Ayurveda Herbal Medicines
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.
Chemical compounds in plants mediate their effects on the human body through processes identical to those already well understood for the chemical compounds in conventional drugs; thus herbal medicines do not differ greatly from conventional drugs in terms of how they work. This enables herbal medicines to be as effective as conventional medicines, but also gives them the same potential to cause harmful side effects
Natural medicines provides clinically relevant, bottom-line-focused information and ratings on dietary supplements, natural medicines, and complementary alternative and integrative therapies in evidence-based monographs.
Plants have been used for health and medical purposes for several thousands of years. The number of higher plant species on earth is about 2,50,000. It is estimated that 35,000 to 70,000 species have, at one time or another, been used in some cultures for medicinal purposes. A majority of the world’s population in developing countries still relies on herbal medicines to meet its health needs. Herbal medicines are often used to provide first-line and basic health service, both to people living in remote areas where it is the only available health service, and to people living in poor areas where it offers the only affordable remedy. Even in areas where modern medicine is available, the interest on herbal medicines and their utilization have been increasing rapidly in recent years.
Medicinal plants are important sources for pharmaceutical manufacturing. Medicinal plants and herbal medicines account for a significant percentage of the pharmaceutical market. For example, in China, medicinal plants and their products had a 33.1% share of the pharmaceutical market in 1995. In Malaysia, the market for traditional medicine is estimated at about 1 billion Malaysia rinngit annually.
Click here for WHO’s Policy on herbal medicines –
The World Health Organization is fully aware of the importance of herbal medicines to many of its Member States and supports the use of medicinal plants and their products. In early 1978, the World Health Assembly, the WHO governing body, adopted a resolution on drug policies and management of medicinal plants, which recognized the importance of medicinal plants in the health care system. The World Health Assembly proposed coordinating efforts through the preparation of an inventory of medicinal plants, the development of criteria and methods for proving the safety and efficacy of medicinal plant products, and the dissemination of relevant information. In 1987, 1988 and 1989, three more resolutions were adopted covering the identification, evaluation, preparation, cultivation, utilization, regulation and conservation of medicinal plants.
Based on those resolutions, WHO’s policy on herbal medicine may be summarized as follows:
(1) WHO is fully aware of the importance of herbal medicines for the health of a large number of the population in today’s world. Herbal medicines are recognized as valuable and readily available resources, and their appropriate use is encouraged;
(2) To promote the proper use of medicinal plants, a comprehensive programme for their identification, evaluation, preparation, cultivation, recognition as valuable and readily available resources, and their appropriate use is encouraged;
(3) It is necessary to make a systematic inventory and assessment (pre-clinical and clinical) of medicinal plants; to introduce measures on the regulation of herbal medicines to ensure quality control of herbal products by using modern techniques, applying suitable standards and good manufacturing practices; and to include herbal medicines in the national standard or pharmacopoeia.
(4) As many of the plants that provide traditional and modern drugs are threatened with extinction, WHO endorses the call for international cooperation and coordination to establish programmes for the conservation of medicinal plants, to ensure that adequate quantities are available for future generations.
Medicinal herbs – Medicinal herbs treated most of the health ailments when there was no use of intricate medicinal instruments and drugs. These herbs worked wonders with their juices, extracts, barks, leaves, flowers, and sometimes the entire plant. They have been popularly known as medicinal herbs and their applications were passed on through many generations. However, before using any herb for medicinal reasons, it is essential to know about the plant and the related research. For instance, comfrey was used as an anti-inflammatory agent for treating bruises, sprains, and other wounds, bladderwrack being a good source of iodine, was used in many medications for thyroid conditions, aloe vera was used for minor burns, kava-kava treated depression and anxiety, while milk thistle treated a host of liver diseases.
Click here for Guidelines for use of herbal medicines-
Use of Herbal medicines in health care – In many communities and families in the Region, herbal medicine is an available, affordable, effective and culturally-acceptable health care modality. The use of herbal medicine can meet certain primary health care requirements of the people, particularly in less developed, rural and remote areas. The existing community-based traditional medicine projects in several countries have demonstrated the vital role that can be played by herbal medicine in primary health care. In more developed countries, it can complement modern pharmaceutical medicines.
The knowledge available in communities about the use of medicinal plants should be collected and collated, preferably with the participation of the communities themselves. Medicinal plants commonly used in the communities should be selected. The basic criteria in the selection of plants should be: (1) locally available; (2) useful for common health problems; and (3) availability of references on their safety and efficacy. Educational and training materials on these selected plants should be prepared and disseminated. Community health workers should be trained in the identification, collection, processing, storage and utilization of the plants. Villagers should be encouraged to plant medicinal plants in their gardens or backyards.
The herbal medicine practices should be coordinated and integrated into the country’s health care system. They can be components of health care establishments at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels or can stand alone. Countries are encouraged to be aware of recent developments in herbal medicine throughout the world and to adopt such treatments into their health care services as and when appropriate if it is beneficial to the community.
Conservation of medicinal Plants –
The use of plants as medicines has been taken for granted on the assumption that the plants will be available on a continuing basis. However, many medicinal plants face extinction or severe genetic loss. The forty-first World Health Assembly (1988) adopted a resolution which endorsed the call for international cooperation and coordination to establish a basis for the conservation of medicinal plants to ensure that adequate quantities are available for future generations. Each individual country is encouraged to develop programmes to preserve the continuing existence of local medicinal plants and, if applicable, to introduce additional plants through appropriate processes.
Medicinal plants are valuable natural and genetic resources and an inventory and survey of medicinal plants should be conducted in each country regularly. A list of endangered species of medicinal plant in each country should be prepared and actions for their protection and conservation should be taken, preferably by the Government, including the establishment of seed banks.
The cultivation of plants needed for medicinal purposes should be encouraged to ensure adequate local supply. Incentive schemes could be devised to support this.
Herbal Medicine –
Did you know that about 25 percent of the drugs prescribed worldwide are derived from plants? Of the 252 drugs in the World Health Organization’s essential medicine list, 11 percent are exclusively of plant origin. In fact, about 200 years ago the first pharmacological compound, morphine, was produced from opium extracted from the seed pods of the poppy flower.
Since then, scientists have been studying plants to create the pharmaceutical products we know today. But after years of overmedicating, facing resistant bacteria in the microbiome and treating the illness rather than the root of the problem, people are beginning to pay more attention to natural, herbal medicine.
Millions of dollars have recently been invested in looking for promising medicinal herbs. These substantial research investments in traditional herbal medicine are still relatively modest when compared to the overall pharmaceutical industry, but it proves that researchers are beginning to steer away from conventional drug development and look toward more alternative and natural forms of treatment.
Natural plant products have been used throughout human history for various purposes. In fact, written records of the use of herbal medicine date back more than 5,000 years, and for much of history, herbal medicine was the only medicine.
Today, plants are being used to treat a number of health concerns and conditions, including allergies, arthritis, migraines, fatigue, skin infections, wounds, burns, gastrointestinal issues and even cancer — proving that it’s true that food is medicine. These herbs are less expensive and they’re a safer means of treatment than conventional medications, which is why so many people are choosing to go back to this traditional idea of medicine.
What Is Herbal Medicine?
Herbal medicines are naturally occurring, plant-derived substances that are used to treat illnesses within local or regional healing practices. These products are complex mixtures of organic chemicals that may come from any raw or processed part of a plant.
Herbal medicine has its roots in every culture around the world. There are many different systems of traditional medicine, and the philosophy and practices of each are influenced by social conditions, environment and geographic location, but these systems all agree on a holistic approach to life. Well-known systems of herbal medicine like Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicine believe in the central idea that there should be an emphasis on health rather than on disease. By using healing herbs, people can thrive and focus on their overall conditions, rather than on a particular ailment that typically arises from a lack of equilibrium of the mind, body and environment.
Although botanical medicine has been practiced for thousands of years, it continues to be of use in the modern, Western world. The World Health Organization recently estimated that 80 percent of people worldwide rely on herbal medicines for some part of their primary health care, and the worldwide annual market for these products is approaching $60 billion. People in many countries have become more interested in herbal medicine because of the rising cost of prescription medication and the returning interest in natural or organic remedies.
Whole herbs contain many ingredients that are used to treat diseases and relieve symptoms. Herbal medicine, also called botanical medicine, uses the plant’s seeds, berries, roots, leaves, bark or flowers for medicinal purposes. The biological properties of these plants have beneficial effects. Other factors are responsible for their benefits as well, such as the type of environment in which the plant grew, the way in which it was harvested and how it was processed. The plant is either sold raw or as extracts, where it’s macerated with water, alcohol or other solvents to extract some of the chemicals. The resulting products contain dozens of chemicals, including fatty acids, sterols, alkaloids, flavonoids, glycosides, saponins and others.
Herbal Medicine Precautions
Herbal supplements are classified as dietary supplements by the U.S Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, which means that they’re not tested to prove they’re safe and effective, unlike prescription drugs. This is why some manufacturers can get away with selling herbal products that aren’t completely pure. When buying herbs to be used for medicine, make sure to purchase 100 pure-grade products from a reputable company. This ensures that you get the highest quality product that’s not weakened with less expensive additives and isn’t grown with pesticides or contaminated with heavy metals.
Botanical medicine may also cause allergic reactions or interact with conventional drugs, which is why you should consult your health care provider before beginning any herbal treatments. Herbalists, naturopathic physicians, pharmacists, medical doctors and Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners can provide information about herbal medicine and help you to choose what herb is best to address your health concerns. Be sure to do your own research on the herb you use and check for possible side effects and appropriate dosage.
Click here for Benefits of Herbal Medicine
Herbal medicine is the oldest form of medicine in the world. Although it is the most commonly practiced form of medicine throughout the world, it is only in relatively recent years that it has gained popularity in western culture. Herbal medicine is valued as an alternative medicine in that it offers gentle treatment to a range of illnesses and ailments. Benefits of herbal products are limitless.
1. More Affordable than Conventional Medicine
Modern medical science certainly comes with a high price tag, and pharmaceuticals are no exception. One reason why herbal medicine is becoming more popular recently is because people simply can’t afford to pay for their medication month after month.
A systematic review published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine evaluated whether or not natural health products provide a cost-effective choice in the treatment of disease. Researchers found that natural health products show evidence of cost-effectiveness in relation to postoperative surgery and complications. More research is needed to determine the cost-effectiveness in other areas of modern medicine, but the preliminary data suggests that herbal products are more affordable than pharmaceuticals.
2. Easier to Obtain than Prescription Medications
Herbal products, such as herbal extracts, essential oils and herbal teas, are available in most health food and even grocery stores, so you don’t have to see a doctor to get prescriptions before purchasing them. This certainly makes it easier to obtain herbal products and avoid additional health care costs.
Herbs are classified as dietary supplements, so they can be produced, sold and marketed without going through the FDA. Although this makes it easier to purchase and use these beneficial products, it’s our job as consumers to choose among the competitors. Make sure to read the ingredients and labels carefully before using any herbal supplement. Purchase from a reputable and trustworthy company that verifies the product is 100 percent pure-grade.
3. Hold Beneficial, Healing Properties
Herbs are used for the treatment of chronic and acute conditions and various ailments, including major health concerns like cardiovascular disease, prostate problems, depression, inflammation and weakened immune system. Herbs are used around the world to treat conditions and diseases, and many studies prove their efficacy. In fact, of the 177 drugs approved worldwide for the treatment of cancer, more than 70 percent are based on natural products or chemical imitations of natural products.
4. Balancing benefits and risks
Herbal medicines are preparations containing exclusively plant material. Their efficacy can be tested in clinical trials much like synthetic drugs but numerous methodological and logistical problems exist. For several herbal medicines, efficacy has been established; for many others, this is not the case mostly because the research has not been done. Many consumers believe that herbal medicines are natural and therefore safe. This is a dangerous simplification. Some herbal medicines are associated with toxicity others interact with synthetic drugs. The often under-regulated quality of herbal medicines amounts to another safety issue. Contamination or adulteration of herbal medicines are possible and can cause harm. In order to conduct a risk-benefit analysis of a specific herbal medicine for a specific indication, we require definitive efficacy and safety data. This is currently the case for only very few such preparations. It follows that, in order to advise consumers responsibly, the gaps in our present knowledge require filling.
5. Reduced risk of side effects
Most herbal medicines are well tolerated by the patient, with fewer unintended consequences than pharmaceutical drugs. Herbs typically have fewer side effects than traditional medicine, and may be safer to use over time. While the side effects of any herbal medication depend on the drug in question, many have fewer side effects than conventional medicine.
6. Effectives with chronic conditions
Herbal medicines tend to be more effective for long-standing health complaints that don’t respond well to traditional medicine. One example is the herbs and alternative remedies used to treat arthritis. Vioxx, a well-known prescription drug used to treat arthritis, was recalled due to increased risk of cardiovascular complications. Alternative treatments for arthritis, on the other hand, have few side effects. Such treatments include dietary changes like adding simple herbs, eliminating vegetables from the nightshade family and reducing white sugar consumption.
7. Lower cost
Another advantage to herbal medicine is cost. Herbs cost much less than prescription medications. Research, testing, and marketing add considerably to the cost of prescription medicines. Herbs tend to be inexpensive compared to drugs.
8. Widespread availability
Yet another advantage of herbal medicines are their availability. Herbs are available without a prescription. You can grow some simple herbs, such as peppermint and chamomile, at home. In some remote parts of the world, herbs may be the only treatment available to the majority of people.
9. There is a choice on how to use them
Medicinal herbs can be used in a variety of ways, depending on the kind of herb that is to be used. Some herbs can be mixed with food. Some can be made into tea, and there are some that are available in capsule or tablet form.
10. They are good for more than one condition
Most prescriptive drugs are designed for one specific health problem. By contrast, many herbal medicine act on several parts of the body at once. For example Ginko (Ginko biloba) is good for circulatory disorders, but it also helps enhance memory.
- Time proven – herbal medicine has been with us for millennia
- Natural, non-toxic when taken as prescribed by a qualified herbalist – our bodies comfortably metabolise plants and plant extracts
- Holistic – treats the whole person; physical, mental, emotional and spiritual
- Safe and gentle – but at the same time powerful and effective
- Uses natural plant extracts – innate synergy and balance
- Multidisciplinary – combines study of western medicine, anatomy, physiology, pathology, herbalism, phyto-chemistry, nutrition, traditional medicines….
- Uniquely tailored to each patient – diagnostic approach based on specific individual constitution
- Not big business – you can’t patent herbs or traditional knowledge!
– But many synthetic drugs are based on altered herb-extracts
– However this loses the natural balance – dose sensitivity / side-effects increase
- Alive, widespread, and vibrant
– The majority of the world’s population still relies on herbal medicine as its primary form of treatment
– Every known culture that has existed on this planet has used herbal medicine
Click here for Top herbs used in medicines –
1. Raw Garlic
Garlic contains vital nutrients, including flavonoids, oligosaccharides, selenium, allicin and high levels of sulfur. Consuming cooked or raw garlic, by adding it to food or taking a capsule, can help treat diabetes, fight inflammation, boost the immune system, regulate blood pressure, fight cardiovascular disease, relieve allergies, fight fungal and viral infections, and improve hair loss.
Studies show an inverse correlation between garlic consumption and progress of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. Research published in the Journal of Nutrition shows that garlic reduces cholesterol, inhibits platelet clustering, reduces blood pressure and increases antioxidant status.
Ginger is the most widely used dietary condiment in the world today. The therapeutic benefits of ginger come from gingerols, the oily resin from the root that acts as a highly potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. Gingerol, among other bioactive agents present in ginger, are able to relieve indigestion and nausea, boost immune and respiratory function, fight bacterial and fungal infections, treat stomach ulcers, reduce pain, improve diabetes, prevent malabsorption, and may even inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
According to a 2013 review of evidence published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine, the anticancer potential of ginger is well-documented, and its functional ingredients like gingerols, shogaol and paradols are the valuable ingredients that can prevent various cancers. Researchers also found that ginger has anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties for controlling the aging process.
There are several ways to use ginger. It can be eaten raw, taken in powder or supplement form, consumed in liquid form by making a tea, or used topically in oil form.
Turmeric is a plant that has a very long history of medicinal use, dating back nearly 4,000 years. Modern medicine has begun to recognize its importance, as indicated by the over 3,000 publications dealing with turmeric. This powerful plant can be added to any recipe or taken as a supplement. There are a range of turmeric benefits, including its ability to slow and prevent blood clotting, fight depression, reduce inflammation, relieve arthritis pain, manage diabetes, treat gastrointestinal issues, regulate cholesterol, and fight cancer.
Several studies indicate that turmeric has potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, antimicrobial and anticancer properties. As an antioxidant, turmeric extracts can scavenge free radicals, increase antioxidant enzymes and inhibit lipid peroxidation.
Ginseng is one of the most popular herbal medicines in the world, and it’s been used in Asia and North American for centuries. Native Americans used the root as a stimulant and headache remedy, as well as a treatment for infertility, fever and indigestion, for instance.
A study done at the Brain Performance and Nutrition Research Centre in the U.K. was conducted to gather data about ginseng’s benefits and its ability to improve mood and mental function. It involved 30 volunteers who were given three rounds of treatments of ginseng and a placebo, and the results found that 200 milligrams of ginseng for eight days slowed the fall in mood but also slowed the participants’ response to mental arithmetic. The 400-milligram dose improved calmness and improved mental arithmetic for the duration of the eight-day treatment.
Ginseng is also used to reduce stress, help with weight loss, treat sexual dysfunction, improve lung function, lower blood sugar levels, boost the immune system and reduce inflammation. Ginseng is available in dried, powdered, tea, capsule and tablet forms.
5. Milk Thistle
Milk thistle extracts have been used as traditional herbal medicine remedies for almost 2,000 years. Milk thistle contains high levels of lipophilic extracts from the seeds of the plant, which act as bioflavonoids that increase immunity and slow down oxidative stress. The herb is also used for its anti-inflammatory properties. It can aid digestive function, increase bile production, boost skin health, fight the appearance of aging, lower cholesterol levels and help detoxify the body.
A review of clinical trials evaluating the safety and efficacy of milk thistle found that the herb has protective effects in certain types of cancer, and data shows it can also be used for patients with liver diseases, hepatitis C, HIV, diabetes and hypercholesterolemia. Milk thistle extracts, which are commonly sold in capsules, are also known to be safe and well-tolerated.
For centuries, feverfew has been used for fevers, headaches, stomachaches, toothaches, insect bites, infertility, and problems with menstruation and labor during childbirth. Feverfew’s pain-easing effect is said to come from a biochemical called parthenolides, which combats the widening of blood vessels that occurs in migraines. The herb is also used to prevent dizziness, relieve allergies, reduce arthritis pain and prevent blood clots.
Several impressive human studies show the positive effects of using feverfew to prevent and treat migraines. A systematic review completed by the School of Postgraduate Medicine and Health Science in the U.K. compared the results of six studies. Researchers found that feverfew is indeed effective in the prevention of migraine headaches and does not pose any major safely concerns.
Feverfew is available in capsule form, as tablets and liquid extract. Supplements should be standardized to contain at least 0.2 percent parthenolide. The leaves of feverfew can be used to make tea, but they have a bitter taste and may be irritate the mouth.
7. St. John’s Wort
St. john’s wort is a flowering plan in the family Hypericaceae. St. John’s wort has been used as a medicinal herb for its antidepressant and anti-inflammatory properties for over 2,000 years. It produces dozens of biologically active substances, but hypericin and hyperforin have the greatest medical activity. St. John’s wort uses come from its antidepressant activity, ability to relieve PMS symptoms, improve mood during menopause, fight inflammation, relieve skin irritations and improve symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder.
8. Ginkgo Biloba ( Maidenhair Tree )
Ginkgo biloba, which is also known as maidenhair, is an ancient plant extract that has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to heal various health ailments for thousands of years. Current research shows that it’s linked to improvements in cognitive function. When researchers from Beijing University of Chinese Medicine reviewed evidence from 14 randomized controlled trials involving brain injury patients, it reported that ginkgo biloba extract had positive effects on patients’ neurological impairment and quality of life in nine of the trials.
Other ginkgo biloba benefits include its ability to improve concentration and memory, reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, fight anxiety and depression, help maintain vision and eye health, relieve ADHD symptoms, improve libido, and fight fibromyalgia.
9. Saw Palmetto
Saw palmetto is an extract of the fruit of the saw palmetto. Its supplements are some of the most commonly consumed supplements by men with prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia. Saw palmetto has been shown to slow the production of the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, which converts the male hormone testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a sex steroid and androgen hormone. While DHT is important because it plays a role in male development, it also contributes to many common health issues in men, such as loss of libido, an enlarged prostate and hair loss.
Aside from its ability to relieve conditions triggered by DHT, saw palmetto is also known to fight inflammation, boost immune function, treat respiratory conditions and promote relaxation.
10. Aloe Vera
In traditional Indian medicine, aloe vera is used for constipation, skin diseases, worm infestation, infections and as a natural remedy for colic. In Chinese medicine, it’s often recommended in the treatment of fungal diseases, and in the Western world, it has found widespread use in the cosmetic, pharmaceutical and food industries. Aloe vera is considered to be the most biologically active of the aloe species; astonishingly, more than 75 potentially active components have been identified in the plant, including vitamins, minerals, saccharides, amino acids, anthraquinones, enzymes, lignin, saponins and salicylic acids. It provides 20 of the 22 human-required amino acids and all eight of the essential amino acids.
Studies have proved the antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antifungal properties of aloe vera. The plant has also proved to be non-allergic and very good in building up the immune system. One study reported in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences found that 30 milliliters of aloe vera juice twice a day decreased the level of discomfort in 33 patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Flatulence also decreased for the participants, but stool consistence, urgency and frequency remained the same.
Other aloe vera benefits include its ability to soothe rashes and skin irritations; treat burns and cold sores; moisturize the skin, hair and scalp; provide antioxidants; and reduce inflammation. Aloe vera can be used topically or orally, and it’s available in most health food stores.
Peppermint offers benefits to the respiratory system, including for coughs, colds, asthma, allergies, and tuberculosis. In terms of digestive health, peppermint oil capsules have been described as “the drug of first choice” in IBS patients, and peppermint oil is an effective alternative to drugs like Buscopan for reducing colonic spasms.
It may also relax the muscles of your intestines, allowing gas to pass and easing abdominal pain. Try peppermint oil or leaves added to tea for gas relief. Inhaling the peppermint aroma may offer memory enhancement and stress relief, and peppermint oil acts as an expectorant and decongestant, and may help clear your respiratory tract.
lavender Oil has a chemically complex structure with over 150 active constituents. This oil is rich in esters, which are aromatic molecules with antispasmodic (suppressing spasms and pain), calming, and stimulating properties. The chief botanical constituents of lavender oil are linalyl acetate, linalool (a non-toxic terpene alcohol that has natural germicidal properties), terpinen-4-ol, and camphor. Other constituents in lavender oil that are responsible for its antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties include cis-ocimene, lavandulyl acetate, 1,8-cineole, limonene, and geraniol.
Lavender oil is known for its calming and relaxing properties, and has been used aroma therapeutically for alleviating insomnia, anxiety, depression, restlessness, dental anxiety, and stress. It has also been proven effective for nearly all kinds of ailments, from pain to infections.
Chamomile is most popular in tea form for use to calm upset stomach and help support restful sleep. Germany’s Commission E (a government organization) has even approved the use of chamomile for reducing swelling on your skin and fighting bacteria. Chamomile is a powerful anti-inflammatory that also has antibacterial, anti-spasmodic, anti-allergenic, muscle relaxant, and sedative properties. It is used to treat psoriasis, eczema, chickenpox, diaper rash, slow-healing wounds, abscesses, and gum inflammation.
This flowering plant has traditionally been used as a liver tonic, useful for detoxification and improving liver function. Dandelion is known as a stimulant that is typically used for kidney and liver disorders. It is also traditionally used to reduce the side effects of prescription drugs, as well as to treat infections, gallbladder problems, water retention and swelling. Dandelion greens, which you can prepare simply by blanching them in boiling water for 20 seconds to help remove their bitter flavor (they can also be added to vegetable juice), contain many nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin B6, thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, iron, potassium, and manganese. They are a particularly good source of vitamin A and may also have cancer-fighting properties.
Click here for List of Plants used for herbal medicines
Modern medicine now tends to use the active ingredients of plants rather than the whole plants. The phytochemicals may be synthesized, compounded or otherwise transformed to make pharmaceuticals. Examples of such derivatives include digoxin, from digitalis; capsaicine, from chili; and aspirin, which is chemically related to the salicylic acid found in white willow. The opium poppy continues to be a major industrial source of opiates, including morphine. Few traditional remedies, however, have translated into modern drugs, although there is continuing research into the efficacy and possible adaptation of traditional herbal treatments.
Following is a list of plants used or formerly used as herbal medicine –
|Scientific Name||Common Name||Description|
|Achillea millefolium||Common yarrow||Purported to be a diaphoretic, astringent, tonic, stimulant and mild aromatic.|
|Actaea racemosa||Black cohosh||Historically used for arthritis and muscle pain, used more recently for conditions related to menopause and menstruation.|
|Ageratina altissima||White snakeroot||Root tea has been used to treat diarrhea, kidney stones, and fever. A root poultice can be used on snakebites.|
|Alcea rosea||Common hollyhock||Believed to be an emollient and laxative. It is used to control inflammation, to stop bedwetting and as a mouthwash in cases of bleeding gums.|
|Alisma plantago-aquatica||Water-plantain||Used for the urinary tract.|
|Allium sativum||Garlic||Widely used as an antibiotic and, more recently, for treating cardiovascular disease Garlic is a monoamine oxidase inhibitor and has antidepressant-like effects on mice so might be used as a herbal antidepressant or anxiolytic in humans.|
|Aloe vera||Aloe vera||Leaves are widely used to heal burns, wounds and other skin ailments.|
|Althaea officinalis||Marsh-mallow||Used for over 2,000 years as both a food and a medicine|
|Amorphophallus konjac||Konjac||Significant dietary source of glucomannan, which is used in treating obesity, constipation, and reducing cholesterol.|
|Anemone hepatica||Common hepatica||Historically used to treat liver diseases, it is still used in alternative medicine today. Other modern applications by herbalists include treatments for pimples, bronchitis and gout.|
|Angelica sinensis||Dong quai||Used for thousands of years in Asia, primarily in women’s health.|
|Arctium lappa||Burdock||Used traditionally as a diuretic and to lower blood sugar and, in traditional Chinese medicine as a treatment for sore throat and symptoms of the common cold.|
|Astragalus propinquus||Astragalus||Long been used in traditional Chinese medicine to strengthen the immune system, and is used in modern China to treat hepatitis and as an adjunctive therapy in cancer.|
|Atropa belladonna||Belladonna||Although toxic, was used historically in Italy by women to enlarge their pupils, as well as a sedative, among other uses. The name itself means “beautiful woman” in Italian.|
|Azadirachta indica||Neem||Used in India to treat worms, malaria, rheumatism and skin infections among many other things. Its many uses have led to neem being called “the village dispensary” in India.|
|Berberis vulgaris||Barberry||Long history of medicinal use, dating back to the Middle Ages particularly among Native Americans. Uses have included skin ailments, scurvy and gastro-intestinal ailments.|
|Borago officinalis||Borage||Used in hyperactive gastrointestinal, respiratory and cardiovascular disorders, such as gastrointestinal (colic, cramps, diarrhea), airways (asthma, bronchitis), cardiovascular, (cardiotonic, antihypertensive and blood purifier), urinary (diuretic and kidney/bladder disorders).|
|Calendula officinalis||Marigold||Also named calendula, has a long history of use in treating wounds and soothing skin|
|Cannabis||Cannabis||Used worldwide since ancient times as treatment for various conditions and ailments including pain, inflammation, gastrointestinal issues such as IBS, muscle relaxation, anxiety, Alzheimer’s and dementia, ADHD, autism, cancer, cerebral palsy, recurring headaches, Crohn’s disease, depression, epilepsy, glaucoma, insomnia, and neuropathy among others.|
|Capsicum annuum||Cayenne||Type of chili that has been used as both food and medicine for thousands of years. Uses have included reducing pain and swelling, lowering triglyceride and cholesterol levels and fighting viruses and harmful bacteria, due to high levels of Vitamin C.|
|Capsicum frutescens||Chili||Its active ingredient, capsaicine, is the basic of commercial pain-relief ointments in Western medicine. The low incidence of heart attack in Thais may be related to capsaicine’s fibronolytic action (dissolving blood clots).|
|Carica papaya||Papaya||Used for treating wounds and stomach troubles.|
|Cassia occidentalis||Coffee senna||Used in a wide variety of roles in traditional medicine, including in particular as a broad-spectrum internal and external antimicrobial, for liver disorders, for intestinal worms and other parasites and as an immune-system stimulant.|
|Cayaponia espelina||São Caetano melon||It is a diuretic and aid in the treatment of diarrhea and syphilis.|
|Centaurea cyanus||Cornflower||In herbalism, a decoction of cornflower is effective in treating conjunctivitis and as a wash for tired.|
|Chrysopogon zizanioides||Vetiver||Used for skin care.|
|Cissampelos pareira||Velvetleaf||Used for a wide variety of conditions.|
|Citrus × aurantium||Bitter orange||Used in traditional Chinese medicine and by indigenous peoples of the Amazon for nausea, indigestion and constipation.|
|Citrus limon||Lemon||Along with other citruses, it has a long history of use in Chinese and Indian traditional medicine. In contemporary use, honey and lemon is common for treating coughs and sore throat.|
|Citrus trifoliata||Trifoliate orange, bitter orange||Fruits of Citrus trifoliata are widely used in Oriental medicine as a treatment for allergic inflammation.|
|Cnicus benedictus||Blessed thistle||Used during the Middle Ages to treat bubonic plague. In modern times, herbal teas made from blessed thistle are used for loss of appetite, indigestion and other purposes.|
|Crataegus monogyna and Crataegus laevigata||Hawthorn||Fruit has been used for centuries for heart disease. Other uses include digestive and kidney related problems.|
|Curcuma longa||Turmeric||Spice that lends its distinctive yellow color to Indian curries, has long been used in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine to aid digestion and liver function, relieve arthritis pain, and regulate menstruation.|
|Cypripedium parviflorum||Yellow lady’s slipper||The Cypripedium species have been used in native remedies for dermatitis, tooth aches, anxiety, headaches, as an antispasmodic, stimulant and sedative.|
|Echinacea purpurea||Purple coneflower||This plant and other species of Echinacea have been used for at least 400 years by Native Americans to treat infections and wounds, and as a general “cure-all” (panacea). It is currently used for symptoms associated with cold and flu|
|Equisetum arvense||Horsetail||Dates back to ancient Roman and Greek medicine, when it was used to stop bleeding, heal ulcers and wounds, and treat tuberculosis and kidney problems.|
|Eriodictyon crassifolium||Yerba Santa||Used by the Chumash people to keep airways open for proper breathing.|
|Eschscholzia californica||Californian poppy||Used as an herbal remedy: an aqueous extract of the plant has sedative and anxiolytic actions.|
|Eucalyptus globulus||Eucalyptus||Leaves were widely used in traditional medicine as a febrifuge. Eucalyptus oil is commonly used in over-the-counter cough and cold medications, as well as for an analgesic.|
|Euphorbia hirta||Asthma-plant||Used traditionally in Asia to treat bronchitic asthma and laryngeal spasm. It is used in the Philippines for dengue fever.|
|Ferula assa-foetida||Asafoetida||Might be useful for IBS, high cholesterol, and breathing problems.|
|Frangula alnus||Alder buckthorn||Bark (and to a lesser extent the fruit) has been used as a laxative, due to its 3 – 7% anthraquinone content. Bark for medicinal use is dried and stored for a year before use, as fresh bark is violently purgative; even dried bark can be dangerous if taken in excess.|
|Fumaria officinalis||Fumitory||Traditionally thought to be good for the eyes and to remove skin blemishes. In modern times herbalists use it to treat skin diseases and conjunctivitis, as well as to cleanse the kidneys. However, Howard (1987) warns that fumitory is poisonous and should only be used under the direction of a medical herbalist.|
|Geranium robertianum||Robert geranium||In traditional herbalism, it was used as a remedy for toothache and nosebleeds and as a vulnerary (used for or useful in healing wounds).|
|Ginkgo biloba||Ginkgo||The leaf extract has been used to treat asthma, bronchitis, fatigue, Alzheimer’s and tinnitus.|
|Glechoma hederacea||Ground-ivy||It has been used as a “lung herb”. Other traditional uses include as an expectorant, astringent, and to treat bronchitis. The essential oil of the plant has been used for centuries as a general tonic for colds and coughs, and to relieve congestion of the mucous membranes.|
|Glycyrrhiza glabra||Licorice root||It has a long history of medicinal usage in Eastern and Western medicine. Uses include stomach ulcers, bronchitis, and sore throat, as well as infections caused by viruses, such as hepatitis.|
|Hamamelis virginiana||Common witch-hazel||It produces a specific kind of tannins called hamamelitannins. One of those substances displays a specific cytotoxic activity against colon cancer cells.|
|Hippophae rhamnoides||Sea buckthorn||The leaves are used as herbal medicine to alleviate cough and fever, pain, and general gastrointestinal disorders as well as to cure dermatologic disorders. Similarly, the fruit juice and oils can be used in the treatment of liver disease, gastrointestinal disorders, chronic wounds or other dermatological disorders.|
|Hoodia gordonii||Hoodia||The plant is traditionally used by Kalahari San(Bushmen) to reduce hunger and thirst. It is currently marketed as an appetite suppressant.|
|Hydrastis canadensis||Goldenseal||It was used traditionally by Native Americans to treat skin diseases, ulcers, and gonorrhea. More recently, the herb has been used to treat the respiratory tractand a number of other infections.|
|Hypericum perforatum||St. John’s wort||Widely used within herbalism for depression. Evaluated for use as an antidepressant, but with ambiguous results.|
|Hyssopus officinalis||Hyssop||It is used for digestive and intestinal problems including liver and gallbladder conditions, intestinal pain, intestinal gas, colic, and loss of appetite. It is also used for respiratory problems including coughs, the common cold, respiratory infections, sore throat, and asthma.|
|Ilex paraguariensis||Yerba mate||It has been claimed to have various effects on human health and these effects have been attributed to the high quantity of polyphenols found in mate tea. Mate contains compounds that act as an appetite suppressant, increases mental energy and focus,and improves mood. Yerba mate also contains elements such as potassium, magnesium, and manganese.|
|Illicium verum||Star anise||It is the major source of the chemical compound shikimic acid, a primary precursor in the pharmaceutical synthesis of anti-influenza drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu).|
|Inula helenium||Elecampane||It is used in herbal medicine as an expectorant and for water retention.|
|Jasminum officinale||Jasmine||It is used in dermatology as either an antiseptic or anti-inflammatory agent.|
|Knautia arvensis||Field scabious||The whole plant is astringent and mildly diuretic. An infusion is used internally as a blood purifier and externally for treating cuts, burns and bruises.|
|Laurus nobilis||Bay laurel||Aqueous extracts of bay laurel can be used as astringents and even as a reasonable salve for open wounds. In massage therapy, the essential oil of bay laurel is reputed to alleviate arthritis and rheumatism, while in aromatherapy it is used to treat earaches and high blood pressure.|
|Lavandula angustifolia||Lavender||It was traditionally used as an antiseptic and for mental health purposes. It was also used in ancient Egypt in mummifying bodies. There is little scientific evidence that lavender is effective for most mental health uses.|
|Lawsonia inermis||Henna||The plants exhibits potential antibacterial activity. The alcoholic extract of the root has antibacterial activity due to the presence of flavonoid and alkaloids. Henna is also thought to show anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, and analgesic effects in experimental animals.|
|Leucojum aestivum||Summer snowflake||It is known to contain Galantamine (Nivalin, Razadyne, Razadyne ER, Reminyl, Lycoremine in pharmaceutical format). It is used for the treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease and various other memory impairments, in particular those of vascular origin.|
|Linum usitatissimum||Flaxseed||The plant is most commonly used as a laxative. Flaxseed oil is used for different conditions, including arthritis.|
|Magnolia officinalis||Magnolia-bark||The bark contains magnolol and honokiol, two polyphenolic compounds. Preclinical studies have evaluated their various potential applications including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, and antimicrobial properties.|
|Malva sylvestris||Mallow||The seeds are used internally in a decoction or herbal tea as a demulcent and diuretic, and the leaves made into poultices as an emollient for external applications.|
|Matricaria recutita and Anthemis nobilis||Chamomile||It has been used over thousands of years for a variety of conditions, including sleeplessness, anxiety, and gastrointestinal conditions such as upset stomach, gas, and diarrhea.|
|Medicago sativa||Alfalfa||The leaves are used to lower cholesterol, as well as forum kidney and urinary tract ailments, although there is insufficient scientific evidence for its efficacy.|
|Melaleuca alternifolia||Tea tree oil||It has been used medicinally for centuries by Australian aboriginal people. Modern usage is primarily as an antibacterial or antifungal agent.|
|Melissa officinalis||Lemon balm||It is used as a sleep aid and digestive aid.|
|Mentha x piperita||Peppermint||Its oil, from a cross between water mint and spearmint, has a history of medicinal use for a variety of conditions, including nausea, indigestion, and symptoms of the common cold.|
|Mitragyna speciosa||Kratom||Kratom is known to prevent or delay withdrawal symptoms in an opioid-dependent individual, and it is often used to mitigate cravings thereafter. It can also be used for other medicinal purposes. Kratom has been traditionally used in regions such as Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia.|
|Momordica charantia||Bitter melon||The plant is used as an agent to reduce the blood glucose level.|
|Morinda citrifolia||Noni||It has a history of use as for joint pain and skin conditions.|
|Moringa oleifera||Drumstick tree||It is used for food and traditional medicine. It is undergoing preliminary research to investigate potential properties of its nutrients and phytochemicals|
|Nasturtium officinale||Watercress||It may be diuretic and antibacterial.|
|Nelumbo nucifera||Lotus||Sacred lotus has been the subject of a number of in-vitro and animal studies, exploring its pharmacologic effects, including antioxidant, hepatoprotective, immunomodulatory, anti-infective, hyperlipidemic, and psychopharmacologic activity although clinical trials are lacking.|
|Nigella sativa||Nigella, black-caraway, black-cumin, and kalonji||It has efficacy as a therapy, mainly using the seed oilextract, volatile oil, and isolated constituent thymoquinone. One meta-analysis of clinical trials concluded that N. sativa has a short-term benefit on lowering systolic and diastolic blood pressure.|
|Ocimum tenuiflorum||Tulsi or Holy Basil||It is used for a variety of purposes in medicine tulasi is taken in many forms: as herbal tea, dried powder, fresh leaf or mixed with ghee. Essential oil extracted from Karpoora tulasi is mostly used for medicinal purposes and in herbal cosmetics.|
|Oenothera||Evening primrose||Its oil has been used since the 1930s for eczema, and more recently as an anti-inflammatory.|
|Origanum vulgare||Oregano||Used as an abortifacient in folk medicine in some parts of Bolivia and other northwestern South American countries, though no evidence of efficacy exists in Western medicine. Hippocrates used oregano as an antiseptic, as well as a cure for stomach and respiratory ailments. A Cretan oregano (O. dictamnus) is still used today in Greece as a palliative for sore throat. Evidence of efficacy in this matter is lacking.|
|Papaver somniferum||Opium poppy||The plant is the plant source of morphine, used for painrelief. Morphine made from the refined and modified sap is used for pain control in terminally ill patients. Dried sap was used as a traditional medicine until the 19th century.|
|Passiflora||Passion flower||Thought to have anti-depressant properties. Unknown MOA. Used in traditional medicine to aid with sleep or depression.|
|Pelargonium sidoides||Umckaloabo, or South African Geranium||It is used in treating acute bronchitis|
|Piper methysticum||Kava||The plant has been used for centuries in the South Pacific to make a ceremonial drink with sedative and anesthetic properties. It is used as a soporific, as well as for asthma and urinary tract infection|
|Piscidia erythrina / Piscidia piscipula||Jamaica dogwood||The plant is used in traditional medicine for the treatment of insomnia and anxiety, despite serious safety concerns. A 2006 study suggested medicinal potential.|
|Plantago lanceolata||Plantain||It is used frequently in herbal teas and other herbal remedies. A tea from the leaves is used as a highly effective cough medicine. In the traditional Austrian medicine Plantago lanceolata leaves have been used internally (as syrup or tea) or externally (fresh leaves) for treatment of disorders of the respiratory tract, skin, insect bites, and infections.|
|Platycodon grandiflorus||Platycodon, balloon flower||The extracts and purified platycoside compounds (saponins) from the roots may exhibit neuroprotective, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-allergy, improved insulin resistance, and cholesterol-lowering properties.|
|Polemonium reptans||Abscess root||It is used to reduce fever, inflammation, and cough.|
|Psidium guajava||Guava||It has a rich history of use in traditional medicine. It is traditionally used to treat diarrhea; however, evidence of its effectiveness is very limited.|
|Ptelea trifoliata||Wafer Ash||The root bark is used for the digestive system. Also known as hoptree.|
|Quassia amara||Amargo, bitter-wood||A 2012 study found a topical gel with 4% Quassia extract to be a safe and effective cure of rosacea.|
|Reichardia tingitana||False sowthistle||Uses in folk medicine have been recorded in the Middle East, its leaves being used to treat ailments such as constipation, colic and inflamed eyes.|
|Rosa majalis||Cinnamon rose||It yields edible hip fruits rich in vitamin C, which are used in medicine and to produce rose hip syrup.|
|Rosmarinus officinalis||Rosemary||It has been used medicinally from ancient times.|
|Ruellia tuberosa||Minnieroot, fever root, snapdragon root||In folk medicine and Ayurvedic medicine it has been used as a diuretic, anti-diabetic, antipyretic, analgesic, antihypertensive, gastroprotective, and to treat gonorrhea.|
|Rumex crispus||Curly dock or yellow dock||In Western herbalism the root is often used for treating anemia, due to its high level of iron. The plant will help with skin conditions if taken internally or applied externally to things like itching, scrofula, and sores. It is also used for respiratory conditions, specifically those with a tickling cough that is worse when exposed to cold air. It mentions also passing pains, excessive itching, and that it helps enlarged lymphs.|
|Salix alba||White willow||Plant source of salicylic acid, white willow is like the chemical known as aspirin, although more likely to cause stomach upset as a side effect than aspirin itself which can cause the lining in your stomach to be destroyed. Used from ancient times for the same uses as aspirin.|
|Salvia officinalis||Sage||Shown to improve cognitive function in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease|
|Sambucus nigra||Elderberry||The berries and leaves have traditionally been used to treat pain, swelling, infections, coughs, and skin conditions and, more recently, flu, common cold, fevers, constipation, and sinus infections.|
|Santalum album||Indian sandalwood||Sandalwood oil has been widely used in folk medicine for treatment of common colds, bronchitis, skin disorders, heart ailments, general weakness, fever, infection of the urinary tract, inflammation of the mouth and pharynx, liver and gallbladder complaints and other maladies.|
|Santolina chamaecyparissus||Cotton lavender||Most commonly, the flowers and leaves are made into a decoction used to expel intestinal parasites.|
|Saraca indica||Ashoka tree||The plant is used in Ayurvedic traditions to treat gynecological disorders. The bark is also used to combat oedema or swelling.|
|Satureja hortensis||Summer savory||Its extracts show antibacterial and antifungal effects on several species including some of the antibiotic resistant strains.|
|Sceletium tortuosum||Kanna||African treatment for depression. Suggested to be an SSRI or have similar effects, but unknown mechanism of activity.|
|Senna auriculata||Avaram senna||The root is used in decoctions against fevers, diabetes, diseases of urinary system and constipation. The leaves have laxative properties. The dried flowers and flower buds are used as a substitute for tea in case of diabetes patients. The powdered seed is also applied to the eye, in case of chronic purulent conjunctivitis.|
|Sesuvium portulacastrum||Shoreline purslane||The plant extract showed antibacterial and anticandidal activities and moderate antifungal activity.|
|Silybum marianum||Milk thistle||It has been used for thousands of years for a variety of medicinal purposes, in particular liver problems.|
|Stachytarpheta cayennensis||Blue snakeweed||Extracts of the plant are used to ease the symptoms of malaria. The boiled juice or a tea made from the leaves or the whole plant is taken to relieve fever and other symptoms. It is also used for dysentery, pain, and liverdisorders. A tea of the leaves is taken to help control diabetes in Peru and other areas.Laboratory tests indicate that the plant has anti-inflammatory properties.|
|Stellaria media||Common chickweed||It has been used as a remedy to treat itchy skin conditions and pulmonary diseases. 17th century herbalist John Gerard recommended it as a remedy for mange. Modern herbalists prescribe it for iron-deficiency anemia (for its high iron content), as well as for skin diseases, bronchitis, rheumatic pains, arthritis and period pain.|
|Strobilanthes callosus||Karvy||The plant is anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-rheumatic.|
|Syzygium aromaticum||Clove||The plant is used for upset stomach and as an expectorant, among other purposes. The oil is used topically to treat toothache.|
|Tanacetum parthenium||Feverfew||The plant has been used for centuries for fevers, headaches, stomach aches, toothaches, insect bites and other conditions.|
|Taraxacum officinale||Dandelion||It was most commonly used historically to treat liver diseases, kidney diseases, and spleen problems.|
|Teucrium scordium||Water germander||It has been used for asthma, diarrhea, fever, intestinal parasites, hemorrhoids, and wounds.|
|Thymus vulgaris||Thyme||The plant is used to treat bronchitis and cough. It serves as an antispasmodic and expectorant in this role. It has also been used in many other medicinal roles in Asian and Ayurvedic medicine, although it has not been shown to be effective in non-respiratory medicinal roles.|
|Tilia cordata||Small-leaved linden||In the countries of Central, Southern and Western Europe, linden flowers are a traditional herbal remedy made into an herbal tea called tisane.|
|Trema orientalis||Charcoal-tree||The leaves and the bark are used to treat coughs, sore throats, asthma, bronchitis, gonorrhea, yellow fever, toothache, and as an antidote to general poisoning.|
|Trigonella foenum-graecum||Fenugreek||It has long been used to treat symptoms of menopause, and digestive ailments. More recently, it has been used to treat diabetes, loss of appetite and other conditions|
|Triticum aestivum||Wheatgrass||It may contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds.|
|Turnera subulata||White buttercup||It is used for skin, gastrointestinal, and respiratory ailments. Laboratory tests showed it has some inhibitory activity against various fungi, such as Candida glabrata, Aspergillus flavus, A. niger, A. fumigatus, Penicillium chrysogenum, and Candida albicans.|
|Uncaria tomentosa||Cat’s claw||It has a long history of use in South America to prevent and treat disease.|
|Urtica dioica||Common nettle, stinging nettle||It has been used in the traditional Austrian medicine internally (as tea or fresh leaves) to treat disorders of the kidneys and urinary tract, gastrointestinal tract, locomotor system, skin, cardiovascular system, hemorrhage, influenza, rheumatism, and gout.|
|Vaccinium macrocarpon||Cranberry||It was used historically as a vulnerary and for urinary disorders, diarrhea, diabetes, stomach ailments, and liver problems. Modern usage has concentrated on urinary tract related problems.|
|Vaccinium myrtillus||Bilberry||It is used to treat diarrhea, scurvy, and other conditions.|
|Vaccinium spec.||Blueberries||They are of current medical interest as an antioxidant and for urinary tract ailments.|
|Valeriana officinalis||Valerian||It has been used since at least ancient Greece and Rome for sleep disorders and anxiety.|
|Verbascum thapsus||Common mullein||It contains glycyrrhizin compounds with bactericide and potential anti-tumoral action. These compounds are concentrated in the flowers.|
|Verbena officinalis||Verbena||It is used for sore throats and respiratory tract diseases.|
|Vernonia amygdalina||Bitter leaf||The plant is used by both primates and indigenous peoples in Africa to treat intestinal ailments such as dysentery.|
|Veronica officinalis||Veronica||The plant is used for sinus and ear infections.|
|Viburnum tinus||Laurustinus||V. tinus has medicinal properties. The active ingredients are viburnin (a substance or more probably a mixture of compounds) and tannins. Tannins can cause stomach upset. The leaves when infused have antipyretic properties. The fruits have been used as purgatives against constipation. The tincture has been used lately in herbal medicine as a remedy for depression. The plant also contains iridoidglucosides.|
|Viola tricolor||Wild pansy||It is one of many viola plant species containing cyclotides. These small peptides have proven to be useful in drug development due to their size and structure giving rise to high stability. Many cyclotides, found in Viola tricolor are cytotoxic. This feature means that it could be used to treat cancers|
|Viscum album||European mistletoe||It has been used to treat seizures, headaches, and other conditions.|
|Vitex agnus-castus||Chasteberry||It has been used for over thousands of years for menstrual problems, and to stimulate lactation.|
|Vitis vinifera||Grape||The leaves and fruit have been used medicinally since the ancient Greeks.|
|Withania somnifera||Ashwagandha||The plant’s long, brown, tuberous roots are used in traditional medicine. In Ayurveda, the berries and leaves are applied externally to tumors, tubercular glands, carbuncles, and ulcers.|
|Xanthoparmelia scabrosa||n.n||It is a lichen used for sexual dysfunction.|
|Youngia japonica||Japanese hawkweed||The plant is antitussive and febrifuge. It is also used in the treatment of boils and snakebites.|
|Zingiber officinale||Ginger||The plant is used to relieve nausea.|
How to use Medicinal Plants –
- Learn to identify three medicinal plants you don’t already know that grow in your region and learn their uses.
- Add at least one of these herbs to your garden or to pots on your windowsill.
- Make a tincture, tea, syrup, or salve. Or make one of each!
- Harvest and dry mint, lemon balm, calendula, nettles, or any other plant growing in your region.
- Find a plant to sit with quietly each morning for a week; draw the plant.
- Identify one healing skill you would like to have but don’t, and find a way to learn it—perhaps by taking an herb or aromatherapy class.
- Make an herbal first aid kit.
- Organize local healers for emergency response in your community.
- With medicinal plants grown in your region, learn how to treat one condition that you and/or someone in your family struggles with.
Final Thoughts on Herbal Medicine
- Natural planet products have been used throughout human history for various purposes. In fact, written records of the use of herbal medicine date back more than 5,000 years.
- Herbal medicines, or botanicals, are naturally occurring, plant-derived substances that are used to treat illnesses within local or regional healing practices.
- Today, herbalism is being noticed for focusing on overall wellness and prevention rather than treating a disease or ailment once it arises.
- Herbal medicine is more cost-effective than modern medicine, it’s easier to obtain and it has several health benefits that are comparable to modern pharmaceuticals.
- Some of the most well-known and most used herbs include garlic, ginger, turmeric, saw palmetto, St. John’s wort and aloe vera.
- While research suggests that herbal products have less adverse side effects than conventional medications, it’s important that consumers choose pure, high-quality products. If you’re planning to take herbal products for an extended period of time, see an herbalist or health care provider for guidance.