Herbs and Your Health
Herbs and Health
Traditionally, aloe was used topically to heal wounds and for various skin conditions, and orally as a laxative. Today, in addition to traditional uses, people take aloe orally to treat a variety of conditions, including diabetes, asthma, epilepsy, and osteoarthritis. People use aloe topically for osteoarthritis, burns, sunburns, and psoriasis.
Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil has been used since the 1930s for eczema (a condition in which the skin becomes inflamed, itchy, or scaly because of allergies or other irritation). It has been used for other conditions involving inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Evening primrose oil is used for conditions affecting women’s health, such as breast pain associated with the menstrual cycle, menopausal symptoms, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Other conditions for which evening primrose oil is used include cancer and diabetes.
Ginger is used in Oriental medicine to treat stomach aches, nausea, and diarrhea. Many digestive, anti-nausea, and cold and flu dietary supplements sold in the United States contain ginger extract as an ingredient. Ginger is used to alleviate post-surgery nausea as well as nausea caused by motion, chemotherapy, and pregnancy. Ginger has been used for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and joint and muscle pain.
Garlic’s most common uses as a dietary supplement are for high cholesterol, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Garlic is also used to prevent certain types of cancer, including stomach and colon cancers. Some of the most popular traditional uses of garlic have been for colds, flu and other infections, earaches, vaginal yeast infections, and high blood pressure. Modern research has focused on four main areas: heart disease, cancer, infectious disease, and antioxidant effects. Garlic reduces cholesterol levels and raises the level of healthy high-density lipoproteins. Garlic also appears to lower blood pressure directly.
Green tea and green tea extracts, have been used to prevent and treat a variety of cancers, including breast, stomach, and skin cancers. Green tea has also been used for improving mental alertness, aiding in weight loss, lowering cholesterol levels, and protecting skin from sun damage.
Peppermint oil has been used for a variety of health conditions, including nausea, indigestion, and cold symptoms. Peppermint oil is also used for headaches, muscle and nerve pain, and stomach and bowel conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.