I believe it's better to use mild remedies for minor health problems and save the more potent—and risky—prescription medications for more serious conditions. Here then, are my top 25 favorite healing herbs and their uses. All are safe and effective, but be sure to discuss any herbs you are taking with your doctor. Some herbal remedies (such as the antidepressant St. John's wort) can interact with medications.
Herbal medicine is also a mainstay of naturopathic physicians (NDs or NMDs) who use natural approaches to promote wellness and treat disease. Naturopaths typically cannot prescribe pharmaceuticals, and not all practitioners have attended a four-year naturopathic medical school, so prospective patients should ask about training. You can locate a practitioner via the website of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. While some MDs and DOs (osteopathic physicians) are learning about herbs and other natural remedies, it is unlikely that herbal medicine was included in their formal training.
^ Jump up to: a b Bauml, J. M.; Chokshi, S.; Schapira, M. M.; Im, E.-O.; Li, S. Q.; Langer, C. J.; Ibrahim, S. A. & Mao, J. J. (26 May 2015). "Do attitudes and beliefs regarding complementary and alternative medicine impact its use among patients with cancer? A cross-sectional survey". Cancer. 121 (14): 2431–38. doi:10.1002/cncr.29173. PMC 5589132. PMID 26011157. Lay summary – Reuters (26 May 2015).
St. John’s Wort is known as Nature’s anti-depressant. It is often used to treat depression and anxiety. It functions as an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor). This allows more serotonin to stay where it’s needed to keep you feeling less depressed and anxious. This herb is also used to help quit smoking. St. John’s work possesses antiviral properties and can be used externally to treat wounds.
I can’t say how underrated steam is when it comes to anything dealing with a cough, cold, or congestion. Not only does the steam quite literally loosen mucous and phlegm, almost immediately, but you can add numerous essential oils that will impart wonderful healing benefits. These benefits (anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory etc.) do become airborne, so you inhale them while you breathe in the steam. For this particular blend I’ve included both tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil, which can help soothe and open your airways as well as help fight off bacteria or a virus.
Native Americans and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) use this common weed as a great digestive tonic and bladder curative. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) helps stimulate the kidneys to increase urine production, which helps flush out your urinary tract. Dandelion tea is also used for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and often referred to an anti-diabetic plant and anti-hyperglycemic. It is also used as a treatment for atherosclerosis.
A dry, hacking, cough is another story. This is one we do want to stop. It can be caused by allergies, dry air, a random tickle at the back of your throat that won’t go away, the aftermath of a cold, being in a dusty environment, etc. etc. For these we turn to demulcents, ingredients that soothe irritated mucous membranes and remove the irritant triggering the cough. Studies conducted in 2004 found that the main ingredients in cough syrup (dextromethorphan and diphenhydramine) have the same effectiveness in treating coughs as a placebo ingredient. Instead of turning to chemical solutions for every minor ailment, try some home remedies instead. They are not only better for you, but they taste a whole lot better than most cough syrup too!
The ripe fruit of this cactus has been shown in some small studies to lower blood sugar levels. You may be able to find the fruit in your grocery store, but if not, look for it as a juice or powder at health food stores. Researchers speculate that the fruit may possibly lower blood sugar because it contains components that work similarly to insulin. The fruit is also high in fiber. Try these foods for the best diabetic diet.
My wife and I were waiting in one of the examination rooms that were used by the oncology department. It was in a very old part of the university medical complex and the walls between the examination rooms were not soundproof. We could hear a muffled conversation from the next room. Then there was a sudden increase in volume as the patient began to yell at the doctor. It has now been over eighteen years since I heard this man’s statement, and I doubt that I will ever forget it.
If you want to dramatically improve all aspect of your health, herbs and herbal supplements can help. Herbs are a natural means of preventing and curing many types of ailments and diseases. About 25% of prescription medicine has at least one herbal component in it. These are most often potent herbal extracts. An example would be aspirin, that was first created from white willow bark.
Also known as pot marigold or poet's marigold, calendula is different than the common marigold that's usually seen in gardens. Unlike the common marigold calendula is edible and has very little scent. During medieval time in England the calendula herb was commonly used in stews, syrups, and breads. Calendula is also rather easy to start from seed and is able to adapt to many growing conditions making it an ideal herb to grow. The herb is found in many gardens all over the world for subarctic to tropic regions. Now let's take a look at the key medicinal uses that make calendula such a prized herb to have.
An aromatic herb that is used commonly to add flavor and aroma to meats and soups, Rosemary also helps normalize blood sugar levels naturally. It promotes weight loss as well, which is a double boon for many diabetics who struggle with weight issues. A research conducted in Jordan to study the effects of rosemary on lipid profile in diabetic rats proved that rosemary has no significant influence on serum glucose level and lipid profile of normal rats. But when rosemary extract was administered to diabetic rats for 4 weeks, their blood sugar levels reduced by 20%, cholesterol levels by 22%, triglyceride levels by 24%, and LDL by 27% while HDL increased by 18% respectively. The study was published in African Journal of Plant Science Vol. 6 in 2012.
People with type 2 diabetes may use oral medication instead of insulin. Sometimes, people with type 2 can only control their blood sugar with insulin, but it is possible for people with this type to end their need for both insulin and oral medication. Through careful control of diet and establishing and maintaining a healthy weight body mass index (BMI), people can reduce and even reverse type 2 diabetes and its consequences.
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.