Fresh herbs not only add flavor without calories, they may also serve up health benefits as healing foods. “Herbal medicine has been used as kitchen medicine for thousands of years, and while our body’s response to these natural treatments has not changed, we now have more global choices than ever,” says Steven Chasens, an herbalist and acupuncture physician at Coral Gables Acupuncture in Florida. “There is no substitute for competent medical care and routine checkups. However, to avoid disease and live strong, a good diet and sensible eating is critical.” A basic knowledge of how food and herbs can help what ails you is key to your sensible eating plan, Chasens explains

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There are times when it might be smarter to use an herbal remedy than a pharmaceutical. For example, sometimes an herb offers a safer alternative. Take chamomile: The flowers have been used for centuries as a gentle calmative for young and old alike. It’s non-habit-forming and well tolerated, and a study sponsored by the University of Michigan found that chamomile extract had roughly the same efficacy as many prescription sleeping medications when given to adults with insomnia. Likewise, peppermint oil has been shown to be as effective as pharmaceutical drugs for relieving irritable bowel syndrome, but without the ofttimes dangerous side effects. And clinical studies have shown that ginger relieves morning sickness, sage can relieve a sore throat, and hibiscus tea gently lowers blood pressure.
The idea of choosing herbs for medicinal treatments is not even a practice reserved only for humans scientists have even found that chimpanzees will commonly select and apply herbs to treat ailments and injurie. However, at the heart of early herbal medicine for humans was a concept foreign to other species; it was the deeply spiritual aspect. Many herbal remedies were prepared for and used, or featured, as part of many forms and types of rituals and magic rites ceremonies, with equal emphasis being placed on the pleasure of higher beings and the treatment of worldly ailments.Herbal healing established a firm foundation for medical treatments rooted in more scientific, albeit no less meaningful to the practicing cultures.The goal of the following pages and articles is to outline the important role that healthy and healing herbs can play in your attempts to improve your overall levels of health and well being. Many of the herbs and plants that will be discussed will be quite familiar and are often used in many cooking recipes.

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Some of the other herbs and plants covered will be less familiar but this does not in any way take away from their potential for producing favorable outcomes.Rather than simply looking to tradition and word of mouth as a guideline for judging the efficacy of various herbs and plants, we seem to find it more prudent to look for those herbs and plants that have been scientifically documented to bring about beneficial consequences through research.