The secret to treating illness, feeling younger and living longer may be growing in your backyard. That’s the mantra of Chris Kilham, the Medicine Hunter, an ethnobotanist who’s scoured the world to find the safest and most effective natural remedies.
When it comes to feeling better or looking younger, most Americans turn to their medicine cabinets. But an unhealthy reliance on medication can cause harmful side effects and even trigger dangerous metabolic conditions. That’s why Chris Kilham looks to natural solutions. He believes that for almost every health condition you face, nature offers a safe and effective remedy.
Below, Kilham reveals his favorite healing plants, rules for longevity, and anti-aging secrets. Take a page from Mother Nature’s book and try these tips today!
Garden of Youth
Learn about the top three plants to fight disease and boost immunity.
They’re more than just a weed in your flowerbed! The dandelion’s bitter greens work to detoxify the liver. This powerful healer also fights inflammation and other bacteria, viruses and parasites.
To enjoy the detoxifying benefits, eat the dandelion’s roots and greens. Add them to a salad or stir-fry them for a side dish. If you have a chemically treated lawn, avoid eating the plants and instead pick up some dandelion root tea from your local supermarket or health store.
Although natural, Dr. Oz maintains that anything strong enough to help you could also harm you – speak to your doctor, especially if you’re pregnant or lactating, to determine if this remedy is right for you.
Also known as holy basil, the healing properties of tulsi have long been maintained in ancient ayurvedic medicine. In India, tulsi means “the incomparable one.” In Hinduism, the plant is considered sacred; it’s planted in or near almost every Hindu home throughout India and is believed to provide protection from misfortune.
Today, we know that tulsi is an extremely powerful antioxidant that has antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. It can be used to prevent diabetes, and new research even suggests that it can help to fight cancer.
Ward off inflammation today by using tulsi in your cooking. Sometimes referred to in recipes as “hot basil,” its peppery taste makes it the perfect addition to stir-fry dishes and spicy soups. Tulsi is also available as a tea or in soft-gel capsules in health food stores and online.
3. Reishi Mushrooms
Referred to as the “mushroom of immortality,” this herb is one of the most revered in Chinese medicine. Studies have shown reishi mushrooms to be a powerful cancer fighter and immunity booster. Antibacterial and antiviral, they can fight tumors and inhibit plaque formation in the arteries.
Find reishi mushrooms loose or dried in your supermarket, online, or in Chinese grocery stores. The best way to eat them is to make a broth for soups, stews and mushroom risottos. You can also drink reishi mushroom tea, which can be purchased at health food stores.
Reishi mushrooms are also available in supplement form at health food stores and online for about $12. Be sure you choose the option that says “extract” on the packaging. For best results, take a daily dose.
3 Rules for Longevity
Living a longer, happier and healthier life can be as easy as adding small changes to your daily routine.
1. Drink Coffee
Your morning cup of coffee offers more of a boost than you might think! Coffee lowers your risk for cancer – and the health benefits don’t stop there! A recent study proved that more than two cups of coffee a day seemed to offer protection against death due to heart disease, respiratory ailments and diabetes. The same study found that four or more cups a day helped protect against stroke and infection. Don’t be turned off by the caffeine – decaf java is also rich with longevity benefits.
Start off with one cup in the morning and work your way up to more. Try coffee after a meal to help digestion. Aim for around three cups of coffee daily.
2. Eat Red Onion
Red onions are anti-aging superstars. They lower your LDL or “lousy” cholesterol, and help reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Onions contain quercetin and kaempferol, two of the most beneficial antioxidant compounds on earth, each demonstrating cancer-fighting, anti-inflammatory and immune-enhancing benefits.
Yellow onions are also full of anti-agers, but they contain more sulphur than their red counterpart, which irritates the eyes and respiratory system. Go with red onions instead. Eat them raw or cooked. While some health benefits are lost in heating, onions are so healthy that you can consume them either way.
3. Use Turmeric
Turmeric is what gives curry and American mustard its yellow color. The active compound in turmeric root, called curcumin, contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric can benefit the cardiovascular and immune systems along with brain function. It can also be used as a pain reliever.
Try consuming fresh or dried turmeric root in large quantities, or try taking 500 mg of curcumin supplements once or twice per day as needed for pain management. Curcumin is difficult for your body to absorb, so choose supplements with added phospholipids or that include “mireva” or “BCM-95” in the ingredients to ensure you’re getting the highest quality extract.
Ancient Anti-Aging Secrets
Used by ancient healers to tap into the fountain of youth, these time-tested secrets have been around for centuries.
1. Palo Santo
Palo Santo is a wood with aromatherapeutic benefits similar to frankincense, myrrh or sandalwood. Like incense, burning Palo Santo reduces stress by creating an atmosphere of calm and tranquility. South American shamans use Palo Santo to establish a meditative mood.
You can find Palo Santo online or in specialty stores, but you can also create a cleansing atmosphere using what you already have at home. Take a bath, light a candle, or begin a meditation routine. Finding time for yourself to relax and unwind will naturally allow for harmful toxins to vacate your system.
While there are many different types of chants with a diverse array of meanings, the practice is mainly used to alleviate depression and bolster spirits.These health benefits are backed by science. One study found that singing reduces stress by producing endorphins and offers physical benefits by exercising the heart, lungs, abdominal and back muscles.
This chant, which Chris Kilham performed on the show, from the Kaw Tribe of North America literally means "Grateful to be alive."
“Witchi Tai To”
Witchi Tai To gimmie rah
Whoa ra-nee ko
Whoa ra-nee ko
Hey-ney hey-ney no way
Kilham suggests making time to chant or sing each day, but the time of day is up to you: morning, noon or night. It doesn't matter when, it matters that you do it. Another study by George Washington University and the National Endowment for the Arts found that singers in a choir group felt physically healthier, visited the doctor less, and were less depressed than a control group.
3. The 5 Tibetans
The Tibetan Rites are yoga-based exercises used by the Tibetan monks to bolster health, longevity and vitality. The simple moves deliver powerful results. Watch Dr. Oz demonstrate a full practice. Integrate these moves into your daily routine to enhance strength and energy and improve your metabolism. Watch and follow along with Chris Kilham’s full 5 Tibetans routine.
More from The Medicine Hunter:
- Schisandra berries prized role in traditional Chinese medicine
- The health benefits of goji berries
- The skin-healing properties of "dragon's blood"
- Maqui berry, the newest superfruit
- The Medicine Hunter's favorite plant: Rhodiola