With a strong drive towards a return to a more natural way of living, medicinal herbs are growing in popularity as gardeners come to recognize the true benefits of growing their own medicinal treatments versus relying on over-the-counter or prescription concerns for something that can easily be remedied naturally.
For thousands of years medicinal herbs were all that humans had to cure their ailments, which often led to a fair amount of trial and error. The result of all of these years of trial and error is that we now have a solid idea as to what types of medicinal herbs we can take for particular health concerns. Some herbs, such as peppermint, have long been known for their abilities to soothe aching bellies and of course help to freshen breath. You may just be surprised at some of the other types of benefits that can be garnered by growing your own herbs.
The History Of Medicinal Herbs
Archaeologists have discovered evidence that early man used crude herbal pastes as a means of soothing insect bites and treating ailments. In reality, the use of using plants to heal very likely predates any knowledge we have of our human ancestors. Texts dating as far back as 3000 B.C. offer descriptions of medicinal uses for various types of herbs, including numerous herbs.
The ancient Chinese and ancient Egyptians offered the most descriptive account of the plants and herbs that they used to treat ailments; they used herbs to treat everything from a toothache to a belly ache, and from complications with childbirth to issues with mother’s producing enough milk to nourish their babies.
It wasn’t until the first part of the 19th century that scientists began to closely examine select herbs and work out what the active ingredients were. These active ingredients were then also artificially produced as a means of ensuring availability. Science has since progressed to the point where it is the rare prescription drug that enters the market with even a trace of a natural element in it. This is uniquely interesting when one considers that so many of the drugs today have originated from a natural source.
Today herbal supplements are labeled as dietary supplements, which also unfortunately means that herbal remedies can be sold on the market without the extensive research and testing that is required of prescription drugs. While some may herald this as a positive step towards ensuring more people are able to get their hands on natural remedies, the reality is that there are just as many herbal remedies that can be potent in large doses and can also have adverse side-effects without care and careful monitoring. Herbal remedies, however, must still be produced following recommended manufacturing guidelines and practices. This does ensure that medicinal herbs hitting the market are at least safe in terms of quality.
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Ten Medicinal Herbs You Can Grow At Home
There are hundreds of herbal supplements on the market, often without clearly defined purposes on the labels, which can make things a bit challenging to determine which of these herbs will help you with your current health concerns. Some of the most popular herbs on the market can actually be easily grown in your own herb garden.
- Lavender is a popular herb to grow because of the intoxicating scent offered by this herb. The gorgeous purple-hued flowers are also attractive to butterflies, bees, and even hummingbirds. Every gardener can agree that you can never have too many of these great winged beauties in your garden. Lavender is also a great addition to potpourri, and when steeped into a tea can help to provide a sense of calm and relaxation. Lavender tea has also been shown to reduce pain, and the soothing scent of this herb is also known for being a natural calmative in the home. When applied as a part of a poultice to cuts and bruises, lavender can also function as an antiseptic.
- Chamomile tea has long been known for its properties as a tension and stress reliever. What some may not be aware of is that chamomile can also help to soothe indigestion and other types of digestive concerns. Many a desperate mother has also sang the praises of chamomile as a means of soothing a colicky baby. Chamomile lotion and even tea added to a bath can help with certain types of skin irritations.
- Peppermint is well known for being an excellent choice for soothing stomach upset, but it can also help to promote positive digestion, while also working to help prevent uncomfortable gas. The refreshing taste of peppermint tea has also been shown to help soothe stress and tension, while also helping to ease headaches related to both.
- Sage offers a sultry scent that can transform your potpourri, but a little known fact is that sage can also help to soothe coughs and general throat irritation. Sage has also been known to reduce the length and the severity of colds and sinus congestion. Another excellent benefit from sage tea is that it has been shown to aid with hot flashes, which is something any woman can get excited about.
- Rosemary is a great addition to your daily routine because of the way it helps with boosting memory and concentration. Rosemary can help to boost your mood, sweeten your breath after a garlicky meal, and of course it can transform a lamb roast into something simply magical for the taste buds.
- Echinacea offers an all-natural boost for the immune system. When it is taken daily as a part of your regular routine, even in the form of a delicious tea, it can help to reduce the severity of colds and the flu.
- Valerian is known for its abilities to promote positive sleeping patterns. Like other sleeping aids, valerian can help you to relax and enter into a much more restful sleep. It also holds the benefit of fewer side effects than prescription and even over-the-counter counterparts. It is important to note that valerian can have interactions with some types of prescription medications, so be sure to mention this to your medical professional.
- St. John’s Wort has a solid reputation for its ability to help ease anxiety and the symptoms of depression. Whether taken as a tea or baked into delicious goodies, St. John’s wort can also help you promote the healing of your skin, which makes it a great choice for those who may be struggling with acne and other types of skin concerns.
- Lemon balm doesn’t just smell heavenly; it can also help to sooth anxiety and nervous tension. Lemon balm tea enjoyed in the evenings can help to promote positive and peaceful sleeping patterns, while also working towards helping to speed the healing process of cold sores. Lemon balm can be enjoyed in teas and can also be placed directly onto sores in the form of a soothing poultice.
- Marigold is the must-have for your beauty regimen as it can help to soothe sunburned skin while also helping to provide relief for acne and other types of skin blemishes. Marigold tea can also help those who are struggling with digestive upset, and it can also be incredibly soothing for ulcers.
Whether providing you with delicious additions to your evening meal or helping to soothe your aching belly or your sun-kissed skin, there is an endless source of medicinal bounty to be found in your herb garden. Consider trying out a few varieties of each herb just for a little bit of variety in scent and flavor.
It is important to note that you should always check with your doctor or other healthcare practitioner before starting any new treatment. Always check with a medical professional if you are experiencing any type of health concern, so that you can ensure it is nothing life threatening.