Long before humans learnt to hunt animals, primitive man depended on plants for nourishment.
Later, humans learnt that various plants had certain beneficial effects and qualities to treat what ailed them.
Gradually, through experience, a great wealth of knowledge was accumulated and handed down from generation to generation.
Although interwoven with superstition, this knowledge still survived as sound plant lore and became the foundation of what we know today
More and more people are beginning to seek the benefits of a healthier way of life.
Science has helped fuel this trend by proving the nutritional and medicinal value of plants, encouraging people to return to the cultivation and use of plants in every aspect of their lives.
The kitchen garden is the ideal spot to cultivate both nutritional and healing plants.
It doesn't have to be elaborate, just an area set aside that contains safe and inexpensive fresh herbs and seasonal vegetable needs.
Commonly grown vegetables and herbs, such as onion, garlic, ginger, potato, cabbage, beetroot, beans, peas, carrot and celery, are not only nutritious but exert a beneficial effect on the body system.
For instance, onion is an excellent disinfectant, a natural antibiotic and is rich in vitamin B1.
A regular intake ensures that the nervous system remains healthy.
Garlic contains vitamins A, B and C, and copper, sulphur, manganese, iron and calcium.
It cleanses cholesterol and toxins from the blood stream and stale mucus from the tissues, nourishes the nerves and increases glandular secretions.
Ginger is a natural antacid and aids in the elimination of colon gas.
When added to bathwater it will open the pores of the skin and help rid the body of toxins.
Potato is reputed to be the most curative of all food remedies - this humble tuber contains vitamins A, B, D, E and H.
A grated raw potato and a teaspoon of powdered ginger makes an excellent poultice for growths and skin infections, and a footbath of potato-peel water is a remedy for chilblains.
Carrot juice is rich in carotene and numerous other beneficial substances which will regulate the digestive process and rectify constipation and diarrhoea.
However, carrot juice should be taken in moderation as an excess of carotene will kill vitamin D in the body.
Cabbage leaves can be used as a first aid measure to ease hot, painful joints, and cucumber will soothe sore and inflamed skin.
Raw beetroot juice can be taken for constipation, cystitis and skin diseases; French beans are beneficial to the heart; peas, which are rich in chlorophyll, sweeten the blood and improve circulation.
Celery is rich in vitamins A, B, and C, and is helpful in easing laryngitis and restoring a weak digestive system, and will exert a beneficial effect in diseases of the liver, kidneys, bladder, heart, and nerves.
Make a tea by steeping the leaves (not stalks) in boiling water for 10 minutes. Strain, cool, and mix half and half with soy milk.
Drink a small glassful three times daily before meals, or in the case of laryngitis gargle as required, then swallow.
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