Since the beginning of human civilization, every culture in the world has used herbs to treat ailments. In fact, many of our knowledge of medicinal herbs today come from what these ancient civilizations learned thousands of years ago. Even with advances in medicine and health sciences, tried and true methods using the bounty given to us by nature are still alive and well. Thanks to our increasingly globalized world, plants that were confined to countries like China and India are now available for use in the far reaches of the globe.
Below are some of the best and most multifaceted herbs still in use today:
Lavender essential oil is one of the most versatile oils out there. Known most prominently for its strong calming effect, it can be used for sleep and soothing anxiety in addition to bee stings and dry skin.
Try using lavender oil in a diffuser to help you fall asleep, or place a few drops in your palm and rub it on your wrists and temples.
Though aloe vera is technically a succulent, not an herb, the gel contained inside its leaves has so many uses it would be a crime not to include it. Aloe is most commonly used to treat sunburns and rashes, but it can also serve as a hair conditioner, digestive aid, and even mouthwash!
You can either grow your own plant and harvest the gel yourself, or buy 100% pure aloe gel with no additives online or in a local store.
Another wonderful sleep aid and insomnia cure, chamomile is most often ingested in tea form or added as oil to a diffuser. It also has wonderful anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe stomach-aches. There are some claims that it even fights anxiety and depression!
This herb is not only delicious and reminiscent of Christmas-time; it is also great for temporary pain relief. It can be used to treat everything from a headache to an upset stomach! Known for its cooling and calming effect, peppermint has antimicrobial properties that make it perfect for nausea and digestive issues. It also works wonderfully for headaches, toothaches, and cramps.
To address stomach discomfort, try drinking peppermint tea. To soothe headaches, add a few drops of peppermint oil to coconut oil and rub it on your temple, neck, and feet.
Historically, Echinacea has been used to treat colds and upper respiratory infections. It has been shown to not only reduce your chances of catching a cold but also shortening the duration of an already existing one. Echinacea can be taken in a capsule, or in liquid form.
St. John’s Wort
St. John’s Wort contains anti-depressant chemicals that even doctors are using to treat depression and anxiety. It does not always replace modern depression medication and shouldn’t be used as a treatment by itself without consulting a doctor. However, the science is real. The herb also has powerful hormone balancing properties that can help control mood swings, thyroid problems, hormone-induced skin conditions, and menopause. It can be taken in liquid or capsule form.
Though much less severe than the side effects that go along with most modern-day medicines, St. John’s Wort can make you more sensitive to sunlight. Take the proper precautions when exposed to UV rays.