural medicine. Laguna Beach, CA: Basic Health Publications.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Daily Herb-o-Scope - The Sunscreen Scene: how to prevent sunburn

Well summer is officially here, even though the temperatures in Colorado have screamed summer for several weeks now. With skin cancer the most common form of cancer in the United States (5 times more prevalent than breast and prostate cancers), it's important to know how to protect yourself from the burning sun.

There has been very mixed results from studies on the effectiveness of sunscreen in cancer prevention. There are so many factors that contribute to skin cancer that its hard to determine if sunscreen helps or hinders. One problem with most sunscreen is that they focus on preventing UVB rays from penetrating the skin. This form of radiation has a shorter wavelength and only consists of about 3-5% of the ultraviolet radiation we are exposed to. It may be only a small percent of UV radiation but it is responsible for sunburns. UVA radiation has a longer wave-length and accounts of approximately 95-97% of UV radiation. Although you can not see the effects of UVA radiation right away, that doesn't mean that it isn't destructive. This type of radiation penetrates deeper into the skin causing DNA damage. Because of sunscreens lack of providing UVA protection is one reason most are so ineffective.

There are several other reasons that most sunscreens are ineffective and also dangerous. Most sunscreens contain nasty chemicals that are readily absorbed through the skin. Oxybenzone is a synthetic estrogen that, when absorbed into the blood stream, can cause lots of problems for the endocrine system and the entire body. Sunscreens with added bug repellent are even worse. We must remember that anything we put on our skin is absorbed into the blood stream! Sunscreens also block our body's ability to make Vitamin D, which is synthesized in the skin when we are in the sun and then absorbed into the blood stream. Vitamin D, in the past few years, has been shown to be a powerful anti-cancer agent and essential to our health and vitality. Powdered and spray sunscreens may be even more dangerous because they fill the air with hazardous chemicals that we then could breath in and absorb through the lungs.

So what can we do this summer to keep our skin safe? When sunbathing, be sure to do it only in the early morning or late afternoon. Juliette de Bairacli Levy suggests using raw coconut oil thinned with cucumber juice to use on the skin during "tanning times" (early morning or late afternoon). Sun exposure during these times is important and necessary for adequate Vitamin D production. It is also important to find a secluded place to sun the secluded parts of the body. Many believe that a lack of sun exposure to the private parts of our body contribute to cancer of these areas. If you are in the sun during "burning times" (mid afternoon) it is important to stay covered. Wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your face and tightly woven but loosely fitted light colored clothing. If you look at people from some of the hottest deserts in the world they are always wearing long sleeved shirts and long pants helping to protect the body from the sun. Aloe gel can be used for sunburn prevention as well as sunburn care. It contains aloin, a natural sun screen blocking up to 30% of UV rays. Juliette also suggests an elder blossom spray to help cool the air. I find a peppermint hydrosol to be very cooling during the summer.

A diet high in antioxidants, fruits and veggies and superfoods is your best defence against the sun. Broccoli is one food that has been shown to protect the skin from sunburn and long term sun damage. Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant found in tomatoes, has also been found to be helpful in protecting the skin from the sun. Many studies have shown that lycopene, being fat soluble, is a very effective antioxidant in areas that are high in fats and lipids, including the skin. It is further suggested that it can help to reduce inflammation, maintain normal cell growth and possibly prevent DNA damage. The best way to get adequate amounts of lycopene is to eat cooked tomatoes. In raw tomatoes the lycopene is bound in indigestible fiber making it very difficult to get a sufficient amount. Lycopene extracts may also be applied to the skin externally to help block the UV rays. 

No matter what you decide to do in regards to sunscreen this summer, I would suggest checking out EWG's Skin Deep: Sunscreen 2012 On this website they talk access hundreds of different brands of sunscreen, listing the potentially hazardous chemicals and giving  each a safety rating based on the ingredients and amount of research done on these chemicals. They provide information on safe and effective sunscreens.

Overall, the studies on sunscreens are unclear and can not conclusively show that the use of sunscreen prevents the incidents of skin cancer. In some studies it shows sunscreens to actually be more harmful than helpful. Although there are some herbal remedies to help prevent sunburn and sun related skin damage, I feel that the most effective way to ensure safe skin during a brutally hot summer is to cover up during prime "burning times" during the day and eat a diet high in antioxidants, including fresh fruits and veggies and plenty of whole foods.


Duke, J. A. (2000). The green pharmacy herbal handbook: your comprehensive reference to the best herbs for healing. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Reach.

Gladstar, R. (2001). Rosemary Gladstar's family herbal: a guide to living life with energy, health and vitality. North Adams, MA: Storey  Books.

Levy, J. d. (1994). Traveler's Joy. New Canaan, CT: Keats Publishing, Inc.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Daily Herb-o-Scope - Don't leave the Parsley on your Plate

Parsley is most well known as being garnish. It brings a splash or green to the plate (which most American diets are lacking) but it also goes uneaten most of the time. An estimated 90% of parsley gets thrown away! That's just silly especially with all that parsley has to offer.

Parsley leaf (Petroselinum spp.) is sweet and moist with a neutral temperature. Its sweet flavor is an indication that it is very nourishing as it is high in chlorophyll, Vitamin C, potassium, iron and beta carotene. Parsley's ability to moisten is a benefit to conditions that are dry and irritated especially in the kidneys and its neutral temperature means that it can be useful in cases of heat and cold.

As Hoffmann states, Parsley has three main indication. First is its action on the kidneys as a diuretic. By stimulating urination and draining water, Parsley helps with edema, fluid retention, bed-wetting, dropsy, gout, kidney gravel and stones, urinary tract infections with pain and cystitis.

Second, is Parsley's effect as an emmenagogue, stimulating menstruation. Parsley seeds are a galactagogue, helping to increase breast milk production,; however the leaf is drying to breast milk, making it effective when trying to weaning your baby or when you have swollen or engorged breasts.

Lastly is Parsley's carminative effect, easing gas causing pain and indigestion. The essential oils in parsley help with digestion by increasing circulation to the digestive system.

There are also several other, more random, medicinal uses for Parsley. Jethro Kloss claimed that parsley was also good for cancer prevention. I would think that parsley would be more effective for cancers of the digestive system and perhaps the urinary system. Due to its mildly estrogenic effect, I do not think parsley would not be effective at preventing women cancers such as breast, ovarian or cervical. Parsley also helps to enhance immunity and a tea of parsley can be used externally to ease the pain of bug bites or stings or as a hair rinse for dandruff.

For an infusion of parsley use 1 to 2 teaspoons covered with boiling water and infuse for 5-10 minutes. Enjoy about 3 cups of tea a day. For a tincture take 1-2 ml 3 times a day (1:5 in 40% alcohol). The German Commission E suggests no more that 6 grams daily. Also, use food as medicine. Use the leaf chopped in salads, soups and entrees. It's tasty and medicinal. 

Parsley can cause allergic reactions and therapeutic doses may cause photosensitivity if you have fair or sensitive skin. You may want to avoid tinctures and concentrated extracts in cases of kidney inflammation and definitely avoid therapeutic doses during pregnancy due to its ability to stimulate menstruation and its mildly estrogenic action and also avoid while nursing. Parsley may also increase the action of MAOI's.

So next time you are out to dinner, don't leave the parsley garnish laying hopelessly on your plate, destine for the trash. Do your body a favor and eat it. This concludes our week of garden and kitchen herbs. I hope you found this helpful, knowing that healing with herbs can be very easy and accessible.

Culpeper, N. (1950). Culpeper's complete herbal. London: W. Foulsham & Co., LTD.

Duke, J. A. (2000). The green pharmacy herbal handbook: your comprehensive reference to the best herbs for healing. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Reach.

Hoffman, D. (2003). Medical herbalism: the science and practice of herbal medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.

Kloss, J. (1982). Back to Eden. Loma Linda, CA: Back to Eden Books.

Levy, J. d. ( 1997). Common herbs for natural health (Rev, expanded ed.) Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub.

Mars, B. (2007). The desktop guide for natural medicine. Laguna Beach, CA: Basic Health Publications. 

 Tierra, M. (1988). Planetary herbology: an integration of Western herbs into the traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic systems. Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Daily Herb-o-Scope - It's Time for Thyme

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is another great culinary star in the realm of medicinal herbs. Derived from the Greek word "thumus" meaning "courage," its flavor is pungent and mildly bitter and it is warm and dry. Like some of the other herbs I have discussed this week,  thyme helps to warm and dry issues of the respiratory, digestive and reproductive systems; however, unlike other common garden herbs, thyme also has a restorative quality to it that helps to tonify qi and relieve fatigue. But lets first talk about its warming and drying effect.

Thyme is very effective when dealing with issues of the respiratory system. It can resolve lung phlegm cold which consists of a full productive cough with thin white sputum . Many of thyme's constituents help with issues of respiration including being a bronchodilator, an antitussive, an expectorant and an anti-infective. These actions make thyme particularly helpful with treating conditions of whooping cough, asthma and sinus issues. It is also great at relieving wind cold aka colds and flus causing sore muscles and aches, sneezing, fatigue, chills and a sore throat. For these respiratory issues, thyme makes a great and tasty addition to any cough syrup.

In regards to the digestive system, thyme helps to warm conditions of Spleen damp-cold and its bitter quality helps to decongest the liver, releasing bile and breaking down fatty foods. This symptology includes indigestion, nausea, gas, stomach pain, a loss of appetite and diarrhea. The oils from thyme are also wonderful at killing off stomach bugs, including food borne pathogens, intestinal parasites and helping with intestinal dysbiosis.

Cold in the reproductive system can cause delayed, slow or stopped periods with cramps, sexual disinterest and impotence. Thyme helps to stimulate this area and help move things along. It also helps to dry damp in this are that might present as white vaginal discharge and scanty periods.

But perhaps the most valuable quality that thyme has to offer is its ability to build energy and Qi, relieving fatigue. It also helps to build immunity. Holmes describes thyme's ability to alleviate fatigue especially valuable when there is an underlying issue of nervous weakness and long standing infection.

Thyme makes a very tasty mouth gargle for a sore throat, tooth decay, tonsillitis and mouth sores and thyme infused baths are very helpful in cases of arthritis and sore muscles especially when the aches and pains are the result of colds and flus.

Because it is a uterine stimulant, avoid therapeutic doses during pregnancy. For an infusion, soak 1 tablespoon of fresh herb or 1 teaspoon of dried herb in 1 cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Enjoy one cup of tea, three times a day. Holmes suggests a tincture of 2-4ml (1:3 in 50% alcohol).

Overall, thyme is another wonderful garden herb, helping to warm cold issues and dry damp. But it is perhaps one of the most under appreciated Qi tonics. So readily available in gardens, supermarkets and pantries everywhere, don't waste your time by not taking advantage of thyme.

Duke, J. A. (2000). The green pharmacy herbal handbook: your comprehensive reference to the best herbs for healing. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Reach.

Hoffman, D. (2003). Medical herbalism: the science and practice of herbal medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.

Holmes, P. (2007) The energetics of western herbs: a materia medica integrating Western and Chinese herbal therapeutics (Rev. & enl. 4th ed.). Cotati, CA: Snow Lotus Press.

Levy, J. d. ( 1997). Common herbs for natural health (Rev, expanded ed.) Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub.

Mars, B. (2007). The desktop guide for natural medicine. Laguna Beach, CA: Basic Health Publications.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Daily Herb-o-Scope - A Peppermint Preview

The third installment of our garden fiasco, is peppermint! UMMM! Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) is so delightful. Its cool and refreshing flavor makes it a valuable asset in many commercial products. But don't write off peppermint as only being valuable for freshening your breath. It has medicinal properties are noteworthy.

A main debate that herbalists have over peppermint is the temperature. Now we can all agree that it is sweet and pungent with a drying quality; however, is it cooling or warming? It elicits a very cooling effect, but it is also warming in its ability to make you sweat. So, I'll sit on the fence on this one and say that it's both. I fell that it warms first and then cools. So this summer, make yourself a glass of peppermint ice tea and decide for yourself if you think it's cooling or warming. Enough with the debate, lets learn about peppermint.

I feel that peppermints most valuable trait is the effect that it has on the digestive system. Its carminative and antisposmodic effects help to relax the muscles of the digestive tract helping to alleviate gas that's causing pain, indigestion, colic, IBS, gastritis, nausea and vomiting. One study found that its relief with indigestion may be due to its ability to relax the esophagel sphincter, releasing any air that might be trapped. When I get sick (throw up sick) I find nothing as helpful as a warm cup of peppermint tea. It helps to sooth my tummy in a way that no other herb can. It is also helpful and safe to use in cases of motion sickness and morning sickness during pregnancy.

Peppermint can also help with liver and gallbladder Qi stagnation. In western terms this means that peppermint can decongest these organs helping bile to flow and relieving a symptom picture of indigestion, borborygmus, nausea, vomiting and headaches. Overall, stagnation in the liver and the gallbladder causes a poor breakdown of food and toxins resulting in very poor digestion and a build up of toxins in the body. Liver Yang Rising is another condition that peppermint may help with. Causing dizziness, headaches, tremors, vertigo, a red face and anger, Liver Yang Rising is often the result of alcoholism and should be addressed if experienced.

I also find peppermint to be very beneficial as a steam bath or in a regular bath. A steam bath of peppermint can be very useful in cases of nasal congestion, asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis and laryngitis, and a regular bath with peppermint can help to cool and refresh the mind and relax and soothe sore muscles. Using peppermint tea as a mouthwash helps to freshen breath and kill certain bacteria and viruses.

The raw herb can also be used as a insect and pest repellent. When stuffed in to mattresses it can help discourage bed bugs and the whole plant can also keep mice and rats out of food storage areas. Burning peppermint can clear negative energy in a room or house.

Peppermint has no known side effects and no drug interactions reported, although it is contraindicated with gallstones, liver disease and esophagel reflux and concentrated forms should not be given to infants and children. Pregnant women should have no more than 1 cup of tea a day and it can dry up mothers milk so you may wish to avoid peppermint is you are lactating. Hoffman suggests 1-2 ml of tincture 3 times a day (1:5 in 40% alcohol) and Duke recommends 1 tablespoon of fresh mint or 1 teaspoon of dry mint covered with 1 cup of boiling water seeped for 10 minutes. If seeped any less, the maximum amount of essential oils will not be extracted for the plant material.

Peppermint is such a wonderful herb with wonderful health benefits. So even though in the garden, mint plants grow like weeds and tend to take over huge areas, now that you know medicinal uses of mint, you can find many different ways to use it all.


Blumenthal, M (2003). The ABC clinical guide to herbs. Austin, TX: The American Botanical Council.

Duke, J. A. (2000). The green pharmacy herbal handbook: your comprehensive reference to the best herbs for healing. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Reach.

Hoffman, D. (2003). Medical herbalism: the science and practice of herbal medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.

Holmes, P. (2007) The energetics of western herbs: a materia medica integrating Western and Chinese herbal therapeutics (Rev. &enl. 4th ed.). Cotati, CA: Snow Lotus Perss.

Levy, J. d. ( 1997). Common herbs for natural health (Rev, expanded ed.) Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub.

Mars, B. (2007). The desktop guide for natural medicine. Laguna Beach, CA: Basic Health Publications.