Herbs that Heal
Whether you garden on a windowsill, your back yard, or a greenhouse herbs are well worth cultivating for their health benefits. Here to the top herbs known for their healing qualities.
Basil: Although you may not think of basil as a healing herb, historically it was called the “king of herbs”. It is used medicinally as a natural anti-inflammatory and is thought to have mild antiseptic functions. Some healing uses are for flatulence, lack off appetite, nausea and cuts and scrapes.
Basil also goes great on spaghetti and in pesto but then you knew that already. Basil is an annual plant so you will have to save some seeds to start anew each year.
Chamomile is one of the most popular herbs in the Western world. Its flower heads are commonly used for teas, infusions, and slaves. These in turn can be used to treat indigestion, anxiety and skin inflammations. As a tea, it serves as a mild sedative to relieve insomnia.
Feverfew is a perennial plant. This member of the sunflower family and was used for centuries in European folk medicine as a remedy for headaches, arthritis, and fevers. It gets its name from a Latin word meaning “fever reducer.”
Feverfew has many uses including relieving headache pains, especially migraine headaches. This is done by chewing the leaves. A tea made from the leaves and flowers is said to relieve the symptoms of arthritis.
Lavender tea has many uses with one its best known is the ability to have a calming effect on a person’s mind and body. Lavender promotes a sense of well-being and alleviates stress. It is also useful for dealing with various gastrointestinal issues such as upset stomachs and flatulence, and mitigate bad breath.
Because it is a strong antiseptic, lavender tea, when applied topically to the skin, can help heal cuts, sores, and shallow wounds. It should not be used on deep wounds.
Lemon balm is a member of the mint family. As with many other healing herbs, lemon balm promotes relaxation and a sense of calm. It was used as far back as the Middle Ages to ease pain and discomfort from indigestion, reduce stress and anxiety, promote sleep, and improve the appetite. Even before the Middle Ages, lemon balm was steeped in wine to lift the spirits, help heal wounds, and treat venomous insect bites and stings.
Parsley is a great home remedy for bad breath. It is a biennial, which means that it lives for two years. Parsley tea can help supplement iron in a person’s diet, particularly for those who are anemic. Drinking parsley tea also boosts energy and overall circulation of the body, and helps fight fatigue from lack of iron. Parsley tea also reduces gas and flatulence, and fights kidney and bladder infections. It can also be an effective diuretic.
Sage has been recognized historically for its healing properties as far back as the first century when the Greek physician Dioscorides reported that it stopped bleeding of wounds and cleaned ulcers and sores. He also recommended sage juice in warm water for hoarseness and cough. The genus name for sage is “salvia” which means “to heal”.
In modern times, sage tea is used to relieve inflammation in the mouth, throat and gums. This is because sage has excellent antibacterial and astringent properties.
Thyme: Back during medieval times, thyme was given to knights before going into battle to infuse these manly men with vigor and courage.
Now days thyme is used to relieve coughs, congestion, indigestion and gas. This perennial herb is rich in thymol, a strong antiseptic, which makes thyme highly effective in the treatment of minor cuts, scrapes and even fungus infections. Thyme is a perennial that does well even in cooler climates.
Rosemary was known historically as “the herb of remembrance.” Even today, in places like Australia and New Zealand, it is used as a symbol of remembrance since it is known to help sharpen mental clarity and stimulate brain function. The leaves you see around the heads of statues of ancient Greeks and Romans are sprigs of rosemary, which signifies mental acuity.
The fragrant needles of the rosemary plant can be used in a tea to treat digestive problems, as an expectorant and as a relaxing drink to relieve headaches. Other healing uses include improving memory, relieving muscle pain and spasms, supporting the circulatory and nervous systems, and stimulating hair growth.
If you learn to take care of yourself using natural remedies you can greatly enhance your ability to take care of your health and those you care about when there are no other resources available.