Guest Blog: Karrie’s DIY Kitchen Pharmacy

My very first guest blog! My friend Karrie was gracious enough to try out my little experiment, and I have many more in the works. You know, I never realized just how surrounded I am with fascinating, smart, and talented friends until I started trying to pillage their knowledge for my own personal interests.

Karrie has been independently studying herbology for, oh, probably as long as she can remember. From what I gather, it’s somewhat of a family passion, as her mom worked for many years as a gardener for the Audubon Zoo and passed that love of plants down to her daughters. Karrie now works at Whole Foods, where she hangs out in the Whole Body section every chance she gets. In her spare time, she enjoys perfecting her zombie makeup techniques, playing tabletop roleplaying games, and smoking marshmallow out of cool-looking pipes. She is one of my favorite people ever. Take it away, Karrie!

one of my favorite pictures of Karrie, only in part because I took it.


So Nikki came to me, asking to write an article about herbal remedies. You know, strange concoctions that will help boost your immune system or aid you in fighting off that cold. Well, I thought I’d make it a bit more simple than that. You do not need a large cabinet or pantry filled with just herbs to help support your health. So I decided to make this article about every day herb, the ones you find in your kitchen.

When getting into herbs as medicinals, best to start off small. Get familiar with 3-5 herbs before trying something new. Before you go and buy that random herb from that occult shop or health food store, make sure you know what you are working with. You don’t want to buy a small bag of boneset and not have anything to use it for. Besides, you’d be surprise how many foodstuffs in your kitchen can be used for medicinal purposes.


Hospitals in WWI used garlic as an antiseptic. You don’t need to go to excessive amounts of garlic to get its benefits. Just use it in your cooking. Cooking garlic will reduce the burning that garlic tends to have, not to mention reduces some of the toxicity. Garlic has properties that are antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal, which is why it is great when you are sick. You don’t have to do any special preparations for, just use it in your cooking. Another great thing about garlic–plant it next to your veggies in your garden for a natural pest control option.


Peppermint is a great decongestant. Put a few drops of peppermint oil into a bathtub and soak in the warm water. The vapors from the peppermint oil will help open up your sinuses. Use peppermint oil on your forehead to help with headaches. Peppermint tea is great for upset stomachs. It also has muscle relaxing properties, which is why it is great as a tea, not to mention helps with bad breath.

Cayenne pepper.

I could go on and on about the benefits of cayenne. It helps lowers bad cholesterol, stimulates the appetite, relieves headaches, and a slew of other properties. During summer, on those hot, hot days, eat food that has a bit of spice to it. Spicy foods act as an equalizer, because your body is warmer the outside around you feels cooler. Taken together with slippery elm and honey, it can help with colds.


Cinnamon is another great bad cholesterol reducer. It aids digestion, helps fight off colds, helps with toothaches and bad breath. Use it in place of salt to help reduce the risk of high blood presser. Great alternative to sugar as well, to help maintain your weight.


Certain cultures believe it can help prevent the flu. Ginger helps upset stomachs. Great for easing morning sickness. Helps against diarrhea. Good for sore throats as well.

The wonderful thing about the 5 herbs I listed is that they are cheap, everyday items. Add them to meals, spice up a dish…it is really easy to incorporate these herbs into your life if you are not already doing so.

For people interested in natural medicine, I recommend getting to know what you cook with first before jumping into some deeper stuff. Once you consider yourself comfortable and strong with an herb, move to another one. It is better to build a deep, intimate knowledge of a few herbs at a time then a small bit of information on a variety. Do the research. There are some fantastic books out there. Get together with others and share your knowledge!


Filed under art of hospitality, DIY

3 responses to “Guest Blog: Karrie’s DIY Kitchen Pharmacy

  1. Ria Rakis / Justice Pirate

    I knew that about cinnamon because I’m a bit obsessed with cinnamon. My husband now adds it to his tea in the morning!
    I had no idea about that with garlic. I love garlic. I love having it in everything. hehehehe. i use garlic salt instead of regular salt. is this a good thing too or no?

    • I think garlic salt might retain some of the beneficial properties of raw garlic, but as a general rule with nutrients and vitamins in foods, the fresher and raw-er, the better. I love sauteeing (sp??) a handful of garlic cloves and tossing them in spaghetti sauce, omelettes, curries, and the like. And of course, it helps keep the vampires away. =)

  2. Karrie

    Personally I’d stay away from using as much salt as possible. Garlic salt is more salt than garlic. If you do use it, put it on after the meal is cooked. That way you get a more intense flavor with less salt. Cooking with it removes some of the flavor but keeps the sodium.

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