Plants in Medicine

The Health Benefits of Plants

The use of plants and plant products in medicine is as old as the practice of medicine itself. Several plants have gained importance in local medicine and dietitians advice the inclusion of these herbs in daily diets to build immunity and improve health.

The active ingredients of these plants are well distributed in every part of the plant and their health benefits cannot be ignored. The side effects of synthetic agents used in therapy and food preservation and manufacture can be overwhelming as it builds up over time.

Some Plants with healthy benefits are:

Ginger (Actives: Gingerol, Shogaol, Zingiberene) serving as an antimicrobial, antioxidant and antihypertensive. It is efficient in relieving oxidative stress, treatment of nausea, weight loss, antiathritic, antidiabetic and is an effective purgative providing relief from constipation. It is also useful in menstrual cramps and reduction of cholesterol levels.

Bell Pepper (Actives: Capasaicin, dihydrocapsaicin and phenols) Very efficient as an antimicrobial, and an antioxidant. Bell peppers are useful in eye health due to high carotene content, in treatment of anemia and is a good source of vitamins.

Moringa (Actives: Quercetin, Chlorogenic acid) is useful as an antidiabetic, antiinflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant. Moringa is also active in reduction of cholesterol and arsenic toxicity.

Ginseng (Active: Gingsenosides) is anti-inflammatory, improves brain function, reduces erectile dysfunction and lowers blood sugar levels. Ginseng is also effective in improving immune system.

Neem (Active Azadirachtin) is an antimicrobial, antihypertensive, antioxidant that is also useful in eye health, and is antiparasitic against intestinal worms. It improves appetite, clears skin ulcers, fevers, diabetes and liver problems.

Onion and Garlic (Active Allicin) operates as an antioxidant, antimicrobial that also reduces cholesterol levels and is useful in the treatment of blood sugar conditions. It improves bone density and is essential in digestive health.

Tumeric (Active Cucurmin) is an antimicrobial, antioxidant, efficient in brain diseases, lowers risk of heart disease. It is also indicated in Alzheimer’s and arthritis.

Future focus in healthcare to augment for current antimicrobials may include extraction to obtain pure concentrates of the active ingredients of these plants and packaging them into stable dosage forms. Other areas of healthcare includes the use of these plants as supplements for hypertension, arthritis, antioxidants, and in hormone balancing.

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