This feature was originally published in Dope Magazine. It's subsequently been published, in its entirety and in part, in many other publications around the world.
What is your good medicine? Fragrant herbs beckon us to them for health and well-being. When the sun shines we are called to its warmth. We are hydrated by the coolness of water, and comforted and strengthened by the food we eat. The way we move helps our biological systems to function, and if we are stagnant our bodies tell us by aches, pains, and illness.
The things that keep us healthy and alive are simple – good food equals good medicine, and good medicine grows from the ground – not made in a laboratory from heavy metals and synthetic compounds. Real food to nourish is made by human hands, not manufactured by machines with modified fillers and flavor enhancers made to trick our systems into feeling satisfied.
Terpenes are the medicinal compounds in the essential oils that are the active beneficial ingredients in plants. The fragrance of plants calls us to them, because we need them. It’s a symbiotic relationship, and the more flavorful and fragrant the plant, the more benefits it has medicinally.
Beta-caryophyllene (BCP) is a terpene that mimics Cannabis as it activates the CB2 receptor, acting as a non-psychoactive anti-inflammatory. Freshly ground Black pepper is said to have an abundance of BCP, with a strong whiff said to do away with the paranoia often experienced with too much THC to the central nervous system.
As Cannabis patients we know the plant helps us. When we smoke it immediately elevates endorphins as quick as a morning jog, relieving aches and pains and enhancing the effects of prescription meds. When ingested, it replaces both over the counter meds and pharmaceuticals. This knowledge has come to us with a price and years of fighting through the prohibition of a plant demonized with misinformation.
Enlightenment comes out of struggle, and no one has struggled more to free the plant than those that understand what good medicine it really is. It’s also opened the door to education and enlightenment of other herbs, spices and medicinal plants, as medicine makers realize adding other beneficial plants to the mix only adds to the healing.
A study found in the National Institute of Health’s U.S. National Library of Medicine Web site, authored in-part by CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, stating that Chamomile is one of the “most ancient medicinal herbs known to mankind.” A member of Asteraceae/Compositae family, there are two common varieties used medicinally, Roman and German.
In reading the list of medicinal properties of chamomile, the mild herb tea known more readily for making one sleepy at night, surprisingly mimics the healing benefits of Cannabinoids (CBD) found in Cannabis. Inflammation, infection, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, Rheumatoid pain, gastrointestinal disorders, and fever are just a few of the symptoms quelled in the same manner as when using cannabis, without the psychoactive effects.
In fact, without the THC affecting the central nervous system, chamomile is incredibly calming for anxiety, panic attacks, and most symptoms under the Autistic Spectrum when used in a tincture or stronger oil.
We humans, as a species, have traveled too far from the garden, while simultaneously adding empty foods and toxins to our diets and our environment.
The study gets interesting when cancer is mentioned, stating chamomile essential oil was found to inhibit growth on normal cells and “showed significant reductions in cell viability in various human cancer cell lines” in skin, prostate, breast and ovarian cancers.
But the plot thickens, as not just chamomile mimics Cannabis when ingested in a strong concentrate. According to another study found on the NIH site eleven aromatic or terpene heavy beneficial plants were studied for its antioxidant and antibacterial properties in Northern Italy in 1993.
Via steam distillation, essential oils were analyzed from lavender, thyme, Roman Chamomile, French tarragon, bitter and sweet fennel, with Roman chamomile exhibiting the highest antioxidant rate.
Yet another study on the same site showed thyme having the highest concentration of anti-bacterial activity towards human cancer cells when administered in a strong concentrate. Interestingly, a combination of thyme, cinnamon and rose oils killed acne in less than five minutes on contact.
In 2012 Chinese researchers studied the essential oil of Rosmarinus officinalis L., commonly known as Rosemary, and found it to have strong antibacterial, antioxidant and cancer fighting properties when ingesting in strong oil distilled with steam. The study specifically sights a need for plant-based concentrates in fighting cancer and other modern day ailments – stating chemotherapy harms good cells, whereas plants to not.
The success rates listed in various studies claim 90 percentiles on putting tumors and cancers into remission when ingesting a strong oil, with chamomile giving a 93 percent reduction and as high as 97 percent reduction with Thyme, Oregano, or Rosemary. This information gives serious food for thought when contemplating using herbs in teas and tinctures to quell symptoms, or making the stronger oils putting serious ailments into remission.
There are a surprising amount of beneficial plants surrounding us. Many we are completely unaware of, some we think of as weeds (no pun intended). Beneficial compounds of plants include roots, stems, and seeds. Aspirin was originally derived from the bark of the willow tree.
Relax; it’s Coca, not Cocaine
Author and researcher Bill Drake has long known of the medicinal properties of plants bastardized by humans, penning his first effort, “The International Cultivator’s Handbook of Coca, Opium & Hashish” in 1981. Recently, he’s written specifically on the Coca plant with his e-book, “Coca Leaf Papers,” expounding on the healthful benefits of the plant humans break down with acetone and other chemicals, creating what’s commonly known as “Cocaine,” a highly addictive and destructive synthetic drug.
Drake’s description of the beneficial properties of the raw plant – that could just as easily be made into a tincture – mimic Cannabis and other beneficial herbs listed within this story. Inflammation, infection, pain, digestive issues such as Crohn’s Disease, Hashimoto’s, and Alzheimer’s, to name just a few serious ailments helped, with real medicine from the Coca plant being actively made in Bolivia today.
This thread of plant based research weaves together a common and reoccurring theme, herbal and medicinal plants are not put on this planet solely to manipulate for recreation and profit.
To Eat or Not to Eat?
A quick stop at my own local herb shop here in Humboldt County disappointed, though, when I shared the news of essential oils putting cancers into remission. The issue is the type of oil sold in most of these shops is barely above food grade and not advised for daily ingesting. In my mind, this does not mean we can’t do it, it means we need a better grade of oil to use against serious illness. The oil sold now is used topically, or as needed and not considered part of a daily regiment for wellness the way cannabis patients know the plant.
Student of medicine, Nicole Stevens, MS, dissertation on therapeutic-grade essential oils was made into a protocol for cancer. She reports the treatment is currently being used by cancer patients, doctors in private practice, and in U.S. hospitals.
The oils Stevens chose to use are from DoTerra and are high quality, distilled, ingestible oils sourced from organic and free-trade organizations from around the world. Most of the oils used in this treatment are common, such as thyme, clove, wintergreen, lemon, orange, sandalwood, and lavender. Frankincense, harvested via resin from the Boswellia family of trees in Africa is pricey due to the work involved, but is listed as a highly beneficial compound for treating illness – not just a gift of incense for the baby Jesus.
When I began this feature, chamomile was the only flower on my radar due to a random posting (now lost) on social media by a woman who put her breast cancer into remission via strong chamomile oil. As I began to research I’ve found many strong terpene plants have the ability to right the wrongs of decades of heavy metal and toxic poisoning, especially preventing and putting cancers into remission. But plants aren’t the only tool in the shed of wellness.
What is your Good Medicine?
Movement is crucial to humans for good health. Amber Gean and business partner Yanna Nicole founded Yoga Ah Studio in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2014. Its mission is to help people connect with others via the “Good Medicine” within oneself.
“Yoga connected me to my breath and opened my eyes to how I can heal myself using natural methods,” Gean shared. “With regular practice you can eliminate tangible and intangible toxins that could keep you from feeling your best.”
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health states that Yoga is “a mind and body practice with historical origins in ancient Indian philosophy.” The practice of meditative movement is used for health purposes combatting everything from high blood pressure, glaucoma, anxiety, depression, and weight loss leading to better health overall.
Gean said they are all about healing their bodies and their minds, through movement and eating clean.
Though (as of this writing) Ohio is not yet legal for medicine or recreational use of Cannabis, the women feel it’s just a matter of time. Until then, they will share their “Good Medicine,” via yoga and a message of unity via its t-shirts and healthful sessions.
“The Medicine Patch” t-shirt was printed on soft natural fabric, so when you put on the “Good Medicine” shirt you immediately feel connected to a high vibration of self, healing and love,” Gean said. “Loved ones going through chemo found a sense of peace and comfort wearing it.”
The “Good Medicine” shirt was given to a Shaman Healer who wore it for three days, as he sent prayers into the universe,” Gean added. “
“Yoga purifies your body from the inside out, alleviating disease,” Nicole shared. “A holistic lifestyle will make you feel like a whole person, nurturing your body and giving it freedom to grow with movement and by practicing being in control. In current times life can seem crazy, but we have a choice to keep moving, breathing, and finding more natural ways to heal ourselves with Good Medicine!”
For more information on Good Medicine's clothing line visit its web site here.