Tag Archives: Herbs

Herbal teas for emotional help

herbal-chamomile-teaEveryone suffers from ‘blues’ once in a while. The feeling of gloominess that seemingly overwhelms us at times is often confused with depression. In fact, in most cases, these are transient mood swings that vanish on their own as soon as your attention is diverted by something more interesting and engrossing.

But there are times when such feelings refuse to go away due to the strong impact that certain events may have of on our psyche. Such episodes also do not fall under clinical depression because, to be classified as clinical depression, at least five symptoms of depression that include anxiety, sleeping and eating disorders and inability to derive pleasure need to be consistently present for more than three months. These symptoms need to be severe enough to affect normal work for the condition to be unequivocally classified as depression in the medical sense.

Transient depressive feelings can be caused by minor disturbances in the balance of brain chemicals that are responsible for emotional wellness. But in most cases, it is an environmental factor like physical illnesses, anxiety about future and other such incidents that cause emotional distress.

Such incidents do not merit the need for antidepressants or sleeping pills since they have their own adverse side effects that can harm you significantly. It is better to opt for natural remedies like herbal teas that provide a better and safer solution to the problem.

Herbal teas have multiple medicinal benefits that include easy elimination, aiding the body in fighting disease and relaxing tense nerves. Most herbal teas are so safe that they can be taken daily in recommended quantities without the fear of any kind of side effect.

There are many combinations of herbal teas that can be prepared to provide health benefits. Depressive mood and anxiety normally lead to a disturbed sleep and some of the herbs that are used as herbal teas have mild sedative effects that help in attaining sound sleep. Chamomile, passion flower, jasmine and lemon balm are the most prominent of herbs that have a relaxing and soothing effect on the nerves. These can be ingested in the form of herbal teas on a daily basis. Ginger tea has powerful anti fungal, anti spasmodic and digestive properties in addition to the other benefits mentioned above.

Physical illnesses are also a major source of frequent emotional upsets. Taking herbal teas on a regular basis can increase your immunity and prevent medical conditions. The strong antioxidant properties of herbal teas help in eliminating and preventing accumulation of toxins in the body.

Based on these properties, herbal teas positively affect the overall emotional health of a person and therefore can provide an excellent alternative to conventional drugs.

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Homeopathy and natural healing herbs

natural remedies

The word drug is derived from druug, Swedish for ‘dried plants’. A large proportion of the early conventional medicines and drugs that were discovered, originated from plants. Aspirin was originally developed after isolating acetysalicyclic acid from a plant known as meadowsweet (Latin: Spiraea). Quinine has its origins in cinchona, medicinal bark of the cinchona tree. Morphine and codeine have their roots in poppy plant.

However, there are certain aspects that differentiate conventional drugs from herbal remedies and homeopathic remedies, as well. These are:

– Conventional drugs are based on a single compound that is isolated from herbs or plants. On the other hand, therapies that are based on natural remedies, use the entire herb without isolating the active ingredient. This is done on the belief that a combination of compounds produces a better therapeutic value and work together to reduce toxicity.

– Chemicals and synthetics are used in the manufacturing process for conventional medicine. In many cases the compound is synthesized. Herbal remedies do not use chemicals or synthetic products during the process of preparing a remedy. In fact, synthetic products are not used even as catalysts or aiding agents in the preparation of herbal or homeopathic products.

The harshest criticism of herbal supplements and remedies is that many herbs are toxic in nature and that they can be dangerous to ingest. It is a known fact that some herbs are extremely toxic in nature. However, herbalists profess that the preparation process of herbal medicines ensures that the toxic effect is negated. Homeopathy makes use of even poisonous plants and herbs to arrive at suitable remedies.

Nux vomica and rhus toxicodendron are two commonly prescribed homeopathic remedies and both of them are prepared from toxic plants. Lachesis muta, on the other hand, is made from the venom of bushmaster snake. To understand how these poisonous substances are converted from poisons to remedy it is necessary to know the basics of how a homeopathic remedy is prepared.

Remedy, in homeopathy does not have the common meaning that we all are conversant with. In homeopathy it is a technical term applied to herbs, plants, mineralhomeopathys, live specimens or any other natural substance that has undergone a specific procedure so as to be able to treat a patient (not a disease).

Homeopathic remedies are prepared using a process called ‘potentisation’. The basic ingredient is diluted in water or alcohol and vigorously shaken ten times against an elastic body. The process is repeated with further dilutions based on the potency that is required. During this process, known as succussion, the vital energy of the natural remedy is activated and released. The curative properties of the ingredient are also transferred to the diluting liquid. Contrary to general belief, higher the dilution and succession, the higher the potency of the remedy!

The end product is completely natural and the original herb, plant, natural substance or poison is present in a negligible ratio

Homeopathy is based on the principle of ‘similar treats similar’, which means that a symptom caused by a substance is cured by the same substance.

Conventionalist may find it difficult to believe that such huge dilution can have any therapeutic value but homeopathy has remedies that produce positive results if prepared, prescribed and taken according to the principles defined by homeopathy.

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Herbal teas that detox

herbal_tea1Prevalence of impurities in the environment, modern diet and lifestyle has made it necessary for us to give prime importance to the concept of detoxification.

Detoxification was not so pertinent for our ancestors. Because even though they were exposed to natural toxins, they had a systematic procedure of regular detox treatment. The treatment was in the form of periodic fasting and herbal detox. And these were enough to take care of their detoxification needs since their body did not have to fight extreme levels of toxins and pollutants.

Instead of going back to our roots, with every new challenge that we faced, we have increased our dependence on drugs and medicines. Rampant use of recreational and banned drugs is a serious threat to normal functioning of the body’ detox system. The levels of our exposure to toxins has increased to such an extent that the natural detoxification system of the body is unable to cope with the pressure and more often than not, it buckles under pressure.

Most of the toxicity in the body is due to synthetic substances. It is better therefore, to take recourse to a natural detox program that uses natural detox remedies that are based on age old proven formulas.

Herbal teas have been used as part of many herbal detox programs because of their healing properties. They obviously also have the benefit of being great tasting too.

The list of herbs used in herbal teas is endless. Different permutations and combinations of curative herbs provide a variety of herbal teas that help in speeding up the detoxification process.

Cardamom seed, black peppercorn, cinnamon bark, clove bud and ginger root is added to green tea to make specific concoctions for individual conditions in India. These herbs are excellent for colon and blood cleansing.

Honeysuckle, cimicifuga, green tea and jasmine flower are the specific herbs added in traditional Chinese tea for natural detoxification of the body.

Herbal teas with constituents like milk thistle, sarsparilla root, dandelion root, Echinacea and red clover stimulate the liver to improve its toxin-removing functionality.

Other herbs used to make herbal teas include:

* Dandelion root
* Burdock root
* Fenne seed
* Juniper berry
* Licorice root
* Orange peel
* Pau d’ Arco inner bark
* Sassafras root
* Uva Ursi leaf
* Horsetail herb
* Dandelion leaf
* Parsley leaf

In the past few years herbal tea has gained immense popularity as a detox product in the western world. There is an old saying in the east that, “excess of everything is bad”. Even though the use of herbal teas is highly recommended, care should be taken to avoid excessive use. It is pertinent that these herbs be used under the guidance of a trained person. This is because some herbs should not be used by pregnant or nursing women, people who have gallstones, breast, uterine cancer or an autoimmune disease.

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Learn how to use herbs for insomnia

herbal_teaInsomnia is often mistaken for a disease. It is actually a symptom of some other ailment. The natural fall out of this fact is that treating the condition that is implicitly causing insomnia will automatically cure sleeplessness. For example by treating depression you are most likely to be cured of the accompanying sleep problems too.

Sedatives are the easiest way to induce sleep. A sleeping pill taken before bedtime is all it takes to make you get into deep slumber. A sedative acts upon the body quickly and within a few minutes the drowsiness sets in. The irony is that most people use sedatives without realizing that they have addictive properties. Just as treating depression naturally can be of great help to you, herbs for insomnia can help in getting rid of insomnia without causing any side effects.

The herbs that are used for treating insomnia depend on the specific case. In some cases a standalone remedy is required. In other conditions herbal preparations containing a combination of herbs that complement each other is used. Herbs focus on boosting energy levels, curbing stress levels and relieving mental and physical fatigue to treat insomnia. Not only do these herbs cure insomnia but are also effective in treating various other conditions.

For example, valerian root is a common herb used for insomnia. It also eases anxiety and pain.

Lemon Balm, another herb for insomnia, has anti bacterial and anti spasmodic properties. It also helps in maintaining thyroid health and promoting digestion and appetite.

A word of caution needs to be added here! Not all herbs are suited for everyone. In a situation where everyone seems to be jumping on the bandwagon, it is difficult to sift the genuine products from the counterfeit. Simply because you saw an advertisement eulogizing the benefits of a particular herb or a formulation should not be enough reason for you to use it.

Admittedly, herbs do have an edge over conventional drugs because they do not cause any health problems as they cure. But rampant use of herbs can be detrimental to overall health and should be used only when required. It is imperative to know as to which herb will suit a particular condition of insomnia. The next time you need to know about natural remedies for depression or insomnia, check with knowledgeable sources. A specialist will guide you about the best herbs that suit your particular condition of insomnia.

Read also Best foods for healthy sleep

Some precautions while using herbs for weight loss


Obesity can be caused due to a genetic predisposition, an inactive lifestyle and bad eating habits or due to an underlying medical ailment like thyroid disorders. Most effective obesity treatments are slow. The process requires persistent determination as it involves diets that you may not like and regular exercise.

Weight loss medications are neither approved nor safe and should be used only after other natural weight loss solutions have been tried. In addition there is always a risk of regaining weight after you stop the medicines. Homeopathic remedies for weight loss are a better option because of the natural, symptomatic and holistic approach that homeopathy takes.

Herbal weight loss involves the use of natural herbs that have a stimulating, diuretic, cathartic and appetite-suppressing affect on the body. Herbal weight loss pills have earned a bad name for themselves due to some over-enthused marketers that boast of far fetched results that seem miraculous. Proper information about organic herbs and herbal remedies can go along way to help you derive maximum benefits from these herbs.

Although green tea is also sold in capsules, the traditional method of making tea is better as you can control its brewing to suit your taste. It is a harmless herb with antioxidant properties and four to five cups a day should be enough.

Cascara sagrada is a strong laxative and diuretic. One or two cups of tea in a day made from the herb or ten drops of its tincture can improve and regulate your elimination process. Take care not to use it for more than a week.

Dandelion is a gentle diuretic that helps in digestion and removes cholesterol from blood. You can make tea from its leaves or eat these fresh greens in a soup or a salad.

Malabar tamarind is a good appetite suppressant and a digestive aid as well. Its tangy pulp can be cooked with rice and fish. If that sounds a bit too much for you, soak a small quantity overnight and dilute it in water. Add a little bit of jaggery and salt to make a tasty tangy drink.

If you have a sweet tooth try eating one to two sticks of licorice roots everyday. It will prevent the cravings for sweets and also inhibit urges for snacking between meals.

Psyllium husk is a gentle laxative that provides the needed bulk in your food. Two tablespoons of husk or powdered seeds with water or juice before bedtime will help a lot for easy elimination in the morning.

All weight loss solutions include regular exercise. Siberian Ginseng can provide help you in getting used to the new routine, remaining active and reducing stress.

A word of caution needs to be added here. Herbs are generally safe but an overdose of even normal foods can cause problems. There are some herbs like ephedra sinica that are known to have a detrimental affect on heart and diabetes. Avoid herbal supplements. Some of them contain ten to twenty herbs. It is obvious that none of them would contain herbs in their effective dose. Moreover some herbs tend to interact with each other and cause electrolyte imbalances. Remember that long term use of any remedy including herbs should only be under an expert’s guidance.

Source: Native Remedies

Power herbs and spices


Herbs and species are actually the first power foods, since they’ve been grown and cultivated for thousands of years. Herbs and spices not only add flavour to meals but also deliver potential health benefits. Fresh herbs and spices pack the same – or greater – antioxidant punch as fresh fruits and vegetables.

The difference between herbs and spices is the part of the plant they come from. Herbs come from the leaf of the plant (e.g. parsley, oregano), whereas spices are from buds (e.g. cloves), bark (e.g. cinnamon), roots (e.g., ginger), berries (e.g. peppercorns), and seeds (e.g. cumin).

Use the chart below to add a pinch of flavour and an antioxidant punch to your meals.

Source: Beck, L. (2008). Foods that fight disease. Penguin Canada.

Herb or spice Potential health benefits Suggested uses
Basil Antioxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory
Pasta sauces, pizza, vegetables, salads, stews
Chili papers Anti-inflammatory, pain relief, decongestant, metabolism booster, prostate cancer prevention, blood sugar control Asian and Mexican dishes, meat, poultry, seafood, pasta, sauces, soups, stews
Cilantro (coriander) Blood sugar control, cholesterol lowering Mexican dishes, salads, salsa, soups
Anti-blood clotting, anti-microbial, blood sugar control, memory enhancer Apples, fruit crisp, hot cereals, muffins, Mexican dishes
Dill Antioxidant, anti-bacterial Fish, lamb, poultry, potatoes, salads
Ginger Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea (pregnancy), gastrointestinal relief, immune enhancer, colon cancer prevention Asian stir-fries, meat, seafood, curries, marinades, dipping sauces, fruit salads
Mint Digestive relief (anti-spasmodic), anti-cancer, anti-bacterial Lamb, marinades, pesto, salads, tomatoes
Oregano Antioxidant, anti-bacterial Pasta sauces, pizza, salads, beef, lamb
Parsley Antioxidant, anti-microbial Meat, fish, salads, soups, stews
Rosemary Anti-inflammatory, immune enhancer, digestive relief Meat, seafood, pastas, vegetables, salads
Sage Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, memory-enhancer Pork, poultry, pasta, rice dishes
Thyme Antioxidant, anti-microbial Fish, poultry, marinades, pastas, soups, salads
Turmeric Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, digestive health, improved liver function, cholesterol lowering Fish, legumes, dips

Zodiac baths


According to the astrology, human actions may be influenced and predicted depending upon the positions and relationships of the sun, moon, stars, and planets in the sky. Each of the twelve astrological signs has a companion herb plant you can use to create your own personal herbal bath to celebrate your birthday. You will feel refreshed, revived, and in touch with the sky above and the cycles of nature. You can also create a very personal gift to your friend by giving them a fresh bouquet or a jar of dried zodiac herbs.

  • Aquarius – Mullein
  • Pisces – Rosehip
  • Aries – Rosemary
  • Taurus – Mint
  • Gemini – Parsley
  • Cancer – Jasmine
  • Leo – Chamomile
  • Virgo – Fennel
  • Libra – Yarrow
  • Scorpio – Basil
  • Sagittarius – Sage
  • Capricorn – Comfrey

Add 1 cup of fresh herbs or ½ cup of dried herbs to the bathwater either by strewing the plants directly into the water or enclosing them in a mesh container. Wrapping the herbs in a piece of cheesecloth will ensure a cleaner tub after the bathing. When the tube is full and the herbs have steeped for about 5 minutes, bathe yourself in the warm herbal waters, and enjoy!

Source: Cox, J. Natural beauty from the garden.