Herbal columnist Nicola Parker writes about the best herbal remedies of 2019
The end of a year seems an appropriate time to reflect on things that have passed.
It’s good to gather what we value and drop what doesn’t serve us, letting us move forward with a fresh and positive outlook.
With that in mind, I’d like to share with you some of the highlights from my own practice and the treasures I’ve found among my remedies during 2019.
The brightest star on my herbal medicine shelf, is always calendula.
I can’t talk enough about the amazing properties calendula has but this year I’ve seen and spoken to so many people with skin problems, it’s really stood out as a key player within my dispensary.
Calendula is the Latin name for marigold, those beautiful orange flowers that bloom in the spring.
Calendula is one of the first herbs I experienced success with after starting my practice.
A gentleman had come to see me with red, sore, itching forearms that felt hot to the touch.
He’d seen his GP on a number of occasions but simply wasn’t getting anywhere.
Calendula is anti-inflammatory, so it’s ideal for hot, red, itchy skin conditions.
After a number of months on steroid creams and antibiotics, we managed to reduce his symptoms by 80 per cent in as little as four weeks.
During this year, I’ve seen so many people with red, itchy skin that the calendula has flown off my shelves and I now have the confidence to recommend it regularly over the counter.
Another wonderful remedy is Lion’s Mane.
This unusual sounding remedy, is an even stranger in appearance, that boasts nerve soothing properties.
The ability to manage nerve pain is a rare one among both herbs and allopathic medicine.
In fact, nerve pain is one of the most stubborn types of pain to treat.
I started using Lion’s mane after a attending a seminar on mushroom medicine and was impressed by some of the research on it.
Since then, I’ve recommended it regularly for any nerve problem.
The best result I’ve seen so far is in a gentleman who suffers with a condition that affects his nervous system.
His hand was stuck clenched into a fist when he first came to ask us about Lion’s mane (despite the seminar, he knew more about the herb than me!) and after six weeks of using it, the pain eased and he was able once more to open his hand. Results like this are phenomenal and it’s put Lions mane at the top of my list for nerve herbs.
Centaurium is the next herb that I hope to use more of next year. It’s a bitter herb that I think of as “on” switch for the digestive system.
When our digestive system switches on, we produce more enzymes and digestive juices to better absorb our food and the valves that keep these juices where they should be all tighten.
This makes centaurium an amazing remedy for indigestion and acid reflux, as it tightens the valve that lets acid spill from the stomach to cause pain and discomfort.
Unlike antacid medication, it actually improves our absorption of nutrients rather than inhibiting this process and can actually help to correct the problem, not just manage the symptoms.
My next favourite remedy of 2019 has been serrapeptase, the great mucous eater.
Sounds disgusting, right?
Serrapeptase is an enzyme that digests mucus in the lungs and sinuses, so that we don’t need to continuously cough things up.
It brings rapid symptom relief to anyone with a snotty nose or chesty cough, but it really comes into its own with chronic lung problems like COPD.
Constant coughing leaves us exhausted and uncomfortable, so serrapeptase is ideal for people with life long chronic mucus or any lingering mucous left by a cough or a cold.
These are just a few of the remedies that I want to use more of in 2020, but the fact that they are available to buy over the counter means that I’ve been able to recommend them time and time again.
If you have a health store or herbal pharmacy near you, it’s well worth asking your local herbalists which remedies stand out in the medicine cabinets.
For more information on Nicola’s remedies, call her at her clinic Health and Herbs, in Pedder Street, Morecambe, on 01524 413733.