By John Wild
Our dissociation from the natural order of things has widened as reliance on technology has reached an almost debilitating level. Our busy lifestyles leave us precious little time to really focus on our own bodies. We seem to have so little time to fit everything in and therefore have been forced to look at convenient options (fast food, fast drugs) and often don’t have time to consider the effects these options have been having on our health. Needless to say, stress has probably become one of the biggest contributing factors to chronic disease today.
Nevertheless, there is a growing movement towards a more natural approach to all things. Intuitively, we know that there is something amiss and we are all looking to close the void we have let technology create between us and nature. Not to say technology is bad, but perhaps it should be used more to connect rather that dissociate us from all that is natural.
The oldest known list of medicinal herbs is Shen Nung’s Pen Ts’ao or ShennongBen Cao Jing (c. 3000 B.C.), a Chinese herbal list that is probably a compilation of an even older oral tradition. It should be noted that a quarter of today’s pharmaceutical drugs are derived from natural plant compounds.
Some favoured natural remedies which are easy to introduce to one’s diet include:
-Milk Thistle to help with liver disorders especially those caused by chemicals, alcohol and chemotherapy and aids in treating Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis and high cholesterol.
– Garlic helps to reduce head and lung congestion, aids in combating the flu and common cold, can help reduce blood pressure and exercise-induced fatigue.
-Turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and has mood enhancement properties. It is commonly used to help with symptoms of arthritis/joint pain, IBS, stomach ulcers, menstrual problems and many more. Turmeric is considered an adaptogen in that it helps strengthen the body’s immune system so that the body is better able to cope with various ailments.
– Ginseng is an energy enhancer, boosts mental function and alertness, relieves symptoms of menopause and menstrual disorders and aids liver detoxification.
It is important to remember that although they are natural, herbal medicines still contain chemical compounds (often many compounds in a single plant). As such, compatibility with other herbs or drugs needs to be taken into account. It is also important to understand that a single herb will contain an array of compounds and our individual bodies each have a slightly different chemical makeup resulting in different herbs often affecting different people in different ways.
We must become more acutely aware of how we feel, especially when we are healthy. This way when we are ill, we will be more aware of what our bodies are going through and when we take any remedy we should be able to feel how it is working on the symptoms of the ailment.
Whilst self-diagnosis (or prescription) is not recommended, there is a need to move back to a more natural approach to looking after our bodies. Not just medicinally, but becoming more aware of our diets and recreational activities which contribute to a healthy body and reduce the need for any form of medicine.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates, father of medicine, 431 B.C.
Wild Health is a proudly Zimbabwean herbal healthcare brand which promotes the use of natural, locally sourced ingredients, to produce effective alternative health care remedies.
Photographs provided by John Wild