The Awesome Power of Nature’s Pharmacy

vegetables

“In all things of nature there is something of the marvellous.”
Aristotle

“If one way be better than another,
that you may be sure is nature’s way.”
Aristotle

“Myrtle” from The Glorious Garden by Debbie Wiseman (courtesy ViolinAround)

Scientists have documented in several trials that various foods contain compounds that can prevent, protect or help to cure many cancers, heart disease, high blood pressure, bad circulation or even dementia, among many other ailments. The Ancient Egyptians knew of the potent combination of raw garlic and onions and gave them daily to the workers building pyramids. They even provided baskets of garlic and onions in burial chambers to accompany the dead into the afterlife. They regarded garlic as a magic cure-all, and they worshipped it. Pliny the Elder, a Roman administrator who lived in the first century AD, recommended garlic for sixty-one ailments. The Ancient Greeks gave garlic to marathon runners to give them strength and power of endurance. In 1858 Louis Pasteur put a portion of garlic in a dish contaminated with bacteria and recorded that all the bacteria died. I wrote at length about the extraordinary qualities of garlic in one of my previous posts and therefore here I will only summarise the main benefits.

Garlic stimulates the immune system, fights infections, reduces blood pressure, thins the blood, contains cancer-preventing chemicals, prevents and relieves bronchitis, acts as a decongestant, clears the arteries of plaque thus preventing heart diseases, and acts as an antibiotic. Garlic has the broadest spectrum of any antibacterial substance that we know of. Recently scientists discovered that garlic prevents the harmful side effects of antibiotics, and also that it enhances the body’s response to further use of them. This prevents the body from not responding to the often essential further future treatment. Garlic is the greatest gift of nature to mankind.

A delicious recipe for flatbread to try – be sure to also add fresh garlic and some chopped herbs to the filling and you will be transported to paradise!

In the 1970s the Italian modernist Luciano Berio wrote a set of character pieces based on texts inspired by Orlando Gibbons’ 17th-century settings about food and London street cries, Cries of London. The recording below is about garlic, not as a flavour provider but as an early antibiotic; “Garlic, Good Garlic” (for eight voices):

Yoghurt, kephir, koumiss and other variations of soured milk have been used for thousands of years. It is one of nature’s most potent foods as it keeps the gut in a healthy condition. Genghis Khan, the creator of the Mongol Empire, fed his troops on koumiss, the fermented milk of a mare, with spectacular effect as they fought and conquered vast lands.

Life on the Mongolian steppe:

Villages in Bulgaria are known for the great longevity of people there who eat yoghurt daily. It is a long established fact that a well-working gut means good health. Yoghurt acts like a natural antibiotic preventing inflammation, stimulates the immune system and prolongs life. It is also a source of vitamin A, vital for the eyes and reproductive health.

Serenade for Strings (1959) by John Jeffreys evokes the pastoral way of life:

Fish, especially oily ones like mackerel, sardines, and herring, are indispensable in our diet as they contain omega-3 fatty acids which prevent the development of several disorders. Here are some of the benefits: they protect arteries from damage by preventing plaque formation, thin the blood thus preventing the formation of blood clots, which are a cause of stroke and heart attack, and lower blood pressure. They are an anti-inflammatory agent. They stimulate brain chemicals, and they have been known for hundreds of years as ‘brain food’. They lower bad-type blood cholesterol, regulate the immune system and prevent some cancers. They provide Vitamin D and Magnesium, among many other minerals. It is well worth noting that heart attacks are virtually unknown among Eskimos who live on fish. Sardines, in particular, are rich in vitamin B12.

Below is an amazing film showing the sardine run of southern Africa which occurs from May through July when billions of sardines or more specifically the Southern African pilchard spawn in the cool waters of the Agulhas Bank and move northward along the east coast of South Africa. Their sheer numbers create a feeding frenzy along the coastline.

Olive Oil, especially cold-pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil, has been used daily by people in the Mediterranean region for over four thousand years. In Ancient Egypt, Pharaoh Ramses II used olive oil as medicine. It is now proven that it is good for the heart. It reduces bad LDL cholesterol and raises good HDL cholesterol. It thins the blood and lowers blood pressure. It contains chemicals that prevent cancer and prolong life by slowing ageing. It has one thousand active chemical components that counteract a high-fat diet.

Apples help to keep us healthy. It is a fact that has been known for thousands of years. This knowledge was reflected in proverbs taught to children: ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’, or ‘To eat an apple going to bed will make the doctor beg his bread.’ Apple’s active ingredient is pectin, a well-known anticholesterol agent, its potency strengthened by interaction with vitamin C. Apples are regarded as an all-round health food. Those who eat an apple every day have fewer colds. Apples help to lower blood pressure, stabilise blood sugar, keep the heart healthy and are useful in dieting as they stave off hunger.

Green Vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and spinach, are essential vegetables as they protect against many ailments. Broccoli in particular significantly lowers the risk of cancer of the colon and lungs. It provides Folate, which is a B-vitamin and can only be obtained from eating green vegetables daily. It is essential to us because Folate takes part in the making of DNA and metabolism of amino acids which are required for cell division.

Carrots have been proven to be a specific food that wards off cancer of the pancreas and lungs. Vegetables contain about 500 compounds that are converted in the body into vitamin A. A low level of vitamin A is consistently linked with cancer. It is the beta-carotene in carrots that is an important ingredient. Cooking carrots lightly increase their potency as they contain fibre that also keeps the gut healthy. That is why drinking carrot juice does not have the same effect. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant. Carrots are high in vitamin A which is essential for good vision. It is advisable to have one large carrot daily, as too many will colour the skin an orange hue and can lead to skin disorders.

Sauerkraut is raw pickled cabbage. It was used as a means of preserving cabbage to use in the winter months. It can be credited with many health benefits as sauerkraut is jam-packed with vitamins and minerals, Calcium in particular. In recent years sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables have become well-known globally. This is great news because including sauerkraut in daily diet is important for many reasons. During the fermentation process beneficial probiotics, known as ‘live bacteria’, are produced and are indispensable for gut, brain and heart health. Sauerkraut also improves digestion, boosts the immune system, contributes to strong bones and increases blood circulation.  It has to be raw, not pasteurised, to be of value. The addition of grated carrot, an apple, a giant spring onion and a dash of extra virgin olive oil will provide a longevity ‘pill’ on a plate, and it is delicious.

Nuts, and walnuts, in particular, are excellent sources of good fat, fibre and protein. Walnuts contain omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, a number of vitamins like vitamin E, magnesium and iron, among other nutrients.  Eating a handful of walnuts a day reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke. It aids a healthy gut and decreases inflammation, the root cause of many ailments. It lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes as it controls blood sugar. Walnuts are proven to improve brain function and to slow ageing.

Oats are greatly beneficial to our health as is visually obvious when watching the Highland Games in Scotland. Scottish miners used to take a portion of cold cooked oats to the mines. The oats were poured into a drawer the night before and would set into a solid cake, which was then cut into convenient square portions. There is no doubt that oats are excellent heart medicine. They lower blood cholesterol and regulate blood sugar. Oats help to relieve inflammation of the skin, including psoriasis. They act as a laxative and are a source of vitamin B2. In Holland, the oat millworkers, who eat lots of cooked oats during their work time, have been known to have exceptionally low blood cholesterol.

Blueberries are well known to contain a high concentration of compounds that kill both bacteria and viruses. Blueberries also contain chemicals that act as antidiarrheal medication.  They protect blood vessels and prevent hardening of the arteries thus reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Blueberries contain high levels of flavonoids and consumed daily they reduce by 40% the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. As they taste delicious, they are used in culinary traditions in many European countries. By being freshly gathered in forests, they provide healthy exercise and if they are not eaten on the spot, which is difficult to resist, they can be later served with milk or cream. They are also wonderful as a cold summer soup, or as blueberry dumplings. As they provide an unforgettable culinary experience, they also improve memory and thinking processes as some studies discovered. Of course, I am joking, as there are also medical reasons that positively affect the working of the brain.

Dark chocolate – eating high-quality dark chocolate reduces the risk of heart diseases as it contains antioxidant catechins. Chocolate works even better when eaten with apples as studies at Rome’s Sapienza University proved a few years ago. All chocoholics can only rejoice.

L’Heure Exquise (Exquisite Hour) by Reynaldo Hahn

In gratitude and appreciation of the wonders of nature’s bounty and our planet and the daily miracles of life:

 

 

52 thoughts on “The Awesome Power of Nature’s Pharmacy

  1. Perfect. Perfect for heart and everything but one. And for that i will come back again and write.

    I almost ate the Yoghurt through that photograph! You are a perfectionist and i am certain you must be hearing it on repeat, daily.

    Nara x

    Liked by 2 people

  2. How generous of you, Dear Narayan, to read today’s post despite such a late hour!!
    Cannot thank your enough!

    Joanna xx

    Like

  3. Indeed, nature is a medicine in itself! What a lovely post, full of wonderful information. I personally do not like garlic (the smell is too strong- though, when mixed in the food, it’s okay for me!) I also do not like fish… haha. But carrots, apples, leafy greens are all at the top of my list for healthy foods! Hope you are well, Joanna!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I was reading somewhere that whatever we eat, it speaks to cells of the body as per their composition. All have different components that have their own medicinal properties and impacts.

    Fish, olive oil, oats and dark chocolates have been found to be heart-friendly, and yoghurt intestine-friendly. The items selected by you are certainly good for health conscious people. I loved this post of yours.

    I had read your earlier post on garlic. I take two cloves every morning. It is used extensively in India. In fact, India is the second largest producer of garlic next to America. Now garlic pills are also available for those who despise its pungent smell.

    I eat cabbage, but not its fermented form. Information regarding sauerkraut is quite useful in that respect, but I was really not aware that too many carrots colour the skin. But excess of anything is bad. Videos are excellent and shows your aesthetic sense.

    Thank you, Joanna for such an interesting and useful post, once again!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Thank you, KK, for your informative comments. This post is the first of three, so more to come. Too many carrots would be bad for us.
    After all – you are what you eat!

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you again. Greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you, Diana, for your kind comments. Fish must be happy! This is the first part of the Pharmacy series, so more to come.

    Joanna (almost well)

    Like

  8. Thank you again. Greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

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  9. In gratitude of Nature’s bounty, indeed! 🌞

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you, Lisa, we have much to be grateful for! More coming next week in the Pharmacy series.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  11. That’s really nice. I look forward to the next two posts. Thank you, Joanna!!

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  12. It’s my pleasure!!

    Like

  13. I’ll look forward to it! 🌞

    Like

  14. Brilliant write as always, Joanna!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank you, D, for your lovely comment. More to come next week of this series.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Thank you again, Greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Of course! Looking forward to it!

    Like

  18. Wow, what a great post, Joanna, and one that made my stomach growl. 🙂 I love Aristotle’s quote and that flatbread looks delicious. xo

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Thank you, for your lovely comments! There is more good for us foods in the two more of the Pharmacy series. See you next week!

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Thank you again. Greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Nature is the best healer! And this is something I experienced myself. The more I stay close to mother nature the more I feel comfortable these days. Nature has something magical in it.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Thank you, Shayan, I could not agree more!!

    Joanna

    Like

  23. Thank you again. Greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Like

  24. Wonderful post with such heal benefits in nature, great recipes, videos an pictures Joanna!💖

    Like

  25. Thank you, Cindy, for your generous comments!
    The next post has more Pharmacy, see you then!

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Thank you again. Greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  27. You’re so welcome Joanna! I’ll look forward to it!!! Indeed you will!💖💖💖

    Like

  28. It’s my pleasure!💖

    Like

  29. I love the heading of your post “The Awesome Power of Nature’s Pharmacy” it carried through beautifully to the rest of the post. Great read, thank you Joanna.

    Like

  30. This is awesome article! I will definitely try to eat more with these recipes! Especially fish 🙂
    HiRO

    Like

  31. Thank you! Very kind.

    Joanna

    Like

  32. Thank you again, Greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Like

  33. Thank you, Henrietta, for your generous comment!

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Thank you again. Very much appreciated.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  35. This post is so great! The importance of nature and natural foods; everything humans needed on the Earth were already there from the start, for cures and good health. I like how you showed that its important to take moderation, also: “It is advisable to have one large carrot daily, as too many will colour the skin an orange hue and can lead to skin disorders.” Garlic, blueberries, fish all very good. Also was nice how you showed up cultures that use these foods. Thanks for posting this! Important message!

    Like

  36. Thank you, Benjamin, for your wonderful comments! There are two more parts about special foods in my Pharmacy series so I hope to see you back!

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Thank you, Benjamin, for your wonderful comments! There are two more parts about good goods in my Pharmacy series. so I hope to see you soon.

    Joanna

    Like

  38. Thank you again. Greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Nice to hear this. I’ll be looking forward to the next ones. It’s an exciting thing. And important message to get out. Welcome!

    Like

  40. Joanna, a gorgeous post filled with interesting information and healthful recommendations. I especially liked the video from Mongolia…so beautiful!

    As I went through your post, I was amazed to see that my diet is made up of many of the featured foods. After reading the segment about apples lowering blood sugar, I will not feel guilty about eating them in moderation, even though they are not approved on my ketogenic diet. I got off diabetes medication after taking it for seven years. My blood sugar has been controlled by diet for about four years now.

    Thank you for this lovely, entertaining, and educational post! All the best! 🙂

    Like

  41. Thank you for your wonderful comments, Cheryl, part 2 of the Pharmacy coming tomorrow,

    Joanna

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  42. What gorgeous photos, video, and inspiration! I will return for these reminders. ❤️

    Like

  43. Thank you, Crystal, for your wonderful comments and for becoming my post follower! I will read yours with interest. I have a book
    “Portraits Unmasked”, where it is explained who the people in them really were.
    Did you see the message I left on your post?

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  44. You’re welcome, Joanna. That book looks fascinating. I left you a note on the other post and would be honored for you to share.

    Like

  45. Lovely post! Beautiful quotes and wonderful video! Was a beautiful music. Myrtle…Enjoyed the tune so much. ☺️

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  46. Joanna, thanks for your fabulous post, the photos and the video! I agree with you, it is really important to be careful what we eat. We have a garden where we grow vegetables and herbs. We also have berry bushes, grapevines and two apple trees. Every day I go around and see what I want to cook for lunch. There are foods that do not grow well in my area, which I then buy at the market.
    Joanna, I wish you all the best! 😊
    Rosie from Germany

    Like

  47. Thank you, Rosie, for your wonderful comments! In Harvest time, I do the same, as I grow many fruits.
    Thank you and all the best to you too.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  48. Thank you again. Greatly appreciated.

    Joanna
    PS thank you for Narayan!

    Liked by 1 person

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