Raw or used in cooking, herbs, roots, and spices have been used throughout history as a natural remedy for illness and disease. They are easy to grow and preserve by drying, freezing, or by making tinctures or teas.
Astragalus– A powerful remedy that has long used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) is one of the most potent and restorative food plants you can consume to improve your immunity. Said to tone the spleen, blood, and “chi,” astragalus herbs help boost energy levels; restore damaged immunity; regenerate tissue; inhibit the growth and spread of cancer; and strengthen the heart, liver, and lungs, among other functions. Studies at the University of Houston have shown that astragalus can improve immune function in cancer patients by increasing T-cell counts. Astragalus increases the ability of NK cells and T-cells to kill cancer cells while switching on the anti-tumor activity of Interleukin-2. In chemotherapy treatments astragalus provides anti-neoplastic activity and decreases immunosupression. Astragalus reduces the consequences with both chemo and radiation of fatigue, weight loss, anemia, nausea and loss of strength while increasing WBC production for leucopenia (a common side effect of immunosuppressive therapy), thereby decreasing life-threatening infections. You can find Astragalus Supplements online or at health food.
Basil– provides vitamins A, C and K along with iron, manganese, magnesium and potassium. It is loaded with flavoniods which helps prevent cellular damage from radiation and oxidation.
Holy Basil -also known as Tulsi, it is one of the most important herbs in Ayurvedic medicine, with benefits that include digestive support, balances blood sugar, strengthens the immune system and reduces skin disorders. This herb can be consumed as a tea, tincture, medicinal oil, or added as a culinary herb. You may use the leaves and the flowers but discard the stem. If you use for cooking, add it at the end of cooking to add flavor.
Burdock root- is used in India and Russia in oncology for its cancer-curing properties. Many herbalists say burdock root can stop cancer cells from metastasizing. Preliminary research has demonstrated that burdock root has certain protective properties that may explain its cancer benefits. Burdock root and cancer
Cayenne pepper– the beta-carotene contained in cayenne pepper works as an antioxidant, thus preventing cell damage caused by free radicals. This is particularly helpful in preventing colon cancer. Also lowers blood pressure and improves circulation.
Cilantro-Combined with chlorella has the ability to bind with heavy metals and can literally pull mercury, lead, cadmium, and other heavy metals from your body. Cilantro for heavy metal detox
Cinnamon-studies have shown that just 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon per day can lower LDL cholesterol. Cinnamon also balances hormones, controls inflammation, has a regulatory effect on blood sugar making it especially beneficial for people with Type 2 diabetes, and as an added benefit is high in fiber, calcium, manganese, and iron. Look for Ceylon Cinnamon, that will not harm the liver with long-term use.
Cloves- are an aromatic spice commonly found in Indian cooking, they contain an anti-inflammatory chemical called eugenol. In recent animal studies, this chemical inhibited COX-2, a protein that spurs inflammation. Cloves also ranked very high as an antioxidant, and as an anti-inflammatory agent that boosts protection from heart disease, as well as to helping stave off cancer, and slow the cartilage and bone damage caused by arthritis.
Dandelion-the leaves and roots have been used to treat liver, gall bladder, kidney and joint problems. It is considered a blood purifier and can be used to treat skin and digestive disorders and hepatitis. In a 2008 study on breast and prostate cancer cells, researchers found that dandelion leaf extract slowed the growth of breast cancer cells and stopped the spread of prostate cancer cells. Can be found as capsules, tinctures, and teas containing dandelion leaves, roots, flowers, or the entire plant can be found in many health food stores. Fresh dandelion leaves can also be consumed in salads or as a cooked green. Roots can be dried and used in teas. Making a dandelion root tincture- gather as much dandelion roots as you want- maybe a cup or 2. Clean the roots and slice them thinly, put into mason jar and cover with 100 proof vodka. Set in a cool dark place for 8 weeks and you’ll have a strong tincture. Use by adding a few drops to water as a health tonic. You can find it as a supplement, tea, or tincture online or at health food stores.
Echinacea– is great for colds and flu, is a natural antibiotic and stimulates the immune system by increasing lymph flow in the body. Lymph carries toxins out of the body. Tea from this herb can be made by simmering flowers from the echinacea plant. Has benefits for treating infections and skin cancer.
Garlic– When eaten daily garlic can help lower heart disease risk by as much as 76 percent by moderately reducing cholesterol levels (by between 5 and 10 percent in some studies), by thinning the blood and thereby staving off dangerous clots, and by acting as an antioxidant. Garlic’s sulfur compounds also appear to ward off cancer, especially stomach and colorectal cancer. The compounds flush out carcinogens before they can damage cell DNA, and they force cancer cells that do develop to self-destruct. Garlic is antibacterial and anti-fungal, and can help with yeast infections, some sinus infections, and the common cold.
Ginger– The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center found that ginger can destroy ovarian cancer cells and benefit those suffering from colon cancer. The University studied how ginger could hinder the progression of colorectal cancer cells. Ginger also helps with dyspepsia or stomach ailments, can resolve vomiting and nausea because it controls the peristaltic movement of the muscles. Ginger also works as an anti-inflammatory, helping with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis or inflammation due to injury. In effect, the pain can be reduced significantly. Ginger is so concentrated with active substances, you don’t have to use very much to receive its beneficial effects. For nausea, ginger tea made by steeping one or two 1/2-inch slices (one 1/2-inch slice equals 2/3 of an ounce) of fresh ginger in a cup of hot water will likely be all you need to settle your stomach. For arthritis, some people have found relief consuming as little as a 1/4-inch slice of fresh ginger cooked in food, although in the studies noted above, patients who consumed more ginger reported quicker and better relief.
Ginseng– research indicates that between 100 and 200 milligrams of Ginseng twice per day can protect against radiation received during cancer treatments, but as with all supplements of this nature, this research is ongoing. The clinical trial indicated that ginseng was able to speed up the recovery of individuals who had been previously exposed to radiation. The recovery included the healing of bone marrow, skin, internal organs, and blood cells. Link to ginseng and radiation
Milk Thistle- the active ingredient, or liver-protecting compound in milk thistle is known as silymarin. This substance, which actually consists of a group of compounds called flavonolignands, helps repair liver cells damaged by alcohol and other toxic substances by stimulating protein synthesis. By changing the outside layer of liver cells, it also prevents certain toxins from getting inside. Silymarin also seems to encourage liver cell growth. It can reduce inflammation (important for people with liver inflammation or hepatitis), and has potent antioxidant effects. Antioxidants are thought to protect body cells from damage caused by a chemical process called oxidation. Milk thistle and the liver
Mustard-is made from the seeds of a plant in the cabbage family – a strongly anticancer group of plants. Mustard seeds contain compounds that studies suggest may inhibit the growth of cancer cells, and packs enough heat to break up congestion, the reason it was traditionally used in chest plasters. Like cayenne pepper, it has the ability to deplete nerve cells of substance P, a chemical that transmits pain signals to the brain, when used externally
Nettles -helps with cough, colds, allergies, eczema, skin problems, intestinal disorders, lupus and arthritis. The nettle leaves increase the thyroid function, increase metabolism and releases mucus in the colon allowing for the flushing of excess wastes. Nettle can be made into a tea.
Nutmeg– Like cloves, nutmeg contains eugenol, a compound that may benefit the heart. It was one of the key spices that give the Spice Islands their name, and some historians link its popularity in the spice trade to the hallucinatory effects that result from ingesting large amounts. Medically, nutmeg (the seed of an evergreen tree) and mace (the covering of the seed) have strong antibacterial properties. It’s been found to kill a number of bacteria in the mouth that contribute to cavities. Myristicin has also been shown to inhibit an enzyme in the brain that contributes to Alzheimer’s disease and to improve memory in mice, and researchers are currently studying its potential as an antidepressant.
Oregano: beneficial for inflammations of the mouth or throat, and also helps relieve headaches. When used as a tea it helps the coughs of colds and whooping cough. It has been used as an antiseptic on insect bites. Oil of oregano can be used to treat yeast overgrowth (candida) which has been linked to the development of cancer. This includes treatment for yeast overgrowth, fungus, viruses, parasites and molds and helps boost the immune system. This oil can be added to to dressings or sauces, or can be used topically on ringworm, athletes foot or toe fungus, though do not apply full strength but dilute with extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil.
Parsley– Apigenin is a compound which is most prevalent in parsley and is found to block new blood vessel formation. Moreover, the natural compound reduced the overall number of tumors even though it didn’t stop the initial formation of breast cancer cells. Parsley and tumor response
Rosemary – is used externally to promote hair growth, dandruff, scalp health, and circulation. It is used as a mouthwash, and an antibacterial gargle for sore throats. Internally Rosemary can be used as a pain reliever for headaches and arthritis. It also has been known to promote good digestion and circulation. How to make a rosemary tea
Sage- (Salvia officinalis) contains a unique combination of disease-fighting compounds that make it a powerful immune protector. It contains an impressive array of antioxidants, trace minerals, essential oils, and other nutrients the help reduce stress, which is a common cause of disease, as well as fight the aging process.
Native American tribes used to chew the leaves of sage as a strengthening tonic because the herb is both a broad-spectrum, all-natural antibiotic and a powerful immune stimulant. If you suffer from frequent sore throats, upper respiratory illnesses, or infections, sage is a great option for not only overcoming these conditions, but also building up your own innate immunity so that these conditions do not come back in the future (or at least not as often). It has anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial qualities. It boosts memory, relieves anxiety, and increase blood flow to the brain, and is high in iron and antioxidants. Sage can easily be included in your cooking by adding to soups and stews, or to fresh juices or made into tea by seeping the herb in boiling water.
St. John’s Wort. Commonly used as a treatment for mild depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, and pain, it is another immune-boosting herb that contains an array of antioxidants, flavonoids, essential oils and other compounds that work synergistically to reduce inflammation and promote healing and wellness. Because of its strong antiviral and antibacterial properties, St. John’s Wort is an effective “bug” cleanser that eases the overall burden on the immune system. Interestingly, researchers have learned that St. John’s Wort both increases and decreases immunity depending on the function, which is why it is also considered to be an adaptogen, or tonic, just like astragalus. When fighting harmful pathogens or viruses, St. John’s Wort boosts immune capacity in order to wards off disease. But when it comes to wounds and other injuries that typically elicit an inflammatory response, St. John’s Wort minimizes this response as much as possible to protect the body against further damage.
Thyme – is an anti-parasitical agent. When used internally it can help anything from the lack of appetite to pour indigestion and diarrhea, and helps with a hangover and stomach cramps. A infusion of thyme has been known to help bronchitis, colds, and whooping cough. Externally thyme can be used as an anti-fungal.
Turmeric/Curcumin- helps in the prevention of cancer, arthritis pain, Alzheimer’s disease and enhances liver function. Specifically for cancer, it inhibits the transformation of cells from normal into tumor, inhibits the synthesis of a protein thought to be instrumental in tumor formation, and prevents the development of additional blood supply pathways to tumors. Turmeric also helps your body destroy mutated cancer cells so they cannot spread throughout your body. Combining turmeric with black pepper will increase the absorption and bio-availability of the nutrients. Curcumin is the principal antioxidant extracted from turmeric, much of curcumin’s power seems to lie in its ability to modulate genetic activity and expression—both by destroying cancer cells, and by promoting healthy cell function. It also promotes anti-angiogenesis, i.e. it helps prevent the development of additional blood supply necessary for cancer cell growth. Read about curcumin and cancer.
Make a turmeric/ginger tea- bring 2 C water to boil, add 1 tsp of ground turmeric and 1 tsp ground ginger or shaved ginger root, simmer for 10 minutes, add honey or lemon to taste. Can also add a pinch of black pepper, cinnamon or nutmeg for more flavor and added benefits.
MAKING YOUR OWN HERBAL INFUSIONS
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