Friends of mine who live near the Sacramento Valley often forage for yerba santa. The plant is surprisingly easy to find. Despite its abundance and a very long history of medicinal use, few people know about the benefits and many uses of yerba santa. Read more
Horsetail is one of my favorite supplements. As one of the world’s best sources of silica, it makes my hair and skin look great. Because it builds collagen, horsetail supplements can help prevent wrinkles and signs of aging. And, even though I can’t see this benefit, horsetail also helps my bones get stronger and reduces the likelihood that I’ll get osteoporosis later in life. Read more
It’s springtime and that means cleavers herb (aka goose grass) is growing all over near my home. Not only is cleavers herb easy to forage, it is also has many health benefits and uses. Here’s what you need to know about cleavers herb to make the most of it. Read more
While living in Peru, I badly sprained my ankle while hiking in the jungle. A local friend gave me mucura – also known as guinea hen weed or anamu – to help with the inflammation and pain. While I can’t say with 100% certainty that the plant helped with the pain and swelling, the science backs it up. Read more
A common weed, mullein has been used for centuries as a natural remedy. Today, mullein is one of the most well-researched medicinal plants with proven health benefits. It contains numerous saponins, flavonoids, glycosides and other compounds. These compounds are what make mullein so powerful in treating earaches, coughs, ulcers, and inflammatory conditions. Read more
I recently gave myself a challenge: to walk around my neighborhood looking at people’s gardens and see which plants have health benefits. This is what initially led me to Ophiopogon (aka mondo grass). Even though it is native to Asia, mondo grass is grown throughout the world. The humble plant has many surprising health uses, including suppressing cough, reducing inflammation and boosting immunity. Read more
Like a lot of travelers, I spent my time in Quito drinking yerba mate from a gourd. But then I headed to the highlands in Ecuador to stay with a local Kichwa (Quechua) family. I was in a for a pleasant surprise when they started brewing tea that I later found out was guayusa. Since then, I’ve become an avid guayusa tea convert – for the health benefits as well as these other reasons.
Long before Asclepias tuberosa became a popular garden plant, it was used as a medicinal plant. It is especially known for treating lung issues like coughs, flu, pneumonia and asthma. Considering how important lung health is today, Asclepias tuberosa is a potent natural remedy you should consider adding to your first aid kit. Read more
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.
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