Instead of opening the medicine cabinet for relief from aches and pain, try the pantry instead! For thousands years, people have turned to herbs and their healing powers for the body. Now, these herbs are the very easy to find. To get you started, here are 11 herbal remedies that have been used around the world. You may discover the natural answer to your emotional and physical health issues with the added advantages of having fewer side effects and lower costs.
Containing salicylic acid (a forerunner of aspirin), Rosemary has long been used in the treatment of migraines and other common aches and pains. Often applied topically, rosemary can also be used to help to improve memory and relieve arthritic and rheumatic pain.
Revered as an effective medicinal herb by the ancient Greek physician Dioscorides and by the early Chinese, sage has been used as a digestive aid and as a treatment for ulcers, asthma, and sore throats. Recently, clinical trials have shown the effectiveness this herb has on improving memory and increasing cognitive skills such as perception and comprehension.
3. St. John’s Wort
As a folk remedy, St. John’s wort was often considered magical for its calming effect on “hysterical” people along with helping treat kidney trouble. Nowadays, people use it to help when they suffer from insomnia (the herb contains melatonin), depression, and anxiety. St. John’s wort is also effective at relieving bruises, burns, and open wounds.
There are over 30 different varieties of mint and each one of them can help you feel better naturally with their antiseptic, antibacterial, and digestive qualities. The Greeks, Romans, and Medieval monks all used mint to help in the healing of burns and indigestion. Still used to settle stomachs, lessen headaches, cool burns, and freshen breath. Mint can be added to food, made into a tea, or used topically.
5. Witch Hazel
A powerful herb, witch hazel earned its name from early European settlers who used its branches as “diviners” when trying to locate ground water. Native Americans used the tree’s bark, flowers, and leaves to help soothe sore muscles, colds, and skin ailments. Europeans used this plant to help deal with dysentery outbreaks. Today, witch hazel treats sunburn, wounds, itching, bleeding, and acne with its natural antiseptic properties.
Well known for centuries to help calm anxiety and promote relaxation, lavender’s soothing scent can brighten any mood. This aromatic herb is still used worldwide to soothe headaches and as an antiseptic for rashes and burns as well as for cleaning hair, skin, and linens.
Used as aspirin in the 17th century, feverfew was officially recommended to help with all types of aches and pains by ancient Greek and early European herbalists. Now it’s used to alleviate symptoms of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions, constipation, asthma, earaches, vertigo, and psoriasis. Feverfew can even be used to purify the air!
8. Lemon Balm
Considered “magic” in Medieval times, lemon balm was used to heal dog bites and insect stings along with headaches and nervousness. Continuing to be popular, this natural antiseptic and mood stabilizer can also be used in the treatment viruses, shingles, and cold sores.
Long used as an antidote to poisoning and preventing plague by the Ancient Romans, thyme is still sometimes added to meats and breads before refrigeration in order to stave off spoilage and foodborne diseases. Also now used as a detoxification agent and immune system booster, it may be helpful when guarding against cold and flu.
For centuries, the tiny white chamomile blossoms have been used to treat ailments from hay fever and muscle spasms to insomnia and ulcers. Commonly ingested as a soothing tea, it’s one of the oldest (at least 5,000 years), most widely used medicinal plants in the world. Chamomile is considered an excellent option for managing inflammation, improving immune function, lessening anxiety, and giving a restful sleep.
Ginkgo, also known as Maidenhair, has been used for thousands of years and is probably one of the oldest Chinese herbs out there. This ancient plant has shown to help improve memory, concentration, and other mental functions in older adults by boosting the absorption of oxygen into the body. In addition, some studies show using gingko extract helps to relieve headaches, vertigo, sinusitis, and even tinnitus.
Before using any of these herbal remedies, please consult your doctor or health professional first as there may be side effects or drug interactions, and always use high-quality products from a reputable source.
[About the author: Olivia Bakersfield is passionate about holistic health and living your best. You can learn more about her favorite herbal supplements by checking out Nature’s Sunshine Products. She enjoys hiking, camping, and playing board games with her friends. Image: Andrew Fogg]