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General Practice 2023

Medicinal plants for the 7 most common he alth problems

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Medicinal plants for the 7 most common he alth problems
Medicinal plants for the 7 most common he alth problems

Medicinal plants are all those that have active principles that help in the treatment of diseases or that help to improve a person's he alth or quality of life.

Popularly, medicinal plants are used in the form of teas or infusions, but there are also several plant extracts that can be consumed in the form of powders, capsules or tablets and that usually have a better effect, since that contain a higher concentration of the plant's actives.

Although medicinal plants can be a good way to maintain he alth, prevent disease and even complete the treatment of various chronic problems, they should not be used to replace any guidance given by the doctor and their use should also, be informed to the doctor, as several plants can interact with the drugs being prescribed.

Medicinal plants for the 7 most common problems

Depending on the problem to be treated, there are several medicinal plants that are used in folk medicine. However, only a few of these plants have scientific proof.

So, some plants with more evidence for the most common problems are:

1. High blood pressure

Some medicinal plants that have an effect capable of regulating blood pressure and fighting hypertension are:

  • Olive leaves: they have a vasodilating effect that allows lowering blood pressure. Some studies indicate that it may even have a similar effect with some over-the-counter drugs such as Captopril;
  • Garlic: makes the blood more fluid and, therefore, is great for preventing the onset of cardiovascular diseases, including high blood pressure;
  • Crataegus: has strong hypotensive action by increasing nitric oxide concentrations in the body, which allow the vessels to dilate, reducing pressure.

These plants should be used for at least 3 to 4 weeks to see any effect on blood pressure. In addition, it is important to supplement its use with a balanced, low-sodium diet, as well as regular physical exercise.

See how to use these plants and other home remedies for high blood pressure.

2. Diabetes

As for type 2 diabetes, there are also medicinal plants that seem to help regulate blood sugar levels better. Some of the most commonly used include:

  • Blueberry: has assets that bind to insulin and enhance its effect on the body, fighting resistance to this substance, which is very common in cases of diabetes;
  • Cinnamon: in addition to helping with the effect of insulin, cinnamon also improves the use and transport of glucose, preventing it from accumulating in the blood;
  • Nopal: is a type of cactus widely used in Mexico that also improves the action of insulin in the body, allowing it to regulate sugar levels more easily.

These natural options for diabetes should not replace the treatment indicated by the doctor, as they do not cure the disease, however, they can help to reduce the doses of some drugs used in the treatment indicated by the doctor.

Check out other home remedies options to treat diabetes.

3. Urinary tract infection

Urinary tract infection is another common he alth problem in which the use of some medicinal plants can benefit, especially in preventing a new crisis or in reducing discomfort during a urinary tract infection.

Some plants with scientific proof include:

  • Beargrape: Beargrass is a potent natural diuretic that aids in the elimination of urine. In this way, there is less accumulation and development of bacteria in the urinary tract, facilitating the treatment of the infection;
  • Capuchinha: in addition to being another good natural diuretic, nasturtium also has antibiotic actives that help fight infection;
  • Cranberry: this fruit contains a high concentration of proanthocyanidins that make it difficult for bacteria to adhere to the urinary tract, greatly reducing the chances of having a urinary tract infection. So it can be used by people who have recurrent infections, for example.

In addition to using these plants, it is important to follow all the doctor's instructions, in addition to drinking about 2 liters of water a day and maintaining proper intimate hygiene.

See how to use these plants properly to fight a urinary tract infection.

4. Slimming

The weight loss process can also be facilitated with the use of some medicinal plants, however, it is very important that its use is done together with a balanced diet, with few calories and indicated by a nutritionist. In addition, you should also do regular physical exercise.

The most recommended plants for weight loss include:

  • Ginger: according to recent studies it seems to decrease the absorption of fats in the stomach, reducing its deposit in the body;
  • Green tea: in addition to increasing metabolism and burning body fat, green tea also regulates appetite;
  • Hibiscus: being rich in anthocyanins, it helps to control the accumulation of body fat, as well as control hunger and appetite, facilitating the weight loss process.

Check out some recipes to use these plants in the weight loss process.

5. Stomach ache and poor digestion

Stomach discomforts are relatively common, but, in most cases, they can be fought with the use of teas such as:

  • Peppermint: helps reduce the feeling of nausea and fights excess gas, and can be used when your stomach feels very stuffy, for example;
  • Boldo: it is the perfect plant to use after a very large and heavy meal, with a lot of fat, as it facilitates the functioning of the liver and gallbladder, facilitating digestion of fats;
  • fennel: this is a very versatile plant that stimulates the digestive process and can be used to relieve symptoms such as bloated stomach, stomach pain or frequent burping.

In case gastrointestinal symptoms appear very frequently, it is advisable to consult a gastroenterologist, as there may be a problem that needs to be diagnosed and treated properly.

See how to use these plants and others to relieve gastric discomfort.

6. External hemorrhoids

One of the best ways to relieve the discomfort of external hemorrhoids and accelerate healing is to take sitz baths with medicinal plants. Some of the most commonly used include:

  • Chestnut: helps improve blood circulation, in addition to being anti-inflammatory, which reduces hemorrhoid swelling and pain;
  • Hamamélis: has great soothing and healing properties that help relieve discomfort and accelerate healing;
  • Cypestre: in addition to reducing pain at the site, cypestre also has an antimicrobial action that prevents the emergence of infection in the hemorrhoid region.

Learn how to use these plants to complete the treatment naturally.

7. Sore throat

Some plants are excellent for relieving a sore throat, as they have anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties:

  • Ginger: is a potent natural anti-inflammatory and antiseptic that eliminates possible bacteria that are causing throat inflammation;
  • Grapefruit: it is very rich in vitamin C and has a strong anti-inflammatory action that quickly reduces the discomfort caused by throat inflammation;
  • Mint: helps to purify and soothe throat irritation and can be used in various types of sore throat.

Grapefruit should only be used if you are not taking medication prescribed by your doctor, as it can nullify the effect of many medications.

See how to prepare these herbs and other home remedies for a sore throat.

Where to buy medicinal plants

Medicinal plants can be purchased in natural products stores, some pharmacies, supermarkets and hypermarkets or in the homes of people who grow them and sell them to the public.

Some precautions to be taken when buying medicinal plants are:

  • Conservation: confirm that it was protected from light and in a dry place, if they are well closed in glass jars or in properly closed bags;
  • Name: it is important to know the popular name of the plant, but whenever possible you should also know the scientific name;
  • Validity: you should avoid buying medicinal herbs in large quantities, because they also have an expiration date.

Buying medicinal plants and herbs following these tips is essential to ensure their safety and effectiveness.

Main care when using medicinal plants

Although they are natural, care must be taken when using medicinal plants as some can cause serious adverse reactions and even interact with medications that are being used.

Thus, the ideal is to always use medicinal plants under the guidance of a herbalist or naturopath experienced in medicinal plants.

Furthermore, it is important to remember that medicinal herbs should not replace pharmacy medicines without the doctor's knowledge. It is also important to inform your doctor about any herbal supplements or teas you are using frequently.

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