A jar of white chamomile flowers

Plant Power: 4 Natural Remedies That Are Backed by Science

Humans have used natural remedies for centuries, and in recent years scientists have looked closer into the medicinal benefits of plants. Here, we take a look at some traditional remedies that research shows are beneficial and effective.

A Brief History of Natural Remedies

For thousands of years, our ancestors lived in much closer proximity to nature than we do now. Without modern science and medicine, they turned to the natural environment for help with ailments of all kinds, from wounds to illnesses. After many years of intuition, trial and error and experimentation, our past relatives discovered a rich library of natural medicines.

The development of modern medicine into the present time has revolutionised the world and helped to reduce death, disease and suffering. However, in recent years scientists have become increasingly more interested in the natural remedies of our past.

Why Do People Use Natural Remedies?

While there is most certainly a place for modern medicine, there are several scenarios in which a holistic alternative can be beneficial:
• They can help to reduce the side effects of traditional medications.
• There are little or no side effects in comparison to their pharmaceutical alternatives.
• They can help to boost the immune system.
• Their non-toxic nature and connection to the natural world can help to promote wellbeing.
• They may provide a cure.

Jars of dried herbs and spices

What Natural Remedies Are Backed Up by Science?

The following is a list of plant-based remedies and their known scientific values.

Chamomile

The chamomile plant grows in abundance across the UK and was used by our ancestors to treat a variety of complaints. There have been several studies that link consuming chamomile tea to reduced menstrual cramps. Other research has revealed that chamomile can help to lower blood sugar levels in people who have diabetes.

Interestingly, very few studies have been conducted regarding chamomile’s effectiveness in promoting sleep and reducing anxiety, something it is traditionally well known for; therefore, results are inconclusive. However, researchers believe that it may function like benzodiazepines.

Turmeric

Turmeric is a fine, golden powder ground from the turmeric plant which has been used in both Ayurvedic medicine and cooking for almost 4,000 years. Scientists’ main interest in the spice is its anti-inflammatory properties.

Turmeric’s active ingredient is curcumin which studies show can help reduce pain caused by arthritis, with one study revealing that turmeric extract was equally as effective as ibuprofen for treating pain caused by osteoarthritis in patient’s knees.

Interestingly, consuming alongside ground black pepper helps to boost absorption.

Close up of turmeric powder on a spoon

Hemp

Hemp is most commonly consumed in the form of an oil which can be extracted from the plant. The hemp plant is a fast-growing, versatile crop that has been used for centuries to create textiles and medicine. According to Harvard Health Publishing, hemp acts as an anti-inflammatory which may help to treat types of chronic pain. Studies suggest it can also provide relief for anxiety and insomnia.

There is also strong evidence showing that a specific hemp-derived medicine can treat severe symptoms of childhood epilepsy which often don’t respond to antiseizure medications. So much so that in 2018 the FDA approved the first-ever medication of this kind.

Mint

Certain varieties of mint can provide different benefits. A strain of mint known as wintergreen has shown it may help soothe joint and muscle pain when applied topically.

Studies have shown that peppermint can help reduce several of the symptoms associated with IBS, including spasms and abdominal pain. In addition, this suggests that peppermint tea or capsules can help to aid digestion.

ElleVance is a UK-based company who provide a variety of hemp supplements. Backed by a panel of researchers in the US, we also dedicate our time to researching the benefits of taking hemp using our unique and independently-tested oil. For similar articles, take a look at What is Wellness?