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.
Fo-Ti is a famous longevity herb that has been in constant use in China for thousands of years. It is very popular with older men and is said to be able to turn one’s hair back to it’s youthful color and appearance. This herb is also used to strengthen the lower back and knees. It can be used to strengthen the bones, tendons and muscles as well as to nourish blood.
Iscador, also known as Mistletoe therapy (or Viscum album, Viscum album Loranthaceae, and European Mistletoe), is a proprietary formulation manufactured by Swiss medical company, Weleda. The use of mistletoe was pioneered by Rudolf Steiner, and was popularized in Europe, specifically Switzerland and Germany. Today, up to 60% of cancer patients in these European nations receive Iscador injections as part of their cancer treatment. The specialized therapy utilizes a purified mistletoe extract to kill cancer cells and simultaneously stimulate the immune system. One article from the Stram Center for Integrative Medicine notes:
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.
Even though it's more of a spice than an herb I couldn't help but include turmeric in the list of herbs. Turmeric has a long standing tradition in Hinduism and is associated with purity and cleansing. Still today Hindu brides will take part in a ceremony where they will cover their faces in a turmeric paste before taking their vows. Marco Polo once described turmeric as being a vegetable with qualities resembling that of saffron. It wasn't until about the mid 20th century when people from the west started to recognize turmeric for its medicinal benefits. Curcumin is the main ingredient found in turmeric that gives it these benefits, the concentration of curcumin in turmeric is around 3% this is why it is more beneficial to take an extract of turmeric.
Eating a clove or two of fresh garlic a day may indeed keep the doctor away, in part because it has immune-boosting, antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal effects. Many of garlic's therapeutic effects are derived from its sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin, which are also what give it its characteristic smell. In general, garlic's benefits fall into four main categories: