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Interesting facts about Herbs

September 16th, 2009

Many people think of herbs as medicine used only by alternative practitioners who do not use conventional medical practices. But, in fact, herbal medicine is a precursor of modern pharmacology. About one-fourth of all prescription medicines come from herbs and other plants. And many physicians and researchers are taking a new look at traditional herbal remedies.

Many people assume that because herbal remedies are made from natural ingredients they are safer than synthetic drugs. In reality, some herbal medicines – just like their pharmaceutical counterparts – can have adverse effects. Some are even highly toxic.

Medicinal herbs do play a role in our daily usage, and a lot of interest is being evinced of late for exploring the benefits of these medicinal herbs.

Some of the medicinal herbs which we often hear and also frequently use include the following:

Aloe vera

A soothing gel extracted from the leaves of Aloe Vera is found to be an effective means to treat diseases such as burns, stings, insect bites or cuts by applying the gel on the external surface. While some herbalists recommend the consumption of aloe vera juice internally as a tonic for treating inflammatory digestive disorders, little research has been done to prove the validity of internal consumption of aloe vera.

Bilberry

Bilberry extract is the leading herbal remedy for maintaining healthy vision and treating various eye disorders, including macular degeneration, as well as treating night blindness and poor vision from daytime glare. One of the major components of Bilberry, anthocyanin, a powerful antioxidant, is responsible for the curative properties of Bilberry.

Echinacea

Some preparations made from the purple coneflower can increase immune function and help reduce the severity of viral infections such as the common cold.

Other notable herbals

The list of medicinal herbs is on the rise and new research is continuing in this vast field of herbal treatment. Other notable medicinal herbs include Gingko biloba, Ginseng, Hawthorn, Licorice, Milk thiste, Nettle and St. John’s wort

Points worth considering before trying herbal medicines

One should bear in mind that herbal medicines are not subject to the same rigorous testing and standards that are required for pharmaceutical products. A wide variety of herbal supplements are available in the market place that are capable of preventing and treating many diseases, including heart disease, cancer, arthritis, low immunity, depression, common colds, and menopausal concerns. Before deciding to try out herbal medicines, one should take in to account the following points.
Herbs are sold in five common ways in the market place. They are – a) teas, b) tinctures, c) capsules, d) Tablets, and e) other standardized forms of herbs.

One is advised to start with the lowest recommended dosage to try and test whether the herbal treatment is suitable to your body and does not have any adverse reactions. Herbal medicines coming in the form of teas and tinctures should always be taken on an empty stomach for better absorption, and capsules as well as tablets should be taken along with the meals. If you find any inconvenience on taking herbal medicine for the first time and not confident, it is advisable to seek the advice of the doctor immediately.

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