Herbs and spice were the first line of medical defense for our ancestors.
Long before there were antibiotics and prescription drugs, civilization was built on the back of these powerful herbs.
With increasing fears over questionable claims and dangerous side-effects of prescription drugs, many doctors are moving forward by looking to the solutions of the past.
Functional vs Adaptogenic Herbs
The main difference between functional and adaptogenic herbs is that a functional herb typically has a direct impact on your body and specific ailment whereas adaptogenic herbs support your adrenal glands to support your body’s normal function in periods of high stress (1,2).
Functional Herbs And Spices
The root was traditionally used to treat scarlet fever, syphilis, malaria, blood poisoning, and diphtheria. It’s also used to boost immune system to fight the common cold and flu and improve symptoms like sore throat cough, and fever (3).
It can also relieve pain, reduce inflammation, regulate hormones, fight viruses and free radical (3).
Valerian has been used to ease insomnia, anxiety, and nervous restlessness for almost two thousand years.
It’s thought to work similarly to alprazolam (Xanax) and diazepam (Valium) by increasing the amount of GABA in the brain (4).
To use, steep 1 teaspoon of dried root in 1 cup of boiled water for 5-10 minutes. However, it may take a few weeks of daily use to begin to feel its effects.
Turmeric well-known for its curcumin, is a bright orange root similar to ginger. It’s used as a flavoring agent and anti-inflammatory medicine (5).
It’s also effective in relieving symptoms of indigestion, prevent irritable bowel syndrome, fight symptoms of depression better than medication and alleviate knee pain caused by osteoarthritis. It can even kill cancerous cells.
4. Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) is one of the oldest living tree species and is commonly used to enhance cognition and improve blood circulation (6).
It can also help improve memory, stabilize mood, relieve anxiety and prevent brain fog.
5. Milk Thistle
This herb is traditionally used to treat liver, kidney, and gall bladder problems.
Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties protect the liver from toxins, including certain drugs and promotes liver regeneration.
It’s particularly used for treating hepatitis, alcoholic fatty liver disease and fatal mushroom poisoning (7).
It fights cancer by preventing cell division and reproduction, inducing apoptosis and preventing blood flow to tumors.