Did you know that at least one-third of Americans are using complementary or alternative health remedies? Whether you’re looking for alternatives to pharmaceuticals or holistic remedies that can complement your current healthcare routine, you’re not alone.
This increase in interest in plants with purpose is not surprising. Many of us are growing curious about medicinal plants and natural remedies as we progress into the modern age.
From fruits and vegetables to herbs and roots, there are so many wellness options growing right out of the earth. Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the powerhouses of the plant world.
Read on to learn more about our top 5 plants with purpose and how they can help you on your wellness journey.
Turmeric has long been an important spice in South Asian cuisine and if you’ve ever enjoyed a delicious curry dish, you’ve already tasted it. The turmeric we consume comes from the tuber-like roots (not unlike ginger) of a leafy green plant that can be grown indoors or outdoors. It is the curcumin in turmeric that gives it that gorgeous golden-yellow color.
Turmeric has been found to be an incredibly powerful blocker of inflammation. It provides this relief by blocking the NF-kB-a protein that tells the body when to “turn” inflammation on and off. Incorporating turmeric into your diet may fight or prevent a wide range of diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, type-2 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s.
Turmeric can be purchased as a ready-to-use spice from most grocery stores. You can also find it in many teas and pre-made curry sauces. We do recommend consuming turmeric, itself, rather than taking the curcumin supplements that may be found in some health stores.
Lutein is not its own plant, but rather a carotenoid found in a large variety of green vegetables (even though it is technically a yellow pigment). Great sources of lutein include kale, spinach, and broccoli. You’ll also find lutein in kiwi fruits, grapes, and orange juice if you’re looking for a sweeter source.
What makes lutein a plant (component) with purpose? Lutein offers protection from oxidative damage caused by UV exposure and natural (but destructive) cellular processes. It works its magic by ridding the body of free radicals.
In addition to the lutein-rich vegetables and fruits we already mentioned, you can also find safe-to-use lutein supplements. You may also find some energy bars or drinks that contain lutein, as well.
Kanna (aka Sceletium Tortuosum) is the next big natural remedy we’re seeing hitting the market. Kanna is a small succulent that grows specifically in South Africa, and it’s bound to be the next big rival of CBD.
Kanna has been used as a medicinal plant in South Africa for generations. Traditional uses include fermenting the plant so that they are easy to chew (but not swallow). Now, you can find Kanna in a variety of forms including teas, tinctures, and more options that you should check out.
What can the Kanna plant do for you? Kanna has been touted for a number of benefits for our physical and mental health. Common uses of the Kanna plant include chronic pain management, depression management, and anxiety reduction. It may also be beneficial for those who have insomnia, digestive issues, and tension.
(Note that Kanna is not a hallucinogenic, as some may suggest. While one possible side effect of Kanna use is euphoria, it will not produce visual or auditory hallucinations.)
Once again, we’re adding a plant compound to our list of plants with purpose. Phytosterol is the type of cholesterol formed by plants, and it can be found in most fruits and vegetables, as well as legumes and some vegetable oils.
We’re usually told to stay away from cholesterol as much as possible, but phytosterol isn’t the same. In fact, phytosterol can actually help lower your levels of that harmful cholesterol (LDL) that can cause disease over time. When phytosterol enters your system, it binds to LDL and helps your gut to eliminate LDL at higher rates.
As we mentioned earlier, phytosterol can be found in a number of natural products in your grocery store. Some great sources include peanuts and almonds, wheat germ, and unrefined canola or sesame oil. You can also find safe-to-use phytosterol supplements at most health stores.
5. Green Tea
Do you love a nice cup of tea in the morning or afternoon? If so, you’re in luck, because green tea is an absolute powerhouse of the plant world. Green tea is made with the leaves of a specific evergreen shrub that is native to China, and the drink has been a popular natural remedy in China and Japan for centuries.
We could write an entire book about the benefits of green tea, but we’ll try to keep it short. One active tannin in the leaf, EGCG, protects DNA from developing colonies of harmful cells. This can help prevent everything from gum disease to arthritis certain kinds of cancers.
Fortunately for health-seekers, green tea comes in a variety of forms. If you’re not a fan of the drink, itself, you can find green tea capsules, chewing gum, and even chocolate.
Boost Your Health Routine With These Plants With Purpose
If you’re looking for more ways to boost your health with natural remedies, we suggest starting with these top five plants with a purpose. Just a serving a day can do wonders for your body and mind, and it all comes straight from the earth.
Living with HIV/AIDS requires special care and treatment. In addition to embracing holistic remedies, we always encourage that patients with HIV/AIDS seek medical testing and ongoing treatment, as well. Take a look at our website to learn more about taking care of your mind and body with HIV/AIDS.