Next on our list of herbs is Echinacea also known as Black Sampson it is referred to by the native Americans of the plains as snake root, because it was traditionally used to treat snake bites. Natives have also used the plant to treat tooth aches. The Omaha-Ponca and Cheyenne Indians were probably the most notable groups to use the plant. They would rub the juices of the roots on their bodies to heal burns, or like mentioned above would use it to treat toothaches. Today echinacea is used to boost the immune system and speed up recovery of the common cold. There are three common types of Echinacea; Echinacea purpurea is the most common it can be found from Georgia to Oklahoma, north to Michigan and east to Ohio. Echinacea pallida is most commonly found in open woods and prairies, people in states like Michigan, Arkansas, Texas and here in Nebraska can find this species of Echinacea. Echinacea angustifolia tends to grow on roadsides, prairies, and outcrops; people living in Texas all the way north through the Dakotas and southern Saskatchewan you can also expect to find it growing in Montana and Colorado.
Native Americans and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) use this common weed as a great digestive tonic and bladder curative. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) helps stimulate the kidneys to increase urine production, which helps flush out your urinary tract. Dandelion tea is also used for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and often referred to an anti-diabetic plant and anti-hyperglycemic. It is also used as a treatment for atherosclerosis.
A dry, hacking, cough is another story. This is one we do want to stop. It can be caused by allergies, dry air, a random tickle at the back of your throat that won’t go away, the aftermath of a cold, being in a dusty environment, etc. etc. For these we turn to demulcents, ingredients that soothe irritated mucous membranes and remove the irritant triggering the cough. Studies conducted in 2004 found that the main ingredients in cough syrup (dextromethorphan and diphenhydramine) have the same effectiveness in treating coughs as a placebo ingredient. Instead of turning to chemical solutions for every minor ailment, try some home remedies instead. They are not only better for you, but they taste a whole lot better than most cough syrup too!
In Europe, apothecaries stocked herbal ingredients for their medicines. In the Latin names for plants created by Linnaeus, the word officinalis indicates that a plant was used in this way. For example, the marsh mallow has the classification Althaea officinalis, as it was traditionally used as an emollient to soothe ulcers. Ayurvedic medicine, herbal medicine and traditional Chinese medicine are other examples of medical practices that incorporate medical uses of plants. Pharmacognosy is the branch of modern medicine about medicines from plant sources. Plants included here are those that have been or are being used medicinally, in at least one such medicinal tradition.
Lavender is probably best noted for its fragrance and is a great herb to use for a stressful day. The lavender is commonly used in soaps, detergents, or just as an essential oil due to the calming effects it produces from the fragrance. Lavender is also commonly used in teas for the same reason. The history of lavender is quite long stretching back about 2500 years to the Mediterranean. Today it is mostly grown for its uses as an essential oil. In addition to brewing tea with lavender it also ha many other culinary types of uses, lavender can add a floral type of taste with a little sweetness. It works great in some seafood, soups, salads, and baked goods.
Since herbs are food, there are generally no dangerous side effects of using them in there natural state. If they are herbal extracts, they are more potent then the raw herb and should be taken in smaller doses to get the desired effects. Some herbs have a cleansing and detoxifying effect on the body and can cause diarrhea and nausea if taken in large quantity. Don’t worry. It’s good to cleanse the body of toxins. Just start off slowly and you’ll get the best long term results.
Thyme is also nutrient dense, containing vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, manganese, copper, and dietary fiber. When used in cooked dishes, thyme may also help inhibit glycation and the formation of dangerous advanced glycation end products (AGEs) in your food, making thyme a potential preventer of heart disease and premature aging. Due to thyme oil's antibacterial, antispasmodic, antirheumatic, expectorant, hypertensive, and calming properties, it also has a long list of topical uses, including:
However, patients who use alternative treatments have a poorer survival time, even after controlling for type and stage of disease. In 2017, researchers at Yale School of Medicine published a paper which suggested that people who choose alternative medicine over conventional cancer treatments were more than twice as likely to die within five years of diagnosis. And specifically, in those with breast cancer, people choosing alternative medicine were 5.68 times more likely to die within five years.