- Basil is a source of vitamin K, iron, calcium and other nutrients. Herbal lore recommends basil for intestinal problems, headaches and ulcers. The herb may have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory health benefits. It can also reduce bloating in infants.
- Thyme is a common remedy for stomach complaints, lung congestion, coughing ailments and flu symptoms. It’s also helpful in controlling cholesterol levels.
- Rosemary regulates blood pressure and assists circulation. It fights bacteria and is a good decongestant.
- Mint is the herb to choose for aiding digestion.
- Lavender is calming. It helps relieve stress, fatigue, headaches and insomnia. A cup of lavender tea before bed can promote restful sleep.
- Fennel has relaxing properties. It can provide relief for digestive problems and menstrual cramps. It’s recommended for patients after radiation or chemotherapy. It nourishes organs such as the liver, kidneys and spleen. The tea is gentle enough for babies and can relieve colic.
- Oregano is a very good source of dietary fibre, vitamin K, iron and manganese. It is also a good source of vitamin A and C, calcium, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Oregano has antibacterial properties. Use it to treat stomach infections and parasitic problems. It can also boost the immune system, improve the respiratory system, and help reduce fever.
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- Ginger (grate or cut the rhizome into slices to make an infusion). Use it for morning sickness, abdominal cramps, nausea and motion sickness. It helps with indigestion and is a powerful antioxidant.
- Rooibos, says pharmacist Felicia Rubin, is “one of nature’s best kept healing secrets”. Rich in antioxidants, it boosts the immune system and removes harmful free radicals from the body. It is low in tannins and will therefore not interfere with the digestive system. Rooibos has anti-allergy, anti-cancer, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties,. With no side effects, it is something even babies can drink. It also has soothing and calming properties, which relieve colic in infants.
The asthmatic or allergy prone can also benefit from drinking rooibos.
*Herbs have medicinal properties. So, talk to your health care practitioner before including these in your or your child’s diet. Pregnant women need to be particularly careful of herbal teas as certain of them can promote uterine contractions.