Eucalyptus was first used by Australian aborigines who found water in the roots of the plant growing in the outback. Inhaling the fragrant eucalyptus oil can alleviate symptoms from illness and disease that cause excessive mucus, such as sinusitis, bronchitis, asthma, emphysema and whooping cough. The major component in the eucalyptus leaf is eucalyptol which is a very strong oil. Eucalyptus oil can cause a reaction similar to menthol, in that it impacts the nasal receptors and can help relieve nasal congestion.
There are some side effects from using eucalyptus internally, such as vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. Eucalyptus should never be used with infants or children younger than two years old, since there is a risk of causing spasm in the airways, and even breathing cessation. To be safe, you should keep it away from young children. In addition, the oil can cause bronchial spasms in people suffering from and should be avoided by anyone with severe liver disease or any other inflammation disorders of the kidney or gastrointestinal tract.
Thyme is a very fragrant herb that comes from the Mediterranean areas of southern Europe. Today it is widely cultivated throughout the United States. When dried, the leaves or flowering tops of the plant can be used as medicine. There are many beneficial characteristics of thyme, including its ability to prevent or alleviate cough, relieve spasms, and also as a mucus thinner or expectorant. When used either alone or in combination with other herbs, thyme continues to be a very common herb used for treating dry coughs and whooping cough. It has low toxicity, so thyme can be used to treat cough even for young children.
Keep in mind that while thyme may be safe to be used as described above, any type of severe cough, especially in an infant or young child, could be a symptom of something more serious and should be brought to the attention of a physician immediately in order to determine the best treatment.
In the ancient world, resin of myrrh with its reddish brown color, was employed to mummify corpses, preserve mummies. Myrrh was used widely as a remedy for a variety of infections, such as syphilis and leprosy. Ancient herbal doctors also suggested myrrh to treat bad breath and to help improve dental health. Three important constituents of myrrh are the resin, the gum, and the volatile oil. These three are considered to be key to its ability to provide medicinal qualities. Another feature of myrrh is its astringent qualities, which can help sooth inflammation in the throat and mouth. When used as indicated, myrrh is a perfectly safe herb to use.
Bloodroot was used widely by Native Americans for both medicine and in tribal ritual. Dye made from bloodroot was incorporated into body paint. Bloodroot was used to treat cough, sore throat, rheumatic pain, and even certain types of cancer. The active compound in bloodroot is alkaloids. These are sometimes found in toothpaste and oral hygiene products due to their characteristic of inhibiting oral bacteria. The side effects of bloodroot include vomiting and nausea if taken improperly or in too great an amount.
Caraway has been widely used as a medicinal herb for centuries. The caraway seed helps to aid digestion but can also ease digestive colic in children. Caraway is a type of herb known as carminatives, which are plants known to be helpful in relieving gastrointestinal pains.
Caraway is usually safe for internal consumption. Avoid using the purified volatile oil for children younger than two years of age, since as an oil from an herb in the Umbelliferrae family this can cause irritation to the skin and mucous membranes.
Like caraway, peppermint is also classified as a carminative herb. Peppermint has been commonly used as a digestive aid, and is used to treat indigestion and intestinal colic. Tea made from peppermint is safe for normal consumption, however peppermint oil used internally can cause gastrointestinal distress for some people.
Sage has a very long history of being used as both a medicinal herb and for culinary uses. Herbalists have used it externally to treat inflammation, swelling, sprains, ulcers, and bleeding. When used internally as a tea, sage is thought to successfully relieve sore throats and coughs, and even is used as a gargle.
Convulsions may result from using large quantities of sage, meaning several times as recommended above.
For all herbs, you should always consult your herbalist or doctor when in doubt. Use them appropriately and you will be surprised by their results they provide you.
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