Spring is the perfect time of year to enjoy the health benefits of fresh herbs – let’s face it, every season is the perfect time for herbal remedies! Spring brings warmer weather, which means more time spent outdoors, and more bug bites, sunburns, rashes, cuts and bruises, and allergies. There are so many options when it comes to herbs and their healing properties that there is sure to be an herb, or two, or ten for you and your specific needs. There are endless ways to incorporate herbs into your life, from cooking to medicinal uses. Although the list is much, much longer, here are just five of the best medicinal herbs to keep handy this spring:
- John’s Wort
St. John’s Wort is known for its anti-depressant properties (“nature’s Prozac”); it is also commonly used as a wound healer and sedative. When used externally, this herb does wonders as a dressing for sunburns, bruises, deep wounds, nerve damage and sprains. It is also an effective treatment when taken internally for anxiety, nervous tension, and irritability.
- Nettle Leaf
Nettle has been used for centuries as a treatment for allergy symptoms, particularly hayfever – perfect for those who suffer from springtime allergies when pollen, flowers, dander, hay, and dirt are everywhere. While over-the-counter allergy medication can have unwanted side effects (such as drowsiness, dry sinuses, high blood pressure, and insomnia), nettle has none of these side effects and can be used on a regular basis. Say goodbye to runny noses, itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, and other allergy symptoms by drinking a nettle tea or tincture.
Also known as Marigold, calendula is one of the most effective herbs for skin-related concerns, such as cuts, sunburns, scrapes, bruises, minor open wounds, bug and snake bites, ear infections, diaper rash, pink eye, acne, coughs, eczema and inflammation. Calendula has a high content of flavonoids, which are chemicals that act as antioxidants for the body; it is an antiseptic, antispasmodic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-infective immune boosting superherb that is a must have for many spring ailments!
- Oregon Grape Root
Oregon Grape Root is renowned for its ability to stimulate liver function, cleanse the blood, and improve the flow of bile. It functions as an antimicrobial, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antibiotic, and its extreme bitterness can help treat a multitude of digestive complications. For spring, Oregon grape root is perfect to fight skin irritations such as athlete’s foot, eczema, and psoriasis.
- Dandelion Root
Although this pretty yellow flower has taken on the term “weed,” it is actually an incredibly effective herbal medicine! The flowers, leaves, and roots are all edible and each has their own healing properties. The root specifically is a great natural tonic to help detox your liver and gallbladder and promote healthy digestion; dandelion is packed with vitamins A and C, lecithin, potassium, boron, calcium, and silicon. The roots can be made into a non-caffeinated “coffee” that helps nourish your body and release built-up toxins.