Therapeutic uses for common summertime herbs

By: Melissa Ramos, acupuncturist and nutritionist (

To give our health an added boost, we generally don’t think to look as close as our own backyard. However, there are plenty of common herbs that you may even consider a weed! Some can produce highly therapeutic at-home remedies for the whole family. Here is a breakdown of my favourites:


If you’re someone who will go to no end to get rid of these, you may want to think again. The entire dandelion is highly therapeutic – from the milky sap being excellent for warts and bee stings to the leaves and root being a liver and kidney detoxifier. Here is a recipe for Dandelion vinegar which can be used in salad dressings, or as a digestive aid when taken 10 minutes before meals. This will help to increase hydrochloric acid in the stomach to aid in digestion:

Dandelion vinegar


  • 1 cup unpasteurized apple cider vinegar (ACV)
  • 1 handful of dandelion flowers and leaves
  • Small mason jar
  • Parchment paper 


Stuff mason jar with dandelion flowers and leaves. Set aside. In a small pot, bring ACV to a boil and pour over dandelion flowers and leaves. Cover with parchment paper and screw on lid over top. This will prevent the ACV from eating the rubber ring within the lid when you shake it daily for three weeks. 

You can use this Dandelion Vinegar in the following deliciously detoxifying salad dressing:

Detoxifying salad dressing


  • 3 tbsp organic olive oil (I love Acropolis Organics)
  • 2 tbsp Dandelion vinegar
  • 1 tbsp tahini paste
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: water to thin to your desired consistency


Mix all together thoroughly and store in an airtight container. This will be good for up to a week, but you will need to add water when you use it because it does thicken up when sitting in the fridge.


When we think of basil, we often think of it as a topping for pastas and pizzas, right? Well, what if I told you that you and your little ones would find great use with it for bug bites?

That’s right – by crushing it with a mortal and pestle to make a paste or by simply rubbing basil on your bug bites, you can help quell any itching. The reason for this is because basil is rich in anti-inflammatory compounds, plus it's antitoxic and contains anti-venomous properties, making it excellent for bug bites.


Let’s face it, the summertime is all about having fun, right? From patios to cottages, sometimes we tend to overindulge just a bit! Well if that’s you, then you’ll love my creamy virgin mint mojito popsicles! Mint is a carminative herb meaning it helps with bloating and it even activates the liver by producing bile facilitating in digestion.

Creamy virgin mint mojito popsicles


  • 3 tbsp raw honey
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 ½ cups coconut milk
  • ½ cup fresh mint chopped fine
  • ½ cup sparkling water
  • Optional: 3 drops organic mint essential oil
  • Optional: rum!


Whisk honey and lime juice together and add in the remaining ingredients and pour into popsicle molds to freeze. Once frozen, run warm water on popsicle molds for two seconds and remove popsicles with ease. Enjoy after dinner as a digestive aid!


This is probably one of my most favourite herbs (I’m a parsley over cilantro-type girl). It's especially great to have on hand if you have kids. If your little ones are running in your home, with bumps, bruises or worse, a black eye, then you need to keep my parsley ice on hand! This works great as an anti-inflammatory, but because parsley is rich in vitamin K, an anticoagulant, it helps with bruising and black eyes too! Plus, my parsley ice is super simple to make:

Parsley ice


  • 1 bunch parsley, processed fine
  • 1-1 ½ cups water – depending on the size of your ice cube tray


In a mini chopper, pulse parsley until very fine. Add in water and pulse again. Pour into ice cube trays (I love my King Kong ice cube trays because they produce huge Parsley ice making them last longer!)


So, the next time you’ve got a bruise, feel bloated or just want to boost your health, look no further than your backyard.

Happy summer everyone!


For more tips from Melissa, be sure to visit her website,, and follow her on Twitter.

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