Scientists are continuously making more discoveries about the benefits of herbs in one's diet. Herbs are compared with traditional medicine in that they can give the same positive benefits as the latter, but without the negative side effects. It's good to take advantage of the health benefits these herbs bring, and if you want to get on the road to a better and healthier lifestyle, learning how to choose the right healthy herbs would be a great way to start.
Research the net. Choose reliable websites such as those affiliated with reputable medical institutions and universities. Check for consistency of information; follow the links provided; conduct further research on the studies that gave rise to the reported health benefits. You may choose to avoid websites that promote or advertise herbal products; it's possible that they might exaggerate its benefits.
Here are some herbs that are widely recognized to be the most beneficial to one's health:
- Garlic. Known to be a "poor man's drug", it has extensive health benefits: it contains more than 70 active phytochemicals, including allicin, which decreases high blood pressure and promotes overall heart health; it actively destroys various harmful bacteria; it enhances the immune system; it helps in the treatment of digestive disorders such as diarrhea; it protects the liver; and can even lower ovarian and colo-rectal cancer risk.
- Ginger. Ginger is a powerful antioxidant and it helps in reducing risk of life-threatening diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart attack, stroke, and macular degeneration. It aids in maintaining a clean and healthy colon; can prevent stomach upsets; and it alleviates menstrual cramps, morning sickness, flu, headache, and toothache.
- Turmeric. Turmeric, typically used to prepare curry, has curcumin, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory found to reduce arthritis pain, and acts as an antiseptic for cuts, burns, and bruises. In addition, it might prevent colon cancer and Alzheimer's disease.
- Cinnamon. Cinnamon acts to lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels; it is used for curing colds, diarrhea, and digestive problems.
- Rosemary. When added to marinades, rosemary can lower carcinogen levels in fried, broiled or grilled meats, thereby helping in stopping tumors from forming. It may also improve memory.
- St. John's Wort. St. John's Wort has gained reputation in offering gentle relief for mild to moderate depression and anxiety. It also increases melatonin, or the hormone that regulates sleep/wake cycles.
- Gingko Biloba. Gingko Biloba increases blood flow to the brain and the rest of the body. It aids memory and helps keep the mind active; it promotes fast metabolism; and it helps keep cholesterol levels in the body at normal levels.
Consult your doctor. Have your doctor assess your research, and ask his opinion based on your overall health condition as to what herbs you would most need. You may also ask his recommendation on good herbal supplements, and the dosage that is best for you.
Consult a nutritionist/dietician. Ask specific information about the herbs, such as how they are best stored, prepared and integrated into your diet; how much should you consume so you can best reap its health benefits; a diet plan that extensively uses herbs; what are some of the best recipes that call for the use of the herbs.
Set realistic expectations. Herbs usually work gradually, and intake must be consistent and coupled with a well-balanced diet. Be advised too that most of the herbal benefits are preventative in nature, though they are able to cure numerous common ailments. The key is to adopt an overall healthy lifestyle of good diet, exercise and rest in order to fully benefit from the herbs.
Get started on the road to wellness. Remember, the person who would most benefit from your body being healthy and well conditioned is yourself.