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Rosemary, Photography by Julian Mährlein, Art Direction by Elisabeth Bukanova

The AnOther Guide to Alternative Herbal Remedies

We present our round-up of time-tested, all-natural solutions to some of modern life's most common afflictions

Lead ImageRosemary, Photography by Julian Mährlein, Art Direction by Elisabeth Bukanova

In a beauty industry overrun with ever more elaborate diagnoses and the complex chemical concoctions to solve them, it’s easy to overlook herbs, whose naturally occurring properties have been serving us for millennia. It’s time, then, to get back to basics. With the help of photographer Julian Mährlein and set designer Elisabeth Bukanova, we represent the AnOther guide to herbal remedies, from the scented smudge stick to help you expel negative energy, to the hair conditioner you don’t even need to leave the house to find.

Far more than simply a flavoursome addition to a fish dish, parsley’s high chlorophyll content gives it impressive odour-neutralising properties: it has been known to ward off bad breath when chewed after a meal, and is without a doubt more aesthetically pleasing than a stick of gum.

Likewise, lavender's delicate but pervasive scent makes it a simple but effective air freshener. Place it inside small, net favour bags, along with a spoonful of rice, and place inside your shoe cupboard, to eliminate moist conditions in shoes and keep them fresh between wears.

Unknown to many, coriander is an effective purifying agent, particularly in polluted water: when placed in contaminated ground water it can even go so far as to absorb some heavy metals. A chic and natural alternative to Brita filters, perhaps?

Cloves are a natural carrier of eugenol, a powerful natural antiseptic and anaesthetic, making them the perfect and chemical-free means of providing respite to tender mouths. Place a few whole cloves on the afflicted area for pain relief and bacteria-reducing effects.

Lavender and Rosemary
Unknown to many, rosemary is a something of a miracle herb: it possesses powerful anti-inflammatory and antiseptic qualities, while its ursolic acid content helps to increase scalp stimulation, making it an excellent antidote to hair loss. Add four to five tablespoons of dried rosemary leaves, with a little lavender for the scent, to a vessel of water, and boil for a few hours to create an infusion. Cool, strain and rinse before applying to your hair: the solution will nourish from root to tip, and has even been said to darken and add shine.

Sage is an anti-bacterial agent, making it a fantastic disinfectant and deodoriser. Create your own homemade herbal deodorant by finely chopping a few leaves and mixing with 80% proof vodka, and leave for four weeks before straining and adding glycerin and essential oils of your choice. The woody, citrusy aroma is second to none.

Rose Petals
Incite your spiritual side with a herbal smudge stick – a bundle of herbs used to chase the negative energy from a space. Wrap the fresh leaves and petals to a stick and leave to dry for a few weeks in a warm space, before setting alight and waving gently (and carefully) around yourself and your home, to ward away evil.

Is there any end to the health-giving potential of lemon? A well as being a fine way to begin the day – the detoxifying properties of a slice of lemon in a glass of hot water are endless, if we’re to believe what we’re told – it also makes for a 100% organic cleaning agent. Mix the juice and rind of half a lemon with a quarter of a cup of white vinegar, two tablespoons of baking soda and four cups of hot water for a citrusy all-purpose cleaner.