Botanical Medicine: Best Herbs to Use for Your Health

by Dr. Heather Manley on April 13, 2014

Botanical medicine is also referred to as herbalism, medical herbology, phytotherapy, and herbal medicine. And is defined as: A traditional medicinal medicine based on the use of plants and/or their extracts.

Probably the most common and well- known herbal medicine is echinacea. Interestingly, the first writing of echinacea were in the late 1800s and were used in the Native American population to treat anything from sore throats to coughs to toothaches.

While doing a little research for this blog post, I came across Dr. Comos writings on botanical medicine. I loved how she wrote about the different preparations and potential complications. It is very informative.

Instead of re-iterating what she wrote ( but definitely check her out), I thought I would write about my favorite herbs and the herbal preparation I enjoy most, and see the best results with.

Licorice – Glycirriza glabra is my all time favorite herb;  I love the taste, I love how it soothes the digestive system, nourishes the adrenal glands, and supports the immune system. When the girls have a tummy ache, I will put a little licorice glycerite in warm water for them to sip on during the day ( along with a castor oil pack). My family also enjoys drinking licorice mint tea.

*if you have high blood pressure, heart failure, kidney disease or liver ailments, licorice is something you should not take at all.

ElderberrySambucus spp: It has long been used to treat the early stages of a fever, coughs, colds and flu.  Most kids enjoy the sweet berry flavor.  When a child is feeling under the weather,  I will mix a little elderberry syrup and let the kids sip it throughout their sick day.

Calendula- Calendula offininalis: I can not NOT write enough about this herb; it’s wonderful. I use it mostly as a calendula succus or in a salve. Research has indicated that it aids in healing wounds, burns, boils and rashes.  I have seen these uses in my own families’s personal first aid needs in addition to slathering calendula salve over mosquito bites and any minor cuts.

Milk ThistleSilybum marianum: Although I do not use it very much now, I sure did when I was in school working on cadavers ( and all that formaldehyde!). Milk thistle is a great tonic for the liver and  helps the liver clear out toxins. If you are doing a liver cleanse or detox, look for silymarin capsules at you local health food store to enhance your detox.

Eyebright  – Ephrasia officinalis: I use eyebright  tincture when my kids have had thick secretions from the eye. I mix just a few drops in warm water and then dip a clean cloth into the mixture and wipe the eye – towards the corner – where you tear.

(PS test this out on yourself first as you do want it to be too strong and sting your child’s eye)

EchinanceaEchinacea spp: This is a staple in most of my herbal medicine combinations for the immune system. The root is what contains most of the medicinal parts. It is antimicrobial – anti viral, anti bacterial and anti fungal -and anti-inflammatory. Not the best tasting herb but it is very powerful. People use it in a capsule, ticnture or tea. It is rarely used alone ( it is very bitter), and found in most immune combinations.

Please leave comments on your most favorite botanicals as well!

If you need to purchase good quality supplement and herbs, please do so here ( if you have any questions, let me know). And remember, it is always the best when you are sick, to visit your family doctor to rule out any serous illness.

Be well,

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Kids and Food: Food Fights BeGone

by Dr. Heather Manley on April 7, 2014

Lucky for me, one of my 2 kids is a fabulous eater which definitely took a great deal of pressure off while I grocery shopped and prepared meals. But with the other kid, she had some particular foods habits that I had to embrace which in turn encouraged ( or forced) me to be a  tad more creative in the kitchen. Below are a few things I learned over the years, not just from my own kid, but from my patients. Hope they help! ( PS Check out the video below in getting kids proactive)

Kids Shopping at the Market

No Labeling

I realize the temptation is strong but not only does it not help the situation, it ill not make your child feel good if they overhear you say it.

Be a Role Model

Always put the same foods on your child’s plate as everyone else has. If this is consistently done, overtime, the child will eventually adapt to, Monkey see, Monkey do.

Green Eggs and Ham

This book is a must have. Keep it handy – - lying around the house, and maybe even a copy in the car. It’s a playfully approach in encouraging kids to try new foods; even just one bite.

Proactive Kids

The more kids are involved: grocery shopping, gardening, chopping, even placing foods on pretty platters, the more likely they will want to try the foods.

Food History Stories

Kids love a good story and weave in some trivia and history, the you will have their attention. Ask the kids what country the broccoli came from and if they think it has a cousin? Or what broccoli does in the body? They really love this stuff!

Be Patient

Changes do not happen over night but stick to the above ideas and i am sure you will begin to see less arguments and more eating.

Do you have anything to add? We could all use any suggestions!

Be well,


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