Aside from being a great herb for the kitchen basil has a place as an herbal medicine as well. One reason I really like the basil plant is the fact that it's super easy to grow, you just need to be sure you water it from time to time. It's a very aromatic herb too having kind of a licorice smell and taste as well. One cool thing that I found you can do with basil is cloning it. Sounds crazy right? It actually is pretty easy all you have to do is find the plant you wish to clone (the parent plant) and trim about 3-4 inches down from the top of a stem. You'll want to make sure you make the cut just above a node. This area will be where a leaf attaches to the body of the stem and is where new growth takes place. Then you simply remove the lower leaves of the cut so that you're left with a stem containing 4-6 leaves on the top. After that you simply just need to place the cut into a shallow dish of water and wait for roots to sprout, then you simply just plant the new basil clone into some soil. To speed up the root growth I've found that applying a rooting hormone and some honey to the end of the stem helps a lot. As I mentioned above basil has a place as an herbal medicine so let's take a look at the properties of the basil plant that we can use.
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.
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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.
Ground cinnamon is very safe, the volatile oils can however cause a skin rash. Small amounts of coumarin can be found in Cassia and other cinnamons, generally only large doses of this compound will cause blood-thinning and liver problems, but it's something to be aware of. Also if you're planning on having surgery you should stop the use of cinnamon at least one week before going in as it has a blood thinning effect. You should also take care to monitor your blood sugar to avoid an unsafe drop in blood pressure.
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Scientists don’t know for sure. Since chemotherapy and radiation kill cells that divide often, stem cells may be less vulnerable because they rarely divide. Some scientists believe cancer stem cells may have genetic mutations that make them resistant to damage from chemotherapy or radiation, or cancer stem cells may be able to repair DNA damage more rapidly than normal cells.
Larrea tridentata Chaparral The leaves and twigs are used by Native Americans to make a herbal tea used for a variety of conditions, including arthritis, cancer and a number of others. Subsequent studies have been extremely variable, at best. Chaparral has also been shown to have high liver toxicity, and has led to kidney failure, and is not recommended for any use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or American Cancer Society.
Butterbur has traditionally been used to treat coughs, urinary problems, fever and to expel intestinal parasites. Now this herb is mostly used as an anti-inflammatory agent and to treat migraine headaches. It is sometimes used to reduce smooth muscle spasms. Some studies have found butterbur effective in reducing bronchial spasms in people having bronchitis and asthma. Butterbur extract is often just as effective as prescription antihistamines for treating allergic rhinitis and hay fever.
Here you get the soothing qualities of warming ginger, all wrapped up in a delicious easy to swallow cough syrup. Spicy ginger works as an expectorant, helping loosen and expel mucous from the lungs. It can also stop the painful tickle at the back of throat that can trigger a cough if the first place, if you are experiencing a dry cough. The peppermint will also help relieve the irritating tickle of a cough.
Clubmoss has been used by ancient healers for over two thousand years. The druids used this plant as a laxative and purgative. Native Americans used it to treat postpartum pain, fever, weakness and to stop the bleeding of wounds. Today, clubmoss is used for kidney and urinary disorders, stomach upset, diarrhea and for treating skin conditions. This plant contains a substance called Huperzine which may be effective for memory problems and Alzheimer’s disease. More studies on clubmoss have to be done to determine it’s safety and effectiveness in this area.
^ Kamin W., Maydannik V., Malek F.A., Kieser M.; Maydannik; Malek; Kieser (2010). "Efficacy and tolerability of EPs 7630 in children and adolescents with acute bronchitis: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled multicenter trial with a herbal drug preparation from Pelargonium sidoides roots". International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 48 (3): 184–191. doi:10.5414/cpp48184. PMID 20197012.
Bee Balm was often used by the Native Americans to treat intestinal problems, colic and flatulence. Tea made from this plant was used to induce sweating and break fevers. Bee balm is often used to treat the common cold and sore throat as well. The leaves of this plant are a good source of essential oil that contains thymol. Thymol is an antibiotic and often used as an ingredient in mouthwash.