Showing posts with label Herbal Medicine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Herbal Medicine. Show all posts

Valerian Root Benefits and Side Effects

Valerian is a flowering plant mostly found in Europe and Asia. It may grow up to a height of 5 ft and bears pink or white flowers. Valerian was used as a medicinal herb in ancient Greece and Rome. It was used as sedative, antiseptic, anticonvulsant, pain reliever and to treat sleep disorders. Now Valerian root is sold as capsules and used as dietary supplement. Some researches were done on Valerian plant and found that it contain some chemicals that interact with our central nervous system, which might be responsible for its medicinal properties.

Benefits of Valerian Root

Valerian Root is herbal medicine used for treatment of following medical conditions

  • sleep disorders like insomnia
  • improving sleep
  • prevents dizziness
  • reducing stress and anxiety
  • improves heart rate
  • cures restless leg syndrome
  • effective in cancer therapy
  • used to treat drug addiction and alcoholism
  • helpful in controlling hyperactivity
  • decreases menopausal symptoms

Precaution: Above listed benefits are not proved by any research and might not be accurate.
According to some reports, Valerian Root is the number one non-prescription sedative in Europe.
Valerian Root Oil
Valerian root oil is used by some people to treat disease. If the plant is grown in stony-dry soil then it contains more oil compared to wet-fertile soil. Some people find its smell bad and compare it with smell of unwashed foot due to its pungent and earthy scent.

Valerian Root Tea
Usage of Valerian Root Tea started in 16th century when the Anabaptist reformer Pilgram Marpeck prescribed valerian tea for a sick woman and it worked. Users of Valerian tea suggest that this special should not be prepared with boiling water, as it may evaporate the lighter oil which is its important ingredient. Now a days Valerian Root Tea is available in market as tea bags.

Government Regulations on Valerian

  • The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has approved Valerian as a traditional herbal medicine, which can be used to relieve mild nervous tension and aid sleep. EMA also states that there are insufficient evidences about its medicinal use as per clinical studies.
  • Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act allows Valerian extracts to be sold as a nutritional supplement in United States.

Valerian Root Side Effects

Valerian root is not a clinically tested medicine, so it should be used with precaution as it deals with central nervous system. Following precautions should be taken to save yourself from any possible side effects.

  • Valerian should not be taken with any other depressants or antihistamine drugs.
  • Pregnant women should never use Valerian.
  • Even short term usage of Valerian is associated with liver injury which is known as hepatotoxicity in medical terms.
  • Long term usage may result in withdrawal symptoms such as cardiac complications.
  • Over dosage of Valerian can be dangerous.

Indoor Plants - The better Alternative of Air Purifier

Today educated people are more concerned about the indoor air, so that they can spend some quality time with their family in good quality air. Air purifiers cost a lot and also make irritating sounds sometimes. Due to these factors some people who are more inclined towards nature think about using indoor plants as an air purifier. But is it really possible for indoor plants to remove all pollutants from air ? Air pollution consists of all harmful gases present in the air that we breathe, but when it comes to air purification then it is more about particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) which is a major pollutant in metro cities and causing more health concerns.

Here our main motive is to know about the efficiency of indoor plants in removing air pollutants, and if they can act as a better alternative of air purifiers. But before we proceed, you must know that in reality air purifiers are an alternative of plants. We the humans have made air purifiers because we don't have enough plants in cities to keep the air clean.

How many pollutants of air can be removed by indoor plants?

We all known that plants consume carbon dioxide and generate oxygen (i.e. photosynthesis). Carbon Dioxide is just one pollutant that plants can remove from air. Ammonia, Benzene, Formaldehyde, Xylene, Trichloroethylene, Carbon Monoxide and Nitrogen Monoxide are some of the other harmful compounds that plants can remove from air. Truth about the pollutants mentioned above is that they come from home-building materials itself. So first we create a house that is itself a pollutant and then we put some plants inside it to keep the air clean (Such serious things make me laugh, whenever i write such articles).

Can we get rid of PM2.5 and PM10 using indoor plants ?

It is not sure if plants can consume particulate matter as a food, but they can capture particulate matter on their leaves. Some studies have shown that PM level decrease up to 50% if a house is surrounded by trees. Tree leaves even capture the metallic pollutants in the air. Spider plants are considered best to get rid of Particulate Matter (PM). Some of the particulate matter is trapped i its wax and some accumulate on their leaves. This accumulation is always more than what accumulates on plain surfaces of home, which means that spider plants accumulate more PM than what gravity pulls toward itself. Studies have shown that Spider Plant can decrease PM level by 35% (Reference). Even if we can't get rid of PM completely through indoor plants, the level can be easily dragged down which can make it breathable. We would suggest you to plant trees outside and keep some indoor plants to get an effective solution of particulate matter.

Do plants remove tobacco smoke from air ?

Tobacco smoke include toluene, formaldehyde, acetone and ammonia. Harmful gases can easily get absorbed by plants. Other harmful residues like some heavy metals, carcinogens, and even radioactive materials that are found in tobacco smoke may not get absorbed by plants but it can be trapped on leaves and soil up to some extent. But still we would never suggest you to smoke inside a house as it heavily increases the pollution level inside a house.

Which plants are best to clean indoor air?

The list of such plants is large. Most of them come from tropical forests which grow as small plants under the big trees and require lesser sunlight. Philodendron, spider plant, English ivy, peace lily, Chinese evergreen, bamboo palm, golden pothos, Boston fern, dwarf date palm, weeping fig and lady palm are some of the good plants that can keep the air clean and also provide a good look to your home.

Some Facts about Indoor Plants:

  • According to a NASA study done in 1989, an average sized indoor plant is sufficient to clean the air in a 100 sq. ft. room.
  • It is not just leaves that clean the air. Bacteria and fungi residing in the soil absorb pollutants and provide it as a food source to plant roots. So lower leaves of indoor plants should be cut to expose more soil.
  • Shape of leaves, size of leaves and waxes present on plant matters a lot to measure its ability to remove pollutants from air. All plants can't survive inside a house. So do a proper research before putting some plants inside your home.
  • No air purifier can remove as many gases from air as plants can do. If we make an air purifier to absorb some harmful gases then it would weigh in tonnes.
  • Air Pollution causes cancer and kills more people than any other disease on earth. According to WHO 4.3 million people are killed every year due to household air pollution. So plant trees and also keep some inside your house.

Indoor Plants vs Air Purifiers

Air purifiers can't get rid of harmful gases. They are only meant to remove tiny dust particles (or particulate matter) only up to some extent (not 100%). At most they can remove some bad odors using carbon filters, which makes them expensive. If you compare them with plants then plants always win, as they remove harmful gases and capture some particulate matter as well at very less cost. The expenses you need to make for am indoor plant just some water and a little care. Gardening is itself related to a better health, plus it can also give you better air to breathe. 

Note: Breathing is not optional, so think about yourself and the upcoming generations and plant trees to make the air clean. Reduce usage of those things which cause air pollution. 

Onion Juice and Hair Fall Treatment

99% of hair loss treatment don't work at all. Hair loss treatment is a complete industry working side-by-side with medical industry. This industry is worth 4 billion dollar. It is a large amount and growing continuously. Stress level is increasing day by day and  nutrition level is decreasing which is causing more hair fall and thus more demand for treatment. Different people have different reasons for hair fall ranging from heredity to some particular skin disease. But fun fact is that commercial advertisements offer the same remedy for all of them without diagnosing the problem. It is the reason that 99% of the treatment don't work at all and people spend more and more money on different products with the hope of getting their hair back.

There is a myth popular among the bald that hair once lost can't get back, however the remaining hairs can be saved with correct treatment. This myth made millions of people around the world go for hair transplant which has its own risks. Such myth can only give profit to hair transplant industry. The truth is that if the hair loss is due to lack of some particular nutrient then availability of that nutrient can make those hair grow again. If it is due to some skin disease the treatment of that disease can help you in getting your hair back.

What causes hair loss ?
The factors listed below are the major reason behind hair loss.

  • Heredity
  • Hormones
  • Stress
  • Poor diet/missing nutrients
  • Chemical hair styling services
  • Certain medications
  • Surgery or high temperature

Most of the people suffer hair loss due to a combination of these factors. Most common of them is stress. When stress combines with lack of nutrients then hair fall occurs at a high pace.

While doing research for the hair fall treatment we found an interesting fact that some people use onion juice to treat it. The usage is onion juice is still under research but we found some interesting facts worth sharing.

Onion Juice and Hair Fall Treatment

  • Sulphur is a main nutrient in Onion, which plays a major role in production of keratin, a protein found in hair.
  • Onion Juice can check the scalp infections (if any) and also promotes hair growth.
  • Methylsulfonylmethane is a form of sulphur which is highly absorbable and found abundantly in Onion.
  • Onion juice can be used with allopathic medication.
  • Onion juice on scalp can also fight with lice and dandruff as onion is a natural antiseptic and antibiotic.

How to apply Onion Juice on Scalp

Extract the juice of onion by using a juicer, mixer or grinder. Apply it thrice a week for 20-40 minutes on the scalp before taking a bath. If you find the smell of onion a little irritating then you may mix honey and powdered fenugreek seed and keep it overnight before applying on scalp. Olive oil can also be mixed in it before application.
Note: Aspirin,  NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and beta blockers can increase sensitivity to onions. So if you are using such medication then consult your physician.

Those who oppose the usage of Onion Juice to treat hair fall have got following points.

  • Onions can be quite caustic to the skin.
  • Side effects may include redness and itching of skin.

Final thought: Using onion juice to treat hair fall is usually safe if you are not allergic to onion. But the actual result is under research. There is no harm in treating yourself by using this low cost treatment. After all it is safe and affordable. Even if there is a little chance to get your hair back using a few kilograms of onions then it is better to wait before spending a fortune on hair transplant.

Holy Basil Medicinal Benefits

Holy Basil medicinal benefits
Holy Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum or Ocimum sanctum) is known as the "Queen of Herbs" in Ayurveda. This plant is even worshiped by Hindu families of India. One of the reason behind this respect given to this plant is its medicinal properties. According to Ayurveda no other plant have so many medicinal properties. In India, Holy Basil is known as "Tulsi".

Here we will provide a list of medicinal benefits of Holy Basil with some research studies to prove these facts.

  • Fights Bacterial Infection: Even a small wound can become a problematic thing due to bacterial infection. Holy basil can easily control such bacterial infections just like a powerful antibiotic. Research Findings.
  • It can improve the capability of your brain: Extract of roots of holy basil is known to have de-stressing and mentally stimulating capabilities. Researches are being done to know more this fact.
  • Reduces Harmful Cholesterol: Some researches done on animals have shown that this herb can lower the harmful cholesterol level in blood. (Research Findings).It also protects the heart from chronic stress.
  • Healing Power: Don't think that it will make you Wolverine, but extract of leaves of holy basil can boost wound healing.
  • Type2 Diabetes Cure: Holy basil can lower the sugar level . Some preliminary research findings have supported this belief. Research Findings.
  • Good for Stomach: Anti Ulcer properties of Holy Basil reduces the stomach acid, acid reflux and ulcers. Consumption of Holy basil increases the protective mucus production in stomach.
  • Reduces Inflammation: Holy basil is known to reduce inflammation. This quality of holy basil is good for joint pains.
  • Helps in fighting against Common Cold: People in India use holy basil in tea to get relief from common cold.
  • Helps in treating Bronchitis and Asthama. Tulsi leaves are one of the major constituents of Ayurvedic cough syrups.
  •  Some studies have shown than it can be used in Cancer Treatment just like the radiation therapy.
  • Removes kidney stones: Holy basil is also know to make our kidneys stronger and remove stone through urinary tract. 
  • Useful in Pyorrhea and teeth disorder: Powdered form of dry leaves of holy basil can be used as a tooth powder. Or that powder can be mixed with mustard oil to use it as a tooth paste. It not only cleanses the teeth and remove bad breath but also helps in treating pyorrhea.
  • Removes headache and stress
  • Cures from fever

Before applying any of these usages in your daily life, its better to consult your an ayurvedic doctor.

Holy Basil is not only used in Ayurveda but also in Greek, Roman and Siddha medicine system.  It has following medicinal properties
  • Antioxidant
  • Antibacterial
  • Anti-fungal
  • Anti-inflammatory