Herbal Remedies Play a Role in Maintaining My Good Health

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by Kate Delany |

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Herbs have been an important part of my life for more than a decade. Herbal remedies play an essential role in maintaining my health. I also believe in science and support modern medicine.

As cold and flu season rolls around, it might be a good time to look at some of my favorite herbs found in various foods and gardens.

Mint and thyme

Gastrointestinal (GI) issues are a regular concern for many patients with cystic fibrosis (CF), and a frequent health issue for many Americans. In fact, a survey of more than 71,000 Americans published in 2018 found that more than 61% suffered from GI symptoms.

These issues shouldn’t be ignored because they could indicate serious underlying problems that require testing and treatment. When I have occasional GI pain, I find that menthol, the active ingredient in peppermint and spearmint, often brings me some relief.

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Another common garden herb, thyme, is known for its ability to soothe colds and coughs. The active ingredient in thyme is thymol, which has been studied for its effectiveness in loosening mucus, and is an ingredient in commercially prepared cough syrups. Drinking thyme as a tea is considered safe, and it’s also easy to prepare as a cough syrup.

Hops and rosemary

Hops is known for its sleep-inducing properties, and is an ingredient in beer. Part of the same family as cannabis, hops has been effective in dealing with cramps, anxiety, and insomnia.

People with health issues might not want to consume alcohol, but hops can still be used as a sleep aid. One time-honored way to do that is with a hops pillow, in which the oils of the plant are absorbed by the skin. Traditionally, these sleep pillows often combine hops with lavender for its sweet smell.

The essential oil of rosemary, another frequent garden plant, contains compounds that have been linked to improving both mood and memory. To take in rosemary’s benefits, I simply breathe deeply, inhaling either from a bottle of rosemary essential oil or the plant itself. Rosemary is a Mediterranean plant, but it can be grown indoors on a sunny windowsill.

Finally, just because herbal remedies are natural doesn’t mean they are automatically safe or don’t cause side effects. Check out Amy Stewart’s book “Wicked Plants” for a compelling read on the “evildoers that may be lurking in your own backyard.”

While the herbs I mention above are widely regarded as safe, it’s always a good idea to be alert for an adverse or allergic reaction. As with all things, moderation is key. And remember, CF patients should always discuss the use of herbal remedies with their medical care team before trying anything new. 

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Note: Cystic Fibrosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cystic Fibrosis News Today, or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cystic fibrosis.

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