The ability to synthesize a wide variety of chemical compounds that are used to perform important biological functions, and to defend against attack from predators such as insects, fungi and herbivorous mammals is called herbal medicine. Many of these phytochemicals have beneficial effects on long-term health when consumed by humans, and can be used to effectively treat human diseases. At least 12,000 such compounds have been isolated so far; a number estimated to be less than 10% of the total.
Alternatively, make a steam bowl. To do this, fill a large bowl with hot water. Add herbs or essential oils, such as eucalyptus or rosemary, which may also relieve decongestion. Lean over the bowl and place a towel over the head. This traps the steam. Inhale the vapors for 5 minutes. If the steam feels hot on the skin, discontinue until the skin cools down.
CAUTION: Pregnant and nursing women should not eat alfalfa seeds due to their content of stachydrine and homostachydrine (may promote menstruation or cause miscarriage). People in general should never eat alfalfa seeds. They contain high levels of the toxic amino acid canavanine. Alfalfa is high in vitamin K and may work as an anti-coagulant so it shouldn’t be taken by people taking blood thinning medication.
Many therapies have been (and continue to be) promoted to treat or prevent cancer in humans but lack good scientific and medical evidence of effectiveness. In many cases, there is good scientific evidence that the alleged treatments do not work. Unlike accepted cancer treatments, unproven and disproven treatments are generally ignored or avoided by the medical community, and are pseudoscientific.
Yet another culinary herb makes our list of medicinal herbs. Oregano is way up on my list for sure as far as culinary herbs go I love this stuff. Oregano is actually part of the mint family and originated in warm climates in Eurasia and the Mediterranean. First used by the Greeks in ancient times they believed that oregano was created by the Goddess Aphrodite, oregano comes stems from two Greek words the first oros, which means "mountains" and the second ganos, meaning "joy" put it together and you get "joy of the mountains". It wasn't until the middle ages that oregano really took off as a medicinal herb where people would use the herb to treat toothaches, rheumatism, indigestion and coughing.
The simplest way to make natural cough syrup is to boil your herb (or herbs) of choice in water. The resulting liquid is now an herbal tea which can be strained and taken on its own. If you want to make a syrup, however, you'll need to let the strained tea cool just a bit and then add honey to the mixture. The amount of honey you add will vary depending on the amount of tea you have, but the resulting mixture should be thick enough to coat the throat.
There are 100 medicinal herbs in the National Library of Medicine Herb Garden. Some are more commonly known herbs and they can be used to improve many aspects of your life. As always, do not begin any course of treatment, herbal or otherwise, without first consulting your doctor or other healthcare provider. Make sure you discuss with your health practitioner any medications you take, as herbs can have harmful interactions with others drugs!
Another well know spice in the kitchen cinnamon is also known for it's medicinal properties. While not really an herb I still think it's important to list it in our list of herbs and their uses. Cinnamon actually comes from the inner bark of a tree in the laurel family. It's been used for centuries and was a hot commodity for trade in ancient times. In fact during the first century A.D. in Rome cinnamon was 15 times more expensive than silver. The Chinese were probably the first to use cinnamon as a medicinal herb and used it to treat fevers, and diarrhea. In more modern times cinnamon has been found to stabilize blood sugar levels in diabetics, as it has an insulin kind of effect.
Lavender is probably best noted for its fragrance and is a great herb to use for a stressful day. The lavender is commonly used in soaps, detergents, or just as an essential oil due to the calming effects it produces from the fragrance. Lavender is also commonly used in teas for the same reason. The history of lavender is quite long stretching back about 2500 years to the Mediterranean. Today it is mostly grown for its uses as an essential oil. In addition to brewing tea with lavender it also ha many other culinary types of uses, lavender can add a floral type of taste with a little sweetness. It works great in some seafood, soups, salads, and baked goods.
However, patients who use alternative treatments have a poorer survival time, even after controlling for type and stage of disease. In 2017, researchers at Yale School of Medicine published a paper which suggested that people who choose alternative medicine over conventional cancer treatments were more than twice as likely to die within five years of diagnosis. And specifically, in those with breast cancer, people choosing alternative medicine were 5.68 times more likely to die within five years.