Food As Medicine – Ten Regular Foods With Surprising Health Benefits

It’s easy for me to whip up an herbal remedy using herbs only found in health food stores, but not necessarily for everyone else. For the most part, when I am helping someone with a health issue, I like to use products found in your average supermarket.

Potatoes: As food, this vegetable is nutritious, providing us with Vitamin C. However, if you’ve got a minor burn it can help both with the pain and taking the heat out of the burn. Both are important. Scrape or shred the flesh, and place it on the burn. The water content will help with cooling, and covering it can help reduce the pain.

Vinegar: There are a lot of uses for this potent product. I use it as a means to extract compounds from herbs…both for cooking and as a remedy. Garlic vinegar can help reduce blood pressure and as a mild antibiotic. Even without herbal extracts, however, you can use it for healing. If you have a sunburn, vinegar can help to cool it. Mixed with water and brought to a boil, it can help with congestion. In that instance, you breathe the steam.

Cherries: Doctors recommend this to gout patients, as it seems to ease the symptoms of a flare up. The juice of the tart cherry is best, and it is wise to avoid brands with added sugar. To be honest, it is a little hard to find in a supermarket, though stores like Trader Joe’s carries a good juice.

Onions: All alliums, indeed all members of the lily family contain substances that can affect the heart. My great grandfather was asked why he lived for 90+ years, and he attributed it to eating green onions every day. That’s as may be, but we do know garlic helps. As for onions themselves, an old Appalachian remedy uses them as a poultice for lung congestion. They are fried, allowed to cool just long enough to not cause a burn and placed on the chest. It shouldn’t replace proper medical care, but in an emergency could make a difference.

Cinnamon: There are a lot of traditional uses for this common spice, and at least one seems to be making an impression after major studies. I use it as part of a decoction for people dealing with respiratory illnesses. Both the steam and the finished liquid seems to help a lot. The clinical studies I mentioned point to a possible use in dealing with diabetes. Keep your eyes open for more information as these studies are debated and possible medications approved.

Salmon: This fish has a couple of important properties. It is part of a low fat diet, providing protein without all the fat associated with other animal products. It’s also used for the omega-3 acids, which can do you a lot of good. It can increase your HDL cholesterol and improve your mood. It may even be helpful for acne.

Corn: Well, in this instance it’s actually the silky stuff between the husk and the kernals. A lot of stores provides a trash can next to the stack of corn on the cob, but I usually don’t use it. I want the silk, too. It is very helpful to the kidneys, made into a tea.

Cranberries: Both the berries and the juice can be a benefit, especially to women. It’s good for the kidneys, bladder and the rest of the urinary tract. While it may not always get rid of the infection, it can be a big help. Again, try to avoid products that have an excess amount of sugar added.

Olive Oil: This is another product I use to make extracts. It has healing problems of its own, both as an extract and when used in place of other oils when you are cooking. Adding herbs can extract their properties and add them to the mix.

Vodka: Believe it or not, this actually has at least one useful, healing aspect…though not in your cocktail glass. The most common means of extraction, both for cooking and healing uses vodka…unless you own a still. I use it to make vanilla extract for cooking and to extract healing properties of various herbs. The reason I use it over other potable alcohols is that it is indenatured, making it the best choice.