Herbs that Heal
Photography by: Roni Ramos
6. Evening primrose oil for eczema Evening primrose seeds contain an oil with a high concentration of compounds rarely found in plants: the essential fatty acid gammalinolenic acid. There are more than 30 human studies reporting its benefits; in one, 1,207 patients found that the oil helped relieve the itching, swelling, crusting and redness of eczema.
7. Feverfew for migraine prevention A double-blind study published in the journal Cephalalgia showed that patients who took feverfew decreased their average frequency of migraines from 4.76 per month to 2.86 per month.
8. Garlic as an antibiotic and for cancer prevention Garlic’s antibiotic compound, alliin, has no medicinal value until the herb is chewed, chopped or crushed. Then an enzyme transforms alliin into a powerful antibiotic called allicin. Raw garlic has the most antibiotic potency, but garlic still has benefits when cooked. According to the National Cancer Institute, preliminary studies suggest that garlic consumption may also reduce the risk of developing several types of cancer, especially those of the gastrointestinal tract.
9. Ginger for nausea and vomiting A Danish study showed that new sailors prone to motion sickness had less vomiting, thanks to ginger, than a placebo group. (Take a 1-gram capsule of powdered ginger root about an hour before embarking, and another every two hours or as needed.) Meanwhile, research published in Obstetrics and Gynecology found that 88 percent of nausea-plagued pregnant women got relief taking 1 gram a day of ginger powder for no longer than four days.
10. Ginkgo for Alzheimer’s and antidepressant-induced sex problems In a landmark 1997 study from the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers gave 202 people with Alzheimer’s either a placebo or 120 milligrams a day of ginkgo extract. A year later, the ginkgo group retained more mental function. From upstairs to downstairs: In a University of California at San Francisco study, investigators gave 209 milligrams of ginkgo a day to people suffering from antidepressant-induced sex problems (erection impairment, vaginal dryness and inability to reach orgasm). The herb helped 91 percent of the women and 76 percent of the men to return to normal sexual function.