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Ten Of The Most Powerful Medicinal Plants

Medicinal plants are often underestimated. Sometimes they are used for small ailments. But you don’t really trust them. That’s a pity because medicinal plants have such great potential for our health that it would be almost reckless not to use them.

Medicinal plants heal on many levels

Medicinal plants have a completely different effect than traditional medicines. And that’s normal too.

Because medicinal plants do not consist of a single artificial active ingredient, but of a potpourri of natural active ingredients that are different for every medicinal plant.

There are vitamins, minerals, trace elements, antioxidants, and very special secondary plant substances. The latter is usually also responsible for the specific effect of the plant.

Medicinal plants and their side effects

Medicinal plants also have side effects. However, side effects are not synonymous with undesirable side effects – as is the case with most medications.

Side effects of medicinal plants are simply additional positive effects.

Let’s take peppermint. Their active ingredients are in particular essential oils, flavonoids, and tannins. The main effect of peppermint is related to the relief of gastrointestinal disorders.

Here, however, it does not work – as would a conventional medicine – only against too much stomach acid or only against flatulence, or only against pain.

Peppermint has a holistic effect: it relieves painful cramps (has a spasmolytic effect). It eliminates flatulence, promotes the formation of bile, and gastric and digestive juices, and accelerates gastric emptying.

These are the main effects of peppermint. And what about the side effects? These are of course also available, namely the following:

Peppermint has an antibacterial effect, clears the airways, eliminates bad breath, works against inflammation of the oral mucosa, and even against headaches.

There would only be undesirable side effects if the active ingredients in peppermint (e.g. the essential oil) were isolated and taken in excessive doses.

Medicinal plants, however, which are used in the form of natural preparations, are mostly free from undesirable effects.

However, to be on the safe side, pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as very sensitive people should consult their doctor or therapist before using medicinal plants.

The top ten medicinal plants

In the following, we present ten of the most powerful medicinal plants and their effects and hope that we can convince you of the great benefits of phytotherapy (medicinal plant therapy).

Of course, the following list is not complete – and there are certainly many other powerful medicinal plants that could just as well belong in the top ten. But it would go beyond the scope to present them all here. Therefore we limit ourselves to the following 10:

  • The milk thistle

The milk thistle is a prickly, purple-flowering plant that can be found wild along the wayside, especially in warm regions.

For centuries, milk thistle seeds, which contain the active ingredient silymarin, have been used to strengthen the liver.

Since silymarin has a high protective effect on the liver, it prevents damage caused by overloading the liver (e.g. due to poisoning or inflammation).

Milk thistle has also proven its worth in the fatty liver that often occurs nowadays.

The liver protective effect of milk thistle has been clearly proven in studies. It was proven that the harmful potential of liver-damaging substances can be weakened or even eliminated in the presence of milk thistle.

However, milk thistle not only protects the liver from toxins but also accelerates the regeneration of liver cells.

  • Mugwort

An extremely inconspicuous, but all the more powerful medicinal plant is the common mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) – a relative of wormwood.

Mugwort is native to Central Europe, which is extremely practical, as it is available almost everywhere free of charge.

The areas of application of mugwort are diverse. However, it is particularly effective for complaints of the digestive system and gynecological problems.

So whether indigestion, flatulence, loss of appetite or gallbladder problems, mugwort helps here as well as with menstrual problems and cramps of almost all kinds.

A variation of mugwort is the annual mugwort (Artemisia annua). It comes from the Far East and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for many centuries. It is considered a remedy for cancer and malaria (there are very recent studies on it).
So you see how easy it can be to improve your health with the help of medicinal plants.

  • The psyllium

The seeds of psyllium contain soluble fiber that can absorb significant amounts of water. Just a teaspoon of psyllium will make a cupful of water as thick as pudding in a minute.

The enormous swelling capacity of the psyllium makes it a proven aid against constipation: the contents of the intestine are increased by the psyllium, a stretching stimulus is triggered and this ultimately leads to defecation.

At the same time, any existing waste products or residues of feces are swept from the intestinal walls, which is why psyllium is one of the components of any high-quality intestinal cleansing.

If you want to increase the effect of the psyllium, then you do not choose the whole psyllium, but the psyllium husks. The finer they are pulverized, the greater their swelling capacity and thus their intestinal cleansing effect.

In connection with the intake of psyllium husks, a sufficient drinking quantity of approx. 2.5 liters of still water per day is extremely important, as otherwise, constipation can easily occur.

Flea seeds are also often used for gastric ulcers and hemorrhoids due to their high content of healing mucilage. The mucus lays protectively on the mucous membranes of the stomach and intestines and thus promotes their regeneration.

If you have an intestinal obstruction, you should of course not take psyllium.

  • The burdock root

Everyone knows burdocks – at least from childhood. Burdocks particularly like to cling to clothing or animal fur. It is unfortunate if a burr gets caught in long hair, as its removal can then become really tedious…

However, it is precisely this property that makes burdock so valuable for our blood. It’s not just their fruits that have adhesive or binding abilities.

According to folk medicine, the root of burdock can also bind, but not to clothing, but to heavy metals and toxins. In this way, the toxins are quickly flushed out of the body.

The burdock root also has a diuretic effect, so that the bound toxins cannot necessarily be excreted through the intestines, but also through the kidneys.

Burdock also has antibacterial and antifungal (fungus-hostile) properties, which is why it is often used for skin problems such as acne or as an oily extract for scaly scalps.

The main ingredients of burdock root are inulin, mucilage, essential oil, tannins, bitter substances, sitosterol, and the antibiotic and fungicidal substances mentioned.

  • The bearberry leaves

Bearberry is a medicinal plant whose effect as a detoxifying and healing agent for the kidneys, but above all for the bladder and the urinary tract, has long been known.

The leaves are also used for coughs and chronic diarrhea.

The main ingredient is arbutin. In addition, tannins, flavonoids, and some essential oil are also contained in the bearberry leaves.

Proper preparation is important for the effect of bearberry leaf tea:

With a cold approach, the important active ingredients are extracted, while the tannins, which are undesirable because of the stomach strain and the unappetizing appearance, are hardly extracted from the plant material.

A cold batch is prepared as follows. Cold water is poured over the bearberry leaves and left at room temperature for a few hours (e.g. overnight). Then the liquid is strained, warmed, and drunk.

However, like all other medicinal teas, the tea should only be consumed for a limited time, i.e. until the symptoms subside after a few days.

Bearberry leaf tea is not suitable as tea for every day.

  • The stinging bindweed (root)

The sarsaparilla is native to the Central American states of Guatemala, Honduras, and San Salvador.

Even the name or the appearance of the plant indicates one of its effects: the morning glory stings – and not a little.

Among other things, its roots are said to help against stinging pain, and centuries ago the Indians and Chinese used this property as a painkiller.

The morgue contains 1 – 3% steroid saponins, phytosterols, and starch. It has anti-inflammatory and cleansing properties. It also has an antioxidant effect.

The plant was once considered an excellent remedy for syphilis. Today it is the main component of many blood-cleansing teas and thus supports the liver as the main detoxification organ, which can cause sharp pains in the case of health problems.

The stinging wind can also be used to eliminate environmental toxins and, from a naturopathic point of view, helps in the treatment of Lyme disease as well as asthmatic symptoms and allergies.

The root of the morning glory is also said to stimulate the formation of white blood cells, especially T-lymphocytes and macrophages (scavenger cells), which of course improves the body’s defenses.

The blood-purifying effect of the morning glory is therefore helpful in alleviating all kinds of skin problems such as eczema, cradle cap, psoriasis, acne, boils, and warts.

The morning glory is traditionally used even as an aphrodisiac for men. It should – in a well-dosed manner – stimulate testosterone production, thereby increasing male potency and helping to build muscle mass.

  • The dandelion

This is probably why the dandelion is so widespread so that there is enough of this powerful medicinal plant available for everyone.

The dandelion is a slightly bitter-tasting herb with bitter substances, carotenoids, flavonoids, tannins, vitamins, minerals, mucilage, and (in the root) inulin.

The dandelion can relieve fasting symptoms such as headaches and after-effects of excessive alcohol consumption. It is also used for high blood pressure, cough, constipation, and gallbladder problems.

The dandelion also stimulates blood circulation. In this way, it supports the removal of metabolic waste products that have accumulated in the connective tissue and can contribute to diseases such as rheumatism and gout.

Those affected benefit from dandelion in particular through a noticeable reduction in pain.

A dandelion cure can also counteract the formation or enlargement of existing gallstones by stimulating bile secretion.

Gastrointestinal complaints such as a feeling of fullness, flatulence, and digestive problems can also be alleviated with dandelion.

In addition, the dandelion has a diuretic effect, so it can also be helpful for problems with the urinary tract.

In general, the dandelion has a strengthening effect on weak people, as it also stimulates the appetite and increases drive overall.

A dandelion cure is particularly useful in spring. For this purpose, the dandelion is consumed in the form of a fresh plant, as a tea, as a dandelion root extract, as dandelion fresh plant juice, or as dandelion leaf powder over a period of 4 to 6 weeks.

  • The nettle

Who doesn’t know them, the stinging nettle, which spreads everywhere along the wayside and in the meadows and is generally regarded as a weed? But its numerous health effects are lifting this plant more and more out of its shadowy existence.

The nettle is the cause of problems with the skin, muscles, and joints, e.g. used in people who have a pathological tendency to uric acid deposits. The stinging nettle helps in excreting the same.

Herbal books from the 16th century describe the plant mainly as a remedy for dropsy. And even the ancient Greeks, such as Hippocrates, particularly emphasized the diuretic effects of this plant.

The stinging nettle is also mentioned as a remedy by Paracelsus and Saint Hildegard von Bingen.

Due to its intensive effect, nettle is also used in homeopathy for skin rashes, minor burns, and sunburn. Homeopaths use it as a mother tincture for rheumatism and gout.

The active substances and ingredients of nettle are so numerous that we summarize them in the following list:

  • Minerals and trace elements (especially iron, but also silica)
  • Vitamins (C, B2, K1 (phylloquinone – regulation of blood clotting), carotenoids)
  • Flavonoids (plant pigments up to 0.6%)
  • Organic acids, including caffeic acid and caffeomalic acid, pantothenic acid (helpful in activating metabolism, along with vitamins C, B2, K1)
  • Steroids: P-sitosterol is effective against micturition problems in prostatic hyperplasia.
  • Phytosterols can lower cholesterol levels
  • of serotonin
  • Choline, acetylcholine, is a messenger substance for the transmission of nerve impulses
  • Triterpenes have an antimicrobial effect
  • Bitter substances stimulate bile secretion

Due to the numerous active ingredients, the stinging nettle naturally also has a very broad spectrum of effects. It is used both internally and externally. The main uses of stinging nettle are as follows:

  • Elimination of waste products and toxins by stimulating the metabolism – e.g. B. in the form of a spring cure for blood and kidney cleansing (also together with dandelion) as a tea or as fresh plant juice. Nettle leaf powder can also be easily stirred into juices or water.
  • Circulatory disorders
  • Nettle is a very good vegetable source of iron, also contains a lot of chlorophyll, and is also recommended as raw juice for pregnant women.
  • To stimulate milk secretion during lactation
  • Rheumatism of the muscles and joints
  • gout
  • skin complaints
  • eczema, e.g. B. Weeping spots behind the ears in children
  • Itchy and/or allergic skin problems
  • Tendency to develop ulcers (stomach, intestines, mouth, lips)
  • liver and bile ailments
  • Digestive disorders: constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas
  • hemorrhoids
  • Prevention of kidney and urinary stones
  • Helpful in diabetes mellitus due to the blood sugar-lowering effect
  • congestion of the respiratory organs
  • Mild stimulation of kidney activity
  • Supportive in prostate and urinary tract problems

Nettle is also famous as a natural tonic for all kinds of hair problems:

  • To stimulate hair growth in the form of hair tinctures and by consuming nettle seeds
  • For greasy scalp and dandruff as a component of shampoos or as a hair tonic (e.g. nettle tea)
  • Used internally and externally as fresh plant juice to combat graying of the hair

When using stinging nettle herb, make sure you drink at least 2.5 liters of still water.

The birch leaves

Birch leaves are used medicinally. They have a particular effect on the kidneys (promote kidney blood flow and kidney performance) and on the urinary tract.

Birch leaves can be drunk as tea or fresh plant juice or taken in the form of tablets or dragees. Externally, the birch leaves are used in various cosmetic products, e.g. B. against dandruff.

The areas of application of birch leaves are as follows:

  1. Flushing of the urinary tract in bacterial and inflammatory diseases that are associated with the urge to urinate and painful urination
  2. For kidney semolina
  3. For the supportive treatment of rheumatic complaints
  4. For blood purification as part of “spring cures”
  • The artichoke leaves

The artichoke, which originally comes from the Orient, is a thistle-like perennial that can grow to a height of two meters. Its flower buds are consumed as a vegetable.

However, the artichoke leaves are particularly healing, especially as an artichoke extract.

They are rich in bitter substances (the main active ingredient is cynarin), flavonoids, vitamins, minerals, etc.

The artichoke leaves are excellent for gallbladder and liver health. They promote the flow of bile and protect the liver and help it to regenerate.

The bitter substances in the artichoke leave also stimulate the pancreas to release digestive juices.

Artichoke leaves have an overall blood fat and cholesterol-lowering, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and antioxidant effect.

The artichoke can be used both as fresh plant juice and in capsule form.

So you see how easy it can be to improve your health with the help of medicinal plants.

And if you are planning a spring cure, then you now know a whole truckload of medicinal plants that you can integrate for detoxification, purification, liver regeneration, blood purification, etc.

As always, we wish you the best of health.

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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