Medical science has evolved by leaps and bounds. There are various engineered drugs and prescription pills for every ailment. But are these the only way to healing?
In the age of engineered medications, we keep resorting to natural alternatives to promote our overall health and well-being.
Medicinal trees have been used since olden times to cure common ailments. People grow various medicinal plants in their kitchen garden and reach out for the herbs to relieve cold, tummy aches, and even bug bites.
Leaves of some medicinal trees can be rubbed on the skin, consumed as a tea, garnish on salads, or even chewed raw.
You can grow these medicinal herbs at home to improve your home's greenery and decor, along with your health. Or you can buy them fresh from the market. Ready herb powders and pills are also available to be taken as supplements.
Either way, these herbs and teas provide a harmless means to augment your immunity and well-being. However, it is crucial to be aware of the evidence on each herb's effectiveness and safety before choosing supplements from the shelf.
If you want to add some medicinal plants to your health regime, we will guide you.
Medicinal plants, trees, or herbs have been in use in traditional medicine practices since ancient times.
The earliest historical records of herbs are found right from the Sumerian civilization, ancient Egypt, to Greeks, has mentioned medicinal plants and herbs.
Traditional medicine like Ayurveda, Unani, Chinese medicine all used medicinal trees or plants to extract herbs to cure various diseases.
Even now, medicinal plants’ use is common in day-to-day life in different cultures around the world.
Some consume these medicinal plants or trees with food or tea; others crush the leaves, bark, or roots to use the plant.
Several studies performed in recent times have proven the benefits of these plants and their efficacy. However, not all trees and plants have been researched enough to substantiate their use in traditional medicine. In such a case choosing the right plant can seem difficult if you want to feel better without taking medications.
Common Medicinal Trees
Basil is a common kitchen herb used in various western cuisines. With around 60 different varieties, the Sweet Basil is the most typical type with a slightly sweet flavor. It can be added to pasta, sauces, meat dishes, and baked items.
It has excellent anti-inflammatory action, proving beneficial in inflammatory diseases like arthritis, allergies, inflammatory bowel disorders, etc. It also kills bacteria and has an antioxidant and anti-aging property.
Basil is believed to be beneficial in controlling diabetes and high blood pressure too. It also contains vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, potassium, etc.
Elderberry has been in use in folk medicine by Native Americans to cure a myriad of illnesses.
The elderberry plant is native to the eastern and central parts of North America. It is a small deciduous shrub with Elderberries clusters, an excellent source of vitamins, iron, and calcium.
The entire shrub of Elderberry is considered a medicinal plant because not only its berries but its flowers, leaves, and inner bark have several medicinal properties.
The natives used this plant to treat various ailments like sore throat, common cold, stomach ache, sinus congestion, constipation, diarrhea, etc.
Elderberry also called Black Sambucus, or Sambucus Elderberry, is traditionally known to have the highest potency to improve one's immune system.They have a high natural concentration of Anthocyanins and other flavonoids, which strengthen our immune system.
Theyare rich in antioxidants and can fight free radicals and reduce oxidative stress. These antioxidants can help your body remain balanced and healthy. They are available in the form of extracted supplements, which are enhanced with zinc and vitamins.
Turmeric or Curcumin originates in India and has been used since ancient times in the alternative medicine Ayurveda. It is a vital component of Indian cuisine and is now used worldwide in cooking.
This antioxidant-rich medicinal plant is known to possess anti-cancer properties by preventing DNA mutations.
It is derived from the tuberous root of the turmeric plant. It regulates the digestive function and gut health by helping inefficient digestion of food.
Its anti-inflammatory properties have been well-known. Ayurveda has used Turmeric in joint pains, especially in arthritis, to reduce joint inflammation.
Turmeric supports immune response, promotes cognitive function and memory. It also has dermatological benefits. People use it on minor cuts and burns to heal faster.
Turmeric has low bioavailability. Consuming it along with pepper can help you absorb more of its benefits.
Though it is best consumed with food, many people consume it raw. It can be challenging to gauge the dosages when ingesting raw. Hence, turmeric supplements can be a good idea in the absence of turmeric powder or the plant. It can be combined with Ginger extract for synergistic effects.
Ginger is known to reduce muscle pain, soreness, and many additional properties that further augments turmeric’s effectiveness.
It is extracted from the Moringa tree, which is also known as the Miracle tree. Every part of the tree is edible — from the leaves, roots to immature seed pods, flowers, and seeds.
Its fresh leaves can be consumed as daily food or available in dried powder form, added to soups, pasta, smoothies, shakes, and salads.
Moringa isone of the most potent and powerful superfoods to combat tiredness and fatigue. A glass of super smoothie at the end of the day is enough to re-energize you.
Moringa is full of natural amino acids, magnesium, minerals, and vitamins and has the highest protein content, among other plant-based foods. Its antioxidant, anti-hypertensive, anti-ulcerative, and analgesic properties have made it a superfood.
Natives of Asia, Africa, and South America have traditionally been using this plant to treat many diseases that the western world has only lately discovered.
Gingko is yet another medicinal tree, which has long been in use in Chinese medicine and homeopathy.
The leaves of this 3000-year old medicinal tree contain all the benefits. It is known to boost brain health. Hence, it's used to delay cognitive decline in mild to moderate dementia patients.It has also been used in Alzheimer’s disease.
The Ginkgo tree leaves are dried to be consumed as a tea or used in extracts, powders, capsules, or tablets.
It has also been used in anxiety and depression to enhance bone healing, improve eye-health, or even diabetes.
Specific side effects like headache, dizziness, upset stomach or allergic reaction may be seen in use.
Ginger is a root that is used for its spicy flavor and known for its multiple health benefits. It is a rich source of 25 different antioxidants making it a superhero in fighting free radicals in our body.
It is commonly used to reduce nausea and vomiting, especially in motion sickness and morning sickness. It is a household remedy for sore throats as it soothes your throat from cold and flu due to its antiviral action.
Some studies have shown its potent anti-inflammatory activity beneficial in arthritis and muscle aches.
It can be consumed throughout your meal, unlike other herbs- from appetizers, salads, soups to main and side dishes, desserts, and beverages, mainly tea.
7. Tea Tree
The tea tree is a medicinal tree native to Australia.
The oil extracted from this medicinal tree has been popular even now for its immense dermatological benefits. It is known to improve skin conditions like mild acne, minor cuts, dandruff, bug bites.
It reduces inflammation in inflammatory skin diseases and infections. Studies have shown its bacteriostatic effect on acne; that is, it slows down the acne-causing microbes. It is included as a component of various skin products as well.
8. Lemon Balm
Lemon balm (melissa officinalis) is a longstanding medicinal plant used to help relieve stress and ward off insects! It has traditionally been used to encourage restful sleep, reduce stress and anxiety.
It also has beneficial effects on digestion. Various studies have shown encouraging results in hyperthyroidism.
Lemon Balm has also been used as an antiviral herb as viral infections and thyroid disorders go hand in hand.
It can be consumed as a freshly brewed tea or even in the form of a supplement. A cup of lemon balm tea could be beneficial for healing as a stress management technique.
Yet another kitchen herb, Rosemary, is a medicinal plant. It is used in various meat dishes for its savory flavor.
It is packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, helping fight cancer, enhance immunity, improve circulation and digestion.
It also works wonders for stress, improves memory and concentration. Rosemary is also believed to help with respiratory diseases by reducing lung inflammation.
Mint has been highly valued for its positive effects on the digestive system and anti-inflammatory actions exerting a beneficial action in asthma, chest problems, and mouth ulcers (Tapsell et al., 2006).
Its antibacterial activity against E.Coli promotes digestive health. It also packs anti-tumor phytochemicals, therefore, making it an anti-cancer super herb.
You can add fresh chopped green mint to your salads, yogurts, lemonade, or tea for not only its benefits but also for a beautiful freshness.
Sage is one of the many herbs used with Rosemary in meat dishes for a strong flavor and has similar nutrients as Rosemary.
Its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial actions are believed to fight brain aging. Most people plant these medicinal plants as a part of their kitchen garden.
Although used for culinary purposes, thyme has many medicinal properties, especially in sore throat, bronchitis, chest congestion, asthma, and laryngitis.
It is so effective that its active ingredient thymol is even used in mouthwashes and cough drops for throat inflammation and infection.
It also has a digestive effect as it soothes the stomach to relieve indigestion.
Interestingly, a study recently discovered the role of thyme in boosting the omega-3 fatty acids in the heart, brain, and kidney cells.
It's slightly sweet and minty flavor can add a zing to your soups, stews, and vegetable dishes.
Lavender is a popular herb and known for its perfume. It is known to have a direct effect on mood and cognitive performance.
Lavender helps in reducing anxiety and stress by exerting a calming effect. Its sedative property makes it a popular choice for people to consume lavender as a tea for a good night’s sleep.
Recently, it’s been discovered that lavender carries anti-inflammatory benefits as well.
Chamomile is yet another medicinal plant whose flowers have significant therapeutic benefits.
These small flowers resembling daisies have anti-anxiety properties. It is famous as a tea flavor and commonly consumed by people before bedtime to calm and soothe oneself.
It is known to reduce stress and promote the quality of sleep. Recently, Chamomile has been shown to have potential anti-cancer properties.
15. St. John’s Wort
St. John's Wort (hypericum perforatum) is a natural approach to relieving the symptoms of depression. It is used to manage anxiety, feelings of withdrawal, mood swings, and signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
These medicinal plants are regularly taken as capsules, pills, or applied as an ointment.
It's vital to note that St. John's Wort can interact with several medications, so (as with all plants on this list), discuss with your doctor before consuming or applying this plant to your body.
Next time you have annoying pain or symptoms like stress, anxiety, depression, you might consider reaching for one of these medicinal trees and plants!
You could keep these plants around your home or grow them in your garden.
Alternatively, you can discuss with your doctor and take these medicinal plants in the form of supplements to augment your health safely!