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The Healing Benefits of Plants: Your Quick Guide by Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health

Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health


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Arrowroot: Soothing for digestion, including conditions such as IBS

Black pepper: Proven to protect against high cholesterol, clear the lungs of congestion and stimulate the digestive system

Caraway: Contains mild antihistamines and antimicrobial compounds that benefit a wide range of conditions, including gas and bloating, congestion, eye infections, rheumatism, toothaches and candida

Chives: Supports the digestive and respiratory systems, relieves fatigue, shown to prevent cancer

Cloves: Rich in eugenol, proven to fight environmental toxins and inflammation, as well as colon cancer cells; serves as a mild painkiller and topical anesthetic

Comfrey: Relieves pain and inflammation, particularly for those with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis; great topical treatment for burns, abrasions and other skin irritations

Cumin: Digestive benefits; shown to prevent or relieve conditions associated with diabetes

Echinacea: Improves immunity, reduces stings and itching when applied topically

Eucalyptus: Clears congestion in the lungs and nasal passages, relieves sore muscles and arthritis pain

Fenugreek: Best known for its power to improve blood sugar control through promoting insulin function; also soothes gastrointestinal inflammation

Ginkgo: Used to treat Alzheimer’s disease because of its benefits for memory and mental clarity; relieves tinnitus, vertigo, diabetes and asthma; combats stress and anxiety; fights allergic reactions

Hibiscus: Natural antioxidant proven to lower blood pressure

Horseradish: Clears congestion, fights infection, soothes sore throats and stimulates circulation

Lemon balm: Known for its calming properties, which relieve stress, headaches and indigestion, and promote a good night’s sleep

Mustard seeds: Clears congestion in the lungs and stimulates circulation

Oregano: Antiviral, antibacterial, anticancer and antibiotic; used to treat cough, fever, congestion and body aches

Parsley: Helps control blood cholesterol and protect against cancer; used as an antiseptic for teeth and gums; proven to reduce blood sugar levels; rich in antioxidants

Peppermint: Improves digestion, relieves pain and eases nausea

Rosemary: Promotes healthy digestion and good cholesterol levels, stimulates the nervous system, improves memory, relieves muscle pain, eases migraines and headaches, improves circulation, boosts the immune system, eases asthma and allergies

Saffron: Shown to be an effective treatment for depression

Sage: Proven to improve brain function and memory; in one study, sage extract produced significant improvements in brain function for those with Alzheimer’s

St. John's Wort: Acts as an antidepressant in cases of mild depression and anxiety, via the phytochemicals hyperforin and hypericin; also an antiviral that fights the flu

Thyme: A potent antioxidant that relieves gum infections, treats athlete’s foot, helps with cold symptoms, reduces fever and improves sleep

Valerian: The most widely recognized herbal sedative, used for insomnia, anxiety and pain relief

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