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A herbal medicine cabinet
Due to the advent of modern medicine we have gradually lost touch with many of the healing properties of herbs. Research suggests that more of us are choosing to embrace herbal remedies. Use our guide below to help decide which herbs you may benefit from.
If you are one of the 70% of women of childbearing age who suffers from Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) then this herb is for you. Agnus Castus has helped many women cope with monthly mood swings, irritability, bloating and breast tenderness, via its balancing effects on hormones and neurotransmitters.
Menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats and mood changes can make life challenging as women go through the change. Black Cohosh can be an excellent alternative for those who want to navigate through the menopause naturally. Its effects are thought to be due largely to its oestrogenic effects
Stress, mood and anxiety
Stress seems to be ever more present in our hectic lives, and symptoms such as anxiety, fatigue, irritability, inability to concentrate and exhaustion can be all too common for some. To help combat your stress take inspiration from Scandinavians and Russians who have long used the root of the Rhodiola rosea plant to increase resistance to stress and as a general tonic.
St John’s Wort
Perhaps one of the most well-known herbs for helping to relieve the symptoms of low mood, St Johns Wort is also useful for mild anxiety. A recent review even concluded that it was as effective as standard anti-depressant medication. Job worries, divorce, redundancy, bereavement or even the darker winter days can all give rise to low mood.
If you are suffering with stress and mild anxiety but your energy levels are good then maybe Passionflower is better suited to you. Used the world over for its calming properties, it is thought to exert its actions by increasing levels of the neurotransmitter GABA. Produced by the brain, GABA makes us feel relaxed. Symptoms of anxiety include irritability, constant worrying, insomnia and muscular tension.
Perhaps the most recognised of all the herbs, Echinacea is a great addition to anyone’s herbal medicine cabinet particularly during the winter months when bugs seem to be everywhere you turn. Research shows that Echinacea not only reduces the duration, but also the severity of symptoms in those with colds and influenza, and is most effective if started at the very first signs of a cold.
The most researched cough and cold medicine in the world, Pelargonium activates the immune system to prevent viruses and bacteria multiplying, as well as preventing viruses from attaching to the delicate linings of the nose and respiratory tract. It is also thought to act as an expectorant – helping the lungs to expel mucous, so might be particularly valuable if you are plagued by coughing during a virus.
Devils Claw is a great herb to have handy for those who suffer with joint aches and pains or arthritis. It is thought to block several inflammatory pathways which cause joint inflammation.
Used in traditional Chinese medicine to relieve toxins, soothe the liver and promote bile flow, Milk thistle is well-known for helping to relieve the symptoms of over-indulgence such as upset stomach and indigestion. A perfect herb to have in hand for the upcoming festive season!
For the 1 in 7 people in the UK thought to suffer with migraines, Feverfew may come as somewhat of a relief. Evidence suggests that this member of the daisy family can be useful when taken longer-term for the prevention of migraine headaches. It is thought to exert its effects via blocking numerous anti-inflammatory pathways in the body.
Stress, anxiety and poor sleep often go hand in hand, and if you find yourself counting sheep into the wee hours then you might want to consider Valerian Non-addictive, Valerian can be a good way to promote a good nights sleep naturally, helping you to wake feeling refreshed.