Sometimes I look back at my life as a miracle. When I was in my early twenties I suffered from a painful eating disorder that almost took my life. At five feet ten inches tall my frail body weighed in at 96 pounds. I looked like a dead woman walking. What blew my mind was that I couldn’t figure out why I had an eating disorder. I didn’t fit the typical mold of a teenager with body image issues. My eating disorder came later in life (in my twenties). There wasn’t a history prior. Every doctor I went to handed me an anti depressant and told me to eat crap food. There was a HUGE lack of information back then that is readily available to us today.
I later found out I had a major zinc deficiency. A lack of zinc can cause one to binge eat hence the low mood that follows. This is how I got into herbs almost two decades ago. I knew in order to heal…I would need to heal myself.
When we give people the skills to heal themselves as much as possible and connect that to how our ancestors would heal themselves as an act of resistance and self-determination, they gain the confidence to push back against the running narrative.
For seventeen years I’ve enjoyed eating wild edibles in my big salads! I relish in harvesting and growing many of my own herbs. I invite you to identify and meet my favorite ten healing herbs below along with their medicinal properties.
My top ten favorite medicinal herbs!
This is my absolute favorite herb! I drink it, put it in skin masks and even crush the leaves on top of my salads. I believe this herb is the fountain of youth! It is an adaptogen that has he ability to give you energy when you need it while relaxing you when you need to wind down.
Bacopa is a natural serotonin booster. It is excellent for people who suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. Bacopa has been used in India by ayurveda practitioners to treat Parkinson’s.
I love to use dandelion root as a liver detoxifier. It’s wonderful to treat an upset stomach or intestinal gas. Use to increase urine and clean the urine.
Ginger is used to ease nausea and is excellent if you happen to suffer from car sickness like I do. motion sickness. It’s excellent for nausea during pregnancy or chemotherapy.
Ginkgo leaf treats a variety of conditions such as asthma, chronic fatigue, and tinnitus. It is also used to prevent dementia and other brain disorders. Some studies have supported its slight effectiveness. Exactly how gingko works isn’t understood Or should I say is not being researched enough by our government! WARNINGS: Only extract from leaves should be used. The seeds contain a toxin that can cause seizures. DO NOT USE with anti-inflammatory medicines, anticoagulants, anticonvulsant or tricyclic antidepressants.
Ginseng is a beauty herb used as a tonic cure-all. There is a large variation in the quality of ginseng sold. Side effects are high blood pressure and tachycardia. WARNING: DO NOT USE WITH warfarin, heparin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, estrogens, corticosteroids, or digoxin. People with diabetes should not use ginseng.
Goldenseal is used to treat diarrhea, and eye and skin irritations. It is also used as an antiseptic. It is also an unproven treatment for colds. Goldenseal contains berberine, a plant alkaloid with a long history of medicinal use in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. Studies have shown that goldenseal is effective for diarrhea. WARNING: May be poisonous in high doses.
Milk thistle is a Mediterranean herb used to treat liver conditions and high cholesterol, and to reduce the growth of cancer cells. When harvested at the proper time, it is excellent used as a liver detoxifier.
Saint John’s wort
(Flower, root and leaf)
Saint John’s wort is a natural antidepressant. A common side effect is sensitivity to light, but it is blanketed by the many benefits.WARNING: St.John’s wort can cause a dangerous interaction with other commonly used medicines.
(Root) Valerian is used to reduce anxiety and as a mild sleep aid.
Always talk with your doctor before using any of the herbs above.