Native medicinal plants and their effect on diseases
All about herbs for use against colds - plus other native medicinal plants
Summer is coming to an end and the days are getting darker once again. Many People are already looking for ways to boost their immune systems in order to protect themselves against seasonal diseases such as colds. According to the science magazine ‘Quarks’, two to five infections per year are the norm for adults: https://www.quarks.de/gesundheit/medizin/erkaeltung-so-schuetzt-du-dich-und-andere/#erk%C3%A4ltung2
Many People wonder whether naturopathic herbs can help against colds. In fact, there are many native medicinal plants whose effects have also been used in conventional medicine for a long time.
Native medicinal plants and their effects – conventional medicine catches up
For Farid Zitoun, naturopath at the Bottrop Center for Integrative Medicine, the long tradition of using of native medicinal plants and herbs underlines the great importance of traditional medicine: "Native medicinal plants and their effects have been known for many centuries. Hildegard von Bingen already knew about the healing effect of many herbs. Of course, this didn’t all happen by chance. Conventional medicine recognized this a long time ago. One great example of this is e.g. aspirin, whose active ingredient is based on a substance that was previously derived from willow bark."
At the same time, however, Zitoun also draws attention to limits on the effectiveness: "Many of my patients at the practice ask me if there are herbs they can use against colds. What most of them are hoping for is a cure for colds in themselves. In fact, there are herbs that can help with colds. They generally have few side effects and often have a positive effect on the symptoms. However, only time will help against the disease itself - until your own immune system defeats the pathogen."
Nonetheless, patients should always keep one thing in mind: "If the symptoms persist for a long time, it is essential for sufferers to see a naturopath or doctor or, if possible, to arrange a home visit in order to rule out more serious underlying illnesses."
Herbs for use against colds – can they help?
Medicinal plants and herbs that can help against the symptoms of a cold include, among others, Iceland moss for dry coughs or cowslip for coughs with mucus. Both medicinal plants have also now been recognized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for use against these symptoms.
The origin of aspirin, willow bark, can also continue to be a tried and tested remedy against colds, as the portal Netdoktor explains: https://www.netdoktor.de/heilpflanzen/weidenrinde/
"While we can't easily cure colds and infections, we can treat them symptomatically with natural remedies and help the body defend itself. I think it is a very good thing that conventional medicine is still aware of these natural healing powers and continues to consider the roots alongside industrially manufactured medicines. This gives natural formulations a firm place in medical care," says Zitoun.
Native medicinal plants and their effect on other illnesses
Native medicinal plants can also be used for other illnesses and symptoms. These include, for example, home remedies for sweating & sunburn, as NABO recently reported in the news section.
"Many plants which we can e.g. make tea from develop a natural healing power in our bodies. For instance, we recently published news about the effect of chamomile. I always find it fascinating how much power there is in the natural world that surrounds us and how we can use it – quite sustainably," says Zitoun.
Another good example of this is St. John's wort, which is used against depression for its mood-enhancing effect. The effectiveness of this natural medicinal plant was recently demonstrated in a meta-study by the National University of Singapore (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28064110).).
More information about medicinal plants & naturopathy at NABO
Those who are interested can get a mood-enhancing effect of a completely different kind on the Naturheilzentrum Bottrop YouTube channel. The two bloggers Farid Zitoun and Christian Rüger show the best bloopers from the shoots of past videos in their latest outtakes vlog there.
In his latest blog post, NABO Institute manager Zitoun also explores the history of naturopathy and how it shapes his work today.