A great deal of the interest in growing herbs lies in the widely varied uses to which they can be put. Herbs are attractive to look at, useful in cooking, beneficial to health and in many cases have a fragrant aroma. When grown outside the home their flowers attract bees and birds to our gardens. The fact that over 100 herbs are used in the distillation of the liqueur Chartreuse will certainly commend them to those who enjoy after dinner liqueurs. Added to this is the fact that with little care, herbs can be grown as indoor potted plants all the year round.
Apart from their practical use many herbs have beautiful flowers of many hues. If many of the herbs with attractive flowers and variegated foliage were offered as house plants in the florists shops it would promote many herbal farms in homes.
A great deal of curiosity is evinced these days in the West about herbs and spices that have medicinal value. Many of these herbs and spices are often preferred to allopathic medicines. John Gerard who was a herbalist in the 16th century knew the great. value of Tulsi or Ocimum basilicus. A pot of Basil in the kitchen window is said to discourage flies.
Several spices are used as herbal medicines and have been administered as aphrodisiacs. Corriander plants are one of them. They are known as an erotic stimulant. A strong decoction of the corriander plant is given with milk and sugar for the cure of bleeding piles and a decoction of corriander seeds is given for flatulence and colic. An oil is distilled from the seeds. It is rather volatile and is given in doses of 1 to 4 tablespoons for rheumatism and nueuralgia.
A poultice of the seeds is applied to chronic ulcers and carbuncles. A watery paste is used as a gargle for the cure of ulceration of the mouth and throat.
Asomodagam or Trachyspemum Ammi spragues or Omum is a seed rich in thymol; it is carminative, a stimulant and an antispasmodic. It is given for flatulence, colic, diarrhoea, hysteria and spasmodic disorders. The seeds are eaten with betel leaves. A teaspoonful of the seeds with a little rock salt boiled in hot water is a household remedy for indigestion. The infusion of the seeds is an efficacious drink for sore throat and habitual drunkenness. A hot dry fermentation with the seeds is a home remedy for asthma. Omum water is administered to infants who vomit and purge. The volatile oil is used locally for relief of rheumatic and neuralgic pains.
Parsley has been accepted not only as a spice but also as a medicinal herb. It is prized as a herb which enhances virility. Parsley seeds are also said to be a cure for baldness.
Vatsyayana in his "Kamasutra" has given a number of recipes for preparing aphrodisiacs. The ingredients for which are mostly spices and different types of herbs.
The health specialists from all over the world have agreed to establish a list of reliable, inexpensive and widely available herbal drugs. The World Health Organization (WHO) has explained in general that the scheme offers a potential solution to many urgent health problems.
It is our greatest advantage that these specialists trust medicines other than quinine, cocaine, mascalin and curare. Valuable medicine can be obtained from herbs which are yet to be discovered. These specialists assert that herbal plants can cure diseases like diarrhea, hypertension and even certain forms of diabetes with the aid of medicinal plants. Now scientific research organizations have sprung up specially for the study of plants used in traditional medicine.