I have been interested in magical medicinal herbs and their healing benefits for a long time, and believe that nature has an amazing way of providing us with natural remedies. Let's face it, long before modern medicine came along, many of these herbs would have been used to treat a number of ailments and people are still turning to herbal medicines and alternative medicines today. Here are just a few medicinal herbs and their healing benefits.
1 Calming Chamomile
I love chamomile tea and most evenings will drink a cup to help me have a restful night's sleep, as it is a natural sedative. It is a wonderful herb with so many healing benefits and is a classic remedy for anxiety, so make yourself a cup if you're feeling stressed as it is sure to soothe the troubles away. It is wonderful for restless babies and children too. It is also great for easing tummy aches so when I'm unfortunate enough to suffer from an intestinal cramp, I will soothe it with a cup of calming chamomile, one of my favorite medicinal herbs.
2 Amazing Astragalus
Not to be confused with the similar sounding vegetable, asparagus, this herb is great for your immune system and can help boost energy levels. It is used widely in traditional Chinese medicine and for good reason. Its natural antibiotic properties mean that it can help improve the function of your white blood cells, therefore increasing your resistance to viral infections. This antioxidant rich herb can also help protect the cells against free radical damage. You can use this herb in soups or make a tea from it.
3 Marvellous Marshmallow Root
You may be thinking of the pink and white fluffy candies that you toast over the fire on winter evenings but this isn't the same thing. Marshmallow root is another good herb for easing stomach upsets and even treating irritable bowel syndrome. Its mild laxative effect means that it can help treat occasional bouts of constipation too. The root is often soaked in cold water overnight then strained and the liquid sipped throughout the day.
4 Magical Milk Thistle
There is a lovely legend behind this herb, which gets its name from the milky sap that comes out of the leaves when they are broken. According to legend, the white markings on the leaves are supposed to be the Virgin Mary's milk. Fabulous fable aside, Milk Thistle is a great herb for supporting the liver. Your liver is so important as it breaks down and metabolises fats and proteins and Milk Thistle is reported to help heal the liver and support its ability to function well in the body. It is also reported to help lower cholesterol levels and people who have type two diabetes.
5 St John's Wort
If you spend as much time in the health food shop (which is a bit like a candy store to me) as I do, you may have seen packs of 'St John's Wort'. This is your mood lifting herb and is great for helping to treat mild depression (not severe though). It can also help ease seasonal depression, menopausal depression and anxiety. It is often taken as a tea or in capsule form, if bought from the health-food shop. It does make your skin sensitive to sunlight though so that's something to be aware of.
6 Valerian Root
The Valerian root is seen as a 'natural tranquillizer' due to the fact it has such a calming effect on the nervous system. It is used to treat anxiety, insomnia and is also helpful in treating digestive problems and nausea. It's probably wise not to drive or operate machinery after taking this though.
This beautiful sounding plant, bears fruit which is traditionally used in Korean and Chinese dishes and added to many things including soups, jams and drinks. It is known as an 'adaptogen' as it has the ability to respond to the body according to its needs and either helps revive or calm. It's great for invigorating both the body and mind and can help improve energy levels, not just physical but mental and spiritual energy too. It is also used to treat liver disease, high cholesterol and asthma.
Modern medicine is amazing and thanks to science, we have come a long way. Nature is amazing too and has given us so many wonderful plants and herbs which can be used to heal the body (although studies are still being done about the efficacy of some of them). Remember to always seek advice from a medical practitioner as some herbs, although 'natural', may interact with other medicines you may be taking and make them ineffective. What do you use as traditional remedies when a little natural healing is needed?
Sources: webmd.com; nlm.nih.gov; herbsguide.net