Herb remedies are made of natural substances that come from plants. Herbs have been valued throughout history. The Bible tells us Kings journeyed many miles to bring frankincense and myrrh as gifts for Jesus.
Indeed the Bible makes references to herbal medicine. In Ezekiel, Jesus says “the fruit of the tree is for man’s meat, and the leaves for man’s medicine.”
Many plants have been found by science to have effects upon the body. One example is the bark of the willow tree. Years ago this bark would be steeped in hot water, the same way you would make tea. This hot drink somehow brought pain relief and helped to lower fevers. As time went by, scientists found that the bark of this plant contained something called salicin. This natural substance was eventually made into acetesalicylic acid, which is now known by the more common name of “aspirin.” This tree bark based home remedy is now the world’s top selling pain relief product.
Not all herb remedies come from tree bark of course. Ginseng and Kava supplements are made from the roots of those plants. In Ginkgo Biloba products, the tree’s leaves are used. Other herb remedies are made from flowers, seeds, mushrooms, leaves, cacti, bark, etc.
Coffee is made from ground coffee “beans” which are the seeds of a tree. Coffee contains caffeine, which stimulates the body. Tea comes from the dried leaves of various plants. Tea also contains caffeine. These may be helpful when trying to stay awake and alert, and not helpful at all when trying to get a good night’s sleep.
Throughout history, herbs and plants have been believed to have medicinal properties. Today medical researchers are proving that many herbs and plants do support good health. Some herbs have even been turned into medicines.
Foxglove is one example. In the past it was believed to help chest pains. Researchers eventually found that ingredient digitalis from foxglove. Digitalis is now a medicine that is widely used by doctors for heart related treatments.
Scientists turned a mold into the medicine named Penicillin. The bark of the Peruvian cinchona tree was believed to help the body fight off malaria and medical researchers eventually used it to make quinine sulfate.
However not all herbs and plants are good for you simply because they are “natural.” The tobacco leaf, for example, is a natural herb. Cigarettes were at one time advertised on television as being good for helping soothe a cough. The truth was just the opposite and we now know that tobacco can cause cancer.
On the other hand, some plants have falsely been labeled as being bad for you when they are actually good for you. Early settlers in America thought that if you ate tomatoes you would die from poisoning.
Scientific medical studies are the only way to prove how herbs work or do not work. Unscientific claims for or against a simple plant are absurd.
History provides some clues as to which herb remedies may help support good health. Ginkgo biloba for example may be the oldest herb known in human history. Fossils of ginkgo biloba trees have been found dating back to the Paleozoic era millions of years ago. In China, these tree leaves have been used as one of their most popular herb remedies for over five thousand years.
The Egyptians left us the Papyrus Ebers which are hieroglyphic writings about hundreds of herb remedies such as aloe vera. A Chinese herbal guide known as the Ben Cao is thought to have be recorded by Emporer Shen Nong around 2000 B.C. In India the study of Ayurveda (the science of life) also dates back to around 2000 B.C. The Greek doctor Dioscorides made a record called De Materia medica which tells the health effects of over 500 plants. Italy was where ingredients were first formulated in standardized dosages.
The Amazon rain forest is home to many unknown plants and herbs. Today scientists hope it could be home to many new herbal supplements that could lead to new medicines.
Every year science learns more about how herbs and plants are good for your health. It is becoming more and more as the Bible quote says, “the fruit of the tree is for man’s meat, and the leaves for man’s medicine.”
Note: The statements herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Herbs are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate or prevent any disease. Always talk to your Doctor before taking herbal products.