4 Exotic Plants with Amazing Health Benefits
Mother Nature has surrounded us with plants that not only make life more beautiful, but can also make us healthier. Since the dawn of human existence, we have been using plants for the various health and wellness benefits they can offer.
Whether it’s through removing toxins from the air, using plant gels topically, or taking herbal supplements in the form of capsules, teas, and extracts, there are many ways in which we can use plants to enjoy a healthier existence.
More and more, people are looking to natural remedies for ailments and using medications and supplements that utilize plant-derived ingredients. If you’re looking to incorporate plants with healing properties into your life, here are four incredible plants that can help improve your health.
While there may be hundreds of aloe plant species, one has been used by humans for thousands of years to alleviate various ailments. Even the ancient Egyptians were making use of the plant for its healing properties. Aloe vera is a cactus-like plant that may have originated from the Arabian Peninsula, but it’s now grown worldwide today.
Aloe vera contains powerful antioxidants, and has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It can be used both topically and taken orally in liquid or capsule form. You can now find the gel that is extracted from the plant’s leaves in all kinds of products including suntan lotions, moisturizers, shaving creams, and even mouthwash and juices.
Just some of the uses of aloe vera include treating various skin issues such as acne and psoriasis, treating digestive issues like constipation and heartburn, and treating minor wounds like scrapes, cuts, and sunburns.
Nowadays, people love to keep Aloe Vera as a house plant because it requires low maintenance. Products that claim to contain aloe vera should be looked at closely since they are less regulated than other types of medications, and may in fact not offer any healing properties depending on their makeup.
You may also want to talk to your doctor before taking oral supplements or if you notice rashes, itching, or abdominal pain and cramps from using aloe vera. Aloe vera is generally safe for most individuals, but using it in forms like aloe latex can carry a higher risk for side effects.
If you’re looking for another low-maintenance plant that offers fantastic health benefits, you can surround yourself with peace lilies. This tropical house plant with dark leaves and white blooms, looking somewhat like a surrender flag, is often found in many homes and offices.
Peace lilies have become popular indoor plants because they are easy to maintain, add style to your office or home, and help remove harmful allergens and toxins from the air like ammonia, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and harmful vapors released by various products like paints and cleaners you may use around the house.
Consider this South American native plant to act as a natural air-purifier, a nice alternative to the often pricey air-purifying machines out there. In addition to keeping your indoor-air cleaner by reducing volatile organic chemicals, it also helps to manage indoor humidity levels.
Place a peace lily or two in bathrooms and other wet areas to absorb excess moisture in order to reduce mildew and mold which can lead to various irritations in sensitive people. It has also been shown to promote better sleep.
It’s important to note that while it’s great at cleaning the air, this plant is not to be used topically or orally. Consuming any part of peace lilies can lead to health complications and overhandling may lead to contact dermatitis in certain individuals.
The Kratom tree or mitragyna speciosa is a tree that’s native to tropical Southeast Asia which has long been used in herbal medicine. While its use may have originated in SE Asia, literally tons of kratom is now exported around the world annually. In the US alone, there are well over a dozen million people you regularly use kratom products.
Kratom was traditionally used in SE Asia by chewing the leaves or brewing teas. Today, many health food stores or online specialty stores now sell kratom powder capsules and extracts. Commercially-sold products do differ a bit from natural products found in SE Asia due to the fact exported kratom consists of dried leaf material, which sees a change in chemical composition when compared with fresh leaves. The main kratom extracts are mitragynine and mitraphylline, as covered in this kratom extracts post.
In SE Asia, locals have used kratom for hundreds of years as a home remedy for fatigue as it increases alertness and provides you with a boost of energy. It’s also used as a pain reliever, relieving ailments like musculoskeletal pain, as well as helping with wound healing and intestinal infections. It has also been used to treat depression and anxiety.
Kratom has been used as an effective treatment for opioid addiction. When people cut out opioids, they go through an excruciating withdrawal period and kratom can help ease these withdrawal symptoms.
There are some side effects to be aware of including things like nausea and appetite loss. More severe side effects are generally associated with taking kratom in regular high-potency dosages. Addiction can be possible but is often associated with poor quality products or misuse such as consuming too much.
Kratom Tree-Photo By: ThorPorre, CC BY 3.0via Wikimedia Commons
A native of West Africa, the snake plant combines the benefits of aloe vera and peace lily. Sap from the plant can be used topically to alleviate minor cuts, burns, and inflammation much like aloe vera and the plant allows you to further defend your home against harmful allergens, toxins, and airborne allergies much like peace lilies.
What sets the snake plant apart from the peace lily is that it converts carbon dioxide into oxygen during the night which is quite rare in plants. While there are many different species of snake plant, the one referred to commonly as mother-in-law’s tongue is often used ornamentally in homes and offices.
Because snake plants can be mildly toxic to pets and small children when consumed, care should be taken to keep them out of reach in such situations.