Healing with Herbs
Herbs are any plants used for food, medicine, or fragrances. I personally love using herbs for medicinal purposes to enhance my overall wellbeing. Find below some of my favorite herbs for healing different ailments!
Botanical Name: Rhodiola rosea
Sometimes referred to as "golden root." Widely used as an adaptogenic herb to normalize bodily processes, including increasing physical endurance and stamina, reducing fatigue, and enhancing concentration. Rhadiola can be consumed in a capsule, tea, or tincture, and used to fight fatigue, stress, and a feeling of being run-down.
Botanical Name: Withania Somnifera
This is an extraordinary tonic herb that promotes enhanced energy and vitality. It's Latin species name, somnifera, means "sleep inducing" and refers to it's ability to promote healthy sleep patterns. This herb is particularly remarkable for its abilities to support health and wellness in the young and elderly. It is a herb rich in iron and has anti-inflammatory properties that make it ideal for promoting improvement after illness, injury, or overexertion. It can also be used to alleviate muscle cramps and soreness following exercise.
Chaste Tree Berry (girls, you'll love this one!)
Botanical Name: Vitex agnus-castus
In traditional herbal medicine, this herb is highly regarded for its ability to normalize the functioning of the male and female reproductive systems. It has been used to treat ailments related to female menstruation and can help promote regular and healthy menstrual cycles, balance key hormones, and greatly reduce PMS symptoms such as hormonal acne, mood changes, and breast tenderness.
Botanical Name: Ilex paraguariensis
I was introduced to this herb after moving to California and wow- I love it! I love to drink the Guayaki Yerba Mate brand, they're so delicious and refreshing! My favorite flavor is the Enlighten Mint. This herb contains caffeine and is widely consumed as a stimulating drink. Yerba Mate is highly valued for being rich in nutrients. It contains vitamins A, C, and E, as well as B-complex vitamins, and significant amounts of calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium.
Botanical Name: Piper methysticum
This Polynesian plant has been used for hundreds of years to brew a traditional drink consumed across the Pacific Islands and is now becoming more popular here in the United States and Europe. The drink is used both ceremonially and recreationally and contains compounds called kavalactones that are thought to be responsible for many of its medicinal effects. Kavalactones exert a calming influence on the central nervous system and have shown anti-anxiety, pain-relieving, and sedative effects.
Botanical Name: Zingiber officinale
The root or underground stem (rhizome) of the ginger plant can be consumed fresh, powdered, dried as a spice, in oil form, or as juice. Ginger is great for digestion, nausea, flu relief, pain reduction, inflammation, and cardiovascular health. It also fights cancer- hooray!
Botanical Name: Salvia officinalis
I LOVE sage!!! Sage helps manage diabetes, keeps your skin healthy, improves digestion, boosts cognitive development, helps reduce inflammation, improves overall health, and helps in growth and development of bones. Sage is also a lovely aromatherapy tool. I love burning sage around my apartment to clear out any negative energy. Sage is an excellent natural disinfectant and deodorizer.
Botanical Name: Mentha × piperita
Peppermint is magical. Peppermint comes from the mint plant (there are about 25 different species of mint), and is actually a natural hybrid cross between water mint and spearmint. Inhaling peppermint aroma may offer memory enhancement and stress relief. I personally love using peppermint essential oil for dental care and headache pain. Peppermint leaf makes a delicious, calming (and caffeine free) tea that is invigorating in the morning and improves digestion if consumed after meals. It also helps with irritable bowl syndrome (IBS), gastrointestinal disorders, tuberculosis, memory problems, bad breath, stress, muscle pain, and asthma. This herb has so many incredible benefits!
Botanical Name: Chamaemelum nobile
Using chamomile for hot tea is one of my favorite nightly drinks to sip on. On a chemical level, chamomile extracts have been shown to have sedative properties. The plant's healing properties come from its daisy-like flowers, which contain volatile oils (including bisabolol, bisabolol oxides A and B, and matricin) as well as flavonoids (particularly a compound called apigenin) and other therapeutic substances. Chamomile is also used for treating fevers, colds, stomach ailments, and allergies. I also highly recommend this herb if you suffer from insomnia because it helps you fall asleep more easily. Last but not least, this herb is perfect for treating conditions such as eczema, sun burns, or rashes. It reduces skin inflammation and prevents bacterial infections. The oil can either be applied topically—when dealing with skin problems, or ingested orally—for upset stomach or other gastrointestinal issues.
Botanical Name: Lavandula angustifolia
Who doesn't love lavender?! This herb is widely used for its massive range of applications, from food and fragrance to cosmetics and herb medicines; this plant is full of essential oils that can have powerful effects on the human body and has the most unique and beloved scents in the world. One of lavender’s most widely known benefits is helping to reduce stress and anxiety. Research has revealed that lavender oil may be useful for treating insomnia, depression, and anxiety. Some studies suggest that consuming lavender as a tea can help with digestive issues such as vomiting, nausea, intestinal gas, abdominal swelling, and upset stomach. Lavender has so many healing benefits and smells absolutely amazing. I personally love putting a few drops on my pillow before I sleep or using my diffuser to help me feel more relaxed. It is a lovely air freshener!
Botanical Name: Centella asiatica
Gotu Kola is an ancient herb of enlightenment and longevity. It is an impressive list of benefits! It is a true adaptogen and is highly prized in both ancient India and China. In Asia, it is known as a longevity herb. The Daoist master and herbalist Li Ching-Yuen was a famous proponent and user of the plant. Ancient Chinese medical texts report that he died at the age of 256 years old and attribute his longevity in large part to the use of Gotu Kola on a daily basis. This magical herb also has increased intelligence and cognitive functioning benefits. In one study, children who took a half a gram of Gotu Kola extract powder every day for one year demonstrated significant improvement of their intellectual level. After six months, there was a substantial improvement in intelligence, cognitive function and concentration. 
In Ayurvedic medicine, Gotu Kola is classified as a rasayana, or rejuvenative, due to its ability to restore functioning, balance and health to many parts of the mind and body. It has the ability to rebuild the nervous system and reduce anxiety and stress. Gotu Kola has long been a favorite herb of monks, yogis, Daoists and sages due to its unique cerebral effects. Many Ayurvedic texts refer to it as the ‘Herb of Enlightenment’ because its spiritually enhancing properties. Meditators in particular have sought the plant out for its ability to harmonize the right and left brain hemispheres, which produces a heightened state of awareness, commonly seen in people demonstrating what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has popularized as flow states—states where one becomes intensely absorbed with the activity at hand, in which learning and brain circuitry are significantly enhanced.
Gotu Kola grows widely throughout Central Asia and parts of Africa and is native to India, Indonesia, South African, China, Sri Lanka, Japan, and various islands in the South Pacific. Many health conscious locals add Gotu Kola leaves to salads as a general life-enhancing tonic and preventative.
I believe herbs can play an important role in anyone's life. Whether they're used for cooking or healing- there is always a herb available to fit your needs. I would love to know your favorite herbs in the comments below!