^ Hamamelitannin from Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) Displays Specific Cytotoxic Activity against Colon Cancer Cells. Susana Sánchez-Tena, María L. Fernández-Cachón, Anna Carreras, M. Luisa Mateos-Martín, Noelia Costoya, Mary P. Moyer, María J. Nuñez, Josep L. Torres and Marta Cascante, J. Nat. Prod., Publication Date (Web): January 4, 2012, doi:10.1021/np200426k
Bacopa has been used as an effective brain tonic in the Ayurvedic system of medicine for thousands of years in India. It is beneficial to long and short term memory. The plant’s saponins and bacosides have a positive effect on the brain’s neurotransmitters and can help one to think faster. Bacopa is now being studied as a possible treatment for ADHD, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Bacopa is often used to treat depression, anxiety asthma, allergies and bronchitis. It also possess some anti-inflammatory properties.
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.
Ground cinnamon is very safe, the volatile oils can however cause a skin rash. Small amounts of coumarin can be found in Cassia and other cinnamons, generally only large doses of this compound will cause blood-thinning and liver problems, but it's something to be aware of. Also if you're planning on having surgery you should stop the use of cinnamon at least one week before going in as it has a blood thinning effect. You should also take care to monitor your blood sugar to avoid an unsafe drop in blood pressure.
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Fo-Ti is a famous longevity herb that has been in constant use in China for thousands of years. It is very popular with older men and is said to be able to turn one’s hair back to it’s youthful color and appearance. This herb is also used to strengthen the lower back and knees. It can be used to strengthen the bones, tendons and muscles as well as to nourish blood.
Native Americans used black cherry as a medicinal herb to treat coughs. The bark from the black cherry tree was often made into a tea or syrup and used to expel worms, heal ulcers and treat burns. They also used it as a remedy for sore throat, pneumonia and lack of appetite. Black Cherry bark contains a glycoside called prunasin. This substance quells spasms in the smooth muscles of the bronchioles, thus reducing the cough reflex.
NCI and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) are currently sponsoring or cosponsoring various clinical trials that test CAM treatments and therapies in people. Some study the effects of complementary approaches used in addition to conventional treatments, and some compare alternative therapies with conventional treatments. Find all cancer CAM clinical trials.
These seeds, used in Indian cooking, have been found to lower blood sugar, increase insulin sensitivity, and reduce high cholesterol, according to several animal and human studies. The effect may be partly due to the seeds’ high fiber content. The seeds also contain an amino acid that appears to boost the release of insulin. In one of the largest studies on fenugreek, 60 people who took 25 grams daily showed significant improvements in blood sugar control and post-meal spikes.
You don’t usually think of pineapple as a cough remedy, but that’s probably because you’ve never heard of bromelain. There’s evidence to suggest that bromelain — an enzyme found only in the stem and fruit of pineapples — can help suppress coughs as well as loosen the mucus in your throat. To enjoy the most benefits of pineapple and bromelain, eat a slice of pineapple or drink 3.5 ounces of fresh pineapple juice three times a day.
Alternative cancer treatments have not undergone properly conducted, well-designed clinical trials. Among those that have been published, the methodology is often poor. A 2006 systematic review of 214 articles covering 198 clinical trials of alternative cancer treatments concluded that almost none conducted dose-ranging studies, which are necessary to ensure that the patients are being given a useful amount of the treatment. These kinds of treatments appear and vanish frequently, and have throughout history.
Integrating the best of evidence-based complementary and alternative cancer treatments with the treatments you receive from your doctor may help relieve many of the symptoms associated with cancer and its treatment. Discuss all of your options with your doctor and together you can determine which strategies might work for you and which are likely to have no benefit.
To treat colds or coughs you can make a nice ginger tea by cutting about one inch of ginger root into small pieces and adding to two cups of water and simmering for fifteen minutes. Ginger can also be found in capsules like a lot of other herbs and is a great way to get your dose of ginger for the day. Extracts are also available but are generally used only to treat osteoarthritis.
The Cherokee Indians used black cohosh as a diuretic and as a remedy for fatigue and tuberculosis. Other native Americans used this herb to treat menstrual irregularities, rheumatism and sore throat. Today, black cohosh is used mainly to reduce the severity of premenopausal and menopausal symptoms, such as excessive sweating, depression and hot flashes.
Skullcap is yet another herb of the mint family, the first medicinal use of skullcap can probably be found by looking into the lives of the Native Americans. The roots of skullcap were used as a remedy for things such as diarrhea and kidney problems. It wasn't until the settlers came that skullcap gained a reputation of being a sedative. They used it for a whole host of problems including fevers, anxious nerves, and even rabies. Today skullcap is most often found being used as a mild relaxant to treat anxiety, insomnia, tension headaches and fibromyalgia. When it comes to growing skullcap for your herb garden you have to realize that there is the North American variety and the Chinese type as well. The Chinese skullcap is the much hardier variety and well grow well in both warm or cool climates and handles drought very well. The North American skullcap however requires a very rich, moist and slightly acidic soil, so conditions have to be more precise in order to get the North American variety to grow.
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There are 100 medicinal herbs in the National Library of Medicine Herb Garden. Some are more commonly known herbs and they can be used to improve many aspects of your life. As always, do not begin any course of treatment, herbal or otherwise, without first consulting your doctor or other healthcare provider. Make sure you discuss with your health practitioner any medications you take, as herbs can have harmful interactions with others drugs!
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.