Other Herbs You Can Use in Your Magical Butter Machine Recipes

Your Magical Butter Machine (or Herbal Infuser, depending on your preference) offers a gateway to infusion innovation. Most people are using it strictly with the kind of herb you’d pick up in a dispensary, but a home infuser doesn’t discriminate! If you’re not mixing it up by adding in other types of herbs now and then, you’re missing some golden opportunities to explore DIY holistic health. Any time you hear the words “DIY” and “Holistic” together, you should approach with a healthy amount of caution, but we’ve got your guide to some of the most useful herbs you can use for healthy infusion solutions right from your kitchen counter with your home infuser. It should go without saying that we are not medical professionals nor is the herb guide below intended as a medical recommendation. If you have even the slightest shadow of a doubt, call your doctor before proceeding with infusions of any of the herbs below. Also, as is the case with most holistic medicine, the majority of the benefits listed below are unproven by accepted research, though widely supported by anecdotal evidence and studies. Therefore, when we talk about benefits, we’re talking about potential benefits. Now that the powers-that-be are hopefully satisfied, let’s dive in!

There’s Much More to Chamomile Than a Soothing Sleep-Aid

Chances are you’ve not come this far in life without sipping on some pre-bedtime chamomile tea. Chamomile is a soothing herb derived from tiny flowers. If you’re struggling with insomnia, infusing chamomile could add a calming effect to recipes or tinctures that helps you find Mr. Sandman or eases general anxiety. But anecdotal evidence and research alike indicate that chamomile has much more potential than a relaxing sleep aid. This gentle herb may offer a myriad of other benefits as diverse as fighting the common cold, easing menstrual pain, treating a whole host of skin problems and generally boosting your immunity. Like almost anything you consume, it is possible to have an allergic reaction to chamomile and consuming too much can lead to vomiting in rare cases.

Potential benefits of chamomile:

  • Anxiety relief
  • Sleep aid
  • Immune booster
  • Common cold treatment
  • Reduces muscle spasms
  • Relieves menstrual pain
  • Settles upset stomachs
  • Heals cuts and skin ailments
  • Acne treatment
  • Skin rejuvenation
  • Heals sunburns
  • Eliminates dandruff

Potential risks of chamomile:

  • Allergic reaction
  • Vomiting

Damiana and a Romantic Playlist at 2AM on a Saturday Night

If you’re looking to spice things up in the bedroom, search just beyond the spice rack for some damiana leaves. Never heard of damiana? It’s a popular aphrodisiac that can feel slightly intoxicating when smoked, so it’s a good candidate to pop in your home infuser for an interesting Saturday night. But aside from matters of a sexual nature, damiana offers additional potential benefits that make it an herb worth considering for infusion, even if you aren’t trying to turn up the romantic heat. It’s purportedly helpful for dieting and weight loss, easing the strains of depression, bringing mental focus and clarity and even treating bladder issues that result in bedwetting. However, damiana may not be ideal for diabetics since it specifically effects the blood pressure of those living with diabetes. Because of its effects on blood pressure, it shouldn’t be taken in the 2 weeks leading up to surgery. Finally, as with many herbs on this list, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are discouraged from using this herb.

Potential benefits of damiana:

  • Aphrodisiac
  • Dieting and weight loss supplement
  • Eases headaches
  • Antidepressant
  • Settles upset stomach
  • Relieves constipation
  • Treats ailments linked to bladder problems and bedwetting
  • Fortifies mental and physical stamina

Potential risks of damiana:

  • May impact blood pressure in diabetics
  • Not to be taken by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Not to be taken in 2 weeks leading up to surgery

Echinacea: Your Yoga Instructor’s Number One Choice of Flu Preventative

Echinacea has been thrown around by armchair physicians and overly helpful co-workers as an effective immune booster for as long as we can remember, but this herb really has been shown to up the production of helpful white blood cells that combat invading illness. So, while we’ve all been recommended echinacea during flu season so much that it feels like a joke, it’s not a suggestion to be taken lightly. But echinacea’s purported uses extend well beyond flu season with studies and anecdotal evidence indicating that it can be used to balance blood sugar, manage anxiety, as an anti-inflammatory and even to reduce the risk of breast cancer. Echinacea also has its possible risks, including a negative impact on certain autoimmune diseases. It can also lead to allergic reactions, nausea and slight stomach pain.

Potential benefits of echinacea:

  • Immune booster
  • Flu preventative
  • Balances blood sugar
  • Promotes healthy cellular growth
  • Reduces breast cancer risks
  • Anxiety relief
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Anti-inflammatory

Potential risks of echinacea:

  • Nausea
  • Mild upset stomach
  • Allergic reaction
  • Adverse effects on autoimmune diseases

The Renaissance Herb Known as Ginkgo Biloba

If you’ve had any troubles with memory or are struggling against any form of degenerative brain disease, ginkgo biloba may be worth your consideration. Touted as a natural brain booster, ginkgo biloba is easily one of the most diverse herbs on our list. In addition, it may bring significant benefits as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that improves heart health through optimizing your circulatory system. It’s also been shown to be a potential natural treatment for anxiety and depression that improves your eye health, combats symptoms of asthma and even treats dysfunctions of a sexual nature. However, it only makes sense that an herb that offers such a wealth of possible benefits would also present an array of potential risks. Ginkgo biloba has been found to have negative interactions with certain medications including blood thinners, SSRIs, MAOIs, NSAIDs and anti-depressants. It can also result in allergic reactions and other unpleasant side effects such as nausea, dizziness, headaches, upset stomachs and diarrhea.

Potential benefits of ginkgo biloba:

  • Treatment of degenerative brain diseases including forms of dementia
  • Memory booster
  • Optimizes circulation
  • Improves heart health
  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antidepressant
  • Anxiety relief
  • Promotes eye health and improvement in vision
  • Reduces headaches and migraines
  • Relieves symptoms of asthma and COPD
  • Eases symptoms of PMS
  • Treats sexual dysfunctions

Potential risks of ginkgo biloba:

  • Nausea and dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach
  • Allergic reaction (sometimes resulting in rash)
  • Adverse effects on certain medications (including blood thinners, SSRIs, MAOIs, NSAIDs and anti-depressants)

Infuse Hawthorn Berry to Get to the Heart of a Problem

With someone in the U.S. dying of cardiovascular disease every 37 seconds, you may want to consider infusing Hawthorn Berry into your next healthy recipe. This deep red berry is indicated to tackle a whole host of problems related to the heart and blood flow in general, helping to get your capillaries, arteries and veins in tip top show. It can also help you to get cholesterol under control while serving as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that reduces blood pressure, eases digestion and may even prevent hair loss. However, among its risks, hawthorn berry may have some adverse interactions with medications meant to treat heart problems, blood pressure or cholesterol issues.

Potential benefits of hawthorn berry:

  • Treats a series of heart problems
  • Optimizes healthy veins, capillaries and arteries
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Decreases blood fats
  • Digestive aid
  • Hair loss preventative
  • Anxiety relief

Potential risks of hawthorn berry:

  • Mild nausea and dizziness
  • Adverse effects on certain medications (including those treating the heart, blood pressure, and cholesterol)

St. John’s Wort: A Strong Antidepressant with a Host of Potential Side Effects

One of the most popularly recommended natural treatments for depression is St. John’s Wort. With so much anecdotal heat behind this herb, it could be a tempting infusion for a feel-good recipe. But did you know that studies have also found St. John’s Wort as a potential treatment for physical abrasions including burns, sores and even bruises? Unfortunately, the benefits of St. John’s Wort are somewhat unbalanced by the herb’s potential risks. These include adverse effects on the body’s metabolic enzymes which opens a whole Pandora’s box of possible health problems. It can also negatively interact with a slew of prescription medications including anti-rejection medicines and treatments for heart problems, HIV, cancer, and seizures not to mention anticoagulants and oral contraceptives. Some of these negative interactions can result in disorientation, fever, mood swings, rapid heart rate, diarrhea, excess perspiration, muscle spasms and shivering. St. John’s Wort is also one of the herbs that breastfeeding or pregnant women should avoid.

Potential benefits of St. John’s wort:

  • Antidepressant
  • Treating bruises, burns, sores and other skin abrasions

Potential risks of St. John’s wort:

  • Negative impact on metabolic enzymes
  • Adverse effects on certain medications (including those intended for anti-rejection, heart, HIV, cancer, oral contraception, anti-seizure, and anticoagulants)
  • Disorientation
  • Fever
  • Mood swings
  • Increased heart rate
  • Shivering
  • Excess perspiration
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle spasms
  • Not to be taken by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding

Yerba Mate: A Little Herb Versus the Big C

Easily one of the most popular herbs on this list, although that surge in popularity seems to have really picked up in the last decade, Yerba Mate is said to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer including breast, prostate, colon, colorectal and endometrial. While yerba mate is often used in teas, you can also infuse it in your very own kitchen with your Magical Butter Machine or Herbal Infuser. If you need any added incentives to consider infusing this herb, studies have also suggested that it potentially reduces your risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Then, when you get into reports of its applications in weight loss, raising bone mineral density and its antioxidant properties, it’s easy to see why so many health enthusiasts love yerba mate. However, like the other herbs on our list, it does have its risks. Definitely refrain from infusing yerba mate if you’re pregnant. It can also raise your rate of blood lipids and temporarily elevate your blood pressure.

Potential benefits of yerba mate:

  • Reduces risks of certain cancers (including breast, prostate, colon, colorectal and endometrial)
  • Lowers risk of heart disease
  • Lowers risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Lowers risk of Parkinson’s disease
  • Lower’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease and additional types of dementia
  • Aids in weight management
  • Antioxidant
  • Raises bone mineral density

Potential risks of yerba mate:

  • Not to be taken by women who are pregnant
  • Temporarily elevates blood pressure
  • Raises blood lipids

While these are some of our favorite herbs to consider for infusion, they are by no means your limits. Many herbs can be infused, but all require diligent research. For example, lavender may seem innocuous enough but can poison you if the lavender oil is taken orally. Therefore, infusion for recipes shouldn’t be done on a whim. Some other popular herbs you may wish to consider for infusion innovation include blue lily, brahmi, burdock root, cramp bark, dong quai, gotu kola, guarana, herb-Robert, licorice root, mugwort, nettle, passion flower, paw paw leaves, raspberry leaf, saw palmetto, Siberian ginseng, skullcap, slippery elm, and Tribulus. 

 

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