It may surprise some to learn that the leaves of certain types of holly are used for medicinal purposes. They are utilized to combat issues such as digestive maladies, rheumatism, fever, high blood pressure and more. When it is taken in the correct dosage and format, the plant can serve as an invaluable remedy for an assortment of health conditions.
Many people only think of holly as a decorative plant used during winter holidays. Others are aware that its berries can be highly toxic when ingested. Only the leaves of certain species of holly plants are employed for medicinal use. Examples of some of the types used include Ilex vomitoria, which is also known as Yaupon holly, and Ilex aquifolium, which is commonly referred to as European holly. Ilex opaca is another kind of holly that is utilized for herbal supplementation, and it is commonly called American holly.
Yaupon holly is a native species of the southeastern part of the North American continent. It can grow in various types of soil, and it is fairly resistant to many pest species. While European holly was originally grown in the central and southern parts of Europe, it is now grown in the northwestern regions of Canada and the United States. The European variety grows well in densely wooded places. American holly originates from the eastern part of the United States, and it thrives in coastal and wetlands areas.
Although holly berries have been used by some in a purgative capacity, they can also cause excessive diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration. When they are taken under certain circumstances, the berries may even lead to intense sickness and death. The leaf is the part of the plant that is typically used for medicinal purposes.
After they have been dried, the leaves can be implemented in the form of a tea. While there is not a set standard of how much to take at one time, a common dosage is a few teaspoonfuls of dried leaves per cup of water. The beverage is often taken a few times per day. Another method used to ingest holly leaves is to swallow a liquid extract. When it is taken in this form, several drops may be ingested over the course of a day.
The primary active ingredient in holly is caffeine, and this should be taken into consideration by those who use it as a health aid. The berries typically contain a higher concentration of caffeine than is found in the leaves. The amount found in some holly leaves is undetermined, but Yaupon leaves can contain as much as .65 to .85 percent of caffeine.
Holly leaves are utilized to offset a variety of health disorders. One common ailment they are used to remedy is hypertension, which is also referred to as high blood pressure. The leaves can have a calming effect, and they have been known to facilitate better arterial function and blood circulation in some individuals.
Other ailments that the leaves are used to treat include fever, rheumatism and digestive issues. Some species are utilized for their emetic properties, and others are employed to assist with symptoms such as joint pain and swelling. Holly leaf extract is sometimes used to combat jaundice, dizziness and emotional problems. In some cases, holly is even utilized as a method of fighting heart disease.
While it is true that holly is widely utilized for its aesthetic qualities, it is also valued for its medicinal properties. When they are used properly, holly leaves may offer people an alternative to modern medical treatments. In other cases, the leaves may be implemented to enhance medical treatments that are currently in use. The plant has been employed for centuries as an herbal remedy, and it is likely that people will continue to use it in such a capacity.
Before implementing any plant as a supplement, it is always wise to consult with a health care professional or other trusted source. A professional can evaluate factors such as potential drug interactions and the general health of an individual.