Which Herbs Work?

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Which Herbal Supplements Can Work For You?

ECHINACEA: Boosts the immune system.

Echinacea angustifolia was widely used by the North American indigenous peoples as folk medicine, with archaeological evidence dating back to the 18th century. Traditional use included external application (insect bites, burns, wounds), chewing of roots (throat and tooth infections), and internal use (cough, pain, snake bites, stomach cramps). Some Plains tribes used echinacea for cold symptoms. The Kiowa used it for coughs and sore throats, the Cheyenne for sore throats, the Pawnee for headaches, and many tribes including the Lakota used it as a pain medication. Early European settlers noticed this and began to develop their own uses. According to Wallace Sampson, its modern use for the common cold began when a Swiss herbal supplement maker was told that Echinacea was used for cold prevention by Native American tribes who lived in the area of South Dakota. The first preparation was Meyers Blood Purifier (ca. 1880), which was promoted for neuralgia, rattlesnake bites, and rheumatism. By the start of the 20th century, it was the most common herbal remedy in America. Commercial cultivation began in Germany in the late 1930s, and in Switzerland in 1950. 

GARLIC: Lowers cholesterol among people with levels over 200.

A 2016 review of studies on garlic determined that garlic has the potential to reduce total cholesterol up to 30 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). ... Substitute baked garlic for butter. It tastes better than butter, and it's a whole lot healthier — particularly for lowering cholesterol. 

GINKGO: Supposedly improves blood flow to the brain and extremities.

Many people attest that it can also alleviate vertigo and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Unfortunately, studies have shown that there is no evidence for the effectiveness of ginkgo. However, one review showed weak preliminary evidence for ginkgo affecting dementia.

KAVA: A natural tranquilizer.

Kava has been used for centuries by Pacific Islanders for its tranquilizing and sedative effects. Recent clinical trials suggest that kava has therapeutic value for the treatment of anxiety.

LICORICE: Helps the digestive system.

One of licorice’s greatest strengths is its ability to contribute towards soothing gastric and abdomen troubles including stomach ulcers, heartburn, and other inflammation issues affecting the stomach. Some people opt to drink licorice root tea throughout the day to keep their bowels in tip-top shape - swap your coffee once in a while and see if you can feel the difference!

Offers respiratory relief.

Licorice is also said to help with cold and flu-like symptoms such as coughs and sore throats. The root of licorice was used as a remedy for upper respiratory problems thousands of years ago and is still used by people today to help tackle various infections.

Relief from skin irritations.

Next time you find yourself shopping for skin creams why not pick up some licorice instead? The super sweet is used widely in herbal medicine as a method to treat common skin problems such as dermatitis, cysts, and eczema.

ST. JOHN'S WORT: Effective in alleviating certain kinds of depression.

A 2008 review of 29 international studies suggested that St. John's wort may be better than a placebo and as effective as different standard prescription antidepressants for major depression of mild to moderate severity. St. John's wort also appeared to have fewer side effects than standard antidepressants.

VALERIAN: Induces and enhances sleep and may reduce the time it takes to fall asleep.

This herb is often referred to as “nature’s Valium,” and people have used it since the Middle Ages to treat sleep disorders such as insomnia. What’s more, valerian may help you relax and may have benefits for people who experience anxiety and other symptoms. This article uncovers everything you need to know about valerian, including what conditions it may benefit, its safety, and how to take it.

As always, consult your doctor or other trusted medical professional before embarking on any herbal supplement regimen!