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Peppermint is a very well known herb today because of the amazing aroma it has when the leaves are bruised. It's used in so many different ways both culinary and medicinal it's hard to not include peppermint in our list of herbs. Peppermint originally came from England some time in the late seventeenth century and is actually a hybrid that comes from the water mint and spearmint. Peppermint was also extensively used in Ancient Egypt where they used it for indigestion, dried peppermint leaves have even been found inside of the pyramids that the Egyptians had built. During the eighteenth century peppermint became popular in Western Europe for treating things like nausea, morning sickness, and respiratory infections.
The ketogenic diet requires a major lifestyle adjustment and the willingness to live through carbohydrate withdrawal. Most Americans are physically and emotionally addicted to sugar and to other carbohydrates that are converted into sugar. Thus, when a person begins using this diet, there will usually be a period of withdrawal, which is similar in experience to drug withdrawal. The symptoms pass rapidly after a few days, and a heightened sense of peace and mental clarity will soon be experienced as the body moves into nutritional ketosis.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best herbs that lower blood sugar, along with a few spices thrown in, to give you a more comprehensive list. Please note that while we normally do not use animal studies to support any dietary supplement, several herbs like garlic and ginger are considered ‘food’ and so, are used traditionally by cultures across the world in their daily diet for their additional medical benefits. So human lab research studies on these are not always available. You can check all available studies under ‘References’ at the end of the article.
Collectively, these early experiments demonstrated that factors specific to the environment of the cell were required to attenuate, or to facilitate, the transforming activity of this potent oncogene. Recent work in transgenic models and specialized cell culture systems has begun to define the specific microenvironmental determinants that have the power to normalize overtly malignant cells.
Lycium fruit has been consumed for centuries in China for its sweet taste and health giving properties. The berries from the Lycium plant are one of the most nutritious foods on earth. Besides supplying many vitamins and minerals to the body, these berries are often eaten for their high antioxidant value. Eating Lycium berries every day is believed to keep a person healthy well into old age.
Angelica has traditionally been used for menopausal troubles, flatulence, appetite loss, digestive problems, respiratory ailments and arthritis. Like it’s Chinese counterpart Angelica sinensis (dong quai), this herb is used by many women for the reproductive system. It is believed to be a hormonal regulator and uterine tonic. Angelica tea is often used to treat PMS as well.
Stinging nettles are an interesting herb that we have growing rampant here in Nebraska. Stinging nettles are probably best known for... you guessed it their sting. The nettle plant has sharp spines that are revealed upon contact and once they penetrate the skin of the victim they release a concoction of chemicals into the body. This is where you get that burning/itchy feeling from, the nettle plant releases a mix of histamine, acetylcholine, serotonin, and formic acid. Surprisingly the treatment for this burning sensation can be found via the plant itself; the juice from the nettle's leaves can be applied to the affected area. Aside from the painful sting of the nettle plant it is actually a very beneficial herb and undoubtedly deserves to be in our list of herbs here.
Called ALA for short, this vitamin-like substance neutralizes many types of free radicals. A build-up of free radicals, caused in part by high blood sugar, can lead to nerve damage and other problems. ALA may also help muscle cells take up blood sugar. In a German study, a team of scientists had 40 adults take either an ALA supplement or a placebo. At the end of the four-week study, the ALA group had improved their insulin sensitivity 27 percent. The placebo group showed no improvement. Other studies have shown a decrease in nerve pain, numbness, and burning.
American ginseng is an adaptogen. An adaptogen is a substance which is good for the body in general and protects against stress of all types. This type of ginseng has been used to strengthen the immune system, increase strength and stamina, treat digestive disorders, treat diabetes, treat ADHD and as a general tonic for wellness. Many people believe that the best American ginseng comes from the state of Wisconsin in the U.S. American ginseng is considered a cooling ginseng, where Korean ginseng has a more warming effect on the body.
The most common uses for Aloe would have to be for treating burns, wounds and skin conditions. This along with the ease of growing an Aloe plant make it an excellent choice to have in your herbal first aid kit. The real magic of the Aloe Vera plant comes from the gel inside the leaves, to extract this all you need to do is take a knife and take off the thick skin on the outside of the leaf. The part you're after is the clear inner gel, sometimes referred to as the inner fillet, because you're sort of filleting the leaf. When used on minor burns you should run the affected area under cool water for about ten minutes before applying the Aloe gel. Continue to apply the gel several times per day for both burns and skin conditions. If you're using the Aloe gel for lowering blood sugar levels take about one tablespoon daily (be sure to use an aloe gel that's free of aloin if taking orally).
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Chemical compounds in plants mediate their effects on the human body through processes identical to those already well understood for the chemical compounds in conventional drugs; thus herbal medicines do not differ greatly from conventional drugs in terms of how they work. This enables herbal medicines to be as effective as conventional medicines, but also gives them the same potential to cause harmful side effects.
Modern medicine now tends to use the active ingredients of plants rather than the whole plants. The phytochemicals may be synthesized, compounded or otherwise transformed to make pharmaceuticals. Examples of such derivatives include digoxin, from digitalis; capsaicine, from chili; and aspirin, which is chemically related to the salicylic acid found in white willow. The opium poppy continues to be a major industrial source of opiates, including morphine. Few traditional remedies, however, have translated into modern drugs, although there is continuing research into the efficacy and possible adaptation of traditional herbal treatments.