Medicinal plants and herbs truly do put the "mother" in mother nature. Like good friends, herbs are always there for you to support your body and help put things right when you're not feeling well. Medicinal herbs in nature can cure many ailments and truly do put effective, punctual and natural healing power right in the palm of your hands. Here are three herbs which can help you take charge of health.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
Peppermint is one of the easiest choices to make when selecting herbs for your medicine cabinet or tea shelf. Peppermint, of the family Lamiaceae, is one of the most popular herbs around due to it's powerful healing properties. Peppermint is high in volatile oils, such as menthol. Volatile oils trigger cells in the body that perceive cold, which is why menthol causes a cooling effect on the skin. Peppermint applied externally can help sooth sore muscles and can be used as a local anesthetic. Peppermint's oils penetrate deeply to the nerves and muscles to impede stimulation in cells, blocking pain.
When used internally, peppermint acts as an antispasmodic; this makes peppermint ideal for treating digestive ailments such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, or upset stomach. Additionally, uses of the active compounds in peppermint include the following: immunostimulant (immune system stimulant), anti-inflammatory, fungicide, insectifuge (insect repellent), and aldose-reductase inhibitor (substance that prevents eye/nerve damage in diabetics).
Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium)
Oregon grape, of the family Berberidaceae, is a great addition to your herbal medicine cabinet. This is due to the herb's capabilities as an effective antibiotic and a bitter tonic to improve digestive function. These healing attributes come from the medicinal alkaloid called berberine, which is found concentrated in Oregon Grape's bright yellow bark.
Berberine works wonderfully as a natural antibiotic because of its ability to reduce bacterial adherence to cell walls. Oregon Grape therefore works effectively against infections of the bowels, throat and urinary tract. Additionally, Oregon Grape contains antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and hypotensive (promoting low blood pressure) compounds.
Gotu Kola (Hydrocotyle Asiatica)
Gotu Kola is a low-growing member of the carrot, or Umbeliferae, family with origins in the tropical swamps of Asia. It has long been used medicinally to strengthen body tissues, heal wounds, improve memory and promote longevity. It is also used culinarily in Asian recipes, such as salads and curries. Gotu Kola has the ability to strengthen blood vessels and regenerate tissues.
Our bodies' natural enzymes break down tissues daily as part of the metabolic process. But some people with conditions such as varicose veins or diabetes break down more tissues than usual. Gotu Kola is very effective for normalizing enzyme levels in individuals with these conditions, because it stimulates the body's collagen-creating fibroblast cells to divide more rapidly.
Gotu Kola is very helpful for treating circulatory conditions; the triterpenes it contains help in treating venous hypertension, diabetes and atherosclerotic plaques. Additionally, Gotu Kola contains anticancer, antibacterial, antioxidant, antispasmodic, antiulcer, antitumor and hypocholesterolemic (reducing cholesterol) compounds.