Saturday, October 27, 2007

Medicinal Herbs Reference

Since the beginning of time, herbs have played an important part in the diet and well-being of every major culture. The people of the ancient world relied heavily upon various herbs for their medicines.

Many of these plants were their chief therapy, offering comfort and healing during illness and disease. Written historical records list many medicinal plants in the early Materia Medica from ancient China, Babylon, Egypt, India, Greece and other parts of the world. The ancient Egyptian medical text Payrus Ebers, written in 1550 B.C., lists over 800 medicinal formulas using herbs.

Hippocrates, known as the "father of medicine", used herbs extensively with his patients and wrote about their healing benefits. And even today, some 25 percent of prescription drugs in the United States now on the market are derived from plants.

In fact, many of today's most popularly used medicinal herbs were once listed in the official monographs in the United States Pharmacopoeia (U.S.P) and the National Formulary (N.F).

There are over 2,000 herbs currently used somewhere in the world. The World Health Organization (W.H.O) estimates that 80 percent of the world's population relies mainly on traditional medicines, most of which utilize medicinal plants. Trying to decipher all of them can be a daunting tasks. Some herbal books make an attempt at presenting hundreds of these herbs and can be confusing. This article is composed to be quick reference guide that presents the properties and specific uses of 25 of some of the best researched and most popular herbs used in Europe, Asia and North America. It is up-to-date with the very latest research and application of each of the herbs.

The information provided in this article is for general reference purposes and is not intended to substitute for the advice of a medical doctor.

Herbs listed by Common Name and Botanical Name:
ALFALFA, Medicago Sativa
ALOE, Aloe Vera / Aloe Barbadensis
BILBERRY, Vaccinium Myrtillus
COMFREY, Symphytum Officinale
DANDELION, Taraxacum Officinale
ECHINACEA, Echinacea Augustifolia / Echinacea Purpurea
FENUGREEK, Trigonella Foenum-graecum
FEVERFEW, Chrysanthemum Parthenium
GARLIC, Allium Sativum
GERMAN CHAMOMILE, Matricaria Chamomilla
GINGER, Zingiber Officinale
GINKGO, Ginkgo Biloba
GINSENG, Panax Ginseng / Panax Quinquefolium
HAWTHORN, Crataegus Oxyacantha
MILK THISTLE, Silybum Marianum
PASSION FLOWER, Passiflora Incarnata
PUMPKIN SEED, Cucurbita Pepo
ROSEMARY, Rosmarinus Officinalis
SAW PALMETTO, Serenoa Repens
SCHIZANDRA, Schizandra Chinensis (Schisandra Chinensis)
ST. JOHN'S WORT, Hypericum Perforatum
SIBERIAN GINSENG (ELEUTHERO), Eleutherococcus Senticosus
TURMERIC, Curcuma Longa
VALERIAN, Valeriana Officinalis


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