When I was growing up, I remember always getting a piece of parsley on my plate at restaurants. And I assumed the green, tree looking thing on my plate was just some fancy decoration. So parsley has been just this annoyance to brush to the side. Then one day I saw somebody put it in their mouth, chew, swallow and live! Parsley is edible? Who knew! And that was my introduction to edible and healing herbs.
Ways That Herbs Can Heal Your Body
1. Detoxify The Liver
Edible Herbs: Burdock root, dandelion, milk thistle seed, chicory root and turmeric.
Benefits: Cleanses the liver, eases inflammation and assists with the elimination of toxins.
Your liver can get a bit congested living in the modern world. The liver is vital for breaking down toxins and removing them from the body. When the liver isn’t working correctly, harmful toxins circulate in the blood stream causing inflammation and disease. The right herbs in the diet can assist in this detoxification process. Try buying fresh herbs from a health food store and making a homemade cup of detox tea. Making sure that your liver is working properly is one of the best things you can do for every other organ in your body.
2. Soothe The Stomach
Edible Herbs: Ginger, licorice, lemon balm, caraway seeds, popular garnish, parsley, flaxseed oil, aloe vera and dandelion.
Benefits: Treats chronic heartburn, inflammation, insomnia, abdominal gas and constipation.
Heartburn is more than an annoyance. Chronic heartburn can cause inflammation, insomnia, and even cancer. Some effective herbs for heartburn are herbs like ginger, licorice, and lemon balm. Licorice is effective, it can cause high blood pressure so it should be consumed in moderation. Another alternative is Deglycrrhizinated Licorice (DGL) which is licorice without the blood pressure raising components. Gas can cause discomfort and embarrassment. Frequent gas provides a clue that there is a malfunction in the digestive system. Try boiling caraway seeds into a tea which is an effective way to eliminate uncomfortable gas. Or try ginger, garlic or that popular garnish, parsley. So that is why that herb is included with every restaurant meal!
There is the problem nobody wants to discuss. Constipation isn’t just uncomfortable. When your body isn’t eliminating properly, toxins have the opportunity to look back from your colon into the bloodstream. Flaxseed oil, aloe vera and dandelion as part of an herbal approach can all be potentially helpful.
3. Treat Anxiety/Depression
Edible Herbs: Kava kava, passionflower, ashwagandha, chamomile, valerian and lemon balm.
Benefits: Soothes feelings of anxiety and depression
You may be one of the many who has at some point in your life had to find help for your depression and anxiety. And many don’t even realize that there are herbal options that can help calm and lift mood naturally. Herbs for anxiety include kava kava, passionflower, ashwagandha, chamomile, and valerian. Herbs and supplements for depression include St. John’s wort, 5-HTP and lemon balm.
It is important to note that if you are already on medication for anxiety and depression, you must talk with your doctor before trying a natural supplement. Combining mood altering medication and herbs can be dangerous. If you would like to see if it is possible for you to transition to a more natural regimen, try to find a doctor that already has experience working with both medicine and herbs.
In the US, A D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) is a board certified and medical school trained physician who combines traditional western and homeopathic medicine in their approach. This type of doctor may be able to help you transition to more natural options. Many DO’s can be seen under a conventional insurance plan.
4. Balance Hormones
Edible Herbs: Maca root, astralagus, ashwagandha, chasteberry and black cohosh.
Benefits: Menopausal symptoms, fertility and menstrual problems.
Comedies often poke fun at hormonal upheaval, menopause and that “time of the month”. But all laughing aside, hormonal imbalance can be very tough on the body. If you feel like your hormones are a bit unstable, try some adaptogenic, stress relieving herbs like astralagus or ashwagandha. Emotional stress creates a total upheaval for hormonal balance. Try Maca root which can improve both fertility as well as libido.
For menstrual problems, chasteberry may be effective at balancing estrogen/progesterone levels, which can ease monthly discomfort. Menopausal and pre-menopausal women may find relief with black cohosh, which has been used by women for centuries as a natural way to achieve hormonal relief.
5. Soothe Your Skin
Edible Herbs: Lavender oil, aloe vera, chamomile, licorice root, calendula oil and tea tree oil.
Benefits: Burns, acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea and skin rashes.
Herbs can be immensely healing to the skin. Have a mild burn? Lavender oil or aloe vera can be extremely healing. Try some chamomile, which is very effective at calming any irritants and can provide relief to those suffering from eczema. Licorice root with its anti-inflammatory properties has been shown to provide relief for those suffering from skin ailments like psoriasis and rosacea. Calendula oil can be a discomfort diminishing salve for skin rashes.
What about those suffering from acne? Tea tree oil can help alleviate due to its antibacterial properties. Plus, as my husband points out, herbs often just smell nice on your skin. And that counts for something too, right?
Word Of Caution
- If you’re being treated for any pre-existing condition, check with your doctor first.
- Herbs can have an immensely positive effect on the body. However, an herb that can be healing to one part of the body can aggravate an imbalance in another area.
- And if you’re on any medication, you need to make sure the herbs don’t interfere with that medication.
- Finally, if you’re pregnant or want to become pregnant, you probably want to wait until after delivery to start experimenting. Many herbs can increase your risk of miscarriage.
- Herbs are safe for most people, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t proceed with caution.
So these are some of my favorite uses of herbs. If you’ve never tried herbs, see how they might help you, body and soul!