Our Top 10 Medicinal Herbs

It’s official. Medicine started with shamans telling their patients to ‘eat this plant’. Later on in history, we were told that such practices were witchcraft and that we should be healed through prayer. Then we were told that prayer was superstition and that we should take tablets instead.

Now physicians are increasingly realizing the importance of plant-based medicines in the treatment of a number of ills. Medical advice for the twenty-first century? ‘Eat this plant’. Let’s look at the medicinal plants that you’ll find in your kitchen and home garden and what they help with.

  1. Garlic

This kitchen standby has proven itself effective in the prevention and treatment of colds and flu. But that’s not all: eating garlic helps to keep your blood pressure within acceptable limits, balances your cholesterol levels, improves athletic performance naturally and can protect you from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

  1. Ginger

Are you feeling a bit off-color? A ginger infusion may be just what you need to get you back on your feet. Ginger is useful in relieving acid reflux, motion sickness, upset tummy, gas and bloating, nausea and morning sickness. Among its many other uses, it can help to relieve the pain and inflammation caused by arthritis and can be used to treat muscular aches and cramps. It’s great for breaking fevers and as a treatment for respiratory tract infections.

  1. Rosemary

While we’re raiding the kitchen for herbs recognized in ancient times and just being rediscovered by modern medical science, we can’t overlook the rosemary. Rosemary reduces inflammation, so it’s great for inflammatory disorders such as arthritis. It soothes dyspepsia, and is said to improve memory and concentration. In fact, that’s how the ancient Greeks used it! The journal ‘Oncology Reports’ published a study that showed Rosemary’s ability to slow down the proliferation of cancers in humans, and the journal ‘Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science’ reported that carnosic acid found in Rosemary could play a role in preventing macular degeneration.

  1. Basil

This tasty herb helps to protect the integrity of DNA and has Anti-Bacterial as well as anti-inflammatory properties. Basil contains plenty of magnesium, and this mineral helps to safeguard your heart health. ‘Medical News today’ says that it has anti-aging properties too. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to make some Basil pesto!

  1. Parsley

Next time you get parsley as a garnish, eat it up right away. The health benefits of this simple herb may surprise you. It helps to prevent and treat kidney stones and urinary tract infections and is used to treat a wide variety of gastrointestinal disorders such as gas, indigestion and constipation. Try it if you suffer from fluid retention, high blood pressure and anemia. Avoid large amounts of parsley if you are pregnant.

  1. Mint

Mint isn’t just nice with lamb or as an ingredient in puddings. Use it for its ability to relieve colds and allergies, to calm indigestion and IBS and to soothe skin rashes and insect bites. Mint has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, so you can use it to treat infections as well as aches and pains.

  1. Sage

Sage has been used as a medicine for thousands of years, in fact, its Latin name,’ Salvia’ means ‘to save’. Save yourself from the discomfort of stomach upsets, bloating and heartburn with a tea made from this fragrant herb. Women who are experiencing hot flashes can find relief by using this herb and it’s also good for treating painful periods. Medical science recognizes the possibility that certain natural compounds in sage may be beneficial n treating Alzheimer’s disease.

  1. Comfrey

You won’t find this herb in your kitchen, and it should not be taken internally, but you should have it in your garden. Because it contains toxic compounds, don’t use it too often, but apply a poultice of comfrey leaves to help with the healing of ulcers, wounds, bad bruising, gout and even bone fractures.

  1. Wormwood

Although this herb should be used with caution, it has been an essential ingredient in the ancient pharmacopeia of thousands of years. It really does help to clear away intestinal parasites and worms, but it can also be used to treat fever, congestion, and digestive discomfort. You can overdose on wormwood, so be cautious if you use it fresh and avoid it at all costs if you are pregnant since it has been used to induce abortion.

Witch Hazel for Hemorrhoids

If you have never had hemorrhoids, you don’t know uncomfortable it can be.  First you need to understand what a hemorrhoid is; it is primarily a swollen vein located in the rectal area.  They can appear for many reasons; but usually they are caused when rectal pressure is increased which causes the veins to dilate. Furthermore, if one has poor circulation it can cause veins that are already weak to enlarge and eventually separate from the rectal tissue.  Now this vein swelling is referred to as a hemorrhoid which protrudes from the anal area.  The symptoms are burning, itching, pain and sometimes bleeding as well.  Although there are over the counter remedies available,  Witch Hazel has often been used as a natural remedy for generations.

What is Witch Hazel?

Witch hazel is made from a plant called “Hamamelis virginiana.” The entire plant is ground up to make the medicine.  Witch hazel is sold in drug stores and it is usually in a clear liquid form. Witch hazel is from astringent family, because it can reduce swelling of the tissues.

It is for this reason that witch hazel is used for hemorrhoids. When you use the witch hazel on hemorrhoids, it shrinks the inflamed veins.  To apply, all one needs to do is use a soft gauze pad or a cotton ball.  Saturate the cotton or pad with the liquid witch hazel, then apply to hemorrhoids for 1 to 3 minutes.  Repeat as needed until the symptoms have subsided.  The witch hazel can be applied after bowel movements to freshen up or before bed if desired.  There are no side effects, so witch hazel can be used at any time to reduce the pain of hemorrhoids.