Double, double toil and trouble. Fire burn and cauldron bubble,” chanted the witches of Shakespeare’s Macbeth as they added ingredients to their brew. While an eye of newt and tongue of frog may not interest you, there are a few other herbs that are fitting for both Halloween and great health. Adapted from my book Arthritis-Proof, here are a few of my favorite Halloween herbs (based on their names) that are great year-round:
Devil’s Claw—With a name like that, pain wouldn’t dare mess with this herb. And that’s a good thing for anyone suffering from it. Devil’s claw is one of the most effective pain remedies I’ve used. It is effective for both joint and muscle pain, making it a good option for people suffering from arthritis, fibromyalgia, or other type of pain disorder.
Witch Hazel—Small twigs of this North American shrub are distilled to create a witch hazel solution that is effective for cleaning cuts and wounds. Some herbalists recommend it as an application for varicose veins or diffused into the air to aid nasal congestion.
Witch’s Aspirin—more commonly known as willow bark. The effective ingredient in aspirin was originally found in willow bark, which is also sometimes called white willow bark. The plant version offers excellent pain relief when prepared as a tea or tincture (alcohol extract). It is a natural blood thinner so check with your doctor if you’re taking prescription blood thinners.
Wolf Berry—More frequently referred to as goji berries, wolf berries are superfoods full of disease-fighting antioxidants. They are used in Chinese Medicine to improve eyesight, skin, and the kidneys and liver. They also have anti-cancer and anti-aging compounds, including: zeaxanthin, physalien, cyptoxanthin, sesquiterpenoids, triterpenes, and beta sitosterol. Like witch’s aspirin, wolf berries may thin blood so check with your doctor if you’re taking prescription blood thinners.