If you’re interested in supplementing your health and wellness routine with some natural remedies, herbs offer a valuable and time-tested way to do so. Whether you want to boost the health of your heart, ease the discomfort of arthritis, or just wake up your mind, this list of 100 herbs and medicinal plants can help you do it. Please keep in mind, however, that not all herbal supplements are appropriate for all people, so check with your doctor to see if you’re in the clear.
Give your vision and hearing a boost by taking these herbs.
- Ginkgo Biloba: Ginkgo has been attached to many potential benefits, but perhaps one of the most significant is its ability to improve blood flow to the eyes especially in those suffering from macular degeneration. It can also be valuable to your ears as numerous studies have suggested it can help prevent tinnitus and inner ear disturbances as well as a number of other conditions.
- Bilberry: A relatively unknown but powerful antioxidant, bilberry has a number of positive health effects for the brain and heart. It can also help to protect the retina and improve range and clarity of vision.
- Passionflower: If staring at a computer screen or reading in dim light has your eyes strained, try taking a passionflower supplement. It can help relax the small blood vessels in the eye and make seeing easier.
- Goldenseal: Sties and conjunctivitis can be irritating and embarrassing conditions. Take some goldenseal to help reduce the inflammation associated with these conditions and get you on the road to recovery.
- Aspalathus: This South African herb contains a number of antioxidants that are similar to those found in Bilberry. These can boost your eye health while giving you overall improved immune function.
- Mahonia Grape Extract: The sun can have an immensely damaging effect on the eyes, but this herb can help reduce the impact of sun damage while strengthening the retina, slowing eye aging and maintaining better overall eye health.
- Bilwa: Found in the sub-Himlayan forests, this fruit has been used in India to help treat painful eye conditions like sties and conjunctivitis.
- Mullein flower: This flowering plant can be a natural way to help rid yourself of an ear infection as it acts as a natural bactericide when condensed to oil form.
Mental Health and Function
Keep your mind sharp, alert and in good health with a little help from these plants.
- Kava kava: This herb can help calm your anxieties by binding to brain receptors that promote relaxation.
- St. John’s Wort: Those with mild to moderate depression may find some relief with this herb. Numerous studies have been done on it, most finding that it can be as effective as some prescription drugs at treating depression. Those with more severe depression should, of course, consult a medical professional.
- Valerian: Lull your body into a restful sleep with a natural remedy instead of prescription pills. Valerian has been shown to be as effective as traditional sleeping pills, while eliminating some of the more harmful side effects associated with them.
- Bacopa: Used in India for several thousand years, this flowering plant has been said to improve memory, learning and cognition. Studies have shown that it can do little to improve your old memories but does have an affect on newly acquired information, so start taking it sooner rather than later.
- Ginseng: Many people have heard of the herb ginseng, but few know that there have been numerous studies done to document its effects. These studies seem to suggest that there can be some benefits of taking it that include improved memory and other mental performance and a whole host of other effects ranging from immune system stimulation to lowered cholesterol.
- Holy Basil: Also known as tulsi, this herb is not usually used in cooking like its cousin, but instead can help reduce the effects of stress on the body by inhibiting cortisol.
- Chamomile: Generally known as a relaxing herb, chamomile tea can be a great way to wind down after a stressful day and ease stress. Some also use it to calm nerves or relieve menstrual cramps.
- Suma: This rainforest plant can in some people help to normalize body systems and reduce the effects of stress.
- Brahmi: Give this Indian remedy a try to help boost your brain function and information retention.
- Gotu Kola: Commonly used in India, this herb can help to improve cognitive function and reduce anxiety, helping you think more clearly and calmly.
- Sage: Modern research has shown that sage can actually help make you wiser, improving memory and reducing inflammation.
- Kudzu: Feel like you’d like to have better self control when it comes to drinking and killing all those brain cells? This herb can help you to curb your appetite for booze by helping alcohol more quickly get to the part of the brain that tells you enough is enough.
- Catnip: Not just for cats, this common herb when eaten can help reduce anxiety and produce an overall sedated effect.
Digestive and Urinary Systems
Use these herbs to ensure that your plumbing stays in good condition.
- Licorice: You may love the taste of licorice but might not have known about the beneficial health effects it can have. It can soothe and relax gastrointestinal tissues, helping ease the pain of ulcers and acid reflux and has even been shown to help increase bile production.
- Milk Thistle: Give your liver some help filtering out all those toxins by taking some milk thistle. It can help improve the regeneration of liver tissue and regulate liver function as demonstrated in testing done at radiology tech schools nationwide.
- Peppermint Oil: A little dab of peppermint oil will do you to help relax the smooth muscles of your colon, stopping cramps and constipation that can be common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
- Ginger: An upset stomach is never fun to deal with, but ginger may be the solution that you’re looking for. Ginger helps slow the production of serotonin, a major factor in the nauseated feeling you get when you are motion sick or experiencing pregnancy sickness.
- Senna: If you’re feeling constipated, this herb may work well as a natural laxative to get things moving again.
- Gentian: This super bitter herb has been used for generations to treat digestive problems. Its bitter tastes stimulates the digestive system, making it easier to get food through your system problem free.
- Uva Ursi: Try out this herb for a great natural way to help prevent getting bladder infections.
- Aloe: While great for healing burns and skin irritation when applied topically, this plant can act as a helpful laxative when consumed.
- Gamma Orizanol: Give this remedy a try if you want to help calm an upset stomach.
- Rose Hips: These small berries serve a dual purpose helping to reduce bladder infections and to fight constipation.
- Agrimony: If your whole digestive system needs a lift, try out this herb, said to improve stomach, liver, kidney and gallbladder function.
- Anise: This licorice-flavored herb can help prevent the accumulation of painful gas in the stomach and intestines.
- Celery Seed: Those having a little difficulty urinating may want to try this natural remedy out, cited for its diuretic properties.
Help yourself look good at any age with these powerful herbs.
- Burnet: The leaves of this plant have been used for thousands of years in China, and can help treat several skin conditions as well as reducing the inflammation of hemorrhoids and helping heal burns.
- Burdock: Used all over the world, this substance helps combat hair loss, treats dandruff, and helps skin problems.
- Calendula: Great for all around skin care, this herb can treat everything from acne to chapped lips.
- Comfrey: Use the leaves and roots of this plant to soothe skin irritations and promote connective cell growth.
- Plantain leaf: Because it has many soothing elements, this plant is one of the best remedies for cuts, skin infections, and chronic skin problems.
- Red Clover: If you’ve tried everything to get rid of your acne, why not give this natural acne and skin clearingremedy a try?
- Sassafras Leaf: Said to purify and cleanse the body, this plant can be a helpful tool in getting acne under control.
- Solomon’s Seal Root: Make a wash out of this plant to help control skin problems and blemishes.
- Spikenard: Acne, pimples, blackheads, and rashes don’t stand a chance against this inflammation fighting herb.
Heart and Circulatory System
Give your heart and the blood throughout your body some healthy help with these herbs.
- Garlic: Garlic is a powerhouse when it comes to heart health. Regular usage has been shown to prevent cardiovascular disease and lower high blood pressure. In addition, studies suggest that it might help prevent cancer, kill bacteria, and even improve levels of t-cells in AIDS patients.
- Hawthorn: The berries of this flowering shrub are great for the heart, by helping to open up the coronary arteries, lowering blood pressure, or slowing a rapid heart rate. Users will see the best effects after six months or more of taking the supplement.
- Guggul: Guggul is thought to bind to cholesterol in your gut so that you eliminate it before it enters your bloodstream, helping reduce your overall cholesterol and feel better.
- Horse chestnut: Help prevent those unsightly varicose veins by taking some horse chestnut. Aescin and other compounds in the herb can help bulk up weak capillaries and veins, making them less prone to swelling and pain.
- Cinnamon: If you’re worried about the health of your circulatory system, consider adding a little cinnamon to your diet. Cinnamon has been shown to reduce blood sugar and help lower cholesterol.
- Dandelion: Dandelions are more than just an annoying weed, they can also be an effective way to help control high blood pressure. Researchers think it works like many prescription medicines, decreasing your blood volume and thereby your blood pressure.
- Angelica root: Traditional wisdom places this herb as a great heart strengthener, especially for those suffering from heart related conditions.
- Coriander: The seeds of the cilantro plant can help build and strengthen your circulatory system and make for a stronger, healthier heart.
- Cayenne: Containing capsicum, cayenne can help normalize blood pressure, increase the elasticity of blood vessels, and even slow bleeding.
- Motherwort: This plant has a long history of use and contains the alkaloid leonurine which can have a relaxing effect on smooth muscles like those found in the heart.
- Gynostemma: This herb has been shown in laboratory studies to have a direct effect on the circulatory system, strengthening the heart and helping wounds heal more quickly.
Pain and Inflammation
Don’t suffer through pain and inflammation, try these remedies instead.
- Arnica: The yellow flowers of this plant provide powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Apply it to the skin to help reduce the pain and swelling of bruises, strains and sprains.
- Feverfew: Several studies have confirmed that feverfew can help prevent and treat migraines. It works by reducing the amount of serotonin in the body and relaxing constricted blood vessels in the head.
- Willow Bark: A component of traditional aspirins, willow bark can be a wonderful way to naturally reduce minor aches and pains.
- Devil’s Claw: Native to southern Africa, this long-used remedy can be a helpful agent in reducing inflammation as well as back and neck pain.
- Chinese Skullcap: Part of the mint family, this herb can help reduce stress headaches, the effects of PMS and even insomnia.
- Marjoram: Great for general aches and pains, this common herb can be even more effective when combined with chamomile or gentian.
- Thyme: Many use thyme in their cooking without being aware that it can help fight infection, reduce the pain of migraines and help clear out the lungs.
- Meadowsweet: Meadowsweet contains many of the chemicals used to make aspirin in its roots and when chewed can prove a helpful remedy for headaches.
- Cat’s Claw: While few definitive studies have been done, many believe this herb can reduce general inflammation and boost the immune system.
- Wood Betony: This attractive woodland plant does more than just look pretty, it can also be used to reduce the pain associated with headaches.
- Witch Hazel: Those suffering from hemorrhoids especially will appreciate the anti-inflammatory properties of this herb.
Illness Prevention and Treatment
Check out these herbs and plants to help keep you in general good health.
- Ephedra: One of the oldest cultivated medicinal herbs, Ephedra is most commonly used to help treat and prevent colds. It works by dilating the bronchial tubes through the release of adrenaline to be especially useful to those suffering from allergies and asthma. Long term usage can be harmful, however, so take it with care.
- Echinacea: Give your immune system a boost by taking some echinacea. It activates the body’s natural defense mechanism, white blood cells, and helps your body prevent and fight off harmful infections and bacteria.
- Astragalus: The Chinese have known about and used this herb for thousands of years for a variety of different ailments. Recent studies have shown that it may have a very real effect on the immune system, increasing immune activity and effectiveness.
- Elderberry: Keep the flu at bay by chomping down on this berry. Rich in vitamins A and C, it’s been shown to prevent the flu virus from spreading to healthy cells and cuts recovery time in half.
- Andrographis: Help keep your colds short and sweet by taking a little bit of this herb. Studies have shown it can help reduce symptoms like fatigue, sleeplessness, sore throat, and runny nose up to 90%.
- Kelp: Kelp is very high in iodine which is a natural infection fighter. As a bonus, it contains substances that are beneficial to hair and nails.
- Yarrow: While too much yarrow can be quite dangerous, a careful amount can be a great assistor in breaking a fever and fighting off a cold or flu.
- Boneset: An infusion of this herb can help you to more quickly fight off a cold.
- Elder: When you feel a cold or the flu coming on, enjoy some herbal tea made from this plant. If you are growing it at home, never eat the green parts of the plant as they are poisonous.
- Pleuresy root: Sometimes also called butterfly weed or Indian paintbrush, this variety of milkweed can help you get more out of your coughs when you have a cold or soothes some of the inflammation as well.
- Pau d’arco: This Brazilian herb is thought to be an all around booster to your immune system.
- Maitake: Check out this mushroom, common in asian medical practice for a jump start for your immune system as well as for help with blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Horehound: Sore throats and coughs can be remedied by making a tea of the leaves of this plant.
Diseases and Conditions
While not cure-alls, these herbs and plants can help reduce the symptoms and severity of a variety of medical conditions.
- Khella: Check out this Middle Eastern herb for a little help on preventing those asthma attacks before they start. It dilates your bronchial tubes and relaxes the muscles that spasm during an attack, helping keep you breathing easy.
- Gymnema: Help reduce the effects of your diabetes symptoms by stimulating your pancreas to pump out more insulin with this herb. Used for thousands of years, recent preliminary studies have shown that it can have a big impact on reducing blood sugar.
- Eyebright: Don’t let hay fever leave you knocked out with red eyes and a runny nose. This herb can help make your immune system less reactive to airborne allergens, making your life a little easier during allergy season.
- Lemon Balm: While there is no cure for herpes, there are ways that you can help make it a little more bearable, both in it’s genital and cold sore forms. Lemon balm can help reduce itching, swelling, and tingling while speeding up healing.
- Rosemary: While rosemary itself may not have any proven medical benefits, the application of it to other foods can. Studies have shown that rosemary helps prevent the formation of carcinogens caused by grilling foods.
- Wild Cherry: Wild cherry isn’t just a soda flavoring, it can also help with asthma by loosening phlegm in the chest and throat and reduce inflammation of tissues.
- Fenugreek seed: Try this multipurpose remedy for help with allergies, coughs, headaches and sore throat.
- Forsythia: If you fear you may have picked up lyme disease, this flowering scrub may offer you some help by providing antibacterial properties to weaken the disease.
- Boswellia: This herb relieves symptoms of both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, and can even work well for those who reacted negatively to other natural treatments.
- Turmeric: Those suffering from painful joints due to arthritis may be well advised to add a little turmeric into their diets. This spice, used in curry, contains curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory substance which can help reduce the pain and swelling.
- Yucca Root: Yucca root reduces inflammation of the joints, making it a valuable remedy for arthritis.
- Nettle: Extracts of this plant have been used to treat conditions like arthritis, anemia and hay fever.
Ensure that your reproductive organs are in good health with these herbal remedies.
- Sea Buckthorn: Women suffering from vaginal dryness may find a natural cure in this remedy. It contains palmitoleic acid which helps hydrate mucus membranes and keeps skin moisturized.
- Black Cohosh: Make menopause easier by checking out this herb, used by some Native American groups. It contains plant estrogens which can help regulate and balance your rapidly changing hormones.
- Chaste Berry: The small, peppery-tasting berries of this plant can offer some help to women coming off birth control or those who just need a little assistance in regulating their hormones and menstrual cycles.
- Dandelion: If you suffer from a large amount of fluid retention around your time of the month, consider taking dandelion. It has natural diuretic properties that help eliminate excess fluids.
- Dong Quai: This plant has estrogenic properties making it a good choice for women who want to balance their hormones and ease common PMS symptoms. Be advised that it can take up to a year to see results from taking it.
- Raspberry Leaf: Pregnant women should check with their doctors before taking this herb, but it’s generally considered safe and can help ease the painful process of labor.
- Saw Palmetto: Get some help keeping your prostate in good health with this herb. It reduces the symptoms of an enlarged prostate, in some cases as much as a prescription medication, though it may not work for every man.
- Daminana Leaf: This multipurpose herb can help deal with sexual dysfunction issues in both men and women as well as helping to reduce hot flashes associated with menopause.
- Sarsaparilla: With effects similar to the male hormone testosterone, this herb can be a great way to stimulate the sex drive in both men and women.
- Beth Root: Some have seen balancing effects on the hormones with this herbal tincture, leading to normalized menstrual bleeding, reduced effects of menopause and easier pregnancy.