Herbs I am Using Now

I’m going through a rough patch at mid-life. I know diet makes a big difference, yes, I do. Did I pay attention to my diet? No, I ate pretty much everything that came my way. Extra body fat makes a difference; it can affect estrogen levels. Did I keep my weight where it should be? No, see above. I am five foot three, I should weigh about 120 pounds, but it’s more like 140. I don’t mind weighing that if the extra twenty pounds is muscle, but it is not.

I am changing my diet to one low in fat, high in fibre. I need more vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin D. I also need to normalize my hormone levels so that menopause is less stressful. My hearing is failing, as well, and I think it is partly due to chronic inflammation in response to allergies. Eliminating chemical triggers from the home is the first step.

I don’t take herbs all the time. They are a regular part of my healthcare, but unless I feel I am unbalanced, I don’t take what I don’t need. It’s obvious that I need to regain some of that balance, though, so this is my new regimen.

Teas – right now, yarrow, lemon balm and elderflower. Soon I will switch to milk thistle and stinging nettle, and continue with the lemon balm.

Lemon balm (melissa officinalis) is well-known for reducing inflammation, calming the mind, and fighting viruses. It is a traditional longevity herb, and can be safely taken every day of your life. It is good for hyperactive children and highstrung adults. It will ward off herpes flare-ups such as shingles. It is excellent to give for chicken pox and influenza. It may be beneficial to heart health, since chronic inflammation can lead to heart stress. I am taking it to reduce inflammation throughout my body and to prevent shingles flare-ups. It is called melissa because of the honey-like taste.

Yarrow is a famous styptic – it stops bleeding. It can be used fresh or dried on bleeding wounds. I used to dry it, powder it, and keep it in a shaker top jar to use when shearing or when the animals got scratched by fences or thorns. I take it in a tea to stop overprofuse and extended menstrual bleeding. It can be used internally for quite a while, and can be of use to anyone who has chronic internal bleeding. It is named Achillea because of Achilles, the warrior who used it on the battlefield to heal wounds. It is a very good herb to use for colds and influenza, and will check diarrhea safely in children. I recommend it for women who have heavy periods – start taking it after the first day. It has a pleasant, tannic taste.

Elder flower (sambucus) is an ancient panacea, used since time immemorial all over the Mediterranean and Europe for its great healing properties. The flowers are a remedy for colds, fevers, and especially pulmonary infections. I find it eases allergy symptoms as well. Elderberries made into a syrup with sugar or honey are a good cure for colds and coughs. The berries are mildly laxative (c0ok them with some sweetener first) and the leaves and bark have uses as well. The elder has held a place of high esteem in natural medicine for generations. The liqueur called Sambuca is made from it.

Milk thistle (silybum or carduus marianum) is used for support of liver health. A well-tuned liver is necessary for good hormonal health. Milk thistle is sometimes called a “blood-cleanser” – this only means it helps liver function. A diet too rich in fats, especially animal fats, can stress the liver, as does overindulgence in alcohol and sugar.I’m not a heavy drinker, but I have been eating too much meat and too much sugar. I do want to emphasize, though, that milk thistle will not rescue a person from overconsumption! Changing the diet and using milk thistle for a few weeks will strengthen this all-important organ.

Black cohosh (cimicifuga racemosa) is a woman’s herb, taken to regulate hormonal levels, to prevent hot flashes and to make the menstrual cycle regular. It usually isn’t employed until perimenopause, the time before the onset of true menopause, and can be used after the periods stop to prevent hot flashes. I am taking it in capsules. Sometimes it is available mixed with other herbs such as wild yam, a phytoestrogen. The brand I am taking is Natural Factors, which bills the product as a natural HRT (horomone relacement therapy) alternative. I don’t think it works like estrogen, but instead strengthens the adrenals and ovaries to function normally. I am taking this as a standardized capsule, up to 120 mg a day, in two doses.

Other herbs that can help in menopause and menstruation as well as in inflammation and viral infections are rosemary, thyme and summer savoury, common herbs in the spice cabinet. Thyme is the only one to use cautiously, no more than a small amount as tea for three days at a time. It will help curb menstrual bleeding. I use the three together when this is a problem, and it will relieve some of the symptoms quickly. Rosemary is a tonic herb that will fight infections and inflammations.

The tea herbs I am using are from Herbaria, a Hungarian company. They are of high quality, come in regular 25-bag tea boxes, and the packaging is beautiful, with good illustrations of the herbs on the box. Another company that makes good herbal teas is Three Crown, a German brand, although they do not have a full line of medicinals.


10 thoughts on “Herbs I am Using Now

  1. I would like to share with you the site that I get all my herbs from. It is http://www.savvyteasandherbs.com They are of the utmost quality, and they are very reasonably priced. She sells organic teas, bulk herbs, herbal teas, and accessories. It is really a great company. I make all of our daily vitamins in bulk and I get my herbs there…plus all our teas that I don’t mix myself. I think you’d like the site! ;D Congratulations on a new way of eating! I’m sure you will be successful! ;D –Sara

    • Thanks for the link! I needed things immediately so got them at a good herb store in Fredericton, NB called Aura. I’ve used them for years.

  2. It is strange you are talking about inflammation now, as I have been researching this like crazy for a while. Actually, I was researching several ailments in our family and our Patrick’s epilepsy has been thought by one dr, who thought outside the box some, may have an immune base and inflammation may be involved. Our 32 yr old daughter has arthritis, probably RA ( the rheumatologist has not officially said so, because she did not test positive for the marker in the blood, but he said and we read that doesn’t necessarily mean she doesn’t have it.) and it has gotten so much more progressive that I hit the study trail. She is not as into herbs and alternative things as I am, but is trying to learn. Then, because we have to have our stance, don’t we, on heart disease and cholesterol at 50 and have our ideas on how to prevent disease if we can I was studying all these things. Throw in my autoimmune dysfunction, too. Over the years I have followed some of the teachings of some dr.’s , such as Dr. Mercola and others. I make up my own mind and do not just buy anything anyone says, but Mercola is good to provide studies or links for more studies, which I like. Mercola has been such a help to me!! It gets me going on a trail and the things I am finding all seem to come together. Contemporary disease patterns and how many of them come from the same issues. Inflammation is the biggie and I just have been realizing how it has wrecked my health ( I have been fighting it, but I am finding better methods), and the health of many. My husband’s company does screenings and his cholesterol and triglycerides were not good. But then we need to understand where the current train of thought in most physician’s heads is coming from. One always finds that Big Pharma is involved with most of the dr.s who sit on the boards who recommend statin drugs and say cholesterol is bad. It is not bad. It is so important to our bodies and we cannot make all the hormones without it and process other important things in the liver. I forget the specific one – I can look it back up, I don’t have it memorized yet. Anyhow, Mercola shows how the studies were conducted and how they concluded cholesterol was a heart disease predictor and it is utter nonsense. For several years I have agreed that sugar, our proneness to be insulin resistant has had a big role in heart and lots of other disease. Lots of us, even those of us who do not eat much sugar, may think we won’t develop insulin resistance, but my husband is a good example of how untrue that is. It is starch, any starch, that is sugar and most people eat too much of it. Now that we are watching his starch like crazy, we can’t believe how much we ate before – and we were rather trying to not over eat it. So all this studying of mine for all these things ended up at the same place – inflammation. It causes scars in the arteries, which we call plaques, it causes arthritis, and all kinds of other issues, some of which I have. And they are backing down since I starting eating less and less starch, lots of vegetables ( so duh, huh?), and cutting our fruits down. We did what a lot of people do when it comes to eating good ole fruit and nuts – we ate probably 5 or 6 servings of it instead of one. It only takes 8 nuts to make a serving. Altogether, I am a pig and gluttony is my problem and there is no way to get truly healthier that way. Even if it is only occasional bouts of it, like it generally is with me. So, I have to pray about it.

    There are lots of anti inflammatory diets out there and they are similar. Dairy causes uproars of debate. Most emphasize low grain and Mercola believes in eliminating it. He has treated hundreds of patients whose serious illnesses have responded to this. Low heat cooking is another thing. Cooking our meat longer at a lower temp, not frying our food at high temperatures, using olive oil and coconut oil. We try to eat only what God made, but we still use a bit of rice and rice pasta occasionally ( never more than a half cup and only if we have not had grain any other time that day. Oatmeal excepting.) and we eat small amounts of mostly berries because they are the least high in fructose. We eat meat and I think that a person has to let their body tell them how much they need of that – the body will tell us. Noone is going to overdose on veggies. We were eating generally this way for a long time, but too much of it!!! We are already feeling better after just a week of cutting back portions. Of course, if you can get grass fed beef and free range chicken it is good.

    Another thing that is something we are messing with is the controversial fish. We found a really neat source of info that talked about the importance of fish, not just the oil for the omegas, but the trace minerals that are in the fish, some of which we cannot get in other foods. I believe it is 72 trace minerals. There is only one company out there that anyone seems to trust in this – the product is Concentrace and it helps dramatically. However, the people who eat 3 to 4 oz of fish each day are the ones who get the best results. We have been managing to eat that amount about 5 days. There are lists of fish that are safer to eat and they should be wild caught. So, if one just cannot stand the idea of eating fish, they could do the concentrace and krill oil for the omegas and have the closest imitation possible.

    I have not heard of lemon balm being helpful and will try it. Dr. mercola interviewed some dr. expert on inflammation and he recommended that diet I spoke of, high high amounts of MSM, mangosteen, krill oil, and I can look it back up to see what I am missing. The msm was interesting because it is related to aloe vera – I gotta look that back up, but we were taking this expensive type of aloe vera, also an anti inflammatory, but I am thinking it says that msm is in aloe? I better look that up.


    • Lemon balm is a cheap and effective anti-inflammatory. I never use expensive supplements or items that are not common foods. Eat your grains as unrefined as possible, which means baking your own bread and maybe grinding your own flour in a handmill. For us, any kind of pasta is just a treat food. We use minimal amounts of sugar ourselves. But carbs are not your enemy. Our ancestors lived mostly on unprocessed grain and vegetables. Modern varieties of fruits are bred for sweetness, so look for some of the heirloom varieties. Pretty much, we eat local and seasonally.

      I don’t advocate any of the current supplements that are not simply well-known herbs. I’d avoid krill oil myself. I like fish, but it is expensive and we eat it rarely. We eat meat maybe once a week or so, in small amounts, although I need to add some beef into my diet for a week or so to rebuild my iron. I’d say we eat pretty close to a traditional Mediterranean diet, except less fish.

  3. Hello again,
    I came back after looking up the msm, and it is highly concentrated in aloe vera. msm is not a drug but a compound from trees and plants. It neutralizes inflammation and breaks down calcifications associated with inflammation. For those with serious illnesses working up to 6000 to 10,000 mg a day it is usually helpful, but some RA patients are taking 30,000 mg a day and are pain free. I know you are not interested in this, but I wanted to make sure I finished what I said correctly in case someone else is.

    I respect you highly, and I hope you don’t mind if I express a different view. I do feel that carbohydrates are many people’s enemy because of the way they are usually eaten in this country in these times – refined and in convenience or fast foods. Type 2 diabetes is rampant and I have watched loved ones and friends be destroyed by this treatable disease because of their refusal ( and perhaps inability)to curb carbs, whether they be in the empty form of candy, desserts, chips, breads, fries, or…. the healthier whole grain pasta, breads, etc… . 1/2 cup of pasta??? Maybe for an appetizer. unless we make a conscious effort carbs are often harder to eat in appropriate portions. I know I am referring to gluttony here and that it is a spiritual issue as well as a health one. But I feel, too, that this huge problem in our country ( don’t know about Canada) – obesity and diabetes speaks volumes about the addiction we have to carbs and where did this come from? I can remember my mom and her friends and sisters talking about giving up potatoes and starches to get their weight down a bit – none of them were fat, but occasionally they started eating a bit more and gaining a bit of weight and they wanted to stop it. My mom was a depression kid and unless you lived in the country you might have a hard time getting a full belly and she had rickets and her sisters were also painfully thin. They lived on carbs, but there was just not enough to gorge and those carbs were beans, vegetable based meals, and not macaroni and cheese or lasagna. Sugar was rationed. Then, her generation was pelted with Betty Crocker mixes and a whole bunch of convenience packaged foods that we much, much later learned had lots of nasties in it. I was raised on that stuff and sugar was plentiful. Boxed cereals, and I did remind mom she ought to be wearing pearls and serving me cookies and milk when I rolled in from school. I have lived rural for nearly 30 yrs now and many around here came from the hills of Kentucky and they still eat like they did then – well they often get stuck into the SAD diet for a time, but revert back to the old one of their childhood eventually. Large variety of bean soups, vegetable soups with or without meat, bits of meat, and they do like biscuits. The thing that got my father in law off his usual hillbilly food was Betty Crocker struck at his house. My mother in law canned what he grew, but she also got into the typical american diet of the time and was such a sweet tooth she put them in his lunch everyday and he became one himself. He stuggled with the early stages of diabetes for years until she died of complications of diabetes and now he is back to his old diet of soups and simple eating, but real food. He doesn’t keep much if any sugar treats around.
    All these convenience foods made it possible for us to have goodies and treats around all the time, when not that long ago someone had to cut the potatoes up to make french fries or chips, bake that cake from scratch and frost it – noone had the time to devote to doing that even if they were willing. There might be a cake on top of the fridge, but it was to last the week and it was often for company. Those who have gotten more comfort from carbs, as is common ,find it hard to break that habit when they were raised on it all their lives and their bodies have had a small but steady stream of more carbs all along that gradually affected the way their bodies dealt with the excess carbs ( creating insulin resistance). I have struggled with carbs all along – I have struggled with candidiasis to the extreme ( high refined carb diet all my childhood combines with endless antibiotics) and never knew about it until I was in my 30’s, very sick. I am getting well, but it has been a slow process. And another large factor in carbs being a problem in the American diet is that it is cheap. If a mom has a young family and a husband interested in health, she can find a way to provide a healthy diet as cheaply as she can one full of cereals, lunchmeat, pizza pockets, ho ho’s, and ravioli in a can. But if he is not on board and some of the kids are older and able to rock the boat – it is hard to find a way to feed some of them well and some of them not so well. I know many in this dilemma. So, someone I know and love dearly feeds her family spaghetti several times a week and things like that because it is cheap. And to some there is the additional issue of laziness. It is so easy to have some popping their dinners into the micro, some eating cereal for dinner, and doing their own thing.
    As far as you and you dear husband, I agree with how you are doing things. I see you as someone who has been pretty healhty most of your life and not heavy. Athletic. You know what works for you and that is what we all need to be able to do: listen to our bodies. It is true that despite what all I said in my long ramble, I believe our bodies are unique and some of us need more of some thing than others.

    Thanks for being patient with me!! Unless I have frustrated you. If so, please forgive me.

    • If something works well, then it is worth trying it. I do not think any aloe derivatives should be taken long term, and those seem excessive doses. Aloe is a bit harsh. It is not what herbalists call a food herb – something that can be used day after day. I am a very traditional herbalist – I prefer to wildgather and use herbs in as natural a state as possible, even to running outside and plucking something as I’m boiling the water for tea. I try to grow my own plants when possible and to use herbs that are native to my area or are from a similar climate to the one in which I live.

      I am of Celtic descent, and I try to keep to a diet such as my ancestors ate – unrefined grains, lots of vegetables, beans, and very lean meat and fish, with green herbs in season. When I venture too far from that diet I gain weight, get sick, feel out of energy. We eat potatoes frequently, since they grow here ands are very cheap on sale. this hasn’t been a good week dietwise since I have been ill, but we shoudl go back to our usual diet soon. I suggest researching the ancestral foods of your family to see if it would be a more suitable diet for you. I have to keep Nicholas away from corn products, for instance – his East End, southern England family never ate maize, and he has a sensitivity to it that has shown up in his children as well.

      No, dear Joanie, you never tire or frustrate me. I pray for you and your family. God bless thee!

    • If something works well, then it is worth trying it. I do not think any aloe derivatives should be taken long term, and those seem excessive doses. Aloe is a bit harsh. It is not what herbalists call a food herb – something that can be used day after day. I am a very traditional herbalist – I prefer to wildgather and use herbs in as natural a state as possible, even to running outside and plucking something as I’m boiling the water for tea. I try to grow my own plants when possible and to use herbs that are native to my area or are from a similar climate to the one in which I live.

      I am of Celtic descent, and I try to keep to a diet such as my ancestors ate – unrefined grains, lots of vegetables, beans, and very lean meat and fish, with green herbs in season. When I venture too far from that diet I gain weight, get sick, feel out of energy. We eat potatoes frequently, since they grow here ands are very cheap on sale. this hasn’t been a good week dietwise since I have been ill, but we shoudl go back to our usual diet soon. I suggest researching the ancestral foods of your family to see if it would be a more suitable diet for you. I have to keep Nicholas away from corn products, for instance – his East End, southern England family never ate maize, and he has a sensitivity to it that has shown up in his children as well.

      No, dear Joanie, you never tire or frustrate me. I pray for you and your family. God bless thee!

  4. I am so tired and this is no place for me to go into what all is wrong with corn and how it also can cause atrophy of the villli in the intestine like wheat, casein, and even soy can. Suffice it to say the main problems are our grains are not what they used to be or were meant to be. The gluten content in the wheat forms we have today is so much higher than it was ever meant to be and the number of people who have celiac disease is rising dramatically all the time. I last read one in 33 people now and it used to be far, far, fewer not very long ago. I cannot digest it, Patrick’s seizures reduced by 50% when going gluten free, and after spending as many years communicating with epileptics who got better I can say that most of them improved dramatically by going gluten free. Patrick had had tests that showed severe malapsorption and I didn’t absorb well for years until I went gluten free. So, that limits us right off the bat.

    What my ancestors ate. One grandpa ws from Manchester England, my grandma’s family from Ireland. I lived with them for a while. He was in his late 80’s and early 90’s when I was very little, but he was very fine in his mind and active until his death at 97. He loved fish, fish, fish, and other than that I can’t remember. They were here in the depression, he came from a poor family, and they ate what they could get. I do remember eating her strange spaghetti- spaghetti, hamburger, and tomatoes and that is all. She was not a creative cook. My other grandpa was scottish, grandma was Swiss German and grew up in a a German settlement in Southern Indiana. Her family had settled in Lucerne Switzerland from Germany and mixed. I DO remember her food very well and I loved it. We ate this weird thing that I thought everyone ate and yet did not find another person who ate it until I grew up and she was Polish. The best I can tell, this dish was from Eastern Europe, so I surmise they had come from East Germany to Switzerland ( I still have family there and most of my English family never came here and are booming over there.) Anyhow we ate fried spaghetti every Sunday for years at Swiss Granny’s – I loved it silly. She fried saltine crackers in butter in an iron skillet till golden brown and drained them on paper towels. Then, she fried cooked, drain spaghetti in more butter and they turned out like hash browns and we crumbled crackers on top. My mom was always trying to make this for us, but it took a knack. I can do it. Even with rice spaghetti. Where there is a will there is a way, haha. She usually cooked a big meatloaf with all kinds of meats in it, including veal, never once did I eat a potato at her house that I remember. Just the spaghetti. My mother loved all food and was a professional cook, so who knows? I love it all too. My dad insisted on lots of potatoes and I loved them, I loved all starch and casseroles, especially with noodles. I hated meat. MY husband looks Irish, is Irish, but his great grandma was a cree indian, then there is another side English and German. He would probably happily live on potatoes alone. So, I just listen to my body. I can hear it yell broccoli or steak oftentimes.

    We have planned for years to get out some medicinal herbs that we use, but have had no opportunity due to the demands in the house. It was so demanding this year we lost much of our garden for the first time ever – to something other than weather.

    I always pray about guidance in how and what I use for Patrick and for the sick ones in my family. My side of the family obviously has immune system problems and they have struck our family hard. None of us are on harsh pharmaceuticals, but treating things like what Patrick has, the daughter with severe arthritis at 32, and the various immune problems of my own, we chose to use combinations of herbs and other compounds that we studied up on. I have also sought guidance from a variety of doctors over the years who do both conventional and natural therapies and lost of unusual tests. I am always trying to find what is the least amount of anything we have to take, but right now it is still a terrible lot. Expensive lot.
    Good news, though, Patrick’s broken collar bone has healed now and he tried out his new crazy looking contraption we bought him to wear – a thing that motocross people wear so that when they crash they are less likely to break bones. It is light and ventilated and he wore it under his shirt tonight and one could hardly make it out. The could see the new lacrosse helmet with cage, but that is ok. He got out and walked with his dad as fast as he could go!! His bone healed and his seizures have backed off dramatically – crazy illness.

    • I didn’tknow that so many people have celiac disease. One of my sisters is having problems with it, which surprised me, since it has never been seen in our family. Yes, I’m sur eit must be related to “sweeter” varieties of wheat, meant to make higher sugar breads and baked goods. So many women I know are buying flour mills and grinding their own wheat at home. I would liek to do that myself when we can afford it. I have almost all my year’s flour though, so I will put it off until late summer and see where we are then.

      I know a lot of herbalists here use Richter’s in Ontario. They are a mjor producer of herbs and herb products and their prices are reasonab;e since you can buy in large quantities. As I said, use what works, just be cautious of using anything longterm. The usual practice is to use an herb for threee days, or three weeks, or three months, then go off for at least a day, a week or a month. I prefer to use herbs in sub-therapeutic doses to encoursge the body to produce its own immunities and adaptations. this is not always practical.

      I haven’t read the book on the paleolithic diet, but I am curious about it.

      Please keep letting me know what is going on, and what you are finding that has helped yoru family, since I know the information will help others.

      God bless thee.

  5. i said that none of us were on harsh pharmaceuticals, and I was in outer space I guess. Patrick is the only one on two medicines that definitely do very bad things to his body. It is scary. That is why I have gotten rid of one two times and am doing it a third and last time. It gave him 3 blood disorders, carnitine deficiency, mitochondrial disorder. It took some time to figure out which med was doing it and a while with seizure weaning involved means like YEARS. Took me from last Jan to July to get rid of it and then we added back half of it in Sept and now are going off it again. Should be done in 2 months. Talking to the neuro next week about a possible back up med IF he needs one. I am praying he won’t. One medicine is much easier on the liver than two.

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