Interested in improving your health naturally? I have compiled a list of 10 very powerful natural plants and substances in order to do just that. Nothing on this list is too controversial as to the statements I’ll be making. I do have anecdotal proof as well as provide studies that back up the claims. Anything that isn’t common knowledge or controversial, I will make qualifying statements or link to resources.
#1 Apple Cider Vinegar – Anti-viral, Anti-fungal and Anti-Bacterial Properties +More
I’ll just go over some key highlights. Dr. Axe has written a more comprehensive list of benefits here. I’ve listed some here that weren’t included. Apple Cider vinegar is truly an amazing all-natural compound. My father takes it daily, mixed with water. He’s really benefited from it. Apple cider vinegar can replace many commercial products and also lessens the dosage or need of many medications. I recommend the Bragg or American Garden brands over Heinz. “With the mother” means it still has the original compound used to ferment the apple cider vinegar and without the mother means it has been filtered out. If you’re looking for the probiotic benefits, I recommend purchasing with the mother.
Facts & Benefits
- Better blood pressure & blood sugar levels – if taken orally as one to two tablespoons in an 8 ounce glass of water, it can reduce both your blood pressure and help you to maintain a normal blood sugar level.
- Used topically on the skin, it can – Lighten skin, kill acne without scarring, remove dead skin, kill topical sexually transmitted infections, remove warts that are fungal in nature, kill fungal growth, and remove skin spots.
- Promotes good gut health and digestion – Taken orally(I recommend diluting as mentioned in benefit #1) it increases the amount of the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. This aids in digestion, increasing the absorption of nutrients into the body.
- Kills insects and fleas & lice – Dilute in water 50/50 and put on your animal’s skin to kill the fleas. Do the same for human lice. For insects, 50/50 again in a spray bottle and spray areas where you’ve seen the insects. They’ll stay away.
- Here’s a few more befits before moving on: Breaks up mucus in sinuses and chest, reduces allergies, heals poison ivy, balances your PH, and so much more. Again, visit Dr. Axe’s Apple Cider Vinegar Uses page where he’s provided even more information on the topic…
#2 Fermented Foods – Probiotics from Natural Sources
Hmm, both number #1 and number #2 are very similar. Apple Cider Vinegar comes from a fermentation process. Fermentation is the process of breaking something down chemically using bacteria, yeasts, or other microorganisms. Fermented foods have been fermented partially and still have the vegetable or fruit substance that was being fermented.
Facts & Benefits
- Several good fermented foods for probiotics include: Yogurt, kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, pickles, and kombucha.
- Eating fermented foods creates good gut health: By culturing the microorganisms that thrive from the vegetables that are mineral dense and the fruits that are dense in vitamins, you stimulate the growth of bacteria that effectively breaks these kinds of foods in your gut easily. Your body can then absorb the nutrients better.
- Fermenting preserves food – Foods like homemade salsa only lasts a few days but if you ferment it, it will last for months.
- Do-it-yourself affordable food – It’s easy to ferment your own fruit and vegetables. Here’s a great article on how to do it yourself. Try throwing in herbs and adding the fermented product at the end of a recipe. Don’t use it as a starter ingredient unless you’re just warming something up, as heat that is high enough to cook food kills the beneficial bacteria in the fermented product. Be creative in your recipes.
- A few more benefits: They help keep your immune system healthy, they help to curb sugar cravings, and they also increase the flavor in other foods.
#3 St. John’s Wort – Nature’s Antidepressant
Before taking St. John’s wort for depression, I advise that you first read this article issued by the National Institutes of Health. Just as you should take my statements with a grain of salt, so should you with the NIH when there are lobbyists and ex-CEOs of drug companies serving on governmental health bodies. I advise you to talk to a mental health professional first and if they offer pharmaceutical assistance; ask about trying St. John’s wort initially. It cannot be prescribed, so you’ll have to bring it up. I suffer from occasional bats of depression and for me, I take it when I start feeling depressed and come out of the state fairly quickly. Then, I slowly stop taking it. Although I feel it’s safe for prolonged use; I wouldn’t want it to lose its effectiveness. I’ve had some longer periods of depression when I did not take it.
Facts & Benefits
- Eases Withdrawal Symptoms – Taking St. John’s Wort while attempting to quit smoking, drinking, and other addictive substances has been shown to decrease the symptoms of withdrawal. Link to study is here. The conclusion is worth reading.
- Reduces Mood Swings – St. John’s wort is a common herbal supplement used during a woman’s menopause. It also helps during the pre-menstrual cycle to reduce the emotional sways.
- Anti-inflammatory Properties – St. John’s wort has a rich concentration of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds that make it perfect for easing the pain of arthritis, gout, joint discomfort, and muscle ache.
- Use on the skin – A salve or tincture can be used to apply St. John’s wort to your skin. It stimulates blood circulation and can be used to treat scrapes, burns, and bruises.
- Believed to prevent cancer – A 5 year study found evidence here.
#4 Turmeric and Curcumin – The Body Regenerator
The turmeric plant is part of the ginger family. I love turmeric as a spice. I like to use it in scrambled eggs, fried rice, and bone/vegetable broths. It’s the primary spice in curries as the name suggests. The turmeric powder that’s used as a spice comes from the rhizome, that is the largest part of the plant where the shoots and roots grow from. Turmeric contains only approximately 2-5% curcumin. To get a concentrated curcumin substance, ethanol is used to separate the substrates of turmeric as different parts of the plant have different buoyancy. Turmeric is great as a spice and the concentrated form of the active compound curcumin has undeniable health benefits.
Facts & Benefits(Curcumin)
- Powerful Anti-Inflammatory: Curcumin is just as effective as the most powerful prescription anti-inflammatories with no known side effects. Some have reported upset stomach or symptoms like dizziness after taking during studies but that’s found in just about every study for anything and must be listed on the reports.
- Powerful Antioxidant: Curcumin’s chemical structure inhibits oxidation naturally and at the same time, stimulates your body’s generation of its own antioxidant enzymes.
- Brain Health – Curcumin has been shown to promote neurogenesis, that is, it can help generate new brain cells from neural stem cells. In addition to this, it has been shown to decrease neuronal cell death. In situations where chronic stress has been the cause of depression, Curcumin has been shown to reduce the size of the adrenal gland when an abnormal adrenal gland to body weight ratio was observed. The depression was reported to be less after the administration.
- Great Potential to Reduce the Chance of Cancer: Curcumin has been shown in multiple studies to reduce the size of cancerous tumors. In India, where curried foods are most common, men get prostate cancer at a rate that is 23x lower than in the US – very significant. Source
- Great for Overall Health – Curcumin does amazing things in the body. There are amazing benefits like preventing and treating Alzheimers. Curcumin should definitely be considered for the anti-aging properties as inflammation and oxidative stress are known to cause aging. The one caveat for men is that it is known to reduce testosterone levels slightly but it does increase sperm quality. I would only recommend taking it sporadically if you are staying away from things like soy in order to keep your energy up like I am.
#5 Olive Oil – Great Skin & Good Fats
Olive oil is great. I prefer cooking with either olive oil or coconut oil. I use a tablespoon’s worth when along with some supplements that are fat soluble such as choline or calcium that should be taken separately from other supplements. I have naturally dry skin and massaging in olive oil after a bath keeps my skin soft. It goes great on salad.
Facts & Benefits
- Rich in Healthy Monounsaturated Fats: There is extremely high content of oleic acid contained within olive oil. Oleic acid is known to decrease cholesterol, protect against heart disease, lower blood pressure, improve insulin sensitivity, and prevent obesity.
- Powerful Antioxidants: As with other compounds on this list, olive oil comes packed with antioxidants. The type of antioxidants contained within olive oil specifically affects cholesterol in the blood.
- Stroke and Hearth Disease Prevention – Olive oil has been shown to be the only source of monounsaturated fat that reduces stroke and heart disease. Study found here.
- Stretch Mark Prevention: Women who have used olive oil during pregnancy have reported a reduction or absence of stretch marks in the areas where they used olive oil on a daily basis. If you’re feeling itchy or your skin is extremely tight during pregnancy, try massaging in olive oil.
- Other Benefits – Olive oil is extremely healthy. It contains all of the best fats – omega 3/6/9. Better insulin sensitivity means a reduced chance at developing diabetes. It is as effective as ibuprofin in preventing inflammation. It even kills bad bacteria in the gut, while allowing good bacteria to thrive.
#6 CBD Oil – Anti-Anxiety and Pain Suppressor
Cannabidiol oil is extracted from industrial hemp. The modern world is full of stress-inducing experiences. CBD oil helps by making life more tolerable. Chronic pain is a problem for many people today and CBD oil is a great anti-inflammatory. CBD is not psychoactive. It does not give you a high, unlike the THC which is also found in the marijuana plant. You can support me and my site by purchasing your CBD Oil from CBDPure.com where they sell the oil in either sublingual form or in softgel capsules. I’ve never taken CBD oil myself but I do know what the studies show. CBDPure is a trusted brand. I’m going to order some soon and give it a try for when I feel anxious. CBD oil is is great for your pets as well.
Facts & Benefits
- Relieves Pain & Inflammation: This is the number one reason to take CBD oil. Highly effective for even most people suffering from multiple sclerosis.
- Anti-Psychotic: It is often used to treat schizophrenia and is very safe.
- Reduces Anxiety: Study found here.CBD Oil has been shown to be very effective for people with anxiety disorders.
- Relieves Nausea: Low to medium doses have been shown to get rid of nausea.
- Other Benefits – There are a lot of things people use CBD oil for. People that have frequent seizures say that it reduces the frequency. Cancer patients use it for cancer treatment. Reduction in incidence of diabetes among obese diabetics.
#7 Aloe Vera – Skin and Hair Regeneration
There are actually over 400 different varieties of the aloe plant. It is an amazing plant species with so many benefits, it would be almost impossible to list them all. Aloe vera is believed be the most biologically active of the aloe species. I have personally observed someone that was completely bald on the top of his head transition back into someone with a full head of hair by simply rubbing aloe vera gel on their head every day. Truly remarkable! It’s also very nutritious. It contains 20 of the 22 required amino acids required by humans, with 8/8 of the essentials.
Facts & Benefits
- Treats and Heals Wounds: Not only does aloe vera aid in the healing process of burns, cuts, cold sores and other wounds but it can immediately reduce pain in the affected area.
- Moisturizes Hair & Scalp: Aloe vera is simply amazing for your hair. My advice is to not use it on parts of the body where you do not want hair to grow as what I’ve written above, it can aid in the growth of hair.
- Soothes the Stomach: Aloe vera aids in digestion, reduces stomach acidity, and is a natural laxative.
- Antiseptic: Combine with turmeric and apple cider vinegar for a great all-natural toothpaste.
- Other Benefits – As with other items on the list, it’s an anti-inflammatory. It can be used to treat acne, kills yeast outbreaks, boosts the immune system, and it’s even effective for people with diabetes.
#8 Honey – Nothing Bad Grows in Honey
There have been sources of honey found that were preserved for thousands of years. Amazingly, the honey was still edible. Honey is a great substitute for sugar. It still contains fructose and glucose, so it’s not any better for diabetics for blood sugar levels, but it also contains antioxidants that sugar does not. Raw honey contains the most enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants. Honey will never go bad and raw honey crystallizes and is very thick. Crystallization occurs when honey is stored at proper temperature, ~60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Facts & Benefits
- Treats and Heals Wounds: Honey is a great substance to put on a wound. Since it kills bacteria, it can be used as an antiseptic.
- Helps with Allergies: People that suffer from pollen induced allergies may find a reduction in hay fever by consuming honey regularly. This is because it’s made from pollen and over time, people report that they have less of a reaction to seasonal allergies. Likewise, it can treat cough better than most over-the-counter cough suppressants.
- Brain Function: Honey is the only food on Earth that contains pinocembrin. Pinocembrin is an antioxidant with strong associations to improved brain function and restful sleep.
- Honey is Good for the Skin and Hair: Honey is found in many shampoos, conditioners, and lotions. It’s effective at reducing dandruff and it absorbs moisture from the air, allowing your skin/scalp to stay moisturized.
- Other Facts & Benefits – Honey consumption increases the amount of good cholesterol(HDL) in the blood. There’s enough nutrients in honey to live off honey alone(would have to eat a lot). The flavor of honey is greatly affected by the types of pollens that the honey is made from.
#9 Milk Thistle – Your Liver, Kidneys and Gallbladder will Say Thank You
Silymarin is the active ingredient in the milk thistle plant. It has been shown to reduce the incidence of gallstones and kidney stones, as well as prevent the breakdown of glutathione in the body. Glutathione occurs naturally in the body and is poorly absorbed from supplementation. Glutathione is an extremely important and it is the most powerful antioxidant that the body creates. It enhances the immune system, neutralizes free radicals, and detoxifies the liver. Additionally, recent studies have shown that the kidneys are protected by milk thistle as well. It does reduce the effectiveness of some medications such as warfarin and others, as it competes for the same liver enzymes required for their breakdown into the blood stream.
Facts & Benefits
- Used to Treat the Following: Liver disorders, such as hepatitis and cirrhosis, and gallbladder problems.
- Emergency Antidote for Poisoning: Death cap mushroom, believed to be the world’s most deadly mushroom, can be completely counteracted by merely taking a large amount of milk thistle.
- Anti-Cancer Properties: Milk thistle has been shown to stop cancer cells from dividing, shorten the lifespan of cancer cells, and restrict the blood flow to tumors.
- Neuroprotective: Studies in mice have shown that milk thistle has many neuroprotective properties.
- Overall: I believe milk thistle to be one of the greatest natural means of maintaining a healthy liver, kidney, and gallbladder.
#10 Spirulina & Chlorella – Energy and Detoxification
I combined these two because I didn’t want to leave either one out. They’re both great super foods with good health benefits. Both are fresh water algae. Chlorella is the greener of the two whereas spirulina has a blue-green color. They both high in protein and vitamins and minerals. They both go great in smoothies.
Facts & Benefits
- Detoxifies Heavy Metals : Spirulina and Chlorella are both very effective at eliminating heavy metals in the body.
- Specific to Spirulina: Eliminates candida(yeast) in the body, lowers blood pressure, and alleviates sinus issues.
- Specific to Chlorella: Promotes weight loss, slows the aging progress, and strengthens the immune system. Contains a compound call chlorella growth factor, CGF, which stimulates cell regeneration.
- Common benefits: Both are amazing for energy. both are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals.
- Overall: The reason I love these two so much is because they provide so many benefits.
There are so many great items on this list. I look forward to hearing your comments on this article. I’m not a doctor but I am very interested in everything related to health and effective treatments for illness. I believe that the Earth has something that can treat every disease found in nature.