Home > About Herbs > Health Benefits of Herbs

Health Benefits of Herbs

By: Kate Bradbury - Updated: 1 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Herbs Health Antioxidants Chemical

Medical research is only just discovering the immense power of herbs. They have been used to provide remedies for ailments for thousands of years and their health properties are written about in journals dating back to 3000 BC.

As well as providing specific remedies for certain complaints they also contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants like all fruit and vegetables. These are known to prolong health and prevent ageing and diseases such as heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s.

Importance of Antioxidants in Food
Eating food containing plenty of antioxidants helps neutralise damaging free radicals in our bodies. Free radicals are hazardous molecules that can destroy cells in our bodies. This damage causes premature ageing and leads to the onset of diseases such as heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s. Free radicals are found in pollutants such as car exhausts and smoke, but they are also produced when the body converts food into energy. Eating food with plenty of antioxidants reduces the potential of free radicals to damage our cells and keeps us healthier and younger looking.

The most common antioxidants are found in vitamins, for example vitamins C and E. Most antioxidants found in herbs, however occur as phenols, polyphenols and flavonoids. These are large families of antioxidant compounds. The genetic differences between the herbs and the number and ratio of different phenols, polyphenols and flavonoids gives certain herbs special powers for treating certain ailments. For example Ginkgo has a chemical makeup that works on blood vessels in the brain. Echinacea has different chemical structures; these improve the function of disease-fighting immune cells.

Specific Health Properties of Herbs
The following herbs are known to improve our health in the following ways:
  • Echinacea – it boosts the immune system and can offer resistance to colds and influenza.
  • Garlic – it thins the blood and lowers cholesterol. It can also help you resist disease.
  • Ginkgo – it preserves the function of the brain and slows down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • St. John's Wort – it works as an antidepressant and has fewer side effects that prescribed anti depressants.
  • Milk Thistle – the complex antioxidant properties of milk thistle benefit the liver and help the body eliminate toxins. In Europe it is used to treat cirrhosis of the liver and liver disease caused by alcohol.
  • Chamomile – this herb can remedy an upset stomach and aid sleep. But it can also improve the skin if taken topically.
  • Thyme – it improves the immune system, promotes perspiration and eases sore throats and coughs. It has mild antiseptic properties.
  • Sage – this herb calms the nerves, improves digestion and eases lung congestion and coughs.
  • Rosemary – this improves circulation, stimulates the liver into eliminating toxins from the body, eases joint and headache pain and relieves cold symptoms.
  • Mint – it eases stomach and digestive problems, relaxes the mind and can ease headaches.
Eating herbs alone won’t prevent you from getting cancer or disease. But eaten as part of a balanced diet, herbs will play a vital role in our health and have done for thousands of years. Whether you want a natural solution to a headache or stress, or you want to boost your immune system or improve the health of your liver, there is a herb that has evolved to do the job.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Steve
    Re: How to Cook and Recipes For Borage
    Eleven thirty a.m. on a Sunday I had a woman knock on my front door. She asked, "Do you mind if I take a few of your…
    5 July 2020
  • Eddie
    Re: Growing Fennel: Bulbed and Seed Varieties
    Hi, I recently watched a gardening programme where a lady showed that you can prolong the life of your shop…
    27 June 2020
  • Megaclear
    Re: Growing Bay Leaves
    Hi I have a bay tree that’s 10ft away from my house the tree is approximately 20ft high will this cause a problem to the foundations Regards…
    26 June 2020
  • Jobo
    Re: Growing Fennel: Bulbed and Seed Varieties
    Hi I have just gotten an allotment and there is a fennel 'bush' that has had nothing done to it for a year and…
    28 May 2020
  • Polly
    Re: Growing Bay Leaves
    Hi my bay tree leaves are getting very dry I water it is there anything I can give extra to help this problem
    21 May 2020
  • katarina
    Re: Growing Bay Leaves
    Hi, my bayleaf has shiny sloghtly sticky cover on the leaves which also drops on the floor. I have realised that it may have some desease as…
    14 May 2020
  • Daisy
    Re: How to Cook and Recipes For Borage
    I'm sure I have borage growing in my garden, it looks like the pictures, smells of cucumber and spreads vigorously. I…
    6 May 2020
  • Rosemaria
    Re: Growing Rosemary
    I have a rosemary plant in a pot, it is now over 20 years old and with little attention grows and flowers every year. It is very woody for the…
    26 April 2020
  • James Henwood
    Re: Growing Oregano
    Growing Oregano in pots on the windowsill - Once the seeds have germinated and the pot fills with small plants, should you thin these out? If so…
    18 April 2020
  • Dee
    Re: Cooking with Calendula or Pot Marigold
    Someone gave me a large bag of these petals and I need to know of s way to use them in cooking Can you also make tea…
    2 April 2020