Herbs for Self-Care

Speaker: Dr. Mahalia Freed, NDWritten by: Sheena & Esha Jain


The importance of herbs to our health is so significant. Herbs contain many key elements that can be used for curing purposes, providing us with a variety of natural sources that can be used for treatment. Most herbs have multi-purpose uses further having beneficial effects. In order for us to use these herbs we must have knowledge about their effects, as well as modes in which they can be consumed. The following includes some key herbs that are commonly used for self-treatment.

Name Mechanism of Action Health Benefits Mode of Consumption

(Tilia spp.)

- Nervine sedative

- Antispasmodic

- Digestion

- Diaphoretic

- Antioxidants

- Demulcent (relieves inflammation)

- Hypotensive

- Flu: Antipyretic & speeds healing

- Bathe in flower

- Tea

  → combined with peppermint &    

      yarrow when used as antipyretic


(Taraxacum Officinale)

- Dandelion is a bitter

-  There are many   

  bitter receptors

  throughout the

  body for dandelion

  to bind to

- Controls blood sugar

- Regulates appetite

  →  indicates when we are full

-  Digestion

  → ↑ digestive enzyme production

  → ↑ digestive acids

  → ↑ peristalsis

- Resolves bloating

- Leaf: Kidney Tonic

- Liver & Gallbladder tonic

- Root: effective in killing lymphoma


- Sauteed Greens

- Roasted Root Coffee

- Tea of dried root (simmered)

- Tea of dried leaf (steeped)

Red Raspberry Leaf

(Rubus idaeus)

- Calcium rich

 → therefore helps

      support smooth

      muscles in uterus

      & intestines

     (astringent effects)   

- Uterine Tonic

 →  traditionally used in 2nd & 3rd

   trimester pregnancies

 →  causes shorter & more efficient


- Helps with diarrhea & constipation

- Contains many flavonoids:

 Nutritive & Antioxidant

- Herbal Vinegar

- Infusion of single herb or in

 combination with nettle

Stinging Nettle

(Urtica Dioica)

- Nutrient Rich: ↑ Iron, Calcium &

                             trace minerals

- Blood Cleanser

- Abundant source of Chlorophyll:

 Detox, source of energy

- Antihistamine

  →  helpful with seasonal allergies

- Kidney Tonic, Diuretic

- Central ingredient in prenatal tea

- Pesto

- Juice/Tea

  → especially when used for seasonal


- Blood building infusions

   → used in Iron deficiency patients

   →  Can be combined with Raspberry

Lemon Balm

(Melissa Offcinalis)

- Calming and uplifting to nervous


- Digestion:

   → Helps relieve spasms, gas & pain

   in the digestive tract

- Antiviral

  →  effective against Herpes & some

   types of Influenza

- ↑ HDL cholesterol

- ↓ AST (Liver Enzyme)

- Tea with fresh/Dried Leaf

  →  Antiviral effects in tea form

St John’s Wart - Antiviral

- Wound healing

- Depression

Herbs are available in a variety of forms including, capsular supplements and natural plant form. According to Dr. Freed, herbs in the capsular form are less effective than in the natural plant form due to their inability to preserve the herb. Therefore in order to obtain these optimal benefits one should ingest the herb in its natural state; in the form of a tea, or by direct consumption of the greens itself. When used for medicinal purposes, herb consumption in the form of tinctures is recommended due to its ability to concentrate active constituents in the herb. Tinctures are herbs, extracted as liquids in alcohol or non-alcohol based forms (i.e. apple cider vinegar and vegetable glycerin).

            Overall the abundant availability of herbs, provides us with such easy access to them. Obtaining knowledge about the effects these herbs have to improving our health and mental state can allow us to take full advantage of their beneficial effects.


1)  "Herb Lore." Tinctures. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 June 2016. (https://herblore.com/overviews/tinctures)