Whether you grow your own herbs or buy them, these are my top 5 favorite medicinal herbs to have on hand. I am NOT a doctor! These herbs are not substitutes for a doctor’s medical advice! They are simple herbs, usually in capsule or tea form, that can be purchased at your local grocery or health food store.
This herb is an immunity boosting supplement. Take it during cold and flu season. It should only be used for ten days before taking a break from it. Persistent use of this herb can create a resistance to its’ benefits. I have an echinacea plant, but I also purchase the supplement capsules in the vitamins section of my local grocery store.
This herb helps settle a queasy stomach and calm nervousness. It can also be used as a sleep aid. There are claims that it can be used as an anti-inflammatory for skin-irritation. My garden will have a chamomile plant this spring. Until it blooms, I try to keep several boxes of tea bags in my pantry.
This herb also helps a queasy stomach. It is wonderful for children. My kids like it blended with chamomile and honey. (Side note: Raw honey can be used on minor cuts and scrapes like Neosporin, just make sure to ask about bee allergies before using it.) Add a splash of lemon juice to some peppermint tea to sooth a sore throat. There is also a decongestant benefit to drinking peppermint tea. Celestial Seasonings’ “Tummy Mint Tea” is a wonderful blending of these two herbs.
This herb helps remedy motion sickness, nausea and poor indigestion. The root can be purchased in your produce section, sliced and simmered. You can also find it in capsules, powdered, crystallized, or tea form. One caution: Pregnant women can use ginger for morning sickness, but very sparingly!
I put garlic in EVERYTHING! It loses some potency when cooked, however. I don’t think I’m going to get my sons to eat it raw, even if it is more beneficial. Try to keep cloves and jars of minced garlic on hand. Besides its’ cardiovascular benefits, garlic has proven to have antibacterial, antibiotic, anti-fungal, and antiviral properties. It was used by the Ancient Greeks, Egyptians, and as recently as World War I as a substitute for penicillin. I am NOT suggesting substituting this for prescription medicines, but if there is a shortage of prescription drugs, I would try an herbal remedy rather than nothing.
One final thought. Keep zinc in your medicine cabinet. Zinc is a metallic chemical element, not an herb. That said, my father-in-law is an old retired pharmacist who swears by it.
Use zinc on the rare occasion that you feel a “catch” or sore spot in the back of your throat. If you suspect that you may be coming down with a bug like a cold, strep throat, tonsillitis, etc., immediately take a 30 – 50 mg zinc tablet and suck on it. (Disclaimer: It tastes NASTY!) It will take approximately 3 – 5 minutes to dissolve completely. Do not drink for several minutes. The zinc will kill the infection in your throat. If caught early enough, you rarely need to take a second dose. If you do need to take a second dose, wait 12 – 24 hours. Two doses should be enough. Make sure you have eaten something before taking zinc. It can cause stomach irritation.
I have followed this regimen for over twenty years. It really works and is much better than visiting a doctor and taking of a round of antibiotics! Who knows, antibiotics may be scarce someday. Zinc lozenges are good for children, but they contain a much lower dose, 12.5 mg. per lozenge. I find them much less effective on adults.
The following is an inexpensive, quick reference booklet:
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