Tag: Western Herbal Medicine

Warming cough busting tea

This recipe made from warming spices makes a delicious drink for all the family to protect from and alleviate the symptoms of coughs, colds and flu and is especially good for clearing catarrh and a blocked nose.


1/2 oz fresh ginger root, sliced
1 stick of cinnamon
3 cloves
3 black peppercorns
3 cardamom pods

How to make:

Place in a pan and cover with 1 pt/600 mls of cold water. Bring to boil, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Strain, sweeten with honey if desired, and take every 2 hours diluted with boiling water.

French Apple and Cinnamon Tea

This is the third in this week’s series of seasonal recipes, taken from the book ‘Healing Drinks’.  The traditional combination of apple and cinnamon works well in this sweet and spicy tea.  The tart flavour and cold properties of the apples and balanced by the sweetness and warming properties of the honey and cinnamon.  Jean Valnet, the French phytotherapist, recommends apple tea to be taken daily to prevent cold and flu viruses and to ward off arthritis and gout.


4 apples, washed and sliced
600ml (1 pint) water
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

How to make:

Place the apples in a pan, add the water, cover and cook on a low heat until soft.  Strain and then stir in the honey and cinnamon.

Serve hot (2-3 servings)

How to make herbal teas

Quite often we suggest that patients take teas of a particular herb or spice – but just how do you make herbal tea without a tea bag?

To prepare herbal tea you need either a teapot, or a small pan and a sieve.  In general use about 2 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb (or 4 teaspoonfuls of fresh) to 600ml (1 pint) of water, but you can vary the amount according to taste.

For ‘soft’ herbs such as basil, rosemary, thyme and lemon balm

When using the soft parts of a herb, such as the flower, stems or leaves, place the herb in a warm teapot and pour over the boiling water.  Cover and leave to stand for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the hot water to extract the medicinal components from the plant.

For ‘hard’ herbs such as cinnamon bark, coriander seeds or ginger root

When using the hard parts of the herb or spice – the seeds, bark or roots – greater heat is required to extract the constituents.  You will need to place them in a pan with cold water, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.  Strain and sweeten with honey, if needed.

Taken from ‘Healing Drinks’ by Anne McIntyre

Antihistamine Mix

Antihistamine Mix – for hay fever (from ‘Drugs in Pots’ )

Hopefully last week’s brain mix started some synapses firing!  This week’s recipe helps with hay fever symptoms.  No one enjoys having their summer ruined by hay fever – itchy eyes,  runny nose and feeling generally grotty.  This mix contains echinacea, chamomile and lemon balm to soothe the allergic response that sparks off symptoms, while agrimony and ground ivy calm any inflammation, drying up secretions.

Ingredients (makes enough to fill a 500ml (17 fl oz) jar)

400ml (14 fl oz) plant glycerol
100ml (3.5 fl oz) alcohol (vodka or brandy)
250g (9 oz) each fresh or 100g (3.5 oz) dried agrimony, chamomile, Echinacea, lemon balm and ground ivy

How to make

First mix the glycerol and alcohol together, then place the herbs in a wide-necked jar and pour the mixture over the herbs.

Leave to macerate for at least 2-3 weeks, stirring daily, and then strain through a fine mesh sieve or muslin, or press using a wine press, making sure that you squeeze as much liquid from the herbs as possible.

Pour into dark, sterilized bottles, label carefully and store in a cool, dark place.

How to use

Take a teaspoon 3-6 times daily in a little water, depending on the severity of the symptoms.

Healthy Soul Article

A Healing Herb Garden – an interview on Healthy Soul website:

A while ago I was interviewed by Frances Ive for an article for the WI and I have found a link to the interview on Frances’ website – www.healthysoul.co.uk.  I hope you enjoy it!

Anne x

Healing Herb Garden


Ashwagandha Annie!

Ashwagandha Annie on You Tube:

This is a video recorded in June 2013 with the ever lovely Deb from Avena Botanicals where we talk about possibly my favourite herb of all time – Ashwagandha.


Dispensing with Tradition

Dispensing with Tradition:

Way back in 2009 I agreed to compile a quick reference guide to herbs used in the Western tradition from an Ayurvedic perspective, little realising how much work this would entail!  My co-author, Michelle Boudin, and I (along with other invaluable colleagues) researched and cross referenced and tasted and pondered and indexed and checked and then re-checked and double checked (just in case…) and the end result is ‘Dispensing with Tradition: A Practitioner’s Guide to using Indian and Western Herbs the Ayurvedic Way’.


According to Ayurvedic philosophy all matter is derived from pure consciousness.  The amazing natural world gives us herbs, incredible healing plants, which are manifestations of the conscious intelligence of the universe.  Prana is the life force, the dynamic manifestation of consciousness and each herb has its own subtle intelligence or unique wisdom and pranic energy or attributes which give it ‘energetic’ effects as well as pharmacological constituents, and its potential ability to heal.  Herbs from all over the globe can impart their wisdom or intelligence to us and help balance pranic disturbances that create imbalances and health problems in mind and body, and reconnect or align us with consciousness, and this is the ultimate aim of Ayurveda.  They are an extraordinary gift.  Whether we are trained in the Western or Eastern tradition we can benefit from the healing ability of the herbs around us and use them to care for ourselves and others.

The purpose of the book is to enable an understanding of the Ayurvedic classification and use of herbs for practitioners employing herbs within the framework of an Ayurvedic approach to treatment.  It presumes a prior knowledge of Ayurveda and its terms (although there are glossaries at the back).  It consists mainly of a Materia Medica divided loosely in Western and Ayurvedic herbs and indexes of actions and therapeutic uses.

Each herb has its own unique blend of many different attributes.  It has myriad chemical constituents and physiological actions; it has its qualities and properties, being for example hot/cold, dry/moist, heavy/light, and with time and experience it is possible to become acquainted with each individual herb almost like a different personality.  Taking all this into consideration we can consider a herb as a whole and not assess its healing potential based solely on its ‘active’ constituents or even their quality or qualities (guna).  Each short monograph classifies the herbs according to basic traditional Ayurvedic specifications (including their tastes, post digestive effect, energy, guna, which doshas, dhatus and srotas they mainly affect) and according to the Western medical model, their latin name, botanical family, pharmacological constituents, actions and indications.