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For thousands of years, humans have been using herbs for medicinal purposes. In the beginning, herbalists shared the doctrine of signatures, which was published and spread widely by Paracelsus in the 16th century.  This doctrine, based on the thought of analogies, states that the purpose of plants is to treat diseases of the parts of the human body that they resemble, e.g. walnut is a good remedy for the brain. Nowadays, you can find similar principles in homoepathy, or in traditional medicine systems of China or India where herbs are used according to their form, colour, taste, smell or even astrological correlations.

Whereas in the middle age, medicine was mainly practiced in cloisters as phytotherapy where the nuns and monks had a good knowledge of the effects of herbs like fennel, peppermint or sage on human health, modern scientist started to explore these effects by examining the various ingredients of plants, such as:

–       essential oils,

–       bitterns,

–       capsaicins,

–       tannins,

–       mucilages,

–       alcaloids,

–       glycosides,

–       flavoids,

–       and others.

Having a medicinal garden at home may help to treat minor illnesses. Often, you can not only use the herb as medicine but as an addition to food too. Start with these four or five plants you may already use:

Basil

Delicious in many Italian dishes, this culinary herb is traditionally used to treat stress, asthma and diabetes in India.

Pepper mint

You can drink the leaves of the pepper mint as a refreshing tea, but the menthol oils contained in it make a good treatment for fever or nausea and can relieve digestive discomforts.

Thyme

The tannins of the thyme help relieve mild diarrhea whereas the antibacterial properties of thyme’s oil prevent winter colds and flu.

Rosemary

This evergreen plant is stimulating and improves memory as well as concentration.

Sage

Used as tea or chewed, sage helps to treat disorders of the mouth and the respiratory tract.

You can start with seeds or seedlings and grow the plants in your garden as well as on the balcony or on the window sill. Because there is not much space, you have to plant the herbs in pots. Prepare the pot with well-drained soil with gravel at the bottom so that the roots will not rot. Warmth and moisture are essential in growing. Water them regularly, place them in sunlight and enjoy.

 

Herbal Medicine

Herbal Medicine

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