NATURE'S MEDICINE CABINET

By Shawn Binion

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Coming into the new year, many people are curious about how to keep themselves COVID free and in overall good health. Modern medicine can offer ways of treating various illnesses that plague our society, however these methods often fail to prevent us from getting sick and contracting life threatening diseases. With the worldwide health crisis we are currently facing, it is more important now than ever to return to the natural ways of preventing and healing that was used by out ancestors. Everything we need to keep our bodies healthy and functioning at an optimal level can be found in nature. In this article, I will highlight three herbs that not only aide in prevention of common illnesses such as cold and flu, but they are more effective at treating a number of other ailments than those medications manufactured by modern pharmaceutical companies.



ASTRAGALUS

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Astragalus, also known as Huang Qi or Milkvetch, is a perennial flowering plant from the legume family Fabaceae and the subfamily Faboideae. It is the root of the plant that is used for medicinal purposes. Although the herb has numerous health benefits, it is most popularly known as being an anti-inflammatory herb that stimulates the immune system and keeps the body youthful by inhibiting free radical production. Aside from the benefits mentioned above, Astragalus also aids in treating the following ailments:

  • Diabetes

  • Heart disease

  • Common cold and flu

  • Allergies

  • Fatigue

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Chest pain

  • Asthma

  • Breast, cervical and lung cancer

  • Womb healing

  • Slows tumor growth

  • Eases side effects of chemotherapy

Astragalus root can be found in most local health stores in capsule or tablet form. When using the actual root, it can be boiled and combined with other herbs such as ginseng. The root can also be applied directly to skin to increase blood flow for womb healing. When used properly, Astragalus is safe with very little side effects. However, as with any medicine, one must be cautious not to over consume the herb. Very high doses can be counterproductive to healing by suppressing the immune system. The herb is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women. Also, those plagued with immune system diseases such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or autoimmune disease should not use Astragalus.




ASHWAGANDHA

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Ashwagandha, also known as Withania Somnifera, Indian Ginseng, Poison Gooseberry or Winter Cherry, is a plant in the Solanaceae or nightshade family. It is a popular Ayurvedic herb grown in India, the Middle East and parts of Africa. Ashwagandha is mainly praised for its ability to help the body manage stress and anxiety. Some of the many other health benefits that can be offered by Ashwagandha include the following:

  • Stimulates immune system

  • Reduces blood sugar levels

  • Fights viral infecitons

  • Anti-cancer properties

  • Controls cholesterol

  • Reduces inflammation

  • Reduces cortisol levels

  • Reduces symptoms of depression

  • Boosts testosterone and increases fertility in men

  • Increases muscle mass and strength

  • Controls bacterial and fungal infections

  • Prevents seizures

  • Stimulates thyroid hormone production

  • Memory improvement

Ashwagandha is widely available and can usually be found in powder and pill form. I personally enjoy adding the powder to my tea in the morning. Like Astragalus, the herb is safe for most people when used properly, but is should be avoided by pregnant and nursing women. Also, those suffering from autoimmune diseases should not use Ashwagandha unless it is authorized by a healthcare provider. Those who are already taking medication for thyroid disease should be mindful of using Ashwagandha for it can increase thyroid hormone levels. The herb can decrease blood sugar and blood pressure, so those taking medication for diabetes or high blood pressure should also be cautious about using the natural herb.



TULSI

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Tulsi, also known as Ocimum Tenuiflorum or Holy Basil, is an aromatic herb from the basil family Lamiaceae. It is an energy boosting medicinal herb used in Ayurveda and primarily found in India and Southeast Asian. Similar to Ashwagandha, Tulsi is popularly known for helping to reduce anxiety, stress and fatigue. Tulsi also has other benefits and aids in helping to treat the following conditions:

  • Colds/Flu

  • Respiratory issues

  • Asthma

  • Bronchitis

  • Reduces Fever

  • High cholesterol

  • Metabolic syndrome

  • Gastrointestinal disorders

  • Decreases blood pressure

  • Diabetes

  • Mercury poisoning

  • Kidney stones and gouty arthritis

  • Good for skin and hair

  • Antioxidant

  • Anti-inflammatory

  • Insect repellant

Like the other herbs mentioned, Tulsi is widely available and can be found at most local health food stores. It usually comes in powder form, capsules and tinctures, but most people enjoy ingesting Tulsi as an herbal tea. Tulsi can affect reproductive capacity and increase testosterone levels, therefore, it should not be used by women who are pregnant or trying to conceive. The herb should also be avoided by those women who are nursing. Additionally, due to Tulsi’s ability to lower blood sugar, those taking medication for diabetes should consult with their doctor before using the herb. Tulsi contains eugenol which aids in preventing toxin-induced damage to the liver when used as recommended. Of course, too much of anything can have adverse effects. Keep in mind that ingesting too much Tulsi can cause liver damage, nausea, diarrhea, rapid heartbeat or convulsions.


When it comes to taking charge of your own health, in regards to both treatment and prevention, natural herbs are undoubtedly the most effective methods to use. While doctors can prescribe medications to treat certain ailments, the drugs do not aid in preventing the onset of these issues. Also, the medications prescribed are typically localized and only treat one illness. Using just one natural herb can serve to prevent and treat a multitude of illnesses and chronic disease, so be sure to take advantage of the variety of medicines that nature has provided to you. If you are consistent and use these natural herbs as prescribed, you are likely to enjoy a long and healthy life.

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Shawn Binion is the founder of Serenity Cave, a mini spa in Southfield, MI. A Detroit native, Shawn has a Bachelors in Psychology from Wayne State University and a Masters in Public Administration from Oakland University. Though Shawn has an extensive history in the helping field, she always felt a need to do more to help others. A couple of years ago, Shawn began embarking on a spiritual journey that ultimately altered the direction of her life. This journey brought Shawn to realize the natural gifts she had been neglecting. These gifts needed to be shared with others. With her wealth and knowledge of natural health and healing she is a trusted source to follow. Check her out on social media at @serenitycave_ and @_shawn_binion