The practice of using herbal remedies dates back several thousands of years. The present times have seen a surge in the use of herbal remedies. Although the use of herbal remedies remains controversial, they heal with minimal side effects. Herbal remedies offer relief for most common ailments and conditions. They are also taken for preventing illness or enhancing health.
Herbal remedies come as dried, chopped, powdered, liquids or capsules, are brewed as tea, applied as gel or added to bathing water. Some herbal remedies have shown considerable ability in curbing deterioration of symptoms. Children largely respond well to herbal remedies, especially for common childhood complaints such as fever, cough and digestive problems.
Remember that herbal remedies are not subject to FDA regulations. Consult the doctor before beginning to use any herb for remedy. Use herbal medicines sensibly – with an awareness of what they can do and what they can't!
Beat the flu
For the common cold and flu the best remedy is garlic. Another handy remedy would be fresh shredded ginger in a cup of good hot tea to effectively combat common cold viruses. As a natural decongestant, place a few mint leaves in a shallow bowl of boiling water. Lean over it, drape a towel over your head, and breathe the steam.
A simple cough elixir is slices of onion covered with organic honey – keep it standing overnight and take it the next day. Sipper Elm capsules should also do the trick for a bad sore throat. Another traditional remedy is few teaspoons of crushed Eucalyptus leaves per cup of boiling water for a soothing tea.
Try two teaspoons of horehound per one cup boiling water and add lemon to taste. This should be handy for bronchitis. Feverish chills can be reduced with two or three teaspoons of Elder flowers a day. Ginger tea and ginger candy can help fight fever.
Another effective Herbal Remedy to ward off common cold and cough:
- 5 pods of Garlic
- 1 inch raw Ginger
- 1/2 Freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml)Honey
- 5 Tablespoon (15 ml) boiling water
Smash the Garlic and ginger with the back of a heavy knife and mince. Place the minced garlic and ginger in a cup and add the boiling water. Set aside for a few minutes to cool. Then add the lemon juice and honey and mix well. Sip this decoction every hour until you get relief.
Soothe your skin
Equal parts of butternut, burdock and Echinacea and cleavers can be added to 5ml of tincture and applied thrice a day for acne treatment. The best remedy for acne scars is simple application of lemon juice on it. Another remedy for skin disorders is Aloe Vera – an antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral, it can be used as burn healer and natural laxative, to soothe the stomach and healthier skin. Cut a plump stem and use the gel contained over your skin for relief from dryness, sunburn or cuts. Aloe Vera contains a powerful laxative called as anthraquinone. So use Aloe vera internally with caution. Tea Tree works wonders for skin scars and acne marks. For minor burns, the leaves of aloe plant can give instant relief.
Herbal remedies for arthritis
Inflammation of joints, arthritis, is best treated with urtication – derived from the botanical name Urticadioica and which dates back to biblical period 2000 years ago. This is stinging nettle – Use gloves and swat the sore joints with the nettles. This practice is so effective that many arthritis patients ardently grow nettle plant right on their window sill.
Aloe Vera is said to provide relief to aching joints. Eucalyptus leaves contain tannins that might show results on swelling. Topical application of eucalyptus leaf products followed by heat pads are preferred by those suffering swollen joints.
Chilies or Cayenne Pepper contains Capsaicin, the active component that makes peppers 'hot'. The same chilies have been used in traditional Indian medicine to alleviate joint pains and Arthritis. Paprika Oleoresins - the edible oil extracted from the hot chilies can be used along with a bulk forming compound as poultice to reduce pain and inflammation. Use it with caution as chilies can be very painful in sensitive skin.
Herbal remedies for common ailments
- For nausea and vomiting, homemade ginger tea can do wonders.
- The Ma Huang is an excellent bronchodilator and the natural form is better tolerated than the synthetic form which can cause heart symptoms.
- Drive bad breath away by chewing parsley. Cardamom can also be very effective as it kills bacteria causing bad breath.
- For treating bruises, parsley can be applied to the bruised area. Parsley can even work on the discoloration which possibly can disappear within 24 hours.
- Garlic taken internally can cure middle ear infection. A few drops of garlic oil in the ear is also good.
- For toothache, clove could be directly applied to the painful tooth. Red pepper contains capsaicin which stimulates the release of endorphins.
- For ulcers this tasty recipe can be taken - a mix of bananas, pineapple, blueberries, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground ginger and honey.
- Constipation can be combated with flaxseed - crushed or whole, taken two or three times a day.
- For indigestion, a tincture with a dash of Angelica, anise, chamomile, coriander, fennel, ginger, rosemary and turmeric along with two dashes of mint herbs can be mixed and had with tea or mixed with juice
- For gastro esophageal reflux, Apple Cider Vinegar can be mixed in a 4 ounce glass of water. This mixture could be sipped along with a small meal.
- A tea with Agrimony leaves can control diarrhea. Apple pulp is rich in pectin and this can also be consumed. Cooked carrots help to treat diarrhea in kids. Plenty of water can be taken to prevent dehydration.
- German Chamomile is another herbal remedy for most digestive problems. It is also an effective blood cleanser, and supports liver function, pancreas and good for bile flow.
- For problems with the nervous system Melissa is a suitable herb. For depression and stress relief, lavender is the safest bet.
- Soak your tired feet in a foot bath of hot water and basil leaves.
- Sip tea made with fresh peppermint leaves to soothe stomach cramps, nausea, and flatulence.
Relief from headache
Feverfew is the best known treatment for headache. Either the leaves can be ingested directly or brewed and taken as tea. However, beware that if the leaves are boiled directly, it can break down the effectiveness. Pregnant women should not take Feverfew nor should breast feeding mothers. For sinusitis a good soup of onion, garlic, horseradish, hot pepper and ginger should do a world of good. Rub crushed basil leaves on your temples to relieve headaches.
Blood pressure control
The silent killer disease, high blood pressure, can be simply managed with this vegetable soup brewed with celery, garlic, onion, hawthorn, kudzu, broccoli, carrot, black pepper, saffron, basil, tarragon, oregano and fennel. If this concoction is consumed on a regular basis, high blood pressure could be controlled. A couple of garlic pods consumed early in the morning and washed down with a glass of warm water also work wonders on high blood pressure.
Herbal remedies for Women
Chasteberry 2 parts and St John's Wort 1 part, and Life Root 1 part can be made as a tincture and 5 ml of this taken thrice daily for menopausal problems. Black Cohosh is also recommended for woman's problems. Dandelion is useful during PMS and good for menopause as it increases ovarian hormones. Black Cohosh is hailed as a remedy for many menstrual issues; from scant bleeding and infertility to menopausal problems and osteoporosis. But it must never be used during pregnancy. Soy extracts have been to improve Vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause. Other herbs traditionally used to alleviate the symptoms of menopause include - Black Cohosh, evening Primrose, Don Quai or Chinese angelica, Valerian Root, Ginseng and Wild Yam.
Valerian root is traditionally used to treat Insomnia, Restless leg Syndrome and Irritable Bowl syndrome other than as a 'relaxing agent'.
Chinese angelica or Don Quai is probably the most popular Chinese herb which is considered as a tonic for Women to ease the menstrual pain and to enable a regular menstrual cycle. It also promotes appetite and plays a role in the protection of liver.
These herbal concoctions are sold in varying concentrations and hence they can have variable effects depending upon the dosage.
But do not delay in meeting a doctor if you notice symptoms such as lump in the breast, nipple discharge or abnormal vaginal bleeding.
Herbs for the heart
For poor circulation, memory loss and associated conditions, Gingko biloba herb is effective. For heart-related conditions, Hawthorn is popularly used. Hawthorn, Crataegus oxyacantha contains many active ingredients like Flavonoids, amines, triterpene, saponins, and oligomeric procyanidins (OPC). According to a report published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that consumption of flavonoids on a daily basis brought down the death rate from heart disease by 20%.
This Hawthorn herbal remedy also supports the treatment of angina, cardiac arrhythmia, congestive heart failure and high blood pressure. Raised cholesterol levels can be treated with Guggul, alfalfa and turmeric.
Herbal remedies as food
Ginger is very effective against many a digestive ailment. Be it motion sickness, morning sickness or nausea, add ginger to your tea to feel better.
Did you know that honey when applied to cuts and scrapes forms a natural bandage on drying? Honey contains sugar that absorbs moisture preventing bacteria from thriving, hydrogen peroxide that disinfects and nectar-based compound propolis that kills bacteria.
Before you pick up herbal medicines
Sometimes, herbal remedies might interfere with the conventional medicines that you are taking, especially for heart problems. Check out thoroughly for the possible side effects and contraindications of the herbal medicines or supplements you are choosing. Choose a reputable manufacturer. Educate yourself on the herbs that you are planning to take. Follow instructions and do not overdose. Watch out for side effects from the herbal remedy or supplement.