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20 Amazing Uses for Herbs to Heal Your Body and Mind

20 Amazing Uses for Herbs to Heal Your Body and Mind

For almost every prescription treatment for what ails us is a plant, herb, or other natural substance that has been used as a treatment for hundreds of years by naturalists and herbalists. But how effective are these folk remedies, really? Evidence on most of these treatments is still somewhat inconclusive, but you may be surprised to learn how many beneficial herbs you could be keeping in your spice rack.

Important note: As with most things of this nature, this is not professional medical advice. Always seek out your doctor’s advice on any kind of treatment, natural or otherwise, before taking it.

1. Ginger: Prevent nausea

    photo source: mekman via Flickr

    Basics: Significant results have been found in ginger’s ability to ease nausea, even for motion sickness and chemotherapy patients.

    How to use it: Some specialists recommend taking ginger before the nausea sets in; for example, if you know you get airsick, you can chew ginger gum before takeoff. If taking ginger when nausea is already present, there are a variety of products including teas and candies that contain the root.

    2. Chamomile: Promote sleep

      photo source: FromSandToGlass via Flickr

      Basics: There have been very few scientific studies on chamomile’s ability to encourage sleep, but it remains a popular herb for this purpose.

      How to use it: Chamomile as a sleep aid is typically taken as a warm tea, with many brands specifically marketing it as a “nighttime” or “sleepytime” tea.

      3. Ginseng: Fortify energy levels

        photo source: Eugene Kim via Flickr

        Basics: Ginseng root has been tested in a number of studies for its effectiveness at fighting fatigue, with significant (though few) results.

        How to use it: Ginseng can be found in a number of products including “natural” energy drinks, though as with all energy drinks these should be used with caution. You can also get ginseng in capsule form, often grouped with other herb and vitamin capsules at regular grocery stores, as well as health food and supplement stores.

        4. Licorice: Soothe a sore throat

          photo source: lakrids via Flickr

          Basics: There has been some scientific examination of licorice root’s anti-inflammatory effects on sore throats, with promising results.

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          How to use it: You can find teas and lozenges with licorice root at a variety of grocery and health food stores, as well as online.

          5. Nettle: Treat dandruff

            photo source: J Brew via Flickr

            Basics: Despite the name, stinging nettle has a number of recognized medicinal properties including as an anti-inflammatory. It has also been used as a natural treatment for dandruff.

            How to use it: There are a few commercial shampoo products containing stinging nettle, though you may have better luck on sites like Etsy.

            6. Black tea leaves: Reduce risk of heart problems

              photo source: archangeli via Flickr

              Basics: Black tea as a way to reduce the risk of heart-related problems has been loosely studied with hopeful finds, though more thorough testing is needed.

              How to use it: A couple cups of black tea a day is a good amount, and the caffeine will help you stay alert throughout your day.

              7. Lavender: Ease stress and tension

                photo source: David Biesack via Flickr

                Basics: Evidence from scientific trials suggests that lavender works well to relieve tension and stress.

                How to use it: Aromatherapy products such as oils, lotions, and herb pouches are all good ways of using the scent to relieve stress.

                8. Cinnamon: Control blood sugar

                  photo source: trophygeek via Flickr

                  Basics: A wide range of research suggests cinnamon is an effective way to manage blood sugar levels, particularly useful for people with Type II diabetes.

                  How to use it: Cinnamon can be added to a variety of foods and beverages, and can be purchased in capsule form for a higher concentration.

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                  9. Fennel seed: Ease bloating and indigestion

                    photo source: roseannadana via Flickr

                    Basics: Fennel seed has shown promising results as a relief agent for bloating and constipation.

                    How to use it: Fennel can be bought both in capsule form and as a tea.

                    10. St. John’s Wort: Treatment of mild depression

                      photo source: Jonathan Ball via Flickr

                      Basics: Extensive research as been done on the plant’s effectiveness in treating mild to moderate depression, and it is sold over the counter as such.

                      How to use it: Capsules, tinctures, and teas containing St. John’s Wort can be found in health food and supplement stores and some grocery stores, as well as online.

                      11. Mint: Soothe an upset stomach

                        photo source: Brian Costin via Flickr

                        Basics: Mint seems to be a powerful cure for stomach aches, as well as being used for relaxation and as a diuretic.

                        How to use it: Mint tea is the most common and popular way to ingest the herb.

                        12. Calendula: Prevent wound infections

                          photo source: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra via Flickr

                          Basics: More commonly known as marigolds, calendula has several practical uses, most notably as a wound healing agent. This is due to the plant’s antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.

                          How to use it: Topical ointments and creams containing calendula can be bought online or at health food and supplement stores.

                          13. Eucalyptus: Relieve lung congestion

                            photo source: Gary Sauer-Thompson via Flickr

                            Basics: Perhaps best known for being the food of choice for koalas, eucalyptus is also used as a cleaning agent and to treat lung problems. It appears to have an mucolytic (mucus-clearing) and anti-inflammatory component that works particularly well in this area.

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                            How to use it: Eucalyptus essential oil is a good option to keep by your bed or, if you can find it, use a vapor rub with eucalyptus as one of the primary ingredients.

                            14. Comfrey: Alleviate dry skin

                              photo source: Dinesh Valke via Flickr

                              Basics: Comfrey has had a somewhat controversial history in recent decades, and is now not recommended for any kind of internal use. Topical use of the plant is still pervasive, however, as it has shown a notable ability to treat dry or inflamed skin.

                              How to use it: Though it may be harder to find them in mainstream product lines, you can often find comfrey soaps and lotions on sites like Etsy or anywhere else artisan grooming products are sold.

                              15. Chrysanthemum: heal the common cold

                                photo source: matsuyuki via Flickr

                                Basics: Chrysanthemum’s medicinal properties are not widely tested by Western scientists, but it is a popular part of Chinese treatments for colds and other mild sickness.

                                How to use it: Warm chrysanthemum tea is recommended.

                                16. Rosemary: Improve your memory

                                  photo source: Rebecca Siegel via Flickr

                                  Basics: This ultra-fragrant, evergreen herb has garnered interest in recent decades for medical and pharmaceutical uses, most notably as a mild memory enhancer.

                                  How to use it: Aromatherapy products such as essential oils can be found for rosemary, but the plant itself can leave a noticeable scent even when dried.

                                  17. Passionflower: Reduce anxiety

                                    photo source: PINKÉ via Flickr

                                    Basics: There are around 500 species under the Passiflora genus, most of which are appreciated for their beautiful blooms as well as their tasty fruit. It has proven to be a viable treatment for some forms of anxiety.

                                    How to use it: Passionflower tea has a pleasant and sweet taste and can be found in both health food stores and most regular grocers. Tinctures and essential oils also exist.

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                                    18. Parsley: Fight bad breath

                                      photo source: cookbookman17 via Flickr

                                      Basics: Parsley is packed full of vitamins and has some more specific uses, such as treating bad breath. This may be due in large part to the plant’s high concentration of chlorophyll, which has some evidence of treating halitosis.

                                      How to use it: Consuming it in your food, by itself, or in a blended drink are all good ways of using parsley for this particular ailment.

                                      19. Tobacco: Treat bee stings

                                        photo source: Curtis Perry via Flickr

                                        Basics: Tobacco is regarded for little else than its addictive nicotine content, but it also doubles as a surprisingly impressive way to treat bee and wasp stings. Tobacco acts as a sort of anesthetic to the area, possibly helping to draw out the sting’s toxins as well.

                                        How to use it: Unroll a cigarette and place the tobacco against the sting, then hold it down with a moist washcloth. The moisture is needed so that “juice” will flow to the sting.

                                        20. Sage: Fight Alzheimer’s

                                          photo source: Rebecca Siegel via Flickr

                                          Basics: This grey-green herb has a faint and pleasant smell, and much like rosemary has been said to boost memory recall. While this claim hasn’t been tested, studies have found that sage is a somewhat useful treatment for people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.

                                          How to use it: Sage can be administered in liquid elixir form or in capsules.

                                          Featured photo credit: Harvesting Herbs/Susy Morris via flic.kr

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                                          Last Updated on November 5, 2020

                                          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                                          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                                          Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                                          You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. A rut can manifest as a productivity vacuum and be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. Is it possible to learn how to get out of a rut?

                                          Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, or a student, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                                          1. Work on Small Tasks

                                          When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks that have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                                          Whenever I finish doing that, I generate positive momentum, which I bring forward to my work.

                                          If you have a large long-term goal you can’t wait to get started on, break it down into smaller objectives first. This will help each piece feel manageable and help you feel like you’re moving closer to your goal.

                                          You can learn more about goals vs objectives here.

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                                          2. Take a Break From Your Work Desk

                                          When you want to learn how to get out of a rut, get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the bathroom, walk around the office, or go out and get a snack. According to research, your productivity is best when you work for 50 minutes to an hour and then take a 15-20 minute break[1].

                                          Your mind may be too bogged down and will need some airing. By walking away from your computer, you may create extra space for new ideas that were hiding behind high stress levels.

                                          3. Upgrade Yourself

                                          Take the down time to upgrade your knowledge and skills. Go to a seminar, read up on a subject of interest, or start learning a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                                          The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college[2]. How’s that for inspiration?

                                          4. Talk to a Friend

                                          Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while. Relying on a support system is a great way to work on self-care when you’re learning how to get out of a rut.

                                          Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                                          5. Forget About Trying to Be Perfect

                                          If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies. Perfectionism can lead you to fear failure, which can ultimate hinder you even more if you’re trying to find motivation to work on something new.

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                                          If you allow your perfectionism to fade, soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come, and then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

                                          Learn more about How Not to Let Perfectionism Secretly Screw You Up.

                                          6. Paint a Vision to Work Towards

                                          If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                                          Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the ultimate goal or vision you have for your life?

                                          Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action. You can use the power of visualization or even create a vision board if you like to have something to physically remind you of your goals.

                                          7. Read a Book (or Blog)

                                          The things we read are like food for our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great material.

                                          Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. You can also stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs and follow writers who inspire and motivate you. Find something that interests you and start reading.

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                                          8. Have a Quick Nap

                                          If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep[3].

                                          Try a nap if you want to get out of a rut

                                            One Harvard study found that “whether they took long naps or short naps, participants showed significant improvement on three of the four tests in the study’s cognitive-assessment battery”[4].

                                            9. Remember Why You Are Doing This

                                            Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                                            What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall your inspiration, and perhaps even journal about it to make it feel more tangible.

                                            10. Find Some Competition

                                            When we are learning how to get out of a rut, there’s nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                                            Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, and networking conventions can all inspire you to get a move on. However, don’t let this throw you back into your perfectionist tendencies or low self-esteem.

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                                            11. Go Exercise

                                            Since you are not making headway at work, you might as well spend the time getting into shape and increasing dopamine levels. Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, or whatever type of exercise helps you start to feel better.

                                            As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

                                            If you need ideas for a quick workout, check out the video below:

                                            12. Take a Few Vacation Days

                                            If you are stuck in a rut, it’s usually a sign that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                                            Beyond the quick tips above, arrange one or two days to take off from work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax, do your favorite activities, and spend time with family members. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                                            Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest.

                                            More Tips to Help You Get out of a Rut

                                            Featured photo credit: Ashkan Forouzani via unsplash.com

                                            Reference

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