Smart application of ancient herbs and medicinal plants to improve quality of life is not a unique concept. Prior to modern-day medicine and the cornucopia of synthetic drugs, ancient civilizations utilized plants to treat a range of common and serious illnesses. In fact, the knowledge of herbal medicine was past down from generation to generation, and women were the world’s first “healers” way before the advent of a family physician.
Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 80 percent of the world's population still uses traditional remedies, including plants, as their primary health care source. The benefits of doing so are bountiful! They include: relieving muscle and joint pain, fighting cancer, reducing inflammation, curing pregnancy-related nausea and motion sickness, boosting immune function, slowing aging, alleviating insomnia, relieving cough and cold symptoms and SO. MUCH. MORE.
Are you ready to take it back old school-style? Here are a few simple ways to add medicinal plants to your life.
- Prepare dandelion leaves by blanching them in boiling water for 20 seconds to help remove their bitter flavor. They can also be added to vegetable juices. Dandelion leaves are a great source of Vitamin A and are believed to have cancer-fighting properties.
- In India, people chew fennel seeds after every meal. In America, we chop them up for healthy salads and soups. They are easy to grow and great for improving eyesight and controlling cholesterol.
- Elderflowers are considered to be a powerful immune stimulant. They can be soaked in lemon juice overnight as a light beverage, and the flower heads are best when dipped in a light batter and fried for a vegetable dish.
- Aloe vera leaves are a cosmetic wonder. Applying natural aloe vera gel directly to your skin treats severe burns, wounds and minor cuts. Incorporating it into a daily skin regimen treats acne and restore needed nutrients to the skin.
- Lavender’s aromatherapeutic properties are widely known and utilized. Small amounts of lavender can not only be massaged onto areas affected by sprains, coughs and mosquito bites, but also the hair to help kill lice and nits.
- Although chamomile is most popular as a tea, chamomile oil serves many medicinal purposes as well. It is a strong anti-inflammatory used to treat psoriasis, eczema and other skin afflictions.
Check back often as we uncover more medicinal plants that can improve your health. In the meantime, challenge yourself with learning how to treat one condition that you and/or someone in your family struggles with, using medicinal plants grown in your region. We’d love to hear how well you do!