Before Western Medicine became widely practiced, humanity relied heavily on herbs. Our history provides long-standing evidence of how deep this relationship ran. It was well known that the Ancient Romans used dill to purify the air. Likewise, in the 5th Century B.C., Hippocrates, a famous Greek Physician, found use for more than 400 herbs and listed them. In the Middle Ages, herbs were useful in preserving meat. But the Greeks weren’t the only ones using herbs to treat their people. The concept of Ayurveda, which stems from India, also works on the same principle.
Additionally, traditional Chinese Medicine, which goes back 2,000 to 3,000 years, also utilizes herbs and makes use of techniques like moxibustion, which involves burning herbs near the skin to treat numerous ailments. Given this knowledge, it’s safe to assume that we are no strangers to using herbs to look after ourselves. But what are these herbs, and how do you use them? Here’s what you need to know:
How Do Herbs Work?
Herbal Medicine, also known as botanical Medicine and phytomedicine, uses seeds, berries, roots, and flowers from a plant for medicinal purposes. The idea is to use plant extract to create supplements like ointments or oral medication that can treat numerous ailments. If you’re looking for an herbal cure, visit an apothecary. Now, you might be wondering, what is an apothecary? You can think of it as an old-school pharmacy that uses herbal science for medical purposes. These professionals research compounds, how they interact with each other, and what effect they produce before manufacturing herbal supplements.
So far, herbs have come in handy in curing allergies, asthma, eczema, and premenstrual syndrome. In some cases, it has also helped patients with fibromyalgia, migraines, and rheumatoid arthritis. Combining different herbs produces a remedial effect that alleviates your symptoms.
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Common Healing Herbs and Their Benefits
Not every herb can be used. You need to know which plants serve a medical purpose and which don’t. Here’s a list to help you out:
Chamomile is a European plant that is also found in India and Asia. It has since trickled into the United States and is extremely useful in reducing anxiety and making you feel thoroughly relaxed. Some people use chamomile in their tea to promote sleepiness, especially if they struggle with insomnia. In other places like Europe, chamomile also helps heal wounds and severely reduces inflammation. According to a 2016 published journal, chamomile was also valuable as an antidepressant, antidiabetic and antidiarrheal.
You can find many derivatives of chamomile, including compresses, tea, and ointment. However, before you splurge on this supplement, consult a doctor to ensure you’re not allergic to the plant. If you’re on blood thinners, you may want to steer clear of chamomile.
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Turmeric is a staple in many South Asian households. Most of their dishes primarily contain turmeric. This herb has a bright orange pigment and can often stain your hands. A large portion of turmeric comes from India and is mainly known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric is also an antioxidant, so consider adding it to your meals.
Coffee houses like Starbucks are also giving in to the trend and have started selling turmeric tea, which is essentially turmeric dissolved in milk as a beverage. You can consume turmeric in many forms. If you want to add it to your meals, you can find the powder form of this herb in any grocery store, but turmeric derivatives are also found in ointments, tinctures, and creams. Like any herb, ensure you’re not allergic to this herb; too much turmeric can cause stomach problems.
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Who isn’t familiar with garlic? It has steadily become a main ingredient in many recipes. But before it found its way to our foods, garlic was a flavorful bulb that served a medical purpose. Garlic is primarily found in Central Asia and is said to prevent infections, lowers blood pressure, and treat severe illnesses like colic, tuberculosis, and intestinal worms. Garlic also has anti-inflammatory properties and is used as an anti-microbial. While you can use raw garlic, it’s best to use garlic as a capsule, oil, and tincture.
But be careful while using this herb because eating too much garlic can cause extensive bleeding, and if you’re on blood thinners, you can severely jeopardize your health. You should also avoid using garlic before you head into surgery and when you see a dentist, this is because garlic amplifies the impact of blood thinners, blood sugar medicines, and painkillers which can be risky for your health.
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- Flax Seeds
Numerous health enthusiasts have started using flax seeds in their diet. This is because flax seeds are a popular dietary supplement to lose weight. Flax seeds are widely recognized as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory herb. Furthermore, it was found that flax seeds can reduce blood pressure. This is why people struggling to lose weight and have trouble keeping their blood pressure in check use flax seeds in their breakfast or smoothies. This product is mostly available in liquid and capsule form.
You can also consume them as seeds but make sure they’re processed and cleaned. Fax seeds are also a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, so if you want to increase that in your diet, take flax seeds.
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Herbs have a long history with humanity, and this article gives you an insight into the reason behind it. Most of these ingredients have the cure for our everyday ailments and have kept us healthy for long. So, if you’re trying to uphold the values of your ancestors and continue using herbs in your diet, you can easily do so. Most of these are readily found in stores.
However, bear in mind, like any supplement, don’t consume them before you do your research; for the most part, herbs are safe, but if you’re allergic, they can pose a hazard to your well-being. Hence, ask your doctor or a professional at an apothecary and let them guide you.
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