Such materials obtained from plants, which have medicinal properties, are called herbs. Many health benefits are hidden in the fruits, flowers, leaves, branches, bark, juice, seeds, or roots obtained from plants, which are used to treat many diseases.
What is an herb?
An herb is a material usually obtained from a plant, usually in the form of a fruit, flower, leaf, branch, bark, juice, seed, root, or other part. They have been given an important place in Ayurveda considering the aroma and other properties obtained from them. There are herbal product manufacturers in India, and a special survey based on flora in India was done and it was found that more than 8000 trees and plants are found here, from which different types of herbs are obtained.
Use of Herbs:
Herbs have been used in many fields for thousands of years, even today the use of herbs is very popular, from enhancing the taste and aroma of food to treating serious diseases. There are many such dishes in India, in which many types of herbs are used to enhance the taste and aroma. Herbs have many medicinal properties and have been used to treat diseases in many ancient systems of medicine, including Ayurveda. Not only this, there are many allopathic medicines in which some natural herbs are added as ingredients.
There are hundreds of products available in the market today, including shampoos, oils, soaps, and toothpaste, that claim to be made from herbs.
Importance in modern medicine and products:
The use of herbs has not been limited to ancient medical systems and kitchens. These days they are also used in making many medicines and other products, which include the following –
- Quinine, Aspirin, and Morphine are some of the medicines which are also made from natural herbs.
- Apart from herbal products, there are many modern products available in which many herbs are used as one of the ingredients. These also include many cosmetic products.
How to use herbs:
Like the types of herbs, the methods of using them also differ. Some herbs are crushed and used, while the juice extracted from some or dried is used. At the same time, the use of any herb depends on the type of health problem. For example, in any skin-related problem, herbs are crushed or made into a paste and applied to the affected area. On the other hand, herbs can be consumed in conditions like internal diseases or inflammation.
In simple words, the way a herb is being used depends on the type of both the herb and the disease.
Benefits of Herbs:
The benefits derived from it also vary according to the type of herb, which usually depends on the particular herb being used. The following are the main benefits of herbs:
Health benefits of herbs –
Many types of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-analgesic properties are found in herbs, which can have the following health benefits –
- Oxidative stress in the body can be mitigated through the utilization of antioxidants, which effectively neutralize harmful free radicals and safeguard the body’s cells from damage. Additionally, antioxidants play a crucial role in protecting against various diseases, such as heart disease and cancer.
- Anti-inflammatories help reduce excess inflammation in the body. Although this is an important process, sometimes increased inflammation can lead to health problems. In such situations, with the help of anti-inflammatory properties present in herbs, swelling in the internal or external parts of the body can be reduced.
- Analgesics are crucial elements for the body as they aid in reducing pain. Numerous herbs possess rich analgesic properties, making them highly effective as painkillers. Consequently, herbs with analgesic effects can prove to be highly beneficial for patients dealing with various ailments, including arthritis.
Side Effects of Herbs:
Various studies have been done on many different types of herbs, some of which claim that they can definitely have negative effects on the body. While other studies have found no indication of this, the herb may potentially cause the following side effects –
- Herbs contain many different chemicals and substances to which some people may be allergic. In this case, coming in contact with herbs can cause an allergic reaction in the body.
- In some studies, it has also been found that some herbs are such that taking them for a long time or using their products for a long time increases the amount of arsenic and mercury in the blood.
- Other studies have been done on herbs and found that certain types of potent substances are found in herbs, which the kidneys have to work harder to filter and this can lead to kidney failure or other kidney-related diseases. The risk increases.
- Some herbs are also difficult to digest, which can cause abdominal pain, gas, and other problems if consumed in excess.
- A recent study also found that certain herbs can have negative effects on several organs in the abdomen, including the liver.
Apart from this, in some people, consuming herbs more than normal increases the risk of blood sugar and blood pressure levels being lower or higher than normal. At the same time, some herbal products act as blood thinners, due to which problems like bleeding increase.