By Dr. Virender Sodhi
Founder, Ayurvedic and Naturopathic Medical Clinic
Author, Ayurvedic Herbs: The Comprehensive Resource for Ayurvedic Healing Solutions
A fever, stomach pains, or a simple case of the sniffles can send people rushing to the pharmacy for a drug to battle their symptoms.
But Mother Nature provides a number of medicinal plants with healing properties that also can nurse you back to health, a fact more Americans are beginning to discover.
Indeed, the use of herbal medicine, although traditional in many Eastern cultures, has been only a minor fad in Western medicine until recent decades.
That trend has been shifting as a growing body of studies and research have demonstrated the effects of traditional remedies on chronic diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension.
That’s not necessarily news to ailing people in other parts of the world, such as Asia and Africa. For centuries, they have found relief through herbal medicines derived from shrubs, vines, trees, and other plants.
Here are four examples, a couple of which are recognizable by their more familiar names and purposes.
- Glycyrrhiza glabra. Most people would recognize this plant by its more common name — licorice. It has been used for centuries in the traditional and folk medicines of Asia and Europe to treat ailments ranging from the common cold to liver disease. Most Americans likely encountered licorice as children because the sweet root of the plant is used to make candy. Licorice can cure more than a sweet tooth, though. It can protect people from the influenza virus. In cell line studie, it was shown to reduce the strength of the influenza virus by 90 percent and have strong immune modulation properties. It’s an important ingredient in many herbal preparations, especially for bronchial conditions. Because of its expectorant properties, powdered licorice has been used for centuries to treat coughs. Modern cough syrups often contain licorice extract.
- Piper nigrum. When still unripe, this flowering vine’s berries are used to produce black pepper, but spicing up food isn’t its only talent. Piper nigrum has anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-spasmodic properties that make it ideal for treating digestive disorders. And it doesn’t stop there. Drug resistance is a major concern in cancer patients. Piper nigrum can reverse multiple drug resistance and significantly increase the capability of many pharmaceutical drugs to act as a catalyst for eliminating DNA-damaged, superfluous, or unwanted cells.
- Boswellia serrata. Commonly known as frankincense, this herb has powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Several patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s colitis have gone into remission using a Boswellia preparation. In brain tumor patients, it has reduced cerebral edema by 75 percent. My book includes case studies of many patients with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, polymyalgia rheumatica, and ulcerative colitis who went into remission.
- Bael. This fruit-bearing tree indigenous to the hills and plains of Central and Southern India has numerous uses. The fruit promotes healthy digestion and is used medicinally to treat such conditions as diarrhea, dysentery, and cholera. The leaves, roots, and bark of bael also have medicinal value; they help relieve acute bronchitis, heart palpitations, intermittent fevers, and many other ailments. I have observed 100 percent success in treating patients of clostridium difficile, who did not respond to standard medical protocol of Flagyl (metronidazole), Dificid (fidaxomicin), or Vancocin (vancomycin).
About Virender Sodhi, MD, ND
Dr. Virender Sodhi was the first Ayurvedic and Naturopathic physician in the United States. He is the author of “Ayurvedic Herbs: The Comprehensive Resource for Ayurvedic Healing Solutions” (www.ayush.com) and founder of the Ayurvedic and Naturopathic Medical Clinic (ayurvedicscience.com). Dr. Sodhi earned his MD (Ayurved) in 1980 from the Dayanand Ayurvedic Medical College in Jalandar, India. He served as a college professor in India until 1986, when the Indian government selected him to share Ayurveda with Western society as part of a cultural exchange program. He finished his fellowship in Integrative Oncology with Dr. Mark Rosenberg in 2012. Dr. Sodhi is a visiting professor at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Scottsdale, AZ, at the University of Washington School of Pharmacy, and at Des Moines University in Iowa.