Plants have been used as remedies since ancient times. There are frescos dating to 1500 or 1600 B.C. found on a Greek island are said to depict a goddess cultivating saffron for medicinal use.
Are you aware that you may have a natural herbal pharmacy in your yard? Here are 10 common herbs that can help you in your times of need without poisoning yourself with synthetic medication:
Often regarded as an annoying weed, dandelions can be diuretic. They contain potassium which according to doctors is lost through excessive urination. Some people apply dandelion topically to treat eczema, while others take it internally for arthritis and even intestinal disorders. It is believed that the leaves can regulate blood sugar levels.
This plant is part of the mint family Lamiaceae and native to the Mediterranean region. According to a recent study, the carnosic acid in rosemary may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, while the oil of its flowers is antibacterial and anti-fungal. It can also improve circulation to the brain, thus associated with “remembrance”.
Mostly known for its fragrance use, this plant comes from the Latin root lavare, which means “to wash.” Lavender has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, which is why it’s been used as an antiseptic in ancient Greece, Rome and the Middle East. It has also been used to treat anxiety, migraines, insomnia and depression.
For centuries, the clear gel from this plant has been used for treating burns, cuts and skin infections. According to experts, the gel may have properties to reduce skin inflammation. Beside skin issues, aloe vera can also help relieve constipation, and as the Mayo Clinic points out, “dried latex from the inner lining of the leaf has traditionally been used as an oral laxative.” Some also use it to treat heartburn and irritable bowel syndrome.
This plant has been used as a digestive aid for children with upset tummies. It can be also used as an antibiotic, which is why people used it for centuries to treat wounds. It has also been used as an anti-fungal against toenail problems. The next time you buy a mouthwash, check the label – thymol, one of the main active ingredients, is a derivative of thyme.
The seed extract from this plant has been shown to reduce blood pressure in animal studies. It can also work as a diuretic and can be used to treat psoriasis. Be careful, as large amounts might cause photodermatitis. The essential oil of celery seed is known to have a “sedative and anticonvulsant effect.”
According to the Massachusetts Medical Society Gardens, “a tea made from the leaves is an astringent, a diuretic, an expectorant and an agent to reduce fever.” That’s why sunflowers have been used to treat all sorts of colds and coughs. This plant can also extract toxic ingredients from the soil, which is why the Russian government used it to help clean up after the Chernobyl disaster.
This herb can soothe headaches, skin irritations, nausea, pain, diarrhea and flatulence, calming the stomach and aiding digestion, the reasons why it is so amazing. According to some studies, it also has antibacterial and antiviral properties. Preparations made from its leaves can also relieve chest congestion.
The favorite herb among cats, chewing it can help with toothaches. The ability to make you sweat makes it great for lowering fevers. It is also known to be a mild sedative to humans. Catnip oil is also used as insect repellent, while according to some researches, it repels mosquitoes 10 times more effectively than DEET.
We all know it as an effective repellent, but the early Greeks used its leaves to treat scorpion stings. Ancient Romans used it to “alleviate flatulence, counteract poisonings and to stimulate breast milk production.” Nowadays, the variety known as holy basil is used in India to treat stress, diabetes and even asthma. According to some studies, it may have antiviral and anticancer properties.
Note: If you ever decide on using any of the plants mentioned above as a treatment, consult your doctor first as they may cause some unwanted side-effects.