(Taraxacum officinale)
10-15 drops tincture 3x/day

Dandelion, which is rich in potassium, supports kidneys, bladder and liver; helps incontinence problems; and supports your hormonal system.

Harvest flowers, leaves and roots from your yard. Roasted dandelion root makes a tea that tastes like coffee. You can also make tea from the leaves and flowers.

(Sambucus nigra)

1 tablespoon syrup/day

An excellent medicine for treating flus and viral infections, it also helps reduce the risk of heart attacks.

Elderberries are most readily available in syrups and jams. Raspberries, blueberries and purple grape juice offer similar cardiovascular benefits.

(Zingiber officinale)
2-4 g fresh root/day

Ginger's warming and stimulating effect on the body aids digestion.

Cook with the fresh root, drink ginger tea or chew crystallized chunks. Dried ginger may aggravate conditions such as diarrhea.

(Ginkgo biloba)
120-240 mg native
dry extract 2-3x/day

Ginkgo, a cerebrovasodilator and antioxidant, supports short-term memory, maintains heart artery elasticity and improves circulation.

Contraindications include vasculitis or prescription medicines that are either vasodilators or vasoconstrictors. If you get a headache when you take it, you don't need it.

(Crataegus laevigata)
160-190 mg native water-ethanol extract/day

A cardiac tonic that strengthens the cardiovascular system, the bioflavonoid-rich antioxidant herb is also a vasodilator.

Because hawthorn stimulates the heart, be sure to alert your health care provider if you are considering taking it, especially if you are also taking a beta-blocker.

(Urtica dioica)
8-12 g/day nettle preparation

Nettle's anti-inflammatory properties help with arthritis and allergies. It also contains bone-supporting calcium, making it especially good for postmenopausal women.

You can harvest these yourself (wear heavy gloves, long sleeves and pants). Properly identify the plant and harvest in the spring, before it flowers. Cook as you would spinach.

Dong quai (Angelica sinensis)
1.5-3 g extract, 1.5 g tincture, or 10-20 drops of essential oil/day

This energizing herb tones and supports female organs and makes estrogen more available to the body.

Dong quai provides deep, sustained energy rather than the bursts caffeine provides. It is not likely to be effective in women who have had radical hysterectomies.

(Panax quinquefolius)
1-2 g of root/day

Ginseng, an energizing herb, contributes to male virility and tones the reproductive system and the adrenal glands.

Unlike caffeine, this herb provides sustained energy. Other forms of ginseng, such as Siberian, are available, but the doses may differ.

Saw palmetto
(Serenoa repens)
320 mg/day in capsule or tincture form,
2 divided doses

Saw palmetto helps prostate function by preventing testosterone from converting to DHT, which contributes to prostate enlargement.

Studies now show that taking saw palmetto does not affect PSA test results.

Sources: Greta Montagne, clinical herbalist, American Herbalist Guild; The Complete German Commission E Monographs (American Botanical Council, 1998).