Peppermint is a very well known herb today because of the amazing aroma it has when the leaves are bruised. It's used in so many different ways both culinary and medicinal it's hard to not include peppermint in our list of herbs. Peppermint originally came from England some time in the late seventeenth century and is actually a hybrid that comes from the water mint and spearmint. Peppermint was also extensively used in Ancient Egypt where they used it for indigestion, dried peppermint leaves have even been found inside of the pyramids that the Egyptians had built. During the eighteenth century peppermint became popular in Western Europe for treating things like nausea, morning sickness, and respiratory infections.
Astragalus is one of the most popular herbs in the traditional Chinese medicine system. It has been in use for over 2000 years. This herb is most often used as a diuretic and for lowering high blood pressure. Many people use it to treat upper respiratory infections as well as the common cold, as it seems to increase the production of white blood cells. Traditionally, this astragalus has also been used to increase energy, strengthen the immune system, treat excessive sweating, ulcers and diarrhea.
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.