Herbs As Medicinal FoodThe best form of any medicine is in its most whole and unadulterated form. That means the most perfect medicine is food. When we eat plants that are whole and unprocessed we are getting a broad spectrum of nutrients, balanced by nature to sustain bountiful life on the planet.
It is unfortunate, but oh so true, that most of what we eat is not food in its whole and unprocessed state. Disease in humans seems to begin whenever we take foods and remove the parts that we don't want and add what we do want, disrupting that balance of constituents that nature created.
Another unfortunate aspect of modern eating is that we tend to eat the same foods frequently. There is not a tremendous amount of variety in the foods we eat.
Plants contain many different types of constituents and each nourishes the body in different ways. Some support the integrity of cell membranes: other reduce inflammation. Some stimulate immune cells into action; others are antioxidants, protecting the body from free radicals.
When we limit ourselves to a handful of different plants (you know, potatoes, tomatoes, apples, and bananas), we take in some of these valuable plant properties that nourish and heal, but not others.
Using herbs is a simple way to consume a greater variety of plants and plant constituents. Some of the herbal foods are probably already familiar to you, and you may already consume them to some extent, such as onions, garlic, and cayenne pepper.
Some of you may have just recently become interested in herbs as medicine. A few herbs in particular have captured the attention of the press lately and are becoming household words. Perhaps you have heard of taking St. John's wort to treat depression, ginkgo to improve memory, or echinacea to treat colds.
Your interest is piqued, but you don't know what to do with the information you have heard or how you might incorporate these herbs into your life. They nourish us in many ways. They are food for the nervous system, the immune system, the digestive organs, and the heart; they cleanse the blood; and they facilitate the removal of metabolic wastes.
These herbs are treasuresFor thousands of years they were used in various cultures as food. The berries were eaten or made into jams and jellies, the roots were used in soups, and the leaves and flowers were steeped into teas. They were a part of everyday life.
They provided a diet with a broad range of deeply nourishing and restorative plant constituents. Over time we have stopped consuming such a variety of plants, and the ones that we do consume become more and more processed everyday.
Taking herbs internally in teas or soups is a wonderful, simple way to introduce ourselves to plants again, the plants that nourish us in so many ways. We can help fulfill our need for vegetables of all colors by drinking teas that are made from leafy greens like dandelion or chickweed, and our need for flavinoids with red fruits like rose hips and hawthorn berries.
It is medicine in a form that is not only tolerable, but pleasant, great tasting, and comforting.