In this post we look at some of the very best medicinal herbs. Discover how healing with herbs can alleviate some of the most common health problems and complement modern medical treatments.
Plants have been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. In fact ancient writings have been found that show herbal medicine was being used as early as 3000 BC.
We see clear examples of herbalism being used in ancient Eastern cultures, such as TCM in China and Ayurveda in India.
There are clear examples of how the ancient Greeks, Romans and Medieval Europeans used herbal medicines. In fact many of these techniques are similar, or the same, as those still used today.
The benefit of using herbal medicines as a complementary therapy is its focus on what is actually wrong with the body rather than simply treating symptoms like many modern medical treatments do.
What Are The Best Medicinal Herbs?
- Asian Ginseng,
- Saw Palmetto,
- Evening Primrose,
- Ginkgo Biloba,
- Aloe Vera,
- Celery Seed,
Healing with herbs, or herbalism, is the use of plant material for treating ill health and disease.
For centuries many different cultures the world over used a variety of plant types to prepare herbal treatments.
These treatments and their uses were dependent upon the type of herb that was used and how it was prepared.
While the use of herbal medicines may seem, to some, a “current fad” or folklore, in reality, herbalism is accepted by the medical fraternity and recognized as an alternative or complementary medicine.
In fact many pharmaceutical medications used today originated from using natural ingredients and plants, including:
- Opioids, or opium, which comes from the Poppy plant
- Aspirin was developed from Willow Bark
- Digitalis is made from Foxglove
- Quinine that comes from the Cinchona tree
Today the use of herbal medicine has enjoyed a rejuvenation in popularity.
A recent study by the World Health Organization found that about 80% of the global population uses herbs in some way in their health care practices.
In Germany almost 70% of doctors prescribe herbs to their patients and there are more than 650 plant based medicines available.
Much of this can be explained by the general dissatisfaction with modern healthcare experienced by many people over the last few decades.
The rising cost of healthcare alongside the many side effects associated with prescription medications has prompted considerable interest in holistic and natural health care methods, including herbalism.
Healing With Herbs.
Valerian is one of the most widely used of medicinal herbs. Its Uses Include:
- Nervous asthma
- Migraines and headaches
- Stomach upset
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Muscle and joint pain
- Menstrual cramps
- Menopausal symptoms, such as, hot flashes and anxiety.
Caution: Valerian is a strong herb and can cause side effects in some people, including, insomnia, headache and excitability.
This herb contains the active ingredient, Ginsenosides. It is used for:
- Boosting immunity
- Cold prevention
- Lower blood sugar levels
- Improve concentration and learning
Caution: Ginseng sometimes causes nervousness and insomnia and long term use or ginseng use in higher doses can cause upset stomach, headaches and other symptoms.
Multiple studies have shown Saw Palmetto, a supplement made from the fruit of the Serenoa repens tree, to be useful for:
- Treating enlarged prostate,
- Improving urinary function,
- Stimulating hair growth,
- Boosting libido and fertility,
- Reducing inflammation.
If you are taking prescription medications consult with your doctor before using Saw Palmetto.
It can have side effects with
blood thinners, aspirin and NSAIDs, such as, ibuprofen and naproxen.
When healing with herbs it is the leaves of Feverfew that are used for medicinal treatment. It is claimed that the Feverfew has many uses, including:
- Migraine Headaches,
- Relief for Arthritis,
- Treating irregular menstrual cycles,
- Vomiting and Nausea,
Some people believe that chewing Feverfew leaves can help alleviate ill health, but this can be unsafe as it may cause, sores, swelling and loss of taste in the mouth. Use of Feverfew should be via supplements or within a prepared treatment.
One of the most well known of our medicinal herbs is the Evening Primrose.
It is not the Evening Primrose plant that is valued. It is the oil.
Evening Primrose Oil is produced from the seed of the evening primrose plant.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis,
- Raynaud’s Syndrome,
- Nerve Pain,
The Ginkgo Biloba leaf is primarily used for boosting mental capacity. It is believed that medication derived from the Ginkgo enhances blood flow to the brain.
In 2009 a study showed that Ginkgo Biloba may be beneficial for treating dementia and Alzheimer’s.
The study showed significant improvement in patients given an extract made from Ginkgo Biloba.
Other uses are:
- Erectile Dysfunction,
- High Blood Pressure,
- Insulin Resistance,
- Multiple Sclerosis,
- Peripheral Artery Disease,
Caution: there are possible side effects if you are taking anticoagulants, antidepressants, or are pregnant and if you have any allergic reactions to cashews, poison ivy or mangos.
Alfalfa is one of the most versatile of medicinal herbs.
It is known to be useful to treat many ailments including:
- As a gentle laxative,
- A Diuretic,
- A Digestive aid,
- For bacterial bladder infection or inflammation,
- Heart disorders,
- Respiratory disorders,
- Stomach problems,
- High blood pressure,
- Hair repair.
Alfalfa may aggravate autoimmune disorders or reduce iron absorption. If you are impacted by these issues, always discuss with a Doctor before use.
Commonly used in cooking and found in kitchens, Basil is also great for healing with herbs and is known to treat several ailments.
Basil can be used for:
- Make a herbal tea by boiling fresh basil leaves with honey and ginger to treat asthma and bronchitis.
- Basil helps to break down and clear the mucus that often accompanies asthma and bronchitis due to it being a natural expectorant.
- Basil is thought to lower cholesterol.
- Chewing basil leaves is said to reduce stress and clear mouth infections.
Over use of Basil long term may lead to low blood sugar or liver damage.
Another spice most often used in cooking can be used for the following medicinal purposes:
- To ease an upset stomach,
- To break up congestion and clear mucus in the lungs,
- Helps prevent migraine and headaches,
- To clear a stuffy nose,
- Helps relieve allergies,
- Stimulates the digestive system,
- Relieves bloat and gas,
- Potentially helps reduce the chance of heart attack and stroke,
- Stimulates the circulatory system,
- Supports weight loss by stimulating metabolism,
- Promotes heart health.
Cayenne may interact with medication. It is advised you talk to your doctor before using for medicinal purposes.
Cinnamon is an excellent spice for day to day optimal health:
- Helps to lower blood sugar,
- Lowers cholesterol,
- Treats yeast infections,
- Reduces inflammation,
- Helps to relieve pain,
- Helps aid digestion,
- Relieves acne.
Cinnamon is safe, however for those who have low blood sugar please ensure you monitor your blood sugar levels if using a lot of cinnamon.
- Applying fresh dandelion juice to wounds will promote healing and fight infection,
- Use the white sap of the dandelion stalk to remove warts and corns.
- Dandelion tea, or drinking dandelion juice, is said to be helpful for treating gallstones, kidney disorders, high blood pressure, acne, and eczema.
If you are allergic to ragweed do not use Dandelion.
Garlic is a natural antibiotic that has many healing qualities. It can be used for:
- Acne breakouts,
- Lowering and improving cholesterol,
- Soothing a cough,
- To treat bronchitis,
- Lowering blood pressure,
- Strengthening the immune system,
- Reducing symptoms of a cold,
- Treating yeast infections,
- Topical wart treatment.
Garlic should be avoided 2 weeks before surgery as it may cause prolonged bleeding.
Aloe Vera is one of the most versatile when healing with herbs. It is the gel inside the stem that is most useful.
- Heals burns, cuts and scrapes,
- Helps to heal bruises,
- Heals and cools sunburn,
- Reduces pain associated with insect stings or bites,
- Alleviates a number of rashes,
- Helps to reduce fine lines and wrinkles,
- Great as a facial moisturizer or treatment for dry skin,
- Treating minor inflammation or skin conditions,
- Soothes Psoriasis,
- Decreases pigmentation and dark spots on the skin,
- Aloe Vera juice relieves gastrointestinal disorders, such as indigestion,
- Aloe juice has laxative effects,
- Helps reduce bloat,
- Relieves Irritable Bowel Syndrome,
- Alleviates asthma symptoms,
- Relieves heartburn,
- Reduces arthritis and rheumatism pain.
- The roots and leaves of Angelica are used as an expectorant for coughs and bronchitis,
- Stimulates the secretion of phlegm,
- Increases urine production,
- Helps improve sex drive,
- Kills germs.
May make the skin more sensitive to sunlight.
When thinking about medicinal herbs we probably do not think of celery.
However it is an excellent health treatment. It is the fruit and seeds of the celery that are used. Either dried or pressed to gain the oil.
Celery seed and oil is used to treat:
- Joint pain,
- Loss of appetite,
- Aid digestion,
- Regulates bowel movements,
- For relaxation and sleep,
- Bacterial urinary tract infections,
- Intestinal gas,
- Increase sexual drive.
Chamomile is well known as a herbal treatment and is used for many health and healing purposes including:
- Relaxation and calming,
- Loss of appetite,
- Flu and cold,
- Motion sickness,
- Inflamed skin,
The leaves, flowers and roots of the Echinacea plant are used. They primarily are used to treat infection. Some specific uses are:
- Infection due to cold and flu,
- Upper respiratory infections,
- As a blood cleanser,
- To treat carbuncles and boils,
- Urinary tract infections,
- Vaginal yeast infections,
- Genital herpes,
- Gum disease,
- Throat infections,
- Chronic fatigue syndrome,
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder,
- Common skin ailments, such as boils, burns, abscesses, cuts and scrapes
- Bee stings,
Eucalyptus leaves from the Eucalypt tree are dried and pressed to make a medicinal oil.
- Eucalyptus oil is wonderful when used as a steam vapor. It is inhaled to clear the lungs, open airways and stimulate nasal passages.
- Often used in spas and steam rooms as the vapor of Eucalyptus aids health and due to its antibacterial properties,
- Used in aromatherapy to relieve tension and stress,
- It can relieve symptoms associated with bronchitis and asthma.
Mint is a wonderful medicinal herb and is known to relieve:
- Upset stomach,
- Aid digestion,
- Reduces nausea,
- Relieves cold symptoms,
- Eases flu,
- Sore throat,
- Eye infections,
- Bad breath,
- Stimulate senses,
- Improves mood,
I hope this article gives you some tips about healing with herbs and how you may use these medicinal plants to combat illness and disease. If you know of other herbs used for treatments please do contribute via the comments section below.
If you have questions or suggestions please do get in contact with me by clicking here.