Herbs and Folk Remedies: What You Should Know About Natural Remedies

HerbsandFolkRemedies thumb Herbs and Folk Remedies: What You Should Know About Natural Remedies Just because herbs are natural doesn’t mean that they can be used indiscriminately. Before trying any herbal remedy, be sure you know what it does, how to prepare and use it—and what cautions or side effects you should be aware of.

Never try any natural or herbal remedy without knowing what it does, how it should be prepared and taken, what cautions should be observed, and what its possible side effects could be!

As a rule, few medical problems occur from ingesting herbal remedies, but the potential for an allergic or toxic response is always there.

IMPORTANT: If you are now taking any drugs, or have any medical problems it’s wise to consult a nutritionally oriented physician who is aware of herb-drug interactions, as well as any potentially dangerous side effects.

1. Basil

Sweet basil is a plant that can be used as a poultice to draw poison from the skin. It’s frequently used to alleviate bee stings and to draw underskin pimples to a head.

2. Echinacea

This herb has been found to help protect healthy cells from viral and bacterial attack by stimulating activity of the immune system in general and T-cells—which attack pathogens and toxins—in particular.

3. Saw-Palmetto (berries)

Saw-Palmetto berries are helpful in the treatment of chronic cystitis and in the prevention of genito-urinary tract infections.

4. Poke Weed

This is a root that’s used primarily to treat arthritis pain. It’s also an ingredient in creams that help fight fungal infections.

5. Aconite

Small amounts of a fluid extract of the root of this plant mixed in a cup of water have been reported to successfully reduce pain, fever, inflammation of the stomach, and heart palpitations.

Caution: This is one of the few herbs where misuse can cause a particularly dangerous side effect: heart failure.

6. Aloe Vera

The aloe vera plant contains a wound-healing substance called Aloe Vera Gel, a mixture of antibiotic, astringent, and coagulating agents.

Taken internally, it works as a mild laxative. One tablespoon taken at regular intervals (preferably on an empty stomach) totaling a pint a day, can help in the treatment of stomach ulcers.

External uses of Aloe Vera Gel are many:

  • It acts as an immediate and effective wound-healer, aiding in the treatment of burns, insect stings, and poison ivy. Split a leaf and apply pulp directly to the injured area, or soak cloth with Aloe Vera Gel and bind on.
  • Aloe Vera Gel ointments, creams, and lotions can prevent blistering and peeling from sunburn.
  • It can help soften corns and calluses on the feet.
  • Applied to the face and throat, it can soften skin and hold aging lines in check.
  • It can alleviate the pain and itching of hemorrhoids and bleeding piles.
  • It can be used as an effective hair-conditioner.

Caution: As an ointment it can cause hives, rashes, itching and other allergic reactions in sensitive individuals—and can be extremely dangerous if taken internally by pregnant women.

7. Anise (seed)

This is a natural diuretic and gastric stimulant and is often used to relieve flatulence. It’s also been used in home remedies as a treatment for a dry cough.

8. Astragalus

This herb has been found to alleviate fatigue and lessen the frequency of colds. It’s an immune system booster that improves resistance to viruses and bacterial infections and also accelerates healing. It works best with zinc and vitamins A and C.

9. Blessed Thistle

Often used as an appetite stimulant and in the treatment of digestive problems, it can reduce fevers and break up congestion.

Caution: In high doses, this can cause burns of the mouth and esophagus, as well as diarrhea.

10. Chamomile

This plant has antispasmodic and gastric-stimulant properties, and is usually taken internally for migraines, gastric cramps, and anxiety. Externally it’s used as a treatment for wounds, skin ulcers, and conjunctivitis.

Caution: May cause severe allergic reactions—including fatal shock—in individuals with hay fever, or those sensitive to ragweed, asters, and related plants.

11. Comfrey

When used in teas, comfrey has been found to alleviate stomach ailments, coughs, diarrhea, arthritis pain, liver and gallbladder conditions.

Caution: A possible side effect of using this herb is that it can reduce your absorption of iron and vitamin B12.

12. Juniper (berries)

These are often used as a stomach tonic, can act as appetite and digestion enhancers, as well as a diuretic and a disinfectant of the urinary tract.

Caution: Excessive ingestion of the berries, or beverages and tonic containing them, can cause hallucinations.

13. Licorice

An effective restorer of membrane and tissue function, it is also a hormone balancer, an intestinal secretion stimulant, a respiratory stimulant, and a laxative.

Caution: High blood pressure and cardiac arrhythmias are possible side effects of licorice. (American manufactured licorice, the short used in candy, is a synthetic flavoring and does not have these potential side effects—of course, it also doesn’t offer any of the benefits.)

14. Evening Primrose Oil

As a dietary supplement, Evening Primrose Oil can help lower blood cholesterol, lower blood pressure, help in weight reduction, relieve premenstrual pain, improve eczema, aid in the treatment of moderate cases of rheumatoid arthritis, slow progression of multiple sclerosis, help hyperactive children, improve acne (when taken with zinc), and help build stronger fingernails.

The active ingredient in Evening Primrose Oil is Gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which is needed for the body to produce hormone like compounds called prostaglandins (PGs), vital for good health. In other words, a deficiency of the former can result in impaired production of the latter and adversely affect your physical well-being.

15. Parsley (seeds and leaves)

A diuretic and gastric stimulant, parsley is used medicinally to treat coughs, asthma, amorrhea, dysmenorrhea, and conjunctivitis.

16. Pennyroyal

This herb, often referred to as “lung mint,” is used as an inhalant in treating colds; it’s also used as a tea for curing headaches, menstrual cramps, and pain.

Cautions: Pennyroyal can induce abortion and should therefore NEVER be used during pregnancy.

17. Peppermint (leaves)

An antispasmodic, tonic, and stimulant, peppermint has been used to treat nervousness, insomnia, cramps, dizziness, and coughs. (For headaches, you might want to try a strong cup of peppermint tea, then lie down for 15 to 20 minutes. It usually works as effectively as aspirin—and there are NO side effects).

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Filed Under: Herbal Medicines


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