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from: Susan du Plessis
Remember the days of old when Grandmother strapped a warm
mustard pack to our congested chests when we had a cold? Or used
a warmed tea bag to rid pink eye, a clove of garlic to stop an
earache, or prepared a mixture of chaparral and olive oil as a
cure for itchy skin? I do.
Distances between townships, limited funds, and the lack of
readily available medical professionals and facilities all
dictated that a woman be not only a wife, mother, and
housekeeper, but doctor as well. Folklore healing practices,
curative uses of herbs, and other medicinal "family secrets"
were stealthily guarded and passed down from one generation to
Of course, some of yesteryear''s touted cures were not truly
cures at all. Superstition and myth "remedies," without any
practical application, crept into the mix. Little by little and
through the years, suspicion as to the validity of any natural,
herbal remedy began to take root.
For instance, witch doctor type practices such as hanging herbs
that resembled tears around a child''s neck to help him cut
teeth. "Reading" tea leaves to foretell future love interests,
and assertions like placing certain spices under the pillow
would improve memory, prejudiced many toward the genuine
curative uses of herbs.
That is why some modern day practitioners regard the medicinal
use of herbs as "quackery;" nothing more than old-wives tales.
There are, however, a growing number of otherwise conventional
medical professionals who acknowledge what Grandmother knew all
along. Natural, herbal remedies as a means to maintain good
health and cure certain diseases are valid. Nature''s drug store
is making a comeback.
And why should that be surprising? After all, we -- like plants
-- are organic. It is the synthetic drugs used today that were
formulated to mimic their natural counterparts, and not the
other way around. In days of old, there was no other way to
treat illness and discomfort, help heal wounds, or cure bodily
dysfunctions than with natural means.
It was while living in tune with nature and studying wildlife
that early man learned of the medicinal "powers" of herbs.
Animals bitten by a poisonous snake survived after chewing
snakeroot, a wounded bear rolled in mud to better heal and
escape infection, and old, rheumatoid deer eased their misery
and made joints more limber by resting under the therapeutic
rays of the sun.
Nature''s well worked out plan for good health and freedom from
disease is observed in animals. It is people who have strayed
from nature''s medicine chest to create man-made remedies -- some
of which are less effective, costly, and riddled with negative
By working with, and not against nature, we increase our chance
of a more healthy life, while decreasing our risk of disease and
premature bodily limitations and dysfunctions.
A wealth of healing resources is there for the taking, if we but
open our eyes to the possibilities available.
To highlight this fact, let''s take a look at the multiple
medicinal uses of just one herb, commonly regarded as a noxious
or disposable weed.
Sometimes found intercropped with corn and wheat in the Midwest
United States, common burdock grows wild and vies for the sun
and nutrients of the soil. Though routinely overlooked as a
native weed, it nevertheless has the potential to gift the
bearer greater health and ease skin afflictions when harvested
for its root.
In the herbal world, burdock is unsurpassed as a blood purifier.
It is also the "king" of herbs in treating chronic skin problems
such as eczema, acne, psoriasis, boils, syphilitic sores, and
Make a medicinal tea by bringing 1 quart of water to a boil.
Reduce heat. Add 4 teaspoons cut, dried burdock root. Cover and
simmer for 7 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep for 2
hours. Drink a minimum of 2 cups a day on an empty stomach, or
more if problem persists. This concoction can also be made in a
larger quantity and used topically to wash affected skin areas
Mixed with catnip and made into a tea, burdock root is effective
in clearing up stubborn kidney and gallstones. Bring 4 cups of
water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of chopped or cut fresh or
dried burdock root. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Remove
from heat. Add 3 teaspoons chopped or cut fresh or dried catnip
leaf, and let steep for 1 � hours, then strain.
For each cup, add 1 teaspoon lemon juice and � teaspoon pure
maple syrup or blackstrap molasses (to sweeten). Drink slowly.
Follow with 1 tablespoon of pure virgin olive oil 10 minutes
Repeat this regimen 3 times a day. The tea helps to sooth
irritated tissues, and helps break up or partially dissolve the
stones. The olive oil acts as a lubricant to expel them from the
body more easily. Important to the success of this remedy;
digest no greasy, fried foods, soft drinks, refined
carbohydrates (such as white flour or white sugar products), red
meat, or poultry during the course of this treatment.
Well-known lecturer, author and medical anthropologist, John
Heinerman, Ph. D., of Salt Lake City, Utah, recommends the
following: take the last cup of tea and spoonful of oil at night
before retiring. Sleep on the right side, and prop a pillow
under the armpit. Heinerman says this posture seems to expedite
the removal of the stones from the body.
Burdock root ground to a powder, when combined with dried red
clover and dandelion root and packed in gel capsules, can help
clear up acne and blemishes. Take two a day -- morning and
Besides an aid in clearing problem skin when combined with
burdock, red clover is also famous as an alternative cancer
treatment, and is a natural blood thinner. Dandelion root was
hailed as a miracle cure for warts and liver spot remover by the
late Will Greer, who portrayed Grandpa Walton on "The Waltons".
In addition, Britain''s licensed medical herbalist, Dr. David
Potterton noted that the high insulin content in dandelion root
makes it a good sugar substitute for persons who suffer from
Many herbs have medicinal properties. An infusion made from
elder-flower and water makes a mild astringent, and can safely
be used for eye baths, while chamomile is excellent for eye
compresses for inflammation of the eyelids. Garlic is an
excellent natural antibiotic, and immune system builder. Cayenne
is beneficial for circulation and stomach ailments. In fact,
many of the herbs used for culinary purposes are not only great
flavor enhancers, but medicinal as well.
Besides herbs, many vegetables and fruits, especially organic,
yield health and medicinal benefits. Celery juice is a natural
diuretic and useful for persons with rheumatism or for those who
want to lose weight. Cabbage has been shown effective in the
fight against duodenal ulcers, and is a good source of calcium
for those who must avoid dairy products. Radish is helpful for
gall-bladder and liver ailments, and spinach improves the
hemoglobin of the blood. Beets are excellent for certain
conditions of the liver, and for improving blood hemoglobin.
While undeniably health enhancing, natural or herbal remedies
should never be used alongside synthetic or prescription drugs
without the prescribing doctor''s knowledge. While grapefruit by
itself can be effective in reducing high levels of cholesterol,
for instance, it isn''t recommended in combination with certain
prescribed medications also meant to lower cholesterol. In fact,
many cholesterol-reducing medications warn not to consume
grapefruit while taking that medication.
Because many of nature''s offerings do have potent medical and
health enhancing properties, become knowledgeable about the
benefits and cautions of each. Like any medication, increasing
concentrations, doses, or mixing one with another for medicinal
purposes could be harmful instead of helpful. And mixing
natural/herbal remedies with synthetic/prescription medications
is not recommended, unless prescribed by a doctor as an
Instead of rebelling against nature, we can become more in tune
with the gifts endowed by nature. The same health laws that
apply to the animal kingdom also apply to man. We have something
valuable to relearn from our wild counterparts. By joining hands
with nature and embracing the natural we can enhance our health
and increase our longevity.
About the author:
Visit Susan''s website A 2
Z of Health and Beauty for information on health and beauty,
nutrition, fitness, skin care, weight loss and more.
*** This article can be freely used as long as a link to "A 2 Z
of Health and Beauty" (http://health.learninginfo.org) is
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