The magic of herbalism!

14:25 Blogs by FA 9 Comments

The magic of herbalism!

Nowadays, we tend to associate the usefulness of herbs with flavours for foods and meals. Sage in our stuffing, thyme for our lemon chicken, basil for tomato sauces, we've been neglecting the other potential uses for herbs for a little while now. Herbs have a long history of medical benefits too, or for pleasing scents. Alongside evergreen shrubs retailer Suttons Seeds, we're spotlighting eight of the most useful herbs that you could grow in your garden:

Multi-functional Ginseng

A favourite in traditional Chinese medicines for thousands of years, ginseng is said to treat many things. With Panax ginseng the most widely studied of this species, it has been found to boost our mood, enhance our memory and increase concentration. As a natural detoxifier, it’s also said to boost our immune system and treat imbalances in our body, including blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol levels and hormones. However, it has been claimed that anyone with heart disease should avoid this herb or consult with your cardiologist due to the reported side effects, such as heart palpitations and insomnia. 

Rosemary for Remembrance

One of the essential oils that gives rosemary its scent is attributed to speed and accuracy in mental tasks, according to Northumbria University. The main chemical constituent in the herb is 8-cineole and by simply smelling rosemary, we are said to be able to score higher on tests and function better on a daily basis.

As the Bard himself said, "rosemary is for remembrance". Now, science backs him up!

The magic of herbalism!

Echinacea to Boost your Immune System 

With a high level of flavonoids, echinacea has some anti-inflammatory properties. It is said to hold immune-boosting qualities that promotes the activity of the lymphocyte cells that help eliminate viruses from the body. Promoters of the herb use it to combat an array of ailments, including: 

- Dizziness
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Acid indigestion
- Gum disease
- Migraines
- Diphtheria
- Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Flu
- Tonsillitis


The herb enjoyed a surge of popularity in the west during the late 1920s and early 1930s. It first was used as a treatment for the common cold, after a supplement maker from Switzerland believed it could prevent common colds after finding out Native American tribes in South Dakota used it for this reason. 

Sage Memories 

The word ‘sage’ has roots in Latin meaning ‘to save’. And it certainly had a life-saving reputation in the Middle Ages, with many using it as a way to try to prevent the plague. However, recent research found that the herb may be able to improve our brain’s functionality and memories, especially in people who have Alzheimer’s disease as sage inhibits the breakdown of acetylcholine — something which drops in sufferers of the disease.

Basil’s Antiviral Properties 

Basil is a common feature on any herb rack. However, the plant also has anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties that can halt osteoarthritis. Currently, it’s being used to combat digestive disorders and is the subject of studies looking into its anti-cancer properties. The essential oils found in basil are a good source of vitamin A, potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium. It’s also said that the oil can enhance dull-looking skin and hair when massaged into the skin, provide relief from the common cold and improve digestion. 

Holy Basil (the other basil)

Don’t confuse this herb with regular basil. Holy basil is considered to be a sacred herb in India and has been linked with reducing blood sugar levels. It has also been used to combat anxiety and any anxiety-related depression, with one study finding it increases certain immune cells which are found in our blood. However, as these studies have been relatively small, it’s anticipated that more research will be carried out to discover the herb’s true ‘powers’.

The magic of herbalism!

Spearmint for the Stomach

Spearmint is well-known for being less strong in scent and taste than its brethren. Its leaves carry menthol and is rich in many antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin A and vitamin C. It can help battle flatulence and hiccups, due to it relaxing your stomach muscles. Other benefits spearmint is used for includes relieving itching, dermatitis and hives when it’s used as a cream or lotion. It can also be used in aromatic therapy to help reduce head pains, fatigue and stress. 

Tarragon is Good for the Blood 

Sporting health-benefitting phyto-nutrients, tarragon is great for encouraging an appetite. In its fresh form, it is one of the highest antioxidant value food sources in common herbs. Studies have found that it helps to lower blood sugar levels and compounds found in the herb can inhibit platelet activation and prevent adhesion to the blood vessel wall. This can help prevent clot formation inside blood vessels in your heart and brain, which can protect from heart attacks and strokes. In dentistry, tarragon has been used as an antiseptic for toothache complaints, while tarragon tea is thought to help cure insomnia.

There’s so many more health-benefitting herbs than the snapshot we’ve covered here. Studies will continue to be carried out to firmly understand all the positive aspects of the herbs available to us. So, now is as good a time as any to head to your local supermarkets and stock up on those all-important herbs! 


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9 comments:

  1. I found this post really fascinating. I have used a lot of essential oils before, but this was really interesting to hear about the properties of the herbs

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  2. Wow, so many there that I had no idea about and I'm so glad you reminded me about Echinacea, as that works wonders. Mich x

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  3. Herbs are great for so many elements. I have cloves if I have toothache, ginger if a badtummy, valerian if I can't sleep ... maybe I'm a herbalist? Althought I always thought this was just common knowledge.
    C x

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  4. It amazes me that we're finding out that all of these old-fashioned remedies really do have scientific basis after all

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  5. Working in the Pharma industry this is something I had to learn early on and use ginseng and rosemary often

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  6. Oh wow, this is amazing. I already knew some of these things but I didn’t know about the rosemary!

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  7. I had no idea about all the health benefits of herbs so I found this a fascinating read. I'll have to look into some of the others now :)

    Louise x

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  8. I've never heard of Holy Basil before. I do believe in the healing power of herbs though, after all they've been used for centuries.

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  9. It's amazing how many herbs can be used for so many different remedies!

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Thanks for stopping by. :-)