An herb is any plant with leaves, seeds, or flowers that is valued for flavor, scent, medicinal, or other qualities other than its food value. Herbs are used in cooking, as medicines, and for spiritual purposes. Botanical simply means a substance is obtained from a plant and used as an additive.
Botanical herbs, or herbaceous plants, by definition cannot be woody plants such as trees or shrubs. A herbaceous plant, or simply called a herb, is a plant that has leaves and stems that die down at the end of the growing season to the soil level. They have no persistent woody stem above ground, and a herbaceous plant may be annual, biennial or perennial. Annuals will geminate, grow and/or flower, and die in one season or year. A biennial plant takes two years to complete its lifecycle with the first year seeing the plant grow leaves, stems, and roots at which time it goes dormant over the cold months. Then in spring or summer, the stem elongates greatly, and the plant flowers, producing fruits and seeds before it finally dies. A perennial lives for more than two years, and are sturdy enough to live through winter.
Plants contain phytochemicals that have effects on the body. Throughout history, from the Bible, Koran, Siddhar poems of Tamils, Vedas and other old texts, the medicinal benefits of herbs are quoted. Phytochemicals are chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants, such as beta-carotene. The term is generally used to refer to those chemicals that may affect health. They have been used as drugs for thousands of year. For example, Hippocrates (ancient Greek physician from several hundred years before Christ) may have prescribed a particular willow tree leaf to help reduce fever. Salicin was originally extracted from the bark of the white willow tree which was later synthetically produced to become the over-the-counter drug Aspirin. An important cancer drug called Taxol is a phytochemical initially extracted and purified from the Pacific yew tree. Phytochemicals as natural herbal remedies have been helping humans for thousands of years, and our modern technology is finding new uses and health benefits – from fighting cancer and disease, to their known preventative and regenerative qualities.
Phytochemicals often are destroyed, or rendered less potent, in processed foods. Botanical supplements from reliable sources guarantee the full potency and benefits of natural herbal ingredients. Carefully blending all-natural herbs into a nutritional supplement can remedy specific problems or areas of health. For instance Burdock, Cayenne, and Nettle work together to remove toxins from the body and stimulate hair growth. Other herbs have nutritional value, such as Rosemary, Sage, Oat Straw, Sarsaparilla, Spirulina, and Kelp. Others help with digestion and assist our bodies to absorb vitamins and minerals. Though nutritional supplements can be very beneficial, supplements should not replace proper nutrition. Nutritional supplements are still supplements, they work by complementing a proper and well balanced diet. Herbal remedies and supplements help to overcome nutritional deficiencies, and help to make sure we have all the nutrients in the proper amounts for optimum health.