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January 11, 2018

4 Herbal Remedies to Aid the January Health Kick

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herbal remedies book on table with herbs

Start the Year on a Herbal High

So, it’s January again. The holidays are over and we’re all still getting used to the daily commute and the lasting sting of Britain’s dark, bitter mornings. As if it isn’t enough that we are all back at work for the foreseeable future, we’ve also burdened ourselves with a long list of resolutions to keep on top of. We bet that the majority of you out there will have promised to be healthier this year; having already joined the gym and cut out sweet treats.

However at Stonebridge College, we want you to know that you don’t have to put yourself through hell to be healthy. In fact, students on our Master Herbalist (Phytotherapy) course have already discovered the amazing health benefits of herbs and plants. By simply including healthy herbs in your diet, drinking teas and taking supplements, you could give yourself the boost you need to make it through January in one piece. Here are four remedies that we think will help you recover from the festivities:

Ginger:

Fresh healthy ginger Root herbal isolated on Black

What is it good for?

Ginger has long been celebrated for its numerous health benefits. In fact, even today it is one of the most prescribed herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). There seems to be no limit to what this plant can do, but it is probably most recognised for its benefits on the stomach. Some of the compounds in ginger have been said to reduce gastric irritation and therefore reduce feelings of nausea. This is a welcome remedy for anyone who’s had a little too much to eat and drink over the festive period. Ginger is also a diaphoretic. This means it promotes sweating and helps you keep warm. This is great news for anyone feeling the cold this January.

How do you take it?

Unfortunately, it won’t do to simply up your intake of gingerbread biscuits. To feel the strongest effects of ginger it is best to buy it fresh. Using fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced, and boiled water, you are able to make a healthy, warming tea which promises to leave your stomach settled. You can even add a drop of honey if you want to enhance the flavour. If you don’t fancy tea, you can always add grated ginger to your cooking or take ginger capsules.

Peppermint:

Mint herbal tea in a glass cup on wooden tale herbs

What is it good for?

Another herb with numerous healing properties, peppermint is a first choice remedy for IBS sufferers. It has been said to relax the muscles of your intestines, therefore decreasing the chance of colonic spasms. This means that there will be lesser build-up of gas and reduced abdominal pain. Peppermint is also good for the chest and lungs; often acting as a decongestant. The plant is thought to have a soothing effect of cold symptoms and chesty coughs. This is great news for anyone who has fallen victim to a cold or the flu this January.

How do you take it?

You may have had a few peppermint flavoured candy canes over the holidays; however this probably wouldn’t have done you any favours. The most popular way to ingest peppermint for health benefits is by drinking peppermint tea. You can buy peppermint teabags in most supermarkets, or you can soak fresh peppermint leaves in boiling water. Alternatively, if you don’t fancy tea, you could take peppermint oil capsules. These capsules are primarily taken as a cure for IBS. On top of this, some people also choose to rub peppermint oil there temples to relieve tension and headaches.

Ginseng

ginseng herbs in tea cup

What is it good for?

Christmas and New Year can both be busy and stressful occasions and going back to work in January can be even worse. Fortunately, herbs like ginseng are here to help. Taking ginseng on a regular basis can actually help your body deal with mental and physical stress. It is also thought to boost energy levels and aid cognitive ability; exactly the kick you need during your first week back at work. On top of this, research has suggested that ginseng can aid your immune system, reduce inflammation and help your body to fight infection. This means that if you want to fight off that January cold, you’d better find your nearest source of ginseng ASAP.

How do you take it?

Most ginseng products are made from the root. These herbal products are available in many different forms including: dried, powdered, capsule and tablet varieties. These herbal medications will be found in most health stores and the specific uses and doses will be outlined on the packaging. Alternatively, you could make your own ginseng tea. Ginseng tea is hugely popular in china and is said to have countless health benefits. You can make this by using fresh root, but dry and powdered will work as well. All you have to do is add boiling water, leave for five minutes and drink.

Liquorice Root:

Production steps of licorice, roots, pure blocks and candy on wooden table

What is it good for?

Liquorice is famed for its sweet aniseed-like flavour and is popularly consumed in the form of confectionery. However, it’s so much more than a sweet treat. Liquorice root actually has many other herbal uses and has been the subject of much health related research. One of the most popular ailments that liquorice treats is stomach ulcers. The antibacterial properties of the root are thought to help alleviate swelling and inflammation. On top of this, the root is believed to benefit respiratory function. Liquorice is often found in cough and sore throat remedies because it has a soothing effect on the throat and helps to loosen mucus.

How do you take it?

Many people choose to take liquorice in a herbal supplement form. Supplements come in both capsules and powdered form and should be taken as advised on the packaging. Alternatively you can get your liquorice fix from a cup of liquorice root tea. This can be made using shop-bought teabags or dried liquorice root you have bought from a health store. Health experts warn individuals not to overdose on liquorice however, as too much of the root can have negative effects. Experts suggest limiting tea intake to between one or two cups a day.

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