plants

Medicinal Uses for Herb Plants

Herb plants are used for medicinal purposes as well as an additive to flavor food. Some of the medicinal purposes for herb plants have been used for centuries with success, although the accuracy of the medicinal properties of some of these plants has been questioned.

Medicinal Herbs

One common type of medicinal herb is gingko biloba. Gingko biloba (also known as the Maidenhair Tree) has been marketed as a drug that can improve your memory function as well as treat vertigo. While studies on these effects have found little to back this claim with the current recommended doses, gingko biloba may have undesirable side effects including an increased risk of bleeding.

Echinacea is another herb plant that has become popular in recent years. Echinacea is said to enhance a bodyís ability to fight infection; although Echinacea has been specifically marketed for cold virus, it is said to be effective against other illnesses as well. There have been studies that indicate Echinacea may actually be effective against colds and other illnesses, however the quality and type of Echinacea that may be effective varies greatly from what may be offered in stores. There have also been studies that suggest different types of Echinacea and even different parts of the plant itself may vary greatly in effectiveness.

St John's wort is an herb plant that hit the modern day news as a natural anti-depressant. It was used by Native Americans as anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. Studies regarding the use of St. Johnís wort as an anti-depressant have varying reports. Some indicate the herb may indeed be useful in this capacity while others indicate that this herb plant offers no anti-depressant benefit. Some of the possible side effects from St. Johnís Wort include photosensitivity and reduced fertility. There is conflicting evidence over whether or not this herb plant may impact the effectiveness of birth control pills.

Another herb plant that is used as a modern day remedy is Feverfew. Feverfew has been used through the years as a cure for headaches, fever-reduction, and arthritis. Feverfew has been used most recently to treat migraine headaches. Many research studies have indicated that Feverfew is a valid treatment for migraines and even arthritis. Although this herb plant does seem to help treat migraines, it is a cumulative effect (after 4-6 weeks of use) and should not be used to treat acute migraines. Side effects of Feverfew usage may include mouth sores and upset stomach.


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Gardening Tip #6

Overwatering kills most houseplants. Looks can be deceptive, so to see if your soil is dry enough to water, try the finger test. Insert your index finger up to the first joint into the soil. If the soil is damp, don't water it.