The herbs and herbal combinations, or formulas, that keep a healthy body healthy are the very same herbs that can bring an ailing unhealthy body back into a state of vibrant health. The body has an amazing ability to heal itself if it has the right tools to work with. There are herbal “super foods” we can use to achieve maximum health and vitality.
The human body and all its intricate systems need a variety of vitamins and minerals each day to properly function at full capacity. If we do not put these vitamins and minerals into our bodies each day, the body will pull what it needs for various systems to function, or to repair a sick or injured area, from other parts of the body.
This process of pulling necessary vitamins and minerals repeated can, over time, slowly weaken the body. To be at our maximum functioning ability, we must put into our bodies the vitamins and minerals it needs and in a form the body is able to properly use and assimilate.
For example, we can put 1000mg of vitamin D into the body each day, but if the body does not have the proper minerals available to break down this source of vitamin D, it will simply travel through the systems of the body and eventually exit through the bowels without being assimilated and utilized where it was needed.
To be sure our bodies are able to make the proper amino acids to break down and assimilate all the good things we put into it, we must be sure to give the body all the correct tools (vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, etc.) it needs to do so.
There are specific herbs for every organ and tissue in the body. When targeting specific health issues, we turn to these herbs for use in a complimentary fashion along with the basic vitamins and minerals every body needs to function at a healthy state.
A super food is a food that is one of the strongest as far as nutrition for the body. The following is a list of what I like to call “herbal super foods” that can be used to keep a healthy body vibrant, but will also bring an ailing sick body back into a state of health, especially when complimented by herbal treatments that target specific organs or tissues in the body.
Barley has long been widely known for its nutritional value. It is rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids and has high chlorophyll and fiber levels. Barley is a great source of phosphorus, copper, manganese, calcium, selenium, and phytochemicals.
Barley juice contains 11 times more calcium than milk and paired with its high phosphorus content, makes it particularly helpful to bones. Also, containing manganese, which is necessary for bone protection, barley is exceptional for bone health.
Being high in insoluble fiber, barley is highly effective in helping to maintain a healthy colon. Fiber is an energy source for healthy bacteria within the gut and helps keep things moving within the digestive tract. It is known that a high fiber diet is also helpful for reducing blood pressure and maintaining a healthy weight. The Journal of American Dietetic Association released a study suggesting a whole grain diet is vital for those with high blood pressure.
High beta glucan content, a form of soluble fiber, helps slow down glucose absorption which is helpful in controlling Type 2 Diabetes and is known to be strongly linked to improving LDL cholesterol levels and improving heart health.
Barley, being highly nutritious, it is particularly helpful in strengthening the immune system and reduces the risk of colds and flu.
Barley contains high levels of selenium, which aides in skin elasticity, anti-aging, and also helps improve the heart, pancreas and immune system. A deficiency of selenium is known to contribute to cancers of the skin, colon, prostate, liver, stomach, and breast.
With its exceptional chlorophyll content, barley acts as a detoxing agent for the body and is helpful in building healthy blood. Barley also contains iron, which aides in fighting anemia and is essential for the production of healthy red blood cells.
Being a whole grain, barley contains certain phytochemicals such as flavonoids, folate, and lignans which help reduce the risk of cancer. Research has confirmed lignans have anti-carcinogenic properties and are helpful in treating many types of cancer.
Some experts say wheat grass contains over 100 different nutritional elements needed by the human body. Topping the list is chlorophyll, vitamin C, vitamin E, Iron, Selenium, Magnesium, Calcium, amino acids, antioxidants, and enzymes.
Charles Franklin Schnabel, an American agricultural chemist, is considered to be “the father of wheat grass.” In the 1920s his studies on the effects of wheat grass on chickens showed hen’s production of eggs nearly tripled. His later research showed benefits to nearly every animal he studied which documented larger litters, richer milk, less infant mortality and improved general health when dehydrated cereal grass was added to animal’s food rations.
In 1935 Charles Schnabel founded Cerophyl Laboratories where he produced what some called the world’s first multi-vitamin. He used wheat grass in a whole food powder form for both animals and humans and eventually created a tablet.
Nicknamed “green blood” for it’s high chlorophyll content, wheat grass works as a natural liver cleanser and detoxifier. It acts as an antioxidant to reduce free radical damage and is a blood strengthener that also boosts energy.
Wheat grass is loaded with essential amino acids the body uses to create enzymes needed for digestion. Wheat grass has an alkalizing effect in the body that boosts nutrient absorption and assimilation and protects against acidosis, the process that leads to acidemia.
Acidemia is a condition in which the body has high levels of acid, low Ph, in the blood and bodily tissues. Chlorophyll has been shown to naturally balance the body’s Ph and protect cells and has been associated with anti-aging effects ranging from younger more elastic skin to better weight management.
Wheat grass has antiseptic properties that help protect against tooth decay, treat strep infections, heal wounds, ear infections, and skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. It promotes a healthy metabolism and improves nerve signaling and mental well-being.
It helps balance hormones, rebuilds damaged tissues, restores fertility, purifies liver, detoxes heavy minerals out of the body, regulates blood sugar, and helps improve eyesight, especially night vision.
In her book, Dr Mom’s Healthy Living, Sandra Ellis takes the reader through her journey back from near death using wheat grass juice in various medicinal ways along with a live food diet to heal herself of uterine fibroids. Wheat grass is also used in Ayurveda for its purifying and rejuvenating effects and in Traditional Chinese Medicine to boost digestion and various stomach ailments.
I will emphasize again – the body has an amazing ability to heal itself when given the right tools!
Oatstraw herb, also known as avena sativa, is the green grass tops in the “milky” stage before mature oat grains form a head. It is most often found in a powder form or dried and cut made into an infusion, or tea, made from the stems, seeds, and flowers of the oat plant.
Oatstraw is known for its soothing restorative properties and for being extremely nutritious. It contains iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin C, antioxidants, several B complex vitamins, fiber and more.
Alkaloids in oatstraw herb give it nervine properties that work to calm the nervous system, relieve anxiety and helping to reduce stress, being a mild relaxant while energizing the body naturally. Studies suggest these nervine qualities may be helpful with nicotine withdrawal symptoms. It may also bring a more restful night’s sleep.
Oatstraw is often used as a nourishing and restorative aide that boosts brain power and mental capacity. It also helps improve attention, focus, and concentration and is known as a sexual performance enhancer for men due to its high B-complex vitamin content.
Oatstraw has a high calcium content making it an excellent herb for osteoporosis, osteopenia, and overall bone health. It’s dietary fiber content aides in improved digestion.
Ginger has a long history going back thousands of years and is presently the world’s most cultivated herb. Its uses are so numerous, both for general health and medicinally, that ginger is a component of more than 50% of all traditional herbal remedies.
The reason for this is ginger has a reputation for being a carrier herb, a herb that enhances the absorption of other herbs. Dr. John R Christopher, an American pioneer Master Herbalist and Naturopathic Doctor, said, “Ginger is generally combined with herbs going into the abdominal area because it is a carrier. Ginger is a herb which accentuates many herbs.”
It is best known for being a digestive support and aide. Besides containing fiber, ginger is able to fight against toxic bacteria and also promote an atmosphere for friendly bacteria in the gut.
Ginger is a general system tonic, a hormone balancer, an energy enhancer, it improves the appetite and circulation, and is a known aphrodisiac. Ginger has a muscle strengthening effect on the heart and is able to lower serum cholesterol.
Besides being an aphrodisiac, research confirms a diet that includes ginger significantly increases sperm mobility as well as sperm content. Some of these findings can be contributed to ginger’s ability to regulate blood sugar and increase circulation within the body.
Ginger is a stimulant and an anti-inflammatory. It’s pain relieving abilities can be compared to Aspirin. Several studies have documented this fact, finding that the participants required a lower dose of ginger than Aspirin to be effective and they suffered none of the side effects that can come with Aspirin.
Ginger also inhibits the same blood thinning abilities as Aspirin; It can help keep clogged arteries in check and reduce fatalities. Research documented in the New England Journal of Medicine from 1980 confirmed ginger completely inhibited the potential of the life-threatening process of platelet aggregation.
Ginger treats constipation and diarrhea while relieving nausea. It enhances and stimulates the immune system; This was documented in studies done in Montreal and Tokyo in 1955 and 1979, respectively. There is evidence ginger may help alleviate nausea due to chemotherapy sessions and morning sickness during pregnancy.
Although ginger can cause heartburn in some individuals, it may have the ability to prevent ulcers. During the conduction of studies, six anti-ulcer constituents were isolated and identified.
Ginger is packed with several B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, fiber, and protein.
Kelp is a large brown algae, or phaeophyceae, that originates deep within the ocean. Some grow quite large, up to 80 meters (260 feet), and form forests called kelp forests. These forests require nutrient rich water with temperatures between 6C – 14C (43F – 57F) to survive. In these climates, kelp tends to grow quite fast and its forests support large populations of sea animals.
Kelp is considered a super food by many because of its wide variety of nutrients. It contains many essential proteins, vitamins (including B12), minerals, and approximately 35 trace elements needed by the body to function at its maximum potential.
Kelp is rich in Iodine and alkali, B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E, and minerals such as Calcium, Iron, Phosphorus, Potassium, Magnesium, Manganese, Sodium, and Zinc.
It’s high potassium gives it a salty flavor and because of this can be considered a salt substitute to flavor foods without the damaging effects of salt.
Kelp is an organic natural Iodine source, helping to rebuild and maintain the thyroid gland and pituitary gland. Iodine is a vital nutrient that protects against certain types of cancer and promotes healthy growth and development in babies and children and helps to maintain a healthy brain.
Inflammation is the root cause of most disease. Some researchers say this is caused by an overactive immune system which floods the body with dangerous hormones. Being a natural anti-inflammatory, kelp is a great help for arthritis and rheumatism.
These conditions are typically due to excess of certain acids in the system and are usually associated with faulty kidney function with an added deficiency of sodium salts.
To counteract these conditions, orthodox medicine typically treats those affected with massive doses of sodium counterparts to counteract the acidity which can be hurtful to the digestive and kidney functions and can ultimately cause arterial disease.
Alternatively kelp can be substituted, since kelp naturally helps to de-acidify the system while providing the necessary salts the body is in need of. Kelp also has the added benefit of being a natural arterial cleansing agent.
To assist in further reducing acidity in the body, those affected by arthritis and rheumatism should also limit their intake of acid forming foods such as sugar, white flour products, and processed foods while consuming plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Research concludes consumption of kelp is beneficial for weight loss. The protein fucoxanthin, found in kelp has specific fat-burning properties and has been shown to significantly reduce fat tissue.
A study done in Moscow confirms that the combination of fucoxanthin and pomegranate seed oil promoted significant weight loss and increased liver function in pre-menopausal women.
Adding to its weight loss benefits kelp also contains alginates, salts of alginic acid. These molecules are more prevalent in some varieties of kelp more than others. Alginates are considered a lipase inhibitor. A study found the consumption of certain alginates are effective inhibitors of pancreatic lipase and that alginates have the potential to be a well-tolerated obesity treatment.
Lipase is the process by which the body over processes fat and stores the excess within the body. Consuming alginates are a vital factor in helping the body to expel fat through excrement rather than absorbing it in large amounts.
Kelp is a natural diuretic so it has the ability to assist the body in expelling excess water weight, furthering its usefulness for weight loss.
Kelp also plays a role in stimulating hair and nail growth. Because of its support for the pituitary gland, it is able to help regenerate nails even when the nail bed is seriously damaged. Consuming kelp will lead to stronger, thicker hair.
Kelp has natural antibiotic properties so it can be especially helpful during cold and flu season. Being a natural diuretic, it helps clean out the system and will assist in removing toxins from the systems of the body.
Besides the above benefits of kelp, it can be an aide in diabetic treatment, it can play a role in treating certain blood disorders and help prevent blood clots, it can be of aide to bone health and those with osteoporosis, and it can slow the growth of various types of cancer.
Spirulina may well be the world’s most complete super food. It is a cyanobacterium, or blue-green algae, and is cultivated worldwide. A whole food with a rich source of numerous essential nutrients, particularly protein, spirulina has been called the most nutrient dense food on the planet.
Spirulina is extremely high in protein, antioxidants, and chlorophyll. It also contains a wide variety of B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin K, and vitamin E. Spirulina’s mineral content includes Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, Zinc, Copper, Selenium, and Chromium among others.
Spirulina is 65% protein and amino acids, including Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) and Omega 3’s. GLA is difficult to find in a food source; It typically has to be made within the body. GMA is used in the body to produce prostaglandins, a hormone-like substance that helps regulate the immune system.
Spirulina is jam-packed with antioxidants with an ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) score of over 24,000, which is approximately 4x higher than blueberries. The ORAC score is a rating of a food’s antioxidant concentration.
Because of its high antioxidant content, spirulina is helpful with increasing fat burning during exercise. It also aides in reducing exercise induced oxidation which leads to muscle fatigue and the inability to gain muscle. In fact, studies have shown a diet that includes spirulina can lead to increased endurance and decreased muscle damage resulting from exercise.
One antioxidant in particular, phycocyanin, is an extremely potent anti-inflammatory. Studies suggest spirulina may help with allergy symptoms and allergic reactions by reducing inflammation that leads to nasal congestion. Study participants saw a reduction in nasal congestion, itching, and sneezing. For some of my favorite DIY allergy and hay fever herbal remedies click here.
As if all these benefits weren’t enough of a reason to be in awe of spirulina, there is perhaps one benefit that sets it apart from other foods. Spirulina has the ability to bind with heavy metals within the body and help remove them.
The high Chlorophyll content removes toxins from the body and blood and boosts the immune system.
One study found 500mg of spirulina daily, in addition to a zinc supplement, is enough to reduce arsenic toxicity by almost half. Research also suggests it can bind to radioactive isotopes and may be useful for radioactivity exposure and radiation therapy.
Include Herbal Super Foods in your Diet for Maximum Benefit
The above list includes only a small handful of essential herbal super foods. I could go on for days listing others and their benefits for the body (and I’m quite certain I will in future articles) but for now I think I’ve given you enough brain food to chew on for the time being.
So how then do you include a variety of super foods into your diet so you too can gain all the awesome blessings nature has to offer?
This was my question too, so off on a quest I went – searching for a way to incorporate as many nutritious super foods into my diet as possible. Like most people, I was not fond of the idea of trying to track down each herb to purchase them – not to mention finding a source that was organically grown without harsh chemicals that would contradict any health benefits I would gain.
I also didn’t find it appealing to try to eat each herb separately each day or search for recipes I could use daily to include them in my diet, should I actually find a reputable fresh source for each.
Instead I began to research supplements that included as many super foods as possible. Below are a few of my favorites.
Dr. Christopher’s Vitalerbs formula is my #1 top recommendation for a daily multi-vitamin. I have been taking this supplement for approximately six months now and I cannot believe the difference in my energy levels, health, and general overall health.
Since I’ve been taking the Vitalerbs formula, I have not been sick ONCE – and that’s a big deal considering I have 4 children still in school constantly bringing the next bug home to share! I’ve also noticed that my hair, skin, and nails are much healthier; no more weak splitting nails and my hair has more shine and fullness than it did in my teenage years.
This formula contains only whole foods, which is important since only whole foods can provide the energy needed to assist our bodies to reach optimum health. Each dose of Vitalerbs contains ALL of the above mentioned super foods along with several others. For a full list of ingredients as well as a brief description of all the benefits Vitalerbs can have for your body, click here.
Vitalerbs comes in a capsule form, liquid extract form, a children’s liquid, Kid-e-mins, made with vegetable glycerin, and in a 1lb powder form for those who wish to use the powder for healing treatments or to fill their own capsules.
Christopher’s Original Formulas are always made with 100% organic whole foods with no added chemicals, which is a major plus in my book.
My next top recommended daily multi-vitamin is Nature’s Way Alive! Max 3 Adult Multi. My children and I used this multi-vitamin for several years with great results. Many of the super foods listed above are included in this multi-vitamin as well as a mushroom blend, a citrus blend, and a fruits and veggie blend formulated to support bone health, daily energy, eye health, heart health, and immune health.
This multi-vitamin is available with Iron and a version with no Iron. Nature’s Way Alive! Max 3 is an adult multi-vitamin that contains a diversity of daily essentials, greens, phytonutrients and antioxidants Vitamins A, C, and E. It is formulated with food-based blends and high-potency B-vitamins to help convert food into energy.
For children, Nature’s Way has a children’s chewable multi-vitamin containing a fruit and veggie blend.
Dr. Christopher’s Jurassic Green is packed full of phyto-nutrients, whole food vitamins, trace minerals, active enzymes, chlorophyll, balanced amino acids & other important nutrients needed by the body. For those of you who are like me and enjoy a morning green smoothie drink, Jurassic Green is an excellent addition with a powerful nutritious punch.
Jurassic Green is a whole food blend green powder containing Alfalfa, Barley, and Wheat Grass. My family likes to add a heaping teaspoon of Jurassic Green to each green smoothie. The powder can also be mixed into 8oz of water or juice. The formula is available in capsule form in a bottle of 100, a 4oz powder container, and a 16oz powder container.
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