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11 of the World’s Most Popular Herbal Medicines

Do you know, Even in 2020, herbal medicine still serves one-third of UK’s people?

Herbal medicine is way too popular than others because it is all about history and tradition. There are plenty of popular herbal medicines used for medical purposes.  Benefits of herbal medicine are stunning. So this ancient method of health care servers human for decades after decades. You probably have some faith in herbal medicine too, because it’s all-natural, right?

The conventional medicines are surely more expensive than natural remedies, Using natural medicines may be more affordable and accessible than the conventional. Today I will give you the list of most popular herbal medicines throughout the world.

But before we get started, be careful that “natural” does not mean it’s all safe for any kind of use. It is very essential to tell your healthcare providers about any herb product or dietary supplement you are using.

Popular herbal medicine

Here are 11 of the world’s most famous herbal medicines and I will include their main benefits, uses, and relevant safety information:

1. Echinacea - Echinacea Purpurea

(Leaf, stalk, root)

Echinacea- Echinacea purpurea

Echinacea, or coneflower, this is a flowering plant and popular herbal medicine. The general use of Echinacea is to treat or prevent cold diseases, flu, viruses, and for injury healing.

The origin of Echinacea is from North America, it has long been used in Native American and European practices to treat a variety of diseases. Most of the parts of the plant, including the leaves, petals, and roots, can be used medicinally. Many people believe that the roots of Echinacea have the most potent effect.This is usually used as a tea or supplement but can also be applied topically. 

Though this is one of the popular plants, the study on its effectiveness in health care is not that convincing. In a long-term basis, this plant is not much more useful, but in the short term, this is quite good indeed.

2. Ginseng (Panax ginseng)

(Roots)

Ginseng (Panax ginseng)

Ginseng is a medicinal plant whose roots are usually steeped to make a tea or dried to make a powder.

Some varieties exist though, but the two most common are the Asian and American types — Panax ginseng and Panax quinquefolius, respectively. American ginseng is believed to promote relaxation, while Asian ginseng is considered more energetic.

As in ancient China, ginseng is still popularly thought to be a remedy; hence, its genus name Panax. People believe that its root is humanoid in appearance, it can benefit all aspects of the human body. It is considered a tonic or adaptogen that enhances physical performance (including sexual), promote vitality, and increases resistance to stress and ageing. 

While in vitro and animal researches recommend that it has valuable impacts on immune functions. But still, the evidence of its impact on humans is limited and conflicting, as there is a lack of proper research on it. So, Short-term use is considered relatively safe, but ginseng’s long-term safety remains unclear. 

3. Ginkgo - Biloba

(Seeds, leaves)

Ginkgo- biloba

Ginkgo is one of the oldest surviving trees, G Biloba has grown in China for more than 200 million years. Ginkgo is said to treat a wide variety of diseases, such as heart disease, dementia, cerebral difficulties, and sexual dysfunction. 

For thousands of years, traditional Chinese medicine has used ginkgo to treat brain diseases. In the past 20 years, ginkgo has gained a worldwide reputation for the same reason, supported by evidence of its capacity to promote perfusion and repress oxidative damage. By 1988, German physicians prescribed a standardised extract of ginkgo more than any other medication.

4. St. John's wort- Hypericum perforatum

(Flower, leaf)

St. John's wort- Hypericum perforatum

In the ancient period, it was utilised to aid wound healing and alleviate insomnia, depression, and several kidney and lung infections. But today, it’s mostly prescribed to treat mild to moderate depression.

This 5-petalled yellow flower grows wild in much of the world. in Europe, it is highly valued as an antidepressant. You will be amazed by hearing that, St John’s wort is the most common antidepressant used in Germany, where physicians prescribe it 4 times more often as fluoxetine hydrochloride. 

St John’s wort has been used for thousands of years for a myriad of conditions. It is named after St John the Baptist because it blooms around his celebration day (June 24) and exudes a red colour symbolic of his blood. Its scientific name derives from the Greek hyper and eikon, “to overcome an apparition,” relating to the ancient belief in its ability to ward off evil spirits.

5. Ginger- Zingiber officinale

(Root)

Ginger- Zingiber officinale

Ginger is a common ingredient and herbal medicine. Anyone can eat it fresh or dried, whatever, though its primary medicinal forms are as a tea or capsule. Like garlic, ginger has been a popular culinary and medicinal herb for thousands of years. 

For almost 2500 years, the Chinese have used this plant as a flavouring agent and antiemetic. Ancient Greeks wrapped ginger in bread and ate it after meals as a digestive care. Ginger is now farmed in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean and is used worldwide as a nausea medication. 

The characteristic odour and flavour of ginger root come from a volatile oil (1%-3% by weight) that is composed of shogaol and gingerols. In lab animals, the gingerols have analgesic, sedative, antipyretic, antibacterial, and GI tract motility effects.

6. Garlic-Allium sativum

(Cloves and roots)

Garlic-Allium sativum

Garlic’s historical and global medicinal use have given it one of the most widely studied healing herbs. Although the actual therapeutic benefits of this member of the Liliaceae family is unclear. 

Louis Pasteur first demonstrated garlic’s antiseptic activity. Both animal studies and epidemiological studies suggest anticancer effects. Most current research, popularity, and controversy related to garlic’s use as a putative antiatherosclerotic agent. Mainstream medical interest in garlic’s potential lipid-lowering effects was stimulated by 2 metaanalyses of RPC trials. 

That found a 9% to 12% decrease in cholesterol in hyperlipidemic patients after a minimum of 1 month of treatment with 600 to 900 mg/d of garlic tablets.

7. Valerian -Valeriana officinalis

(Root)

Valerian -Valeriana officinalis

In Europe, it was taken to relieve restlessness, tremors, headaches, and heart palpitations. Today, it’s most often utilised to treat insomnia and anxiety.

The malodorous root of valerian grows wild in temperate areas of the Americas and Eurasia. It has been a top-rated calming and sleep-promoting substitute for centuries. German health officials have approved valerian for use as a mild tranquilliser and sleep aid, based on several European clinical trials that demonstrate the effects on humans.

8. Feverfew- Tanacetum parthenium

(Root, rhizome)

Goldenseal -Hydrastis canadensis

Feverfew is a daisy-like perennial found commonly in gardens as well as in the road-side. The name derives from the Latin febrifugia, “fever reducer.” The first-century Greek doctor Dioscorides prescribed feverfew for “all hot pains.” Also known as “feather few,” its feathery leaves are utilised generally to treat arthritis and prevent migraines. 

The Side effects of feverfew include mouth ulcers and digestive upset. Those who suddenly quit taking feverfew for migraines may have their headaches back. Feverfew should not be used with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines. It should not be used with warfarin or other anticoagulant medication.

9. Goldenseal -Hydrastis canadensis

(Root, rhizome)

Goldenseal -Hydrastis canadensis

The general use of Goldseal is to treat diarrhoea as well as eye and skin irritations. Besides, it can be used as an antiseptic. Goldenseal is used to treat diarrhoea, and eye and skin irritations. 

It is also an unproven treatment for colds. Goldenseal has berberine, a plant alkaloid with a rich history of medicinal use in herbal treatment. Several studies have shown that goldenseal is useful for diarrhoea. But in high doses, it can be poisonous, so it can cause skin, mouth, throat irritation.

10. Milk thistle- silybum marianum

(Fruit)

Milk Thistle- Silybum marianum

For over 2000 years, the seeds of this thorny leafed, purple-flowered plant have been used to treat liver ailments. Also, all parts of this Kashmir native have been consumed historically as vegetables without any kind of toxic effects. 

Silymarin protects against a variety of hepatotoxic agents and processes in animal experiments. Evidence of its impact on humans is provocative but preliminary. 

11. Saw palmetto - serenoa repens

(Fruit)

Saw Palmetto- Serenoa repens

This scrubby palm has been used historically to treat urogenital problems. Many advanced clinical trials establish the ability of saw palmetto extract (SPE) to develop the signs and symptoms of BPH, for which it is a first-line treatment in much of Europe. 

Seven of the 8 DBPC trials that have evaluated SPE’s efficacy in treating BPH illustrate significant objective and subjective improvement, in BPH symptoms in victims using 320 mg of SPE for 1 to 3 months. However, only 2 of these claims are randomised, and their results conflict.As herbal medicines derived from natural sources, people often think that it must be all safe, but this is not right at all.

 If you are thinking about taking herbal supplements, it is way better if you consult a health professional so that you can ensure proper dosages and understand other impacts.

September 4, 2020

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