Western herbology is a vast study, but everyone should know something about the herbs that are available to us. Unlike in China, in the West many herb are used singly, just by themselves. Some examples are elderberry for viruses, ginger for digestive upset, cinnamon for blood sugar imbalances. Many of the spices in our kitchens are actually medicinal herbs that can be used for healing.
Herbs are often grouped according to their therapeutic actions. A few examples out the of 43 separate actions are: antimicrobial herbs that treat bacterial infections, adaptogenic herbs that act to strengthen the body and increase resistance to stress, cholagogue herbs that stimulate the flow of bile from the gallbladder to the duodenum and nervine herbs that relax and sooth the nerves.
I mostly use herbal remedies in capsule form and sometimes in tinctures. Occasionally when there is not a formula out there for a person’s condition I will make up a custom formula of herbs that they can buy in the store and simmer to make their own tea.
You can buy many kinds of tea bags for various conditions in health food stores for constipation, sleeping, coughs, and pregnancy for example. But besides these kind of infusions there is real tea, meaning the tea plant, Camelia Sinenses. There is black tea, green tea, white tea, oolong tea, yerba mate, pu erh tea and others. Research is always coming out showing how healthy tea drinking really is.