Plants contain an immeasurable amount of healing properties, some that we’ve not yet unlocked. Since a young age, I’ve had a particular interest in herbal and homeopathic medicine. It just seems, for lack of a better word, natural. My father occasionally talks about his youth, when plants, barks, and herbs were the only readily available medical treatment.
Don’t misinterpret my feelings toward modern medicine; I wholeheartedly agree that it saves countless lives. My view, however, is that many of the bodies ailments can be treated and potentially cured with a healthy diet and the use of natural medicines. I find that prescription medication often has a plethora of side effects, whereas plants have few.
I could talk for hours about the uses of plants and herbs; however, this post will be a very brief introduction to natural medicines and their applications. I have extensively used each of the plants and herbs listed below, some of them I have even grown or harvested myself. While plants and herbs do not have many side effects, they can interact with current medicines that you are taking. Please consult your physician before implementing these plants into your diet.
Uses: Sore throat, post-nasal drip, and gastrointestinal issues
Slippery Elm is an essential part of my medicine cabinet. In my opinion, it’s one of the very best treatments for a sore throat. The bark of this tree is an excellent anti-inflammatory that calms and treats throat irritation. It coats the throat in a protective barrier and prevents further irritation. Slippery Elm can easily be taken as a capsule and works quickly to reduce and prevent pain.
The same coating property can also in the treat gastrointestinal issues such as gastric ulcers and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The bark acts by coating the intestines and soothing irritation and inflammation. Since the bark coats the gut, be sure to take any additional medicines at least 1-hour before taking this natural medication as absorption can be affected.
This bark works so well that many of the trees in my area have been harvested to extinction. While there are a few Slippery Elms left on the farm, I choose to allow these to grow uninterrupted. I instead purchase the bark in pill form from reputable dealers or herbal markets.
Uses: Anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, anti-nausea, anti-cancer, anti-diabetic
Many people use ginger to treat nausea and upset stomach. While it is superlative in settling the stomach and treating indigestion, it can also prevent cancer and the signs of aging! Do you have diabetes or an inflammatory condition? Ginger can help with those, too!
Ginger is a powerful anti-oxidant that scavenges and neutralize free radicals that can cause damage to DNA and skin cells. For more information on anti-oxidants, please see my article, Natural Anti-Aging. The plant can also inhibit the production of chemical compounds like pro-inflammatory cytokines (proteins involved in nerve-injury/inflammation-induced central sensitization). As the inflammation-causing proteins are repressed, the body experiences much less inflammation.
Ginger can treat a multitude of conditions, not limited to, Fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid diseases, gout, and muscle pain. I use the plant to treat my Fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis. I can’t say that ginger takes away all the pain, but it does help decrease my stiffness and make it easier to go on daily walks. The changes in pain and inflammation are subtle, but if you ever run out, you will notice!
I also highly recommend the use of turmeric in conjunction with ginger. They each have proven beneficial in my pain and inflammation relief. I will also provide a link below to a medical article on the additional benefits of ginger. Feel free to peruse the item in your free time.
Anti-Oxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Ginger in Health and Physical Activity: Review of Current Evidence
Uses: Anti-inflammatory, hay fever, allergies, urinary issues
This plant has been used for years in the treatment of arthritis, painful muscles, and rheumatoid diseases. In fact, individuals would often flog themselves with the fresh leaves. The plant causes stinging upon contact, but it also promotes pain relief by interrupting pain signals and reducing the level of inflammatory chemicals in the body. Today there is a much easier way to reap the benefits of Stinging Nettle!
Stinging nettle can provide the same pain relief in pill form. It has shown promising results in the medical treatment of painful muscles and joints, eczema, arthritis, gout, and anemia. It is instrumental in increasing pain relief when used in conjunction with an NSAID. In fact, it reduces the amount of NSAID needed and the frequency in which it needs to be taken.
I primarily use stinging nettle for the treatment of seasonal allergies and hay fever. During the spring and fall months, I regularly take stinging nettle to reduce the amount of histamine my body produces in response to allergens. Medical studies have shown that stinging nettle can lessen the effects of allergens by up to 48%. When it comes to allergies, I’ll take all the help I can get. I can genuinely tell the difference when taking stinging nettle. Be sure to begin treatment at the first sign of hay fever, as this is when it is most effective.
These are just a few natural remedies that can make a big difference in your quality of life. I invite you to give them a try!