Know Your Medicinal Herbs: Oregano

Oregano is a plant or herb, that comes from the mint family. It’s used in cooking and to treat health conditions for many centuries. It contains several antioxidants that contribute to its health benefits. It has been used to treat skins sores, aches and pains, indigestion, and colds.  
 
Some research suggest it may be able to help fight cancer, bacteria, regulate blood sugar, and reduce inflammation in the body. Oregano has two substances that have strong antibacterial properties. These substances are carvacrol and thymol.  
 
In a study conducted in 2019, these substance prevented bacteria from growing in meat and dairy products. This showed that oregano might be able to be used to control the growth of bacteria in foods. Researchers tested oregano to find it showed antibacterial activity against microbes. The conclusion that the research showed is that eating oregano may help prevent infections.  
 
Oregano oil is sold in health food stores and used to help reduce soreness and inflammation in muscles and uses externally. The concentrated oil is rubbed into the muscles or skin. In studies on animals, it was believed to reduce inflammation. 
 
Compounds in oregano have been linked to helping with controlling diabetes. In studies, it has been shown to improve insulin resistance, regulate the digestion of fat and carbs, and repair damaged tissue. It has been use with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.Concentrated oregano oil is believed to be a natural antibiotic, improve gut health, relieve pain, and help with weight loss.  
 
Oregano can cause upset stomach, vomiting, and indigestion in some people. Pregnant women, individuals with bleeding disorders, allergies, and those with chronic illness should check with their doctor before using. It can act as a water pill at times and does not react well with some medications. 
 
Oregano has been used in cooking for centuries. It is in sauces, on pizza and pasta, in stews, soups and salads. It is used as a seasoning in bread. Cooks use it to make flavored oil, marinades for meats, and added it to vegetable dishes for flavor. It is a versatile herb and very popular for cooking. 

Know Your Medicinal Herbs: Ginger

Ginger is a medicinal herb used by people since ancient times. It is native to Asian countries, including China, Japan, and India but now can be also found in some African countries and South America. Ginger is used in medicine for different health problems. The most common health benefits of ginger are the following: 

Improves digestion. 

It helps to improve the movement through the digestive tract by preventing constipation. Also, it reduces such symptoms as diarrhea, upset stomach, and colic caused by irritable bowel syndrome.  

Eases the flu or a cold. 

Ginger helps to relieve a sore throat and kill rhinoviruses causing a cold and the flu.  

Relieves pain

According to the study conducted by the American Pain Society in 2009, 2 grams of heated or raw ginger can reduce muscle pain by 25%. It also helps women to reduce dysmenorrhea – the pain caused by menstruation.  

Reduces inflammation 

A review of 16 clinical trials in 2017 revealed that ginger is able to combat inflammation.  

Lowers cancer risk

Ginger is a great source of antioxidants reducing different types of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress causes building up free radicals – substances responsible for cellular damage and development of cancer.  

Treats burns

Ginger juice is often applied to skin to treat burns. Ginger also is also effective for preventing insect bites.   

Possible risks 

Many compounds of ginger have not been investigated by researchers yet. Moreover, there is still no scientific proof that ginger has healing qualities. Doctors also warn that by interacting with other medications, ginger might cause unpredictable health complications. Moreover, ginger might also cause allergic reactions, such as skin rash, swelling of the face, lips, or throat, and difficulty breathing. Therefore, to avoid any risks, it is highly recommended to consult a physician or health provider. 

Know Your Medicinal Herbs: Garlic

Beyond its natural ability to give a lot of flavor to food and to repel vampires, garlic is also quite the little medicinal item. One record from the 12th Century reveals that garlic was administered to field laborers to stave off the effects of prolonged sun exposure. Galen of Pergomon was a prestigious Roman scholar who regarded garlic as a cure-all in rural communities. 
 
Some testing has been done regarding garlic’s anti-carcinogenic qualities. One 2013 study found that men with garlic as a staple of their diet had diminished risks of prostate cancer. Another study, done in 2014 with Korean individuals, found that garlic contribute to a reduced risk of stomach cancer. 
 
While garlic’s pungency is well-known, especially when you consider that it happens to be in the same botanical group as onions, there are some other potential hazards of consuming garlic. 

  • Consuming garlic tends to quickly transfer its sulfuric odor to the consumer’s breath and body odor. Furthermore, a nursing mother may notice that their children will drink far more slowly and develop a garlicky breath smell after she eats garlic. 
  • Allium allergy is a real condition. Some people simply cannot safely eat onions, shallots or garlic without suffering. These people may experience diarrhea, ulcerations around the mouth and throat, trouble breathing or even anaphylactic shock in the most extreme of cases. Fortunately, tests exist to verify if you have such a sensitivity and this sensitivity can also manifest with ginger and bananas. 
  • While garlic has been reputed to help with acne, it can also leave severe chemical burns on the skin. If you plan on using garlic to treat acne, begin with a small amount over a small area of skin and see how the skin reacts in small batches before continuing. Note that garlic should never be pursued as an acne cure when dealing with young children. 
  • Excessive garlic consumption is known to screw up blood thinners. 

Know Your Medicinal Herbs: Cinnamon

Much of the cinnamon in the world is grown in Sri Lanka, where it was discovered in the 1500s. It has been used for many purposes since that time, and today we understand more about the benefits of cinnamon. It not only tastes delicious, it also offers several outstanding health benefits.  
 
Cinnamon is chock-full of antioxidants like polyphenol. When compared to dozens of other spices, including garlic, a known super food, cinnamon outranks all of them for it’s antioxidant protection factor. This is a key component in protecting our bodies and cells from the damage caused by free radicals.  
 
Another important benefit of cinnamon use is it’s power as an anti-inflammatory. Chronic inflammation within the body can cause pain and damage tissues. Cinnamon offers the ability to keep damaging inflammation in check, thus reducing inflammation, which lowers the risk of disease over time.  
 
A powerful protective agent against heart disease, cinnamon shows promise in reducing bad cholesterol, as well as offering protection for people with hypertension. A small dose, about half to one teaspoon, per day can increase “good,” or HDL, cholesterol while it reduces the bad. By using small amounts of cinnamon everyday, a person cuts their overall risk of heart disease significantly.  
 
A protein in the brain called tau appears to be built up in patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and cinnamon helps to inhibit this build up, potentially helping slow or stop a person’s progression into the disease. While mice with Parkinson’s who were given cinnamon showed improved motor functioning and their neurotransmitter levels appeared to normalize with regular consumption of cinnamon. This means that cinnamon may offer measurable protection against neuro-degenerative conditions.  
 
When all is said and done, cinnamon has shown itself to be a powerful medicinal herb. It’s also delicious, and by simply incorporating a small amount into the diet every day, a person will benefit from these incredible protective properties offered by cinnamon. Research is ongoing, but all signs point to long-term health benefits with small daily portions of cinnamon.  

Know Your Medicinal Herbs: Rosemary

Rosemary is a medicinal herb that is originally from the Mediterranean region. It belongs to the mint family, along with other herbs, including oregano, basil, thyme, and lavender. Rosemary has been used since ancient times for medical purposes and various health problems. Here are the main health benefits of rosemary.

Combats inflammation

Rosemary is the source of antioxidants helping to strengthen the immune system and improve blood circulation.  

Improves digestion

It is widely used in European countries for treating various digestive diseases and disorders. Thus, in Germany, it has been officially recognized as a herb for treating indigestion.  

Improves memory and the ability to concentrate

According to the research published in Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology, rosemary’s aroma helps to improve concentration, attention, memory, mood, and performance.  

Protects the brain

Rosemary contains carnosic acid – an ingredient eliminating free radicals from the brain. Moreover, it is recommended to people experienced stroke because it improves recovery and regeneration of the brain cells.  

Prevents brain aging. 

Rosemary may be helpful in the prevention of Alzheimer’s – a type of dementia characterized by ta gradual death of the brain cells.  

Protects from macular degeneration. 

The results of a research published in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science in 2012 showed that carnosic acid contained in rosemary has a positive impact on eye health.  

Lowers cancer risk.

Due to its anti-inflammatory qualities, rosemary acts as an anti-tumor agent by lowering cancer risks.  

Side effects of rosemary 

If taken in low doses, it is absolutely safe. However, large doses of rosemary might trigger serious side effects, including:  

  • Spasms 
  • Coma 
  • Fluids in the lungs (known as pulmonary edema) 
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Miscarriage. Therefore it is not recommended to pregnant women.  
  • Allergic reaction.  
  • High risk of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.