Herbs to Bring into your life
You can hardly turn on the radio or open a magazine these days without hearing a report about the wonders of this or that herbal remedy. But don’t let the media deluge fool you: for thousands of
years non-western cultures have been using herbs to treat various illnesses and conditions. Consider this list a starter course in basic herbal medicine, and consult your physician or naturopathic doctor before taking an herbal remedy.
- St.-John’s-wort – Many clinical trials show that St.-John’s-wort — also called hypericin or hypericum — is successful at treating mild depression. American consumers have been slow to appreciate the benefits of St.-John’s-wort; but in Germany, this concentrated extract of flowers and leaves is the most popular prescription drug for treating depression (far outselling Prozac, in fact).
It’s also being tested as a possible AIDS treatment, and has long been used as a wound ointment.
- Aloe – Most people are familiar with aloe’s burn-soothing qualities, but did you know that aloe gel also fights infection? Keep it on your windowsill in the kitchen; when topically applied, its gel forms a natural cooling bandage over wounds, burns, sunburn and cuts.
- Goldenseal – This herb’s effectiveness in treating sore throats, indigestion, tired eyes and microbial diarrhea is somewhat disputed. Still, anecdotal evidence points to its benefits as a digestive tonic and mild topical anesthetic.
- Chamomile – Chamomile has been called the Swiss Army knife of herbal teas; it handles everything from inflammation and skin irritation to cold symptoms, nervousness and menstrual cramps. You are probably already familiar with its pleasant aroma — thus explaining its presence in many shampoos — but you should also get to know it as a calming tonic.
- Ginseng – The term “ginseng” actually refers to three distinct species of the plant: the Asian, American and Siberian varieties. All three are traditionally used as tonics, and relieve stress, improve stamina, regulate blood pressure and enhance immunity to varying degrees. Buyer’s note: Check your purchase carefully; studies have shown that as many as 25% of all so-called ginseng products contain no ginseng at all!
- Balm – Stomach comforter, blues banisher, herpes fighter, even bug repellent: The reputed uses of balm are so varied that it’s no wonder this lemon-scented herb has been nicknamed “cure-all.”
- Peppermint – There’s a reason why restaurants slip their patrons a mint after a spicy meal. Peppermint, a hybrid of other mint species, eases intestinal gas, relieves indigestion and eases diarrhea. One of its active ingredients -menthol — also helps soothe sore muscles and cool inflammation.
- Rosemary – The oil of this pine-scented herb is a powerful antioxidant (it protects fats from being attacked by oxygen). And because oxygen damage is known to be a factor in cancer onset, it may have the potential for preventing certain cancers. Also soothes menstrual cramps and digestive problems.
- Saw Palmetto – This inscrutable palm seems to counteract the effects of androgens, which are male sex hormones that may cause prostate enlargement. Consequently, saw palmetto has been embraced by the medical community as an accompaniment to prescription drugs and surgery for prostate problems.
- Tarragon – Tarragon contains no fewer than 72 anti-cancer agents. It also has anti-viral properties that fight herpes pain and flu symptoms.
- Dong Quai (Sometimes called Female Ginsing) – It really maintains the female repoductive system, is a general lubricant and keeps muscles and other tissues supple and flexible. Also helps maintain hormone balance.
- PASSIONFLOWER – A sedative, and nervine tonic that is stronger than chammomile but is completely non-addictive and safe. It is excellent in reducing stress, healing the nervous system and it aids in digestion. Good remedy for tension headaches.
- SAGE – Aside from being a ritual purative herb for burning, and a popular culinary herb, sage has amazing anticeptic properties. At the first signs of a sore throat, a leaf or two of fresh sage, eaten alone or with honey, will many times knock the oncoming illness completely out, the minute you swallow it. Also, sage leaves chewed will rid the teeth of plaque and gingivitus. One or two leaves per day is all that is recommended, as it is VERY strong medicine.
- GARLIC – In addition to being an excellent cooking herb, garlic is excellent for a number of health reasons. It reduces cholesterol in the bloodstream and kills harmful bacteria.
Taken regularly, this makes garlic an excellent remedy for chronic sinus problems such as post-nasel drip, hayfever and sinusitis. It is also a solid preventative method to ward off colds and flu.
- ECHINACEA – Commonly called Purple Cone Flower, is a powerful remedy for infectious illnesses, and even cancer. The root of this plant, taken internally, acts to increase the T-Cell count in the bloodstream. T-Cells are a type of white blood cell, and they act to kill invaders to the human body. Thus, Echinacea is an immune-enhancer. Depending upon the severity of the illness, Echinacea can be taken in tea form as frequently as once every hour, or two, until the severity of the symptoms abates. Combined with Goldenseal, it is a powerful antibiotic for flu, and other infectious diseases. The viruses never become immune to it, either, the way they do standard drugs.
- VALERIAN – Natural Herb that quiets a busy mind and aid in focus.
- STEVIA – Natural Herb substitute for Sugar!