About 40% of modern pharmaceuticals were derived originally from wild plants. Although most are now synthesized, Naturopathic Doctors have retained the connection to nature, drawing on the medicinal properties of more than 300 plant species in their practice. Using botanical medicine, we can treat a wide variety of health conditions from heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and cancer. Read below to take a closer look at three plants that can have a powerful impact on treating, as well as preventing, many diseases that we may struggle with.
- Reishi Mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum)
This fungus has been used traditionally for over 2000 years as a medicinal herb. It is calming to the nervous system, as well as being heart protective, immune-stimulating, and has anti-cancer properties. Reishi is also known to protect the liver, reduce overall inflammation, lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and regulate blood sugar. Because of all of these powerful traits that Reishi exhibits, this mushroom can be used to prevent and treat diabetes, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, stress, and a compromised immune system. It is commonly taken as a supplement (either as a powdered, dried herb, or in the form of a liquid tincture). However, the raw powder can also be mixed with rolled oats, nut milk, chia seeds, cinnamon, maple syrup, and a small amount of cacao powder (blend it together and let it sit overnight) as a way to incorporate it into your diet.
- Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
For more than 4000 years, turmeric has been used around the world to treat gastrointestinal conditions, skin diseases, infections, as well as arthritis (including managing pain and inflammation). It is a powerful antioxidant, as well as a strong anti-inflammatory herb. Due to its strong anti-microbial properties, turmeric can be a great stimulant for the immune system, as well as protective against cancer. A dosage of 1-3 grams of turmeric daily is advised to treat and prevent these conditions. By adding black pepper and coconut oil to the turmeric, the absorbability of the herb is greatly enhanced.
Why not try a fudge that has detoxifying properties?!
Add turmeric powder, black pepper, melted dark chocolate, with 1/3 part coconut oil. Allow to harden and freeze, and then cut into cubes, and enjoy!
- Garlic (Allium sativum)
Many of us use garlic daily in our cooking as it complements food so well. It also has a long list of conditions it can treat, including common colds and flus, vaginal infections, high blood pressure, raised cholesterol, cancer, ulcers, arthritis, and diabetes. Garlic can be eaten raw to support the immune system, and cooked to help with cardiovascular disease. 1-3 cloves daily can be added to food, infused in olive oil, combined with avocado, or drizzled into hummus. It can also be added to ginger, lemon, and honey to make a warm, nourishing tea to fight off respiratory infections.
Here’s hoping Reishi, Turmeric, and Garlic can make you healthier and happier!