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Friday, November 29, 2013

12 Surprising Uses for Herbs & Spices

Need to keep your clothes bright, your salt intake down, or your radiator sealed? Look no further than your spice rack. Yep, there are plenty of really fantastic ways to use herbs and spices to solve problems both big and small. Read on to check them out, and tell us your favorite unusual way to use herbs and spices in the comments! 

Around the House & in the Garden.
1. Clean the Floors. With just liquid soap, vinegar and herbal tea, you can make a really effective, and great-smelling, floor wash. 
2. Repel Moths. Combat hole-y sweaters with cinnamon sticks, cloves and black pepper. In a bowl, combine 3-4 cinnamon sticks broken up into pieces, 1/2 cup whole cloves, and 1/2 cup whole peppercorns. Scoop out 1 tablespoon into  small squares of fabric, tie them up and stick them in your dresser drawers and closets.
3. Repel Mosquitos Naturally. Having rosemary around not only smells nice, but it also repels mosquitos. They just can’t stand the oils in rosemary.
4. Clean Drains. Clear your drain with ingredients from your pantry! In  a bowl, combine 1/4 cup salt, 1/4 cup baking soda, and 1 teaspoon cream of tartar. Dump it, along with 1 cup water, in the drain. Let it sit for about 5 minute, and run the faucet for about 30 seconds.
5. Fix A Radiator. Believe it or not, a few tablespoons of ground black pepper, paprika or mustard powder poured into a radiator will actually help seal the hole. 

Health, Beauty &  Fashion.
6. Get Rid of Dandruff. Skip the crazy cocktails in most dandruff shampoo and make your own. There are several herbs that will help, but for particularly bad cases, one of the best methods is adding a pinch of turmeric to olive oil. Gently massage on the scalp, let it sit for 1 hour, shampoo, and rinse. You can also use rosemary or thyme. Steep either herb in boiling water, covered, for about 20 minutes. Let it come to room temperature. After you’ve shampooed and conditioned, pour the rosemary or thyme water over your scalp and let it sit. Don’t wash it out. The rosemary will help prevent the development of the oil that can lead to dandruff, and the thyme will help kill the bacteria that’s growing on your scalp.
7. Soothe an Upset Stomach. From morning sickness to motion sickness, chemotherapy to nausea, ginger is one of your best natural remedies for a whole slew of intestinal issues. A simple way to do this is to steep about 1/2 teaspoon of powdered gingerroot in 1 cup of hot water and drink hot, like tea.
8. DIY Shampoo & Conditioner. A whole slew of herbs make really great shampoos and conditioners. 
9. Cut Back on Salt. Need to curb your salt intake? Here’s an easy and painless solution: fill that void with dried herbs and spices!
10. Wash Whites. Presoak your whites in a mixture of 1 quart water and 1 teaspoon cream of tartar before doing laundry.
11. Wash Brights. On the other end of the spectrum, adding 1 teaspoon of black pepper to your brights will keep the colors bold and strong.
12. Relieve Congestion. One of the main ingredients in Vick’s Vapor Rub is thymol, an oil found in, you guessed it, thyme. Thyme and its  herb cousins, like rosemary, sage, lavender and marjoram are all great ways to relieve cold symptoms. 

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