Let's face it, when it comes to getting rid of a cold or stopping a headache in its tracks, more often than not, we're a I-don't-have-time-for-this-give-me-the-pill-now culture. We want the fast fix for a long and healthy life to accommodate an impossibly packed schedule. While there are countless reliable medications that do just that, many people are now looking for another way to take control of their health, going back to nature to prevent these problems in the first place and boost longevity.
On the October 23 episode of "The Dr. Oz Show," Dr. Mehmet Oz welcomed ethnobotanist Chris Kilham, aka the "Medicine Hunter," to discuss natural alternatives to modern medications. Kilham has spent years traveling the world exploring the healing cultures of different societies.
Kilham believes the harmful potential side effects of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs outweigh the benefits and he brought along four of his best recommendations:
While many people consider dandelion to be a weed that ruins a lovely garden, this plant does in fact provide healthful benefits. Dandelion is a natural liver detoxifier and has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral properties. As explained on the show, the greens can be cooked down and the roots dried for tea. But be warned, dandelion is considered a bitter green, emphasis on "bitter." While the taste may take some time to get used to, the benefits will sway you to keep trying it.
2. Tulsi (Holy Basil)
A dominant herb found within the ancient Indian medical practice of ayurveda, tulsi is called "the incomparable one." In the body, tulsi is responsible for reducing inflammation and fighting off bacteria and fungi that can make us sick. New research suggests tulsi is a natural cancer-fighter and can also prevent diabetes. Spicier than traditional basil, you can still cook with tulsi, but you can also find supplements in capsule form that contain the extract if you don't like the taste or lack a green thumb.
3. Reishi Mushroom
A popular ingredient in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), reishi is a form of mushroom that has strong antibacterial and antiviral properties. It's also a known immunity booster, referred to as the "mushroom of immortality." Reishi mushroom is also credited with fighting cancer tumors and preventing the development of plaque within the arteries. You can find tea, capsules and even the dried mushrooms themselves, which should be boiled before consuming.
The active compound within turmeric root is curcumin, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Consuming turmeric on a daily basis can support cardiovascular and cognitive health while strengthening the immune system to fight off infection and illness. While many westerners may shy away from eating this vibrant orange root, there are other ways to get its benefits. You can cook with ground turmeric to add spice and color to dishes, or try a capsule, aiming for 500 mg per day.
While these remedies are all natural, you should still speak with your physician before adding them to your routine or changing/stopping your use of a prescribed medication for a diagnosed medical condition. Pregnant and lactating women should especially check with their doctor before trying them.
You can find these natural remedies and more at eVitamins to help you explore the possibilities of alternative medicine.
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