Category Archives: Herbs to Know

Bilberry Medicinal Properties & Lesson

Tips to be Impeccably Groomed

Bilberry, a relative of Blueberry, has been proven to improve eye health among many other incredible health benefits. This week, our herbal group is studying bilberry. The group is learning how to grow, utilize, and make medicine from this incredible plant to heal health concerns like diabetes, night vision, eye health, cardiovascular health and more.

Bilberry is not an herb for everyone and has some serious contraindications and warnings for people on blood thinners.

If you would like to use Bilberry as medicine, here is your guide: Bilberry Herbal Mentoring Lesson.

I purchase my dried bilberries here for syrups, teas, and elixirs.



Are These 40 Herbs Dangerous? Adverse Effects Reported!

Plants are my medicine presents (1)

It is the common misbelief that just because a plant or herb is natural, that it is safe. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Each herb has contraindications and warnings associated with it. Browse this list and understand that not every herb is safe for everyone. If you want to use herbal remedies, enroll in a course that teaches you the synergy and contraindications of herbs.

We want everyone to be safe, happy, and of course healthy. This list is to educate you, not scare you. If you find that you use one of these herbs on a regular basis, ask your herbalist to help you find a plant remedy that is more suitable for your needs. If you are the DIY’er, check my list of recommended reading after the list.

  1. Aconite: Heart palpitations and arrhythmias, hypotension, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, respiratory system paralysis, death.
  2. Aloe Vera: abdominal pain, diarrhea, potentially carcinogenic, with others can potentiate cardiac glycosides and antiarrhythmic agents
  3. Areca Nut (Betel Nut): deterioration of psychosis in patients with preexisting psychiatric disorders”; known carcinogen contributing to cancer of the mouth, pharynx, esophagus and stomach when chewed.
  4. Bitter Orange: ‘Fainting, arrhythmia, heart attack, stroke, death.
  5. Broom: Uterotonic properties, nausea vomiting, and diarrhea, contraindicated for pregnancy and breast feeding
  6. Buckthorn Bark and Berry: abdominal pain, diarrhea, potentially carcinogenic, with others can potentiate cardiac glycosides and antiarrhythmic agents
  7. Cascara Sagrada Bark: “abdominal pain, diarrhea, potentially carcinogenic, with others can potentiate cardiac glycosides and antiarrhythmic agents
  8. Chaparral: Liver damage, kidney problems, Hypotension in cancer patients
  9. Coltsfoot: Liver damage, cancer
  10. Comfrey: Liver damage and cancer
  11. Country Mallow: Heart attack, heart arrhythmia, stroke, death
  12. Dan Shen: Potentiates warfarin activity, leading to excessive anticoagulation and bleeding
  13. Dong Quai: May induce uterine contractions; contraindicated when pregnant or nursing
  14. European Mistletoe: Toxic to cardio and central nervous systems, gastrointestinal bleeding
  15. Ephedra: Agitation and palpitations, “hypertension, irregular heart rate, insomnia, nervousness, tremors and seizures, paranoid psychoses, heart attacks, strokes, and death”, kidney stones
  16. Germander: Liver damage
  17. Ginger: May alter bleeding time
  18. Gingko: Bleeding
  19. American Ginseng: Hypertensive and chronotropic activities, may increase digoxin levels”, diarrhea, itching, insomnia, headaches, nervousness, rapid heartbeat, hypertension or hypotension, breast tenderness, vaginal bleeding. Very rarely Stevens–Johnson syndrome, liver damage, severe allergy has been reported. May lower blood sugar excessively in combination with diabetes medication. Contains a chemical linked to possible birth defects. May worsen hormone sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, and uterine fibroids. Insomnia.
  20. Goldenseal: Uterotonic
  21. Greater Celandine: Liver damage
  22. Guarana: Agitation and insomnia
  23. Guar Gum: Obstruction of gastrointestinal tract
  24. Gugulipid (myrrh and guggal): Headache, nausea, hiccups, diminished efficacy of other cardiovascular drugs including diltiazem and propranolol.
  25. Hawthorn: Potentiates digitalis activity, increases coronary dilation effects of theophylline, caffeine, papaverine, sodium nitrate, adenosine and epinephrine, increase barbiturate-induced sleeping times.
  26. Horse Chestnut: Liver toxicity, allergic reaction, anaphylaxis
  27. Kava: Potentates CNS sedatives, chronic use might cause a reversible dry skin condition
  28. Khat: Chronic liver dysfunction
  29. Licorice Root: Hypokalemia, hypertension, arrhythmias, edema
  30. Lobelia: Toxicity, rapid heartbeat, hypotension, coma, death
  31. Milk Thistle: Mild laxative, allergy
  32. Pennyroyal: Liver damage
  33. Peony: May slow clotting; contraindicated for people with bleeding disorders and before and after surgery. May induce uterine contractions; contraindicated when pregnant or nursing.
  34. Safrole (sassafras): Liver damage
  35. Saw Palmetto: “rare and mild gastrointestinal upset, headaches, diarrhea, gynecomastia, paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, ventricular rupture and death in one patient.
  36. Senna: “abdominal pain, diarrhea, potentially carcinogenic, with others can potentiate cardiac glycosides and antiarrhythmic agents”, liver damage.
  37. St. John’s Wort: Photosensitization, GI disturbances, “allergic reactions, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, dry mouth
  38. Valerian: “drowsiness, GI upset, headache, palpitations, insomnia”, oversedation, overstimulation
  39. Vasambu: Vomiting and nausea
  40. Yohimbe: rapid heart rate, hypertension, hypotension, heart problems, death

Plants Are My Medicine Presents-

My Recommended Reading List:

The Essential Guide to Herbal Safety
The Way of Herbs
Botanical Safety Handbook

Learn Herbs
Tea, Infusion, & Juice Recipes (my ebook on Kindle, free to unlimited subscribers)

Learn more about herbs and their actions in our Beginner’s herbal course for only $65 (Introductory Price)!


  1.  Talalay, P.; Talalay, P. (2001). “The importance of using scientific principles in the development of medicinal agents from plants”. Academic Medicine76 (3): 238–247. PMID 11242573doi:10.1097/00001888-200103000-00010.
  2.  Eisenberg, D. M. (1997). “Advising patients who seek alternative medical therapies”. Annals of Internal Medicine127 (1): 61–69. PMID 9214254doi:10.7326/0003-4819-127-1-199707010-00010.
  3. Elvin-Lewis, M. (2001). “Should we be concerned about herbal remedies”. Journal of Ethnopharmacology75 (2–3): 141–164. PMID 11297844doi:10.1016/S0378-8741(00)00394-9.
  4.  “Dangerous Supplements: Twelve Supplements You Should Avoid”Consumer Reports Magazine. September 2010.
  5.  Ernst, E. (1998). “Harmless herbs? A review of the recent literature”. The American Journal of Medicine104 (2): 170–178. PMID 9528737doi:10.1016/S0002-9343(97)00397-5.
  6.  “Betel chewing causes cancer”. SciDev.
  7.  “Natural Does Not Mean Safe”. Slate Magazine. 2012.
  8. “Aristolochic Acid: FDA Concerned About Botanical Products, Including Dietary Supplements, Containing Aristolochic Acid”. FDA. 2001.
  9. Daniele, C.; Dahamna, S.; Firuzi, O.; Sekfali, N.; Saso, L.; Mazzanti, G. (2005). “Atractylis gummifera L. Poisoning: An ethnopharmacological review”. Journal of Ethnopharmacology97(2): 175–181. PMID 15707749doi:10.1016/j.jep.2004.11.025.
  10. Saper, RB; Phillips, RS; Sehgal, A; Khouri, N; Davis, RB; Paquin, J; Thuppil, V; Kales, SN (27 August 2008). “Lead, mercury, and arsenic in US- and Indian-manufactured Ayurvedic medicines sold via the Internet”JAMA: the Journal of the American Medical Association300 (8): 915–23. PMC 2755247Freely accessiblePMID 18728265doi:10.1001/jama.300.8.915.
  11. “Broom”. WebMD.
  12. Chan, T. Y. (2001). “Interaction between warfarin and danshen (Salvia miltiorrhiza)”. The Annals of Pharmacotherapy35 (4): 501–504. PMID 11302416doi:10.1345/aph.19029.
  13. HH, Tsai (2013). “A review of potential harmful interactions between anticoagulant/antiplatelet agents and Chinese herbal medicines”PLoS ONE8 (5): e64255. Bibcode:2013PLoSO…864255TPMC 3650066Freely accessiblePMID 23671711doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0064255.
  14. Cupp, M. J. (1999). “Herbal remedies: Adverse effects and drug interactions”American Family Physician59 (5): 1239–1245. PMID 10088878.
  15. “Herbal Medicine”. University of Maryland Medical Center.
  16. “American Ginseng”. WebMD.
  17. Norton, Scott A.; Ruze, Patricia (1994-07-01). “Kava dermopathy”Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology31 (1): 89–97. PMID 8021378doi:10.1016/S0190-9622(94)70142-3.
  18.  “Peony”. WebMD. Retrieved 2011-12-31.
  19.  “Vasambu”. 1 April 2013. Archived from the original on 22 May 2016.

57 Herbs and Remedies You Can Use Today!

57 Herbs & Remedies

Agnus Castus

Helps regulate progesterone levels in women, easing menopausal symptoms plus some menstrual problems such as breast tenderness and menstrually-related migraines and acne. Do not use if taking HRT. Can be combined with Black Cohosh, Sage and Feverfew as appropriate.

Aloe Vera

Aloe gel is a wonderful skin treatment. Can be used on burns, scars, wounds, acne, sunburn, varicose veins and ulcerated skin. Internally, can ease gastritis, peptic ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome.


Arnica cream helps with bruising. Can also restore hair loss. Do not use the cream on broken skin, do not take arnica internally (except in tiny homeopathic doses), and never use undiluted arnica as it can be toxic.


Make a decoction of seeds with honey to relieve a cough.


Makes a great infusion to drink for migraines. Douche with it for yeast infection. Pregnant women should not have any basil.

Black Cohosh

Regulates oestrogen production in women, helping with menstrual problems such as cramps, and useful during the menopause for reducing hot flashes and menopausal depression. Also helps with rheumatoid arthritis, some types of headache, osteoporosis, high blood pressure and tinnitus.


Stimulates the adrenal glands, useful in dangerous or stressful situations and for anxiety, depression and grief, giving us the courage to go on. Also helps with rheumatoid arthritis and acts as a diuretic and cleanser of the kidneys.


Regulates menstruation and helps with cramps.


Relieves arthritis pain. Helps regulate blood sugar.


Sedative. Relieves hypertension. Helps the kidneys to detoxify the body.

Celery Seed

Eases arthritis pain, including osteoarthritis, and relieves gout with regular use. Helps with urinary tract infections such as cystitis. Can also ease chest problems such as asthma and bronchitis.

Chamomile Flowers

Mildly sedative, helping with sleep problems. It also has anti inflammatory properties and is very useful for digestive problems including gastro-intestinal irritation, ulcers, colitis and irritable bowel. It can relieve cramps either related to indigestion or menstrual cramps. It also makes the body more receptive to other remedies, working well in combination.


It may come as a surprise to many gardeners to hear that this well-known and rampant weed has some good qualities! Chickweed cream can be very effective for eczema and other dry, irritated skin, as well as minor burns, stings and scars. It also helps relieve rheumatism.


Dissolves gallstones. Cleans the liver.


Antibacterial. Relieves stomach upsets of bacterial origin. Helps to preserve meat.


Helpful for bronchitis. For persistent coughs, use 4 drops of the essential oil in a bowl of boiling water and inhale the steam.

57 Herbs & Remedies (1)


Clove oil is a wonderful remedy for toothache. Cloves also help against alcoholism.


This herb contains allantoin, which aids growth and healing in cartilage, bone and muscle. It has been used to help heal fractures and sprains for centuries. Reduces swelling. For external use only – apply as a poultice. Comfrey can also help with acne and scars – mix a teaspoonful of powdered comfrey root with water to make a paste and apply it as a face pack, leaving on for as long as possible.

Cramp Bark

Useful for any kind of cramps. In the case of menstrual cramps, start taking it a few days before menstruation is due. Also helps with menopausal aches and pains. Can also be used to help control the bladder in cases of incontinence or bedwetting, and for irritable bowel syndrome.


This Mexican herb was prized as an aphrodisiac and traditionally is mainly used for male sexual problems including impotence and premature ejaculation. It can also be helpful in stimulating the reproductive organs in women and relieving menstrual pains. Also used for depression linked to nervous exhaustion, and urinary infections.


Dandelion leaves are used in salad in many countries. It is a great detoxifier, helping the liver, kidneys and gallbladder to eliminate waste. For warts, rub the wart with the white juice from a dandelion leaf or stem twice a day for a few weeks.

Devil’s Claw

Eases the pain of arthritis and rheumatism, and persistent back pain. Works as an anti-inflammatory, also useful for fevers. Stimulates the digestion.


Great for insomnia and digestion.

Echinacea Root

Boosts the immune system, with anti-viral and anti-bacterial effects. Good for flu, colds, throat infections, tonsillitis, and even ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis). Also for boils, tooth abscess and acne where body toxicity is the cause.


Helps with bad breath, digestion, and constipation.


Soothing for the digestive system, relieving problems such as colitis, ulcers, irritable bowel, gastro-enteritis and diarrhea. Fenugreek also has a reputation as an aphrodisiac and the seeds are used for male impotence in China.


Anti-inflammatory. Take small doses as a preventive treatment for migraine, especially menstruation-related migraines. Also effective for minor headaches, hangovers, and arthritic and rheumatic pain.


Antibiotic, especially effective for bronchitis and other chest infections. Reduces blood cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart attacks. Thins the blood, helping to prevent strokes. Antiseptic and antifungal, helpful for athlete’s foot, infectious rashes and warts. Contraindications: may irritate the digestive tract in some people; not to be taken by nursing mothers as it can cause colic in the baby.


Calms the gastro-intestinal tract, preventing travel sickness and nausea. May be useful for morning sickness in pregnancy (check with your doctor). Eases symptoms of colds, flu, bronchitis and whooping cough. Also thins the blood to reduce stroke risk.

Gingko Leaf

Aids memory and concentration by helping circulation in the brain, particularly for seniors. Is used to treat dementia. Antidepressant, helps to prevent strokes and thrombus, and relieves tinnitus. Taken by many multiple sclerosis sufferers.

Ginseng (Korean)

Relieves stress. Although generally a stimulant (including reputed aphrodisiac qualities for men) it will not prevent sleep if the body needs it. Improves health and spirits generally, especially in old age. Do not take with caffeine or alcohol, and do not use if you have hypertension. Siberian Ginseng is a milder form, but still should not be taken in these circumstances.

Golden Seal

Helpful for any problems with mucous membranes including respiratory ailments. Eases thrush in women, and athlete’s foot. Helps with peptic ulcers, liver problems and urinary infections, and stimulates the appetite.

Hawthorn Berry

Used under medical supervision for coronary heart disease and angina. Regulates blood pressure and helps stabilize irregular heartbeat. Not to be taken without medical advice.


Eases chest congestion. Relieves muscular aches.


Anti-inflammatory, widely used by asthma sufferers. Also helpful for hay fever and for colds (at the early stages). Relieves the nerves, preventing nervous diarrhea, and helps with nervous exhaustion, anxiety, depression, grief and guilt.


Lavender oil can help relieve chilblains. Add a pinch of lavender flower to other mild herbal teas as a tonic, and to lime flower tea for migraine.

Lemon Balm (Melissa)

Calming and cheering, lemon balm can relieve mild depression, irritability, anxiety and panic. Can calm palpitations. Good for digestive problems caused by stress or anxiety. Externally, helps with herpes sores including cold sores.


Licorice Root

Balances the nervous system. Not to be used long term as it can damage the liver.

57 Herbs & Remedies

Marigold (Calendula)

Relieves skin problems including acne, rashes, cuts and sunburn. Essential oil can help relieve cold sores. Also helps with fungal infections including athlete’s foot, thrush and ringworm. Can be used for liver problems, including hepatitis.

Milk Thistle

For liver disorders, including all types of hepatitis, problems resulting from alcohol abuse, or to assist and protect the liver during chemotherapy (as always, discuss with your doctor). Also useful against melancholic depression which is associated with the liver.


There are many different species of mint. Garden mint tends to be milder than peppermint in its effects. Relieves heartburn and flatulence, helps stomach aches, nausea and travel sickness. Useful for head colds and flu, sore throats, headaches and eye infections. Antibacterial. Can help to lower a high temperature by provoking sweating.


Relieves some types of heartburn. Helps with muscle sprains.


Helps with indigestion.


Reduces fever. Relieves indigestion, flatulence and bloating. Helps to regulate menstruation.


High in vitamin C, but only if eaten raw. Also aids digestion, acts as a decongestant and diuretic, helps with bad breath, and cleans the blood.


Raspberry Leaf

High in calcium, useful for preventing osteoporosis. Heals wounds, relieves sore throats, canker sores and gingivitis (gum disease). For women, can control heavy menstrual bleeding and traditionally used in pregnancy to prevent nausea and miscarriage and relax the cervix in preparation for childbirth (as always, discuss with your doctor). Also good for post-natal depression.

Red Clover

Relieves eczema and psoriasis. Used in treatment of some cancers.


Stimulant for the heart and nervous system. Improves blood circulation to the brain and scalp, helping with migraines, hair loss, and to improve memory, especially for examinations. Helps with convalescence after a serious illness and increases optimism.


For all throat and gum infections. Also for menopausal hot flashes. Helps with irritable bowel and diarrhea. Relieves insect bites and stings. Is said to help with failing memory in old age. A versatile herb!

Slippery Elm

Good for digestive problems and disorders of the colon including constipation, colitis and hemorrhoids. Also for chest infections – colds, flu, bronchitis, pleurisy and even tuberculosis. Not to be taken in pregnancy.

St John’s Wort

Well known as an antidepressant. Also antiviral, used to treat flu, hepatitis and HIV. Can have side effects – only to be taken under medical supervision.


Helps with insomnia and depression.

Tea Tree

Tea tree oil is extracted from the leaves of a plant native to Australia. It has wonderful antiseptic powers and is also anti-fungal and rejuvenating. Helps with all surface problems of the body whether internal or external – problems of the skin including acne, mouth, sinus, bronchial passages, plus ear infections and dandruff.


Antibiotic. Helps with asthma and respiratory tract infections.


This is an incredible antioxidant and has been linked to the prevention of cancer and reducing inflammation.


Tranquilizer and sleep remedy. Helpful in panic attacks. However, can have the side effect of causing headaches in some people.


Relieves depression, especially after a viral illness like flu.

Willow Bark

The active ingredient in willow bark was extracted in the 19th century and found to be a very effective pain reliever. It is now produced synthetically as aspirin. Willow bark has the pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties of aspirin, but does not thin the blood. Good for relieving arthritic pain.

Witch Hazel

Astringent, for external use on skin wounds, bruises and sprains. Helps rejuvenate sagging skin.


Aids blood clotting, helpful for wounds and nose bleeds. Used for some cardio-vascular conditions under medical supervision. Relieves catarrh and other symptoms of colds and flu.

Learn more about herbs and their actions in our herbal correspondence course for only $65!

How to Grow and Use Dandelions as Medicine

#1Findyour signature scent

Ok…. So maybe you aren’t crazy like me and have a dandelion garden bed, but at least maybe this will help you see the benefits of this incredible plant. When taken care of, and not sprayed with herbicides, dandelions are an incredible addition to your medicinal garden.

Growing dandelions is kind of easy. They grow anywhere. Everywhere. And then they grow some more. I hope this next bit of information helps you see them as medicine and not as a nuisance.

You can grow dandelions in raised beds to make sure they stay away from the pesticides that you spray on your lawn. Intentional dandelions will give you a much more powerful punch of medicine than foraging where they’ve been sprayed in the past.

Let's dothings together! (1)

Dandelion contains compounds which increase the livers production of bile, the body’s own natural laxative! With regular use people make more regular visits to the toilet which is a nature’s way of detoxing.

Dandelion contains sugars which act as diuretics, that is they increase the kidneys production of urine. Increased urination means reduced fluid in the tissues. For most woman water retention is cyclical. Dandelion can be used to reduce cycle based bloating.

Energize the Weary
If you feel run down, tired, and lethargic all the time and for no good reason, dandelion may be the tonic for you. It stimulates the liver which results in increased energy levels. Herbalists find it gives an energy boost to those that find their get up and go has gone for no apparent reason.

Grab some Dandelion seeds here and designate a spot just for them so they can be their free and sunshiney little selves in a happy spot!

Grow an Indoor Garden!

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How to Grow and Use Garlic as Medicine

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You can grow garlic! (And it will keep bugs off your roses if you plant them nearby.)

Garlic can be planted in the spring as soon as the ground can be worked, but fall planting is recommended for most gardeners. Plant in the fall and you’ll find that your bulbs are bigger and more flavorful when you harvest the next summer. In areas that get a hard frost, plant garlic 6 to 8 weeks before that frost. In southern areas, February or March is a better time to plant. Break apart cloves from bulb a few days before planting, but keep the papery husk on each individual clove. Plant cloves about one month before the ground freezes. Do not plant cloves from the grocery store. They may be unsuited varieties for your area, and most are treated to make their shelf life longer, making them harder to grow. Instead, get cloves from a mail order seed company or a local nursery. Ensure soil is well-drained with plenty of organic matter. Select a sunny spot. Place cloves 4 inches apart and 2 inches deep, in their upright position (the wide root side facing down and pointed end facing up). In the spring, as warmer temperatures come, shoots will emerge through the ground.

Everyday is Margarita Day

Garlic is another tonic herb because it’s reach is so far that it is even a cancer preventative. It is anti bacterial, anti viral, great for inflammation, helps blood sugar, and is also anti parasitic. Using garlic medicinally can absolutely make an impact on your health.

I like to add garlic to my immune boosting apple cider vinegar tonic: Delightful Immune Boost. This is an effective way to prevent colds and flu throughout the year.

Grab some Garlic seeds here and sprinkle them among your garden beds and flower beds. They make great flower and rose companions. You can start your garlic from bulbs you purchase at your grocery store, too.

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Parsley Benefits for Health, Kidneys, and Weight Loss

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Parsley is such an underappreciated herb! It’s always used as garnish, but parsley packs a huge punch in the remedy department.

Parsley is a biennial, but is grown as an annual in areas with harsh winters. It is good to start new plants from seed each year in any case, and not depend on the second year growth for all your needs. Germination is slow, but can be hastened by soaking the seeds for 24 hours before sowing. Give your plants plenty of sun, and frequent water, don’t let them dry out.

Parsley is a great tonic for wellbeing. It is such a huge source of Vitamin C, it makes parsley a rockstar. Great for your heart, arthritis, and any kind of inflammation of any kind. Parsley tea has been said to be great for weight loss and the kidneys, acting as a diuretic.

Grab some Parsley seeds here and sprinkle them among your garden beds and flower beds. They make great flower and rose companions.

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Oregano Effective Against MRSA, E Coli, & Parasites

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Oregano should also be grown in pots or have a root barrier. Treat it exactly like mint or lemon balm.

Inhibiting the growth of Klebsiella pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus, which may cause respiratory infections. It may also fight multi-drug resistant bacteria. There is even a study that proved oregano effective against MRSA.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs), because it inhibits the growth of E. Coli, Proteus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, bacteria that may cause UTIs.

Yeast infections, including those that are resistant to the commonly used drug Diflucan.

Parasitic infections. Oregano oil has been shown to be more effective against the parasitic amoeba Giardia than the drug tinidazol.

Food-borne illness. Many food-borne pathogens, including Listeria, Salmonella, E. Coli, and Shigella dysenteria are inhibited by oregano oil. Not only may adding the oil to foods help to kill such bacteria, but using the oil if you have food poisoning may help to alleviate your symptoms.

Topically for athlete’s foot or nail fungus. Try soaking your feet in a basin of water with a few teaspoons of oil, or rubbing the diluted oil (1 drop of oil in a teaspoon of olive or coconut oil) on your nails/skin.

Inhaled to treat sinus infections or colds. Simply put a few drops of oregano oil in a pot of steaming water. Carefully inhale the steam, being careful not to get burned.

Under your tongue to help treat infections or parasites.

Grab some oregano seeds here and be sure to keep the roots contained. Oregano makes a great container garden plant.

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