Remember when Grandmother used to strap a warm mustard pack to our congested chests when we were sick? Or used a warmed tea bag to alleviate pink eye, a clove of garlic to alleviate earache, or a mixture of chaparral and olive oil to soothe itchy skin? I am.
Distances between townships, a lack of readily available medical professionals and facilities, and a lack of readily available medical professionals and facilities all dictated that a woman be not only a wife, mother, and housekeeper, but also a doctor. Folklore healing practices, herbal curative uses, and other medicinal “family secrets” were guarded and passed down from generation to generation in secrecy.
Of course, some of the cures touted in the past were not truly cures. Superstition and mythical “remedies” with no basis in reality crept into the mix. Suspicion of the validity of any natural, herbal remedy began to grow gradually and over time.
For example, witch doctor practices such as wrapping herbs in the shape of tears around a child’s neck to assist him in cutting teeth. “Reading” tea leaves to foretell future love interests, as well as assertions that placing certain spices under the pillow would improve memory, have swayed many people’s perceptions of herbs’ genuine curative properties.
That is why some modern practitioners regard herbal medicine as “quackery,” akin to old wives’ tales. However, an increasing number of otherwise conventional medical professionals are recognizing what Grandmother already knew. Natural, herbal remedies are valid as a means of maintaining good health and curing specific diseases. Nature’s pharmacy is reviving.
And why should this come as a surprise? After all, we are organic, just like plants. Synthetic drugs developed in the modern era were designed to mimic their natural counterparts, not the other way around. There was no other way to treat illness and discomfort, aid in wound healing, or cure bodily dysfunctions than with natural means in the past.
Early man discovered the medicinal “powers” of herbs while living in harmony with nature and studying wildlife. Animals bitten by a poisonous snake survived by chewing snakeroot, a wounded bear rolled in mud to speed healing and prevent infection, and elderly rheumatoid deer alleviated their misery and kept their joints limber by resting in the sun’s therapeutic rays.
Animals exhibit nature’s well-designed plan for good health and disease-free living. It is humans who have deviated from nature’s medicine chest in order to create man-made remedies – some of which are less effective, more expensive, and associated with negative side effects.
By cooperating with nature rather than against it, we can improve our chances of living a healthier life while lowering our risk of disease and premature bodily limitations and dysfunction.
A plethora of healing resources are available to us if we only open our eyes to the possibilities.
To illustrate this point, consider the numerous medicinal applications of a single herb, which is commonly regarded as a noxious or disposable weed.
In the Midwest United States, where it is occasionally found intercropped with corn and wheat, common burdock grows wild and competes for sunlight and nutrients from the soil. Though it is frequently overlooked as a native weed, when harvested for its root, it has the potential to benefit the bearer’s health and alleviate skin afflictions.
Burdock is unmatched in the herbal world as a blood purifier. Additionally, it is the “king” of herbs for chronic skin conditions such as eczema, acne, psoriasis, boils, syphilitic sores, and canker sores.
Bring 1 quart of water to a boil to make a medicinal tea. Reduce the temperature. 4 tsp. dried burdock root, cut Cover and cook on low heat for 7 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and steep for 2 hours. Consume at least two cups daily on an empty stomach, or more if the problem persists. Additionally, this concoction can be made in larger batches and applied topically to affected skin areas as needed.
Burdock root, when combined with catnip and brewed into a tea, is effective at dissolving stubborn kidney and gallstone stones. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. 2 tbsp. fresh or dried burdock root, chopped or cut Reduce to a low heat and continue simmering for 10 minutes. Take the pan off the heat. 3 tsp. chopped or cut fresh or dried catnip leaf; steep for 12 hours; strain.
Add 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 12 teaspoon pure maple syrup or blackstrap molasses to each cup (to sweeten). Consume slowly. Ten minutes later, add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.
Rep this regimen three times daily. The tea soothes irritated tissues and aids in the disintegration or partial dissolution of the stones. Olive oil acts as a lubricant, allowing them to be ejected from the body more easily. It is critical to the success of this remedy that you refrain from eating greasy, fried foods, soft drinks, refined carbohydrates (such as white flour or white sugar products), red meat, or poultry during this treatment.
John Heinerman, Ph. D., of Salt Lake City, Utah, a well-known lecturer, author, and medical anthropologist, recommends the following: drink the final cup of tea and spoonful of oil before retiring. Prop a pillow under your armpit if you sleep on your right side. According to Heinerman, this posture appears to hasten the removal of the stones from the body.
When combined with dried red clover and dandelion root and packaged in gel capsules, burdock root powder can help clear up acne and blemishes. Take two per day — one in the morning and one in the evening.
Apart from assisting in the clearing of problematic skin when combined with burdock, red clover is well-known as a natural cancer treatment and blood thinner. The late Will Greer, who portrayed Grandpa Walton on “The Waltons,” hailed dandelion root as a miracle cure for warts and a liver spot remover. Additionally, Dr. David Potterton, a licensed medical herbalist in the United Kingdom, noted that dandelion root’s high insulin content makes it an excellent sugar substitute for people who suffer from diabetes mellitus.
Numerous herbs are medicinal in nature. Elderflower and water infusions make a mild astringent that can be used safely for eye baths, while chamomile is excellent for eye compresses to treat inflammation of the eyelids. Garlic is an excellent natural antibiotic and strengthener of the immune system. Cayenne pepper is beneficial for circulation and digestive problems. Indeed, many of the herbs used in cooking are not only flavor enhancers, but also medicinal.
Apart from herbs, a variety of vegetables and fruits, particularly organic ones, provide health and medicinal benefits. Celery juice is a natural diuretic that is beneficial for people with rheumatoid arthritis and those looking to lose weight. Cabbage has been shown to be effective in the treatment of duodenal ulcers and provides an excellent source of calcium for those who are unable to consume dairy products. Radish is beneficial for gallbladder and liver problems, while spinach boosts hemoglobin levels in the blood. Beets are excellent for certain liver conditions and for increasing hemoglobin levels in the blood.
While natural or herbal remedies are undeniably beneficial to health, they should never be used in conjunction with synthetic or prescription medications without the consent of the prescribing physician. While grapefruit can be effective in lowering high cholesterol levels on its own, it is not recommended in conjunction with certain prescription medications that also lower cholesterol. Indeed, many cholesterol-lowering medications specifically warn against grapefruit consumption while on the medication.
Because many of nature’s offerings do possess significant medicinal and health-enhancing properties, educate yourself on the benefits and risks associated with each. As with any medication, increasing concentrations, doses, or combining them for medicinal purposes may be harmful rather than beneficial. Additionally, it is not recommended to combine natural/herbal remedies with synthetic/prescription medications, unless specifically prescribed by a physician as an enhancement.
Rather than rebelling against nature, we can learn to appreciate its gifts. Humans are subject to the same health laws as animals. We can relearn something valuable from our wild counterparts. By collaborating with nature and embracing the natural, we can improve our health and prolong our lives.