Top 5 Favorite Medicinal Herbs

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Learn to use these 5 simple medicinal herbs for everyday ailments. | via Top 5 Favorite Medicinal Herbs

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.

 1.  Echinacea

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.

 2.  Chamomile

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.

3.  Peppermint

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.

4.  Ginger

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!

5.  Garlic

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:

10 Essential Herbs for Lifelong Health

19 thoughts on “Top 5 Favorite Medicinal Herbs”

  1. Hallelujah Herbs!

    I love garlic too and put it in everything (except maybe compote :-)) too. My 6 years old son eats green sprouts right from the pot all winter. Thanks for the nice article!

  2. Selenium is evidently the most effective element to prevent flu. My friend in RN school said Hydrogen Peroxide will kill strep if you gargle it.

    1. It will, I’ve done this! It isn’t an overnight fix, but it did go away without antibiotics. I gargled a 50/50 mix of peroxide and water several times a day for several days.

  3. Very good list of the most essential basics! Chamomile is such a great multi-purpose herb, I'll be growing several plants this year.

    If I were to expand this any, I'd add a few herbs to deal with bleeding wounds (if things get troublesome, infection becomes a greater risk): Yarrow for poultices to staunch bleeding (also good as a tea for oncoming colds), Calendula in an ointment heals would very quickly, and/ or Lady's Mantle is reputed to be all around good when wounds need healing. And they're all quite pretty!

  4. Thanks for all the positive comments and added advice. Continue researching and adding natural healing to your prepping. There are so many benefits to herbs and home remedies. This knowledge could be invaluable if or when traditional medicines become hard to come by.

  5. Herbs are really useful in getting nutrients naturally, some of them have medicinal properties too.”,:

  6. I'd like to add 3 favorites I use. For burns and mild skin irritations, aloe is great. I have several plants, and I just snip off an end, slice it open, and put it on the hurting spot. Vitamin E oil is wonderful for first and second degree burns. It helps stop the pain and helps heal the skin. Plantain, a weed that looks like wide grass, is the best poison ivy treatment I know. I have plantain growing all over my yard, and if I need it I just cut some leaves, mash them, and put it on the itchy place.

    1. While not an herb, vinegar will cut sunburn pain almost immediately. I don’t know about other burns, like a hot stove or such. I don’t like the way aloe gets all crusty/skin-like on me and frankly find that vinegar cut the pain quicker and doesn’t smell long. Just another FYI for you folks.

  7. William C Sankey

    I know this is not a herb, but I use Vitamen C when I start getting a sour throat or a cold or flu symptoms. I normally take 4 1000mg a day. For any flu or sour throat I will take 6 1000mg four times a day. All symptoms go away in 2 to 3 days.

  8. Hi all! I posted this info elsewhere on this site, but it's so cool and I'm so amazed, do you mind me repeating it?
    If you get a blister, use the membrane from a raw egg to cover it. It works to protect & heal the skin.

  9. Great advice. I just wanted to mention that some people, like myself, can’t take regular supplemental zinc even after eating a meal. Makes me puke every time. I have more luck with zinc throat spray.

  10. Question…at this time of the year I can’t grow these so have to wait till next year, untill then can we use the dryed in a bottle that you get off the spice rack? Also another good one is fennel seed steep it, strain it making a tea good for stomach but I have used it for the colic in babies. Just put it the tea in the babies bottle. I have ues this with my kids and grandkids works every time.

    1. I haven’t heard of using fennel seed for stomach aches. Thanks for the tip! Dried herbs purchased from the store may not be as fresh home-grown herbs, but are still helpful. I dry my own herbs, but even then, there are many that I can’t grow myself due to the hot Phoenix climate or just bad gardening skills. :o/

  11. Hey Lisa,
    Excellent list! I’m also from Phoenix (originally) and I’ve used aquaponics (plus my own permaculture bag of tricks) to grow things in hot weather. By keeping the root zone temperature low you can grow just about anything! Also, I extend my season in the winter because the thermal mass of the water and gravel keeps the plants warm 🙂

  12. Nancy in Alberta

    Plantain grows here, too. We use purchased vit. C and zinc lozenges, but, you’re right: there’s only 5 gm of zinc in there. Nevertheless, we have really good results with them, especially if the sore throat is caught early.
    Another oldie but goodie is warm salt water gargle.

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