Herbs are Mother Nature's medicine. There are a variety of herbs that grow all around the world, each possessing their own unique medicinal qualities and benefits - ranging from things as minuscule as freshening bad breath and flavoring food, to as serious as helping to prevent serious diseases.
Cultures all over the globe have been using herbs for centuries in both culinary and medicinal practices. Ancient caves in Lascaux, France, contain cave paintings which date back to 25,000 B.C. and depict herbal and aromatic medicines - how crazy is that? Over time, there have come to be three classifications of herbs: Ayurvedic, Traditional Chinese, and Western.
All About Herbs
What's interesting about herbs is that each one is used differently. Not just in terms of means - such as a tea, an extract, or simply as flavoring for food - but in regard to what specific part of the herbal plant is used. Some herbs are used mainly for their seeds or flowers, and others are coveted for their roots or leaves.
Due to their vitamin and mineral content, herbs work as powerful healers for a multitude of ailments. Some of the most common properties of herbs are the ability to strengthen the immune system, lower blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, and even the ability to help prevent illnesses such as Alzheimer's and various types of cancer.
“An herb is the friend of physicians and the praise of cooks.” – Charlemagne
Another common use for many herbs is as an anti-inflammatory, because some herbs hinder the enzyme cycloxygenase, which stimulates inflammation in the body. A wide variety of herbs also posses anti-amyloid properties. Amyloid is an abnormal, starch-like protein that makes its way in the spleen, kidneys, liver, and other tissues in individuals suffering from certain diseases. Additionally, it has been found that volatile oils extracted from certain herbs take cytotoxicity against numerous types of cancer cells, thus killing them. Studies conducted at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center of New York have found that specifically the herbs Oldenlandia, Scutellaria, Taraxacum, and Phragmites purify blood, prevent cell mutations, and kill various cancer cells. Soothing pain is another quality shared among many herbs, making them a popular solution for relief to those undergoing chemotherapy.
Herbs work to restore balance and proper function in the body by improving certain nutritional deficiencies. Rather than masking problems within our system, they work to fix them. They are generally rich in essential oils, antioxidants, and phytosterols, and put up a very strong fight when protecting the body against toxins and germs.
To see what other herbs are capable of, we've listed a few below with their respective uses. Try them out and see what they can do for you!
- Enhancing athletic performance
- Anti-inflammatory, preventing cell damage, increasing metabolism, optimizing liver function
Echinacea, Elderberry, Garlic, Ginger, Onion, Hibiscus, Cinnamon, Goldenseal -
Helping to boost the immune system
Sage, Alpine Strawberry - Cleaning and whitening teeth
Jojoba oil, Marigold extract, Ginseng, Goto Kula - Hair growth
Aloe Vera - Repairing and moisturizing skin
Chamomile Oil - Repairing damaged skin tissues
Neem, Holy Basil - Healthy, glowing skin
Gingko - Widely used in European countries to help treat both Alzheimer's and Dementia
Psyllium, Fenugreek, Licorice - Reducing Choesterol
Bilberry, Cayenne Pepper - Stabilizing blood sugars