Healing herbs and spices have been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments. From cinnamon to turmeric, gingko to evening primrose oil, flax seed to tea tree oil, and echinacea to ashwagandha, these natural remedies have been used for centuries to improve brain health, reduce inflammation, and even prevent cancer. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the healing properties of these herbs and how they can be used in your daily life. Cinnamon is one of the oldest tree species and a key herb in Chinese medicine.
The leaves are used to create capsules, tablets and extracts, and when dried, they can be consumed as tea. Studies suggest that cinnamon can treat patients with mild to moderate dementia and may slow cognitive decline in dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Turmeric is native to India and is believed to have anti-cancer properties and may prevent mutations. Recent research also suggests that turmeric may be a treatment for a variety of dermatological diseases and joint arthritis.
It has been used as a medicinal herb for 4,000 years and is a tentpole of an Indian alternative medicine practice called Ayurveda. Evening primrose oil is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and can help with conditions such as atopic dermatitis and diabetic neuropathy. It can also help with other health problems, such as breast pain. Studies suggest that evening primrose oil could be the Swiss army knife in the world of medicinal plants, but it can interact with several medications so more research is needed.
Flax seed is one of the safest options among plant-based dietary supplements. Harvested for thousands of years, today flax seed is praised for its antioxidant activity and anti-inflammatory benefits. While more research with humans is needed, studies suggest that flax seed may help prevent colon cancer and lower blood pressure. It can even help reduce obesity when consumed.
The best way to add flax seeds is through diet - sprinkle ground seeds on cereals or salads, cook in hot cereals, stews, homemade breads or milkshakes, or add linseed oil to salad dressing. Tea tree oil has antimicrobial superpowers that can be used in wounds and topical infections. Wilson recommends that tea tree oil, like all essential oils, be diluted in a carrier oil as it is often already diluted in a variety of skin care products and creams. Tea tree oil is derived from the leaves of a tree native to Queensland and New South Wales, Australia. Echinacea is much more than those beautiful purple flowers that you see dotting gardens - these flowers have been used for centuries as medicine in the form of teas, juices and extracts. The most well-known use of echinacea is to shorten the symptoms of the common cold but further studies are needed to verify this benefit and understand how echinacea increases immunity when there is a virus. Ashwagandha comes from the plant Withania somnifera, also known as ginseng from India and winter cherry from India.
The evergreen shrub is native to Africa and Asia and grows in parts of the Middle East and India. Ashwagandha has been used for thousands of years for its medicinal properties - it can increase energy levels, decrease anxiety and stress, reduce pain and inflammation, increase testosterone levels in men, support erectile dysfunction, increase libido (sexual desire) and improve sexual pleasure. Ashwagandha is available in the form of capsules, tincture and powder as a dietary supplement. Most people don't immediately feel the effects of ashwagandha - it may take weeks before the benefits are noticed - but it is generally safe for most adults. Common side effects include drowsiness, gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea. Chamomile is a popular herbal remedy in the United States commonly used to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, a division of the National Institutes of Health, chamomile is likely to be safe when used as tea or taken orally in the short term. In Europe, chamomile is used to help heal wounds and reduce inflammation and swelling. Chamomile is available for purchase as tea bags or loose leaf tea; it can also be found in tinctures or capsules. You can also add ice to tea if you prefer a cooler drink.