Natural Herb Cures

Written by Jared Vincenti
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Herbal medicine has been practiced by nearly every human culture on the planet, and is an ancestor of modern Western medicine. Early humans discovered that specific plants helped cure or relieve different diseases, and this knowledge is passed on to this day. Many people grow herb gardens as novelties today, but most herbs have long histories of human use--not just for flavoring, but in treatment of our ailments.

A Few Examples of Herbal Medicine

Some people scoff at herbal medicine, preferring to instead take pharmaceutical cures. What they don't realize is that many pharmaceuticals are based on medicines derived from plants. For example, Native Americans showed settlers that chewing on willow bark cured headaches. Scientists studied this phenomenon, and found a compound in the willow bark that they named salicylic acid (after Salyx, the genus of the willow tree). Today, salicylic acid is sold on drug store shelves under the more popular name of aspirin.

Many plants are used by the cosmetics industry, too. The sap of the aloe vera plant has long been known to soothe burns. Today it is in most skin creams, thanks to the moisturizing power of this desert plant. Oats are also becoming more popular in skin care, as they are a good source of nourishing oils. Herbal soaps and shampoos contain these plants and others, and are popular for their effects, their scents, and the fact that they are often environmentally friendly.

There is no denying that plants can have varying effects on people. The medical community is just starting to realize the depression-fighting powers of St. John's wort, and many doctors recommend that their patients take the herb. Rosemary and peppermint also are potential mood stabilizers, and research is being conducted as to the efficacy of these long-known cures.

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