Herbal Spotlight: My Top 5 Favorite Herbs of All Time
More and more people are starting to learn more about natural health these days, and one of the most popular topics out there are herbal remedies. Herbs are incredible to add to your lifestyle! They can be versatile, nutrient dense, and even delicious additions to your diet. I want to share a bit about my favorite herbs that we recommend quite a bit to our own clients. Some of these are also recognized by herbalists as the overall best and most essential herbs for everyone- especially nettle leaf and dandelion root!
Dandelion can help those that are healing from cancer, infections, and hepatitis. Its main purpose is to help cleanse the body. It can be helpful for hypoglycemia, UTIs, blood pressure regulation, acne, weight loss, anemia, jaundice, constipation, and more. Dandelion cleans toxicities from the blood, lymph system, kidneys, liver and urinary system. Since dandelion is a bitter herb, it is slso amazing for digestion.
We prefer the root for regular use, and we usually opt for tea or decoction. The volume of the liquid plus the bitterness of the dandelion really can help with getting things moving, if you get what I mean!
Ways to use Dandelion:
- Personally, I love Traditional Medicinals tea. I still make a giant cup everyday with 2 tea bags (in my Harry Potter Tumbler, about 2/3 full with water). I usually just add a splash of grass-fed whole milk, but my main recipe calls for the milk and 1 Tablespoon of blackstrap molasses. Or you can use the tea to make a “Bulletproof” inspired beverage.
- Decoctions are made by adding dandelion root (raw or roasted) to boiling water and simmering on low for at least 20 minutes or longer. Strain the root out before drinking the liquid. I like to add 2 tablespoons of black-strap molasses to the hot liquid, and just enough grass-fed whole milk (or whatever non-dairy milk you might use) to lighten the color a little bit. Voila, you have a dandelion latte
- Tinctures or bitter herb blends are great as well.
- You can also eat dandelion leaves in salads or sauté them. Eating dandelion leaves is the best way to get the mineral content plus the action of the herb itself.
Nettle Leaf Infusions
I call the nettle infusions the “shining star” for most people. They can help rather quickly for those dealing with fatigue, brain fog, frequent urination, insomnia, allergies (and thus histamine issues), liver detox, adrenal issues, and more.
Why are nettles so great for all of these ailments? They are full of calcium, magnesium, iron, B complex vitamins, C complex, vitamins A, D and K as well as protein, cobalt, trace minerals, potassium, iodine, boron, manganese, zinc, copper and sulphur.
Nettles actually help to release uric acid from the joints, making it a great remedy for arthritis as well. Nettles treat neurological disorders, congestion, joints/muscle pain, allergies, celiac’s disease, skin complaints, UTIs, and all women’s issues. They are also used for enlarged prostate glands, parasites, regulating blood pressure, goiter, and even Lupus.
Stinging nettles are best known as a blood purifier. They were used in medieval times for gout, arthritis, anemia, eczema, to stimulate circulation, to increase milk supply, diuretic, kidney and bladder stones, and for inflammation of urinary tract.
Ways to Use Nettle Leaf
- Infusions are the best way to get the most out of nettles. You can get the full RDA of many minerals in a full quart of nettles, and many other trace nutrients. Steep one ounce (about one cup) of dried nettles in a quart of hot water for at least 4 hours- leaving it overnight is perfect. Strain the herbs and store the liquid in the fridge. Some reuse the herbs to make another quart or 2. Mason jars are perfect for making these infusions. You can also look for recipe ideas for nettles on my post here.
- Tinctures aren’t nearly as nutrient dense as infusions, but they can still help with symptoms like allergies, gout, or inflammation. Herb Pharm is a great brand.
- You can read more about nettles here.
Oatstraw is one of the most powerful nerve tonics. It is actually known as the herb of longevity in Ayurveda. Oatstraw is great for restoring the nervous system, keeping the cardiovascular system healthy, stabilizing emotions (great for anxiety and depression), and it is a well-known aphrodisiac (ever wonder where the phrase “sow your wild oats” comes from?!). It also can help with energy, detoxification, immune health, overcoming addictions, and brain fog. Oatstraw especially benefits the liver and pancreas.
Oatstraw is full of protein, all B vitamins (except B12), beta carotene, vitamin E, trace minerals, silica (one of the most silica rich foods out there and my choice over things like diatomaceous earth!) , iron, copper, magnesium, calcium, and zinc.
Ways to use Oatstraw
- Infusions are the most popular way to use oatstraw. Steep one ounce (about one cup) of dried nettles in a quart of hot water for at least 4 hours- leaving it overnight is perfect. Strain the herbs and store the liquid in the fridge. Drink anywhere from 1-4 cups a day depending on your needs. Oatstraw is one of the most magnesium rich herbs, so sometimes slow oxidizers or those with sluggish adrenals need to use lower amounts, or just stick with another infusion.
- Oatstraw doesn’t come in tincture form, but the main herb you’ll find is Oat Seed (or milky oat seed). It is best known for overall nervous system support.
- You can actually add oatstraw to baths too! The easiest way to do this would be to add 1-2 quarts of the full strength infusion into your bath. Since we can absorb minerals through our skin, this can actually be a very easy way to get more nutrients in for those with malabsorption.
Loving Energy Adrenal Support
My absolute favorite adrenal adaptogen is Loving Energy from BioRay. This is the most balancing and best tolerated adaptogen I’ve been able to find. Loving Energy is a blend of Solomon Seal Root, Organic Eleuthero Root, Organic Reishi Mushroom, Licorice Root, Polygonatum Root, Schizandra Berry.
It works well in tandem with the other BioRay tinctures, and you can increase your dose during times of stress or detox. It can also be helpful for those with histamine issues! You can find it here for the best price (and use the code SASSY for 10% off).
One of the oldest uses for chickweed is actually for weight loss. Chickweed helps to dissolve fat cells plus it is a great remedy for chronic constipation, so it can seriously help you to shed pounds the right way. Everyone is always looking for a magic weight loss cure, but it usually involves dieting and massive amounts of exercise.
We love chickweed because it is truly another amazing, nutrient dense herb! It is high in these minerals: calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron, phosphorus, and potassium; and these vitamins: C, A (from carotenes), and B’s such as folate, riboflavin, niacin, and thiamine. Chickweed also has the added benefit of helping to absorb minerals better! You can read even more about chickweed here.
Ways to Use Chickweed
- Infusions are the most common way to get the most out of chickweed as well. You can make these the same way as nettles and oatstraw: Steep one ounce (about one cup) of dried nettles in a quart of hot water for at least 4 hours- leaving it overnight is perfect. Strain the herbs and store the liquid in the fridge. Drink anywhere from 1-4 cups a day depending on your needs.
- Infusions are great if you are wanting to add in more minerals plus the action of the herb, but if you are just looking for the benefits of fat burning, constipation relief, or bladder healing you can just use a tincture like this one.
- Eat it! You can use chickweed in recipes like pesto, salad, or smoothies.
So there you have it! My 5 FAVORITE herbs ever. There are so many herbs out there, but these ones tend to be what we use and recommend the most at Sassy Holistics.