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Harnessing the power of herbs and flowers can feel a little like magic. My grandma used to have a little herb garden and not only did she cook with the plants she grew herself, but whenever I went to her with complaints about a wound, an aching stomach or being unable to sleep, she’ll nod her head sagely, go out into the garden and pluck a something that will make me feel better. Drinking whatever she gave me felt like a healing potion that only she could make. She used to tell me the juice of this plant could help with wounds or that the leaves of another were good at keeping the common flu at bay. Obviously living in the city has greatly diminished my hopes for my own extensive herb garden and I can barely recognise one plant from the other. However, having a basic knowledge of which plants help with which ailments can greatly improve your lifestyle and strengthen your body. You do not have to be a grandma with years of experience to harness the power of nature. Here are some herbs to get you started:
Let’s start off with an easy one, shall we? Everyone and their grandmas know about the benefit of chamomile on sleep and it’s not a myth. Traditionally, chamomile has been used to help with insomnia because it is mildly sedative. This may be due to the certain flavonoids that affect the brain. Although not many clinical trials have been done, there was one study that showed the inhalation of chamomile oil vapours reduced the production of a stress-induced hormone. The benefits of chamomile have been recorded for thousands of years and it is one of the oldest and most widely used herbs. It is no surprise why – it doesn’t just induce sleep, it is also anti-inflammatory, helps with the common cold and digestion by soothing the stomach, calms irritated skin and stimulates the immune system.
Rose is one of those plants which you assume is only around for its beauty or for its popularity during Valentines Day, but the truth is this plant has its own myriad of benefits. They have been in use since the ancient Greeks and Romans who used them to perfume their baths. Roses offer beauty enhancing benefits, and its essential oil is highly antibacterial and therefore, great in managing acne and acne prone skin. Its calming properties can reduce swollen spots or redness. Since roses are natural astringents, they help to tighten pores and tone skin. Plus, unlike alcohol toners, roses have a moisturising effect on your skin and does not dry it out.
Lavender is another one of those herbs that’s popularly used to help with relaxation. The natural compounds in their leaves and flowers can be ground and applied directly to your temples or brewed in tea to relieve the mind of anxiety and balance your mood. Lavender tea has also been used for thousands of years to induce sleep and it is helpful for insomnia. Not only that, it has strong anti-inflammatory components which can help reduce swellings and calm irritated skin.
Coriander is a herb as well as a spice commonly found in many households that make curries or masalas. This humble plant native to the Mediterranean is packed full of health benefits. It has eleven compounds of essential oils, six types of acids, minerals and vitamins. All of these various components have their individual benefits. Coriander lowers skin inflammation, and it has disinfectant, detoxifying, antiseptic, antifungal and antioxidant properties which are ideal for clearing up the skin and fortifying the body. It also helps improve cholesterol levels and lowers blood sugar and is sometimes used to help with diabetes.
Everyone knows that lemons are a good source of Vitamin C, but what exactly does that mean? Vitamin C does more than just prevent common colds, it also may reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases, stroke and high blood pressure. Better yet, research has also proven how useful Vitamin C in lemons is in improving the quality of our skin, and even in reducing wrinkles. Lemons also have a variety of other benefits such as aiding digestion, speeding up weight loss and preventing kidney stones.
Of course this is but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to using plants for your benefits. A little research will yield a plethora of uses for the herbs and flowers that are readily available to you. If you are still a little confused on how you should use herbs and flowers, an easy way in is through teas. There are a many available in the market containing a huge variety of herbs. Why not try Nilufer’s caffeine free Lemon and Chamomile tea or Rose? They are made from organic ingredients that have been grown without any use of pesticides. Shop here today!
Written by: Annmaria Patteri