Herbs and Other Medicinal Plants for a healthy lifestyle.
Lemon myrtle is a beautiful flowering Australian shrub naturally occurring in the wetter coastal areas of southern Queensland and northern New South Wales and It grows up to 3 metres high, with graceful hanging branches of soft green leaves. The clusters of fragrant cream colored flowers usually appear in Autumn, creating a spectacular floral display.
The botanical name for this plant is Backhousia citriodora . It is also know by some common names such as lemon scented ironwood,lemon scented myrtle,lemon scented verbena, sweet verbena tree, lemon scented backhousia and sweet verbena myrtle,
Lemon myrtle, which is used as an herb in a variety of dishes, also has many antimicrobial properties.
Because of the high concentrations of citral found in lemon myrtle oil, this plant has a wide variety of applications in medicine.
Some of the compounds in Lemon myrtle oil include citral and citronellal. Lemon myrtle contains a much higher content of citral than lemongrass, lemon peel and some other plant sources.
Lemon myrtle also contains many other essential oils that have anticonvulsant ,antiseptic,anti-rheumatic,analgesic, expectorant, astringent, anti-neuralgic benefits.
It can also be used as a and hair toning product and is used in soaps and other cleaning products.
The main active ingredient found in lemon myrtle is a very high concentration of citral in its leaves. Citral comprises 90-98% of the essential oils in lemon myrtle. Where as lemons and limes only contain up to 10% of this essential oil.
Some of the properties of citral are.
Scientific studies have indicated that citral can inhibit the growth of the pathogen which is one of the causes of many gastro-duodenal diseases, including ulcers.
Some claims have also been made that it can aid in the reduction of cellulite and the anti-oxidants in citral can also be used to help boost the immune system.
Tumeric is a spice that has long been used in making the making of curry. Turmeric powder is made from the root of the Curcuma longa plant which has a tough brown outer skin with a very orange colored flesh.
Turmeric has long been used as a powerful anti-inflammatory in both Indian and Chinese forms of medicine. It was traditionally named "Indian saffron" because of its deep yellow-orange color and has been used throughout history as an additive to spices and other foods. It has also been used traditionally as a healing ingredient in many medicinal remedies and was also use extensively as a textile dye. This herb contains an ingredient called curcumin which is a powerfull natural anti-inflammatory agent. It is said to help the body reduce the amount of Cox-2 enzyme that is responsible for causing the swelling and pain associated with arthritis. During some Clinical tests run by the John Hopkins University it was found that turmeric can also help to reduce the size of
pre - cancerous lesions called colon polyps . During tests subjects took Medical curcumin along with a small amount of a drug called quercetin which is a strong anti-oxidant found in fruits and vegetables like onions,cabbage and apples. During the clinical studies using this combination it was found that in subjects with these type of polyps had the average number of cysts were reduced by over 60 percent and the polyps that remained had been reduced in size by more than 50 percent.
In this which was published in the Journal of Alzheimer's disease by researchers at UCLA it was also found that curcumin helped in removing a type of plaque that is associated with people that have Alzheimer's . So using turmeric in your meals could also help in reducing the risk of getting this disease
This sweet tasting herb is noted to help in lowering blood sugar levels.In a recent German study of type 2 diabetics, taking cinnamon extract daily successfully reduced blood sugar by about 10%.
It has also been found to help lower cholesterol levels. Cinnamon packs a one-two punch for people with type 2 diabetes by reducing related heart risks.
In another study of diabetics, it was reported to slash cholesterol levels by up to 13% and triglycerides by nearly 23%.
This usefull and aromatic herb is said to help us to avoid carcinogens. It has been discovered that when we Fry, broil, or grill meats at high temperatures this can create HCAs (heterocyclic amines),which are potent carcinogens found in many types of cancers. But it has been discovered that these HCA levels may be significantly reduced when rosemary extract which is a powder ground from rosmary. This powder is then mixed into beef before cooking. Kansas State University researchers say that . "Rosemary contains carnosol and rosemarinic acid, which are noted to be powerful antioxidants that can help to destroy the HCAs produced during the cooking of meats," explains lead researcher J. Scott Smith, PhD.
It has also been found to stop or reduce the formation of tumors. Rosemary extract helps prevent carcinogens that enter the body from binding with DNA, whic is the the first step in tumor formation, according to several animal studies. When researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fed rosemary extract to rats exposed to dimethylbenzanthracene, a carcinogen that causes breast cancer, both DNA damage and tumors decreased. "Human research needs to be done," says study author Keith W. Singletary, PhD. "But rosemary has been shown to have a lot of cancer-protective potential."
Maximize the benefits: To reduce HCAs, Smith recommends marinating foods in any supermarket spice mix that contains rosemary as well as one or more of the spices thyme, oregano, basil, garlic, onion, or parsley.
It is said that ginger can help to Avert nausea and may also prevent stomach upsets from many sources, including pregnancy, motion sickness, and chemotherapy.
It is said to contain a powerful antioxidant,which works by blocking the effects of serotonin, a chemical produced by both the brain and stomach when you're nauseated, it is also reported to control the production of free radicals which is another cause of upset in your stomach. In one study of cruise ship passengers traveling on rough seas, 500 mg of ginger every 4 hours was as effective as Dramamine, the commonly used OTC motion-sickness medication. In another study, where subjects took 940 mg, it was even more effective than the drug.
It has also been found that ginger is useful in helping to decrease blood pressure,reduce arthritis pain, and reduce the risk of cancer. Ginger is also reported to regulate blood flow, which may contribute to lower blood pressure, and its anti-inflammatory properties are said to help ease the pain of arthritis. In a study conducted at the Miami Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the University of Miami ,ginger extract was reported to have a significant effect on reducing pain in all 124 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee . Those same anti-inflammatory powers help powdered ginger kill ovarian cancer cells as well as—or better than—traditional chemotherapy, at least in the test tube, found a study by the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. Although further testing is needed, the study's authors are excited about its prospects: "Our preliminary results indicate that ginger may have significant therapeutic benefit for ovarian cancer patients."
Sweet Basil is often favored by cooks and chefs for its anise-like essence combined with an intense clove-like aroma, whether you use it fresh or dried, basil is a terrific herb for flavoring food and it can also be grown indoors to create an intense aroma that will also make your kitchen smell great and help with repelling insects around your home.
When added to food sweet basil will also add a healthy amount of the vitamins A, C and K, and can also provide us with a useful source of iron, magnesium, calcium and potassium to contribute as a natural source of these important trace elements needed for a healthy body.
Holy Basil: Is a a special variety of the plant you use in your pesto sauce, It is effective at reducing stress by increasing adrenaline and nor-adrenaline and decreasing serotonin. It can be made into a tea from the leaves of holy basil to help relieve indigestion and headaches.
It may also help to inhibit breast cancer. In laboratory tests on mice it was found that a regular dose of a tea made of holy basil helped to shrink tumors, reduced the tumors blood supply, and stopped their spread.
To use as an aid in breast cancer treatment, drink this tea daily: Pour 2 cups boiling water over 8 to 14 fresh holy basil leaves (other varieties of basil won't work) and steep 5 minutes. Remove the leaves before consuming. If you are being treated for breast cancer, be sure to check with your doctor or medical practitioner before using any alternative treatments.
Lemon Balm is a very hardy herb derived from the mint family of plants. It grows in clumps and is a perennial plant with deep veined, heart shape leaves covered with small hairs. Lemon balm is similar looking to mint but is not as invasive as mint and easier to control in a garden.
Lemon balm is very easy to grow. When crushed or disturbed the plant releases a delightful citrus aroma which can also be used as a natural insect replant. When used in cooking it adds a subtle lemon flavour to deserts and savory dishes. When added to salads and fresh fruit drink’s it can also add a nice zingy taste that enhances the natural flavours of the fresh fruit and vegies that are used.
Lemon balm is similar looking to mint but is not as invasive as mint and easier to control in a garden .
Lemon balm can also be used for its medicinal properties and works well when combined with other medicinal herbs as poultices for wounds and insect stings etc. Used as in infusion in herbal tea it can help to induce perspiration to help the body cool down during a fever that may be brought on by a cold or flu. When made up as a herbal tea it can also have a relaxing effect and help with mild depression and nervous indigestion.
Sage is a herb that has many wonderful health benefits it has also been know to be an excellent memory enhancer. Sage regularly has been found to be a benefit for mild Alzheimer’s suffers with word recall. Sage is rich in rosmarinic acid this special acid can help to reduce inflammation in the body and has been found to contain a potent antioxidant action. This health-promoting herb can also help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and has been traditionally used by menopausal women to ease hot flushes.
Oregano is considered to be a rich source of antioxidants and vitamin K, these two nutrients are important for improving the body’s ability to fight off infections and for improving bone density and blood clotting. Oreganoa has very strong antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, and has been known as a traditional treatment used to treat gastrointestinal and respiratory disorders, urinary tract problems and menstrual cramping. It is also said to be be used on the scalp to help clear dandruff and acne and can be used as a natural insect repellant.