What is the oldest system for healing in the world? Nope, it’s not ObamaCare. It’s herbal medicine. There is archaeological evidence of humans using plants for medicinal purposes approximately 60,000 years ago during the Paleolithic Era.
Through the many centuries that have followed, people have practiced herbal medicine while continuing to find medicinal traits in countless more herbs that we never even knew existed. Even many doctors who used to laugh at herbal remedies now see great value in them.
Herbal medicine can’t replace conventional medicine, especially in life-threatening situations. But it has proven to be highly effective and affordable for dealing with the prevention and treatment of day-to-day, non-emergency health issues including headaches, colds, coughs, aches, bruises and many more ailments.
How do we know which herbs to use for certain conditions? And what is the best way to use those herbs? There have been plenty of great books written on this subject, including ones that show how to plant and harvest these herbs in your garden. You’ll probably find some of these books at your local health food store or library. In the meantime, here are three of my favorites. I’ll mention more in future blogs.
Anise – Works as a diuretic and/or a laxative, and it induces sweating. It’s been used to treat menstrual cramps and flatulence. Anise makes people’s breath fresher and it reduces pain. The oil from the Anise plant has been used as an insecticide against head lice and mites.
Chamomile – Used for a wide variety of ailments and illnesses. It’s effective in controlling nervousness, restlessness, insomnia, nausea, earache, asthma, headaches, fevers, arthritis, hay fever and gout. It also works on indigestion, heartburn, gas, diarrhea, upper respiratory irritation and teething pain in babies. It’s an anti-inflammatory that relieves muscle cramps. It can also be used as a salve for burns and skin irritation.
Lemon Balm – Effective against stress, depression and anxiety. It serves as a decongestant to aid with colds, flu and sore throats, and as a muscle relaxer to help with menstrual cramps. It’s used by allergy sufferers, including those with hay fever, and by those who suffer from shingles. When the leaf is rubbed into the skin, it is a natural insect repellant. It can even stimulate memory in young adults and in Alzheimer’s patients.
Do you use medicinal herbs? If so, which ones? Do you buy them or grow them yourself? What conditions do you treat with them? Are they effective for you? Please chime in with your thoughts.