As kids, we are told to not eat any berries or plants we encounter when outdoors. While, yes, this is valid advice for a 4 year old, as we get older, we shouldn’t be afraid to educate ourselves on the plants growing around us, because you know what I’ve realized? There are a hell of a lot of edible plants out there that offer an abundance of nutritious vitamins, minerals, and healing compounds. All of them going underutilized because everyone has it drilled into their minds that wild plants are all poisonous.
Even though certain mushrooms have been used in cultures for years to treat illnesses or maintain vitality, the overall use of mushrooms in modern society for ethnomedicinal purposes is relatively limited. Mushrooms are proven to contain antimicrobial, antiviral, antitumor, antiallergenic, and hepatoprotective properties, but they have so many other active compounds as well (1)! Studies of their use against cancer and neurodegenerative disorders could have life-altering effects on individuals that could truly use these medicines, but may not have access to their knowledge due to modern practices.
While problems with the nasal cavity seem to become more pronounced in the winter months, nasal issues can be a serious problem for some people throughout different times of the year. This may be due to seasonal allergies, a more chronic reaction to something in your home environment such as dust or pet dander, the common cold, or other health conditions that impact your sinuses.
Our skin is our largest organ and one that can become the most irritated at times. Since our skin is subject to both environmental and internal irritants, there are many problems that can manifest through our skin in our lifetime.
Our bodies encounter pesticides and environmental toxins every day that can directly impact our health. Sometimes these toxins we deliberately introduce into our systems through smoking tobacco or putting chemicals on our skin in the form of makeup, lotions, and other beauty products. Others are unintentionally introduced through pesticides in our food or environmental pollutants in the air.
We all know far too well that uncomfortable feeling that accompanies the onset of any cold or flu. Chills, fever, lethargy, coughing, and runny noses are all too familiar as the daylight hours become shorter, school starts back up, and people become more prone to staying indoors in close quarters with their colleagues, family, and friends.
Herbalism. The unique field of study surrounding the use of plants for medicinal purposes. Although the actual scientific study of herbal medicine has seen an explosion of interest over the past couple of years, it has been around much longer than that, with the use of plants for anecdotal purposes dating back thousands of years.
Buds are breaking, flowers are blooming, and your sinuses are throbbing. We all look forward to spring, yet for some, the dread of uncomfortable allergies can outweigh the excitement. Those blooms sure are beautiful, but too bad they can trigger such an unattractive reaction. With increasing global temperatures, these allergens are in for the long haul. It’s predicted that with warmer temperatures, plants will have longer blooming seasons – bringing with them longer allergy seasons.
As everyone is probably aware, there is a big essential oil (EO) movement taking place right now. These scented oils made from distillation of plant matter are popping up all over the country as their therapeutic uses become increasingly recognized. With good reason too! Essential oils are easy and pleasurable to use, and can be very beneficial for a variety of conditions.
There’s nothing quite like the appearance of a productive garden in the summer, abuzz with bees and other friendly pollinators attracted by the enticing aroma and vibrant color of the plants. Imagine walking out your front door to edible greens, flower petals and other aromatic herbs that can be used both for culinary and medicinal purposes. After all, herbs are food, and food is medicine; hence herbs are medicine! Just keep that in mind. 😉 It’s easy to imagine what you want your garden to look like, but PLANNING it? That’s a whole different story. There are so many questions you may have such as, “Which plants do what for the body? What ailments should I plan for? When and where should I plant? Can I really eat that?!” This is the perfect time of year to be thinking about this since spring is right around the corner!