It seems that every day modern medicine is telling us to take more prescription drugs. Yes, there’s a drug for everything. While some drugs are very useful and do save lives, there is a limit to how many of these the body can withstand. I believe that taking herbs whenever possible is the better and more healthy way to go. There are many herbs that work as well or better than prescription medicine for certain conditions. An example would be taking ginger rather than Dramamine. In scientific tests, ginger was found to be more effective in preventing motion sickness.
Kava has been used by the people of the Pacific islands for hundreds of years as a natural anti-anxiety treatment. It has a very calming effect and puts most people in a good mood. It has also been used as a diuretic and to treat urinary problems, arthritis, asthma and upset stomach. It is very popular in Germany and often prescribed as the first line of treatment for anxiety disorders.
Ashwagandha is sometimes called “Indian ginseng” as it has many similar health properties. This herb is very popular in the Ayurvedic system of health in India. It is considered an adaptogen. It is commonly used to relieve stress and strengthen the immune system. It has the ability to strengthen the body and increase endurance. This herb has been used in India for over 3,000 years as a rejuvenator. The seeds of this plant are thought to have a diuretic effect, while the leaves possess anti-inflammatory, analgesic and sedative properties. The chemical components of the root have anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, immune strengthening and sedative properties. This is a great herb for athletes and active people that need to increase their energy, strength and stamina.
Many therapies have been (and continue to be) promoted to treat or prevent cancer in humans but lack good scientific and medical evidence of effectiveness. In many cases, there is good scientific evidence that the alleged treatments do not work. Unlike accepted cancer treatments, unproven and disproven treatments are generally ignored or avoided by the medical community, and are pseudoscientific.
In the past, I have regarded herbs, in many cases, as a safer alternative to drugs, useful for treating various symptoms but not to treat the underlying cause. I have since revised my opinion on this quite significantly, and now realize that herbs can help support your health from a very basic level, just as foods do. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, you could walk into a drug store and find hundreds of herbal extracts for sale. Upwards of 90 percent of the population at that time knew how to use the medicinal plants growing in their backyards to treat common illnesses and injuries; they had too, as this was virtually the only "medicine" available.
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.
Dr. Brian Peskin also starts with the research of Dr. Otto Warburg on cellular respiration. Dr. Peskin uses the principles of the ketogenic diet in his protocol for cancer treatment. His therapy is a high fat low carbohydrate diet that includes three other aspects. He has found that the standard American diet is highly deficient in certain “parent oils,” which are needed in small amounts to build healthy cells and to provide for proper cell respiration. The absence of healthy oils damages cellular respiration and contributes to cancer formation. He has developed a blend of oils, which provide what the body needs to provide for proper cellular respiration. Also, most Americans are deficient in certain minerals. He uses supplements to provide for these deficiencies. Finally he uses a combination of herbs that are similar to Essiac Tea (described later) to assist with cleansing and detoxification of the body. He presents thoroughly researched evidence that fish oil may not be the best source of omega 3 oils. This makes his research somewhat controversial for some people. His book, The Hidden Story of Cancer, provides extensive scientific documentation of all his claims. Don’t neglect to read the appendices.
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.
Sage can have metformin-like effects, according to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition. So you may want to consider cooking with this herb often. It has been used on traditional medicine for centuries, as one of the important herbs to reduce blood sugar. A word of warning – taking high doses of sage along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low, a condition called hypoglycemia. Monitor your blood sugar closely.
Stachytarpheta cayennensis Blue snakeweed Extracts of the plant are used to ease the symptoms of malaria. The boiled juice or a tea made from the leaves or the whole plant is taken to relieve fever and other symptoms. It is also used for dysentery, pain, and liver disorders. A tea of the leaves is taken to help control diabetes in Peru and other areas. Laboratory tests indicate that the plant has anti-inflammatory properties.
A popular spice used in Indian cooking, and the main ingredient of ‘curry’ that has taken the world by storm, turmeric has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that all come together to help diabetics manage more stable blood sugar levels. It helps boost immunity and prevent infections that diabetics are often vulnerable to. Studies conducted on rats prove that curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is effective in reducing plasma glucose level and HbA1C as well as improving the lipid profile. Many diabetics also suffer from arthritis, since the sugar laden blood and inflammatory processes typical to diabetes often damage joints. Turmeric, with its anti-inflammatory abilities, also helps with these joint pains.
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.
Eating a clove or two of fresh garlic a day may indeed keep the doctor away, in part because it has immune-boosting, antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal effects. Many of garlic's therapeutic effects are derived from its sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin, which are also what give it its characteristic smell. In general, garlic's benefits fall into four main categories: