Plant-based remedies can help with minor illnesses, but when it comes to more serious conditions, you could be doing more harm than good with that homemade herbal brew. Seeing or chatting with a doctor should always be your first step.
Plants pack a powerful punch
Plants have helped humans heal for thousands of years, and plant-based remedies were the go-to treatment when there was no doctor nearby: a clove of garlic or a ginger root, some sage leaves or a stalk of thyme could be plucked from the garden and used to treat common complaints.
Garlic is great for colds and congestion, and studies show it can gently lower blood pressure.
Ginger is just what you need to treat nausea, vomiting or an upset tummy. Gargling with sage steeped in boiling water and cooled can sort out a sore throat, and drinking a home brew of thyme can help ease coughs and congestion.
Herbs have a long history
We now know plenty about plants and their healing properties, and many modern medicines are based on powerful plant sources.
Aspirin, one of the most widely used painkillers in the world, is made from the bark of the willow tree. Ancient Egyptians used to chew pieces of bark; today the active ingredient is made in a laboratory.
But with urban gardens popping up all over, healing plants can be a huge help.
Growing a herb garden is good for you
Growing your own herbs and bulbs is a good idea. Not only is gardening great for your immunity – digging in the soil and being out in the sunshine can boost your body’s natural defences – but you can choose plants that are safe for everyday illnesses or injuries.
Peppermint is one herb that does a whole lot of good – from relieving headaches and opening up airways to helping with digestion.
Common herbs can come with serious side effects
But while plants can heal, they can have powerful side effects too. So, it’s important to see a doctor before you start trying out those tinctures.
You may be taking chronic medicines that interact with those herbal cures, or you could have an underlying health condition that you’re not aware of.
Know the right dose
And it’s just as important to get the dosage right if you’re using herbal remedies. Too much of a healing plant extract can be harmful – like overdosing on apricot kernel extract to keep prostate cancer at bay; it can lead to cyanide poisoning!
Because herbs haven’t been tested and peer reviewed like other medicines, it’s hard to know what dosages are right for you.
Use Unu for help with plant remedies
Unu gives you unlimited doctor chats and, through your health record, builds a full picture of your health history, so your doctor will know what meds you’re taking and what you’ve been treated for in the past.
So, chat to your doctor first before you get your hands on those herbs.