5 Herbs to Improve Health & Wellbeing
Herbs to improve health & wellbeing is a centuries old concept and a natural alternative to medical drugs. You can grow almost anything here in the UAE so long as you water it. The sun does the rest. If you don’t have green fingers though, these herbs are available in various forms from supermarkets and health food stores.
Aloe Vera has developed over generations as a desert succulent. It grows well in rocky, sandy soil so it’s perfect to grow in your UAE garden. It enjoys full sun to partial shade, but take care not to overwater it. Evidence of its use as a herbal remedy date back to around the 1st century and it is widely available in many forms from gels to juices. Aloe gel is a wonderful skin treatment for, scars, wounds, acne, sunburn, varicose veins and ulcerated skin. Taken internally, many claim that it can ease gastritis, peptic ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome.
For scrapes and abrasions, gently slide a split leaf over the area and reapply several times. For lightening minor scars, apply Aloe Vera juice daily and lightening stretch marks. Aloe Vera gel is useful for eczema and sensitive facial skin.
This herb has been used for thousands of years. Probably best known for its calming effect, chamomile has many healing properties too. For instance, it has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties which can reduce pepsin secretion without altering secretion of stomach acid and so help with digestive problems including gastro-intestinal irritation, ulcers, colitis and irritable bowel. It is a mild sedative so a cup of chamomile tea before bed to aid sleep or at times of stress and anxiety, this herb can be extremely beneficial. The whole plant is edible and the feathery leaves and flowers are really delicious chopped up in salad or used as infusions.
This plant was brought back from the Middle East to the UK during the Crusades in the Middle Ages and was used to help heal war wounds. Comfrey contains allantoin, which aids growth and healing in cartilage, bone and muscle. It has been used to help heal fractures and sprains for centuries and reduces swelling. Although it was taken internally for many years, it is considered safe for external use only. It can be applied as a poultice. If you need some help with acne and scars, make a face pack by mixing a teaspoonful of powdered comfrey root with water. Leave on your face for as long as possible.
Another ancient remedy, this herb gets its name from the milky white fluid contained in the plant and has been historically recognised as one of the most beneficial alternative treatments. Today this herb is one of the most commonly used herbal remedy in the world, mainly used for liver health, detoxification and protection. Other documented benefits include treatment of rosacea, blood sugar control for diabetes, improvement in conditions such as heartburn, cholesterol and allergies and it also has anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties. It is a powerful antioxidant, protecting the body from damaging free radicals and is even used by some to treat depression.
And last, but not least, Willow bark has the pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties of aspirin, but does not thin the blood, so a great alternative for relieving arthritic pain. The active ingredient in willow bark was extracted in the 19th century and found to be a very effective pain reliever. It is now produced synthetically as aspirin.