Below is a list of my top 30 favorite herbs that address each body system/organ and major health issue. Notice the dosage, side effects, uses, and safety for long or short term use. This list is not to be used to self diagnose or treat illness/injury/or disease, so please use it for reference purposes only and be sure to seek professional guidance before attempting to take any herbal remedies. Not only are herbs powerful, but they are not for everyone. Medications, diet, lifestyle, and other environmental and stress related issues can interfere with the safety and integrity of herbal medicine. Since many herbs can be purchased over-the-counter, it is of utmost importance to have a clear understanding of any possible complications.
I hope you find this list helpful, and may it encourage and support you on your journey toward optimum health by offering natural options and new possibilities!
1. Goldenseal Root
Goldenseal is a multi-functioning herb, used for many purposes throughout the body. Refer to this herb for digestive health, lymphatic drainage, and anti-inflammatory benefits. Goldenseal is a superstar herb for the lymphatic, digestive, and female reproductive systems, as well as the skin and liver. It is a supportive herb for the eyes, as well as cardiovascular, immune, respiratory, and male reproductive systems.
*Restorative tonic (general health/G.I tract)
*Mild Stimulant for circulatory, digestive, and nervous systems
*Inhibits excessive bleeding/contracts blood vessels
*Part of Detoxification program
*Capsule:1 "0" (325mg), 2x daily
*Infusion: 1/2-1tsp powdered root per cup. Steep 10 min in boiling hot water 2x daily
*Decoction: 1-2 swallows, 2x daily
*Tincture: 30 drops, 2x daily
SAFETY: If taking capsules, also take Vitamin C and Milk Thistle. This herb may diminish healthy bacteria, so take a probiotic if using for more than 3 days. High doses may interfere with Vitamin B metabolism. Berberine, the most active substance in Goldenseal is also in Oregon Grape root and Barberry. These herbs are fair substitutes, not to be used in addition to (or too much Berberine). Cut and sifted Goldenseal should be Gold in color, not yellow. Contraindicated for Pregnancy, Heart disease, High blood pressure, Glaucoma, Stroke, and Diabetes, Not to take longer than 3 days/1 week
2. Panax Ginseng
Panax Ginseng is a superstar herb for the immune, endocrine, nervous, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, and male reproductive systems. It is a supportive herb for the liver and respiratory system. This is a powerful herb used for many purposes, yet finding good quality Panax Ginseng is rare and expensive. This herb is best used in times of great need, not ongoing preventative use for someone healthy.
*Protection from radiation/chemical toxins
*Capsules: 200-500mg of standardized extract daily
*Infusion/Decoction: Different constituents extracted for different cooking times.
*Tincture:1-2ml daily, 1:1 extract = 1-2grams of root. Take for 4 weeks-3 months, with 1-2 month break after each cycle.
*Sucking on a piece of the herb for a long period of time can also allow one to experience the benefits.
* Most Effective Delivery Form: Infusion/Decoction. Drink Infusion, then simmer 5 minutes, and drink as tea. Then simmer for 20 minutes, and 40 minutes, drinking each batch.
SAFETY: Women should balance Panax Ginseng with phytoestrogen herbs. Use caution if experiencing insomnia, hay fever, or fibrocystic breasts. Avoid during pregnancy. Not recommended to take with other stimulants, such as caffeine. Contraindicated for Arrhythmia/tachycardia, Asthma/emphysema, Fever Present, High blood pressure/hypertension.
3. Siberian Ginseng
Siberian Ginseng, also known as Eleuthero, is a cheaper and highly effective alternative to other forms of ginseng. It is not actually ginseng, but has similar effects. This herb is great for ongoing use as a preventative, or to address acute and chronic illness. Siberian Ginseng is a superstar herb for the immune, endocrine, cardiovascular, nervous, and musculoskeletal systems.
*Physical and emotional stress
*Improves general health
*Long term energy tonic
*Ultimate thyroid regulator
*Decoction: 1/2 cup several times a day, depending on need.
*Tincture: 40 drops, 3x daily
*Use daily for 3-4 months, discontinue for 1-2 months. Repeat.
SAFETY: Very safe long term herb. No known drug interactions. No contraindications.
Astragalus is a superstar herb for the immune, urinary, and cardiovascular systems. It's also a supportive for the liver, as well as nervous and lymphatic systems. This is a great herb for long term use and prevention.
*Long term tonic
*Physical and emotional stress
*Decoction: 1-2 sticks per cup
*Tincture: 40 drops, 3x daily (not more than 4x)
SAFETY: Contraindications: Fever present
Schizandra is a superstar herb for the nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, respiratory, and musculoskeletal systems, as well as the liver. It is also a supportive herb for the immune and digestive systems. This herb is great for general health, and can be used as a preventative or a long term tonic.
*Full body tonic/regulator
*Decoction: boil 5 minutes
*Tincture: 40-45 drops, 3x daily on an empty stomach
SAFETY: Safe for long term daily use with no side effects, except sensitivity to taste. Contraindicated for pregnancy.
Garlic is a superstar herb for the immune, cardiovascular, and endocrine systems. It is a supportive herb for the respiratory system, as well as the ears and skin. Garlic is my favorite herb, though it is not good for everyone. It's great to take at the first sign of symptoms, and has a wide range of health benefits and uses.
*Yeast infection: coat 1 clove in olive oil and poke pin holes before inserting in vagina. Keep in 8 hours, use tampon to hold in it. Douche/chlorophyll (2-3 oz), and repeat for two additional days.
*Vaginal douche: 1 clove garlic crushed and covered in boiling water. Allow water to cool, then drain/strain water for douche bag.
*Eating cloves: use raw or lightly cooked (cooked disrupts sulfur hydryl compounds). Too much is ` irritating for digestion, so rely on taste.
*Capsules: Enteric coated prevents bad breath.
*Tea: 1-2 cloves per cup
*Standardized formula: 5,000mcg or more daily.
SAFETY: Douching is discouraged for ongoing use, as it disrupts friendly bacteria. Contraindicated for clotting disorders.
Echinacea is a superstar herb for the immune, respiratory, and lymphatic systems. It is a supportive herb for the male and female reproductive and urinary systems, as well as the ears. Echinacea is great for treating the early set of symptoms, and can often hold off or lessen the effects of illness.
*Ultimate blood/lymph cleanser
*Short term preventative
*At first sign of symptoms: tincture: 1tsp, followed by 1/2tsp every 2 hours. Continue until 3 days after last symptoms. OR 50-60 drops in room temperature water, 4x daily.
*Prevention: Take tincture for 6-8 weeks. Stop use for 2-4 weeks. Repeat.
SAFETY: Not a long term herb, or a general preventative for healthy individuals. Mouth rash may occur is sensitive people. Contraindicated for HIV positive, lactation (unless mother suffers from a respiratory infection), and auto immune diseases/disorders.
8. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is a superstar herb for the skin, as well as digestive and immune systems. It is a supportive herb for the female reproductive and urinary systems. Aloe is very safe, and can be a great addition to a daily diet in the form of juice. This herb is great for a wide variety of internal and external tissue health.
*Soothing and healing emollient/emulsifier
*Cell renewal stimulant
*Protects mucus membranes when used internally
*Skin: apply hand-filleted leaf serum liberally
*Juice: 1-2tsp up to 3x daily (commercial products are to be certified to contain good amounts of manapol)
*Most Effective Delivery Form: Fresh hand-filleted mature leaves, Or freeze dried. For internal conditions drink aloe vera juice.
SAFETY: Very safe.
9. Bee Propolis
Bee Propolis is a superstar herb for the immune, digestive, and respiratory systems, as well as the skin. It is a supportive herb for the female reproductive and urinary systems. This herb is a favorite for mouth and gum issues, and to address internal infections.
*Tincture: (acute problems) begin with 60 drops diluted in slightly warm water. Then, 40 drops every 4 hours (maximum 4/5 doses daily). May apply tincture topically.
*Capsules: 3 - 500mg, 3x daily OR 4 caps, 2x daily
*Lozenge: Chewables often combined with zinc glucanate (don’t take long term)
*Throat spray: Use 2-3x what is recommended on manufactured products. (Fairly weak)
*Acute problems: Take 1-2 days after symptoms
SAFETY: Low toxicity. Side effects may include occasional contact dermatitis, oral inflammation, and damage to healthy intestinal yeast. Taking probiotics during and after using propolis is recommended. Use caution when a long history of allergies or skin rashes is present. Resins may irritate the kidneys with long term use, using a high quality propolis may prevent this. Propolis from the USA is considered safe, however propels from Europe may contain lead. Tinctures made with alcohol may irritate a sore throat, be sure to dilute with water. Evaporating the alcohol in tinctures before use is recommended if using for burns, or when candida is present.
Licorice is a superstar herb for the immune, endocrine, digestive, and female reproductive systems. It is a supportive herb for the respiratory, lymphatic, and urinary systems, as well as the liver. This is a favorite herb for digestion, and to raise blood sugar when needed.
*Blood sugar stabilizer (hypoglycemia)
*Therapeutic: 2-3 grams, 3x daily
*Preventative: 1 gram, 3x daily
*Decoction: boil stick for 20-40 min, or use 1/2tsp powdered herb per cup of water (max 2 cups daily)
*Tincture: 40 drops, 3-4x daily (Glycyrrhiza Glabra)/ or 50 drops, 3-4x daily (Glycyrrhiza Uralensis)
SAFETY: Long term use of therapeutic amounts may cause edema/hypertension. Side effect may include vertigo and headaches, and it may raise blood pressure due to increased potassium excretion. Contraindicated for those allergic to legumes, or who have heart problems, hypertension, pregnancy, low basal metabolic/thyroid rate, or anyone taking digitalis.
Chamomile is a superstar herb for the skin, as well as musculoskeletal, immune, digestive, and nervous systems. It is a supportive herb for the female reproductive system and liver. This herb is a favorite for evening use, to calm the nervous system in anxious people, and assist in lowering stress. Topically, chamomile is great for moisturizing and reducing wrinkles, and its soothing effect makes for a great skin care product.
*Tea: 1 heaping tsp per cup
*Tincture: 45 drops, 1-3x daily (for sleep, take 1.5 hours before bed, and again 1/2 hr before bed)
*Compress: strong tea for cuts and wounds
SAFETY: Possible nausea or vomiting with extremely large doses.
12. Dandelion Root
Dandelion Root is a superstar herb for pregnancy, the liver, and the endocrine system. It is a supportive herb for the lymphatic, digestive, and urinary systems. This herb is a favorite for strengthening general liver function.
*Decoction: 1-2 oz several times a day
*Tincture: 45-5 drops, 3-4x daily
*Capsules: Mildly effective
SAFETY: Very safe. May cause skin rash in those that are very sensitive.
13. Burdock Root
Burdock Root is a superstar herb for the lymphatic and urinary systems, as well as the skin. It is a supportive herb for the female reproductive system and liver. A favorite for releasing fat stored toxins, cleansing lymph and blood, and as an antiseptic for vaginal douching.
*Eruptive skin diseases
*Tincture: 30-40 drops, 3x daily (room temperature)
*Decoction: 1-2 cups daily
*Fresh: 3 inch piece of root daily (finger size)
SAFETY: Safe for long term use. Use recommended dosages, as excessive amounts can increase lymphatic congestion.
14. Ginko Biloba
Ginko Biloba is a superstar herb for the eyes and ears, as well as the cardiovascular and nervous systems. This herb is a favorite, and one of the only herbs known to specifically address issues in the head/brain area.
*Long term tonic (head)
*Brain/nervous system strengthener
*Extract: take 3-5 months for best results
*Therapeutic: 40mg, 3x daily
*Preventative: 40mg, 1x daily
SAFETY: Contraindicated for anyone taking blood thinners (i.e. Coumadin). Very Safe. Side effects may include mild gastrointestinal discomfort, headache, or rash. If taken in extremely high amounts, diarrhea and nausea may occur.
Bilberry is a superstar herb for the eyes, as well as cardiovascular and digestive systems. This herb is a favorite for long term use to assist with night vision and heart health.
Dosage: Standardized extract (20-24mg/25% anthocyanidins)
*Preventative: 180mg daily
*Therapeutic: 200-300mg daily
*Capsules: 2-3 times per day
*Tincture: 35-40 drops, 2-3x daily
*Tea: Boil whole berry for 2-5 minutes
*Infusion: 1-3 cups daily
SAFETY: No known side effects or toxicity.
Mullein is a superstar herb for the ears, as well as respiratory system. It is a supportive herb for the lymphatic system. This herb is a favorite for expectorating blood, and to sooth the lungs.
*Ear infection: Lay with head turned to one side, add 4 drops of hydrogen peroxide to treat infection. Wait a few minutes, and add 4 drops garlic oil to treat infection. Then add 4 drops mullein for prevention.
*Take on an empty stomach for best absorption
*Capsule: mildly effective. 2-3 "00" caps 3x daily
*Tincture: 45-50 drops, 3-4x daily
*Tea/Infusion: 1 heaping tsp per cup, 3-4x daily
SAFETY: Contraindicated for obese people for its effect on the thyroid.
17. Milk Thistle
Milk Thistle is a superstar herb for the liver. It is also a supportive herb for the immune and digestive systems. This herb is a favorite for its antioxidant effect on the liver, and for very active person's who are more likely to produce free radicals.
*Protects from airborne pollutants
*Prevention: 1 capsule, 1-2x daily
*Therapeutic: 1 capsule, 3-4x daily
*Tincture- Silymarin is not measured in tinctures, fallow general guidelines on bottle.
*Prevention: 40 drops, 1-2x daily
*Therapeutic: 40 drops, 3-4x daily
SAFETY: Hard to take too much as it is water soluble and excreted within 8-12 hours. No known side effects. May cause a laxative effect. Safe for pregnancy.
Ginger is a superstar herb for the digestive and musculoskeletal system. It is a supportive herb for the liver, as well as immune, nervous, and female reproductive systems. This herb is a favorite for nausea, and for use as an aromatic carminative. It's also a great herb for respiratory infections when combined with cayenne, and for it's ability to improve the assimilation of other herbs.
*Diaphoretic (taken hot)
*Diuretic (taken cold)
*Compress: soak cloth in decoction and apply to skin
*Motion sickness: 1,500mg 30 minutes prior to travel
*Tea: 2tsp powdered or grated root for cup. Boil 10 minutes.
*Inflammation: 500-3,000mg daily
SAFETY: Excessive amounts can irritate the urogenital tract. Contraindicated for urinary tract infections, inflamed prostate, endometriosis, and pregnant women with a history of miscarriage. If gallstones are present, consult a physician before using therapeutic amounts. May cause heartburn in sensitive individuals.
Chickweed is a superstar herb for the respiratory, female reproductive, and urinary systems; as well as the skin. It is also a supportive herb for pregnancy, as well as digestive and male reproductive systems. This herb is a favorite for balancing both internal and external tissue structure, and for tonifing the tissues of the lungs, nasal passages (when used as a douche), and bronchioles.
*Infusion: 1tsp-1Tbsp per cup
*Capsule: (Mildly effective) 2-3 caps, 3-4x daily
SAFETY: Very safe. No known side effects.
Nettles is a superstar herb for the musculoskeletal and urinary systems. It is a supportive herb for the cardiovascular, as well as male and female reproductive systems, and digestion. This is a favorite herb for its high mineral content, and for its effect on joints and bone health.
*Capsules: (Mildly effective) 2 "00" caps, 4x daily
*Infusion: 1tsp-1Tbsp dried herb per cup, 3-4x daily
*Tincture: 50 drops, 3-4x daily
SAFETY: Long term preventative herb. Contraindicated for edema due to heart and kidney issues. Excessive amounts of tea may cause stomach irritation, burning skin, and suppressed urination.
Plantain is a superstar herb for the female reproductive system, skin, as well as urinary system. It is also a supportive herb for the male reproductive system
*Soothing/repairs tissues (internal/external)
*Chew on leaves and apply as poultice to cuts/wounds
*Take a handful of fresh leaves a blend with 1/2 cup water
*Leave on wounds for 20-60 minutes
SAFETY: Very safe.
22. Cascara Segrada
Cascara Segrada is a superstar herb for the liver. It is a favorite herb for constipation and colitis, digestion of fats, and liver cleansing.
*Take on an empty stomach and allow 8-9 hours to work.
*Tincture 40 drops, 3x daily
*Decoction 1-2 cups daily
*Capsules: Mildly effective
SAFETY: Not for long term continual use in large amounts. Contraindicated for pregnancy, nursing, ulcers, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome.
23. Red Raspberry
Red Raspberry is a superstar herb for pregnancy and the female reproductive system. This is a favorite herb for its astringent effects on tissues in the lower regions of the abdomen pelvic area.
*Gastrointestinal and uterine specific
*Extracts best in tincture or infusion.
*Capsules: (Mildly effective) 3-4 "00" caps, 3x daily
*Fresh herb infusion: 2Tbsp chopped per cup (green spring leaves have high potency)
*Dried herb infusion: 1Tbsp per cup, 2-4 cups daily
*Tincture: 45-50 drops, 3x daily (apple cider vinegar extracts more minerals, while alcohol extracts more tannins for astringent value)
SAFETY: Use caution with any herb containing tannins, as they tend to inhibit kidney function.
24. Saw Palmetto
Saw Palmetto is a superstar herb for the male and female reproductive systems. It is also a supportive herb for the urinary system. This is a favorite for male reproductive concerns, prostate health, low libido, and nutritional value.
*Male reproductive health
*Therapeutic: 160mg standardized extract, 2x daily on an empty stomach
*Best taken 30-90 days
*Capsules: Can be found with berries, or liposterolics with berry powder
*Decoction: Crack berries first, then boil.
*Tincture: Lipids are not fully extracted in this form. 50 drops, 2-3x daily
SAFETY: Can cause mild stomach ache. No other significant side effects. Do not use tincture with urogenital inflammation, alcohol irritates tissues.
25. St. John's Wart
St. Johns's Wart is a superstar herb for the nervous and musculoskeletal systems. It is a supportive herb for the skin and ears, as well as urinary system. It is a favorite herb for low back/menstrual/sciatic pain, and emotional instability.
*Capsules: 300mg cap, 3x daily. Use standardized extract (0.3% hypericin/0.9mg total).
*Can combine capsules, tea, and tincture to ensure proper amount of constituents and hypericin.
*Infusion: 1-2tsp per cup, 3 cups daily
*Tincture: 40-45 drops, 3x daily
SAFETY: Possible sores around mouth in highly sensitive persons, if this occurs, lower dose/add licorice. May cause skin cancer. High doses have caused photosensitivity in animals. Avoid cheese, beer, wine, L-Dopa, 5-Hydroxytrytophan.
Noni is a superstar herb for the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems. It is a supportive herb for the immune and digestive systems. This is a favorite herb for prevention of general health issues, pain relief, energy and mood enhancement, and nutritive value.
*Prevention for wide range of health issues
*Moderate pain relief
*Urinary and gastrointestinal issues
*Capsules: 375mg, 3-4x daily on an empty stomach. Take until symptoms are no longer present.
*Juice: 1oz, 3-4x daily (refrigerate after opening)
*Cancer: 2 caps, 4x daily
*Fibromyalgia: 2 caps, 4x daily for 4-6 months.
*Prevention/Chronic issues: 1 cap, 3-4x daily for 1-2 months. Some people may need to take this ` herb lifelong.
SAFETY: If nausea occurs when taking capsules, use with food or lower the dose. Use caution with persons who experience chronic diarrhea or gastrointestinal issues.
27. Slippery Elm
Slippery Elm is a superstar herb for the digestive system. It is a supportive herb for the respiratory system, as well as the skin. This is a favorite for its effect on the throat, upper bronchioles, dry coughs, diaper rash, bed sores, and the GI tract when mild constipation/diarrhea is present.
*Soothing to gastrointestinal tract
*Decoction: boil dried herb 20-40 minutes, Or simmer 1tsp-1Tbsp powdered herb per cup, 3 cups daily
*Lozenges and suppositories available
SAFETY: Very Safe. No known side effects.
28. Hawthorn Berry
Hawthorne is a superstar herb for the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems. It is a favorite herb for regulating blood pressure, and strengthening the heart and blood vessels.
*Antioxidant (heart tissue)
*Heart patient may want to take this herb for life.
*Infusion: 3-5 grams (2tsp) Dried herb per cup, steep 20 minutes, 2-3x daily
*Decoction: 1oz herb to 16oz water, boil 2-5 minutes. (Most effective form)
*Tincture: 1/2-1tsp, 3x daily, or 30-35 drops, 3-4x daily
*Capsule: (Mildly effective) 1000mg (2 caps), 3-4x daily
*Syrup/paste available. May take up to 50% more than recommended dose of syrup.
SAFETY: Usually safe to use with heart medications. Use caution when taking Coumadin, as this is also a blood thinner. Possible rash, nausea, fatigue, and increased perspiration. No toxicity or harmful side effects known. Safe for long term use. May enhance effects of Digitalis, and require a lower dose of this drug.
29. Uva Ursi
Uva Ursi is a superstar herb for the urinary system. It is a supportive herb for postpartum to prevent genitourinary infections. This is a favorite herb for bladder and kidney infections.
*Urinary tract infections
*Capsule: (Mildly effective)
*Tincture: 40-45 drops, 3x daily
*Infusion: 1-2tsp dried herb per cup, 3 cups daily
SAFETY: Avoid acidic foods, as they deplete the effectiveness of this herb. Can irritate the kidneys and cause upset stomach if used for more than a week. Contraindicated during pregnancy.
30. Kava Kava
Kava Kava is a superstar herb for the nervous system. It is a favorite when used as a muscle relaxant and for diabetic neuropathies.
*Nervous system relaxant
*Standardized extract of 70mg, 3x daily
*Decoction: 4Tbsp in 1 pint water, lightly boil for 10 minutes
*Tincture: strong/numbing taste
SAFETY: Excessive amounts/and long term high doses can cause liver toxicity. Side effects of using 310 grams (11oz or 3/4lb) weekly for more than 1-2 months, and may decrease serum albumin, protein, urea, and bilirubin. Other side effects include blood in urine, and shortness of breath.
Herbs & Body Systems: Top 30
Cardio: Hawthorn (Strengthen), Burdock Root/Echinacea (Cleanse), Astragalus (Tonify), Panax Ginseng (Stimulate)
Lymph: Burdock Root (Cleanse), Licorice (Tonic/Detox), Siberian Ginseng (Regulator), Goldenseal/Mullein (Drain)
Nervous: Ginko Biloba (Strengthen), Chamomile (Sedate), Schizandra (Tonify), Goldenseal (Stimulate)
Brain: Ginko Biloba (Strengthen)
Muscle: Nettles/Panax Ginseng (Strengthen), Chamomile (Anti-inflammatory), Kava Kava (Relaxant), St. Johns Wart (Pain Relief)
Endocrine: Panax Ginseng/Schizandra (Tonic), Licorice/Garlic (Stimulant), Schizandra (Rejuvinate ), Siberian Ginseng (Regulator)
Pituitary: Garlic (stimulate),
Thymus: Siberian Ginseng (regulate), Astragalus (strengthen), Echinacea (stimulate/regulate)
Thyroid: Siberian Ginseng( regulate)
Adrenals: Goldenseal (strengthen), licorice (strengthen/tonify)
Immune: Astralagus/Echinacea (Stimulant/Tonic/Strengthen), Aloe/Bee Propolis/Garlic/Noni (Enhance), Panax Ginseng (Regulator/Strengthen)
Eyes: Bilberry (Enhance)
Ears: Mullein (Tonic/Soothes), Echinacea/Garlic (Infections), Ginko Biloba (Hearing Loss),
Liver: Milk Thistle/Dandelion Root (Detox/Strengthen), Panax Ginseng (Tonify), Burdock Root/Cascara Segrada (Stimulate)
Digest: Aloe (Tonify ), Licorice (Strengthen), Schizandra (Stimulate),
Colon: Cascara Segrada/Noni (Stimulate/Cleanse), Red raspberry (astringe), Slippery Elm (soothes)
Stomach: licorice (tonify), Burdock Root/Ginger (stimulate)
Respiratory: Mullein/Schizandra (Tonic), Aloe/Chickweed (Strengthen), Garlic/Licorice/Thyme (Expectorant), Echinacea/Bee Propolis (Infection), Goldenseal (Stimulant)
Female: Red Raspberry (Balancer), Licorice (Estrogen Regulator), Chickweed/Burdock Root (Tonify), Chamomile/St. Johns Wart (Pain/Cramps)