Herbs have powerful medicinal properties as well as vast culinary uses. Seasoning your foods with garlic, parsley and oregano might seem like second nature but did you realize that by using these herbs you could be helping your health?
Although herbs are probably much safer than most pills you buy at the pharmacy, they can have side effects and need to be taken cautiously especially in conjunction with other medicines. Some herbs can cause reactions with medicines or render them useless. Therefore, you should consult a health care professional before undertaking any herbal treatment.
That being said, herbs, when taken carefully can often help relieve symptoms without the harsh effects that drugs have on your body. Some of our favorite herbs, that have great healing effects and taste good too are listed below.
Garlic is a potent herb that has anti fungal and anti bacterial properties. It can be used to treat cuts and infections. It also has great antioxidant properties and is believed to help lower cholesterol as well as help with high blood pressure, cancer and diabetes. Garlic can be used to flavor most any meal but is most pleasurable in Italian dishes. To get the the most benefits from garlic, however it should be eaten raw - crush some garlic cloves and let them sit for 10 minutes before you eat them. If taken in excess, garlic may cause bloating, skin irritation, post operative bleeding, upset stomach, occupational asthma and body odor. If you have a bleeding disorder it is best to stay away from eating garlic.
Green Tea Extract
Green tea is well known to be a powerful antioxidant and health booster. It can reduce cholesterol as well as help prevent vascular clotting and is said to aid in the prevention of both heart disease and cancer. It also has antimicrobial properties which protect the digestive and respiratory systems as well as help to boost your immune system. It is said you should drink 3 to 5 cups a day and you can also take green tea in pill form. Too much green tea can cause dizziness, heart palpitations, headaches, irritability, loss of appetite, insomnia, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Horse chestunut is another herb that is full of antioxidants and helps support our circulatory system. It helps to stregthen the capillary cells and can help treat varicosity, phlebitis and hemorrhoids. It is also said to be excellent for wrinkle prevention.
Milk Thistle can help protect your liver as well as being used as a remedy for asthma, anthrax, bladder stones, dropsy, fever, piles, spasms, hepatitis and spleen and uterine problems. When takin in excess it can cause headache, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach upset, rash, headache, joint pain and impotence. Do not eat milk thistle if you are pregnant or nursing.
Oregano oil has anti-microbial and anti-oxidant properties and can be used to treat anything from an earache to athletes foot. It can be soothing to the digestive system and can help relieve gas and bloating as well as urinary problems, swollen glands, rheumatoid arthritis, bronchitis and insect bites. Oregano oil is also a powerful pain killer - some say as powerful as morphine.
Did you think parsley was just a garnish? Not so, this herb is a natural diuretic and packed full of nutrition. It is loaded with Vitamins C, A and B as well as iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorous. In addition to boosting the immune system it is helpful for healing problems with the urinary system and kidneys and can be a great help in relieving water retention. One way to get lost of parsley in it's best form (raw) is to cut a bunch up and mix it in with your salads.
While you can't grow it in your garden, Super kelp is an herb from the sea that is full of natural iodine and also has other helpful trace elements. Sometimes known as Sea Kelp or Sea Wrack, it is often a main ingredient in cures for obesity. It can also help cleanse your kidneys and stimulate your pituitary gland and thyroid to produce growth hormones.
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