Menu Close

Healing Herbs

Healing Herbs

We know from our subscribers that our meditation tracks help with many issues but what we eat also contributes to mental as well as physical health.

Herbs can help with mood, sleep and digestion
For example, studies have now shown that St. John’s Wort can be an effective remedy for mild-to-moderate depression.  Serotonin is a chemical that is produced by the digestive tract and central nervous system.  It is a brain neurotransmitter that carries messages between nerve cells in the brain and throughout the body, it helps improve mood, sleep, and digestion.  St. John’s Wort is thought to help prolong the action of serotonin.  It can also help to increase the production of the hormone melatonin (the brain’s natural sedative) to help improve the quality of sleep.

Research into the value of herbs is ongoing but historically they have been used by herbalists for centuries.  People have always used herbs for flavouring, preserving and colouring, for their fragrance and their medicinal properties.

From the earliest times, people gathered herbs from the wild and many traditions and superstitions have been built up around them – especially those used as medicinal herbs which were generally thought to be magical.

Herbal teas are actually tisanes
The easiest and safest way to use herbs is in herbal teas.  Strictly speaking, herbal teas are tisanes – a drink made by pouring boiling water on fresh or dried flowers or leaves.  Teas are black, green, oolong, yellow or white and made from the tea plant Camellia Sinensis.  Herbs (and spices) can also be used to flavour conventional tea.

To make tisanes, use one tablespoon of fresh herbs or one teaspoon of dried herbs to one mug of water (drying concentrates the herb’s flavouring).  Lightly wash fresh herbs and tear or crush them immediately before brewing.

Herbs contribute to a balanced diet
Fresh and dried herbs make excellent additions to our diet, adding flavour as well as nutritional value.  Herbs are rich in antioxidants and the vitamins and minerals they contain contribute to a balanced diet.

Antioxidants can prevent or slow cell damage caused by free radicals which are unstable molecules that the body produces as a reaction to environmental and other pressures.  Free radicals are waste substances produced by cells as the body processes food and reacts to environmental factors (like cigarette smoke).  If these substances cannot be processed and removed efficiently, oxidative stress can result, damaging cells, increasing the risk of inflammation and causing many health issues.   Phytonutrients, the natural minerals produced by plants to keep the plants healthy, have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and also keep us healthy.  The main phytonutrients are carotenoids, flavonoids and glucosinolates.

Adding herbs to culinary dishes adds variety to our diet, herbs dried and used in pot-pourri smell lovely and herbal tisanes make soothing and calming hot drinks.  Many herbs can be grown on a windowsill.

Herbs contain antioxidants
All herbs contain antioxidants and most herbs contain these vitamins and minerals: folate (B9), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid(B5), pyridoxine (B6), riboflavin (B2), thiamine (B1), Vitamins A, C, E, K, sodium, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium and zinc.

However, different plants contain varying amounts so are better for some ailments than others, here are a few common herbs and their uses:

Basil, Ocimum basilicum, was traditionally used for treating sickness and headaches and as an insect repellent.  Basil has long been used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine.  It can help reduce blood sugar, reduces stress, reduces blood pressure, helps prevent memory loss and lifts depression.

Basil is a tasty addition to many dishes, and basil leaves are often used as a garnish.

Basil tisane is calming and helps soothe headaches.

Image by Monika @Pixabay


Chamomile, Matricaria recutita, is one of the most popular herbal teas for anxiety, it is well known for its ability to soothe our minds and bodies and help us sleep.  It has been found to significantly reduce the symptoms of GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder).

Chamomile tisane soothes anxiety and its calming effect encourages sleep.


Chives, Allium schoenoprasum, contain folates which prevent the surplus production of homocysteine in a natural way, providing protection from high blood pressure, and strengthening the heart.  Chives also have good vitamin K levels, helping the brain to function properly, improving memory and helping to prevent dementia.

Chives have a mild onion taste and are used freshly chopped as a garnish for many dishes, especially salads.


Coriander, Coriandrum sativum, has been cultivated for over 3000 years, .  The Chinese once believed it bestowed immortality and, in the Middle Ages, it was put in love potions as an aphrodisiac.  Coriander is rich in phytonutrients (beneficial plant compounds) and vitamin C.  It is good for the digestive system.

Both leaves and seeds are used in cooking, having slightly different flavours – the leaves have an earthy pungency whereas the seeds are more aromatic.

Image by ivabalk @Pixabay



Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale. Taraxacum is a medieval Latin name derived from the Persian talkh chakok meaning bitter herb, and officinale from the Latin officina meaning ‘workshop’ because the plant was used by the old herbalists.  Dandelions are high in antioxidants that help the body neutralise the damaging effects of free radicals.

A tisane made with dandelion leaves is an excellent tonic, it stimulates digestion, increases metabolism, and relieves heartburn and indigestion.

Dandelion roots have a higher mineral content than the leaves and their iodine content helps to improve the thyroid function. They are also a great source of the liver-friendly compound saponin which protects the liver from damage.  The potassium content helps to regulate blood pressure; magnesium regulates blood flow and promotes healthy muscles and nerves.

Dandelion roots can be dried, roasted and ground to make a drink similar to coffee.

Dandelion flowers can be used fresh or dried to make a dandelion tisane – you can also add them to salads.


Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare, has been used for centuries.  The Greeks valued its medicinal properties and the Romans ate the leaf, root and seeds in various dishes.  In American Puritan communities it became known as ‘Meeting Seeds’ because fennel and dill seeds were taken to church to eat to allay hunger during long services.  In the Middle Ages it was used in obscure ceremonies to dispel evil spirits and counter witchcraft.

Fennel tisane – usually made with seeds rather than leaves – helps digestion and prevents heartburn and constipation.   

Image by Helga @Pixabay


Fenugreek, Trigonella foenum-graecum, is used in alternative medicine to treat skin conditions and other diseases.  It can help control blood sugar and insulin activity (as can linseed, flaxseed and cinnamon). Recent research has discovered that fenugreek can reduce blood cholesterol.

Fenugreek has a slightly sweet, nutty taste and is often used in Indian dishes; sprouted seeds can be added to salads.

A tisane made from the seeds and leaves helps digestion.


Garlic, Allium sativum, the leaves as well as the cloves, contain allicin, a natural antibiotic, that has been valued for thousands of years for its therapeutic powers.  The Egyptians, Greeks and Romans valued its medicinal properties.  Culpepper described garlic as a ‘remedy for all diseases and hurts’.  It is rich in antioxidants and helps to prevent, as well as treat, a lot of ailments.

It has now been confirmed that garlic is a vasco-dilator and has potential for the treatment of arteriosclerosis.

Chopped or crushed garlic is added to many culinary dishes.

Fresh parsley, basil, mint or thyme, chewed after a meal will reduce the smell of garlic on the breath.

Image by llo @Pixabay


Hyssop, Hyssopus officinalis, was one of the herbs the colonists took to the New World to use in tea, herbal tobacco and as an antiseptic.  Hippocrates recommended hyssop for chest complaints and today herbalists still prescribe it.  Hyssop is an expectorant and can help to regulate blood pressure.  It is not safe to use during pregnancy.

Hyssop is a very pretty herb with brilliant blue flowers.

Hyssop tisane is used for coughs, catarrh and bronchitis and also to normalise blood pressure.


Lavender, Lavendula angustifolia, Lavendula from the Latin ‘lavare’ meaning ‘to wash’, the Romans used lavender in bath water and lavender is still used as a fragrance for soap and bath oils today.  Angustifolia means ‘narrow leaf’.

Lavender contains the terpenes linalool and linalyl acetate that have been found to have a calming effect on chemical receptors in the brain. Lavender is an expectorant and regulates blood pressure and dispels gasses in the body.  It helps reduce wound swelling and is helpful to joints affected by arthritis as it improves circulation.  Lavender has long been used to help with sleeping – people made lavender pillows made with dried herbs – or simply put sprigs of lavender under their pillow – and used lavender scented candles to create a calming atmosphere.

Biscuits can be made with freshly chopped lavender leaves and flowers.

Dried flowers make an excellent addition to potpourri.

Fresh lavender rubbed onto skin is a sweet-smelling insect repellent.

To scent bathwater, lavender oil is usually used, but fresh lavender or a cup of lavender tisane will also create a soothing fragrance in the bathroom.

Image by Rebekka D @Pixabay


Lemon balm, Melissa officinalisThis ancient herb was used medicinally by the Greeks some 2000 years ago.  Melissa comes from the Greek word for bee – the Greeks believed that if a sprig of balm was placed in an empty beehive it would attract a swarm and, if lemon balm was planted nearby, the bees would never leave.

It has been acclaimed the world over for promoting long life.  Prince Llewellyn of Glamorgan drank Melissa tea every day and he lived to be 108 years old.

Lemon balm contains terpenes which reduce some symptoms of anxiety such as nervousness and excitability.  It can also calm stomach cramps, reduce sickness and help alleviate insomnia.

Fresh lemon balm leaves make a soothing tisane that relieves headaches and tension.

Image by Markéta Klimešová @Pixabay


Mint – both peppermint, Mentha x piperita and spearmint, Mentha spicata, have been shown to improve pain management in IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).  Mint relaxes the smooth muscles in the colon, relieving pain, and it also helps to reduce abdominal bloating.

Spearmint contains less menthol and therefore makes a milder, more pleasant tisane.

Mint tisane helps digestion.


Oregano, Origanum vulgare, which means ‘delight of the mountains’ in Greek, is rich in polyphenolic flavonoid antioxidants which give it natural antibiotic properties.

Oregano adds flavour to many culinary dishes.

Oregano tisane is a general tonic and useful for colds and flu and mild fevers.

Image by Jan Haerer @Pixabay


Parsley, Petroselinum crispum, has long been used to treat urinary infections, kidney stones, and water retention.  It also aids digestion and relieves rheumatism.

Parsley tisane makes a refreshing drink.


Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis, the ancient Latin name means ‘sea-dew’.  It is steeped in myth, magic and folk medicine.  In Elizabethan days, a wedding couple wore a spring of rosemary as a sign of fidelity.

Rosemary helps to prevent allergies and nasal congestion – the active ingredient is rosmarinic acid which suppresses allergy symptoms.

It is a skin and hair tonic – add a cupful of Rosemary tisane to bathwater.

Rosemary tisane is very therapeutic for stomach complaints as it reduces flatulence and helps digestion.


Sage, salvia officinalis, gets its name from the Latin word ‘Salvere’ meaning to save and it has a strong reputation for its healing properties.  It improves concentration and attention span – which is why sage tisane has been called ‘thinkers’ tea’.

Current research indicates that sage may improve brain function and memory – especially in people who have low levels of acetylcholine – a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease.  Sage inhibits the breakdown of acetylcholine.

A tisane made from fresh sage leaves improves concentration.


St. John’s Wort, Hypericum perforatum, named after John the Baptist because it usually begins to flower around 24th June which is the feast day of St. John the Baptist. It has been used as a remedy for nerve disorders for more than 2,000 years. Studies have now shown that St. John’s Wort helps to prolong the action of serotonin ‘the happiness hormone’ which alleviates depression.  It can also help to increase the production of the hormone melatonin (the brain’s natural sedative) to help improve the quality of sleep.

Used by herbalists and available from health food shops.  Not recommended for anyone taking any prescribed medication as the active ingredients can react with some medicines.


Thyme, Thymus vulgaris, Thymus from the Greek thumos, connected with thuein, ‘to sacrifice’ because, in ancient times, the plant was used as incense in the temples.  A tisane of thyme was once used to prevent nightmares.

Thyme is packed with minerals and vitamins.  It contains pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) which maintains beneficial neurotransmitter levels in the brain helping to reduce stress levels.

Thymol extract is now found in throat sweets, mouthwash, toothpaste and bath oil.

A tisane made with thyme soothes sore throats.

Adding thyme to meat dishes aids in the digestion of fatty meats.


Valerian, Valeriana officinalis, is a well known herbal remedy, nicknamed ‘nature’s valium’ and has been used to treat anxiety and insomnia for centuries.  Although research has been unable to prove the benefits of valerian, it has long been used as a sedative, it calms the nervous system and reduces stress and nervousness, and it can really help if you are finding it hard to sleep because of anxious thoughts.

The chopped root is more effective than the leaves as a tisane to relieve sudden emotional distress, and as a sedative for mild insomnia.

Image by Petra @Pixabay

Herbal remedies should never be used to replace prescription medication and it is always recommended that professional advice should be sought before starting a herbal supplement. Many medications derived from ingredients in herbs can be potent, cause side effects, and interact with other medications.  For instance, chamomile can increase the effect of anticoagulants which increases the risk of bleeding.

However, herbal tisanes made with fresh herbs are milder and safer than tablets, they make a very refreshing and restorative drink that contains no additives.

Herbs are meant to be used sparingly, a teaspoon added in cooking, or as a garnish – or made into a tisane is all you need.  Too much is likely to do more harm than good so use sparingly.

Sometimes minor complaints can be the symptoms of a more serious issue.  If symptoms persist, always consult your doctor.

#HealingHerbs #AnxietyRelief #HealingMusic



You must create an account here to buy any music

Select your currency
GBP Pound sterling