Herbal supplements have taken a larger role in Western medicine in recent years as people choose to take control of their own health in pursuit of a better quality of life. These supplements are not new – some have been used for thousands of years!
Many herbs, although perfectly natural, do have drug-like effects on the human body, so if you're interested in taking herbs to improve health, you owe it to yourself to thoroughly research any products you want to consume. Furthermore, if you have chronic health conditions, are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should consult your physician before taking medicinal or supplemental herbs.
Most of us have heard of using Echinacea for colds, flaxseed oil for lower cholesterol, and gingko for stimulating the memory, but there is an extensive pharmacopeia of herbs well beyond these well-known examples.
Herbs for Brain Health
For the brain alone, there are dozens of herbs that have been used for stimulating the brain, calming the psyche, and helping prevent memory loss. Some herbs increase blood flow to the brain, while others enhance brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. Still others pack powerful antioxidants that mop up free radicals that cause damage on a cellular level.
Gingko biloba is perhaps the most commonly known herb for brain health, although hawthorn, which is full of antioxidants, rosemary, Schisandra, and gotu kola, used to improved brain circulation are other herbal supplements used to aid the brain.Rosemary – popular in culinary doses, rosemary can improve brain function and enhance memory and concentration.
Herbs for Coping with Stress
Herbs are also used often for reduction of stress and aid to the body that is coping with stress. Siberian ginseng is one of the most well-known herbs used in stress management, used by many athletes to help the body cope with the stress of training. Gotu kola has been used in India for centers for reduction of anxiety and boosting of the immune system.
Herbs to Aid in Digestion
Many people take herbs to aid in digestion. For example, ginger has been used for millennia in Eastern medicine and in Chinese cooking because of its positive effects on digestion. It has also been long known to help with nausea and general stomach discomfort. Bilberry and turmeric are both well-known herbs, used to treat menstrual cramps and aid the liver in detoxification respectively.
There is a whole world of natural supplementation to be explored for those who are interested in alternatives to or adjuncts to Western approaches to bodily health. Herbal supplements have been used for centuries and their effects have been extensively documented.