Monday, September 1, 2014

The Healing Benefits of Herbs

We know that herbs and spices give our meals flavor, but these home grown plants have natural healing powers. For instance, did you know that cinnamon is an anti-oxidant that fights inflammation, heart disease and can help with Diabetes as it increases insulin levels? Or that mint stimulates bile acid in the liver as well as provides the body with Vitamin C, shown to prevent cancer growth?

Even these simple, everyday ingredients that many of us have on our shelves have healing properties:

  • Black Pepper counteracts stress from a high fat meal.
  • Red Pepper stimulates bile acid and boosts metabolism.
  • Turmeric has anti-aging effects on the brain, and may help prevent strokes.
  • Garlic reduces cholesterol levels, blood pressure and cancer growth.
  • Basil decreases platelet aggregation and blood clotting.
  • Rosemary may improve memory and lowers risk of strokes.
  • Oregano is packed with antioxidants and is an herbal antiseptic

Back in the '70's, my parents turned to diet and exercise as a means towards better health. Initially my father introduced us to a book called Food Is Your Best Medicine by Dr. Henry Bieler. Later we became macrobiotic. My mother's job was to read each of the family member's faces. This is called: physiognomy. You can tell much about someone's health by the face. Bags under the eyes can be related to the kidneys. Swollen mouth or extra wet lips correspond to the intestines and digestion. The responsibility of the cook is that of the family doctor, modifying the cooking both seasonally, and for the individual needs of the family. Although it was an odd remedy, when I had a headache my mother brewed some bancha tea with a teaspoon of Tamari. My father's lower back pain was remedied with hot ginger compresses. It may have looked odd, but the results were remarkable. 

Today, it is the norm to look for the quick fix. Most of us have lives that require us to perform at the highest level at all times. There is very little time in our culture for the natural rhythms of life. The cycles rise and fall like the belly with the inhale and exhale of the breath. More sleep and rest, slowing down long enough to notice what the body really needs, regular regenerative exercise are all ways that we can prevent burn out and the need for a quick "cure" of the symptom. 

Perhaps your healing needs are much less daunting than you imagine. Your pharmacy may be growing in your own back yard Farmacy. To your health! 

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