Written by Julianne Sack, 2023 Let Go & Grow Summer Intern
Edited by The LG&G Team
Ever since I was young it seemed like my mom’s solution to just about any symptom I could have could be solved through drinking tea rather than through synthetic drugs. When my stomach hurt it would be chamomile, when my head hurt it was peppermint, and when I was “sick”, it was ginger and lemon.
As a kid I would just shake my head and drink the tea without really knowing the true benefits I was incorporating. It wasn’t until I got older that I sought more into natural remedies to combat my day-to-day symptoms, and I started to become fascinated by all these powerful herbs and their potent flavors.
Using herbs/plants for their medicinal purposes has been a practice for a long time now and most of the medicinal plants we know today are based on these ancient experiences. According to the National Library of Medicine, they state in an article about the history of herbs that, “the oldest written evidence of medicinal plants’ usage for preparation of drugs has been found on a Sumerian clay slab from Nagpur, approximately 5000 years old. It comprised 12 recipes for drug preparation referring to over 250 various plants…”
Herbs are able to give us other options outside of what we typically grab in our medicine cabinet and can be an exciting journey of tastes. I learned most of my herbal “knowledge” through reading this book called The Herbal Apothecary by JJ Pursell, and it is where I will be pulling most of my information from.
Many times when I drank coffee I noticed it usually never gave me that boost of energy everyone talked about. Dr. Will Cole states in his article titled “Why Herbs are Better than Caffeinated Drinks?” that “…depending on your DNA; more specifically, your CYP1A2 gene that determines how quickly you metabolize caffeine. Every person inherits two copies of CYP1A2- one from your mom and one from your dad. If you have two fast variants of the gene you are a fast metabolizer but if you have two slow variants, you are a slow metabolizer. This can make you more prone to anxiety and jitters and increase your risk of heart palpitations, headaches, and panic attacks.”
These herbs I will mention below can potentially help maintain energy in the long run!
- Ginseng has often been used for its energy-boosting components as well as for mental concentration as it increases cellular respiration.
- Green tea has been shown to contain many antioxidants and is a great detoxifier, recently on the Western side of the hemisphere a more concentrated form of green tea has hit a jolt of popularity for its amazing taste and benefits, matcha. In my experience with matcha I notice that I gain a more gradual energy throughout the day rather than a quick jolt of energy with coffee.
Dr. Brooke has an article about this titled “Matcha Green Tea Benefits” and she states some important benefits of matcha such as “…(1)improved detox and regeneration: through chlorophyll, which cleanses the blood stream, removes heavy metals and other toxins in the body, liberating its capacity to repair, regenerate and rebuild, (2) curbed cravings, improved metabolism: matcha has been proven to rev up metabolism, up to 4x the average rate, burn fat and keep hunger at bay, (3) calm, focused mind: through l-theanine, an amino, studies to create alpha waves, which lead to a state of calm alertness, clarity and concentration…”
Matcha is great for everyday drinking and you can add milk or water for a tea or latte blend. Make sure you are buying the ceremonial grade powder and store the powder in the refrigerator for best conservation!
My favorite reason to drink herbs is to keep my immunity on the defense. I notice a huge difference in my sickness patterns when I consistently keep up with drinking these herbs either twice or three times a week.
- Elderberry has been known to keep your immunity balanced due to its anthocyanins which give the herb its deep purple color and allow it to oxidize in our bodies. Elderberry is most effective as a daily immune support intake.
- Echinacea has been historically used by Native Americans and Europeans to treat ailments at the onset of a sickness. Most commonly echinacea can be combined with slippery elm (another immune supportive herb) that targets achey throats.
- Ginger supports digestion and blood circulation which in turn supports immune responses. Ginger root can be really spicy and tangy which is why I like to drink it with lemon and honey to help ease out the dramatic taste.
- Reishi is also a very powerful herb that is common in traditional Chinese medicine and can be taken daily. Reishi is also known as “spiritual mushroom” and not only supports immune functions but also balances organ function within the body.
To overcome some mental health obstacles, it may be beneficial to start incorporating certain herbs to help with sleep, mood, and peace.
- Chamomile has been used for a long period of time due to its relaxation benefits. The chamomile flower tones the nervous system which in turn can help with anxiety and stress. Chamomile has been used in many mixtures for “sleepy time” teas as well.
- Ashwagandha root has been said to build chi which (in Chinese culture) is said to be the energy of the universe and flows through all living beings. Ashwagandha has also been said to promote sleep and calm the mind as it lowers cortisol levels.
- The Gingko leaf is the oldest tree species on the planet and has had a lot of research on its suitability to treat Alzheimer’s disease as well as dementia. This is due to its ability to amplify nerve transmission to the brain.
- Turmeric is also an amazing root similar to ginger. Turmeric has great anti-inflammatory properties which can help relieve pain and tension. An awesome way to consume turmeric, and is referred to as “golden milk”, is by heating up your favorite dairy-free milk and adding the Gaia Golden Milk mix to the milk and voila!
For more on different types of teas and their benefits, feel free to check here.
For more information on building a solid foundation, check out the Let Go & Grow Mind Body Reset Program!
Julianne Sack comes from a small town in southwest Florida known as Naples where she lived most her life and decided to come to Orlando to study Biomedicine. Julianne’s parents are both immigrants from South America who came to the states for not only a better life for themselves but a better life for their future children. Julianne has always enjoyed challenges and believed a medical career would suit her ethic, but as she grew up, she discovered a lot of corruption and dishonesty in the medical field and decided this may not be the right path for her. During the quarantine of Covid-19, she spent a lot of time with herself and started to learn a lot about the power of the mind and healing the body through more natural remedies and activities. In turn, Julianne’s path for her future now consists of functional medicine and holistic counseling.