Tonic herbs are foods. They can be used without concern for overusing them or negative medicinal effects. They can (and should) be combined together to create a tea to ease your low-grade health issues and which tastes good to you. These herbs are also good as spices in soups or smoothies and should be used to marinate meats and fish for flavor as well as their medicinal properties. Caution should be taken by checking with your medical provider for any side-effects and contraindications if you take prescription medications!
Anise Seed/Pod : Calming, muscle relaxing, sleep inducing and aids with belly cramps; interchangeable with lavender
Cayenne/ Red Chile Pods
Cayenne/Red Chile Pod stimulates blood circulation, warming a cold body without contributing to acid reflux/heartburn. It contributes to healthy heart and vascular function and reduces pain by stimulating blood circulation. It is an excellent tool for stopping bleeding in the nose and stomach or directly on an open wound. The hotter it is (spicier) the more medicinal it is and augments the function of all the other herbs for digestion and infection.
Cinnamon Bark is a digestive aid for warming a cold system. It helps the vascular system as a scrubber of the inner walls of the blood vessels and helps in blood sugar stabilization. Can be added for flavor to any food. Avoid it if you run hot in general, and especially if you struggle with acid reflux made worse by spicy food.
Elderflower is a pleasant-tasting tea which is interchangeable with chrysanthemum for fever.
Horsetail/Shavegrass is one of the most commonly found herbs, it can be used to soothe kidneys and the urinary tract at the first signs of irritation. It is a natural source of the minerals which ease muscle cramps and aid in dissolving mineral deposit in the kidneys and urinary system. It can be used as part of a kidney cleanse.
Marigold/Calendula Flower Petals are an excellent tonic for the kidneys and can be combined with echinacea for kidney/urinary tract infections; Anti-viral when the infection is in the ears and neck and causing headache. Not the best for reducing fever, but really helps with body aches.
Peppermint can rapidly help your body to cool off when taken in tea. As an essential oil, placing it on the temples can ease a headache--especially when caused by high heat and dehydration. In a footbath it can cool you down after a long day in the heat. It settles the digestive system in the heat of the summer.
Rosemary leaf opens up the sinuses and cranial region and eases headache and clears a “foggy brain” and is great combined with any of the anti-pyretic (fever reducing) herbs for headache and infection causing headache. Steaming with the essential oil clears the sinuses and lungs.
Thyme is a pleasant tasting herb often used for cooking, but which has strong antiviral and antibacterial properties. Can be used to wash the skin when there is mild infection and in a tea to soothe a sore throat when infection is starting.
Bay Leaf is one of the best remedies for gas and bloating and works better when combined with fennel, chamomile and/or good quality honey. It is also mildly antimicrobial/antibiotic for GI tract infections, will kill off certain classes of microbes when cooked with meats and milk products. Can also alleviate intestinal cramps.
Chrysanthemum/Mum/Feverfew/Parthenium (flower or whole plant) Is a calming, cooling herb that is antipyretic (pulls down fever) and antiviral; excellent for hot flashes with menopausal and post-surgical temperature fluctuations.
Echinacea is a herb for immune support. It doesn’t treat infection on it’s own but works well in combination with other herbs which are directed specifically at the area of the body where the infection is presenting by augmenting the immune response in general. It will stop working as an immune system supporter if it is taken all of the time.
Fennel Seed/Leaf is interchangeable with Bay Leaf; the seed is much stronger than the leaf in flavor and medicinal value
Lavender flowers are calming, muscle relaxing, sleep inducing and aid with belly cramps; they are interchangeable with anise seed or pod
Cáscara Sagrada Is an excellent and safe remedy for mild constipation. Many people experience periods of constipation due to stress, travel, surgery, illness, poor diet. To get your bowels moving regularly drink plenty of water and hydrating fluids during the day and take 1-4 capsules of cáscara sagrada at bedtime with about 4-6oz of water. This generally gets the bowels moving after drinking a cup of warm tea in the morning.
Chamomile is warming and soothing to the intestinal lining, but is also a muscle relaxant of both the involuntary muscle of the GI tract and the large, skeletal muscles. It is excellent for stress reduction and works well added to a bath when muscles are sore/aching and stress is high.
Elderberry is a source of highly absorbable Vitamin C and makes a pleasant tasting tea which, when combined with honey, soothes the throat and stimulates the immune system to respond to infectious assaults. It is often sold as a cough syrup and is a good herbs to use as upon first signs of any infection. It is safe to take daily in the wintertime or under periods of high stress to support the immune system without pushing to be overactive.
Ginger root is a digestive aid for warming a cold system. It helps you produce saliva and break down complex sugars to usable simple sugars. It initiates the production of all your digestive enzymes. Can be added for flavor to any food. Avoid it if you run hot in general, and especially if you struggle with acid reflux.
Milk Thistle is used in western herbalism primarily to gently clear and regulate the liver, helping it to stabilize and coordinate all of its functions.
Your liver clears toxic byproducts from medications and foods to keep them out of the bloodstream. It coordinates with the pancreas to produce and use digestive enzymes and regulate blood sugar, metabolize fats, produce bile, recycle and produce hormones to keep hormonal balance stable, and remove residuals of infection and alcohol from our bodies.
Milk thistle is an excellent tool for those who are on daily medications, as it reduces or eliminates their toxic side-effects.
Studies show it has no effect on the desired functions of most medications and can be taken concurrently with most medications.
Mustard is one of the most effective herbs for increasing circulation to the lungs and supporting the infection fighting herbs for the lungs. It has traditionally been applied as a plaster over the lungs, but is quite messy to use that way and it just as effective if taken in a tea with mullein, honey and (if tastes ok to the sick person) vinegar, garlic, cayenne and/or ginger and the person is kept warm and hydrated.
Raspberry leaf is an excellent tonic for the female reproductive system, easing cramps, bloating, excessive menstrual bleeding and clotting and eases all discomforts of adolescence, pregnancy, deliveries, post-partum recovery and menopause and can be taken daily in as high a dose as tastes good to you. Also soothes the GI tract and helps with mild nausea for everyone, but especially for pregnant women.
Lemon Balm Leaf is a cooling, digestive aide which is strongly anti-pyretic (pulls down fever) and has anti-viral properties—particularly for digestive infections. Tastes good and can be used as flavoring in teas and smoothies.
Mullein is used for both soothing of the skin and mucous membranes. As an expectorant for the lungs it is taken as a tea and should be combined with the warming herbs (mustard, cayenne, ginger etc.) and honey to loosen and expel phlegm and can be taken in large quantities in the midst of an infection or as a daily tonic for chronic lung issues. It is also one of the most soothing herbs for the skin and is excellent in a bath to soothe a rash or in a salve or lotion when there is rash or irritation.
Spearmint is generally used as a breath cleansing herb because it temporarily calms the production of stomach acid and stops the source of a mild case of halitosis due to dehydration and/or stress. It is neither cooling or warming and works well in cool and hot seasons.
Turmeric root is an excellent digestive aid for the small intestine, relaxing the muscles and improving digestive function; also an excellent pain reliever as it reduces muscle tension and clears waste products from the tissues (similar to Tylenol/acetaminophen). Good for flavoring foods—especially root vegetables and squashes.
Sage leaf is a digestive aid which is mildly anti-parasitic and helps with the first signs of food poisoning or GI tract infection. Warming in nature and works well to ease belly stress when taken as a tea and used over the belly in a moist heat pack. Excellent in a bath for body aches.