Herbs for health and wellness

Dr Shikha Sharma

When it comes to natural remedies, there’s an embarassment of riches in India.

We grow up with home-brewed tonics, beauty treatments and secret weapons growing in pots on our balconies and backyards.

Here are some that might help with common health troubles too.


Echinicea: for Allergies
Once used by native Americans for improving immunity and to fight allergies, sinus infections and common colds, the flower remains popular the world over today. It can be used safely for children above 12 months and is most effective as a tincture or as a steeped tea. Drink every three hours.

Also read: Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2014/8/brunch-24august-pg06c.jpgPeppermint tea: for headaches, stomach troubles and to refresh you 
Peppermint is a great friend of the stomach. It soothes menstrual cramps, pain due to gas, even infections. A peppermint infusion helps relieve headaches that accompany fevers and refreshes the person too.

Valerian: for Insomnia
This ancient and popular root works very well to calm down an overactive or anxious mind. Brew it as a decoction.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2014/8/brunch-24august-pg06b.jpgPassion flower: for Insomnia
Another remedy for those who suffer from troubled sleep and resulting tiredness. It can be alternated with valerian root in a four-week cycle. It’s also used for seizures, asthma, menopause and excitability.

Yarrow: for Fever 
Yarrow helps the body sweat out a fever, much like a paracetamol does. For children, boil yarrow in water and use the decoction as a cold sponge on the forhead and the soles of the feet. Grown-ups can consume it as a tonic.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2014/8/brunch-24august-pg06d.jpgGinger, turmeric and coconut water: For Stomach infections
Ginger decoctions, usually with half a tespoon of honey, are a popular remedy across the East. Don’t boil honey, just add it to the drink. Both fight bacteria.

Turmeric is also an excellent antiseptic. To consume turmeric, the best way is to make a vegetable soup and add turmeric to the recipe. You can also add it to rice khichdi for a patient.

Dehydration is a commonside-effect of a stomach infection. To counter this, doctors recommend drinking lots of coconut water. It has an electrolyte composition which is close to that of the body so replenishment is quick and delicious. Great for convalescents.

From HT Brunch, August 24
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