Oregano is related to the herb marjoram sometimes referred to as wild marjoram. It is a perennial herb,with creeping roots, sending up woody stems about a foot high, branched above, often purplish.
The name Origanum is derived from two Greek words oros (mountain) and ganos (joy).
The leaves are opposite, petiolate, about an inch long, nearly entirely hairy beneath. This is the wild variety. When cultivated, the leaves are more elliptical in shape than the wild marjoram, and the flower-spikes are thinner and more compact. The whole plant has a strong, fragrant, balsamic odor and a warm, bitterish, spicy, aromatic taste, both of which properties are preserved when the herb is dry. Two percent (2%) of this plant is made up of its essential oil, so it is rightly used for its very particular and unique flavor.
Oregano properties are very similar to those of all mint family plants: helps increase digestion,relieve gas pain, and is a nervine (soothing to the nervous system).
— The cultivated herb is used as the culinary spice but can be used for medicinal remedies as well.
— has a vast history of medicinal uses, more so than for its culinary purposes
— anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-septic
— diaphoretic, stimulant used to bring on stalled menses
— used as a tea for colds and flus
— used topically and internally to fight infections, especially toothaches, ear infections
— oregano oil is used topically on the skin for sore throat, ear infections, on the temples for headaches
— can be used in a steam to breathe in to help with a cough, ear infection, sore throat, blocked sinus, and also used in a vaginal steam for vaginitis and bladder infections.
I like to use Oreganol Super Strength P73 oil for topical applications. This is very strong and should be used with caution and diluted.
— the oil also helps ease the pain of said infections of the throat and ears
1 tbsp dried oregano
8 oz boiling water
Cover and let sit about 15 minutes before drinking.
Oregano Tea for the Bath
1 large handful of dried herb about a half cup
1 large soup pot of boiling water
Throw dried herb loose into the boiling water and cover immediately. Turn the temperature down to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Let it sit another 5 minutes and strain the tea into your bath water. Please mix the water before getting into the tub to prevent burning yourself. Drink oregano tea while in the tub. Make sure to sit in the tub for 20 minutes in order to re-moisturize the skin so the tea can be absorbed into the body. Drinking the tea while taking a bath in an infusion of the plant is extremely relaxing to sore muscles. You can do this to ease the ache of the flu.
Basil Ocimum basilicum
Common or Sweet Basil is in the mint family. There are several varieties of basil, differing in the size, shape, odor and color of the leaves. The Common Basil has very dark green leaves; the curled-leaved has short spikes of white flowers. Rubbing the plant with your fingers releases a pleasant spicy scent. Basil is a favorite herb to cook with in the culinary world. Italians are the most famous for using basil in many of their recipes. It can be used in stir-fries, raw in salads, and to season poultry and pork. It can be infused in oil or vinegar. Basil is a sweet, sometimes spicy, flavor that accents a meal. It enhances flavor to anyone’s palate.
Fresh Basil and Tomato Salad
Lucia Ceppaluni's recipe (my mom)
3 plum tomatoes, vine-ripened
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 very small onion
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
5 large fresh leaves of basil
Pinch of fresh oregano
Salt and pepper, to taste
Slice the tomatoes into small wedges and place into a bowl. Crush the cloves of garlic and slice the onion. Take the basil leaves and place them one on top of each other. Roll them together and then slice across the roll; they come out nicely julienned. Add the basil, vinegar, oil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Mix together well and serve straight away. If you let it sit, water will seep out of the tomatoes, diluting the taste a little. If you want to serve it cold, add a few ice cubes to the salad, mix well, and remove the ice cubes right before serving.
— stimulant, nervine, aromatic
— taken as a tea, basil is divine to the senses; it is relaxing and soothing to the nervous system
— creates movement in the body, especially in the digestive and menstrual systems — drinking the tea hot is good in suppressed menses
— helps ease nausea and vomiting
— aids in digestion, increasing digestive juices before eating to increase the appetite and after eating to reduce gas and bloating Indigenous people of many different cultures have been using basil for a very long time for many different reasons and ailments:
— In Belize, it is used for its drawing and antibacterial properties along with its spiritual
— The eclectic physicians used it topically to soothe a bee or wasp sting, drawing out the poisons.
Basil has Chicoric acid. It has been studied for its potential to inhibit HIV integrase (Healy et al. 2009; Charvat et al. 2006), to enhance insulin secretion and glucose uptake (Tousch et al. 2008), and to exert antioxidant activity (Dalby-Brown et al. 2005). This acid is also found in Echinacea purpurea but is found in higher amounts in Basil (Leea and Scagel 2010).
The herb contains high quantities of (E)-beta-caryophyllene (BCP), which may be useful in
treating arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases, according to research conducted at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Gertsch et al. 2008). Rich in antioxidants -- results of a study published in the Journal of Advanced Pharmacy
Education & Research showed that ethanol extract Ocimum basilicum had more antioxidant activity than standard antioxidants (Patil et al. 2011).
Breasts are the extension of our hearts. When we hug one another we touch everyone with our breasts. We are physically loving with them to our babies, husbands, and friends all the time. Our breast health typically mirrors that nature of loving ourselves and others in giving and receiving. We find it hard to keep a balance when it comes to loving others and ourselves. We tend towards giving more than we receive. In our culture we are in a constant flow of giving and sometime we are guilt-ed into this state of imbalance. Susan Weed describes this well in her book Breast Cancer? Breast Health!
Keeping Our Breasts Healthy
We can keep our breasts healthy by remembering to love ourselves enough and take time to care for our bodies, minds, and spirits. This week carve out a few minutes to give your breast a massage.
Massaging your breasts brings much needed circulation to a fat dense area. Our breast are mostly made of lymphatic tissue, fat and milk producing glands. But what else is in there? I remember after nursing I lost all of the fat in my breasts and felt so much less of a women. I called my breasts two skin tabs just floating there with nothing to fill them. This process happened so quickly that I did not have time to adjust to and keep loving myself in the face of my new emaciated body. I was embarrassed and did not want anyone to touch them for a while, not my babies, or husband. I wanted my body to be my own.
I needed to start loving myself again, taking responsibility for my definition of self care. Doing what truly nourished me so I could have the ability to love my new momma body. The first thing I did was put on some much needed weight. I started to practice yoga in the morning and bought myself a new to me bicycle. I also started breast massage and lymphatic skin brushing daily. Making just these few changes gave me new strength for my family too. I became happier and healthier.
Breast massage is simple and only takes a few minutes every day for a self care techinque that can actually be life saving. Dense breasts can get congested. Massage keeps the energy flow moving.
Breast congestion includes cyst formation or fibrocystic breast syndrome and premenstrual breast tenderness
Herbs for lymphatic flow and balance
Red Root Ceanothus spp
Lentinus edodes Shiitake
Dandelion Root Taraxacum officinale
Burdock Arctium lappa
Dandelion Flowers Fresh 1 part
Fenugreek 1/2 part
Bladderwrack 1/2 part
Calendula 1 part
1 part can equal 1 TBL or 1 cup depending on how much you want to make
This oil if for congestion and stagnation.
Put all the herbs together and cover by one inch with sesame or olive oil. You can also use a blend of oils. Place together and blend in blender. Pour into a mason jar and put in a water bath double boil keeping it between 110-120 degrees. Cook for about 6 hours or more strain with muslin or cheese cloth and store in glass in a cool dark place.