The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Natural Remedies: 8 Plants That Promote Wellness
It may seem like natural remedies are having a moment, but the trend is nothing new. Herbalism—the use of plants for their medicinal properties—has been around long before modern-day pharmacies, and certain sprigs and leaves are still touted for their healing powers. Whether you're planning your next natural shopping trip or want to try growing some helpful herbs at home, this overview can help you get started.
Many know capsicum as chili peppers, but it's actually considered a medicinal herb, too. The active ingredient is capsaicin—that's the component that brings the heat when you eat a pepper, and it is said to soothe aches and pains when applied topically.
Part of the daisy family, feverfew has been dubbed "medieval aspirin" for its longtime reputation as a headache reliever. It's most often taken in capsule form rather than tea because of its bitter taste. Some take feverfew pills to help prevent migraines and reduce their frequency, plus lessen the severity of headache side effects including pain, nausea, and sensitivity to light.
Troubled sleepers, take note: Researchers agree valerian can speed up the time it takes insomniacs to fall asleep and decrease the frequency with which they wake during the night, though the jury's out on how exactly the herb works. Some suspect it increases levels of a chemical referred to as GABA, one that helps your body stay calm. Keep in mind, it's considered a sedative, so you might experience grogginess the next morning.
Thyme is particularly useful during flu and cold season. Why? First, it's antispasmodic. A cough is an involuntary spasm, and the oils in thyme can calm your body's reflexes. But on a deeper level, thymol, the antiseptic found in thyme, can attack infections directly.
Before Pepto-Bismol and Tums were on pharmacy shelves, people turned to peppermint to soothe an upset stomach. Nowadays, it's common to steep the herb in tea: Drinking a cup can relax stomach muscles, helping indigestion and gas pass quickly. Those with belly issues triggered by acid reflux should pass on peppermint, but studies have proven it an effective antidote to bloating and cramps brought on by irritable bowel syndrome.
This root is considered an adaptogenic herb (something that protects the body from stress and disease), and its use dates back to ancient Chinese times. Astragalus is typically found in capsule form, and it can be taken to alleviate seasonal allergies. It has anti-inflammatory properties that can calm aggravated noses and eyes.
Ladies: During that time of the month, adding extra parsley to your diet could be beneficial. The green herb contains apiol, a naturally occurring substance that can lessen the pain associated with menstrual cramps. And, since it acts as a mild diuretic, parsley can help reduce bloating. The herb is also believed to improve hormone balance, which can help PMS symptoms.
Doctors don't consider sage a cure for depression or anxiety, but many herbalists say it can be used to temporarily boost your mood. Some studies validate the thought, citing improvements in participants' alertness, calmness, and contentedness. The easiest way to take the herb is in pill form. Many also burn sage in their home to get rid of negative energy—a route to calm in its own right?
Reposted with permission from our media associate Modern Farmer.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Julia Conley
A council representing more than 800,000 doctors across the U.S. signed a letter Friday imploring President Donald Trump to reverse his call for businesses to reopen by April 12, warning that the president's flouting of the guidance of public health experts could jeopardize the health of millions of Americans and throw hospitals into even more chaos as they fight the coronavirus pandemic.
By Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner
Over six gallons of water are required to produce one gallon of wine. "Irrigation, sprays, and frost protection all [used in winemaking] require a lot of water," explained winemaker and sommelier Keith Wallace, who's also a professor and the founder of the Wine School of Philadelphia, the largest independent wine school in the U.S. And water waste is just the start of the climate-ruining inefficiencies commonplace in the wine industry. Sustainably speaking, climate change could be problematic for your favorite glass of wine.
By Jeff Turrentine
From day to day, our public health infrastructure — the people and systems we've put in place to keep populations, as opposed to individuals, healthy — largely goes unnoticed. That's because when it's working well, its success takes the form of utter normalcy.
Cell Phone Tracking Analysis Shows Where Florida Springbreakers and New Yorkers Fleeing Coronavirus Went to Next
By Eoin Higgins
A viral video showing cell phone data collected by location accuracy company X-Mode from spring break partiers potentially spreading the coronavirus around the U.S. has brought up questions of digital privacy even as it shows convincingly the importance of staying home to defeat the disease.