Traditional medicines and the ancient wisdom traditions that utilized them have always been based upon observations about the laws of nature.

For a broad and in-depth description of natural remedies addressing at least 160 health problems, may I recommend the book Alternative Cures, by an expert in the field of natural healing, Bill Gottlieb.

In the meantime, the following list provides a foundation for understanding the extent to which modern scientific methods have already demonstrated the effectiveness of ancient remedies.

Cancer: Ginseng has played many healing roles in ancient Chinese herbal
medicine; in 2004 the journal of the American Heart Association, Circulation,
reported a study from MIT revealing that ginseng can promote the
growth of blood vessels (a key to wound healing), while another form of
ginseng with a preponderance of two key ingredients can halt the formation
of blood vessels, which can help to kill cancerous tumors.

Researchers at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
reported in the October 2005 issue of Clinical Cancer Research how curcumin,
the main ingredient of tumeric, repels the spread of cancer to lung
tissue and shuts down a protein active in the spread of breast cancer. Curcumin,
a member of the ginger family, has been a mainstay in both traditional
Indian and Chinese medicine for thousands of years.

Carcinogens: Practitioners of traditional medicine from India and
China have long contended that synthetic vitamins are much less effective
than plant-based vitamins in removing toxins from the body and keeping
the immune system healthy; in 1994 the Tufts University Health and Nutrition
Letter reported that researchers have compared synthetic vitamin C
to naturally occurring food-derived vitamins and found that synthetics
failed to reduce carcinogenic nitrosamines, while food-derived sources “reduced
to significantly lower levels” these toxins.

The explanation given:
“Vitamins as they appear in nature are in complex interrelationships with
hundreds, even thousands of other biochemicals within the complex
natural food matrix.”

Depression: Many cultures have traditionally used Saint-John’s-wort as a
treatment for depression and mood disorders, especially in women; in 2005
the British Medical Journal reported that Saint-John’s-wort has been found
effective against moderate depression and it also exhibits fewer side effects
than paroxetine, one of the more common synthetic antidepressants.

A root extract called golden root or Rhodiola rosea, has been used for
centuries in Russia to cope with the cold Siberian winters and stress; pharmacology
studies in the twentieth century discovered that the root stimulates
brain chemicals that elevate mood and fight stress and depression.

Gastrointestinal Disorders Green tea has a long history in traditional
Chinese medicine as a promoter of gastrointestinal health; during 2004 The
European Journal of Pharmacology reported that green tea has numerous
pharmacological properties that promote health, including antioxidant,
antiinflammatory, anticarcinogenic, antibacterial, and anti-arterisoclerotic

Heart Disease: The ancient Aztec Indians used a species of magnolia fruit as a treatment for heart problems; clinical studies in the twentieth century determined that the fruit contains chemical compounds effective for a variety of heart conditions.

Allergic inflammatory diseases were historically treated in Korea using
an herbal compound called allergina; a 2004 clinical study published in
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine by a team of pharmacologists
at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences found convincing evidence that allergina works synergistically to enhance cardiac health and overall health.

Alzheimer’s: A spice used for many centuries in the Indian ayurvedic tradition,
called curcumin, was reputed to increase mental clarity and boost overall immune system health; a study appearing in 2005 in Journal of Biological Chemistry found that curcumin was effective in breaking up Alzheimer’s disease-causing plaques. It is also under study as a treatment for multiple sclerosis and cystic fibrosis.

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