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There are many types of healing plants, such as ginger, garlic, milk thistle and chamomile. Depending on the type of healing plant, the leaves, flowers, stems or roots can be used in herbal medicine. When fresh or in dried form, the plant substances can be used to make an herbal tea or added into the foods while cooking. Liquid extracts, tablets and capsules also are available and can be taken as a medicine. Many health problems, such as heart disease, a weak immune system, insomnia, digestive problems and inflammatory diseases, can be helped by using healing plants.
The medicinal substances in the healing plants allow for natural healing without the use of surgery or unnatural drugs. These methods of healing are popular in alternative medicine practices such as herbal medicine and naturopathy. They have been around since ancient times and are considered to be effective when combined with a healthy diet.
Many ailments of the digestive tract can be helped by using healing plants. An herbal tea made from ginger, peppermint or dill can help relieve indigestion after a meal. Aloe and buck-thorn are also good for the digestive system, because they can help to relieve constipation.
There are many anti-inflammatory plants, such as lapacho, Arnica, chamomile, ginkgo and cat's claw, that can help with all types of inflammatory diseases. Heart disease can be helped by using garlic and various varieties of the foxglove plant. In addition to helping with heart disease, garlic is used to eliminate or prevent parasites, and it is able to boost the immune system. Other immune boosters include chives and shitake mushrooms, which can easily be added to the diet in soups, meat and potato dishes and stir-fries.
Peppermint, fever-few, meadow-sweet and cannabis are beneficial for headaches and other physical pain. Emotional pain also can be alleviated by taking natural anti-depressants such as St. John's wort, milk thistle and damiana. The ability to fall into a deep sleep at night is helpful for speeding up the healing process of just about any ailment. Thus, drinking a passion flower tea or lavender tea about an hour before bedtime can help one to relax and fall into a deep sleep. Other health benefits of healing plants include healthier skin, reduced infections, relief from asthma and faster wound healing.
Most healing plants generally do not cause any negative side effects when taken in moderation. Some herbs, however, can interfere with certain prescription medications. Thus, when on medication, one should check with a physician before using healing plants as a natural remedy.
@Iluviaporos - Well, I think it's become more popular to think of natural medicine to be more to do with the things you eat to prevent getting sick rather than simply being a pill you take once you get sick.
Take garlic, for example. I know quite a few people who will swallow a few segments of garlic or put extra garlic on their food if they know they are heading toward a cold or a flu.
Other people will do things like chew on peppermint to freshen their breath or rub aloe vera on sunburn.
I think it's really nice that those kinds of remedies are becoming more and more common among people who just think of it as another tool for being healthier, rather than looking at it through a stigma of whether or not it's the latest, high tech medicines.
I think the most well used healing plant of all time has to be willow. Willow bark tea was used for years to cure headaches until eventually it was studied and they figured out what chemical was doing it.
That chemical is now used in aspirin, which has got to be one of the most used medications (at least, it was until other pain medications became more popular).
I think it's good to remember that most of our oldest medicines weren't developed in isolation. They were originally found through plant lore. People might look down on those who prefer to use medicinal herbs rather than so-called modern medicine, but if you take the long view the two are one and the same.
I don't like people who look down their noses at modern medicines either, of course. They are all the same thing and the aim is the same, to make you feel better.
I think it's always best to check what healing herbs the local people of your area used and still use rather than trying to find herbal remedies that your own ancestors used.
Either can be effective, of course, but I think sometimes growing in a different environment can affect how a plant can affect you.
If you are using the local plants that have been living there, with the local people, for hundreds or thousands of years, you know that the local traditions will fit the place and the plant.
Be very careful before you do anything though and don't assume that because someone claims local blood, they actually know what they are talking about. There are people who will try to sell you anything and may not actually have any local knowledge to speak of.