Antioxidants are natural components believed to have numerous health benefits. One of the most important benefits of antioxidants is that they help protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Antioxidants are produced by the body and are found in certain foods, such as herbs. St. John's wort, milk thistle, and olive leaf are examples of antioxidant herbs.
St. John's wort is an herb that is formally known as Hypercium perforatum. Generally, it is the yellow flowers of this plant that are used for medicinal purposes. St. John's wort is commonly recommended and used for mood disorders such as depression. It is, however, also one of the antioxidant herbs. It has been found that there are some side effects associated with this herb. These include sexual dysfunction, headaches, and interference with certain other medications.
Bilberry is an herb that grows in North America and in Europe. These plants produce fruits that are eaten and used to treat medical conditions such as cataracts, diabetes, and atherosclerosis. This herb is also a great source of antioxidants such as vitamin C. The University Of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) warns against consuming large quantities of bilberry for a long time. UMMC says the tannins contained in this plant could cause muscle spasms, severe weight loss, and death.
Milk thistle is another of the antioxidant herbs that has a long history of being used for medicinal purposes. Native to the Mediterranean, milk thistle is believed to be a protecting and repairing agent for the liver. As such, it has even been suggested as a treatment for the damage of alcoholism. This herb is generally considered to be safe and will only produce mild, if any, side effects. It is not, however, recommended for pregnant women.
The use of olive leaf for medicinal purposes is believed to date back to ancient Egypt, when it was used for ailments such as fevers and malaria. In modern times, this herb has been used for problems such as achy joints, flu, and hemorrhoids. In addition to its antioxidant properties, it is also believed to have antibacterial properties. Furthermore, olive leaf is believed to lower blood pressure. As such, it is not recommended for people who are diabetic.
Valerian is another of the antioxidant herbs that is native to Europe. It also commonly grows in Asia. Valerian medicines are often derived from the roots of the plants, although the plants do flower. This herb is commonly used for sleeping problems and for anxiety. Due to its calming effects, it is not recommended for use with antidepressants.