Before modern doctors and prescription drugs, people looked to Nature’s pharmacy to heal whatever ailed them. In fact, many of our modern drugs are based on traditional herbal remedies, and are made by synthesizing the active constituents from plants found in nature! Following are the best herbs for treating eight of the most common health complaints today.
Echinacea for Colds
This well-known herb is a boon anytime you’re dealing with infection, whether it be internal or external. This is because echinacea helps prevent infections from spreading by bolstering the immune system’s germ-attacking ability by as much as 40%, helping you to recover more quickly from illness. Additionally, echinacea stops bacteria from spreading to healthy cells by hindering their production of an enzyme called hyaluronidase. Echinacea also doubles as a preventative, protecting you from falling victim to colds, flu, and other ailments caused by nasty bacteria and viruses, and also possesses anti-inflammatory properties to help soothe inflamed mucous membranes and tissues.
Maca for Boosting Libido
Lepidium meyenii, also known as Maca has been used for thousands of years by Peruvians for both nourishment and to boost libido, increase energy and stamina, help bolster fertility, and to alleviate female concerns like PMS and menopausal symptoms. Today, various scientific studies have proven maca’s ability to increase libido and support healthy sexual function and performance, including promoting healthy sperm count in men. Maca works primarily by helping to maintain hormonal balance, while also providing the vital nutrition your body needs to maintain optimal health and energy levels. Aside from a multitude of vitamins, minerals and nutrients, maca also contains the amino acid arginine, to relax blood vessels and allow more blood to flow to the genitals, while also increasing the body’s sensitivity to nitric oxide, a chemical necessary for healthy erections. Maca also contains histadine, crucial for healthy orgasms.
St. John’s Wort for Anxiety & Depression
Used to treat ‘nervous conditions’ as far back as ancient Greece, today, St. John’s Wort is the top choice for natural treatment of depression and anxiety. With constituents like hypericin and pseudohypericin as well as chemicals called xanthones, St. John’s Wort works in a way similar to antidepressants to help normalize levels of the important mood neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin in the brain. In fact, in studies St. John’s Wort was found to be just as effective as anti-depressants without the unwanted side effects. As an added bonus, St. John’s Wort also helps soothe frazzled nerves and promotes deep, restful sleep.
Chamomile for Relaxation & Sleep
For centuries, chamomile has been the most popular herb for promoting relaxation and helping you fall asleep more quickly. Studies back chamomile’s sleep-inducing properties, proving that chamomile not only helps you fall asleep more quickly, it also lets you enjoy a deeper sleep, with less chance of waking during the night. Other studies showed that chamomile works as well as benzodiazepine, a tranquilizer, when it comes to inducing sleep. Chamomile’s sedative and anxiety-reducing properties are usually attributed to a flavonoid called apigenin.
Turmeric for Pain & Inflammation
Native to South India and Asia, turmeric is a mustard-colored root that will spice up your cooking, and has also been proven to reduce swelling and inflammation. Turmeric is great for treating strains, sprains, pulled muscles, arthritis, and any other condition or injury that involves pain-causing inflammation. Turmeric’s secret is its active constituent, curcumin, a powerful antioxidant with potent anti-inflammatory properties.
Nettle for Allergies
Traditionally used as a food due to its high vitamin and mineral content (it’s a great source of iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin E, and more!) the leaves of the stinging nettle plant also make a wonderful allergy remedy. Because it possesses anti-inflammatory properties, stinging nettle soothes sore and inflamed muscles and joints. Nettle also works to alleviate the inflamed mucous membranes that often go hand in hand with allergic reactions, while constituents called prostaglandins help reduce irritation in the body and on the skin. Nettle also contains quercetin, a substance that inhibits your body from releasing the histamines that cause allergy symptoms. A mild diuretic, stinging nettle promotes the elimination of toxins through urination, helping to cleanse the body of the foreign invaders that trigger allergic reactions. Nettle also supports the liver and kidneys, for extra detoxification support.
White Willow Bark for Headaches
Before aspirin, there was white willow bark; a natural remedy that’s been used for thousands of years to help relieve fever and inflammation. White willow bark is actually a natural source of salicin, a chemical similar to the acetylsalicylic acid responsible for aspirin’s pain-relieving properties and that has been proven to soothe pain and inflammation as well as aspirin. Because it possesses anti-inflammatory properties, white willow bark is helpful for a wide range of ailments, including arthritis, tendonitis, backache, and other body aches and pains caused by inflammation. White willow bark is also a great immune-booster, fever-reducer, antioxidant and antiseptic.
Ginger for Digestion
Ginger root has been used traditionally in many cultures to relieve upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, and is the most common go-to herb today for aiding digestion. In studies, ginger was shown to help the stomach empty more quickly, speeding up the digestion process. Ginger also helps your body produce more of the gastric juices needed to break down food, facilitating more complete digestion of the food you eat. The volatile oils in ginger also work to warm and soothe the digestive system, relaxing muscles for more comfortable digestion.