Three Ancient Herbs
Aloe, flax and garlic are three herbs which have been used by mankind for centuries. The earliest uses of these herbs date back prior to the bible. As populations migrated, they brought their favorite herbs with them. These three ancient herbs with modern health benefits are as common today as they were with our ancestors.
Aloe vera use has been documented as far back as ancient Egypt. Although the variety used by the Egyptians does not resemble the aloe plant commonly found today, they are still related. Ancient Egyptians used a species of aloe juice during the embalming process. Today we use aloe vera to relieve pain and irritation from sunburn and insect bites. Many homes today contain an aloe vera plant.
Sunburn and insect bites aside, aloe vera has other uses. The fresh juice of the aloe vera plant can help reduce fever if taken internally. Furthermore, ingestion of fresh aloe vera juice can help with cleansing of the stomach and intestines. Aloe vera is available commercially as a live plant or in lotions and creams. Many cosmetics contain aloe vera, especially skin creams and sunburn remedies.
Flax is another ancient herb with modern health benefits. The earliest fragment of flax has been dated to be 9,000 years old. Flax is a plant that is made into linen. The Torah and the Bible both mention linen and flax. Ancient Egyptians used linen for mummification and for other cloth. Flaxseed oil was used in the ancient Egyptian embalming processes.
Today flaxseed is part of a healthy diet. Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil contains many beneficial antioxidants. There are flaxseed supplements, flaxseed is added to cereals and foods, and you can purchase flaxseed in many forms at health food stores. Rich in omega 3 and 6, flaxseed is an important part of a modern diet.
The alpha-linolenic acid found in flaxseed is another modern health benefit. ALA as it is sometimes referred to, is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. In addition, it is known to boost the immune system and may help prevent certain cancers from occurring. Flax is perhaps more important today than it was centuries ago.
Garlic is the final ancient herb with modern health benefits. Technically, it is a bulb and not an herb. Garlic’s use dates back prior to the bible. Ancients used it to increase virility. It was thought to cure everything from infections to snakebites and depression.
Modern medical science has confirmed many of garlic’s ancient uses as valid. Its antimicrobial properties have been established. For example, arginine which is found in garlic helps the body manufacture nitric oxide. A man’s virility is dependent on the presence of nitric oxide. Without it, his ability to reproduce is compromised.
The chemical ajoene also found in garlic, is believed to help prevent clogging of the arteries. Allicin is known for its cancer and tumor prevention properties. It is another powerful chemical found in garlic.
These three herbs; aloe, flax and garlic, were extremely important to the ancient world. They were used for medicinal purposes and flax provided clothing as well. Today, modern health benefits are derived from the same plants our ancestors used. Some old wives tales have turned out to be medically correct. Sometimes everything old is new again.