There are times when it might be smarter to use an herbal remedy than a pharmaceutical. For example, sometimes an herb offers a safer alternative. Take chamomile: The flowers have been used for centuries as a gentle calmative for young and old alike. It's non-habit-forming and well tolerated, and a study sponsored by the University of Michigan found that chamomile extract had roughly the same efficacy as many prescription sleeping medications when given to adults with insomnia. Likewise, peppermint oil has been shown to be as effective as pharmaceutical drugs for relieving irritable bowel syndrome, but without the ofttimes dangerous side effects. And clinical studies have shown that ginger relieves morning sickness, sage can relieve a sore throat, and hibiscus tea gently lowers blood pressure.
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Yarrow is a great herb for the herbal first aid kit. It works good for stopping the blood flow of minor cuts its also used to heal bruises and to alleviate symptoms associated with colds, flues, and fevers. Native Americans used Yarrow calling it "life medicine" they used it to treat earaches and toothaches alike. Its said that Achilles of Greece used Yarrow to heal his soldiers during the Trojan War, in fact Yarrow's genus Achillea comes from the name Achilles. A lot of people through out the history of people have used Yarrow as sort of a standby herb and that is why I've decided to include it in our list of herbs.
To treat colds or coughs you can make a nice ginger tea by cutting about one inch of ginger root into small pieces and adding to two cups of water and simmering for fifteen minutes. Ginger can also be found in capsules like a lot of other herbs and is a great way to get your dose of ginger for the day. Extracts are also available but are generally used only to treat osteoarthritis.
Kava has been used by the people of the Pacific islands for hundreds of years as a natural anti-anxiety treatment. It has a very calming effect and puts most people in a good mood. It has also been used as a diuretic and to treat urinary problems, arthritis, asthma and upset stomach. It is very popular in Germany and often prescribed as the first line of treatment for anxiety disorders.
This flowering plant has traditionally been used as a liver tonic, useful for detoxification and improving liver function. Dandelion is known as a stimulant that is typically used for kidney and liver disorders. It is also traditionally used to reduce the side effects of prescription drugs, as well as to treat infections, gallbladder problems, water retention and swelling.15 Dandelion greens, which you can prepare simply by blanching them in boiling water for 20 seconds to help remove their bitter flavor (they can also be added to vegetable juice), contain many nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin B6, thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, iron, potassium, and manganese. They are a particularly good source of vitamin A and may also have cancer-fighting properties.
Throughout his career, Dr. Weil has recommended herbal remedies far more often than he has prescribed prescription drugs and has said that he hasn’t seen a serious adverse reaction to any of the herbal remedies he has recommended. However, because of the many unsubstantiated claims made for herbal remedies, and because the market is not well regulated, he recommends that consumers follow these guidelines:
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^ Kamin W., Maydannik V., Malek F.A., Kieser M.; Maydannik; Malek; Kieser (2010). "Efficacy and tolerability of EPs 7630 in children and adolescents with acute bronchitis: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled multicenter trial with a herbal drug preparation from Pelargonium sidoides roots". International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 48 (3): 184–191. doi:10.5414/cpp48184. PMID 20197012.