Modern medicine now tends to use the active ingredients of plants rather than the whole plants. The phytochemicals may be synthesized, compounded or otherwise transformed to make pharmaceuticals. Examples of such derivatives include digoxin, from digitalis; capsaicine, from chili; and aspirin, which is chemically related to the salicylic acid found in white willow. The opium poppy continues to be a major industrial source of opiates, including morphine. Few traditional remedies, however, have translated into modern drugs, although there is continuing research into the efficacy and possible adaptation of traditional herbal treatments.
Many people have been permanently cured of their cancers from these alternative approaches. A cure means that the cancer never comes back. People lived for 20 or 30 years after treatment without a recurrence of cancer. This is in contrast with the modern medical definition of “cure,” which is measured in a five year period. The five year period is a convenient number of years, because the cancers that will be created by exposure to radiation and chemotherapy begin to appear after 5 years. In this way, these secondary cancers can be called a new disease and not a recurrence of cancer.
Alfalfa is known as the “Father of all foods” for good reason. It’s loaded with important vitamins, minerals, trace minerals and protein. It’s roots go down as far as 30 feet to pull valuable nutrients from the earth. This plant is commonly used for arthritis, digestive problems, as a diuretic and for reducing high cholesterol. It’s a very inexpensive source of easily digested nutrients. Alfalfa is high in beta-carotene and builds the immune system. This plant also contains chlorophyll, which is good for reducing bad breath and body odor.
Licorice root is both an expectorant and demulcent, simultaneously soothing your airways while loosening and thinning mucous, easing congestion. It can also ease any inflammation that may be irritating your throat. Its main constituent, glycyrrhizin, is responsible for most of its effects. 30-50 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar), it inhibits an enzyme 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (how would like you to write that on a name tag?) This enzyme regulates access of glucocorticoid (a steroid hormone) to steroid receptors, ultimately slowing the conversion of cortisol to cortisone. This increases the effect of cortisol and reducing inflammation. If you are on steroids, or have any problems with your kidneys, it is best to steer clear of licorice root.
Thyme has been used for centuries, and was even used during one of the most devastating pandemics to take place in human history. The Black Death was a plague that peaked in Europe from 1346-1353. During that time, and in other incidents of the plague thereafter, townspeople would gather to burn large bundles of thyme to ward off the disease, or carry pockets of thyme on them. Indeed, thyme does have anti-microbial properties, but we’re not warding off any plague here-just your cough. Thyme relaxes the muscles of the trachea and bronchi, and also opens up airways. The result is less coughing, and increased comfort.
Lightly bruise the thyme, e.g. with a mortar and pestle, and then place in a mug. Cover with 8 ounces of boiling water, cover, and let it steep for 10-15 minutes. Add some lemon or honey to taste, and drink the whole thing. Repeat 2-3 times daily as needed. It’s absolutely delightful just before bedtime (unless you aren’t a fan of thyme. But drink some anyways.)
Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) is used in Native American and North American traditional folk herbal medicine. It is an immune system and lymphatic system booster. It's often combined with antimicrobial goldenseal to create an immune powerhouse. Dry mouth or lack of saliva can be treated with Echinacea. It's used in powder or tincture form. Some people may suffer from side-effects or allergic reactions. Some prescription drugs can interact with echinacea, so check with your doctor or medical professional before taking.
Chop the ginger and add it along with the peppermint to 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat so that the liquid simmer. Simmer until the liquid has been reduced by half, than strain. Let it cool slightly, and then stir in 1 cup of honey until it has been dissolved completely. Bottle and take 1 tablespoon every few hours as needed to ease your cough. Keep refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.
Stellaria media Common chickweed It has been used as a remedy to treat itchy skin conditions and pulmonary diseases. 17th century herbalist John Gerard recommended it as a remedy for mange. Modern herbalists prescribe it for iron-deficiency anemia (for its high iron content), as well as for skin diseases, bronchitis, rheumatic pains, arthritis and period pain.
Hippophae rhamnoides Sea buckthorn The leaves are used as herbal medicine to alleviate cough and fever, pain, and general gastrointestinal disorders as well as to cure dermatologic disorders. Similarly, the fruit juice and oils can be used in the treatment of liver disease, gastrointestinal disorders, chronic wounds or other dermatological disorders.
Kava has been used by the people of the Pacific islands for hundreds of years as a natural anti-anxiety treatment. It has a very calming effect and puts most people in a good mood. It has also been used as a diuretic and to treat urinary problems, arthritis, asthma and upset stomach. It is very popular in Germany and often prescribed as the first line of treatment for anxiety disorders.