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The Need of the Hour: Medicines from Plants

The latest trend in modern day medical science is to seek out age old remedies based on traditional systems of medicine. Not surprisingly, most of these prescribe the extracts of various types of plants. Now that the modern world has realized the healing power of these plants, more and more laboratories are carrying out research to determine which plants will prove useful in helping mankind fight disease.

India has had a long history of traditional medicine and Indian plants and herbs are in the spotlight for their medicinal properties. An extract from the Picrorhiza kurroa plant (Picrorhazia kurroa) has been identified as being beneficial for the liver and is currently being tested under the name of Picroliv.
Researchers are also looking at the Gum guggal plant (Commifera wightii) as an aid to lower cholesterol and lipid levels in blood. Research is also underway at laboratories in Lucknow, India to seek out a plant-based remedy for Filaria.

The Brahmi plant (Centella asiatica) is currently being tested as a means of treating disorders of the central nervous system and reducing memory loss in old age. Research is also being carried out on a plant that has been shown to dissolve bladder stones in test animals in the laboratory. The use of medicated thread treatment as an alternative to surgery for treating Fistula in-ano has already been widely documented. The plant Vijayasar (Pterocarpus marsupium) is also being tested for its effectiveness in treating patients with diabetes. Various medicinal plants are also being tested for their effectives in curing diseases such as bronchial asthma, kidney stones, and viral hepatitis.

The use of herbs and medical plants has become very common all over the world, mainly due to the belief that they are as effective as conventional medicine, but with fewer side effects. Some people enjoy the benefits of natural herbs, by adding them to food, whereas others may use herbal medicines, capsules, creams, essential oils, and so on. Ayurvedic herbs are now not just common in their country of origin, India, but can be purchased from health stores and pharmacies all over the world. However, these medical plants and herbs should be used carefully. This is because not all herbs are suitable for everyone. Each herb has a different effect on the human body and a person’s health and therefore, using the wrong medicinal herbs could lead to some severe side effects. Hence, it is absolutely essential for a person to consult an herbalist for detailed information on herbs and their uses. Given below is a brief herbs list, classified according to their uses:

Herbs for anxiety

  • Passion Flower: This herb has mild sedative properties, but does not make a person feel drowsy. Instead, it has a soothing effect on the body and helps to relieve panic attacks, nervousness and anxiety. Hence, this herb is ideal for those people who suffer from exaggerated emotions during the day.
  • St. John’s Wort: There are several health benefits that have been associated with this natural herb and relieving of stress and anxiety is one of them. Herbalists advise people to take extracts of this herb, because of its antidepressant properties. However, the dosage is very important and may vary from person to person.
  • Meadowsweet: It is common for people to suffer from headaches that are related to stress and anxiety and one of the best ways of relieving such headaches is by drinking meadowsweet tea.

Herbs for high blood pressure

  • Hawthorn: The arteries can be expanded with the use of this herb, which is very effective in improving coronary blood flow, which in turn reduces hypertension. This herb is also used as a cardio-tonic to strengthen the heart and promote contractions that are more forceful.
  • Cinnamon: The levels of LDL cholesterol, i.e., the bad cholesterol in the body can be reduced with the use of cinnamon, as this herb contains antioxidant properties.
  • Garlic: This can be regarded as one of the most effective herbs for high blood pressure problems in people, as it has been known to reduce pressure within a matter of 2 or 3 hours, after consumption. Hence, people suffering from high blood pressure are usually asked to increase the consumption of raw garlic, on a daily basis.

There is a lot of information that is easily available through online resources, on other medical plants and their uses. However, most of the herbs have not been approved by the FDA, as there is no way to measure their effectiveness. Hence, before using any of the herbs for health, it is important to get an approval from a medical health care provider.

Submitted on January 16, 2014