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Nature’s medicine chest 
        The healing power of plants has been recognized for thousands of years and as greater numbers of us embrace more adventurous holidays to far-flung parts, local remedies are receiving more global attention. Let's take a look at the treasures nature has to offer.
By Frances Lve         

        Essential oils Instead of being given a sedative to calm them, patients at the Mental Health Learning Disabilities Network of the Borders Primary Care Trust at Melrose in Scotland are given a massage using lavender or camomile oil. Physiotherapist and aromatherapist Jan Beattie says: "We put lavender oil on a pad under patients' pillows night so they don't have to take sleeping pills and wake up feeling drowsy.

"We also use black pepper and benzoin oils in massage for pain relief, peppermint oil mixes in the shower to wake up and refresh patients in the morning, and tea tree and lavender oils to heal wounds."

         The trained aromatherapists make sure every patient’s medical record is checked to ensure the oils won’t cause a reaction. "If someone suffers from epilepsy, it wouldn’t safe to use rosemary oil, " says Jan.

        Horse  chestnut      The medicinal qualities of their conkers, leaves  and bark soothe varicose veins. In Germany, doctors prefer  to use horse chestnut or Aesculus to alleviate discomfort during surgery on      veins. Taken as a tincture or tablets, it has anti-inflammatory properties and can relieve muscular aches and pains.It also acts as an astringent, toning the walls of the veins to make them stronger and reducing the fluid held in the tissues. Horse chestnut gel is soothing and cooling when rubbed directly on the veins, while reducing swelling and strengthening them.

        Dandelion This plant got its name from the French dent de lion--lion's tooth --because of its jagged leaves. Gardeners curse them but they also have many healing properties. The root helps to stimulate the flow of bile from the liver. and as bile is nature's laxative, it eases constipation and helps the liver detoxify.

        It  also alleviates indigestion, soothes arthritis and rheumatism, and the flower can be used in cough syrup. Rosalind mixes extract of dandelion leaves with other herbs to alleviate bladder problems as dandelion is also a powerful diuretic which helps to flush out bacteria. While herbalists make dandelion into tincture, the leaves can be eaten raw in salad or steamed with the flowers and eaten like vegetables.

        Garlic    If you eat a clove a day, you'll not 

garlic

 

only keep the doctor away but most of your friends, too. Although it doesn't do much for breath freshness, garlic's an all-round antibiotic used since Egyptian times to heal or prevent illness. It stops blood platelets sticking together which prevents clots forming and lessens the chances of strokes and heart disease. It's not only an excellent tonic for preventing illness but can also clear up colds, catarrh ,viruses and fever. Eating  a raw clove brings tears to your eyes but  you can crush it into hot soup or take it as capsules. To benefit from its antiseptic properties, rub the neat juice from a crushed clove on cold sores,  cratches, spots or fungal growths such as athlete's foot.

        Aloe Vera Cleopatra allegedly owed her good looks to bathing in goats'  milk and aloe vera, the spiky cactus-like  plant found  in drsert and on British window sills. Break off the spiky leaf and open it up, scoop out the stickly colorless gel to put directly on to  the skin to heal burns, eczema, cuts, ulcers, psoriasis, scars   and sunburn. It also moisturizes skin, increases collagen and stimulates cell production. If put directly on the hair it helps dandruff, cleanses the scalp, soothes itching and makes the hair shine.

        Ginger    Used in drinks and to flavour food, the Chinese even use ginger to warm themselves in winter. Ginger is used in travel sickness preparations and alleviates morning sickness, colds, and joint pains. Even ginger ale, ginger beer or ginger biscuits can quell queasy feelings. Rosalind says: "Ginger stimulates circulation and is excellent for people with cold feet. " "It helps ease indigestion and flatulence and can be used in water as a gargle to ease a sore throat. " It can be chopped up in stir-fries, used in curries and casseroles or drunk as a tea. About an inch of the fresh root should be peeled, chopped and boiled in water for 20 minutes or just put a slice in your normal tea to feel its benefits. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

             

 

 

 

      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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