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Herbal remedies (also known as botanical medicine, herbal medicine, or phytomedicine) have been around for thousands of years. The Aztecs, Egyptians and the ancient Chinese used herbal remedies.
For centuries, the Pacific Islanders have used herbs as part of their rituals. For example, my Hawaiian ʺbruhhdahsʺ regularly enjoy drinking kava. Kava root is mixed with water and served in coconut shells.
Drinking kava is known to relieve stress and anxiety. As one Hawaiian told me at a local kava bar, ʺno one has ever robbed a bank after drinking kava.ʺ
According to the World Health Organization, more than ʺ80 percent of people worldwide rely on herbal medicines for some part of their primary health care.ʺ
Herbal remedies can come from roots, flowers, plant’s seeds, bark, berries or leaves. Herbal remedies may treat anything from arthritis to PMS. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMM), nearly one-third of Americans use herbs.
For example, my Mexican grandmother used to serve ʺMexican Teaʺ to anyone and everyone who had a stomach ailment. If you complained of a stomachache or cramps, she instantly put on a tea kettle and prepared her magic tea. Mexican Tea is wormseed. However, you should see an herbalist for the recommended amount for your ailment. Pregnant women should not take wormseed.
According to the American Herbalist Guild, ʺin 1987 about 85 percent of modern drugs were originally derived from plants. Currently, only about 15 percent of drugs are derived from plants.ʺ
The UMM website states ʺthe use of herbal supplements had increased dramatically over the last 30 years.ʺ The UMM website also stated the following are the most popular herbal remedies in the United States:
• Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)
• Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea and related species)
• Evening primrose (Oenothera biennis)
• Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)
• Garlic (Allium sativum)
• Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
• Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)
• Ginseng (Panax ginseng, or Asian ginseng; and Panax quinquefolius, or American ginseng)
• Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)
• Milk thistle (Silybum marianum)