Written by: Trina Wyatt
Today the pharmaceutical industry makes billions of dollars creating expensive and sometimes damaging drugs. While pharmaceuticals are sometimes necessary, they’re often not and when they aren’t, integrative medicine is another approach. It focuses on treating various illnesses and ailments with herbal, plant-derived remedies that have been around for centuries.
How can I get into the whole herbal thing? It’s easy! There are numerous herbs and essential oils that treat different issues and that you can find at local health stores. Here are five that you should keep in your (alternative) medicine cabinet at all times.
1. Tea Tree Oil
This strong-scented essential oil fulfills multiple purposes and is championed by many herbalists. You can apply some tea tree oil to a pimple to shorten its lifespan or to an infected piercing to help it heal. In fact, tea tree has been used to kill various infections for hundreds of years. Scientists were actually so impressed with its bacteria-killing powers that they recently performed a study to make sure it isn’t toxic to our bodies. Lucky for us, it was determined to be completely safe to use.
Envision a magic berry that can do everything from curing the common cold to easing nerve pain, to helping with fatigue and even lessening the effects of cancer. That magic berry is real, and it’s called elderberry. There’s evidence to suggest that prehistoric man and woman even used elderberry to help with different issues!
3. Lavender Oil
Night owls: this one’s for you. Lavender oil produces a calming effect in many people, so anyone who has trouble sleeping can benefit from adding a few drops to his or her pillow (this is why so many of those bead-filled eye pillows are lavender scented!). It also speeds up healing time for minor wounds like burns and cuts.
4. Peppermint Oil
Have a headache but don’t want to take any pain pills? Apply some peppermint oil directly to your temples. If the tingly sensation doesn’t distract you from the head pain you’re experiencing, don’t worry – the peppermint oil will help to reduce it after just a few minutes. This oil can also be taken orally to help with the common cold/ flu as well as some digestive issues.
Bacopa is a super interesting one. It’s a plant that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. It has helped to combat mind-related disorders such as anxiety, memory loss and ADHD and has far fewer side effects than most psychotropic drugs. Can you imagine a day when kids are being prescribed a plant over pharmaceuticals?