Contents

Healing Plants You Should Surround Yourself With

skynesher / Getty Images

Imagine a location with a built-in natural apothecary that has healing potions, healthy CO2 balanced air, and energy that is blooming with so much positivity you can actually feel it. Welcome to your home with healing plants. Adding plants can transform your abode from just a place to lay your head to a certified zen den for all things self-care. Especially when growing and surrounding yourself with certain medicinal plants in your indoor or outdoor garden.

Dr. Michael J Balick, vice president for Botanical Science at The New York Botanical Garden explains, “Mother Nature is a brilliant chemist. From earliest times, our ancestors have learned to use plants to heal and promote good health.” And while modern science is identifying those that have real value for improving our lives, Balick says, “I always suggest that anything taken as a medicine-be it a pharmaceutical product or an herbal supplement or tea-be used under the supervision of a knowledgeable professional to ensure optimum results.”

So now that we know plants can be therapeutic, where do we begin with what types to surround ourselves with? We turned to Balick and Brie Arthur, Vice President of Horticulture at Gardenuity to get the lowdown on the best plants healing benefits.

1. ALOE VERA

Aloe is no stranger to main stream health and beauty wellness, you have seen this popular succulent as an ingredient in your favorite soothing, after-sun skin care products or in a trendy waters in your health food store. Aloe is one of the best house plants as it requires little maintenance, and only needs to be watered about every three weeks. “Aloe is an easy to grow house plant that has been noted by experts for decades to reduce skin inflammation,” says Arthur. “The clear gel from the plant has been used to treat home burns, cuts and small skin infections.” Not only is Aloe Vera healing on the skin, when taken internally it’s a powerful potion that helps with digestion. Arthur explains, “Aloe Vera juice is actually considered a super food! It offers anti-inflammatory properties, relieves constipation and encourages good gut bacteria.”

2. ENGLISH MARIGOLD

This happy orange flower is not only a bold vision in nature, but the English Marigold can also help rid the body of pain when applied topically. “The bright orange color is certainly healing to the eyes for its simple beauty, but many herbal experts claim that a dried marigold flower can be rubbed onto an insect bite to help reduce the pain and swelling,” says Arthur.

GROW: Your Own Healing Herb Garden Image zoom Johnny Miller

3. GINGER

Ginger is a flowering knobby plant that aids with digestion. When consuming ginger, Arthur says we use “the root or underground stem, also called a rhizome. You can consume ginger in many different forms, including fresh, powdered, or as an oil or juice.” Enter your health food store or juice bar and you’ll see ginger root pop up on the menu more than a few times. One reason is that, “ginger helps with digestion and reduces nausea (especially morning sickness),” says Arthur. Balick’s tip: to help symptoms of nausea-from seasickness or from eating food that does not agree with you-make a tea from ginger roots. Another benefit is ginger’s ability to fight a cold. “Ginger also has anti-inflammatory properties known as gingerols and shaogals,” explains Arthur. “These help relieve a sore throat quickly and kill rhinoviruses, which is the cause of the common cold. Bottom line-adding ginger to your diet is a great way to stay healthy.”

4. ASHWAGANDHA

This shrub is getting a lot of buzz lately for its help with anxiety and fatigue. “Ashwagandha is used as an adaptogen to help the body be resilient in the face of stress. The root can be used to make a tea, extract or powder and consumed,” says Balick. Ashwagandra grows as a woody evergreen shrub. However, in our gardens we can grow it as an annual.

5. GOTU-KOLA

Meet the perennial plant that may make you more intelligent. Gotu-Kola is native to Asia and is very popular in Ayurvedic medicine for its benefits on the mind. “At some stage in our lives, we are all worried about memory and cognition, explains Balick. “Fresh leaves of Gotu-Kola can be eaten in salads and is thought to help sharpen thinking and memory.”

Image zoom

6. SPIDER PLANT, SNAKE PLANT, FIDDLE LEAF FIG, PONYTAIL PALM AND BOSTON FERN

Looking to build an indoor plant sanctuary rather than an outdoor garden? Say hello to your air-purifying house plant starter kit with spider plant, snake plant, fiddle leaf fig, and ponytail palm. “Consider house plants as a means of “growing fresh air says Arthur.” These easy-to-grow houseplants will also boost workplace performance. “Environmental psychologists point out that plants on your desk and in your office will present an improved emotional state, reduced negative mood, reduced distraction and increased creativity,” she says. The expert especially loves the benefits of the Boston Fern for those living in urban environments, “This great green house plant is versatile in any city home,” she says. “It’s known for bringing balance to your homes moisture level. Perfect if you have dry skin.”

7. PASSIONFLOWER

Unrelated to passion fruit, but just as passionate, Balick loves passionflower tea for its calming effects and notes that it is used in herbal medicine for its mild sedative and tranquilizing properties, especially good for those who suffer from stress and anxiety, making it perhaps the perfect pre-sleep plant to ingest. “A recent clinical trial showed that a cup of passionflower tea helped improve patients’ sleep quality as compared to a placebo,” says Balick. As for growing it in your home? Passionflowers can thrive indoors, simply grow them in a soil planter with direct sunlight and move outdoors in the warmer months.

8. KAVA

Experiencing stress and anxiety? Chill out with the relaxing kava plant (which can be purchased in plant stores that specialize in tropical plants). Balick explains that kava is “a culturally important species native to the tropical Pacific Islands and used traditionally by people to resolve conflicts and promote relationships in the community.” That’s thanks to the strong anti-anxiety effect from compounds known as kavalactones found in the roots of this plant. “In herbal medicine, it is consumed as a tea or tincture and can be effective in lessening the “edgy” feeling after a long or difficult day.” For those of us not in Hawaii, the kava is a perfect indoor window plant as it likes equal parts shade and sunlight.

Want to learn more about healing plants? Watch Martha talk about some of her favorites here.

Health is closer than one might think. In fact, you may find it in your very, perhaps in that lush rosemary that grows on your backyard, or in the basil you keep in your kitchen. Here are 10 common plants that have healing properties you may not have known about:

.

Dandelion

It is an overly proven diuretic and your livers best friend; it helps detox your entire body. It also contains potassium, and some have used it to treat eczema, intestinal problems and arthritis. Its leaves also help to regulate blood sugar.

.

Rosemary

This is one of the oldest plants in our diet. According to recent studies, rosemary can help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s decease. Also, its oils naturally fight bacteria and fungi in your body and home. Ofelia’s famous words in Hamlet “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance,” refer to the plant’s ability to strengthen memory by improving blood circulation in the brain.

.

Lavender

Since classical antiquity, people have used lavender for its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. But its very fragrance can help with anxiety, migraine, insomnia and depression.

.

Aloe Vera

For years, people have used the secretions of this plant to treat burns, cuts or superficial infections. It’s great for digestion, also, if you take it with juice.

.

Thyme

The citric variation of this herb (Thymus citriodorus) is known for its positive effects on children’s digestion and its antibiotic and antifungal properties, particularly used for healing superficial wounds.

.

Celery

Better known for its sweet zest, celery is also a great diuretic. The seed extract of this vegetable reduces blood pressure in animals and yields sedative and anti-convulsive effects for humans. However, excessive consumption may cause photodermatitis.

.

Sunflowers

According to the Medical Horticultural Society of Massachusetts, “a tea made from the leaves of sunflowers is an astringent, a diuretic and an expectorant, and it also works to reduce fevers.” Consuming sunflowers helps alleviate cold symptoms, and its ability to remove toxic substances lead the Russian Government to use it for cleaning the floors at the Chernobyl Power Plant after the nuclear disaster.

.

Mint

Headaches, skin irritations, nausea, pain, diarrhea and bloating are some of the many symptoms that mint alleviates. It also helps with digestion and chest congestion. Some studies suggest that it has antibacterial and antiviral properties.

.

Nepeta cataria

This plant, whose common name changes depending on where you are (cat mint, catnip, cat’s basil) is famous for inducing hallucinatory states of mind in cats. But people can chew its leaves to alleviate toothaches, fevers (because it causes sweating) and as a sedative. It is also known to repel mosquitoes much more effectively than store bought repellent.

.

Basil

This is another medicinal tradition inherited from the Mediterranean; basil was first used in the Greco-Roman world to repel insects and as an antidote to scorpion’s poison. People in India commonly use it to treat stress, diabetes, and asthma. New studies also suggest that basil has antiviral and antioxidant properties.

.

Health is closer than one might think. In fact, you may find it in your very, perhaps in that lush rosemary that grows on your backyard, or in the basil you keep in your kitchen. Here are 10 common plants that have healing properties you may not have known about:

.

Dandelion

It is an overly proven diuretic and your livers best friend; it helps detox your entire body. It also contains potassium, and some have used it to treat eczema, intestinal problems and arthritis. Its leaves also help to regulate blood sugar.

.

Rosemary

This is one of the oldest plants in our diet. According to recent studies, rosemary can help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s decease. Also, its oils naturally fight bacteria and fungi in your body and home. Ofelia’s famous words in Hamlet “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance,” refer to the plant’s ability to strengthen memory by improving blood circulation in the brain.

.

Lavender

Since classical antiquity, people have used lavender for its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. But its very fragrance can help with anxiety, migraine, insomnia and depression.

.

Aloe Vera

For years, people have used the secretions of this plant to treat burns, cuts or superficial infections. It’s great for digestion, also, if you take it with juice.

.

Thyme

The citric variation of this herb (Thymus citriodorus) is known for its positive effects on children’s digestion and its antibiotic and antifungal properties, particularly used for healing superficial wounds.

.

Celery

Better known for its sweet zest, celery is also a great diuretic. The seed extract of this vegetable reduces blood pressure in animals and yields sedative and anti-convulsive effects for humans. However, excessive consumption may cause photodermatitis.

.

Sunflowers

According to the Medical Horticultural Society of Massachusetts, “a tea made from the leaves of sunflowers is an astringent, a diuretic and an expectorant, and it also works to reduce fevers.” Consuming sunflowers helps alleviate cold symptoms, and its ability to remove toxic substances lead the Russian Government to use it for cleaning the floors at the Chernobyl Power Plant after the nuclear disaster.

.

Mint

Headaches, skin irritations, nausea, pain, diarrhea and bloating are some of the many symptoms that mint alleviates. It also helps with digestion and chest congestion. Some studies suggest that it has antibacterial and antiviral properties.

.

Nepeta cataria

This plant, whose common name changes depending on where you are (cat mint, catnip, cat’s basil) is famous for inducing hallucinatory states of mind in cats. But people can chew its leaves to alleviate toothaches, fevers (because it causes sweating) and as a sedative. It is also known to repel mosquitoes much more effectively than store bought repellent.

.

Basil

This is another medicinal tradition inherited from the Mediterranean; basil was first used in the Greco-Roman world to repel insects and as an antidote to scorpion’s poison. People in India commonly use it to treat stress, diabetes, and asthma. New studies also suggest that basil has antiviral and antioxidant properties.

.

Tagged: common medicinal plants, healing plants, health, health benefits of plants, health improvement, medicinal plants

The Healing Powers of Plants

The practice of using plants for healing purposes is as old as medicine itself. Ancient cultures respected nature’s capability to improve health and mood, and did not hesitate to use herbal remedies to heal sicknesses from headaches to heartache. Despite modern culture losing that day-to-day connection to the outdoors, western medicine continues to rely on centuries-old knowledge of natural cures and the healing power of plants. In fact, many of the medications currently prescribed were originally made from plants. You might pop an aspirin from a jar, but early incarnations of the pain reliever made from willow bark were used in ancient Greek and Egyptian cultures, by Lewis and Clark during their famed expedition, and by thousands of people in between.

Though you likely get medicine in pill form, you are probably still utilizing plants to help heal your aches and pains, and that is only the tip of the aloe leaf, so to speak. There are many ways plants can support you in feeling and working better physically, emotionally, and spiritually. If you incorporate plant therapies into your arsenal of natural remedies, you can access Mother Earth’s amazing and nearly limitless medicine cabinet and all its healing magic.

The quickest and easiest way to accelerate any type of healing is to get a houseplant. Or better yet, several houseplants. Taking care of a living thing boosts our sense of self-worth and increases contentment, and as you watch your foliage grow and blossom—quite literally if you buy a flowering plant—you develop a deeper connection to nature which begins to heal your mind, body, and spirit almost instantly. As an added bonus, plants’ rich colors and textures will beautify any room, especially if potted in a pretty container.

Houseplants can have tremendous effects on your productivity, concentration, and mood, too. Not only does looking at something beautiful make you happier, studies have shown that people with houseplants feel more relaxed and have lower stress levels. Nature’s calming effect helps increase concentration, and workers in office spaces that contain plants and flowers demonstrate more focus and creativity, superior accuracy, and higher quality output, and so can you!

Plants also clean pollutants from the air, acting as natural, noise-free air filters, neutralize harmful EMFs, and generate oxygen in the process. Since our breath is so important to our quality of life—when we breathe better, we feel better—reducing the toxins in your home, and especially where you sleep, is vital to your health. A plant in your bedroom will enhance your slumber, especially if it is sweet-smelling lavender, a scent that aids relaxation and promotes deeper sleep. Peace lilies, ivy, and spider plants have all been shown to be especially effective in filtering the air, but really, any greenery will improve your space and your health.

Many healing properties in plants are easy to ingest in herbal teas. Maybe you already drink chamomile tea before bed as a relaxing nightcap, but this herbal remedy also aids digestion. Chamomile is an anti-microbial agent, too, meaning it can help eliminate bacteria and infections, and it eases inflammation and loosens tense muscles. Talk about a powerful plant! Ginseng can raise energy levels, naturally and without the side effects of caffeine, and ginkgo has been shown to improve circulation and brain function, and may even assist in maintaining optimal mental health as you age.

In my healing courses and workshops I often get asked for cures to the common cold. Echinacea is a great herb to take during cold and flu season because it’s an immune booster. It won’t cure your cold, but it will strengthen your body’s defenses so it can better fight off the illness. Taking elderberry syrup as a tonic can help shorten the length of your cold, as can fresh lemon and orange juice, all of which taste delicious. Try one of my favorite plant-based therapies for colds or sinus congestion caused by allergies: put three or four drops of eucalyptus oil in hot water and inhale until your nasal passages start to clear.

If you suffer from depression or anxiety, you might want to check out St. John’s Wort. It is a commonly used herbal alternative to prescription antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs. Many people have found it quite effective in lifting their mood naturally. Of course, as a spiritual teacher and energy healer, I also highly recommend meditation and journaling to deal with feelings of sadness or fear. Daily meditation brings calm and peace to the mind and body, reduces stress, and helps you access Source, and journaling allows your truth to flow freely onto the page, getting it out of your body and mind, and releasing any pent-up negative energy in your personal energy field.

Plants do so much more than I can cover here, but the most overlooked healing plants are those you eat! Don’t forget that what you consume contributes to your well-being. Be sure to eat lots of dark leafy greens and a variety of fruits and veggies to keep your body in good shape so you can heal yourself from the inside out.

Whether you get a decorative houseplant or start drinking herbal tea, once you experience the potent healing energy of plants, you’ll be rummaging through Mother Nature’s medicine cabinet for your next cure.

Quantitative study of medicinal plants used by the communities residing in Koh-e-Safaid Range, northern Pakistani-Afghan borders

Traditional medicines are a vital and often underestimated part of health care. Nowadays, it is practiced in almost every country of the world. Its demand is currently increasing rapidly in the form of alternative medicine . Ethnomedicinal plants have been widely applied in traditional medicine systems to treat various ailments. About 80% of the populations in developing countries rely on medicinal plants to treat diseases, maintaining and improving the lives of their generation . Traditional knowledge has a long historical cultural heritage and rich natural resources that has accumulated in the indigenous communities through oral and discipleship practices . Traditional indigenous knowledge is important in the formulation of herbal remedies and isolates bioactive constituents which are a precursor for semisynthetic drugs. It is the most successful criterion for the development of novelties in drugs . A total of 92 medicinal species including 91 vascular plant species belonging to 50 families and 1 mushroom Morchella of Ascomycetes of family Morchellaceae were reported (Table 2). The current study reveals that the family Asteraceae represents eight species followed by seven species of Lamiaceae and Rosaceae each which showed a higher number of medicinal plants. Three species were contributed by each of Moraceae, Asclepiadaceae, Polygonaceae, Brassicaceae, Solanaceae, Cucurbitaceae, and Amaryllidaceae. While the remaining eight families, namely, Poaceae, Pinaceae, Zingiberaceae, Chenopodiaceae, Plantaginaceae, Apiaceae, Fabaceae, and Zygophylaceae, contributed two species each. Asteraceae, Lamiaceae, and Rosaceae were also reported with a high number of plants used for medicinal purposes. Indigenous use of medicinal plants in the communities residing in Koh-e-Safid Range of Pakistan is evident. Traditional health healers are important to fulfill the basic health needs of the economically poor people of the area. The high dependency on traditional healers is due to limited and inaccessible health facilities. Most people either take recipes from local healers or select wild medicinal plants prescribed by them. Some elders also knew how to preserve medicinal plant parts for future use. Traditional knowledge of medicinal plants is declining in the area due to lack of interest in the young generation to acquire this traditional treasure. Furthermore, most traditional health healers and knowledgeable elders hesitate to disseminate their recipes. Therefore, traditional knowledge in the area is diminishing as aged persons are passing away. Vernacular names of plants are the roots of ethnomedicinal diversity knowledge . They can clear the ambiguity in the identification of medicinal plants within an area. It also helps in the preservation of indigenous knowledge of medicinal plants. The medicinal plants were mostly reported with one specific vernacular name in the investigated area. While Rosa moschata and Rosa webbiana were known by same single vernacular name as Jangle Gulab. Few species were known by two vernacular names: Curcuma longa as Korkaman or Hildi, Ficus carica as Togh or Anzer, Fumaria indica as Chamtara or Chaptara, Marrubium vulgare as Dorshol or Butaka, Solanum nigrum as Bartang or Kharsobay, Teucrium stocksianum as Harboty or Gulbahar, and Thymus linearis as Paney or Mawory. The informants also mentioned different vernacular names for species even belonging to single genus; Plantago lanceolata as Chamchapan or Ghuyezaba and Plantago major as Ghazaki or Palisepary. Majority of the species commonly had a single name. However, local dialects varied in few species, i. e., Withania coagulans was known by three names: Hapyanaga, Hafyanga, and Shapynga, Caralluma tuberculata as Pamenny or Pawanky, Foeniculum vulgare as Koglany or Khoglany, and Viola canescens was called as Banafsha or Balamsha. The species with high use value need conservation for maintaining biodiversity in the study area. However, in the present case, no project or programs for the conservation of forest or vegetation are operating. Grazing and unsustainable medicinal uses were observed as the chief hazard to highly medicinal plant species. The higher use of herbs can be attributed to their abundance, diversity, and therapeutic potentials as antidiabetic, antimalarial, antipyretic, antiulcerogenic, antipyretic, blood purifier, and emollient and for blood pressure, hepatitis, stomach pain, and itching. Aloe vera, cultivated for ornamental purpose, is used as wound healing agent. Among the plant parts, the higher use of fruit may relate to its nutritional value. The aerial parts of the herbaceous plants were mostly collected in abundance and frequently used for medicinal purposes. In many recipes, more than one part was used. The utilization of roots, rhizomes, and the whole plant is the main threat in the regeneration of the medicinal plants . In the current study, decoction was found to be the main method of remedy preparation as reported in the ethnopharmacological studies from other parts . Fortunately, we collected important information like preparation of remedies and their mode of administration for all the reported plants. However, the therapeutic potential of few plants are connected to their utilization method. A roasted bulb of Allium cepa is wrapped on the spine-containing wound to release the spine. The leaf of Aloe vera containing viscous juice is scratched and wrapped on a wound. The latex of Calotropis procera is first mixed with flour and then topically applied on the skin for wound healing. Infusion of Cassia fistula fruit’s inner septa is prepared for stomach pain and carminative and colic pain in children. The fruit of Citrullus colocynthis boiled in water is orally taken for the treatment of diabetes. Grains of Hordeum vulgare are kept in water for a day, and its extraction is taken for the treatment of diabetes. The decoction of Seriphidium kurramensis shoots are used as anti-anthelmintic and antimalaria. The leaves of Juglans regia are locally used for cleaning the teeth and to prevent them from decaying. Furthermore, its fruit is used as brain tonic, and its roasted form is useful in the treatment of dysentery. The roots of Pinus wallichiana are cut into small pieces and put into the pot. The cut pieces are boiled, and the extracted liquid is poured into the container. One drop of the extracted liquid is mixed with one glass of milk and taken orally once a day as blood purifier. An infusion of Thymus linearis aerial parts is prepared like hot tea and is drunk for cough and as appetizer and carminative. A decoction of Zingiber officinale rhizome is drunk at night time for relief of cough. Medicinal plants are still practiced in tribal and rural areas as they are considered as main therapeutic agents in maintaining better health. Such practices have been described in the ethnobotanical studies conducted across Pakistan. The current study reveals several plant species with more than one medical use including Artemisia absanthium, Cichorium intybus, Fumaria indica, Punica granatum, Tanacetum artemisioides, Teucrium stocksianum, and Withania coagulans. Their medicinal importance can be validated from indigenous studies conducted in various parts of the country. Amaranthus viridis leaf extract is an emollient and is used for curing cough and asthma as well . Artemisia absanthium is used for the treatment of malaria and diabetes . Cichorium intybus is used against diabetes, malaria, and gastric ulcer, and it is also used as digestive and laxative agent . Leaves of Cannabis sativa are used as bandage for wound healing; powdered leaves as anodyne, sedative, tonic, and narcotic; and juice added with milk and nuts as a cold drink . Whole plant of Fumaria indica and Tanacetum artemisioides is used for treating constipation and diabetes, respectively. Dried rind powder and fruit extract of Punica granatum are taken orally for the treatment of anemia, diarrhea, dysentery, and diabetes . A decoction of aerial parts of Teucrium stocksianum is used for curing diabetes . Withania coagulans is known worldwide as a medicinal plant, whose fruit decoction is best remedy for skin diseases and diabetes. Its seeds are used against digestive problems, gastritis, diabetes, and constipation . Our results are in line with the traditional uses of plants in the neighboring counties . For example, Fumaria indica is used as blood purifier, and Hordeum vulgare grains decoction for diabetes; Juglans regia bark for toothaches and scouring teeth; Mangifera indica seed decoction for diarrhea; Solanum nigrum extract for jaundice; and Solanum surattense fruit decoction for cough have been documented in the study (40). Such agreements strengthen our results and provide good opportunity to evaluate therapeutic potential of the reported plants. Three plants species Adiantum capillus-veneris, Malva parviflora, and Peganum harmala have been documented for their medicinal use in the ethnobotanical study . According to this, the decoction of the aerial parts of Adiantum capillus-veneris is used for the treatment of asthma and dyspnea. Malva parviflora root and flower are used for stomach ulcers. Peganum harmala fruit powder and decoction are used for toothache, gynecological infections, and menstruation. The dried leaves of Artemisia absanthium is used to cure stomach pain and intestinal worm while an inflorescence paste prepared from its fresh leaves is used as wound healing agent and antidiabetic . The bulb of Allium sativum is used in rheumatism while its seed vessel mixed with hot milk is useful for the prevention of tuberculosis and high blood pressure. The fruit bark of Punica granatum is used in herbal mixture for intestinal problems . Avena sativa decoction is used for skin diseases including eczema, wounds, irritation, inflammation, erythema, burns, itching, and sunburn . Foeniculum vulgare and Lepidium sativum are used for the treatment of diabetes and renal diseases . Verbascum thapsus leaves and flowers can be used to reduce mucous formation and stimulate the coughing up of phlegm. Externally, it is used as a good emollient and wound healer. Leaves of Thymus linearis are effective against whooping cough, asthma, and round worms and are an antiseptic agent . Berberis lycium wood decoction with sugar is the best treatment for jaundice. Chenopodium album has anthelmintic, diuretic, and laxative properties, and its root decoction is effective against jaundice. The whole plant decoction of Fumaria indica is used for blood purification. Dried leaves and flowers of Mentha longifolia are used as a remedy for jaundice, fever, asthma, and high blood pressure . Morus alba fruit is used to treat constipation and cough . Oxalis corniculata roots are anthelmintic, and powder of Chenopodium album is used for headache and seminal weakness . Boiled leaves of Cichorium intybus are used for stomachic pain and laxative while boiled leaves of Plantago major are used against gastralgia . Viola canescens flower is used as a purgative . The above ethnomedicinal information confirms the therapeutic importance of the reported plants. The reported plant species show biological activities which suggest their therapeutic uses. The aqueous extract of Allium sativum has been studied for its lipid lowering ability and was found to be effective at the amount of 200 mg/kg of body weight. It also has significant antioxidant effect and normalizes the activities of superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, and glutathione reductase in the liver . An extract of Artemisia absanthium antinociception in mice has been found and was linked to cholinergic, serotonergic, dopaminergic, and opioidergic system . The ethanolic extract of Artemisia absanthium at a dose of 500 and 1000 mg/kg body weight has reduced blood glucose to significant level . The hepatoprotective activity of crude extract of aerial parts of Artemisia scoparia was investigated against experimentally produced hepatic damage through carbon tetrachloride. The experimental data showed that crude extract of Artemisia scoparia is hepatoprotective . Ethanolic and aqueous extracts from Asparagus exhibited strong hypolipidemic and hepatoprotective action when administered at a daily dose of 200 mg/kg for 8 weeks in hyperlipidemic mice . The extract of Calotropis procera was evaluated for the antiulcerogenic activity by using different in vivo ulcer in pyloric-ligated rats, and significant protection was observed in histamine-induced duodenal ulcers in guinea pigs . Cannabidiol of Cannabis sativa was found as anxiolytic, antipsychotic, and schizophrenic agent . Caralluma tuberculata methanolic extract of aerial parts (500 mg/kg) in fasting blood glucose level in hyperglycemic condition decreased up to 54% at fourth week with concomitant increase in plasma insulin by 206.8% . The aqueous and methanol crude extract of Celtis australis, traditionally used in Indian system of medicine, was screened for its antibacterial activity . Cichorium intybus L. whole plant 80% ethanolic extract a percent change in serum glucose has been observed after 30 min in rats administrated with vehicle, 125, 250, and 500 mg notified as 52.1, 25.2, 39, and 30.9%, respectively . Citrullus colocynthis fruit, pulp, leaves, and root have significantly decreased blood glucose level and restored beta cells . The two new aromatic esters horizontoates A and B and one new sphingolipid C were isolated from Cotoneaster horizontalis. The compounds A and B showed significant inhibitory effects on acetylcholinesterase and butylcholinesterase in a dose-dependent manner . The alkaloids found in Datura stramonium are organic esters used clinically as anticholinergic agents . The methanolic extract of Momordica charantia fruits on gastric and duodenal ulcers was evaluated in pylorus-ligated rats; the extract showed significant decrease in ulcer index . Antifungal activity of Nannorrhops ritchiana was investigated against fungal strains Aspergillus flavus, Trichophyton longifusis, Trichophyton mentagrophytes, Aspergillus flavus, and Microsporum canis were found susceptible to the extracts with percentage inhibition of 70–80% . The inhibitory effects of Olea ferruginea crude leaf extract on bacterial and fungal pathogens have been evaluated . The aqueous extract of Plantago lanceolata showed that higher doses provide an overall better protection against gastro-duodenal ulcers . The oral and intraperitoneal management of extracts reduced the gastric acidity in pylorus-ligated mice . The antiulcer effect of Solanum nigrum fruit extract on cold restraint stress, indomethacin, pyloric ligation, and ethanol-induced gastric ulcer models and ulcer healing activity on acetic acid-induced ulcer model in rats . The antifungal activity (17.62 mm) of Viola canescens acetone extract 1000 mg/ml against Fusarium oxysporum has been observed . Leaf methanolic extract of Xanthium strumarium has inhibited eight pathogenic bacteria at a concentration of 50 and 100 mg/ml . Aqueous extract of the fruits of Withania coagulans in streptozotocin-induced rats at dose of 1 g/kg for 7 days has shown significant decrease (p < 0.01) in the blood glucose level (52%), triglyceride, total cholesterol, and low density lipoprotein and very significant increase (p < 0.01) in high density lipoprotein level . This shows that further investigation on the reported ethnomedicinal plants can lead to the discovery of novel agents with therapeutic properties.

In the current study, conservation status of 80 medicinal species was reported which was growing wild in the area. The information was collected and recorded for different conservation attributes by following International Union for Conservation and Nature (2001) . It was reported that seven species (8.7%) were endangered due to the much collection, anthropogenic activities, adverse climatic conditions, small size population and distribution in limited area, specificity of habitat, and over grazing in the research area. However, the below-mentioned species were found to be endangered: Caralluma tuberculata, Morchella esculenta, Rheum speciforme, Tanacetum artemisioides, Vincetoxicum cardiostephanum, Withania coagulans, and Polygonatum verticillatum. Unsustainable use and lack of suitable habitat have affected their regeneration and pushed them to endangered category. Traditional knowledge can also contribute to conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity .

Novelty and future prospects

Ethnomedicinal literature research indicated that five plant species, Abies pindrow, Artemisia scoparia, Nannorrhops ritchiana, Salvia reflexa, and Vincetoxicum cardiostephanum, have not been reported previously for their medicinal importance from this area. The newly documented uses of these plants were Abies pindrow and Salvia reflexa (antidiabetic), Artemisia scoparia (anticancer), Nannorrhops ritchiana (laxative), and Vincetoxicum cardiostephanum (chest problems). Adiantum capillus-veneris is reported for the first time for its use in the treatment of skin problems. These plant species can be further screened for therapeutic agents and their pharmacological activities in search of novel drugs. The study also highlights 16 species of antidiabetic plants Caralluma tuberculata, Momordica charantia, Marrubium vulgare, Artemisia scoparia, Melia azedarach, Salvia reflexa, Citrullus colocynthis, Tanacetum artemisioides, Quercus baloot, Olea ferruginea, Cichorium intybus, Artemisia absinthium, Hordeum vulgare, Teucrium stocksianum, Withania coagulans, and Abies pindrow. Except sole paper from District Attack, Pakistan , such a high number of antidiabetic plants have not been reported previously from any part of Pakistan in the ethnobotanical studies.

PMC

HISTORICAL SOURCES RELEVANT FOR STUDY OF MEDICINAL PLANTS’ USE

The oldest written evidence of medicinal plants’ usage for preparation of drugs has been found on a Sumerian clay slab from Nagpur, approximately 5000 years old. It comprised 12 recipes for drug preparation referring to over 250 various plants, some of them alkaloid such as poppy, henbane, and mandrake.

The Chinese book on roots and grasses “Pen T’Sao,” written by Emperor Shen Nung circa 2500 BC, treats 365 drugs (dried parts of medicinal plants), many of which are used even nowadays such as the following: Rhei rhisoma, camphor, Theae folium, Podophyllum, the great yellow gentian, ginseng, jimson weed, cinnamon bark, and ephedra.

The Indian holy books Vedas mention treatment with plants, which are abundant in that country. Numerous spice plants used even today originate from India: nutmeg, pepper, clove, etc.

The Ebers Papyrus, written circa 1550 BC, represents a collection of 800 proscriptions referring to 700 plant species and drugs used for therapy such as pomegranate, castor oil plant, aloe, senna, garlic, onion, fig, willow, coriander, juniper, common centaury, etc.

According to data from the Bible and the holy Jewish book the Talmud, during various rituals accompanying a treatment, aromatic plants were utilized such as myrtle and incense.

In Homer’s epics The Iliad and The Odysseys, created circa 800 BC, 63 plant species from the Minoan, Mycenaean, and Egyptian Assyrian pharmacotherapy were referred to. Some of them were given the names after mythological characters from these epics; for instance, Elecampane (Inula helenium L. Asteraceae) was named in honor of Elena, who was the centre of the Trojan War. As regards the plants from the genus Artemisia, which were believed to restore strength and protect health, their name was derived from the Greek word artemis, meaning “healthy.” Herodotus (500 BC) referred to castor oil plant, Orpheus to the fragrant hellebore and garlic, and Pythagoras to the sea onion (Scilla maritima), mustard, and cabbage. The works of Hippocrates (459–370 BC) contain 300 medicinal plants classified by physiological action: Wormwood and common centaury (Centaurium umbellatum Gilib) were applied against fever; garlic against intestine parasites; opium, henbane, deadly nightshade, and mandrake were used as narcotics; fragrant hellebore and haselwort as emetics; sea onion, celery, parsley, asparagus, and garlic as diuretics; oak and pomegranate as adstringents.

Theophrast (371-287 BC) founded botanical science with his books “De Causis Plantarium”— Plant Etiology and “De Historia Plantarium”—Plant History. In the books, he generated a classification of more than 500 medicinal plants known at the time. Among others, he referred to cinnamon, iris rhizome, false hellebore, mint, pomegranate, cardamom, fragrant hellebore, monkshood, and so forth. In the description of the plant toxic action, Theophrast underscored the important feature for humans to become accustomed to them by a gradual increase of the doses. Owing to his consideration of the said topics, he gained the epithet of “the father of botany,” given that he has great merits for the classification and description of medicinal plants.

In his work “De re medica” the renowned medical writer Celsus (25 BC–50 AD) quoted approximately 250 medicinal plants such as aloe, henbane, flax, poppy, pepper, cinnamon, the star gentian, cardamom, false hellebore, etc.

In ancient history, the most prominent writer on plant drugs was Dioscorides, “the father of pharmacognosy,” who, as a military physician and pharmacognosist of Nero’s Army, studied medicinal plants wherever he travelled with the Roman Army. Circa 77 AD he wrote the work “De Materia Medica.” This classical work of ancient history, translated many times, offers plenty of data on the medicinal plants constituting the basic materia medica until the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Of the total of 944 drugs described, 657 are of plant origin, with descriptions of the outward appearance, locality, mode of collection, making of the medicinal preparations, and their therapeutic effect. In addition to the plant description, the names in other languages coupled with the localities where they occur or are grown are provided. The plants having mild effect are dominant, but there are also references to those containing alkaloid or other matter with strong effect (fragrant hellebore, false hellebore, poppy, buttercup, jimson weed, henbane, deadly nightshade). Dioscorides’ most appreciated domestic plants are as follows: willow, camomile, garlic, onion, marsh mallow, ivy, nettle, sage, common centaury, coriander, parsley, sea onion, and false hellebore). Camomile (Matricaria recucita L.), known under the name Chamaemelon, is used as an antiphlogistic to cure wounds, stings, burns, and ulcers, then for cleansing and rinsing the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. Owing to its mild carminative action, it is particularly appropriate for usage with children. Dioscorides deemed that it had abortive action, on which he wrote, “The flower, root, and the entire plant accelerate menstruation, the release of the embryo, and the discharge of urine and stone, provided that they are used in the form of an infusion and baths.” This untrue belief was later embraced by both the Romans and the Arabs; hence the Latin name Matricaria, derived from two words: mater denoting “mother,” i.e. matrix, denoting ‘uterus’. Dioscorides differentiated between a number of species from the genus Mentha, which were grown and used to relieve headache and stomach ache. The bulbs of sea onion and parsley were utilized as diuretics, oak bark was used for gynaecological purposes, while white willow was used as an antipyretic. As maintained by Dioscorides, Scillae bulbus was also applied as an expectorant, cardiac stimulant, and antihydrotic. It is worth underscoring that Dioscorides pointed to the possibility of forgery of drugs, both the domestic ones such as opium forged by a yellow poppy (Glaucium flavum) milk sap and poppy, and the more expensive oriental drugs, transported by the Arab merchants from the Far East, such as iris, calamus, caradmomum, incense, etc.

Pliny the Elder (23 AD-79), a contemporary of Dioscorides, who travelled throughout Germany and Spain, wrote about approximately 1000 medicinal plants in his book “Historia naturalis.” Pliny’s and Dioscorides’ works incorporated all knowledge of medicinal plants at the time.

The most distinguished Roman physician (concurrently a pharmacist), Galen (131 AD–200), compiled the first list of drugs with similar or identical action (parallel drugs), which are interchangeable—“De succedanus.” From today’s point of view, some of the proposed substitutes do not correspond in a pharmacological context and are absolutely unacceptable. Galen also introduced several new plant drugs in therapy that Dioscorides had not described, for instance, Uvae ursi folium, used as an uroantiseptic and a mild diuretic even in this day and age.

In the seventh century AD the Slavic people used Rosmarinus officinalis, Ocimum basilicum, Iris germanica, and Mentha viridis in cosmetics, Alium sativum as a remedy and Veratrum album, Cucumis sativus, Urtica dioica, Achilea millefolium, Artemisia maritime L., Lavandula officinalis, Sambuci flos against several injurios insects, i.e. louses, fleas, moths, mosquitos, and spiders and Aconitum napellus as a poison in hunting.

In the Middle Ages, the skills of healing, cultivation of medicinal plants, and preparation of drugs moved to monasteries. Therapy was based on 16 medicinal plants, which the physicians-monks commonly grew within the monasteries as follows: sage, anise, mint, Greek seed, savory, tansy, etc.

Charles the Great (742 AD–814), the founder of the reputed medical school in Salerno, in his “Capitularies” ordered which medicinal plants were to be grown on the state-owned lands. Around 100 different plants were quoted, which have been used till present days such as sage, sea onion, iris, mint, common centaury, poppy, marsh mallow, etc. The great emperor especially appreciated the sage (Salvia officinalis L.). The Latin name of sage originates from the old Latins, who called it a salvation plant (salvare meaning “save, cure”). Even today sage is a mandatory plant in all Catholic monasteries.

The Arabs introduced numerous new plants in pharmacotherapy, mostly from India, a country they used to have trade relations with, whereas the majority of the plants were with real medicinal value, and they have persisted in all pharmacopoeias in the world till today. The Arabs used aloe, deadly nightshade, henbane, coffee, ginger, strychnos, saffron, curcuma, pepper, cinnamon, rheum, senna, and so forth. Certain drugs with strong action were replaced by drugs with mild action, for instance, Sennae folium was used as a mild laxative, compared to the purgatives Heleborus odorus and Euphorbium used until then.

Throughout the Middle Ages European physicians consulted the Arab works “De Re Medica” by John Mesue (850 AD), “Canon Medicinae” by Avicenna (980-1037), and “Liber Magnae Collectionis Simplicum Alimentorum Et Medicamentorum” by Ibn Baitar (1197-1248), in which over 1000 medicinal plants were described.

For Macedonia, St Clement and St Naum of Ohrid’s work are of particular significance. They referred to the Nikeian pharmacological codex dating from year 850, and transferred his extensive knowledge on medicinal plants to his disciples and via them to the masses.

Marco Polo’s journeys (1254-1324) in tropical Asia, China, and Persia, the discovery of America (1492), and Vasco De Gama’s journeys to India (1498), resulted in many medicinal plants being brought into Europe. Botanical gardens emerged all over Europe, and attempts were made for cultivation of domestic medicinal plants and of the ones imported from the old and the new world. With the discovery of America, materia medica was enriched with a large number of new medicinal plants: Cinchona, Ipecacuanha, Cacao, Ratanhia, Lobelia, Jalapa, Podophylum, Senega, Vanilla, Mate, tobacco, red pepper, etc. In 17th century, Cortex Chinae, yielded from quinine bark Cinchona succirubra Pavon, under the name countess’ powder, since the Countess of Chinchon was the first one who used it, was introduced to European medicine. Quinine bark rapidly overwhelmed England, France, and Germany despite the fact that there was many an opponent to its use among distinguished physicians—members of a range of academies.

Paracelsus (1493-1541) was one of the proponents of chemically prepared drugs out of raw plants and mineral substances; nonetheless, he was a firm believer that the collection of those substances ought to be astrologically determined. He continuously emphasized his belief in observation, and simultaneously supported the “Signatura doctrinae”—the signature doctrine. According to this belief, God designated his own sign on the healing substances, which indicated their application for certain diseases. For example, the haselwort is reminiscent of the liver; thus, it must be beneficial for liver diseases; St John’s wort Hypericum perforatum L. would be beneficial for treatment of wounds and stings given that the plant leaves appear as if they had been stung.

While the old peoples used medicinal plants primarily as simple pharmaceutical forms—infusions, decoctions and macerations—in the Middle Ages, and in particular between 16th and 18th centuries, the demand for compound drugs was increasing. The compound drugs comprised medicinal plants along with drugs of animal and plant origin. If the drug the theriac was produced from a number of medicinal plants, rare animals, and minerals, it was highly valued and sold expensively.

In 18th century, in his work Species Plantarium (1753), Linnaeus (1707-1788) provided a brief description and classification of the species described until then. The species were described and named without taking into consideration whether some of them had previously been described somewhere. For the naming, a polynomial system was employed where the first word denoted the genus while the remaining polynomial phrase explained other features of the plant (e.g. the willow Clusius was named Salix pumila angustifolia antera). Linnaeus altered the naming system into a binominal one. The name of each species consisted of the genus name, with an initial capital letter, and the species name, with an initial small letter.

Early 19th century was a turning point in the knowledge and use of medicinal plants. The discovery, substantiation, and isolation of alkaloids from poppy (1806), ipecacuanha (1817), strychnos (1817), quinine (1820), pomegranate (1878), and other plants, then the isolation of glycosides, marked the beginning of scientific pharmacy. With the upgrading of the chemical methods, other active substances from medicinal plants were also discovered such as tannins, saponosides, etheric oils, vitamins, hormones, etc.

In late 19th and early 20th centuries, there was a great danger of elimination of medicinal plants from therapy. Many authors wrote that drugs obtained from them had many shortcomings due to the destructive action of enzymes, which cause fundamental changes during the process of medicinal plants drying, i.e. medicinal plants’ healing action depends on the mode of drying. In 19th century, therapeutics, alkaloids, and glycosides isolated in pure form were increasingly supplanting the drugs from which they had been isolated. Nevertheless, it was soon ascertained that although the action of pure alkaloids was faster, the action of alkaloid drugs was full and long-lasting. In early 20th century, stabilization methods for fresh medicinal plants were proposed, especially the ones with labile medicinal components. Besides, much effort was invested in study of the conditions of manufacturing and cultivation of medicinal plants.

On account of chemical, physiological, and clinical studies, numerous forgotten plants and drugs obtained thereof were restored to pharmacy: Aconitum, Punica granatum, Hyosciamus, Stramonium, Secale cornutum, Filix mas, Opium, Styrax, Colchicum, Ricinus, and so forth. The active components of medicinal plants are a product of the natural, most seamless laboratory. The human organism accepts the drug obtained from them best in view of the fact that man is an integral part of nature. There are scores of examples of this kind; perhaps they will instigate serious research into the old manuscripts on medicinal plants, which would not be observed out of curiosity about history but as potential sources of contemporary pharmacotherapy.

In present days, almost all pharmacopoeias in the world—Ph Eur 6, USP XXXI, BP 2007—proscribe plant drugs of real medicinal value. There are countries (the United Kingdom, Russia, Germany) that have separate herbal pharmacopoeias. Yet, in practice, a much higher number of unofficial drugs are always used. Their application is grounded on the experiences of popular medicine (traditional or popular medicine) or on the new scientific research and experimental results (conventional medicine). Many medicinal plants are applied through self-medication or at the recommendation of a physician or pharmacist. They are used independently or in combination with synthetic drugs (complementary medicine). For the sake of adequate and successfully applied therapy, knowledge of the precise diagnosis of the illness as well as of medicinal plants, i.e. the pharmacological effect of their components is essential. Plant drugs and phytopreparations, most commonly with defined active components, verified action and, sometimes, therapeutic efficiency, are applied as therapeutic means. In the major European producer and consumer of herbal preparations—Germany, rational phytotherapy is employed, based on applications of preparations whose efficiency depends on the applied dose and identified active components, and their efficiency has been corroborated by experimental and clinical tests. Those preparations have been manufactured from standardized plant drug extracts, and they adhere to all requirements for pharmaceutical quality of drugs.

With the new Law on Drugs and Medical Devices dated September 2007 and enacted in the Republic of Macedonia, dry or sometimes fresh parts of medicinal plants (herbal substances) may be used for preparation of herbal drugs, herbal processed products, and traditional herbal drugs. Herbal substances may also be utilized for manufacture of homeopathic drugs, which are stipulated in the current law, too. In the Republic of Macedonia herbal preparations are dispensed without a medical prescription, as “over the counter” (OTC) preparations.

Medicinal Botany

Evidence exists that plants were used for medicinal purposes some 60,000 years ago. A burial site of a Neanderthal man was uncovered in 1960. Eight species of plants had been buried with him, some of which are still used for medicinal purposes today.

By 3500 BC, Ancient Egyptians began to associate less magic with the treatment of disease, and by 2700 BC the Chinese had started to use herbs in a more scientific sense. Egyptians recorded their knowledge of illnesses and cures on temple walls and in the Ebers papyrus (1550 BC), which contains over 700 medicinal formulas.

Hippocrates, 460-380 BC, known as the “Father of Medicine,” classified herbs into their essential qualities of hot and cold, moist and dry, and developed a system of diagnosis and prognosis using herbs. The number of effective medicinal plants he discussed was between 300 and 400 species.

Aristotle, the philosopher, also compiled a list of medicinal plants. His best student, Theophrastus discussed herbs as medicines, the kinds and parts of plants used, collection methods, and effects on humans and animals. He started the science of botany with detailed descriptions of medicinal plants growing in the botanical gardens in Athens.

The most significant contribution to the medicinal plant descriptions was made by Dioscorides. While serving as a Roman army physician, he wrote De Materia Medica in about AD 60. This five-volume work is a compilation concerning approximately 500 plants and describes the preparation of about 1000 simple drugs. Written in Greek, it contains good descriptions of plants giving their origins and medical virtues and remained the standard text for 1,500 years.

The earliest Ayurvedic texts on medicine from India date from about 2,500 BC. In Ayurvedic theory, illness is seen in terms of imbalance, with herbs and dietary controls used to restore equilibrium. Abdullah Ben Ahmad Al Bitar (1021–1080 AD) an Arabic botanist and pharmaceutical scientist, wrote the Explanation of Dioscorides Book on Herbs. Later, his book, The Glossary of Drugs and Food Vocabulary, contained the names of 1,400 drugs. The drugs were listed by name in alphabetical order in Arabic, Greek, Persian or Spanish.

Galen, a physician considered the “medical pope” of the Middle Ages, wrote extensitvely about the body’s four “humors” — the four fluids that were thought to permeate the body and influence its health. Drugs developed by Galen were made from herbs that he collected from all over the world.

The studies of botany and medicine became very closely linked during the Middle Ages. Virtually all reading and writing were carried out in monasteries. Monks laboriously copied and compiled the manuscripts. Following the format of Greek botanical compilations, the monks prepared herbals that described identification and preparation of plants with reported medicinal characteristics. At this time though, healing was as much a matter of prayer as medicine. Early herbalists frequently combined religious incantations with herbal remedies believing that with “God’s help” the patient would be cured.

With time, pracitioners began to focus on healing skills and medicines. By the 1530s, Paracelsus (born Philippus Theophrasts Bombastus von Hohenheim, near Zurich in 1493), was changing Europes attitudes toward health care. Many physicians and apothecaries were dishonest and took advantage from those they should be helping. Paracelsus was a physician and alchemist who believed that medicine should be simple and straight forward. He was greatly inspired by the Doctrine of Signatures, which maintained that the outward appearance of a plant gave an indication of the problems it would cure. This theory is sometimes surprisingly acurate.

In 1775, Dr. William Withering was treating a patient with severe dropsy caused by heart failure. He was unable to bring about any improvement with traditional medicines. The patient’s family administered an herbal brew based on an old family recipe and the patient started to recover. Dr. Withering experimented with the herbs contained in the recipe and identified foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) as the most significant. In 1785, he published his Account of the Foxglove and Some of Its Medical Uses. He detailed 200 cases where foxglove had successfully been used to treat dropsy and heart failure along with his research on the parts of the plant and harvest dates that produced the strongest effect. Withering also realized that theraputic dose of foxglove is very close to the toxic level where side effects develop. After further analysis, the cardiac glycosides digoxin and digitoxin were eventually extracted. These are still used in treating heart conditions today.

In 1803, morphine became one of the first drugs to be isolated from a plant. It was identified by Frederich Serturner in Germany. He was able to extract white crystal from crude opium poppy. Scientists soon used similar techniques to produce aconitine from monkshood, emetine from ipecacuanha, atropine from deadly nightshade, and quinine from Peruvian bark.

In 1852, scientists were able to synthesize salicin, an active ingredient in willow bark, for the first time. By 1899, the drug company Bayer, modified salicin into a milder form of aectylsalicylic acid and lauched asprin into our modern world.

The synthetic age was born and in the following 100 years, plant extracts have filled pharmacy shelves. Although many medicines have been produced from plant extracts, chemists sometimes find that the synthetic versions do not carry the same therapeutic effects or may have negative side effects not found when using the whole plant source.

A full 40 percent of the drugs behind the pharmacist’s counter in the Western world are derived from plants that people have used for centuries, including the top 20 best selling prescription drugs in the United States today. For example, quinine extracted from the bark of the South American cinchona tree (Cinchona calisaya) relieves malaria, and licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) has been an ingredient in cough drops for more than 3,500 years. The species native to the United States, Glycyrrhiza lepidota, has a broad range from western Ontario to Washington, south to Texas, Mexico and Missouri. Eastward, there are scattered populations. The leaves and roots have been used for treating sores on the backs of horses, toothaches, and fever in children, sore throats and cough.

Medicinal interest in mints dates from at least the first century A.D., when it was recorded by the Roman naturalist Pliny. In Elizabethan times more than 40 ailments were reported to be remedied by mints. The foremost use of mints today in both home remedies and in pharmaceutical preparations is to relieve the stomach and intestinal gas that is often caused by certain foods.

Consumers routinely assume that the medications they take and the food they ingest have been scrupulously studied by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They assume that many of these products are safe because they are natural. However, many herbals have never been seriously tested for efficacy or toxicity. The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 eliminated the authority of the FDA to regulate vitamins, herbs and other food-based products, and therefore the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the use of any herbal supplement.

How Plants Protect Us

Strawberries and other familiar fruits—and some vegetables—contain natural phytochemicals that can destroy leukemia cells.

Susan J. Zunino, an Agricultural Research Service molecular biologist, leads the nutrition-focused research investigating the health-imparting effects of plant chemicals, or phytochemicals, using laboratory cultures of both healthy human blood cells and cancerous ones as her models. Zunino’s pioneering studies reveal the previously unknown ability of about a half-dozen phytochemicals to stop growth of this type of leukemia. The findings are of interest to cancer researchers and to nutrition researchers exploring the health benefits of compounds in the world’s edible fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices.

Read more about How Plants Protect Us (PDF, 0.4 MB)…

20 Amazing Uses for Herbs to Heal Your Body and Mind

2. Chamomile: Promote sleep

photo source: FromSandToGlass via Flickr

Basics: There have been very few scientific studies on chamomile’s ability to encourage sleep, but it remains a popular herb for this purpose.

How to use it: Chamomile as a sleep aid is typically taken as a warm tea, with many brands specifically marketing it as a “nighttime” or “sleepytime” tea.

3. Ginseng: Fortify energy levels

photo source: Eugene Kim via Flickr

Basics: Ginseng root has been tested in a number of studies for its effectiveness at fighting fatigue, with significant (though few) results.

How to use it: Ginseng can be found in a number of products including “natural” energy drinks, though as with all energy drinks these should be used with caution. You can also get ginseng in capsule form, often grouped with other herb and vitamin capsules at regular grocery stores, as well as health food and supplement stores.

4. Licorice: Soothe a sore throat

photo source: lakrids via Flickr

Basics: There has been some scientific examination of licorice root’s anti-inflammatory effects on sore throats, with promising results.

Advertising

How to use it: You can find teas and lozenges with licorice root at a variety of grocery and health food stores, as well as online.

5. Nettle: Treat dandruff

photo source: J Brew via Flickr

Basics: Despite the name, stinging nettle has a number of recognized medicinal properties including as an anti-inflammatory. It has also been used as a natural treatment for dandruff.

How to use it: There are a few commercial shampoo products containing stinging nettle, though you may have better luck on sites like Etsy.

6. Black tea leaves: Reduce risk of heart problems

photo source: archangeli via Flickr

Basics: Black tea as a way to reduce the risk of heart-related problems has been loosely studied with hopeful finds, though more thorough testing is needed.

How to use it: A couple cups of black tea a day is a good amount, and the caffeine will help you stay alert throughout your day.

7. Lavender: Ease stress and tension

photo source: David Biesack via Flickr

Basics: Evidence from scientific trials suggests that lavender works well to relieve tension and stress.

How to use it: Aromatherapy products such as oils, lotions, and herb pouches are all good ways of using the scent to relieve stress.

8. Cinnamon: Control blood sugar

photo source: trophygeek via Flickr

Basics: A wide range of research suggests cinnamon is an effective way to manage blood sugar levels, particularly useful for people with Type II diabetes.

How to use it: Cinnamon can be added to a variety of foods and beverages, and can be purchased in capsule form for a higher concentration.

Advertising

9. Fennel seed: Ease bloating and indigestion

photo source: roseannadana via Flickr

Basics: Fennel seed has shown promising results as a relief agent for bloating and constipation.

How to use it: Fennel can be bought both in capsule form and as a tea.

10. St. John’s Wort: Treatment of mild depression

photo source: Jonathan Ball via Flickr

Basics: Extensive research as been done on the plant’s effectiveness in treating mild to moderate depression, and it is sold over the counter as such.

How to use it: Capsules, tinctures, and teas containing St. John’s Wort can be found in health food and supplement stores and some grocery stores, as well as online.

11. Mint: Soothe an upset stomach

photo source: Brian Costin via Flickr

Basics: Mint seems to be a powerful cure for stomach aches, as well as being used for relaxation and as a diuretic.

How to use it: Mint tea is the most common and popular way to ingest the herb.

12. Calendula: Prevent wound infections

photo source: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra via Flickr

Basics: More commonly known as marigolds, calendula has several practical uses, most notably as a wound healing agent. This is due to the plant’s antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.

How to use it: Topical ointments and creams containing calendula can be bought online or at health food and supplement stores.

13. Eucalyptus: Relieve lung congestion

photo source: Gary Sauer-Thompson via Flickr

Basics: Perhaps best known for being the food of choice for koalas, eucalyptus is also used as a cleaning agent and to treat lung problems. It appears to have an mucolytic (mucus-clearing) and anti-inflammatory component that works particularly well in this area.

Advertising

How to use it: Eucalyptus essential oil is a good option to keep by your bed or, if you can find it, use a vapor rub with eucalyptus as one of the primary ingredients.

14. Comfrey: Alleviate dry skin

photo source: Dinesh Valke via Flickr

Basics: Comfrey has had a somewhat controversial history in recent decades, and is now not recommended for any kind of internal use. Topical use of the plant is still pervasive, however, as it has shown a notable ability to treat dry or inflamed skin.

How to use it: Though it may be harder to find them in mainstream product lines, you can often find comfrey soaps and lotions on sites like Etsy or anywhere else artisan grooming products are sold.

15. Chrysanthemum: heal the common cold

photo source: matsuyuki via Flickr

Basics: Chrysanthemum’s medicinal properties are not widely tested by Western scientists, but it is a popular part of Chinese treatments for colds and other mild sickness.

How to use it: Warm chrysanthemum tea is recommended.

16. Rosemary: Improve your memory

photo source: Rebecca Siegel via Flickr

Basics: This ultra-fragrant, evergreen herb has garnered interest in recent decades for medical and pharmaceutical uses, most notably as a mild memory enhancer.

How to use it: Aromatherapy products such as essential oils can be found for rosemary, but the plant itself can leave a noticeable scent even when dried.

17. Passionflower: Reduce anxiety

photo source: PINKÉ via Flickr

Basics: There are around 500 species under the Passiflora genus, most of which are appreciated for their beautiful blooms as well as their tasty fruit. It has proven to be a viable treatment for some forms of anxiety.

How to use it: Passionflower tea has a pleasant and sweet taste and can be found in both health food stores and most regular grocers. Tinctures and essential oils also exist.

Advertising

18. Parsley: Fight bad breath

photo source: cookbookman17 via Flickr

Basics: Parsley is packed full of vitamins and has some more specific uses, such as treating bad breath. This may be due in large part to the plant’s high concentration of chlorophyll, which has some evidence of treating halitosis.

How to use it: Consuming it in your food, by itself, or in a blended drink are all good ways of using parsley for this particular ailment.

19. Tobacco: Treat bee stings

photo source: Curtis Perry via Flickr

Basics: Tobacco is regarded for little else than its addictive nicotine content, but it also doubles as a surprisingly impressive way to treat bee and wasp stings. Tobacco acts as a sort of anesthetic to the area, possibly helping to draw out the sting’s toxins as well.

How to use it: Unroll a cigarette and place the tobacco against the sting, then hold it down with a moist washcloth. The moisture is needed so that “juice” will flow to the sting.

20. Sage: Fight Alzheimer’s

photo source: Rebecca Siegel via Flickr

Basics: This grey-green herb has a faint and pleasant smell, and much like rosemary has been said to boost memory recall. While this claim hasn’t been tested, studies have found that sage is a somewhat useful treatment for people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.

How to use it: Sage can be administered in liquid elixir form or in capsules.

Featured photo credit: Harvesting Herbs/Susy Morris via flic.kr

Nature’s medicine

There are times when it might be smarter to use an herbal remedy than a pharmaceutical. For example, sometimes an herb offers a safer alternative. Take chamomile: The flowers have been used for centuries as a gentle calmative for young and old alike. It’s non-habit-forming and well tolerated, and a study sponsored by the University of Michigan found that chamomile extract had roughly the same efficacy as many prescription sleeping medications when given to adults with insomnia. Likewise, peppermint oil has been shown to be as effective as pharmaceutical drugs for relieving irritable bowel syndrome, but without the ofttimes dangerous side effects. And clinical studies have shown that ginger relieves morning sickness, sage can relieve a sore throat, and hibiscus tea gently lowers blood pressure.

I believe it’s better to use mild remedies for minor health problems and save the more potent—and risky—prescription medications for more serious conditions. Here then, are my top 25 favorite healing herbs and their uses. All are safe and effective, but be sure to discuss any herbs you are taking with your doctor. Some herbal remedies (such as the antidepressant St. John’s wort) can interact with medications.

Ashwagandha

Steven Foster

(Withania somnifera)

Uses: Rejuvenating tonic, anti-inflammatory, reduces anxiety, boosts immune health

Preparation and doses:
Tea: Simmer 1 tsp dried and sliced root in 1 cup water or milk for 10 minutes. Strain. Drink 1 or 2 times per day.
Standardized Extract (2–5% withanolides): Take 500 mg 2 or 3 times per day.

Concerns: Can cause milk sedation; potential to stimulate thyroid hormones

Black Cohosh

Steven Foster

(Actaea racemosa)

Uses: Relieves menstrual cramps and arthritic pain; commonly used to ease menopausal symptoms

Preparation and doses:
Tincture: Take 1–2 ml 3 times per day.
Standardized extract: Take 20–80 mg 2 times per day.

Concerns: Very rare case reports of liver damage (likely due to misidentified herb); purchase only from reputable supplier

Calendula

Steven Foster

(Calendula officinalis)

Uses: Calendula has long been used to relieve inflammation of the mouth, throat, and stomach; popular as a topical cream or ointment to relieve rashes and irritation and to help heal wounds.

Preparation and doses:
Tea: Pour 1 cup boiling water over 2 tsp petals. Steep for 10 minutes. Strain. Use as needed as a mouthwash, gargle, or tea.
Ointment: Apply to skin 2 or 3 times per day as needed.

Concerns: None known

Catnip

Steven Foster

(Nepeta cataria)

Uses: Soothes an upset stomach; reduced anxiety and tension

Preparation and doses:
Tea: Pour 1 cup boiling water over 4 or 5 fresh or 1 tsp dried leaves. Steep for 5 minutes. Strain and sweeten, if desired. Drink 1 or 2 times per day.

Concerns: None known

Chasteberry

Steven Foster

(Vitex agnus-castus)

Uses: Premiere herb for relieving PMS symptoms

Preparation and doses:
Capsules: Take 250–500 mg dried fruit once per day.
Tincture: Take 2–3 ml each morning.

Concerns: None known

Cranberry

Steven Foster

(Vaccinium macrocarpon)

Uses: Well-established treatment for reducing the risk of bladder infection; could also be beneficial for chronic prostatitis

Preparation and doses:
Juice: Drink ½-¾ cup twice per day.
Capsules: Take 300–500 mg concentrated juice extract 2 times per day.

Concerns: None known

Echinacea

Steven Foster

(Echinacea spp.)

Uses: Antiviral and immune-enhancing properties; popular for relieving colds and upper respiratory infections (approved in Europe for these uses)

Preparation and doses:
Tea: Simmer 1 tsp dried and sliced root in 1 cup water for 10 minutes. Strain. Drink 1-3 cups per day.
Tincture: Take 5 ml 3-6 times per day at onset of cold symptoms.

Concerns: Rare allergic reactions

More from Prevention: 16 Doctor-Approved Home Remedies

Elderberry

Steven Foster

(Sambucus nigra, S. canadensis)

Uses: Elderberry flowers have been valued as a remedy for colds and fever for centuries; fruit extracts have been shown to have significant antiviral activity, especially against the flu.

Preparation and doses:
Tea: Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1–2 tsp flowers. Steep for 10 minutes. Sweeten if desired and drink hot 2-3 times per day.
Berry extracts: Use as directed.

Concerns: None known

Garlic

Steven Foster

(Allium sativum)

Uses: Potent antimicrobial; often used to combat colds, ease sinus congestion, and stave off traveler’s diarrhea. Studies show that regular use can help gently lower blood pressure.

Preparation and doses:
Eat: Eat 1–2 cloves fresh daily.
Capsules: Take 4–8 mg allicin per day; enteric-coated products may be superior if specifically treating diarrhea.

Concerns: May interact with warfarin

Ginger

Steven Foster

(Zingiber officinale)

Uses: Premiere remedy for easing nausea, vomiting, and upset stomach; fresh teas relieve cold and flu symptoms.

Preparation and doses:
Tea: Steep ¼–½ tsp dried ginger or simmer 1 tsp fresh ginger root in 1 cup hot water for 10 minutes. Strain and sweeten, if desired. Drink 1–2 cups per day.
Capsules: Take 250–500 mg 2 times per day.

Concerns: Very safe in small amounts; heartburn and stomach upset can occur with high doses. Pregnant women should not take more than 1,500 mg per day of dried ginger.

Ginseng

Steven Foster

(Panax quinquefolius; P. ginseng)

Uses: Helps relieve and prevent mental and physical fatigue; shown to reduce the frequency and severity of colds; possibly beneficial for erectile dysfunction

Preparation and doses:
Tea: Simmer 1 tsp dried and sliced root in 1 cup water for 10 minutes. Strain. Drink 1–2 cups per day.
Standardized extract (4–7% ginsenosides): 100–400 mg per day

Concerns: Purchase from a reputable manufacturer, as ginseng has often been adulterated in the past.

Hibiscus

Steven Foster

(Hibiscus sabdariffa)

Uses: Lowers blood pressure and has mild diuretic activity; traditionally used to ease sore throats and colds

Preparation and doses:
Tea: Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1–2 tsp dried flowers. Steep for 10 minutes. Strain and sweeten, if desired. Drink 2 cups per day.
Capsules: Take 1,000 mg 2 times per day.

Concerns: Talk to your health-care provider if you have high blood pressure.

Hops

Steven Foster

(Humulus lupulus)

Uses: Excellent sleeping aid; smaller, daytime doses used to ease tension, restlessness, and anxiety; might help reduce hot flashes during menopause

Preparation and doses:
Capsules: Take 200–300 mg 1-3 times per day.
Tincture: Take 2–4 ml before bed.

Concerns: Can cause sedation

More from Prevention: 14 Natural Remedies For Hot Flashes

Horse Chestnut

Steven Foster

(Aesculus hippocastanum)

Uses: Seed extracts shown to be highly effective for treatment of varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency (blood pools in lower leg veins after standing or sitting); topical gels can reduce swelling and tenderness due to injury.

Preparation and doses:
Seed extract (containing 100–150 mg aescin/escin): Take 600 mg per day in divided doses.

Concerns: Unprocessed horse chestnut seeds can be toxic; use only appropriately prepared seed extracts.

Kava

Steven Foster

(Piper methysticum)

Uses: Clinical trials have shown kava to be highly effective for relieving anxiety. Also has significant muscle-relaxing effects.

Preparation and doses:
Tea: Simmer 1 tsp dried and sliced root in 1 cup water for 10 minutes. Strain. Drink 1–2 cups per day.
Extract of root: Take 100–200 mg 2 or 3 times per day. (Do not exceed 210 mg per day of kavalactones.)

Concerns: Rare cases of liver toxicity; do not use if you have liver disease, frequently drink alcohol, or are taking acetaminophen or prescription medications.

Lemon Balm

Steven Foster

(Melissa officinalis)

Uses: Gentle calmative; eases tension, digestive upset, and colic; topical creams used for fever blisters

Preparation and doses:
Tea: Pour 1 cup boiling water over 5 or 6 fresh or 1 tsp dried leaves. Steep for 5 minutes. Strain and sweeten, if desired. Drink several times per day.

Concerns: None; suitable for all ages

Licorice

Steven Foster

(Glycyrrhiza glabra)

Uses: Excellent anti-inflammatory; soothes mucous membranes; useful for sore throats and coughs; protects and heals gastrointestinal tract

Preparation and doses:
Tea: Simmer 1 tsp dried and sliced root in 1 cup water for 10 minutes. Strain. Drink 2 or 3 times per day for up to 7 days.
Capsules: Take up to 3,000 mg per day for 7 days. Do not exceed 500 mg per day if taking for longer than 7 days.

Concerns: Do not use high doses for longer than 1 week as it elevates blood pressure and causes potassium loss. (DGL, a special preparation commonly used for heartburn, is safe for prolonged use.)

Marshmallow

Steven Foster

(Althaea officinalis)

Uses: Root and leaf are rich in mucilage, a substance that coats the lining of the mouth and throat, as well as the tissue that lines the gastrointestinal tract. Used for sore throat, heartburn, and minor GI inflammation.

Preparation and doses:
Tea: Pour 1 cup hot water over 1 tsp dried and sliced root or 2 tsp leaf. Steep for 2 hours. Strain and drink as desired.

Concerns: Take other drugs 1 hour prior to or several hours after consuming marshmallow, as it could slow absorption of oral medications.

Milk Thistle

Steven Foster

(Silybum marianum)

Uses: Protects the liver from damage caused by environmental toxins, medications, and alcohol. Recent studies suggest it protects the kidneys similarly.

Preparation and doses:
Extract (guaranteed minimum of 70% silymarin): Take 400–700 mg per day in divided doses.

Concerns: None known

Mullein

Vicki Mattern

(Verbascum thapsus)

Uses: Leaves commonly used to relieve cough, sore throat, and chest congestion; steeped in oil, the flowers relieve earache.

Preparation and doses:
Tea: Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1–2 tsp leaves. Steep for 10 minutes. Strain, sweeten, and drink as desired.
Ear oil: Use as directed.

Concerns: None known

Nettle

Michael Balick

(Urtica dioica)

Uses: Fresh, freeze-dried leaves relieved seasonal allergy symptoms in one human trial. Research supports use of the root for easing symptoms of enlarged prostate. Tea widely recommended for its nutritive value.

Preparation and doses:
Tea: Pour 1 cup boiling water over 2 tsp leaves. Steep for 10 minutes. Strain. Sweeten if desired. Drink 1–3 cups per day.
Freeze-dried nettle capsules: Take 300–500 mg 2 times per day.
Nettle root: Take 250–400 mg 2 or 3 times per day.

Concerns: Wear gloves when handling fresh nettles to avoid stinging and irritation (sting is lost with cooking or drying); very safe herb.

Sage

Steven Foster

(Salvia officinalis)

Uses: Excellent for sore throat, cough, and colds; recognized in Germany as a treatment for excessive sweating; studies show it can help reduce menopausal hot flashes and night sweats.

Preparation and doses:
Tea: Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1 tsp leaves. Steep for 10 minutes. Strain. Drink, or use as a sore throat gargle.
Capsules: Take 500 mg dried leaf 2 times per day.

Concerns: Do not use therapeutic doses during pregnancy; do not use sage essential oil internally.

Slippery Elm

Steven Foster

(Ulmus rubra)

Uses: FDA-approved as a safe, nonprescription remedy for minor throat irritation; also very useful for relieving cough and occasional heartburn.

Preparation and doses:
Lozenges: Take as directed.
Tea: Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1–2 tsp powdered bark. Steep for 5 minutes. Drink 2 or 3 times per day.

Concerns: Take other drugs 1 hour before or several hours after consuming, as it could slow absorption of oral medications.

St. John’s Wort

Steven Foster

(Hypericum perforatum)

Uses: More than 40 studies have confirmed its effectiveness for relieving mild to moderate depression; may also relieve PMS symptoms and menopausal hot flashes, especially when combined with black cohosh.

Preparation and doses:
Standardized extract (standardized to 0.3% hypericin and/or 3–5% hyperforin): Take 300–600 mg 3 times per day.

Concerns: Talk to your physician or pharmacist before using if you are taking prescription medications; the chance for herb-drug interaction is high.

Thyme

Steven Foster

(Thymus vulgaris)

Uses: Highly regarded for relieving coughs, colds, and congestion; rich in volatile oils that have significant antimicrobial and antispasmodic activity

Preparation and doses:
Tea: Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1 Tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dried leaves. Steep for 10 minutes. Strain and sweeten, if desired. Drink ⅓ cup 3 times per day.

Concerns: None known

More from Prevention: The 100 Best Supplements For Women

Excerpted from 21st Century Herbal by Michael J. Balick, PhD. to learn more about the many modern-day uses for the ancient art of herbalism—as medicine, in beauty products, to spice up your cooking, and around your home.

Health

Tea is one of our favourite beverages. On a cold, blustery day, a hot cup of tea is warm and soothing, while in the throes of summer you can pour it over ice for a thirst-quenching refresher. There are many powerful healing herbs for tea that can transform it from a tasty beverage into a health-supportive drink, which is why we are sharing our favourite 20 Healing Herbs for Tea with you.

Teas are very versatile. You can use them in:

  • Dairy-free elixirs (get your free DIY elixir guide to get mixing)
  • Tonics
  • Smoothies
  • Soups
  • Gluten-free grains (use tea instead of water)
  • Or enjoy on their own!

From supporting digestion, to boosting the immune system, to improving your mood, this range of powerful herbs has got you covered.

20 Healing Herbs for Tea

Peppermint

Why It’s Powerful: Helps to relax the muscles of the digestive tract and reduce spasms.

Recipe to Try: Detox Tea

Chaga

Why It’s Powerful: The king of mushrooms, it’s a powerful immune-booster that has anti-cancer and anti-oxidant properties.

Recipe to Try: Chaga Chai

Reishi

Reishi

Why It’s Powerful: The queen of mushrooms, soothes and calms the nervous system and has immune-modulating compounds.

Recipe to Try: Reishi Chocolate Milk

Chamomile

Why It’s Powerful: Calming and great for digestion.

Recipe to Try: Secret Garden Relaxation Tea

Why It’s Powerful: Anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting and great for nausea.

Recipe to Try: Get Well Ginger Root Tea

Turmeric

Turmeric

Why It’s Powerful: Strongly anti-inflammatory and rich in anti-cancer properties.

Recipe to Try: Simple Turmeric Tea

Passionflower

Why It’s Powerful: Promotes sleep and relaxation, lowers blood pressure.

Recipe to Try: How to Make Passionflower Tea

Why It’s Powerful: Soothes the nerves, calms the mind and body.

Recipe to Try: Homemade Lemon Balm Tea

Cinnamon

Cinnamon

Why It’s Powerful: Great for balancing blood sugar. Cinnamon also offers a natural sweetness.

Recipe to Try: Yogi Tea

Fennel

Why It’s Powerful: Reduces digestive spasms and gas, and eases symptoms of coughs and colds.

Recipe to Try: After Dinner Belly Soothing Tea

Lemon

Why It’s Powerful: High in Vitamin C, stimulates digestion and detoxes the liver.

Recipe to Try: Lemon + Sage Tea

Maca

Maca

Why It’s Powerful: Helps relieve stress, boost energy levels, balance hormones and increase sex drive.

Recipe to Try: Heavenly Maca Latte

Why It’s Powerful: Relieves stress, calms the mind, boosts energy levels and reduces inflammation. Also supports thyroid health.

Recipe to Try: Stress-Busting Adaptogen Latte

Licorice

Why It’s Powerful: A great digestive aid, and it’s anti-microbial and anti-bacterial.

Recipe to Try: Ginger Licorice Tea

Why It’s Powerful: A mucilaginous herb that soothes the mucus membranes of the digestive system, respiratory tract and urinary tract.

Recipe to Try: Marshmallow Root Tea Recipe

Lemongrass

Why It’s Powerful: Reduces digestive discomfort, helps soothe pain, and lowers cholesterol levels.

Recipe to Try: Honey Lemongrass Ginger Tea

Lavender

Lavender

Why It’s Powerful: Has a calming and sedative effect, helps to relax the muscles.

Recipe to Try: Lavender Chamomile Mint Tea

Matcha

Why It’s Powerful: Rich in antioxidants, boosts energy levels, contains l-theanine – an amino acid that increases focus and concentration.

Recipe to Try: Coconut Cashew Matcha Latte

Jasmine

Why It’s Powerful: Reduces inflammation, promotes sleep and relaxation, anti-bacterial and anti-viral.

Recipe to Try: Iced Jasmine Green Mint Tea

Why It’s Powerful: Stimulates the immune system and has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anticancer effects.

Recipe to Try: Echinacea, Mint + Lime Iced Tea

  • tea
  • tea-making
  • herbal tea

Your Guide to Culinary Adaptogens

The world can be a stressful place: work, family, relationships, health, education, politics and finances are just some of the common troubles that can keep…

The DIY Guide to Making Dairy-Free Elixirs

When we think of ‘power drinks’, smoothies or green juices usually are the ones that spring to mind. Here at the Academy of Culinary Nutrition,…

How to Brew and Flavour Kombucha

Have you ever tried to brew kombucha before? You may have been buying and drinking kombucha for a while now, or you may have just…

9 Tips for Healthy Smoothie Bowls

Why drink your smoothie from a glass when you can slurp it in a bowl using a spoon? We love our dairy-free smoothies – especially when…

20 Best Dairy-Free Smoothie Recipes

There are a ton of smoothie recipes that rely on yogurt or whey protein powders for their high-protein magic, but those options simply don’t work…

20 Best Healthy, Dairy-Free Elixir Recipes

The meals and snacks we eat every day undoubtedly contribute to our overall health, but sometimes we forget that drinks have an enormous impact too….

Read More More Wisdom in Health

Healing plants and herbs

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *