Germander is an herb in the mint family that is native to Mediterranean Europe, North Africa, and West Asia. A sweet-smelling plant with purple and pink flowers, it is often grown just for its beauty, but germander also has a long history in herbal medicine. As research continues to test the effects of the plant against various health problems, they have found it possesses a surprising range of helpful qualities.
Lowers Blood Sugar
One of germander’s most intriguing qualities is its ability to fight diabetes symptoms. In a study analyzing germander’s effect on blood glucose, researchers found that germander extracts effectively lowered sugar and reduced the strain on the pancreas in diabetic rats. In the future, germander may be a key component of insulin treatments, replacing harsher drugs that can cause harm to the liver and kidney.
Enhances Brain Function
People with diabetes can experience learning and memory issues as a side effect of hyperglycemia or high blood sugar. Germander may be able to reverse this, improving and protecting brain function.In one study, rats with diabetes performed better on memory tests after taking germander. It also improved learning for rats who did not have diabetes, meaning it may have an overall positive impact on brain function.
Improves Testicular Health
Stress on the body can negatively affect testicular health and sperm function. This can lead to infertility, low testosterone, and a higher risk of testicular cancer, particularly in those with pre-existing illnesses like diabetes, which already put a strain on the body. In animal studies, germander helped strengthen structures in the testes that produce sperm, increase testosterone production, and reverse testicle damage from diabetes.
Treats Heart Disease
Not all coronary heart disease is caused by blockages in the arteries. In some cases, the muscles around the arteries constrict instead, cutting off proper blood flow and causing chest pain. This is a particular risk for women with diabetes.Germander showed its prowess against this complication in animal studies, as well. It was found to improve the function of the arteries and relax the muscles. In the future, it could help traditional heart medications be more effective.
Eases Stomach Pain
Historically, one of germander’s primary uses in herbal medicine was against stomach aches. The reason it’s so effective may be because it helps relieve excess gas. It can also prevent involuntary muscle spasms and diarrhea, two upsets that can cause and intensify stomach pain. Another factor that helps germander soothe upset stomachs may be the unusual effects it has against gut bacteria.
Counteracts Harmful Bacteria
Increasing bacteria resistance to traditional antibiotics is a serious issue in modern medicine. Germander may be a new way to fight this bacteria. What sets the herb apart from harsher antibiotic drugs is that it does not kill bacteria outright.Instead, germander has chemicals that slow growth and keep harmful bacteria from reproducing. This means there are fewer antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the body, but the good strains the body needs can persist.
Preserves Helpful Bacteria
Some research indicates that germander may protect some types of healthy bacteria in fermented foods. Testing yogurt samples with added germander essential oils found that the helpful gut bacteria was preserved better than with traditional preservatives. The yogurt also stayed fresh longer. Germander may replace less natural yogurt preservatives while adding its own nutritional benefits.
Supports Liver Function
The liver is essential for filtering harmful chemicals out of the blood, but many modern drugs and preservatives can put a strain on this vital organ. Germander is not only being researched as an alternative to harsher chemicals but also for its potential to actively protect the liver from damage by suppressing the production of chemicals that over-tax it.
Ulcers can be a painful side effect of stress or digestive diseases like Crohn’s and IBS. In one study, germander reduced inflammation and increased the number of healthy cells in dogs with ulcers. These processes helped the ulcers heal more quickly. Further research will determine whether this affects humans the same way, but germander may also be useful in veterinary medicine.
Germander may not always replace traditional medicines, but instead may be used to help them work more effectively. One current challenge of chemotherapy is that the drugs harm healthy cells as well as cancer cells, making people who take them severely ill. Research indicates that germander might help with some of these harmful side effects. In the future, it may be used alongside other chemotherapy drugs to stabilize and protect healthy cells and organs.