The Healing Power of Herbs

The Healing Power of Herbs

In this age of skyrocketing medical costs, more and more people are taking responsibility for their own health. They are turning to herbs, nature’s “super-medicines.” Many people are already including herbs in their diets, not just to season foods, but for maintaining and restoring vibrant health. Even researchers have found that chimpanzees are attracted to plants that contain natural antibiotics and are known to dose themselves with herbs in times of sickness. There isn’t a culture on earth that doesn’t include the use of herbs as medicines in its historical record, so it is doubtful that mankind could have survived on earth without herbs. Generally, people are encouraged to use herbs as a supplement to help them stay well, rather than just when they become ill. An herb generally works on the body in one of three ways: it can purge the body of impurities, it can build up the immune system, or it can strengthen the constitution of an organ so it will heal itself. Individual herbs can accomplish one or more of these functions, and specific herbs are used for specific ailments although there is often more than one herb which can aid in the treating of an ailment. Here are some of the most popular, potent and readily available herbs being used all over the world:

Good For Nausea and Flatulence: Anise

Infused as a tea, anise seeds relieve nausea, aid digestion and stops flatulence. It is also a natural antacid. To make this wonder tea, add seven teaspoons of aniseed to a quart of water, simmer down to one and a half pints, strain and sweeten with honey.

Good For Digestion: Basil

Basil aids digestion, relieves gas, and reduces nausea, stomach cramps and migraines. Its antibacterial effect works against yeast infections of the mouth and throat. It acts as a tonic for the nerves and soothes tired muscles.

Good For Sleep: Chamomile

The fresh or dried flowers prepared as tea is an effective night cap to aid sleep. Its relaxing effect works on headaches and calms a nervous stomach. As a mouthwash, it relieves toothache. Chamomile tea bags dipped in ice water soothe eyes when placed on closed eyelids for several minutes. Chamomile tea is commonly served after meals to aid in digestion.

Good For Immunity: Echinacea

This is a popular antibiotic in the herb world. Its roots are used to treat fevers, viral infections, insect bites and to relieve allergies. It is found to stimulate the body’s defenses, hence, is used in AIDS research.

Good For Mood and Memory: Sage

Healthy young volunteers who were given capsules with high doses of sage essential oil in a study at Northumbria University said their mood was consistently enhanced. In older people, Australian research found extract of sage improved memory and attention. The herb is thought to inhibit breakdown of acetylcholine, a brain chemical associated with attention span and sharp memory.

Good For the Blood: Garlic

Garlic is considered the greatest of all herbal antibiotics. Tests confirmed its effectiveness in treating yeast infection, staphylococcus, salmonella poisoning, and colds. It purifies the blood and reduces high blood pressure, cholesterol and clotting.

Good For Thrush: Oregano

This contains the powerful antifungal agents thymol and carvacrol. A study at Georgetown University Medical Centre in Washington showed that carvacrol inhibited the growth of the fungus Candida albicans (which causes thrush) better than a common antifungal medication

Good For The Brain: Ginkgo biloba

A mainstay of traditional Chinese medicine for more than 5,000 years, ginkgo biloba improves blood and oxygen supply to the brain and central nervous system. The extract from the yellow autumn leaves is said to promote brain efficiency and mental alertness, vitality and peripheral circulation.

Good For Anemia: Rosemary

Rosemary leaves are high in iron — a lack of this mineral can cause fatigue and anaemia. The herb also contains carnosic, which can shield the brain from damaging free radicals. This lowers the risk of strokes and neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s, says a study in the Journal Of Neurochemistry.

Good For High Blood Pressure: Basil

A study at Xinjiang Medical University found an extract of the herb reduced blood pressure in a similar way to medication. It’s thought it affects levels of endothelins, proteins which constrict blood vessels.

Good For Diabetes: Fenugreek

A daily extract of its seeds improves diabetics’ blood sugar control and decreases insulin resistance, say researchers at the Jaipur Diabetes and Research Centre in India. It may also increase inadequate breast milk supply, nursing mothers have reported. But as the spice is also a traditional remedy to induce childbirth, the seeds shouldn’t be taken during pregnancy.

Good For Stomach Ulcers: Cardamon

If you’ve had a stomach ulcer, or are prone to them, try adding cardamom to spicy dishes or rice pudding. Indian researchers found its oil extracts protected the stomach lining and helped guard against ulcers induced by alcohol and aspirin. The active ingredient is thought to be nootkatone, obtained from ground pods

Good For Energy: Ginseng

Ginseng strengthens the body by increasing the efficiency of the endocrine, circulatory and digestive systems and body metabolism. It reduces physical, mental and emotional stress by increasing oxygen-carrying red blood cells and immune-strengthening white blood cells, thereby eliminating toxins. Tests show ginseng inhibits cancer cells and increases alertness, reflex actions and stamina. This potent herb should not be taken continuously. Of course, we strongly recommend you consult with one of our trained health professionals in all matters relating to your physical and mental health so the correct diagnosis and care can be given to your specific condition. The above information should not replace the services of trained professionals. Call us today to find out how herbs can help your health.