Herbal medicines have been used traditionally for centuries and present-day demand has not dwindled. Herbal teas are popular in the mainstream with supermarket shelves stacked with teas for boosting your immunity to those helping you sleep or detox.
Some people turn to herbal medicines as alternatives or complementary treatments to pharmaceutical medicines. When starting out with herbal medicines, it is worth knowing a little about each plant and what it can do for you.
Here are a few of the most popular and commonly used herbs for supporting your health.
1. Tulsi (Holy Basil)
Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum) is a member of the Lamiaceae family and is a true basil. It is a long-used herb in Ayurvedic medicine. Tulsi has a floral, fruity flavor and can be used in cooking as well as used medicinally.
It is high in vitamins C and A and is a source of calcium, iron, and zinc. Medicinally, it is used to help calm and ease anxiety and stress. It is also thought to be anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial.
Source: Dr.Eric Berg DC/YouTube
If you buy an immune-boosting tea from the store, it will likely have echinacea (Echinacea pupurea) in it. A member of the daisy family, this beautiful plant is used to help reduce the chances of catching common colds and flu.
It is also high in compounds that act as antioxidants helping your body fight oxidative stress.
Another daisy family member, chamomile, both german (Matricaria recutita) and roman (Chamaemelum mobile), are used traditionally as a sleeping aid.
Chamomile is used to help promote sound sleep due to an antioxidant that is thought to induce sleepiness. Chamomile is also used topically to help calm inflamed skin and reduce redness thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.
4. Stinging Nettle
Source: Learn Your Land/YouTube
Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica), far from being just that dreaded childhood plant, is actually one of the most nutrient-dense foods you could eat. Yes, if you touch the leaves in the wrong way, you will likely get stung, but if handled correctly, you can gain a lot from this humble ‘weed’.
Stinging nettle contains an impressive amount of vitamin C. As well, it is a good source of vitamins A, K, and several B vitamins. It also contains calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and all of the essential amino acids.
5. Rasberry Leaf
As well as those delicious berries, the raspberry bush also gives us its leaves to use for nutrition and medicinal properties.
Raspberry leaf tea is especially interesting for those who menstruate. The compound ‘fragarine’ is thought to help tighten the muscles around the pelvic area and help to reduce spasms. Do not take raspberry leaf tea when pregnant.
Source: Mountain Gardens/YouTube
Marshmallow (Althaea Officinalis), the plant not the white fluffy candy, is a really pretty plant to have in your garden and useful in your tea cabinet.
Marshmallow has a high mucilage content, just like its cousin okra. This is thought to help treat coughs and colds when taken as tea. This tea is made from the roots, though the leaves can be used, too.
7. Bee Balm
Not only is bee balm (Monarda Spp) an important plant for the bees and other pollinators, bee balm can make a delicious cup of tea for us, too. A member of the mint family, bee balm has a lovely flavor, with some species having a distinct bergamot flavor.
It is traditionally used to help smooth sore throats and coughs and aid in digestion.
8. Lemon Verbena
This herb is commonly used as a bedtime tea as it is said to help induce sleep and bring about improved sleep quality and length.
We can’t have a popular herb list and forgo peppermint. This well-loved herb is used in all kinds of preparations to help an array of complaints.
It is used topically to ease symptoms of itching and muscle pain. It is massaged into temples to help with headaches and drank as tea to help with digestive issues.
Peppermint is used to both calm the mind and act as an energy booster and is commonly used as a breath freshener or to unblock a stuffy nose.
Source: Mountain Gardens/Youtube
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is most commonly used in sleepytime teas. It works as a natural sedative making getting to sleep a lot faster. It also helps to promote more sound sleep.
This is a plant that you can grow for yourself in your garden and make your own tea from.
This article is for informational purposes only. Do not take herbal medicines or use herbs medicinally without consulting your medical professional first.
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