When it comes to healing the body, plants can be a powerful ally. From gingko to turmeric, evening primrose oil to flaxseed, and tea tree oil to chamomile, there are a variety of plants that can be used to help treat a range of ailments. In this article, we'll explore the healing properties of some of the most popular plants and how they can be used to improve your health.
Aloe Verais 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. It is perhaps best known for its ability to improve brain health. Studies say gingko can treat patients with mild to moderate dementia and may slow cognitive decline in dementia and Alzheimer's disease. The gingko is considered a living fossil, with fossils dating back 270 million years ago.
These trees can live up to 3,000 years.
Turmeric, native to India, is believed to have anti-cancer properties and may prevent mutations. According to recent research, turmeric also shows promise as a treatment for a variety of dermatological diseases and joint arthritis. Turmeric 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 to help with conditions such as atopic dermatitis and diabetic neuropathy. It can also help with other health problems, such as breast pain. According to these studies, evening primrose oil could be the Swiss army knife in the world of medicinal plants. The caveat is that it can interact with several medications.
More research is coming and applications are promising.
Flaxseed, also available as oil, 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, study says flax seed may help prevent colon cancer.
Another study cites that flax seed has the ability to lower blood pressure when consumed, it can even help reduce obesity. Many people add flaxseed and flaxseed meal to oats and smoothies, and it is also available in the form of tablets, oil (which can be put in capsules) and flour.
Tea Tree Oilhas antimicrobial superpowers that have been studied in wounds and topical infections. Wilson recommends that tea tree oil, like all essential oils, be diluted in a carrier oil.
He adds that 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.
Echinaceais much more than those beautiful purple echinacea that you see dotting gardens. These flowers have been used for centuries as medicine in the form of teas, juices and extracts.
Nowadays, they can be taken as powders or supplements. 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. In general, with the exception of some potential side effects, echinacea is relatively safe. Even though you need more testing, you can always choose to use it if you expect your cold symptoms to end more quickly.
Ashwagandhacomes 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. This versatile herb is common in Ayurvedic medicine (Indian traditional medicine system) to increase energy levels, decrease anxiety and stress, reduce pain and inflammation, improve male sexual health (by increasing testosterone levels), 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. Ashwagandha powder may taste earthy and bitter so it's best to mix it with something such as milkshakes, desserts or coffee or tea - traditionally it has been mixed with honey, ghee or water. Most people don't immediately feel the effects of ashwagandha - it may take weeks before the benefits are noticed - but ashwagandha is generally safe for most adults. Common side effects include drowsiness, gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea. People who take certain medications such as anticonvulsants, benzodiazepines or barbiturates should not take them as the plant can interact with these drugs; nor should pregnant women take ashwagandha as high doses can cause miscarriage.
Chamomileis 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 (NCCIH), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), chamomile is likely safe when used as tea - both orally or topically - but not enough is known about its long-term safety when used medicinally. In Europe chamomile is used to help heal wounds and reduce inflammation and swelling; its proven effectiveness supports its popularity as an herbal remedy. You can consume chamomile tea either hot or cold; adding ice cubes will cool down hot tea quickly without diluting its flavor too much.