Nature is a wonderland of healing and nourishment. Most of our medicine came originally from plants. Pharmaceutical companies have found ways to synthesize them into chemicals so they are no longer natural products. Many of these herbs can be found in pill or capsule form and purchased from stores or pharmacies. But we can grow these healing herbs in pots in our homes, in an outside garden or purchase them fresh from health food stores or nurseries.
Echinacea works as a stimulant for the immune system that has anti-inflammatory. antiviral, anti-fungal and antioxidant properties. Echinacea is typically used to help with cold and flu, sinus infections and strep throat. Echinacea can be made into a tea, juice, tincture, capsules or tablets.
It is a member of the Aster family of plants which are known to cause contact dermatitis in some people. If you have an allergy to Aster, it’s best not to use Echinacea as an herbal remedy.
Garlic is used by many for cooking for it’s flavorfulness. It has antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. When crushed it produces an antibiotic called allicin and an anti-fungal compound called phytoncide.
It has been historically used in many applications, including culinary and religious practices. Garlic can be purchased in pills and capsules too but it’s best to eat it fresh to get the most benefits.
Ginger has been associated with many herbal remedies. The American Cancer Society even endorses ginger as a digestive aid, help for reducing gas and even reducing nausea in chemotherapy patients. It has been used for years to combat motion sickness, vomiting and to reduce joint and muscle pain and swelling, joint.
Ginger can be used in dried or fresh root form, as a tea, a powder, as a liquid extract, as a tincture, in tablets, in capsules, and in candied form. In rare cases, some people have had allergic reactions to ginger. Ginger has also been reported to cause occasional rashes, heartburn, bloating, gas, and mild stomach upset.
Elderberry is used to induce a sweat to bring down a fever. It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties as well as stimulates the immune system. It is used to treat respiratory conditions and thought to reduce the length of the flu.
Cooked elderberries are used as a flavoring in foods and wine as well as food and jams. Raw elderberries, as well as other parts of the elder tree, are poisonous.
Thyme is an evergreen herb with culinary, medicinal and ornamental uses. It contains thymol, a volatile oil with strong antimicrobial properties. It has been traditionally used for respiratory infections and inflammation. Used as an expectorant, it helps to calm coughs, clear congestion and other respiratory issues.
Fresh or dried thyme leaves can be used in food preparation. Thyme essential oil can be used aromatically for respiratory issues such as asthma and bronchitis. It can be taken internally for muscle and bone support by placing a drop or two under the tongue or in a capsule.Thyme can be made into a tea or tincture.