When it comes to Mother Nature there is no shortage of beneficial foods, but people often forget that you don’t need a whole meal to experience the healing effects; sometimes you just need to know a list of herbs that heal.
That’s right, herbs are an unfairly overlooked resource when it comes to healthful cooking. Not only do these plants add a ton of flavor without a lot of calories or salt, but they can also help our bodies overcome chronic issues like inflammation, poor digestion and cognitive decline.
What are some herbs that heal?
The use of herbs in medicine goes back centuries, deep into the roots of ancient civilizations. Some of the primary uses of herbs in the ancient world are still practiced today, and much of our knowledge of these medicinal plants comes from the trial and error of our ancestors.
Remember when you are looking for herbs that heal, there is not always scientific data to back up the claims, so take it with a grain of salt.
Just like any natural product, herbs and their healing properties are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and have (usually) not been evaluated for medicinal purposes.
That being said, below is a list of herbs that heal and their purported benefits, based on the literature available:
- Chamomile: Chamomile is used for treating anxiety, sleep disorders, indigestion, and skin inflammation. Just beware it does not come without risks.
- Parsley: Used to aid in digestion, reduction of flatulence and elimination of bad breath.
- Sage: One of the most popular among the herbs that heal, sage is beneficial for mouth and throat inflammation.
- Tyme: Tyme is used to relieve congestion, reduce coughing, eliminate indigestion, and reduce flatulence.
- Basil: According to Reader’s Digest, basil is used to improve appetite, reduce flatulence, improve healing of cuts and scrapes.
- St. John’s Wort: Used to treat depression and aid sleep but may interact with medications. Discuss use with a doctor first.
- Lemon balm: A relative of the mint plant, lemon balm is used to relieve anxiety, insomnia, upset stomach, herpes, and insect bites.
- Feverfew: It is one of the herbs that heal inflammatory conditions including headaches, arthritis, or inflammatory skin conditions.
- Tumeric: A report from Prevention indicates tumeric may be beneficial for arthritis, prevention of colon cancer and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Cinnamon: Use cinnamon if you want to lower your blood pressure and lower your cholesterol.
- Rosemary: Rosemary is a great herb to add to cooking because it reduces HCAs (heterocyclic amines), potent carcinogens implicated in several cancers, which occur when cooking meat at high temperatures.
- Ginger: Many people use ginger to alleviate nausea, but this herb may also decrease blood pressure, alleviate arthritis pain and reduce the risk for certain cancers.
- Garlic: One of our most common–and favorite–herbs in day-to-day life tends to be garlic, and eating this bulb may just lower your cancer risk and improve cardiovascular function. It’s also rumored to keep vampires away!
- Andrographis: Research supports the use of this as one of the herbs that heal upper respiratory infections.
- Sea buckthorn: Used as an oral supplement to reduce vaginal dryness.
- Oregano: According to Magic Baltimore, oregano is beneficial for disinfecting, an aid for ear, nose and throat/respiratory infections, candida, and any sort of bacterial or viral conditions.
- Dill: Dill, especially when dried, can be a potent flavor enhancer, but it is also used for treatment of digestive issues like heartburn and diarrhea.
- Mint: Mint is useful in relieving headaches, muscle aches when applied as a salve, and as a breathing aid to open airways.
- Cayenne: Used as a pain reliever.
- Curry powder: Curry powder, like cayenne, is a rumored pain reliever; however, it may also help prevent colon cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Cautions with herbs that heal
Remember that too much of something can be a bad thing, even when dealing with herbs that heal.
Be sure to discuss herbal supplementation with your doctor before starting a routine, and never go above the recommended dosage.
The side effects of many herbs that heal are not well documented. If you experience any changes in behavior, mood or physical ability, discontinue the supplement and seek medical attention.