You Can Grow Your Own Herbal Medicine

Herbs are increasingly becoming more and more respected in the medical community. Herbal medicine is a practice in which herbs or plant-based remedies are created to heal ailments and other minor illnesses. Did you know you can actually grow your own herb garden and leave it right on your kitchen counter? All you need are plants that bought at your local garden center or organic herbs from a seed catalog. Find a sunny windowsill and enjoy the lovely aroma as you steep your healing teas. 

Use a tablespoon of a chopped fresh herb of your choice and boil a cup of water. Cover and steep five to ten minutes before sipping. Drink a cup two or three times a day as needed. Here are 4 remedies to try and why. 

  1. Lemon balm: Anxiety, mild insomnia, and tension headaches
  2. Peppermint: Nausea, flatulence, indigestion, and tension headaches
  3. Sage: Hot flashes, night sweats, fever, and sore throat (use as a gargle)
  4. Thyme: Cough, congestion, and bronchitis

Tense shoulders, insomnia, grinding teeth, heart palpitations, feelings of panic and uneasiness.  These are all symptoms of anxiety.  Many of us have experienced one or more of these feelings at some point in our lives.  Feeling this way from time to time can be ok, but not for prolonged periods of time.  Before turning to prescription drugs, why not explore what Mother Nature has to offer in combating feelings of stress and anxiety?  Need to relieve anxiety? These herbs will do the trick. 

1. Chamomile: This common herb is part of the daisy family, and historically has been used as a mild sedative to reduce anxiety and aid in sleep.  This tea is chock full of medicinal properties and can help calm you down, which is why people typically drink it while unwinding before bed  Some compounds in chamomile work on the brain in a way similar to that of anxiety-reducing drugs like Xanax and Valium.

2. Passion Flower: This herb is actually a potent sedative, so much so that in Germany it is approved for use against nervous restlessness.   This is because in certain studies passion flower was shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety just as effectively as prescription drugs. Like other sedatives, it can make you drowsy and sleepy, hence why it is used to treat insomnia.  Since it can make you fall asleep, make sure there’s nothing you need to be awake for (like driving) before taking it.

3. Green tea: The amino acid in green tea, L-theanine, reduces heart rate and lowers blood pressure.  This can subsequently reduce anxiety.  This amino acid can help make you calmer and more focused, which for most will reduce the feeling of anxiety.  This is especially true since we are typically more productive when we are calm and collected, helping get the things causing you anxiety done and out of the way.

4. Ashwagandha: Ashwagandha, one of the most powerful healing herbs, has been used since ancient times for a wide variety of conditions, and is most well-known for its restorative benefits.  This herb belongs to the same family as the tomato, and is native to the dry regions of India, northern Africa, and the Middle East.  Ashwagandha is known for its rejuvenating properties, and commonly used to alleviate stress, fatigue and anxiety.  Unlike chamomile, this herb fights anxiety and the effects of stress without making you sleepy.

5. Lemon Balm: Named after the Greek work for “honey bee” (Melissa), Lemon balm is known to reduce stress and anxiety, as well as act as a sleep aid.  It is not clear exactly what compound in lemon balm acts as a soothing agent, but herbal studies have shown those who drank lemon balm tea had reduced symptoms of anxiety, slept better and were generally in a better mood.  Studies have also shown that lemon balm extract increases calmness and alertness.  Overall this herb is a powerhouse for fighting feelings of anxiousness.

6. Lavender: Lavender is known by its potently aromatic purple flowers.  When these flowers are concentrated into an essential oil, the smell or inhaling this essential oil can act as an anxiety buster.  Studies have revealed that when the aromatic molecules enter the brain, they interact with our centers of emotion and sedate them.  By calming these areas, feelings of stress and anxiety are relieved.   In essence, lavender can be thought of as an emotional anti-inflammatory.  This is why so many bath products, and massage oils include lavender in the ingredients.