My 10 Favourite Herbs ~ part 2
If you haven't read my first 5 favourite herbs, you are welcome to read them here. Otherwise, keep reading :)
#6 Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus)
This ginseng is found growing in North East China, Russia and parts of Korea, like other Ginsengs, it is known as an adaptogen. Siberian Ginseng is known to help the body and mind deal with stress and modulate and strengthen the whole body to restore vitality.
I often use this herb in my tea mix, that I drink throughout the day at work to keep my energy up and help concentration through the whole day. It is different to Panax ginseng, in that it doesn’t cause any excitability, but gives a more profound increase in stamina.
Siberian Ginseng works amazingly as a tonic for fatigue, debility, declining capacity for physical and mental work as well as to aid convalescence. This herb is also used for improving heart function, immune function, chronic infections, chronic inflammation, and also as an adjunct to cancer treatment to help recover from toxic cancer treatments.
It is a very safe herb, although it’s recommended that Siberian Ginseng is used continuously for no more than a month and then a break of two weeks is suggested before resuming use.
The roots of the plant are used in a water decoction 1.5-4g a day or in an alcohol tincture 2ml – 8ml a day.
#7 Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
The dandelion leaf can be used as a tea or eaten as a vegetable which targets the urinary system mostly as a diuretic and can help prevent renal gravel. As a diuretic to help with oedema and high blood pressure, it is marvelous as it is unlike most diuretics that cause potassium deficiency, Dandelion leaf will replace the potassium lost.
The Root is used mostly for the digestive system. Dandelion root will help with issues caused by congestion of the liver or gallbladder. It stimulates digestive secretions which makes it useful, in treating loss of appetite, indigestion, atonic dyspepsia, constipation and jaundice. Dandelion is a very safe herb and it tastes great. The roasted root tastes lovely and can be enjoyed as a coffee substitute.
The leaves can be infused in water as a tea - 12g-20g a day.
The roots will need decocting in water for 15 mins – 5g- 25g of herb a day
#8 Burdock root (Arctium lappa)
As an alternative or depurative, bitter, diuretic, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory, Burdock root is amazing for helping to treat skin conditions that show as dry or scaly, such as psoriasis and eczema, plus joints and connective tissue diseases.
Burdock will move a body to a balanced state of health by helping the elimination pathways of the body such as bowel, kidney, lungs, skin and excrete waste helping the body detoxify.
The root can be eaten fresh and cooked as a nutritious vegetable or an antibacterial soothing ointment, or dried and simmered in a water decoction as a tea.
If using Burdock root to help with skin conditions, I would suggest using other herbs that also help elimination channels, as sometimes Burdock can start the cleanout and if these channels are not functioning well, the condition could flare up initially. One of the most important of these channels is the liver. Herbs such as St Mary’s Thistle, Yellow Dock or Dandelion root are great for helping the liver function optimally and enhance Burdock roots benefits in skin issues.
Make a decoction of 6g – 18g a day.
#9 St Mary’s Thistle (Silybum marianum)
This ripe seed of St Mary’s Thistle, also known as Milk Thistle, seems to have miraculous effects on the function and health of the liver. With its main action being Hepatoprotective this seed has demonstrated successfully in trials, to protect liver cells from being damaged by many different toxins such as paracetamol, alcohol and excess iron.
As well as protecting the liver cells from damage, it also heals already damaged cells to bring the liver back to health. Because of these actions, St Mary’s can also help in the treatment of acute and chronic viral hepatitis and hepatitis due to drug, alcohol and toxin damage as well as cirrhosis of the liver due to alcohol, hepatitis C and Diabetes Mellitus.
When trying to bring a body back to optimal health, whatever the imbalance, it is very important to protect liver function and have a liver functioning optimally, so adding St Mary’s Thistle to your protocol is very beneficial. St Mary’s benefits are not just hepatic, it’s also a Galactagogue, helping lactating women produce more milk, an anti-inflammatory, an anti-oxidant and an anti-microbial to name a few.
I like to slightly break the hard shiny surface of the seed in a mortar and pestle before decocting to ensure you get the most out of this magic herb, but be careful as it can cause them to fly across the room when they are hit!
Use 6-12g a day in a water decoction or 6-12ml a day in an alcohol tincture.
#10 Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
Good old ginger, who doesn’t love ginger. Apart from being yummy, It possesses actions such as carminative, anti-emetic, spasmolytic, anti-inflammatory, diaphoretic and circulatory stimulant to name a few. It helps treat bronchitis, cold and flu, nausea and vomiting (even if induced by chemotherapy), colic, loss of appetite, arthritis, and rheumatism.
My favorite use for Ginger is for conditions that are made worse by congestion in the body due to poor circulation, such as cold extremities or painful menstrual bleeding. Ginger warms and moves the blood around the body relieving cold crampy feelings. I add it to most herbal mixes as it helps move the herbal constituents around the body and out to the extremities, as well as its welcomed addition to the taste. Because of its blood moving qualities, you should be cautious using Ginger with blood thinning drugs.
It can be taken as an infusion or in a decoction at 1g- 9g a day
I hope you try at least some of these herbs and see what they can do for your health. Most of these are tonic and general wellbeing herbs.
Health Tonic Recipe
I like to make a decoction using 6 out of my 10 favourite herbs, mixed together as a health tonic.
- Licorice root - 5g
- Dandelion root - 5g
- Burdock root - 6g
- Siberian ginseng - 4g
- St Mary’s Thistle - 6g
- Ginger - 4g
Simmered in 1 liter of water with a lid for 15-20 mins
Drink throughout the day.
I only drink this for a month at a time. I will then take a couple of weeks break before making it again. The amounts of each herb is the basic minimum for therapeutic benefit, so you can add more of the herbs that you like as per taste or for individual needs.
If you'd like to read part 1 to this blog, click here.