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.
Probably best know for adding a little spice to your dish the cayenne pepper has much more to offer as a medicinal herb. Most lists of herbs tend to leave out the uses of cayenne pepper for whatever reason, but I feel that they are worth mentioning here. The use of cayenne can be found back as far as the Aztecs and Mayans; commonly they would use it for toothaches and infections. The main chemical responsible for the vast medicinal benefits is capsaicin, this is the same chemical that gives you that burning sensation when you bite into a jalapeno. If you're interested in tips for growing peppers check out the article we've previously posted.
One of the lesser known herbs that lower blood sugar, Marjoram, is high in polyphenols, which aids in stabilizing blood glucose levels. A 2012 study in the Journal of Evidence Based Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that Marjoram reduced formation of Advanced Glycation End (AGE) products. AGE is the smoking gun that researchers today say is responsible for a lot of the complications that diabetics face, like damage to arteries and eyes. Try sprinkling marjoram on your dinner every night to help add variety in flavor. It can often be used as a substitute for oregano in cooking and brings in a distinct flavor to dishes.
Alternatively, make a steam bowl. To do this, fill a large bowl with hot water. Add herbs or essential oils, such as eucalyptus or rosemary, which may also relieve decongestion. Lean over the bowl and place a towel over the head. This traps the steam. Inhale the vapors for 5 minutes. If the steam feels hot on the skin, discontinue until the skin cools down.
Ginger is a very popular herb used in cooking, its native to Asia and has been used for over 4,400 years. During ancient times it was used by Indian, Chinese, and Arab medicines. It was so highly prized during the Middle Ages that they thought it actually came from the Garden of Eden. Today you can find ginger being used to treat problems associated with motion sickness. Teas are also made from the root to cure a number of ailments. The Greeks and Romans are probably the first to introduce ginger to Europe at least 2,000 years ago. This probably happened due to trading through the Arabian Peninsula.
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.