- Alternative & Natural Medicine
ABCs of Herbal Remedies
Using herbs to cure your ailments is a natural way to feel better and is often more cost efficient than going to the doctor and getting a prescription every time you sneeze. There are many herbal teas on the market. You can also look for capsules, creams, oils, and ointments. Knowing about some basic herbs can help you find what you need to treat many common illnesses and problems. This list of herbal ABCs is a great place to start. Just remember, using herbs can be harmful in some instances. Make sure you talk to an herbalist or doctor if you are planning to use any treatment over a long period of time, if younger than 12 or older than 65, or if you are pregnant.
Great overview of some more herbs to try from a top expert.
Alfalfa- It's not just for animals! The alfalfa plant is a great supplement and body cleanser. It also provides fiber, protein, calcium, and vitamin A.
main treatments - inflammation of the bladder, bloating, indigestion, constipation, and halitosis.
tea - Steep 1 to 2 tsp. dried leaves per cup of water for 5-10 min. Drink up to 3 times a day.
Barberry- The root of this eight foot high shrub is useful for many things.
main treatments - jaundice, hepatitis, anemia, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, heart burn, swollen spleen, gallstones, and hangovers.
tea - Boil 1 oz. barberry root in 1 cup of water for 15-20 min. Add honey to sweeten.
compress- soak a clean cloth in barberry tea and apply it to affected area.
Chaste Tree- The berries of this tree help with the female reproductive system. They were used during Roman times to curb the sexual desire of women whose husbands had gone off to war and also curb the sex drive of medieval monks. The funny thing about that is today some herbalist believe this to be a natural aphrodisiac. Whoops.
main treatments - PMS, period irregularities, prevention of miscarriage, endometriosis.
tea- Pour 1 cup of boiling water onto 1 tsp ripe berries and let infuse for 1 -15 min. This shouldn't be used after the third month of pregnancy because it is also known for the premature production of milk.
Devils Claw- This herb is collected in Africa and traditionally used in teas.
main treatments- arthritis, gout, liver dysfunctions, gallbladder disorders, digestive problems, diabetes.
tea - Put 1/2 to 1 tsp. of powdered Devils Claw in water and simmer for 15 min. Strain before drinking.
Echinacea - A common herb that was used by many of the Native Americans in teas and mouthwashes. It can be used to prevent developing colds as well.
main treatments - Internally, it's used for colds, flu, respiratory illnesses, ear infections, blood poisoning, and bladder infection. Externally it is used for boil, cuts, burns, wounds, strings, hives, bites, eczema and herpes.
tea- Boil 2 tsp. dried root in 1 cup of water. Simmer for 15 min.
Fennel - This herb is more well known and is also used in cooking.
main treatments - digestive problems, gas, diarrhea, and insufficient milk when nursing.
tea - 2 tsp. ground fennel in 1 cup of boiling water for 10 min. For gas drink half an hour before eating.
Ginger - Ginger root is also used in cooking as well as herbal remedies. The Chinese use it often.
main treatments - motion sickness, morning sickness, digestive disorders, menstrual cramps, colds, flu, arthritis, high cholesterol, high blood pressure.
tea - Boil 1 oz. ginger root with one cup of water for 15 - 20 min.
Hibiscus - These beautiful tropical flowers are also very useful. They are also used in jellies and jams for a tart, cooling flavor.
main treatments - constipation, bladder infections, and mild nausea. Externally used for sunburn.
tea - Use 2 tsp. of crumbled, dried blossom per cup of boiling water. Seep for 10 min.
Juniper- This shrub can grow up to 25 feet high. The berries are what herbalist generally use the most on this plant.
main treatments - bladder infections, cystitis, edema, digestive problems, PMS, high blood pressure.
tea - Steep 1 tsp of the ground berries in 1 cup of boiling water. Do not use for more than 6 weeks at a time.
Kola- Kola is found in the seed of the tree. It contains high levels of caffeine and should be used with caution.
main treatments - depression, migraines, poor appetite, motion sickness, respiratory problems.
This isn't used in tea, but are contained in Cola soft drinks.
Lemongrass- This is a tropical plant that can be found in Thai cuisine. Mmmmm.....
main treatments - stomach ache, fever, head ache, influenza. Externally the oil in good for athletes foot and circulatory problems.
tea - 1 to 2 tsp. of dried blades can be boiled in 1 cup of water. Steep for 10 -15 min.
Mullein - This is found in a wild flower that can grow as much as 6 feet high.
main treatments - respiratory treatments such as bronchitis, cough, colds, flu, asthma, and stomach problems like cramping and diarrhea. Externally it can aid in ulcers, tumors, hemorrhoids, and ear problems.
tea - 1 to 2 tsp. of dried plant per cup of water. Boil 10 - 15- min.
compress - Make the tea using vinegar and allow it to cool. Soak cloth or bandages in the tea and apply to ulcers, tumors, or hemorrhoids.
Nutmeg - This spice is good used in baking apples and pies! Some Middle Eastern cultures use it in love potions.
main treatments - diarrhea, indigestion, loss of appetite, colic, gas, and insomnia.
Not generally used as the main ingredient of a tea.
Passion Flower- A climbing flower that is native to North America. Native Americans used it often for healing.
main treatments - insomnia, anxiety, tension, neuralgia, shingles, hiccups, cramps, hyperactivity in children, seizures of Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, asthma, whooping cough, and addictive disorders - to aid with withdrawal.
tea - 2 tsp. per cup of boiling water for 15 min.
Red Raspberry - The fruit of this plant is so good in chocolate desserts, but the leaf is what herbalists look for.
main treatments - morning sickness, threatened miscarriage, labor problems, diarrhea, mouth ulcers, bleeding gums.
tea- Use 1-2 tsp of dried leaves or berries per cup of boiling water for 10 - 15 min.
Spearmint - This has been used since ancient times, way back in the day, for a variety of problems.
main treatments - upset stomach, gas, heartburn, cramps, morning sickness, nasal, sinus, and chest congestion, colds, headache, sore mouth, and sore throat.
tea- 1 - 2 tsp. per cup of water. steep 10 min. It can also be added to bathwater for a homemade herbal bath.
Tea Tree Oil - Discovered in the land down under.
main treatments - Used externally for cuts, insect bites, acne, fungal infections, flea shampoo for pets, and other skin problems.
The oil is used on the skin only. Not good for tea, although called a tea tree. Funny.
Usnea- This herb is taken from a moss that is found mostly in fruit orchards.
main treatments - colds, influenza, sore throats, and respiratory infections. Externally used for skin ulcers and foot fungus.
tea - 2-3 tsp dried lichen or 1-2 tsp. of the powder per cup of boiling water.
Valerian - This is a root that has been used for over 1,000 years to aid in sleep.
main treatments - insomnia, anxiety, nervousness, headache, intestinal pain, menstrual cramps
tea - Steep 2 tsp. of chopped roots in boiling water, Let stand for 8-12 hours. Drink one cup before bed.
Wild Yam- This was used during the 18th and 19th century for menstrual pain and child bearing.
main treatments - Menstrual cramps, nausea due to pregnancy, morning sickness, urinary tract disorders, intestinal colic, rheumatoid arthritis.
Tea - Boil 1 oz. per cup of water for 15-20 min.
Yarrow - The Greek hero Achilles was said to crush the leaves of this plant to heal the wounds of his soldiers.
main treatments - fever, digestive disorders, menstrual cramps, anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure. Externally used for minor wounds and bleeding.
tea - 1- 2 tsp. dried leaves per cup. Steep 10-15 min.
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