Sunday, May 24, 2009

Herbs to Herbs

It's no doubt that herbs have never lost their popularity. For thousands of years, their beauty, fragrance, and flavor have given humankind much pleasure. Herbs were our first medicines, used to treat problems ranging from sore throats and hypertension to heart disease and battle wounds.

Today, we season our foods with culinary herbs, prepare scents from the aromatic kinds, and cultivate them for the color and texture they bring to the garden. Even herbal medicine is experiencing a renaissance as scientific research confirms in the laboratory what our ancestors knew from experience.




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Image from Elizabeth Blackwell's flora Herbarium Blackwellianum emendatum et auctum




... The herbal remedies made from the leaves of the dandelion are used as a diuretic, it is also used in the treatment of high blood pressure which it accomplishes by reducing the total volume of fluid present in the body at any time.

As a detoxification agent, the root of the dandelion herb is considered to be one of the most effective and beneficial herbal remedies. The waste products accumulated in the liver and the gall bladder is removed by this herbal remedy and it principally affects the functioning of the liver and the gallbladder. The kidneys are also stimulated by the dandelion at the same time and it enables the rapid removal toxins through the urine produced. The root of the dandelion is known to be a remarkably well balanced herbal remedy, the steady and gradual elimination of toxins accumulating in the body due to infection or pollution is accelerated by the root of the dandelion. In the treatment of a variety of conditions, the dandelion possesses major and effective therapeutic benefits, these include the treatment of persistent constipation, the treatment of various types of skin problems, including acne, and eczema, and diseases like psoriasis. The root also treats other types of arthritic conditions, including severe conditions such as osteoarthritis, and disorders like gout ...



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Herbs have been used to flavor food and to make medicines since prehistoric times. Herbs are small flowering plants, and there are hundreds of different kinds, each with its own special properties. Usually it is the leaves that are valued, but it can be the flowers or the stem. Some, such as basil and oregano, are edible and used in small quantities to flavor food. Others, like feverfew are valued more for their medicinal qualities. Many of today's medicines came originally from plants, including aspirin (from willow trees), morphine (from the seeds of the opium poppy), and quinine (from the bark of the cinchona tree of South America). An extract of the rosy periwinkle, called vincristine, is one of the drugs used against leukemia, a childhood cancer.
Egyptian pyramid builders ate garlic because they thought it would give them strength. Rosemary gets its name from the Latin rosmarinus which means sea dew. Bay leaves were used to crown poets and heroes in Ancient Rome. The Ancient Greeks called basil "King of Herbs". The Latin name for sage is Salvia, which means healthy, and sage is thought to have healing qualities. Mint and the spice cinnamon keep moths away from clothes.

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