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The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Healing Medicinal Herbs: What You Need to Know About Healing Herbs
Borage Growing Wild
How Do Healing Herbs Work?
All healing herbs have special properties which can be used when treating medical conditions.
Healing Herbs and How They Work
Healing herbs work in a variety of ways. Most healing herbs have unique compounds which can be used when it comes to treating health conditions. For instance, the herb ginger is known to reduce inflammation. It does this by improving blood circulation, and the same time it appears to strengthen the cell wall by. You can experience how ginger works in "real time" when you drink a cup of ginger tea or eat ginger. In fact, you should feel instantly warmer, and if you are in pain, you may find your response to pain is reduced. In other words, it may hurt less. Ginger is excellent when it comes to treating circulatory disorders.
Another good example would be peppermint. This common garden herb is associated with improved digestion, and peppermint tea is a common treatment for digestive health issues and can also help to treat conditions such as IBS.
What Healing Herbs Can You Grow At Home?
Most healing herbs can be grow in your home or your garden under the right conditions
Healing Herbs and Your Own Herb Garden
There is no end to the amount of healing herbs you can grow at home if you have the right growing conditions. However, if you are new to growing healing herbs, you may want to start with some of the easier ones. Examples of easy herbs to grow at home would be rosemary and lavender, but there are others you can use to treat common health complaints.
Don't forget many healing herbs are also spices and you can use them in your cooking. A good example would be garlic which is one of the most versatile of all of the healing herbs. It can be used to treat bacterial infections, and at the same time make your vegetarian Spaghetti Bolognese taste delicious.
What Is the Difference Between Healing Herbs and Medicinal Plants?
Herbs are plants and some plants have healing properties. it can be argued there is no difference between healing herbs and medicinal plants.
Healing Herbs and Medicinal Plants
Some herbalists make a distinction between healing herbs and medicinal plants, but there is no difference at all. Many medicinal plants healing plants such as the cranberry can also be used as a herb. Cranberries contain an active ingredient called proanthocyanidins which prevent bacteria clinging to the wall of the urinary tract or bladder. They have been copied by the pharmaceutical industry and can be found in drugs treating cystitis and health conditions associated with the prostate. You can, therefore, say the plant called cranberry has healing properties and can be used as a healing herb.
How Long Have Healing Herbs Been Used?
We can't exactly answer this question, but healing herbs have been used for at least 5000 years.
A Brief History of Healing Herbs
Healing herbs have been used for many thousands of years. You only need to pick up your Bible to read about healing herbs and learn they were part of everyday life. Healing herbs in the Bible include hyssop, frankincense, saffron, and cinnamon. Two more rare herbs are also mentioned in the Bible. They are spikenard and calamus, and their inclusion proves herbal medicine must have been extensively practiced. Spikenard comes all the way from the foothills of the Himalayas, and it means its healing properties must have been known in other regions of the world at the time.
Where Do Healing Herbs Derive Their Properties From?
This is a fascinating subject. Healing herbs actually manufacture healing properties with the help of the sun.
Where Healing Herbs Derive Their Properties From
That is a good question. All plants are little chemical factories, and manufacture their properties from compounds found in soil, air, and water. This is how the science of hydroponics became popular. Scientists learned that plants needed certain compounds to grow, and started to add them to water and a growing medium. Most of the plants, and herbs, produced in laboratories are grown using hydroponic methods. This allows scientists to experiment with herbs to see what healing properties they can produce.
Healing Herbs Near Me
Healing herbs and medicinal plants can probably be found yards from where you are sitting right now.
Can I Find Healing Herbs Near Me?
What healing herbs can I find near me? This is the interesting thing. Wild herbs can be found all over of the world, and many of them have similar properties. For instance, you may find wild valerian growing in rural areas, and presume its properties are unique. In fact, they are not unique, myrrh has many of the same properties which valerian has in its repertoire, and can be used for the same purpose. This means you are likely to find the herb to help you in your local area no matter where in the world you are at the time.
Become a Herb Hunter or Start Your Own Herb Garden
Going hunting for herbs and learning how to recognize medicinal herbs in nature can be fascinating. However, you may want to grow your own herbs to use in your cooking and as home remedies. Below you will find some healing herbs you may come across in nature, and even in your garden.
Healing Properties and Medicinal Benefits of Buckthorn
There are several different species of the genus Rhamnus. The common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) is a shrub found in North Africa, Europe and also North Asia. It grows about 6 feet high, and it is a bush with many branches. The Latin name Rhamnus is derived from the Greek name Rhamnos meaning branch. Although it is generally known as buckthorn, it is also known by local names such as Highwaythorn, Waythorn and sometimes it is even called Ram's Thorn. Goats are known to enjoy the leaves on this bush and this could be the reason behind the name Ram's Thorn.
Buckthorn Loved by Bees
Buckthorn flowers with small yellowish flowers which are much loved by bees. The delicate flowers are followed by black shiny berries. Buckthorn is seldom cultivated as it is widely spread across the countryside. It is hardy bush which grows close to water or damp areas.
Buckthorn Healing Properties
The different species all have similar healing properties. The berries can be harvested and made into a syrup. The berries can also be dried and mixed together with gum-arabic and lime water forming a pigment known as bladder green to watercolor painters.
Buckthorn was well known to the Anglo Saxons, and they were strong believers in the healing properties of buckthorn. The juice of the fruit was mixed with honey to treat catarrh, and chest infections. Still today many locals in southern England gather the berries and press them for their juice. The juice is then mixed with honey and brandy to be used as a remedy for coughs. It is very bitter and sometimes cinnamon or nutmeg is added to disguise the taste. The juice can also be mixed with castor oil and has in the past been used as a purgative treatment for dogs and horses. The laxative effect of Common Buckthorn berries mixed with castor oil is considered too strong as a safe treatment for constipation for humans.
Omega 7 Essential Acids Can Be Found in Buckthorn
Common buckthorn is not a very popular remedy, and not very often seen in shops. It does, however, remain a somewhat rustic home remedy appreciated by practitioners of traditional folk medicine. Regular visitors to health food shops are much more familiar with sea buckthorn which is popular because of its high content of Omega 7 essential fatty acid. Interestingly, sea buckthorn oil is associated with improving and treating conditions such as constipation, colitis and Crohn's disease so the berries of the two plants species share some commonalities.
Buckthorn is Safe When Used Correctly
As buckthorn is so seldom used these days side effects are not very well known. It is thought that the berries can have a slight narcotic effect. Very little research has been completed on the side effects and healing properties of buckthorn. A lot of what is known about the side effects of buckthorn stems from traditional folk medicine and not modern research. It is however thought that the digestion of the berries directly from the bush can trigger stomach spasms and violent bowel movements. Unless you are experienced in traditional folk medicine, this could be a remedy to avoid. Extract of buckthorn sold in pharmacies or in health food stores are available in measured concentrations and is perfectly safe when used correctly.
Healing Properties and Medicinal Benefits of Burdock
Burdock (Arctium lappa) is a traditional folk medicine which has been used for many of hundreds of years. It is well known for its many healing properties and its use is widespread throughout the world. Some popular alternatives names for burdock are burr seed, clotbur, and grass burdock. It is a very widespread plant and species of burdock can be found all over the world and, in the United States, it can be found in many of the states. Traditionally the roots have been used but modern science is investigating the healing properties of other parts of this plant as well.
Burdock - A Blood Purifier
Herbalist all over the world has long used burdock as a blood purifier but it is known to have many other healing properties as well. The overuse of antibiotics is of great concern to many doctors, and burdock can become an alternative when treating skin infections. Herbalists have long used burdock to treat abscesses of the skin and acne. Healing properties in burdock have been shown to be both antibacterial and also antifungal. Another benefit of this herb is that improves circulation to the skin, and increased circulation to the skin will aid healing. Burdock tea is very versatile, and can when cooled be applied to the skin
Inulin in Burdock and Healing Properties of Burdock
The traditional use of burdock has always been as a blood purifier. One of the healing properties of burdock is inulin. Inulin is a carbohydrate which strengthens the liver and it is after all the liver that cleans the blood. Burdock is a safe herbal supplement for many common disorders which are associated with blood disorders such as high cholesterol. In traditional home remedies, burdock was used to treat Hepatitis and Jaundice.
Burdock has also been shown to help reduce symptoms associated with IBS, Crohn's disease, and diverticulitis. It is thought that anti-inflammatory properties contained in burdock may have an effect on many different inflammatory conditions.
Burdock A Source of Fiber
Unfortunately, burdock has a reputation for not being very palatable but quite the opposite is true. Many components of this plant can be eaten and used in cooking. The seeds are somewhat spicy and can be added to curry dishes. The roots and stems can also be used, and young stems are not dissimilar in taste to asparagus. The leaves make an excellent addition to any salad. They have a slightly sweet taste. A simple mouthwash can also be made from the leaves, and it helps to freshen the breath in a similar way to parsley. Burdock is an excellent source of fiber and is rich in many minerals.
Stir-fry with Burdock
In China, the root is often used in stir-fry dishes. It has a slightly nutty flavor and compliments carrots very well. Perhaps it is the versatility of burdock which makes it such a popular garden herb. Additionally, burdock added to food is said to stimulate the appetite and can be a good herb to add to food if someone has lost their appetite due to illness.
Caution When Pregnant
There are not many side effects associated with burdock but perhaps it is better to be cautious of this herb when pregnant. Burdock has also been known to increase bleeding during surgery so it is important to avoid this herb leading up to surgery, and perhaps two weeks afterward.
Burdock is a herb which is becoming increasingly popular and is often seen in health food stores. Unless you have a particular health concern consider adding this herb to your daily health care regime or daily diet. A little extra help can never hurt.
Healing Properties and Medicinal Benefits of Butcher's Broom
Butcher’s Broom (Ruscus aculeatus) is a close relative to asparagus. It has always been a popular traditional remedy in the south of England, and the young shoots are eaten in some areas of Europe. As the name may suggest, this small low growing bush was used by butchers as a broom. In the autumn the mature branches were gathered and sold to butchers for sweeping their blocks. It is also thought that many butchers used to hang bundles of fresh branches with their meat to keep mice away. Butcher’s Broom is also known as Sweet Broom or Jew’s Myrtle and is a member of Liliaceae family.
How to Use Butcher's Broom as a Herbal Remedy
Mainly the rhizomes and the aerial parts are used, and Butcher’s Broom is well known for its many healing properties. It has been a popular part of folk medicine for a long time and has a very good track record. It is a very potent plant and has been known to treat poor blood circulation, and also cardiac problems such as an irregular heartbeat. However, it is now known that one of the phytochemicals contained in Butcher’s Broom, sparteine, can cause the heart to beat much slower than normal. On the plus side, it has long been recognized as an excellent treatment for microcirculation and known to be an effective treatment for Raynaud’s disease.
Raynaud's Disease and Butcher's Broom
Symptoms of Raynaud’s disease include cold hand and feet which can often be relieved by improved circulation. Butcher’s broom is also well recognized as a treatment for the swelling of the feet and ankles. It is also thought to be able to elevate symptoms associated with varicose veins and hemorrhoids. As a treatment for varicose veins, Butcher’s Broom has proven to be just as effective as many other alternative treatments.
Get Rid Of Dark Circles around the Eyes with Butcher's Broom
It is also worthwhile taking a look at Butcher’s Broom if you suffer from dark circles around the eyes. Drinking the tea on a consistent basis is thought to be an effective way to remove dark circles around the eyes. The tea can easily be made from the rhizome of the plant. Blend half an ounce of fresh root with one pint of boiling water, and brew for about five minutes. This treatment is also thought to elevate bruising, and herbalists also claim it can improve blood circulation to the brain. Ginger can be added to improve the taste, and perhaps some lemon or honey.
Bladder Infections and Butcher's Broom
Butcher’s Broom is now also thought to be an effective treatment for bladder infections. It has both diuretic and cleansing properties, and can also be used in the fight against cellulite. Although it is generally recognized as a “safe” herb, sufferers of liver disease and pregnant women should be cautious.
Butcher’s Broom most commonly grows in woodland however it can also be found on wasteland. In southern England, it is sometimes known as Knee Holly as it seldom grows about 3 feet in height. For many years Butcher’s Broom could not be found in garden centers but has now become very popular. This hardy bush with its shiny red berries and delicate flowers and healing properties makes a wonderful addition to any herb garden.
Healing Properties and Medicinal Properties of Watercress
The health and medicinal benefits of watercress ( Nasturtium officinale) in natural and alternative medicine are well recorded. It is thought to be one of the healthiest fresh salad vegetables. The leaves are rich in vitamins and minerals. Watercress grows wild in many river and streams and it always at its best during the summer months when the plant gets more sunshine hours and is extra rich in chlorophyll.
Watercress is a Herb and a Salad Vegetable
Watercress is a member of the cruciferous family which includes broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, and kale. The entire crucifer family is rich in antioxidants such as beta-carotene and vitamin C. Both beta-carotene and vitamin C are well known to help the body to remove free radicals and this protects the body against cancer. The inclusion of cruciferous vegetables in the diet is thought to decrease the risk of certain cancers such as cancers of the colon, prostate, and bladder. Many doctors now recommend adding cruciferous vegetables to the daily diet of cancer patients. The link to prostate cancer is thought to be especially strong, and it is thought that this family of vegetables can help to reduce raised PSA levels.
Watercress Is a Natural Antibiotic
The medicinal use of watercress was first recorded in Culper’s Herbal (published 1653), and it has traditionally been used to treat kidney disorders and liver problems. Watercress is a natural antibiotic and is today commonly used to speed up the body’s detoxification process. It is also used to provide relief from stomach upsets, respiratory problems, and urinary tract infections.
How to Make Watercress Tea
The best way to use watercress is to include it in a well-balanced diet, however, freeze-dried watercress can now also be found, and it can easily be made into a decoction. Ad boiling water to 2 teaspoons of freeze-dried watercress and allow stand for about five minutes. After five minutes strain the decoction and drink as a tea. This treatment is commonly used as a detoxification treatment but can also be used to treat urinary tract infections.
Watercress for Better Skincare
Watercress is full of water and skincare products with added watercress are not only a good way to control bacteria on the skin but also make excellent moisturizers.
It is best to purchase watercress from a supermarket as it is not a good idea to gather and use wild watercress. The streams in which watercress grows can be inhabited by water snails. Water snails are carriers of liver fluke and water droplets on the leaves can have tiny water snails attached to them, and they may carry the parasite. Wild watercress may also carry a bacteria which can cause listeriosis.
Healing Properties and Medicinal Benefits of Wood Betony
Wood Betony ( Pedicularis Canadensis) is a perennial herb found in eastern North America. It is found on prairies, open and sandy woodland. It is a member of the Figwort family and its flowers are favored and pollinated by bees. Wood Betony is also known as Lousewort, Head Betony or Canada Wood Betony.
Native Americans and Wood Betony
Native Americans used Wood Betony as a medicinal herb and it was known to treat a range of medical conditions. The leaves and the stem of the plant were cooked, and the fresh roots were grated and used in a range of remedies. The roots are thought to be the most effective part of the plant.
The Native Americans preferred to use the fresh plant, however, today Wood Betony can be purchased as a dried herb as it is a bit tricky to grow.
Wood Betony is A Natural Aphrodisiac
The most common use of Wood Betony by the Native Americans was as an aphrodisiac. The roots were grated and added to food. The roots also had other uses to the Native Americans and infusions were made to treat anemia, heart problems, stomach ulcers and diarrhea. Crushed roots were also used as medicinal poultices to treat swellings, painful muscles, varicose veins and small tumors.
Wood Betony Can Help to Treat UTI's
An infusion made from cooking the stem and leaves were used by the native Americans to treat headaches and dizziness, however, today Wood Betony is not used to treat headaches any longer as there is a slight chance this herb may cause excessive bleeding.It is now known that most members of the Figwort family yield digitalis which is vital when it comes to modern heart treatments as it thins the blood and supports the heart muscle however it can lead to external or internal bleeding. Infusions made from the stem and leaves are however considered safe treatments for urinary tract infections such as kidney and bladder problems.
Wood Betony and Tonsillitis
Another use for Wood Betony would be as a treatment for tonsillitis, severe coughs, and bronchitis. To treat throat and respiratory infections the dried leaves are made into an infusion. This is probably the most popular use of this herb today.
Wood Betony As a Pet Flea Treatment
Leaves and stems can also be boiled and made into a decoction to treat animals suffering from fleas, lice, and scabies. A decoction made from Wood Betony can also be used to treat human head lice by adding dried or fresh leaves and stems to boiling water and allowing the blend to boil for five minutes. The mixture is then allowed to cool down and strained to remove stems and leaves. The liquid is poured over dry hair and left in the hair for about ten minutes after which the hair is rinsed.
Healing Properties and Medicinal Benefits of Penny Royal
The medicinal use of Penny Royal (Mentha pulegium) can be traced back to the Ancient Egyptians. Penny Royal was widely used during ancient times and its use is also well recorded throughout history. It was used both in Roman and Greek medicine however its use declined during the Middle Ages but has now re-emerged as a culinary herb, garden herb and traditional herbal remedy.
The Medicinal Use of Penny Royal
Penny Royal is a member of the mint family, Lamiaceae, and is sometimes also called Squaw Plant and Mosquito plant because of its insect repellent properties.
The medicinal use of Penny Royal is today recognized as being limited. It is a herb which is high in Pulegone. Pulegone is a toxin which can affect the liver and uterine function. The toxin builds up in the body’s organ and can subsequently lead to organ failure.
Penny Royal Cautions
Penny Royal ability to affect uterine function was well known in ancient times and it was used to induce abortions. This practice can still be found today and it has recently lead to deaths as the severity of the toxin in this herb is not appreciated or known by the user. The Ebers Papyrus (ca 1550 BCE) describes how Penny Royal was used when inducing abortions and highlights the fact the plant can cause severe internal bleeding.
Penny Royal Tea
Penny Royal is safe in small quantities and the safest use of this herb would be a tea. Tea from the dried leaves of Penny Royal can be used to treat colds, influenzas, upset stomachs and cramps. It is said to be useful to treat flatulence as records show that it may slow down and relax an overactive bowel.
A Gout Remedy According to Culpeper
The English physician and herbalist Culpeper recommended the medicinal use of Penny Royal to treat gout by blending it with water and vinegar. He also used it to treat toothaches and for this purpose, Penny Royal was mixed with salt and honey. Culpeper also used a decoction of the herb to induce sweating and as a treatment for lethargy.
Pets and Penny Royal
Dried leaves from the plant can be used to treat animals fleas and Penny Royal can also be used as a general insect repellent by allowing the dried leaves to soak in hot water. The leaves are then removed from the mixture, and a very small amount of fluid is added to water. It would be considered safe to use a quarter of a cup in half a gallon of water. The water can be sprayed on plants to treat insect infestations and it can also be used to rinse a large dog’s coat. As Penny Royal is also toxic to animals the liquid should not be used on dogs under 10 kilos and be rinsed off within a few minutes. The animal must not be allowed to digest the liquid. The essential oil from Penny Royal is extremely toxic and should not be used on pets even though pet collars are sometimes advertised as being impregnated with the essential of Penny Royal. The pet may scratch or lick and accidentally digest the substance. Penny Royal can also cause a skin rash in pets. Cats are especially sensitive to the toxic qualities of Penny Royal.
Penny Royal is a common garden plant in many places of the world. It can be found growing wild in moist and watery places. It is also sold as a dried herb, however, caution must always be exercised when using Penny Royal.
Healing Properties and Medical Benefits of Black Cohosh
Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa) is native to North America. It is a perennial plant with many healing properties. Black cohosh is known by many different names and the most popular ones are black snakeroot, bugwort, and rattleweed. It has long been used to treat insect bites and even snake bites. The healing properties of black cohosh have been known for a very long time. It was used as a healing herb by Native Americans. Today, mainly the roots and the more tender underground stems are used but at one time the leaves were also used.
Black Cohosh and Hormonal Imbalances
Black cohosh is often used to treat hormonal imbalances but this member of the buttercup family has other healing properties as well. A tincture made from black cohosh can very effectively be used to treat a cough, and tea made from black cohosh can help a nighttime cough.
More recently it has been discovered that black cohosh also has anti-inflammatory properties and is therefore useful in treating arthritis. Interestingly rheumatoid arthritis is a common health problem during the menopause, or in women suffering joint pain from hormonal imbalances.
Black Cohosh and Menopause
Black cohosh is today mainly used to treat symptoms associated with the menopause, painful menstruation, PMS, and acne. It first became known for its healing properties back in the 1950's when it was introduced into the European health food market. Black cohosh contains many plant chemicals which can have a healing effect. It is rich in isoflavones, and this is the reason why many women believe it useful when it comes to reducing many of the symptoms associated with the menopause. Isoflavones are plant chemicals which can mimic human hormones.
Women going through the menopause often start to use black cohosh as a herbal supplement when they begin to experience hot flashes. Hot flashes are one of the most difficult symptoms to cope with during the menopause. Black cohosh is strongly associated with a reduction in the frequency of hot flashes. Hot flashes can cause problems with insomnia and excess perspiration, and can also lead to exhaustion. Many of the other symptoms which are experienced during the menopause such as joint pain and vaginal dryness may also be eased by black cohosh.
Black Cohosh and the Immune System
Other chemicals found in black cohosh may have a positive effect on the immune system. This is a supplement mainly used by women for hormonal imbalances but it seems to have some added bonuses. Many women who use black cohosh on a regular basis also claim to suffer fewer colds and other viral infections. Another group report that they seem to recover quicker from infections and have increased energy. A lot of research is still needed to establish the full range of healing properties of black cohosh.
Just like any other herbal supplements, or medication, it is important to be aware of side effects. Although black cohosh is not associated with any serious side effects some mild side effects have been reported. They include headaches, stomach upsets, vaginal spotting or bleeding and weight gain. On rare occasions, skin rashes have also been reported.
Black Cohosh and Liver Damage
Doctors are however more concerned about the association black cohosh has with liver damage. Until more is known it is important to be aware of some of the symptoms of liver damage which can include dark urine, tiredness, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). Most users of black cohosh do not report any negative side effects, and there are many indications which promote the healing properties of black cohosh.
Healing Properties and Medicinal Benefits of Bistort
Bistort ( Persicaria bistorta) is a plant which is native to Europe, Asia, and North America. It is also known by many other names and some of the most popular alternatives names are Adderwort, Dragonwort, Pink Pokers and Common Bistort. The name Adderwort refers to the distorted two roots which some people believe look like two snakes twisted around each other. At one time it was known as Serpentaria. Bistort prefers to grow in slightly damp soil, and can also be found in damp meadows or banks of smaller streams. It is a perennial with tall slender stems and small pink or white colored flowers, and it is sometimes grown as part of a rockery display.
Bistort's Healing Properties
Bistort has long been used and appreciated for its wide range of health benefits. The roots, rhizome, and leaves are used to treat arrange of medical conditions.The plant is rich in polyphenols, tannins, phlobaphen and flavonoids.
Bistort was once believed to be able to treat snake bites but is now more commonly used to treat insect bites. Herbalists still appreciate this herb for its ability to treat both external and internal bleeds, and it is also known to be an effective remedy for a nosebleed. Bistort has long been used to treat bleeding hemorrhoids, and fissure tears.
Bistort and Jaundice
Bistort has long believed to hold excellent diuretic qualities and has been recorded to treat jaundice. It can also be used to treat common skin condition such as pimples or acne, but more serious medical uses can also be attributed to Bistort. Amongst its many health benefits records show that Bistort has long been used to treat dysentery, cholera, and gonorrhea. It is now a popular natural remedy for diarrhea, and the powdered root can be boiled in water which is drunk slowly over the course of the day.
It is also thought it may have some effectiveness in treating intestinal parasites and was often used to treat worms in children. The leaves were ground up and dissolved in water which the child would drink.
Herbal News on Bistort
More recently Bistort is thought to be beneficial in treating gum diseases such periodontal disease and other infections associated with the mouth and the gum. It can also be used as a mouthwash after tooth extraction, or alternatively as a prevent mouth rinse.
There is also a possible use for Bistort in treating both severe and light throat infections, and a tea made from the root of ground Bistort is known to treat the discomfort of a sore throat.
Its astringent qualities make an excellent herb for wound care. Applied to a wound it can easily stop bleeding, and at the same time effectively clean the wound. Bistort's ability to control bleeding has also been used to aid and control excessive menstrual flow.
There are no serious side effects associated with Bistort but it is not recommended to be used by pregnant women, and not enough is known about the effect of the herb on breastfeeding mothers.
Although Bistort is known for its many health benefits, it is now becoming rare in Europe. It is being threatened by the development of damp meadow land, and once popular as a garden plant, it is now seldom seen in modern gardens.
Healing Properties and Medicinal Benefits of Rosemary
Rosemary (Rosemary officinalis) is a popular garden herb. It is often used in cooking to enhance the flavor of lamb, or potatoes. Rosemary does, however, posses some amazing healing properties, but the use of rosemary is often overlooked in natural medicine.
Rosemary and Memory Function
The use of rosemary in herbal medicine can be traced back to ancient Greece, where students used to wear garlands around their heads made from rosemary. They believed that it could help to enhance the memory.
Even Shakespeare refers to rosemary in his play Hamlet. Ophelia says to Hamlet:“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance, pray you love, remember.”
More recently, British scientists have confirmed rosemary can be used as a memory enhancer. Experiments conducted at Northumbria University, in Northern England, seem to show that the participants in the test were able to perform memory function tests better.
The scientists sprayed one room with a natural rosemary scent and left the other room without a scent. A group of 66 people participated in the experiment, and the 33 people in the rosemary-scented room clearly showed better memory recall than the other group.
Can Rosemary Aid Dementia?
It is also thought that rosemary can help sufferers of dementia. New scientific research suggests that the neurotransmitter acetylcholine plays a vital role in dementia, and as part of the disease process in dementia it is broken down. Rosemary seems to be able to prevent the breakdown of this important neurotransmitter. Scientists are still not sure how rosemary can help to prevent, and stop, the breakdown of acetylcholine but are working on finding a link.
Rosemary and Improved Blood Circulation
Another important healing property associated with rosemary is increased blood circulation. Good blood circulation is vital to good health, and a massage using rosemary aromatherapy oil can help someone with poor circulation. Rosemary could potentially be used to ease the problems associated with cardiovascular problems, and leg cramps caused by poor or reduced, blood circulation.
Rosemary is also antiseptic and mouthwashes treating gum inflammation are now available with rosemary as an extra, or main, active ingredient.
This versatile herb has long been available as a treatment for dandruff and can be found in hair shampoos. Rosemary has also been known to stimulate cell growth, and to reduce the pain of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.
Other Healing Properties of Rosemary
Using rosemary essential oil during a facial massage helps to stimulate blood circulation, and improve skin cell regeneration. Faster cell regeneration and improved circulation give the skin a natural healthy glow. It is also an excellent remedy when it comes to treating acne, and inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema.
Rosemary also has anti-fungal properties and can be bought as a cream to treat and prevent fungal diseases like athlete’s foot.
Asthma sufferers can also take advantage of rosemary’s healing properties. Inhaling the essential oil of rosemary can help to reduce mucus which is a common problem for asthma sufferers.
As with all other herbs, it is important to exercise caution when using rosemary. Rosemary can cause epileptic attacks if someone suffers from epilepsy, and can also cause migraines. Making yourself aware of the safe use of herbs is always important, but rosemary, with its dainty blue flowers, should be appreciated for its natural healing powers.
Herbs Which Can Be Used As Home Remedies
Healing Herbs for Wounds
Healing Herbs for Skin
Healing Herbs for Pain
Plant Based Health
Herbs are not only used for their healing properties, they are also spices and if you are on a plant-based diet, you should consider adding as many of them as you can to your cooking and plant-based recipes. When we herbs in our food, they become more bio-available as the body considers them to be food. The body will digest much easier and quickly put them to good use.
Have you tried any of these herbs? If you have, let me know and what kind of experience you had if you tried to treat a certain medical condition.