80% Of The World’s Population Still Relies On Ancient Medicine Made From Plants & Botanicals

Natural medicine
Source: NaturalNews.com
Samantha Debbie
August 18, 2016

Before the pharmaceutical industry developed into the formidable force it is today, people around the world relied on plants and botanicals for medicine, and in fact many still do. Even in the modern day, the basis for medicine is centered on resources found here on Earth.

A section from the Guide to Popular Natural Products explains more in detail below.

“Historical and epidemiological data: There is little doubt that herbal medicine or pharmacognosy is one of the oldest forms of health care. History records the fact that almost every culture around the world has noted its individual contributions to pharmacognosy and use of foods as medicine.

“The oldest ‘prescriptions,’ found on Babylonian clay tablets, and the hieratic (priestly) writing of ancient Egypt on papyrus is numerous ancient pharmaceutical and medical uses of hundreds of botanicals and foods (eg, olive oil, wine, turpentine, myrrh, opium, castor oil, garlic).”

Herbal medicine is one of the oldest forms of healthcare

“This worldwide botanical cornucopia represents an eclectic collection of the most reliable early medicines that even today serve the ills of the world. The World Health Organization records the fact that 80% of the world’s population still relies on botanical medicines.

“Several phytomedicines have advanced to widespread use in modem times and are familiar to all. These include morphine and related derivatives (from opium), colchicine (ftom Autumn crocus), cocaine (from Coca), digitoxin (from Foxglove), vincristine and vinblastine (from the Vinca plant), reserpine (from Indian Snakeroot), etoposide (from Mayapple), and taxol (from Yew).

“Many botanicals remain to be reevaluated as continued folkloric use around the world entices researchers to further scientific study.

“History and science have shown repeatedly that almost all things are cyclical. Once again, we find ourselves in an era of resurgent interest in natural products as medicine.

“Ethnobotany, rain forest depletion of species, and certain limits in advancement using synthetic drugs continuously teach us that nature has and will always provide us with clues on how to develop new medicines.”

The importance of correctly identifying plants

“This probably will never cease. We have learned over and over the constant need to identify plants as to correct genus, species, variety, and even chemovar (chemical races) in order to obtain the same chemistry and medicinal properties desired for a particular botanical.

“Computers have helped us identify and categorize plants using the best of classical morphology and modem chemotaxonomy.

“Lessons from the complex phytochemistry of biologically active constituents have taught us that each plant is a unique and veritable chemical factory.

“We are trying to reach back to the old pharmacopoeias to update their early attempts to standardize botanical medicines.

“Modem chemical procedures using chromatography, infra-red spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and mass spectrometry for molecular characterization of individual pharmacologically active principles have greatly facilitated the methodology.

“We now understand the complexity of standardization because of the innate biological variability of plant biochemistry.

“This allows us to fully appreciate all the complexities and variables that are introduced in plant collection, storage, transport, processing, and extraction to prepare uniform, stable dosage forms.”

Natural pain relievers

“Natural product research has led to new physiological and pharmacological concepts, particularly when a new compound is found to have a specific biological effect.

“These have been referred to as ‘molecular keys’ and include such classical examples as morphine (the chemical basis for natural and synthetic opioid analgesics), cocaine (the chemical basis for synthetic local anesthetics like procaine), and ephedra (the chemical basis for CNS stimulants like the amphetainines and the decongestants such as pseudoephedrine).

“Another recent resurrected plant drug is capsaicin from hot peppers. Previously used in topical analgesics as a ‘counter-irritant,’ it is being reintroduced as a true analgesic because in low doses it depletes newly discovered ‘substances,’ which is involved in pain transmission.

“Along similar lines, the ongoing competition with our new resistant pathogenic microbes has led us back into the race to find new antibiotics from soil microbes and fungi. New pandemic diseases like AIDS have taught us how much we need to stimulate and protect our immune system to fight such diseases.

“We are all living longer, and we need to help conquer cancer as well, and many promising agents are being developed from plants. New uses of certain supplements and vitamins have also focused our attention on food as medicine (nutraceuticals) and Phytochemicals … that may help prevent diseases.”

Read More At: NaturalNews.com

Sources:

Guide to Popular Natural Products (1999) Compiled by Facts and Comparisons

Your Medicine is in Your Pantry

This article is copyrighted by GreenMedInfo LLC, 2016

Your Medicine is in Your Pantry
Source:GreenMedInfo.com
Karta Purkh Khalsa
February 27, 2016

Food has been the medicine of humanity since the dawn of time. Many herbs that we associate only with seasoning our food are, in fact, potent herbal medicines.

The distinction between herbal food and herbal medicine is actually quite subjective. There is a wide area of overlap with the two categories. If you think of all the plants we consume, for whatever purpose, as being on a spectrum, from food on one end, to medicine on the other, you will see what I mean. On the food end would be plants like potatoes and carrots- potentially medicinal, but mild and safe. The other end of the spectrum contains medicine plants like opium poppy and foxglove, the source of digitalis- definitely not food, but clearly serious medicine.

The gray area is in the middle. Take echinacea. None of us would consider sitting down to a delicious bowl of echinacea soup. Yuck. But you could. And it would be safe. How about parsley? In a salad, it’s a food. Used as a juice to treat edema, it’s a medicine.

The truth is, herbal medicines have about the same chemical components as food plants. Herbal medicines are just selected from plants that have greater concentrations of active ingredients, making them more convenient to use.

European herbal medicine, the tradition from which contemporary American herbalism mainly derives, does not see much overlap between food plants and herbal medicines. Foods you eat, spices make the food taste better, and herbal medicine you take in a tincture. Asian medical systems, however, make no distinction between the two. Food is just less concentrated herbal medicine, and every meal is viewed as a chance to get in more healing herbs. In fact, the Chinese word for the medicinal brew that people use daily to maintain their health is “soup.”

The complex cuisines of China and India began, thousands of years ago, as recipes to get healing herbs and foods into people. Gradually, as the process evolved, complicated mixtures of food ingredients, herbal medicines, and flavorings coalesced into a tasty amalgam that warms the soul, heals the body, and pleases the palate.

For example, Indian food typically starts with a combination, a “masala”, of onions, garlic, ginger, and other various spices, selected for their medicinal virtues, and taste. Since many of these herbs can cause gas, additional herbs, such as fennel and coriander seeds, are added to counteract that tendency. Ginger and mustard, for example, speed up the digestive process, so that the meal is efficiently processed and moved through the digestive tract.

Although the list of herbal medicine foods is huge, here is a selection of remedies that are easy to find, and particularly effective.

The carrot and parsley family (Umbelliferae), in particular, is a huge source of edible plants and good tasting medicines. These plants grow all over the world, and are used in a broad range of cultures. This group of plant medicines has unusual chemistry, so they make their way into the kitchens and medicine chests of many native medical systems. The seeds are typically the medicinal part, but various parts are used, depending on the plant. Some well-known members of this family include parsley, coriander (cilantro is coriander greens), fennel, anise, cumin, and dill.

Plants in this family contain compounds that act like calcium channel blockers, benefiting angina. Herbs in this family generally have estrogenic action, especially the seeds. The popular Chinese herb dong quai is in this family. These parsley relatives are prized around the world for treating intestinal gas, a property herbalists call “carminative.”

Fennel

In my personal clinical experience, I would pick fennel seed as the premiere carminative in the world, especially for adults. Literally, I have never seen a case of painful gas that was not relieved by fennel seeds, provided of course, that the dose was high enough.

Fennel contains creosol and alpha- pinene, substances that loosen lung mucus and help clear the chest, benefiting asthma. (1) Recent research shows that this spice also lowers blood pressure. (2)  This herb has been used for centuries to promote lactation, which makes sense, from what we now know about its hormonal action. It will also hasten a period. As a bonus, it increases libido.  For gas, try chewing 1 Tbs. of the tasty seeds, or brew a tea with 1 Tbs. seeds in a cup of water. You may use the powdered seeds as a seasoning, or in capsules.

Of course, you can also steam the stalk as a delicious celery-like vegetable. The properties are similar, but milder than the seed.

Dill

Dill seed is, for gas, for children, what fennel seed is for adults. Called “the secret of British nannies,” dill is the active ingredient in the famous “gripe water,” the colic remedy taken round the world in the British empire.

Dill seed is truly miraculous for infant colic. It can save a parent’s sanity. Dill promotes menstruation, so it can be used to encourage a late period. For adults, dill, along with fennel, treats heartburn. (1) The weed is milder. In a pinch, fennel and dill can be interchanged. For infant colic, brew 2 Tbs. dill seed in 1 cup of water, cool, sweeten, put in a bottle or dropper, and serve to the screaming baby. You will carry a sleeping tyke back to bed.

Parsley

Ever notice that green sprig of garnish at the edge of your plate? Usually discarded, that parsley is one powerful herbal medicine. While the seeds, leaf, and root of this plant are all used for food, the main herbal uses come from the leaf.

Parsley is a source, as you might expect, of phytoestrogens, so it has potential for treating osteoporosis and amenorrhea, and for promoting lactation.

This medicine has a long history of use with the urinary system. Research shows that it is diuretic (3), and it has a long history of herbal use in treating bladder infection.

Parsley treats angina. (1) Crushed, and applied to a bruise, it heals. It inhibits the release of histamine, so is useful for allergies and hives. It prevents and treats kidney stones. (4)  Parsley is a treasure trove of vitamins and minerals. It is a rich source of boron and fluorine, critical minerals for bone health. It contains 3.5 times as much vitamin C as oranges, and twice as much calcium as broccoli.

Because parsley is a rich source of calcium, magnesium, and potassium, it is an effective treatment for cramps, such as leg cramps. (5)  Three ounces of parsley contains about 3 mg of boron, the dose suggested for bone health. In my clinical experience, a dose of about 2 ounces per day of parsley juice treats edema very well.

Parsley leaf is widely available in capsule form, both as a single herb, and in combination. It works well as a digestive aid combined with turmeric. A typical dose would be 2-9 grams per day, but, of course, this herb is very safe at any dose.

Thyme

Thyme contains anti-aging chemicals. (1) Historically, this herb has been used for headache.

Thyme is known as a general antimicrobial, especially for bacterial infection, and an expectorant, which also treats fever, so it is a well-known treatment for diseases like the flu.

One ingredient, thymol, has antiviral properties, and is also antispasmodic, so it is used in headache and cramps. (6)

Use thyme as a tea, or gargle.

Basil leaf

Originally from India, this spicy herb has grown to great popularity around the world. There are many varieties of the plant, but they all basically have the same medicinal qualities. One famous variety, “holy” basil, is a standout in the Ayurvedic pharmacopoeia. Historically, basil has been used as a digestive aid, to relieve gas and speed digestion, and to warm up and mobilize stiff arthritic joints.

Basil is a pungent herb that increases body heat. It is used to treat respiratory conditions, like the flu, and to lower fever by sweating. Since it’s also an expectorant, it can be used for conditions like emphysema and asthma. (1)

A member of the mint family, basil contains antibacterial compounds. (5, 8) Recent studies have shown that basil appears to prevent cancer. (7)

Basil lowers blood pressure. Basil contains antiviral compounds. (1) A common folk remedy for warts is to apply crushed basil directly to the wart.  Use basil liberally in food, such as pesto, or brew in tea. For a headache, try chewing several fresh basil leaves.

Black pepper

The herb is known only as a humble condiment here, but in Asia, it is considered to be the foremost detoxifier and anti-aging herb.

Black pepper is a warming digestive remedy, which has a carminative action.  This herb increases circulation, and lowers blood pressure. (1)  This medicinal herb also contains compounds that prevent osteoporosis.

While black pepper has been esteemed as a detoxifier, particularly in Ayurveda, recent research has begun to bear this out. At least in rats, pepper seems to increase release of carcinogens through the liver, reducing cancer. (9) Piperine, a main active ingredient, protects against liver damage almost as well as milk thistle. (10) This alkaloid is also getting a reputation for increasing bioavailability and absorption of nutrients.(13) For example, in one recent study, scientists measured the absorption of turmeric active ingredients. Administering the turmeric along with Piperine increased bioavailability by 154%, and reduced the time for absorption by half. (14)

Black pepper reduces free radicals. It is antioxidant, and prevents the depletion of glutathione. It also prevents the destruction of other antioxidants, such as vitamin A. (11)

Pepper is used in Ayurveda to release sinus congestion. (12)

Black pepper is available in the health food store as a supplement. Use 50 mg per day or more of extract standardized to Piperine.

Use black pepper as a culinary spice. An excellent Ayurvedic preparation for sinus congestion is to boil 10 peppercorns in milk, strain, and drink.

Nettles

That’s right- the stinging nettles you dig out as a pesky weed. Even though less well-known as a food here, nettles are quite edible and tasty. The sting is neutralized when the plant is dried or cooked. This vegetable is prepared like spinach, and has a similar, but saltier, taste. Please don’t harvest this vegetable unless you know what you are doing- the sting, before being neutralized, is painful.

Nettle is a favorite of European herbalists, who use it as a general nutritive tonic, similar to the way alfalfa has been used in American herbalism. In addition, it has been historically used to treat childhood eczema, respiratory conditions, and to strengthen the circulatory tissue. (16)

Recently, nettle has been getting attention in natural healing circles for the treatment of allergic rhinitis (hay fever).(17)

You will find nettle in the health food store in capsules. Most people find that about 2 grams will relieve an allergy attack.

Fenugreek seed

This little legume is getting a lot of attention lately for its many medicinal virtues. It is a very rich source of soluble fiber.

It is a very effective diabetes treatment, promoting substantial reductions in blood sugar, both from its fiber content, and the presence of other metabolically active components.

Fenugreek seed lowers total cholesterol, while increasing HDL.

It contains very high amounts of choline and beta carotene, both of which have been linked to Alzheimer’s prevention and treatment. (1)

Fenugreek contains the phytoestrogen diosgenin, which has gotten attention lately for its role in preventing breast cancer.

Use fenugreek liberally as a spice in foods. The dose shown in experiments to control blood sugar was much higher, about 100 grams per day. That’s a lot of fenugreek, which can be bitter in those quantities. In scientific studies, the fenugreek seed was often baked into a flat bread, or cooked into a soup. I have had good success with having people soak the seeds overnight to soften, and the just chow down, perhaps mixed with a mild food like oatmeal.

However, one recent study showed significant reduction in total cholesterol and triglycerides with a dose of 2.5 grams twice daily, a dose that can easily be taken in capsules.(15) Fenugreek can be found in the health food store as whole powdered herb in capsules, or as a standardized extract.

With such a rich selection of healing foods to choose from, there should be little problem putting together a menu of delicious medicinal recipes. Use these foods daily. You’ll like making you cupboard in to your medicine chest.

Food Medicines

Plant Use Dose
Tomato Antioxidant, Anticancer, Prostate food, as sauce, juice
Rosemary Antioxidant, Anticancer, Detoxifier 1-2 cups tea, per day, food
Onion Asthma, Antioxidant, Anticancer (stomach) In food
Cinnamon Circulation, menstrual cramps, digestion up to 10 grams per day of medicinal quality cinnamon, in capsules, two days before, and during, menstruation, for cramps
Celery Lower blood pressure, increase immune response 4 ribs or more per day
Artichoke Liver detoxifier 1 globe per day as food

References

1)         James A. Duke, The Green Pharmacy, Rodale, Emmaus, Pennsylvania, 1997.

2)         Abdul Ghani AS Amin R The vascular action of aqueous extracts of Foeniculum vulgare leaves. J-Ethnopharmacol. 1988 Dec; 24(2-3): 213-8

3)         Paul Pitchford, Healing with Whole Foods, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, 1993.

4)         Blumenthal, Mark, The Complete German Commission E Monographs, The American Botanical Council, Austin, 1998.

5)         Cass Ingram, DO, Supermarket Remedies, Knowledge House, Buffalo Grove, Ilinois, 1998.

6)         John Heinerman, Encyclopedia of Fruits, Vegetables, and Herbs, Parker, New York, 1988.

7)         Karthikeyan K Ravichandran P Govindasamy S Chemopreventive effect of Ocimum sanctum on DMBA-induced hamster buccal pouch carcinogenesis. Oral-Oncol. 1999 Jan; 35(1): 112-9

8)         Lachowicz KJ Jones GP Briggs DR Bienvenu FE Wan J Wilcock A Coventry MJ The synergistic preservative effects of the essential oils of sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) against acid-tolerant food microflora. Lett-Appl-Microbiol. 1998 Mar; 26(3): 209-14

9)         Singh A Rao AR Evaluation of the modulatory influence of black pepper (Piper nigrum, L.) on the hepatic detoxication system. Cancer-Lett. 1993 Aug 16; 72(1-2): 5-9

10)       Kaoul I and A Kapil. Evaluation of the liver protective potential of piperine, an active principal of black and long peppers.Planta Medica 1993. 59: 413-417.

11)       Shanmugasundaram KR et al, Amritabindu for depletion of antioxidants. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 1994. 42(2): 83-93.

12)       Yogi Bhajan, The Ancient Art of Self-Healing, Silver Streak Publishers, Eugene, Oregon,1982.

13)       Khajuria A Zutshi U Bedi KL Permeability characteristics of piperine on oral absorption–an active alkaloid from peppers and a bioavailability enhancer. Indian-J-Exp-Biol. 1998 Jan; 36(1): 46-50

14)       Shoba G Joy D Joseph T Majeed M Rajendran R Srinivas PS Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers. Planta-Med. 1998 May; 64(4): 353-6

15)       Bordia A, et al, Effect of ginger (Zingiber officinale Rose.) and fenugreek (Trigonella foenumgraecum L.) on blood lipids, blood sugar and platelet aggregation in patients with coronary artery disease.  Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids 1997, 58(5): 379-384

16)       David Hoffmann, The New Holistic Herbal,  Element, Longmead, England, 1983.

17)       Mittman P Randomized, double-blind study of freeze-dried Urtica dioica in the treatment of allergic rhinitis. Planta-Med. 1990 Feb; 56(1): 44-7

Read More At: GreenMedInfo.com

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Common Sense Health! – Homeopathy Officially Recognized By Swiss Government As Legitimate Medicine To Coexist With Conventional Medicine

Homeopathy
Source: NaturalNews.com
L.J. Devon
April 22, 2016

Broadening their definition of medicine, the Swiss government is announcing a positive shift toward alternative healing and complementary therapies. For far too long, health insurance has guaranteed a monopoly for a system dominated by synthetic drugs. The Swiss government is breaking out of that confining mold and allowing patients’ health insurance plans to cover five new complementary therapies.

In May 2017, health insurance plans in Switzerland will be covering a variety of healing modalities, including homeopathy, acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, herbal medicine and holistic medicine. In this way, Switzerland will be bringing back the many healing arts that were used successfully in the past.

A shift away from the disease management, synthetic drug system

This shift toward integration will allow the Swiss healthcare system to heal, as it moves away from profiting off disease management. With the inclusion of these five eclectic healing modalities, Swiss healthcare will become more affordable. By legitimizing these true healing modalities, healthcare can compete to heal, empowering people instead of leaving them in an expensive cycle of side effects and negative outcomes.

Synthetic pharmaceutical “science” got its start in 1869, as experiments with coal tar were underway. The first drug was a sedative-hypnotic called chloral hydrate. Pharmaceutical companies got their start after experimenting with nasty coal-tar distillations. Many of the first drugs were modeled after textiles and dyes. The first analgesic and antipyretic drugs, phenacetin and acetanilide, were made from aniline and p-nitrophenol, which are just byproducts of coal tar.

Pharmaceutical “science,” for the most part, is an absolute abandonment of the healing modalities that have sustained humans for centuries. The good news is that many herbalists are still around today, passing on the trade of making real medicine using plants. Plants synthesize their own medicine and contain compounds that, when extracted and used correctly, work in conjunction with the human body systems, restoring its healing state.

Swiss people speak out, pressure government to include complementary therapies on list of paid health services

After Swiss health authorities blocked the alternative medicine fields from legitimacy in 2005, the people of Switzerland spoke out. In 2009, two-thirds of the Swiss voted to include these five important healing modalities on the country’s constitutional list of paid health services. When 2012 rolled around, all five complementary healing modalities were included in basic compulsory insurance coverage as part of a six-year trial period. At the end of the trial period, determinations would be made based on the alternative therapies “efficacy, cost–effectiveness and suitability.”

Holistic approaches are gauged through observation, in the progress of healing over time

Now the interior ministry has determined what many holistic practitioners already understand about the healing arts. It’s “impossible to provide such proof for these disciplines in their entirety.” The proof of their efficacy is in the individual’s own experience, initiative and commitment. Holistic therapies are not like synthetic drugs. The whole person is treated, not just a symptom. It’s impossible to gauge an alternative therapy on paper, in a perfectly controlled environment. The proof is typically in the observation, in the progress of healing over time.

Continue Reading At: NaturalNews.com