7 best herbs for women’s health

I’ve avoided writing “best of” lists for years but was inspired last weekend by naturopathic elder and women’s health expert Tori Hudson, ND, speaking at a conference here in Toronto.

Whenever I’m coming up with a treatment plan for a patient, I always think about using the fewest number of remedies possible to address the whole person sitting across from me. (I also think about the least invasive thing I can start with, though that is for another article.) In other words, I’m looking for one or two herbs to address multiple symptoms or health problems at the same time. John Scudder called these specific medicines. Tori Hudson calls these twofers, threefers, or fourfers.

Even though it took a lot of restraint to keep this list small, here are my top 7 herbs for women’s health in honour of twofers and threefers. […]

Golden Milk

Turmeric is an amazing anti-inflammatory herb. Plus, you probably already have it in your kitchen cupboard. If not, you should.

Turmeric, also known as yellow ginger, has been used to decrease inflammation and pain for all sorts of health conditions. In traditional Chinese medicine, turmeric is used to move stagnant blood and Qi, which can contribute to joint pain and menstrual cramps. In India where turmeric originates from, it has over 50 names and hundreds of medicinal uses. Clinical research on turmeric is ongoing for conditions as varied as menstrual cramps, arthritis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, endometriosis, fibroids, high cholesterol, and cancer.

Golden milk is a traditional Ayurvedic preparation for using turmeric medicinally. […]

Crampbark for cramps, duh

As I was walking out the door today, I was struck by the beautiful colour of the Crampbark leaves in the fall. The deep pinkish red hue is a nice contrast to the yellow and green colours that most of the leaves in my garden have right now. The red colour, though not exactly the colour of blood, is a small reminder of Viburnum’s best known medicinal use – to help treat menstrual cramps.

I purchased several of these bushes for my garden under the impression that they were Viburnum trilobum, American Highbush Cranberry, sometimes listed as Viburnum opulus var. americanum, which is native to Ontario. […]

  • jewelweed

Making a jewelweed succus

Early one morning I went outside to admire my garden (as I often do) and I noticed how much jewelweed (Impatiens capensis is the native to Ontario species) had taken over and was choking out the lady’s mantle. My kids had clearly done a great job last year of popping the seed pods. Possibly too good a job. There was a lot of jewelweed blocking my view of the lady’s mantle plants which had just started to flower. A little thinning out was needed, so I got to work weeding out the extra jewelweed plants.

Naturally, I wasn’t about to waste all that jewelweed. Thankfully, I had a little time before my first patient of the day. In the past I’ve harvested jewelweed and created a mash or juice for immediate use on rashes, stings, bug bites, and especially poison ivy. Conveniently, it often grows right next to poison ivy on riverbanks and wet ground. But since I hadn’t recently been exposed to poison ivy, I decided to make a succus. […]

  • Swamp Milkweed

Swamp Milkweed

Swamp milkweed, or Asclepias incarnata, is hugely popular with my kids for both its beauty and its playfulness. Gentle pink flowers cluster together like a choir of amazing singers and butterflies flock to drink the sweet nectar hidden inside.

The seed pods however, are the parts that bring the most intense joy to the hearts of children and adults alike.


By |July 14th, 2012|Herbal Medicine, In My Garden, Kids|0 Comments
  • Verbena hastata flowers

In my garden: Blue Vervain

Aside from the aesthetics of having beautiful plants growing in my front yard, one of the main reasons I chose to grow specific plants was to learn more about their therapeutic uses by getting to know them.  Verbena hastata, or Blue Vervain, has been capturing my attention lately, its blue flowering spikes extending higher and higher, continuing to bloom for what seems like an eternity for a perennial plant.  Having rarely used it in my clinical practice, I know Vervain primarily as a Bach Flower remedy.

One of the twelve original remedies used by Dr. Bach, it is helpful in mental/emotional states where there is an anxious tension and physical exhaustion related to straining oneself in support of a good cause.  It is for people with fixed principles and ideas, over-achievers who put everything into their undertakings, pushing themselves to take on too much, their minds consistently running, unable to slow down or stop.  […]

By |July 27th, 2011|Herbal Medicine, In My Garden|0 Comments