Many of herbs and spices in our kitchens are excellent herbal medicines if you know when and how to use them.
Let’s look at a category called Aromatic Stomachics:
Anise, Caraway, Cardamom, Citrus peels, Clove, Cumin, Dill, Ginger, Mint, Nutmeg, Rose petals, Turmeric. These are herbs whose aromatic qualities aid digestion, overcome stagnation, stimulate metabolism, and warm the core or relive pressures of fluid or gas. They may also warm the body and activate organs and blood flow so that congestion is cleared.Cardamom is the most aromatic, penetrating, and constitutional herb in this list since it is also an excellent analgesic and expectorant. It also has tonic properties to build the strength of multiple body systems slowly over time that other herbs in this category are lacking. It is an excellent wintertime warmer for those who feel achy, get congested easily, and lose metabolism and gain weight in winter. It can literally wake up the whole body’s energy as effectively as any caffeinated stimulant. Mint is the neutral/cooling herb in this category that can be used any time of year, especially by those whose constitutions are already warm enough. Mint can be very relaxing, relieve headaches, gastric discomfort, as well as the pains of seasonal illnesses, sinus congestion and allergic response (if brewed strong enough).
Ginger and Clove are the hottest internal warming stimulants for those who get chilly in winter (or in any season) and will raise energy levels for the person of a chilly constitution. Clove is better for this and it is anti-fungal.
Ginger, Anise (and Fennel), Caraway, Mint, and Dill if used in sufficient quantity can relieve cramping of stomach or intestines due to food intolerance or over-indulgence. Usually a combination of Ginger with Anise or Mint will do the trick, but use the herb that best suits your situation and keep it on hand.Citrus peels are virtually a group of their own since they are energy regulators that can clear phlegm virtually anywhere in the body, including lungs and sinus cavities. Orange and Lemon peels are quite effective at this. Wash your citrus fruits thoroughly and keep the peels to make a tea (or eat raw) that cuts mucus in those stubborn conditions or when you get too much mucus from eating wheat, etc.
Cumin is interesting, because it counter-balances the hot spices it often accompanies so the digestive system can better handle them. Its qualities are very similar to Caraway in relieving gas, bloating, and colic. Caraway is a galactagogue, so it can be helpful for nursing mothers.
Nutmeg is often not included in this category because of the limits on dosage (7 grams) and because it is astringent. However, it can be a very helpful at encouraging appetite and improved digestion in those with diarrhea or those who have sleep disturbance from weak digestion. It is best to limit doses to 2 tsp of powder when taken alone as an astringent to stop dysentery or induce sleep. It is best taken in smaller quantities with other herbs.
A tasty evening tisane can be drunk in the evening for those who want to digest well and sleep well. Combine 1 tea bag (1 tsp leaves) Mint, 1/4 tsp Cardamom powder, 1/2 tsp Nutmeg powder. Pour 1 cup boiling water over them. Cover completely with a saucer, etc, so there is no vapor released. Let sit 20-30 minutes. Uncover and drink as soon as it has cooled to drinkable temperature. If Anise is preferred it can be substituted for the Mint. Sweeten if desired.
The rule of them when brewing a tea (tisane) with aromatic herbs is to use boiling water and cover the container tightly until the liquid has cooled to drinkable temperature. Otherwise it is best to take them as powders in the form of capsules or tablets. That way the medicinal aromatic constituents are preserved.