In Europe, apothecaries stocked herbal ingredients for their medicines. In the Latin names for plants created by Linnaeus, the word officinalis indicates that a plant was used in this way. For example, the marsh mallow has the classification Althaea officinalis, as it was traditionally used as an emollient to soothe ulcers. Ayurvedic medicine, herbal medicine and traditional Chinese medicine are other examples of medical practices that incorporate medical uses of plants. Pharmacognosy is the branch of modern medicine about medicines from plant sources. Plants included here are those that have been or are being used medicinally, in at least one such medicinal tradition.
^ 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.
Echinacea can be taken as a tincture, tablet, or capsule to help speed up the recovery time of colds, chest infections, and sore throats. For sore throats gargle a diluted tincture of echinacea to help ease the symptoms. Like I mentioned earlier echinacea can be used to treat tooth aches, all you need to do is chew on the root. I can remember doing this in high school when we practiced range judging, and it is a very effective way of treating a tooth ache. A more desirable method however might be to turn the root into a tea rather than chewing on it.
Another well know spice in the kitchen cinnamon is also known for it's medicinal properties. While not really an herb I still think it's important to list it in our list of herbs and their uses. Cinnamon actually comes from the inner bark of a tree in the laurel family. It's been used for centuries and was a hot commodity for trade in ancient times. In fact during the first century A.D. in Rome cinnamon was 15 times more expensive than silver. The Chinese were probably the first to use cinnamon as a medicinal herb and used it to treat fevers, and diarrhea. In more modern times cinnamon has been found to stabilize blood sugar levels in diabetics, as it has an insulin kind of effect.
Clubmoss has been used by ancient healers for over two thousand years. The druids used this plant as a laxative and purgative. Native Americans used it to treat postpartum pain, fever, weakness and to stop the bleeding of wounds. Today, clubmoss is used for kidney and urinary disorders, stomach upset, diarrhea and for treating skin conditions. This plant contains a substance called Huperzine which may be effective for memory problems and Alzheimer’s disease. More studies on clubmoss have to be done to determine it’s safety and effectiveness in this area.
Fortified milk is a great source of Lactobacillus. You should be cautious, however, as dairy may make phlegm thicker. You can also purchase probiotic supplements at most health food stores and drug stores. Each supplement manufacturer may have different daily recommended intakes. Probiotics are also added to some yogurt types and are present in miso soup and sourdough breads.
The cancer industry is probably the most prosperous business in the United States. In 2014, there will be an estimated 1,665,540 new cancer cases diagnosed and 585,720 cancer deaths in the US. $6 billion of tax-payer funds are cycled through various federal agencies for cancer research, such as the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The NCI states that the medical costs of cancer care are $125 billion, with a projected 39 percent increase to $173 billion by 2020.
Survey data about how many cancer patients use alternative or complementary therapies vary from nation to nation as well as from region to region. A 2000 study published by the European Journal of Cancer evaluated a sample of 1023 women from a British cancer registry suffering from breast cancer and found that 22.4% had consulted with a practitioner of complementary therapies in the previous twelve months. The study concluded that the patients had spent many thousands of pounds on such measures and that use "of practitioners of complementary therapies following diagnosis is a significant and possibly growing phenomenon".
Yarrow is a great herb for the herbal first aid kit. It works good for stopping the blood flow of minor cuts its also used to heal bruises and to alleviate symptoms associated with colds, flues, and fevers. Native Americans used Yarrow calling it "life medicine" they used it to treat earaches and toothaches alike. Its said that Achilles of Greece used Yarrow to heal his soldiers during the Trojan War, in fact Yarrow's genus Achillea comes from the name Achilles. A lot of people through out the history of people have used Yarrow as sort of a standby herb and that is why I've decided to include it in our list of herbs.
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Chemical compounds in plants mediate their effects on the human body through processes identical to those already well understood for the chemical compounds in conventional drugs; thus herbal medicines do not differ greatly from conventional drugs in terms of how they work. This enables herbal medicines to be as effective as conventional medicines, but also gives them the same potential to cause harmful side effects.
Suma is often called Brazilian ginseng due to it’s ability to increase strength and stamina. Like all adaptogens, suma is good for reducing the ill effects of stress. This herb balances the hormones and is commonly taken to strengthen the adrenal glands. Suma contains germanium and so can boost the immune system. It contains many vitamins and minerals and has anti-inflammatory properties as well.
This flowering plant has traditionally been used as a liver tonic, useful for detoxification and improving liver function. Dandelion is known as a stimulant that is typically used for kidney and liver disorders. It is also traditionally used to reduce the side effects of prescription drugs, as well as to treat infections, gallbladder problems, water retention and swelling.15 Dandelion greens, which you can prepare simply by blanching them in boiling water for 20 seconds to help remove their bitter flavor (they can also be added to vegetable juice), contain many nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin B6, thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, iron, potassium, and manganese. They are a particularly good source of vitamin A and may also have cancer-fighting properties.
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