Not long ago, American herbalists had to rely on folklore and anecdote. There was little clinical data on herbs, and what did exist was mostly published in German. But researchers (and translators) have been busy of late, and we now have proof that herbs are viable treatments for many ailments.
“Herbs won’t replace pharmaceuticals, but the research shows that–for many conditions–herbs work well, are cheaper than drugs and cause fewer side effects,” says Mary Hardy, M.D., medical director of the integrative medicine program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. “Herbs aren’t quite mainstream, but they’re moving in that direction. Patients are interested in them, and doctors are increasingly familiar with herb research.
“Twenty years ago, there was no integrative program at Cedars-Sinai” she adds. “Now there is. That says something” Here, then, are the proven, 55 best herbal treatments. Stick to the dose specified in the studies or on the product label. When making teas, use 1 to 2 teaspoons of herb per cup of boiling water, steeped for 10 minutes. Tell your physician about any herbs you plan on using, especially if you’re pregnant or nursing, have a chronic medical condition or take medication regularly.