- Many clinical trials show that St.-John's-wort -- also called
hypericin or hypericum -- is successful at treating mild depression. American
consumers have been slow to appreciate the benefits of St.-John's-wort; but in
Germany, this concentrated extract of flowers and leaves is the most
prescription drug for treating depression (far outselling Prozac, in fact). It's also being tested as a possible AIDS treatment, and has long been used as a wound ointment.
- Many clinical trials show that St.-John's-wort -- also called hypericin or hypericum -- is successful at treating mild depression. American consumers have been slow to appreciate the benefits of St.-John's-wort; but in Germany, this concentrated extract of flowers and leaves is the most popular
- Most people are familiar with aloe's burn-soothing qualities, but did you know that aloe gel also fights infection? Keep it on your windowsill in the kitchen; when topically applied, its gel forms a natural cooling bandage over wounds, burns, sunburn and cuts.
- This herb's effectiveness in treating sore throats, indigestion, tired eyes and microbial diarrhea is somewhat disputed. Still, anecdotal evidence points to its benefits as a digestive tonic and mild topical anesthetic.
- Chamomile has been called the Swiss Army knife of herbal teas; it handles everything from inflammation and skin irritation to cold symptoms, nervousness and menstrual cramps. You are probably already familiar with its pleasant aroma -- thus explaining its presence in many shampoos -- but you should also get to know it as a calming tonic.
- The term "ginseng" actually refers to three distinct species of the plant: the Asian, American and Siberian varieties. All three are traditionally used as tonics, and relieve stress, improve stamina, regulate blood pressure and enhance immunity to varying degrees. Buyer's note: Check your purchase carefully; studies have shown that as many as 25% of all so-called ginseng products contain no ginseng at all!
- Stomach comforter, blues banisher, herpes fighter, even bug repellent: The reputed uses of balm are so varied that it's no wonder this lemon-scented herb has been nicknamed "cure-all."
- There's a reason why restaurants slip their patrons a mint after a spicy meal. Peppermint, a hybrid of other mint species, eases intestinal gas, relieves indigestion and eases diarrhea. One of its active ingredients -menthol -- also helps soothe sore muscles and cool inflammation.
- The oil of this pine-scented herb is a powerful antioxidant (it protects fats from being attacked by oxygen). And because oxygen damage is known to be a factor in cancer onset, it may have the potential for preventing certain cancers. Also soothes menstrual cramps and digestive problems.
- Saw Palmetto
- This inscrutable palm seems to counteract the effects of androgens, which are male sex hormones that may cause prostate enlargement. Consequently, saw palmetto has been embraced by the medical community as an accompaniment to prescription drugs and surgery for prostate problems.
- Tarragon contains no fewer than 72 anti-cancer agents. It also has anti-viral properties that fight herpes pain and flu symptoms.