Herbs | Definitions, benefits & side effects

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Herbs and medicinal herbal mixture

Interventions and preventions are not enough for a healthy body and mindset. A holistic approach is recommended through which any mental or physical disorder must be treated naturally without medicines and drugs. Herbs are very significant in this approach. In this blog, we’ll talk about the definition, benefits, side effects, and facts about herbs.

What are herbs?

Herbs are the aromatic and delicate natural products of plants that are used for cooking, medicinal, flavoring, and several other purposes. These are generally short plants with tender branches, obtained from herbaceous or non-woody plants. The chemical composition of these natural products varies depending on several factors, including botanical Plant species, chemotype used, anatomical parts of the plant used (seeds, flowers, roots, leaves, etc.), soil type, harvest time, geographic region. and commercial products. [1]

Definition of herbs according to botany: The green or flowering parts of plants are referred to as herbs.

What are the uses of herbs?

Over the past 100 years, the development and mass production of synthetic pharmaceuticals has revolutionized medicine in most parts of the world. Many people in developing countries still rely on conventional doctors for basic care. Up to 90% of Africa and 70% of the population in India rely on traditional medicine and herbs to meet their health needs. In China, herbal usage accounts for about 40% of all medical care, and more than 90% of the general hospitals in China have traditional medicine departments. [2][3]

8 uses of herbs are as follows:

  • Medicinal and interventive purposes (antioxidants have therapeutic effects)
  • Nutritive & preventive benefits
  • Culinary & garnishing uses
  • Herbs can be consumed in different forms
  • Affordable & accessible to the public
  • Non-toxic natural products (can treat untreatable)
  • Herbs induces positive holistic vibes
  • There are unbelievable benefits of fasting once a year combined with consuming herbs.

Amazing herbs and their benefits

Following are some of the amazing herbs that have unbelievable benefits:

1. Aloe Vera:

 Aloe barbadensis miller, also known as aloe vera, mainly grows in the dry regions of Eurasia, America, and Africa. The health, beauty, and skin care properties of the Aloe Vera herb are being for hundreds of years. The Arabic word “Alloeh” means “shining bitter substance” and the Latin word “vera” means “true”. It contains:


Aloe vera contains vitamin A, B12, C, and E. These Antioxidants helps to neutralize free radicals, which plays role in cancer, heart disease, and other diseases, etc.


Aloe vera herb contains calcium, magnesium, chromium, manganese, zinc, etc. which are essential for proper metabolism.


Aloe vera herb contains Gibberellins and Auxins that help in healing wounds and have anti-inflammatory effects.


Aloe vera herb contains 8 enzymes: aliiase, alkaline phosphatase, amylase, bradykinase, carboxypeptidase, catalase, cellulase, lipase, and peroxidase. Bradykinase reduces inflammation while others help in the breakdown of sugar when applied to the skin. [4]

2. Creosote Bush:

The deserts of the western hemisphere, have one of the most successful herbs, Creosote bush, also known as Larrea tridentata. This herb is controversial but still used to treat a wide range of illnesses including arthritis, infertility, rheumatism, gallbladder, diabetes, and kidney stones. Creosote herb can also be used as a supplement for nutrition. This herb is rich in simple bisphenyl and tricyclic lignans known as cyclolignans which are responsible for many of the pharmacological activities of extracts of the plants like antiherpes, antioxidant, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory. Other important activities of this herb are that it acts as powerful agent against human immunodeficiency virus, human papillomaviruses, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases as recently revealed in further studies. [5][6]

3. Neem:

The main clinical symptom of COVID-19 is fever, and the neem herb has shown valuable results in reducing fever. Neem leaves are generally boiled and eaten to treat ailments. Animal studies and in silico docking studies have shown that neem leaf extracts and metabolic components such as flavonoids and polysaccharides have been confirmed to have direct antiviral effects against various viruses like hepatitis C. [7] There are positive effects of leaves of neem herb on the immune system [8]. Neem is also used to treat cardiovascular diseases, liver diseases, and birth control.

4. Alfalfa:

Medicago sativa Linn or Alfalfa is a fortifying herb rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals and is used in the treatment of many ailments due to its pharmacological properties such as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant propertiesAlfalfa herb is used both in the food industry and in preventive medicine to reduce the risk of toxicity such as liver damage (a key organ for detoxification as it is exposed to all toxins), heart disease, and metabolic problems. can be used as a supplement. Due to its widespread use, it is used to curb the increased oxidative stress in all aspects of our lives. In addition, we recommend the use of antioxidants containing herbs like alfalfa. Administering alfalfa to smokers prevents the oxidative stress effects of nicotine. [9]

5. Asteraceae:

Echinacea purpurea (Asteraceae) is a perennial medicinal herb with important immunostimulatory and anti-inflammatory properties, especially for relieving cold symptoms. These herbs have also attracted the attention of scientists to evaluate other aspects of their beneficial effects including anti-depression and cytotoxicity as revealed in studies. [10]

Are there any side effects of consuming herbs?

Another open issue are unwanted side effects. We do not study the material we consume and consequently it causes several side effects in our body.

Information regarding many herbs is still not provided properly hence the use of these herbs cannot be regarded as safe in every situation. Some of the side effects of herbs may include:

Herbs can cause an allergic reaction

Some herbs have cancerogenic & allergic properties. For example, glucosides and lactonic sesquiterpenes can cause rash and allergy. Herbs like bergapten, safrole, and pyrrolizidines alkaloids have cancerogenic properties. [1]

Mixtures of Herbs combined with an overdose can cause toxicity-related issues 

Consumption of herbal mixtures can cause diarrhea, liver disease, renal failure, and gastric problems. Bioactive compounds in some herbal mixtures can prove potentially toxic. [11]

Some herbal mixtures lead to typical health conditions & mutations

The usage of Clivia miniata herb has been associated with some side effects like salivation and diarrhea. Callilepis laureola herb causes confusion, hepatic, convulsion, and renal failures. Furthermore, Scadoxus puniceus herb is seen to cause visual disturbances and dizziness. [12]


  • Herbs are natural products, leaves, or parts of plants that are used for various purposes including cooking, garnishing, and medicinal.
  • Herbs have several amazing health and nutritive benefits.
  • We must eat herbs sometimes and researching that specific herb is mandatory as it might affect our health.
  • Overdose of herbs or consuming mixtures of different herbs may prove harmful.


  1. Firenzuoli, F., & Gori, L. (2007). Herbal medicine today: clinical and research issues. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM4(Suppl 1), 37–40. https://doi.org/10.1093/ecam/nem096

  2. Wachtel-Galor S, Benzie IFF. Herbal Medicine: An Introduction to Its History, Usage, Regulation, Current Trends, and Research Needs. In: Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011. Chapter 1. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92773/

  3. World Health Organization (WHO). National Policy on Traditional Medicine and Regulation of Herbal Medicines. Geneva: 2005. Report of WHO global survey. 

  4. Surjushe, A., Vasani, R., & Saple, D. G. (2008). Aloe vera: a short review. Indian journal of dermatology53(4), 163–166. https://doi.org/10.4103/0019-5154.44785

  5. Arteaga, S., Andrade-Cetto, A., & Cárdenas, R. (2005). Larrea tridentata (Creosote bush), an abundant plant of Mexican and US-American deserts and its metabolite nordihydroguaiaretic acid. Journal of ethnopharmacology98(3), 231–239. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2005.02.002

  6. Gnabre, J., Bates, R., & Huang, R. C. (2015). Creosote bush lignans for human disease treatment and prevention: Perspectives on combination therapy. Journal of traditional and complementary medicine5(3), 119–126. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcme.2014.11.024

  7. Demeke, C. A., Woldeyohanins, A. E., & Kifle, Z. D. (2021). Herbal medicine use for the management of COVID-19: A review article. Metabolism open12, 100141. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.metop.2021.100141

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  9. Raeeszadeh, M., Beheshtipour, J., Jamali, R., & Akbari, A. (2022). The Antioxidant Properties of Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) and Its Biochemical, Antioxidant, Anti-Inflammatory, and Pathological Effects on Nicotine-Induced Oxidative Stress in the Rat Liver. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity2022, 2691577. https://doi.org/10.1155/2022/2691577

  10. Manayi, A., Vazirian, M., & Saeidnia, S. (2015). Echinacea purpurea: Pharmacology, phytochemistry and analysis methods. Pharmacognosy reviews9(17), 63–72. https://doi.org/10.4103/0973-7847.156353

  11. Okaiyeto, K., & Oguntibeju, O. O. (2021). African Herbal Medicines: Adverse Effects and Cytotoxic Potentials with Different Therapeutic Applications. International journal of environmental research and public health18(11), 5988. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18115988

  12. Veale D.J.H., Furman K.I., Oliver D.W. South African traditional herbal medicines used during pregnancy and childbirth. J. Ethnopharmacol. 1992;36:185–191. doi: 10.1016/0378-8741(92)90043-Q. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar] [Ref list]

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