Updated 12 March 2013

To herb or not to herb

Whenever someone mentions herbs, I have mixed feelings. You see, I have had both good and bad experiences with herbs.


Whenever someone mentions herbs, I have mixed feelings. You see, I have had both good and bad experiences with herbs.

Herbs have been known over centuries for their medicinal properties, their lovely fragrances and their wonderful ability to enhance flavour in foods. Some herbs are even believed to promote weight loss, whereas others promise to boost your love life. The possibilities seem to be endless.

I love the smell of fresh herbs. I have a garden full of herbs and nothing gives me more pleasure than to go into the garden and pick some herbs for the foods that I’m preparing. Many of the herbs are also beautiful garden plants with lovely little flowers and really easy to grow – planting some rosemary and lavender is the perfect confidence booster for any novice gardener.

However, when it comes to its medicinal properties, I can’t help but feel a bit cynical. I tried the natural route some years ago to try and solve my sinus and allergy problems. After spending much money and time using the various drops, pills and powders for more than a year, there was no improvement. Only years later my ENT specialist managed to find the perfect magic formula of conventional medicine which is now managing my condition perfectly.

Even though it’s not working for me, I do know many people who swear by the power of herbs and who have seen great improvement in their health. Perhaps I should have just persisted a bit longer to find that magic herbal formula? I don’t know.

There are literally thousands of herbs in this world and probably many more that have not even been discovered yet. (Check out Health24’s extensive list of over 500 herbs.) Just remember, before trying any of these herbs yourself, first  have a chat with your doctor, as some herbs may have side-effects or not be safe to use during pregnancy or with certain medical conditions.

- (Birgit Ottermann, Natural health newsletter, January 2012)

(Photo of medicinal herbs from Shutterstock)




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