A Quick Guide to Using Common Herbs to Treat Illness

For thousands of years people have used plants to treat their ailments and diseases. Even today much ongoing medical research is conducted on the benefits of plants.

Many of the following herbs are tough, need little attention and will grow just about anywhere. Given how easy many of these plants are to grow, why not try growing, and using, some yourself?

Aloe vera
Use the fresh soothing sap from inside this succulent to treat mild burns (including sun burn), itches, insect bites, stings, rashes and other skin problems. It can also be effective against some fungal infections such as ringworm.

Basil tea is relaxing and you can use it to treat mild depression, anxiety, headaches, and to help yo go to sleep. You can also massage the infused oil into the skin to relieve anxiety.

Chamomile tea is often enjoyed for its flavor in its own right. However, it is also good for relaxing muscles and promoting sleep. You can also use it as a rinse to lighten blond hair. WARNING: do not take if you are allergic to plants in the daisy (Asteraceae) family.

You can chew the seeds from dill to help with digestion and freshen breath. They are also good for breastfeeding mothers to increase milk flow.

Echinacea tea is useful for boosting the immune system when you are suffering from a cold. Warning:  Do not take if you are allergic to plants in the daisy (Asteraceae) family or if you suffer from an auto-immune disorder.

Eating garlic regularly can help reduce blood pressure and boost the immune system. Be careful consuming excessive garlic if you are breastfeeding, pregnant, under 10 years of age, or taking blood thinning medications.

English Lavender
The tea is sedative and aids sleep. It can also help with depression, bad breath, coughs and indigestion. Rubbing infused lavender oil onto the neck and temples can also help with headaches.

Lemon balm
Rubbing the leaves of this strong-smelling plant onto stings and bites helps to alleviate the pain.

Lemon Verbena
Lemon Verbena tea is good for easing congestion and indigestion. It is also a sedative. You can make a compress to reduce puffiness around the eyes. Massaging with the oil is also good for cramps.

Marjoram and Oregano
Gargling the tea from these herbs can help reduce ulcers and gum infections. Drinking the tea is also good for relieving those horrible persistent coughs.

The leaves of mint, and in particular spearmint and peppermint, can be chewed to freshen breath. Inhaling the steam from peppermint can relieve nasal compression. The tea of this herb can be used as a remedy for bloating and colic. Warning: Do not give peppermint to children under 5 years of age.

Not so much an herbal remedy as an herbal preventative. Parsley leaves are full of Vitamins A and C, boron and fluorine which are important for healthy bones.

Rosemary tea has antiseptic properties and can ease headaches and improve memory and concentration.

Sage has strongly antiseptic leaves which make for a powerful remedial herbal tea to treat sore throats. It can also be used to ward off colds and reduce sweating.

Remember that, although many of these can be grown or obtained without prescriptions from a doctor, they can still be harmful if taken in large quantities and can affect other medications you may be taking. Be especially cautious if you are pregnant. As always, consult a doctor or medical practitioner before making use of any plant for medicinal purposes.