Sometimes, serendipity strikes!  Last week, I came across this  wild article that came out last week, and it is pretty damning.  I have felt this way for a while.  We were told incessantly for years that they were the third leading cause of death.  Well, now there is evidence that finally seems to be supporting this shift.

This isn’t hard to conceptualize.  7 out of 10 Americans are on a prescription medication, and more than half take at least two.  1 in 5 Americans take 5+ medications.  The US and New Zealand are the only countries in the world that allow for pharmaceutical companies to advertise on TV.  So this has been coming for a while.

Researcher Peter C. Gøtzsche, “legal drugs as approved by the FDA and prescribed by doctors are one of the top killers of Americans. This means that doctors are technically the leading cause of death in America, making them more dangerous than criminals.”

That is damning.

So I thought I’d switch it up and have some fun with a more practical blog post.  Since I always get asked about my favorite herbs, I had some fun and tried to narrow the list down to ten.  Ten was way too short, so I settled on twenty, and it still feels short!  But I had to stop somewhere.

The part that made this list so difficult is that I wanted to strike a balance between accessibility and potency.  For example, dandelion is certainly a powerful herb, and many of us have it growing outside our homes right now.  But then we kill it with RoundUp.  Truly incredible times we live in.

I have taken some pieces of this blog from my ebook, Nature’s Kitchen & Cabinet.  If you’re looking for a more well-rounded approach to herbs and healthy food in general, then give my book a shot.  There’s over 150 pages of information on herbs and superfoods.  It is also a great resource for those who are looking to get in the kitchen for the first time, and how to make balanced meals using plants.  I think that’s kind of important since 80% of Americans are magnesium deficient, and 95% of Americans don’t even consume RDA levels for fruits and vegetables.  Seems like a low-hanging fruit (pun intended).  

For the life of me, I could not rank these herbs in terms of importance, and there’s another 15-20 I really wanted to put on.  So I have listed them all below in alphabetical order.  

Obviously, if you feel you want to make your own preparations using these herbs, I encourage you to do so!  I think it is a fantastic skill that at least one person in each home should be familiar with!  But for those who don’t, I also will give you my favorite herbal formulas that include said herbs, with links to purchase them if you are interested.  

There will be affiliate links and discount codes when appropriate.  My hope is that this blog is as helpful as the Travel Guide I put together here.

One more note: I like herbs over isolate nutrient supplements for a variety of reasons.  Herbs have been used for ages by humans and animals for the treatment of disease and nutrition.  Their nutritional, electrical, and medicinal content is much greater than most hybrid, garden vegetables. 

The uniqueness and superiority of herbs lies in their strong medicinal compounds, which include acids, alkaloids, saponins, flavonoids, coumarins (clotting factors), tannins, (astringent properties), antioxidants (immune support), bitter principles, and much more.

Herbs should be organically grown or “wild-crafted.” Unfortunately, the demand for herbs has become so great that wildcrafting has depleted many of the wild herbs. Organic herb farms are needed just as much as organic fruit and vegetable farms.  These farms are the only hope we have of regenerating and saving our planet and species.

Also, herbs do not “cure” anything.  They are what Nature provides to aid the body’s own innate healing ability.  It’s already inside of you, whether you believe it or not.  I believe herbs should assist the body in its detoxification efforts and to enhance the function of cells in related or weakened tissues, organs, and glands, not “treat symptoms.”

What you eat, drink, think, breathe, and who you interact with either heals or sets up a chain reaction causing inflammation in the blood and tissues of the body.

What will you choose?

With that, let’s get to the herbs…

Black Cumin Seed

Black seed oil is made from the seeds of the black cumin (Nigella sativa) plant, native to southwestern Asia, the Mediterranean and Africa.  It is well-known for its analgesic, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, bronchodilating, blood sugar-regulating, anti-ulcer, liver-supporting, kidney-supporting, and antioxidant properties.  In fact, its usage can be traced back to the times of the Bible, Torah, and Quran!  

It is important to note that black seed oil IS different from black sesame seeds, black pepper, and black cohosh, so don’t get confused.   Black seed oil has a long-storied history in traditional medicine for a variety of uses, with virtually no side-effects.

It has several bioactive compounds that are thought to contribute to some of its many benefits.  The first is thymoquinone, which is known for its antioxidant, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory properties.  Thymoquinone has been shown to help manage blood sugar, asthma, and inhibit the development of cancer.  Then we have thymol (which yes, is also found in thyme), which is a well-known antimicrobial and antiviral compound. Thymohydroquinone is a known acetylcholinesterase inhibitor.  These are used to help with a variety of things ranging from Alzheimer’s, to autism, dementia, neurological disorders, and glaucoma, among others.

Like many culinary herbs, black cumin seeds are beneficial for the digestive system, soothing stomach pain and spasms and easing gas, bloating, and colic. The seeds are also antiseptic and are used to treat intestinal worms, especially in children. Cumin seeds are much used in India to increase the production of breast milk.

My favorite black cumin seed preparations are…

Black Walnut

Also called Juglans nigra, black walnuts are one of nature’s most powerful anti-parasitic herbs.  Black walnuts are well-known for their alterative (leaves), bitter, anthelmintic, astringent, cholagogue, detergent, expectorant, hepatic, laxative, mild cathartic, purgative, tonic properties.  Not only is it useful for parasites, but it can bring balance to a variety of different imbalances, including bacteria, fungi, and yeasts as well.  

Black walnuts increase cellular proliferation, improve oxygenation, promote healing of virtually all tissues, can help restore tooth enamel, is a strong detoxifier, and can help maintain stable blood sugar.  It also is known to strengthen the immune system, improve lymphatic flow, and promote bowel peristalsis.  

In preparations, the hull is used, as that is where most of the medicinal properties are found.  You may find it in capsule, tincture, and tablet form.  

My favorite black walnut preparations are…


Calendula officinalis is a powerful ancient herb used for many different ailments, from burns, scalds, eczema, inflammation of the skin, strains, abscesses, and acne.  It is most well-known for its anti-inflammatory, astringent, antispasmodic, and anti-hemorrhaging properties.   Calendula also can be a helpful addition for fungal or bacterial imbalances in the microbiome.

Calendula has long been considered a detoxifying herb, and helps treat the toxicity that underlies many fevers and infections, and systemic skin disorders, such as eczema and acne.   It may also be used to help treat vaginal infections, pruritus, and bleeding.

You may see calendula used in capsule, infusion, and tincture form. 

My favorite calendula preparations are…


Chamomile (Chamaemelum) is most well-known for its nervine, relaxing, and soothing properties.  It is fantastic for relaxation, nervousness, stress, and overall tension and helps promote a relaxed sleep for adults and children alike.  

For centuries, chamomile has been used to help heal GI tract issues as well, including gastritis, indigestion, and bloating, making it a great choice after dinner and winding down towards the end of the day.  Chamomile has been taken for digestive problems since at least the 1st century and is also very suitable for children.

Chamomile is known to help with many health challenges, including insomnia, reduces inflammation, stomach ulcers, skin challenges like eczema, anxiety, bone density issues, gut issues, Candida imbalances, fevers, and cardiovascular conditions.  

It is also great to mix with other nervine herbs, like lemon balm.  Chamomile can also be used topically for bruises and swelling.  It may also be used as a mouthwash for dental ailments, like toothaches, sore throats, and gingivitis.

My favorite preparations with chamomile are…


A single-celled, freshwater, green algae. Algae are among the oldest life forms on earth, dating back millions or even billions of years.  Commercial forms of chlorella are grown and harvested in freshwater ponds in Japan, China, Taiwan, and Korea.

Chlorella is extremely high in chlorophyll content, one of the highest known natural sources.  Chlorella is composed of about 45- 65% percent protein by weight (compared to 25% protein in chicken meat).  Chlorella contains dietary RNA, and a broad range of vitamins, nutrients, enzymes, and fatty acids, including a full spectrum of B vitamins (including B-2), vitamin C, vitamin E, folic acid, iron, calcium, and magnesium.

Algae are best known for their exceptional detoxification properties, and ability to flush out heavy metals and chemical toxins from the body.  Chlorella can also help build the blood, alkalize the body, increase energy, improve mental function, and enhance the immune system.  Studies show that chlorella may increase good bacteria in the intestine, increasing absorption of nutrients.  Because of its ability to detoxify the liver, chlorella has been used to decrease the symptoms of hangovers.

Available in powder (great for recipes) or tablet form.  Look for “cracked cell” chlorella to ensure the nutrients are digestible.

My favorite preparations with chlorella are…


Cordyceps improves oxygen usage in the body, reduces bone loss, reduces oxidative stress, improves kidney function, raises energy and libido, and can help with tumor suppression.

Cordyceps is known for a variety of powerful health benefits, including boosting energy levels, enhancing athletic performance, balance blood sugar levels, and supporting healthy sexual function. 

Technically speaking, cordyceps is actually a combination of fungus and CATERPILLAR!  Cordyceps is a fungus that grows out of the larval body of an insect at altitudes about 3800m to create a powerfully healing medicinal mushroom (although, technically speaking, cordyceps isn’t a mushroom).  The base of the mushroom forms on the insect’s larva and is dark brown/black in color.  After attaching to the organism, it grows about six inches long. Once it fully matures, it actually consumes more than 90 percent of the infected insect.

The use of the mushroom originated in the mountains of Tibet and Nepal and it has since been extensively used in many traditional Asian cultures for centuries. The cordyceps mushroom is now a well-recognized mushroom and it is consumed all over the world.  The mushroom contains bioactive compounds such as cordycepin and ergosterol. 

Cordyceps has many benefits, including improved energy, appetite, stamina, libido, endurance, and sleeping patterns.  Cordyceps is also known for its anti-inflammatory and immune-enhancing properties, helping the body stave off oxidative stress, and stimulating our own white blood cells, encouraging appropriate response mechanisms.

You can find cordyceps in tincture, capsule, or tablet form.  

My favorite preparations with cordyceps are…


Yes, the garden weed that many find to be a nuisance.  Dandelion covers the Taraxacum species, and is well known for a variety of actions, including: alterative, anti-rheumatic, anti-tumor, aperient, bitter, blood purifier, cholagogue, diuretic, liver tonic, immune enhancer and rebuilder, mild laxative, and lipotropic properties.

Dandelion has an extensive history of usage in Europe and India for its healing properties.  Many traditional herbalists believe that dandelion’s taproots can extract nutrients from the depths of the earth as beneficial for healthy teeth composition.

Dandelion root is a key detoxifying herb that gently stimulates the liver and gallbladder’s capacity to clear waste products from the body. This action makes it valuable in the many health conditions that involve chronic toxicity.

Dandelion is great for balancing inflammation, regulating blood sugar control, lowering triglycerides, protecting the liver and gut, and enhancing immune system function.

Another quite popular herb, dandelion is best known as a liver and gallbladder tonic.  It is incredibly effective for conditions like hepatitis, jaundice and cirrhosis. However, it also can help improve pancreatic function and act as a cleanser for the bladder and kidneys.  In fact, it is said to have the same diuretic strength as the drug Lasix (trade name for furosemide).

Dandelion leaves are high in vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, and vitamins A & C. The roots help improve kidney function and help with proper water elimination while potassium levels are well kept, alongside supporting liver function.

In preparations, you can use the entire plant, including the roots, leaves, and flowers.  You can consume dandelion as a food, in a tea, or in powder, capsule, decoction, and tincture form.  You may have some right in your front yard!

My favorite preparations with dandelions are…


Echinacea angustifolia is one of the most popular herbs out there, and for good reason!  It is most well-known for its alterative, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory anti-putrefactive, anti-venomous, antiseptic, antiviral, deodorant, depurant, aphrodisiac, diaphoretic, aromatic, carminative, bitter, and stimulant properties.

Echinacea supports immune system function and is sometimes called “the herb of immunity.”  It enhances tissue function, especially bone marrow, thymus gland, and spleen.  It also has strong antiseptic and antibiotic properties.   Echinacea can also be useful for cases of colds, flu, pneumonia, & similar conditions, arthritis (including psoriatic and rheumatic), prostate conditions, urinary tract infections, cancers, tumors, and toxic blood conditions. 

There is a good deal of evidence out there to support using Echinacea against viral overloads and tumors.  A compound called echinacein inhibits bacteria and viruses from affecting healthy cells, protecting them from ever getting infected in the first place.  Other health benefits from Echinacea include alleviating pain, reducing inflammation, improving skin health, treating upper respiratory issues, and improving mental health.

Typically, the roots and rhizomes are used in preparations, and can be found in capsule, decoction, and infusion forms. 

My favorite preparations with echinacea are…


Garlic (Allium sativum) has many health properties, including alterative, antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antisyphilitic, antivenomous, antiviral, aromatic, blood cleansing, carminative, cathartic, cholagogue, depurative, diaphoretic, digestant, disinfectant, diuretic, expectorant, hypertensive, hypotensive, immuno-stimulant, and nervine. 

Garlic is especially useful for intestinal parasites and dysbiosis (including yeast, viruses, and fungi), as well as for heart and circulatory conditions.  Garlic is an excellent remedy for all types of chest/lung infections.  Digestive infections respond well to garlic. Garlic also prevents circulatory problems and strokes by keeping the blood thin. It lowers cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

My favorite preparations with garlic are…


Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is another incredibly powerful culinary aromatic that comes loaded with health benefits.  Ginger is well known for its analgesic, anodyne, antacid, antiemetic, antispasmodic, aperitive, aphrodisiac, aromatic, carminative, cholagogue, condiment, detoxifying, diaphoretic, diffusive stimulant, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, and nervine properties.

Nausea caused by motion sickness is a complex reaction involving various areas of the brain as well as the digestive tract.  At this point, it is unclear exactly how ginger works, but we do know that it appears to act directly on both the stomach and the brain.  Ginger has been used for dozens of ailments, including any form of nausea, gas, heartburn, flatulence, diarrhea, and vertigo.

Ginger is fantastic for digestive health.  It helps the body speed up gastric emptying, which is important for those who experience heartburn.  It also helps improve digestive capabilities in the body.  It is an anti-inflammatory that can help relax the intestines in the case of irritable bowel syndrome as well.  So those who suffer with indigestion would benefit from having some ginger in their lives.

Ginger is also well-known to improve blood circulation and prevent hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis).  

Ginger is an incredibly powerful anti-inflammatory.  In fact, ginger seems to reduce inflammation using methods similar to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen, without the side effects!  These are thought to come from certain compounds found in whole ginger, like gingerol, shogaol, and paradol.  These compounds are thought to inhibit the production of inflammatory cytokines! If you’re experiencing an inflammatory condition, ginger is a natural and powerful anti-inflammatory remedy to try.

My favorite preparations with ginger are…

Hawthorn Berry

Known as both the “heart herb” and Crataegus species, hawthorn has many actions, including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antispasmodic, astringent, cardiac tonic, cellular proliferator, digestant, diuretic, emmenagogue, hypertensive, hypotensive, sedative, tonic, vasodilator.

Hawthorn is used today to treat angina and coronary artery disease. It specifically improves heart function and is useful for mild congestive heart failure and irregular heartbeat.

The berries are rich in flavonoids specific for the heart and vascular system. It strengthens these tissues and removes inflammation.  It also aids in dissolving lipid deposits and dilating blood vessels, thereby increasing circulation.  Hawthorn also strengthens vascular walls, aiding in regeneration of varicose and spider veins, hemorrhoids, and prolapsed conditions of the body.

Hawthorn berry is an excellent anti-inflammatory and should be used in all cases of inflammation.  It has strong antioxidant power to help remove acids from the body.  

You will see the berries and leaves used in preparations.  You can find it in tinctures, tablets, decoctions, and infusions. 

My favorite preparations with hawthorn are…

Lion’s Mane

My personal favorite of the mushrooms, Lion’s mane is a fantastic support for depression and anxiety, eliminates ulcershelps protect against dementia, and helps regenerate neurons in the brain.  Lion’s mane is also a fantastic source of potassium, manganese, zinc, thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin.

Lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus) is a type of medicinal mushroom. Long used in traditional Chinese medicine, it has been dubbed the “smart mushroom” because of its support for cognitive function and neurological health. Lion’s mane is receiving attention all over the world for its exceptional brain-boosting potential.  It is known to upregulate Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) is a key molecule involved in plastic changes related to learning and memory.

Lion’s Mane has both culinary and medical uses in Asian countries like China, India, Japan and Korea.  Can be enjoyed raw, cooked, dried or steeped as a tea, or in extract form.  Many describe their flavor as “seafood-like.”

Lion’s mane mushrooms contain bioactive substances that have beneficial effects on the body, especially the brain, heart and gut.  Lion’s mane contains a broad range of naturally occurring bioactive compounds, including erinacines and hericenones, known for their cognitive health benefits.

You can find lion’s mane in powder form (capsule/tablets) but can also be found in tinctures and teas. 

My favorite preparations with lion’s mane are…

Milk Thistle

Also known as Silybum marianum, milk thistle is one of the most famous liver-protecting herbs.  It has cholagogue, diaphoretic, emmenagogue qualities to it.  More than any other herb, milk thistle can protect, tone, strengthen, and detoxify the liver.  For this reason, it is a fantastic choice for all forms of hepatitis and jaundice.  Milk thistle has been used in Europe as a remedy for depression and liver problems for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

Milk thistle contains a compound known as silymarin, which protects liver cells from damage and overuse of alcohol, mushroom poisoning, drugs including Tylenol, chemotherapy, and radiation exposure.

It has high antioxidant properties and is considered one of the best to protect against free-radical damage.  It also aids in the regeneration of the liver and pancreas (by stimulating new cell production) in those organs.  It also can enhance the bile flow, which is crucial for optimal digestion.

You will see ripe milk thistle seeds or dried flower heads used in many preparations.  It can be used in powder, capsules, decoction, and tincture form.

My favorite preparations with milk thistle are…


Mullein, or Verbascum Thapsus, is one of the great expectorants (removes mucus and congestion).  In addition, it is known for its absorbent, anodyne, anthelmintic (vermicide), anti-asthmatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, germicide, hemostatic, nutritive, and vulnerary properties.

Mullein is a valuable herb for coughs and congestion and is a specific treatment for tracheitis and bronchitis.  Mullein is a great choice for respiratory symptoms.  Mullein is especially useful for bronchial and lung conditions including bronchitis, asthma, emphysema, pneumonia and allergies.  It also has strong anti-inflammatory properties, making it useful in all sorts of inflammatory conditions.  The leaves and the flowers may be used as an infusion to reduce mucus formation and stimulate the coughing up of phlegm.

It is fantastic for coughs and sore throats and has strong astringent properties.  Mullein can also aid in the movement of the lymphatic system. 

Mullein leaves, flowers, roots, and fruit are used in preparations.   The seeds themselves are toxic.  

My favorite preparations with mullein are…


Stinging nettles, or nettles (Urtica dioica) are one of the most versatile herbs we have.  They are incredibly nutritious (a good source of molybdenum and silica, for example), allowing it to be useful for a wide variety of conditions.  They are known for their astringent, diuretic, expectorant, hemostatic, nutritive, and tonic properties.  Nettles are a great source of minerals and nutrients, especially potassium and iron (making them a good choice for anemia).

Nettles like to grow near moving water, which may have been a sign of it helping facilitate fluid movement in the body- like lymph and blood.   

Nettle’s key traditional use is as a cleansing, detoxifying herb, particularly for the kidneys. It also has a diuretic action, likely due to its flavonoids and high potassium and silica content.  It can increase urine production and the elimination of waste products, encouraging healthy lymphatic flow.

Nettles are also well-known for having an alkalizing effect on the body.  They are a great choice for joint pain (or pain in general) and can be helpful with all forms of arthritis.  They are also one of the few herbs that positively affect the thyroid gland.

Nettles are a great choice for any skin condition.  It has hemostatic properties, meaning it can help stop bleeding.  Interestingly, nettles can also help dilate blood vessels, which can help improve blood circulation.  Nettles help purify the blood and help the body maintain homeostasis.  It is also a great choice for helping balance blood sugar.

Nettles also help promote healthy urine flow and can be useful for kidney stones.  Nettles also have expectorant qualities, making it a great choice for lung conditions like bronchitis especially asthma, emphysema and COPD.

Stinging nettles are also great for reducing the effects of an estrogen excess, helping with prostate issues, and supporting a healthy milk supply for women.

My favorite preparations with nettles are…


High quality, professional grade oregano (Origanum vulgare) extracts are incredibly powerful.  Oregano oil has been shown to be as powerful as some antibiotics without the side effects.  Oregano and oregano oil are known to have great amounts of antioxidants and have antiseptic properties.  It can be helpful against many fungal and bacterial overgrowths, like E. coli and Candida.

Not only is it (most famously) known to help bring candida overgrowths under control, but it can be useful for a variety of bacteria, fungi, and parasites.  In some cases, oregano essential oil has been effective in cases of MRSA.

Two powerful compounds found in oregano are carvacrol and thymol, which have powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties.  Carvacrol reverses the disease processes of viral infections, allergies, tumors, parasites, and other microbes that can cause inflammation.  Carvacrol has been shown to inactivate a norovirus, which can cause stomach pains and diarrhea, within one hour.

Research finds oregano oil helped stunt the growth of Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, two strains of infectious bacteria.  Due to its high antioxidant content, oregano oil has anticancer properties, as another study showed that it can help kill colon cancer cells in humans.  It also has powerful anti-inflammatory effects.  One study found a mixture of oregano and thyme essential oils reduced inflammatory markers in mice suffering from colitis.

Both herb and oil inhibit the gut flora and have an important role to play in gut dysbiosis, a condition where the presence of harmful gut bacteria leads to symptoms such as gas, bloating, and abdominal discomfort. The diluted oil can be applied to toothache or painful joints.

The leaves and oil are used in many preparations.  You can find oregano in capsule, tablet, and tincture form.  The oil may cause irritation on the skin.

My favorite preparations with oregano are…

Slippery Elm

Slippery elm (Ulmus fulva) is another one of the great gut healers that nature has to offer.  It is known for its Astringent, demulcent, emollient, expectorant, nutritive, vulnerary, and yin tonic qualities.  However, it is best known for soothing and healing the digestive tract.  Slippery elm is one of the go-to herbs for GI tract issues, hands down.  

Slippery elm can help pull toxins out of tissues getting them ready for removal. It can soothe irritated and inflamed mucous membranes, especially mucosa of the GI tract (stomach and intestines).  You may see it used in gastritis, enteritis, colitis, and diverticulitis.  Slippery elm is amazing for adults and children with no known contraindications.

It has other uses as well.  Slippery elm can help strengthen and clean the urinary tract and can be useful for cases of gout.  It may also be really helpful for any respiratory ailments, as it has expectorant properties, pulling mucus and toxins out of the tract.  It may also be helpful for healing abscesses.

You will see the inner bark used in preparations.  Slippery elm can be used topically by adding the powdered bark to water, creating a paste.  It can also be used in capsules, tincture, decoction, and powder form. 

My favorite preparations with slippery elm are…


Turmeric is unmistakable in color.  In its whole form, it looks like ginger’s smaller, yellower cousin.  In its ground form, it has a rich, deep yellow hue.  In cooking, the rhizome of the turmeric plant is used.  Similar to ginger, you can store fresh turmeric in the refrigerator for a long time wrapped in a paper towel and in an airtight container.  Ground turmeric should be kept in a cool, dry environment to prolong its shelf life (along with all ground spices).

There are quite literally thousands of papers written on the benefits of turmeric.  Turmeric has been shown to alleviate symptoms from many illnesses we see today, including, but not limited to, arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, irritable bowel syndrome, joint pain, cardiomyopathy, and many others.  It is most well–known for its aromatic stimulant, alliterative, analgesic, antiseptic, astringent, cholagogue, and emmenagogue properties.  It is particularly helpful for blood and liver conditions, and can help stimulate bile flow.  It has beneficial effects on the entire digestive tract, and even demonstrates antimicrobial properties.   Its strong anti-inflammatory properties make it great for all sorts of pains ending in ‘-itis.’

The most well-known constituent of turmeric is known as curcumin.  We now know the bioavailability of curcumin alone is not very good, meaning we don’t absorb much of what we take in.  But there are ways to boost this!  First, is to consume turmeric with black pepper.  Black pepper contains a compound known as piperine.  When ingested together, piperine has been shown to increase the amount of curcumin found circulating in the blood, which in turn enhances its health benefits.  Another strategy to increase the absorption of turmeric’s healthy compounds can be to consume turmeric with some kind of fat, like avocados, nuts, seeds, olives, etc.

Turmeric can have a potent flavor when it is overdone, so take some time to get comfortable with its color and flavor. 

My favorite preparations with turmeric are…


Valeriana officinalis is most well-known for its calming, nervine qualities.  It also has antispasmodic, aromatic, carminative, cathartic, diaphoretic, diuretic, lithotriptic, nervine, sedative, and tonic properties.  Despite it being such a strong nervine, it is not a narcotic.  In fact, valerian insomnia, stress, promoting relaxation and nervous system troubles. Valerian has been used in many OTC medications because of its effectiveness, safety, and for the fact it is not habit-forming.

Valerian is great for anxiety (as it pertains to the adrenal glands), nervous tension, muscle spasms, epileptic seizures, hyperactivity, and depression.  It can also help regulate heart palpitations and reduce high blood pressure.  It also can help enhance the brain and nervous system tissue, which is a fantastic bonus!  You may see it used for colicky babies, as it can help with gas and indigestion.

You will see valerian Root, rhizome, and herb used in preparations.  It can be used in powders, capsules, infusions, and tincture form. 

My favorite preparations with valerian are…

White Willow

Salix alba, or white willow, is famous as the original source of salicylic acid (the forerunner of aspirin), white willow and closely related species have been used for thousands of years in Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America to relieve joint pain and manage fevers.  It is well-known for its anti-inflammatory, analgesic, astringent, anti-rheumatic, and fever-reducing qualities.

White willow can be used for arthritic and rheumatic pain affecting the back, and joints such as the knees and hips, though large doses may be required, such as a standardized tablet.  In combination with other herbs and nutritional changes, it relieves inflammation and swelling, and improves mobility in painful or creaky joints.

It is also famous for helping manage fevers and can be used to help headaches.  Since it is a more cooling herb, it can also be used to control symptoms of menopause, like hot flashes and night sweats.

You will see white willow bark used in many preparations, either fresh or dried.  It can be found in capsule, tincture, tablet or decoction form. 

My favorite preparations with white willow are…

Using Herbs

I hope you found this breakdown helpful!  Like I mentioned above, herbs are meant to work with the body, helping the body heal itself.  While certain herbs can help manage symptoms in certain situations, they are supplemental to the healing process.  You will always have to come back to the foundations, which include:

Where to Find Herbal Formulas

Ideally, if you can find an herbalist near you that is familiar with these herbs and their purpose, that is great!  You would want to make sure their herbs are organic and/or wildcrafted.  I personally use formulas from a variety of companies that are third party tested for safety and potency.  

Again- I tend to gravitate towards whole-herb products, not ones with individual nutrients as I believe that whole plant constituents are much greater than the individual components.  This is why I regularly recommend Dr. Morse’s Herbs when I can.  If you join my dispensary, you get a 10% discount on everything you order through it!

There are certain companies I will link in the order of the ones I tend to gravitate towards the most:

Many of which can be found on my dispensary through Fullscript, linked here.  

Hope this helps!

Have a great rest of your day, and thank you for taking the time to read this.  If you find it helpful, please share!  It goes a long way!

Dr. Vincent Esposito

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Whenever you’re ready, there are two ways I can help you:

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