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Herbal Remedies for a Better Feeling Body

Yes, there are even more herbs to talk about. Find out how ginger can settle your stomach, bilberry can help your eyes, rosemary can get your blood pumping, peppermint can aid in indigestion, and aloe can heal your wounds.

Ginger

Use: Ginger helps relieve motion sickness, nausea from morning sickness, and indigestion or an upset stomach. It has an overall calming effect on the digestive system because it increases the secretion of digestive juices, including saliva, thereby neutralizing stomach acids and toxins.

Safety and Side Effects: Ginger increases the effectiveness of the blood thinner Coumadin.

Bilberry

Use: Bilberry is used to help combat retinopathy, cataracts and macular degeneration, peripheral vascular disease, varicose veins, and hemorrhoids. It promotes the formation of normal connective tissue, and protects this tissue from damage caused by inflammation.

Safety and Side Effects: None reported.

Rosemary

Use: It'll spice up more than just that roast chicken—in fact, your entire circulatory system! Recommended for its tonic, astringent, and diaphoretic effects (it increases perspiration), rosemary is said to aid in digestion and can be made into a hair tonic that will prevent baldness. It is also great for those with low blood pressure and can be used to stimulate menstruation.

Safety and Side Effects: Large quantities of the oil are needed for therapeutic purposes, and it's not safe when taken internally. (It can irritate the stomach, intestines, and kidneys.)

Peppermint

Use: Peppermint has served as a treatment for indigestion, flatulence, colic, and even menstrual cramping. Menthol, the active ingredient, can aid in digestion because it reduces the tonus of the lower esophageal sphincter and facilitates belching for relief.

Safety and Side Effects: Excessive intake of peppermint oil can cause nausea, loss of appetite, heart problems, loss of balance, and other nervous system problems. At the extreme, it can also lead to kidney failure. Peppermint oil may increase levels of the drug cyclosporine in the body.

Aloe

Aloe is an ingredient in two products that are completely different in terms of usage and chemical composition.

Aloe vera gel or mucilage is a thin, clear, jellylike substance that is used externally to treat wounds and sunburn. Although there is controversy about whether aloe gel retains its properties in preparation, fluid from a fresh leaf has been shown to promote attachment and growth of normal human cells. This type of aloe is recommended as an external wound healer.

Aloe latex or juice is quite different. In fact, it acts as a laxative and is clearly not recommended.

Safety and Side Effects: Aloe vera gel appears to be safe, but some people may experience an allergic reaction.

Using herbs can be a convenient way to alleviate everything from headaches to upset stomachs. Use this as a reference guide, and look things up when you are searching for a cure to a particular ache or ailment. Once again, I cannot stress too much the importance of checking things out with your physician—especially if you are taking medication and/or have a serious illness.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Total Nutrition © 2005 by Joy Bauer. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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