Traditionally, plants have been used to help remedy various ailments for thousands of years. Whether they were brewed into teas or mashed into pastes and topically applied, herbal remedies were the only means of healing. A large percentage of the world’s population continues to use these herbal remedies of old, while many others have embraced the practices of Western medicine. We aren’t discounting advancements in medicine, because they do have their place, but it is important not to lose sight of the healing properties of herbs.
Mystery #1: Which Herbs Are Medicinal?
The short answer is: about all of them. Each herb has one or more medicinal properties; some of them just have more than others, and with varying potencies at that. It is also a false notion that herbs only come in green bundles or glass shaker bottles at grocery stores. The entirety of one plant can have healing properties; thus, we extend the term “herbs” to the leaves, roots, bark, flowers, and seeds of each plant. Some herbs with powerful medicinal properties include:
- Ginger: Great for upset stomachs and soothing sore throats. It can also reduce motion sickness and works to decrease inflammation.
- Mint: Found almost everywhere, mint can help to freshen your breath, soothe indigestion, reduce headaches, and it even has cancer-fighting properties.
- Turmeric: Known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and antibacterial properties, turmeric is widely used in the field of herbal remedies. The active ingredient, curcumin, may even inhibit cognitive decline.
Mystery #2: How Are Herbs Used?
Aside from purchasing or growing the plant itself, medicinal plants can come in the form of teas, powders, tinctures, extracts, oils, salves, balms, or supplements. Herbs should be incorporated into your daily diet to help keep the body healthy. For example, if you can see that people in the office are starting to get sick, start taking a small amount of oil of oregano every day. If your joints are becoming sore, start adding turmeric to your diet. Do you have difficulty going to sleep? Drinking a cup of chamomile an hour or two before bed is better than resorting to sleep medication.
Mystery #3: Where Can I Get These Amazing Herbs?
The best, and possibly most satisfactory, way to get herbs is to grow your own in your windowsill or backyard. If you opt to grow them in the windowsill, they will be less prone to being harmed by weeds or pests. Mint, basil, rosemary, lemongrass, and citronella, for example, are quite easy to grow and all of them have powerful healing properties. While some countries have specialty herb stores (and certain cities in America may have them too), most countries do not. Let us not forget that the Internet is a magical place and one can easily order various herbs through reputable websites.
Food For Thought:
- Drink herbal tea all the time. Whether you drink it cold, hot, or at room temperature, each herbal tea can benefit the body, so long as you don’t add artificial sweeteners or cane sugar. Don’t wait until you have a cold to drink them!
- Look up recipes that contain herbs. You’ll find that they are easy to make, easy to incorporate into your diet, and even easier to eat!
- Herbs are not scary. They have been around for thousands of years and are a lot cheaper than visiting a doctor. Don’t be afraid to try them.