A few weeks ago I wrote about nine herbs to get to know, and today I wanted to tell you about seven more.
Before I start I want to clarify that although I recommend taking herbs, supplements, and essential oils for different conditions, I believe it is best that we listen to our bodies and decide what we feel is best for us, given how our bodies respond.
Although it is true that the herbs included here support the conditions described, I recommend trying the herbs for ourselves and paying attention to how our bodies react. We are bioindividuals, and our bodies respond differently to different remedies. I described what it means to be a bioindividual when I shared an article about a rice diet.
What this means is that what works for one person, may not work for everyone. So, give it a try, but take it all with a grain of salt. Watch how and whether the herb or supplement works on your body, and make the necessary adjustments. It may work wonders, but you may discover that it does not work well for you. Only you can decide that.
1. Asian Ginseng for Stress & Immune Support
Asian ginseng, Panax ginseng, has been used for more than 2,000 years. It originates in China, Korea, and East Asia, but is now widely used globally. It is considered an adaptogen and immune tonic, which means it is used to reduce stress and stimulate the immune system (Petersen, 2014).
It has anticancer effects, and it is believed to stimulate natural killer cells and inhibit cancer cell growth, among other immune functions that help reduce the risk of cancer. Among these functions, the herb is believed to offer antioxidant and free radical scavenging activity (Petersen, 2014).
Asian ginseng helps mental and physical performance, including increasing stamina, concentration, memory, general wellness, cognitive function, and work efficiency. It aids in comprehension, abstract thinking, and forming verbal concepts. It helps improve coordination and promotes healthy aging (Petersen, 2014).
2. Beth Root for Female & Reproductive Health
Trillim erectum or beth root is an herb belonging to the Liliaceae family. It is commonly known as birthroot, ground lily, Indian balm, or snakebite. It has properties as an emmenagogue, uterine stimulant, astringent, tonic, antiseptic, expectorant, and pain-reliever. It tones female reproductive organs and promotes general reproductive health, fertility, a stable pregnancy, and quick recovery from pelvic infections and conditions. It can be used to treat long and heavy menstruation and aid in childbirth (Petersen, 2014).
It has been used topically for varicose veins, ulcers, hematomas, and hemorrhoid bleeding. As a topical administration, the root parts of the herb can be prepared into poultices. However, it may cause irritation, so it is best to test a small patch of skin, waiting 24 hours to watch for any reaction, and if there is no reaction, then using it over a larger area (Petersen, 2014).
3. Bladderwrack for Thyroid Support
Bladderwrack or Fucus vesiculosus is a type of algae found in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Bladderwrack is a source of iodine, and has been used to treat hypothyroidism. However, the algae are no longer used for this purpose because it can have a varying degree of iodine, and thus produce varying effects in the body. Bladderwrack has also been used to treat other thyroid disorders, iodine deficiency, arthritis, and rheumatism (Petersen, 2014).
4. Goldenseal for Bacterial & Viral Infections
Goldenseal or Hydrastis canadensis is an herb belonging to the Ranunculaceae family, and is grown in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. It is used to treat cold sores, conjunctivitis, eye inflammation, mouth ulcers, spongy gums, discharges from the ear, ringworm, verruca, thrush, and vaginal infection (Petersen, 2014).
It has antibiotic and antiseptic action, which makes it effective in treating bacterial infections such as Staph and viral infections such as herpes simplex. Goldenseal is an effective tonic that aids in digestion and assimilation. It aids in toning the mucus membranes of the gastrointestinal tract, while also stimulate appetite and regulate gastric secretions (Petersen, 2014).
Despite its benefits, the herb should not be consumed for more than two to four weeks, as it can be toxic. The constituents of the herb can accumulate in the body for a long time, and not only produce toxic effects, but also reverse some of the benefits it imparted on the body (Petersen, 2014).
5. Mistletoe for Heart Health
Mistletoe, Viscum album, is an herb used for cardiovascular support. It is a parasite on pine and fir trees. In order to ensure their survival and get water, nutrients, and support, they require a living host (Hoffman, 2004).
Despite their parasitic nature, mistletoe is a keystone species, which means it positively supports other species around them. They are a source of food or shelter for other plants and animals, to the extent that many thrive due to its presence, which means the contribute to the ecosystem around them (Press. n.d.; Ndagurwa, Dube, & Mlambo, 2014).
Mistletoe is used as a heart tonic, which means it helps reduce blood pressure, reduce nervous tachycardia, and slow down the heart rate. It further supports the cardiovascular system by treating arteriosclerosis. It also stimulates the immune system, and is believed to have anti-cancer activity by inhibiting tumors. It has a calming and sedative effect on the body and can be used to treat hypertensive headaches and hysteria (Petersen, 2014).
Mistletoe has a low therapeutic margin, and as a result should be carefully administered. The berries are considered highly poisonous, and excessive doses of berries and leaves can cause severe reactions, such as seizures, slowed heart rate, low blood pressure, and death. Doses should be discussed with a healthcare practitioner. Women who are pregnant or lactating should not consume mistletoe, as it is believed to be a uterine stimulant and have abortifacient properties (Petersen, 2014).
6. Fo Ti for Liver Support
Fo ti Polygonum multiflorum is an herb native to China. It is well used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, as well as in Japan and Taiwan, and the herb is used in both raw and processed forms for different benefits. When processed, which is done by steaming or drying the roots under the sun, the herb has higher anti-aging effects. In the raw form, fo ti contains a higher level of emodin. Emodin increases and supports the immune response. Fo ti improves liver function. Other benefits of the herb include antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, cognitive, estrogenic, and cholesterol-lowering effects (Petersen, 2014).
7. Jamaican Dogwood for Sedation
Jamaican dogwood, Piscidia piscipula, is an herb belonging to the Leguminosae or Fabaceae family. The primary therapeutic action of the herb is as a sedative, and to treat anxiety, fear, neuralgia, migraines, insomnia, and dysmenorrhea. It is also an, anti-inflammatory, and anti-spasmodic. Because of its sedative effects the herb should be used with caution, because if the herb is over-consumed it can cause numbness, tremors, salivation, and sweating (Petersen, 2014).
Pregnant and lactating women should not take any herbs or supplements that are not deemed as safe, as there usually are no studies that document what effects these can have on the pregnant women or children. None of the herbs in this list are safe for pregnant and lactating women.
Anyone considering to take these herbs should consult a health care practitioner to ensure the herbs are safe to take, given your health and conditions, as well as any supplements, medications, or other relevant particulars.
Hoffman, J. T. (2004). Dwarf mistletoe management. Forest Health Protection and State Forestry Organizations, 12, 1-14.
Ndagurwa, H. G. T., Dube, J. S., & Mlambo, D. (2014). The influence of mistletoes on nutrient cycling in a semi-arid savanna, southwest Zimbabwe. Plant Ecology, 215, 15-26. doi:10.1007/s11258-013-0275-x
Petersen, D. (2014). Herb 502 & 503 Advanced Herbal Materia Medica I & II. Portland, OR: American College of Healthcare Sciences.
Press, B. (n.d.). Viscum album (mistletoe). Natural History Museum. Retrieved on April 8, 2014 from http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nature-online/species-of-the-day/common-species/viscum-album/index.html