- Alternative & Natural Medicine
5 unusual herbs to remedy stress, allergies, diaper rash, arthritis, and the Winter Blues
1. Passion flower to relieve stress and anxiety
Tincture of passion flower is used to relieve stress, and anxiety. It can calm you without making you sleepy. When combined with other sedative herbs, passion flower can relieve insomnia.
The leaves, stems, and flowers are used to make tinctures and extracts which are very helpful in calming the nerves. Pregnant women should not use passion flower extract as it is a uterine stimulant. Although when it's time to deliver, it's possible the tincture could increase uterine contractions which will help the uterus.
Look for standardized whole plant extracts or capsules containing no less than 0.8% flavonoids. Use one dropper full of the tincture in a little warm water, or two capsules of extract, up to four times a day as needed. Use half that amount for children under 12.
Passion flower leaves and roots have a long history of use among Native Americans and were adapted by the colonists. The fresh or dried leaves of passion flowers are used in Central and South America for similar purposes as above.
2. Quercetin for allergies, hay fever, and hives
Quercetin is a bioflavinoid found in buckwheat and citrus fruits. It alleviates hay fever, hives, allergies (when taken regularly for at least 6 to 8 weeks), and itching. Quercetin stabilizes cells that produce histamine.
Quercetin is not recommended for pregnant women, but is ok for nursing moms. Children should only take half of the adult dose.
Look for the tablets unless you are fine with using the powdered form of this herb.
Calendula - Mexican Marigold
3. Calendula is good for diaper rash!
The petals of the beautiful and easy to grow Mexican Marigold are good for diaper rash, skin irritations, chapped lips, acne, and minor burns. A tincture, oil, lotion, or cream is made with the petals and applied to the skin where needed.
Products with at least 10% extract of Calendula officinalis are classified as an herbal drug. Wash the affected area with a dilute solution of the tincture or apply ready to use calendula cream or oil directly to the irritated areas. This product is safe for both children and adults.
4. Ginger relieves the ache of arthritis
Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory agent that relieves the pain of arthritis, and bursitis. It is also useful for mitigating motion sickness, and nausea. Ginger can be used to relieve chest congestion. It also tastes good when you cook with it!
Ginger is available as whole fresh root, crystallized ginger, honey-based ginger syrups, capsules containing powdered ginger extracts, and alcohol extracts. Buy products that contain 100% real ginger. If you take this herb medicinally, don't forget to tell your doctor. Ginger can intensify blood thinners and should not be used for a couple of weeks prior to surgery.
For treating arthritis or bursitis, use 1 or 2 g of powdered ginger a day. To treat nausea and prevent motion sickness, take 1,000 mg as a preventive and 500 mg every four hours as needed. You can eat two pieces of crystallized ginger or take ginger syrup or tea to help if you prefer. Some people like it and eat it like candy.
For a hot drink to help with a cold, brew tea with a one-inch piece of peeled and grated ginger root per two cups of water; bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for five minutes; add 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper and simmer one minute more. Remove from heat. Add two tablespoons fresh lemon juice, one or two cloves of mashed garlic and honey to taste. Let cool slightly and strain.
St. John's Wort flowers
5. St. John's Wort cures the winter blues!
The leaves and flowering tops of the St. John's Wort plant are used to cure seasonal affective disorder ("winter blues"), mild to moderate depression, nervousness, insomnia, anorexia, skin irritation, and herpes simplex blisters. Wow! How powerful is that?
From Dr. Weil's website, St. John's wort probably acts in the nervous system as an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor), but unlike other SSRIs such as Prozac and Zoloft, it affects additional neurotransmitters as well. Therefore, when taken with SSRIs or other mood-altering drugs, it may cause causing serotonin syndrome (overload). St. John's wort should not simply be added to an existing pharmaceutical regimen, especially if taking other anti-depressants. Women using birth control pills. those taking Inadivir for HIV or those taking cyclosporine should avoid St. John's wort. In addition, patients being treated with anti-arrythmics such as Digoxin (Lanoxin) or taking blood-thinning medications such as Coumadin should not use St. John's wort.
St. John's Wort is considered to be a powerful herbal drug and it causes some people to be sensitive to light, so take sun precautions when going outdoors while taking this regimen.
Always look for standardized products from a trusted name when buying this and other herbal products.
What do you think?
Are herbal remedies helpful or harmful?
© 2010 Lela