Let’s join the health revolution!

Natural products from plants, animals and minerals have been the basis of the treatment of human disease for tens of thousands of years. Until very recently, it was common to have a healer in every family; one who was knowledgeable about the use of herbs and other natural remedies. More than 80 % of present-day allopathic or mainstream medicines originally came from healing plants.

However, urbanised humans have forgotten the effective natural, ancient medicines of our ancestors. The move away from natural plant remedies occurred mostly because of pharmaceutical industry interests, because the whole herb is non-patentable. Thankfully, a healing revolution is underway and people are beginning to embrace these lost traditions, now scientifically proven to be as good as, or even better than most modern medicines, and without the side effects. Natural medicine, used appropriately, supports our innate ability to heal and return to homeostasis (inner balance).

Herbal remedies

Herbs are plants with medicinal, aromatic and/or culinary (food-enhancing) properties. As a general rule of thumb, herbs that comply with all three are safe to use in your home, e.g. rosemary, basil, thyme, ginger, garlic, onions, parsley, etc. These can be added to food to enhance taste, flavour, aroma and health. Those with purely medicinal properties should be used with caution and often under supervision of a qualified health practitioner. Having said that, there are many herbal remedies that can be safely used as part of your home pharmacy. Even having your own medicinal edible herbal garden is a huge bonus for your whole family’s health!

Focus on the cardiovascular and nervous systems

I’ve covered Medical Cannabis and herbal remedies for support throughout the cold season, previously. The emphasis this week is on some examples of effective remedies for heart, brain and nervous system support. As with most herbal remedies used to treat symptoms, please be patient; it may take up to six weeks for optimal results.

Hawthorn berry (Crateagus oxyacantha and Crateagus monogyna): Hawthorn has been used traditionally for cardiovascular disorders in many cultures. Hawthorn has a calming effect on the nervous system and relaxing effect on the inner layer (endothelium) of the arteries, hence its blood pressure lowering effect.

Olive Leaf (Olea africana and Olea europea): The leaves of the olive tree works as a vasodilator (relaxes arteries), lowering blood pressure and preventing angina attacks. It is also a potent antioxidant.

Ginseng (Panax ginseng): Commonly used as an adaptogenic (adapts to the body’s needs) herb for adrenal fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, burn-out, depression and immune enhancement. It also increases resistance to environmental stress and improves physical and athletic performance, cognitive function, concentration and memory.

Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba): The fruit and leaves of the Ginkgo (Maidenhair) tree, a living fossil, which has been around for more than 10 000 years, are commonly prescribed for dementia and Alzheimer’s. Ginkgo leaf is used for conditions associated with cerebrovascular insufficiency, including memory loss, headache, tinnitus, vertigo, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, mood disturbances and hearing disorders. It is also used for cognitive disorders and stroke victims; to improve cognitive behaviour and sleep patterns in patients with depression and chronic fatigue syndrome; eye problems, including macular degeneration and glaucoma; attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); thrombosis; heart disease; arteriosclerosis and angina pectoris.

Garlic (Allium sativum): The bulb of garlic is used for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, coronary heart disease, age-related vascular changes and atherosclerosis (thickening of the arterial walls), earaches, infections, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and menstrual disorders. Garlic is also a potent platelet aggregation inhibitor (anti-clotting agent).

Grape (Vitis vinifera): Pycnogenol (grape seed extract) and resveratrol (grape skin extract) have anti-oxidant, hypotensive (blood pressure lowering), hypolipidemic (cholesterol lowering) and vasodilatory (relaxing arterial wall) effects.

In conclusion, let’s make herbs part of a healthy lifestyle!

Though using the right herbs, flower remedies and aromatherapy essential oils, can help you feel calm, peaceful and relaxed, it is important to remember that blood pressure, heart and mental health, memory and concentration are also dependant on regular daily stress management techniques, meditation and relaxation practice, healthy eating and moderate, enjoyable exercise.

For more information visit www.DrArien.co.za

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