Learn about common natural herbs and their benefits
Sweet, spicy, earthy, savory — herbs add delicious flavor to your meals. But did you also know that these fragrant plants have been used as healthy natural remedies for centuries? Eating more fresh herbs and herbal supplements may help improve health conditions and boost your overall well-being. Try these healing herbs that can do everything from improve your moods to calm an upset stomach.
Try this crisp, piney herb when you have a cold or your chest feels congested. Rosemary has a natural compound in it called eucalyptol. This substance can loosen mucus in your nose and chest. That makes it easier to cough out the mucus and blow your nose to provide relief when you’re stuffed up. Need to soothe a sore throat? Rosemary also has anti-inflammatory compounds in it called tannins. These can reduce pain and swelling in your throat.
Drinking ginger ale to calm an upset stomach isn’t just an old wives’ tale. Ginger is a spicy root that can relieve nausea and stomach discomfort — whether they’re due to pregnancy, seasickness or even cancer treatments. This herb may also help your blood flow better around your body, which can lower your blood pressure.
Are you feeling stressed? This Italian-food favorite may help you relax. Basil is a sweet yet peppery herb rich in eugenol and rosmarinic acid. These substances can help your brain start producing more compounds called dopamine and serotonin. When you have more of these compounds in your brain, your moods can even out. You might also feel happier. Basil can even make your body produce less cortisol — a hormone that causes you to feel stressed.
You might already know that flavorful garlic can prevent infections. However, this herb may keep you from developing certain types of cancer, too. Garlic is also full of special plant compounds called phytochemicals. These can help your heart by lowering your blood pressure and keeping blockages from forming in your blood vessels.
Cooling mint doesn’t just taste refreshing and invigorating. This herb can relieve symptoms of discomfort in your stomach. Mint is full of a compound called menthol. This substance may help your body produce more bile, which is a liquid from your liver that your body uses to process the food you eat. In turn, mint can help you digest your food better and faster. This herb may also lower your cholesterol levels and keep blood flowing well around your body.
Spicy cayenne adds a flavorful kick to your food while lowering swelling in your body. Cayenne peppers have a compound in them called capsaicin. This ingredient can block the signals from a natural chemical in your brain that causes inflammation. The results? Everything from less congestion in your nose to relief from headache pain. Capsaicin may also make it easier for your heart to pump blood around your body.
Herbal remedies may help you lead a healthier, happier life. Are you looking for more useful ways to boost your overall wellness? Visit mercy.com today to make an appointment with a primary care doctor or specialist. We’ll show you new health habits so you can feel your best.
Interested in more stories like this? Our Summer Survival Guide is full of healthy living tips to start your summer right. Learn more here.