The world of modern medicine is finally starting to open up to the benefits of medicinal plants and herbs. Natural remedies based on common herbs have been used for thousands of years all throughout the world, and many of those remedies continue to be the most effective form of treatment to this day.
The unfortunate truth of the matter is that many doctors and physicians continue to take advantage of manufactured medications to alleviate symptoms and diseases, but there are much better options out there.
Nearly every prescribed medicine is based on a chemical compound found in nature, most commonly in a plant. To ignore the healing properties of the natural world simply because its healing properties haven’t yet been processed into a pill is ludicrous.
Natural herbs have more health benefits than one might realize, and they are easily found or grown right in your own back yard. Read on to learn more about the most underrated herbs for medicinal use.
1. MarigoldMany people know Marigolds for their bright summer colors and pleasant aesthetic, but the plant is one of the most useful herbs on the planet. It has a wide range of health benefits, and it primarily acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.
Marigolds are useful when treating a plethora of skin conditions, like eczema, psoriasis, and common acne.
It can reduce headaches, fevers, and help prevent allergies. Studies have even shown the plant to have anti-cancer properties, as well as factors that promote the formation of new blood vessels.
Marigolds are also commonly used as a scalp treatment, and they can help reduce graying hairs.
2. AlfalfaThis herb is most commonly used to feed livestock since it has such a large amount of protein, but it also provides a number of health benefits for humans. Alfalfa works well at combating nausea, and it strengthens the urinary tract, preventing infections and kidney stones.
The herb is exceptionally sufficient at removing toxins from the body, and it has even been shown to decrease cholesterol levels.
If you’ve had a serious injury, alfalfa is ideal for promoting a speedy recovery since it provides so many essential nutrients. Its rich mineral content even offers a soft stimulant effect.
3. TansyIn many areas of the world, this plant is considered a weed. However, when properly grown in a garden, this plant provides a beautiful splash of color, and it acts as a natural insect repellent for mosquitoes, flies, ants, and many more.
The leaves of a tansy can even be rubbed on the skin to help keep pests away, and its quite a bit more effective at doing so than the harsh chemical bug sprays that most people swear by.
Small quantities of the plant have been shown to treat parasitic intestinal worms, but large quantities of tansy leaves are thought to be toxic.
This plant has been known to provide a wide variety of health benefits for years, but most people have never heard of it. It is mainly used as an anti-inflammatory, and it helps alleviate pain associated with arthritis, migraines, and rheumatism. This is one of the only natural remedies for a migraine headache that actually works.
Feverfew makes a great substitute for over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen and naproxen, and it can reduce anxiety in people who suffer from high stress.
The herb can be enjoyed as a tea or supplement, and it’s recommended for consumption on a daily basis.
5. Winter SavoryThis tasty herb derives its name from its meaty flavor, and since the entire plant is safely edible, it is generally used as a flavoring agent for beef, stew, or poultry.
However, the herb has a second use as well. It is a powerful antiseptic, and it works well at treating the irritating effects of an insect sting or bite.
By making tea with the herb, you can concoct a libation that will ease a sore throat, quiet an upset stomach, and cure digestive problems like diarrhea.
This plant has been used for generations for its healing properties, mostly in Europe and the Mediterranean.
6. YarrowThe first known use of Yarrow as an herbal remedy was in Greece over 3,000 years ago.
Yarrow helps the immune system fight off infections during the cold season, and it helps soothe the symptoms of the flu.
It has several beneficial properties, and it can be used as an antiseptic, an astringent for skin care, and an anti-inflammatory treatment for general swelling.
If you drink a tea made from yarrow, or inhale steam from water with the plant submerged, you can promote proper digestion and prevent indigestion.
The plant also holds an essential oil that counteracts the itching and pain of eczema and other skin conditions.
7. ParsleyIt may come as surprise that an herb you probably have in your kitchen right now has any profound healing effects, but it most certainly does! Parsley has so many positive health benefits that it begs the question why more people don’t use it as a natural medicine instead of a simple garnish.
Vitamin K is plentiful in parsley, so it helps skin heal faster and stay clear.
Iron and vitamin C also play a part in the benefits provided by parsley, since both nutrients boost immune response and promote proper circulation.
Parsley is known for its powerful antioxidant qualities as well, helping eliminate free radicals in your system.
8. SageYet another herb you might have on your shelf, this powerhouse of a plant provides more health benefits than many prescribed medicines combined. It has anti fungal, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Before it became popular as a healing herb and a cooking ingredient, sage was used as a meat preservative.
It promotes healthy digestion, reduces swelling and fever, prevents infection, and dries up chest congestion.
It can even be used to treat cuts and burns if made into a salve, and it has been known to restore color to white or grey hair.
9. Sweet MarjoramSweet marjoram is related to oregano, one of the most popular edible herbs for cooking. It has a slightly sweeter taste than oregano, and it has been touted for its medicinal value for generations.
Sweet marjoram has a whole list of uses, and it famously can be used as an antibacterial disinfectant.
Marjoram also promotes digestion, and it’s packed with nutrients, including vitamins K, C, and A. It is also a prime source of zinc, magnesium, calcium, iron, and potassium.
The herb was made famous by the French, and it spread throughout the world once commerce opened up on a global scale.
10. AniseedThis unique herb has a flavor that reminds one of licorice and fennel. Aniseed is one of the most effective herbal remedies for poor digestion, nausea, and excessive gas. Surprisingly, it also promotes the production of breast milk in women who are nursing.
In certain situations the plant can be used to treat anxiety, coughing, chest congestion, and scratchy or dry throats.
Aniseed is a great source of vitamins A, B, and C, and it has a mild stimulating effect.
The herb is able to grow in a wide range of soil types, and it flowers beautifully in any garden.
11. CardamomCardamom is not technically a single plant, but a name given to a branch of the ginger family that produces flowers. As far as medicinal benefits, cardamom does not fall short. It provides an extra layer of protection to the digestive tract, removes bad cholesterol from the bloodstream, and promotes healthy circulation.
Some studies have shown that cardamom can help prevent certain types of cancer from forming.
Not only does it provide these amazing protective elements, but it works as a natural drug to treat muscle spasms and depression.
Some individuals also use cardamom as an effective treatment for impotence or other sexual problems.
12. Red Clover
This flowering herb is originally from Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, but its popularity has grown thanks to its incredible health benefits.
It looks like an unassuming weed, and many people discount it as nothing more than livestock feed, but it has far more uses.
The primary medicinal benefit of red clover is in its ability to fight off the common cold. The blossoms from the clover are used to make a tea that alleviates the symptoms commonly associated with a cold or flu.
Not only does this potent plant provide healing effects against such infections, but it acts as a blood cleanser and detoxifying agent as well.
Read our in-depth post on Red Clover and its amazing health benefits.
13. CatmintCatmint (more famously known as catnip) is often referred to as feline cannabis, but it has a spectrum of positive health benefits for people, as well.
The plant is related to other mint plants, all of which are known for their stimulating effects.
This herb can be made into a tea to help relieve common cold symptoms, and it induces sweating, making it ideal to combat fever.
Catmint tea will also reduce sinus pressure and prevent headaches.
Once it reaches the stomach, catmint tea promotes healthy digestion, prevents cramps, and reduces bloating due to gas. When applied to the skin, catmint can curb swelling and bleeding.