Thursday, March 5, 2009

Good food = Good medicine

2000 B.C. "Here, eat this root."
A.D. 1000 "That root is heathen. Here, say this prayer."
A.D. 1850 "That prayer is superstition. Here, Drink this potion."
A.D. 1940 "That potion is snake oil. Here, swallow this pill."
A.D. 1985 "That pill is ineffective. Here, take this antibiotic."
A.D. 2000 "That antibiotic doesn't work. Here, eat this root."

A few weeks ago I came down with some sort of flu bug that knocked me out. After a few days I finally decided that I was DONE and cracked open The Green Pharmacy book by James Duke. In the "Cold & Flu"section he gives several recommendations including sautéed onions and garlic, due to the naturally occurring antiviral chemicals in each. Thus, I sliced up some onion and garlic, sautéing over low heat in olive oil with oregano, another powerful anti viral.

Afterwards I had a hot bath with an essential oil synergy of Rosemary, Marjoram, Lavender, Eucalyptus, Lemon and Tea Tree, while sipping some Lemon Ginger tea with honey.

Next day I was 70% better and completely over it the following day. This made me remember a class taught by Wiep, a registered nurse and massage therapist. Wiep taught simple techniques on how to use the kitchen as your farmacy. The information is very much aligned with the items James mentions in The Green Pharmacy.

The history of medicine is prolific with the use of plants as healing remedies, yet in our modern day culture we have forgotten many of it's secrets. Secrets as simple as eating sautéed onions and garlic.

Aromatic plants play a prominent role in this historical look back beginning with the burning of plant material, which eventually turned into smudging or the burning of incense. It was Hippocrates who said to the ancient people of Greece to burn aromatic plants in the street during a plague. The reason for this is that many of the aromatic plants we find in the Mediterranean have anti-microbial properties. Hippocrates also said "the way to health is to have an aromatic bath and a scented massage everyday." That was back in 300 to 400 BC! In todays fast paced modern culture and aromatic bath could be as simple as a foot soak with peppermint essential oil or an essential oil rich salt scrub in the shower. Massage gets a little more tricky, although at many health food stores you will find massage therapists offering a five minute massage for five dollars.

I'll leave you with this n
ursery rhyme:

The best six doctors anywhere And no one can deny it Are sunshine, water, rest, and air Exercise and diet. These six will gladly you attend If only you are willing Your mind they'll ease Your will they'll mend And charge you not a shilling.
~Nursery rhyme quoted by Wayne Fields, What the River Knows, 1990

My next aromatherapy class is on May 13th at the Massage School of Santa Monica. I go into the history of medicine and aromatherapy along with essential oil profiles and their use. For those interested in botanical natural perfume this is a good introductory class.

Wiep de Vries, founder of the LAAC (Los Angeles Alliance for Childhood), is a registered nurse, massage therapist and health educator from the Netherlands. She trained in Family Constellation Work and has been teaching home health care workshops for parents and health professionals throughout Southern California since 1993.
Los Angeles Alliance for Childhood

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