Herbal Remedies

For centuries, cultures around the world have relied on traditional herbal medicine to meet their healthcare needs.

Despite medical and technological advancements of the modern era, the global demand for herbal remedies is on the rise. In fact, it’s estimated that this industry grosses about $60 billion annually

Some natural remedies may be more affordable and accessible than conventional medicines, and many people prefer using them because they align with their personal health ideologies.

All the same, you may wonder whether herbal options are effective.

Here are the world’s most popular herbal medicines, including their main benefits, uses, and relevant safety information.

1. Turmeric

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is an herb that belongs to the ginger family (18Trusted Source).

Used for thousands of years in cooking and medicine alike, it has recently garnered attention for its potent anti-inflammatory properties.

Curcumin is the major active compound in turmeric. It may treat a host of conditions, including chronic inflammation, pain, metabolic syndrome, and anxiety (18Trusted Source).

In particular, multiple studies reveal that supplemental doses of curcumin are as effective for alleviating arthritis pain as some common anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen (18Trusted Source).

You can also use fresh or dried turmeric in dishes like curries, although the amount you typically eat in food isn’t likely to have a significant medicinal effect.

Instead, consider purchasing supplements online.


Turmeric is renowned for its anti-inflammatory benefits and may be especially effective for treating pain associated with arthritis.

2. Ginger

Ginger is a commonplace ingredient and herbal medicine. You can eat it fresh or dried, though its main medicinal forms are as a tea or capsule.

Much like turmeric, ginger is a rhizome, or stem that grows underground. It contains a variety of beneficial compounds and has long been used in traditional and folk practices to treat colds, nausea, migraines, and high blood pressure (18Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source).

Its best-established modern use is for relieving nausea associated with pregnancy, chemotherapy, and medical operations (19Trusted Source).

Furthermore, test-tube and animal research reveals potential benefits for treating and preventing illnesses like heart disease and cancer, although the evidence is mixed (19Trusted Source).

Some small human studies propose that this root may reduce your risk of blood clot formation, although it hasn’t been proven any more effective than conventional therapies (19Trusted Source).

Ginger is very well tolerated. Negative side effects are rare, but large doses may cause a mild case of heartburn or diarrhea (20Trusted Source).

You can find ginger supplements at your local supermarket and online.


Ginger contains several active plant compounds and may treat a variety of conditions, although it’s best known for relieving nausea.

3. Chamomile

Chamomile is a flowering plant that also happens to be one of the most popular herbal medicines in the world.

The flowers are most often used to make tea, but the leaves may also be dried and used for making tea, medicinal extracts, or topical compresses.

For thousands of years, chamomile has been used as a remedy for nausea, diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain, urinary tract infections, wounds, and upper respiratory infections (24Trusted Source).

This herb packs over 100 active compounds, many of which are thought to contribute to its numerous benefits (24Trusted Source).

Several test-tube and animal studies have demonstrated anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant activity, though insufficient human research is available (25Trusted Source).

Yet, a few small human studies suggest that chamomile treats diarrhea, emotional disturbances as well as cramping associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and pain and inflammation linked to osteoarthritis (25Trusted Source).

Chamomile is safe for most people but may cause an allergic reaction — especially if you’re allergic to similar plants, such as daisies, ragweed, or marigolds (26Trusted Source).

You can find it in most grocery stores or order it online.


Despite limited scientific evidence, chamomile remains one of the most popular herbal medicines in the world and is used to treat a broad range of ailments.


 Herbal remedies can be a safer, less expensive alternative to pharmaceuticals, and you can grow many of them in your backyard.

Rather than herbs being too weak, many drugs are too strong, and using herbal remedies may help allleviate your symptoms without as many side effects.

herbal remedies

My wife is an M.D. trained in pharmaceutical medicine. She prescribes drugs every day, but also recommends medicinal herbs. In our medicine cabinet, we stock drugs and herbs, but we use more of the latter. When we catch colds, we prefer echinacea and andrographis (immune-boosting herbs proven to speed recovery), ginseng (ditto), licorice root (for sore throat), tea or coffee (caffeine helps relieve stuffed nose and chest congestion), eucalyptus lozenges (for cough), and pelargonium (if post-cold bronchitis develops).

Thirty years ago, when I started writing about herbal remedies, the vast majority of M.D.s (my wife included) never recommended herbs over drugs. Today, doctors are increasingly open to recommending nondrug alternatives given reasonable evidence of safety and effectiveness.

Unfortunately, many medical authorities still disparage medicinal herbs. Critics make four accusations: Herbs are ineffective, unsafe, unregulated and, when they work, they’re not as strong as drugs.

Ineffective? Hardly. As I document in my book, The New Healing Herbs, thousands of studies confirm the effectiveness of medicinal herbs for hundreds of conditions.

Unsafe? Like drugs, medicinal herbs can cause harm. Anything that’s pharmacologically active can. To ensure safety, purchase a guide that emphasizes safety, such as my book or the American Botanical Council’s ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs, or check out the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database.

herbal tea benefits

Anyone who calls herbs hazardous is totally misinformed. Every year the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) compiles statistics on accidental deaths from drugs, herbs, vitamins, and other supplements. The AAPCC’s most recent report (2008) records 1,756 accidental poisoning deaths. How many were attributable to medicinal herbs? Zero. In every accidental death caused by a pharmacological agent, the culprit was a pharmaceutical. And it’s been that way for many years. Herbs are safer than drugs.

University of Toronto researchers combed 30 years of medical literature (1966 to 1996) for reports of drug side effects in hospital patients. Extrapolating from the 39 most rigorous studies, they estimated that drug side effects kill an astonishing 106,000 U.S. hospital patients per year and cause 2.2 million serious, nonfatal problems. This makes drug side effects the nation’s fourth leading cause of death. The true number of drug-caused injuries is undoubtedly higher; this study focused solely on hospital patients, not the public. Note: These deaths didn’t result from medical errors; they occurred when drugs were administered as approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Unregulated? Before approving new drugs, the FDA requires drugmakers to prove them safe and effective. Such tests aren’t required of herbs, leading to claims that herbs are unregulated and, by implication, unsafe. But as we’ve seen, the supposedly stringent regulation of drugs hasn’t kept them from causing great harm.

In addition, preapproval studies typically involve only a few thousand people. Many side effects — some serious — only turn up in one user in 10,000 to 50,000, or more. These problems don’t emerge until the drug is widely used by people unaware that they are guinea pigs. Because so many new side effects turn up during the five years after approval, the FDA requires drugmakers to rewrite the warning labels of half of new drugs. Yes, drugs are regulated more stringently than herbs, but regulation doesn’t guarantee safety. Hundreds of studies show that, when compared head-to-head with herbs, drugs almost always cause more side effects. The vast majority of medicinal herbs have been used for centuries, standing the test of time.

Not as strong? Dose for dose, yes, herbs aren’t as strong as drugs. Willow bark contains a natural form of aspirin, but the standard dose (1 to 2 cups of tea or 1 to 2 teaspoons of tincture) doesn’t relieve pain as well as a standard dose of aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin), acetaminophen (Tylenol), or naproxen (Aleve). As a result, critics dismiss herbs as medicinal wimps.

Rather than herbs being too weak, many drugs are too strong, causing side effects ranging from annoying to insufferable. Do no harm is the first axiom of medicine. This means that treatment should begin at the lowest possible effective dose. Why use a bulldozer if a broom suffices? Herbs should be prescribed first. Only those who truly need stronger medicine should use drugs, which cost more and have a greater risk of side effects. Unfortunately, American medicine does the opposite. Doctors prescribe drugs first, and only when the drugs are intolerable do some doctors suggest herbs. We don’t need medicine that’s stronger. We need medicine that’s smarter. For many common ills, herbs are cheaper and smarter.

If you’d like to try herbs instead of drugs, our Herbal Remedies for Common Ailments chart is a good place to start. These herbs have been included because of the strong clinical evidence of their efficacy.

Medicinal herbs can provide natural, safer remedies to dozens of common ailments. This chart shows you more than 75 herbal remedies that do just that. For more information about herbal remedies, check out 75 Safe and Effective Herbal Remedies.

As with any health issue, always be sure to talk to your doctor before trying a new medicine  including herbal medicines  or other remedy. In conjunction with a discussion with your primary healthcare provider, you can find more safety and usage information on the herbs below in Micheal Castleman’s The New Healing Herbs and in  Dr. James A. Duke’s book, Dr. Duke’s Essential Herbs.





Acne  Calendula, aloe, tea tree
Alcoholism  Evening primrose, kudzu
Allergy  Chamomile
Alzheimer’s disease  Ginkgo, rosemary
Angina  Hawthorn, garlic, willow, green tea
Anxiety and stress  Hops, kava, passionflower, valerian, chamomile, lavender
Arteriosclerosis  Garlic
Arthritis  Capsicum, ginger, turmeric, willow, cat’s claw, devil’s claw
Asthma  Coffee, ephedra, tea
Athlete’s foot  Topical tea tree oil
Attention-deficit disorder  Evening primrose oil
Bad breath  Parsley
Boils  Tea tree oil, topical garlic, echinacea, eleutherococcus, ginseng, rhodiola
Bronchitis  Echinacea, pelargonium
Burns  Aloe
Cancer  Bilberry, blackberry, cocoa (dark chocolate), green tea, garlic, ginseng, maitake mushroom, pomegranate, raspberry, reishi mushroom
Cankers  Goldenseal
Colds  Echinacea, andrographis, ginseng, coffee, licorice root (sore throat), tea (nasal and chest congestion)
Congestive heart failure  Hawthorn
Constipation  Apple, psyllium seed, senna
Cough  Eucalyptus
Depression  St. John’s wort
Diabetes, Type 2  Garlic, beans (navy, pinto, black, etc.), cinnamon, eleutherococcus, flaxseed, green tea
Diabetic ulcers  Comfrey
Diarrhea  Bilberry, raspberry
Diverticulitis  Peppermint
Dizziness  Ginger, ginkgo
Earache  Echinacea
Eczema  Chamomile, topical borage seed oil, evening primrose oil
Fatigue  Cocoa (dark chocolate), coffee, eleutheroccocus, ginseng, rhodiola, tea
Flu  Echinacea, elderberry syrup (also see “Colds”)
Gas  Fennel, dill
Giardia  Goldenseal
Gingivitis  Goldenseal, green tea
Hay fever  Stinging nettle, butterbur
Herpes  Topical lemon balm, topical comfrey, echinacea, garlic, ginseng
High blood pressure  Garlic, beans, cocoa (dark chocolate), hawthorn
High blood sugar  Fenugreek 
High cholesterol  Apple, cinnamon, cocoa (dark chocolate), evening primrose oil, flaxseed, soy foods, green tea
Hot flashes  Red clover, soy, black cohosh
Impotence  Yohimbe
Indigestion   Chamomile, ginger, peppermint
Infection  Topical tea tree oil, astragalus, echinacea, eleutherococcus, garlic, ginseng, rhodiola
Insomnia   Kava, evening primrose, hops, lemon balm, valerian
Irregular heartbeat  Hawthorn 
Irregularity  Senna, psyllium seed
Irritable bowel syndrome  Chamomile, peppermint
Lower back pain  Thymol, carvacrol, white willow bark
Menstrual cramps  Kava, raspberry, chasteberry
Migraine  Feverfew, butterbur
Morning sickness  Ginger
Muscle pain  Capsicum, wintergreen 
Nausea  Ginger 
Premenstrual syndrome  Chasteberry, evening primrose
Ringing in the ears  Ginkgo
Seasonal affective disorder  St. John’s wort 
Shingles  Capsicum
Sore throat  Licorice, marshmallow, mullein 
Stuffy nose  Echinacea 
Tonsillitis  Goldenseal, astragalus, echinacea
Toothache  Willow, clove oil
Ulcers  Aloe, licorice 
Varicosities  Bilberry, horse chestnut 
Yeast infection  Garlic, goldenseal, Pau D’arco

Michael Castleman is one of the nation’s leading health writers, according to Library Journal.

source link:  75 Safe and Effective Herbal Remedies – Mother Earth News


herbal tea benefits


For millennia, tea has been a good many things to innumerable people, whether a remedy for illness, a ritual for royals, a morning pick-me-up, or an evening indulgence. Nearly the most consumed beverage around the world – second only to water – tea comes to us in many forms and brings with it a variety of perks.

Academic institutions, medical practitioners and even the staunchest of naturalists all agree on the many ways in which tea can help the human body, from cardiovascular health and cognition to a good night’s sleep and an overall sense of calm.

As studies emerge from respected medical journals around the globe, we learn more and more about the possibilities a simple cup of tea contains.

While none of the following information should be substituted for professional medical advice, it may unlock some new reasons to love the tea you already enjoy, or perhaps you’ll be encouraged to discover something new. So, read on to familiarize yourself with the health benefits of tea in all its glorious forms.


No matter how wellness-minded we may be, the world can toss plenty of toxins into our path, from environmental chemicals to dietary indiscretions. As a result, we can produce unstable molecules called oxidants, or free radicals, which are known to damage healthy cells. Our bodies may respond in kind with illness, organ disease, immune system degradation, and other consequences.

Antioxidants, however, can help us defend ourselves against the effects of free radicals by binding with them and keeping them from harming our cells. That’s where tea comes into play: packed with antioxidants, it can act as a powerful tool to protect us from the damage free radicals can cause on their own.

Many teas are natural sources of healthy antioxidants.

Because of the way it's processed, green tea is packed with antioxidants, and in particular, matcha is an excellent source of antioxidants since it involves the consumption of whole green tea leaves, stone-ground into a fine powder and incorporated fully into the drink rather than steeped and discarded.


Studies indicate that tea can help our hearts in a number of ways, including lowering LDL cholesterol (also known as “bad cholesterol”). It can improve the ability of the lining in our blood vessels to expand when our blood flow increases during exercise or moments of excitement. It’s also been suggested that tea may help to lower our blood pressure.

Drinking green tea each day is an especially helpful ritual for supporting heart health, especially when it replaces coffee, which can raise blood pressure and encourage anxious thoughts and jitters. As a replacement, green tea delivers a strong but subtle boost of energy without the shakes thanks to an amino acid called L-Theanine, which takes the edge off of the caffeine. This results in a sense of calm focus and presence without a crash awaiting on the other side, and is a beneficial habit for the cardiovascular system in the long-term, too.


The complex internal network that acts as our defense mechanism against disease and infection – our immune system – can benefit greatly from moderate daily tea consumption. L-Theanine, an amino acid and antioxidant present in tea, is thought by researchers to prime the immune system to help it fight infection, bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Likewise, tea is rich in vitamins and minerals such as B1, B2, B6, C, folic acid, magnesium, potassium, and zinc, each of which benefits the immune system and, together, deliver a multifunctional boost.

Lemon Lavender tea offers a boost to the immune system


The amino acids in tea can help us reach a calmer mental state while retaining or even sharpening our level of alertness. This effect can last for three to four hours after consumption.


While research on tea’s effects on cancer risk is still developing, some promising notes are beginning to emerge. This is one of the most active areas of modern research on the subject of tea and its effects on the human body.


Tea contains natural fluoride, which encourages healthy tooth enamel, and the flavonoids in tea may slow the formation of plaque caused by oral bacteria, thereby keeping our teeth cleaner and our breath fresher as a result.


As tea has no calories, substituting unsweetened tea in lieu of sugary drinks like soda and juice can help us cut our daily intake of what nutritionist's call “empty calories,” – i.e., consumables that give us short-term energy without any health benefits. Tea is also thought to aid metabolism, the chemical process through which we turn what we eat and drink into life-sustaining energy.

It’s important to note that the weight loss claims of something called “wulong” tea are not to be believed. “Wulong” is simply another word for oolong (a specific type of tea), and it holds no magic powers.

Tea offers a comforting alternative to sweets and sodas


Strong bones may also be one of the long-term health benefits of regular tea consumption. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that older women who were tea drinkers had higher bone mineral density (BMD) than non-tea drinkers. Separate studies have suggested that green tea’s bioactive compounds have osteo-protective properties, helping mitigate bone loss and prevent fractures later in life.


 Precautions for using herbal medicines

If you’re considering taking herbal supplements, it’s best to consult a health professional to ensure proper dosage, understand potential side effects, and watch out for reactions with other medications.


Because herbal medicines are derived from natural sources, people often assume that they’re inherently safe — but this isn’t necessarily the case.

Like conventional drugs, herbal supplements may cause serious side effects or interfere with other medications you’re taking.

For instance, raw elderberries can be toxic, St. John’s wort can interact dangerously with antidepressants, and valerian root can compound the effects of sedatives.

Additionally, many herbal medicines have not been studied rigorously enough to verify their safety for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Thus, if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you should talk to your healthcare provider prior to taking any herbal medicines to ensure the best possible outcomes for you and your baby.

Ensuring quality

Another important factor to consider is that herbal medicines are not strictly regulated like other medications.

In some countries, such as the United States, herbal manufacturers don’t have to provide proof of efficacy or purity before marketing their products. As such, some supplements may list ingredients improperly or even contain compounds not stated on the label.

Thus, you should opt for brands that have been tested for quality by a third-party organization, such as U.S. Pharmacopeia or NSF International.


Herbal medicines carry many possible side effects, so you should consult your healthcare provider prior to taking them. When shopping, choose brands that have been certified for purity and quality.

Source link: 9 Popular Herbal Medicines: Benefits and Uses (healthline.com)