Herbal Medicine

PLANT MEDICINE

NATURAL HEALING

Egyptians wrote one of the earliest known recorded medical documents around 1500 BC called Papyrus Ebers. The medical document is a 20 meters long scrolled document containing 700 plant-based remedies. Health Care 2.0 is an open thinking, less ego-based approach to health care. Life Energy Massage is a holistic massage clinic in Bozeman, Montana that beleives in, and supports, western health and integrative health; we are a world emerging into Health Care 2.0.

Disclaimer:

All users of this website are responsible for their own medical care, treatment, and oversight. All of the content provided on this website including text, treatments, dosages, outcomes and postings are for informational purposes only. This does not constitute the providing of medical advice or treatment.

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GINKO

As one of the oldest tree species, gingko is also one of the oldest homeopathic plants and a key herb in Chinese medicine. The leaves are used to create capsules, tablets, and extracts, and when dried, can be consumed as a tea. It’s perhaps best-known for its ability to boost brain health. Studies say that gingko can treat patients with mild to moderate dementia and can slow cognition decline in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Recent research is looking into a component that can help diabetes, and there continues to be more studies, including an animal study that says it might influence bone healing.

Rating

Safety: topically: 4.5/5, orally: 3/5  Evidence: 3/5

Interesting Fact

The gingko tree is considered a living fossil, with fossils dating from 270 million years ago. These trees can live up to 3,000 years.

Gingko Could Be Beneficial For

Alzheimer’s disease, eye health, inflammation, diabetes, bone healing, anxiety, depression, and dementia.

Things To Consider

  • Long-term use may increase chance of thyroid and liver cancer, which has been seen in rats.

  • It’s known to be hard on the liver, so liver enzymes may need to be monitored.

  • It can interact with blood thinners.

  • Gingko seeds are poisonous if ingested.

  • Side effects can include headache, upset stomach, dizziness, and allergic reaction.

  • Gingko use needs to be discussed with your doctor because of numerous drug interactions.

 
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TURMERIC

With its brilliant orange hue, it’s impossible to miss a bottle of turmeric sitting on a spice shelf. Originating in India, turmeric is believed to have anti-cancer properties and can prevent DNA mutations. As an anti-inflammatory, it can be taken as a supplement and it’s been used topically for people with arthritis who wish to relieve discomfort. It’s used worldwide as a cooking ingredient, which makes it a delicious, antioxidant-rich addition to many dishes. According to recent research, turmeric is also showing promise as a treatment for a variety of dermatologic diseases and joint issues.

Rating

Safety: used as an herb: 5/5; used as a supplement: 4/5  Evidence: 3/5

Interesting Fact

Turmeric has been used as a medicinal herb for 4,000 years. It’s a tentpole of an Indian alternative medicine practice called Ayurveda.

Turmeric Could Be Beneficial For

Pain caused by inflammatory diseases like arthritis, preventing cancer, stopping DNA mutations, and several skin diseases.

Things To Consider

  • When used as a supplement, people tend to take too much, so it can be difficult to trust the dosage and quality. Safety increases when ingested as an herb in cooking or tea.  

  • Long-term use can potentially cause stomach problems.

  • Turmeric has low bioavailability, consuming with pepper can help your body absorb more of its benefits.

 
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EVENING PRIMROSE OIL

The vibrant yellow evening primrose flower produces an oil that’s thought to alleviate the symptoms of PMS and skin conditions like eczema. Studies that are available on this oil tend to be all over the map, but there are studies that are stronger than others. For example, some studies have found that evening primrose oil has anti-inflammatory properties. It’s been known to help with conditions such as atopic dermatitis and diabetic neuropathy. It can also help with other health concerns, such as breast pain. Recent research points to improving the quality of life for patients with multiple sclerosis, changing hormones and insulin sensitivity in those dealing with polycystic ovary syndrome, and using it topically to improve mild dermatitis. According to these studies, evening primrose oil might just be the Swiss Army knife of the medicinal plant world. The caveat is that it can interact with several medications. More research is coming, and the applications are promising.

Rating

Safety: topically: 4.5/5; orally: 3/5  Evidence: 3/5

Interesting Fact

Evening primrose flowers are also called moonflowers because they bloom as the sun begins to set. People often say they smell like lemons.

Evening Primrose Oil Could Be Beneficial For

PMS, mild skin conditions, breast pain, menopause, inflammation, diabetic neuropathy, multiple sclerosis, PCOS, and blood pressure

Things To Consider

  • Interacts with some blood-clotting medications.

  • Safety during pregnancy is uncertain.

  • May interfere with drug absorption during HIV treatment.

  • Interacts with lithium for bipolar disorder

  • Long-term use may not be safe

 
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FLAX SEED

Flax seed, also available as an oil, is one of the safer choices among plant-based dietary supplements. Harvested for thousands of years, today flax seed is praised for its antioxidant activity and anti-inflammatory benefits. Although more research needs to be done with human subjects, one study says that flax seed can help prevent colon cancer. Another study cites that flax seed has the ability to reduce blood pressure. When consumed, it can even aid in reducing obesity. Many people add flax seed and flaxseed meal to oatmeal and smoothies, and it’s also available in the form of tablets, oil (which can be put into capsules), and flour. The best way to add flax seed is through your diet. Sprinkle ground seeds on cereal or salad, cook in hot cereal, stew, homemade breads, or smoothies or add flax seed oil to salad dressing.

Rating

Safety: 4.5/5  Evidence: 3.5/5

Interesting Fact

Flax seeds are one of a handful of plant-based sources for omega-3 fatty acids. Other sources include chia seeds, walnuts, and soybeans.

Flax Seed Could Be Beneficial For

Decreasing obesity, regulating blood pressure, preventing colon cancer, inflammation, and hot flashes.

Things To Consider

  • Flax seed can affect estrogen production in women, especially if they have a history of cancer or are pregnant.  

  • Don’t eat raw or unripe flax seeds, as they can be toxic.

 
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TEA TREE OIL

The tea tree, which is native to Australia, produces an oil that’s long been thought to be beneficial for skin conditions, including mild acne, athlete’s foot, small wounds, dandruff, insect bites, and other inflammatory skin conditions. There needs to be further study into acne and scalp use, but for now, there’s a degree of research into the antimicrobial superpowers of tea tree oil on wounds and topical infections. One recent study said that tea tree oil slowed the growth of acne causing microbes. It’s commonly used as a highly concentrated essential oil. Wilson recommends that tea tree oil, as with all essential oils, should be diluted in a carrier oil. She adds that it often already comes diluted in a variety of skin care products and creams.

Rating

Safety: 4/5  Evidence: 3/5

Interesting Fact

Tea tree oil is derived from the leaves of a tree that’s native to Queensland and New South Wales, Australia.

Tea Tree Oil Could Be Beneficial For

Acne, athlete’s foot, cuts, dandruff, and insect bites.

Things To Consider

  • Tea tree oil is poisonous if taken orally. 

  • Your skin could experience an allergic reaction.

  • It may influence hormones.

  • Long-term use isn’t recommended.

 
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ECHINACEA 

Echinacea is a lot more than those pretty, purple coneflowers you see dotting gardens. These blooms have been used for centuries as medicine in the form of teas, juice, and extracts. Today, they can be taken as powders or supplements. The best-known use of echinacea is to shorten symptoms of the common cold, but more studies are needed to verify this benefit and to understand how echinacea boosts immunity when a virus is present. Generally, save a few potential side effects, echinacea is relatively safe. Even though it needs more testing, you can always choose to use it if you’re hoping to see your cold symptoms end more quickly.

Rating

Safety: 4.5/5  Evidence: 3.5/5

Interesting Fact

Some of the earliest people to use echinacea as a medicinal herb were Native Americans. The first archaeological evidence dates back to the 18th century.

Echinacea Could Be Beneficial For

Colds, immunity, bronchitis, and upper respiratory infections.

Things To Consider

  • It can be tough on the digestive tract and upset the stomach.  

  • Allergic reactions are possible.

 
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GRAPESEED EXTRACT

For years, grapeseed extract, which is available via liquid, tablets, or capsules, has been well-established and applauded for its antioxidant activity. It has potent health benefits, including lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol and reducing symptoms of poor circulation in the leg veins. Studies are confirming that regular consumption of grapeseed extract has anticancer effects and seems to halt cancer cell growth.

Rating

Safety: 4.5/5  Evidence: 3.5/5

Interesting Fact

Grapeseed extract contains the same antioxidants found in wine.

Grapeseed Extract Could Be Beneficial For

Cancer, lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, leg vein circulation, edema, and blood pressure.

Things To Consider

  • Proceed with caution if you take blood thinners or blood pressure medications, or if you’re about to go in for surgery.  

  • It may reduce iron absorption.

 
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LAVENDER

If you experience anxiety, chances are that someone along the way has recommended that you use lavender essential oil, and for good reason. This aromatic, purple flower has a fairly strong standing among studies, which have mainly focused on its anti-anxiety capacities. It’s proven to be soothing in a study conducted among dental patients, while another study confirmed that lavender can directly impact mood and cognitive performance. It’s also been commended for its sedative properties to help people get much-needed sleep. Recently, it’s been discovered that lavender carries anti-inflammatory benefits as well. It’s most effective diluted and applied to the skin or used in aromatherapy, and it has few side effects.

Rating

Safety: 4/5  Evidence: 3.5/5

Interesting Fact

Lavender was first brought to Provence, France, by the Romans 2,000 years ago.

Lavender Could Be Beneficial For

Anxiety, stress, blood pressure, and migraines.

Things To Consider

  • It can cause skin irritation.

  • It’s poisonous if taken orally.

  • It may disrupt hormones when applied undiluted.

 
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CHAMOMILE

With flowers that resemble small daisies, chamomile is another medicinal plant that’s thought to have anti-anxiety properties. Most people know it because it’s a popular tea flavor (one review says that over 1 million cups per day are consumed around the world), but it can also be ingested through liquids, capsules, or tablets. The calming powers of chamomile have been frequently studied, including a 2009 study that states chamomile is superior to taking a placebo when treating generalized anxiety disorder. One recent study confirmed it’s safe for long-term use, and another recent study looked beyond its use for anxiety and confirmed that it also shows potential in anti-cancer treatments.

Rating

Safety: 4/5  Evidence: 3.5/5

Interesting Fact

There are two types of chamomile: German chamomile, an annual that thrives in the Midwest, and Roman chamomile, a perennial that attracts pollinators and smells like apples.

Chamomile Could Be Beneficial For

Anxiety, stress, insomnia, and cancer.

Things To Consider

  • It can cause allergic reactions, there have been reports of anaphylaxis.  

  • It can interact with blood thinners.