A Happy and Alternatively Healthy New Year

09 Jan 2015 Chris James   Health and wellbeing Medicines and treatments

We all start the New Year with the best intentions and we've already looked at the usual suspects when it comes to resolutions, losing weight and quitting smoking. Having a happier, healthier New Year is what everyone wants and 2015 might be the year when you decide to take an alternative route, so we decided to give you our guide to herbal medicine.

As the name suggests, herbal medicine is the use of plants for medicinal purposes. Here are a few of the medicinal qualities that certain plants have.



Horse Chestnut

horse chestnut -alternative medicine

Scientific Name

Aesculus hippocastanum

Potential Benefits

Yes, the good old conker has many health benefits and has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. They have great antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, vasoprotective, astringent, and analgesic properties and would be recommended for the treatment of varicose veins, varicose eczema, frostbite, bruising, rheumatoid arthritis, sprains, muscle tension, and the swelling caused by fluid retention.

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Devil's Claw

devils claw -alternative medicine

Scientific Name

Harpagophytum procumbens

Potential Benefits

Also known as Grapple Plant or Wood Spider, Devil's Claw is native to the deserts of South and South East Africa. Evidence suggest that it can be used to relieve backache, rheumatic or muscular pain and general aches and pains in muscles and joints. It's also used to relieve the symptoms of digestive disorders.

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echinacea - alternative medicine

Scientific Name

Part of the daisy family, Asteraceae

Potential Benefits

One of the most popular herbal remedies in the UK, there are 9 species of Echinacea and the leaves, stems, flowers and roots are all used in herbal medicines. For centuries people have used it as a traditional cold remedy and it can sometimes be used to treat skin conditions.

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Milk Thistle

milk thistle -alternative medicine

Scientific Name

Silybum marianum

Potential Benefits

This common weed is instantly recognisable with its purple flowers and many people use milk thistle extracts to improve liver functions and lower cholesterol.

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yarrow -alternative medicine

Scientific Name

Achillea millefolium

Potential Benefits

Known by many names, including gordaldo, nosebleed plant, old man's pepper, devil's nettle, sanguinary, milfoil, soldier's woundwort, thousand-leaf, and thousand-sea. It was also known as herbal militaris, due to it being used to staunch the flow of blood from wounds. It's believed that Yarrow can intensify the medicinal qualities of other herbs.

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Aloe Vera

aloe vera -alternative medicine

Scientific Name

Aloe Vera

Potential Benefits

Recorded as being used in herbal medicine since the first century AD, Aloe Vera has been used as a multi-purpose skin treatment across the world. The ancient Egyptians used it to treat the skin of mummified bodies and today it's still being used in a vast array of cosmetics and hair care products.

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clove -alternative medicine

Scientific Name

Syzygium aromaticum

Potential Benefits

The aromatic flower buds of an evergreen tree native to Indonesia, across the globe cloves have been used to flavour food. But its essential oil, known as eugenol, can also be used as a painkiller and is used to aid digestion. Historically, cloves have been used for over a century in dentistry to relieve toothache.

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It's worth remembering that herbal medicine, like any other medicine, should be used with caution.

Always read the label prior to using any product and seek allergy advice regarding any ingredients. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. Do not exceed the stated daily dose.

Pregnant and/or lactating women should consult their doctor before taking any herbal product.

When relevant, keep out of reach and sight of children.

If you are unsure about your health condition always speak to a medical professional.

All content on this website is for information purposes only and should not be taken as professional medical advice.


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