“Most people enjoy the relaxing effect of a cup of herbal tea, but the same infusion can perform double duty as a surface-cleaning spray,” says Karyn Maier, the author of The Naturally Clean Home: 150 Super-Easy Herbal Formulas for Green Cleaning.
There is so much more to herbs than meets the eye. Their usage ranges from adding rich flavors to food and making distinct fragrances to medicinal use! For centuries, herbal medicines were the only medicines available. Today, millions of dollars have been invested in researching promising medicinal herbs.
Medicine is going green, again
History always repeats itself. Again, people have turned to more natural forms of treatment. Plants are being used to treat a number of health conditions such as allergies, arthritis, migraines, fatigue, skin infections, wounds, burns, gastrointestinal issues and even cancer.
This goes to prove that your food is actually the best cure possible for many health issues. Besides providing us with necessary calories, food plays a critical role in keeping our health in check (we are what we eat!). For example, tiny little seeds, also known as superseeds, come packed with essential nutrients like protein, fiber, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Diverse uses of herbs – from bathroom shelves to kitchen cabinets
No wonder herbs are taking the leading role in the beauty industry. Recently, our favorite superfoods like quinoa, spirulina and chia seeds have been making their way in the world of skincare. Superfood serums, creams, masks and even nail polishes are becoming increasingly popular among today’s beauty trends. So, besides making us beautiful from the outside, our little friends are more than responsible for our well-being on the inside. Whether in the form of teas, spices or just regular food, herbs have many health benefits and the best part is, you probably have them in your home.
Here are some herbs you might have lying around your kitchen:
- Cinnamon – has the highest antioxidant value of any spice. It has been shown to reduce inflammation, lower blood sugar and blood triglyceride levels.
- Basil – has anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties and can also help prevent osteoarthritis.
- Garlic – you probably have it in some form or another. Fresh garlic is always best, but you can use it in other forms as well. According to National Cancer Institute, sufficient intake of garlic can reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.
- Mint – it is used to calm digestive troubles and alleviate nausea. Many people use it in the form of tea made from peppermint or spearmint leaves. Herbs like lemon balm, oregano and marjoram technically belong to the mint family as well.
- Rosemary – it has a high concentration of the antioxidant carnosol, which is effective in cancer treatment. When boiled in water, it can be used as an antiseptic.
Besides having all of these great medicinal purposes, these magical herbs can improve the taste of your food immensely when added as spices.
Proper nutrition is all about herbs
There are also tons of herbs used as nutritional supplements. Herbal nutrition supplements use plant ingredients to provide optimal medicinal benefits and support a healthy diet that contains vitamins, minerals and herbal properties. Popular herbal ingredients include:
- Curcumin – has anti-inflammatory effects, which may be protective against some forms of cancer.
- Turmeric – the main spice in curry, is considered to be the most powerful herb on the planet in fighting and potentially reversing a lot of diseases.
- Echinacea – is known as an alternative way to prevent the common cold.
- Olive leaf – contains antioxidants, antihypertensive, antiatherogenic, anti-inflammatory, hypocholesterolemic and hypoglycemic properties.
- Valerian – is used as a traditional herbal medicine in order to treat mild symptoms of stress and to aid sleep.
- Aloe vera – is widely known to relieve sunburn and help heal wounds, as well as lower blood sugar and potentially fight cancer.
- Ginkgo biloba – contains high levels of antioxidants that provide protection against oxidative cell damage from harmful free radicals.
There are many types of supplements that can be found on the market, but you should always go with the most natural ones. For example, you can try natural Biocare products, which contain many of the already mentioned herbal ingredients such as aloe vera, ginkgo biloba and garlic. They are presented in their most bio-available forms, which makes them ideal for sensitivity, food allergies and intolerances. And gratefully, they are suitable for vegetarians and vegans!
The most important thing natural herbal care requires is self-learning. In order to accurately incorporate herbs into your life, you need to learn which ones suit you the best. Which herbs are your favorite?
Author bio: Sophia Smith is an Australian health, beauty and eco-lifestyle blogger. She is very passionate about natural beauty products, organic food, yoga and mindful living. Sophia writes mostly in beauty and lifestyle related topics, mainly through blogs and articles. She has contributed to a number of publications including Eco Warrior Princess, How to Simplify, Urban Naturale, Art of Healthy Living and Everyday Power Blog. Find her on Twitter and Google+