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Herbal Medicine

Importance of Herbal Medicine

Natural herbal remedies have been used for thousands of years. The use, development and progression of knowledge around medicinal plants is inherently interconnected with human evolution. This evolving knowledge is the base that has built the foundations of sciences such as botany, pharmacology, medicine and toxicology.

Western herbal medicine has a rich and varied history.  This history combined with modern science has allowed examination of herbal medicines and as such there has been an extensive amount of published research on herbs and their therapeutic uses.

What are 10 Common Herbal Medicines?

Echinacea
(Echinacea purpurea)

Echinacea is known for its ability to support the immune system. It is one of the main herbs turned to as a herbal remedy to help your body rid itself of bacterial and viral infections, such as the common cold and sinus.

Ginseng
(Panax ginseng)

Ginseng is known as the ‘fountain of youth’ and it’s used extensively throughout Asia. Ginseng is used to help support people that are experiencing a severe loss of ‘energy’, through illness or injury. Ginseng is used to help restore strength when you are physically exhausted or weakened.

St Marys Thistle
(Silybum marianum)

St Mary’s thistle has been famous for its actions as a liver herb for thousands of years. It has been used extensively for liver and gallbladder diseases including hepatitis, cirrhosis, gallstones and jaundice.

Resishi
(Ganoderma lucidum)

Resishi is a mushroom with amazing health benefits. It helps support the immune system and is capable of helping patients with immune dysregulation like in auto-immune diseases and allergies. It is also known to improve cardiovascular function, anti-inflammatory actions, liver function and virus fighting abilities.

St John’s Wort
(Hypericum perforatum)

St John’s Wort has been respected as a medicinal plant throughout history. This herb is known for its help with depression and anxiety, helping people rise up out of dark places.

Turmeric
(Curcuma longa)

Turmeric is such an integral herb to ancient Indian Ayurvedic medicine and it has long been honoured as a whole-body cleanser. This little Rhizome (underground stem) is potent in herbal medicine and is used when people suffer from inflammation in their body. It is widely used to help the body heal from an injury or illness, particularly when the healing process is slow.

Licorice
(Glycyrrhiza glabra)

Herbal Medicine has been using Licorice for many centuries to soothe, heal and tone. It is probably one of the best herbal medicines for mouth ulcers, stomach ulcers and it is hard to imagine a herbal cough medicine without at least some Licorice in it.

Bacopa
(Bacopa monnieri)

This herb is highly regarded in Indian Ayurveda Medicine for its ability to improve concentration, cognitive function, memory, mental health and support longevity. Recent research has shown that Bacopa has the ability to help reduce the symptoms felt in nervousness, palpitations, insomnia, headache, lack of concentration, fatigue, anorexia and tremors.

Ginkgo
(Ginkgo biloba)

This is one of the most frequently prescribed herbal medicines in the world today for its ability to support Brain Health. It has been used to help enhance cognitive function, including long-term memory, reasoning, and processing speed. There are well over 424 research studies published on Ginkgo in the last 10 years. 

Chamomile
(Matricaria recutita)

Chamomile is undoubtedly the most widely used herb for relaxation in the world. It’s safe to use in all types of anxiety and stress-related disorders. Chamomile works to help bring calm, soothe spasms, as a mild sedative, an anti-inflammatory and works well mixed with other herbs such as Lemon Balm and Passionflower in a relaxing tea.

Herbal Remedies for Anxiety

Anxiety can often be the result of prolonged stress, depression and panic attacks, for various reasons. But experiencing occasional anxiety is no cause for concern. We all tend to work at peak performance under a certain amount of anxiety, however if you experience anxiety that seems unremitting, uncontrollable, interferes with your normal functioning, you may need to seek some professional help. 

For people who suffer from mild to severe anxiety, the idea of taking natural anxiety meds or herbal remedy that works for them can be more attractive than taking prescribed medication. While medication is the right choice for some, it’s not for everyone.

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What are some of the best herbal remedies for Anxiety?

  • St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) has long been seen as a herb to help people to lift their spirits out of the dark 
  • Passionflower is known as one of the best Anti Anxiety herbs. 
  • Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) for children, they seem to respond very well to Lemon Balm tea when they are anxious. 
  • Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is best used to help to relieve nervous cramping and at the same time induce relaxation.
  • Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) is one of the best herbs to help nourish and support the central nervous system.  
  • Lavender (Lavandula officinalis), long known for its inducing relaxation benefits. 
  • Withania (Ashwagandha) is a herb whose history goes back at least 5000 years, helping with Insomnia and prolonged stress. 
  • Ziziphus (Ziziphus mauritiana) is a herb used for sleep disorders relating to anxiety.

Herbal Remedies for Cold & Flu

Common Colds and Flu are caused by a virus and there are several kinds of viruses. There are a number of herbs for flu that might help soothe symptoms and boost your immune system to help fight the virus. They may also help shorten how long you have the cold or flu. The herbs used in these remedies are best consumed in combination with each other.

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What are some of the best herbal remedies for Cold & Flu?

  • Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia) is one of the key remedies for helping the body rid itself of infections especially of the upper respiratory tract, as seen in colds and flu. 
  • Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) has been used as a remedy for coughs that are dry, unproductive or painful. 
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is also one of the world’s best medicines. Known to help the throat and inflammation. 
  • Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) takes 7 years to grow but it’s one of mother nature’s best natural antibiotics and disinfectants.
  • Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) soothing and healing effects have been an integral part of treatment for conditions such as painful coughs and bronchial spasm and tension. 
  • Poke Root (Phytolacca decandra) is a powerful cleansing remedy, used to help the lymphatic system when it has become congested.
  • Garlic (Allium sativum) works effectively as an antimicrobial, acting on bacteria and  viruses. Garlic is great for infections of the respiratory system, such as chronic bronchitis, and recurrent colds and influenza.
  • Andrographis (Andrographis paniculata) is one of the most popular medicinal plants to help enhance the Immune system and is great for acute infections. 
  • Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis) is one of the 50 essential herbs known and has shown to have powerful immune regulating properties.

FAQs

Can herbal medicine be harmful?

All medicinal herbs that have the power to do good have the potential to do harm. 

The old saying is ‘the poison is in the dose’ accurately describes how too much of anything can be harmful to us. The ancient Naturopathic rule is to firstly, “do no harm” and to this day is a core directive by all practitioners of Natural Medicine. Not only are we careful to do our best to use the right herbs, but similarly we take care not to give too much of them. Same goes for not using them for extended periods of time. 

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