The dandelion is often thought of as a weed due to the fact that it can very easily over run a yard and choke out grass. Dandelions are actually a great herb, they offer plenty of nutritional benefits as well as medicinal, which is why it makes our list of herbs. One great thing about the dandelion herb is that the whole plant can be used from the flower down to the roots. The leaves make a great addition to salads and the flowers (when still yellow) can be eaten raw, cooked or made into a dandelion wine. Even the root of the dandelion can be consumed, usually it is roasted and ate or added to a nice cup of tea. Due to it's good diuretic properties dandelion is also sometimes called piss-a-bed.
Herbal medicine is also a mainstay of naturopathic physicians (NDs or NMDs) who use natural approaches to promote wellness and treat disease. Naturopaths typically cannot prescribe pharmaceuticals, and not all practitioners have attended a four-year naturopathic medical school, so prospective patients should ask about training. You can locate a practitioner via the website of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. While some MDs and DOs (osteopathic physicians) are learning about herbs and other natural remedies, it is unlikely that herbal medicine was included in their formal training.
The ability to synthesize a wide variety of chemical compounds that are used to perform important biological functions, and to defend against attack from predators such as insects, fungi and herbivorous mammals is called herbal medicine. Many of these phytochemicals have beneficial effects on long-term health when consumed by humans, and can be used to effectively treat human diseases. At least 12,000 such compounds have been isolated so far; a number estimated to be less than 10% of the total.
Even with all these remedies, your body will struggle to recover from that annoying cough without proper rest. Once the worst symptoms of a cold or flu have worn off, many people get straight back to their busy lifestyle, which is why coughs can linger for so long for many people! Take things easy for a week or two and make sure to get your 8 hours sleep every night.
Despite this, many of these therapies have continued to be promoted as effective, particularly by promoters of alternative medicine. Scientists consider this practice quackery, and some of those engaged in it have been investigated and prosecuted by public health regulators such as the US Federal Trade Commission, the Mexican Secretariat of Health and the Canadian Competition Bureau. In the United Kingdom, the Cancer Act makes the unauthorized promotion of cancer treatments a criminal offense.
For the post nasal drip I do ACV/Lemon shots 2-3 times a day. I use 1/2tsp cinnamon, 1/8-1/4tsp cayenne pepper and 1T honey in a cup. Pour in just enough very hot water to melt honey and the spices. Then add 1Tbl each lemon juice and ACV. Stir well and drink up. Im not sure how it all works together, but it dries up the sinus mucus to stop that nasty drip. It’s not immediate, so one dose won’t work before bedtime tonight, but if used for a couple days, it works for our family.
Valerian is another great herb that's used as a sedative. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) soothes anxiety and is often used as a sleep aid. Commonly doubled up with California poppy, it makes a powerful, but gentle sedative. Valerian can interact with medications and shouldn't be used without first checking with your doctor. Pregnant and lactating women shouldn't take valerian.
Ground cinnamon is very safe, the volatile oils can however cause a skin rash. Small amounts of coumarin can be found in Cassia and other cinnamons, generally only large doses of this compound will cause blood-thinning and liver problems, but it's something to be aware of. Also if you're planning on having surgery you should stop the use of cinnamon at least one week before going in as it has a blood thinning effect. You should also take care to monitor your blood sugar to avoid an unsafe drop in blood pressure.
Comfrey's use dates back centuries to at least the time of the ancient Greeks. During the Middle Ages comfrey was a widely cultivated herb found extensively in the gardens of monasteries. Throughout the 1700's and 1800's comfrey was also a popular herb grown in many gardens across Europe as well as America. Sometime during the late 1970's however research revealed that comfrey when taken internally can cause severe liver damage so it has lost popularity and internal use is even banned in many countries. Applications in the from of ointments, poultices, or creams are still considered safe though. Comfrey can still be found growing wild in central Europe, and the eastern United States as well as a few western states.
Angelica has traditionally been used for menopausal troubles, flatulence, appetite loss, digestive problems, respiratory ailments and arthritis. Like it’s Chinese counterpart Angelica sinensis (dong quai), this herb is used by many women for the reproductive system. It is believed to be a hormonal regulator and uterine tonic. Angelica tea is often used to treat PMS as well.
Black pepper is the world’s most traded spice, but most of its use is limited to the culinary world. What people don’t know is that it can make a great remedy for coughs that are accompanied by a lot of mucous or chest congestion. If you’ve accidently leaned too close to black pepper while it’s being grinded, you know it can make you cough or tickle your nose. This may not be fun on a regular basis, but it’s a plus if you need to expel all the nasty stuff that’s gunking up your lungs. The honey adds its antibacterial properties, and it makes it so the pepper isn’t too irritating. You can make black pepper “syrup” with honey, or a tea, as below. If possible, use freshly ground black pepper, as the pre-ground pepper simply seems to lose some of its punch.
^ 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.
It’s not just easy, but also tasty to add spices and herbs that lower blood sugar to your diet. Most of these can be used in everyday recipes. If you are looking for inspiration on how to start cooking with these, try out these recipes from our recipe section – Mushroom-stuffed Turkey, Stuffed Peppers, Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Pizza, Courgette Carrot & Tomato Frittata, Moussaka, Vegetable Stir Fry, and Roasted Butternut Squash
The Cherokee Indians used black cohosh as a diuretic and as a remedy for fatigue and tuberculosis. Other native Americans used this herb to treat menstrual irregularities, rheumatism and sore throat. Today, black cohosh is used mainly to reduce the severity of premenopausal and menopausal symptoms, such as excessive sweating, depression and hot flashes.
Another well know spice in the kitchen cinnamon is also known for it's medicinal properties. While not really an herb I still think it's important to list it in our list of herbs and their uses. Cinnamon actually comes from the inner bark of a tree in the laurel family. It's been used for centuries and was a hot commodity for trade in ancient times. In fact during the first century A.D. in Rome cinnamon was 15 times more expensive than silver. The Chinese were probably the first to use cinnamon as a medicinal herb and used it to treat fevers, and diarrhea. In more modern times cinnamon has been found to stabilize blood sugar levels in diabetics, as it has an insulin kind of effect.