I’ve been learning about herbs for a long time now. I’m only 30, but at least 20 of my years I’ve been being taught and/or researching for myself about loads of herbs for general health and how they can help us maintain wellness. God is pretty smart and I think he made a lot of plants for specific purposes that we could benefit from.
How to pick just 3?
This is a challenge I’m putting upon myself… of all the 150+ plants I have individually researched and reported on, it is HARD to narrow it down to just three favorites. But for you, dear reader, I’m going to try.
I could pick Pau d’Arco bark, cause I love the flaky, shredded texture of the cut/sifted thin bark. Or Osha Root, because of it’s strong, almost menthol scent (anyone else smell menthol when whiffing Osha?) and because it takes me right back into the class room with my herbal mentor Victoria describing how Native Americans discovered it’s benefits from observing bears dig the roots. Maybe Chamomile (?) because the plant is just so darn pretty and smells like a sweet, heavenly, pillow of peace. What about Eleuthero root cause, who doesn’t need energizing immune support?
If we are speaking of general health…
We could do a whole series on specific herbs for specific systems. But here I just want to pick my 3 fav herbs for EVERYONE, any time of life, for general health and wellness.
Without further adu…
Top 3 Must Have Herbs
#1 – Red Raspberry Leaf
Red Raspberry leaf is popularly used as a women’s tonic and often found in pregnancy/mother teas as it does support healthy female reproductive system. But it is a wonderful, general tonic that is also helpful for men and gentle for children. It is a great source of vitamins such as, A, B, C, and E. And it also contains vital trace minerals like; iron, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, magnesium, silicon, sodium, and zinc.
It makes a pleasant tea that can even be a nice substitute of typical black sweet tea (a caffeine free alternative!). As it is chock full of nutrients, it makes it a great supplement for supporting general health of all the systems. It is considered cooling and astringent, making it a lovely iced beverage of choice for summer time.
Combines well with burdock, yellow dock, and/or cleavers (aka, bed straw) for teens to support happy, healthy skin.
Combined with red clover, dandelion, burdock and others, red raspberry is useful in supporting proper, healthy and gentle elimination of waste and supports normal absorption of nutrients. This is something we could all use, right?
I also like this one because of it’s lovely clumpy/fluffy texture in it’s dry cut/sifted form. Haha, I have a thing for textures. And as herbalists, details like this are required for us to learn, know, and identify in preparations. This is called Organoleptic testing. Using your sensory organs to identify a substance. It allows us to catch any inconsistencies in our products and the process. If something doesn’t look, smell, feel or taste right… it needs further scrutiny or it needs tossed out and we start over.
#2 – Chamomile
This is a beautiful plant that is very popular, but I feel it is often over looked or shrugged off because of it’s simplicity.
Chamomile makes a tasty and comforting hot tea and is great for all ages as it can be very helpful calming even very young children who are upset and emotional.
It supports proper, healthy digestion. Can relieve occasional tension and nerves. It is perfect to add to you and your families bedtime routine. Add a tea bag of chamomile to a bath! It supports relaxation but it is also a rock star skin supporting herb! Occasional redness? Been out in the woods and the weeds? Slather all the chamomile on all the skin!
The volatile oil (essential oil) contains azulenes a property that gives the oil its distinct blue color. Yes, Chamomile essential oil is BLUE! It is a beautiful oil and has a unique smell, different than the dry herb. More ‘green’ smelling, and slightly bitter. Add it to your daily skin care routine and you won’t be disappointed.
The whole plant contains valeranic acid which is a phytochemical that was originally found in Valerian; thus they share the spot light for being a calming, relaxing nighttime treat.
For some extra spa treatment, place used, damp tea bags over your eyes at the end of a long spring day for a cooling, relaxing, refreshment.
#3 – Alfalfa
I recently wrote a whole blog post about Alfalfa, cause, it’s so great. Check that out. Here are few reasons it’s in my top 3:
Alfalfa is loaded with 8 enzymes: Lipase, Amylase, Coagulase, Emulsin, Invertase, Peroxidate, Pectinase, and Protase. Look em up and you’ll understand why these are like epic for supporting normal digestion and helping your body utilize all the amazing nutrition you feed it. Cause we all eat perfect and balanced meals. All the time…. not.
But really, even if you’re skimping in the healthy choices, Alfalfa will help you process the junk and still be happy. It supports the kidneys and urinary systems to do what they do best; filter the yuck.
It is highly nutritive. It is a great companion to any holistic health regimen as it supports general health, nutrient absorption, and all the vitamins and trace minerals present.
Long term support of normalizing healthy weight. The Arabs named it Al-fal-fa, meaning ‘father of all foods’. They didn’t only feed it to their prized Arabian horses, but were convinced that it was beneficial to the health and strength of the body. It has been used as a food and herbal remedy for at least 1,500 years.
FUN FACT; Alfalfa’s deep roots seek out minerals in the sub-soil which are inaccessible to other plants. the average alfalfa plant has roots 10 to 20 feet long! (records of over 130 ft in the earth!!)
Now let’s hear from you!
Which herbs do you think I should have considered in my top three? Did you learn anything new from this little profile. What do you want to see next? What is your experience with these three herbs? Which 3 would you have picked? Leave a comment below and thank you for reading!