Herbalism

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Herbal Healing Properties

Interest in herbalism has increased significantly in recent years, with a growing concern over the overuse of conventional drugs and a trend towards alternative and natural forms of treating illness, injury, and disease. Drawing on the fact that herbal remedies have been used successfully for millennia, dating back to ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, and China, the health benefits of herbs are well documented.

Healing properties of various herbs (which originate from roots, leaves, barks, seeds, berries, fruits, and flowers) include:

  • Antibacterial properties
  • Antiviral properties
  • High in B-vitamins
  • High in trace minerals
  • Contain disease-fighting antioxidants
  • Contain essential oils
  • Provide vitamins, mineral, and enzymes that support human health
  • Help boost the body’s immunity system

Herbal Remedy Benefits

Every herb has a distinctive flavor, energetic quality, and healing property with a corresponding healing effect on the body. For instance, marshmallow root with its cooling properties is used to treat high fever, rapid pulse, and excess heat in the body; cinnamon bark and dried ginger are known for their warming and stimulating properties.

Additional health benefits of specific herbs and spices include:

  • Cinnamon: High in antioxidants; reduces inflammation; lowers/regulates blood sugar and blood triglyceride levels; alleviates nausea; increases sensitivity to insulin; provides calcium, iron, and magnesium
  • Garlic: Aids in reducing blood pressure and cholesterol; improves cardiovascular health; being studied for its anti-cancer properties
  • Basil: Anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties; helps with digestive disorders and prevention of osteoarthritis; being studied for its anti-cancer properties
  • Arrowroot: Highly digestible; known for its soothing effects; used to treat digestive disorders and conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Dill: (Weed/Seed) Known for its antibacterial and stomach-settling properties (making it popular among pregnant women who crave pickles)
  • Cayenne: Increases circulation, reduces risk of heart disease, improves absorption of other nutrients
  • Mint: Alleviates nausea; calms digestive troubles; contains essential oils; can be used to repel mosquitoes

How Herbs Are Dispensed

Herbs can be dispensed in numerous ways, including:

  • Pills
  • Powders
  • Lotions
  • Oils
  • Teas
  • Salves/Ointments
  • Syrups
  • Infusions
  • Aromatics
  • Juices
  • Tinctures or extracts
  • Whole (dried or fresh)

How to Find a Licensed Herbalist

To find a licensed herbalist or naturopath in your area and for advice on the best herbal remedies and natural treatments for your body, contact the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians or the American Herbalists Guild.