We all know turmeric, ginger, green tea, ginseng, maca, cacao and more. All their amazing healing powers have kept us from getting sick, increase our energy daily, balance our mood, and positively effect our well-being whenever we are in need of some fixing.
But what about the other herbs you never hear much about? In my own personal studies with herbal medicine, I have found these herbs to be secret superheros for many different issues.
Nettle (AKA Xun Ma)
The stinging nettle herb has been used for decades for treating allergies and hay fever symptoms. In traditional Chinese Medicine, nettle is documented as tonifying the kidney and liver “yin”. Traditionally in TCM, long standing, hormonal related migraines are often linked to deficiencies of yin and disharmonies of the kidney and liver. Nettle has also been shown to treat allergies, lower blood pressure, and maintain blood sugar.
Personal testimonial: When I first tried nettle, I noticed an immediate alleviation of my constipation, bloating, and overall food intolerances (mostly to gluten). I was amazed by how much it changed my overall well-being, digestion and health. Best of all, the migraines went away and my menstrual cycle was regular! I instantly, and have since then, been telling anyone with migraines to try it.
A couple tips: take a capsule or 2 per dose. It may be a bit relaxing and calming so I suggest taking it at night.
Rhodiola (AKA Hong Jing Tian)
Rhodiola, the herbal adderall… This herb has been widely used to increase energy, assist with breathing in high altitude, increasing oxygenation, and enhancing focus. In TCM, Rhodiola is known to supply Qi and activate blood circulation.
Personal testimonial: Rhodiola has helped me with studying for exams, increasing my energy without caffeine, and keeping me up and alert throughout the day without crashing. It is an excellent “go-to” herb when your energy needs a boost naturally, when you’re feeling pressure from high elevations or decreased oxygenation, and for moving blood when you have a headache. For these reasons, I keep it on hand for any time I need it - truly a miracle.
Widely known as the "female ginseng”, this wonder herb helps to balance hormones, supplement and purify the blood, and warm up your yang energy. Any issues with menstrual cycles?! Have this herb ready!
Personal testimonial: Dong Quai has helped my blood circulation, my recuperation time from my menstrual cycles (post menstrual symptoms) and also boosts my energy. It helps to balance my hormones and make my periods more regular and is excellent for amenorrhea.
Cinnamon Bark (AKA Rou Gui)
Grounding and warming, cinnamon bark regulates blood sugar and supplements yang energy at the source. In TCM, cinnamon is used it two different ways. The twigs are used to help release the exterior when fighting a "cold invasion”. The bark of cinnamon is used to warm the kidney energy, ground your yang energy, and assist with "floating yang” issues.
Personal testimonial: My experience with Cinnamon bark started when I went to an acupuncture appointment for my social anxiety. My face would always flush when faced with social circumstances and stemmed from fear and hormonal imbalances. I was told my Yang was not grounded and was floating. I also had signs of anemia and poor blood circulation. Cinnamon bark helped with my blood circulation and my social anxiety. I now take it every other day, but more so in the winter time.
This one should probably be at the top of this list. Passionflower was my first herbal aid and has always been my go to herb for any day, any time. Passionflower specifically works on the fight or flight response and helps with any type of anxiety without making you sleepy. It is especially helpful for any social anxiety signs and symptoms.
Personal testimonial: I first tried passionflower when I worked at Whole Foods and began diving into herbal remedies. I struggled with social anxiety since I was 13 and more or less treated it myself with different exposure therapies and exercises. However, it was still not completely controlled and would get worse around customers. Passionflower not only calmed my nerves, but also stopped my thoughts from racing, ended ruminating on subjects, and really helped me to stay focus and not anxious about life. It can be a bit tiring, but not in supplement form.
These are just a few examples of herbs that don't get enough credit. Herbs are very powerful and can also do harm if not used appropriately. I suggest doing research, knowing your conditions well, and consulting with an herbalist before taking herbs. I also recommend using single herbs instead of formulas to see how your body reacts.