There is an increasing interest in natural remedies, so what better time to check out a few basics than Herbal medicine Week which runs from 16 – 24 June 2012.
Medical Herbalist Lucy Stephens of London’s Reva clinic suggests we look in our store cupboards and try some simple remedies for non-chronic conditions.
Garlic: is a brilliant anti-viral and anti-bacterial for a wide range of pathogens. It has also been used for traveller’s diarrhoea. Take one clove (raw) and chop it up into pill sized pieces and swallow with water.
Ginger: contains compounds that inhibit bacteria and viruses, particularly the Common cold virus. It also inhibits chemicals in the body that cause pain, so it can be useful for osteoarthritis or other inflammatory conditions. For the Common cold, chop raw ginger and add to tea with some manuka honey.
Thyme: has been shown to be very useful for upper respiratory tract infections, as well as urinary tract infections, due to its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal properties. It can also be good for spasmodic coughs. Add a couple of teaspoons of dried thyme to a mug of tea.
Fennel: contains compounds that help to dispel wind and is anti-spasmodic, so it’s good as an after dinner tea. Try adding a couple of teaspoons of fennel seeds to water.
“Plants have been used as medicines for centuries with the earliest use documented in Ancient Chinese and Egyptian writings. Herbal medicine is often used alongside conventional medicine, particularly as it is becoming more mainstream as improvements in plant screening allow identification of compounds for drug development.” says Lucy.
“It is estimated that almost a quarter of all pharmaceutical drugs are derived from botanical sources and in Germany between 600 – 700 plant-based medicines are available. Natural medicines have reduced side effects which is why people often choose herbal medicine as a treatment option.
"In my clinic I see a wide range of conditions, but the main areas tend to be skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, acne, rosacea, digestive issues – IBS, ulcerative colitis, gynaecological conditions – polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis, infertility and anxiety and depression. Often people have been suffering with chronic poor Health for a number of years and are looking for an alternative treatment means of addressing their symptoms. Whilst chronic conditions need a trained medical herbalist to address and prescribe your treatment, it is worth trying out some of these simple solutions to everyday problems.”