It is common for people to go to a pharmacy to buy medicines even for the simplest health problems. Although most medicines are deemed effective, the problem is that they may also cause side effects. In fact, a lot of people have suffered from kidney complications.
Instead of going for the usual drugs that can be bought from the pharmacy, why don’t you try herbal medicines? They are natural ingredients so you won’t have to worry about. A lot of people can attest to the effectiveness of medicinal herbs in healing various illnesses.
How popular are medicinal herbs?
Although it was just recently when medicinal herbs became popular in Western countries, they have been a common source of medicine in various Asian and African countries. In fact, 80% of the people in the region have tried herbal medicines at least once in their lives.
Back then, the use of herbal medicines was met with skepticism. Most people, especially in the West, thought that they were placing their lives at risk by taking herbal medicines. In recent years, perceptions on medicinal herbs have changed.
In a recent survey, 48% of the people believe that herbal medicines are effective while only 14% said they are not. The significant change in people’s perception of these medicines speaks volume on their effectiveness.
Benefits of medicinal herbs
If you are not yet convinced, below are some of the benefits people get from taking medicinal herbs.
- Effective in fighting chronic conditions. There are certain illnesses where patients can no longer respond to traditional medicines. Arthritis is one of them. This is a recurring condition that is extremely painful, especially among older people. With herbal medicines, the problem starts to subside. Of course, it has to be coupled with lifestyle changes such as reduced fatty food intake. High blood pressure is another problem that is solved with the help of certain medicinal herbs.
- Lower risk of side effects. The main problem with the usual drugs is they might severely affect the kidney. This is true especially for prolonged use. This problem is solved with the help of herbal medicines. There are fewer unintended consequences in using these natural ingredients as they are considered totally safe. Even if they have to be taken over a long period of time, there is nothing to worry about.
- Lower cost. The rising cost of health care in recent years has become a cause of alarm especially among low-income families. Some of them may not even afford health insurance anymore due to the premium cost. They also could not afford paying for the cost upfront. This is why herbal medicines are considered the better option. Not only are they effective, they also come at a lower cost. In fact, if you can start planting them in your garden now, there is no need to spend anything in case you need them to combat illnesses.
- Easy access. Getting prescription drugs is impossible unless you see a doctor who can give you these prescriptions. If you can’t afford to pay for the doctor’s fee, getting these drugs is impossible. Hence, herbal medicines are better. Simple herbs like garlic and peppermint can be easily bought in the grocery store. If not, planting them is always an option.
- Natural healing of the body. This is perhaps the best part in using herbal medicines. They trigger the natural healing process of the body. Other drugs will try to hasten the process. You will feel better, but not in a natural way. As a result, serious problems could come back next time.
- Fight off other diseases. Even if you are only targeting a specific ailment, these medicinal herbs have properties that can also boost your immune system in general. This means that they may help prevent other problems before they arise. With increased immunity, you will have an overall healthier state.
These are just a few of the many benefits you will get from taking medicinal herbs. Let us take a closer look at some of the most effective herbs for you to try.
This is an edible bulb from the lily family. You are obviously familiar of it as it is a common ingredient in various dishes. Even in the past, garlic has already been popular for its health effects. Egyptians, Chinese, Romans and Greeks were known to have utilized garlic as a source of medicine in the past.
Aside from raw garlic, most people consume it as a powder or oil. There are also dietary supplements sold in tablets or capsules. Garlic oil is commonly used to nourish the skin.
Garlic is extremely effective in lowering cholesterol levels in the body. It is also effective in lowering blood pressure. There were also some studies suggesting that garlic is effective in lowering the possibility of developing serious illnesses like cancer.
For allergies, garlic may also be used. It has properties that are deemed effective in allowing the swelling of the body to subside. For people suffering from hair loss, a significant improvement may be seen with regular intake of garlic.
This tropical plant is popular for various uses. It can be used as fragrance for food, beverage, cosmetics and soap. It was used for health related purposes in the past especially by the Chinese and Romans. In most Asian countries, dried ginger has been used for several years in treating digestive problems like stomachache, diarrhea and nausea.
Today, ginger is still popular for treating problems related to the digestive system. They are best ingested as a tea. The liquid captures the essential nutrients to help fight off various diseases. However, they may also be taken in the form of tablets or capsules.
Aside from digestive issues, ginger is also popular for people who suffer from arthritis. It helps soothe the pain and even allow some people to walk again. Post-surgery nausea may also be eased by ginger. Those who are undergoing chemotherapy or have just given birth may drink ginger to avoid constant vomiting.
There were also some studies suggesting that ginger may help solve bronchitis. It clears the passageways for easier breathing.
If you can’t take the bitter taste of ginger, perhaps you can try ginger candy. Although not in its most natural form, it still contains some of the properties to help the body fight off illnesses.
If you are not familiar with Ginkgo, it is one of the oldest living tree species in the world. It has a long history as a traditional medicine, especially in China. Members of the royal Chinese families were given Ginkgo nuts for sterility. Others have used it for fighting asthma and bronchitis. Those who have bladder disorders also found relief with Ginkgo.
Today, Ginkgo leaves are used as a dietary supplement. They are said to be effective in treating various conditions including dementia, eye problems and tinnitus. There are several companies that have utilized the popularity of Ginkgo and turned it into tablets, capsules and tea. Since it is quite a strong ingredient, it is highly suggested to consult your physician first before taking it.
Your body might not easily adjust to its properties. However, if you are fine with it, you might even be relieved from more serious problems like diabetes. Ginkgo may also be combined with other medicinal herbs for effectiveness.
You might be surprised to know that aloe vera has been used dating back to 6,000 years ago in ancient Egypt. This was revealed on the stone carvings. Back then, it was referred to as the plant of immortality. In the past, they were used as treatments to wounds and hemorrhoids. However, they are most popular now for hair related problems. In fact, aloe vera has become one of the most popular shampoo ingredients today due to their properties that are said to be effective in fighting hair loss.
The aloe gel, the substance inside the aloe vera, is primarily used to treat various illnesses. Normally, it is applied directly to the skin to treat certain skin conditions including burns, cold sores and psoriasis. However, some people suggest that aloe vera be orally ingested. They are considered effective in fighting osteoarthritis and fever. They are also perfect in solving bowel diseases, including constipation.
Aloe vera is also said to have properties that may help in lowering glucose levels in the blood. Some even take it further by claiming that it can also be used for treating hepatitis, although there is no definitive proof to it.
This is a small palm tree which can be found in the southeastern part of the United States. It is currently used as a dietary supplement to solve urinary problems, including an enlarged prostate gland and urinary tract infection. There are other conditions that may be treated by this herb, including pelvic pain, hair loss and migraine. Some even claimed that it can increase one’s sex drive.
Extracts from this fruit are ingested in the form of tablets or capsules. They may also be dried, ground or its liquid may be extracted for consumption.
This plant is native to Southern Europe, Russia and North Africa. Its main component, Silymarin, is what makes milk thistle a medicinal herb. There is a long history when it comes to the use of milk thistle for curing liver problems, including hepatitis and cirrhosis. In the United States, Silymarin is the most common herbal supplement, especially for those suffering from liver related illnesses. This component is mixed with other herbal ingredients to form capsules or tablets.
Several studies have proven that those who have liver diseases may take Silymarin to be relieved from pain and inflammation. It is also effective in targeting respiratory conditions, and in boosting the immune system.
It grows naturally in various parts of Europe and America. In the past, people have used feverfew in treating fever, headache, migraine, diarrhea, constipation and dizziness. Today, people have found more diseases that can be treated by feverfew.
This includes arthritis, allergies, tinnitus and even intestinal parasites. There are also those who use feverfew as skin cleanser, to reduce potential skin infections. The dried leaves (or even the flowers and stems) are turned into capsules, tablets and tea.
Although only a few studies have focused on feverfew, some of them have revealed that they are somewhat effective in treating bodily pains and inflammation.
This plant is related to ginger, and is also as powerful when it comes to its healing properties. It is usually found in Central America and parts of Asia. In South Asia, it has been used as a treatment for various conditions, especially as part of the Ayurvedic medicinal practice. Among the most common illnesses it can cure are rheumatism, serious pain and fatigue.
It may also be used as a dietary supplement to treat inflammation. More serious conditions like liver and gallbladder issues or even cancer may also be treated with the help of turmeric.
The good thing is that you won’t even have to force yourself to eat it as it is a common spice, especially in making curry powder. It may also be used as food coloring and for cosmetic products. Considering the effectiveness of turmeric, it became an active ingredient for supplementary pills. When turned into paste, it may be used as a treatment for various skin conditions.
Several studies have proven that curcumin, a substance that can be found in turmeric, can be effective in fighting cancer, diabetes and colitis. In fact, it is also an ingredient for mouthwash. It has been known to reduce plaque. There are some studies looking at the potential of curcumin in fighting Alzheimer’s Disease and colon cancer.
St. John’s Wort
This is a plant with yellow flowers. It was used by ancient Greeks, and is a popular traditional European medicine. It was named St. John’s wort as it blooms around late June, during the feast of St. John the Baptist.
There are several illnesses that may be healed with the help of this plant. One of them is depression. As a dietary supplement, it is said to be effective in helping people battle depression. It may also be used in treating various conditions including menopausal symptoms and taming kids with ADHD. It may also be helpful in healing wounds.
There’s a bit of a caveat though. There were studies in the past indicating that when St. John’s wort is mixed with other medicines, it may pose life-threatening side effects. Therefore, it helps to still consult your doctor before using it.
Without a doubt, ginseng is an extremely popular medicinal herb in Asia, especially in countries like China and Korea. There is even a specific type called Asian ginseng that has been used in the past 2,000 years.
The Chinese believe that ginseng is useful replenishing lost energy. It is also used as a dietary supplement to help improve overall well-being. For older people, ginseng is used to slow down aging, be relieved from respiratory disorders and solve erectile dysfunction. Women suffering from hot flashes may also take relieve through ginseng intake.
In many Asian countries, ginseng is considered really important and several testimonies have proven their effectiveness. Hence, ginseng is valued at a high price.
Take with caution
Although there are tons of benefits in taking herbal medicines, there should be caution in taking them. In many cases, there were no definitive proofs or scientific researches linking the herbs and treatment of various illnesses. The reason why they are widely used until now is because of the people who have testified to their effectiveness.
There were also some cases where people have been poisoned because of taking these medicinal herbs. Since there are no clear dosage instructions, those who have not tried the herbs in the past were not able to appropriately use them.
In various countries, there is limited or no regulation at all when it comes to the intake of medicinal herbs. This means that extra care must be applied especially in taking herbs that come in a form of supplements such as tablets or capsules.
Most of all, there are serious illnesses that may require urgent medical attention. There might be little to no harm in trying medicinal herbs out for common sickness. However, if it involves something serious like heart inflammation or cancer, it is still best to seek for help from your physician.
The 10 medicinal herbs mentioned in this article are among the most popular herbs in various parts of the world. A lot of people could testify to their effectiveness. As long as you know how to prepare them properly and you fully understand their applications, there is nothing wrong in giving them a try.
The key is to study first the herb and determine whether or not you have allergic reactions to it. After careful consideration and you have realized that everything is fine, go ahead and try it.
The infographic below contains the summary of the information regarding these medicinal herbs. Use it as reference just in case you suffer from medical problems in the future.