Food For Thought

Food as Medicine

Kayla Sheely, 11/10/2014

For thousands of years, people from all over the world have used plants for medicinal purposes. Writings from 3,000 BC portray plants being used for medicine in Egypt and China. Native American and African cultures used plants in more ritualistic healings. Others used herbal therapies that can be found in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda. The University of Maryland Medical Center notes that plants are used for medicinal purposes all over the world, and similar plants are often used for similar ailments.

Still today plants still play a vital role in our medicine use. According to the Berkshire Encyclopedia of Sustainability, “more than 60 percent of the world’s population depends on traditional plant medicines for primary health care.”

Many of us come across medicinal plants in our daily lives. You may even have some of these around your own home!

  • Aloe vera is a well-known medicinal plant. It is used for cuts and burns and can also be used as a laxative.
  • Although Dandelions are often seen as pesky weeds, their leaves can help our bodies get rid of toxins and can be used to cleanse the liver.
  • Lemon balm can ease heart palpitations and agitation.
  • A well-known fragrance, lavender can be used to relieve stress and as a sedative.
  • The oil in parsley leaves, roots, and seeds aids in relieving stomach issues. Parsley can also help fight allergies.

Plants have been used in medicine for thousands of years and continue to be vital to modern medicine.

Additional Sources:

Historical Review of Medicinal Plants’ Usage 

Medicinal Plants You May Have On Hand

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