Storing Herbs and Spices for Cooking, Healing and Bartering


Meals made from storable foods can "put on a whole different face" simply varying their flavor. Take rice for example. It's a good, nutritious food, most people like it, it's easy to store and prepare for meals, and it lends itself to a ton of different flavors.

Especially if you're storing a limited variety of food, be sure to keep a range of spices. Since they're an easily overlooked storage item, they will be in high demand in tough times. Herbs and spices require little storing room and are relatively inexpensive.

Additionally, many herbs and spices have medicinal properties. They were used extensively before antibiotics and still today by naturopaths and health-conscious people.

So don't forget to spice it up! — Holly Deyo


Herbal Remedy Dictionary

Tincture: herb is soaked in alcohol, strained and used.
 
Decoction: This method was used for tougher parts of the herb plants, the roots, stem and bark. The herb is boiled in water until water is reduced by 1/2 to 1/3.
 
Infusion: Immersing the herb in water as in tea.
 
Distilled: Infusing the herb with water, boiling same and catching the condensed steam. Makes a condensed form of an infusion.


 
ALLSPICE
Active ingredient is eugenol, same as cloves. Topical pain relief, tea and mouthwash.
 
 
ANISE
Seven tsp. of seed to one quart water, boil down by half, add 4 tbsp. of honey, take two tsp. to calm a cough. Drink tea for memory, aid digestion, and a wash for oily skin.
 
 
ANNATO
(Lipstick tree)
Lightly crushed seeds added to food is like natural gas-x.
 
 
ARROW ROOT POWDER
One tbsp. in a cup of juice every few hours to relieve diarrhea. Poultice to soothe skin inflammations.
 
ASAFOETIDA
Buy the tincture in Indian shops. They add a drop to many dishes to relieve stomach pains (gas). Insect repellent. Topical use to heal ulcerated sores.
 
 
ASPARAGUS
Boil in water and drink the water for kidney problems. Dissolves uric acid deposits and promotes urination.
 
 
BASIL (St. Josephwort)

Chiefly used as flavoring when cooking. Used dried as snuff to relieve headaches and colds. Also used as a strewing herb. Colonists used this herb in salads and soups, especially pea soup. Powered basil leaves were used as a snuff and thought to clear the head.
 
Add fresh herb or seeds to boiled water to make tea for migraines and bed time restlessness. Douche for yeast infections, eliminates candida, gargle and mouthwash. The leaves to treat burns and wounds. The flowers as a tincture for melancholy. Pregnant women should avoid medicinal use of basil.

 
BAY LAUREL
Heat leaves in a little olive oil to make a bay oil salve for arthritis and aches.
 
 
CARAWAY
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add 4 tsp. lightly crushed seeds. Simmer for 5 minutes, then steep 15 min. Drink with meals to prevent gas, even for infant colic. Promotes menstruation and relieves uterine cramping.
 
 
CHAMOMILE
Infused as a tea for indigestion and gas. Strewing herb and insect repellent.
 
 
CARDAMON
Digestive aid, eases gluten intolerance (celiac disease). Sprinkle powder on cereal.
 
 
CAYENNE PEPPER
Capsicum speeds metabolism. Capsicum cream and oils relieve arthritis and aches, not just by warming and stimulating blood flow, but also by blocking pain transmission by nerves. (blocks substance P) Prevents blood clots, heals ulcers. "Jewish" penicillin, cayenne and garlic in chicken soup really IS as effective as antibiotics after the onset of cold or flu. Cayenne dramatically drops blood sugar levels and should by avoided by hypoglycemics. Cayenne promotes excretion of cholesterol through the intestines. It increases energy levels and aura brilliance.
 
 
CELERY
Sedative. Active ingredient thalide. Seed and stalk, reduces hypertension. Celery seed tea for the kidneys as a cleanser.
 
 
CHERVIL
Steep in boiled water and apply with an eye cup for a wide range of eye complaints.
 
 
CHICORY
Liver cleanser, fat cleanser, dissolves gallstones. Prepare like coffee.
 

CILANTRO
Leafy part of coriander plant. Food poisoning preventative.
 
 
CINNAMON
Mouthwash, good for upset stomach. Simmer sticks with cloves for 3 min, add 2 tsp. lemon juice, 2 tsp. honey, 2 tbsp. whiskey – as cold medication. Cinnamon is good for yeast infection and athlete’s foot. A 2% solution will kill both of these conditions. Boil 8-10 sticks in 4 cups water, simmer 5 min, steep 45 min, then douche or apply to athlete’s foot. Cinnamon reduces cancer causing tendencies of many food additives.
 

CLOVE
Use oil for pain relief for sore gums and toothache. Add clove oil to neutral oils for topical pain relief of arthritis. Small amounts of clove in a tea for nausea. 3 cloves in two cups of boiled water, steeped for 20 minutes, as an antiseptic and mouthwash. Former alcoholics can suck on one or two cloves when the craving strikes to curb the desire.
 
 
COFFEE
Although not a spice, it is commonly available in the kitchen. The caffeine in coffee can be used to alleviate headaches (particularly those caused by caffeine withdrawal.) Coffee enemas with olive oil are used to cleanse the bowels and are one of the safest and most thoroughly cleansing enemas available. Caution and common sense must be used to avoid dependency. Hot black coffee sipped through a straw helps break up mucus congestion in the lungs.
 
 
COMFREY
Early leaves in salads. Used medicinally as a poultice to heal wounds and reduce swelling. Roll the leaves and tape them on as a poultice for sores. The fresh leaves are also helpful when rubbed on itchy places.
 
 
CORIANDER
Coriander is an annual in the parsley family. It has become naturalized in this country, but is a native of southern Europe and Asia Minor. Colonists employed this spice in breads, desserts and pickles. The seeds were chewed as a breath freshener. Early distillers used oil of coriander in flavoring some whiskeys.
 
Coriander tea can be used topically to remove unpleasant odors in the genital area for men and women. The tea can be held in the mouth to relieve the pain of a toothache. Can also be drank to relieve flatulence and indigestion.
 
 
DILL
Used in salads and for cooking. Dill was used to flavor soups, salads, breads, stew, fish, potatoes, sauces, pickles and gin.
 
Bring one pint of white wine almost to a boil, remove from heat and add 4 tsp. of dill seeds, let steep 30 minutes and strain. Drink 1 1⁄2 cups a half hour before retiring to sleep well. To the same directions, but substitute for the 4 tsp. of dill, instead add 1 tsp. each of anise, caraway, coriander and dill to stimulate the flow of breast milk in nursing mothers. Chewing dill seeds removes bad breath.
 
 
FENNEL
Fennel leaves were used in salads, stews and vegetables. The seeds were used in pies and other baked fruits as well as breads. Chewing fennel seeds relieves bad breath. Fennel seed tea sweetens breast milk. Fennel tea relieves colic in infants.
 
 
FENUGREEK
Use as a tea as an excellent relief for colic and fever in children. 1 tbsp. ground fenugreek seed taken in the diet daily can reduce cholesterol. 8 tsps of seed presoaked in 4 cups cold water for 4 hours, then boil for 2 minutes, strain and drink 1 cup a day to ease hay fever attacks.
 
 
GARLIC
Culinary uses as a flavoring. Ultimate antibiotic. Useful even for sexually transmitted diseases. Strongly recommended for hypoglycemia, and diabetes. Destroys intestinal parasites. Reduces cholesterol. Repels insects, and reduces sting effects of insects and red ants.
 
 
GINGER
Anti-nausea tea, blood thinner, substitute for coumadin. Boil 2/3 cup of freshly chopped root in 1 gallon water, wrapped in cheesecloth (or old nylon stocking) until the water is yellow. Then soak towel and lay on bruises and sprains while still hot, to ease them. Stimulates a delayed period. Warm ginger tea is good to break up congestion and fever. Ginger is one of the few herbs that easily passes the blood/brain membrane and is used in conjunction with other herbs that are meant to have an effect on the mind. Pregnant women should avoid medicinal concentrations of ginger.
 
 
HOREHOUND
Used to make a cough syrup. Often used with honey and other herbs. Mixed with plaintain for snakebites. Soaked in fresh milk to repel flies. The leaves are used for flavoring beer, cough drops, honey and for making tea. Leaves should be gathered just before the flowers open. To make candy, steep two heaping teaspoons of dried horehound in one-cup water for half an hour. Strain. Put the leaves in a cloth and press or twist to get the remaining flavor. Add 3 1⁄2 pounds of brown sugar to the water and boil until it reaches the ball stage. Pour into flat, well-greased pans ad mark into sticks or squares with a knife. You can adjust the taste by adding more tea.
 
 
HORSERADISH
Freshly dug root is added to a cold-pressed oil of choice (such as safflower or olive) to make a massage oil for muscle aches and to break up chest congestion. Grate fresh ginger and horseradish together and make a tea to stop post nasal drip.
 
 
LAVENDER
Strewing herb and insect repellent.
 
 
LEMON BALM
Infused as a tea for headaches, indigestion, nausea. Distilled as a treatment to clean and heal wounds.
 
 
LEMONGRASS
1⁄2 cup dried leaves to 2 pints of water, simmer for 10 minutes, and sip to bring down fevers.
 
 
LICORICE
Tranquilizer. Balances nervous system, stimulates liver functions. Long term usage (over 3 months) could cause liver damage.
 
 
LOVAGE
Similar to celery in taste, used in similar manner. Steep root for 15 min in a cup of boiled water, drink after every meal to prevent flatulence. Also used to treat kidney stones.
 
 
MARJORAM AND OREGANO
Over 2 dozen related species. Sweet Marjoram was used to flavor stews and soups.
 
Use as a tea to help reduce fevers and break up bronchitis. Drink tea to relieve cramps and irregular menstruation. Eases suffering of childhood diseases like mumps and measles. Also to cure insomnia, nasal congestion and loss of appetite.
 
 
MINT (Peppermint and Spearmint)
Leaves infused as a tea. Spearmint leaves were used to make tea, jellies and sauces. The leaves were sugared and mixed with sugared leaves of rose and wild violet to make a candy.
 
Peppermint was also introduced early to the United States. It also went wild. However, since it prefers wetter land, it is not as prevalent as spearmint. Peppermint leaves were chewed to sweeten the breath. Peppermint oil was used to flavor tea, foods, crème de menthe and medicine.
 
Peppermint tea for migraines, nervousness, stomach disorders, heartburn, and abdominal cramps. Herpes sufferers can take 2 cups of tea a day to ease the symptoms when the virus is active. Mints are used to buffer the action of other herbs that have uncomfortable effects on the stomach and intestines. Can be used in any combination for flavor.
 
 
MUSTARD
1 1⁄2 cups of dry yellow mustard in a bathtub of water for sprained backs. Make a paste with water and apply to knee and elbow sprains till blisters appear! Mustard and ginger plaster for deep rattling coughs – 1 tsp. each mustard and ginger powder mixed with 2 1⁄2 tbsp. of olive oil. Rub over chest and back and put on an old T-shirt (or cover with cloth diaper).
 
 
NUTMEG AND MACE
Gas, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, and kidney problems – make a paste of powder with cold water and then add to boiled water. 1 tbsp. of powdered nutmeg produces a floating euphoria for between 6 and 24 hours. Can cause near constant erections for men during that time. Side effects are bone and muscle aches, burning eyes, sinus drainage, and limited diarrhea.
 
 
ONION
Egyptians swore their oaths on onions. Grant refused to move his army until he got 3 railroad cars full of onions; interviews with hundreds of people who lived to 100 plus all indicated a heavy intake of onions in the diet. Onion is an excellent dressing for burns. Crush sliced onions with a little bit of salt and apply to burns. Apply sliced onion to bee and wasp stings. For asthma: puree an onion, cover it with brandy and let sit overnight, strain it, filter it through a coffee filter, and refrigerate. Take 2 tbsp. 20 minutes before expected onset or before going to bed.
 
 
PARSLEY
The purifier and culinary uses. Seeds used as a diuretic. Chew for halitosis. A few sprigs provide 2/3 the vitamin C of an orange, lots of vitamin A, and the important amino acid histidine, which is a tumor inhibitor. Parsley tea is good for kidney problems, painful urination, and kidney stones. One cup of parsley to 1 quart of water makes a strong tea. Two cups of parsley to 1 quart of water, steep an hour and drink warm, as an aphrodisiac. In Spain they have found that feeding parsley to sheep will bring them into heat at any time of year!
 
 
PENNYROYAL
Strewing herb. Flea and mosquito repellent.
 

PEPPER (black)
Pain relief from toothache, brings down a fever.
 
 
ROSE HIPS
These are the round red fruits formed from the flowers of the wild rose. It is the seedpod of the plant. Tea can be brewed from the hips, or they may also be dried. It is best to gather rose hips in late fall after the first frost when they are bright red. To make rose hip tea, boil dried rose hips with water – the longer it boils, the stronger the tea. Sweeten with brown sugar.
 
 
ROSEMARY
Culinary uses. Flower tea for the breath. Boil water with rosemary in it to make it safe to drink. Diuretic and liver aid, increases bile flow. Oil used as a rub for sore muscles. promotes liver functions. Two handfuls of flowering tips into 2 cups of good brandy, soak 10 days, strain and seal. Mouthful twice daily. Oil of rosemary is a natural anti-oxidant, and stress reliever; sniff for headaches. Chop a double handful of twigs and put in a pint of olive oil for one week, and use as a muscle liniment.
 
 
SAGE
Culinary uses as a flavoring for pork, sausage and poultry. Medically in combination with other herbs for headaches. Decocted and as a mouthwash for sore throats and infected gums. Chew a fresh leaf and put on insect bite to reduce sting and swelling. Sage tea for the throat. Two cups of sage tea a day for a week will dry up mother’s milk. For the itching of skin problems, steep a handful of freshly crushed leaves in a pint of boiled water for one hour, and bathe the area, then sprinkle with whole wheat flour. Sage tea prevents blood clots.
 

SAVORY (the herb of love)
One quart boiled water, 3 1⁄2 tbsp. fenugreek seed, and steep for 5 minutes. Remove fenugreek and add 2 handfuls of savory leaves, steep 50 minutes and drink 2 cups, as an aphrodisiac.
 
St. Josephwort (see Basil)
 
 
TARRAGON
Used in salads and to flavor foods. 1 1⁄2 tsp. cut dried herb in 1 3⁄4 cups boiled water, steep 40 minutes, drink warm for insomnia, hyperactivity, depression, or nervous exhaustion. (or anything "jittery") For digestion steep a handful of dried leaves in a jar with apple cider vinegar, stand 7 hours, strain and seal. Take 1 tbsp. before each meal.
 
 
TEA
Caffeine relieves migraines. Tea drinkers suffer less hardening of the arteries than coffee drinkers. Black tea kills dental plaque.
 
 
THYME
Culinary use as a flavoring. Medicinally for toothaches, gout, headaches, and to cure nightmares. Used as an antiseptic. Thyme was brought from Europe by the earliest settlers. Sprigs of thyme were placed on lard and butter to keep them from becoming rancid. It was used to flavor soups, stews, meat, cheese and egg dishes, seafood and vegetables.
 
Antibiotic. A tsp. in 1⁄2 cup boiled water to make a gargle or mouthwash, to prevent bad breath, tooth decay, and cold sores. Drink for cold, flu, fever, and allergy symptoms. As a bath for nail fungus and athlete’s foot, and also as a douche. Compress for bumps and bruises. Health liqueur – 6 sprigs of thyme in 1 1⁄2 cups of brandy for 5 days, shaking daily. Take several times daily when you feel a cold coming on. Thyme is good for killing bacteria and for relaxing tense muscles. Relieves migraine headaches and stomach cramps.
 
 
TUMERIC
Anti-oxidant. Powdered turmeric on any ulcerated skin condition or mix with enough lime juice to make a paste and put on herpes sores, mumps, chicken pox, etc. Dip a cloth in turmeric solution to wash away discharges from conjunctivitis and opthamalia. As an anti-inflammatory, turmeric’s properties are as good as 1 % hydrocortisone and phenylobutazone. Take 1⁄2 tsp. in juice in the morning and evening to aid in removing fat around the liver. Turmeric, bay leaf, clove, and cinnamon all tripled insulin performance in metabolizing blood glucose in a test tube! Field tests proved to greatly enhance production of insulin by the pancreas. "Spicecaps" from Great American Natural Products have a pinch of cinnamon, 2 cloves, 1⁄2 bay leaf, and 1 tsp. of turmeric per capsule.
 

VANILLA
Sexual stimulant. Soak a cotton ball with vanilla extract, squeeze it out, put it under the tongue and it will quickly calm hysteria.

 
WILLOW
Tea made from the bark of the willow tree has been used since the Romans for curing headaches or other pains. Its ingredients, Salicylates, is known to us today as aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid).

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