There are thousands of herbs, many with proven medicinal properties, and many still left unexplored by scientists. It is difficult to choose only six herbs to keep at home because there are so many amazing medicinal herbs, but the following help ensure that you have a fairly well-rounded stash for a variety of health needs. Herbs like dandelion, Echinacea, garlic, peppermint, and St. John’s Wort can be grown and used fresh. All of the following herbs can be used in dried form, ready to make your own herbal medicines and body care products. I’ve included the scientific names for the herbs since sometimes numerous different plants are sold under the same common name.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)–Depending on which part of the plant is used, dandelion is one of the best kidney and urinary tract cleansers, or one of the best liver boosters. The leaves are best for the kidneys and urinary tract while the root is best for liver health.
Echinacea (Echinacea, various species)—Most people grab Echinacea when they are suffering from a cold or flu, but it is a great herb to ensure lymphatic system health as well as boosting immunity. The lymphatic system is a network of nodes, tubules, fluid, and glands that “sweeps” toxins and byproducts of inflammation to keep the tissues healthy. Echinacea helps to lessen congestion and swelling and get the lymph fluid moving better.
Garlic (Allium sativum)—Garlic is one of the most versatile herbs. It can help fend off flu viruses, lower high blood pressure, prevent hardening of the arteries and lessen cholesterol buildup in the heart. Thanks to many studies on garlic’s medicinal properties, we also know it is antibacterial and antifungal.
Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum)—Milk thistle is an excellent liver tonic, and can help to alleviate indigestion, as well as to increase milk secretion in nursing mothers. He indicates that it is useful in the treatment of jaundice, cirrhosis, hepatitis, and liver poisoning.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita)—One of the most versatile herbs, peppermint is helpful for bad breath, sinus congestion, nausea, vomiting and digestive upset. It makes a delicious tea on its own but is also improves the taste of many less-than-tasty herbal teas.
St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)—This misunderstood plant has been shown in many studies to be effective for mild to moderate depression, making St. John’s Wort a great herb to keep handy for the winter blues, hormonally-linked mood imbalances, or periods of sadness. Of course, if you’re suffering any type of severe depression or taking any medications you should always consult a physician.
Byline: Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM, ROHP is a celebrity nutritionist and an international best-selling and 20-time book author, whose works include: Be Your Own Herbalist and 60 Seconds to Slim. Subscribe to her free e-news World's Healthiest News at http://www.DrMichelleCook.com. Copyright Michelle Schoffro Cook. All rights reserved.