There are so many herbs in the world that you would never realize are more than just a weed or a part of a salad. They have therapeutic actions for many different ailments and medicinal uses. In this article I will talk about just three, Fennel Foeniculum vulgare (Mill.), Sorrel Rumex acetosa (L.), and one of my favorites Sweet Basil Ocimum basilicum (L.)
Fennel is usually cultivated for culinary uses the seeds, oil, leaves and stalk but they do have medicinal properties as well. The active constituents have an intestinal stimulant called anethole with antiseptic properties and fenchone for internal anesthetic together increase mucus movement and reduce upper respiratory tract secretions. Dating back to Greek and Roman times Fennel was used for abdominal cramps, to improve digestion as well to increase the milk in lactating mothers. Its therapeutic actions include to name a few analgesic, antibacterial, anticancer, anticoagulant, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, digestive, expectorant, hypocholesterolemic (lowers cholesterol levels), and nutritive.
Sorrel which was named for its lemon like taste by the French for sour, surele, its medicinal uses are primarily for acute and chronic inflammation of the nasal passages along with the respiratory tract. It can also be used as a diuretic. Sorrel leaves (fresh or dried): Anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antitumor, antiulcer, astringent, diuretic, laxative, and refrigerant, and tonic are some of the therapeutic actions.
Now for my favorite, why you ask because I cook with this so much it is a staple in my house for so many recipes, Sweet Basil! This like the others and so many more have great medicinal uses just when taken orally. It can help with stomach spasms and kidney conditions and other digestive issues. Including; flatulence, diarrhea, severe vomiting, and even worms, you can gargle with it as an astringent. It has been shown to have a hypoglycemic action lowering blood sugar levels. The therapeutic actions are Analgesic, antibacterial, antiflatulent, antifungal, antiemetic, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antispasmodic, antivenom, antiviral anxiolytic, circulatory stimulant, digestive, diuretic, galactagogue , hepatoprotective, hypoglycemic, insecticide, kidney tonic, nervine, orexigenic (appetite stimulant), and sedative.
There are many more uses for this and many other herbs as we will get into and learn more about together!!