Herbology is the practice of using plants and plant extracts for medicinal purposes. Herbs and plants have been used for generations to treat illnesses. Herbologists, those who practice medicine based on the use of plants, say there are a multitude of herbs and plants that are used to naturally cure ailments and that have proven beneficial to over-all health and well being.
Ginseng (Panax Quinquefolium) has been used in alternative medicine for more than 5,000 years. It has been studied in many countries for the past 30 years and has been found to have the ability to help our body deal with mental stress, fatigue and even hunger. Ginseng is said to stimulate the nervous system, which helps to improve stamina, lowers blood sugar and increases resistance to diseases. The recommended dose of ginseng is 1000 mg a day. Do not mix ginseng with coffee; this may cause diarrhea.
The ginkgo tree is one of the oldest trees in the world and has been a part of traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. The extract of the ginkgo tree (Ginkgo biloba) has been used to treat conditions such as leg pain, tinnitus, bronchitis, asthma and sexual dysfunction. Ginkgo may also be helpful in the treatment of early stages of Alzheimer's disease. Ginkgo biloba extract is usually taken in the form of a tablet or used in teas. Uncooked ginkgo has been known to cause seizures.
Known as the plant of immortality, the aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) can be traced back 6,000 years to Egypt where pictures of the plant were found on stone carvings. Aloe vera has been used to heal skin conditions, burns and wounds and is found in skin products including sun blocks and lotions. People take aloe orally to treat constipation, diabetes, asthma, epilepsy and osteoarthritis. The aloe vera leaf contains a gel that is applied directly to wounds and burns. Cramps and diarrhea have been reported as a side affect from ingesting aloe vera.
Native to the Mediterranean region, lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) was once used in Egypt as part of the mummifying process. Lavender is found in potpourri and bath products and used mainly for its sweet scent but it also has medicinal purposes. Lavender is said to ease an upset stomach or headache and makes an excellent antiseptic for cleaning wounds. It is most often used in aromatherapy and is inhaled to help relieve stress, depression and anxiety. The essential oil of the lavender plant can be applied to the skin to soothe the mind or treat wounds. For oral ingestion, make a tea from the dried leaves of the lavender plant. Lavender has been known to cause irritation if applied to the skin and can be poisonous if taken by mouth.
There are two types of chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) that are used to treat ailments, German and Roman chamomile. Both are said to have similar effects on your body. German chamomile is the more popular variety and is the one most often found in the United States. Chamomile is helpful in the control of anxiety and sleeplessness in both adults and children. Gastrointestinal conditions such as diarrhea, gas and nausea respond well to chamomile. It can be used as a topical treatment for skin conditions and in the mouth to treat ulcers that occur during cancer treatments. The flowers of the plant are ground to make teas and tablets. Chamomile extract is found in creams or ointments. Those who are allergic to plants in the daisy family may have allergic reactions to chamomile.