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Butterbur has traditionally been used to treat coughs, urinary problems, fever and to expel intestinal parasites. Now this herb is mostly used as an anti-inflammatory agent and to treat migraine headaches. It is sometimes used to reduce smooth muscle spasms. Some studies have found butterbur effective in reducing bronchial spasms in people having bronchitis and asthma. Butterbur extract is often just as effective as prescription antihistamines for treating allergic rhinitis and hay fever.
Next on our list of herbs is Echinacea also known as Black Sampson it is referred to by the native Americans of the plains as snake root, because it was traditionally used to treat snake bites. Natives have also used the plant to treat tooth aches. The Omaha-Ponca and Cheyenne Indians were probably the most notable groups to use the plant. They would rub the juices of the roots on their bodies to heal burns, or like mentioned above would use it to treat toothaches. Today echinacea is used to boost the immune system and speed up recovery of the common cold. There are three common types of Echinacea; Echinacea purpurea is the most common it can be found from Georgia to Oklahoma, north to Michigan and east to Ohio. Echinacea pallida is most commonly found in open woods and prairies, people in states like Michigan, Arkansas, Texas and here in Nebraska can find this species of Echinacea. Echinacea angustifolia tends to grow on roadsides, prairies, and outcrops; people living in Texas all the way north through the Dakotas and southern Saskatchewan you can also expect to find it growing in Montana and Colorado.
Feverfew leaves (Tanacetum parthenium) are used as a tincture or a capsule. It's administered for migraine headaches and feverish chills. It is sometimes recommended for arthritis. Older traditional medicine required patients to chew the leaves (can cause mouth ulcers), but many modern treatments use tinctures. Pregnant women should never use feverfew since it cause uterine contractions. Avoid if you suffer from stomach ulcers or gallbladder issues. If you suffer from ragweed allergies, avoid feverfew.
There are actually several ways to use lemon balm making it a versatile herb both in the ailments it treats and the way it can be administered. Teas are a great way to gain the benefits of lemon balm. You can steep about 5 or 6 fresh leaves in a cup of water for six minutes and strain. Try adding some honey or stevia to sweeten the deal up and add a little mint for an extra layer of flavor. Tinctures, extracts, and ointments are all also widely available for lemon balm and all are quite effective.
This is one place that thyme really shines. Make your cough syrup with Thymus Vulgaris, leaving the other varieties for the stockpot. Famed for its medicinal qualities, this variety of thyme contains thymol which acts against certain harmful bacteria. It is also known to improve liver function, increase appetite, help with bronchial infections, and help to treat laryngitis. Used on the skin, it can also reduce pain related to bug bites and stings.
Alternatively, make a steam bowl. To do this, fill a large bowl with hot water. Add herbs or essential oils, such as eucalyptus or rosemary, which may also relieve decongestion. Lean over the bowl and place a towel over the head. This traps the steam. Inhale the vapors for 5 minutes. If the steam feels hot on the skin, discontinue until the skin cools down.
Teas are a great way to get the benefits of sage all you need to do is steep one teaspoon of sage in a cup of water for about 10 minutes. You can also make a pretty awesome sore throat reliever by combining sage and thyme. Take an ounce of both grind them, and cover them with 16 ounces of apple cider vinegar. Be sure to shake it periodically and let it sit for ten days before using.