A functional or medicinal herb is any herb that will have a direct impact on how you feel, by targeting a specific function, from your sleep cycle to your immune system. Those with particularly potent powers are dubbed ‘superherbs,’ and they pack a punch! The following 5 medicinal herbs will impact your body and your mind in incredible ways.
Just like superfoods, superherbs are more evasive and not something you can easily find at any ol’ grocery store. They often aren’t readily available fresh, and are instead offered in powder, extract, or supplemental form. If you’re planning your spring garden, some of these are easily grown, too!
Superherbs: 5 Essential Medicinal Herbs
Echinacea is a group of flowers in the daisy family. They are found only in eastern and central North America. Echinacea targets the immune system and may help you to get rid of a cold. Native Americans used echinacea for numerous health woes. It has also been used to treat scarlet fever, syphilis, malaria, blood poisoning, and diphtheria. Today, it is used to shorten the duration of the common cold and flu and may help to reduce symptoms like a cough, sore throat, and fever.
Valerian root is a perennial flowering plant that has sedative and anxiolytic properties. It acts as a natural sleeping remedy and much more natural than popping (addictive) sleeping pills. Studies show that valerian root can reduce the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep and also improve the quality of sleep thereafter. If you’ve expended all of your options and have tried everything but medication to fight insomnia or simply sleep better, consider valerian root.
Turmeric is a perennial plant in the same family as ginger and is native to southwest India. It is widely known as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, which is the root cause of many diseases. It has been used to treat respiratory conditions, liver disorders, anorexia, rheumatism, diabetic wounds, runny nose, cough, and sinusitis. It is also used to treat sprains and swelling, digestive disorders, and weak circulation.
4. Gingko Biloba
Feeling slow and low? Gingko biloba may be the remedy you need. It is the only living species in the division Ginkgophyta, in which all other members are now extinct (ginkgo biloba is actually considered a “living fossil” for having survived several extinction periods). This product of the gingko tree is said to boost your energy levels by increasing the production of ATP (Adenosine triphosphate) at the cellular level. In doing so it improves thinking, memory, and behavior. It also reduces anxiety and improves sexual energy.
5. Milk Thistle
Native to the Mediterranean region, milk thistle is part of the same flower family as sunflowers and daisies. It has been used for 2,000 years to treat liver, kidney, and gall bladder problems. It protects the liver from toxins and helps the liver to repair itself by growing new cells. These reasons make milk thistle great for treating a hangover or an essential tool in weaning off of antibiotics or other medications. Some studies suggest milk thistle is effective in stopping cancer cells from dividing and reproducing as well as in shortening the lifespan of cancer cells and reducing the blood supply to tumors.
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