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!
Saw palmetto is a very popular herb with men over 40. It is often used to treat Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) and it’s symptoms, like painful urination and the need to urinate frequently. Another popular use of this herb is to treat male pattern baldness by reducing the body’s levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Too much DHT is believed to be what causes hair loss.
Whenever this seasonal fruit is available in the market, try to include it in your diet as it can be very effective for the pancreas. Else you can make a powder of dried seeds of Jambul fruit and eat this powder with water twice a day. This fruit is native to India and its neighboring countries but you can find it at Asian markets and herbal shops.
One of the best and well known ways to get the benefits of turmeric is to just simply eat it. Maybe not plain but adding it to dishes is a great way. Don't be fooled into thinking that eating turmeric in food is the only way to reap the benefits of this amazing herb. You can use it in teas too, or as a toothpaste you can on occasions dip your tooth brush into some turmeric powder brush it onto your teeth and allow it to sit for about 3 minutes. It won't stain your teeth but the same can't be said for your toothbrush or sink. You can also make a turmeric paste by mixing some of powdered turmeric with a little water and use it topically.
Many people with cancer are interested in trying anything that may help them, including complementary and alternative cancer treatments. If cancer makes you feel as if you have little control over your health, alternative cancer treatments may offer some feeling of control. But many alternative cancer treatments are unproved and some may even be dangerous.
“Over 80 years ago, Nobel Prize-winner Otto Warburg, M.D., Ph.D., proved that a 35% reduction in oxygen caused any cell to either die or turn cancerous. American experiments from 1953 to 1955 confirmed the result.”  This principle is at the center of the work that Dr. Seyfried is doing with the ketogenic diet as it is used for cancer treatment as discussed in the previous section.
Use of unconventional cancer treatments in the United States has been influenced by the U.S. federal government's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), initially known as the Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM), which was established in 1992 as a National Institutes of Health (NIH) adjunct by the U.S. Congress. More specifically, the NIC's Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine sponsors over $105 million a year in grants for pseudoscientific cancer research. Over thirty American medical schools have offered general courses in alternative medicine, including the Georgetown, Columbia, and Harvard university systems, among others.
A distinction is typically made between complementary treatments which do not disrupt conventional medical treatment, and alternative treatments which may replace conventional treatment. Alternative cancer treatments are typically contrasted with experimental cancer treatments – which are treatments for which experimental testing is underway – and with complementary treatments, which are non-invasive practices used alongside other treatment. All approved chemotherapeutic cancer treatments were considered experimental cancer treatments before their safety and efficacy testing was completed.
Burdock was used by the ancient Greeks to treat wounds and infections. This herb is loaded with beneficial vitamins and minerals and is often used to treat liver and digestive problems, urinary tract infections, ulcers, eczema, psoriasis and to boost energy and stamina. It has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties and makes a good immune system booster and blood purifier.
Native Americans used black cherry as a medicinal herb to treat coughs. The bark from the black cherry tree was often made into a tea or syrup and used to expel worms, heal ulcers and treat burns. They also used it as a remedy for sore throat, pneumonia and lack of appetite. Black Cherry bark contains a glycoside called prunasin. This substance quells spasms in the smooth muscles of the bronchioles, thus reducing the cough reflex.
A dry, hacking, cough is another story. This is one we do want to stop. It can be caused by allergies, dry air, a random tickle at the back of your throat that won’t go away, the aftermath of a cold, being in a dusty environment, etc. etc. For these we turn to demulcents, ingredients that soothe irritated mucous membranes and remove the irritant triggering the cough. Studies conducted in 2004 found that the main ingredients in cough syrup (dextromethorphan and diphenhydramine) have the same effectiveness in treating coughs as a placebo ingredient. Instead of turning to chemical solutions for every minor ailment, try some home remedies instead. They are not only better for you, but they taste a whole lot better than most cough syrup too!
Ginger is a very popular herb used in cooking, its native to Asia and has been used for over 4,400 years. During ancient times it was used by Indian, Chinese, and Arab medicines. It was so highly prized during the Middle Ages that they thought it actually came from the Garden of Eden. Today you can find ginger being used to treat problems associated with motion sickness. Teas are also made from the root to cure a number of ailments. The Greeks and Romans are probably the first to introduce ginger to Europe at least 2,000 years ago. This probably happened due to trading through the Arabian Peninsula.
Even with all these remedies, your body will struggle to recover from that annoying cough without proper rest. Once the worst symptoms of a cold or flu have worn off, many people get straight back to their busy lifestyle, which is why coughs can linger for so long for many people! Take things easy for a week or two and make sure to get your 8 hours sleep every night.
You don’t usually think of pineapple as a cough remedy, but that’s probably because you’ve never heard of bromelain. There’s evidence to suggest that bromelain — an enzyme found only in the stem and fruit of pineapples — can help suppress coughs as well as loosen the mucus in your throat. To enjoy the most benefits of pineapple and bromelain, eat a slice of pineapple or drink 3.5 ounces of fresh pineapple juice three times a day.
** Information on the traditional uses and properties of herbs are provided on this site is for educational use only, and is not intended as medical advice. Every attempt has been made for accuracy, but none is guaranteed. Many traditional uses and properties of herbs have not been validated by the FDA. If you have any serious health concerns, you should always check with your health care practitioner before self-administering herbs. **
^ Vuksan, V; Jenkins, DJ; Spadafora, P; Sievenpiper, JL; Owen, R; Vidgen, E; Brighenti, F; Josse, R; et al. (1999). "Konjac-mannan (glucomannan) improves glycemia and other associated risk factors for coronary heart disease in type 2 diabetes. A randomized controlled metabolic trial". Diabetes Care. 22 (6): 913–9. doi:10.2337/diacare.22.6.913. PMID 10372241.
Bee Balm was often used by the Native Americans to treat intestinal problems, colic and flatulence. Tea made from this plant was used to induce sweating and break fevers. Bee balm is often used to treat the common cold and sore throat as well. The leaves of this plant are a good source of essential oil that contains thymol. Thymol is an antibiotic and often used as an ingredient in mouthwash.