New books in the Nature Cures pocketbook series due out soon
Let Roots be Your Medicine
Nature's Colour Codes
Natural Performers and Sports Nutrition
Nature Cures Diabetes
Recovery from Injury, Surgery and Infection
Natural Relief for Pain and Inflammation
Eliminate Parasites Naturally
Natural Ways to Thin the Blood
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About Nature Cures
Natural food means food that has not been processed or refined in any way. The less food has been tainted by pesticides, genetic modification, additives and handling the better it is for the body's health and immune system. The essential nutritional content is stripped from many natural foods such as flour, grain foods, coffee, cocoa beans, sugar and salt in the refining process. Some of the essential minerals in salt are even extracted to be sold separately to industry where they bring in far more profits than if they were left in the salt, as nature intended, for human consumption. Malnutrition is now one of the world's most prolific conditions affecting people in developed countries who
mainly consume processed and refined foods.
All food begins to lose its nutritional value the minute it is cut off from its life source and the skin is cut. Therefore the fresher you can consume it the more nutritional value you are getting. It is a fast paced world we live in today and advantage has been taken of this situation by many of the large profit-driven food producing companies who cut costs by using cheap ingredients and additives which are unhealthy and some even carcinogenic to the human body.
Our ancestors did thousands of years of research for us, testing natural food on humans (not animals) and they knew what worked, yet much of this has been forgotten and ignored by a profit-led food industry. There have been some fantastic breakthroughs in science like some vaccines which force the body to naturally create its own defence but more needs to be done to research the effects of this and natural foods without funding being based upon how much profit can be made from the product being tested.
It is obvious that the human body is an amazing machine if treated right and fed good natural fuel containing all it needs to do its job. Finding out how to do this right is very difficult. If people became more educated about what they consume, they could make their own informed decisions and not be hoodwinked by clever advertising and often misleading marketing ploys. Most of the natural plants that contain amazing medicinal properties can be grown easily and consumed as a simple tea without expensive extraction processes.
Suffering ill health and pain due to ignorance is unfair and unnecessary these days. Eating healthy food is not 'bland'. Spices and tasty oils are an integral part of eating a healthy balance of nutrients. Many nationalities eat food we have come to love too such as Thai and Japanese. Their diets contain a huge variety of vegetables and fish cooked with spices and they suffer far less obesity, cancers and heart problems than those in the west whose diet consists mainly of too much fat, refined sugar, salt and refined foods. People tend to ignore what is healthy for them when they are besieged with easy to prepare over processed meals and high sugar, fat or tasty over salted snacks at rock
bottom prices. The cost of this food is hugely reduced because of the addition of the cheap mass produced non-nutritious ingredients.
A high proportion of ailments are purely due to what the body consumes. Imbalances of the elements causes malfunctions which can in turn lead to other more serious breakdowns. Readdress the balance of the nutrients ingested each week and there will quickly be an amazing transformation of health and wellbeing.
The liver is the body's unsung hero. If it is abused, by making it work too hard to remove excesses of fats and toxins, it will eventually malfunction and affect other organs. This will be reflected in the skin, hair, nails, and bone strength, brain and heart functions. Correct the balance and the liver will regenerate itself and work as it should to restore full health to the rest of the body. Knowing the balance is difficult but regularly consuming a colourful variety of healthy organic fruit, vegetables, fish, herbs, nuts, seeds and spices will provide the liver with all it needs to maintain the body in tip top health.
Most people nowadays do not possess the correct balance of friendly bacteria in their intestines to enable their body to manufacture the necessary amino acids and absorb the correct nutrients for all the vital processes that take place in the human body to work at their best.
To truly benefit from the nutritious content of food only organic, non-processed, natural and fresh produce should be consumed and very lightly cooked in healthy ways such as steaming vegetables, grilling or poaching. If oils are used choose cold-pressed virgin coconut, rapeseed, olive, rice bran, nut or seed oils.
Juicing and blending raw vegetables and fruits is a great way to consume all the nutrients which are lost during cooking and can treat many conditions and diseases if the right fruits and vegetables are chosen.
Sprouting for a micro diet is also highly beneficial to all human adverse conditions and diseases because it provides a condensed form of high nutrition and if added to the daily diet can provide all the body needs to stay healthy and fit and fight off diseases.
Brine pickling keeps vegetables for up to a year and is far healthier than vinegar pickling because it provides additional; probiotic beneficial bacteria that the intestines needs.
Why choose organic produce?
Modern intensive farming methods leach magnesium, chromium and many other essential minerals from the soil and, currently, it is not standard practice to replace them so today’s food contains less of the important minerals than it did 50 years ago. Unless this problem is addressed and farming methods altered, the mineral content of our food will continue to deplete. Going organic is one way of counter-balancing this problem.
Pesticides, fungicides and herbicides are then used to control crop productions which not only adversely affected wildlife, such as bees that have severely dropped in numbers worldwide, but end up being consumed in small amounts by humans. These toxins can then have highly detrimental effects on human health after a period of years building up in the system especially the brain and liver causing many conditions and diseases that would never have occurred otherwise. See Pesticides for more information
Organic food contains far more vitamins and minerals than non-organic produce. For instance, organic spinach contains 96 mg of magnesium, but an equal quantity of non-organic spinach contains only 47.5mg. Magnesium is instrumental in digesting protein and converting it into energy. Our protein portions, especially in the West, tend to be excessive so as a result, the body uses up its magnesium reserves digesting the extra. Eating less meat and dairy and more nuts, beans, fish, fruit, whole grains, herbs, spices and vegetables will help fend off the degenerative diseases that a lack of magnesium can cause. As a general guide, the protein portion of each meal should never be larger than the
palm of the person eating it and only 2.5 cm (one inch) thick. The same applies to children.
Hopefully, this website will help you to make an informed decision on what you should consume to keep your body healthy and what may be lacking or should be avoided or may help you recover from various illnesses. Be creative and try adding healthy ingredients to your normal recipes in small amounts. Replace unhealthy options like white flour with whole meal flour and sugar with pure honey and butter with cold-pressed coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil. Add a pinch of turmeric and other spices to sauces, sandwiches, soups and stews. Use yoghurt instead of cream. You will
find that many healthy options taste even better and will feel good knowing that you are looking after your body and your health as well as those you may cook for.
Why spend a fortune on over-the-counter drugs when you can transform food into first aid with far cheaper common grocery ingredients. Teas, soups, tinctures, gargles, baths, compresses, juices, steam treatments, massage oils, medicinal honeys and syrups can all be easily made at the kitchen table. Stock your kitchen cupboards with vinegar, tea tree oil, aloe vera, honey, turmeric, cayenne pepper, coconut, lemon and garlic as all contain excellent antiseptic properties but do no harm to the environment unlike man made chemically based products. See the Hygiene, Toxins and health page for ways to make your own toxin free cleaning products and cosmetics.
How some remedies are made
Infusions are a simple way of extracting the active principles of herbs through the action of hot water. The preparation of infusions is similar to way tea is prepared. This method is used to extract the volatile components of the dried or green aerial parts of herbs and plants like flowers and leaves. Infusions may use single herbs or a blend of herbs, vegetables, fruits and spices and are drunk hot or cold. This is the easiest and cheapest method of extracting the medicinal compounds of herbs.
Roots, barks and fruits being thicker and less permeable than the aerial parts of medicinal plants, do not liberate their active principles by simple infusion. It is necessary to simmer these parts in boiling water in order to extract their medicinal constituents. The material should be cut or broken into small pieces. In order to avoid losing volatile constituents, use a lid over the simmering pan. After cooling down and separating the solid from the liquid, decoctions can be taken hot or cold.
Most of the volatile components of medicinal plants and herbs are soluble in alcohol. By immersing dried or fresh parts of plants in alcohol, the active principles are easily extracted at concentrations that exceed those that can be achieved by infusion or decoction. Highly concentrate solutions that will last for one to two years are a convenient way to store and use medicinal plants constituents. Ideally tinctures should be made using pure ethyl alcohol distilled from cereals. However, since this product is not available to the public, good Vodka with 45-35% alcohol can be used. The extraction is fairly quick. A 50% mixture of herbs and alcohol kept in a tightly closed jar will hold a
tincture ready for use at the prescribed dosage. Never use methyl alcohol, methylated spirits, isopropyl alcohol or any other kind of unknown spirit to make tinctures.
With some rare exceptions, like peppermint that is a familiar flavouring agent in tooth paste and chewing gum, infused or decocted herbs are not palatable, specially for children. In order to disguise their taste, infusion and decoctions can be mixed with honey. These syrups combine the soothing action of these solvents to the medicinal properties of the infusions and decoctions resulting in additional benefits specially for treating cough and sore throats.
Pure vegetable oils such as almond, coconut, olive, rapeseed or sunflower oil are easily found at grocer stores. They have the property of dissolving the active, fat-soluble active principles of medicinal plants and herbs. This process is called infusion and can be carried out at room temperature or higher. Infusion is a slower process than alcohol extraction but has the advantage of resulting in an oil based solution of medicinal constituents that can easily be used to make creams and ointments. Hot infusion is recommended for the harder parts of the plants while cold infusion is more suitable for flowers and leaves.
Essential oils are the volatile oily components of aromatic plants, trees and grasses. They are found in tiny glands located in the flowers (neroli), leaves (eucalyptus), roots (calamus), wood (sandal) and resins (frankincense). Essential oils are extracted by four main methods: steam distillation, expression, solvent extraction and effleurage. In the first method the oil is extracted by the action of hot steam and then selectively condensed with water from which it is separated. In the second method the oil is extracted by pressure or centrifugation.
In the third method the oil is dissolved in a volatile solvent that when evaporated leaves a heavily natural wax substance called concrete. When separated from the wax, the resulting liquid is called an absolute, the most concentrated form of aroma available. Effleurage is a longer process involving the dissolution of the oils in animal fat and its separation using alcohol. Although essential oils main usage is in cosmetics and perfumery, many of them do have proved therapeutic properties but are not suitable for pregnant women.
Ointments are prepared like hot infused oils, the difference being that herbs are simmered in waxes or fats containing no water. After separating the simmered herbs by squeezing and cooling, the result is a solid mixture of the wax or fat with the medicinal constituents of the plant. Petroleum jelly, soft paraffin wax and bees wax are some common bases used. Ointments form an oily barrier on the surface of injuries and carry the active principles to the affected area.
Creams are mixtures of oils or fats with water. Since water and oils are not miscible, it is necessary to add an emulsifying agent that avoids their separation. Creams are therefore stable emulsions of oils or fats. Medicinal properties are added to creams when they use or are made with tinctures, infusions, oil infusions, essential oils or decoctions. Creams are permeable allowing the skin to breathe and sweat. Their water content and some additional hydrophobic agent like glycerine promotes the hydration and cooling of the skin.
Poultice and compresses
There are various types of poultices that can be used to treat a wide variety of complaints from acne, arthritis and respiratory conditions to bruises and sprains. Some people advocate the use of porridge, carrot, bread, milk, potatoes, clay, cabbage and herbal poultices and many use poultices as a home remedy for their horses' ailments. A poultice will also help ease out anything that's embedded under the skin such as wood or metal splinters and can also bring boils or abscesses to the surface and draw out bee sting poison.
A homemade poultice is made by mashing herbs, plant material or another substance with warm water or natural oils to make a paste. Pure pressed coconut oil is especially good to use. The paste can be applied directly to the skin and covered with a piece of clean cloth. If the herb used is potent such as onion, garlic, ginger, mustard, etc., it is advisable to place a layer of thin cloth between the skin and the herb. The cloth can then be covered with plastic wrap to hold in the moisture. The poultice should be changed every 3 to 4 hours or more if it dries out. Then the area should be washed with soap and dried thoroughly and left uncovered.
A compress is used the same way but usually warm liquids are applied to the cloth instead of raw cold substances. Tinctures or herbal infusions are great for compresses.
"Nature cures not the physician..." Hippocrates 460 BC
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