There was a time when families used natural homemade remedies based on herbs and plants to treat every day ailments and illnesses – everything from minor colds and flu, to cuts, scrapes, indigestion and more — in a safe and inexpensive way. Modern medicine has for the most part taken us away from the earth medicines that have worked for centuries. I believe it is always good to check in with those old-fashioned natural remedies whenever possible.
Plant or herbal medicine is a helpful tool that I encourage my patients to use, whenever appropriate, as a natural alternative (or in addition to mainstream drugs) that can help with healing.
What Is Herbal Medicine?
Plant or herbal medicine, also known as herbalism or botanical medicine, is a medical system based on the use of plants or plant extracts that may be eaten or applied to the skin. Many different cultures around the world have used herbal medicine since ancient times to treat illnesses and assist bodily functions.
While plant or herbal medicine is not a licensed profession in the United States, herbal remedies in the form of extracts, tinctures, capsules, and tablets as well as herbal teas are often recommended by healthcare practitioners of many different disciplines as a practical way to address a wide variety of medical conditions.
Advantages of Herbal Medicine
Here are some of the top reasons why trying out some herbal remedies as a way towards natural healing may be the best option for you.
1. No harmful side effects. Pharmaceutical drugs often cause so many side effects that can lead to the need to take yet more mainstream drugs. When used appropriately, herbal medicine can be more effective than drugs and even help to reverse the symptoms of many ailments.
2. Herbal medicine utilizes the body’s natural healing process for treating conditions and the ingredients are often based on what the body is already regularly producing.
3. It is cost-effective. Even generic pharmaceutical drugs can cost hundreds of dollars as can a trip to the emergency room. You have most plant-based herbs available to you without a prescription and at the fraction of the cost.
4. It is known to increase the body’s ability to ward off diseases, by increasing immunity and an overall healthier state of being that can easily be achieved with long-term treatments.
Disadvantages of Herbal Medicine
As with everything, there are a few reasons why relying solely on herbal medicines is not recommended.
1. Herbal medicines are usually not effective when you are experiencing a serious ailment like a broken bone or heart attack symptoms and require an immediate fix.
2. Unlike, conventional medication which involves the constant monitoring of dosing, herbal medicines are taken without prescription which means that in some cases, you might be undergoing a trial and error process.
3. Herbal medicines usually have a longer curing period in comparison to conventional medication so extra patience is needed while undergoing any treatment plan.
4. Like some drugs, herbal medicines can cause allergic reactions in some cases, so it is important to know for sure whether or not you might have issues with certain herbs
I believe that in weighing out the advantages and disadvantages, the positives are greater and as long as you seek help from a good practitioner, taking plant or herbal medicines can make a world of difference in your healing process.
26 Common Natural Herbal Remedies
Here are some common herbs that make great natural remedies when used on a routine basis:
1. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera has long been used topically for minor burns, sunburns, skin irritation and inflammation. It is also great for relieving heartburn, lowering blood sugar and can be used as a natural laxative. 
Arnica can be used topically for sprains, sore muscles and joints but a favorite use of this plant remedy is for bruising. Arnica has been known to be one of the best choices to heal bruises faster. Yes, it works!
Calendula, also known as pot marigold, has been used for centuries as an antifungal, antiseptic, and for wound-healing. When the petals are infused in oils they can be made into a balm/ointment/salve that can be applied to rashes, like diaper rash, and other irritated skin that needs soothing.
Chamomile is one of the best herbs for treating colic, nervous stress, infections, and stomach disorders in children. And of course, a cup of chamomile tea is a great choice in the evening to ward off insomnia.
Cilantro leaves often garnish Mexican and Thai dishes and the seeds, known as coriander, are an important ingredient in many Indian recipes. Studies show it’s a powerful digestive aid and may be capable of removing heavy metals and other toxic agents from the body. 
Echinacea is known to help fight colds, flu, and sore throats. Research shows it does influence the immune system, by increasing the number of white blood cells, which fight off infections. 
Garlic is a one spice everyone should keep in their kitchen pantry. It is commonly used to reduce cholesterol levels and blood pressure, as well as for treating fungal infections and colds. It can be taken fresh, as a powder, as oil or as a juice. 
Ginger is another spice used for its medicinal benefits and added flavor to many recipes and teas. It is most often used to reduce nausea, reduce symptoms of colds and chills through sweating and to boost circulation. Ginger also has remarkable properties as a broad spectrum antibacterial, antiviral, anti-parasitic and anti-inflammatory spice. It can be taken fresh, dried, or as oil.
9. Lemon Balm
The oils, tannins, and bitters in lemon balm’s fragrant leaves and flowers have a relaxing antispasmodic effect on the stomach and nervous system. It may also help fight off viruses like herpes simplex when used topically.
Mullein is known for its ability to ward off lung issues like asthma, chest congestion, and dry, bronchial coughs. Mullein can also help your hair health by reducing dandruff and enriching your hair’s natural color.
Passionflower offers a non-sedating relaxation effect making it useful for sleep problems, GI upset related to anxiety or nervousness, general anxiety and has even been known to help relieve the symptoms of narcotic drug withdrawal.
Peppermint may relieve digestive discomforts like indigestion and vomiting when brewed as a tea. It can also soothe sore muscles when applied topically as a liquid or lotion.
Rosemary is the great reviver herb that can stimulate energy and optimism and sharpen memory and concentration by bringing more oxygen to your brain. It’s a wonderfully stimulating alternative to caffeine when you need that extra boost of energy.
Long recognized for its sweet scent, lavender also acts as a mild antidepressant that may also benefit your nervous system. Add lavender oil to your bath or diffuser to alleviate stress, tension, and insomnia.
15. Valerian Root
This root has also been used to ease insomnia and anxiety and is said to subtly increase the neurotransmitter known as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA contributes to the overall calming effect in the body.
Thyme provides many healing benefits and prevention for high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, antibacterial and premature aging. It also includes vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin C, copper, manganese, iron, and fiber. The biggest advantage is its ability to inhibit glycation and the formation of AGEs.
Marshmallow root helps soothe and moisten the mucous membranes of our respiratory system. It helps reduce the swelling in our lymph nodes and speeds up healing from a lingering cough. Marshmallow can also help to heal the mucosal lining of the digestive system and urinary tract. 
Dandelion is another favorite herb used for detoxification and enhancing liver function. It is also a mild diuretic helping with kidney disorders as well as water retention and swelling You can enjoy dandelion greens in your salads, smoothies or lightly steamed as a side dish. 
Nettles has been used as a tonic and supplement to promote hair growth and health. It also has anti-inflammatory, anti-asthmatic and anti-histamine effects. Nettles can be taken as a supplement, herbal tincture, essential oil or sipped as a tea.
20. Rose Hip
Rose hip has high antioxidants; carotenoids, flavonoids, polyphenols and catechins and is extremely high in vitamin C. It is considered good cancer preventative and protective against cardiovascular disease. It is also high in vitamin A which helps in treating skin conditions and the immune system. It makes a wonderful soothing herbal tea.
The far-reaching benefits of sage include its ability to stop bleeding of wounds, heal ulcers and sores, reduce swelling and help with sore throats and coughs. Sage is also helpful in reducing inflammation and as an antiseptic and antibacterial agent against yeast and fungal infections. One study showed how sage can also help to reduce menopausal symptoms such as night sweats.
22. Cats Claw
Cat’s Claw includes seven different alkaloids that help to stimulate the immune system. Research shows that cat’s claw works to kill viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms that cause disease, which help to inhibit healthy cells from becoming cancerous.
Ashwagandha has traditionally been used to treat the immune system and for its energy-promoting effects. It has also been shown to reduce food cravings by balancing blood sugar levels. Ashwagandha is one herb shown to help the whole body including the endocrine system, the central nervous and cardiovascular system. You can find this herb as a supplement or tea at your local health food store.
Rhodiola is an adaptogen used to increase energy levels, strengthen the nervous system and improve immunity. It helps to increase exercise capacity, thus promoting more weight loss. You can find Rhodiola in a popular supplement called Adrenotone™ which helps in rejuvenating the adrenals and support healthy cortisol levels, typical of high stress.
Astragalus supports many health conditions and is said to slow down the aging process. Studies reveal this herb encourages healthy function of the liver, lungs, kidneys and the heart. Research shows it is often used to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and manage stress. People with celiac disease should first check for any allergies to astragalus before ingesting this herb. 
Cinamon is indicated for many ailments including its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties and relieving symptoms of colds and flu. Studies show that cinnamon helps with blood sugar metabolism and diabetes. It makes an excellent sugar substitute in recipes and smoothies!
Easy Home Herbal Remedies Recipes to Try
1. Calendula Tea for Skin Irritation
Pour boiling water over dried calendula blossoms and allow to steep for at least 15 minutes. Strain off the flowers using a mesh strainer or cheesecloth. You can use the entire head or just the petals- about a tablespoon of a petal to 1 cup water or a small handful of whole, dried flower heads. This water-based calendula tea has a short shelf life- and should be used within a day or 2 and kept in the fridge. A nice way to apply is with a small spray bottle.
2. Peppermint Compress for Headaches
Prepare an infusion with 2 tablespoons fresh peppermint leaves or 1 tablespoon dried peppermint. Strain. Add a couple of ice cubes. Soak a soft cotton or flannel cloth in the liquid, wring, and apply to the forehead. Compresses are typically applied for 20 minutes and then removed for 10 to 20 minutes. The cloth can be dipped into the liquid again and reapplied for an additional 20 minutes.
3. Herbal Tea
Wanting to chill out with a soothing herbal tea to help you relax, improve digestion, lose weight or detox. Well, there are hundreds of herbal teas you can buy or brew from dried herbs to help your body heal or just savor the flavor in every sip. Click here for my healing herbal tea recipe called ‘Golden Milk’ or try my ‘Best Tea for a Cold and Flu’ here.
While using one or a couple combinations of herbal remedies can be powerful, sometimes a great supplement is necessary to get faster results. One of my favorites is GlucoSupreme™ Herbal which I recommend to my patients who are dealing with blood sugar issues. It offers unique, synergistic formula combines standardized herbs and other botanicals that are safe for obesity, Diabetes – types 1 and 2, metabolic syndrome, lipid abnormalities and PCOS.
For a powerful immune system punch, I always have Immunitone Plus™ on hand, especially during cold and flu season as well as when traveling. It contains herbs that support normal natural killer (NK) cell activity and the balance of cytokines, which are the regulatory proteins released by immune cells as part of a normal immune system response.
CONTACT ME TODAY to see how best you can begin to use some of these great herbal remedies and/or supplements as part of your arsenal of natural treatments that include dietary modification, proper exercise and stress reduction directed at healing.
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