What Is Herbal Medicine?
Herbal medicine (also known as tonic herbs, adaptogenic herbs, medicinal herbs or healing herbs) is a special category of plants known to support the body's healing and restoration processes, address specific ailments and commonly deliver wide-ranging health benefits.
Countless human cultures through history have relied on various types of herbal medicine to maintain good health and treat a huge variety of conditions. It is from the knowledge and lessons shared through thousands of years of medicinal plant use in Aryuvedic, Chinese, Aboriginal and many other cultures that Western Herbal Medicine has developed.
While it can sound very specialised herbal medicine can be as simple as ingredients you commonly use in cooking (e.g. mint & rosemary), through to more specialty medicinal plants that are harder to find (e.g. astragalus & ashwagandha).
Herbal medicines are often referred to as being ‘tonic’ or adaptogenic', meaning ‘ability to respond’ and can be thought of in the same way as tone in ‘muscle tone’. Essentially, your organs are uniquely-designed structures which you can stimulate with medicinal herbs to help support their optimal function.
There are three things which define tonic herbs:
- Consuming it must not cause the body harm or stress.
- It must produce a healing reaction within the body and provide support for all vital systems.
- It must be an adaptogen and help the body combat stress.
Herbal medicine is a brilliant way to support your body and boost your overall health but don't ever 'self-diagnose'. If you are battling any health conditions or currently taking prescribed medication, check in with a trusted GP first!
Below you'll find some of our favourite medicinal herbs and herbal medicine blends. These are extracts that we have tried and currently use, or have used at one time or another.
We will take you through the history, known health benefits, our preferred suppliers and the best ways to incorporate it into your daily diet. We’ve also included links to scientific resources and our detailed review pages where relevant so you can find out more about them if you need.
You may notice the list of suppliers we recommend is 'short and repetitive' - this is by design as there are only a few brands we trust and use for these herbal extracts.
One of the most prized anti-aging herbs as per the Taoist philosophy.
Schizandra comes from the Schisandra Chinensis plant and from a Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine perspective, supports all five major organs as well as the 12 meridians, encouraging vibrant radiance from within.
This legendary tonic herb first gained popularity when an ancient Chinese emperor gave the berry from the Schizandra fruit to his concubines to help them maintain radiant, youthful complexions.
While it’s impossible to verify the facts of this story from long-ago, today scientists approve the amazing benefits of Schizandra, noting its ability to stabilise the nervous system, boost the immune system, improve coordination and enhance brain function. This is in addition to:
- Improving concentration, attention and thinking speed
- Enhancing liver function and digestive health
- Effectively reducing inflammation to ward off degenerative diseases
Schizandra’s mild flavour means you can use it in both sweet and savoury dishes. Keep things simple by stirring a small amount into some hot water or hot plant milk to make a delicious tea. Or get creative and sprinkle some over your lunchtime salad or sauteed veggies for a quick and easy health kick.
Buy SuperFeast Schizandra
Buy Teelixir Schizandra
Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) is one of the most renowned adaptogen medicinal herbs in use.
This potent tonic herb has been recognised for more than 6,000 years for its incredible ability to increase the body’s energy levels and resistance to stress.
Ashwagandha is an excellent calmative herb, also influencing the strength and resilience of all tissues in the body, restoring and revitalising them. This helps to prevent disease and slow down the ageing process. But that’s not all, these tonic herbs also:
- Reduces anxiety and decreases the chances of insomnia in people suffering from anxiety and stress
- Lowers blood sugar levels in healthy people and those with diabetes
- Boosts fertility in men
Because Ashwagandha has calming and soothing properties, it’s best taken in the evening to promote restorative sleep. You can mix a small spoonful of this herbal tonic into hot water or milk for a relaxing tea before bed. Or you can use it to create an anupan (a way of carrying tonic herbs deeper into the tissues) by combining it with equal parts ghee and honey.
You can read our current product reviews listed here -> (SuperFeast Ashwagandha) or click the links below to shop with our recommended suppliers:
|Buy SuperFeast Ashwagandha||Buy Teelixir Ashwagandha|| |
Buy Gaia Herbs Ashwagandha on Amazon
3. Eucommia Bark
Also known as Eucommia Ulmoides, Du Zhong and Rubber Tree, Eucommia Bark is an adaptogenic tonic herb, usually harvested from the Chiangbai Mountains in China.
Used by wise Taoist herbalists for centuries, this highly-praised herb is best known for replenishing Yang Jing — a kidney essence which helps the body cultivate power, stamina and strength.
Eucommia Bark is the major traditional Chinese medicinal herb for strengthening the tendons, ligaments and bones, helping to build a strong, sturdy and flexible skeleton. As well as being an amazing herbal tonic for athletes in training, Eucommia Bark is also excellent for:
The sweet, earthy taste of Eucommia Bark makes it ideal for simply stirring into a mug of hot water for tea. But if you’re not a fan of the flavour, you can easily mask it by mixing a spoonful into a freshly-pressed juice or smoothie for a burst of nutrition you won’t even notice.
You can read our current product reviews listed here -> (SuperFeast Eucommia) or click the links below to shop with our recommended suppliers:
|Buy Superfeast Eucommia Bark|| |
Buy Dragon Herbs Eucommia Bark On Amazon
An incredibly powerful herbal tonic in traditional Chinese medicine, Astragalus use dates back thousands of years and was originally used to nurture a robust circulatory system, support a healthy immune system, encourage optimal functioning of the liver and boost vitality.
As well as being used for an overall health boost, Astragalus can also help with specific conditions such as:
- Helping fight viral infections, such as Hepatitis B
- Preventing the appearance of tumours and slowing down their growth
- Protecting the cardiovascular system for a healthy heart
Astragalus has a pleasant, earthy taste that complements almost everything. Like the other tonic herbs in this ultimate guide, you can stir a spoonful of Astragalus into your favourite herbal tea or a mug of hot water for a simple, nourishing drink.
|Buy Superfeast Astragalus|| |
Buy Teelixir Astragalus
5.) Pine Pollen
Like all of the herbs and plant extracts on this list, pine pollen has been used in medicines and healing for many thousands of years. It's finding huge popularity again in modern times due to its strong-nutrient vales, high levels of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, energy-boosting effects and hormone regulation potential.
Most people are drawn to it for an increase in energy, testosterone levels and phyto-androgens to help with hormone balance. Many users with low energy due to flagging testosterone or menopause report quite quick changes and notice feeling much more invigorated within a couple of week of consistent use.
While attracting interest in the scientific community, most studies are still in the early stages but show some interesting promise:
Teelixir is currently our only recommended supplier of pine pollen powder. Click the banner below to find out more and shop with them directly:
SuperFeast Specialty Medicinal Herbs:
Superfeast are one of the best suppliers of medicinal herbs and mushrooms we've come across - second-to-none in sourcing standards, product potency, 3rd party testing, business ethics and customer service.
The products below are some of their specialty blends which combine a number of different medicinal herbs and mushroom extracts that work harmoniously for exponential benefits.
These are a convenient, cost-effective and easy way to get a wide spectrum of benefits from various medicinal herbs in one hit.
Jing is a combination of the most important and revered herbs, according to Taoist philosophy.
Together, Eucommia Bark, CS-4 Cordyceps, Cistanche Stem, Rehmannia, Goji Berry and Dendrobium Stem augment energy in the adrenals and kidneys, supporting optimal hormone function, extended stamina and a healthy libido.
Weakness, fatigue and hormonal imbalance are all signs of Jing depletion, which can result in cell deterioration and early ageing. Our wholesome Jing blend is designed to boost Jing energy, combating its negative effects while increasing energy levels and promoting vitality. It also:
- Neutralises free radicals to protect against early aging and disease
- Reduces cell damage through anti-inflammatory properties
- Lowers blood sugar levels to prevent diabetes
Since Jing is an excellent way to boost your energy, it’s best taken in the morning or early afternoon. Most people keep it simple and stir a small spoonful of the herbal tonic into a mug of hot water to make Jing tea. It's just as easy to stir it into plant milk, smoothies, juices or even hot chocolate - it's super versatile and works in nearly any kind of hot or cold drink.
7. Beauty Blend
A glowing combination of longan berry extract, micro-ground pearl powder, schizandra extract and goji extract, the SuperFeast Beauty Blend is specifically to 'beautify' via contributing essential vitamins and minerals required for cell and organ health.
Influenced by ancient Taoist herb knowledge, this herbal tonic is exceptionally high in vitamin C, antioxidants, polyphenols and minerals to breathe a new lease of life into your cells, organs, skin and eyes.
As well as promoting a healthy, youthful appearance, Beauty Blend also:
- Increases your energy levels and improves workout performance
- Decreases stress and enhances mental performance
- Safeguards the body from cold and flu, while enhancing the body’s natural defences
In the video above SuperFeast founder Mason Taylor talks about all the amazing benefits of Schizandra Berry, which is a key ingredient in Beauty Blend!
Thanks to its mild, sweet taste, Beauty Blend is perfect for stirring into your morning juice or smoothie. You can also combine it with a small scoop of Jing and hot water to make an epic tonic tea, or stir it into your favourite herbal tea for a calm and nutritious start to your morning.
You can read our complete review on Beauty Blend here (Superfeast Beauty Blends - Radiance & Anti-Aging) or click the banner below to shop directly from the team at SuperFeast:
8. Neural Nectar
Specifically crafted to reinforce brain functionality and neural activity to help us thrive in the modern world, Neural Nectar is a blend of tonic herbs proven to produce superior mental energy, focus, memory recall and memory retention.
The five herbs & mushrooms which make up this herbal tonic have been used for centuries to ward off neuro-degeneration and they’re just as useful and effective in daily life today as they were way back when they were discovered.
As well as help keeping your mind sharp and promoting healthy brain activity, Neural Nectar also gives you an extra edge by:
- Increasing general nerve health and restoring damaged nerves
- Providing a natural treatment for Parkinson’s disease
- Helping to fight inflammation to reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes
Stir Neural Nectar into your morning tea or coffee for a brain boost first thing that will stay with you throughout the day.
You can read our complete review on Neural Nectar here (SuperFeast Neural Nectar - Nootropic Brain Boost) or click the banner below to shop directly from the team at SuperFeast:
That’s a wrap!
We hope this article has really helped you understand more about herbal medicines and all the astounding things they can do for you and your health.
If you’d like to learn a bit more about each specific blend, as well as a few great other recommendations - take a look at our collection of medicinal mushrooms and tonic herbs.
As always, thanks heaps for reading! Got any questions or comments? Leave them below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.