Long before x-rays and prescription pills, humans used various herbs, roots and spices to maintain a healthy mind, body and spirit. Too often, we reach for a bottle of ibuprofen as a quick “cure all” for each ache and pain when instead, we should take a step back and listen to our bodies so we can truly analyze our cause of discomfort. Although modern medicine is constantly advancing, there are a few natural remedies that have been doubtlessly healing for centuries.
So whether you’re feeling blue or you caught the cold going around at work, it is important to go back to the basics and embrace all that nature has to offer.
Typically found in Southern Asian cuisine, this spice can be used to ease arthritis pain because it contains curcumin, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory that reduces pain and swelling. Turmeric could also aid in the treatment of liver disorders, in addition to minimizing bruises, leech bites and ring worm when applied directly to the skin.
This root has a very potent smell and fairly unpleasant taste, but fortunately this root comes in a vegan pill that can be found in the vitamin isle. Valerian root is primarily used to ease sleep disorders and aid in treatment of anxiety and menstrual cramps. For a truly calming bath, steep some dried valerian in your bath water and add a few drops of lavender essential oil.
This root is a wonderful immune system booster, in addition to combating stomach disorders such as nausea, vomiting and morning sickness. A study from the University of Michigan even suggests that ginger kills ovarian cancer cells. One easy way to incorporate ginger into your diet is to add some fresh ginger and honey to a smoothie.
The leaves of the lemon balm plant serve so many purposes for mental and physical health. For starters, lemon balm can help toothaches, reduce bloating and improve autoimmune disorders involving the thyroid. The scent of lemon balm is also used to aid in the management of mental disorders, such as depression and hysteria, due to the calming, sedative-like effects. This leaf can also be used to treat cold sores and insect bites by applying the leaf directly to the skin.
This plant is wonderful for healing sinus pain, congestion, asthma symptoms, sore throats and runny noses. For chest colds and sinus pressure, try tying a bushel of the shrub next to the shower faucet to release an rejuvenating aroma. If you have a cold, try burning some eucalyptus essential oil in an oil warmer.
Not only does rosemary add a unique flavor to culinary dishes, but studies suggest that rosemary increases memory, improves concentration, prevents brain aging and improves digestion. Although rosemary is typically used in cooking, diluted rosemary essential oil can be used on the scalp to treat thinning hair by increasing blood flow.