Traditional Chinese Medicine is undoubtedly what comes to mind when most people think of healing herbs, but for thousands of years herbs have been an important part of healing in many cultures. Although there are varying principals behind how these ancient cultures prescribed herbal remedies, these are the same herbs that Herbalists use to effectively treat their patients today. Listed below are some commonly used herbs and their medicinal uses. I have purposely omitted doses and instructions on how to make the oils and poultices mentioned, because as with any medicine, you should consult a healthcare professional before administering them.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium )
* When the delicate flowers of the Yarrow plant are steamed, chemicals are released that effectively relieve allergy mucus buildup and hay fever
* Fresh Yarrow leaves can be used as a poultice for cuts and scrapes
* Essential Oils are extracted from the Yarrow flowers and are used as an anti-inflammatory or as a chest rub for colds or flu
* Dried Yarrow is used as a digestive tonic, as a diuretic, to release phlegm and to encourage the flow of bile. It is also used to treat menstrual disorders.
Lady`s Mantle (Alchemilla Vulgaris )
The leaves of the Lady`s Mantle plant are used both fresh and dried and most commonly used for a variety of gynecological problems.
* Infused as a tea, Lady`s Mantle is used for a gastroenteritis and to calm menstrual cramping, and can also be used as a douche to treat vaginal itching and discharge
* Infused Lady`s Mantle is also used as a wash for eczema or sores, or as a gargle for mouth ulcers, laryngitis or sore throat
Garlic (Allium sativum )
Garlic cloves are most commonly used to treat infection, particularly chest and digestive disorders. Even modern medical practitioners acknowledge that Garlic reduces the risk of heart attack, lowers high blood pressure and is a very effective antibiotic.
* A fresh garlic clove is highly effective when rubbed on acne
* When eaten daily, garlic helps to lower blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol and fight infection
Aloe (Aloe vera )
Originally from Africa, Aloe vera was used as an antidote for poison arrow wounds. Today the gel of the Aloe plant is used for nearly any skin condition you can think of.
* The gel from a fresh leaf can be used for sunburn, burns, cuts, sensitive skin, rash, and eczema
* Taken as a tonic, Aloe is used for liver disorders, anemia and poor digestion. (Tonic should be avoided during pregnancy as high doses can caus vomiting )
Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis)
All parts of the Marshmallow plant are used both fresh and dried.
* Infused Marshmallow leaves are used for bronchial and urinary conditions, while a syrup made from the flowers is used as an expectorant
* Tinctures, poultices and ointments made from various parts of the Marshmallow plant are used to treat everything from cystitis to skin ulcers
Celery (Apium graveolens )
Eaten as a vegetable, celery is also a widely used medicinal herb.
* Celery seeds infused in boiling water help calm symptoms of gout and rheumatoid arthritis
* Essential Oils can be used in warm water as a soak for gout, or for massaging away arthritic pain
* The entire celery plant can be juiced and used to combat urinary infections, cystitis, joint inflamation and exhaustion.( Large doses of celery seeds and celery oil should be avoided by pregnant women because they can act as a uterine stimulant.)
Burdock (Arctium lappa)
Burdock has long been used as a blood purifier and is often combined with dandelion to treat indigestion.
* An infusion of Burdock leaves is used as a mild digestive stimulant, and is used as a wash for fungal infections such as athletes foot and ringworm
* A Burdock poultice can be applied to bruises , abrasions as well as acne
* A tincture made from Burdock can be combined with herbs such as yellow dock to detoxify the digestive system and is also good for combating urinary stones