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  • Writer's pictureAmy Malone RN LAc DiplOM

Can herbs in your home help keep you healthy?

different herbs used for herbal medicine and cooking

It seems like a no brainer.... a home that smells great with the air purification benefits of medicinal herbs. Using herbs to scent the air and protect the home dates back centuries. In medieval times linen bags were filled with herbs and placed as mats on the floor so when walked on, the volatile oils were released to help deter pathogens and freshen the home from unpleasant odors. Some of these herbs have immune boosting and air purifying qualities. They work by releasing oils into the air that help strengthen your system and push pathogens out. In China, there is research and development being done on air purification filters embedded with chinese herbs. Research shows that the herb embedded filters outperform the standard fiters and are now being moved forward in their development. But there is a simple way to get these benefits in your own home.

You can stuff these beneficial herbs into cotton or linen satchcels and place them around your home. It works best if you place 1 in each room. The essential oils will evaporate into the air and then at the end of the week, you can burn the herbs (safely, in stainless steel pot around nothing flammable or in a fireplace) before replacing them with fresh ones. Burning them releases the remaining essential oils into the air, but you can also simmer the herbs on the stove if you don't want to create smoke in your home from burning them. Here are a few of my favorite air purifying herbs for winter months. I've included the category of medicinal they belong to as well as some general qualities.

  • Ding Xiang - Clove - warms the interior and dispels cold, is often used for digestive issues, to warm the stomach, treats parasites and has been used traditionally in incense.

  • Ai ye -Mugwort - regulates the blood, is often used in women's health formulas and pain relief formulas. It is warming and has antiseptic air purifying qualities.

  • Rou Gui -Cinnamon Bark - warms the interior and dispels cold, high in volatile oils that release well into the air, it has kidney and immune strengthening properties as well as being warming and invigorating.

  • Cang Zhu - Atractolodes - aromatic herbs that transform dampness, it is used to strongly dry dampness, is highly aromatic and is indicated in digestive problems and joint pain. It has traditionally been burned with mugwort to strengthen the body and clean the air.

  • Jing Jie - Schizonepeta (Japanese Catnip) - cools and releases the exterior, is used to dispel wind, treat hot type colds and flus and relieves muscle spasms.

  • Bai Dou Kou - Cardamom - aromatic herbs that transform dampness, it is a digestive herb that is warming and strengthens the stomach. As an aromatic, it is potent at strengthening the body and promoting the movement of mucous.

These also make great gifts. Make a bunch of satchels to send to friends and family for the holidays. Some of these herbs are available from my pharmacy at the clinic, so ask about them next time you come in!

Headshot of Amy Malone, an acupuncturist

I'm Amy! I'm an acupuncturist, herbalist,

registered nurse and expert in anxiety, stress relief, and women's health.

**All information and resources found on are based on the opinions, experience and research of the author unless otherwise noted. All information is intended to educate and motivate readers to make their own nutrition and health decisions after consulting with their health care provider...even if that provider may be the author ;)

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