Herbs for Common Ailments

Herbs for Common Ailments

Disclaimer: These recipes are from my own experience and are backed by centuries of practice. I am not a licensed physician and am not providing medical advice.



ANYYYYway: here’s the scoop.

This is going to be pretty basic, so if you’re interested in a more in-depth post on any specific herbs, let me know in the comments below.

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What’s got you feeling down?

Stomach ache?


Peppermint and ginger are commonly used for treating upset stomach, nausea, gas, and bloating.



Charcoal is also a great treatment for gut problems. This can be found at health food stores and drug stores.



Here are some simple, easy ways to use the herbs:

Peppermint: Have a cup of peppermint tea, eat a peppermint candy (avoid sugary candies, these won’t help. Instead make your own!), apply a drop of peppermint essential oil to both of your wrists, use peppermint essential oil in your oil diffuser.


Ginger: Make a juice using ginger (I recommend carrot, orange, and ginger for upset stomach, but avoid this method if you are experiencing heartburn as the acidity of the juice will only make it worse), try a ginger tea. Try a ginger tincture. (I’m making my own right now, I’ll make a post about it if it turns out!)



Diarrhea?

That sucks! First of all, go to the doc if you need to. Dehydration isn’t a joke. Here are some herbs that could help.

Blackberry leaf tea is going to be your best friend. Steep some blackberry leaves for at 15 minutes and drink as a tea. (Or purchase blackberry leaf tea from a health food store for a more convenient option.) Honey can be used to sweeten the tea, but avoid processed sugar. Try to keep your diet bland for a bit, stick to simple rice if possible and drink plenty of water.



Constipated?

That sucks too! Try yellow dock tea and some prune or aloe juice. Happy pooping, pal.
If you haven’t gone in more than 2-3 days, at least give your doc a call though. Remember, I’m not a doctor!



Headache?

Lavender is amazing for headaches.

If you have lavender growing nearby, just go out and smell it! Take a stem and play with the flowers for a while, get lost in the plant. The quiet, calm time outside is a plus with this one.


Or use lavender essential oil in your essential oil diffuser and place a drop of lavender essential oil on each of your temples.


If you have a lavender satchel (you can make your own or purchase them at health food stores and some farmer’s markets) you can tuck it into your pillowcase and take a nap, or just play with it to release the lavender all around you.  



Chamomile can help too. This one can also be used in an essential oil diffuser or applied to the temples along with peppermint. I like to add a little peppermint if it’s one of those headaches that gets me all hot and cranky, the cooling effect is helpful.


Cramps?

First thing’s first: what always makes my cramps better is a little potassium!

Try eating a banana! This is more of a preventative measure though.



In the meantime, try some cramp bark! This can be purchased from health food stores and it is absolutely amazing! It’s great for menstrual cramps, leg cramps, even tongue cramps. This stuff is pretty much liquid gold. (I’ll warn you though, it tastes awful.) Use as directed.

Usually, place several drops under your tongue and hold there for several seconds before swallowing. I haven’t learned how to make this yet, but I buy mine from Mountain Rose Herbs and the quality is fantastic.



Another great way to combat cramps is to relax it out in a nice warm bath, of course! Add some magnesium flakes or red clay along with a few drops of your favorite soothing essential oil(s) for extra relief and pampering.



If the cramps are in a limb, make sure to gently stretch and massage the area. A warm compress might also relieve some tension. Rice bags are awesome for this- and easy to improvise.



You can also apply witch hazel and arnica to aching muscles. Mix a few drops of each essential oil into a massage lotion or carrier oil and apply to the area.*
*Note: this is not to be applied to broken skin or open wounds.



Burns?

First rule of burns: DON’T put anything oily on a burn! That traps the heat in and it will not do any good. First aid basics, friends.



If you have just burned yourself (and the burn is not severe enough or covering a large enough area to warrant immediate medical attention), rinse the burn in room temperature-slightly cool water first. (Ice or very cold water is not recommended as it can damage the tissue further. Stick with room temperature to be safe.)

Now, for the healing: This is one I learned from my German godmother, who learned it from her mother, who learned it from her mother. Let me tell you, I thought the woman was nuts the first time I saw her do this… but it works!



Apply a thin smear of pure, raw honey directly onto the cleaned burn. Now leave it alone.

Within a minute or two, you shouldn’t even feel the burn at all!



When you are sick of having a sticky hand, get a cool wet wash cloth and gently wipe the honey away. You obviously don’t want to scrub or use hot water on a burn.



As we all know, aloe vera is also excellent for burns. I highly recommend growing an aloe plant at home, they are so useful! Smear a little aloe on your clean burn and let it dry on before you wipe it away with a cool, wet cloth.


Cuts or Scrapes?

Cayenne and yarrow are both good for stopping light bleeding. Make a paste with the herb(s) and apply it directly to the wound.



Tea tree oil is well known for its antifungal and antimicrobial properties- though it might sting a bit!

To help clean your cut and prevent infection, dilute two or three drops of tea tree oil in a tablespoon of vegetable oil (or water, if that is all you have available. Witch hazel also works well, though it may sting).


Feeling anxious? Can’t sleep?

You’ve already heard about this one, but guess what! Most herbs have a variety of uses! Lavender is a wonderful resource for coping with anxiety and sleep trouble as it soothes and relaxes the body. Use the same way as instructed above.**



**Note: While there are a variety of herbs recommended as sleep aids, it’s important to see a professional to find what’s right for you. Messing with your sleep cycle is no joke. If your sleep troubles are chronic and can’t be solved by a little lavender aromatherapy before bed, seek professional guidance. You deserve to have good sleep. (And you don’t want to end up being the crazy guy who wakes up naked at 3am in the local fire station because you were found sleep walking. Melatonin is not for everyone and it’s not something to just experiment blindly with.)


Feeling down in the dumps?

Here are a couple herbs that are great for lifting your spirits and getting you going:

Lemon grass

Lavender (I’m telling you, lavender is like a bunch of precious purple diamonds! Definitely my go-to herb.)

Rosemary

Thyme

Lemon (Not necessarily an herb, but add a little lemon to a glass of warm water and sip. See how quickly you start feeling awake and refreshed!)



I typically put a few drops of two or three of these essential oils into my essential oil diffuser while I get ready in the morning. I leave the house feeling bright and ready for the day.

What herbal remedies do you swear by? Are there any you have sworn to never ever try? Do you want to know more about any specific herbs?