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.
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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.
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Burdock was used by the ancient Greeks to treat wounds and infections. This herb is loaded with beneficial vitamins and minerals and is often used to treat liver and digestive problems, urinary tract infections, ulcers, eczema, psoriasis and to boost energy and stamina. It has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties and makes a good immune system booster and blood purifier.
My personal favorite so far for promoting relaxation has got to be Valerian root. Like a lot of the others in this list of herbs Valerian was probably first used by the Greeks and Romans centuries ago. They used Valerian to treat disorders associated with the liver, urinary tract and digestive tract. Valerian was once used to treat people suffering from the plague. Your cat will love Valerian too! People use to use Valerian in sort of the same way we use catnip today. Some people said that you could judge the potency of the Valerian by the reaction the cat had to the herb. In addition to being a cat attractant rats are also found of the foul smell and it was once used in rat traps. Today Valerian root is most commonly found as a sleep aid and anxiety relief supplement.
Generally garlic is safe when taken in a regular diet. There is a small risk that can occur however when eating large doses of garlic daily, taking more than 4 cloves per day can affect the bodies platelets hindering them from forming clots. You should reduce use of garlic around 2 weeks before having any type of surgery and if you're taking anticoagulant medications.
Since herbs are food and not medicine, you can take them any time you want. Of course you wouldn’t want to take an energizing herb like ginseng right at bedtime or sedative herbs first thing in the morning. You can decide for yourself if you prefer to take herbs with or without a meal. Do what works best for you. Some herbs work better on an empty stomach. You’ll have to read the label on the supplement bottle to see what is the recommended way of taking them.
As you might expect from an herb like basil it has a pretty profound effect on the digestive system and therefore works great for treating things like indigestion, bloating, and gas. When you're using basil to treat these problems I'd recommend taking around 2-4 grams per day taken orally. Basil can also be used to ease the effects of insect bites and stings, simply crush the leaves so the juices can be applied to the affected area. To help from getting bit or stung in the first place you can rub the juice on the skin in the same manner, basil works rather well as an insecticide so this should help repel the bugs.
A 2005 study on the anti-diabetic effect of garlic in normal and lab-induced diabetic rats, published in the journal Phytomedicine, found that oral administration significantly decreased serum glucose, total cholesterol, triglycerides, urea, uric acid, creatinine, AST and ALT levels. While it increased serum insulin in diabetic rats, this was not so in the case of normal rats. It concluded that garlic must be considered as an excellent candidate for future human studies on diabetes mellitus. What’s better, garlic also helps reduce high cholesterol levels, a complication that diabetics often face. This makes it an excellent spice to use for in all recipes!
Mind-body connection: This idea says that cancer forms because of, or can be controlled through, the person's mental and emotional state. Treatments based on this idea are mind–body interventions. Proponents say that cancer forms because the person is unhappy or stressed, or that a positive attitude can cure cancer after it has formed. A typical claim is that stress, anger, fear, or sadness depresses the immune system, whereas that love, forgiveness, confidence, and happiness cause the immune system to improve, and that this improved immune system will destroy the cancer. This belief that generally boosting the immune system's activity will kill the cancer cells is not supported by any scientific research. In fact, many cancers require the support of an active immune system (especially through inflammation) to establish the tumor microenvironment necessary for a tumor to grow.
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.
The great fear of the pharmaceutical industry, and the vast cancer treatment system that it controls, is that a non-patentable and inexpensive cure for cancer might put them out of business. Sadly, these organizations exist to turn a profit from cancer treatment, which is measured in the billions of dollars every year. They are in the business of treating cancer not curing it.
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The most common uses for Aloe would have to be for treating burns, wounds and skin conditions. This along with the ease of growing an Aloe plant make it an excellent choice to have in your herbal first aid kit. The real magic of the Aloe Vera plant comes from the gel inside the leaves, to extract this all you need to do is take a knife and take off the thick skin on the outside of the leaf. The part you're after is the clear inner gel, sometimes referred to as the inner fillet, because you're sort of filleting the leaf. When used on minor burns you should run the affected area under cool water for about ten minutes before applying the Aloe gel. Continue to apply the gel several times per day for both burns and skin conditions. If you're using the Aloe gel for lowering blood sugar levels take about one tablespoon daily (be sure to use an aloe gel that's free of aloin if taking orally).
One of the best and well known ways to get the benefits of turmeric is to just simply eat it. Maybe not plain but adding it to dishes is a great way. Don't be fooled into thinking that eating turmeric in food is the only way to reap the benefits of this amazing herb. You can use it in teas too, or as a toothpaste you can on occasions dip your tooth brush into some turmeric powder brush it onto your teeth and allow it to sit for about 3 minutes. It won't stain your teeth but the same can't be said for your toothbrush or sink. You can also make a turmeric paste by mixing some of powdered turmeric with a little water and use it topically.