More Herbal Remedies

Balm: To calm your nerves, aid sleep, ease menstrual cramps, and reduce fever, try a cup of balm tea. Use about 2 teaspoons of chopped leaves (preferably fresh, not dried) to 1 cup boiling water. Steep for 10 to 20 minutes, and drink while hot. Balm tincture is another treatment option, with the usual dose being a teaspoon or less as needed—up to three times a day. Still another choice is to take a relaxing balm bath. To prepare your bath, tie a handful of balm into a cloth and run your bathwater over it. In addition to feeling its tranquil effect, you’ll love its lemony aroma.

Chamomile: Chamomile’s healing powers can be attributed to a complex blend of substances contained in the heads of the flowers, which, when distilled, yield an oil that is the key to the herb’s medicinal properties. Brewing a cup of tea is the simplest and most popular way to take chamomile. As pleasant as the tea is, a strong cup delivers only about 10-15% of the medicinal oil contained in the flowers themselves. A hot, steaming cup of chamomile is lovely, but that’s not the only way to take this herb. Look for the “tincture” type of chamomile-containing remedies in health food stores: Take 10 to 20 drops in water three or four times a day to relieve nervousness, indigestion, menstrual cramping, or to aid in sleep. The stronger the mixture, the greater its relieving powers.

Gotu Kola: Is used in ayurvedic medicine (the traditional medicine of India) as a gentle sedative. It’s also good for treating insomnia, agitation, memory loss, anxiety, epilepsy, and hyperactivity. Capsules of powdered Hydrocotyle asiatica, the weaker variety of gotu kola, are most commonly available in health food stores. People using this herb to help them sleep usually take two to four 400 mg capsules at night, about 30 minutes before laying down to sleep. The stronger kind, Centella asiatica, is available as capsules or extract. The extract is more expensive and is usually reserved for treating more serious illness such as chronic insomnia. People wishing to use the extract for a medical condition should first consult a physician familiar with herbs.

Hops: The dried strobiles (flowers) are used in making beer and ale, and they can be ingested as a tea to ease restlessness, insomnia, delirium tremens, reduce fever and pain, improve the appetite and digestion, and expel poison from the body. Hops can also be sewn into a pillow and used to aid sleep.

Passion Flower: The flower is bright, golden yellow and sometimes has a delicate sweet scent. The fruit is delightfully delicious, and the herb is used for its quieting qualities, for nerves, the pain of headache, to quiet the hysteric, for restlessness, nervous disorders, and for insomnia

Valerian: Valerian smells awful, sort of like a wet washcloth forgotten in a basement corner, and it tastes bad, too. The woody roots of valerian can be used to calm the anxious and relax the sleepless. Research shows that valerian does indeed help you sleep better, without the groggy “morning after” effects of standard prescription sedatives. Because of the smell and taste, most people prefer to use valerian in capsule form, although you can use the herb in the form of a tea, tincture, or extract as well.

Black Haw soothes head pain and reduces fever. The salicin in black haw is related to aspirin and may act in a similar way to reduce fever and relieve general aches and pains.

Cayenne — helps relieve cluster headaches. In one study, people who regularly experienced cluster headaches, characterized by a sharp, stabbing sensation on one side of the head, often around the eye, rubbed a capsaicin preparation on the inside of their noses on the same side of the head as their pain. Within five days, 75% reported less pain and fewer headaches.

Coffee — can often soothe headache pain. If you take aspirin for pain relief, try chasing it with a cup of coffee. Several studies show that the combination of aspirin and caffeine relieves pain significantly better than aspirin alone.

Kola — also relieves headache pain. The secret to kola’s effect on head pain is, again, caffeine. In any form (coffee, tea, or cola), this potent stimulant can lessen the pain of headache most effectively when used in conjunction with aspirin.

Meadowsweet — doesn’t pack the pain relieving punch of aspirin simply because it’s much lower in aspirin-like salicin. In fact, even strong infusions of meadowsweet may not be enough to bring down fever or relieve pain; tinctures provide more salicin than the tea form. On the plus side, meadowsweet is less likely to cause aspirin’s major side effect, stomach upset. Animal studies in Europe show that the herb actually protects the stomach against aspirin-induced ulcers.

White Willow — does help prevent or reduce migraines. Still another benefit of daily low-dose aspirin therapy: It can ward off migraine attacks. Again, this herb should offer similar benefits. If you are willing to give it a try, here is a cure that I have found to be useful:

Plantain — Plantago majus or P. lanceolata – tea in evening.

Watercress – Ingested at daybreak to increase dreams that evening. Peppermint – Mentha spp. burned as an incense at sunset and thru the evening for visionary dreams.

Calea zacatechichi – (Dream Herb) is a shrub from the Chiapas region of Mexico, related to the mint family. It has been used by the Chontal people as a divinitory for many years. Traditional use as a tea brings about a drowsy dream state, in which answers to questions are revealed and lost objects are located.

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