Health benefits of plants were strategically used by our ancestors to cure common ailments and sometimes, even fatal diseases. According to the World Health Organization, uses of medicinal plants are still admired by 80% population of the world as their main healthcare tool. If you want to use organic remedies for healthcare, there are plenty of resources available at your disposal.
Following are brief descriptions and uses of medicinal plants that have been most commonly used from ancient times.
Ginger, known as Adrak in India, has several health benefits. Perhaps that’s why it is used in various recipes. It has more than 40 technologically proven pharmacological properties. Antinausea, antiviral, antibacterial, anti-parasitic and anti-indigestion properties are just some of its health benefits that make it such a popular ingredient. Its anti-inflammatory effect makes it an important pain reliever for menstrual pains, joint and muscle pain, migraine headaches and more. Apart from being a well known natural remedy for motion sickness, ginger also helps fight diabetes, cancer, asthma and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, among others. Its protein-digesting enzymes help to stimulate the clearing of stomach.
Garlic, known as Lahsun, is a strong medicinal plant or, to be precise, a functional food that has been used from ancient times to treat various diseases. Most of the therapeutic effects of garlic are derived from allicin, a sulfur-containing compound
- Reducing inflammation (as it decreases the chance of osteoarthritis and other inflammatory diseases)
- Enhancing immune function (thanks to its antifungal, anti-parasitic and antiviral properties)
- Improving cardiovascular circulation (safeguards against clotting, improves plasma lipid metabolism and decreases high blood pressure)
- Harmful to a minimum of 14 types of cancer cells (including those that affect the lung, the brain and the pancreas)
Peppermint, Known as Pudina in India, is a cross between spearmint and water mint. Usage of peppermint across the globe is increasing due to its various health benefits. It is beneficial for a range of respiratory problems such as colds, allergies, asthma and tuberculosis. Peppermint oil is used as a useful alternative to medicines for decreasing colonic spasms. It helps in lowering abdominal pain and reducing gas by relaxing the intestinal muscles. Patients with cough and congestion can benefit from the use of peppermint oil as it functions as a decongestant and expectorant. Peppermint essential oil is widely used as a reliever from tension headache and nasal congestions. It is also used for dental care, chest and muscle rubs and aromatherapy. Peppermint aroma is used for stress relief and memory improvement.
Lavender is a chemically composite structure with more than 150 active components. It has been used in aromatherapy for reducing anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, depression, stress and dental anxiety. It also helps fight nail infections and encourages antifungal-resistant skin. Following are some of the important health benefits of lavender oil:
- Treatment of skin related problems: Lavender oil is used to manage skin disorders like psoriasis, acne, wrinkles and eczema. It is also beneficial for itchy skin, insect bites and helps in the formation of scar tissues.
- Relieving pain: It offers relief from painful muscles, sprains, rheumatism and joint pain, lumbago and backache.
- Relieving respiratory problems: Lavender oil is used in various respiratory disorders like cough, cold and flu, throat infections, asthma, bronchitis etc.
- Digestion improvement: It helps to stimulate intestine mobility and triggers the production of gastric juices and bile, which help fight indigestion, stomach pain, diarrhea and vomiting etc.
Thyme, known as Ajavayan in India, is an aromatic herb that contains a high amount of antioxidants and health-improving flavonoids including naringenin, apigenin, thymonin and luteolin. It is also a dense nutrient that contains vitamin A and C, copper, manganese and dietary fibers. Some of the important health benefits of thyme are:
- Home remedy: Thyme oil is used to treat and alleviate problems like arthritis, gout, bites, menopausal and menstrual problems and athlete’s foot.
- Hair and skin product: It is beneficial for scalp, acne and aged skin.
- Aromatherapy oil: It is recommended for mind stimulation and strengthening of concentration and memory.
Chamomile is widely used in the form of tea to alleviate upset stomach and induce sleep. It has as anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic and antibacterial properties. It is used for decreasing skin swelling, eczema, psoriasis, diaper rash and chickenpox. Chamomile is also beneficial for easing back pain and menstrual cramps.
Dandelion, known as Sinhaparni or Kukaraundha in India, is a flowering plant that has been used for improvement of liver function and detoxification from the ancient ages. Dandelion greens contain vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, riboflavin and iron. It is used in the treatment of gallbladder problems, infections, swelling and water retention.
Coriander, known as Dhaniya in India, is considered to be one of the most matured herbs that have been used for ages to trigger appetite and improve digestion. These days, coriander plant is widely used as a herbal remedy and a much-sought after spice across the world. The anti-inflammatory properties of coriander help protect the nervous system from Alzheimer’s disease. The compounds of coriander plant help the pancreas to release insulin, thus controlling the blood sugar level. It is beneficial in relieving diarrhea and stomach aches too. Coriander leaves are used for treating fungal infection and eczema.
Burdock is a biennial plant that has been used as a vegetable for salads, soups and as herbal treatment from ancient times. It is considered to be a substantial detoxifier as it supports liver and kidney functions, thus helping the body eliminate harmful components. It is used in the treatment of various skin hazards like psoriasis, eczema and acne.
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Basil, known as Tulsi in India, has a pungent smell and a distinctive taste. Basil leaf has been used in Indian Ayurveda for treatment of problems related to teeth, eye, kidney, heart and skin. Thanks to its antioxidant and antiviral properties, it is beneficial for bowel problems, flu and cold. Drinking basil tea can help you fight stress as well.
Now that you know the health benefits of these medicinal plants and herbs, make them a part of your diet to enjoy overall well-being.