Herbal medicine, also known as herbalism, has been used since before the beginning of recorded history. The ancient Egyptian medical document Evers Papyrus, which is about 3,500 years old, lists 700 medicinal herbs as well as how to use them to treat many diseases and maladies. Throughout Asia, Europe, South America, Africa and North America, people have relied on herbal remedies for wellness and therapeutic use for centuries.
Even today, the primary source of health care for about 80 percent of the world’s population is herbal medicine, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), and many pharmaceutical drugs are actually based on such plants.
This Saturday, May 3, is the ninth annual HerbDay, “an international celebration of herbs and herbal products that are packed with events aimed at educating and sharing ideas about the many ways herbs bring joy and well-being into our daily lives.”
If you’d like to learn more about herbs, or celebrate their use in food, beverages, medicine, beauty products and more, look up an Herb Day event in your area and join in on the fun.
8 Popular Herbs and Their Modern-Day Uses
- Black Cohosh: This member of the buttercup family is approved for use in Germany for relieving premenstrual symptoms, painful or difficult menstruation and menopause symptoms. Black Cohosh supports women’s health during menopause and may alleviate PMS while promoting a positive mood.
- Echinacea: Also known as the purple coneflower, Echinacea was used by Native Americans of the prairie for more medicinal purposes than any other plant. Today we know Echinacea provides powerful immune function support.
- Garlic: A has been valued as a food and medicine for 5,000 years. Garlic has antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, and antioxidant properties, plus it’s known to support immune system function, as well as help support cholesterol levels already in a healthy range.
- Ginkgo: Ginkgo is the only surviving member of the more than 200-million-year-old ginkgo family. It’s valued for supporting mental alertness and memory function, promoting blood circulation and supporting healthy lung function.
- Ginseng: This root is an adaptogen, which is considered a general tonic for helping to normalize a variety of body functions. Ginseng is valued for its role in immune system support, blood sugar metabolism, energy production and helping you manage and adapt to stress.
- Saw Palmetto: Made from the fruit of a shrub in the palm family, saw palmetto provides support for men’s prostate health.
- St. John’s Wort: Traditionally, St. John’s wort has been used for wound healing and as a diuretic, astringent and mild sedative. This herb is also known to promote a healthy, positive mood in as little as four to six weeks of use.
- Valerian: This root promotes restful sleep and relaxation without sedation. In Europe, it’s widely used as a sleep aid for excitability and exhaustion.
Herbs come in a variety of forms, from pills and teas to tinctures. They also can vary greatly in terms of quality, potency and purity. For instance, in one study of valerian, two out of 10 samples tested contained lead — plus one of the two did not contain the amount of active ingredient stated on the label.
CNCA is deeply concerned with providing only quality nutritional supplements. To ensure maximum purity, potency and authenticity, all raw materials and finished goods are subjected to up to 17 sets of lab tests—far exceeding FDA requirements. For your peace of mind, each product carries a quality pledge listing the tests performed on that product to assure quality. We consistently deliver only authentic, potent, and ultra-pure dietary supplements.
Finally, keep in mind that herbal supplements can interact with prescription or over-the-counter medications. It is therefore essential that you tell your doctor and pharmacist about every medication and supplement you are taking, including natural herbal supplements.
Dietary Supplement Information Bureau, A Field Guide to Herbal Dietary Supplements