Healing Herbs

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8 Healing Herbs for Anxiety, Inflammation, and More

It’s easy to underestimate the power of plants to heal your body’s toughest ailments. Often, we go straight to over-the-counter medicines to treat our headaches, inflammation, and other syndromes. Many of us have been conditioned to depend on prescription drugs all of our lives. If you aren’t yet, it’s time to familiarize yourself with nature’s medicine: healing herbs.

For countless years, people from various cultures have relied on medicinal plants from mother earth as a means to soothe and repair the mind, body, and spirit. The use of healing herbs dates back to 3000 BC. The all-natural properties formulated in healing herbs are proof that you don’t have to depend on drugs to treat specific ailments. Natural herbs have the power to calm everything from your anxiety to your toughest skin problems. In fact, a 2015 study proved that the use of herbal medicine is as high as 21% in people with anxiety disorders, and according to a 2001 study conducted by Harvard Medical School, more than half of people surveyed with panic attacks or severe depression turned to alternative therapy, including herbs, to help them.

Herbal medicine can help with a variety of health-related issues. For example, a popular herb known as Ashwagandha has a history of helping with memory deficiencies, neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s and improving energy levels.

It’s clear that science says healing herbs can treat a variety of health problems, but we also wanted to call on the experts. We tapped three herbalists to break down the benefits of healing herbs and all they can do for you. Keep reading for everything you need to know about healing herbs.

Healing Herbs Are a Preventative Approach to Health

“The beauty of herbs is that it isn’t formulated, it is given to us by the earth, nurtured by all that is natural in this world, like sun and water,” says Nikki Arizonian-Gil, a licensed naturopathic doctor. “Herbs have existed since the beginning of time and for most of our existence has been used to heal wounds, treat disease, nourish the body, and so much more. It is in its pureness that it harbors such healing power. Both with individual herbs and in formulations, you are able to use whatever part of a plant you desire, depending on what herbal property you want to utilize.

You can take a couple of herbs and make herbal formulations geared toward treating or preventing whatever condition you desire.”

“Healing herbs are botanical elements from the earth,” says Fern Olivia, an expert on integrative medicine. “They’re also known as nature’s medicine cabinet because of their ancient healing wisdom.”

Expert herbalist and Ayurvedic healer Martha Soffer of Surya Spa refers to healing herbs as Ayurvedic medicine, a herbal practice that originated in India over 3000 years ago. “On the most esoteric level, according to Ayurveda, plants carry with them a kind of intelligence that we’re only beginning to discover—a cellular and universal intelligence, which is aligned with the same cellular intelligence in our own bodies,” she says. “Aligning the right plant with the right imbalance puts our bodies back in order.

Health Benefits of Healing Herbs

“Some herbs help with liver function, skin problems, overheating, fevers, immunity, parasite removal, fatigue, and more,” says Soffer. “The combination of herbs is important, and like any prescription, it’s good to have someone with knowledge and experience assess your situation and suggest or formulate herbs uniquely for you at the unique time you need it.”

“There are herbal encyclopedias that can tell you about individual herbs and what they help with. It is mind-blowing to see how extensive these lists are and the countless ways herbs help and have helped people,” says Arizonian-Gil.

As she explains, healing herbs have properties that can prevent a myriad of issues, which might include some of the following:

Anti-inflammatory

“Some herbs decrease inflammation,” says Arizonian-Gil. “This inflammation might be found in your joints, muscles, stomach, intestines, nerves, and more. A lot of these plants work on decreasing the activity of pro-inflammatory cells so people experience less stiffness, irritation, and less pain. Some herbs with this property include turmeric, cayenne, boswellia, and licorice.”

Antibacterial

“Herbs have great antibacterial capabilities. These herbs typically destroy or prevent the growth of bacteria. Some herbs with these capabilities include fresh garlic, thyme, clove, eucalyptus, and more,” explains Arizonian-Gil.

Anti-spasmodic

According to Arizonian-Gil, herbs like peppermint, cramp bark, kava, and Valerian help reduce muscle spasms.

Carminative

“Some herbs have carminative properties, meaning they reduce and prevent gas,” explains Arizonian-Gil. “Some of the herbs used for this are fennel, ginger, chamomile, and peppermint.”

Hepatoprotective

“Herbs like dandelion, milk thistle, artichoke, and turmeric, protect liver cells from being damaged and support normal liver functions,” says Arizonian-Gil.

Healing Herbs vs. Over-the-Counter Medicine

“Over-the-counter medicine is often effective for short-term, or what we could call ‘emergency’ medicine,” says Soffer. “They provide things like instant pain relief or immediate nasal clearing. But all of these carry side effects, and they’re printed on every bottle, box, and jar. In Ayurveda, the whole plant matters—rather than a single extracted ingredient, re-synthesized. Healing herbs are food, whole food, with highly nutritious and curative effects.”

“One of the biggest benefits of using healing herbs is that its source comes from Mother Nature, so you’re taking a 100% pure natural product,” says Arizonian-Gil. “Over-the-counter medicine, while often derived from plants, becomes tainted as it undergoes processing in a lab. You may be taking an herb to treat one thing, but you get an added bonus and wind up treating more than one thing with that one herb. Herbs naturally have many vitamins and minerals that we so greatly need and treat many symptoms at once.”

“Basically, herbs are preventative, while medications are band-aids, masking the true root cause of the ailment, never truly getting to the underlying imbalance,” explains Olivia.

Expert-Recommended Healing Herbs

Ashwagandha

Arizonian-Gil takes this herb in capsule form. “This herb is an adaptogen so it helps people better deal with stress and strengthens the immune system. It also helps to decrease levels of cholesterol and anxiety, improves libido, and even helps with blood-sugar management,” she explains.

Amalaki

“This herb has a multitude of benefits, especially for women,” explains Arizonian-Gil. “It helps to detoxify the body as it is high in nutrients like B12 and folic acid. It also improves blood circulation, helps with PMS symptoms like cramping and mood swings, balances hormones, increases libido, and reduces anxiety and stress. And because of its antibacterial and antimicrobial qualities, it can be a huge help with skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. I often use this in a tincture form.”

Dong Quai

“Also known as amla, this fruit is incredibly rejuvenating,” says Soffer. “It’s super high in vitamin C and antioxidant powers. All parts of this plant nourish the physiology and promote longevity.”

Brahmi

“This herb is literally in the shape of a brain, so you can probably guess what it’s good for,” says Soffer. “Brahmi helps with memory, brain function, and nervous system repair. It’s also neutral in taste, which is not always the case with healing herbs.”

Siberian Ginseng

“This herb helps you better cope with stress, increases energy, improves mental clarity, improves blood circulation, and also helps to boost the immune system,” says Arizonian-Gil.

Dandelion

According to Arizonian-Gil, dandelion is packed with many vitamins and minerals. “It’s most highly known for its ability to cleanse the liver. Dandelion helps with maintaining proper flow of bile made by the liver. It also aids with the management of diabetes as it stimulates production of insulin, so it keeps your blood sugar in check. Dandelion is also wonderful for protecting your bones since it’s high in calcium and vitamin K. Dandelion is a great diuretic that supports the liver in efficiently removing toxins and stimulates urination.”

Peppermint

“Typically used in an oil form, peppermint is an amazing, multi functional herb,” says Arizonian-Gil. “It is great for helping with bloating and indigestion as it relaxes the spasms in the colon. Adding a drop of peppermint oil to water can also be helpful for nausea. If you apply peppermint oil to your temples and forehead, you’ll find that it’s also wonderful for alleviating headaches. If you like having healthy hair, you can add a couple of drops of peppermint oil to your shampoo as it can reduce dandruff, help with hair loss, and thicken your hair.”

Neem

According to Soffer, Neem is also a great herb for hair. “Oil made with neem helps with acne, leaves a healthy shine on your hair, and carries an antibacterial property that helps with dandruff,” she says.

How to Find Herbs and Incorporate Them Into Your Diet

“Some herbs can be cooked in dishes or used in salads,” says Argumentation. “Many herbs can be taken in tea form, which can often be just as effective as eating or taking them in a capsule form. Some herbs are better taken in liquid or powder form. Most health food stores carry herbal foods. There are also a lot of herbal recipe books out there that provide wonderful ways of getting healing herbs into your diet. There are herbal stores and herbal farms in which you can purchase herbs or you can even buy your own herbal plants and grow them at home. Just be sure to get those herbs that are non-GMO and certified organic so you can ensure the purity of your purchase. Some herbs are better solo while others are better in combination with other herbs. How you go about incorporating herbs into your diet certainly depends on what you are trying to achieve health-wise. I happen to really love herbal tea made by a company called Al-vita Tea. They’ve been around since 1922 and not only are their teas delicious, but they are certified organic and non-GMO.”

“As to choosing which herb is best for you, it’s good to have someone who can assess your current imbalances, understand the characteristics of each herb, and how to combine them,” suggests Soffer. “If you don’t have access to an Ayurvedic doctor, you can find an online dos-ha test, see what feels off-balance in you at that time, and what herbs might be recommended via that test. Herbs can be purchased in capsules, or, in the old- fashioned way, mixed in with just enough warm water to help them go down. It’s also great to follow with a little ghee and honey, to help with digestion and absorption. At Surya, we buy herbs from companies that care about the plants. We love companies like Bazaar of India, Mountain Rose, and Banyan Botanicals, who all sell great, lab-tested, organic herbs.”

20 healing herbs that should be in your kitchen

Herbs are nature’s gift to us that can be used as an alternative medicine. Here’s a list of 20 healing herbs that should always be in your kitchen.

Herbs are nature’s gift to us that can be used as an alternative medicine. Consistent use of these herbs may even cure various life-threatening diseases. Here’s a list of 20 healing herbs that should always be in your kitchen.

Readers should always seek the advice of a qualified health professional with any questions they have regarding their health or a medical condition. 

Sage

Common uses: The evergreen shrub is popularly used to cure a sore throat, digestive problems, excessive sweating and depression. It also helps women reduce hot flashes during menopause.

Be aware: Sage can be unsafe for pregnant women and nursing mothers. Diabetic patients are also advised to use it with caution as it may lower their blood sugar level.

Garlic

Common uses: Regular use of the species in the onion family has been known to modestly reduce high blood pressure, heart diseases, sinus and fungal infections. It can also prevent cancer of various types including colon, rectal and lung.

Calendula

Common uses: The plant from the daisy family has been known to reduce pain, inflammation, fever, menstrual cramps, stomach ulcers and skin rashes.

Elderberry

Common uses: Owing to its immune-boosting properties, the flowering plant is used to treat flu, cold and sinus. It’s also used as a laxative to treat constipation.

Nettle

Common uses: The flowering plant is commonly used to relieve urinary problems, joint ailments, kidney stones and seasonal allergies. It can be used as a cooked vegetable or tea.

Ginger

Common uses: The root of the spice is widely used to treat digestive problems, body pain, nausea, cough, cold and menstrual cramps.

Ginseng

Common uses: The plant is used to fight intestinal infection, fatigue, cold, flu, sleeping disorders and bleeding disorders. It can be beneficial for erectile dysfunction as well.

Horse chestnut

Common uses: The herb’s seeds and leaves are used for the treatment of eczema, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, digestive disorders, malaria and joint pain.

Echinacea

Common uses: With its antiviral and immune-enhancing properties, the flowering plant from the daisy family is popularly used to fight infection — including vaginal, respiratory, blood and gum.

Hops

Common uses: The flowers of the hop plant Humulus lupulus can be used to treat sleep disorders, restlessness, tuberculosis, leg ulcer and breast cancer.

Marshmallow

Common uses: Leaves and roots of the plant can be used to treat inflammation of the mucous membrane, sore throat, dry cough, skin ulcers and heart burn.

Cranberry

Common uses: The evergreen shrub is used to fight urinary tract infections (UTIs), cardiovascular disease, cancer and chronic prostatitis. 

Milk thistle

Common uses: The flowering herb is often used for liver disorders, kidney diseases, intestinal issues and menopausal symptoms. Some even use it to treat diabetes and different types of cancer including prostate, lung, colon and breast.

Hibiscus

Common uses: The bushy plant has been found to be helpful in treating high blood pressure, respiratory inflammation, heart and nerve diseases and stomach disorders.

Licorice

Common uses: Widely used for digestive problems, the plant can be used for cough, sore throat, liver diseases, prostate cancer, food poisoning and tuberculosis.

Lemon balm

Common uses: The herb from the mint family can reduce intestinal pain, bloating, nausea, sores, menstrual cramps and certain mental disorders such as anxiety and hysteria.

St. John’s wort

Common uses: The flowering plant is believed to be effective for depression and related problems, menstrual pain, heart palpitations and seasonal affect disorder.

Mullein

Common uses: The leaves of the flowering plant are primarily used to cure cough, sore throat, cold, pneumonia, asthma, flu and gout.

Cinnamon

Common uses: The spice is popularly used for digestive problems, infections, menopausal problems, chest pain, hernia and kidney problems.

Turmeric

Common uses: The plant from the ginger family is effective for arthritis, stomach ache, heartburn, liver disease, lung infection and Alzheimer’s disease. It is considered helpful in treating infection, bruises, cuts and injuries.

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are the author’s own and MSN does not endorse them in any way. Neither can MSN independently verify any claims made in the article. You should consult your physician before starting any weight loss or health management programmer to determine if it is right for your needs.

Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” That famous quote comes from the ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates, generally regarded as the father of Western medicine. Many healing herbs not only taste great, but also have major health benefits that can prevent and cure disease. You may not know it, but you can find many of the best natural remedies in common spices sitting right in your kitchen already.

1. GINGER:

Found in many Asian and Indian recipes, ginger naturally relieves nausea, loss of appetite, motion sickness, and pain. The root of ginger comes in many forms such as fresh, pickled, powered, oil, dried as a spice, or as a juice. Try combining ginger, honey, and lemon in a tea to ease an upset stomach. It also adds a light peppery and slightly sweet flavor to stir fries, curries, or even sweets.

2. MINT

Aside from adding a refreshing kick to any meal or beverage, mint boasts many impressive benefits such as promoting digestion and weight loss as well as providing relief from nausea, depression, fatigue, and headache. The mentha, or mint, family includes around 20 different plant species such as peppermint, spearmint, or apple mint. Prepare Morocco’s famous mint tea with green tea leaves mixed with lots of spearmint for a restorative drink or mix in mint for a healthy addition to any chopped salad. The crisp-tasting herb also compliments a fresh pitcher of lemonade.

3. MILK THISTLE

People have used this native-Mediterranean herb for over 2,000 years. In fact, Greek physicians described the healing properties of milk thistle as far back as 40 A.D. This natural remedy detoxifies the body, especially the liver, meaning it makes a great cure for hangovers. Milk thistle draws toxins from the body that can cause cancer, high cholesterol, diabetes, and skin damage. For more effective results, take a milk thistle supplement on an empty stomach at least 15 minutes before eating.

4. TURMERIC

For thousands of years, Indians have used turmeric as a spice and medicinal herb. Science now confirms the health benefits of this plant, and studies show that turmeric prevents heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s, and various degenerative conditions. It also improves the body’s ability to digest fats, reduces bloating, eases arthritis, and treats skin conditions like psoriasis, acne, and eczema. The mild ingredient adds a colorful yellow hue to foods and goes especially well with Middle Eastern and Indian recipes.

5. GARLIC

Ancient civilizations like the Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans and the Chinese have all used garlic to treat a variety of medical conditions. Garlic boosts the immune system, making it very effective in fighting a cold.  Studies show that it actually reduces the average length of a cold by 70%. Garlic has a significant impact on reducing blood pressure as well which means it prevents cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and strokes. As an added bonus, it improves cholesterol levels which lowers the risk of heart disease even more. Garlic may also prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. This versatile herb adds pungent flavor to many types of cuisines especially in Mediterranean and Asian cooking. Raw garlic goes well with dressings while, cooked, it can make a great base for sauces or soups or to add flavor to meats.

25 Healing Herbs You Can Use Every Day

Nature’s medicine

There are times when it might be smarter to use an herbal remedy than a pharmaceutical. For example, sometimes an herb offers a safer alternative. Take chamomile: The flowers have been used for centuries as a gentle calmative for young and old alike. It’s non-habit-forming and well tolerated, and a study sponsored by the University of Michigan found that chamomile extract had roughly the same efficacy as many prescription sleeping medications when given to adults with insomnia. Likewise, peppermint oil has been shown to be as effective as pharmaceutical drugs for relieving irritable bowel syndrome, but without the ofttimes dangerous side effects. And clinical studies have shown that ginger relieves morning sickness, sage can relieve a sore throat, and hibiscus tea gently lowers blood pressure.

I believe it’s better to use mild remedies for minor health problems and save the more potent—and risky—prescription medications for more serious conditions. Here then, are my top 25 favorite healing herbs and their uses. All are safe and effective, but be sure to discuss any herbs you are taking with your doctor. Some herbal remedies (such as the antidepressant St. John’s wort) can interact with medications. 

Ashwagandha

Uses: Rejuvenating tonic, anti-inflammatory, reduces anxiety, boosts immune health 

Preparation and doses: 
Tea: Simmer 1 tsp dried and sliced root in 1 cup water or milk for 10 minutes. Strain. Drink 1 or 2 times per day.
Standardized Extract (2–5% withstands): Take 500 mg 2 or 3 times per day.

Concerns: Can cause milk sedation; potential to stimulate thyroid hormones

Black Cohos

Uses: Relieves menstrual cramps and arthritic pain; commonly used to ease menopausal symptoms

Preparation and doses:
Tincture: Take 1–2 ml 3 times per day.
Standardized extract: Take 20–80 mg 2 times per day.

Concerns: Very rare case reports of liver damage (likely due to misidentified herb); purchase only from reputable supplier

Calendula

Uses: Calendula has long been used to relieve inflammation of the mouth, throat, and stomach; popular as a topical cream or ointment to relieve rashes and irritation and to help heal wounds.

Preparation and doses: 
Tea: Pour 1 cup boiling water over 2 tsp petals. Steep for 10 minutes. Strain. Use as needed as a mouthwash, gargle, or tea. 
Ointment: Apply to skin 2 or 3 times per day as needed.

Catnip

Uses: Soothes an upset stomach; reduced anxiety and tension 

Preparation and doses: 
Tea: Pour 1 cup boiling water over 4 or 5 fresh or 1 tsp dried leaves. Steep for 5 minutes. Strain and sweeten, if desired. Drink 1 or 2 times per day.

Concerns: None known

Chaste berry

Uses: Premiere herb for relieving PMS symptoms

Preparation and doses:
Capsules: Take 250–500 mg dried fruit once per day.
Tincture: Take 2–3 ml each morning.

Concerns: None known

Cranberry

Uses: Well-established treatment for reducing the risk of bladder infection; could also be beneficial for chronic prostatitis

Preparation and doses:
Juice: Drink ½-¾ cup twice per day.
Capsules: Take 300–500 mg concentrated juice extract 2 times per day.

Echinacea

Uses: Antiviral and immune-enhancing properties; popular for relieving colds and upper respiratory infections (approved in Europe for these uses)

Preparation and doses:
Tea: Simmer 1 tsp dried and sliced root in 1 cup water for 10 minutes. Strain. Drink 1-3 cups per day.
Tincture: Take 5 ml 3-6 times per day at onset of cold symptoms.

Elderberry

Uses: Elderberry flowers have been valued as a remedy for colds and fever for centuries; fruit extracts have been shown to have significant antiviral activity, especially against the flu.

Preparation and doses:
Tea: Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1–2 tsp flowers. Steep for 10 minutes. Sweeten if desired and drink hot 2-3 times per day.
Berry extracts: Use as directed.

Garlic

Uses: Potent antimicrobial; often used to combat colds, ease sinus congestion, and stave off traveler’s diarrhea. Studies show that regular use can help gently lower blood pressure.

Preparation and doses:
Eat: Eat 1–2 cloves fresh daily.
Capsules: Take 4–8 mg allicin per day; enteric-coated products may be superior if specifically treating diarrhea.

Ginger

Uses: Premiere remedy for easing nausea, vomiting, and upset stomach; fresh teas relieve cold and flu symptoms.

Preparation and doses:
Tea: Steep ¼–½ tsp dried ginger or simmer 1 tsp fresh ginger root in 1 cup hot water for 10 minutes. Strain and sweeten, if desired. Drink 1–2 cups per day.
Capsules: Take 250–500 mg 2 times per day.

Concerns: Very safe in small amounts; heartburn and stomach upset can occur with high doses. Pregnant women should not take more than 1,500 mg per day of dried ginger.

Ginseng

Uses: Helps relieve and prevent mental and physical fatigue; shown to reduce the frequency and severity of colds; possibly beneficial for erectile dysfunction

Preparation and doses:
Tea: Simmer 1 tsp dried and sliced root in 1 cup water for 10 minutes. Strain. Drink 1–2 cups per day.
Standardized extract (4–7% ginsenosides): 100–400 mg per day

Concerns: Purchase from a reputable manufacturer, as ginseng has often been adulterated in the past.

Hibiscus

Uses: Lowers blood pressure and has mild diuretic activity; traditionally used to ease sore throats and colds

Preparation and doses:
Tea: Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1–2 tsp dried flowers. Steep for 10 minutes. Strain and sweeten, if desired. Drink 2 cups per day.
Capsules: Take 1,000 mg 2 times per day.

Concerns: Talk to your health-care provider if you have high blood pressure.

Hops

Uses: Excellent sleeping aid; smaller, daytime doses used to ease tension, restlessness, and anxiety; might help reduce hot flashes during menopause

Preparation and doses:
Capsules: Take 200–300 mg 1-3 times per day.
Tincture: Take 2–4 ml before bed.

Concerns: Can cause sedation

Horse Chestnut

Uses: Seed extracts shown to be highly effective for treatment of varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency (blood pools in lower leg veins after standing or sitting); topical gels can reduce swelling and tenderness due to injury.

Preparation and doses:
Seed extract (containing 100–150 mg rescind/iciness): Take 600 mg per day in divided doses.

Concerns: Unprocessed horse chestnut seeds can be toxic; use only appropriately prepared seed extracts.

Kava

Uses: Clinical trials have shown kava to be highly effective for relieving anxiety. Also has significant muscle-relaxing effects.

Preparation and doses:
Tea: Simmer 1 tsp dried and sliced root in 1 cup water for 10 minutes. Strain. Drink 1–2 cups per day.
Extract of root: Take 100–200 mg 2 or 3 times per day. (Do not exceed 210 mg per day of kavalactones.)

Concerns: Rare cases of liver toxicity; do not use if you have liver disease, frequently drink alcohol, or are taking acetaminophen or prescription medications.

Lemon Balm

Uses: Gentle calmative; eases tension, digestive upset, and colic; topical creams used for fever blisters

Preparation and doses:
Tea: Pour 1 cup boiling water over 5 or 6 fresh or 1 tsp dried leaves. Steep for 5 minutes. Strain and sweeten, if desired. Drink several times per day.

Concerns: None; suitable for all ages

Licorice

Uses: Excellent anti-inflammatory; soothes mucous membranes; useful for sore throats and coughs; protects and heals gastrointestinal tract

Preparation and doses:
Tea: Simmer 1 tsp dried and sliced root in 1 cup water for 10 minutes. Strain. Drink 2 or 3 times per day for up to 7 days.
Capsules: Take up to 3,000 mg per day for 7 days. Do not exceed 500 mg per day if taking for longer than 7 days.

Concerns: Do not use high doses for longer than 1 week as it elevates blood pressure and causes potassium loss. (DGL, a special preparation commonly used for heartburn, is safe for prolonged use.)

Marshmallow

Uses: Root and leaf are rich in mucilage, a substance that coats the lining of the mouth and throat, as well as the tissue that lines the gastrointestinal tract. Used for sore throat, heartburn, and minor GI inflammation.

Preparation and doses:
Tea: Pour 1 cup hot water over 1 tsp dried and sliced root or 2 tsp leaf. Steep for 2 hours. Strain and drink as desired.

Concerns: Take other drugs 1 hour prior to or several hours after consuming marshmallow, as it could slow absorption of oral medications.

Milk Thistle

Uses: Protects the liver from damage caused by environmental toxins, medications, and alcohol. Recent studies suggest it protects the kidneys similarly.

Preparation and doses:
Extract (guaranteed minimum of 70% silymarin): Take 400–700 mg per day in divided doses.

Concerns: None known

Mullein

Uses: Leaves commonly used to relieve cough, sore throat, and chest congestion; steeped in oil, the flowers relieve earache.

Preparation and doses:
Tea: Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1–2 tsp leaves. Steep for 10 minutes. Strain, sweeten, and drink as desired.
Ear oil: Use as directed.

Concerns: None known

Nettle

Uses: Fresh, freeze-dried leaves relieved seasonal allergy symptoms in one human trial. Research supports use of the root for easing symptoms of enlarged prostate. Tea widely recommended for its nutritive value.

Preparation and doses:
Tea: Pour 1 cup boiling water over 2 tsp leaves. Steep for 10 minutes. Strain. Sweeten if desired. Drink 1–3 cups per day.
Freeze-dried nettle capsules: Take 300–500 mg 2 times per day.
Nettle root: Take 250–400 mg 2 or 3 times per day.

Concerns: Wear gloves when handling fresh nettles to avoid stinging and irritation (sting is lost with cooking or drying); very safe herb.

Sage

Uses: Excellent for sore throat, cough, and colds; recognized in Germany as a treatment for excessive sweating; studies show it can help reduce menopausal hot flashes and night sweats.

Preparation and doses:
Tea: Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1 tsp leaves. Steep for 10 minutes. Strain. Drink, or use as a sore throat gargle.
Capsules: Take 500 mg dried leaf 2 times per day.

Concerns: Do not use therapeutic doses during pregnancy; do not use sage essential oil internally.

Slippery Elm

Uses: FDA-approved as a safe, nonprescription remedy for minor throat irritation; also very useful for relieving cough and occasional heartburn.

Preparation and doses:
Lozenges: Take as directed. 
Tea: Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1–2 tsp powdered bark. Steep for 5 minutes. Drink 2 or 3 times per day.

Concerns: Take other drugs 1 hour before or several hours after consuming, as it could slow absorption of oral medications.

St. John’s Wort

Uses: More than 40 studies have confirmed its effectiveness for relieving mild to moderate depression; may also relieve PMS symptoms and menopausal hot flashes, especially when combined with black coho sh.

Preparation and doses:
Standardized extract (standardized to 0.3% hyperlink and/or 3–5% hyperinflation): Take 300–600 mg 3 times per day.

Concerns: Talk to your physician or pharmacist before using if you are taking prescription medications; the chance for herb-drug interaction is high.

Thyme

Uses: Highly regarded for relieving coughs, colds, and congestion; rich in volatile oils that have significant antimicrobial and antispasmodic activity

Preparation and doses:
Tea: Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1 Tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dried leaves. Steep for 10 minutes. Strain and sweeten, if desired. Drink ⅓ cup 3 times per day.

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