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Herbs for Your Health

Article written by Herbal Intern Pamela Morgan


Herbs are extremely helpful in keeping ourselves and our homes healthy. They contain the power, through the chemicals (constituents) they contain, to be helpful for too many conditions and diseases to list. But a few examples are anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, sedative, and the list goes on and on.


So how do we use herbs to our benefit? Well, of course, we can eat them. The more herbs and spices we eat, just like fruits and veggies, the more beneficial nutrients we consume. Ingesting them as food, tea, or supplements can help fight viruses, balance good and bad bacteria, or boost our immune system.


Here are five herb examples to eat regularly to stay healthy, but in reality this list is long:

  • Dandelion (11,12,13)

  • Garlic (5)

  • Rosemary (1,5)

  • Thyme (1)

  • Lemon balm (1,5)

Essential oils are super-concentrated herbal extracts. They smell good but, they also have the beneficial properties of herbs, and are shown to kill drug-resistant pathogens(1, 5). We can benefit from essential oils by using them to clean and disinfect, by spraying them on surfaces and diffusing them into the air of our homes. If you can smell them, they are affecting your body. Here are essential oil examples to use:

  • Clove (18)

  • Cinnamon (5)

  • Pine (6,7)

  • Tea Tree (1,4,8)

  • Citrus (orange, lemon, grapefruit) (5)

For thousands of years, many cultures have burned herbs as offerings and in ceremonies. But did you know burning herbs actually helps purify the air (3,14) and can help heal infections (2)? These properties have been validated through some scientific studies, but in reality, there has been little science studied on this subject. We can use this as a tool by burning herbs as “smudge sticks” or as incense throughout our homes. Here are herb examples traditionally burned:

  • Mullein (14,15,16)

  • Sage

  • Sweetgrass

  • Rosemary

  • Mugwort

  • Thyme

  • Motherwort

Herbs have many uses for our health. They help so many conditions from anxiety to viral infections. Ingest, smell, or burn, all are ways to receive the beneficial compounds herbs grow.


References:

  1. Antimicrobial Properties of Plant Essential Oils against Human Pathogens and Their Mode of Action: An Updated Review. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5206475/

  2. Validation of smoke inhalation therapy to treat microbial infections. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378874108004224

  3. Medicinal smoke reduces airborne bacteria. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378874107004357

  4. Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil: a Review of Antimicrobial and Other Medicinal Properties. Clinical Microbiology Reviews. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1360273/

  5. Essential Oils and Health. Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7309671/

  6. A Novel Antimicrobial Peptides From Pine Needles of Pinus densiflora Sieb. et Zucc. Against Foodborne Bacteria. Frontiers in Microbiology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8172577/

  7. Antiviral Activities of Compounds Isolated from Pinus densiflora (Pine Tree) against the Influenza A Virus. Biomolecules. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7278015/

  8. Inactivation of Airborne Influenza Virus by Tea Tree and Eucalyptus Oils. Aerosol Science and Technology. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02786826.2012.708948#.VMb5Af7F-GG

  9. Antimicrobial Activity of Six Essential Oils Against a Group of Human Pathogens: A Comparative Study. Pathogens. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6471180/

  10. 5 Essential Oils That Can Help Clean Your Home's Air. Emma Loewe. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/essential-oils-that-clear-the-air

  11. Anti-influenza virus effect of aqueous extract from dandelion. Virology Journal. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3265450/

  12. The potential of dandelion in the fight against gastrointestinal diseases: A review. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378874122003117

  13. Common dandelion: a review of its botanical, phytochemical and pharmacological profiles. Phytochemistry Reviews. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/334244361_Common_dandelion_a_review_of_its_botanical_phytochemical_and_pharmacological_profiles

  14. Burn Aromatic Herbs as Homegrown Incense Mother Earth News. https://www.motherearthnews.com/sustainable-living/smoke-cleansing-sticks-zm0z18mjzols/

  15. Common mullein (Verbascum thapsus L.): recent advances in research. Phytotherapy Research. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/7542947_Common_mullein_Verbascum_thapsus_L_recent_advances_in_research

  16. Health-promoting and disease-mitigating potential of Verbascum thapsus L. (common mullein): A review. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ptr.7393

  17. Antimicrobial Activities of Clove and Thyme Extracts. Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3074903/

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