Natural remedies have been known to ease any number of ailments for quite some time, and given the high price of health care, herbs are more relevant than ever. Treating yourself with home remedies is the easiest, least invasive and sometimes the most effective way to ease some health problems. Instead of reaching for ibuprofen, sleeping pills or antidepressants to treat hot flashes, cramps, insomnia and other symptoms, Shape Magazine's Bahar Takhtehchian is here to discuss a more natural approach.

Symptom: Hot Flashes Solution: Sage How to use it: Steep one tablespoon dried sage in one cup of hot water for 15 minutes or longer to make a tea; then strain and cool. Drink up to three cups a day. Why it works: Sage has been passed down from generation to generation in Western herbal tradition as the surefire cure for hot flashes. It's such an effective astringent that it has been approved in Germany as a treatment for excessive sweating for both women and men.

Symptom: Insomnia Solution: Valerian How to use it: Take two 500-milligram capsules one hour before bedtime as needed. Why it works: Studies have affirmed the safety and efficacy of valerian for treating garden-variety insomnia. It works the same way that valium or Xanax do, but the effect is much milder--there is no hangover afterward, nor any risk of addiction. Although it's a reliable sedative for most people, a small percentage will get jazzed up instead. Therefore, take caution, and don't take valerian if you're taking any kind of prescription sleep aids.

Symptom: Fatigue Solution: Ashwagandha How to use it: Take two 500-milligram capsules two times every day. Why it works: Ashwagandha is considered the great revitalize in some traditions. It's an adaptogen that helps balance out scattered energy, which means that when stress or hormonal changes leave you feeling drained, ashwagandha can help fill up your tank.

Symptom: Heavy Periods Solution: Yarrow How to use it: Take two droppers of tincture every 30 minutes until bleeding slows. Why it works: Yarrow is the go-to herb for menstrual bleeding. It slows excessive bleeding, relieves pelvic congestion, reduces cramping, and flushes out the liver so estrogen and progesterone are processed more efficiently.

Symptom: Lack of Concentration/Loss of Memory Solution: Water Hyssop How to use it: Take one 500-milligram capsule twice daily. Start off slowly--perhaps with a 100-milligram dose twice per day--and increase the dosage in 100-milligram increments up to the recommended 1,000 milligrams a day. If you're taking too much too quickly, you may feel a little spacey and should contact a practitioner for specific guidance on dosing. Why it works: Used in Western European, Chinese and Indian herbal traditions, water hyssop can help ease agitation if you're feeling particularly distracted before or during your period; it's also good for everyday focus. Water Hyssop can sharpen concentration, memory and overall intelligence, and it also improves longevity.

Symptom: Anxiety Solution: Kava Kava How to use it: Take one dropperful of tincture in warm water as needed (not to exceed three doses a day). You can take it daily, but not for more than a consecutive three-month period. Why it works: Taken in small doses, Kava Kava can calm anxiety. It relaxes the musculature and clears the mind, and can be used for everyday stressors like airplane flights, public speaking, interpersonal confrontation and PMS symptoms. This herb should not be taken with alcohol or used by anyone with hepatitis or other serious liver diseases and should definitely be avoided during pregnancy.

Where to find the Herbs:

For bulk herbs, teas & tablets: - Mountain Rose Herbs ( - Frontier Natural Products Co-op ( - Banyan Botanicals (

For herbal tinctures, oils & glycerites: - Herb Pharm ( - Gaia Herbs ( - LocalHarvest (