Cayenne was used by Native Americans as a pain reliever and to halt infections. It was also used for toothache, arthritis and to aid digestion. This herb has anti-bacterial properties, can stimulate blood flow and is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Many people consume cayenne to maintain cardiovascular health. Studies suggest that it may be able to reduce triglyceride levels and platelet aggregation in the blood.
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.
Essiac Tea became popular in Canada and the United States when the herbal tea formula was used by a Canadian nurse to cure many forms of cancer. The formula was given to nurse Rene Caisse by a Native American medicine man. There are various formulas that are now on the market with various names. Most contain the original four ingredients, while others have made additions to the formula.
One of the lesser known herbs that lower blood sugar, Marjoram, is high in polyphenols, which aids in stabilizing blood glucose levels. A 2012 study in the Journal of Evidence Based Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that Marjoram reduced formation of Advanced Glycation End (AGE) products. AGE is the smoking gun that researchers today say is responsible for a lot of the complications that diabetics face, like damage to arteries and eyes. Try sprinkling marjoram on your dinner every night to help add variety in flavor. It can often be used as a substitute for oregano in cooking and brings in a distinct flavor to dishes.
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A popular spice used in Indian cooking, and the main ingredient of ‘curry’ that has taken the world by storm, turmeric has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that all come together to help diabetics manage more stable blood sugar levels. It helps boost immunity and prevent infections that diabetics are often vulnerable to. Studies conducted on rats prove that curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is effective in reducing plasma glucose level and HbA1C as well as improving the lipid profile. Many diabetics also suffer from arthritis, since the sugar laden blood and inflammatory processes typical to diabetes often damage joints. Turmeric, with its anti-inflammatory abilities, also helps with these joint pains.
The following doctors, clinics and hospitals provide alternative treatments for cancer in the United States. If you are interested in a clinic outside of the United States, go to Clinics Outside of the US, or to our list of Mexican Clinics, which we have recently put on its own web page. We also have a list of clinics that use a combination of alternative and conventional therapy to treat cancer. If you are interested in working with a naturopath, we have a web page devoted to naturopathic physicians and traditional naturopaths. If you would like to find a homeopath who works with individuals with cancer, go to our page devoted to homeopaths.
Gymnema Sylvestre is a vine native to Central & South India. Used in traditional Indian medicine since the 6th century BC, the leaves of this plant contain ‘gymnemic acids’ that have the amazing ability to slow down the transport of glucose from the intestines to the bloodstream. Some scientists even believe that Gymnema Sylvestre extract can help repair and regenerate pancreatic beta cells that produce insulin!
Cannabis is a controversial subject, and really needs an article all itself. Few people understand all the political and therapeutic issues surrounding cannabis. Many people distinguish between “medical cannabis” and “marijuana.” Medical cannabis involves research into particular varieties of the cannabis plant and its therapeutic value. Many varieties are lower in THC, the component that makes people “high”, while recreational varieties of marijuana have been cultivated to maximize the amount of THC for recreational purposes. For more information see:
In nutritional ketosis, the concentrations of ketone bodies will be in a range of 0.5 to 5.0 mM. This level of ketosis is not dangerous. It is the human body’s normal reaction to reduced carbohydrate availability. This is the condition that many people experience on an annual basis in parts of the world where food availability is limited during certain times of the year. It is also the condition that occurs with people who use periodic abstinence from food (fasting) as part of their religious practices.
Another well know spice in the kitchen cinnamon is also known for it's medicinal properties. While not really an herb I still think it's important to list it in our list of herbs and their uses. Cinnamon actually comes from the inner bark of a tree in the laurel family. It's been used for centuries and was a hot commodity for trade in ancient times. In fact during the first century A.D. in Rome cinnamon was 15 times more expensive than silver. The Chinese were probably the first to use cinnamon as a medicinal herb and used it to treat fevers, and diarrhea. In more modern times cinnamon has been found to stabilize blood sugar levels in diabetics, as it has an insulin kind of effect.