You Can Grow Your Own Medicinal Herbs
Some people believe that using medicinal herbs is a hip new way to stay out of the doctor’s office. It might be hip, but it ain’t new. Medicinal Herbs is the world’s oldest healing system, dating back at least 60,000 years. (That was the Paleolithic Era.)
People have been practicing herbal medicine throughout the centuries that followed, well before there were doctors and nurses. As recently as a couple decades ago, many of those medical professionals scoffed at medicinal herbs, but now they see real value in them. Medicinal Herbs can’t replace conventional medicine, especially in life-threatening situations. If I’m lying in a ditch with a broken leg, I don’t want somebody sprinkling arnica or comfrey over me. I want to be rushed to a hospital and have my leg set and casted.
Herbs have been proven to be affordable and highly effective at dealing with the prevention and treatment of day-to-day, non-emergency health issues including headaches, colds, coughs, aches, bruises and many more ailments.
Why use herbs for medicinal purposes? Here are seven reasons:
- They work. For as long as humans have existed, herbal remedies have proven effective. Many of today’s pharmaceutical drugs have their roots in plants, demonstrating that people who have been using them for their healing properties have been on the right path all along.
- They’re inexpensive. Herbal supplements are almost always less costly than pharmaceutical drugs. And you can save even more money when you grow and harvest your own herbs and create your own infusions, decoctions, salves and tinctures.
- They’re easy to grow. Anyone with an interest in – and space for – a garden can grow medicinal herbs. You don’t need a botany or horticulture degree to enjoy growing and harvesting plants that provide health benefits.
- They’re tasty. Some people drink medicinal herb teas made from plants purely for their great taste. The healing properties that these teas possess are an added benefit to them.
- They’re safe. Side effects caused by herbs are much less common than with pharmaceutical drugs.
- They promote self-reliance. Herbs give people the chance to practice effective preventive medicine, and then treat minor ailments and injuries, without visiting a physician.
- They help you help others. Once people learn about herbal remedies and experience first-hand how they’re being helped by them, they can pass that information along to family, friends, neighbors and co-workers.
So, which herbs should be used for which conditions, and what’s the best way to use those herbs?
Here are 10 of my favorites.
- Chamomile – This herb is said to be effective in controlling nervousness, insomnia, nausea, asthma, earache, fevers, headaches, hay fever and arthritis. It also works on indigestion, gas, heartburn, upper respiratory irritation, diarrhea and teething pain in babies. In addition, Chamomile can be used as a salve for burns and skin irritation.
- Echinacea – Studies suggest this herb sparks the immune system, reduces inflammation, relieves pain, and has hormonal, antioxidant and antiviral effects. It’s recommended to treat urinary tract infections, vaginal yeast infections, athlete’s foot, burns, boils, ulcers and hay fever. Echinacea has been called an essential immune-enhancing herb.
- Lemon Balm – Effective against depression, anxiety and stress, it also serves as a decongestant to aid with colds, sore throats and flu, and as a muscle relaxer to help with menstrual cramps. Lemon Balm is used by those who suffer from allergies and shingles. When the leaf is rubbed into the skin, it is a natural insect repellent.
- Hyssop – This herb is used for infections and upper respiratory ailments. It’s brewed into a tea to help fight colds, bronchitis, sinusitis, asthma, influenza, tonsillitis, laryngitis and coughs. Users report that it helps with wheezing and shortness of breath. Hyssop has a regulating effect on blood pressure.
- Cayenne Pepper – This herb is a circulatory stimulant to strengthen heart and blood vessels while lowering cholesterol. It is said to aid in weight loss; regulate blood sugar; reduce sore throats, colds, fevers and flues; dull pain; and serve as a laxative. As a topical cream, Cayenne Pepper can help with bursitis, arthritis, muscle and joint pain, and shingles.
- Borage – This herb is credited with treating ailments such as respiratory viruses, colds, flu, sore throat, dry cough, asthma, bronchitis, stress and menopausal symptoms. It is reported to help with arthritis, rheumatism, joint pain and bowel diseases. Borage is also good for skin problems and aids with depression while reducing cholesterol and blood pressure.
- Anise – It has been suggested to use Anise as a diuretic and/or a laxative. It has been used to treat menstrual cramps and to prevent the formation of gas in the gastrointestinal tract. It’s said to reduce pain and make one’s breath fresher. The oil from the Anise plant has been utilized as an insecticide against head lice and mites.
- Nettle – Containing antihistamines and anti-inflammatory properties, Nettle tea opens nasal and bronchial passages. It’s been used to deal with asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia. It’s also been effective in reducing blood pressure; helping maintain kidney and liver function; aiding swollen prostate glands; and topically treating wounds, rashes, bites and stings.
- Yarrow – This herb is reported to stop bleeding when you chew the leaves, or crush the leaves and flowers before pressing them against the wound. It’s said to be helpful for poor circulation, asthma, congestion and depression. Topically, Yarrow can be used for wounds, rashes, scrapes, nosebleeds, hemorrhoids, poison ivy, toothaches and varicose veins.
- Catnip – Used in capsules, teas and tinctures, this herb has been found to be a remedy for upset stomach, diarrhea, gas, nausea, stomach cramps, indigestion and hiccups. Catnip leaves contain antioxidant vitamins, making it helpful for treating colds. It can be used in a compress for toothache and tonsillitis, and topically for skin sores and hemorrhoids.
Frank Bates, founder of 4Patriots LLC, is a contributing writer to Patriot Headquarters, a website featuring hundreds of articles on how to be more independent and self-reliant. He also offers Food4Patriots, a supplier of emergency food suitable for long-term storage, survival and emergency preparedness.
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