"The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, contain components that can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, herbs should be taken with care, under the supervision of a qualified health care provider trained in the field of botanical medicine." (University of Maryland, Medical Center).
Many international medicine agencies have aproved preparations contaning one or several of the herbs in the following list. In this article we present 15 of these top medicinal herbs, since all scientific evidence proves their efficacy in the treatment of various diseases and conditions.
In alphabetical order:
Contains the glycoside arbutin, which has antimicrobial properties and acts as a mild diuretic. It has been used for urinary tract complaints, including cystitis and Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi):urolithiasis.
Bearberry has also the following claimed properties: Antilithic, aromatic, astringent, sedative (renal), stimulant (mild), tonic and urinary antiseptic.
Read more: Bearberry
Native Americans used black cohosh to treat gynecological and other disorders, including sore throats, kidney problems, and depression. Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa):
Recent research, suggests that some of the physiological effects studied may be due to black cohosh compounds that bind and activate serotonin receptors, and a derivative of serotonin with high affinity to serotonin receptors, N?-methylserotonin, has been identified in black cohosh.
Read more: Black cohosh
Dandelions, flowers, roots and leaves, have been used for centuries in traditional medicine & medicinal teas, most notably for liver detoxification, as a natural diuretic and for inflammation reduction. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale):
Unlike other diuretics, dandelion leaves contain potassium, a mineral that is often lost during increased urination. There is also evidence that this property of dandelion leaves may normalize blood sugar.
Read more: Dandelion
Ginkgo is believed to have nootropic properties, and is mainly used as memory and concentration enhancer, and anti-vertigo agent. Ginkgo Biloba (Ginkgophyta):
Preliminary studies suggest that Ginkgo may be of benefit in multiple sclerosis, showing modest improvements in cognition and fatigue without increasing rates of serious adverse events in this population.
Read more: Ginkgo Biloba
Ginseng is promoted as an adaptogen (a product that increases the body's resistance to stress), one which can to a certain extent be supported with reference to its anticarcinogenic and antioxidant properties. Ginseng (Panax genus):
In males, ginsenosides can facilitate penile erection. This is consistent with traditional Chinese medicine and Native American medicinal uses of ginseng. It is also known to contain phytoestrogens.
Read more: Ginseng
Has been sufficiently characterised for the maintenance or achievement of a normal body weight. The plant is anodyne, antihaemorrhagic, antiseptic, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, galactogogue, haemostatic and vulnerary. Horsetail (Equisetum arvense):
It is a useful diuretic when taken internally and is used in the treatment of kidney and bladder problems, cystitis, urethritis, prostate disease and internal bleeding, proving especially useful when there is bleeding in the urinary tract.
Read more: Horsetail
A tonic remedy that raises the spirits and lifts the heart. It is antibacterial, antispasmodic, antiviral, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, emmenagogue, febrifuge, sedative properties. Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis):
An infusion of the leaves is used in the treatment of fevers and colds, indigestion associated with nervous tension, excitability and digestive upsets in children, hyperthyroidism, depression, mild insomnia and headaches.
Read more: Lemon balm
- Plants For A future: Earth, Plants, People.
- Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa); Predny ML, De Angelis P, Chamberlain JL.
- Food, Nutrition and Health; Chun Hu and David D. Kitts.
- Multifaceted therapeutic benefits of Ginkgo biloba L.: chemistry, efficacy, safety, and uses; Mahadevan, Journal of food science.
- A Modern Herbal; Grieve, Penguin.
- Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants; MacDonald, Chiej. R.
- Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses; Bown. D, Dorling Kindersley.
- Efficacy of Vitex agnus castus in patients with pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS); Berger, D, Schaffner W, Schrader E, Meier B, Brattström A.
- St. John's Wort and Depression; NCCAM.
- Questions and Answers About Valerian for Insomnia and Other Sleep Disorders; Office of Dietary Supplements
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