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Nature’s Medicine Cabinet: Top 6 Non-Psychoactive Healing Plants

healing plants
Written by Alexandra Hicks
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I’m genuinely amazed by the trial-and-error process and level of observation it took for our ancestors to learn what plants have healing properties and can be utilized for human health. Thanks to word of mouth and detailed written records over the centuries, we have learned what to avoid, what can be used for general wellness, and what plants can treat particular ailments.

These days, it’s much less common for Western physicians to be trained in natural cures like nutrition and botany… which is incredibly strange if you stop to think about it. As a doctor, a modern-day healer, shouldn’t your main objective be to help treat the root cause of disease with the safest possible remedy (typically some combinations of healing plants), rather than using toxic and synthetic substances to simply mask the symptoms?

If you’re looking at healthcare as an industry that actually wants to help people, it’s a bit mindboggling. However, if you’re looking at healthcare as an industry that’s out to make money by keeping patients hooked on expensive medications for life, then it makes a lot more sense why it operates this way. In underdeveloped countries where medicine hasn’t been so heavily monetized or politicized yet, an estimated 75 to 80 percent of the population still use traditional herbal remedies; and it’s worth noting that many of these nations have much lower rates of cancer, heart disease, and other chronic conditions.

As a strong advocate of natural living, I personally will chose healthy foods, vitamins, and herbal remedies over OTC and prescription pills every time. Of course, in this industry there’s a tendency to focus on intoxicating natural compounds like THC, psilocybin, mescaline, DMT, and similar; meaning some of the more ordinary, day-to-day plants often get overlooked. I’ve put together a short list of my personal favorite, non-intoxicating healing plants that you can find at many local grocery and health food stores, or maybe even your own backyard.

Plants are incredible, and the fact that so many of them can be used for human health purposes proves how interconnected the we truly are to the world around us. This is exactly why we at CBD TESTERS strive to bring you the most relevant articles and highest-quality plant-based products via our newsletter, The CBD Flowers Weekly. Subscribe for exclusive deals!


The Benefits of Natural Healing        

I think people may assume that plant compounds are not very potent and less effective than prescription and OTC meds, but that is hardly the case. Natural remedies can be a life-altering solution for people who cannot use western-style medications for any number of reasons – including tolerance, allergy, or other types of sensitivities. They can also be a cost-effective alternative to pricey surgeries or specialty prescriptions.

Herbal medicine, Phytotherapy, or Herbalism, as the practice is often referred to, can be better for treating the underlying causes of whatever disease a patient may be suffering from, rather than just the relieving the symptoms that come along with it. Natural plant compounds can also be used for prevention of illnesses, general health and wellness, and even to improve the condition of your hair, skin, and nails.

The whole idea behind plant-based therapies is much more holistic than western medicine and takes into account numerous different factors that can attribute to faster healing. For example, it is now clinically recognized that lemon can be effective at breaking down kidney stones. A practitioner who only knows the bare minimum about natural treatments may suggest lemon water and leave it at that, whereas an experienced herbalist would suggest drinking lemon water daily while also eliminating foods that contribute to the formation of kidney stones, such as beets, lentils, and red meat.

Healing plants work synergistically with the body’s natural capabilities, and they also boost the immune system making it less likely to get sick again in the future. Additionally, natural products typically work without destroying important cells and compounds that already exist in the body. Take antibiotics for example. I personally don’t do well with antibiotics and no matter what kind I take, I have some sort of reaction. I’m allergic to penicillin, so that covers all the ‘cillins right there, and other brands have caused stomach problems. Should I ever absolutely need to take an antibiotic, I then need to follow it up a good probiotic to replenish all my good bacteria that was killed in my body. This whole scenario is obviously not a concern when using natural remedies.

Creosote

Creosote bush, or Larrea tridentata, is one of the oldest and most versatile living healing plants on earth. It’s native to the arid deserts of the Southwestern United States and Mexico and was very common where I used to live in the Mojave Desert region of Southern California. On a more casual level, it’s known for the incredibly intoxicating aroma it gives off after a good rain. Creosote is the reason why monsoon season in the desert smells so undeniably relaxing.

Aside from possible uses in aromatherapy, Creosote bush has been used for centuries by Indigenous people in the region who hailed it a ‘cure-all’ plant that served many medicinal purposes. Translated ethnobotanical notes have described it as an effective treatment option for fever, colds and flus, stomach pains, general pain, diuretic, sinus issues, arthritis, and anemia. It was also used topically as an antifungal and antimicrobial. To consume it, tea was brewed from the plant and consumed.

Currently, synthetics of creosote extract are already used in some prescription medications, mainly anti-diarrheal drugs. A growing body of clinical research found that the plant’s active compounds, most notably nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA), has antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties. These studies confirm Native uses of the Creosote plant.  

Turmeric

Turmeric is a common spice that has been used in India as both a food seasoning and therapeutic herb for thousands of years. Turmeric is the spice that comes from the root of Curcuma Ionga. The common compounds in turmeric are called curcuminoids, with the most abundant one being curcumin. Curcumin is the compound responsible for all the medicinal effects of this spice.

Curcumin has been name a highly potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, and traditionally it has been used to address numerous different health concerns. Curcumin is still used today in many parts of the world for conditions like hay fever, depression, high cholesterol, osteoarthritis, certain types of liver disease, and itching.

The only issue with curcumin is that it has a fairly bad absorption rate and most supplements don’t contain very high concentrations of it. It’s best to take curcumin with foods that have some fat, because it’s fat soluble. Also pepper, as pepper contains compounds that boost the absorption capabilities of other compounds, including curcumin.

Mock Strawberry

Mock strawberry, or Duschesnea indica, is a low-growing, flowering plant, also from India. Also known as false strawberry, snake berry, and Indian berry, it’s an invasive species that has taken root throughout most of the continental United States. It can be found in the South, Midwest, and both coasts – basically everywhere except the central/mountain time zone states.

Mock strawberries are given the because of their close resemblance to real wild strawberries, however, mock strawberries produce yellow flowers and wild strawberries have white flowers. Both are edible, but mock strawberries are not as sweet as true strawberries.

Medicinally, mock strawberries are both ingested and used topically. They’re full of protein, iron, vitamin C, and other healthy compounds. Additionally, the gel found inside the fruit is able to treat numerous different skin conditions including eczema, burns, boils, insect and even non-venomous snake bites. I’ve tested it for the latter, since moving to Indiana I have both mock strawberries and mosquitos in my yard, and it really works!

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is one of the most well-known and mainstream healing plants that exists. It’s long been used for curing and moisturizing the skin, and some form of aloe vera products can be found in most drug store and vitamin shops across the country.

Aloe is the plant, a member of the Asphodelaceae family, and aloe vera is the gel found in the plant’s leaves. Although it’s most commonly applied to the skin, there is also strong evidence that aloe gel or juice taken orally can have some health benefits as well such as treating constipation, managing cholesterol, and lowering blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.

What’s great about Aloe Vera is that it is incredibly convenient. You can easily get an aloe plant that requires almost no care, let it grow in a window with minimal watering and whenever you need to, cut off a small piece and use the gel inside. I have two in my kitchen and they come in handy when we get bug bites or if the kids get a sunburn or any other type of mild skin issue.

Rose

Rose oil is one of the best possible natural compounds you could apply to the skin. First of all, the composition of the oil is full of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals and rose a powerful astringent, so it’s great to for treating acne, rosacea, and inflammation.

What makes rose oil particularly unique is that is has the highest frequency of all natural oils on this planet. Every living entity on this earth has a measurable electrical energy, for example, a healthy human body clocks in at around 62–72 MHz. When it comes to therapies that utilize these frequencies, higher megahertz are said to promote various types of physical healing. The frequency of rose oil is approximately 320 MHz and has applications in cellular regeneration.

Like many other compounds on this list, it can be both applied to the skin and ingested. Drinking rose water is also very commonplace among natural health advocates and has been for decades. Although studies on its effectiveness are limited, anecdotal evidence suggests it can help with stress, digestion, and inflammation.

Chamomile

Chamomile is another one of those very common, easy to find everywhere herbs, but its medicinal potential really does get taken for granted. Chamomile comes from the daisy-like flowers of the Asteraceae plant family, and you will most commonly find it sold in the form of tea.

For centuries, chamomile tea has been consumed for health purposes and, because it is full of antioxidants, studies have found it helpful at preventing numerous different diseases including heart disease, cancer, digestive issues, anxiety, and sleep disorders.

Additionally, chamomile is an old-fashioned remedy for pink eye, one that I have personally used for my children. All you do is prepare the chamomile tea as you always would, let it cool off a bit, then soak a cotton ball or compress and press it over the affected eye for about 5-10 minutes. Because it’s non-toxic, you can repeat this as many times as you want and it works fairly quickly at fighting off the infection.

Final Thoughts on Healing Plants

Again, I’m all about the psychedelic healing plants of nature. Admittedly, those are the most interesting, controversial, and just plain fun. However, in the search for intoxicating therapeutics, we tend to overlook the myriad of healing compounds that exist right under our noses – literally, because most of these can be found in a local grocery store or even right on your property in many cases.

What are you favorite healing plants? Drop us a line in the comment section below and don’t forget to subscribe to The CBD Flowers Weekly Newsletter for more articles like this one and exclusive deals on flower and other products.

About the author

Alexandra Hicks

Alexandra is the managing editor at CBD Testers. She has always been interested in alternative and natural remedies, and the versatility of cannabis as a healing plant is something that greatly appeals to her. It's for this reason that she decided to work as a cannabis industry journalist and editor, to help spread accurate information about the benefits of this plant.

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