A Beginner’s Guide to Medicinal Herbs

medicinal herbs


Written records of the use of medicinal herbs go back over 5,000 years ago. But this is only according to written records, herbs are believed to have an even older history.

Herbs for medicine are something that the majority of people have heard about. Even with modern medicine flourishing, plenty of people still rely on this method.

Growing medicinal herbs is still a practice that many people have. It provides a gentler approach to medicine where the patient is in more control.

Keep reading to find out more about natural medicine with this medicinal herbs list.

History of Medicinal Herbs

Herbal medicine is also considered to be traditional medicine by most. This is because people associate herbs with being one of the first types of healthcare.

Written evidence of herbal remedies dates back to the Sumerians. They had compiled a list of medicinal herbs that they used for separate treatments.

There is plenty of evidence that also shows that ancient Egypt used these kinds of remedies. It is important to understand that this kind of evidence is everywhere.

There is evidence from ancient Egypt to Greek culture to the bronze age in China. In fact, Chinese medicine is one of the most recognized types of herbal medicine.

To this day, many Chinese people still rely on traditional medicine. This includes all kinds of herbal remedies and concoctions to treat different illnesses.

Modern-day evidence regarding herbs for medicine is still very vague. There haven’t been many tests done with large enough participants to come to a good conclusion.

Medical herbs and plants have a reputation that generations have passed down. This is another reason why it’s considered to be traditional medicine.

Most Common Medicinal Herbs

Now that you know more about medicinal herbs, what are some of the options? After all, there are so many different kinds of herbs to choose from.

Although the majority of herbs have some medical properties, they aren’t made equally. There are certain herbs that have a much better reputation with more evidence.

It is also very important to consider the quality of the herbs that you are using. Some people may not see any positive results purely because they are using poor quality.

You need to source your herbs responsibly from sellers that provide the best quality. Or you could simply plant your own medicinal herbs so you have more control over the quality.

Keeping a medicinal garden is quite simple and only requires a little work. This will provide you with more than enough medicinal herbs for all of your health needs.


A type of herb that you may have already heard about is chamomile. Chamomile’s considered to be a cure-all option used for anxiety and relaxation.

It is easy to find and comes in a variety of products to help with these issues. In Europe, chamomile’s considered to be a great option for inflammation and healing.

It is often used to reduce swelling and you can apply it as a hot or cold compress. Chamomile’s considered to be one of the safest herbs as it does not cause many side effects.

Some people may experience allergies if they are allergic to that family of plants. In some people it may cause drowsiness, making it a good remedy for sleep.

You can even find chamomile in skincare products for irritation after radiation treatments. Keep in mind that only the flower part of the chamomile plant’s used.

The stalks and leaves are also edible but don’t maintain the same medicinal properties.


Another very common medicinal herb is lavender. This is a plant that is also used for anxiety and relaxation in the US.

It is often found in a wide variety of tees and skin care products. It can be used for inflammation and bruising as it has a calming effect on the body.

Because of its bright and refreshing scent, lavender is often used for aromatherapy. This is one of its biggest benefits, as it can also help promote better sleep.

The flowering part of the lavender plant is most commonly used. But the entire lavender plant can be used as stalks and stems also have medicinal properties.

You will need to make sure you source lavender responsibly to get good quality. Some people receive lavender with pesticides or bugs in the mix.


Another traditional option is peppermint leaves. Peppermint is a very cooling herb that is often drunk as tea.

It helps with all kinds of stomach upset as well as feelings of nausea. The cooling effect is great for those with a fever or when you are struggling with a heat rash.

There are plenty of skincare products that also contain peppermint ingredients. It has a calming effect on the skin that is nice and cooling.

Some evidence also suggests that peppermint can help with pain with anti-inflammatory properties. It may be able to help with arthritis or carpal tunnel pain.

Some people also use peppermint to help reduce swelling or bruising in a specific area. Like chamomile, peppermint is considered to be one of the safer herb options.

Some similar medicinal herbs to try include mint and wintergreen.


One medicinal herb that is not as common is valerian. The Valerian plant is not used, but the root is the source of all of its medicinal properties.

Valerian is a very common sleep remedy that also helps with anxiety and stress. Some research shows how effective it can be for those struggling with restless sleep or insomnia.

An interesting detail is that valerian is also used to flavor root beer and other kinds of food. Keep in mind that Valerian has a very noticeable and pungent smell.

Because of this, most people do not enjoy drinking valerian root as tea. It is easier to take as a supplement in pill form if you are committed to getting better sleep.

Like any kind of sleep remedy, you will need to take valerian root with caution. Don’t take it when you will be driving or leaving your home as it may make you very sleepy.


A commonly known medicinal herb is Echinacea. You can use this herb to help with infections, viral infections, colds, and wounds.

You can use the leaf, root, and stalk as the entire plant is medicinal. It is often used as a preventative option for people to avoid getting sick.

But it is also a great option if you want to cure yourself the natural way. There’s also some evidence that shows benefits for upper respiratory infections.

Keep in mind that you should only use echinacea short term. It is not safe to use on a daily basis as it can impact your body‘s immune system negatively.

There are also some cases of people being allergic to echinacea. You may need to look into plant species to see if you could have an allergic reaction.


If you are looking for natural pain relief, look no further than feverfew. This is an herb that is often used for migraines and arthritis pain.

Certain combinations that include feverfew have shown great success in pain relief. Feverfew can also be used for mouth ulcers or digestive irritation.

Keep in mind that feverfew does not always mix well with modern medications. If you take certain anti-inflammatories or anticoagulant medicines, you will need to be careful.

For migraines, feverfew and white Willowbark are often a useful combination. Both help to fight pain and directly fight head pain.


Most people associate garlic with culinary food, but it is also something used in medicine. Garlic has strong antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

It can be used to help with viral infections and seasonal illnesses that spread easily. Some people also use garlic to lower their cholesterol and blood pressure.

The evidence is very conflicting as there have not been enough studies done. You will also need to be cautious, as garlic can increase the risk of bleeding.


Another fiery medicinal option is Ginger root. Most people are aware that Ginger is a great remedy if you are suffering from nausea.

But Ginger is also useful for motion sickness and could be used as an anti-cancer agent. Ginger is highly anti-inflammatory and provides anti-oxidative effects.

Ginger is quite spicy, however, so it does come with a few side effects. You may experience digestive discomfort, bloating, or heartburn.


A medicinal root that is often used is called goldenseal. This is an option that is often used for eye and skin irritation as well as diarrhea.

It is anti-septic and may or may not help with treating colds. It has a long history in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, although it can be poisonous in high doses.

Those who are unfamiliar with goldenseal should take it with extreme caution. Follow the directions and only take the smallest dose necessary.

Saint John’s Wort

A natural anti-depressant option is Saint John’s Wort. Studies have been done to show how effective this herb is at treating mild to severe depression.

Studies are inconclusive regarding severe cases, but it can help in mild situations. Keep in mind that Saint John’s Wort has a history of interacting with other medicines.

This is why it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider before taking any herbs. Some herbs and modern medicines do not interact well.


A type of plant that many people are using today is cannabis. Cannabis has many health properties depending on the chemicals extracted.

Cannabis is also considered to be generally safe, though it can give you a high. This depends on the cannabis strain you are taking and if it impacts your cognitive function.

Some research suggests that cannabis can help with certain kinds of epilepsy. It may also be able to help with nausea and vomiting from cancer chemotherapy.

It may also be useful for helping with HIV or AIDS-related symptoms. It is also often used to reduce feelings of anxiety and stress.

You will want to only buy the highest quality cannabis. You can use this Strain Guide to pick the best option for you.

Milk Thistle

A medicinal herb you may want to try is milk thistle. This is often used to help with liver conditions or high cholesterol.

Milk thistle is also considered to help reduce the growth of cancerous cells. The results are inconclusive, but this planet has a long history of being used for liver problems.

Milk thistle is also a common herb used by women who are pregnant or currently lactating. But you should proceed with caution and talk to your healthcare provider.


A root with a long history is ginseng. It is considered to be a cure-all as it is used as a general tonic and aphrodisiac.

There aren’t a lot of medical studies done on this root, so nothing is conclusive. Many people use it to help with mental and physical performance and endurance.

It may also be able to help with stress or seasonal illnesses like a cold or the flu.

Types of Medicinal Herbs

If you are into traditional medicine, you may be interested in medicinal herbs. These herbs have been around for a very long time and are still considered to be useful.

Despite a lack of medical evidence, herbs like chamomile, valerian, and peppermint are all regularly used.

Did you enjoy this article on medicinal herbs? Keep reading for more health-related content.

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