For countless years, traditional healers have taught the benefits of easing illness with a healthy lifestyle and the use of herbs and botanicals. But don’t think you have to get all your herbs from a jar. Many remarkable healing herbs are growing in your yard. Herbs and spices can be picked a few steps from your front door and used to perk up your cooking and your health.
Today, it’s easy to forget that some of the most beneficial medicinal plants can be found growing in our own backyards. Some are considered pesky weeds even though they are valuable herbs.
While Western medicine relies heavily on prescription drugs, most practitioners of Eastern medicine disciplines, as well as traditional naturopathic doctors and herbalists, consider many herbs and botanicals to be safer — and sometimes more effective — alternatives. As an integrative medical doctor and natural product formulator, I base much of my clinical practice and my formulations on the use of all-natural nutrients, herbs and botanicals which promote health via numerous mechanisms of action. Using medicinal herbs and botanicals in their whole, natural form allows you to benefit from the synergistic effects of complex chemical components such as antioxidants and phytonutrients, as they occur in nature. Surround your home and fill your gardens with healing herbs and plants, and support your health from multiple angles.
Here are some commonly grown herbs and botanicals which offer powerful health benefits.
Thyme contains potent therapeutic essential oils and compounds and is considered one of nature’s most powerful antibiotic, antifungal and antimicrobial plants. Thyme is most commonly taken as a tea, and has been used for a variety of medicinal purposes throughout the centuries. As a decongestant, it is useful in the treatment of acute and chronic bronchitis, whooping cough and inflammation of the upper respiratory tract. It is a powerful agent for boosting immunity and treating various types of infections. Thyme tea can also help relieve headaches and menstrual pain, and helps alleviate digestive issues.
Garlic contains a number of active components, including allicin, alliinase and sulfur compounds, which contribute to its potent antibiotic, antiviral and fungicidal properties. These components make garlic highly potent in protecting against infection, lowering high blood pressure, maintaining healthy cholesterol levels and boosting the immune system. Garlic can effectively protect blood cells and blood vessels from inflammatory and oxidative stress, and can naturally decrease the risk of atherosclerosis and heart attacks. Garlic’s diverse cardiovascular benefits derive from its sulfur compounds and its high levels of vitamin C and vitamin B6. Vitamin C is a vital antioxidant that protects against damage to blood vessel walls and reduces levels of oxidizing free radicals in the bloodstream. Vitamin B6 lowers levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that can damage blood vessel walls. Garlic is also a sulfur agent helpful for the removal of toxins and heavy metals from the body.
In addition to carrying a distinct, pleasing fragrance, mint is a cooling herb that can settle the digestive tract or decrease the severity and length of stomach aches and digestive discomfort. The herb can be added to teas, salads or eaten raw to relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, hinder the growth of harmful bacteria in the stomach and reduce inflammation of the digestive tract. Mint is highly useful for clearing congestion of the nose, throat and lungs, helping to provide relief of respiratory distress in people with asthma, colds or allergies.
Cilantro is a popular Mediterranean herb whose leaves and seeds (known as coriander) contain powerful compounds known to efficiently remove heavy metals and other toxic agents from the body. The compounds in this herb bind to heavy metals, loosen them from the tissues, blood and organs, and then assist in transporting these toxins out of the body through the body’s organs of elimination. Cilantro is naturally rich in antioxidants and dietary fiber, helping to reduce LDL or “bad cholesterol,” while increasing HDL or “good cholesterol.” The plant’s leaves and stems contain an abundance of polyphenolic flavonoids like quercetin, which have been shown to modulate proteins linked to cell survival and healthy cellular growth/behavior.
Broccoli is one of the cruciferous vegetables, a group of plants including cabbage, collards, cauliflower and kale, that offer powerful health benefits. Broccoli is high in vitamin C, and is a natural source of critical compounds that support health like DIM and indole-3-carbinol. These and other phytonutrients in broccoli help boost immunity, increase DNA repair, protect cardiovascular health, fight against cancer growth and proliferation, and support overall health and wellness. Your mother was right to urge you to “Eat your broccoli!”
Ginger has long been used to relieve gastrointestinal issues like nausea, indigestion and infection. Studies show that compounds called gingerols, naturally present in the ginger plant, have powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Fighting inflammation is perhaps the most critical quality of ginger’s natural healing properties, since chronic inflammation is the precursor to serious health conditions, including cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Ginger is a warming herb that promotes circulation, heat and sweating, helping to clear your body’s systems of toxic buildup and fight infections. Ginger is hearty and can grow outside of its native tropical climate. But if you live in a colder area, simply keep it in a pot and bring it indoors during winter to avoid freezing.
Easy To Grow
There are numerous common herbs, botanicals, fruits and vegetables that can be easily grown from seeds or starters, and provide a multitude of health benefits, especially when eaten fresh. Turning to your garden for safe and natural plant-based remedies is a simple, eco-friendly and affordable way to maintain health and vitality, while building immunity and preventing many common illnesses. Spring is the perfect time of year to cultivate a healing garden, and nurture your blossoming health. For more practical information on all-natural remedies, visit http://www.dreliaz.org/.