5 Plant Medicines for Everyday Use

Plant MedicineIn this world of constant pharmaceutical commercials, “ask your doctor about ZyzanticaX”, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that not that long ago our ancestors relied on plants medicines. Their treatments must have been effective seeing how our species is still around today. Many of us have no knowledge of home remedies for common illness and in fact most of us probably couldn’t survive more than a month without our current supply chains. However; there are still some indigenous cultures around the world who have passed down the knowledge both orally and written to keep it alive.

People are flocking to retreats in the Amazon to meet with Shamans to cure depression, addiction, or just to fulfill an internal calling. For instance Iboga has been found to be 80% effective in curing addiction with one ceremony, prompting the state of Vermont, to legalize it’s use to help cure their Heroin epidemic. People are facing their fears and confronting depression head on with the use of Mother Ayahuasca. Many of us know personally someone who has benefited by Shamanistic rituals using these Amazonian plants.

Plant MedicineMuch has already been written about these two wonderfully beneficial plants and I’m sure more will be written in the coming years as more people are exposed to their benefits and the Western world begins to use and except them as “real” medicine. Though I plan on trying Ayahuasca, I haven’t yet, so I will hold off on writing anymore about it until that day comes. (Can’t wait to write that one!)

Instead I’m going to focus on legal, accessible plants and foods you can use to prevent, cure or control common illness, or use when the supply chain stops for 30 days.

Garlic – This common and easy to find vegetable wasn’t on my original list, but after my experience with it last night, it’s now number one. I’ll warn you it tastes horrible and literally burns, also try not to swallow the garlic, it will make you nauseous. My wife has been fighting of colds with garlic for years will great success. I on the other hand had a headache. I thought that maybe I was coming down with something, so I grabbed a clove of garlic, chewed it some, without swallowing and powered through. Within the hour I noticed my headache was gone! Which really wasn’t my intent, but sometimes the best way to learn is by mistake. (See our post on Magnesium Citrate and Vivid Dreams) Because garlic has antibacterial properties, enhances DNA repair and can block cancer-causing substances, the National Cancer Institute recognizes it for potential anticancer properties.

  • Fights Infection
  • Boost Immune System
  • Reduce Blood Pressure
  • Performance Enhancing
  • Prevent Alzheimer’s and Dementia
  • Detoxifies

Tea– A traditional medicine of India and China that we drink daily, actually numerous times daily. We prefer Green Tea, but also dabble in Black and Oolong teas with the peppermint green tea dominating this holiday season. We try to stick to decaf, but simply seeping the teas twice will remove ~90% of the caffeine.

  • Antioxidant
  • Lowers Cholesterol
  • Cancer Prevention
  • Weight Loss
  • Diabetes
  • Inflammatory Bowl Disease

Mint– This herb grew completely out of control in our urban garden all summer long. We used it mostly for homemade ice cream, but we also added it to our coconut oil toothpaste for a minty fresh taste. The mint essential oil is a fantastic bug spray and mixed with lavender is a great calming spray for kids and adults a like.

  • Bug Repellent
  • Bug Bites
  • Digestion
  • Increases Appetite
  • Facial Wash
  • Headaches

Plant MedicineAloe Vera– Great for sunburns and grows great in warmer climates or as a house plant. I learned this one the hard way, with a sunburn so bad I had to stay home from school for 3 days. A day at Wet and Wild in El Paso, TX with no sunblock will get you every time, but the aloe I put on it a few times a day cooled down the burn and moisturized my skin that was pocked with blisters, ouch! You can also use it for:

 

 

 

  • Heartburn
  • Sunburn
  • Athletes Foot
  • Treat Acne
  • Psoriasis
  • Diabetes

Cinnamon– Not only does it taste great, but it’s great for you too. During the Holiday’s I like to sprinkle it on my eggnog, making my whiskey laden beverage healthier in my own mind. Add a small amount to food and beverages to gain the following health advantages, but go easy, cinnamon can quickly overpower dishes and become hard to swallow.

  • Control Blood Sugar
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Anti-Bacterial
  • Arthritis
  • Weight Loss
  • Insect Repellent

Now if the supply chain is ever cut off to your town, you’ll know some plant medicine alternatives to packaged consumer goods. Let us know how you have used these plant medicines or what you would add to the list in the comments section below.

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Vivid Dreams and Magnesium

Dreams and Magnesium Traveling ChimpsLast night I had the craziest dreams and I have a pretty good idea of why. About a year ago I listened to a podcast with a nutritionist who was asked, if she could only take one supplement, what would it be? She choose magnesium, though she never mentioned vivid dreaming. Being a life hacker, I ran to the store to give it a try. Almost immediately I noticed my dreams getting more vivid and when I ran out of the magnesium the vividness of my dreams dulled. Once I replenished my stores, the vivid dreams returned.

I started to do some research and found that others were reporting similar effects, validating what I was experiencing (the power of the internet). Though everyone’s body chemistry is different, for instance my wife started to take magnesium at the same time I did and she didn’t report any increase in vivid dreams; however she did see a marked reduction in migraines. So, I can’t promise it will work for you, though I have told a few others over the last year and they all reported an increase in vivid dreams as well.

So, if you have an interest in vivid dreams and would like to give magnesium a try, I would recommend¬†taking two 400mg pills about 2 hours before bedtime of magnesium citrate. Most popular pharmacies and grocery stores sell the cheapest magnesium, which is magnesium oxide. Stay away from oxide, your body is only able to absorb around 5% of the oxide pills, so you’ll literately piss 95% down the drain. You may need to go to a higher end health store to find citrate, but it is well worth the hunt and the the slightly higher price tag. You could always use our Amazon portal on the right hand side of this website to purchase it:)

Let us know in the comments below if you give this a try or have had a similar experience with magnesium.

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Health Effects of Meditating in the Ocean

Jack floating in the Gulf of Mexico

Jack floating in the Gulf of Mexico

We walked over the sand dune onto Sunset Beach and laid our beach gear down, stripped off our shirts and ran for the Gulf of Mexico (Ocean Basin). Jack instantly made a friend, the skim board was too enticing to the other little boy to pass by, and off they went to catch some surf. Andrea and Tess started to work on their cheers and I floated off behind them to reflect on life and the crazy adventure we have been living now for 4 months. I arched my back and brought my legs into a butterfly pose and just floated, in the now. The salt water slightly burned my nose reaffirming that I was in the now. The suns heat permeating my skin with vitamin D from millions of miles across space. I floated there, a higher primate, in a body of salt water, on a giant rock, circling a nuclear explosion only here for a fraction of time.

Suddenly I was jolted out of my cosmic vision by Jack yelling that he was bleeding. I swam over to him to find a tiny scratch on his right hand, hardly bleeding out, which was my initial fatherly thought. I told him the ocean was medicinal and it would fix his scratch right up and not only that but, it’s great for your mind, body and spirit. Now I told him that based on no real scientific knowledge about salt water, just my experience meditating in the ocean and in float tanks, which is what prompted me to write this blog. Turns out my hippie ass was on to something.photo(7)

Hippocrates, the Greek¬† founder of western medicine, actually named the practice of using salt water to heal, Thalassotherapy, don’t ask me to pronounce it though. The Greeks used salt water for medicinal purposes in many different applications, from bathing to seaweed wraps. The ocean is filled with vitamins, minerals, trace elements, vital elements, amino acids and obviously living organisms, think Kombucha. Its make up is actually very similar to human blood plasma. With a quick Google search I found a pretty impressive list of the health benefits of ocean water.

  • Eliminates toxins from the body by opening the pores
  • Reduces tension and stress
  • Detoxify the skin
  • Improves circulation, especially warm ocean water like the Gulf
  • Cellulite control
  • Improves immune system
  • Hydrates the skin
  • Ease menopausal discomfort
  • Speed weight loss
  • Relaxes muscles
  • Waves massage

Just breathing the ocean air has positive health effects. The mist is full of iodine and negative ions, which help your body better absorb oxygen and it balances serotonin levels! Maybe doctors should start prescribing that people move to the beach, rather that hand out antidepressants to folks that don’t truly need them? The sound of the ocean alone is calming and the sand is a natural exfoliate.

With all these positive heath advantages to floating on the ocean, I started to try to think of some negative effects. A Google search basically brought up the same list of positive effects. I did come up with a few negatives though, algae flora, pollution, unfortunately lots of garbage is still finding its way into our oceans, in fact when I Googled floating in the ocean, everything link was about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is very depressing. Good thing I’m breathing in all these negative ions! The only other thing I could think of is that while meditating in the ocean you could float off and enter the food chain, or find yourself with a long swim back to shore.

Sunset Beach, FL

Sunset Beach, FL

We played in the waves for an hour when Jack exclaimed that the ocean had fixed his scratch. As the sun started to set I floated off behind the family for one last connection with the universe. The pulse of the waves altered my equilibrium and I began to ride the cosmos, right there, in the now. My salt covered body filled with appreciation for another beautiful day on planet Earth and there was no other place I would have wanted to be.

What is the best place you ever meditated? Tell us below.

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