Discover the wonderful healing properties of herbal remedies and root yourself to Mother nature
Herbalism is vast, but the principles are very straightforward. It can begin with a simple question, such as ‘how am I feeling?’ and ‘how can nature help me?’; then, before you know it, you’re on your way to discover how you can heal. Herbal remedies are made from plant parts, such as leaves, roots or flowers and they’ve been used for centuries to treat common ailments. Discovering herbs that help you feel better can not only make you feel empowered (there’s nothing quite like waking up and knowing exactly what it is your body needs that day) but also grounded to the earth beneath you – what can be more fulfilling than that? Here are some handy remedies that you can put your trust in and use to boost your health.
Digestive issues can be difficult to pinpoint and even harder to treat. However, there are some natural ways we can aid our tummies. For fast relief from an upset stomach, a variety of mint leaf could be just the ticket. Loved by cats everywhere, catnip (or catmint) works wonders for humans too, as it can be used to help treat unwanted gas, stomach aches and migraines. Another plant that offers relief for an upset stomach is Korean mint; this versatile plant is also used to help fight colds and flu. To use, grab a handful of mint leaves from your garden and pour boiling water over them to release the flavour.
As we get older, joint pain becomes a problem for many of us. For years, herbalists have sworn by the effectiveness of rosehips for arthritic conditions. Not only is it full of vitamin C, but it’s also bursting with antioxidants, which are good for reducing inflammation in the body – often the root cause of joint and arthritic pain. A simple way of consuming this herb is to make a medicinal jam out of the rosehips – expect it to have a tangy hibiscus taste though and not your usual raspberry or strawberry flavour.
We all know that a bad case of PMS is enough to ruin a whole day. To help alleviate symptoms, you can supplement with herbs, as Chinese medicine practitioner and Escapada co-founder, Emilia Herting (escapadaretreat.com), explains: “Parsley is known to regulate the menstrual cycle. Simply infuse a handful of fresh curly-leaf parsley in three cups of boiling water, add a slice of lemon, and leave it to brew for five minutes. Sweeten with honey if you like.” You can also add parsley into your smoothies, soups or blended drinks to receive the benefits of the herb. “For menopausal symptoms, opt for motherwort instead, as this herb encourages hormonal regulation when your body needs it the most.”
Natural Health readers are probably already familiar with echinacea and its many uses. “A renowned immune tonic, echinacea can be particularly helpful for fighting infections of the respiratory tract,” says Euan MacLennan, a medical herbalist (maclennanhypnotherapy.uk). “It may have a preventative action, but it can also help relieve symptoms and speed-up recovery.” However, echinacea isn’t the only herb known for its great respiratory properties: “Traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine, andrographis contains compounds that rally the immune system to fight effectively against invaders such as respiratory viruses,” says Euan.
While many of us are already fully aware that rosemary is an all-round herb, known for being good at sharpening our memory and protecting our liver, it’s particularly adept at aiding our body’s cardiovascular system. Not only can this kitchenwindowsill staple improve our blood circulation but, according to a study done in the scientific journal PLOS One, it can also assist in oxygenating the blood in our body and strengthening our heart. The best way to take rosemary? As well as being excellent on roast potatoes, you can take this herb as a tea. Just steep fresh sprigs in hot water for 5-10 minutes. Any longer and it will start to taste a little bitter.
You may head for the trusty Lemsip when you feel a sniffle coming on, but having herbs to hand can be just as beneficial. Oregano oil is one popular options, as Emilia explains: “This oil is one of the most commonly used herbal remedies to strengthen the immune system. It can be taken internally as an allnatural antimicrobial powerhouse.” If you don’t have shop-bought oregano oil in your pantry you can make it at home using fresh oregano leaves (dried will work too). “Put one cup of freshly muddled oregano leaves into a jar and pour ½ cup of oil of your choice (we like olive oil for taste) over the leaves. Place the closed jar into hot water for 10 minutes. Remove the jar from the hot water and store in a cool place. The oil will need to infuse for at least one week. When it’s ready, it will be a rich dark brown colour.”
At war with your skin? Well, herbal remedies might just be what your complexion is craving. “Skin complaints can arise from many factors such as stress, a disrupted gut microbiome and hormonal imbalances within the body,” says Holly. “Nettle and dandelion can help support liver health, which makes them great for our skin as a sluggish liver can exacerbate skin conditions such as hormonal acne, so it can be helpful to include lots of liver-supportive herbs in our diet.” Nettles are incredibly nutrient-dense and are famed for their mineral, iron, silica and vitamin A, C, E content – all vital nutrients for happy skin.
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