Herbal Remedies

Passifloraceae
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HERBAL remedies have been used by mankind for thousands and thousands of years. In fact, instructions for using medicinal plants can be found in the records of King Hammurabi of Babylon, 1800 BC. Considering the amount of unnatural substances that we put into our bodies every day, it is no surprise that there has been a gradual interest in the old ways of healing.

Herbal remedy is defined as “a medication prepared from plants”. With a long and respected history, many herbal remedies have proven to be effective against a range of health problems. So before you say “out with the old and in with new”, don’t throw the herbal remedies bandwagon on the side of the road just yet.

Life’s hectic pace has led to more and more people reporting an increase in anxiety and stress, often accompanied by sleeplessness. A popular herbal remedy for treating this is passionflower. Passionflower is known to have a soothing effect on both the body and mind. One tablet of passionflower extract (taken with water), in the morning is the recommended dosage for tackling these problems.

The common cold or flu is a niggling problem for the majority of us, at least a couple of times a year. An extremely popular herbal remedy to alleviate these symptoms and help fight infection is echinacea. Echinacea is known to greatly reduce symptoms such as lethargy, coughing, headache and aching limbs. It is believed that this herbal remedy is an “immune stimulant” which increases antibody production. The recommended dosage is 2-3ml of echinacea juice, three times daily.

For those of you travelling abroad this semester, if you’re prone to travel sickness, fear no more – it’s ginger to the rescue. This nifty herbal remedy is used by pregnant women and even astronauts at NASA to prevent nausea and sickness. The recommended dosage to treat travel sickness is 1000mg, taken four hours before travelling.

As with anything medicinal, there are sometimes side effects and certain circumstances under which herbal remedies should not be used. Sometimes if combining two different herbal remedies, mixing them with medication or an underlying condition, they can do more harm than good. So be sure to double check with a pharmacist or doctor before trying them.

Published in “An Focal”, the University of Limerick’s student paper, on the 24th of January 2012.

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