3 Time-Tested, Multipurpose Herbal Remedies

Stock your home apothecary with time-tested herbal remedies to treat common ailments. Choose multipurpose herbs, like echinacea and garlic, which are easy to grow and will cover your most basic needs.

| November 2015


As a prairie plant, echinacea has substantial medicinal benefit and provides forage for bees and butterflies.

Photo by Scott Wood

Most of us understand the value of eating and buying local products, but what about our medicine? In Heal Local (New Society Publishers, 2015), author Dawn Combs argues that local healthcare is just as valuable to our well-being as local food. The following excerpt provides three tried-and-true, multipurpose herbs to keep stocked in your natural medicine chest.

Purchase this book from the Mother Earth Living store: Heal Local.

Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia)

Antimicrobial, alterative

Harvest notes: All parts of the plant are useful, however it is the root that has primarily been used in folkloric applications. To that end, the leaf may be harvested just as the flower is developing. The flower may be harvested just as it is unfurling, and the root may be dug either in the spring or fall. Echinacea is a perennial that is in danger of overharvesting and loss of habitat, so source it responsibly or grow it yourself.

Echinacea is very useful for conditions that involve advanced infection or degeneration of tissues. It can be used where the system in general has been overtaxed with stress and overwork. It is not, contrary to popular belief, useful to take day in and day out as a preventative. The compounds within this plant marshal our white blood cells to move efficiently toward a place where our body is losing a battle with infection.

It has been used most effectively as an internal application against toothache, fatigue, exhaustion, infection, sore throat, tonsillitis, bronchitis, flu, diphtheria, scarlet fever, strep throat, meningitis, the common cold, canker sores, gastric and duodenal ulcers, swollen lymphatics, septic conditions and gangrene. It can be used externally for boils, eczema, bee stings and snake bites.

mother earth news fair


Feb. 17-18, 2018
Belton, Texas

More than 150 workshops, great deals from more than 200 exhibitors, off-stage demos, inspirational keynotes, and great food!