Thursday, March 19, 2015

Plants Available for your Herb Garden!






Shadow beni is a leafy herb native to the West Indies and Central America. It is widely used in the cuisine of these regions, and it also appears in Asian foods. Culantro is reported to be rich in calcium, iron, carotene, and riboflavin. Fresh leaves are 86–88% moisture, 3.3% protein, 0.6% fat, 6.5% carbohydrate, 1.7% ash, 0.06% phosphorus, and 0.02% iron. Leaves are an excellent source of vitamin A (10,460 I.U./100 g), B2 (60 mg %), B1 (0.8 mg %), and C (150–200 mg %) (Bautista et al. 1988). On a dry weight basis, leaves consist of 0.1–0.95% volatile oil, 27.7% crude fiber, 1.23% calcium, and 25 ppm boron.
The plant is used in traditional medicines for fevers and chills, vomiting, diarrhea, and in Jamaica for colds and convulsions in children (Honeychurch 1980). The leaves and roots are boiled and the water drunk for pneumonia, flu, diabetes, constipation, and malaria fever. The root can be eaten raw for scorpion stings and in India the root is reportedly used to alleviate stomach pains. The leaves themselves can be eaten in the form of a chutney as an appetite stimulant (Mahabir 1991).


Geranium, Scented "Attar of Roses" (Pelargonium capitatum) 


This plant exudes sensual and calming fragrance.  I have read many descriptions of the aromatherapeutic properties of this type of scented geranium, and they differ according to source, so provide here my own experience:  Attar of Roses opens the heart chakra and calms the spirit.  Balances cardiac, immune and nervous systems.  A highly desired plant which in our opinion rests at the pinnacle of all scented geranium varieties.

Before artificial food flavorings were produced, the Victorians used scented geraniums leaves to flavor a variety of foods. Cut the leaves from the plant where they emerge from the stem. You can preserve them by making flavored sugar – just alternate layers of leaves with granulated sugar and set aside for two or three weeks.

One of the most popular uses of scented geraniums is to arrange larger leaves in a cake pan before pouring in the batter. As the cake bakes, the leaves perfume and flavor it, but before serving, they can be peeled off the top leaving a decorative imprint. Jelly and tea flavorings are other common uses for scented geraniums in the kitchen.

Medicinal and Cosmetic Uses
Medicinally, scented geraniums have been used primarily as an astringent in cosmetic formulas. The leaves have been used in potpourris, in aromatherapy (as essential oils), and as a flavoring in cooking. In aromatherapy, scented geranium oil is relaxing, but it is recommended to use in small quantities. Dilute 2 drops of oil for a massage, or to relieve premenstrual tension, dermatitis, eczema, or dry skin.

Craft and Other Uses
Outside the kitchen, consider using the leaves for sachets and potpourris or create old-fashioned finger bowls. Add them to your bath water for a bit of aromatherapy.

The scented geranium is a great as a room freshener or added to potpourri. Try adding some to your vacuum bag or put them in a mesh bag and add them to your dryer for a new fresh scent for your clothes.



In Dominica this plant is widely known as Tabac Zombie but in other countries is also known as Tabac Diable, Bitter Tobacco or Indian Tobacco, among other names.
It is used as a  medicine for a whole range of ailments ranging from digestive problems, headaches, toothaches, sore throat, catarrh, flatulence, high blood pressure to rashes. It is considered to be an antiseptic and is also associated with spiritual cleansing.
Its scientific name is pluchea carolinensis.

(Urtica dioica)

A spring tonic made from nettles has been used to treat winter anemia for centuries. I have specifically used the plant as a treatment for those suffering from seasonal allergies. Leaf tea has traditionally been used as a blood purifier, blood builder, diuretic, astringent, for gout, glandular diseases, rheumatism, poor circulation, enlarged spleen, mucus discharges of the lungs, internal bleeding, diarrhea, and dysentery. It's effect involves the action of white blood cells, aiding coagulation and formation of hemoglobin in red blood corpuscles. Nettles also work to reverse anemia, even that caused by feminine monthly cycles. Recently Germans have begun using the roots in a treatment for Prostate Cancer. Russians are adding the leaves to vodka to treat inflammation of the gallbladder, and hepatitis. There is evidence that even in the time of Jesus, Nettles were used as a treatment for arthritis. The plant tops were pinched off, and used to "whip" the afflicted area. The resulting stinging was said to promote blood flow, which in turn alleviated the inflammation. Even today, studies have shown that periodic stings from nettles helps relieve arthritis.


New age Anti Depressive medz

known as a diuretic, and is considered alterant and anti asthmatic. It is used for urinary complaints, and is useful in diseases arising from corrupt blood and bile.


Rosemary / Romero

One of the Best smelling herbs ever!!!!! A HEAVENLY SMELL!
Rosemary – the Herb:

-is high in iron, calcium, and vitamin B6
-contains two important ingredients – caffeic acid and rosemarinic acid – both of which are potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents that may shield the brain from free radicals, lowering the risk of strokes and diseases like Alzheimer’s, ALS
-reduces inflammation (inflammation is associated with contributing to asthma, liver disease and heart disease)
-is a rich source of vitamin E (alpha tocopherol) a potent antioxidant, which contributes to its free radical fighting powers further still
-helps prevent breast cancer by blocking estrogen
-prevents age-related skin damage
-boosts the functioning of the liver and acts as a mild diuretic to help reduce swelling
-helps to regulate the menstrual cycle and to ease cramps
-helps to lower blood sugar and raise blood pressure
-treats migraines
-stimulates the sexual organs 
-stimulates the appetite
-soothes aching muscles and joints and eases arthritis pain when oil or freshly cut sprigs are added to bath water



Patchouli is an herb that has been used for centuries in the East, and was relatively unknown in popular culture until the 1960’s. With the explosion of exploration into Eastern music, dress and fragrances, patchouli became a staple of perfume and essential oils and remains a popular choice to this day. However, what many people do not realize is that patchouli also comes as a tea, and patchouli tea benefits are as unexpected as they are well rounded. Patchouli tea is made with the dried leaf of this member of the mint family, and offers medicinal and relaxation qualities when you drink it.
What is interesting to note is that Patchouli was traditionally used as a treatment in dysentery and typhoid, and that recent studies have studied the antimicrobial effects of patchouli on both typhoid and staph and found that it did indeed inhibit the spread of infection. While Patchouli tea benefits may not include protecting you from a typhoid outbreak, you can use it to boost your immune system to certain types of bacteria. In addition, it acts as a mild diuretic to flush the toxins out of your system in order to keep your lymph nodes working properly to produce antibodies.
This fragrant herb is primarily thought of as an essential oil to use in candles and incense, and most people have no idea that it is also fantastic for your skin. The active components in patchouli can work to reduce the evidence of scars on the skin. In other words, the next time you make a delicious cup of patchouli tea, rub some on your skin as well. Patchouli tea benefits your skin in many ways; it acts as an insect repellant of the first order, and will soften and sooth irritated areas caused by bugs, dry skin or allergens.
You can also enjoy the patchouli tea benefits to keep your digestive system in working order. Ancient lore of patchouli stated that it has been used to reduce bloating caused by gas, and can help cure diarrhea. If you choose not to use patchouli tea internally, you can use it externally as an astringent for minor cuts or scrapes, and it makes a wonderful application to bruises. It can soothe tired and aching muscles, and the anti-inflammatory properties of this fragrant herb can help you inside or out, or use the tea bags as a moth repellant in your delicate clothes.

Worm Bush /Zeb a ve / Simen Kontwa

Herbs for Healing......

The name of the worm bush or worm grass attests to its function.Vermifuge-a medicine that expels parasitic, intestinal worms. Other local names 
for the wormbush are "Zèb a vè" and "Simen kontwa". When used for this purpose, oil is sometimes added. It is also believed to clean the womb after childbirth.

The bush is combined with other herbs as a remedy for 
To treat wounds and sores (in the form of a poultice)
Worm bush (scientific name: Dysphania ambrosioides or Chenopodium ambrosioides) is credited with other healing properties and actions:
Increases perspiration
Functions as a natural diuretic: Increases urination
Increases breast milk
Promotes menstruation
Stimulates digestion
Kills cancer cells
Mild sedative
It is said that the health benefits of any medicines can be gauged by how unpleasant the scent and taste. For some herbal medicines you may find yourself holding your breath while imagining cakes and candy. Worm bush is one such example. To subdue the strong taste, I usually add a few leaves of a minty tea such as basil. I hope this helps when next you have your cup of worm bush.

Sweet Basil (Genovese) 

Make your own Pesto! 
Though used mainly as a culinary, there are many other possible uses for basil. Try a cup of basil tea as an after dinner drink to aid digestion and expel gas. Basil tea is also good for stomach cramps and vomiting. An extract from the seeds has been shown to have an antibacterial effect. Combine it with wood betony and skullcap for nervous conditions or with elecampane and hyssop for coughs. Rub leaves on insect bites to reduce itching

Melissa/ Lemon balm/ Lemon Sage

Traditional herbal medicine recognizes two major health beneficial effects of Melissa: calming, relaxing, sleep promoting and anti-inflammatory, antivirus, antibacterial. Melissa is similar to Lavender, also well known for its relaxing and antiseptic action. Both kinds of effect have been confirmed to a degree by modern scientific studies and several bioactive constituents of Melissa have been isolated. 

In several countries preparations of Melissa are approved by health care authorities as a remedy to combat sleep problems, nervousness, agitation. The sedative action is attributed to synergistic action of a combination of ingredients, including terpenes citronellal, citronellol, geraniol, linalool, limonen and phenylpropanol derivatives, such as eugenol. Some of these constituents along with tannins were shown to have antivirus and antibacterial action. Accordingly, Melissa ingredients are utilized in preparations intended to combat skin virus infections, like herpes. 


One of the Best Plants in the World!! U better Believe it too! 

Orally, great plantain has been used for cystitis with hematuria, bronchitis, colds, and for irritated or bleeding hemorrhoids. It is also used as an antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial.
Topically, great plantain is used for dermatological conditions, and eye irritation or discomfort.
  POSSIBLY SAFE ...when the leaf is used orally and appropriately.
POSSIBLY UNSAFE ...when used topically. Great plantain can cause allergic contact dermatitis.
PREGNANCY: LIKELY UNSAFE ...when used orally because it can increase uterine tone.
LACTATION: Insufficient reliable information available; avoid using.

  ORAL: People typically used 2-4 grams dried leaf three times daily, or one cup tea (steep 2-4 grams dried leaf in 150 mL boiling water 5-10 minutes, strain) three times daily (4). Liquid extract (1:1 in 25% in ethanol) 2-4 mL three times daily. Tincture (1:5 in 45% in ethanol) 2-4 mL three times daily (4).
Editor's Comments:
  Avoid confusion with Buckhorn plantain (Plantago lanceolata), Blond psyllium (Plantago ovata), and Black psyllium (Plantago psyllium).



"Panadol" with active ingredient paracetamol, has become a household name as a brand of pharmaceutic pain relievers. The active ingredients of pharmaceuticals are plant derived. However, I have found not yet found any information that the "Panadol" brand is derived from the panadol plant. But what a fortunate coincidence if it were!
Pain relief purposes are the same for both plant and drug. According to this source it is also used to treat tooth and gum disease.
A low spreading herb in the mint family, the scent is nothing light and refreshing like peppermint or basil. This smells like medicine. Older folk say that the more odious the scent, the better for the body. One whiff of this herb is sufficient to heal. At the imagined taste of the actual brewed leaves, you will instantly begin to imagine yourself well. Suddenly, you are not sick enough for medicine. Alas, that excuse does not work well when you are in the care of parents.


Common Basilic

10 Uses for Basil Leaf

Fortunately, it can be used for so much more than just cooking!
There  are  various other herbal uses of Basil. It is a traditional remedy that has been used in various cultures for hundreds of years for many uses besides cooking. These are my top uses:
Basil Pesto– This culinary use is one of Basil’s most popular uses and variations of this are used in cultures around the world. At our house, we add pesto to everything from eggs, to meats, to slices of fresh cucumber. Here’s my recipe.General Cooking– Dried basil can be easily added to practically any dish. Basil is used around the world in many different cuisines with good reason. It adds a depth and flavor that is not rivaled by other herbs. I make a homemade spice blend that includes basil and add it to practically anything.Calming the Stomach– The Italians may be on to something with adding Basil to everything. It is thought to have a calming effect on the stomach and 1/2 teaspoon of dried or fresh Basil Leaf in water can often help sooth indigestion and alleviate feelings of fullness.Coughing and Colds– I’ve heard several Amish in our area suggest using Basil leaf to help alleviate coughing and colds. They chew fresh leaves to calm coughing or make a calming tea of dried basil to help sooth illness.Facial Steam for Headache: A facial steam with dried basil leaf can help alleviate a headache. Add a tablespoon of dried basil leaf to 2 cups of boiling water in a large pot. Carefully lean over the pot, cover head with a towel and breathe in the steam for 5-10 minutes until headache starts to subside. Bonus, you get to smell like an Italian restaurant for the rest of the day!Antibiotic properties: According to Mountain Rose Herbs: “European scientists are investigating the use of basil oil as treatment for antibiotic resistant infections with Staphylococcus, Enterococcus, and Pseudomonas.”Stings and Bites: If you are working outside and get bitten or stung by an insect and don’t have any Plantain growing nearby, chewing up a basil leaf and applying to the bite will help relieve the pain and draw out the venom.Ear Infections: According to Mountain Rose Herbs: “The essential oil is antibacterial, and drops of basil oil may relieve ear infections.”Blood sugar: There is some evidence that Basil can help level out blood sugar if consumed regularly and drank as a juice or tea.Stress Reduction: One herbalist I know suggests adding 2 cups of strong Basil Leaf tea to a warm bath to help reduce stress and facilitate relaxation.If you use Basil as much as we do, I definitely recommend growing it or buying it in bulkto save money.

Here is another interesting source about Basil (Red Rubin Variety): 

MORINGA (Moringa Oleifera)

Medicinal USES of Moringa Leaves

-Juice from the leaves is believed to have a stabilizing effect on blood pressure and is used to treat anxiety. It is believed to control glucose levels in cases of diabetes.
-Mixed with honey and followed by a drink of coconut milk 2 or 3 times a day, leaves are used as a remedy for diarrhea, dysentery and colitis.
-Leaf juice, sometimes with carrot juice added, is used as a diuretic. Eating leaves is recommended in cases of gonorrhea because of the diuretic action.
-Leaves and buds are rubbed on the temples for headache.
-A poultice is made from fresh leaves and applied to reduce glandular swelling.
-Leaf juice is used as a skin antiseptic.
-Leaves are used to treat fevers, bronchitis, eye and ear infections, scurvy, and catarrh (inflammation of the mucus membrane).
-Leaves are considered to be anthelmintic ( able to kill intestinal worms).
Leaves are used as a purgative.
-Eating leaves is believed to increase a woman's milk production and is sometimes prescribed for anemia.

Bastard Vervain /  Vèvèn / Verbena

Uses/ Properties: 

used to eradicate worm infestation in the body and has been known for generations to heal stubborn wounds.
However, this wonder herb has a myriad of other uses. It can be used to improve the quality of the skin and as an eye wash. The tea is good for fevers and colds and it is a good sedative. Also, when it is combined with other herbs it increases the potency of the medicine.
As a sedative, vervain is good for calming the nerves and, in some cases of insanity, it can be used to restore calm to the afflicted individual. It is even more potent when mixed with rosemary. A concoction of these two herbs is also guaranteed to put anyone to sleep.
The plant is equally good for animals and traditionally has been administered by farmers to pigs and other animals when they suffer discomfort in the intestinal tract. It is also used to remove afterbirth in cattle.
Vervain, in some quarters, is also reputed to help make wishes come true and will return a wandering spouse when applied over the heart.
For all its purported uses, however, vervain is predominantly a healing plant.

Use 3-5 leaves of the plant per cup of tea/hot water. (Use similarly for the skin and eye as wash.)

Big Up Buckston Harrison from Jamaica! 

Dandelion / Diente de león

Bitter but so good for ya!

People have been drinking a decoction of dandelion roots, made by simmering 1 tablespoon of the chopped root in 1 cup of water for 20 minutes, as a tonic since prehistoric times. It contains inulin, a polysaccharide that doesn't elicit an insulin response.

Good for diabetics and hypoglycemics.

Due to the glycoside taraxacin, it's said to be good for the liver and gallbladder, where it promotes the flow of bile, reduces inflammation of the bile duct and helps get rid of gallstones. It’s also said to be good for chronic hepatitis, where it reduces liver swelling and jaundice, and it helps indigestion caused by insufficient bile.

The decoction is also a diuretic and has been used for centuries for kidney problems and water retention.


Dandelion root decoction should be avoided in cases of irritable stomach, or if there's acute inflammation.

Lemon Grass / Citronela


Lemon grass or citronella grass (Cymbopogon citrates) is native to India and Southern Asia, and was cultivated since time immemorial to be used in cooking and medicine. Lemongrass oil was being distilled in the Phillipines for export to Europe as early as the 1600′s where it was used mainly as an insect repellent and a component of perfumes. Indeed, lemon grass is a good companion plant because the strong citronella scent keeps whiteflies off tomatoes and broccoli. However, despite repelling some insects, it is very attractive to honeybees, because the scent is similar to an attractant pheremone produced by bees. This makes it useful for attracting bees and even trapping swarms.
Lemongrass is highly antibacterial and antifungal. In Eastern India, a tea of lemongrass is known as ‘fever tea’ and used to dispel chest infections, and a paste of lemongrass in buttermilk is rubbed on ringworm. In fact, studies found that it is more effective against staph infection than either penicillin or streptomycin, and this is supported by anecdotes. I have personally heard from a mother that a solution of lemongrass oil was the only thing that could cure her child’s facial staph infection, where two courses of antibiotics and medicated creams had failed. In the modern world with high rates of antibiotic resistance, lemongrass oil could well be a very important first port of call for bacterial infections! Its antifungal action also makes it a good choice for curing athlete’s foot.
Lemongrass tea is famed for its ability to settle an upset stomach, and indeed it is a staple against nausea and morning sickness, especially if drunk in a tea with ginger and chamomile. Other women’s problems it is helpful against are irregular and painful periods and it acts as a uterine stimulant.
Nutritionally, lemongrass also contains important vitamins and minerals, including zinc, copper, iron, magnesium and phospherous, making it good for the nerves and the blood, as well as vitamins A and C. In Cuba it is used as a tea to reduce high blood pressure.
In aromatherapy, lemongrass can be used in a bath or footbath to reduce stress and stress-related headaches since it is mildly sedative. It helps in the expulsion of phlegm and increases the circulation, making it a good choice for those suffering from colds, and, in a blend with cloves and coriander makes an excellent rub or bath for sore, worn or slack muscles (although it might also make a good fish baste for an exotic dish!). It can also mix with florals such as neroli or jasmine, or lavender. Lemongrass is also used extensively in Indian Ayurveda medicine, where it was used to treat fevers and even cholera.
In folk magic and rituals, lemongrass can be used for purification and strength, and in some cultures is said to repel serpents.



Oregano contains an impressive list of plant derived chemical compounds that are known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties.

The herb parts contain no cholesterol; however, are rich source of dietary fiber, which helps to control blood cholesterol levels.

Oregano contains several health benefiting essential oils such as carvacrol, thymol, limonene, pinene, ocimene, and caryophyllene. Its leaves and flowering stem has anti-septic, anti-spasmodic, carminative, cholagogue (help gall bladder secretion), diaphoretic (sweat production), expectorant, stimulant, and mildly tonic properties. Its decoction is taken by mouth for the treatment of colds, influenza, mild fevers, indigestion, stomach upsets, and painful menstruation conditions.

Thymol is also been found to have anti-bacterial, anti-fungal activities.

The herb is rich in poly-phenolic flavonoid anti-oxidants (vitamin A, carotenes, lutein, zea-xanthin, and cryptoxanthin) and has been rated as one of the plant sources with highest anti-oxidant activities. These compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes.

The active principles in the herb may improve gut motility in addition to increase the digestion power by facilitating copious secretion of gastro-intestinal juices.

This marvelous herb is an excellent source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure caused by high sodium. Manganese and copper are utilized by the body as co-factors for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron helps prevent anemia. Magnesium and calcium are important minerals for bone metabolism.

In addition, fresh herb is an excellent  antioxidant and good source of vitamin; vitamin-C. Vitamin C helps human body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.


Keep this in mind when using dried herbs for tea for your body:
1 1/2 Teaspoons dried leaves (Use 2 Teaspoons, tightly packed if using fresh leaves)
8 liquid ounces of water
1 Teaspoon of honey if you like sweet tea, i say no sugar for most (but i still add some, more or less, to taste).

My favorite way to make a good cup of bush tea:
Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. When water has boiled, remove from heat. Add bush leaves and allow to steep for five minutes. You could allow it to steep longer, but remember that the longer it steeps, the more of a bitter taste it will have if its Oregano, Dandelion, Vervain or indian tobacco for example.
Strain the infused water into a mug. Add honey if desired and stir well.
If making more than 8 liquid ounces, increase the amount of bush / herb accordingly.

Editor's Note: The content of this article is provided for general informational purposes only. 
It is said  that some wild plants can be poisonous, and poisonous plants sometimes resemble edible plants which often grow side by side. It is the responsibility of the reader, or the reader’s parent or guardian, to correctly identify and use the edible plants described on this blog. I use all these plants on a regular basis, just like many other locals and all we get is a positive reaction and healing, but TUHERBICINA does not guarantee the accuracy of the content Sources provided in this article and is not liable for any injury resulting from use of any information provided. All Images are Original and taken at my Herb garden in Dominica. - See more at:


1 comment:

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