Cheat Sheet

Herbal Remedies For Dummies

From Herbal Remedies For Dummies by Christopher Hobbs

To maintain your health and combat common conditions, try herbal remedies as an alternate to pharmaceutical drugs. To protect rare herbs, check out some easy substitutions for these endangered plants. Use a handy guide for herbal alternatives for common medications and, depending on the type of herbal remedy you're taking, follow a recommended dosage guide.

Herbal Remedies for Common Conditions

If you're looking for an alternative to over-the-counter or prescription drugs for some common conditions that eventually affect everyone, try these herbal remedies to ease symptoms and maintain a healthier you:

Symptom or Condition Herbal Remedy
Allergies (hay fever) Nettle herb, eyebright, cayenne, garlic, horseradish
Arthritis pain Meadowsweet, ginger, cayenne, black cohosh, yucca, devil's claw
Bladder infections (cystitis) Cranberry juice, marshmallow root, pipsissewa, uva-ursi, echinacea, usnea
Burns, scrapes, rashes, bites Calendula cream, chamomile cream, St. John's wort oil
Colds Cayenne, garlic, ginger, osha, sage, yerba mansa, elder flowers and berries
Congestion, sinus Cayenne, horseradish, eyebright, eucalyptus, ma huang
Coughs Sage leaf, loquat leaf, licorice root, wild cherry bark, marshmallow root
Fatigue American ginseng, red ginseng, rosemary, rehmannia, licorice, gentian
Gas, intestinal Peppermint, chamomile, cumin seed, caraway seed, fennel seed
Headaches Feverfew, wood betony, willow bark, meadowsweet
Infections of the skin Echinacea, tea tree oil
Insomnia Valerian, California poppy, chamomile, linden flower, kava
Memory (poor) Ginkgo, rosemary, gotu kola
Nervous tension Eleuthero (Siberian ginseng), valerian, California poppy, passion flower, hops
Sore throat Sage leaf, echinacea, licorice, marshmallow
Stomachache Ginger, peppermint, chamomile, gentian, centaury
Stress Eleuthero (Siberian ginseng), California poppy, ligustrum, ashwaganda, schisandra

A Dosage Guide for Herbal Remedies

The following table gives you information on dosage recommendations for herbal remedies. This chart is to help you make informed choices and is not a substitute for expert medical advice or treatment, since each individual is unique.

Product Dose
Teas 1 cup, 3 to 4 times throughout the day
Powdered herbs 2 to 4 capsules, 2 to 3 times daily
Tinctures 2 to 5 droppersful, 2 to 3 times daily
Standardized extracts 1 tablet, 2 to 3 times daily

Substitutes for Rare and Endangered Herbs

Interest in herbal medicine has dramatically increased, and along with the destruction of habitat, encroaching development, and commercial overharvesting, some healing herbs have become endangered. You can help these rare plants survive by making some simple substitutions:

Herb How You Can Help
American ginseng Buy cultivated or woods-grown roots or products instead of wild American ginseng.
Black cohosh Substitute red clover products if you're using black cohosh for its estrogenic effects. Substitute kava or cramp bark if using this herb for muscle spasms. Substitute meadowsweet for arthritis.
Blue cohosh Substitute yarrow.
Echinacea Buy products containing Echinacea purpurea, which are cultivated organically, instead of wild-harvested E. angustifolia. Both are equally effective. E. angustifolia is increasingly available as a cultivated herb.
Goldenseal Buy cultivated goldenseal or substitute Oregon grape root, barberry, or the Chinese herb coptis, all of which contain the same active ingredient, called berberine.
Pipsissewa Use uva ursi and marshmallow root together to soothe and help reduce bacteria for urinary tract infections.
Slippery elm Substitute marshmallow root, which has similar soothing properties to slippery elm and is a cultivated herb.
Wild yam Wild yam doesn't have progesterone-like effects, according to studies and historical use. Use wild yam only for bowel cramps, spasms, colic, and nausea, or substitute chamomile flowers.

Herbal Substitutes for Common Medications

If you're looking for an herbal remedy as an alternative for some common medications, take a look at this chart to see what can be substituted. See your doctor or herbalist about persistent, serious conditions.

Medication Herbal Alternative
Pain reliever White willow, meadowsweet
Daytime cold medication Echinacea, goldenseal
Nighttime cold medication Loquat syrup
Stomachache/gas reliever Black walnut, chamomile
Sleep aid Kava, valerian
Anxiety reliever California poppy, kava
Anti-depressant St. John's wort
Antibiotic Usnea, goldenseal
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