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Medicinal Properties of Popular Herbs

The leaves are the part used medicinally. You can pick the leaves throughout the growing season, making sure not to take off too many and stress out the plant. The leaves can be used fresh or dry. Borage is used for strengthening the adrenal glands, especially when steroids have been used. Borage is a mild herb that can be used as a tonic for long periods of time. This herb is helpful for people who stress out their adrenals with too much anxiety and worry. It can also be used to lower high blood pressure. Borage can be used to loosen dry coughs. New mothers use borage to increase their milk production. The cooling effects of borage can also break fevers during illnesses. Furthermore, this herb has been helpful for treatment of depression.

The flowers are used for medicinal purposes. The flowers are picked when in full bloom, the best time is in the morning when they first open. Flowers can be dried on a non-metallic screen or used fresh. Calendula has been used as a healing herb for centuries. Known for it's gentle healing properties, calendula can be safely given to children and the elderly. It is wonderful for treating skin inflammations, healing wounds, bruises, minor burns, insect stings. It has also been used for stopping external bleeding, treating eye inflammations, and as an aid for digestive upsets such as ulcers and indigestion. Many women have used calendula for delayed or painful menstruation. Calendula also makes a beautiful cut flower, has been used for making a yellow dye and as an ingredient in lotions and creams for the cosmetic industry.

The flowers are the part used medicinally and should be picked frequently so that they will continue to produce blossoms. Chamomile has been used in many ancient cultures for its effective, yet gentle healing properties. Chamomile is best known for is actions on the nervous system. It can be used safely for children and the elderly (some people have been known to have allergic reactions to this herb). In times of anxiety and with bouts of insomnia it can be very helpful. It calms the nerves and decreases tension, and can be used as eyewash for conjunctivitis and sore eyes, as well as a mouthwash for any inflammations. Chamomile is also an excellent hair rinse, particularly for light hair in which it brings out natural highlights.

The upper one third of the plant, preferably when flowering, is the part used medicinally. Cut the herb when it reaches at least a foot high leaving about 3 inches of plant still above the ground. Hang herb upside down and let it dry before using. Catnip has been traditionally used as herb for colds and flus. Its diaphoretic (induces sweating) action helps to break fevers and is gentle enough to use for children. This herb is also helpful for digestive upset such as common stomach aches, colic in babies, indigestion, diarrhea, and flatulence. Many women have used catnip for delayed or painful menstruation. In times of stress catnip calms the nerves and aids in bouts of insomnia.

The flowers and/or roots are used medicinally. Echinacea is widely known for its immune enhancing properties. It's useful in treating and warding off viral and bacterial infections such as colds and flus. It's a natural antibiotic. Echinacea is also a lymphatic tonic, helpful in treating infections of the respiratory systems, eases symptoms related to allergies, and used as a mouthwash for treatment of inflammations in the mouth. Echinacea can be used externally for infected sores, ulcers, insect stings and bites. Native Americans used this herb for snake bites as well.

Flowers and leaves are the medicinal parts used. Lavender is used to ease stress headaches. It can be used internally and externally for this. It's an effective nervine (calms the nervous system) for anxiety, nervous stomach, and tension. Lavender is also used to lift the spirits for bouts with depression and grief. This plant is good for the digestive system and is used as a stomach tonic for indigestion, colic, stomach cramps, flatulence, and loss of appetite.

Lemon Balm
The leaves are the part used medicinally. Cut leaves no more that 3 inches from the ground when harvesting so that the plant can continue to thrive. Lemon balm has been used throughout history as an important nervine (tonic for the nervous system). Helpful for calming the nerves from bouts of anxiety, heart palpitations, insomnia due to stress, digestive upsets and headaches. Lemon balm is also used for depression. It's cooling actions makes it useful for breaking fevers. This plant is used for colds and flus or any kind of virus because of its antiviral properties. Lemon balm is a mild, yet effective herb and can be given to children and the elderly. Women use lemon balm to bring on their menstrual periods and to help with menstrual cramping.

The aerial part is used medicinally. Peppermint is best known for its digestive properties. Peppermint is helpful for the relief of indigestion, colic, flatulence, and nausea. It's also a good remedy for tension headaches, nervousness and anxiety. Being a mild, yet effective herb, it can be safely given to children and the elderly. Peppermint is a cooling herb and is used to lower fevers. Women have found it helpful for relieving menstrual cramps. As a steam it can be used to break up congestion. Peppermint is also used as a flavoring.

The aerial part is used medicinally. Spearmint has properties similar to peppermint. It’s been used for treating stomach upsets, nausea, heartburn, and mild indigestion. Spearmint is milder than peppermint and is sometimes preferred over peppermint for children. Spearmint is also a popular flavoring agent.