Medicinal plants

Medicinal plants and herbal medicine

Medicinal plants and herbal medicine


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Polarize herbal medicine and medicinal plants. Esoterics, on the other hand, speculate about a “secret knowledge” that has been lost. The psychoscene meanwhile prefers to find therapies that were a main reason why “the ancestors” died early. The dose makes the poison also applies not only metaphorically: some plants act like snake venoms. Belladonna, thorn apple or hemlock contain substances that can only be used therapeutically with complicated medical procedures and under the strict control of a doctor. They act as herbal pain relievers. The following applies in any case: stay away!

Numerous herbs actually work very well for different ailments - without comparable toxicity as with some medicinal plants. From pine to sage and from horsetail to lavender. Wild fruit is just as old as it is proven as a remedy. Here is a small selection of the most common medicinal plants in naturopathy.

Bark, blossom or roots?

What to do in the event of illness? Just pluck an herb and bite into it? It is not that simple: some plants have healing fruits, but unhealthy leaves. Others, like the ivy, have poisonous fruits, while the leaves have a therapeutic effect. Some plants can only be enjoyed boiled, while others the active ingredients disappear when cooking. In general, the self-collected medicinal plants may only be used if they are determined safely.

Bark is collected in the spring. Then the branches are full of juice and the bark is easy to peel off. We collect leaves in late spring when the active ingredient content is at its highest. Herbs are the parts of small plants growing above the earth. We collect them before or during flowering. We collect flowers just before they open fully. We collect fruit fully ripe, we collect seeds shortly before they are released. Porridges and juices are made with a mortar that is used to crush the leaves, fruits, roots and tubers.

For example, the silver fir shoots help with various breathing difficulties. Two grams in 100 milliliters of water are the correct dose. The resin was used against rheumatism as early as the Middle Ages. Kneipp recommended this tea made from fresh shoots to promote expectoration when coughing. Shoots, twigs and needles placed on the skin, increase blood flow and disinfect.

The ingredients of the jaw buds have an antiseptic effect on the respiratory and urinary tract and inhibit inflammation. The essential oils can be used for soaps and have a refreshing effect when tired. The components of the needles clean the urinary tract and lungs.

Leaves and flowers can be used for marigolds. Boiled flowers as tea, facilitate menstruation and relieve menstrual pain in the lower abdomen. Applied externally, they also reduce pain and relieve cramps.

The cherry is a medicinal plant that is hardly known today. Not the kernels, they are even poisonous. Not the fruits either, but the mostly carelessly discarded fruit stems are helpful. Dissolved in water and drunk they have a diuretic effect, applied externally, they help against cracked skin. This shows how crucial the selection of the right plant parts is for the effect.

Roots - The Great Burdock

"Weeds" are often medicinal plants. The large burdock, for example, hates every traditional allotment gardener. This biennial plant consists of a spindle-shaped root and heart-shaped base leaves as well as purple flowers that are arranged in round heads and surrounded by hook-shaped tips. In addition, it forms brown fruits with black dots, a crown and bristles. Not a classic beauty, but effective: essential oils, inulin, phlegm, tannins, phytoserine and chlorogenic acid result in a medical cocktail that is second to none.

The burdock stimulates the liver, the gallbladder and lowers the sugar content in the blood. The large burdock therefore helps, under medical supervision, against diabetes.

Folk medicine knows the burdock as a remedy for acne, home remedies for boils, eczema, itchy rash and as a home remedy for varicose veins. For this we use compresses from the dried root. Ten grams per 100 milliliters of water are placed on the affected areas for half an hour.

We dig up the roots in the fall of the first year of the burdock, cut off the side roots and wash them. We collect the leaves in May and June; we cut them without a stem. We cut the burdock roots into one centimeter thick slices, dry them in the sun and store them in glass containers. We wash the fresh leaves and use them like soap.

Leaves - the ivy

Some love the green walls of houses and others hate him because he overgrows everything. However, hardly anyone has an eye on ivy as a medicinal plant, although it proves to be an all-rounder: Whether as a home remedy for coughing cough, home remedies for bronchitis, bronchial catarrh or mucous bronchial tubes, whether rheumatism, sciatica pain or arthritis - the ivy helps. On top of that, it used to be used as an anesthetic.

We collect the leaves for our herbal medicine, which is useful for ivy in every season. We cut them off directly under the stem. Carefully separate the leaves from the fruits as they are poisonous. They are dried in the shade and then kept dark.

We put five grams of leaves in 100 milliliters of water, soak towels and put them on painful areas for an hour.

Bark - The rotten tree

The rotten tree grows a few meters high. Its dark brown bark is streaked with horizontal light streaks. We peel the bark in longitudinal strips in spring, dry it in the sun and store it in fabric bags - at least two years. The fresh bark is an emetic and leads to poisoning. We use the powder for drainage. It stimulates the colon. To do this, we put 20 grams with 100 milliliters of 20 percent alcohol and take three teaspoons of it before going to bed.

Seeds - Fenugreek

Fenugreek originally comes from the Mediterranean, but is now also growing in Germany. It was grown for use as early as the Copper Age. The real fenugreek consists of a taproot and a cylindrical stem. It grows up to 80 centimeters. The sheet is divided into three individual sheets and is alternately on the stem. The leaves are light yellow and colored purple at the tip. It is used for different purposes, and studies have even shown it to be effective against Parkinson's symptoms.

We collect the ripe seeds from July to August. To do this, we cut the plant at the base, tie it into tufts and let it dry in the sun. We knock the seeds out of the dried plant with a stick. We sieve them, briefly put them in the fresh air and then fill them in glasses. We then grind them into flour in a mortar.

We boil a few spoons of this flour in the water until a porridge is formed. We put this porridge on a warm, damp cloth and place it on boils, for example. We repeat this several times a day until the boil disappears.

Fenugreek also strengthens a weakened organism and is therefore recommended for diseases in which we lose weight and lose our appetite. 0.5 grams of fenugreek flour mixed with honey several times a day strengthens the patient. Its effectiveness as a hair restorer is also valued.

Fruits - The mountain ash

We know the mountain ash as rowan berries and natural gardeners love it because it is one of the most important food plants for winter birds. Many wonder: is the rowanberry poisonous or not? The deciduous tree with the smooth gray bark can also be used for healing in any case, and against sore throat, Inflammation of the small intestine and diarrhea, as well as against hemorrhoids.

Juice can be squeezed out of the fresh fruit, and one or two glasses a day are used to treat intestinal problems (which also answers the question of toxicity). But we can also dry the fruit and then add five grams to 100 milliliters of water to gargle. We also use this amniotic fluid against inflamed skin and wash the affected areas with it.

Fruits - The rose hip

For us, rose hips are used to refer to the dog nuts' common walnuts - in general, however, fruits of all roses can be called that. The flesh is sweet and sour and rich in vitamins such as vitamins A, C and B1 and B1. The later the harvest, the sweeter the fruit. Even after the frost they can be enjoyed without any problems. To process the rose hips, the kernels must be removed, the hairs of which are wonderfully suitable as itch powder.

A very high quality oil is obtained mechanically from these rosehip kernels, which can be particularly helpful for dry or flaky skin. It is considered a home remedy for wrinkles.

As an infusion, the rosehip is ideal as a support against bladder infections or kidney infections - because it has a diuretic and laxative effect on the metabolism. They can also be consumed as a must. Naturopathy promises to relieve rheumatism and gout if taken regularly.

Shoots - The field horsetail

The field horsetail is also called the tin herb, because tin can be cleaned well with this herb. It is a perennial plant with underground roots. This does not form flowers, but it does form a spring and summer shoot. Field horsetail is not very demanding, it only needs soil slightly interspersed with clay. We harvest the summer shoots from May to September, dry the stems in an airy place in the shade; we cut the dried plants and make tea from them.

Its healing properties were known in ancient times. The Greek doctor Dioskorides wrote in 50 AD that the horsetail drives the urine and silent bleeding wounds.

We use the tea to purify the blood. It also complements the healing of gout, rheumatism, cough and asthma. Kidney disease can also be alleviated with horsetail. It is also an effective remedy for urinary tract disorders. For this we pour 20 grams with a liter of water and drink two or three cups a day. However, if kidney pain persists, a doctor should be consulted. The silica contained is also very beneficial to refine the complexion in the case of weak connective tissue.

Flowers & Leaves - The Dandelion

The common dandelion - also known as dandelion - can be found in countless locations here, with good soil it can grow up to 35 cm high.

In natural medicine, dandelions are in demand in the form of extracts and tea. The bitter substances and triterpenes contained protect the liver and detoxify the liver. Dandelion also contains a lot of potassium and inulin. It is therefore used as a home remedy for diabetes, and it also stimulates the metabolism of numerous organs. Furthermore, an inhibitory effect of the dandelion extract on the growth of many cancer cells was observed. The dandelion is also recommended as a natural digestive stimulator.

Fresh juices can easily be made with a juicer. If you do not have one at home, the trade offers ready-made dandelion juice.

The roots can be collected in spring and early summer for tea making. Wash the roots freed from leaves and dry them roughly. Depending on the size of the diameter, quarter the roots or halve them. Now place in a dry place for three days, on newspaper. Then shred with a cleaver or clean secateurs. Add five teaspoons of this dry matter to half a liter of the root tea and soak in the water overnight. Bring to the boil the next day, pour through a sieve and, if necessary, something sweet.

In the kitchen, the flowers can be processed into fine jelly, in Austria the "Röhrlsalat" is known, which consists of fresh young leaves. The root can be eaten boiled and has also been used to make replacement coffee.

Flowers - the yarrow

We collect the flowering sprout tips of the yarrow from June to September. We cut them ten to 15 centimeters below the inflorescence, dry them in the shade and then store them in fabric bags. The yarrow inhibits inflammation and promotes digestion. When brewed as tea, it works against menstrual and abdominal pain and against insomnia.

Yarrow can also be used externally or as a mouthwash. Compresses should lie on the affected area for at least 15 minutes. Then they clean small wounds and reduce inflammation of the skin

Flowers - the camomile

As a herbaceous plant, chamomile grows only once a year, originally it was only native to southern and eastern Europe. It serves as a medicinal plant for stomach and intestinal complaints, but also for inflammation and bacterial skin problems. It also relieves cramps and is also said to have a calming and anxiolytic effect. It can be used externally and internally and inhalation is also possible. The chamomile can be drunk as a tea infusion, used as a wrap, taken as a tincture or tablet or applied in the form of cream. To reduce skin problems, hip baths and envelopes with tincture or infusion are still widely used.

A very old home remedy for acute digestive problems such as stomach problems or irritable bowel problems is the roller cure with chamomile tea. Half a liter of the strongly brewed tea (let it steep for 15 minutes) is drunk in three small portions. After the first part you lie relaxed on your back - for at least five minutes. Then drink the second third, turn it to the left. Also stay there for at least five minutes, until after drinking the tea you turn your body to the right side for the same time. After just 20 minutes, the abdomen is already much more relaxed - the chamomile has a muscle-relaxing effect, can thus release a bloated stomach, and also heals inflammation of the mucous membranes. It can help with various digestive disorders.

The flavanoids and essential oils can help with bladder infections, sore throats, sinus infections or irritable bowel syndrome. Matricin, umbelliferone, chamazulen and bisabolol are responsible for the anti-inflammatory properties of chamomile.

When picking the flowers in nature, care should be taken not to confuse the real chamomile with the feverfew. The latter can cause allergies.

Herbs

Many of our culinary, aromatic and aromatic herbs are also medicinal plants. These include sage, rosemary, lavender, mint and borage. The taste of rosemary and sage spices meat dishes; We use borage for pickling. Almost all herbs can be drunk as a tea infusion.

Rosemary

Rosemary stimulates the appetite, promotes digestion, relieves cramps, drives the flow of urine, has an antiseptic effect and "gets the circulation going". A rosemary tea with one gram of the young twigs in 100 milliliters of water after meals soothes whooping cough and promotes the formation of bile. The tea can also be applied to the skin, then has an antiseptic effect and helps with bruises and rheumatism. We can gargle it, rinse our mouths or make baths for the affected areas. It is also a wonderful home remedy for cramps.

Sage

Real sage originally comes from southern Europe, but can now be found everywhere in the allotments. It stimulates the intestinal function and is therefore particularly suitable as a herb for oily meat. The ancient Roman doctors already knew him as a wound healer. Sage has an antiseptic effect and therefore promotes scar healing in severe wounds.

Sage stimulates the gallbladder, helps with asthma and cleanses the airways. It lowers the blood sugar level, dampens the sweat flow and relieves pain in the lower abdomen. Sage helps against bleeding gums, ulcers and bad breath. This is ensured by its essential oils, namely Borneol, Camphor, Cineol and Thujon, Tanine, Saponoside and Cholin. In a concentrated form, these also serve as fragrance oils. Caution is advised: Such oils should not be swallowed, because then they act as poison.

We make tea from fresh leaves and add lemon and honey to make it taste good. For tea, we can also dry the leaves in the shade with air and add about a teaspoon to 100 milliliters of water. As a home remedy for tonsillitis, we gargle the strong lukewarm tea - if the gums bleed or the mouth smells bad, we rinse the throat. For coughs and acute asthma, we drink several cups of it every day.

Thyme

The common thyme grows as a branched subshrub close to the ground. Of course, it occurs in the western Mediterranean region and in some Alpine regions. It likes full sun and rocky, dry and poor soils - in good conditions it spreads herbaceously. The content of essential oils in the herb can be up to 2.5 percent, for the most part it consists of the terpenes thymol (up to 50 percent) and carvacrol. It also contains borneol, p-cymen, geraniol and linalool. The expectorant, antitussive and bronchospasmolytic effects make it a very valuable medicinal plant for colds, painful coughs and problems with the lungs. As an inexpensive home remedy for colds, it can be stored well.

In the kitchen, on the other hand, it contributes to the taste of numerous regional dishes such as the Thuringian sausages. Here it can be dried or used fresh. The herb is also good as a bee pasture, honey is a delicacy. The essential oils have an antiviral and antibacterial effect. Even with severe infections such as whooping cough and bronchitis, it can greatly promote healing. For tea, use one teaspoon of the dried herb per cup, let it steep for at least 15 minutes.

The essential oil can also be used for respiratory diseases, but not pure but only diluted. Without dilution, the terpenes it contains could irritate the skin. There are also ready-made mixtures as a cold bath. You can also use your own cast. Simply pour 80 liters of the dried herb over a liter of boiling water. Let it stand covered for 15 minutes, then pour it into the warm bath water.

Lavender

We already love some plants because of their fragrance. It is all the better if the herb also helps us with health. A lavender pillow in bed repels the muff, and the smell is also avoided by moths. However, few know today that lavender is also excellent for coughing, calms asthma, stimulates bile flow and strengthens the liver. Lavender flowers help against acne, support scar healing, help against a headache and as a home remedy for stomach cramps, home remedies for nausea, nausea, and hiccups. They also relieve pain in the throat. Lavender also helps against anxiety and panic attacks.

We cut the flowers from June to July at the base, then dry the tufts in the shade. The flowers are kept in glasses in a dark place.

We apply a tincture with 20 grams of the flowers to 100 milliliters of 30 percent alcohol - for eight days. We then apply this tincture to inflamed areas of the skin and oral mucosa.

We make a tea with one gram of flowers in 100 milliliters of water. This stimulates the bile and relieves stomach cramps. We can also put this tea in bath water. Used in this way, it cleanses the skin.

Borage

Borage smells and tastes like cucumbers. It is said to inhibit inflammation and help against colds, cough and hoarseness. To do this, boil two to three tablespoons of borage in two cups of water. Borage can also be applied to the skin and helps with rashes. Borage is also used in the treatment of varicose veins.

Borage blooms from May to September. We pick it with gloves, let the harvest wither in the sun and dry in the shade. The flowers and leaves are equally suitable for teas. (Dr. Utz Anhalt, dp)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Dr. phil. Utz Anhalt, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch

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