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.
Cloves protect the heart, liver and lens of the eye of diabetic rats, according to studies. This spice contains 30% of the antioxidant phenol in dry weight, along with antioxidants anthocyanins and quercetin. As a result, cloves have antiseptic as well as germicidal properties. It also offers anti-inflammatory, analgesic and digestive health benefits for diabetics.
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The dandelion was in use as far back as ancient China for it’s medicinal properties. It was used as a potent diuretic and detoxifying herb. Other common uses of this plant were to treat breast inflammation, digestive disorders, appendicitis and to stimulate milk flow. European herbalists used dandelion as a remedy for eye problems, diarrhea, diabetes and fever.
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.
This powerful herb promotes glucose utilization in the cells thus lowering blood glucose. It also prevents the liver from releasing more glucose into the blood stream, lowers cholesterol and triglycerides. Some people feel Gymnema Sylvestre is one of the most powerful herbs for treating high blood glucose – both type 1 and 2 diabetics. Also Gymnema Sylvestre may help rejuvenate beta cells in the pancreas thus helping heal the condition.
Butterbur has traditionally been used to treat coughs, urinary problems, fever and to expel intestinal parasites. Now this herb is mostly used as an anti-inflammatory agent and to treat migraine headaches. It is sometimes used to reduce smooth muscle spasms. Some studies have found butterbur effective in reducing bronchial spasms in people having bronchitis and asthma. Butterbur extract is often just as effective as prescription antihistamines for treating allergic rhinitis and hay fever.
Even though it's more of a spice than an herb I couldn't help but include turmeric in the list of herbs. Turmeric has a long standing tradition in Hinduism and is associated with purity and cleansing. Still today Hindu brides will take part in a ceremony where they will cover their faces in a turmeric paste before taking their vows. Marco Polo once described turmeric as being a vegetable with qualities resembling that of saffron. It wasn't until about the mid 20th century when people from the west started to recognize turmeric for its medicinal benefits. Curcumin is the main ingredient found in turmeric that gives it these benefits, the concentration of curcumin in turmeric is around 3% this is why it is more beneficial to take an extract of turmeric.
In my opinion, when you find a certain therapy being criticized as being unproven quackery, then that is a pretty good sign that the alternative therapy is effective and safe. Big pharma would not waste their time preparing reports designed to warn people against using an alternative therapy unless that therapy is effective and has the potential for being a threat to their monopoly.
Most often you'll find the cayenne pepper being used as a cream, lotion or salve to treat problems like arthritis, shingles, joint and muscle pain related to fibromyalgia. It has also been shown to ease the pain of cluster headaches, improve circulation and relieve heartburn when taken orally. For nerve pain, apply a cream that contains about 0.075% capsaicin 3-4 times per day. You can also treat arthritis type pain by applying a cream with a concentration of about 0.025% 4 times a day. Often times it may take 6 to 8 weeks to see the results of cayenne begin to work, but just be patient and it will work. Capsules can also be found containing cayenne and are a great way to orally take your cayenne. In some cases cayenne pepper has also been know to decrease appetite and burn calories although this is probably only a small effect overall.
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).
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.
Witch hazel is an interesting herb that I've only recently found out about, it has been used for centuries by the Native Americans though. When I was researching witch hazel I assumed that it got its name for warding off witches or something, but it actually was used as a witching stick for locating underground sources of water and or precious minerals. Witch hazel might not be considered an herb by some due to the fact it is a woody shrub, but it has very strong astringent and antiseptic properties so I just had to include it in the list of herbs along with its uses. Today you can find witch hazel in pretty much any drugstore in the form of witch hazel water (an alcohol extract of the twigs). The only problem with this is that most of the time the extract contains very little of the actual herb, and most of the effects might actually come from the alcohol itself.