List of Safe and Useful Healing Herbs and Their Uses
For centuries many healing herbs have traditionally been used in the home to treat a variety of minor ailments and injuries. Some of those most commonly used and their effects are described below.
1. Slippery Elm – Knowledge of this herb comes to us from the Native Americans. It soothes the mucous membrane lining of the digestive tract and is useful for people convalescing from gastric complaints and in the treatment of gastric and duodenal ulcers.
2. Raspberry – Raspberry leaf tea is traditionally taken during the later stages of pregnancy and during labor to help with the birth. The fruits are also a good source of vitamin C.
3. Nettle – Tonic, diuretic and astringent, nettles are known as a blood tonic and cleanser and are a good source of iron. They can be drunk as an infusion or cooked like spinach. (Do not inhale the steam as it contains the formic acid that gives nettles their sting.) they are also thought to be good for the scalp and hair.
4. Comfrey – Known for its soothing and healing properties, comfrey is used for bruises, wounds and painful joints. It is also prescribed for gastric complaints and for the troublesome skin disorders psoriasis and eczema.
5. Feverfew – This is widely used for severe headaches, migraines and period pains. Research is being done to test its effectiveness in treating rheumatism. The leaves are made into a sandwich to make them palatable.
6. Chamomile – A favorite calming herb, chamomile tea soothes the digestion and can help to cure insomnia. Chamomile cream or lotion is useful for inflammatory skin conditions and it is a good herb for children’s complaints.
7. Rosemary – This herb is a tonic and anti-inflammatory. Rosemary infusion is good for headaches and low spirits and for colds and colic. It can be applied to the scalp for dandruff.
8. Peppermint – Refreshing and cleansing, peppermint tea is used for colic, indigestion and flatulence, nausea, and headaches linked to indigestion. It can also be helpful for period pains, and may be applied to the skin for hot and itchy skin conditions.
9. Elderflower – Elderflower tea taken at bedtime can treat feverish conditions by helping the body to sweat, and can safely be given to children with feverish colds or flu. Drunk regularly three times a day for twelve weeks before the season, it can help to prevent hay fever.
10. Cinnamon – Long used as a ready remedy for nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, cinnamon is also prescribed to treat rheumatism. It is a warming remedy for coughs, colds and fevers.
11. Calendula – Marigold, pot marigold or calendula is good for inflamed skin, sores, bruises and fungal infections of the skin, used as a wash, or in tincture or ointment form. The infusion can safely be given to children for mumps, tonsillitis, swollen glands and fevers generally.
12. Marshmallow – This herb soothes the lining of digestive, respiratory and urinary tracts and is used to treat gastritis, bronchitis and cystitis. Drinking an infusion is said to alleviate dry skin.
13. Garlic – A powerful antiseptic, garlic also improves t5he circulation and protects the heart and arteries, preventing high blood pressure. Eating garlic helps to prevent coughs and colds, and it may be helpful in treating bronchitis, asthma, hay fever and sinusitis.
14. Aloe Vera – The gel from this plant can be applied neat for burns, sunburn, bites, eczema, dermatitis and skin rashes and to treat athlete’s foot. It can be taken internally as a digestive aid.
15. Fennel – Fennel tea is made from the seeds and is good for colic and flatulence. It is taken by breast-feeding mothers to promote the flow of milk and prevent colic in babies. It is also used as eyewash for sore eyes.
16. Echinacea – This herb is widely used today to help to boost the immune system. It will also help to treat infections of the upper respiratory tract and is a well-known aid in the treatment of skin diseases.
17. Thyme – It is an expectorant which brings up phlegm and is also antiseptic. It is useful for the treatment of coughs and bronchial infections. Herbalistics will also prescribe it for infections of the urinary tract.
18. Dandelion – As a diuretic and tonic, this well-known weed is used to boost the action of the kidneys and liver. It acts as a general spring tonic. The leaves contain large amounts of vitamin A and can be eaten in salads.
19. St. John’s Wort – This sunny herb has long been used to help the healing of wounds. Taken internally it seems to help to allay feelings of anxiety and to be beneficial in dealing with symptoms of the menopause.
20. Lemon Balm – This herb, also known as bee balm or Melissa, is mild but effective in treating feverish conditions, colds and flu, as it gently encourages perspiration. It is also pleasant to taste and gently sedative so good to drink at bedtime.
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