What is herbal medicine?
Herbal medicine, also known as herbalism or botanical medicine, is a medical system based on the use of plants or plant extracts. They may be eaten or applied to the skin. Since ancient times, herbal medicine has been used by many different cultures throughout the world to treat illness and to assist bodily functions.
What conditions are herbal medicine used for?
Herbal medicine has been used to treat or alleviate virtually every possible medical condition. Below are some of the most popular herbal remedies and conditions for which they are used include:
Astragalus: One of the key uses for astragalus, in alternative medicine, is to improve immune function. Although evidence is needed, one of the ways astragalus is said to work is by increasing the production of immune cells. It may also have mild antiviral activity and help with the prevention of colds. There's little evidence from human studies, however, on the effectiveness of astragalus as an antiviral.
Ginkgo biloba: an antioxidant-rich herb used to enhance brain health and treat a variety of conditions. Although dietary supplements typically contain extracts of the plant's leaves, its seeds are commonly used for healing purposes in traditional Chinese medicine. Proponents suggest that ginkgobiloba can protect against aging-related issues such as dementia by improving blood flow to the brain.
Cinnamon: has been used for centuries in traditional medicine. In traditional Chinese medicine, Cassia cinnamon is used for colds, flatulence, nausea, diarrhea, and painful menstrual periods. It is also believed to improve energy, vitality, and circulation, particularly in people with cold feet.
In Ayurvedic medicine, cinnamon is used as a remedy for diabetes, indigestion, and colds, and can help balance a person's kapha (physical and emotional energies). It is also a common ingredient in chai tea and cinnamon tea, both of which are believed to improve digestion.
Ginger: For thousands of years, herbalists have used the root of the ginger plant to relieve stomach problems. With its natural anti-inflammatory effects, ginger is also commonly used to treat arthritis, high cholesterol, menstrual cramps, and other health conditions.
Ginseng: has traditionally been used for a number of medical conditions. However, its benefits for most of them haven't been seriously researched. There are two main types of ginseng: Asian or Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng) and American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius). Studies have found that the different types have different benefits. In traditional Chinese medicine, American ginseng is considered less stimulating than the Asian variety. Some studies have found that ginseng may boost the immune system. There is some evidence that one particular type of American ginseng extract might decrease the number and severity of colds in adults.