Are you sick, stressed, or just wanting to improve your overall health? There’s an herb for that.
Herbal healing has been used for thousands of years. Herbs work wonders to improve overall health and vitality. They have been used for millennia to combat disorders ranging from psychological to digestive.
But how can we effectively use herbalism today?
We can begin our journey with herbalism by first knowing that there’s a specific herb we’d benefit from at this very moment in time. Yes, right now there’s an herb each one of us should form a relationship with to lessen some burden or strengthen some quality.
Whether you’re wanting to increase energy, heal anxiety, or heal the digestive system— look to herbal healing and become acquainted with the right herb.
This article reveals important herbs to use in order to thrive in a modern world full of stress and illness. But first— some history.
Herbal healing: a history and overview
Herbs have been praised for their healing qualities since time immemorial.
Archaeological evidence suggests that plants have been used for their healing qualities since prehistoric times. For as long as humankind has existed, we’ve been seeking out and experimenting with various forms of plants for healing and longevity.
Fast forward and we learn how the Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Chinese, and Indigenous peoples from around the world used herbalism.
The Greek physician Hippocrates paved the way for our contemporary use of medicine, including herbalism. Hippocrates believed in holistic approaches for healing his patients. He paid close attention to the body, mind, environment, and even the lifestyles of those he treated. Naturally, herbal healing became an integral part of the Hippocratic method.
Today, herbalism isn’t frequently used by conventional medicine. Physicians often prescribe medications to mask symptoms rather than heal the underlying causes of illness.
Luckily, healing through herbalism is absolutely possible and accessible through the current availability of powerful herbs.
Who should use herbal healing?
If you’re suffering from a serious medical condition, consider asking your doctor about alternative methods of herbal healing before using prescription drugs. Or see if herbalism can be used in accompaniment to prescription medications to treat your illness. Some herbs can even lessen the risks and side effects of some medications, but always check with a health professional before beginning herbal treatments to avoid unintended interactions between herbal remedies and prescription drugs.
Herbalism is a powerful method that often parallels in effectiveness to pharmaceuticals. When used with consistency, the right combination of herbs will lessen symptoms. Herbal healing can even heal a disease entirely depending on the type and severity of the ailment. But again, always be sure to check with a doctor about herbal remedies, especially if you’re already taking medications.
Note that herbal healing isn’t only for those suffering from illness or chronic disease. Herbs are also for those interested in improving vitality, cognition, and other areas of health. Perfectly healthy people can and should take herbs on a daily basis to accompany a healthy, active lifestyle.
Important herbs to consider
I’ve selected and organized a set of important medicinal herbs to use based on relevance, obtainability, healing potential, and historical authenticity. Some of the herbs listed belong in more than one of the categories, but I listed them according to the qualities they’re known and prescribed for. Also note that while some of the listed herbs are technically barks and roots, they’re usually talked about in the herbalist canon due to their powerful healing properties.
Have a look and decide which category and specific herb best fits your needs. For convenience, most of these herbs are available in capsule forms. Just be sure that the capsules you buy don’t contain additives, fillers, or other toxic ingredients. These can aggravate the very conditions you’re treating.
An alarming portion of the world is suffering from digestive diseases. 1.6 million people in the United States alone have some form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The two most common forms of IBD cause ulcers in the mucosa lining of the digestive tract. These illnesses are ulcerative colitis which affects the colon, and Crohn’s disease which can affect the entire digestive tract.
These herbs are particularly powerful for ulcers and other digestive maladies. But they may be used by anyone for overall digestive support and health.
Licorice root helps us maintain healthy digestion if we are to remain grounded in a stressful world.
Licorice root has been used for centuries in Greece, China, and Egypt to treat digestive disorders. It is particularly effective for ulcers, making it a wise choice for treating ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Licorice root has coating capabilities, or the ability to seal ulcers due to its “slippery” texture. It is also an anti-inflammatory powerhouse that calms overactive stress and inflammatory responses in the body.
Slippery elm bark
The mucosa lining of the intestines is the tree bark of the digestive system. This lining protects the stomach, small intestine, and large intestine from nasty bugs and rancid, undigested toxins.
We can turn to slippery elm bark in order to restore our own digestive bark.
Slippery elm bark, like licorice root, is renowned for its ulcer-coating capabilities. This powerful bark reduces symptoms of IBD with its slipperiness and maintains overall digestive health by restoring our gut’s rightful texture.
Ginger is another root that can help us in times of stress and unease. Often, stress causes digestive complications such as acid reflux and even nausea. Take ginger when you need immediate results for lurking digestive discomfort.
I’ve even used ginger before public speaking sessions. It did wonders for my nervous belly and even provided an energy boost that supported my speeches.
Humans are a resilient species. We’ve survived the odds— floods, fires, plagues, ice ages, and more. Yet our contemporary battles seem to be mostly internal. Our bodies are often in fight-or-flight even when there’s nothing to fight or flee from.
In these times, we should turn to adaptogenic herbs. These herbs strengthen our resilience to stress and aid us in healing from anxiety and other psychological dis-ease.
Obtain adaptogens when you need more mental stamina or In conjunction with counseling to treat long-standing anxiety and depression.
Ashwagandha is the ultimate adaptogenic herb that offers strength, resilience, and revitalization through hard times. Ashwagandha is highly revered in Ayurveda, the Indian science of holistic healing. It’s an exceptional healing herb that wards off stress and builds immunity like no other.
Also, ayurvedic doctors have been known to prescribe ashwagandha to increase libido, reduce fatigue, and strengthen metabolic function.
If the world is burning you out, turn to lemon balm for protection. This popular herb has been used for centuries to regulate stress, anxiety, and to maintain psychological homeostasis.
Further, lemon balm is a digestive aid, providing our systems with extra layers of protection from the stressful world.
Another famous ayurvedic herb, holy basil (also known as “tulsi”), will help make stress a thing of the past.
Holy basil acts as a stress-reducer and antidepressant, reducing the severity of sadness in some of its users. It is an adaptogen on all levels and is even known to lower the inflammation attributed to anxiety.
Herbs to cook with
You may already be using some of the most powerful herbal tonics unknowingly.
A great way to use herbal healing is by using it in your cooking. Cooking with herbs is an excellent way to enhance both the flavor and healing potential of your meals. These herbs go great in combination with roasted veggies, stews, and other savory dishes.
These herbs are very common, easy to obtain, and offer benefits ranging from anti-pathogenic to cognitive enhancement.
- Rosemary: This common herb is known to benefit cognition.
- Thyme: Thyme is great for fighting viruses and bacteria. For optimal effects, it should be used at the first signs of illness.
- Oregano: Like thyme, oregano is great for destroying pathogens. For some, oregano works as powerfully as an antibiotic.
- Cilantro: Cilantro is known for its chelating properties. Chelation refers to the removal of heavy metals from the body.
We can all begin herbal healing
Herbs have been here for humans since the beginning of time. We evolved using herbs, which is why it’s no surprise that they’re healing potential is more prevalent today than ever.
With the rise of globalization, Amazon, and information, herbs are as accessible as ever. Herbs are available to us from all traditions and from all over the world.
To begin a path with herbal healing, we only need to head to the closest grocery store or conduct a simple Google search.
Always consult a health professional when using herbs as a holistic treatment option. They’ll identify any herbs that may be problematic when combined with certain medications and other herbs. A holistic practitioner can provide you with further information regarding which herbs to use for specific ailments and wellness goals.
Interested in learning more about health and healing? Visit the TelMD Upstream Blog.
Let’s Make Wellness Contagious!™
Jacob Lopez Wellness aficionado, traveler, and holistic ulcerative colitis warrior based in Huntington Beach.
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