Herbal medicines have been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments. From chamomile to ginseng, there are many herbs that have been proven to have medicinal value. In this article, we will explore 10 of the most popular herbal medicines and their main benefits, uses, and safety information. Chamomile (Flower) is considered by some to be a cure-all.
It is commonly used in the United States and is known for its calming effects. It can be taken as a tea or supplement, and can also be applied topically. Chamomile is generally considered safe for short-term use, but side effects such as nausea, stomach pain, and skin rash have occasionally been reported. Echinacea (Plant) is a flowering plant that is frequently used to treat and prevent the common cold.
A review of more than 4,000 people found a possible reduction in the risk of colds from taking echinacea by 10 to 20%, but there is little or no evidence that it treats the cold after contracting it. Although there is insufficient data to evaluate the long-term effects of this herb, its short-term use is generally considered safe. Echinacea can be found in most supermarkets and health food stores, as well as online. Ginseng (Plant-Based Medicine) is derived from the roots of the ginseng plant.
It is frequently used in traditional Chinese medicine to reduce inflammation and increase immunity, brain function, and energy levels. American ginseng is believed to promote relaxation, while Asian ginseng is considered to be more stimulating. Although ginseng has been used for centuries, there is no modern research to support its effectiveness. Short-term use is considered relatively safe, but long-term safety of ginseng is unclear.
Possible side effects include headaches, lack of sleep, and digestive problems. Ginseng can be found in most health food stores as well as online. Ginkgo Biloba (Plant-Based Medicine) is derived from the maidenhair tree. Seeds and leaves are traditionally used to make teas and tinctures, but most modern applications use leaf extract. Ginkgo is said to treat a wide range of ailments, including heart disease, dementia, mental difficulties, and sexual dysfunction.
However, studies have not proven effective for any of these conditions. Elderberry (Herbal Remedy) is an ancient herbal medicine typically made from the cooked fruit of the Sambucus nigra plant. It has long been used to relieve headaches, nerve aches, toothaches, colds, viral infections, and constipation. Elderberry is available in syrup or lozenge form, although there is no standard dosage. Test tube studies show that its plant compounds have antioxidant, antimicrobial and antiviral properties, but research on humans is lacking.
Although some small human studies indicate that elderberry shortens the duration of influenza infections, larger studies are needed to determine if it is more effective than conventional antiviral therapies. Short-term use is considered safe, but raw or unripe fruit is toxic and can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. St John's Wort (Plant-Based Drug) is derived from the flowering plant Hypericum perforatum. Its small yellow flowers are commonly used to make tea, capsules or extracts. Its use dates back to ancient Greece and it is still frequently prescribed by medical professionals in parts of Europe.
Many studies point out that short-term use of St John's Wort is as effective as some conventional antidepressants. However, there are limited data on safety or long-term efficacy for people with severe depression or suicidal thoughts. SJW has relatively few side effects but can cause allergic reactions, dizziness, confusion, dry mouth and increased sensitivity to light. It also interferes with numerous medicines so you should use caution or avoid it if you are taking any medications. Turmeric (Herb) belongs to the ginger family and its main active compound is curcumin.
It can treat a number of conditions including chronic inflammation, pain metabolic syndrome and anxiety. In particular several studies reveal that supplemental doses of curcumin are as effective in relieving arthritis pain as some common anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and curcumin supplements are considered safe but very high doses can cause diarrhea headache or skin irritation. You can also use fresh or dried turmeric in dishes such as curry although the amount you normally eat in food is unlikely to have a significant medicinal effect.