I believe it's better to use mild remedies for minor health problems and save the more potent—and risky—prescription medications for more serious conditions. Here then, are my top 25 favorite healing herbs and their uses. All are safe and effective, but be sure to discuss any herbs you are taking with your doctor. Some herbal remedies (such as the antidepressant St. John's wort) can interact with medications.
Digitalis lanata Digitalis or foxglove It came into use in treating cardiac disease in late 18th century England in spite of its high toxicity.a Its use has been almost entirely replaced by the pharmaceutical derivative Digoxin, which has a shorter half-life in the body, and whose toxicity is therefore more easily managed. Digoxin is used as an antiarrhythmic agent and inotrope.
Known for its immune-boosting and disease-fighting benefits, this Chinese herb has several positive diabetes studies behind it. Researchers have found that ginseng slows carbohydrate absorption; increases cells’ ability to use glucose; and increases insulin secretion from the pancreas. A team from the University of Toronto has repeatedly demonstrated that ginseng capsules lower blood glucose 15 to 20 percent compared to placebo pills. These are the best superfoods for people with diabetes.
NCI and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) are currently sponsoring or cosponsoring various clinical trials that test CAM treatments and therapies in people. Some study the effects of complementary approaches used in addition to conventional treatments, and some compare alternative therapies with conventional treatments. Find all cancer CAM clinical trials.
^ Vogl S, Picker P, Mihaly-Bison J, Fakhrudin N, Atanasov AG, Heiss EH, Wawrosch C, Reznicek G, Dirsch VM, Saukel J, Kopp B (Oct 2013). "Ethnopharmacological in vitro studies on Austria's folk medicine--an unexplored lore in vitro anti-inflammatory activities of 71 Austrian traditional herbal drugs". Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 149 (3): 750–71. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2013.06.007. PMC 3791396. PMID 23770053.
Lavender oil has a chemically complex structure with over 150 active constituents.9 This oil is rich in esters, which are aromatic molecules with antispasmodic (suppressing spasms and pain), calming, and stimulating properties. The chief botanical constituents of lavender oil are linalyl acetate, linalool (a non-toxic terpene alcohol that has natural germicidal properties), terpinen-4-ol, and camphor. Other constituents in lavender oil that are responsible for its antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties include cis-ocimene, lavandulyl acetate, 1,8-cineole, limonene, and geraniol.
Bilberry has been used for centuries by European healers to treat such things as stomach cramps, diarrhea and diabetes. Now bilberry is most often used to prevent night blindness. It seems to be able to strengthen the capillaries and protect them from free radical damage. This plant contains flavonoids called anthocyanosides. These are a powerful antioxidant. In the past, bilberry has also been used as a remedy for varicose veins, hemorrhoids and bruising.
My mom started following an all-natural plan that included vegetable juicing, probiotic foods, immune-boosting supplements, stress reducing techniques and prayer. And after only four months, the tumors on her lungs had shrunk significantly and one year after that, she was again diagnosed as being “cancer-free” and healthy. It’s now been 10 years and my mom recently turned 60 years old — and she is in the best shape of her life, regularly water skiing, running and still going strong.
Hoxsey Therapy is a mixture of herbs which cures cancer. It began to be sold in 1920s by Mr. Harry Hoxsey. Mr. Hoxsey said that the treatment came from his great-grandfather, who observed a horse with a tumor on its leg cure itself by grazing upon certain wild plants. John Hoxsey gathered these herbs and mixed them with other folk remedies that were used for cancer. The therapy aims to restore physiological normalcy to a disturbed metabolism throughout the body, and to help detoxify the consequences of cancer. At one point, Mr. Harry Hoxsey had 17 clinics located in the United States. He was shut down by the US FDA. A clinic now exists in Mexico.
Magaziner Medical Center in Cherry Hill is run by Allan Magaziner, D.O., P.C. He mainly treats prostate, breast, lung, and bowel cancers; but he also treats Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis and heart problems. He uses oral and IV vitamins, minerals, amino acids, oral botanicals, herbs, enzymes, homeopathic remedies, chelation, and detoxification. His website is www.drmagaziner.com. 856-424-8222
If you want to dramatically improve all aspect of your health, herbs and herbal supplements can help. Herbs are a natural means of preventing and curing many types of ailments and diseases. About 25% of prescription medicine has at least one herbal component in it. These are most often potent herbal extracts. An example would be aspirin, that was first created from white willow bark.
Michael B. Schachter, M.D. of the Schachter Center in Suffren has had good responses with breast, lung, colon, lymphoma, and Hodgkin's. He also treats AIDS, neurological problems, and candida. He uses detoxification, EDTA & DMPS chelation, laetrile, DMSO, coenzyme Q10, hydrogen peroxide, shark cartilage, hydrazine sulfate, biomagnetic, and homeopathy. (845) 368-4700
Coughs can be notoriously difficult to shift, and can often linger for weeks or even months after the initial infection has died down. In some cases they might not even be caused by an infection at all! You probably don’t want to be taking expensive medication the whole time, so what natural choices do you have? Find out in my blog on the best home and herbal remedies for a cough.
^ Hamamelitannin from Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) Displays Specific Cytotoxic Activity against Colon Cancer Cells. Susana Sánchez-Tena, María L. Fernández-Cachón, Anna Carreras, M. Luisa Mateos-Martín, Noelia Costoya, Mary P. Moyer, María J. Nuñez, Josep L. Torres and Marta Cascante, J. Nat. Prod., Publication Date (Web): January 4, 2012, doi:10.1021/np200426k
This treatment involves a naturally occurring substance that is found in certain nuts and seeds. Amygdalin is found in apricot kernels, cherry pits, some apple seeds, and a special type of almond seed called “bitter almond.” (Regular almonds do not contain amygdalin.) The bitter almond was the best source for amygdalin, but the USDA ordered all bitter almond trees to be destroyed, supposedly because of a concern about cyanide poisoning. (Amygdalin contains cyanide.)
Dry air can particularly worsen a dry, irritating cough, so getting an air humidifier can be really useful! Alternatively, you can place a bowl of water on your radiator so that as it warms it releases moisture into the air. Just be careful that your home doesn’t get too humid, as this could cause damp and mould which aren't good for a cough either!
Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) is used in Native American and North American traditional folk herbal medicine. It is an immune system and lymphatic system booster. It's often combined with antimicrobial goldenseal to create an immune powerhouse. Dry mouth or lack of saliva can be treated with Echinacea. It's used in powder or tincture form. Some people may suffer from side-effects or allergic reactions. Some prescription drugs can interact with echinacea, so check with your doctor or medical professional before taking.
CAUTION: Pregnant and nursing women should not eat alfalfa seeds due to their content of stachydrine and homostachydrine (may promote menstruation or cause miscarriage). People in general should never eat alfalfa seeds. They contain high levels of the toxic amino acid canavanine. Alfalfa is high in vitamin K and may work as an anti-coagulant so it shouldn’t be taken by people taking blood thinning medication.
The next herb on our list is chamomile, this is another great herb with a wide array of uses. The Spanish name for this herb is manzanilla which simply means "little apple" it's no surprise that the Spanish people gave it this name. When the leaves and petals are bruised they give off a very distinct apple aroma. There are two main species chamomile German chamomile and Roman or English chamomile, they're all similar in there medicinal effects but the Roman or English species have a more pronounced aroma than the German variety. Both varieties are relatively easy to grow from seed, in fact if they are left to seed on there own you'll find that they have grown back the next spring.
“Over 80 years ago, Nobel Prize-winner Otto Warburg, M.D., Ph.D., proved that a 35% reduction in oxygen caused any cell to either die or turn cancerous. American experiments from 1953 to 1955 confirmed the result.”  This principle is at the center of the work that Dr. Seyfried is doing with the ketogenic diet as it is used for cancer treatment as discussed in the previous section.
Centers for Integrative and Complementary Medicine in New York is run by Dr. Dr. Fred Pescatore, who has worked along side Dr. Atkins. Dr. Pescatore treats patients with AIDS, diabetes, heart disease, hepatitis, and cancer—in addition to addressing more common concerns such as diet and nutrition—by employing a combination of both alternative and traditional medicines. 212-779-2944.