Time For Healing! Part 2

In this section, discover how to use herbs in practical terms. We present herbal remedies that offer relief and healing from a wide variety of symptoms and ailments.

A continuation from Time For Healing! Part 1.

Dermatitis, Rashes, and Acne:

Dermatitis is an inflammatory condition of the dermis or skin, and it can arise from allergic reactions to foods or other allergens, such as pollen, or exposure to irritating chemicals in the environment, like harsh soaps or paint. Another common factor is chronic stress or pressure. It is important to identify the irritants and eliminate them or to identify the source of stress and take steps to reduce or eliminate it.

What Helps: Your herbal program might include soothing and anti-inflammatory herbal creams and herbs taken internally to speed healing of your skin. If the condition is chronic, include digestive stimulants to increase stomach acid and other digestive enzymes, along with immune modulators {herbs that activate your body’s immune system}.

Herbs to Grow and Use: Some herbs can be used externally to provide local relief from inflammation and itching; you can make creams and compresses from the recipes within this website. Others can be consumed frequently to help balance the internal processes involved in chronic skin eruptions. The following herbs can be taken as teas {infusions or decoctions}, tinctures, or in capsule form unless otherwise noted.

  • Calendula cream, or the tea as a warm compress, can be applied to irritated skin.
  • Plantain, yarrow, and Oregon grape tea in a compress can soothe acne.
  • Aloe gel can relieve itching and inflammation when applied directly to your skin.
  • Chamomile tea will soothe a rash when applied as a cool compress.
  • Elder {flower} tea can be drank to reduce inflammation and to ease chronic skin eruptions.
  • Red clover is a leading cleansing herb used to help reduce skin problems at the source.
  • Burdock stimulates bile flow and liver function to help the liver process toxins.

Diabetes:

Diabetes is a metabolic {meaning related to all the processes of digestion, assimilation, and energy production and utilization} disease that develops when the insulin in your body can’t adequately move sugar out of your bloodstream and into your cells. Diabetes can develop from excessive and chronic intake of refined sugars along with severe, ongoing stress, or it can have a hereditary basis. In mild cases, supplemental insulin can be taken orally. In more severe cases, it must be injected daily.

What Helps: A diet low in fat and sugar and high in fiber is essential to preventing and managing diabetes, as is adequate exercise. An herbal program can include adaptogens {herbs that help your body adapt to external stressors and changes and help to balance your body’s metabolic processes}, herbs to help stabilize blood sugar and balance your metabolism, herbs that lower blood sugar, and pancreatic tonics.

Herbs to Grow and Use: While not curative, adding these herbs to your diet on a regular basis can support your efforts to maintain healthy blood sugar levels and insulin metabolism balance. The following herbs can be taken as teas {infusions or decoctions}, tinctures, or in capsule form unless otherwise noted.

  • Love-in-a-mist has tasty seeds you can add to salads, soups, and other dishes.
  • Aloe gel or juice can be used regularly in drinks and juices.
  • Turmeric can be used frequently as a spice, and it’s found in most curry dishes.
  • Stevia can be used as a sweetener in drinks and cooking to help reduce your sugar intake {it’s noncaloric!}.
  • Garlic, crushed, may be stirred into soups, stews, and other dishes. Raw garlic is always stronger-acting than cooked garlic.

Digestive Problems: Pain, Dyspepsia, and Fullness After Eating.

Consider your digestion: It is responsible for supplying your body with all the energy it needs throughout the day, every day, from the moment you are born. Since about 60 percent of your immune tissues, as well as many billions of bacteria, live in your gut {the small and large intestines}, your digestive tract is also vitally involved in your immune response. Finally, your digestive tract also produces a number of hormones, such as serotonin, that regulate your sleep responses and mood {among many other functions}. Considering all that your digestive tract is responsible for, it is truly the foundation of health.

When things go wrong, they can go wrong in a big way and can adversely affect your mood, energy level, strength, vitality, and immune response. Discomfort and pain in the abdominal area, constipation, gas, and diarrhea are only localized symptoms that signal an imbalance, but the impact can be much wider and have few noticeable signs.

What Helps: One very healthy digestive habit is self-massage of your abdominal area daily – for up to 5 minutes. Lie on your back, move your hands in a clockwise fashion, and stroke deeply, working out any “stuck” or painful places. Keep it up, and you will notice direct results, including less gas and discomfort after eating.

Eat simply, and avoid overeating. Be careful at potluck meals: They are an opportunity to combine too many foods at once. Our digestive process prefers simple combinations of foods and prefers them not to be coated in oil or fried, which slows their assimilation and breakdown. Rest your digestion regularly by not eating too late at night or too early in the morning, and by observing regular days of very light eating – only simple porridge’s, whole grains, raw foods, juices – or even fasting.

The habit of under-calorizing can reset your system. Regular intake of probiotics {‘friendly” bacteria that aid digestion, similar to the active cultures found in yogurt}, in amounts between 20 and 50 billion organisms a day, can truly help regulate your bowels and improve digestion.

Foods that have no nutrients {doughnuts, white bread, soft drinks} take energy to process but give you little in return. Remember: If it has no nutritional value, don’t eat it or drink it!

Herbs to Grow and Use: Herbalists recommend herbs for all aspects of digestive function and dysfunction, and those herbs can be placed in several categories. The following herbs can be taken as teas {infusions or decoctions}, tinctures, or in capsule form unless otherwise noted.

  • Digestive stimulants help increase enzyme production, which brings vitality to the digestive processes and enhance assimilation. These include angelica, artichoke, cayenne {and other spicy peppers}, garlic, ginger, turmeric, and wormwood. These herbs can be taken before eating or incorporated into a meal, as is common in many world cuisines.
  • Carminatives help relieve gas and regulate digestion to keep things moving smoothly. This includes anise hyssop, basil, catnip, fennel, love-in-a-mist, oregano, peppermint, sage, and thyme. They can be consumed as a warm tea, right after a meal.
  • Bowel-movers and regulators include aloe gel, burdock, Oregon grape root, and especially yellow dock. Use these herbs regularly, before bedtime, to help produce better movement the next day.
  • Herbs to settle the digestion and relieve discomfort and nausea include ginger, lavender, lemon balm, lemon verbena, peppermint, wormwood, and yarrow. These herbs can be used after meals if you experience discomfort.

Fatigue:

Fatigue is a state that most of us know well. It’s not always an unpleasant feeling, but when it becomes chronic, fatigue can be devastating. However, this condition should not be confused with the feeling of being pleasantly tired after a day of hiking or gardening, when you might look forward to relaxing in your favorite chair or getting a good night’s sleep. The vigorous physical activity provides benefits for your cardiovascular system, helps to keep you fit and vital, slows the aging process and helps you to sleep more soundly.

Have you ever had the feeling of heaviness in your arms and legs, a lack of vitality, poor mental clarity, and a lowered ambition or drive to accomplish your dreams? It’s normal to experience these occasionally, but days or weeks of the same condition can be termed “chronic fatigue” and needs to be addressed.

Chronic fatigue, to one degree or another, is all too common today, as evidenced by the ever-increasing consumption of foods and drinks containing caffeine and high amounts of refined sugar. Soft drinks, energy drinks, coffee, and green tea are available at every grocery store, quick stop, home improvement outlet, and produce stand. Many of us need our “fix” – frequently, it seems – to get up and out in the morning, to keep going, and to counteract the feeling of tiredness that accompanies long hours at the computer.

Just as you manage your financial resources, you can also manage your energy resources. Think of caffeine and refined sugar as a credit card. When you run out of energy and feel tired, you can “borrow” more energy by stimulating your nervous system and hormones with these two energy boosters. But as we all know, that pattern cannot go on forever. A better “stimulus package” is a combination of natural medicine and healthy habits.

In this energy equation, remember to avoid consuming “empty calorie” foods {such as white flour products that provide no nutrients but take significant energy to process and eliminate}, holding yourself tight in response to stress, worrying constantly, or getting worked up emotionally over trivial matters.

What Helps: There are a number of ways you can save and even increase your energy levels. These include stretching and yoga to release tension, a whole foods diet containing lots of fiber, and meditation. Also, consider that much of the tiredness you feel might not be from a lack of energy at all, but rather may be a condition that traditional Chinese medicine calls “stagnation.” When you sit too much, your body’s processes are bogged down. Blood and energy pool in your muscles and organs and do not move vitalizing nutrients and oxygen or remove waste.

We all know some celebrated herbs that help supply us with more energy; coffee and tea. These herbs stimulate your body’s processes and increase mental functioning when you get bogged down, and they have been used in traditional societies for thousands of years. Green tea is the second most widely consumed drink in the world, and for good reason: You can get a “benefit with the buzz,” because green tea has significant protective and healing benefits in addition to a moderate amount of caffeine. However, in our overly caffeinated society, there are other herbs that can help promote abundant energy, rather than just stimulating your nervous system and hormones.

Herbs to Grow and Use: The following herbs can be taken as teas {infusions and decoctions}, tinctures, or in capsule form unless otherwise noted.

  • Angelica, artichoke, and fennel help to promote more complete digestion by activating enzymes from the liver and other digestive organs.
  • Ashwagandha is recommended for counteracting stress and increasing energy.
  • Astragalus activates immunity and counteracts fatigue when used regularly.
  • Burdock is a regular part of the Japanese diet, and it’s used to promote increased vitality.
  • Chamomile and lavender are good-tasting herbs that encourage relaxation and release nervous tension.
  • Rosemary contains several constituents, such as camphor, that help to vitalize your nervous system.
  • Licorice and ligustrum are often recommended as adaptogens, which help to counteract the harmful effects of stress and increase energy.
  • Love-in-a-mist promotes good digestion and energy.
  • Rhodiola is widely taken in Russia and Scandinavia {and increasingly in other parts of the world} to increase stamina, support clear thinking, and counteract stress.

Fever;

Fever can be a beneficial and normal part of your body’s immune function, indicating that your immune system is on alert and helping you to fight bacterial and viral infections. Fevers are also associated with injuries and certain metabolic disorders, such as hyperthyroidism. Low, chronic fevers can be a symptom of ongoing mild inflammation, which is now thought to underlie most, if not all, chronic diseases like arthritis, diabetes. and heart disease.

What Helps: If the fever comes on quickly in response to a viral infection, you can take internal heat-clearing {cooling} herbs to manage it, along with herbs that contain natural salicylates {as are found in aspirin}, like willow bark {Salix alba} tea {or a standardized extract} or meadowsweet leaf {Filipendula ulmaria} tea. Internal heat can also be cleared through the urine with the help of cooling and diuretic herbs. When a fever gets too high {over 104 degrees F}, cool off with herbal sponge baths or even soak in a tub of cool water along with following your herbal regime, and check with your health professional.

Herbs to Grow and Use: The following herbs can be taken as teas {infusions or decocrtions}, tinctures, or in capsule form unless otherwise noted.

  • Catnip, elder {flower}, echinacea, honeysuckle, lemon balm, peppermint, Oregon grape, self-heal, and yarrow is all great herbs to use as infusions and decoctions for fevers. You can take a cup or more every hour or two throughout the day to lower a fever. Make a blend of these herbs that taste good to you in terms of strength and balance of the herb combination.

Gallbladder and Kidney Stones:

Your gallbladder stores and concentrates the bile produced by your liver. Bile is essential for proper fat digestion and assimilation. It’s important to keep bile production and movement at a healthy rate, as your body needs it. When it becomes “stagnant” {when you are experiencing poor fat digestion}, liver and gallbladder ailments can result, as well as metabolic disorders related to improper fat metabolism.

What Helps: Use herbs to help keep your bile moving and your bile chemistry in proper balance. A supportive diet should be low in processed fats and high in daily servings of fiber, organic fruits, and green, leafy vegetables of all kinds {especially bitter ones like dandelion}. Avoid too many spicy and greasy, fried foods.

Herbs to Grow and Use: The following herbs can be taken as teas {infusions or decoctions}, tinctures, or in capsule form unless otherwise noted.

  • Include dandelion [leaf and root} in your diet, and take artichoke and wormwood as teas and elixirs to promote a healthy production, flow, and balance of bile. You can also take capsules of these herbs, with the exception of wormwood, which is primarily used as a tea infusion.

Gas;

Flatulence is abundantly produced in all mammals by bacterial action on food residues that reach the large intestine. It can be made in large quantities, and believe it or not, it is the main contributor to greenhouse gasses and global warming. Millions of cows and other ruminants are responsible for enormous quantities of carbon dioxide {CO2} gas released into the atmosphere worldwide. Gas produced by humans is not itself harmful, but it can be annoying and sometimes embarrassing. Excessive flatulence can be a sign of incomplete or weak digestion.

What Helps: Beans are a notorious source of gas. Make sure to soak dried beans overnight, and slow-cook them until they are very tender. {Under-cooked beans, sometimes served in restaurants, are a problem for many people.} Take bitter tonics and add bitter greens {such as endive salad} to your diet, especially before eating fatty or protein-rich meals. And remember to eat slowly and chew well.

Herbs to Grow and Use: We recommend the following herbs to curb gas. They can be taken as teas {infusions or decoctions}, tinctures, or in capsule form unless otherwise noted.

  • Dandelion greens can be added fresh to salads for a bitter taste or cooked for a milder therapeutic effect.
  • Both wormwood and artichoke tea, taken before meals, help to keep bile moving and inhibit gas.
  • Anise hyssop, fennel, or love-in-a-mist tea, when consumed after a meal, helps to inhibit the excessive gas formation and reduce abdominal gas pains.
  • Peppermint, in the form of tea or candy, is the last herbal holdout in many mainstream restaurants. And you can always carry a small bottle of peppermint oil in your pocket or purse; just add 2 or 3 drops to a cup of hot water with a lemon slice and sip that after your meal.

Headache:

A headache is a common symptom that can signify many things: musculoskeletal tension in your neck and shoulders, eye strain, allergic reactions, temporary withdrawal from caffeine or other substances, stress and worry, and a host of other causes.

What Helps: Self-massage of your neck and shoulders, or better still, a loving massage from a partner or friend, can do wonders to relieve a headache, and very quickly. A walk in the fresh air while taking some deep, relaxing breaths, which gets your circulation moving and lets your mind wander, is a solution to some kinds of headaches, and a quiet period of rest and relaxation helps others. In the winter, a warm cup of herbal tea, and in the summer, a cool glass of herbal iced tea, can be healing and pleasant.

Herbs to Grow and Use: We recommend relaxing herbs, herbs to increase blood flow to your head, herbs to relieve liver stagnation, and cooling herbs. The following herbs can be taken as teas {infusions or decoctions}, tinctures, or in capsule form unless otherwise noted.

  • California poppy, chamomile, lavender, and skullcap are antispasmodic and relaxing. Drink 1 cup of tea two or three times a day.
  • Gotu kola and rosemary improve your circulation. Try a cup of tea two or three times daily.
  • Lavender oil can be used as aromatherapy throughout the day, as a cream, or in a relaxing bath.
  • Artichoke or burdock can regulate the liver if this is part of the problem. Both herbs make refreshingly bitter teas.
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