As someone who graduated from pharmacy school with extensive knowledge in medicine and their effects on the body, I feel compelled to tell you how strongly I feel about the benefits of herbal medicine.
Mother Nature is more than just a mother, she is also the worlds greatest physician and most specialized pharmacy. Medicine in its truest form is not a chemical manufactured by a pharmaceutical company, it is a natural herb/plant/flower grown from the earth.
If you pride yourself in eating clean and organic, why poison yourself with pills when you can heal yourself just as clean as you nourish yourself? Before you pop a pill, try the following five magic herbs I recommend for treating common winter ailments and see for yourself.
1. VALERIAN ROOT
Sitting around the table with my family for the holidays or otherwise is the epitome of what a nervous breakdown waiting to happen would look like. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family more than anything in the world, but I also love my sanity. With the help of Valerian root's magic, I’m able to keep my sanity and refrain from murdering any of my family members at the same time.
Valerian root is used to alleviate stress by relaxing the body and mind. It’s used to combat anxiety as well as difficulty sleeping. You can either buy the ready-made extract or brew your own tea. Just pour one cup of boiling water over 1 teaspoon of the dried herb, cover and steep for 5-10 minutes, and drink your anxiety away.
For optimal results, drink 3 times per day or limit family gatherings to holidays only. If that doesn’t work, you can always get drunk to bypass all the family drama, just be careful not to get belligerent and create more of it.
You will definitely want to have some ginger on hand to help stomach your crazy family and all the holiday meals. The root of the ginger can be eaten raw, dried into a spice or powder, or juiced into a liquid. It is known to have many medicinal properties, most of which are gastrointestinal.
It alleviates nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, upset stomach and even morning sickness. Mother-in-law cooking Christmas dinner? No problem, take some ginger chews with you and save yourself from a night on the toilet. Her cooking never tasted so good, literally.
The holiday season can be brutal when it comes to the health of your skin. The cold, crisp air will leave you dry and chapped, exacerbating skin conditions like eczema to the point of torture. Calendula, also known as marigold is a powerful anti-inflammatory used in skin preparations for its moisturizing properties.
It will also be your best friend during the winter months, helping to soothe the area and reduce pain while moisturizing chapped, cracked skin. If only it could help soothe the dent all the Christmas and holiday shopping left in your wallet.
If you suffer from seasonal allergies you may want to invest in some butterber, not the turkey but the herb. Hay fever can make the winter months unbearable, but butterber has been proven effective to treat all the associated symptoms that come with allergies, including runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, overproduction of mucus/phlegm, and facial redness/puffiness.
If you're allergic to your in-laws, however, you may need something stronger to get you through all the holiday family gatherings.
5. ST. JOHN'S WART
There’s nothing I hate more than the winter. The days are shorter, the nights are longer and just getting out of bed in the morning is a task in itself. I find myself eating and sleeping more so than usual and moving way less. I’m mopy and moody, it’s like I’m on my period the entire season. No wonder bears hibernate during the winter, who wants to deal with all that?
Luckily it’s only seasonal depression and won’t last forever, in the meantime, there’s St. John's Wart to the rescue. This magic herb is well known for improving the mood in people with SAD, a type of depression occurring during the winter months, usually caused by lack of sunlight.
If I feel the lack of sunshine and I live in LA where it’s sunny 290 days out of the year, I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like to live in Alaska. If the polar bears had a spirit animal, I can guarantee their spirit animal would be St. John's Wart!
There’s no such thing as a miracle, except of course the miracle of Christmas. But that’s it, Christmas, the Virgin Mary and Santa Clause, not you or your health. These herbs may be magic but they’re no miracle. The miracle of optimal health requires discipline in regards to your diet regimen, exercise habits, and sleeping patterns.
And should include regular doctor visits and timely checkups. For those of you blessed with crazy families, therapy might not be such a bad idea either, especially during the holiday season, when your family get-togethers start to feel like the Last Supper, and you would rather be crucified than have to sit through another minute of it.