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Written By THT Editorial Team

Dr. Hari Sharan Aryal

Reviewed by Dr. Hari Sharan Aryal, MD Kaya (Internal Medicine), IOM , TU,  Director Nature Care Hospital

Herbal medicine and supplements have been used for centuries to treat various health conditions and improve overall wellbeing. These natural remedies are derived from plants and have been used as traditional medicines in many cultures worldwide. In recent years, there has been an increase in the use of herbal medicine and supplements, driven by growing interest in natural and alternative healthcare practices. In this essay, we will explore the types and kinds of herbal medicine and supplements, their uses, and research-based findings.

Types and Kinds of Herbal Medicine and Supplements:

Herbal medicine and supplements come in various forms, including teas, tinctures, capsules, powders, and extracts. Here are some of the most commonly used herbal remedies:

Echinacea: Echinacea is a popular herb used to boost the immune system and prevent colds and flu. Studies have shown that Echinacea can reduce the risk of catching a cold by up to 58% and reduce the duration of symptoms by 1 to 4 days (1).

Ginkgo biloba: Ginkgo biloba is a tree native to China that is used to improve memory and cognitive function. Research suggests that Ginkgo biloba can improve attention and memory in individuals with mild cognitive impairment (2).

St. John’s Wort: St. John’s Wort is a flowering plant used to treat mild to moderate depression. Several studies have shown that St. John’s Wort can be as effective as antidepressant medications in treating mild to moderate depression (3).

Turmeric: Turmeric is a spice commonly used in Indian cuisine and has antiinflammatory properties. Studies have shown that turmeric can help reduce inflammation in the body and alleviate symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (4).

Uses and Research-Based Findings:

Herbal medicine and supplements have been used to treat various health conditions, including anxiety, depression, insomnia, digestive disorders, and chronic pain. Here are some research-based findings on the use of herbal remedies for specific health conditions:

Anxiety: Kava, an herb native to the South Pacific, has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety. Studies have reported that Kava can reduce anxiety symptoms by up to 50%, with no significant side effects (5).

Insomnia: Valerian root, an herb native to Europe and Asia, has been used for centuries to treat insomnia. Studies have shown that valerian root can improve sleep quality and reduce the time it takes to fall asleep (6).

Digestive Disorders: Peppermint oil has been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), including abdominal pain and bloating. Studies have shown that peppermint oil can reduce IBS symptoms by up to 40% (7).

Chronic Pain: Devil’s claw, an herb native to Africa, has been shown to be effective in reducing chronic pain, particularly in individuals with osteoarthritis. Studies have reported that devil’s claw can reduce pain by up to 25% (8).

Safety and Quality Control: Ensuring the safety and quality of herbal medicine and supplements is crucial. Regulatory authorities in many countries have implemented guidelines and quality control measures. It is essential to use products from reputable manufacturers, adhere to recommended dosages, and consult qualified healthcare professionals.

Conclusion: Herbal medicine and supplements offer a natural and alternative approach to healthcare, with many potential benefits for various health conditions. With increasing research and evidence-based practices, herbal remedies are gaining recognition as an integral part of integrative medicine. However, further research, quality control measures, and collaboration between different healthcare systems are necessary to ensure the safe and effective integration of herbal medicine and supplements into modern healthcare practices.


  • Karsch-Völk, M., Barrett, B , Avins, A. L., & Linde, K. (2014). Echinacea for preventing and treating the common cold. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (2), CD000530.
  • Weinmann, S., Roll, S., Schwarzbach, C., Vauth, C., & Willich, S. N. (2010). Effects of Ginkgo biloba in dementia: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC geriatrics, 10(1), 14.
  • Ng, Q. X., Venkatanarayanan, N., & Ho, C. Y. X. (2017). Clinical use of Hypericum perforatum (St John’s wort) in depression: A meta-analysis. Journal of affective disorders, 210, 211-221.
  • Henrotin, Y., Priem, F., & Mobasheri, A. (2013). Curcumin: a new paradigm and therapeutic opportunity for the treatment of osteoarthritis: curcumin for osteoarthritis management. Springerplus, 2(1), 56.
  • Sarris, J., Stough, C., Bousman, C. A., Wahid, Z. T., Murray, G., Teschke, R., … & Savage, K. M. (2013). Kava in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Journal of clinical psychopharmacology, 33(5), 643-648.
  • Fernández-San-Martín, M. I., Masa-Font, R., Palacios-Soler, L., Sancho-Gómez, P., & Calbó-Caldentey, C. (2010). Effectiveness of Valerian on insomnia: a metaanalysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials. Sleep Medicine, 11(6), 505-511.
  • Ford, A. C., Talley, N. J., Spiegel, B. M., Foxx-Orenstein, A. E., Schiller, L., Quigley, E. M., & Moayyedi, P. (2008). Effect of fibre, antispasmodics, and peppermint oil in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: systematic review and metaanalysis. BMJ, 337, a2313.
  • Chrubasik, S., Thanner, J., Künzel, O., & Conradt, C. (2001). Comparison of outcome measures during treatment with the proprietary Harpagophytum extract doloteffin® in patients with pain in the lower back, knee or hip. Phytomedicine, 8(2), 123-130.