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The 20 best healing herbs (effects and health benefits)

The 20 best healing herbs (effects and health benefits)

June 24, 2024

Nowadays and thanks to advances in science, medicine is able to cure a great variety of diseases. But before medicine developed to an acceptable level, the different peoples of the world used the knowledge that tradition and observation of the effects of various products present in nature in order to try to alleviate ailments.

One of the main elements used are the so-called healing or medicinal herbs , which have properties that can help relieve discomfort and various minor alterations. However, it must be borne in mind that these suppose a relief of the symptoms and an aid to the improvement of the wound healing, but they can not substitute the conventional medical treatments nor make disappear serious illnesses.

There is a great variety and diversity of these plants, given the diversity of the species described by botany. Next we will see a selection of the best healing herbs.

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What is called a healing herb?

Before commenting on some of the most relevant healing herbs, it is necessary to define what is a curative or medicinal herb, which is often identified as a medicinal plant. Although it is generally used as a synonym for this last concept (including also, for example, trees), technically when we speak of healing herbs we are referring to all that type of plant with stem configured by soft tissue and green (never woody) and that they die once they have produced offspring, usually at the end of the season, which possess medicinal properties beneficial to human health.

Despite this, they should never be used as substitutes for medical treatment , and should be taken should be consulted the possible interactions with drugs and other interventions with which they could have dangerous interferences. In addition, it must be borne in mind that some of the properties attributed to many of these herbs have not been scientifically proven, and in other cases their beneficial effects have been shown to be less efficient than expected.

A selection of the best healing herbs

This is a list of twenty of the best healing herbs, most of them widely known and even in many cases widely used by a large part of the population. Keep in mind that although they have positive effects on health, most of them have some contraindication or it is not advisable in specific situations, and even some of them have abortive properties.

1. Chamomile

The queen of infusions, chamomile or chamomile is one of the best known and used healing herbs when trying to treat and reduce the pain and discomfort of the gastrointestinal tract. It also has a relaxing and anti-inflammatory effect, something that makes it useful to treat muscle or headaches. It also has antibacterial properties that make it also used to clean wounds or as a rinse.

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2. Romero

Common seasoning in our kitchens, rosemary is another herb that has relevant medicinal properties. Rich in antioxidants and with a large number of essential components for health , this plant contributes to delay aging and cell death caused by free radicals, in addition to contributing to improve concentration and performance and to alleviate and enhance recovery from respiratory or digestive problems (including the facilitation of the expulsion of gases), facilitating menstruation and increase energy levels.

It also has, among others, antibacterial, protective liver, healing, expectorant and analgesic properties. Of course, like most other exponents of this list, too much can be toxic.

3. Salvia

Another known medicinal herb is sage, which despite having abortive properties and being contraindicated in people with kidney problems or nursing mothers and can become toxic in high amounts, has Antibiotic and antiseptic properties , decreases diarrhea and blood glucose, causes the activation of appetite and increases energy and helps reduce inflammation and intestinal pain. It is also relaxing at the muscular level and seems to facilitate stimulation and cognitive activity.

4. Mint

Probably a product that we have all used in cooking, mint is a herb that is often used in medicinal products. In addition to having diuretic properties , it has been observed that it facilitates the functioning of the digestive system and liver, besides being anti-inflammatory and having expectorant and antitussive properties, contributing to the synthesis of sweat, having analgesic capacity and being stimulating and activating.

5. Valeriana

An herb especially known for its soothing and relaxing properties, similar to linden. Contributes to facilitate sleep and it is especially used by people with insomnia. It also relaxes and calms the anguish, sadness or anxiety while reducing alterations such as headaches, muscle pain, arrhythmias or tachycardia. It is also anti-inflammatory.

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6. St. John's Wort

St. John's wort is an interesting medicinal herb that is especially known for having properties that help to combat psychic problems as serious as depression, having an antidepressant effect. In addition to this it also helps to alleviate problems of anxiety, pain and insomnia, and is useful when it comes to helping with various health problems linked to the menstrual cycle, stomach problems and even problems linked to insulin.

However, it is important to keep in mind that can interact negatively with drugs , especially with antidepressants.

7. Filipendula ulmaria

Also called queen of meadows, ulmaria is one of the healing or medicinal herbs from which a component of great importance in medicine has been extracted, specifically from its flowers (although it is also present in other plants): salicin .

Maybe this name does not sound, but if we add that acetylsalicylic acid comes out of it quickly we will see that it is the main active principle of aspirin. This component thus has an analgesic effect. In addition it also seems to have antibacterial properties, as well as anticoagulants and anti-inflammatories.

8. Fennel

This plant, widely used in cooking, also has interesting medicinal properties. First it has been observed that it helps to treat digestive problems, such as heaviness or constipation. It also has antispasmodic activity at visceral level, besides being a diuretic and allow the reduction of fluid retention . Although they are not the only ones, other relevant properties are those that contribute to the reduction of blood pressure or that of supporting the regulation of the menstrual cycle or the time of diminishing discomforts of both this and the climacteric.

9. Licorice

Also called licorice, this herb that is widely known in the production of the sweet of the same name has also been attributed medicinal properties. Specifically It has anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties, besides reducing the acidity . It also helps reduce body temperature and has an anesthetic effect.

10. Major plantain

This plant, despite not being among the best known, has interesting properties that are useful. Among them we can mention the fact that it helps in the treatment of kidney and bladder problems, intestinal problems such as diarrhea (it is astringent), have antihemorrhagic and antiseptic properties, be anti-inflammatory and satiating and contribute as an expectorant to the recovery of respiratory problems. It is also rich in antioxidants and it seems to help lower blood pressure and blood sugar.

11. Mallow

The mallow is another herbaceous with healing or medicinal properties, in this case also being anti-inflammatory, antitussive and expectorant, diuretic, antiseptic (useful in wounds) and with a very slight hypoglycemic action. As well facilitates intestinal transit, being laxative . Useful in inflammations, arthritis, dental pain, gastroenteritis or constipation, among others.

12. Calendula

This herb has powerful anti-inflammatory, healing and antiseptic properties, being very useful for use on skin wounds. It favors the proper functioning of the menstrual cycle and has calming effects and helps the treatment of dental problems and digestive tract, among others.

13. Marjoram

Another of the considered curative or medicinal herbs is the marjoram, which is sometimes used in cooking but also has antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, expectorant, antispasmodic, sedative and appetite-generating properties. Useful for respiratory and digestive problems , also reducing the absorption of carbohydrates.

14. Verbena

Verbena is an herbaceous plant of which some of its variants have interesting medicinal properties. One of them, known as Santa Isabel grass, It is characterized by having soothing and relaxing effects , at the same time that they favor a positive state of mind. It is useful to reduce nervousness, insomnia or headaches. It has also been observed that it is an excellent diuretic, as well as an astringent that hinders diarrhea and favors the retraction of tissues. In addition, it is an antioxidant.

15. Oats

When we think of oatmeal, we probably imagine its use at the culinary level in the form of flakes.But in addition to this, this herbaceous has very relevant medicinal properties. First of all, it should be noted that this plant has the capacity to strengthen our immune system and increase energy levels , among other things because of its high number of vitamins. It also helps to decrease bad cholesterol and increase good, in addition to having a laxative effect.

16. Cilantro

Commonly used as a condiment, coriander also has medicinal properties. Among them is the fact that it contributes to reduce cholesterol levels and reduces blood glucose , besides being a diuretic and favoring the elimination of toxins (especially at the level of heavy metals), having an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and even antispasmodic effect. It also favors the appetite, facilitates the expulsion of gases and can serve as an expectorant.

17. Dandelion

Widely valued for its aesthetic beauty and sometimes also consumed at the culinary level, dandelion is also one of the healing or medicinal herbs. Specifically, it has been observed to be diuretic and stimulant, as well as beneficial for kidneys and liver (helping to filter blood and prevent bleeding). It stimulates the appetite and is anti-inflammatory and healing . However, it can be harmful for pregnant women or people with bipolar disorder.

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18. Basil

Again known mainly for its use as a condiment, this herbaceous also possesses medicinal properties. Among them highlights the fact that stimulates appetite, makes vomiting difficult and has antitussive, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties, among others . It is also rich in antioxidants, diuretic, slightly anticoagulant and improves our immune system.

19. Herb of San Roberto

Another exponent of curative or medicinal herbs is Geranium robertianum or San Roberto herb. This plant is often used with the purpose of contributing to stop hemorrhages . It is also astringent, both in terms of blood and intestinal level (being useful in diarrhea) and is useful as a diuretic. Curiously and despite the fact that its taste is good, unlike most other exponents of the list, the San Roberto herb generates an aversive smell when pressed.

20. Oregano

We finished the list with a herb widely known and loved in our kitchens: oregano. This plant is known to have a protective effect on the liver, have an antihistamine and anti-inflammatory effect, contribute to the expulsion of gases, strengthen bones and skin, reduce pain, reduce blood glucose in diabetics, expectorant effect, be rich in antioxidants and even prevent cancers like breast cancer.

Bibliographic references:

  • Menghini, L., Genovese, S., Epifano, F., Tirillini, B., Ferrante, C. & Leporini, L. (2010). Antiproliferative, protective and antioxidant effects of artichoke, dandelion, turmeric and rosemary extracts and their formulation. International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology, 23 (2): 601-610.
  • Sutton, J. (2004). The Gardener's Guide to Growing Salvias. New York: Workman Publishing Company

Top 20 Healing Herbs for Women and Men (June 2024).

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