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Natural Awakenings Healthy Living Magazine

Plant-Based Remedies and Healthy Living

When we think about our bodies and what is good for them, most people feel that the best way is to turn to what makes the body heal quickly and naturally without side effects. Here is a list of plants many people use today to combat many illnesses.

            Yarrow, for example, helps stop bleeding, rosemary is for sore joints, mint is for digestion and there are helpful plants for inflammation, such as red clover, or even mycelium-based chaga that grows on birch trees. For common colds, use wild rose in a tincture or even ground as a tea. For sleep issues, try lavender oil or rub it on the skin for anxiety. Honeysuckle is known for its properties for asthma and arthritis. Ashwagandha is known for strengthening bones, helping with libido, teeth and memory loss. When we need something for respiratory problems, try mullein in a tincture or smoking the dry leaves. For skin ailments, sumac can be used for multiple medicinal remedies, but it is one of the few plants that healers use for treating eye problems. A decoction of sumac is used as a gargle to relieve sore throat or taken as a remedy for diarrhea. The leaves and berries are combined as a tea to reduce fever or as a poultice to soothe poison ivy.

            Native Americans use hummingbird blossoms for treating mouth and throat conditions, as well as cysts, fibroid tumors and inflammation. It can be made into a poultice to treat burns, sores and wounds. A diuretic that stimulates kidney function can be made using the roots of this plant. The early pioneers used it as a substitute for black tea. Recent studies have shown that hummingbird blossom is also effective in treating high blood pressure and lymphatic blockages. Sage is commonly used as a spice, but it is a sacred plant for many indigenous tribes because it is thought to have effective purifying energies and the power to cleanse the body of negative energies. As a remedy, it was used for treating medical conditions like abdominal cramps, spasms, cuts, bruises, colds and flu.

            Healers use wild ginger for treating earache and ear infections. They make a mild tea from the root stock for stimulating the digestive system and relieving bloating. It also helps with bronchial infections and nausea. Prickly pear cactus is another plant used as both a food and medicine. Native Americans made a poultice from the mature pads as an antiseptic and for treating wounds, burns and boils. Tea was made to treat urinary tract infections and help the immune system. New research shows that the prickly pear cactus helps to lower cholesterol, and prevent diabetes and diet-related cardiovascular disease.

            Aloe vera is another great plant for sunburns and stings. Valerian plant is a medicinal aid for sleep, as well as indigestion. Indian ghost pipe is used for toothaches and migraine headaches. Wooly lamb's ear shouldn’t be eaten or used to make tea. Instead, the soft leaves are used to cover and bandage cuts and scrapes like a Band-Aid. Chamomile is amazing for making tea and for its anti-inflammatory properties to help allergy sufferers. women with heavy, painful periods and those living with arthritis.

            There are many plant-based, natural medicinal ways to help manage our body and health, and most of them grow naturally all over America—maybe right in our driveway or back yard. Many helpful plants can help our bodies the natural way without the harsh side effects of pharmaceuticals. Take a walk in nature and see what there is to help our bodies heal naturally.


Kevin Burbank is the owner of U.P. Chaga Connection LLC. For more information, visit