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Medicinal Plants - Part 1

Fall has arrived and with it comes a greater chance of catching a cold or flu. So we thought of celebrating this time of year with a short series of blog posts about medicinal plants. Certain plants have been used in traditional medicine since ancient times... That's really long.

Plants have the ability to synthesize hundreds of chemical compounds to ward off insects and disease. In addition, numerous phytochemicals have been identified that may or have been shown to be biologically active. This can be used in medical practice. By examining them closely, one can see if these chemical compounds can be used to treat our own diseases.

 

South African Cape Pelargonium (Root)

Place of origin: South Africa

Cape geranium has been used in South Africa for centuries to treat coughs and irritation of the respiratory tract. In the early 20th century it was used to treat tuberculosis. Although TB is now treated with antibiotics, South African Cape geranium extracts are still used to speed recovery from bronchitis and the common cold.

 

 

broad beans (whole plant)

Place of Origin: North America, Southwest Asia

Broad beans are a common ingredient these days, but did you know that they've been used successfully to treat Parkinson's symptoms for over 40 years? That's because they're rich in a chemical called levodopa, a chemical building block that the body makes converted to dopamine. Thus, it replaces the dopamine that is lost in Parkinson's patients..

 

 

valerian (Root)

Place of origin: Europe

The effectiveness of valerian is still being researched. However, some remedies contain valerian extract to help with sleep problems and anxiety.

 

 

Johannis herbs(whole plant)

Place of origin: Europe

St. John's wort has been used to treat wounds for over 2000 years. Today, however, it is mostly used to treat anxiety and mild depression.

 

 

Daffodils and Snowdrops (onions)

Place of Origin: Europe & Asia

Drugs based on the chemical galantamine are used to improve cognitive abilities in mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease and to treat various other memory disorders. Galantamine is found naturally in the family of Snowdrops and Daffodils.

 

 Illustrations by Aleksandra Stanglewicz exclusively for Sagitta

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