Ocimum tenuiflorum, Melissa officinalis, Zingiber officinale
Though not quite the trio of "seasonal herbs" I would normally feature this time of year, this season's selection is all about highlighting herbs that are uniquely applicable during this complex moment in time. The herbs featured this month are ones that are not only supportive of the immune system but nourishing to the spirit and nervous system as well. This is one of the main tea blends I've been sipping on as of late, and find its benefits to be far-reaching and robust.
Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum)
Tulsi (also known as Holy Basil) is a classic herbal adaptogen traditionally used to help balance the nervous system and support the body's ability to better respond to stress. Doubling as an antidepressant, tulsi is often used in herbalism as a gentle mood and spirit lifter.
In addition to its action on the nervous system, Tulsi is also known as an immunomodulator and antiviral herb, lending to its historical use as an immune-supportive herb. Tulsi has been one of my go-to plant allies during this turbulent time.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
An actual spring medicinal, lemon balm is making her debut in seasonal gardens all around. Though this member of the mint family is not native to North America, it has become naturalized in many areas due to its persistent growing tendencies. In herbalism, we use lemon balm for its gentle yet powerful action on the nervous system - acting as both an antidepressant and anxiolytic. Lemon balm has historically been used in times of melancholy and is thought to work simultaneously as both a mood-boosting and calming herb. With a mild citrus flavor, lemon balm makes a lovely addition to fresh herbal tea blends as well as salads, syrups, and sweets.
It should be noted that due to its potential action on the thyroid, lemon balm is not recommended for those with thyroid conditions especially those with hypothyroid issues.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
This zesty and warming herb has been used for hundreds (if not thousands) of years as a natural remedy for an upset stomach and as an all-around digestive aid. Ginger is considered a harmonizing herb in herbalism and is often added to blends to give a warming and unifying tone to the mix. Ginger has long been used as a traditional herbal remedy for immune support, with modern-day research suggesting it's potential use as an antiviral herb.
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Winston, David, and Steven Maimes. Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief. Healing Arts Press, 2019.
“Lemon Balm: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning.” WebMD, WebMD,
Chang, Jung San, et al. “Fresh Ginger (Zingiber Officinale) Has Anti-Viral Activity against Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus in Human Respiratory Tract Cell Lines.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, vol. 145, no. 1, 2013, pp. 146–151., doi:10.1016/j.jep.2012.10.043.
Aboubakr, Hamada A., et al. “In Vitro Antiviral Activity of Clove and Ginger Aqueous Extracts against Feline Calicivirus, a Surrogate for Human Norovirus.” Journal of Food Protection, vol. 79, no. 6, 2016, pp. 1001–1012., doi:10.4315/0362-028x.jfp-15-593.
Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: the Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Healing Arts Press, 2003.
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Note: The information on this site is for educational, historical, and research purposes, and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease and should not be used as medical advice. If you have a medical concern please seek out a qualified health care professional, and always consult your physician before adding herbal supplements into your diet, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, or on medication.