Herbs, Spices, & Natural Healing Introduction.

Herbal healing with natural remedies, this is something people have been doing since the world for humans came to being. For thousands upon thousands of years, we as a species have learned what herbs, spices, teas, lotions, sauves, and other concoctions that work best for healing. Today we are going to scour the web and several other places for information on what really works. Who knows you might have some of these things already in your kitchen or even in your garden.

According to Johns Hopkins: Herbal supplements come in all forms: dried, chopped, powdered, capsule, or liquid, and can be used in various ways, including:

  • Swallowed as pills, powders, or tinctures
  • Brewed as tea
  • Applied to the skin as gels, lotions, or creams
  • Added to bath water

PLEASE before you continue reading I want you to keep something in mind, I tell this to everyone who is interested in natural healing and natural medicines. Heade this and remember, even natural healing and herbology, takes a lot of research and time to learn. It is not something to blindly dive into, sometimes scientific medicines are still required to maintain certain things. When in doubt consult your doctor, we have them for a reason. But, also consider that some things can be maintained naturally and not with prescription medications.

Warning and advice directly from Johns Hopkins.

Precautions when choosing herbal supplements

Herbal supplements can interact with conventional medicines or have strong effects. Do not self-diagnose. Talk to your doctor before taking herbal supplements.

  • Educate yourself. Learn as much as you can about the herbs you are taking by consulting your doctor and contacting herbal supplement manufacturers for information.
  • If you use herbal supplements, follow label instructions carefully and use the prescribed dosage only. Never exceed the recommended dosage, and seek out information about who should not take the supplement.
  • Work with a professional. Seek out the services of a trained and licensed herbalist or naturopathic doctor who has extensive training in this area.
  • Watch for side effects. If symptoms, such as nausea, dizziness, headache, or upset stomach, occur, reduce the dosage or stop taking the herbal supplement.
  • Be alert for allergic reactions. A severe allergic reaction can cause trouble breathing. If such a problem occurs, call 911 or the emergency number in your area for help.
  • Research the company whose herbs you are taking. All herbal supplements are not created equal, and it is best to choose a reputable manufacturer’s brand. Ask yourself:
    • Is the manufacturer involved in researching its own herbal products or simply relying on the research efforts of others?
    • Does the product make outlandish or hard-to-prove claims?
    • Does the product label give information about the standardized formula, side effects, ingredients, directions, and precautions?
    • Is label information clear and easy to read?
    • Is there a toll-free telephone number, an address, or a website address listed so consumers can find out more information about the product?

Also, please note I am not a medical professional and do not claim to be one. I am however, a veterinary technician student, a mother, an animal lover, I do have medical background as an EKG Tech, Phlebotomist, a personal caregiver. So a lot of my advice has some medical standing and life experience behind it.

Some of the information below is pulled from other blogs; their hyperlinks from those blogs is still available for you to follow to addition information.

Herbs

Gingko

Rating

Safety: 3/5

Evidence: 3.5/5

As one of the oldest tree species, gingko is also one of the oldest homeopathic plants and a key herb in Chinese medicine. The leaves are used to create capsules, tablets, and extracts, and when dried, can be consumed as a tea.

It’s perhaps best-known for its ability to boost brain health. Studies say that gingko can treat patients with mild to moderate dementia, and can slow cognition decline in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Recent research is looking into a component that can help diabetes, and there continue to be more studies, including an animal study that says it might influence bone healing.

INTERESTING FACT

The gingko tree is considered a living fossil, with fossils dating from 270 million years ago. These trees can live up to 3,000 years.

Gingko could be beneficial for:

  • dementia
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • eye health
  • inflammation
  • diabetes
  • bone healing
  • anxiety
  • depression

Things to consider

  • Long-term use may increase chance of thyroid and liver cancer, which has been seen in rats.
  • It’s known to be hard on the liver, so liver enzymes may need to be monitored.
  • It can interact with blood thinners.
  • Gingko seeds are poisonous if ingested.
  • Side effects can include headache, upset stomach, dizziness, and allergic reaction.
  • Gingko use needs to be discussed with your doctor because of numerous drug interactions.

Turmeric

Rating

Safety: used as an herb: 5/5; used as a supplement: 4/5

Evidence: 3/5

With its brilliant orange hue, it’s impossible to miss a bottle of turmeric sitting on a spice shelf. Originating in India, turmeric is believed to have anticancer properties and can prevent DNA mutations.

As an anti-inflammatory, it can be taken as a supplement and it’s been used topically for people with arthritis who wish to relieve discomfort. It’s used worldwide as a cooking ingredient, which makes it a delicious, antioxidant-rich addition to many dishes.

According to recent research, turmeric is also showing promise as a treatment for a variety of dermatologic diseases and joint arthritis.

INTERESTING FACT

Turmeric has been used as a medicinal herb for 4,000 years. It’s a tentpole of an Indian alternative medicine practice called Ayurveda.

Turmeric could be beneficial for:

  • pain caused by inflammatory diseases, like arthritis
  • preventing cancer
  • stopping DNA mutations
  • several skin diseases

Things to consider

  • When used as a supplement, people tend to take too much, so it can be difficult to trust the dosage and quality. Safety increases when ingested as an herb in cooking or tea.
  • Long-term use can potentially cause stomach problems.
  • Turmeric has low bioavailability. Consuming with pepper can help your body absorb more of its benefits.

Evening primrose oil

Rating

Safety: topically: 4.5/5; orally: 3/5

Evidence: 3/5

The vibrant yellow evening primrose flower produces an oil that’s thought to alleviate the symptoms of PMS and skin conditions like eczema.

Studies that are available on this oil tend to be all over the map, but there are studies that are stronger than others. For example, some studies have found that evening primrose oil has anti-inflammatory properties. It’s been known to help with conditions such as atopic dermatitis and diabetic neuropathy. It can also help with other health concerns, such as breast pain.

Recent research points to improving the quality of life for patients with multiple sclerosis, changing hormones and insulin sensitivity in those dealing with polycystic ovary syndrome, and using it topically to improve mild dermatitis.

According to these studies, evening primrose oil might just be the Swiss Army knife of the medicinal plant world. The caveat is that it can interact with several medications. More research is coming, and the applications are promising.

INTERESTING FACT

Evening primrose flowers are also called moonflowers because they bloom as the sun begins to set. People often say they smell like lemons.

Evening primrose oil could be beneficial for:

  • PMS
  • mild skin conditions
  • breast pain
  • menopause
  • inflammation
  • diabetic neuropathy
  • multiple sclerosis
  • PCOS
  • blood pressure

Things to consider

  • interacts with some blood-clotting medications
  • safety during pregnancy is uncertain
  • may interfere with drug absorption during HIV treatment
  • interacts with lithium for bipolar disorder
  • long-term use may not be safe

Flax seed

Rating

Safety: 4.5/5

Evidence: 3.5/5

Flax seed, also available as an oil, is one of the safer choices among plant-based dietary supplements. Harvested for thousands of years, today flax seed is praised for its antioxidant activity and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Although more research needs to be done with human subjects, one study says that flax seed can help prevent colon cancer.

Another study cites that flax seed has the ability to reduce blood pressure. When consumed, it can even aid in reducing obesity. Many people add flax seed and flaxseed meal to oatmeal and smoothies, and it’s also available in the form of tablets, oil (which can be put into capsules), and flour.

The best way to add flax seed is through your diet. Sprinkle ground seeds on cereal or salad, cook in hot cereal, stew, homemade breads, or smoothies. Add flaxseed oil to salad dressing.

INTERESTING FACT

Flax seeds are one of a handful of plant-based sources for omega-3 fatty acids. Other sources include chia seeds, walnuts, and soybeans.

Flax seed could be beneficial for:

  • decreasing obesity
  • regulating blood pressure
  • preventing colon cancer
  • inflammation
  • hot flashes

Things to consider

  • Flax seed can affect estrogen production in women, especially if they have a history of cancer or are pregnant.
  • Don’t eat raw or unripe flax seeds, as they can be toxic.

Tea tree oil

Rating

Safety: 4/5

Evidence: 3/5

The tea tree, which is native to Australia, produces an oil that’s long been thought to be beneficial for skin conditions, including mild acne, athlete’s foot, small wounds, dandruff, insect bites, and other inflammatory skin conditions.

There needs to be further study into acne and scalp use, but for now, there’s a degree of research into the antimicrobial superpowers of tea tree oil on wounds and topical infections.

One recent study said that tea tree oil slowed the growth of acne-causing microbes. It’s commonly used as a highly concentrated essential oil.

Wilson recommends that tea tree oil, as with all essential oils, should be diluted in a carrier oil. She adds that it often already comes diluted in a variety of skin care products and creams.

INTERESTING FACT

Tea tree oil is derived from the leaves of a tree that’s native to Queensland and New South Wales, Australia.

Tea tree oil could be beneficial for:

  • acne
  • athlete’s foot
  • cuts
  • dandruff
  • insect bites

Things to consider

  • Tea tree oil is poisonous if taken orally.
  • Your skin could experience an allergic reaction.
  • It may influence hormones.
  • Long-term use isn’t recommended.

HEALTHLINE EVENTYou’re invited! Good Talks: Exploring Healthy Relationships

Nicole Byer, the hosts of “Call Your Girlfriend” podcast, & Tank from Tank and the Bangas will discuss how to maintain healthy relationships with yourself, your friends, your family, and co-workers.LEARN MORE

Echinacea

Rating

Safety: 4.5/5

Evidence: 3.5/5

Echinacea is a lot more than those pretty, purple coneflowers you see dotting gardens. These blooms have been used for centuries as medicine in the form of teas, juice, and extracts. Today, they can be taken as powders or supplements.

The best-known use of echinacea is to shorten symptoms of the common cold, but more studies are needed to verify this benefit and to understand how echinacea boosts immunity when a virus is present.

Generally, save a few potential side effects, echinacea is relatively safe. Even though it needs more testing, you can always choose to use it if you’re hoping to see your cold symptoms end more quickly.

INTERESTING FACT

Some of the earliest people to use echinacea as a medicinal herb were Native Americans. The first archaeological evidence dates back to the 18th century.

Echinacea could be beneficial for:

  • colds
  • immunity
  • bronchitis
  • upper respiratory infections

Things to consider

  • It can be tough on the digestive tract and upset the stomach.
  • Allergic reactions are possible.

Grapeseed extract

Rating

Safety: 4.5/5

Evidence: 3.5/5

For years, grapeseed extract, which is available via liquid, tablets, or capsules, has been well-established and applauded for its antioxidant activity. It has potent health benefits, including lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol and reducing symptoms of poor circulation in the leg veins.

Studies are confirming that regular consumption of grapeseed extract has anticancer effects and seems to halt cancer cell growth.

INTERESTING FACT

Grapeseed extract contains the same antioxidants found in wine.

Grapeseed extract could be beneficial for:

  • cancer
  • lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • leg vein circulation
  • edema
  • blood pressure

Things to consider

  • Proceed with caution if you take blood thinners or blood pressure medications, or if you’re about to go in for surgery.
  • It may reduce iron absorption.

Lavender

Rating

Safety: 4/5

Evidence: 3.5/5

If you experience anxiety, chances are that someone along the way has recommended that you use lavender essential oil, and for good reason. This aromatic, purple flower has a fairly strong standing among studies, which have mainly focused on its anti-anxiety capacities.

It’s proven to be soothing in a study conducted among dental patients, while another study confirmed that lavender can directly impact mood and cognitive performance. It’s also been commended for its sedative properties to help people get much-needed sleep.

Recently, it’s been discovered that lavender carries anti-inflammatory benefits as well. It’s most effective diluted and applied to the skin or used in aromatherapy, and it has few side effects.

INTERESTING FACT

Lavender was first brought to Provence, France, by the Romans 2,000 years ago.

Lavender could be beneficial for:

  • anxiety
  • stress
  • blood pressure
  • migraine

Things to consider

  • It can cause skin irritation.
  • It’s poisonous if taken orally.
  • It may disrupt hormones when applied undiluted.

Chamomile

Rating

Safety: 4/5

Evidence: 3.5/5

With flowers that resemble small daisies, chamomile is another medicinal plant that’s thought to have anti-anxiety properties. Most people know it because it’s a popular tea flavor

The calming powers of chamomile have been frequently studied, including a 2009 study that states chamomile is superior to taking a placebo when treating generalized anxiety disorder. One recent study confirmed it’s safe for long-term use, and another recent study looked beyond its use for anxiety and confirmed that it also shows potential in anticancer treatments.

INTERESTING FACT

There are two types of chamomile: German chamomile, an annual that thrives in the Midwest, and Roman chamomile, a perennial that attracts pollinators and smells like apples.

Chamomile could be beneficial for:

  • anxiety
  • stress
  • insomnia
  • cancer

Things to consider

  • It can cause allergic reactions. There’ve been reports of anaphylaxis.
  • It can interact with blood thinners.

Feverfew

(Leaf)

Feverfew was traditionally used to treat fevers. It is now commonly used to prevent migraines and treat arthritis. Some research has shown that certain feverfew preparations can prevent migraines. Side effects include mouth ulcers and digestive irritation. People who suddenly stop taking feverfew for migraines may have their headaches return. Feverfew should not be used with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines because these medicines may change how well feverfew works. It should not be used with warfarin or other anticoagulant medicines.

Garlic

(Cloves, root)

Garlic is used for lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. It has antimicrobial effects. Reports from small, short-term, and poorly described studies show that it may cause small reductions in total and LDL cholesterol. But German research results on garlic’s cholesterol-lowering effect have been distorted for a positive effect, the FDA says. Researchers are currently exploring garlic’s possible role in preventing cancer. The FDA considers garlic safe. It should not be used with warfarin, because large amounts of garlic may affect clotting. For the same reason, large amounts should not be taken before dental procedures or surgery.

Ginger

(Root)

Ginger is used to ease nausea and motion sickness. Research suggests that ginger can relieve nausea caused by pregnancy or chemotherapy. Other areas under investigation are in surgery and for nausea caused by motion. Reported side effects include bloating, gas, heartburn, and nausea.

Goldenseal

(Root, rhizome)

Goldenseal is used to treat diarrhea, and eye and skin irritations. It is also used as an antiseptic. It is also an unproven treatment for colds. Goldenseal contains berberine, a plant alkaloid with a long history of medicinal use in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. Studies have shown that goldenseal is effective for diarrhea. But it’s not recommended because it can be poisonous in high doses. It can cause skin, mouth, throat, and gastric irritation. It is also not recommended because of the plant’s endangered species status.

Milk thistle

(Fruit)

Milk thistle is used to treat liver conditions and high cholesterol, and to reduce the growth of cancer cells. Milk thistle is a plant that originated in the Mediterranean region. It has been used for many different illnesses over the last several thousand years, especially liver problems. Although study results are uncertain, some promising information exists.

Saint John’s wort

(Flower, leaf)

Saint John’s wort is used as an antidepressant. Recent studies have not confirmed that there is more than a slight effect on depression. More research is needed to determine the best dose. A side effect is sensitivity to light, but this is only noted in people taking large doses of the herb. St. John’s work can cause a dangerous interaction with other commonly used medicines. Always talk with your healthcare provider before using this herb.

Saw palmetto

(Fruit)

Saw palmetto is used to treat benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). But recent studies have not found it to work well for this condition. Side effects are digestive upset and headache, both mild.

Valerian

(Root)

Valerian is used to treat sleeplessness and to reduce anxiety. Research suggests that valerian may be a helpful sleep aid, but there are no well-designed studies to confirm the results. In the U.S., valerian is used as a flavoring for root beer and other foods. As with any medicinal herb, talk with your healthcare provider before taking it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s