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Healing Herbs

Nature is equipped with its very own pharmacy and provides all the raw ingredients for our health and well being. Most people are familiar with herbs for their culinary role as flavour boosters to our favourite recipes but these versatile plants offer an abundance of health benefits too.

Since ancient times, herbs have been used on both physical and more subtle levels to treat ailments, pain and disease and they still play a central role in many healing traditions such a Chinese, Ayurvedic and Naturopathic medicine.

Many herbs, derived directly or indirectly, form the basis of modern allopathic medicine and indeed, the pharmaceutical industry harvests herbs for use in the production of drugs, for example –

Opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) is the source of morphine and codeine

Aspirin originated from Willow bark (Salix alba)

Digitalis, a heart muscle strengthener, is derived from the Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)

Cinchona bark (Cinchona officinalis) is the source of quinine for anti-malaria drugs

By definition, a herb is any plant that has a medicinal action in the body and this includes fruits and vegetables, so most people are unconsciously taking beneficial remedies in their food on a daily basis. Herbs contain a potent mix of minerals, vitamins, trace elements and a vast assortment of compounds/active ingredients such as phenols, flavonoids, phytosterols, anthraquinones, all known to have specific therapeutic actions. The leaves, flowers, bark, berries, roots, stems and seeds of medicinal herbs are used for their multipurpose benefits, these include antimicrobial, antiviral, antiseptic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anthelmintic (anti-parasite), analgesic (pain killer), antifungal, antispasmodic, antiemetic (anti nausea)properties – to name but a few! Apart from herbs’ resourceful culinary contributions in fresh or dried form, herbs and herbal remedies are made easily accessible in many forms such as essential oils /aromatherapy oils, tinctures, teas/infusions, syrups, tablets / capsules / powders, ointments / creams, compresses / poultices, inhalations, vinegars…

Here at Nature’s Haven, we are dedicated to cultivating the principles of a physic garden, focusing on the plants’ inherent healing properties and we are at hand to give instructions on preparing the soil, sowing and propagating, harvesting and preserving the herbs to retain their maximum therapeutic properties. We will be showcasing a huge selection of herbs including –

Calendula (Calendula Officinalis) Asteraceae family, commonly known as the marigold, prized as an excellent first- aid remedy. The medicinal part of the plant is found in the flower. Healing actions include anti-inflammatory, anti- thrombogenic, antiseptic, diaphoretic (reduces excess sweating), anti ulcer. When used topically -speeds up wound healing, effectively treats skin ailments/infections and fungal issues, very effective for nappy rash.

Chamomile (Chamomilla matricaria) Asteraceae Family, flowers used. Commonly used to reduce anxiety/stress and promote relaxation. Improves sleep quality due to renowned sedative action. Anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, antioxidant, antihistamine, digestive, anodyne (pain relief). Can be brewed as a tea, applied as a compress or used topically to treat skin irritation. Beneficial in relieving gastrointestinal disorders and menstrual problems.

Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia) Asteraceae family, whole herb and root is used. Antibiotic, diaphoretic, immunostimulant, decongestant, antimicrobial. Wards off and relieves respiratory infections, supports immune system, blood cleanser, promotes wound healing, treats skin irritations, relieves arthritis pain.

Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) Asteraceae family, all aerial parts used. So named because of its ability to reduce fevers. An excellent remedy for headaches and migraine, as prevention the leaves can be eaten daily with food. Relaxant, anti-inflammatory, antihistamine, analgesic, nerve tonic.

Garlic (Allium sativum) Alliaceae family, bulb used. Valued for both its culinary and medicinal purposes, can be consumed cooked or raw. Traditionally used to preventing infection, reducing blood pressure, treating liver complaints, eliminating intestinal parasites, reducing fevers. Antimicrobial, anti-helmintic, expectorant, immunostimulant, digestive, circulatory stimulant, antitumour. Please note large doses can increase risk of bleeding for those taking warfarin or antihypertensives.

Black cumin / Nigella seeds (Nigella sativa) Ranunculaceae family, seeds used. Regarded by many cultures, especially those practising Prophetic Medicine, as a 'miracle cure all except death' remedy. Antihypertensive, immunomodulator, analgesic, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, antihistamine, bronchodilator, antioxidant, liver tonic, digestive. Traditionally used to treat asthma, bronchitis, allergic rhinitis, high blood pressure, blood sugar regulation, liver issues etc.

St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) Hypericaceae family, flowers /leaves/stem used. Traditionally used to boost mood, reduce anxiety and relieve depression due to its ability to raise serotonin levels. Also provides relief from nerve pain, menopause symptoms, PMS, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), skin irritations and viral infections. Can aid in smoking cessation. Caution – must not be used if taking antidepressants or warfarin.

Sage (Salvia officinalis) Lamiaceae family, leaves used. Regarded as the ‘immortality herb’ by the ancient Greeks. Antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antiviral, antifungal, expectorant, rejuvenator, diuretic, digestive, vasodilator. Commonly used to improve memory, menopause symptoms especially hot flushes, night sweats & insomnia, excellent for catarrh, colds and chest infections, effective against cold sores.

Always seek advice from your GP or primary health care provider before taking any herbal remedies due to contra-indications / adverse interactions with prescribed medications.

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