Friday, March 9, 2012

Herbal Medicine Part 6: The "Spaghetti" Herbs

Herbalist Robin McGee recommends growing what she dubs "The Spaghetti Herbs" as much as possible... for culinary as well as medicinal purposes... These herbs... sage, basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme have so many medicinal uses...

Garden sage (salvia officinalis) is a valuable antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral agent. Taken internally, sage will fight infection and will also diminish secretions of all kinds, including perspiration and saliva.

The herb is said to stimulate memory.

Sage tea makes an antibacterial mouthwash and astringent gargle for sore throat.

It is useful for drying up milk production during weaning (therefore should NOT be used by nursing mothers as it will dry up milk).

The leaves of the sage plant are used, harvested from the plant just prior to flowering, stripped from the stem and used fresh or dried.


Basil is as a natural anti-inflammatory. It is similar to compounds found in oregano and medical marijuana, and may be used as a substitute for the latter because it offers the same relief without the “high.” It is believed to help combat bowel inflammation and rheumatoid arthritis.

Basil contains cinnamanic acid, which has been found to enhance circulation, stabilize blood sugar, and improve breathing in those with respiratory disorders.

Basil is very high in antioxidants, especially when it is used as an extract or oil. These antioxidants can protect your body against free radical damage associated with aging and skin ailments. 

Basil has antibacterial properties and the fresh leaves can be used to disinfect surfaces. Leaves, applied to wounds, may eliminate infections. Basil leaves can be made into a tea used for quenching fevers.

Basil is used as an ingredient in cough syrups and expectorants as it relieves mucus in asthma and bronchitis. Chewing on basil leaves can relieve colds and flu symptoms.

Pediatric complaints like colds, coughs, fever, diarrhea, and vomiting have been know to respond to treatment with the juice of basil leaves. 

Chewing a few leaves twice daily can cure infections and ulcerations of the mouth.

Dry basil leaves in the sun and grind into powder for a tooth cleansing powder. 

Oregano, used medicinally, has broad activity as an antioxidant (cell-protector), antiseptic, preservative, and antifungal.

A tea or tincture of oregano may be taken for viral or bacterially mediated colds and upper respiratory infections.

The essential oils exert an antiseptic influence on lungs, bronchi, and nasal passages.

The leaves, flowers, and bracts of oregano are used without the stems... harvested in flowering stage and used fresh or dried.

The practical uses for rosemary are legion!

Rosemary is a classic digestive, nerve, and circulatory tonic. It is a good treatment for low energy, low blood pressure, and poor circulation. The herb improves memory and lifts the spirits. The tincture, tea, or even the fresh plant may be rubbed freely into areas of poor circulation.

To discourage lice infestation, the essential oil or a strong tincture can be used for dressing the hair and hairbrush. 

Rosemary, used in a steam, will break up congestion and relieve a sinus infection.

Rosemary limits the incidence of cellular damage resulting from eating saturated fats cooked at high temperatures.

Thyme is a good astringent and an active antiseptic, most useful for treating upper respiratory infection, either viral or bacterial. The herb allays cough and bronchitis... make thyme tea especially for a wet  cough.

Thyme leaves may be used as a disinfectant.

The leaves are harvested just prior to flowering, removed from the stems and used fresh or dried.

*Information gleaned from Herbal Medicine Workshop taught by Herbalist Robin McGee, and from the book "Making Plant Medicine" by Richo Cech.


  1. And to think, I've just been using them for their food properties! I grow all of these every year and love having them in the kitchen, now, I'll have uses for them in the medicine cabinet, too. Thank you!

  2. Hi, Pamela
    We had some wwoofers visit Joybilee Farm two summers ago from France. I was coming down with a cold and the gentleman went out to the garden and picked thyme, oregano, and sage and put a generous handful in the teapot and brewed me a pot of herbal tea. Sweetened with honey it was good tasting and did the trick to rid me of congestion. He said it was his grandmother's cure for colds and flu. Now I keep a jar of each in storage for cooking and for medicine.

    1. Good to know Joybilee! I have them all on hand as well! Thanks! ~~Granny

  3. I had no idea! I'm always eating a few sage leaves as I walk by and my husband makes fun of me. Maybe they're keeping me healthy!

  4. I've nominated you for The Versatile Blogger Award!

  5. Thanks for the heads up about sage, I am a nursing mother. Good info!

    PS. I nominated you for a Kreativ Blogger award. You can pick it up over at my blog :)

  6. Thanks to give me these type of information thanks one again

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