Foods as medicine


What did you have for supper last night, possibly mixed greens dressed with an oil, vinegar and garlic, a vegetable dish of asparagus or beets or a stir fry with lots of ginger, or a sweet well ripened fruit and berry compote? And what of the parsley twig on your plate, did you at least wave it between your teeth? The foods mentioned are some of Mother Nature’s most powerful and best food medicines.

In most cultures (once including ours) herbs were not only taken to curtail acute ailments but in harmony with the seasons- healing roots, leaves, berries and flowers were incorporated into daily meals to promote general wellness. Grown and gathered in the wild, plants were boiled in soups, tossed in fresh salads or used as a spice. Each season provided different foods and herbs to prevent illnesses that were associated with that season.

Dandelion greens abundant in the spring and then again in the fall are wonderful to treat the symptoms of allergy that come with the warm spring and the cool fall weather. They cleanse the liver and blood of its accumulations caused by the ingestion of heavier foods over the winter months. Besides cleansing they provide energy for the physical demands of warmer weather. Beet greens commonly found in mixed green salads are good for the liver, sugar imbalances and treating iron deficiency anemia.

The garlic bulb is good any time of the year and is especially good in soups, pastas, with beans or baked dishes and casseroles. It is an important herb especially given the food toxic environment in which we live. Garlic works as a natural antibiotic, a flu and cold fighter, helps lower cholesterol and strengthens the cardiovascular tree.

Natural apple cider vinegar and locally grown honey mixed one tablespoon each in an eight ounce glass of water thirty minutes before meals helps prime the digestion, settle the nerves, relieves joint aching, and helps with allergy symptoms. Vinegar made from apples contains a healthy dose of malic acid and magnesium now prescribed to patients suffering the aches and pains of fibromyalgia. Magnesium, missing in today’s diet plays a major role in the body’s ability to utilize calcium. The honey gathered locally works to relieve the symptoms of hay fever and allergies.

Ginger root is used to relieve most gastrointestinal symptoms from nausea and indigestion to diarrhea and heartburn. Grate some ginger and make a tea you’ll be pleasantly surprised how well it works. Ginger stores well in the refrigerator or frozen for longer periods of time.

And what of that little parsley twig on your plate? A biennial herb indigenous to this area is the third most powerful food medicine on the planet. A bite into that little twig gives your body a sublingual dose of B vitamins as well as the antioxidant vitamins A, C, E. Parsley will continue to grow well into the cold weather if given protection with a layer of leaves.

Using herbs and eating with the seasons naturally strengthens the body and the immune system. Mother Nature in all her wisdom intends for us to be well year round and provides all that we need to do so.

Till next time, Rebecca.