I like to forage for wild edibles and medicinal plants, but admittedly can’t identify too many. Boerhaavia diffusa is one plant which I repeatedly saw around the United States. It wasn’t until I took a trip to India that I finally learned what the plant is.
While living in Central America, I ate a lot of fresh acerola cherry and particularly loved making sorbet from it. Now that I’m back in the States, I take acerola cherry powder when I need an immune boost. An unfortunate problem with acerola cherry though is that its nutrients break down quickly. If you want to get the health benefits of acerola cherry, it’s important that you choose the right product. Read more
It amazes me how little communication goes on between the East and West when it comes to medicinal remedies. Despite the fact that China is often praised for having a long history of medicine, few Westerners actually incorporate Chinese herbs into their life. One of these often-overlooked herbs is Atractylodes. Read more
A while back, I spent a several months living in the Amazon regions of Brazil and Peru. Aside from the astounding natural beauty and culture of the region, it was also one of the best culinary experiences of my life. I discovered dozens of foods I had never heard of before – including the pitanga fruit. Read more
Because I won’t be traveling anytime soon, I decided to take a look at medicinal plants around my home in Upstate New York. One of these plants is the balsam fir tree. It has a long history of medicinal use with Native Americans and dozens of health benefits. It also has the benefit of actually smelling nice too. Read more
If you walk around river beds in parts of India, you will probably see a tall, imposing tree with an yellow star-shaped fruit. This is the arjuna tree. To protect itself from infection and infestation, the arjuna tree evolved to have strong natural chemicals like antioxidants, enzymes and acids. These same components are what give arjuna herb health benefits to humans, particularly for heart health. Read more
In Western cultures, “leafy greens” are usually bitter or slightly citrusy-tasting greens like spinach, kale or arugula. By contrast, Asian cultures eat many more types of greens, including ones like Houttuynia Cordata – aka fish mint — which has a very distinct flavor (to say the least!). While the taste of fish mint might not be for everyone, it is loaded with health benefits that make it worth consuming. Read more
A lot of Southeast Asian fruits – like lognan, durian, and jackfruit — have become wildly popular around the world. Yet, most people still haven’t heard of gac fruit. This is surprising considering that gac fruit has the highest amount of lycopene of all fruits – 200x more than carrots and 50x more than tomatoes. On top of that, gac fruit is loaded with many other nutrients and has lots of impressive health benefits. Read more
Whenever I travel somewhere new, I’m always amazed at how many amazing foods I had never even heard of before. This was the case with mongongo (aka manketti) before I went to Namibia. After seeing locals cracking open the strange nuts, I learned all about the benefits of mongongo nuts, especially the oil for hair and skin. Read more
If you visit Senegal or certain other West African countries, you are certain to see people selling baskets full of kenkeliba. These leaves come from the combretum micranthum shrub and are consumed as a sweet tea. Not only does the tea actually taste pretty nice, but Kenkeliba has a long list of health benefits which will make you want to drink more of it.