Common Ailments and Herbal Remedies

In the past, before we had the technological capability to make potent medications artificially, the only form of medicine available to us came from plants. The practice of using plants and natural ingredients to make medicine is called Herbology, and it is from this traditional discipline that modern medicine eventually evolved. Nowadays, herbology is often seen as outdated but actually it still holds important uses. After all, modern-day medicines are simply a concentrated form of these herbal ingredients made artificially; herbalists practice the techniques used from the past to create these same medicines naturally.

Herbal remedies provide good alternatives to modern drugs for those who have allergies to common medications—like penicillin, aspirin, or ibuprofen—or for those whose religious beliefs prohibit the use of western medicine, with Christian Scientists, the Amish, and members of the Faith Tabernacle Congregation being among some of the most prominent. Other reasons someone might prefer natural cures may be because they can’t afford health care or medical insurance or don’t have access to local pharmacies. Prescription medications can cost quite a bit and require a doctor’s approval, but certain plants and herbs can be made into natural versions of these medications and are either administered by an herbalist or can be found at types of local stores.

However, prescription strength herbal medicines should never be taken without first consulting a professional expert in the field. As with all medicines, herbal prescriptions can have side effects that should be monitored or reported if they become a problem. Herb-based remedies can also be a little trickier than western medicine because the herbs used contain natural properties that may affect a person’s body differently from another individual. Therefore, it’s important to remember that you should never take any herbal—or modern—medications without first checking the effects they may have on your body and consulting a professional source about how they should be properly administered.

Natural Remedies for Common Problems

Warning: Before trying any of the remedies given below, you should be advised not to attempt these if you are already taking medications to address any of the conditions listed below.

~ Stress/Anxiety

No matter who you are, stress happens to all of us. Being able to do something about it is important to our health. Below is a recipe for treating generalized anxiety disorder; the proportions should be followed exactly, and do not substitute other herbs for the ones listed below. The same precautions apply to all treatments in this blog.

David Winston’s Anxiety Formula

* 1/4 ounces Bacopa

* 1/4 ounces Motherwort

* 1/4 ounces fresh milky Oat Seed

* 1/6 ounce Blue Vervain

* 1/6 ounce Chinese Polygala

* 3 quarts (8 cups) of Water

To prepare, gather the ingredients in powder form (most herbs can be found pre-ground or in capsules at a local store). Measure according to the formula above, then boil the amount of water needed, let cool for 30 minutes, then place the herbs into a container and pour the boiling water over them. Let steep for 1 hour and 30 minutes then strain into a cup. Let cool until temperature is safe for drinking. Store the remainder of the tea in an air-tight container and refrigerate.

Do not use in large doses or if you have hyperthyroidism, gastritis, ulcers, are pregnant, have heavy menstrual cycles, or a gluten sensitivity or allergy.

Below are some single herbs that when used alone can help address anxiety. (Warning: these herbs should only be taken in pre-prescribed amounts either in the form of a capsule or tablet. Some can be found in the form of teas or essential oils—only use according to the directions.)

* Lemon Balm

* Lavender

* California Poppy (do not use if pregnant)

* Chamomile (you should not use if have an allergy to ragweed or plants in the daisy family)

* Ashwagandha (do not use if pregnant or have a sensitivity to the nightshade family)

~ Depression

Depression is a common condition that affects 300 million people world-wide regardless of age, gender, or race. It is the world's leading disability. With so many people being affected by it, it’s important to know the major symptoms and ways to treat it. Major symptoms include fatigue, lack of energy, an unshakeable feeling of sadness, pessimism or “emptiness,” loss of interest in hobbies and friends, feelings of helplessness or hopelessness, loss of appetite, insomnia, irritability, and thoughts of death or suicide. Below is a list of herbs that can be used to aid in the recovery from depression; these herbs are only to be used in the prescribed amounts according to their instructions. However, if symptoms persist or worsen seek professional advice.

Herbs for Depression

* Lemon Balm

* Lavender

* Ashwagandha (do not use if pregnant or have a sensitivity to the nightshade family)

* Mimosa (a.k.a. Albizia - do not take if pregnant or breastfeeding)

* St. John’s Wort (this herb is prescription strength: do not take if on SSRI anti-depressants, prescription anti- depressants, nursing or pregnant, or have high blood pressure; do not consume with alcohol)

~ Allergies

If you are one of the rare lucky few who has no allergies, good for you. Most of us suffer from the seasonal stuffy nose, congestion, tension headaches, dry throat, coughing, and sneezing. While not typically dangerous, allergies can certainly cause us grief and if severe enough can affect our breathing, sleep-patterns, and overall health.

All-Purpose Antiallergy Formula

* 1 ounce Rooibos tea

* 1 ounce Peppermint tea

* 1 ounce Nettle tea

* 1 ounce Lemon Balm

Mix together and store in an airtight container. Use about 1 large teaspoon per every 8 ounces of hot water (be careful not to exceed 212°F). Let steep for about 5 minutes then add honey and/or lemon, if desired. Let cool and enjoy.

Do not use in large amounts or if you have breast cancer, heavy menstrual bleeding, are pregnant, or have any hormone-sensitive conditions. Peppermint can increase heartburn and symptoms of gastroesophageal reflex disease in some people.

~ Colds & Flus

Despite advances in medicine, the flu (influenza virus) continues to baffle attempts to create a vaccine protecting against all strains of the virus and has yet to be eradicated. Believed to be at least in part because of the virus’s astounding ability to adapt so quickly, the flu is perhaps the most persistent illness known to humans. Whereas the flu may be the most adaptable virus, the common cold is the most infectious. There are around a million cases of the common cold in the United States alone each year; adults typically have an average of 2-3 colds per year, and children can have even more.

Herbal Composition

* 4 ounces Bayberry Root Bark

* 2 ounces White Pine Bark

* 1 ounce Ginger Root

* ½ ounce Clove

* ½ ounce Capsicum

All the herbs listed above are meant to be made as a tea in powder form. Prepare your herbs by collecting them into one container, then use ¼-½ teaspoon per cup of water. Prepare as a tea, then let cool before drinking.

Do not use in large or high doses or if pregnant. Never use clove oil internally, or if you have hemorrhoids or anal fissures; due to its irritating nature some people have a hard time taking capsicum, and it may exacerbate coughs caused by ACE inhibitors.

(ACE inhibitors are pharmaceutical drugs used primarily to treat a number of heart-related conditions; including high blood pressure, heart failure, heart attack, and preventing kidney damage associated with high blood pressure and diabetes. Examples of ACE inhibitors include: Capoten (captopril), Vasotec (enalapril), Prinivil, Zestril (lisinopril), and Lotensin (benazepril).)

~ Muscle Pains & Aches

Whether from carrying a heavy backpack or doing manual labor at your job, most people will experience muscle pain at least once every couple of months. The most common causes of muscle pain are tension, stress, overuse, and minor injuries; however, some muscle pain can be signs of more serious issues: systemic pain—muscle pain throughout your whole body—is usually a result of an infection, an illness, a side effect of medication, or an indicator of a serious underlying problem.

Seek medical help immediately if you experience any of the following: severe unbearable pain, severely swollen limbs, loss of range of movement, joint pain due to severe swelling, or decreased production or dark urine. It’s too easy in modern, busy life to dismiss muscle aches as something minor, and ignoring your body’s warnings can lead to further trouble down the road.

Some simple tricks you can do to help treat your smaller aches and pains are to just try to relax your body, take a warm bath, rub minor pain reliever over your sore spots, get a massage, or apply an ice pack followed by a heating pad on the affected area. Below is a recipe for a bath solution that you can use to help address muscle pains.

Muscle Pain Bath Remedy

* 8 ounces Witch Hazel

* 4 ounces Lavender

* 4 ounces Chamomile

* 3 ounces Catnip

* 2 ounces Yellow Dock

* 1 ounce Angelica

This recipe is designed for use in a hot bath only. To prepare, drink a glass of water before entering the bath to ensure you are well hydrated; collect the above herbs in powder from (most of these can be found as a capsule) and place into 3-4 tea bags—or a small cotton sock—and hang from the tap. Then fill up the tub with comfortably warm water. Soak in the water for a good 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on your level of discomfort.

Do not use in large doses or if you are pregnant, nursing, have heavy menstrual bleeding, are around young children or babies, or are allergic to chamomile.

All of the above recipes can be found online at, or in Thomas Easley’s and Steven Horne’s book The Modern Herbal Dispensatory: A Medicine-Making Guide.

Homemade Nighttime Aromatherapy Recipe

* 4 ounces Lavender

* 4 ounces Chamomile

* 3 ounces Lemon Balm

* 1 ounce Rosemary

This recipe is a personal experiment and is no way backed up by professional science; do not attempt if you have any conditions that may be affected by this process.

Prepare herbs like you would a tea; gather the required amounts in powder form and place in a cup, carefully pour boiling water over the herbs then quickly cover with plastic wrap so that the steam builds up. Gently poke a hole in the center of the plastic to release the steam, hold under your nose, and breath deeply and slowly. After the steam has lessened, pour down the drain or put away and go to bed.

Recommended Suppliers for Herbs from The Modern Herbal Dispensatory: A Medicine-Making Guide

Bulk Herb Store –

Frontier Herbs –

Mountain Rose Herbs –

San Francisco Herb Company –

The Chemistry –

Local Stores that Sell Herbs:

Winter Sun Herbs

107 N. San Francisco St

Suite #1

Flagstaff, AZ 86001

Whole Foods Market

Aspen Place at The Sawmill

320 S. Cambridge Lane

Flagstaff, AZ 86001

Sprouts Farmers Market

1560 Riordan Ranch St

Flagstaff, AZ 86001

Natural Grocers

503 W. Clay Ave

Flagstaff, AZ 86001


2750 S. Woodlands Village Blvd

Flagstaff, AZ 86001


1650 S. Milton Rd

Flagstaff, AZ 86001

#culture #advice #foodanddrink #flagstaff

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