16 Dec 10 medicinal plants you should know
For illnesses and ailments, people typically turn to medications from the relatively controversial pharmaceutical industry. However, interest in natural, herbal alternatives has been growing for years. More and more people are on the lookout for alternative remedies that alleviate or prevent their ailments with the help of natural products.
This article provides a jump start for those who have had little experience with medicinal plants themselves. We present 10 of many important medicinal plants as well as their effects that can promote our health and relieve our pain of different kinds.
The wound herb Arnica Montana, better known to us as Arnica, belongs to the daisy family. It is known to help with injuries of many kinds.
Effect: On the one hand, the flowers of Arnica have disinfecting effects and are therefore used in wound healing. Arnica tinctures help to reduce injuries that occur, for example, during sports. On the other hand, Arnica Montana is also used as an ointment. It has relaxing and preventive effects on sore muscles and should therefore not be missing in any sports bag! The ointment has a pain-relieving effect even on pulled muscles and bruises and stimulates blood circulation in the body.
But mishaps do not only occur during sports. Even at home, wounds can quickly occur after falls or minor injuries. Therefore, the medicinal plant should also not be missing at home for emergencies.
CAUTION: Compositae may cause allergic reactions. Application on damaged skin and open wounds is not recommended.
We have all had problems falling asleep or sleeping through the night at least once in our lives. After a sleepless night, daytime tiredness, combined with increased exhaustion, usually becomes noticeable. Without restful sleep, the necessary strength to effectively use the day is usually missing. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) helps to minimize these problems.
Effect: The medicinal herb is mainly used as a herbal sedative. Valerian oil, as an essential oil, gradually counteracts increasing stress or worries that accumulate during the day, so that one returns to a relaxed state before going to bed. Valerian in tea or tablets improves the quality of sleep. For example, it shortens the time it takes to fall asleep and promotes sleeping through the night within a few weeks. It can make a big difference to be able to fall asleep within minutes thanks to such medicinal plants when you are tormented by insomnia.
Once a restful sleep is achieved, valerian helps to achieve inner peace at best. Finally, a relaxed sleep and a general well-being can ensure, among other things, to start the day refreshed.
CAUTION: Valerian usually shows its effects only after a few weeks. Anyone who has increased severe insomnia and sees no improvement should seek medical advice.
It has been known for thousands of years that ginger (Zingiber officinale) not only adds a special touch to food, but is also gaining importance as a medicinal plant due to its curative merits in medicine.
Ginger contains gingerol, which imparts pungency that may not be popular with everyone. Nevertheless, the ginger plant shines through its high vitamin content of iron, magnesium & co.
Effect: Ginger can help with (travel) nausea. At least one hour before departure, you can take the plant in the form of drops, capsules or tablets. Especially in winter, the vitamin bomb works wonders. Ginger tea in combination with honey and lemon helps to get rid of annoying colds in winter and supply the weak body with important vitamins. This is aimed at a speedy recovery. In powder form but also raw, ginger can also be mixed into soups and consumed.
CAUTION: People with a particularly sensitive stomach, should avoid excessive consumption of ginger. Ginger can cause more stomach acid to be produced, which can cause stomach pain.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is nowadays almost indispensable in naturopathy. In Indian and Chinese medicine, the medicinal plant has long been known in natural medicine and valued for its various uses. It is said that even Cleopatra used turmeric for her radiant “golden” skin.
Effect: Traditionally, the rhizome of turmeric is used as an herbal remedy for digestive problems and to improve the production of bile. It contains essential oils and curcumin, which gives the tuber its yellow color. Likewise, turmeric in combination with honey in tea can strengthen the immune system like an antibiotic and prevent infections.
But turmeric is also used as a scrub. Turmeric powder mixed with honey and oatmeal to a mass, can be applied to the skin and remain there up to 30 minutes. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and counteracts skin impurities or small redness of any skin type.
CAUTION: If you have a sensitive stomach, turmeric may cause flatulence or nausea.
5. Lemon Balm
Melissa officinalis, also called lemon balm because of its lemony scent, is one of the medicinal plants known for its calming effects.
Effect: The main area of application of lemon balm is the nervous system. The essential oils in the leaves of lemon balm not only smell pleasant, but also help with many nervous-related problems such as restlessness, and irritation, as well as great stress.
Very popular is the lemon balm tea. It not only smells good, but helps calm nerves, and calm the body. Melissa leaves can reduce the feeling of fullness and relieve intestinal discomfort.
CAUTION: Lemon balm can have a calming effect, but not necessarily guarantee it. Therefore, in the case of prolonged nervous stress and worry, medical advice should first be sought.
Calendula (Calendula officinalis), like Arnica, belongs to the family of composite plants and, like many other medicinal plants, is used for various health complaints.
Effect: On the one hand, calendula tea helps with menstrual problems. On the other hand, calendula can also be used to treat wounds and work wonders. The flowers of Calendula contribute to wound healing due to their cleansing and antibacterial effects. Calendula ointments also achieve a positive effect on, for example, burns. As a Calendula tincture, Calendula can be used externally for persistent skin problems.
Sage (Salvia officinalis) is one of the most important medicinal plants, which has been used in natural medicine for centuries.
Effect: The essential oil of sage leaves contains, among other things, cineol, which gets rid of viruses during colds and heals inflammation in the mouth. Sage baths benefit those who are exposed to heavy and frequent sweating, because sage inhibits, among other things, the formation of sweat. As a tea, the medicinal herb has an astringent effect in the case of congestion of the respiratory organs and also helps with digestive problems. Medicinally, the medicinal herb shows strengthening and anti-inflammatory effects.
8. Tea Tree
The Australian Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) makes bacteria and viruses a declaration of war.
Effect: Essential oils, which can be found in the leaves of the Tea Tree, are effective against skin complaints such as pimples. To avoid irritation of the skin, Tea Tree should be diluted and dabbed on affected areas. Tea tree oil, which can be obtained by steam distillation of the leaves, also relieves pain from insect bites. For this purpose, it is enough to apply a drop on the sting. It can also be inhaled as a steam bath. Diluted with, for example, jojoba oil, tea tree oil helps with colds, as it’s attributed antibacterial effects and it reduces sore throats and clears a stuffy nose.
CAUTION: If you want to use tea tree oil for facial care, you can add a few extra drops to your face cream or toner.
Hawthorn (Crataegus) is a valuable panacea, which is one of the most popular medicinal plants thanks to its gentle action and little to hardly known side effects.
Effect: The ingredients flavonoids and procyanidin are contained in the leaves and flowers of hawthorn. They are particularly important because they are traditionally known to alleviate heart problems such as cardiac arrhythmias. In addition, in case of increased stress as well as problems with blood pressure, a tea with dried leaves as well as flowers helps. Hawthorn can also be used to make creams that care for easily irritated skin.
Tip: The leaves of the hawthorn taste great in salads.
CAUTION: In case of severe and continuous heart complaints, a doctor should always be consulted. For a noticeable improvement in symptoms, one should exercise patience. The effect of hawthorn does not appear immediately, but requires a few weeks.
Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) has been popular in Asia for centuries as a spice but also as a remedy.
Effect: Essential oils are nowadays often used in natural medicine. The herb is so important because of the popularity of the essential oil Citral in the leaves, which helps to relax. The lemony and refreshing scent of Lemongrass is especially beneficial to skin care products. It is mixed dried in tea to reduce fever and also used as a spice in Asian dishes. Ginger in combination with Lemongrass counteracts nausea. Lemongrass is also known for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects.
Medicinal plants as an alternative to conventional medicine
Medicinal plants should be considered more for health problems thanks to their different modes of action. They are used in natural medicine in the form of ointments, teas or even as essential oils. In addition, they make a great contribution in the treatment of pain. In contrast, antibiotics and medications are viewed critically because they are made from controversial chemicals and also come with side effects.
Feel free to try for yourself which of the mentioned medicinal plants will ideally help you with your problems. How great it is when you can reduce or prevent health problems with natural alternative products – to do the best for you and your health.
IMPORTANT: The information on medicinal plants in this article is not intended to replace a visit to the doctor. In case of ongoing complaints and lack of improvement, medical advice should definitely be sought.