Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Importance of Herbal Medicine & Essential Oils

Ginger plants (

By Tara Glickman

Society’s lifestyle has become dependent on pharmaceutical drugs that move us away from nature, yet we cannot escape from nature because we are part of nature. What nature can store in our bodies has not fully been discovered. European and Oriental countries have been studying and fulfilling the use of herbs as a practice of medicine for centuries.

The overall benefit of herbal medicine is that there are little to no side effects. These remedies align with nature, which is a positive factor in comparison to industrial chemical-based medicine that can often have serious side effects. The most important factor is that the use of herbal treatment is plausible for any age group.

 Herbs can cure diseases, provide relief because of the active drug that is produced by it, and also combines the chemicals from a plant and how it can offer a sense of relief. This doesn’t necessarily means it works for everyone, but there are commonly no side effects, including the risk of drug addiction.

Herbal medicine is the use of herbs and medicinal plants as the first medicine, which is a universal phenomenon. It can provide a positive quality of life and just as effective as synthetic drugs but without the side effects. Herbal medicine is about 70% of Traditional Chinese Medicine that is accessible deeper within the body to treat the root cause. This creates a more potent and effective treatment to confirm quicker reactions to re-establish health and balance.

Let me illustrate some personal herb medicine and oils that I use, and explain the purpose for each treatment.

The history of ginger goes back to as early as 500 BC. Ginger was a highly prized herb commonly associated with wealth for thousands of years - in the 13th century, a pound of ginger was traded for a sheep! It is most commonly known for its ability to help digestive ailments (nausea, indigestion, gas, and diarrhea) and relieve aches and pains. It can be consumed fresh, dried, steeped in tea, in fresh vegetable juice or lemonade, in culinary spice mixes, or in essential oil form - diluted and inhaled or rubbed on your tummy for direct relief.


Tumeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant herb that has been used in Ayurveda and Chinese medicine for thousands of years to treat just about everything from liver problems to pain to depression. Today, researchers have shown turmeric as an aid in treating and preventing certain types of cancer, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes (just to name a few).

This potent natural medicine benefits every system of the body and may just be one of the best things for your overall health to add to your diet. It's pretty mild in flavor, and should definitely be added to your cooking spice cabinet. It is even suggested to throw it in any spicy dish, stir-fry, or even a smoothie. Turmeric is more effectively absorbed with black pepper and is also fat-soluble, so always take it with a bit of fat and black pepper to optimize absorption. The ancient recipe of Golden Milk is a great way to do this (turmeric + black pepper + coconut milk).

 Olive Oil

Olive oil does wonders for your health because it has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immune system boosting properties. Consuming good quality olive oil daily can help protect against degenerative conditions like cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis and Alzheimer's. It can even be used for moisturizing and rejuvenating damaged skin. If the olive oil isn’t filtered or artificially flavored, it makes a big difference.

Yerba Mate and Lemon Balm

Yerba Mate herb is a plant loaded with vitamins and minerals that are native to South America, known for its energy boosting, mentally stimulating, digestive and immune tonic effects. Lemon Balm herb, of the mint family, used primarily to calm the nerves, relax muscles, relieve indigestion, promote concentration, and treat insomnia, anxiety, and thyroid problems.

Herbal Fat Balls

Homemade stress-fighting herbal fat balls use coconut oil, organic peanut butter, hemp powder, raw honey, chia seeds, cinnamon, and licorice powder. It is loaded with omega 3, protein, magnesium, fiber and vitamins. Licorice root prevents the breakdown of cortisol (our stress hormone) while cinnamon and honey help regulate blood sugar levels. All three of these natural goodies gifted from nature are also used for digestive, immune and cardiovascular health.

Cinnamon (

Cinnamon is also one of the most delicious medicinal plants a person can consume. Cinnamon helps regulate blood circulation which allows oxygen get to your organs so you can metabolize and function in a healthier way. This "brain food" stimulates mental activity, and is a pain relieving anti-inflammatory, and a digestive tonic. Your body and mind will thank you for sprinkling some good quality cinnamon onto your food whenever you can: oatmeal, coffee, cereal, yogurt, pancakes, baked goods, and smoothies. The options are limitless. It is also recommended to combine it with honey for an extra boost of natural healing energy.

Good nutrition does not mean boring. A delicious dish can be made from a red potato, zucchini, red onion, jalapeño, cherry tomato, avocado, egg, jack cheese--scramble in garlic olive oil topped with chia seeds. This is a digestive formula “to ease tension in the mind and gut,” which is perfect for anyone with nervousness or anxiety. Bitters are the secret to digestive enzymes and helping to get your digestion moving. We are chronically lacking bitter tastes in the standard American diet, but our bodies need it for optimal functioning.

Tara Glickman is studying global communications at Ramapo College of New Jersey. “In my free time I enjoy hiking with my dog and exploring different state parks located near me. I also enjoy cooking and experimenting with different ingredients. I also have a great appreciation for art, independent films, and all the animals in the world. I try living a positive lifestyle at all times and always hope to pass along the energy to those around me. If we can all be kind to one another, the world could be a very beautiful place. It has always been my goal to leave people better than I found them. “Hug the hurt, kiss the broken, befriend the lost, love the lonely.”

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