There are a billion different herbs and supplements out there. Influencers and professional marketing teams have a way of making us feel like we need it all, all the time, every day. The truth is, our bio-individuality is this beautiful thing that keeps us attuned to our personal needs.
When we take the time to align with our physical truths—that is, to be mindfully and bodily aware—we know where and when we are lacking and what areas need support. Maybe our PMS has been extra tough lately, and we need to support our uterine health. Maybe we’ve been having UTI flare-ups and need to care for our kidneys. Perhaps we are struggling with shortness of breath, or prolonged soreness after workouts, or anxiety.
Keeping in touch with our physical being will tell us which herbs will serve us well and which we can do without. Humans aren’t designed to be taking every supplement under the sun, all at once, forever. Here are some of our favorite herbs to take for specific reasons. Read along to see what speaks to you.
Ginkgo Biloba for Eye Health
Ginkgo biloba is a great herbal supplement for energy and circulation, because it boosts blood flow to the extremities. It’s also been shown to promote blood flow to the eyes, which stimulates oxygenation, healing, alertness, and brightness when treating ailments like glaucoma. It’s not just vascular—the antioxidant effects are also excellent for eye health. Its most powerful form is in a tincture.
Cordyceps for Muscle Recovery
The fungi cordyceps is known to have anti-fatigue properties. This is because this medicinal mushroom helps the body use oxygen more efficiently, enhancing circulation and post-workout muscle recovery. Recovery is when the beauty of our workouts really comes together, so swift, proper recovery is crucial if we’re looking to see real gains. It can be taken in tincture form, pills, or powder dissolved in hot water or blended into a smoothie.
Nettle for Respiratory Support
Nettle is abundant in California and grows like a weed, because it is one. It’s also a powerful herb for inflammation of the lungs, making it a mighty ally against allergies, dry coughs, common colds, and inflammation from smoking or asthma. It can be taken in a freeze-dried powder capsule, a tincture, or a delightfully grassy and fresh tea.
Raspberry Leaf for Uterine Strength
Typically consumed in tea form, raspberry leaf is another green, grassy-tasting herbal concoction that looks a bit like a weed. It’s fluffy in texture, and a tablespoon of fluff is all you need, one to three times a day, for uterine toning effects. This is especially useful for premenstrual women and women preparing for pregnancy, as it strengthens the uterine walls, making contractions more powerful and less painful.
Mucuna Pruriens for Brain and Mood
Lovingly nicknamed the “dopa-bean,” mucuna pruriens is an herbal supplement known to raise our dopamine levels. Studies reveal its use to treat depression and other mood disorders like chronic stress or anxiety. We don’t have to be chronic to reap the benefits, though—mucuna is helpful for occasional blues, as well!
Calendula for Lymphatic Health
This calming herb, also known as pot marigold, is a gorgeous golden flower with a mildly sweet flavor in teas, and a delicate floral fragrance in balms and lotions. Steep it into a tea, or apply it topically for its lymph-drainage-assisting benefits. Like any diuretic, it helps to move lymphatic fluid, but it also clears out the grimy remnants of old infections, congestion of the face and lymph nodes, and accumulated metabolic waste. The Department of Pharmaceutical Technology claims that it improves the circulation of the blood and the lymphatic fluids and aids in the elimination of toxins from the body.
Milk Thistle for Liver Support
Milk thistle, otherwise known as silybum marianum, is incredibly well researched and often even prescribed by Western doctors to aid in liver detoxification. In fact, one of us on the Poosh staff was prescribed this herb after being bitten by a black widow!
The National Library of Medicine says that the active complex of milk thistle is a lipophilic extract from the seeds of the plant, and is composed of three isomer flavonolignans (silybin, silydianin, and silychristin), collectively known as silymarin. “Silymarin acts as an antioxidant by reducing free radical production and lipid peroxidation, has antifibrotic activity, and may act as a toxin blockade agent by inhibiting binding of toxins to the hepatocyte cell membrane receptors.”
Hawthorn for Heart Health
Studies show that hawthorn may potentially have a safe, effective, nontoxic effect in the treatment of cardiovascular disease and ischemic heart disease. It helps with muscle tone and oxygenation, circulation, and even heartbeat rhythm. It is best taken in capsules or tinctures that contain all plant parts, meaning the leaf, flower, and berry.
Burdock Root for Skin Support
A popular herb in Traditional Chinese Medicine, burdock root is said to help detoxify the blood by promoting proper circulation to the skin’s surface. This brings nutrients and oxygen to the skin, improving the quality and texture as well as treating skin diseases like eczema, dermatitis, and acne.