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Alternative Herbal Remedies

The following text is meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness or injury. Always consult with a physician or other qualified medical care provider concerning the diagnosis and treatment of any illness or injury.

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I have had a number of physicians over the years. Some I connected with, while most I did not. About 4 years ago, after a particularly bad experience with a GP, I decided to try a new approach to finding a doctor with whom I felt comfortable. My insurance requires that I choose a primary care physician to coordinate all of my care. While in theory this is a great idea, it loses something in the translation. You see for being a primary care physician, said physician receives a large retainer each year. Each time he or she sees the throughout the year, he or she still bills the insurance company over and above this retainer. Great deal, right? Well the problem lies in the fact that if he or she refers the to a specialist, that fee comes out of his or her retainer. This is why it is often so hard to get your primary care physician to give you a referral to a specialist. I have severe lung damage, for which I see a specialist. One who in fact, I credit with saving my life. My new primary care physician decided I no longer had to see this specialist, because after all, he has a Spirometry machine, so he can do the same thing. I said absolutely not. I told him he 'may' be good at what he does, but he is not a specialist, and my care is my responsibility, not his. He proceeded to tell me that my care was his responsibility, and that I had to listen to him. Long story short, I told him either he gives me a referral, or I will find another PCP, and he will lose his retainer. He basically told me I was a fool, to which I told him to watch his mouth, or he would most certainly swallow a few teeth. Need I tell you that we parted ways?

This guy really left a bad taste in my mouth. I decided to put together a list of local internists, and actually interview each one to see how their approach to my health dovetailed with my own. I had to pay for an office call, but I felt this was a small price to pay for the peace of mind I needed.

Most of the physicians I met with were of the opinion that I should do what they tell me to do, because they are the ones with the MD behind their names. That does not work for me. When it comes right down to it, the person to whom my health is the most important is me. I was looking for a physician who would fairly and honestly present the pros and cons of each of my treatment options. I would then make the decision as to which plan to follow. I finally met a well respected physician from the Philippines. When I explained what I was looking for, he said that is how everyone should be. He feels that a doctor is supposed to be part healer, and part counselor. He also said that while his insurance prevents him from dispensing, or recommending herbal remedies, he feels they should be the first line of defense for all everyday maladies. That we should only treat with a physician when herbs do not take care of the problem. He further told me that prior to attending medical school, he had only used western medicine two times in his life. This was the guy for me.

The following is a list of common illness and maladies, and the herbals treatments I have found to work for each. This list is by no means comprehensive; there seems to be as many alternative remedies out there as there are stars in the night sky. This list contains only those remedies which I have personally administered and experienced relief.

Allergies Wet/Runny:

Actions: Anticatarrhal, Antihistamine, Astringent

Herbs/Plants: Astragalus membranaceus, Goldenrod, Oxeye Daisy, Witch Hazel

I have mixed tinctures of Oxeye Daisy, Goldenrod, Stinging Nettles, and Astragalus membranaceus. I have found this to significantly reduce mucous and histamine response. The Astragalus membranaceus acts to build the immune system, as well as to aid your body to detoxify the liver. A properly functioning liver will greatly reduce your body's allergic response.

Allergies Dry/Irritated:

Actions: Demulcent

Herbs/Plants: Mallow, Mullein, and Plantain, Slippery Elm

Drinking decoctions and teas made from these herbs has proven beneficial to me and my family over the years. For a tea, simply steep 1 tsp of dried, or 2 tsp of fresh herb in a cup of boiling water for about 10 minutes. Strain out and discard the plant material, and sweeten to taste with raw honey. This is an amazing remedy to combat seasonal dry allergies, as well as the dryness caused by the low humidity of our homes in the winter.


Actions: Antianemia

Herbs/Plants: Spinach, Stinging Nettles

According to Dr, H C A Vogel in The Nature Doctor, there is not a better treatment for anemia than Stinging Nettles. There are a number of ways you can prepare these delectable plants. Some of my favorite methods are steamed, or sautéed in a little bacon fat or butter. Or my absolute favorite recipe is to sauté together in a cast iron skillet, one small chopped onion, two diced carrots, 2 diced stalks of celery, and a clove of garlic. If they are available, try substituting a few fresh ramps for the clove of garlic. After the vegetables have a little color, about 7 or 8 minutes, pour in 32oz of chicken stock, and 1 lb of chopped Stinging Nettles. Add 1/2 - 1 tsp of salt, and 1/4-1/2 tsp of cracked black pepper. Simmer covered for approximately 15-20 minutes. The soup can be ladled into bowls and enjoyed. For a special treat, pour soup into a blender, or using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. Just before serving stir in two tbsp butter and 1/4 c of cream. If you are anything like me and my family, both versions of Stinging Nettle soup will become fast favorites. Not only are they amazing tasting, each serving contains substantially more iron than a comparable serving of spinach.


Actions: Antiarthritic, Anti-Inflammatory, Antipsoriatic, Antirheumatic

Herbs/Plants: Indian Pipe, Turmeric, Willow, Wintergreen

There are a couple of ways to help your body deal with arthritis.


Actions: Antiasthmatic, Anti-Inflammatory, Antirheumatic, Demulcent, Pectoral


Actions: Antihemorrhagic, Haemostatic, Styptic,




Actions: Anticoagulant

Herbs/Plants: Yarrow

Nothing is better at healing bruising by aiding your body to remove the pooled blood than Yarrow. I have personally applied tinctured Yarrow to a nasty bruise caused by the tearing of my Achilles tendon. I applied religiously ever few hours, and within a couple of days, the bruise was barely visible.

Cough / Cold:

Actions: Antitussive, Demulcent, Pectoral



Cuts, Scrapes, or Abrasions:

Actions: Vulnerary

Herbs/Plants: Comfrey, Hounds Tongue, Plantain


Actions: Antidiarrheal

Herbs/Plants: Barberry, Goldenseal, Witch Hazel


Actions: Carminative

Herbs/Plants: Anise, Astragalus membranaceus, Chickweed, Cinnamon, Garlic, Ginger, Lemon Balm, Valerian, Wild Cherry


Actions: Analgesic, Anodyne

Herbs/Plants: Indian Pipe, Meadowsweet, St. John's Wort, Willow, Wintergreen

Heartburn/Upset Stomach:

Actions: Antacid, Stomachic

Herbs/Plants: Dandelion, Ginger, Mallow, Mullein, Slippery Elm

Insect Bite/Sting:

Actions: Antipruritic

Herbs/Plants: Comfrey, Jewelweed, Plantain


Actions: Sedative, Soporific

Herbs/Plants: Indian Pipe, Lemon Balm, Skullcap, Valerian

Itchy skin:

Actions: Antipruritic, Emollient

Herbs/Plants: Aloe Vera, Butcher's Broom, Calendula, Chickweed, Jewelweed, Mallow, Plantain, Slippery Elm

Muscles - Sore/Pulled/Strained:

Actions: Antispasmodic, Hypnotic, Nervine, Relaxant

Herbs/Plants: Indian Pipe, Valerian


Actions: Antiemetic

Herbs/Plants: Ginger, Peppermint, Red Clover, Spearmint

Poison Ivy / Poison Oak:

Actions: Antipruritic, Emollient

Herbs/Plants: Jewelweed

Water Retention:

Actions: Diuretic

Herbs/Plants: Dandelion, Stinging Nettles, Yarrow

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Revised: 05/11/16 Living Afield