Making the Most of Botanical Medicine
Herbs— extremely safe, effective and gentle when used in traditional remedies— are being increasingly and successfully used for common physical, mental and spiritual healing, as they have been for millennia. Herbal treatments range from the simple, such as drinking chamomile tea to relax a nervous stomach, to a tinctured mixture of hawthorn, cayenne pepper, wild oats, garlic and gingko biloba used as a heart tonic. Herbs can be used as spices in culinary dishes, both dried and fresh in teas, and in concentrated water/alcohol tinctures meant for further dilution with water.
The Many Herbal Variations
Among the fresh herbs used for digestive dysfunction are peppermint, chamomile, ginger, gentian root and licorice. When dried, use the amount contained in one tea bag per cup, or twice the amount if fresh added to boiled water. Gentian can also be taken in the form of Angostura Bitters added to seltzer as a digestive stimulant.
Time-honored relaxing herbs include valerian, hops, passionflower, skullcap, kava kava, mugwort, lemon balm and chamomile. These can be used safely during the day, as well as before going to sleep, in order to wind down without a hangover in morning. Freeze-dried formulas that include many of these herbs are available commercially and are used successfully in our clinic to produce relaxation and stress relief.
Stimulating herbs are ginger, licorice, ginseng, both Siberian and American, green tea and astragalus. These adaptogenic herbs help your body deal with stress as well as stimulate circulation and energy. Avoid taking at night and check with your physician if you are on blood pressure medication.
Immune-boosting herbs include the famous Echinacea root, goldenseal, which is especially good for sinus infections, elderberry, garlic, andrographis and St. John’s Wort. We advise patients with acute infections to load up initially, tripling the suggested daily dose. Check with your health care practitioner before using even over-the-counter herbs, if you have autoimmune disease or are on immune-suppressant drugs.
Anti-inflammatory herbs include white willow bark (original source of derived aspirin), St. Johns Wort, aloe vera juice, licorice, turmeric, cayenne and curry leaf. Poultices or herbs used wet and topically applied include arnica, St. John’s Wort, burdock, comfrey and lavender. Use these moistened herbs mixed with oatmeal or flour (1: 10 herb to flour ratio) to make a paste that is applied to skin, covered with a moist hot cloth for relieving pain and spasms. Stronger herbs, such as mustard and cayenne, are applied as a paste through cloths so as to not touch the skin.
Herbs are available for both men’s and women’s complaints, including vitality, cancer prevention, and hormone support. Male libido and vitality can be enhanced with epimedium (aka horny goat weed), tribulis and ginseng; saw palmetto and stinging nettles are used for prostate issues and gingko biloba to enhance circulation. Female uses for herbs for perimenopause and menopause include Chaste tree berry (hormone balancer), black cohosh, red clover, squaw vine, St. John’s Wort and dong quai (angelica sinesis or “female ginseng”). Raspberry leaf tea is superior for childbirth and strengthening uterine contractions.
Mood altering herbs include St. Johns Wort for mild to moderate depression and the previously mentioned relaxation herbs, passionflower and valerian for anxiety.
Most other symptoms can be relieved and recovery from many conditions aided with proper herbal usage as well. These include bowel and bladder dysfunction, respiratory, cardiac, arthritic, circulatory, cerebral aging and memory loss. At our clinic we employ herbs, alone or in conjunction with medications, supplements of vitamins and minerals and homeopathics to maximize speed of recovery from illness.
Herbs can be a vital part of your personal health program. Educate yourself to become empowered to use these gifts that have been provided to us by nature. Many herbal references can be found in books and on the Internet, including our website, WordenChiropractic.Meta-ehealth.com.
Many qualified practitioners are available, some can be found in Natural Awakenings, who are qualified to prescribe botanical medicine, many of whom can teach us how to naturally treat ourselves. Remember, many drugs were once isolated and derived from modifications of herbal components, and many herbs have been researched extensively, having been used successfully for centuries. Modern herbalists will caution you about any contraindication in their use.
Questions can be directed to Dr. Worden at [email protected], though specific recommendations cannot be made without a personal evaluation. Worden Wellness Center has been serving the Greater Danbury area for over 25 years. The Center is located at 41 Kenosia Avenue, Danbury. To schedule a consultation call 203.748.8093. Visit WordenChiropractic.Meta-eHealth.com for more information.