Herbal medicines are plant originated medicines which are made of different parts of plant like leaves, shoots, flowers, leaves and root. In this process fresh as well as dried flowers can be used. Medical Herbalist are trained practitioners who deals with different plants to treat illness as well as to make beneficial effect to restore our health.
History of Herbal Medicines
The history of herbal medicines started all from prehistoric times in 19th century. Archaeological evidence suggests that medicinal plants came into use approximately 60000 years ago. In India, Ayurveda plays very important role in medical science. Many herbs are also used by the Indian herbalists such as Charaka and Sushruta.
The other countries like Egypt, China, Greece and Rome also used Herbal plants for the different illness and health issues.
Advantages of Herbal Medicines –
Herbal medicines are the true gift given by the nature to survive, so if we look deep into our environment we can find many things which are beneficial for our body. It has been said that our body is made up of soil and minerals so, it is good if we select the remedies from the plants which are grown from this soil.
- Herbal medicines are less expensive and most of the population can afford it. Many data suggest that these medicines are more affordable than other medicines.
- These drugs are easier to obtain. Many times prescription is also not required. Herbal products like Herbal creams, oil, supplement and other health products are also available in grocery stores.
- Herbal medicines are more beneficial and can be taken by the people who are very sensitive to the other drugs. Taking Aspirin can cause stomach upset to many people but herbal drug does not cause such complications.
- Many times modern drugs are not available in remote areas and villages. In those places herbal medicines can be easily available.
Some Common Medicinal Plants And Their Uses
It is one of the most common spice which we can found in everyone’s kitchen. It does not only adds taste and flavor to the food but also has medicinal properties. Ginger contains natural oil known as gingerol which gives fragrance and flavor to ginger. Ginger is very helpful in treating nausea. Using of ginger in pregnancy to get relief from morning sickness is very common. Many studies have shown that taking 1.5 to 2 grams of ginger for a month can reduce muscle pain and stiffness .If the person has done any strenuous exercise, then the ginger in warm water can relax their muscles. It has also been studied that the ginger oil gives relief in joint pain. The gentle massage of ginger oil on the affected area can give relief from the pain. It is good to drink ginger tea in cold weather. Ginger tea helps to get relief from cold and flu. Ginger is known to be diaphoretic which means it keeps the body warm from within.
Garlic contains Allicin which has bundle of health benefits. The garlic has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral effects. Eating one or two raw cloves of garlic can improve cardiovascular health by reducing cholesterol level and plaque formation. Some studies also suggests that garlic helps to prevent many types of cancer. The compound Allicin has anti- aging factor which promotes collagen formation.
Amla is known as Indian Gooseberry. It is a fruit which has very good amount of Vitamin C. Amla is full of antioxidants and good for reducing stress. Apart from medicinal use Amla is also good for skin and hair. It is highly recommended to people who suffers from digestive problem. It is rich source of iron, so can be helpful to cure anemia. Amla also reduces cough and throat infections as it has vitamin C in it.
It is believed that Ashoka is a tree which removes all our worries and sadness, that’s the reason it is named Ashoka. Ashoka tree contains essential oils which helps in reducing acne. It is also very beneficial in treating gynecological problems like menstrual pain, cysts and menorrhagia(heavy menstrual flow). Ashoka tree contains flavonoids and tannins which has anticancer and antifungal properties.
Tulsi is one of the common plants which can be easily seen in every Indian houses. There are mainly 3 types of Tulsi plants.
- Rama Tulsi (A green color leaves)
- Krishna Tulsi (Dark greenish purple leaves)
- Vana Tulsi (Light colored leaves)
Tulsi plays a very important role in Ayurveda. It helps to cure many respiratory diseases like cold, coughs and viral infection. It is very old practice to give Tulsi water for mild fever. It contains antioxidants which helps to increase the immunity.
Mehndi is also known as Henna. The herb is very common to treat hair related issues. The problem like hair loss, dandruff, greying of hair can be solved with henna. Henna can be used in the form of powder or with other products like shampoo and oil. Applying Mehndi paste on hair is very common as it keeps the mind calm and cool. Henna oil is also very helpful to treat insomnia and sleep disorder.
Are There Any Side Effects Of Herbal Medicines?
There are some herbal medicines which can be dangerous and life threatening if taken in excess amount.
It is a herb which can be taken with tea to enhance the flavor, but sometimes allergy may occur like swelling of the lips, eyes and itching all over the body.
We already knew that consuming garlic is very healthy but too much garlic in your food may cause stomach upset and bad breath.
Arnica is used as a pain killer.It may be considered to be harmful if it is taken in high amount.The symptoms like vomiting, skin rash, and palpitation may occur.
This medicine is known to slow down the aging process. Sometimes consuming the herb reduces the glucose level which can be dangerous for diabetic patients.
5. Licorice Root-
The herb is good to treat cold and stomach ulcers, but one may complain of high blood pressure if taken in excess amount.
Precautions While Using Herbal Medicines
It’s very important to check the benefits and side effects of any medicine before we start consuming them. Be sure to consult your doctor if are already taking any medication. Some herbs can cause some serious problems when mixed with other medicines.
Some Herbs may be good for an adult but can be fatal for an infant or a fetus. Always follow the recommended dosages which your doctor has prescribed you. Don’t try to make any change by yourself. It can be dangerous for you.
Why People Choose Modern Medicines?
When someone is suffering from pain he or she needs instant relief. In those circumstances only modern medication are helpful as they give instant relief. Modern medicines can cure dangerous disease like TB which are mostly affected by virus or bacteria.
Introduce Some Of The Medicinal Plants In Your Daily Routine To Stay Healthy
- Adding turmeric in a hot glass of milk can be helpful to reduce cold and cough.
- Applying crushed garlic with mustard oil for muscle pain is very beneficial.
- Adding curry leaves in any Indian dishes gives aroma as well as taste to the food. Curry Leaves helps to maintain blood pressure and reduces blood sugar level.
- Clove oil is also recommended for toothache.
- Cinnamon powder gives good result if taken with warm water to reduce belly fat.
There are few medicinal plants which can be easily grown at home. They are-
- Lemon Grass
Although all these herbs has many health benefits, but it is important to consult your doctor before you start with any medication.
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