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Your A to Z guide to Herbs thar heal...

Herbal medicine is the oldest form of healthcare known to mankind and refers to the use of a plant's seed, beries, roots, leaves, bark or flowers for medicinal purposes. The entire Middle East has a rich hstory of herbal healing. There are also texts surviving from ancient cultures of Mesopotamia, Egypt and India that describe and illustrate the use medicinal plants. While today old herbal knowledge has been replaced by madoern ways and ideas - natural giving away to synthetic - in recent years there has been a revival of interest in herbs. The World Health Organisation estimates that four billion people, 80 percent of the world population, presently use herbal medicne for some aspect of primay health care. So the next time you are feeling down or out of sorts, simply reach for your herb and spice jars.

ARNICA is used for a wide range of conditions including bruises, sprains, muscle aches, wound healing, acne rheumatic pain, inflammation from insect bites and swelling due to factures. Internally, it may fight oal and throat infections, and internal bleeding.

BOSWELLIA serrata as a medicnal herb springs from the ancient Indian healing tradition known as Ayurveda, which in Sanskrit means 'science of life". This herb is probably better known by its common name, frankincense. Tests by reseachers and clinicians have shown that boswellia effectively shrinks inflamed tissue and is, therefore, very helpful in treating inflammatory diseases such as arthritis.

CHAMOMILE is a highly used cure-all. It calms nerves and induces sleep for insomnia sufferers. It also relieves restlessness, teething problems and colic in children. It aids digestion if taken as a tea after meals.

DANDELION has diuretic and detoxyfying properties. The root has therapeutic benefits for ailments such as constipation and skin problems (acne, eczema, and psoriasis). Dandelion is also used to treat arthritic conditions.

ECHINACEA was first used by native Americans more than 400 years ago. Nowadays it is a popular remedy for colds, cough, bronchitis and fever. It can also be used to treat uinary tract infections, heal skin wounds, insect bites, stomach cramps and can re-establish the supply of white blood cells following cancer treatments.

FEVERFEW'S health benefits have been known since before roman times. Its name, as you may suspect, comes from the fact that it reduces fevers. Recently it has attained a considerable reputation in moderating the severity of migraine and vascular headaches. Seventy percent of patients in scientific studies show a significant improvement in their migraine headaches when using feverfew, while standard medical treatment showed no results.

GINGKO Biloba is one of the best-researched herbal medicines on record, with more than 400 published studies conducted. Results have indicated it has the ability to increase blood circulation, not onlt to the brain, but to the extremities of the body as well. A recent US study showed encouraging results in treating the early symptons of Alzheimer's disease.

HORSETAIL treats urinary tract infections and arthritis, aids in circulation, may promote hair health and growth, and helps the body to heat faster. It can also be applied externally to treat burns, fracture, rheumatic conditions and sprains.

last updated on 21-September-2004

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