Herbs do far more than just make food taste good. They’re also the world’s oldest and most relied-upon form of medicine. From common weeds to the leaves and fruit of exotic trees, it seems that every plant has some characteristic that is beneficial to health. Here is a handful of the most helpful and widely used herbs to use for health and wellness.
Hot peppers have been treasured throughout the world for thousands of years due to their culinary value. However, they also make a useful medicine. Despite the fact that they act as a blood thinner, they are highly effective at halting excessive bleeding. When taken at the first signs, they have also been known to stop heart attacks. They fight pain by triggering the release of the body’s endorphins and also reduce inflammation. Furthermore, they are a potent digestive aid, helping to speed up digestion, prevent gas and improve nutrient absorption.
Turmeric, a bright-yellow rhizome, hails from India and other Asian regions, where it has been used for millennia. Besides its widespread use as a spice and food coloring, it also has medicinal purposes. Curcumin, its active constituent, has been found in studies to be a potent cancer preventative. In fact, when added to cancer cells in a laboratory, curcumin resulted in the death of these cells, a process called apoptosis. Research has shown curcumin to be most effective against cancers of the skin, breasts, prostate, testicles, ovaries and uterus.
An African native, this vine in the legume family is widely used for mood support. It contains high amounts of the amino acid 5-HTP. Once in the body, 5-HTP converts to serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of happiness, joy and contentment. This makes Griffonia simplicifolia a safe, effective and natural antidepressant with few or no side effects or dependency issues. It can be used intermittently for occasional bouts of depression, anxiety or stress. In addition, it is highly beneficial for use during withdrawal from drugs and alcohol.
Ginseng is one of the world’s most popular medicinal herbs. Besides enhancing immune function and helping to regulate blood sugar, it also boosts testosterone. It is also helpful for increasing energy levels and blood oxygenation, making it ideal for athletes.
This beautiful, pleasant-smelling flower is very popular as a tea, and for good reason. Its main use is as a sleep aid due to its calming properties and the fact that it promotes restful sleep. In ancient Egypt, women used to to soothe their menstrual cramps. It is believed that chamomile does this by increasing levels of glycine, a substance that relaxes the muscles. Furthermore, chamomile is very helpful for healing and avoiding infection.
Mint is one of the world’s most widely grown and consumed herbs. The pleasant, soothing aroma makes it an ideal treatment for headaches and a queasy stomach. As a poultice, its cooling sensation can soothe burns and other minor skin irritations. When consumed as a tea, it relieves nausea and promotes feelings of relaxation and contentment and also helps clear up congestion.
Ginger, which is closely related to turmeric, has also been historically used throughout Asia. This pungent, spicy root is unparalleled in its ability to improve digestion, treat gas and bloating and relieve nausea. Furthermore, scientists have found that it boosts testosterone levels in men and women, enhancing mood, stimulating fat loss and improving libido.