Herbal Nutrition: Why You Should Consider Them For Healthy Living
Herbal nutrition is about getting the necessary nutrientsrequired by our body from herbs.With all the success stories you hear, one would think that herbs are miracles in a packet, offering you all you need, be it weight loss, clear and radiant skin, lower blood pressure, or ridding yourself of depression. But let’s start at the beginning; what are herbs?
Simply put, herbs are plants that are valuable because of one or more beneficial qualities they possess. People all over the world have been using herbs since ancient times.
The food we eat and herbs are very closely related. Herbs are full of nutrients and phytochemicals, but the same nutrients and phytochemicals are easily found in other foods we eat as well. Herbs contain these elements in greater quantities than the foods we consume on a daily basis and are therefore, more effective.
In the olden days, herbs were commonly eaten as food, even those that are now strictly used for medicinal purposes, today. For example, milkweed, wild strawberry, yellow oxalis, spidenard, columbine, amaranth, cleavers, hops and watercress.
Masanobu Fukuka further explains in his book, The One Straw Revolution;
“Edible herbs and wild vegetables, plants growing on the mountain and in the meadow, are very high in nutritional value and are also useful as medicine. Food and medicine are not two different things: they are the front and back of one body. Chemically grown vegetables may be eaten for food, but they cannot be used as medicine.”
This clarifies why herbs taste the way they do and what makes the weak flavouring fruits and vegetables taste like that. It is the absence of essential nutrients and phytochemicals.
Before the advancement of modern medicine, people used to face similar health issues and these issues were treated by natural ways—one of which is herbs. It has been scientifically proven that herbs are more effective and have minimum side effects. An added advantage is the low cost.
Some Of The Benefits Of Herbs Are:
- Essential oils from herbs are known to have excellent anti-inflammatory effects. The oils work by inhibiting enzymes that are responsible for inflammatory reactions in the body. This helps in providing symptomatic relief to people who are suffering from ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis.
- Herbs are medicines in smaller dosage. They are packed with antioxidants and phytosterolswhich help to fight against toxins and germs by improving the immune system and boosting endurance.
- Herbs like fenugreek, bilberry and cayenne pepper are known to have excellent blood sugar stabilizing properties. They affect the pancreas positively and this results in controlled blood sugar levels.
- It is proven that certain compounds in garlic, fenugreek and liquorice are very good for controlling cholesterol and blood pressure.They also help in lowering down the risk of coronary artery disease and stroke.
- Many herbs like gingko and turmeric have anti-inflammatory, anti-amyloid and antioxidant properties. They help in lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s.
- Herbs have been used to treat symptoms of cancer and soothe the after-effects of chemotherapy. Herbs purify the blood of cancer cells and prevent further mutation of cells. Studies show that herbs like oldenladia, scutellaria, phragmites and taraxacum have been found to be beneficial in treating gastric, colon and breast cancer.
- The oil of some herbs help in fighting against pancreatic, colon and prostate cancer by emitting cytotoxic action.
- Herbs like neem, turmeric, holy basil and aloe vera are excellent for skin. They make the skin radiant and lighten dark spots. Chamomile oil, aloe vera and tea tree oil are used extensively in beauty products because of their oil controlling and refreshing properties.
- A number of herbs are very good for hair. Jojoba oil, horsetail, gotukula and ginseng stimulate hair growth. Ivy burdock treats scalp itchiness and dandruff. Aloe Vera regenerates hair cell production. Bonus: If you want to give your hair a tinge of different shade, try washing it with chamomile tea.
- Herbal toothpastes are getting common in the market. This is because market is full of toothpastes that promise white and shiny teeth at the cost of damaging them. Herbal toothpastes promise good oral hygiene and care without any side effects.
- Using herbal teas of mint or parsley can be helpful in treating bad breath. Clove oil is excellent for toothaches. Other herbs like Aloe Vera, fennel, sage, neem, thyme and lavender are being used in manufacturing safe herbal tooth pastes and moth washes.
The benefits of herbs are uncountable. Each one of it comes with a number of benefits but some properties like carminative, diaphoretic, lipolytic, anti-spasmodic, analgesic, antisepticand digestive are common to most of them.
How To Use Herbs In Our Daily Life
If you have reached this point of the article, you might be well aware of the benefits of herbs and how full of nutrients they are and thus, ready to try them.
We are lucky to belong to an age when things are easily available. There are a number of options to experience the benefits of different herbs and get the ones you require. Grocery stores and online platforms are some of them.
- The easiest way to use herb is to eat it as it is. It is difficult, because of the odd flavours herbs come in, but it ensures maximum effect.
- Herbs can be used in cooking. Make herb sauces, soups and stews. You can use them in salads or marinate and cook meat in herbs.
- Herbal teas is another way of enjoying the benefits of herbs. Brewing herbs in water or pouring a cup of hot water over a tea bag or teaspoon full of herbs makes a cup of tea that is full of flavour and nutrition.
- Use essential oils made from herbs. Eucalyptus oil in warm bath helps in opening up nasal passages. Lavender and chamomile oil help in calming the mind. Tea tree oil mixed with vinegar makes and excellent and safe disinfecting spray.
- The most common and easiest way to take herbal nutrition is in the form of supplements. A capsule or tincture is all you are required to consume.
Herbs are natural and nothing can beat safety and effectiveness of nature. They help in preventing diseases, strengthen the immune system, fight with diseases and promise good oral, skin and hair care. They can also be used in cooking because of their strong flavours and health benefits.
Things are being commercially produced on mass scales which are not fit to be consumed. Allopathic medicines are effective but come with a bundle of harmful side effects. Considering these scenarios, herbs seem to be the best solution. Herbal nutrition is definitely the best choice for a healthy lifestyle.
Audrey Throne is a mother of a 2-year old and a professional blogger by choice. Throne is passionate about health, technology and management and blogs frequently on these topics.
Find her on Twitter: @audrey_throne.