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.
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.
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:
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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.
Comfrey's use dates back centuries to at least the time of the ancient Greeks. During the Middle Ages comfrey was a widely cultivated herb found extensively in the gardens of monasteries. Throughout the 1700's and 1800's comfrey was also a popular herb grown in many gardens across Europe as well as America. Sometime during the late 1970's however research revealed that comfrey when taken internally can cause severe liver damage so it has lost popularity and internal use is even banned in many countries. Applications in the from of ointments, poultices, or creams are still considered safe though. Comfrey can still be found growing wild in central Europe, and the eastern United States as well as a few western states.
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.
If you want to dramatically improve all aspect of your health, herbs and herbal supplements can help. Herbs are a natural means of preventing and curing many types of ailments and diseases. About 25% of prescription medicine has at least one herbal component in it. These are most often potent herbal extracts. An example would be aspirin, that was first created from white willow bark.
The ability to synthesize a wide variety of chemical compounds that are used to perform important biological functions, and to defend against attack from predators such as insects, fungi and herbivorous mammals is called herbal medicine. Many of these phytochemicals have beneficial effects on long-term health when consumed by humans, and can be used to effectively treat human diseases. At least 12,000 such compounds have been isolated so far; a number estimated to be less than 10% of the total.
The nettle plant can actually be used in a variety of ways, teas, capsules, tinctures, and extracts are all great ways to get the benefits of the nettle. Capsules can be found and used to help manage hay fever symptoms, anywhere from 300 to 800 mg is generally the recommended dosage. Teas are often consumed to gain the strong diuretic effects that nettles have, because of this diuretic effect it has been used for things such as arthritis, prostate health, and high blood pressure.
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.