Herbs and medicinal plants
06 Jan



Several civilizations across the globe used plants and herbs in different forms before the advent of researched medicines and drugs. Nature has been human’s best ally, till date, numerous plants are used as a remedy for minor and major problems. According to WHO, there are over twenty-one thousand plants that have medical properties and approx 80% people around the world still rely on natural medicines.

In some cases, these herbs and plants products can be consumed directly, however, few are dangerous if taken directly or in excessive quantity. Also, in the case of nursing or expecting mothers, it is advisable to consult the doctor before consuming the herbs.

Below we will explore some commonly used herbs, which can be used to cure minor ailments:

Turmeric: It is the king of many kitchens and there is a well-proven reason for this. It is high in antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties. The main component of turmeric Curcumin helps in arthritis, fighting tumors and cancer cells and even speeds up recovery in case of Alzheimer. These being the extreme uses of the root, in a day to day life if consumed on regular basis it helps in cold and cough, fever, muscle and body pain and is a boon for skin and hair. It is available in dried powdered form and at times as fresh roots as well.

Basil or Tulsi: It is another herb which is widely available and frequently used. It has a strong aroma. The plant has been used as anti-inflammatory, cleanser, stress buster and immunity booster for ages. In diseases like viral fever, cold, skin infections, and respiratory problems this has been used effectively. The constituents like Cineole and Camphene make it fit for lung problems. Even for oral problems like cavities, foul breath, and tartar it has proved beneficial because of its anti-bacterial properties. However, if chewed it can be harmful to teeth thus it is advised to swallow it instead of chewing. As it is a detoxifier also, it helps in getting rid of kidney stones. The leaves can be consumed directly and even oil is available in the market which can be used in various different ways.

Fenugreek: It is a plant whose leaves and seeds both are used widely. It has a bitter taste but when used properly enhances the taste of food and its nutritional value as well. This has been widely used to reduce soreness inside the body and used for coughs, ulcers, kidney problems. For the external swelling as well like in the case of wounds, gout, and eczema it has been useful. Fenugreek contains a component called galactagogue that promotes lactation.
It is also believed that it increases testosterone levels increases libido in men and increases stamina.

Black Pepper: These small black seeds have hot flavour due to the presence of piperine. It is high in vitamin C and K. Black pepper also contains iron, manganese, and potassium in good amount. The main use of these seeds is to keep your stomach healthy. It stimulates sweating and more urination that helps to get rid of toxins from the body. Black pepper helps to break down fat stored in the body thus promoting weight loss. Piperine present in black pepper helps to produce pigments in skin. It is also high on its antioxidant and antibacterial properties and makes itself useful in insect bites, heart-related problems, memory, and other age-related issues. Even in some dental problem like tooth pain etc. it has been beneficial. This can be powdered and added to daily meals for its benefits.

Aloe Vera: This plant is easy to grow and is used since ages around different parts of the world. Its benefits for skin and hair are known to all. But its benefits are more than just for good looks. Aloe vera is good for minor burns. There are few sources of Vitamin b12 and aloe vera is one of them. As it is alkaline in nature it helps reduce acidity and is good for the stomach. Aloe vera is rich in polysaccharides which help in building immunity. Also, it has high amount and variety of amino and fatty acids that are essential for human body. If you cannot grow it at home then it is easily available in the market in various form like gel, paste, and juice.

Cinnamon: It is a stick with a sweet aroma. It is generously used in sweets to add flavour and fragrance. Cinnamaldehyde present in the sticks is responsible for the smell. It increases body’s metabolism, in turn helping in weight loss. Cinnamon is rich in antioxidants and is even used as food preservative. Regular intake of cinnamon helps increase HDL and maintains blood pressure. Together, this reduces risks of heart disease. In case of diabetes, consuming cinnamon helps in lowering blood sugar. In case of fungal or bacterial infection, it is helpful. It reduces bad breath and prevents tooth decay. It is available in various forms in market which can be used directly.

Ginger: Ginger is inseparable from Indian and Asian cooking. It has the spicy flavour and sharp smell. The phenol present in ginger aids in digestion. This has been observed that consuming ginger helps in nausea or vomiting sensation. As it is warm in nature, it helps during cold and cough. It has anti-inflammatory properties and also helps in muscular pain. The root can be consumed fresh or in dried powdered form. Ginger is one of the superfoods.

Garlic: Again a super food, garlic has an overpowering smell due to allicin. It has been proven and is used to cure many heart ailments. It reduces bad cholesterol and has no impact on good cholesterol. During ancient time, garlic was used to increase energy levels and stamina. There is some amount of detoxifying properties in many foods, but garlic can help you get rid of heavy metals like lead also. Especially during menopause, it helps maintain estrogen level and thus reducing bone loss. It can be consumed as a part of everyday meals.

Clove: These small buds have a sweet aroma and spicy taste. They are warm in nature and contain eugenol oil. It is very commonly used to cure oral problems like toothache and gum bleeding. The herb is useful to kill intestinal worms naturally. Clove is also used for inflammation in joints and pain in muscles. It is an important part of treatments using aromas. High amount of intake can be harmful as it produces heat in body and can be harmful for internal ulcers. Under normal conditions, this can be used in food or raw.

Carrom Seeds: These are small seeds, have pungent smell and thyme like taste. It provides immediate relief from stomach ache due to gases. If a person has high sexual needs then consuming these seeds can calm those. It is used to relive from cold, cough and frequent headaches. In many cases, it has been used for respiratory problems like asthma and bronchitis. As it increases bowel movement it fastens weight loss. Ajwain oil is good for joint pains. It is a good appetizer and cures constipation as well. It can be consumed directly or added to food.

As famously said by Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

We must be grateful to nature to bless us with various plants and herbs which can be used daily to prevent and cure many life threatening diseases.

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