Summer has arrived. And I’ve been enjoying all the lush, green plants and herbs happily growing in my yard. This vibrant display has gotten me thinking again about my late colleague and American botanist James Duke, Ph.D. (1929-2017).
Jim spent his career studying plants and traveling the world. He also published two popular books—Herbs of the Bible and The Green Pharmacy—both of which thoughtfully catalogue the many plants and herbs that humans have used medicinally throughout the ages. And in a moment, I’ll tell you about six healing plants mentioned in the Bible…
Plant remedies date back thousands of years
I first met Jim in the mid-1980s when he was working as the chief botanist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC) outside of Washington, D.C.
I used to visit him “out on the farm” at BARC when I was a research scientist at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), conducting my own original research on foods, diet, and nutrition. I then discovered that the USDA had (and still has) capabilities and facilities that far exceeded anything at NIH.
Jim often pointed out that prior to the patenting of drugs during the 20th century, people from all over grew plants known to help cure any ailment. And many ancient sources, including the Bible, document medicinal uses of such plants.
In fact, some plant remedies were first mentioned 3,000 years ago in classic texts from ancient India and China. Native American plant remedies, which have also been around for thousands of years, were first recorded in texts written by European settlers centuries ago. The natural, healing wonders of the Amazon came to be catalogued and studied much more recently by “modern” researchers in the 20th century. And there are still other healing plants yet-to-be discovered in Africa.
Jim also talked a lot about the “doctrine of signatures,” which became popular among colonial physicians in America. According to this doctrine, God provided botanical remedies for common human ailments. And it posits that a plant’s appearance provides clues about which part of the body the plant will benefit. (So, for example, since a walnut resembles a human brain, it must benefit the brain!)
The doctrine also suggests that plants found growing in a certain geographic location could heal common illnesses in that specific location. For this reason, colonial physicians were open to adopting botanical remedies from Native Americans. (Plus, they were incredibly effective!)
Powerful botanical remedies are mentioned in the Bible
Of course, as I noted earlier, many of these powerful botanical remedies are also mentioned in the Bible. And they remain familiar to us today.
Here are six that I find worthy of note…
1.) Black cumin has rich, dark, black seeds traditionally used to flavor baked goods and breads. Medicinally, black cumin has a wide spectrum of science-backed health benefits, including effects as an anti-diabetic, analgesic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant. Black cumin has even been described as a “miracle herb.” And its name in Old Latin—“panacea”—means “cure all.”
It’s also been notably used in traditional folk medicine for neurological issues, such as seizures and epilepsy. In fact, Hippocrates and others in ancient Greece and Rome documented epilepsy, then known as the “falling sickness,” likely because Julius Cesar (and other ancient historical figures) famously suffered from it. Unfortunately, the Romans weren’t yet reading the Bible and, therefore, didn’t know about the benefits of black cumin…
2.) Cinnamon has been used medicinally for thousands of years. It made its way to Europe through the ancient Silk Road from China and then the mercantile spice trade of the 17th to 19th centuries. It was used to prevent infection and to treat gastrointestinal (GI) disorders.
Modern research shows cinnamon also helps lower blood sugar and improves insulin sensitivity. Cinnamon also seems to have “biome-availability,” as I’ve come to call it. Which means it goes right to work in the GI microbiome—the environment in your GI tract where billions of healthy bacteria thrive—helping to metabolize sugar before it ever reaches the bloodstream.
3.) Flax was first cultivated as a food and textile crop 30,000 years ago. It was commonly used to make linen cloth before the widespread cultivation of cotton. Medicinally, flax seed oil has been used to treat arthritis, colitis, and gastritis.
The seeds of this plant also provide a rare, potent source of alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), which research shows reduces chronic inflammation and blood clots. ALA has also been shown to boost the immune system and prevent growth of tumors. Plus, lignans are also present in flaxseed and are shown to prevent breast and colon cancer in lab studies.
4.) Garlic is often used in cooking. But it has many medicinal benefits as well. For one, it “thins the blood,” to prevent atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and blood clots. Lab studies show it can also inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), a lung enzyme that I first studied back in the mid-1970s. It also acts similarly to ACE inhibitor drugs like lisinopril to lower blood pressure—without the terrible side effects.
(I discuss this lung enzyme in great detail in my upcoming Breathe Better Lung Health Protocol. I’m putting the finishing touches on this innovative online learning tool, which is set to release later this year. As always, you’ll be the first to know when this protocol launches. Don’t forget to check your inbox for the latest details!)
5.) Saffron is a spice that was widely used in ancient Persia and throughout the Mediterranean. It comes from the rare stamens of crocus flowers and is used medicinally as an antidepressant and sedative. For this spice, a little bit goes a long way. Its biologically active compounds influence the brain to naturally balance neurotransmitters, dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.
6.) Sage is an herb that originated in the Mediterranean. It has a sweet, yet savory flavor. It was widely used to preserve meat prior to refrigeration. Modern research studies show it produces significant improvement in cognitive function in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. (You can learn about all the natural approaches to prevent and reverse Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in my online learning protocol, Dr. Micozzi’s Complete Alzheimer’s Cure. To learn more, or to enroll today, simply click here now!)
Thanks to the work of my late colleague Jim Duke and many others, more resources than ever are going into studying these potent, healing plants. And I’ll continue to bring you all the new research on effective botanical remedies in my Daily Dispatch and Insiders’ Cures newsletter. Not yet a subscriber? Now’s the perfect time to get started. Click here to sign up today!
To experience the benefits I mentioned above, you can look for high-quality dietary supplements that contain these time-tested natural wonders. And try to incorporate them regularly in your cooking as an added bonus for your health.
“Healing Herbs From the Bible Conquer Modern Diseases.” Newsmax, 4/2/2019 (newsmax.com/health/health-news/bible-healing-health-herbs/2019/04/02/id/909789/)
“Anticancer Activities of Nigella Sativa (Black Cumin).” Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2011; 8(5 Suppl): 226–232. (doi.org 10.4314/ajtcam.v8i5S.10)