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5 World’s Best Herbal Medicines You Should Try

Medical Daily logo Medical Daily 2/4/2020 Joshua Tresvalles

Traditional herbal medicines have been around for centuries to meet various health care needs, and continue to be useful even with the presence of modern medical and technological advancements, with estimates suggesting that it grosses $60 million every year. 

They are more affordable compared to conventional medicines, more accessible compared to prescription medicines and preferred by many because they are in line with their personal health beliefs.

If you still are wondering whether herbal medicines are still effective especially in the face of new advances in health and medicine, then check out five of the world's best herbal medicines along with reasons why you should try them.

Ginseng 

Ginseng is known mainly for its roots, which are either steeped to make tea or dried to make ginseng powder. It is used in traditional Chinese medicine to reduce inflammation as well as to boost immunity, brain function and stress levels. 

Though several varieties exist, two of its most popular are the Asian and American types. While American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) can cultivate relaxation, Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) is considered more stimulating. 

Ginkgo Biloba 

Derived from the maidenhair tree, ginkgo biloba, or simply ginkgo, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for millenia and is still a top-selling herbal supplement today, containing various antioxidants that are thought to contain several health benefits.

The leaves and seeds are traditionally used for making teas and tinctures, but most modern applications use ginkgo leaf extract. 

Ginkgo is also said to treat most ailments, ranging from heart disease to sexual dysfunction.

Elderberry

Typically made from a cooked sambucus nigra fruit, elderberry has long been used to relieve headaches, nerve pain, toothaches, colds, viral infections and constipation, but is today primarily marketed as a treatment for flu and common cold symptoms. 

Although there is no standard dosage, elderberry is available either as a syrup or a lozenge. Some prefer making their own syrup or tea by cooking it with other ingredients, usually with honey or ginger.

Though human research is lacking, the plant compounds found in elderberries are demonstrated in test-tube research to have antioxidant, antimicrobial and antiviral properties.

St. John's Wort 

Derived from the flowering plant hypericum perforatum, St. John's wort (SJW) was utilized throughout history to aid in wound healing and alleviation of insomnia, depression and various kidney and lung diseases, and is today used in treating mild to moderate depression. 

In parts of Europe, SJW is still frequently prescribed by medical professionals, having its use traced back to ancient Greece.

Chamomile 

One of the most popular herbal medicines in the world, chamomile has been used for thousands of years as a remedy for nausea, diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain, urinary tract infections, wounds and upper respiratory infections, packing over 100 active compounds, of which many are thought to contribute to its health benefits.

Often used to make tea, chamomile can also be dried and used to make medicinal extracts or topical compresses.

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