Herbs for Health and Healing

When we think of herbs we think about them in terms of cooking, as we do with rosemary, basil, oregano, peppermint, and sage. Perhaps lavender, thyme, and tarragon also come to mind. But herbs are grown for their medicinal properties as well. Many times herbs can be used in place of synthetic medications but are often forgotten or even seen as antiquated.

The following is a list of 16 of the most underrated healing herbs. All of the herbs mentioned in this list can be purchased from Amazon or at your local health food store. Some medicinal plants are for treating specific ailments, while others have a generalized positive effect on our health when used regularly.

As with any medication, consult your doctor before taking an herbal supplement.

Aloe Vera
Can be applied to minor cuts and burns and to dry, inflamed, or damaged skin. It is an excellent moisturizer with anti-inflammatory and mild antimicrobial effect. The leaf pulp can be eaten, too. Regular use can prevent constipation and relieve other digestive problems, including ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome.

Use mint leaves to calm stomach upsets and relieve pain and discomfort due to gas.

Rosemary enhances memory. The carnosic acid in rosemary has been shown to prevent brain damage and neurodegeneration of the hippocampus induced by beta-amyloid peptides. These peptides are implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. In other studies, rosemary oil has been found to improve cognitive function and reduce brain aging.

Have a cup of this soothing tea when you feel anxious or unsettled, or before bedtime in case you have difficulty falling asleep.

This herb can improve appetite and prevent flatulence. Inhaling an infusion of sage gives relief to respiratory problems, including asthma. It reduces excessive sweating and salivation too. Sage is neuroprotective, and is used to treat Alzheimer’s, dementia, and depression.

Inhaling the fragrance of the flowers is sufficient to get relief from headache and depression. The essential oil extracted from the flowers has an important place in aromatherapy. Place pouches of dried lavender flowers under the pillow to get relaxed sleep. Make the best of the antiseptic and antibacterial properties of lavender by infusing the flowers in water and using it to wash your face and damaged skin. It can also clear up acne and accelerate wound healing.

This purple coneflower Echinacea is a stalwart in the native North American herbal medicine. It has an immunostimulatory action that enables the body to fight bacterial and viral infections.

Has a high protein content and rich mineral content. Alfalfa is excellent for treatment of severe nausea. It is also an effective natural remedy for ailments of the urinary tract such as kidney stones and urinary tract infections. Alfalfa is excellent for flushing toxins from the liver and gastrointestinal tracts. It is also known to help lower cholesterol.

Similar in flavor to licorice, aniseed is incredibly effective for improving digestion, reducing flatulence, and easing nausea. It may be used to quell anxiety, as well as to ease cold symptoms like cough, congestion, and sore throat.

As an herbal remedy, cardamom helps to protect the gastrointestinal tract, cleanse the blood of bad cholesterol, improve circulation, and even prevent the development some forms of cancer. Cardamom is antimicrobial, making it effective against periodontal disease and urinary tract infections. It is a natural anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-spasmodic. Cardamom is also known to improve the health and function of the male sexual organs. Aside from its many health benefits, cardamom also has an incredible floral aroma and taste which has earned it the title “Queen of Spices” throughout much of Asia.

Catmint (also commonly known as catnip)
Known for the stimulating effect which the herb has on felines. Catmint tea can also help to relieve cold symptoms like sore throat, sinus pressure, and headaches. It is also effective for reduction of fever. Drink catmint tea as a digestive aid to help to calm gastrointestinal upset, reduce flatulence, and ease stomach aches.

Coriander seeds are known to stimulate the pancreas to produce insulin which results in more balanced blood sugar levels. Coriander seeds have a similar effect on blood-lipid levels, aiding the liver in balancing and improving overall cholesterol levels. Coriander seeds are also naturally antibiotic against some food-borne pathogens such as salmonella.

Coriander leaves
Coriander is more commonly known as Cilantro and is full of fiber and nutrients, most notably vitamins A and K. Cilantro is also high in antioxidants and minerals such as potassium, iron, and magnesium.

Has a name that practically stands up and says, “Hi there, I’m medicinal!” While the herb has a long history of use around the world and its health benefits are extremely well-documented, most people have never heard of it. Feverfew is a powerful anti-inflammatory, able to reduce pain and swelling associated with arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and headaches. Feverfew is one of only a small handful of effective natural remedies for migraine headaches. The herb is also useful for reducing general pain and body aches, as well as for calming tension and anxiety.

Sweet Marjoram
Delicious and delicate sweet marjoram is the perfect complement to vegetable dishes and soups, as well as pork and chicken. It is also a powerful anti-microbial herb and digestive aid. It is packed with nutrients and anti-oxidants like vitamins A, C, and K, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, magnesium, and manganese.

Parsley is so much more than just a pretty garnish. Parsley is one of the richest sources of vitamin K which is great for improving skin health and promotes faster healing of skin ailments. Parsley is also an excellent source of vitamin C and iron which strengthen the immune and circulatory systems. Parsley is powerful antioxidant, helps to detoxify all of the body’s systems, and improves digestion and nutrient absorption.

Is becoming more and more well-known as a calorie-free sweetener. The herb is not only used to sweeten food, but also as a treatment for burns, indigestion, and colic. Research on the herb has shown that stevia may be an effective natural remedy for hypertension and may actually lower blood sugar when eaten as a sugar substitute.