Alternative Herbal Healing Tips

Read these 45 Alternative Herbal Healing Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Herb Supplements tips and hundreds of other topics.

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Why read labels?

Arnica - Therapeutic Uses

Also called Leopard's bane and mountain tobacco, Arnica
grows in the mountainous areas of North America.

Use Arnica externally.

Uses include: pain relief, swelling, insect bites,
and as an anti-inflammatory.

** Please read Dosage/Safe Use Tip

What do I do for a sore throat?

Soothing Sage

For mouth sores and sore throats, combine 1 teaspoon of dried Sage with 1 cup boiling water. Steep for 5-10 minutes. Strain and drink infusion either hot or cool. Do not use this recipe if you are breastfeeding! Sage will dry up your milk. You can use Thyme instead.

How can I keep my feet warm with herbs?

Cayenne for your feet

Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne into your socks before putting them on in the morning. This will keep your feet warm all day!

Can I take any herbal health remedy?

Choosing Between Brands

1. Whole plant or extract? It depends on which herb
you're buying and what you're going to use it for.
For instance, the root of the herb Echinacea, which is
used to help fight colds, is where the more concentrated
compounds are found. The root is more expensive, however.
If you see a label that states the ingredient is
"echinacea herb" or "horsetail herb", that means
the supplement is made from not only the root, but
also the above ground parts of the plant, and therefore
will be less effective.

2. Always try to find organically grown herbs.

3. The closer to your location that the plant was
grown, the fresher it will be when you get it, usually.

4. Look for "active ingredient", and compare labels.
How many pills will you need to take per day of one
or another? This will affect the cost considerably.

5. Safety sealed bottles, and expiration dates, or
do not purchase it.

6. Look for the company's information such as address,
telephone number, etc.

How can I choose herbal supplements wisely?

Mixed Formula Vs. Single Herb Product

Here are some things to ponder when purchasing your
herbal health supplements.

Quite often when buying formulas, and especially if you're new to purchasing herbal supplements, it's difficult to distinguish between each brands ingredients and the amounts of the specific herbs you're looking for.

Best advice? Stay with a brand you know and trust. If you aren't sure, ask a trusted friend or physician or herbalist for advice. Quality is everything.

The label on a bottle of single herbs is going to be much easier to understand than a bottle listing many ingredients that you may or may not even want to use.

If you know exactly what's causing your problem, and it's not a serious, life-threatening ailment, and you know specifically which herb or herbs you will need to buy, as well as the fact that you are not allergic to the herbs needed, then buying a formula may be a good idea.

Be sure to read the label, as always! How much of the herbs that you need are actually in that bottle? Is one ingredient in short supply, while another too large? Most brands differ in the amounts of actual herbal product inside the bottle. Is it the part of the plant that you know is best to treat your condition? Be sure to find an expiration date. If there is no expiration date on the bottle, do NOT buy it, as it could be years old already, and poor product labelling reflects shoddy product.

Formulas can be a very easy and efficient means of taking an herbal remedy. Formulas have the added benefit of the effect of more than one herb working together at once, in a single tablet or capsule dose, and can cost less than buying bottle after bottle of singles.

Single herbs definitely are easier to purchase, however, and you have more control over amounts, exactly which herbs you're taking, etc. Formulas are easier to take, with less control over ingredients.

If you can find the right formula that works for you, it's probably going to be the most cost and health efficient.

Should I give my baby herbal medicine?


Do not use Chamomile while using blood thinners such
as warfarin. It will increase the risk of internal bleeding.

Should I take herbal products if I´m on prescription medicine?

Herbal Medicine and the Elderly

If you're over 65, keep to the low dosages suggested
for any herbal products you choose. Age is a definite
factor in increased sensitivity to medicines, as well as added
side effects of any medicines, herbal or otherwise.

Why read labels?

Begin With Low Doses

Start using herbal remedies slowly, and only after
doing your own research to find out what you're
taking, and it's side effects. Start with whatever
the low end of the recommended dosage for that herb is,
gradually increasing if needed to feel relief. Don't
assume because it's natural it's ok to go overboard,
and treat the herbal medicines as any other medicines
you take. Use caution, and go slowly.

What is an herbal pillow?

Dreamweavers Relaxing Herbal Pillow

I have friends who have told me this mix of herbs in a
sleeping pillow will induce the most vivid dreams. Let me know
what happens when you try it!

1 cup hops
1 cup lemon balm
1 cup lavender flowers
1 cup white rose petals
2 drops lavender oil

What can I make a chicken pox remedy out of?

Chicken Pox Bath

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup ground oats(any brand, ground in blender until powdery)
Any combination of soothing herbs that have been freshly ground before adding to bath. Some good choices are Chamomile, Calendula and Lavender.

Prepare as needed and add to your child's bathwater. You can put the mixture into a sock that you knot so as to keep the herbs from going down the drain.

What is Cayenne good for?

Cayenne for Healing

1/2 teaspoon cayenne in 1 pint clear broth, tomato juice or apple juice. Drink 1 cup of this warmed mixture as desired to keep your internal furnace working!

Can an elderly person take herbal medicines?

Herbal Sprays

Herbal Sprays are relatively new on the market.
They're used as a spray under the tongue, which means
the active ingredients are going to enter your bloodstream much more quickly than if taken orally.
Useful if you have a hard time with pill swallowing, as well.

Should I take herbal products if I´m on prescription medicine?

Black and Green Teas

High tannin herbs like green and black teas, witch hazel,
black walnut husk, raspberry leaves, bearberry and white
oak bark will reduce the absorption of most every drug
you take.

I´m pregnant, should I use herbal medicine?

Gingko Biloba

Gingko will increase the effects of prescription
blood thinners.

Can I eat any flowers I happen to find?

Before You Begin

If you're new to using herbs in a health regimen,
my best advice is to realize that herbs are intended
as an aid to good health. If you have a serious
medical condition or are taking any prescription medicines,
always talk to your doctor before
consuming any herbal product. And KNOW which herbs
you're taking! Always understand that just like
drugs, herbs and herbal products have the potential
to do you great good, but if used carelessly, can
also do harm.

Are there any side effects while taking Gingko Biloba?

Drug/Nutrient Interaction - Ginkgo Biloba and Coumadin

Ginkgo affects the circulatory system improving circulation to the extremeties and the brain. This is all good except for those who are on medications such as coumadin that also affect the circulatory system. Ginkgo taken with Coumadin can trigger serious bleeding. Other herbs that should not be taken with Coumadin: feverfew, garlic, and pau d'arco.

How can I make my own herbal bath at home?

What is an Herbal Pillow?

Herbal pillows have been used for ages as an aid to good health, as beauty treatments, as dream makers, as just about anything you can think of.

As you sleep, the aroma of the herbs you've chosen surround you, and create a relaxing and, as some will say, dream inducing sleep.

Make your own herbal pillows by using:
A plain cotton pillowcase (inexpensive, as some herbs will stain)
A nice pillowcase to cover the plain cotton one
Loose herbs, essential oils

Drop the herbs of your choice into the cotton pillowcase and sew it shut. Cover it with the 2nd pillowcase and that's it!

Use herbal pillows next to your regular sleeping pillow, or under it. Leave it in your bed all day and when you retire your dreams will be surrounded with the herbal aromas.

Is it hard to grow herbs?

Look for Good Supplement Labeling

When purchasing supplements, be on the lookout for
well labeled products. Don't buy shoddy products!
Look for all of these items on everything you buy:

1. An expiration date
2. A list of all ingredients
3. Identification of the exact herb or extract
that you are purchasing the supplement to use, and
the percentage of this ingredient in each dosage
4. A dosage recommendation (how and when to take the
5. A list of all side effects, and who should or
should not take this supplement and why
6. The name of the company, an address, telephone
number or website, some way to identify and find the
company that made/sold it

Can an elderly person take herbal medicines?

Siberian Ginseng

Siberian Ginseng will increase the effects of any
antibiotics you take.

Is there an herbal treatment I can use to rid my pet of fleas

Pet's Herbal Flea Pillow

Unless you've got fleas, this tip is for your beloved cats and dogs.
If you're leery of using harsh chemical treatments on your pets (and who isn't?),
try this first!

2 parts pennyroyal
1 part thyme
1 part wormwood

Use fresh chopped or whole herbs. Make your pet a sleeping pillow that he will fit on, and simply stuff it with the herbs and
sew it shut.

Can I take any herbal health remedy?


Valerian increases the effects of sedatives, prescription
or otherwise.

Can I take any herbal health remedy?

Aloe - What is it?

Aloe is an African member of the lily family. It's a
succulent, and prefers arid, sandy soil in a sunny, dry atmosphere.

It has very fleshy leaves that hold the gel used to treat
many skin ailments.

What should I consider buying?

Storing Supplements

Don't keep herbal products in the bathroom medicine
cabinet. The bathroom is usually humid and warm, and
herbs won't last long in that environment.

A cool, dry place is best.

Can an elderly person take herbal medicines?


Bromelain will increase a risk of bleeding if it's
taken with prescription blood thinners.

What herbs may interact with the drugs I have to take?

Ephedra (Ma Huang)

The warnings are true: Deaths from use of Ephedra have
been reported.

Ephedra contains a naturally occuring amphetamine-like substance called ephedrine.

Never use Ephedra (Ma Huang) while taking other prescription medications and never use unless
checking with your doctor first.

Never give Ephedra to children under the age of 18.
Do not use Ephedra if you are breast feeding, pregnant,
taking antidepressants, MAO inhibitors, have a
history of high blood pressure, strokes, glaucoma, hyperthyroidism, insomnia, anxiety attacks, diabetes, or heart disease, and never take when using theophyllline or MAO-inhibiting antidepressants.

Are herbal supplements the best?

The Best Supplement Choice

Truthfully, the best way to to get the herbs into your system is in their freshest sense. Use encapsulated herbs as a last resort and if at all possible, try to buy the caps and grind the herb yourself. Once ground, the herbs are exposed to the most air and that speeds their demise.

Can I take any herbal health remedy?

What Does "Alternative Health Remedies" Mean?

Alternative medicine is a catch-all for many different
areas of therapies.

Naturopathy also covers just about all of the healing arts
outside of western medicines today.

Homeopathy is therapy using small doses of plants and
other substances that can be used medicinally.

Nutritional therapies include low-fat diet, elimination diets, and vegetarianism.

Herbal Medicine is the use of plants as replacements for, and in addition to, pharmaceutical drugs.

Aromatherapy is just that, using the essential oils in plants to enhance relaxation.

Traditional Chinese Medicine involves herbal treatments, acupuncture, and nutrition.

Relaxation therapies include meditation, biofeedback, and hypnotherapy.

Supplementation means using vitamins and minerals, and other compounds to enhance health.

Manipulative therapies are massage, chiropractic, and many other types of manipulation to affect the body.

"Alternative Health Remedies" encompasses all of these areas!

What is a good tea for lung congestion?

Mullein lung tea

1 tsp dried mullein leaves
1 tsp dried mint
1 tsp dried marjoram leaves

Infuse 1 tsp mixture in 1 Cup boiling water for lung congestion relief.

Should I take herbal products if I´m on prescription medicine?


Echinacea may have a negative effect on any
immune-suppressive drugs you're taking.

Can an elderly person take herbal medicines?

Anise - Dosage/Safe Use

Steep 1 to 2 teaspoons of crushed anise seeds in one
cup of boiling water for about 10 or 15 minutes, then
strain. One cup in the morning, and one again in the

** Some people may be allergic to anise, and may
experience respiratory or dermatalogical reactions.
In normal amounts stated above, the vast majority
of anise users will not have a problem.

** In my opinion, it's not a good idea to try using
anise oil. Anise oil can cause severe reactions;
from nausea to vomiting, to seizures, and fluid in
the lungs. This is only using 1 millileter! My best
advice is to stay away from anise oil.

Can I take any herbal health remedy?

Anise - Therapeutic Uses

Anise grows well throughout North America, but isn't found very often in the wild anymore.

Anise is used to treat bronchitis, colds, coughing,
fever, gallbladder problems, liver problems, and
sore throat.

Anise holds powerful phytochemicals, such as
creosol and alpha-pinene, both of which are very
well documented in western medicine, and used
to break up congestion, ease coughing, and even
as an aid to relieve gas problems.

Please read Anise - Dosage/Safe Use

Why read labels?

Supplement Label Regulations

Herbs are classified by the U.S. government as
"Dietary Supplements", and are not regulated as drugs.
Certain statements can legally be made on a supplement
label, such as "increases circulation", but other
statements cannot be made, such as "alleviates asthma".
Know what
you're reading. The claims that can be made are
specific to the exact action of the effect of the herbal
medicine on the body, and no claims of "cures" can legally
be made, although there is proof that many herbs have
such healing properties.

How can I learn more about herbs online?

Adverse Reactions

Everyone reacts to herbs differently. If you
experience any unusual or adverse reactions to any
herbal product you're using, within 8 hours
of taking it, stop using it! Some people
are very sensitive to specific herbal mixtures.

Why read labels?

Pregnancy and Herbal Medicines

If you're pregnant or planning to be so soon, or
nursing, please advise your health care provider of the herbs you wish to take or are already taking. There are many many safe and gentle herbs for this special time in your life and an experienced herbalist could quickly point you in the right direction.

What should I look for when buying natural herbal supplements?

Chronic Illness

If you have a chronic illness, such as low thyroid,
before taking any herbal medicines be sure to discuss
exactly which herbs you want to use with your doctor,
and get her approval before you try it.

What is an analgesic?


An analgesic is a pain relieving substance. Aspirin, one of the most well known analgesics, was derived from willow bark.

Can I take any herbal health remedy?

Arnica - Dosage/Safe Use

Do not apply to broken skin or open wounds, and do NOT take arnica
internally, ever. Use arnica short term only.

Arnica is sold for external use as creams, ointments, gels,
and tinctures. Read all accompanying precautions and
information that comes with any arnica treatment you

Can I take any herbal health remedy?

Anise - What Is It?

Anise grows throughout North America, mostly in gardens.
The feathery leaves can be used as a garnish in salads.
The seed-like, brownish fruit is where the essential oils
are, oils used to make licorice, ouzo, and other licorice
flavored foods.

What is an antimicrobial?


An antimicrobial helps the body to resist, inhibit or destroy pathogenic microbes.

I´m pregnant, should I use herbal medicine?

St. John's Wort

St. John's Wort will interact with just about every
medication there is, to some degree, but it will especially
increase the effects of narcotics and of some antidepressants.

I feel St. John's Wort should be taken alone, with
no other drugs or herbs being consumed while using it.

What herbs can I take to treat macular degeneration?

Bilberry Extract

What is Bilberry Extract?
It is the dry extract of the European Blueberry (Vaccinium myrtillus: Myrtilli fructus).

For what, and how is Bilberry Extract used?
Its high levels of tannic acid, cinnamic acids, flavonols, anthocyanidins, and isoflavones make it highly beneficial to the eye.

Positive results have been noted in studies examining the effect of bilberry in pigmentary retinitis, diabetic and hypertensive retinopathy, retinal inflammation, macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, glaucoma, cataract and night vision in normal subjects.

How much Bilberry Extract should I use?
The extract used for treating the eye should be standardized to contain around 25% anthocyanosides.

For more info, go to:

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

How can I choose herbal supplements wisely?

Artichoke - Dosage/Safe Use

The first way to use an artichoke is to eat it! Eat
it cooked anyway you like, or pickled. Then move along
to finding supplements at your local health/natural
medicine market.

2 to 3 100 milligram tablets every day, or 1 to 4 grams
of artichoke leaves 3 times a day.

As always, read labels! Check that your tablets
contain 15 milligrams of caffeoylquinic acids.

What is an Antiemetic?


An antiemetic herb is one that helps alleviate vomiting.

Which herbs should I grow?

Aloe Dosage/Safe Use

*** Do NOT confuse a freshly snapped leaf of aloe and
the gel it offers with products that are made from
the plant's inner juices. This is COMPLETELY different,
and the gel is what you want to use. The juice from
deeper in the plant is used as a STRONG laxative, and
should not be used, in my opinion, unless you know what
you're doing. Use the gel; that's what you will get
from a freshly snapped leaf.

Growing aloe for medicinal use is simple. Aloe requires
little water, and enjoys good sun.

Simply snap off one of the lowest leaves, cut it
lengthwise, and coat your burn or cut with the gel.

Can I take any herbal health remedy?

Arnica - What Is It?

Arnica also goes by the names "Leopard's Bane" and "Mountain Tobacco".
Arnica is grown mostly in the mountains of the Western U.S., although it
is native to Europe. The whole plant or just the flowers can be used
in ointments, creams, gels and other styles of preparation to treat inflamation, swelling, and as a pain reliever.

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