The Three Most Misunderstood Herbs

echinaceaEven though herbs have been around since the beginning of time, many are still unknown or misunderstood. Over the past 20 years, a tremendous amount of education has been provided to the public about herbs in natural and supplement form but along with factual data being provided there has been some misinformation. As a result, some people remain uncertain about many popular herbs being used to promote health and wellness today. For that reason, the following represents a few examples of the most misunderstood herbs, focusing on the benefits provided.

Before reviewing the list, it should be noted that the importance of certain individuals seeing a doctor or health professional in the process of conducting research, prior to trying any new herbs. As an example, someone with heart or liver disease, as well as pregnant or nursing women should always get the nod of approval from a conventional, holistic, or homeopathic doctor before taking anything new.

Although the majority of natural substances are completely safe and effective, there are some that should be taken with care. After all, some herbs can have negative interactions with other herbs and even prescription medications. In addition, there are herbs that cause unpleasant side effects or could be potentially dangerous when certain types of illnesses exist.

Echinacea

This flower is also known as the Purple Coneflower. A well-known fact is that in the mid-1800s, this particular herb was involved in one of the world’s greatest movements for herbal medicine. Today, Echinacea is still widely used yet its true benefits are somewhat clouded. Initially, this and other similar herbs were used in Native American medicine, followed by being adopted into Indian and Chinese medicine as well.

While this is a native plant of the United States, its name is actually a Greek derivative from the word “echinos”, which translates to sea urchin. After its initial discovery, this herb was used to treat a variety of illnesses and injuries to include sore throats, colds, and even snake bites. Realizing the degree of benefits, new research revealed a total of nine species of this plant, each offering medicinal properties. The three used most often are listed below with E. purpurea being the most common.

o E. purpurea
o E. pallida
o E. amgustifolia

St. John’s Wort

Another herb used today that is often misunderstood is St. John’s Wort. Most people have heard the name yet have no idea of just how well the herbs works or the long list of health issues it can be used for. Now, there are two specific warnings associated with St. John’s Wort to include the potential to have a bad interaction with certain prescribed medications such as blood thinners, oral contraceptives, and antidepressants. In this case, these drug’s metabolism speeds up, which means the level of effectiveness for prescription medication is compromised as it flushes out of the body prematurely.

St. John’s Wort comes from the Latin name Hypericum perforatum, which is a reference to small oil glands located in the plant’s leaves. The red colored resin at the base of the flowers is extracted and made into a tincture after being infused into oil. Interestingly, along with St. John’s Wort being sold commercially, it also grows wild in many areas of the United States where it can be seen along highways, the edge of sidewalks, and abandoned lots within metropolitan cities. However, there are actually some states that consider this herb as a weed opposed to a vital and natural treatment.

Some of the primary benefits of this herb include the following:

o Repairs nerve and tissue damage
o Reduces inflammation and pain
o Lessens symptoms of depression and anxiety

Magnolia Bark

Although this substance is tree bark, it is often categorized as being an herb. The Magnolia Bark is misunderstood because most people have never heard of it or have no clue to its health benefits. Even so, this herb has been used for hundreds of years as a key ingredient in many medicinal concoctions although in its given place of origin, it is called Houpu or Chinese Magnolia. While documentation can only date back so far, this particular plant has a 95-mllion-year history, something proven by researchers and scientists that have found genus and related fossils.

The powerful healing properties of Magnolia Bark come from two specific compounds to include Honokiol and Magnolol. Following are some of the primary things this herb benefits, whether in its natural state or as a high quality supplement.

o Allergies
o Alzheimer’s disease
o Arthritis and Gout
o Chronic Cough
o Cold and Flu
o Fever
o Gas and Bloating
o Immune System
o Menstrual Cramps
o Oral Health
o Weight Loss

Summary

The list of misunderstood herbs is actually quite extensive but the three examples provided show why it is so important to thoroughly research benefits. Although many people know that these and other herbs promote good health and wellness, they do not realize the full extent of benefits provided. Today, more and more people are turning away from conventional medicine and turning to natural remedies with excellent results.