The ability to synthesize a wide variety of chemical compounds that are used to perform important biological functions, and to defend against attack from predators such as insects, fungi and herbivorous mammals is called herbal medicine. Many of these phytochemicals have beneficial effects on long-term health when consumed by humans, and can be used to effectively treat human diseases. At least 12,000 such compounds have been isolated so far; a number estimated to be less than 10% of the total.
This plant’s Hindi name translates as “sugar destroyer,” and the plant is said to reduce the ability to detect sweetness. It’s regarded as one of the most powerful herbs for blood-sugar control. It may work by boosting the activity of enzymes that help cells use glucose or by stimulating the production of insulin. Though it hasn’t been studied extensively, it’s not known to cause serious side effects. Try these healthy habits to prevent diabetes.
Modern medicine now tends to use the active ingredients of plants rather than the whole plants. The phytochemicals may be synthesized, compounded or otherwise transformed to make pharmaceuticals. Examples of such derivatives include digoxin, from digitalis; capsaicine, from chili; and aspirin, which is chemically related to the salicylic acid found in white willow. The opium poppy continues to be a major industrial source of opiates, including morphine. Few traditional remedies, however, have translated into modern drugs, although there is continuing research into the efficacy and possible adaptation of traditional herbal treatments.
Cannabis is a controversial subject, and really needs an article all itself. Few people understand all the political and therapeutic issues surrounding cannabis. Many people distinguish between “medical cannabis” and “marijuana.” Medical cannabis involves research into particular varieties of the cannabis plant and its therapeutic value. Many varieties are lower in THC, the component that makes people “high”, while recreational varieties of marijuana have been cultivated to maximize the amount of THC for recreational purposes. For more information see:
In Australia, one study reported that 46% of children suffering from cancer have been treated with at least one non-traditional therapy. Further 40% of those of any age receiving palliative care had tried at least one such therapy. Some of the most popular alternative cancer treatments were found to be dietary therapies, antioxidants, high dose vitamins, and herbal therapies.
Mullein once again makes the list as an important herb to have in your herbal medicine chest. Mullein, also called lungwort, can be boiled to create a tea or respiratory tonic. Add honey to turn the tea into soothing cough syrup. Mullein is often used to reduce inflammation and may be used to help relieve symptoms of asthma or bronchitis. Be sure to consider mullein in your cough syrup mix.
^ Akhondzadeh, S.; Noroozian, M.; Mohammadi, M.; Ohadinia, S.; Jamshidi, A. H.; Khani, M. (2003). "Salvia officinalis extract in the treatment of patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease: A double blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trial". Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics. 28 (1): 53–9. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2710.2003.00463.x. PMID 12605619.
Chop the ginger and add it along with the peppermint to 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat so that the liquid simmer. Simmer until the liquid has been reduced by half, than strain. Let it cool slightly, and then stir in 1 cup of honey until it has been dissolved completely. Bottle and take 1 tablespoon every few hours as needed to ease your cough. Keep refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.
Multiple scientific reports suggest that Iscador augments the immune response. Iscador has been shown to increase natural-killer cell function helping the body’s own surveillance system in attacking unwanted cancer cells. It also stimulates antibodies to cancer cells which helps recognize the cancer cells as foreign in order to destroy these cells.
A spice that is popular for soothing your stomach and aiding digestion, Ginger also has the ability to normalize blood sugar levels. Multiple studies conducted on rats show that ginger extract can have a significant anti-hyperglycemic effect. It lowers serum total cholesterol, triglycerides and increases the HDL-cholesterol levels. Diabetes is a digestive disorder. Diabetics often face issues with acid reflux. Ginger soothes the entire digestive tract, giving diabetics another reason to add ginger to their supplement regimen.
As I mentioned before the whole dandelion plant can be used. The root has many beneficial medicinal properties in the digestive system such as the stomach, liver, and pancreas. The dandelion root helps to increase digestive secretions and has also showed capabilities of stabilizing blood sugar levels. The leaf of the dandelion herb primarily acts on the kidneys helping with fluid clearance and even weight loss. Dandelion leaves are a common choice for those looking to lower blood pressure too. When combined with other herbs it works to effectively relieve skin problems such as acne, boils, and eczema.
Alternative treatments, by contrast, are used in place of mainstream treatments. The most popular alternative cancer therapies include restrictive diets, mind-body interventions, bioelectromagnetics, nutritional supplements, and herbs. The popularity and prevalence of different treatments varies widely by region. Cancer Research UK warns that alternative treatments may interact with conventional treatment, may increase the side effects of medication, and can give people false hope.
Alfalfa is known as the “Father of all foods” for good reason. It’s loaded with important vitamins, minerals, trace minerals and protein. It’s roots go down as far as 30 feet to pull valuable nutrients from the earth. This plant is commonly used for arthritis, digestive problems, as a diuretic and for reducing high cholesterol. It’s a very inexpensive source of easily digested nutrients. Alfalfa is high in beta-carotene and builds the immune system. This plant also contains chlorophyll, which is good for reducing bad breath and body odor.
Dry air can particularly worsen a dry, irritating cough, so getting an air humidifier can be really useful! Alternatively, you can place a bowl of water on your radiator so that as it warms it releases moisture into the air. Just be careful that your home doesn’t get too humid, as this could cause damp and mould which aren't good for a cough either!
When using Aloe you want to be sure not to apply it to any open wounds. Also be careful when processing the leaves. As I mentioned above you want to make use of the clear gel part, and steer clear of the yellow sap that oozes out. While not a big deal when applying to the skin one should be aware of this yellow sap when taking aloe gel orally. This yellow sap is called aloin and if ingested will act as a laxative, if aloin is used for prolonged periods it can lead to depletion of electrolytes and dependence for normal bowl function.
Plantain has a pretty lengthy list of uses it can be used to treat acne by applying a salve or tincture to the area, crushing the leaves can make for an effective sunburn remedy. Just from these two uses alone you can see that plantain would make a great herb for any prepper, but the benefits of plantain don't stop there. The ability that plantain has for treating cuts and healing wounds makes it a great herb to know when in the wilderness and to keep in your herbal first aid kit. Plantain can also be used to treat colds, the flu, and respiratory infections by brewing a tea with it.
With the rise of what is now known as conventional allopathic medicine shortly before World War I, herbalism slowly fell out of favor and became to be thought of as folk medicine. Rather than viewing nature as the source of healing, as had been done for centuries, people began to view drugs and other "modern" healing methods as superior. If you would like to start using medicinal plants more often, here are 9 tips to do so:16
There are actually several ways to use lemon balm making it a versatile herb both in the ailments it treats and the way it can be administered. Teas are a great way to gain the benefits of lemon balm. You can steep about 5 or 6 fresh leaves in a cup of water for six minutes and strain. Try adding some honey or stevia to sweeten the deal up and add a little mint for an extra layer of flavor. Tinctures, extracts, and ointments are all also widely available for lemon balm and all are quite effective.
Stinging nettles are an interesting herb that we have growing rampant here in Nebraska. Stinging nettles are probably best known for... you guessed it their sting. The nettle plant has sharp spines that are revealed upon contact and once they penetrate the skin of the victim they release a concoction of chemicals into the body. This is where you get that burning/itchy feeling from, the nettle plant releases a mix of histamine, acetylcholine, serotonin, and formic acid. Surprisingly the treatment for this burning sensation can be found via the plant itself; the juice from the nettle's leaves can be applied to the affected area. Aside from the painful sting of the nettle plant it is actually a very beneficial herb and undoubtedly deserves to be in our list of herbs here.