Prescriptions in the Pantry

It’s not like Bill Gates and Tony Fauci started it. Big Pharma hit the ground running around 150 years ago. Oh, certainly, healers have used medicines for thousands of years but the medicines were largely unadulterated natural substances. Prehistoric Plains Indians used coneflower and cottonwood poultices for healing. The other Indians, the ones on the subcontinent of India, have been using natural botanicals for thousands of years and the ancient Chinese even documented the use in the Yellow Emperor’s scriptures dating to 300 B.C.

The bastardization of natural elements reached a new level in the 1800s when companies like Merck, Bayer and Sandoz began wholesaling their laboratory concoctions. At first, commercial drugs were derivatives and reductions of natural plants but no longer. Pharmaceutical drugs are more likely to be synthetic now and along with genetic modification are unnatural.

Conventional medicine has left nature far behind but that doesn’t mean you have to. Natural healing is as close as your kitchen if you want it to be. Common foods, seasonings, spices and herbs with healing potential can be found in your kitchen cabinet. Of course, that assumes you actually do any kind of cooking at all. Take a look at what you might find in such a person’s kitchen.

Honey. Natural, locally-sourced honey from a trusted supplier is a mainstay. I get mine from a Columbus, Nebr. third-generation beekeeper. It’s raw, meaning it’s not been heated above 100°. Heat destroys enzymes in the honey. It’s relatively unfiltered meaning that a certain amount of the bee pollen remains. (I remember the joy of finding a tiny bee wing in my honey once. Now, that’s certification.)

Honey is a powerful antibiotic. You’ll not find a spoiled jar of pure honey. I use it on cuts and minor wounds. I tested it against a prescription antibiotic once on a pretty nasty dog bite and it was far superior; promoted healing three times faster. Internally, honey seems to balance the immune system, too. It’s been long touted as a preventative for spring allergies. Remember, the secret is local, trusted sourcing. Need to find local honey? Do not trust what you see on the label in the local stores. There is no regulation of that term and one supplier admitted to me that their “local” honey comes from as far as North Dakota and California. Not my “local.” Best idea is to visit a farmers market. Meet and get to know a real beekeeper.

Apple Cider Vinegar. Some folks consider apple cider vinegar the panacea in the pantry. I hesitate to use that term but it does seem to have great healing potential. Folks have been using vinegar for centuries as an antimicrobial. The cloudy part in the bottle of organic apple cider vinegar is called the “mother.” It’s full of enzymes, proteins and other healthful properties. There are some studies that indicate apple cider vinegar helps modulate insulin and blood sugar levels for people with Type 2 diabetes. Other research suggests it lowers heart disease risk factors. Best thing going for it in my mind is that it’s natural. Check it out.

Spices. Pungent, sweet, savory, strong — a plethora of potent antioxidants accompany the spices. There is a reason entire nations and cultures thrived by importing spices. Their value spans the spectrum of life experience, from the kitchen to the constitution. Here are just three.

Cayenne is a particular pepper that has been studied extensively. I believe most botanicals should be used holistically but contemporary reductionist science insists on tearing things apart, thinking humans can improve on nature. Thus, a potent ingredient of cayenne pepper, capsaicin, has been identified as a specific agent. Capsaicin is used in a number of different conventional medicines. It’s been found to be  a pain reliever, cancer cell inhibitor, effective in lowering blood pressure, aiding digestion and much more. And you can get a good dose of capsaicin from the cayenne in your kitchen.

Cinnamon is a taste treat in everything from baked sweets to the secret dash in pasta sauce. And it is a healing spice, used for centuries by Chinese medicine. It has anti-viral, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. It makes a fine addition to tea or alone in hot water. It can regulate blood sugar for Type 2 diabetics, modulate blood pressure and address digestive issues. It is filled with tasty antioxidants.

Oregano qualifies as a super-herb, in my opinion. Delectable fragrance and flavor but for our medicinal purposes, it’s a monster. Antiviral and antibacterial, it’s been shown to kill nasty staph bacteria. Plus, oregano has a broad spectrum of vitamins, including hard-to-get vitamin K. Folk medicine cites oregano for lung and respiratory problems, headaches, body pains and infections. It is used to treat skin conditions and boost the immune system. Oil of oregano is a common antibacterial and considered extremely potent.

There are dozens of other kitchen culinary cures that have a place in the pantry. There are two very important considerations. As with most botanicals, fresh is best. Fortunately, many of the herbs are easy to grow. And secondly, Generation WhateverYouAre needs to reclaim the kitchen, learn to cook and delete GrubHub, UberEats or whatever from your phone list. The choice is yours.

Be well.

Heartland Healing is a metaphysically based polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. Important to remember and pass on to others: for a weekly dose of Heartland Healing, visit


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