Some Herbal Remedies that have clinically proven therapeutic benefits
Herbal remedies are natural medicinal therapies which utilize various components of therapeutically active plants and animal products. They have made a significant contribution to human health through their health promotive, curative and rehabilitative properties and in the prevention of illnesses. Here are a few examples of herbal remedies which have been clinically studied for their natural healing properties.
The humble turmeric is an essential ingredient in Asian curries believed to boost immunity. In a study, scientists have claimed that even a dash of turmeric may help fight drug-resistant tuberculosis. The researchers found that by stimulating human immune cells called macrophages, a substance in Turmeric, curcumin, was able to successfully remove Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative bacterium of tuberculosis, from experimentally infected cells in culture.
The use of spices has been important throughout history. In an Iranian trial subject who incorporated cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, or saffron in their tea for 8 weeks experienced improvements in metabolic biomarkers, such as lipid profiles, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein levels compared with controls. These spices, however, failed to decrease fasting blood sugar, insulin, and HbA1c levels, or body weight.
Many different countries have a tea culture, and Japanese Matcha tea is growing in popularity around the world. In Japan, Matcha has a long history of being used for various medicinal purposes. A group of Japanese researchers from Kumamoto University has shown that anxious behavior in mice is reduced after consuming Matcha powder or Matcha extract. Its calming effects appear to be due to mechanisms that activate dopamine D1 receptors and serotonin 5-HT1A receptors, both of which are closely related to anxious behavior. The study appeared in the Journal of Functional Food
Tea is used as a natural remedy for the management of stress and anxiety in many Asian and European countries. In a Chinese trial, postnatal women who drank chamomile tea for 2 weeks experienced better sleep quality and greater alleviation of symptoms of depression than did controls.
Probiotics are fermented food that contains good bacteria or yeast that help protect against bad bacteria. There’s preliminary evidence that some probiotics are helpful in preventing diarrhea caused by infections and antibiotics and in improving symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome but studies are on to find out its beneficial effect in other diseases.
Providing probiotics supplementation to infants both in utero and/or after birth (through 6 months of age) reduced the incidence of atopic dermatitis (AD) in them compared to controls, according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology.
Also, a study, published in the BMJ Journal Gut found that men who consumed yogurt two or more times in a week were at lower risk of developing precancerous growth known as adenomas that may progress into colon cancer as compared to men who did not consume yogurt.
Nowadays, peppermint oil and leaves are commonly used to treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Symptom relief is likely owed to the menthol found in peppermint, which has an antispasmodic effect on the intestinal smooth muscle. Menthol is also used in various over-the-counter topical products targeting respiratory congestion, headache, and muscle pain.
According to results from a large meta-analysis published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, peppermint oil vs placebo is effective in treating global complaints of IBS, such as abdominal pain. Furthermore, peppermint oil posed no negative side effects. The number of patients needed to treat to avoid one patient from having persistent IBS symptoms was three, with four patients needed to avoid one case of abdominal pain.
This golden syrup is considered as the nectar of life in Indian Ayurveda system. Honey has been used both for the internal and external medication in ancient Egypt and India as it was believed to have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activity. In a study published in Frontiers of Microbiology. , Manuka honey showed potential as a breakthrough treatment against a wide range of P. aeruginosa isolates associated with cystic fibrosis patients.
Using lung tissue from pigs, experts treated grown bacterial infections mimicking those seen in CF patients with Manuka honey. The results showed that it was effective in killing antimicrobial-resistant bacteria by 39% compared to 29% for antibiotics, whilst improving the activity of some antibiotics that were unable to function effectively by themselves, honey and antibiotics combined killed 90% of the bacteria tested.
Buckeyes, which sports fans may be familiar with, are part of the horse chestnut family. Horse chestnut has been used as a conservative therapy for varicose veins in lieu of compression stockings. According to the authors of a review published in Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: “The evidence presented suggests that [horse chestnut seed extract] is an efficacious and safe short?term treatment for [chronic venous insufficiency]. However, several caveats exist and larger, definitive [randomized, controlled trials] are required to confirm the efficacy of this treatment option.
Although there is some evidence supporting the use of natural remedies to treat certain conditions, overall there are many more examples of such treatments providing no scientifically proven health benefits. For instance, some people believe that cranberries (including juice and supplements) are an effective treatment for urinary tract infections despite the lack of sufficient clinical data—which experts have highlighted. Furthermore, taking clove oil for toothache doesn’t work according to the FDA.