Your natural pharmacy at home

Your natural pharmacy at home

By Kimberley Casteneda

By Kimberly Kaye Castaneda, ND

Naturopathic Doctor

Do you plant flowers or grow an herb garden? If so, then you have your own natural medicine cabinet right in your own back yard, or perhaps front yard.

Did you know that some of those beautiful plants you’re growing not only look attractive and smell good but are also wonderful medicinals for your health and well-being? And better yet, you can even make the natural remedies right in your own home. You can also purchase foods in your local grocery store to make healing remedies. Let’s start with tinctures, and perhaps you’ll discover the fun in learning to make other preparations later such as salves, massage oils, cough syrup, etc…

Let’s make a tincture…here’s how:

A tincture is made by soaking fresh or dried herbs in an equal combination of 190 proof alcohol (750ml bottle of Everclear from the liquor store) and bottled distilled water. Or you can use vodka, rum or brandy full strength, and for non-alcohol tinctures you may replace with vinegar (unless candida is a problem) or glycerol. NEVER use industrial alcohol or rubbing alcohol. The alcohol will act as the preservative and also extract the active medicinal properties into the tincture. Combine the liquid in a glass bottle (preferably amber) with approximately 1/2 pound of the herb of your choice. Let this mixture sit at room temperature in a dark cupboard for 14 days, shaking once a day.

After the two weeks, strain the mixture through cheesecloth and rebottle some of the tincture into one- or two-ounce amber dropper bottles, and keep the rest tightly closed in the original bottle so as not to allow the alcohol to evaporate. Be sure to label all of your bottles with the contents and date. A tincture will keep for up to two years.

These remedies are very concentrated. Approximately one teaspoon of tincture is equal to three capsules of the same herb. For those who are alcohol sensitive or for children, you can put the tincture into 1/2 cup boiling water and let it sit to cool; after a few minutes, the alcohol will have evaporated from the tincture.

*NOTE: Some herbalists, such as myself, do not strain the herbs from the mother tincture but only when transferring to small dropper bottles. This keeps your tincture very strong and concentrated for the duration. You may decrease the recipe proportionately if you do not wish to make the full quantity.

And there you have it. You are on your way to taking responsibility for your own health and healing. Making your own remedies is not only fun but very rewarding when you start from scratch, growing the herbs, making the remedies and healing your loved ones.

Below is a list of a few wonderful herbs and their uses. Perhaps you’re already growing a few of them and can begin your path to DISCOVERING WELLNESS.

Calendula (Marigold)

Medicinal uses: promotes bile production in liver (benefits alcoholics), systemic yeast infection, cleanses liver & gallbladder, gastric duodenal & peptic ulcers, gastritis, colitis, diverticulitis, hepatitis, cramps, syphilis, tuberculosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, muscle spasms, stomachache, fever, flu, toothache, swollen glands, irritated tissues, eczema, systemic skin disorders & varicose veins.


Medicinal uses: blood purifier, parasites, worms, hyperactivity, temper tantrums, nervous disorders, nightmares, headaches, migraines, insomnia, substance withdrawals, bladder, kidney, liver, & spleen tonic, colic, diverticulitis, colitis, inflammation of bowels, nausea, vomiting, digestive disorders, loss of appetite, cramps, painful menstruation, morning sickness, pain, fever, colds, bronchitis, asthma, side aches, earaches & eczema.


Medicinal uses: parasites, worms, scabies, mosquito repellent, insect bites, infectious malaria, cholera, tuberculosis, fungal infections, digestive disorders, gastritis, bloating, cramps, uterine contractions, kidney tonic, impotency, nausea, vomiting, pain reliever, neuralgia, coughs, hiccups & acne.

Echinacea (Purple Coneflower)

Medicinal uses: flu and virus infection, toothaches, aids in cancer treatment, gangrene, burns, poisonous bites, allergies, asthma, pus-type infection, open wounds, painful swelling, congestion, lymphatic congestion, blood poisoning, acne, boils, skin disorders, allergic rhinitis, stings, canker sores, cold sores, coughs, bronchitis, earache, sore throats, tonsillitis, urinary & fungal infections.


Medicinal uses: systemic yeast, cancer, fungal & bacterial infections, urinary infections, colitis, diarrhea, gastritis, stimulates digestion, ulcers, parasites, worms, cramps, morning sickness, fever, bronchitis, colds, flu, coughs, sinus congestion, tonsillitis, sore throats, emphysema, migraines, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, angina, circulation, rheumatism & warts.


Medicinal uses: systemic yeast, candida, relieves acidity, morning sickness, nausea, motion sickness, digestive disorders, gastritis, vomiting, colitis, colon & stomach spasms, constipation, bloating, cramps, menstrual disorders, hemorrhaging, fatigue, shock, nervousness, stress, anxiety, circulatory stimulant, high blood pressure, promotes perspiration, migraines, headaches, bronchitis, colds, coughs, flu, sinus congestion, pneumonia, toothache & paralysis.


Medicinal uses: pain, inflammation, migraines, headaches, high blood pressure, calms nerves, depression, anxiety, fainting, vertigo, convulsions, insomnia, irritability, tension, muscle spasms, rheumatic aches, palsies, digestive disorders, gastritis, colic, cramps, anal fissures, vaginal discharge, promotes menstruation, bronchitis, throat infection, halitosis, toothaches, asthma, tuberculosis, externally for lice, scabies, insect bites & snakebites.

Oregano (Spanish)

Medicinal uses: stimulates flow of bile, respiratory conditions, coughs, tonsillitis, bronchitis, asthma, colds, promotes menstruation, digestive disorders, gastritis, motion sickness, nervous disorders, irritability, nervous headaches, exhaustion, toothaches, headaches, stomach & gall bladder disorders.


Medicinal uses: reduces inflammation, rheumatism, arthritis, bursitis, promotes menstruation, menstruation & menopausal complaints, cramps, regulates cycle, female tonic, reduces heavy bleeding & hemorrhaging, colic, bowel disorders, digestive disorders, hemorrhoids, thrombosis, tones varicose veins, venous circulation, hypertension, diabetes, purifies blood, insomnia, nervous disorders, pleurisy, tonic for uterus, colon, spleen, kidneys, liver, lungs, & mucus membranes, clears mucus from bladder, colds, congestion, flu, fever, hay fever, measles & reduces spasms.

*Always consult your natural health care practitioner or medical doctor before self-medicating

Kimberly Kaye Castaneda is a Naturopath who researches and teaches about the benefits of natural, non-invasive healing techniques and therapies. Her Washington D.C. registration and ANMA and ABH board certifications, along with her degree and certifications states that she is qualified in the use of all natural forms of healing including: acupressure, aromatherapy, Bach flower remedies, chronic diseases, clinical microscopy, color therapy, emotional release therapy, Gua Sha treatments, herbology, homeopathy, hypnotherapy, live blood and dry layer cell analysis, massage, nutrition, raindrop therapy, reflexology, Reiki healing and vibrational or polarity healing. Kimberly Castaneda, N.D. has a private practice in Rockford located at 521 N. Longwood Street. To schedule a private consultation or for Reiki classes and attunements, call (815) 963-1585. DISCOVERING WELLNESS.

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