When your body aches and the doctor’s office closed an hour ago, you may find yourself leaning on Mom’s old honey concoction to get you through the night. Ancient antiodes and ayurvedic treatments usually rely on the healing power of traditional herbs to alleviate, if not cure, common and uncommon ailments. Unlike today’s pharmaceutical drugs, these medicinal practices usually stem from cultural traditions and convenient resources, that have been passed down from generation to generation, giving them little scientific approval, but it hasn’t stopped people from trying them anyway. Here are a few age-old remedies that are still popular today.
- Aloe Vera
If you’ve ever had a sunburn, you may have slathered on a green glob of aloe vera. The use of this “lily of the desert” dates as far back as the times of Cleopatra, who was known to apply aloe daily, as a beauty ritual. The Chinese used it to heal burns, wounds, and fevers. When ingested, aloe is suspected to aid in good digestion and support better immunity.
You may or may not be familiar with this leafy plant, which has both poisonous and medicinal properties. The Greeks caught on to its ability to help mend broken bones, but today, we often see it in tea form, to help with upset stomachs, ulcers, cancer, menstrual pain, bronchitis, coughing, and more. Topically, we still use it for joint inflammation, arthritis, swollen veins, gout, and fractures.
Mint may be one of the most varied and popular natural remedies, since its properties allow it to be used fresh or dried. Mint oil can also be added to everything from beauty products to drinks. The mentha family consists of over 15 plant species, which is why you can experience different flavors, like spearmint and peppermint. Since mint has one of the highest antioxidant concentrations of any food, its benefits seem endless. Its anti-inflammatory properties suggest its aid in relieving seasonal allergies, while menthol has been known to coat the lining of the stomach to protect against gastric ulcers. Mint can support relief with gas, common colds, breastfeeding pain, irritable bowel syndrome, and irritated skin.
History may connect garlic to vampire stories, but the ancient Egyptians used this bulbous plant to strengthen the stamina and immunity of slaves building the pyramids. This makes sense, since garlic has been proven to carry antiviral and antibacterial properties. The University of Maryland Medical Center, suggests that garlic can help protect against free radicals associated with cancer, heart disease, and Alzehimer’s.
Early Native Americans may have been one of the firsts to tap echinacea for its antiviral and antioxidant properties. Currently, many people use it when they feel a cold coming on, and for good reason. The University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy, suggests that the herb can reduce the chance of getting sick by 58%. If the flu has already attacked, echinacea may be helpful in reducing inflammation and pain, while boosting immunity.