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Three Powerful Plant Medicines

Updated on February 14, 2016
Medicinal Plants for Health
Medicinal Plants for Health

Traditional Medicinal Plants

Edible and medicinal plants have been growing alongside humanity since the beginning of time. The medical practitioners of ancient cultures discovered and utilized these plants, and in doing so, passed along their experience, knowledge, and wisdom through generations and into modern day.

These traditional medicinals have always been highly revered, yet many of us have never heard of them. I have recently learned of three powerful plant medicines, all which hail from three different continents and three different traditional medical systems—Africa, India, and China.


The super-fruit, baobab
The super-fruit, baobab

Baobab

Baobab (pronounced Bey-oh-bab), is a nutrient-dense fruit that grows on an African tree of the same name. It has been used for centuries in traditional African medicine to treat everything from fevers to diarrhea to malaria. The fruit’s pain-relieving, anti-fever, and anti-inflammatory properties are greatly valued, and its pulp, seeds, and bark have an effect similar to aspirin.

This exotic superfruit has extremely high levels of Vitamin C (460 mg/100 g) along with calcium, magnesium, potassium, fiber, and Vitamin B6. This dynamic combination of antioxidant goodness helps to repair skin damage, prevent heart disease and varicose veins, and detoxify the liver. Its mineral and high fiber content make it an excellent source of electrolytes, useful for battling diarrhea and dehydration.

To prepare: Baobab has a tangy, citrus flavor, and is available in powdered form. Its flavor and form makes it easy to add sauces, smoothies, and cereals, or stirred into hot water for a lovely, anti-oxidant boosting tea.

Triphala: Three Fruits
Triphala: Three Fruits

Triphala

Triphala is an ancient Ayurvedic Medicine that has been utilized for thousands of years in India. Its name means “three fruits,” indicating where its most potent medicinal qualities come from—the three fruits of Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), and Bibitaki (Terminalia belerica).

According to Ayurvedic texts, the colon, menstruation, and elimination are governed by the humor, Vata (wind). The combination of these three Indian fruits balances the “wind” of our digestive tracks, optimizes absorption, and makes for a powerful whole-body detoxifier.

For most, it is used as a mild laxative to fight against indigestion, flatulence and constipation—its gentleness makes for an ideal bowel regulator which can be safely used every day.

To prepare: The traditional way to take triphala is as a tea. Doctors of Ayurvedic Medicine explain that tasting the tea prepares your body and digestive system to receive its medicinal properties. This decoction can be easily made by dissolving ½ teaspoon of powdered triphala in a cup of hot water. However, if need be, there are also tablets and capsules available for convenient ingestion.

Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae)
Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae)

Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae)

Sea Buckthorn comes from the mid-to-high altitudes of China and Russia, and in Tibet, the berries are known as the “Holy Fruit of the Himalayas.” While the whole plant boasts many healing properties, is best known for oil made from its seeds and fruit, which offers restorative and therapeutic benefits for the skin.

Oil made from its seeds contains high levels of Vitamin E and all 4 essential fatty acids, including palmitoleic acid. Palmitoleic acid is wonderful for treating burns, improving eczema, regenerating tissues, and healing wounds and infections. An added bonus is that it has some UV-ray blocking properties, making it an excellent sun block.

In addition to its skin healing properties, Sea Buckthorn contains very high amounts of Vitamin C and flavonoids which are believed to help defend against carcinogenesis. The fruit and oil are used to treat mucous membranes, reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure and increase overall immunity.

To prepare: The most common way to find and use Sea Buckthorn is in oil form. It is available in a range of concentrations (lower grade for cosmetics, higher grade for internal use). For topical treatments, apply the oil to any areas affected by eczema, burns, cuts, or other skin conditions. For internal use, oil supplements are available, or you could also make your own capsules. A daily dosage of 1-3 ml of high grade oil is recommended for safe ingestion and maximum health benefits.

Final Thoughts

I hope you find these powerful healing plants to be just as valuable to you and your loved ones as they have been for generations before us.

What other powerful traditional medicines have you used?

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    • C Ferg profile imageAUTHOR

      Colwynn 

      2 years ago

      Yes, same here. I've long known about the health benefits of regulatory strengths of Triphala and Hippophae, and just recently learned about Baobab.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      2 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Great informative hub about medicinal plants. I always believe in herbal remedies for good health.

      I haven't heard of Baobab but I am aware of the benefits of the other two you have mentioned.

      Thank you for sharing this useful hub!

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