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Health Benefits of Medicinal Plants

Updated on July 28, 2012

Today, thousands of unhealthy products are being sold to unsuspecting consumers. These products, after a time, can have a bad effect on the human body. Herbal remedies in some cases can be the best solution.

Why? They are 100% natural and have no major side effects. Medicinal plants have always been considered useful in healing various diseases and conditions and have been used since times immemorial. Herbal medicine is considered by some to be just traditional folk medicine practice based on the use of plants and plant extracts. But without medicinal plants, most medicines today would not exist. Over 40% of medicines prescribed in America, contain chemicals derived from plants.

Many are increasingly turning to herbs as a source of alternative therapy. They differ from their synthetically manufactured counterparts but are sometimes used in conjunction to achieve a synergistic effect. However, in such a case a physician should be consulted first because certain drugs can interact with natural herbs.

Traditionally speaking, herbs are plants or plant parts used for their scent, flavor or therapeutic properties. Herbal products are dietary supplements used to improve one’s health. They are sold as tablets, capsules, powders, teas, extracts and fresh or dried plants.

But before using any herbal product:

· Consult your doctor

· Use only as directed

· Be extra cautious if pregnant or nursing

Some common medicinal herbs are:

· Neem: Used for treating skin problems for centuries. Neem contains Nimbidol and Gedunin, both excellent fungicides and extremely effective in treating warts, scabies, psoriasis, eczema, and dandruff.

· Basil: Also effective in treating skin disorders. It’s also a blood purifier and bacterial agent. Basil, when served as a tea, provides relief for sore throats.

· Turmeric: Used for infections, injuries, boils etc.

· Sandalwood: Sandal paste is made from the tree bark is applied as a skin treatment to attain a lustrous look. Its fragrance is said to be an aphrodisiac.

· Ginger Root: A treatment for stomach ailments like nausea and vomiting.

· Kava-Kava: Used as a sleep aid. The extract is said to be effective in treating anxiety, stress and insomnia. It can also be chewed to relieve sore throats.

· Feverfew: A traditional herb that acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. However, it can have adverse effects in certain individuals, in the form of mouth ulcers, gastrointestinal problems and even anti-platelet actions.

· Violet: A common household plant used for treating cold symptoms and respiratory problems.

· St. Johns Wort: A popular herb used for relieving anxiety and depression. Sold as capsules, tablets, tinctures and teabags.

It is also known as botanical medicine or phytotherapy and sometimes includes fungal and bee products, as well as minerals, shells and certain animal parts. As far as the known 250,000 plant species, only about two percent has been studied for medicinal purposes.

Herbs won't replace pharmaceutical medicines but for many conditions herbs work, are cheaper and cause fewer side effects. They haven’t quite made it into the mainstream but patients are interested in them and doctors are becoming increasingly familiar with herb research.

For example, several companiesclaim the "extra ingredient" in their products provides greater pain relief. That extra ingredient is simply caffeine. Studies show, adding about 65 milligrams of caffeine to aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen increases their effectiveness by about 40 percent. Caffeine blocks pain perception.

There’s a more complete list of herbs and their medicinal properties at:


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    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Herbal really is the way to go. Less stomach upset, too. Awesome and up.

    • JY3502 profile image

      John Young 5 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      Thanks for the great comments all!

    • ESPeck1919 profile image

      ESPeck1919 5 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      Nice work! Good intro to herbal healing. In Germany, the use of herbs is far more mainstream than in the US. You might want to check out Commission E, which is the German governmental agency which researches and regulates herbal healing over there.

    • teacherjoe52 profile image

      teacherjoe52 5 years ago

      Hi JY3502

      Being a natural path for over thirty years I have seen that although pharmacuticals have their place, they are overused.

      It is interesting to see the differance between people who used pharma and those that have used natural medicine.

      Those that use natural medicine are far more healthy.

      Good article

    • urmilashukla23 profile image

      Urmila 5 years ago from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA

      Thanks for sharing the benefit of medicinal plants. Useful!