Botanical Is Best: 13 Botanical Supplements to Consider Taking
When you walk down the aisles of a pharmacy these days, you may see a lot of names you don’t recognize. Acetaminophen, loratadine, alprazolam, and omeprazole may be among the confusing names you see. But you may also notice some more familiar names among the ranks, too – garlic, ginger, turmeric, chamomile, elderflower, and ginseng, to name a few. As modern medicine advances, it has started turning back to some ancient remedies to treat our ailments. Doctors and researchers are starting to rediscover the benefits some botanicals can provide, as well as the gentler alternative they offer to harsh medications.
Read on to learn more about botanicals and discover which ones you should be incorporating into your life.
You may have heard of echinacea before; you just may know it by the name coneflower. This plant is a member of the daisy family and produces distinctive purple flowers with the classic daisy look. Echinacea is native to North America and has been a part of traditional First Nations remedies for centuries.
Most parts of the echinacea plant can have medicinal uses, including the roots, leaves, and petals. It can be helpful in dealing with the common cold, and in fact, some studies have suggested that taking echinacea can reduce your chances of getting a cold by up to 20 percent. You’ll often find echinacea as a tea, but you can find it as a supplement, too.
Ginseng is an ancient remedy that can trace its roots back to traditional Chinese medicine – quite literally. Ginseng roots can be steeped as a tea or dried to make a powdered supplement. There are a number of ginseng varieties, but the two most popular are Asian ginseng and American ginseng.
Some preliminary animal studies have suggested that ginseng could have a variety of benefits ranging from preventing cancer to protecting your brain. It may also help to support your immune system and reduce inflammation. While Asian ginseng is considered more stimulating, American ginseng is thought to be more relaxing.
3. Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo biloba is another plant that has been associated with natural medicine for centuries. Ginkgo biloba, also known as simply ginkgo, comes from the maidenhair tree, which has distinctive fan-shaped leaves. The maidenhair tree is native to China and has been an important part of Chinese medicine for thousands of years.
Many parts of the ginkgo plant can be used for herbal medicine, including the seeds, leaves, and fruit. The seeds and leaves are often used to make teas, tinctures, and extracts. Ginkgo may help to treat sexual dysfunction, heart disease, and mental challenges like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Elderberry comes from the fruit of the Sambucus nigra plant and will often come as a syrup or lozenge. You must cook these berries in order for them to become medicinal, and many practitioners cook their own elderberries. They may also add in other beneficial ingredients, including honey and ginger.
Elderberry is popular as a headache reliever and a laxative, among other uses. It may be helpful in treating symptoms of the flu and the common cold, as well as to relieve nerve pain. Some early studies have also suggested elderberry may have antioxidant, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties.
5. St. John’s Wort
St. John’s wort comes from a yellow flowering plant called Hypericcum perforatum. The flowers from this plant can be used to make tea, extracts, or supplement capsules. St. John’s wort originates in Greece, where it has been popular as an herbal treatment for thousands of years.
In the past, St. John’s wort was used to help heal wounds and treat kidney and lung diseases. Today, practitioners believe it may help to alleviate insomnia, anxiety, and depression. It is important to note that if you are dealing with depression, you should always talk to your doctor about the best treatment plan for you, whether that includes St. John’s wort or not.
Turmeric has gained popularity in recent years as a superfood and a natural remedy. This bright yellow herb belongs to the ginger family and comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant. While it may have a variety of healing properties, it also makes a delicious addition to curries and rice dishes.
Some recent studies have shown that turmeric can have some powerful anti-inflammatory properties. In particular, it can be helpful for relieving arthritis pain caused by bones rubbing together as the cartilage padding them breaks down. While eating turmeric in foods won’t get you a therapeutic dose, you can find supplements that provide an appropriate dose.
Ginger is another kitchen ingredient that can have some fantastic therapeutic benefits. In the kitchen, this root provides a bright spice to a variety of Asian-inspired dishes. But in medicine, you can take it as a capsule or steep it to make a tea that can have a number of healing benefits.
One of ginger’s primary benefits is that it can help relieve nausea and improve digestion. It may also help to relieve migraines, treat the symptoms of a cold, and even lower blood pressure. Some evidence suggests it could even prevent heart disease and cancer, but there are mixed results and no solid proof of those claims yet.
Valerian is a beautiful white flowering plant that looks something like baby’s breath. This lovely flower comes from Greece and Rome, where it was used as a calming agent. Its relaxing properties are still popular today among people who have trouble sleeping or experience high levels of anxiety.
In ancient times, valerian was thought to relieve tremors, headaches, heart palpitations, and more. There is little evidence to support these claims, but many people do acknowledge that valerian has a calming effect. A tea or supplement made with valerian can help to soothe a restless mind and ease you into better sleep.
When most of us think of chamomile, we picture the delicate herbal tea that we love to drink before bed. And it’s true that chamomile can help relieve insomnia, lulling us into a gentle sleep. But did you know this little flower can provide a variety of health benefits aside from helping you get to sleep?
Chamomile leaves are often dried and used to make a different tea than the flowers, as well as extracts and topical treatments. Ancient practitioners believed chamomile could help to alleviate nausea, constipation, stomach pain, and a variety of other ailments.
Some small studies have suggested chamomile may help relieve diarrhea, pain, and inflammation, especially that linked to osteoarthritis.
Feverfew is another member of the daisy family that produces small white flowers with rounded petals and yellow centers. As you might guess from the name, the leaves of this plant have traditionally been used to bring down fevers. You can find this plant as a supplement these days, and there is some evidence it can help with a variety of other conditions.
Some studies have shown that feverfew can help to prevent migraines in chronic sufferers. However, if you suddenly stop taking the supplement, your migraines may come back. Feverfew can also have uses to treat arthritis pain, though it can interfere with a variety of other medications.
Garlic is one of our favorite ingredients in the kitchen; it brings a delightful flavor to everything from pasta dishes to roasts and stews. But it can also have some fantastic medicinal benefits, including potentially having antimicrobial effects. If you plan to take garlic for health benefits, you’ll need to get a supplement, since it’s not easy to eat enough garlic to get a therapeutic dose.
Some small studies have shown that garlic may help to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. There is some question about the reliability of these studies, but overall, this supplement is considered safe. There is also ongoing research investigating whether garlic could help to prevent certain kinds of cancer.
12. Milk Thistle
Milk thistle is a spiky purple flower that hails from the Mediterranean region, where it has been used as a medicinal treatment for thousands of years. It has always been used to help liver problems, and that use continues to this day. You will often find milk thistle as a supplement that you can take as part of your daily routine.
These days, milk thistle is popular as a treatment for liver conditions, including inflammation and scarring. It is also thought to help manage high cholesterol and may even reduce the growth of cancer cells. This plant is still under investigation, but the current research is showing promising results.
Goldenseal is a plant related to the buttercup family which is also known as orangeroot or yellow puccoon. The plant takes its name from its roots, which are thick, knotted, and bright yellow. It contains compounds that have been an important part of both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for thousands of years.
Goldenseal may help to treat diarrhea, as well as skin and eye problems. Many people use it as a treatment for the common cold, and it may have some antiseptic properties. It’s important to make sure you get your dosing right because in high doses, goldenseal can be toxic.
Safe Botanical Use
Botanicals can provide a number of wonderful health benefits, but that doesn’t mean they come without risks. All of the botanicals we’ve discussed here can have side effects, especially if you use them in the wrong dose. Many others can interfere with other medications you’re taking or impact how your body reacts to a surgery, for instance.
You should always, always talk to your doctor before beginning any new medicine, treatment, or supplement. These plants can be a great part of a treatment plan, but you should never use them to replace a medication you’re taking without talking to your doctor first. They will be able to advise you about the best treatment plan for you, as well as how to use these botanicals safely.
Importance of a Quality Provider
When you’re buying botanicals, it’s also incredibly important that you work with a reputable provider. Unlike traditional medications, which get overseen by the FDA, there is no organization that regulates production of botanicals. Although a bottle may say it contains one thing, there is no way to know what’s inside it without lab testing.
When you buy botanicals from providers you can’t trust, you run the risk of getting something other than what’s advertised on the label. The amounts of the substance inside could be different, which would interfere with your dosing, or it could be a different substance entirely. Always buy from reputable sources who you can be sure are providing you with the correct supplements in the proper doses.
Discover the Best Botanicals
Incorporating botanicals into your life can be a great way to treat various ailments and diseases with more natural remedies. Everything from garlic, ginger, and turmeric to milk thistle, ginkgo biloba, and St. John’s wort can help get you healthier. Always talk to your doctor before starting any new supplement, and make sure you’re always buying from a reputable provider.
If you’d like to find the best botanicals on the internet, check out the rest of our site at Lyf Fit. We provide information supplements designed to get you healthier in a safe, natural way, and we always make sure you get the best quality ingredients. Learn about supplements today and start taking the first steps to a healthier, happier life.