Since ancient times, people from every culture have used herbal remedies to help treat illness and enhance their health and well-being. Today, herbal folk medicine has made a big comeback as people are looking for a more natural approach to their health.
Siesta Botanicals offers several herbs that have been in use for centuries. Let’s take a look at the traditional use of these powerful botanicals.
Marshmallow root (Althaea officinalis) is a medicinal plant indigenous to Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa where it has been used in herbalism and as an ornamental plant for centuries.
Marshmallow root has the following benefits:
- Free radical scavenging properties
Marshmallow root has anti-inflammatory properties and has long been used to soothe pain and swelling in the respiratory tract. It’s been used for dry cough, stomach lining inflammation, ulcers, urinary tract inflammation, diarrhea, and constipation.
Sometimes, marshmallow root is applied directly to the skin to help soothe infections, eczema, insect bites, chapped skin, cold exposure, and burns.
In one study, published in the journal Pharmaceutical Biology, researchers found that marshmallow root helped with lipemia, inflammation and gastric ulcer in rats with no observed negative effects.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), also known as Indian ginseng or winter cherry, is an ancient Ayurvedic herb. It belongs to a class of medicinal herbs known as adaptogens and has been used for more than 3,000 years to help reduce stress, improve stamina and increase concentration levels.
Ayurvedic medicine can be traced back to 6000 BC. During this time, ashwagandha was used as a Rasayana. This is an ayurvedic medical term referring to techniques for prolonging one’s life and invigorating the body.
Traditionally, ashwagandha was used as a tonic, aphrodisiac, diuretic, stimulant, astringent, and an anti-parasitic.
Research shows it’s been commonly used to strengthen emaciated children (often given with milk) and the elderly, for rheumatism,vitiligo (an autoimmune disorder), constipation, insomnia, nervous breakdown, and goiter.
Holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum), or Tulsi, is an ancient herb commonly used in Ayurveda, a natural medicine system with historical roots in India. The herb has a place within the Vaishnava tradition of Hinduism, in which devotees perform worship involving holy basil plants or leaves.
In Ayurveda, holy basil is commonly referred to as an “Elixir of Life” due to its healing powers. The herb is an important adaptogen that has long been recognized to treat many different common health conditions.
Traditionally, holy basil leaf extracts have been used for the treatment of bronchitis, rheumatism, and pyrexia.
Other reported uses include treatment of epilepsy, asthma or difficult breathing, hiccups, cough, skin diseases, parasitic infections, wounds, neuralgia, headache, inflammation and oral conditions.
The juice of the leaves has been used as a drop for earaches, while the tea infusion has been used for gastric and liver disorders. The roots and stems of the plant were also traditionally used to heal mosquito bites, snake bites and malaria.
Yerba maté, Ilex paraguariensis, is a popular South American herbal tea that outrivals even green tea in its antioxidant content. The tea is commonly produced and consumed in the countries of Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil.
Traditionally, yerba mate has been shared from a gourd as a symbol of friendship and bonding and is commonly sipped through a filtered straw.
Yerba mate was consumed by the Guarani indigenous people long before the Spaniards conquered South America. The Guarani name for yerba mate is ka’a which means “a plant” or “herb.”
Yerba mate contains trace amounts of every vitamin and mineral your body requires, as well as seven out of ten essential amino acids. It will also give you an energy boost with its 85 milligrams of caffeine per cup.
In a recent study, published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, researchers analyzed the role of yerba mate and medicinal plants in the treatment of illnesses within Paraguayan folk medicine. The study was conducted among 100 Paraguayan migrants living in Misiones, Argentina. This included 61 women (aged between 30 and 95) and 39 men (aged between 28 and 90).
In their introduction, the authors review previous evidence on yerba mate’s health benefits. They write, “Research on extracts and isolated compounds from yerba mate has provided a number of pharmacological applications. Studies have demonstrated that yerba mate leaves have antioxidant, antiobesity, antidiabetic, digestive improvement and cardiovascular properties, and chemopreventative ones (preventing cellular damage that may cause chronic diseases).”
“The consumption of yerba mate infusion reduces LDL-cholesterol in parallel with an increase in HDL-cholesterol, as observed in studies on humans. Yerba mate extract also reduces acute lung inflammation, as observed in the animal model. Antimicrobial activity of Ilex paraguariensis has been recently studied as well.”
Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) is an ancient nervine (eases the nervous system) traditionally used in Europe and South America to treat insomnia, anxiety, neuralgia (a sharp pain that follows the path of a nerve), menstrual difficulties and burns.
The taste is described as floral, grassy and a little earthy.
Many people consume passionflower tea to help ease insomnia, anxiety or restlessness.
The herb contains many antioxidants, including vitamin C and lycopene, that help neutralize damaging free radicals. Native Americans used the herb as a medicine to treat a variety of health conditions, including wounds, boils, earaches, and liver problems.
Passionflower appears to act on GABA receptors and is considered an effective stress reducer. It has been shown to help reduce spasms and relax the central nervous system.
Research demonstrates that passionflower can help with chronic insomnia and memory issues. It may also help during episodes of restlessness, anxiety, sleeplessness and depression.
Reishi mushrooms (Ganoderma lingzhi) are a polypore fungus that have been revered in China for thousands of years. Called the mushroom of immortality, reishi is full of antioxidants and is a powerful immune system booster.
Reishi mushrooms have been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat insomnia, bronchitis, asthma, gastric ulcers, and arthritis.
Reishi is one of the most highly researched herbs on earth. Research in cancer patients has found that some of the molecules in Reishi mushrooms can increase the activity of helpful white blood cells known as natural killer cells.
This information should not be used in place of medical treatment or advice. Always be sure to talk to your doctor before taking herbs.