Well, think about this. What do you think our ancestors used before ‘medicines’ were developed ? So herbs do work. In fact, many modern medicines are made with them. So here is a quick list of herbs just in case you don’t feel like popping a tablet. Make for a good bragging topic too.
A decoction of seeds with honey to relieve a cough.
Infusion to drink for migraines. Douche with it for yeast infection. Pregnant women should not have any basil.
Regulates oestrogen production in women, helping with menstrual problems such as cramps, and useful during the menopause for reducing hot flashes and menopausal depression. Also helps with rheumatoid arthritis, some types of a headache, osteoporosis, high blood pressure and tinnitus.
Sedative. Relieves hypertension. Helps the kidneys to detoxify the body.
Mildly sedative, helping with sleep problems. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and is very useful for digestive problems including gastro-intestinal irritation, ulcers, colitis and irritable bowel. It can relieve cramps either related to indigestion or menstrual cramps. It also makes the body more receptive to other remedies, working well in combination.
It may come as a surprise to many gardeners to hear that this well-known and rampant weed has some good qualities! Chickweed cream can be very effective for eczema and other dry, irritated skin, as well as minor burns, stings, and scars. It also helps relieve rheumatism.
Dissolves gallstones. Cleans the liver.
Antibacterial. Relieves stomach upsets of bacterial origin. Helps to preserve meat.
Helpful for bronchitis. For persistent coughs, use 4 drops of the essential oil in a bowl of boiling water and inhale the steam.
Clove oil is a wonderful remedy for a toothache. Cloves also help against alcoholism.
This herb contains allantoin, which aids growth and healing in cartilage, bone, and muscle. It has been used to help heal fractures and sprains for centuries. Reduces swelling. For external use only – apply as a poultice. Comfrey can also help with acne and scars – mix a teaspoonful of powdered comfrey root with water to make a paste and apply it as a face pack, leaving on for as long as possible.
Useful for any kind of cramps. In the case of menstrual cramps, start taking it a few days before menstruation is due. Also, helps with menopausal aches and pains. Can also be used to help control the bladder in cases of incontinence or bedwetting and for irritable bowel syndrome.
This Mexican herb was prized as an aphrodisiac and traditionally is mainly used for male sexual problems including impotence and premature ejaculation. It can also be helpful in stimulating the reproductive organs in women and relieving menstrual pains. Also used for depression linked to nervous exhaustion, and urinary infections.
Dandelion leaves are used in a salad in many countries. It is a great detoxifier, helping the liver, kidneys, and gallbladder to eliminate waste. For warts, rub the wart with the white juice from a dandelion leaf or stem twice a day for a few weeks.
Eases the pain of arthritis and rheumatism, and persistent back pain. Works as an anti-inflammatory, also useful for fevers. Stimulates the digestion.
The health benefits of dill include its ability to boost digestive health, as well as provide relief from insomnia, hiccups, diarrhea, dysentery, menstrual disorders, respiratory disorders, and cancer.
Boosts the immune system, with anti-viral and anti-bacterial effects. Good for flu, colds, throat infections, tonsillitis, and even ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis). Also for boils, tooth abscess and acne where body toxicity is the cause.
Soothing for the digestive system, relieving problems such as colitis, ulcers, irritable bowel, gastro-enteritis and diarrhea. Fenugreek also has a reputation as an aphrodisiac and the seeds are used for male impotence in China.
Anti-inflammatory. Take small doses as a preventive treatment for a migraine, especially menstruation-related migraines. Also effective for minor headaches, hangovers, and arthritic and rheumatic pain.
Antibiotic, especially effective for bronchitis and other chest infections. Reduces blood cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart attacks. Thins the blood, helping to prevent strokes. Antiseptic and antifungal, helpful for athlete’s foot, infectious rashes and warts. Contraindications: may irritate the digestive tract in some people; not to be taken by nursing mothers as it can cause colic in the baby.
Calms the gastro-intestinal tract, preventing travel sickness and nausea. May be useful for morning sickness in pregnancy (check with your doctor). Eases symptoms of colds, flu, bronchitis and whooping cough. Also, thins the blood to reduce stroke risk.
Aids memory and concentration by helping circulation in the brain, particularly for seniors. Is used to treat dementia. Antidepressant helps to prevent strokes and thrombus and relieves tinnitus. Taken by many multiple sclerosis sufferers.
Eases chest congestion. Relieves muscular aches.
Anti-inflammatory, widely used by asthma sufferers. Also helpful for hay fever and for colds (at the early stages). Relieves the nerves, preventing nervous diarrhea, and helps with nervous exhaustion, anxiety, depression, grief and guilt.
Lavender oil can help relieve chilblains. Add a pinch of a lavender flower to other mild herbal teas as a tonic, and to lime flower tea for a migraine.
Lemon Balm (Melissa)
Calming and cheering, lemon balm can relieve mild depression, irritability, anxiety, and panic. Can calm palpitations. Good for digestive problems caused by stress or anxiety. Externally, helps with herpes sores including cold sores.
Balances the nervous system. Not to be used long term as it can damage the liver.
For restlessness and nausea. Also, helps with insomnia and migraine.
Relieves skin problems including acne, rashes, cuts and sunburn. Essential oil can help relieve cold sores. Also helps with fungal infections including athlete’s foot, thrush, and ringworm. Can be used for liver problems, including hepatitis.
For liver disorders, including all types of hepatitis, problems resulting from alcohol abuse, or to assist and protect the liver during chemotherapy (as always, discuss with your doctor). Also useful against melancholic depression which is associated with the liver.
There are many different species of mint. Garden mint tends to be milder than peppermint in its effects. Relieves heartburn and flatulence, helps stomach aches, nausea and travel sickness. Useful for head colds and flu, sore throats, headaches and eye infections. Antibacterial. Can help to lower a high temperature by provoking sweating.
Relieves some types of heartburn. Helps with muscle sprains.
Helps with indigestion.
Reduces fever. Relieves indigestion, flatulence and bloating. Helps to regulate menstruation.
High in vitamin C, but only if eaten raw. Also, aids digestion acts as a decongestant and diuretic, helps with bad breath, and cleans the blood.
A natural, non-addictive tranquilizer for anxiety, irritability, insomnia, excitability and panic. Antispasmodic, sometimes prescribed for convulsions, useful for hypertension, menstrual cramps, and asthma.
High in calcium, useful for preventing osteoporosis. Heals wounds, relieves sore throats, canker sores and gingivitis (gum disease). For women, can control heavy menstrual bleeding and traditionally used in pregnancy to prevent nausea and miscarriage and relax the cervix in preparation for childbirth (as always, discuss with your doctor). Also good for post-natal depression.
Relieves eczema and psoriasis. Used in the treatment of some cancers.
Stimulant for the heart and nervous system. Improves blood circulation to the brain and scalp, helping with migraines, hair loss, and to improve memory, especially for examinations. Helps with convalescence after a serious illness and increases optimism.
For all throat and gum infections. Also for menopausal hot flashes. Helps with irritable bowel and diarrhea. Relieves insect bites and stings. Is said to help with failing memory in old age. A versatile herb!
Relieves depression, especially after a viral illness like the flu.
The active ingredient in willow bark was extracted in the 19th century and found to be a very effective pain reliever. It is now produced synthetically as aspirin. Willow bark has the pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties of aspirin, but does not thin the blood. Good for relieving arthritic pain.
Astringent, for external use on skin wounds, bruises, and sprains. Help rejuvenate sagging skin.
Aids blood clotting, helpful for wounds and nose bleeding. Used for some cardio-vascular conditions under medical supervision. Relieves catarrh and other symptoms of colds and flu.