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Contemporary Uses for Ancient Herbs

Posted Nov 18 2009 10:00pm

If you have ever read the Bible or even studied ancient history, you will likely have seen references to a variety of herbs and plants used for medicinal purposes as well hygiene and beauty. People thousands of years ago depended on them for treating a variety of ailments and also used them in rituals. As new lands were discovered, these herbs and their seeds traveled with the people, eventually taking root in a variety of cultures.

ancient herbs

Frankincense and Myrrh

Two of the three gifts presented to baby Jesus at birth, frankincense and myrrh are two of the oldest herbs noted in recorded history. Frankincense was used for a variety of ailments from eradicating poisons in the body to treating tumors, boils, dysentery and fevers. Today, this ancient herb is used for aromatherapy to reduce anxiety and stress and even high quality perfumes.

Myrrh was used in healing rituals in early history as well as many health remedies. Wounds, hemorrhoids, dry skin, menstruation pain and respiratory ailments were treated with myrrh. In addition, ancient Egyptians used this herb for perfume, anointing and even embalming. Today, myrrh is used for aromatherapy as well as health remedies for gingivitis, mouth sores and even stomach ailments.

Flax

This herb was often transformed into linen using a delicate process that is difficult to replicate, even by today’s standards. The flax linen was used for burial shrouds as well as fine clothing. The seeds from flax were pressed to create oil used for a variety of things such as embalming in addition to the treatment of burn wounds, laxatives, and the alleviation of dry coughs.

Today, flaxseed is known for its healthy dietary properties, namely ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) and polyphenolics. Gastritis, colitis and inflammation benefit from the ALA properties of flaxseed. In addition, the ALA slows and sometimes prevents tumor growth. The polyphenolic components help prevent colon and breast cancer.

Turmeric

Ancient Sanskrit documents describe the use of turmeric for a number of applications such as using the root of this plant for natural dyes, beauty treatments of the skin and even digestion problems. Today, turmeric is widely used in ethnic Indian cooking but it is regaining popularity as a health treatment, a practice used since ancient times in Ayurveda methods. Presently, you can purchase turmeric root, powder or even supplements to treat many ailments from inflammation to lymphoma to gastritis. Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties ease the ache of laryngitis, flatulence, arthritis, bronchial problems, and even eczema.

Garlic

In the bible, garlic was mentioned as a great way for men to increase their virility so they could boost their chances of attracting their wives and producing children. And for thousands of years, garlic was prescribed for a number of things such as snakebites, depression, respiratory ailments, headaches and infection. Today, garlic is a wonder herb, often consuming in foods as well as supplements. The bulb of this herbal plant has the power to boost your immune system against bacterial and viral infections. It can help lower your blood cholesterol and blood pressure in addition to lowering your cancer risk.

There are a number of other herbs that existed back in ancient times. Aloe, milk thistle and anise are just a few of many that are being used, even today. Traditional Chinese medicine and Indian Ayurveda being practiced today still employ many of these ancient herbs in its medicinal treatments. In a time when there are superbugs that resist common antibiotics and antiviral treatments, these herbs can make a difference.

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