During many aeons ago our ancestors have been using plants to enhance their health or to cure diseases, even nowadays in many countries of Africa people still rely on healers instead of physicians because the former ones know the healing secrets of plants. Actually in the west, late increments of alternative and functional medicine seems to be not just a response to a growing demand of health seekers but also a sign that may be indicative of the limitations of traditional medicine where we are constantly offered pills, supposed “cure-all” that act as a temporary relief more than a long-term solution, instead of confronting the problem from the root. To take the bull by the horns some people are starting to search for other remedies to cure themselves.

As always nature has the answer when searching the cure for any ailment that we may have so if you look in your grandma’s garden or even in your kitchen you will surely find natural spices and condiments that you may not imagine, even in your wildest daydreams, that they were “magical healers” but your grandma surely knew already.

Using our grannies’ intuition and knowledge about the healing power of plants and a little research, we found out that the Mother Land offers us a lot of herbs and plants that can solve many of our health problems , without having to undergo surgery, or emotional imbalances. Let´s check it out because we have nothing to lose and a lot to win!

Yohimbe: Popularly known as Quebrachin, Aphrodin, Corynine, Yohimvetol, and Hydroergotocin also. It is indigenous to Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon and the Congo. Generally, Yohimbe has anaesthetic properties. Its bark was used in West Africa to combat fever, coughs and leprosy. It is equally good to dilate pupils and to treat heart disease.

Nutmeg: You can find it also under the appellative of Nutmeg Flower, Black Caraway, Flower Seed, Black Cumin. It is grown in the West Indies, South Africa, the Malacca Islands, India and other tropical parts of the world. Nutmeg used sparingly can enhance appetite and digestion. The oil that comes out of Nutmeg helps to combat flatulence. It has cosmetical uses in perfumes and creams. It is commonly used as a spice for seasoning foods. It is good for nausea and vomiting. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory effects. It is used externally to alleviate a toothache, eczema and rheumatic or abdominal pain.

Myrrh: Its many names are Commiphora Molmol, Mo Yoa, Balsamodendron and Bola. It is native to northern Africa. It acts as a remedy for a wide variety of ailments such as stomach complaints and chest problems, such as bronchial infection as well as menstrual problems. Ayurvedic medicine uses myrrh for its rejuvenating characteristics. It is also well considered in Chinese medicine. It is used to treat infected hurts; bronchial grievances, sinusitis, some skin inflammations such as throat, gums and mouth inflammations, adding in mouth ulcers, gingivitis and stomatitis.

Ginger: Many of its multiples names are Shunthi, Adrak, Sunth, Black Ginger, Race Ginger, African Ginger. This root is autochthonous of Asia but it is cultivated in other places such as West Indies, Jamaica and Africa. Ginger is not just a flavour plant to add to your dishes but it also helps to get rid of bloating, it’s useful to combat indigestions, cold, diarrhea and alcoholic gastritis.

Cola: popular names of this plant are Kola, Guru Nut, Kola Nut. It is original from West Africa but it is also planted in Nigeria, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and S. America. Cola has astringent and diuretic compounds. It’s anti-depressive, it fosters the central nervous system, and it cures some types of migraines.

Chicory: Succory, Wild Succory, Coffee Weed as some call it is a plant that we can find in Europe, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and in North and South America. Chicory is used in salads and its roasted leaves are used to create a savoury caffeine free coffee called Chicory coffee. This plant is a natural tonic, diuretic and laxative.

Buchu: Other popular names of this flower is Barosma betulina Bartl and Diosma betulina. It can be found in South Africa , in other countries of Africa and in South America. Buchu may have antiseptic properties. It is generally used to cure irritable bladder and in mild inflammations of the urinary tract and bladder infections. The tea of this plant is recommended by herbalists to speed up the healing of bruises and is also used as a vaginal concoction to solve yeast infections.

Akarakara: named popularly as Pellitory, Pyrethrum, Akarkara, Pellitory of Spain, Roman Pellitory and Spanish Camomile. It´s originally from North Africa, in the Mediterranean, Himalayas, north India and Arabian countries. The root of this plant works to alleviate a toothache. Akarakara gargles are effective for partial paralysis of tongue and lip. And that´s not all, in addition, it is the solution to healing chronic catarrh for both head and nostril.

Aghada: different names of this plant are Rough Chaff Tree, Prickly Chaff Flower, Apamarga, Adharajhada, Aghata, Antisha, Chirchira. This herb is found in tropical Asia, Africa, Australia and America. It has diuretic, expectorant and cleansing properties. The juice that comes out of its leaves is used to treat fever, cough, diarrhoea, dysentery, dropsy and other illnesses. An infusion prepared with aghada is good for stomach ache, bowel complaints, biles, boils, skin eruptions and many other things.

African pepper: also known as African red pepper, American pepper, Chili pepper, Chillies, Garden pepper, Red pepper. This hot beauty grows mainly in Africa, Asia and South America but can also be found in other parts of the world. The African pepper is an antiseptic, antibacterial and carminative fruit. The African red pepper is a good source of antioxidants and it has a positive effect on cardiovascular issues. It is employed in bursitis, diabetic neuropathy, osteoarthritis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and in many other diseases.

Definitely, we can now say that herbal medicines are the “new pills” so if you don´t find them in any grocery or herbalist store near of where you live you should try to grow some of them in your garden (if you have one) or in flowerpots in the balcony of your flat. It would nice if you could include this herb in some of your favourite recipes and see how it goes.
A great part of how we feel have also to do with what we put in our mouths; so eat well and you will surely feel well.