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Alternative Medicines- Part 1-Foods and Herbals Are "Medicine" Too! - Healthy Eating

Updated on April 3, 2016

Cost of Healthy Eating

Since you are going to be buying food anyway. instead of too many junk foods, route more money towards healthier foods. Organic foods are not necessary to maintain a healthy eating regimen though it does help.

Healthy Foods are Abundant

Vitamin and Herbal Source

I only use GNC as one of many places to buy vitamins and herbs- go in educated on what you want to by before you buy it!
I only use GNC as one of many places to buy vitamins and herbs- go in educated on what you want to by before you buy it!


Honey is a well known curative for many things.
Honey is a well known curative for many things.

Brussel Sprouts

When made correctly, brussel sprouts are tasty and a great addition to prevention and cure of cancer.
When made correctly, brussel sprouts are tasty and a great addition to prevention and cure of cancer.

Chamomile Tea

My parents used chamomile tea for many of my childhood illnesses.
My parents used chamomile tea for many of my childhood illnesses.

St John's Wart as It Naturally Grows

Beautiful plant with many potential benefits but also controversial because of some potential serious side effects.
Beautiful plant with many potential benefits but also controversial because of some potential serious side effects. | Source

Healthy Eating = A Healthier Life.

Being a pharmacist, I know and understand the importance of utilizing standard or new drug regimens for a particular diagnosis. I also understand that herbs and foods we buy at the supermarkets and other places can be used to either help maintain a healthy life or to be utilized along with prescribed medicines for many diagnosis to improve the outcome. I also want to make sure that the reader, if dealing with a diagnosis, work with his doctor, pharmacist or nutritionist so that foods and herbs will be chosen to work with the medicines and not create detrimental and avoidable side effects.

I have had many people come back to me and claim they felt the regimen that we as a team came up with helped them have a successful recovery. I have often wondered how much of this success was based on the actual herb or food or was due to a positive belief that this regimen would help. It is not my intent to go into the benefits of a positive belief system or positive outlook. To me, it does not matter. Be the positive improvement be due to a positive belief system or a chemical inducement, who cares! I believe it is both. It is always important to remember that herbs and foods are made up of chemicals that are just as strong - good and bad- as prescription drugs. This is why we must all work as a team and always go with the best information available.

I will summarize some of the many foods and herbs I have recommended for things as common as a cold or for many cancers. The ones I will use for this and future articles are summaries and not all inclusive. I will go into detail not to confuse but to show that there are finally studies on foods and herbals to verify not only that they do work but how they work.

HONEY: Honey has been used for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians used honey as a medicine. Among it's many uses, honey has been shown to be highly successful for:

1) wound care 2) psoriasis 3) eczema 4) sore throats and cough 5) diarrhea

I used my self as a guinea pig several times using honey. Being a cross country runner, I have had my share of wipeouts. Several times I simply cleansed some of the cuts, some I used a standard application of Neosporin and other cuts I used honey. The simply cleansed cut took the longest- a great deal longer. Several times I found the honey worked a little faster and other times about the same as the Neosporin. The only draw back is that honey is a little more stickier but the way to get around this is to utilize a basic rule in pharmacy: more is not better. A little honey is just as good as a thick layer and cosmetically better. Honey is also best at room temperature and does not go bad. Honey slowly releases hydrogen peroxide that is known to be antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiseptic. Honey stimulates new tissue and capillary growth. The high sugar content draws lymph out of the cells to help fight infection. Of course different honeys have different potencies, depending on the floral source. For example, Manuka honey is known to have high antimicrobial and curative properties. As far as cough and diarrhea, the coating in the throat helps destroy topical bacteria such as strep and is soothing to the throat. Intestinally it helps to promote healthy/good bacteria growth. The Smith Brothers knew what they were doing as did grandma!

BRUSSEL SPROUTS: along with brussel sprouts, other vegetables in this particular vegetable category are cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli. Brussel sprouts contain sulfur-containing glucosinolates which the body uses to make isothiocyanates which activate cancer fighting enzymes systems in the body. In other words, it helps promote our own natural system to fight cancer. For example, one glucosinolate called Indole-3-carbinol interferes with cancer cell growth so it cannot divide but does not interfere with normal cell growth. Brussel sprouts has been shown to help prevent and treat cancers such as ovarian, breast, colon and others. Brussel sprouts are also anti-inflammatory. They contain vitamin c and other important anti-oxidants. Brussel sprouts when cooked correctly are very tasty. As with all vegetables, you do not want to overcook as you lose and/or destroy many of the entities that are so helpful.

CHAMOMILE: My parents were huge believers in the use of chamomile. The use of chamomile goes back to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Verified positive benefits: 1) Better sleep 2) Soothe the stomach - I can personally verify this along with the better sleep. 3) Menstrual cramps - this benefit has been known for thousands of years - it is believed it raises the glycine level which calms muscle cramps. 4) When worked into an ointment, the anti-inflammatory aspects reduces size and discomfort of HEMMORROIDS. 5) Cold fighter- it increases a chemical called hippurate that strengths the immune system. It has been found that the glycine and hippurate levels remain elevated for up to two weeks after the last consumption of the tea. 6) As a poultice, like honey- it promotes and hastens wound healing. 7) Diabetes Management. It should be noted that chamomile should be avoided by pregnant women as it can stimulate the uterus resulting in an abortive situation and should be avoided by people with bleeding problems or on anti-clotting meds such as Coumadin as extending bleeding times can occur.

ST. JOHN'S WART: The most common use of St. John's Wart is for mild depression, anxiety and sleeping. It is believed to raise the neurotransmitters such as serotonin. There are currently studies involving it's topical use on cuts, scrapes, hemorrhoids, nerve pain, cancers, HIV and Hepatitis C.. My reason for writing about St John's Wart is not so much to discuss it's benefits but to caution in all the potential side effects. These include 1) potentially decreasing the effectiveness of birth control pills and blood pressure meds (because of potential to raise blood pressure). 2) increase in bleeding times so must be used with caution with people on some blood thinners such as Coumadin.3) sensitivity to sun - I have seen some pretty bad sun burns on people with fair skin and taking St John's Wart. It is not my intent to scare people away from St. John's Wart but to demonstrate the fact that herbs and many foods have the same potential side effects and interactions with prescribed meds as traditional prescription only medicines.. If using St. John's Wart it is important to remember to make sure your doctor's office documents this and to make sure your pharmacist puts it on your profile to help catch potential problems.

This will conclude Part 1 of my series on healthy uses of foods and herbs. I would rather do them in shorter lists but with longer and more detailed information. When summaries are too short, they often create more questions than answers. I do not want to create any illusions that foods and herbs are cure-alls. However, I do want to help solidify people's beliefs that they can be curative for simpler problems and/or great "helpers" in treating and improving more serious problems. When in doubt, always question and utilize medical personal and references. Here's to a healthy life and reinforcement that "old-wives remedies" were and are vindicated.


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    • Peter Grujic profile image

      Peter Alexander 2 years ago from Pittsburgh

      Thanks Pat - Nice comment about being smarter about what we eat. We are not the fattest Western country for nothing! Thanks for your insight and taking time to read my article.

    • profile image

      Pat Galey 2 years ago

      Hello Peter - I like your premise that the foods we eat are medicine too. Maybe if we thought of food as something more important than just satisfying our hunger, we would eat "smarter"- Great article- thank you