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Herbal Remedies for Common Ailments

By Michael Castleman 

October/November 2010 

Medicinal herbs can provide natural, safer remedies to dozens of common ailments. This chart shows you more than 75 herbal remedies that do just that. For more information about herbal remedies, check out 75 Safe and Effective Herbal Remedies.

As with any health issue, always be sure to talk to your doctor before trying a new medicine including herbal medicines or other remedy. In conjunction with a discussion with your primary healthcare provider, you can find more safety and usage information on the herbs below in Micheal Castleman's The New Healing Herbs and in  Dr. James A. Duke's book, Dr. Duke's Essential Herbs.




Acne  Calendula, aloe, tea tree
Alcoholism  Evening primrose, kudzu
Allergy  Chamomile
Alzheimer’s disease  Ginkgo, rosemary
Angina  Hawthorn, garlic, willow, green tea
Anxiety and stress  Hops, kava, passionflower, valerian, chamomile, lavender
Arteriosclerosis  Garlic
Arthritis  Capsicum, ginger, turmeric, willow, cat’s claw, devil’s claw
Asthma  Coffee, ephedra, tea
Athlete’s foot  Topical tea tree oil
Attention-deficit disorder  Evening primrose oil
Bad breath  Parsley
Boils  Tea tree oil, topical garlic, echinacea, eleutherococcus, ginseng, rhodiola
Bronchitis  Echinacea, pelargonium
Burns  Aloe
Cancer  Bilberry, blackberry, cocoa (dark chocolate), green tea, garlic, ginseng, maitake mushroom, pomegranate, raspberry, reishi mushroom
Cankers  Goldenseal
Colds  Echinacea, andrographis, ginseng, coffee, licorice root (sore throat), tea (nasal and chest congestion)
Congestive heart failure  Hawthorn
Constipation  Apple, psyllium seed, senna
Cough  Eucalyptus
Depression  St. John’s wort
Diabetes, Type 2  Garlic, beans (navy, pinto, black, etc.), cinnamon, eleutherococcus, flaxseed, green tea
Diabetic ulcers  Comfrey
Diarrhea  Bilberry, raspberry
Diverticulitis  Peppermint
Dizziness  Ginger, ginkgo
Earache  Echinacea
Eczema  Chamomile, topical borage seed oil, evening primrose oil
Fatigue  Cocoa (dark chocolate), coffee, eleutheroccocus, ginseng, rhodiola, tea
Flu  Echinacea, elderberry syrup (also see “Colds”)
Gas  Fennel, dill
Giardia  Goldenseal
Gingivitis  Goldenseal, green tea
Hay fever  Stinging nettle, butterbur
Herpes  Topical lemon balm, topical comfrey, echinacea, garlic, ginseng
High blood pressure  Garlic, beans, cocoa (dark chocolate), hawthorn
High blood sugar  Fenugreek 
High cholesterol  Apple, cinnamon, cocoa (dark chocolate), evening primrose oil, flaxseed, soy foods, green tea
Hot flashes  Red clover, soy, black cohosh
Impotence  Yohimbe
Indigestion   Chamomile, ginger, peppermint
Infection  Topical tea tree oil, astragalus, echinacea, eleutherococcus, garlic, ginseng, rhodiola
Insomnia   Kava, evening primrose, hops, lemon balm, valerian
Irregular heartbeat  Hawthorn 
Irregularity  Senna, psyllium seed
Irritable bowel syndrome  Chamomile, peppermint
Lower back pain  Thymol, carvacrol, white willow bark
Menstrual cramps  Kava, raspberry, chasteberry
Migraine  Feverfew, butterbur
Morning sickness  Ginger
Muscle pain  Capsicum, wintergreen 
Nausea  Ginger 
Premenstrual syndrome  Chasteberry, evening primrose
Ringing in the ears  Ginkgo
Seasonal affective disorder  St. John’s wort 
Shingles  Capsicum
Sore throat  Licorice, marshmallow, mullein 
Stuffy nose  Echinacea 
Tonsillitis  Goldenseal, astragalus, echinacea
Toothache  Willow, clove oil
Ulcers  Aloe, licorice 
Varicosities  Bilberry, horse chestnut 
Yeast infection  Garlic, goldenseal, Pau D’arco


Post a comment below.


3/23/2015 11:42:10 AM
I was surprised to see Bilberry listed as medicine for cancer and varicose vein issues. Wonderful.I am using it for glaucoma. My question is; in the cancer catagory I am not finding a reference to tumeric which we know is anti inflamitory.I am finding powerful recent research treating prostrate cancer. Combining tumeric, (curcumin) broccoli, pomegrante, and green tea,powerful and powdered; taken in capsules 2x a day. Just found an article in the magazine Life Extension,Jan/Feb2014. Has anyone out there have experience with this they want to share? Also don't find much direct info on Bilberry, like to treat eye diseases. Anybody?

3/9/2015 1:59:29 PM
This is good stuff.

9/22/2014 9:00:08 AM
Chia and hemp seed are also very good for many things, definitely good for inflammation, joint pain relief, Omega 3 and 6

7/2/2014 12:53:01 PM
Great list of herbal medicine, another one I might add is kratom. Which helps maintain good health as it contains a substance called epicatechin, a substance found in dark chocolates that can promote good health.

Rhonda Brigman
2/24/2014 12:22:02 PM
Herbs and Minerals are so lacking in most folks everyday diet. No wonder with less minerals in the depleted soils, quick processing and short-cuts to get items to market faster we are cheating ourselves of the nutrients our bodies need. Even with all 'our progress' in this technological age, statistics would probably show increases in illnesses, including cancer, common childhood contractions, and yes, even the common cold! Each of us must take our own health concerns into our own hands and do what we can to enhance our daily consumption of good for you ways to build our immunity and fortify our bodies needs. After all, it is up to you...who knows your body better than you do? Food for thought, isn't it?

1/7/2014 4:51:08 PM
So simple...

11/19/2013 11:26:29 AM
What a wonderful cheat sheet! Thanks for taking the time consolidate this info into one handy place!

8/25/2013 10:11:08 PM
Peppermint is also good for cramps and nausea. During that time I stock up on starlight mints and York peppermint patties. It works better than mydol ever could.

3/25/2013 4:34:04 PM
I have had some success using hibiscus for treating high blood pressure. I use the capsules and also drink a tea using hibiscus, catnip, and mint. It's quite tasty.

Marva Hurst
3/14/2013 6:02:39 AM
Dandelion is known as a diurectic.

Lisa McCall
3/13/2013 6:44:28 PM
Yerba Mate, coffee, catnip,Thyme, guto kola, kava kava, skullcap, passion flower, St. Johns wort, Valerian root. Ginseng or mullein oil for memory.Ginkgo biloba for concentration.... Good luck

Heidi Cox
3/11/2013 5:01:31 PM
Go to Mountain Rose Herbs ~ you'll NOT ever have to worry if the product is true. They are the best out there and great prices.

Heidi Cox
3/11/2013 4:59:01 PM
I agree with the other reply ~ dandelion is the best, try and add some dandelion leaves to say a salad or even a sandwich or use as a tea (you can buy good quality dandelion tea bags at just about any store but be sure you get organic). Consume daily and it should help. Good luck!

Barbara Nickles
3/1/2013 9:24:32 PM
something you can use for allergies i have found very useful and effective is BIOFLAVENOID found in it's purest form as the white contents on the inside of orange peels ... Anyone know of anything for ADD besides primrose oil?

Sherri Bellinger
2/26/2013 2:32:39 AM
We all have to do what we feel is best for us....our forefathers used what they had, and indians had medicine men to recommend the remedies they had used for ages. Naturally, we have more complicated illnesses but for those passed down thru generations that have proven outcomes..why not try them.

Susan McMurray
2/26/2013 1:29:19 AM
What is hibiscus good for treating?

Thurston Rogers
2/12/2013 5:02:30 AM
celery seed is good for water retention also milk thistle and dandelion

Ashley Veri
2/10/2013 10:57:37 PM
where do you get real cinnamon and how do you tell the difference?

Katie Miller
2/6/2013 1:45:23 AM
What is a good herb for water retention?

Missy Lady
1/28/2013 7:08:43 PM
you need to detox your liver also do green juicing and green smoothies you are doing yourself harm by putting so much stuff into your body especially the chemicals. I do believe in herbs but, you really should be detoxing and fasting to help your livers over load of toxins then after see a Holistic doctor. Good luck

Don Swanz
1/14/2013 5:20:46 PM
One of the absolutely worst actions we can take is to "self medicate". See your doctor first for the correct diagnosis, then choose your course of action. :-))

chris marion
1/10/2013 9:40:51 PM
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1/10/2013 9:36:02 PM
One of my favorite herbs isn't listed. Kratom is natures best ket secret whn it comes to pain relief. It also stops optite with drawal for peopl try to get off pain meds. buy kratom Kratom USA

Shaely Bentley
12/29/2012 4:28:20 PM
One or two drops of peppermint in your facial wash or in your lotion helps clear up acne, blackheads, and rashes. A drop of lemon in your hot water with a spoonful of honey helps a soar throat and works twice as well when you gargle salt water.

10/2/2012 11:57:35 AM
hi i just worked out, I have been trying to implement new herbal remedies, but everything seems to cause excessive wind, I am now trying out chinese herbal remedies medicines and having good luck with them, now Im stuck with heaps of excess herbal vitamins, like dandelion, willow bark, Cinnamon, psyllium, The valerian is ok, and papaya chewable are good, I have d iabetes, chronic pain, menopause, fibromalagia, arthritis,high blood pressure, high cholesterol , yes Im overweight at 87 kilos, have lost 11 kilos since last December, and still on a heap of traditional medication...I can list the chinese medicines if anyone is interested...Im only 49...and feeling like 75...any suggestion, also IBS, and diverticultis,low back degeneration happening, with discs, and facet joint.....someone throw me a liver is saying HELP, oh and also depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, and have lost my mother recently...Trying to exercise thru my pain. I like meditation, and walking when I can....thanks

10/2/2012 11:45:31 AM
hi i would like to join, how do i join

Nancy Chromey Damewood
9/3/2012 7:05:45 PM
yes this is helpful & interesting, plan on trying out remedies, I just got some REAL cinnamon

5/21/2012 7:42:59 PM
Very helpful chart! Natural Healthy Concepts sells most everything mentioned for a good price. this is the link for the herbal nutrition supplements available there.

LM Moran
12/22/2010 12:36:21 PM
I understand some people's fear of the natural remedy over the allopathic drug, however, people should understand there are those of us who went to school to learn about this and it is not just natural or herbal remedies your diet and general health practices play a very important role in how effective herbs will be for you. Toothache, bee sting, bump, bruise, cold , earache, the herbals are less expensive and rarely have a side effect ( unless you have an allergy to the herb). A more major illness or condition should not be treated on your own with herbs. Find a local herbalist,naturopath, holistic healer to assess you and your condition and advise you. We have the training and resources to help you. Thanks for listening.

10/26/2010 9:18:49 PM
For toothache, make a paste with red pepper, nutmeg, and cinnamon and apply directly to where it hurts. For GI tract problems -- including indigestion, nausea, bad breath, mucus, cough, gas, diarrhea, flatulence, and even ulcers -- mix honey, ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon into warm milk. For sore throat or headache or general aches and pains, add red pepper and turmeric to the mix. Red pepper contains capsaicin, which numbs pain. Turmeric, ginger, pepper, nutmeg, and cinnamon are all highly anti-inflammatory, which reduces pain, swelling, allergies, itching, and other auto-immune responses. Both nutmeg and cinnamon have been scientifically shown to be a potent inhibitor of prostaglandin (inflammatory agent) biosynthesis, acting like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), but without the adverse side effects and toxicity of aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen. The prostaglandin action is also implicated in why these spices act as a digestive tract tonic. They have for millennia been used to treat these digestive issues. Nutmeg is actually an ingredient in some commercial cough syrups and vapor rubs. Both spices also have strong anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and tend to enhance immunity. They have been found to be active against Candida albicans, Helicobacter pylori (the bacteria that causes stomach ulcers), and the bacteria responsible for halitosis (which is why they are incorporated into some toothpastes, mouthwashes, and chewing gums).

10/25/2010 3:25:55 PM
It simply makes sense to start with the gentlest solution first. i.e. diet and lifestyle. If something more is needed then herbs, and if that still isn't enough (and it often is) then conventional medicine. Herbal medicine is very safe and effective. Not all of the herbs have been studied in depth using modern methods of scientific inquiry, but many are, and more are coming. However, an example of a herb showing wonderful benefits through scientific study is Hawthorn. Just do a search of the medical journal databases and you'll find it. But lets not forget another form of science, that of clinical observation (Doctors use this too, and I've seen them prescribe medication for a condition that the drug isn't meant for because of what they've observed clinically). I have often had clients come in with irregular heart beats (for example) that when they take Hawthorne they experience a regulation of heart beats. I've also read several studies that show herbs to be safer and as effective (sometimes more effective) than their pharmaceutical drug counterparts. I agree that just because something is natural doesn't mean that it's always safe. We expect medicinal herbs to have therapeutic value, therefore they are susceptible to causing problems too. For example, licorice is great for many things (incl. ulcers) but if you have high blood pressure you may want to avoid it... or at least make sure that you eat plenty of potassium rich foods.

Pamela Frost
10/25/2010 1:45:47 PM
Essential Oils are herbs personified - there is plenty of medical research on the effectiveness of essential oils on the ailments listed in the chart and many more that are not listed. For example, therapeutic grade lavender essential oil will heal burns; however, inexpensive adulterated lavender oil will actually turn a burn into a 2nd or 3rd degree burn due to the crap it is cut with. In all remedies you must find the one that works best for you, whether it be natural or from the doctor. Personally, I try the natural remedies first and then go to the doctor if I get no relief. I very rarely go to the doctor!
10/25/2010 1:17:25 PM
There is no need to go immediately to antibiotics in the case of strep. Strep bacteria can easily be killed with a solution of raw honey, garlic and cayenne. The ratios are: 1 Tbls honey; 1/4 tsp. cayenne; 4 cloves garlic - minced or put through a garlic press. Take 1/2 teaspoon of the mixture every 30 - 60 minutes; let it coat the throat. This remedy will generally relieve you of strep within 24 hours.

CJ Ewell
10/25/2010 10:25:04 AM
I'm pretty worried about this whole article as well as the chart. For instance, tonsillitis is often caused by group A beta-hemolytic strep, which can cause rheumatic fever, glomerulonephritis, and heart valve damage if not promptly treated with appropriate antibiotics. Herbs for this one will not prevent complications and can allow this infection to cause permanent disability and even death. There is NO evidence anywhere that herbal preparations are effecitve in treating alcoholism, and stomach ulcers need proper diagnosis to ensure proper treatment (some are caused by bacterial infection) and avoid life-threatening complications such as GI bleeding. Mr. Castleman certainly has written many articles, which is expected from someone with a couple degrees in journalism. However, I could find no credible backing for his assertion that any of the remedies listed in the chart accompanying his article are 'safe and effective'. It is vitally important to realize that 'herbal' and 'natural' do not mean a substance is safe, let alone effective. Sincerely, CJ Ewell MS, APRN,BC (family nurse practitioner with 20 years practice experience) Altamont, UT

Buttonquail Gal
10/25/2010 10:02:54 AM
Cinnamon is good also for helping to control your blood sugar levels, about a teaspoon a day.

Buttonquail Gal
10/25/2010 9:59:30 AM
Something that works great for ear aches is slso Garlic oil. Put a few drops in your ears and a little cotton to keep it from running out and it really helps with ear infections. But you won't smell the greatest for awhile. LOL

Buttonquail Gal
10/25/2010 9:51:38 AM
Apple cider vinegar works great for athlete's foot fungus, just soak your feet in it for about a half hour or so and no more fungus. May require a second time if your fungus is very severe. Also sage tea bags work fantastic for a toothache. Put a tea bag in a small amount of hot water (as hot as you can stand) to moisten it. Then place it on your pain for as long as possible, I usually put it on my toothache and lay down and take a nap or sleep all night and when I awake, I no longer have a toothache or inflamation from it. And making a rosemary mouthwash, take Rosemary boil it in water, strain and let cool works great for gingivitis. Also makes a great hair rinse, good for helping to stop hair from falling out.

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