Herbal Medicine Cabinet

Illustration by Natalya Zahn © 2018

Meet some medicinal herbs that can keep you healthy
all year long

Introducing the Urban Moonshine Medicine Cabinet poster

1. Chamomile

Chemicals: volatile oils
Body Systems: digestive, nervous
I am a delicate plant, but my flower's gentleness belies its power. As a warm teabag, I soothe tired eyes; as a tea or tincture, I can untangle knots in the belly. Keep me around for kids and grownups alike.


2. Usnea

Chemicals: usnic acid, polysaccharides
Body Systems: respiratory, urinary
All around the world, my beards hang off the evergreens. Eat them whole, or try an extract: they'll protect your lungs like they protect the forest. Savor my acrid flavor: it is a note to push out the season's cold. 

3. Bitters

I’m a classic digestive remedy. So many versions to choose from—all help you enjoy your favorite foods without worry. Taste bitter, feel better!

4. Astragalus

Chemicals: saponins, glucans
Body Systems: immune
My seeds rattle in their pods like dice, warning of the coming winter. Use my root, in soup or extract, as a shield for the season: it is sweet and builds strength, and nourishes the depleted and worn-down.

5. Reishi

Chemicals: triterpenes, polysaccharides
Body Systems: immune, nervous
Find me in the clearings where old trees fall—here, I take hold to turn death back into life. Hold my red mushroom dear: simmered into tea or stock, it renews vitality, calms the spirit, and supports immunity.


6. Elderberry

Chemicals: anthocyanins, volatile oils
Body Systems: immune, respiratory
I am the Elder mother, and in the winter I leave my mountain home to visit kitchens and stoke hearth fires. My berries are food for immunity; my flowers keep breath and heart open and flowing.

7. Lemon Balm

Chemicals: volatile oils
Body Systems: nervous, digestive
Beekepers know my leaves calm the swarm, and make the hive feel like home. When stress ties you up in knots, I bring gladness and relieve simple tension. Not only can my tea bring aromatic joy to winter months, but it calms the nerves and can relax the belly, too. Make an extract to capture the brightness of summer.

8. Elecampane

Chemicals: volatile oils, prebiotic starch
Body Systems: respiratory, digestive, nervous
They call me elf-dock, with thin and radiant petals. I am the warm spice of the moist valley floor, and my root helps keep your airways clear. I am bitter, too, and pungent. Grate my root for tea with lemon, or mix the extract with honey.

9. Tulsi

Chemicals: volatile oils, phenolic acids
Body Systems: nervous, immune
I am sacred, revered as the protector of home and hearth. Some say I offer clarity to the seeker, and comfort to those who feel lost. A burst of summer is what my tea can offer: try it, and feel stress melt away while you savor my warmth.

10. Echinacea

Chemicals: alkylamides, polysaccharides
Body Systems: immune, lymphatic
A tingle on your tongue comes with my extract, announcing its purifying, cooling effects. Mix it with water or tea, or try chewing my seeds, left on flower-stalks in winter.

11. Nettles

Chemicals: amines, protein, iron, calcium
Body systems: mucous membranes, urinary
Though I am prickly at first blush, I cool fire and dry up dampness. But first and foremost, my leaves are food: if you saved them from summer, rejoice! Deep green and nourishing, they grant strength and vitality. Enjoy in soups and teas.

12. Garlic

Chemicals: pungent sulfur compounds 
Body systems: cardiovascular, digestive
Find me closed, like a small fist, ready to burst open with fire and spice. My bulb is food, but medicine too! Try eating more in winter months, simmered in soups, for strength and circulation.

13. Ginger

Chemicals: pungent zingiberenes, volatile oils
Body systems: digestive, circulatory
Fragrant, spicy, and classic, my rhizome is known by all. Though I only grow in the tropics, you can find me fresh at most grocery stores: take the rhizome and grate it fresh for medicine, or use dry powder in smaller doses. I make the best tea for upset stomach, but many use me most to stave off winter's chill.

14. Cayenne

Chemicals: capsaicin, carotenoids
Body systems: digestive, circulatory
When the sky is gray, and the cold dries the air, my fruit brings warmth and moisture. I am a fiery one, so use with caution! Add my extract in tiny doses, mixed in water or with food.

15. Honey

Chemicals: varies. Polyphenols, fiber, volatiles, sugars
Body systems: skin, mucous membranes
I am the bee's treasure, and so much more than sugar. I make every tea delicious, and turn extracts into herbal syrups. Taken neat, I soothe and moisten the throat. Many people use me on their skin, too.

16. Sage

Chemicals: volatile oils, phenolics
Body systems: respiratory, skin, lactation
My leaves are dry and aromatic, and keep their silvery-green into the winter months. I dry things out, so be careful if nursing—but beyond this, they say I am the herb of long life. This may be true, but today, my tea or extract can offer you soothing, coating love for your throat.

17. Thyme

Chemicals: volatile oils (thymol)
Body Systems: respiratory, skin
Yes, I am small, creeping over stones and ledges, but my tiny leaves pack a lot of spice - pungent, hot and dry. My tea and extract have a fiery bite that rises up through the lungs to keep them strong. Mix my leaves with boiling water, then breathe the steam to support clear airways. Works in the shower, too!

18. Lemon

Chemicals: citrate, Vit. C, bioflavonoids, volatile oils
Body systems: mucous membranes, hepatic, urinary
My fruit comes in winter, brightening the southlands. I travel around the world, and you can bring me into your kitchen in the colder months for nutrition and to enliven any drink. Mix me with honey, or sage, or just warm water: a welcome burst in the colder season.


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