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bee stings, it also helps relieve a wider variety of skin irritations. According to a study published in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology, this common “weed” fortifies the liver and reduces inflammation, which may reduce the risk for many kinds of chronic diseases. At least one study, published in the journal Planta Medica, suggests that plantain can enhance the immune system to help fight cancer and infectious diseases. “Plantain is considered a survival


SUPER HERBS


Four Plants that Fight Off Disease by Kathleen Barnes


Mother Nature’s most potent healing herbs are already on most spice racks or growing nearby, often right outside the door.


H


erbs, respected for their healing properties for millennia, have been widely used by traditional healers


with great success. Now clinical science supports their medicinal qualities. Pharmaceutical companies routinely


extract active ingredients from herbs for common medications, including the potent pain reliever codeine, derived from Papaver somniferum; the head- clearing antihistamines ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, from Ephedra sinica; and taxol, the chemotherapy drug commonly used to treat several types of cancer, including breast cancer, from Taxus brevifolia. These are among the


findings according to Leslie Taylor, a naturopath and herbalist headquartered in Milam County, Texas, and author of The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs. Even among an abundance of


healing herbs, some stand out as nature’s “superherbs” that provide an array of medical properties, according to Rosemary Gladstar, of Barre, Vermont, the renowned author of Herbal Remedies for Vibrant Health and related works. Two of these, she notes, are widely considered nuisance weeds.


Plantain (Plantago major):


Commonly used externally for poultices, open wounds, blood poisoning and


herb because of its high nutritional value,” advises Gladstar, who founded the California School of Herbal Studies, in Sonoma County, in 1978. A new study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry confirms it’s an excellent source of alpha-tocopherol, a natural form of vitamin E and beta carotene that can be used in salads for those that don’t mind its bitter taste.


Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale):


Like plantain, dandelion is one of the most powerful medicinal herbs on the planet. “Dandelion is revered wherever you travel, except in the United States, where it is considered noxious,” observes Gladstar. Americans should reconsider their


obsession with eradication. Dandelion root is an effective treatment against several types of cancer, including often- fatal pancreatic and colorectal cancers and melanoma, even those that have proven resistant to chemotherapy and other conventional treatments, according to several studies from the University of Windsor, in England. Traditionally part of a detoxification


diet, it’s also used to treat digestive ailments, reduce swelling and inflammation and stop internal and external bleeding.


Turmeric (Curcuma longa): Turmeric gives curry powder its vibrant


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Natural Awakenings San Antonio


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