Modern medicine, including pharmaceuticals, has had an enormous impact on society.
Lifesaving medicines have prevented the premature deaths of millions of people all over the world and they are our most powerful shield against the myriad of microbes and disorders hell-bent on killing you at whim's notice.
But a fair amount of modern medicine is either derived from or rely heavily on upon, plants and other naturally derived sources.
"Practically all of the most widely used drugs have an herbal origin," Catherine Ulbricht, PharmD, senior attending pharmacist at Massachusetts General Hospital says.
"The number one OTC medication, aspirin, is a synthetic version of a compound found in the willow tree. Many statins are based on fungi, and Tamiflu originated from Chinese star anise."
1. Chamomile can help with anxiety
Chamomile tea has long been known as a home remedy to calm you down, but it seems there could be something to this effect. Studies have shown that this herb actually acts as a mild sedative and, by extension, is an effective treatment for anxiety.
Tea made from this flower has also shown it can help treat depression. A scientific study in 2016, by the Perelman School of Medicine treated 98 patients with it between 2010 and 2015.
47 of the participants were given a placebo and the others chamomile. Their findings found that the chamomile group had over 40 percent fewer anxiety relapses during the treatment period.
The dried flowers of the plant contain terpenoids and flavonoids which are the main active ingredients that provide the plant's medicinal properties.
It also helps with heartburn, indigestion, and colic in children. Of course, for any extreme sickness or pain, you should always consult your medical professional for the best form of treatment.
2. Ginger is great for nausea
Ginger has long been known for its ability to alleviate the symptoms of nausea. From general symptoms to seasickness eating some ginger will put you right.
Anyone who has actually tried it will be happy to hear that studies have shown that ginger is actually highly effective for reducing symptoms of nausea and preventing vomiting.
A study in 2000 , actually found that ginger was as effective as metoclopramide which is a pharmaceutical often used to relieve the same symptoms in patients.
Other studies support the time-old remedy as an effective and inexpensive treatment for nausea and vomiting. It is a safe and readily available supportive treatment to use, but check it to use with your prescribed medicine with your doctor.
3. Lemon and honey is good for a sore throat
Honey and lemon is a very common home remedy for sore throats and one that works very well. Lemon and honey have been long been thought to have anti-microbial properties with the benefit of tasting nice.
A study by the journal Pediatrics also found that two teaspoons of honey helped children and adults with coughs sleep through the night.
Whilst lemon seems to be ineffective on its own for treating sore throats, honey seems to be the real deal. Honey (Manuka honey ), according to a study, is found to be effective in reducing how quickly the influenza virus ( the cause of the flu) reproduces.
Other studies also show that honey is an effective mild painkiller. These studies were mostly concerned with tonsillectomy, but the results showed it was effective.
This remedy works best during the first signs of a cold. As ever always consult with your doctor before using this.
4. Cranberry juice helps fight off urinary tract infections
There is plenty of evidence that regularly consuming cranberry juice can prevent urinary tract infections. This disorder is caused by bacterial infections that tend to be more common in women than men.
Cranberries actually contain compounds that stop infection-causing bacteria like E. Coli from being able to cling to the lining of the urinary tract and are unceremoniously ejected from your body when you urinate.
A 2012 study in the Journal Archives of Internal Medicine showed that women who regularly drink this juice were 38% less likely to develop UTI than those who didn't. But there other studies that show it may not be as effective as claimed.
5. An onion a day keeps the doctor away
Forget apples, it's an onion a day that will definitely keep the doctor away. Whether that be from your bad breath or the boost it gives to your overall wellbeing either will have the desired effect.
Onions have long been touted as a cure-all by many cultures over the years. From Middle Eastern traditional medicine prescribing them for things like diabetes to 20th-century medicine recommending them for respiratory and digestive problems, the onion has been an unsung hero for too long.
Studies have shown that onions contain thiosulfinates (these also cause their distinctive smell) that are known to reduce diabetes symptoms and protect against cardiovascular disease.
They also contain Quercetin, a flavonoid found in onions, which is known to prevent the inflammation associated with allergies and also protects against stomach ulcers and colon, esophageal, and breast cancers. You should always consult your medical professional for the best form of treatment.
6. After that onion eat some parsley (it also helps you pee)
Parsley has been said to help reduce urinary tract infections for many years, in fact, it was first suggested as a remedy to Queen Elizabeth 1 in 1629 by John Parkinson (a prominent apothecary of the age). He also suggested eating some to deal with bad breath after enjoying an onion.
Yarnell's 2002 World Journal of Urology conducted various reviews od animal studies that showed that parsley did indeed increase urine output in test subjects. Parsley has also been approved by the German Commission E Regulatory Body as a treatment for cystitis and other urinary tract infections. Always consult with your doctor before using this.
As for its breath-freshening properties, this seems to be true as its high chlorophyll content has been shown to reduce odors.
7. Dock leaves help to soothe nettle stings
A very old home remedy, in the UK, is to use dock leaves if you accidentally sting yourself on nettles. The age-old claim is that the leaves sap is alkaline and as such will neutralize the acidic components of the nettles' sting.
The hairs of nettles are notoriously nasty little things that are made of pure silica. This makes them perfect for breaking the surface of your skin after which they inject a concoction of irritants like formic acid and histamines.
The problem is this remedy does work but for not for the reasons claimed. Vigorously rubbing the dock leaf does release the sap but this is also acidic.
The home remedy works because the liquid sap readily evaporates from the surface of the skin resulting in a cooling effect that alleviates the stinging sensation, at least temporarily. Some other studies also suggest the sap of the Dock Leaf may contain some natural anti-histamines.
For any extreme sickness or pain, you should always consult your medical professional for the best form of treatment.
8. Hawthorn can boost your heart's wellbeing
Hawthorn has been used as a home remedy to strengthen the heart's health for many years in China, Europe, and Native America. One of the first references to its use for this purpose dates to the 1st Century when a famed Roman physician, Dioscorides, wrote about it in his De Materia Medica.
Scientific studies have shown that Hawthorn contains antioxidant compounds, called flavonoids, that do appear to relax arterial-wall muscles, increase blood flow to the heart and prevent symptoms of coronary artery disease.
A study in 2008 also showed that hawthorn extract actually increases the heart's strength and exercise tolerance. diminishes the heart's oxygen needs and also reduces cardiac patients' shortness of breath.
Always seek medical advice first before use if you have any serious cardiac issues.
9. Plantain is great for your skin
Plantain (a low-growing oval-leafed plant not to be confused with the banana-like fruit of the same name) was, as early as the 12th Century, recommended as a remedy for insect bites. Native Americans also use it for the same purpose as well as in poultices for wounds, burns and other skin issues.
Scientific studies have shown that this plant contains antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that can be used to help heal any breaks in the skin. It can also have benefits on the inside as one of its seeds (Psyllium), is a great source of fiber.
This plant is hard to identify in the field so its best to by one from a supplier and always seek medical advice before using any natural remedies.