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3 Herbs That Offer a Variety of Healing Benefits

3 Herbs That Offer a Variety of Healing Benefits

If you cook, you probably flavor your recipes using a variety of fresh herbs. But did you know that many of these herbs have medicinal properties as well?

If you’re suffering from pain, illness, or some other form of discomfort, rather than immediately running to the drugstore to medicate the symptoms away, you’ll be surprised to discover there are natural alternatives that can not only do the trick, but can make the healing process pleasant, inexpensive, and even creative.

So, if you’ve got a bug bite, a headache that won’t go away, or if you can’t sleep, check out how these three amazing herbs can be used to help to alleviate some those pesky health conditions and promote wellbeing.

1. Catnip

You’ve heard catnip’s for cats, but did you know it can help you too? If not, check this out.

Catnip can offer relief for quite a few of the common ailments you may be experiencing daily, such as:

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  • Insomnia
  • Digestive issues (especially bloating and constipation)
  • Stress and chronic anxiety
  • Menstrual discomfort
  • Headaches and migraines

Catnip is known to induce sweating. This is useful when it comes to flushing out toxins and can help speed up the healing process of the common cold.

It can easily be made into a tea by pinching off the leaves, dicing them up, placing them into a tea ball, and steeping them in hot water. Add some locally produced raw honey and fresh lemon and you’re good to go.

You can also apply catnip topically to help soothe bug bites and other skin irritations.

Catnip can be made into oils, tinctures, and teas.

You can grow your own and have it available whenever you need it. It isn’t a high-maintenance plant, so even if you’re a newbie gardener, this may be right up your alley. If gardening isn’t your thing, products made out of catnip are available at your local health food store.

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2. Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is a beautiful plant that has a fresh lemony scent. You can add it to your water to enhance the flavor or in a recipe as a delicious culinary herb. Like catnip, it can also be used to provide health benefits. It can promote:

  • Relief for sleep disorders (sleeplessness/insomnia)
  • Mental sharpness/cognitive function
  • Calming properties to help alleviate anxiety and stress
  • Protection of brain cells
  • Blood sugar stabilization

You can make a tincture out of lemon balm and use it for its antiviral properties (perfect for when you feel like you’re getting a cold or a bug of some sort) or to help soothe stomach discomfort. It also comes in handy as a cosmetic clay to lightly apply to bug bites and blemishes.

Lemon balm is considered easy to grow and doesn’t require much sun. It also attracts bees, which is ideal if you have a garden.

3. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper may sound familiar to you because it’s often added to recipes for those who enjoy spicy foods. You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it also contains an impressive range of healing properties.

It’s best used for:

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  • Pain management
  • As a nasal decongestant
  • Calorie-burning properties/appetite reduction
  • Increased circulation
  • Psoriasis symptoms
  • Leveling blood sugar

Capsaicin is the active ingredient in cayenne peppers. It helps to control peripheral nerve pain because it’s known to inhibit “substance P,” a neuropeptide which is associated with inflammation.

It’s also the ingredient that makes cayenne peppers so spicy. When consumed, it helps to clear up mucus in the lungs and nose.

Cayenne peppers have been demonstrated to help lessen triglyceride levels, blood platelet buildup, and blood cholesterol. This is because they increase your body’s ability to break down fibrin, which is necessary for forming blood clots.

You can add them to your meals, but you may want to do this sparingly at first to see how well you can handle the heat — it can be pretty intense.

If you’re not a fan of cooking with them, you can easily find cayenne in supplement form.

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A Note of Caution

Now that you’re aware that herbs can offer some fantastic health benefits, it’s important to know that if you take any medications or suffer from certain medical conditions, you’ll want to ask your health care provider if any of these herbs could interfere with your prescriptions or would be considered contraindicated for any reason.

One example is that lemon balm may not be suitable for people with hypothyroidism because it may block some of the thyroid hormone activity in the body.

This is why it’s a good idea to use discernment. Then, go ahead and enjoy the benefits.

Featured photo credit: Crookedly via flickr.com

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3 Herbs That Offer a Variety of Healing Benefits

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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