Plant-Based Medicine: For Cave and City Dwellers Alike

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Plant-based medicines have been around since the earliest humans, who didn’t have the luxury of going to the 24-hour pharmacy to get the treatment they needed.

When they had something that needed medical attention, the cure had to be something that they or their village shaman could prepare in a hurry, which usually meant something local.

Now we have hundreds of options over the counter, and who knows how many more that can be prescribed. Is there still any reason to stick to the older ways? Could remedies that predate recorded human history really still be effective options today?


First of all, consider where modern medicine comes from. Much of it derives from studying ancient herbal remedies and extracting what works.

Modern pills and syrups may be developed and tested in the labs, but the genesis is often an idea found by looking at what has worked since ancient days.

In fact, according to the World Health Organization, many of the drugs used in the United States today are derived from plants.

Opium, aspirin, quinine … all of these were around long before what we consider to be modern medicine. They may be available in more accessible forms now, and in more convenient packaging, but Stone Age Man learned to recognize their effects as well.

The big difference is that an herbalist (someone who utilizes plant-based medicine) is focused on the part of the plant that provides the curative aspect, while the pharmaceutical companies dig deeper to look for the specific ingredient that does the trick, making it easier to figure out the correct dosages.


Second, medicinal plants are what most of the world still uses today. Most of the developing world relies on herb and plants because that is what’s nearby and what they have always known.

Additionally, consider the environment in which humanity evolved. Cavemen didn’t have the modern treatments we do; they relied entirely on home remedies. So it’s natural to figure that their bodies and ours were designed to be cured by what was readily on hand back then.

It’s not that modern medicine isn’t effective; by and large it is, and there are few who would prefer a complete rollback to the days of 5,000 years ago. But sometimes we can find a natural remedy may work just as well or better in specific instances.

Ready for some examples? Here are seven plants that have been known and utilized for thousands of years, and they are still key items many use today for their own health needs.

  1. Aloe vera is commonly found in kitchens, either as a plant or as an ingredient in a moisturizer or cream. Its healing properties concerning burns and skin infections are well documented. It’s also a great moisturizer, an essential ingredient in healthy tissues.
  2. Virtually everyone has heard of marijuana, even though it’s illegal to smoke it in many places. But its medicinal properties are well known, particularly to those suffering from glaucoma or from the nausea associated with chemotherapy.
  3. The use of African ginger dates back centuries. It is useful in everything from digestive ailments to heart disease. Anyone suffering from motion sickness probably doesn’t need to be introduced to the difference this can make during a long car ride.
  4. Green rooibos is often seen nowadays in trendy teas. It’s packed with antioxidants and has been used to treat everything from asthma to allergies.
  5. Sceletium (Kanna) is a natural mood enhancer that helps combat depression and anxiety. If you suffer from seasonal disorders, try some of these tablets and it may help you get back on track.
  6. Sutherlandia frutescens is also known as “cancer bush.” Three guesses what it’s known for! But it’s a lot more versatile than that; it has traditionally been used as an effective treatment for pretty much everything under the sun.
  7. Warburgia, also known as the pepperbark tree, is a great expectorant. If you suffer from chest congestion, some tablets may help more than the usual products found over the counter.

Sometimes, it seems like the cavemen knew as much as we do now about what their bodies needed to heal. These seven products are illustrations of just how right they may have been.

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