Natural healing herbs are used for many physical and mental needs. They positively affect the organs, glands and systems of the body.
Whole herbs are about as natural a healing remedy as you can get.
Eaten as food or drunk as infusions, herbs gift you with a wide array of vitamins and minerals. Herbal teas, tinctures. lozenges, syrups and capsules deliver their medicinal benefits orally. Salves and liniments heal from the outside in.
If you are lucky enough to live in a rural area, get to know your local natural healing herbs. Just being in their presence will help you feel better. They seem to connect us to the earth and represent some nature's loveliest and most helpful creations.
The difference between a flower and a weed is a judgment." Author Unknown
The following plants offer a broad range of herbal healing help. Use them often and over a long period of time to experience the most benefit.
One of the greatest natural healing herbs is the dandelion. Even so, people have developed a love-hate relationship with this plant.
Children, intuitively knowing the treasure dandelions are. They are drawn like little magnets to the cheery yellow flowers. They are excited to see them in the spring and love picking the flowers to share with moms and teachers and friends. We would be wise to take a lesson from the children.
Here is a sampling of its benefits.
The bitter tasting roots are used in decoctions or tinctures to slowly and gently detoxify the liver over a few months. The roots stimulate digestion and help regulate female hormone production. Don't be put off by the mildly bitter taste. I drink mine straight and don't mind it. It's worth the health benefits.
My mom told me that when she was growing up, nutrient-rich young leaves were cooked or steamed and enjoyed with olive oil and garlic.
Add a few raw baby leaves to salads. Splash on vinegar to 'cook' your greens and release nutrients.
Dandelion leaves rival a top diuretic drug for effectiveness without the harmful side effect of robbing the body of potassium. They stimulate the kidneys to release toxins and help relieve PMS breast tenderness.
Stem juice helps clear pimples and warts.
Flowers are enjoyed for their beauty and fun blowing into the wind. They are made into dandelion wine and flower essences to soften muscle tension. Flowers are infused in oil for massage.
Dandelion is a great herb to begin exploring natural herbal remedies. You can dig the roots if you like for food, tinctures or decoctions. Better yet, since good quality dried organic roots are readily available, purchase them ready to go.
Burdock is another of the often under-appreciated natural healing herbs.
Fresh roots of one year old burdock are full of vitamins and minerals. Dig them in spring. Stir-fry, pickle or infuse roots into herbal vinegar. Look for fresh or pickled burdock root, or gobo, in Asian markets.
Burdock is found in famous herbal remedies for cancer. It supports your body's natural detoxification processes and organs of elimination. Burdock has diuretic qualities so it helps you eliminate excess fluids. It is a mild laxative.
Because it 'cleans the blood' when used regularly over time, burdock helps heal acne, psoriasis and other skin problems.
It may help relieve PMS symptoms.
Burdock is available in teas, tinctures, ointments and other herbal products.
This popular Indian spice traditionally used in curry and yellow mustard is a natural healing herb superstar. It's called 'holy powder' for good reason.
Researchers believe that many of its healthful qualities come from the yellow-orange colored curcumin. It helps cells work better and makes them more resistant to infections and cancer.
Turmeric also helps improve your digestion and supports liver function and body detoxification. Because it's anti-inflammatory, turmeric eases arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. It may even protect against Alzheimer's disease.
Use this spice to season rice, meats and other foods. It is also available in capsules. Commercial curry powders usually contain only small amounts of turmeric.
With all the worry about cold and flu season it is good to know we have a research supported herbal healing ally in elderberry. Elderberry is a proven anti-viral remedy used for colds, flu and coughs.
When you feel the sniffles or tell-tale flu symptoms coming on, have a spoonful every few hours. It can significantly reduce the number of days you are sick.
The berries are full of anti-oxidants so they are good for you too.
Buy ready made elderberry syrup or make your own. If you are lucky enough to have this small tree growing near you, harvest the berries when they are very dark (red berries are poisonous). If not, make your syrup from dried berries.
Note: If you are watching your sugar intake substitute stevia or xylitol (never give anything with xylitol to a dog!) for some of the honey. Taste test to see how much you need. Add a bit more water to your recipe to make up for the lost liquid.
These are just a sampling of the vast array of natural healing herbs available to you. You may find some of them in your neighborhood. If none of these herbal healing allies are local to your area, you are likely to find others nearby that have similar actions. As you learn and grow to appreciate the healing power of plants, you will never look at 'weeds' the same way again.