3 Herbs Everyone Can Benefit From
We chatted with our favorite herbalista, Olivia Amitrano of Organic Olivia, about all things herbal medicine and how we can incorporate more herbs into our daily lives. Olivia’s brand is a modern spin on traditional herbalism and makes something so nuanced and complicated really digestible, which we’re all about. Olivia shared her 3 favorite herbs that you probably already have in your kitchen and how to start using them today. Enjoy!
1. Ginger Root
This one is great because you can pick up a chunk of fresh ginger for super cheap at your local grocery store, and even corner store! First and foremost, ginger is a really supportive digestive aid for people with cold, sluggish digestion who may struggle with constipation. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, it stokes your internal fire and warms up your digestive system. Research studies show that ginger is a prokinetic agent, meaning that it can improve gut motility, a common underlying cause of chronic constipation. Additionally, ginger is antimicrobial so it can help to balance out your gut microflora if your sluggish digestion is in part due to SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth).
How to use it:
To make a light ginger infusion, you can simply slice up some fresh ginger root, pour boiling water over the top, and let that steep. To kick it up a notch (or if you just like a stronger tea), put your ginger slices into a pot of water, bring it to a boil and then let it simmer for 20ish minutes until it’s a gorgeous golden color. This makes a really strong, spicy tea that isn’t for the faint of heart! Olivia loves drinking this once a day during the week leading up to her period. Note: don’t consume this right before bed as it’s going to fire you up energetically instead of winding you down like, say, a chamomile or calendula tea.
Now, you can also add the ginger infusion or tea into your baths to warm up your kidneys and strengthen that meridian in TCM. When you’re chilled to the bone or really want a good sweat, this is an amazing hack
This is another warming herb for digestive support. But Olivia’s favorite thing about cinnamon is its ability to protect your metabolic health, particularly in terms of balancing your insulin sensitivity. She likes to think of it as a longevity food since it can help prevent pre-diabetes and diabetes as we age.
How to use it:
On the most basic level, you can add cinnamon into your smoothies to help prevent a dramatic blood sugar spike, especially if you’re having a smoothie with bananas or dates or something quite sweet. Another simple way to incorporate cinnamon for metabolic health is to drink a cup of cinnamon tea before you enjoy dessert.
This is the grassy part of the oat plant that is often discarded when farmers harvest the grain. It’s incredibly nutritive, containing minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamins and a number of other plant constituents. It’s also considered a neurotrophic restorative herb which makes it particularly nourishing to people dealing with fried nerves, loads of stress, addiction, or any situation that zaps their adrenals. It essentially restores the function of any nerves or organs that have been damaged from prolonged stress. And the best part? You can’t really overdo it/overdose on it and it won’t be contraindicated for anybody. So it’s super safe for kids, too. In fact, it’s great for growing kids who are making new bone cells and need extra minerals and nourishment.
How to use it:
Make an infusion by pouring hot water over dried oatstraw and letting it steep for a few minutes up to overnight. You can make a big batch of this in a mason jar and sip on it throughout the day. It’s like drinking your salad greens!