These plants have the most numerous high-quality studies and are the safer choices among herbal remedies
As one of the oldest tree species, gingko is also one of the oldest homeopathic plants and a key herb in Chinese medicine. The leaves are used to create capsules, tablets, and extracts, and when dried, can be consumed as a tea.
It’s perhaps best-known for its ability to boost brain health. Studies say that gingko can treat patients with mild to moderate dementia Trusted Source, and can slow cognition decline in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Recent research is looking into a component that can help diabetes, and there continue to be more studies, including an animal study that says it might influence bone healing.
Gingko could be beneficial for:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- eye health
- bone healing
With its brilliant orange hue, it’s impossible to miss a bottle of turmeric sitting on a spice shelf. Originating in India, turmeric is believed to have anticancer properties and can prevent DNA mutations.
As an anti-inflammatory, it can be taken as a supplement and it’s been used topically for people with arthritis who wish to relieve discomfort. It’s used worldwide as a cooking ingredient, which makes it a delicious, antioxidant-richTrusted Source addition to many dishes.
According to recent research, turmeric is also showing promise as a treatment for a variety of dermatologic diseases and joint arthritisTrusted Source.
Turmeric could be beneficial for:
pain caused by inflammatory diseases, like arthritis
- preventing cancer
- stopping DNA mutations
- several skin diseases
Flax seed, also available as an oil, is one of the safer choices among plant-based dietary supplements. Harvested for thousands of years, today flax seed is praised for its antioxidant activity and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Although more research needs to be done with human subjects, one study says that flax seed can help prevent colon cancer.
Another studyTrusted Source cites that flax seed has the ability to reduce blood pressure. When consumed, it can even aid in reducing obesity. Many people add flax seed and flaxseed meal to oatmeal and smoothies, and it’s also available in the form of tablets, oil (which can be put into capsules), and flour.
The best way to add flax seed is through your diet. Sprinkle ground seeds on cereal or salad, cook in hot cereal, stew, homemade breads, or smoothies. Add flaxseed oil to salad dressing.
Flax seed could be beneficial for:
- decreasing obesity
- regulating blood pressure
- preventing colon cancer
- hot flashes
Tea tree oil
The tea tree, which is native to Australia, produces an oil that’s long been thought to be beneficial for skin conditions, including mild acne, athlete’s foot, small wounds, dandruff, insect bites, and other inflammatory skin conditions.
There needs to be further study into acne and scalp use, but for now, there’s a degree of research into the antimicrobial superpowers of tea tree oil on wounds and topical infections.
One recent study said that tea tree oil slowed the growth of acne-causing microbes. It’s commonly used as a highly concentrated essential oil.
Wilson recommends that tea tree oil, as with all essential oils, should be diluted in a carrier oil. She adds that it often already comes diluted in a variety of skin care products and creams.
Tea tree oil could be beneficial for:
- athlete’s foot
- insect bites
Echinacea is a lot more than those pretty, purple coneflowers you see dotting gardens. These blooms have been used for centuries as medicine in the form of teas, juice, and extracts. Today, they can be taken as powders or supplements.
The best-known use of echinacea is to shorten symptoms of the common coldTrusted Source, but more studies are needed to verify this benefit and to understand how echinacea boosts immunity when a virus is present.
Generally, save a few potential side effects, echinacea is relatively safe. Even though it needs more testing, you can always choose to use it if you’re hoping to see your cold symptoms end more quickly.
Echinacea could be beneficial for:
- upper respiratory infections
For years, grapeseed extract, which is available via liquid, tablets, or capsules, has been well-established and applauded for its antioxidant activity. It has potent health benefits, including lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol and reducing symptoms of poor circulation in the leg veins.
StudiesTrusted Source are confirming that regular consumption of grapeseed extract has anticancer effects and seems to halt cancer cell growth.
Grapeseed extract could be beneficial for:
- lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol
- leg vein circulation
- blood pressure
If you experience anxiety, chances are that someone along the way has recommended that you use lavender essential oil, and for good reason. This aromatic, purple flower has a fairly strong standing among studies, which have mainly focused on its anti-anxiety capacities.
It’s proven to be soothing in a study conducted among dental patients, while another study confirmed that lavender can directly impact mood and cognitive performance. It’s also been commended for its sedative properties to help people get much-needed sleep.
Recently, it’s been discovered that lavender carries anti-inflammatory benefits as well. It’s most effective diluted and applied to the skin or used in aromatherapy, and it has few side effects.
Lavender could be beneficial for:
- blood pressure
With flowers that resemble small daisies, chamomile is another medicinal plant that’s thought to have anti-anxiety properties. Most people know it because it’s a popular tea flavor (one reviewTrusted Source says that over 1 million cups per day are consumed around the world), but it can also be ingested through liquids, capsules, or tablets.
The calming powers of chamomile have been frequently studied, including a 2009 studyTrusted Source that states chamomile is superior to taking a placebo when treating generalized anxiety disorder. One recent studyconfirmed it’s safe for long-term use, and another recent studyTrusted Source looked beyond its use for anxiety and confirmed that it also shows potential in anticancer treatments.
Chamomile could be beneficial for: