Let Food Be Thy Medicine

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In its place, I have no problem with modern medicine.  When my kids have decided to face plant on the pavement or slam their hands in the door we have gone to the ER.  We are not anti-doctor.  But, we are very pro-health.  If there is a safe, effective, natural and affordable remedy in my own house (or with a quick trip to the health food store or order from Mountain Rose) we do that first.  There are so many things you can treat from your own provision room.  Did you know that hiding in your pantry, refrigerator and garden there is wealth of healing power?

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

Hippocrates

Often it doesn’t take a complicated configuration of things or bizarre hippy herbs you’ve never heard of to treat things.  The common stuff is often secretly extremely powerful; there’s a Clark Kent hiding in your vegetable drawer just waiting to change into Superman!

Here are ten things you probably already have in your provision room you can use to treat your family’s various ailments:

1. GARLIC

Garlic is a great anti-bacterial, anti-viral food.  We include it liberally in our food, of course.  But, when we have a particular concern we often reach for the garlic bulbs.  It’s in our Super Tonic, but that’s not all.  We use it for ear aches, high blood pressure, yeast infections, stomach bugs, etc.  You can create your own tinctures or buy an already prepared tincture and administer it in juice or water.  Here are some other ways it’s prepared:

For Earaches

In a small saucepan gently warm some olive oil with a crushed clove of garlic.  Cool the oil until it is only slightly warmer than body temperature.  Do not burn yourself!  Using only the oil (and not the garlic) place a few drops in the ear.  Use a small piece of cotton ball to close the ear.  Repeat throughout the day until pain is relieved.

For Vaginal Infections

Carefully peel a clove of garlic without damaging the clove (or it will burn) and insert into vagina overnight.  (Be careful not to push it into the cervix!!!)  Carefully, remove it in the morning.

2. COCONUT OIL

Do you cook with coconut oil?  You should!  It’s so good for you and tastes so yummy!  We also use it in other ways.  We smear it on diaper rash, itchy skin, heat rash, and eczema.  We’ve recently started using it for oil pulling–especially with the kids who have had some tooth decay.  When any of us are sick, I increase our coconut oil.  It’s so healing!

3. BONE BROTH

How did chicken soup become the go-to thing for sickness?  Of course it’s warm and comforting, so there’s that.  And it’s got onions and garlic and vegetables in it.  And that’s good.  It’s got protein and that’s good, too.  But the real reason to have some homemade chicken soup is not in the meat or the veggies.  It’s in the broth!  Bone broth is a beautiful thing.  This is achieved by cooking bones until all the minerals, vitamins, gelatin and flavor is cooked out of the bones.  This kind of broth is full of  calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals.  The cartilage, tendons and marrow break down and your broth becomes full of  chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, for which you’d pay a pretty penny for at health food stores!

This kind of broth (made from chicken, turkey, fish, beef, or lamb bones) is marvelous for sore throats, low energy, fatigue, boosts your immune system and even your love life!

How much should you take?  This is the great thing about food remedies: you can take as much as you want!  My personal goal (to which I’m still very much in process!) is to include a little broth in our diet every day and to have it on hand to take a lot of if we are feeling a sickness coming on.

4. RICE

Perhaps you are thinking in this section I’ll recommend it for upset stomach.  Sure.  It is gentle on the stomach after vomiting.  Gana being Asian and me being a Latina we eat our fair share of rice.  But, actually, when it comes to healing we use it another way: heating pad!

Put uncooked dry rice in a cotton bag or better yet an old tube sock.  I know you’ve got those unmatched socks, too!  You can add a handful of dried herbs if you have them (lavender, chamomile, thyme, etc.) and then tie it closed.  Place in the microwave, anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes depending on size of your sock.  When it’s wonderfully toasty you can wrap it around your sore neck, place it on your lower back, tuck it under your blankets to warm your bed, etc.  It will form to wherever you need it (unlike a heating pad) and keep it’s heat a long time.  It can be reused over and over and over again.  For you pregnant mommies, this is a great thing to use on your belly if your round ligaments are tired or you’re feeling uncomfortable contractions!

5. ONION

Yes, onions are in the infamous Super Tonic.  But we use it other ways as well.

You know that croupy wet cough your kids get sometimes?  They start sounding a bit like a seal?  You just know there’s a reservoir of slimy mucus in there?  When this happens we use an onion poultice.  Here’s how we do it:

Saute some diced onion in some olive oil until they are just tender.  While they are still hot wrap them in a clean white cloth.  Place this directly on the chest while it is still very hot (but not hot enough to burn you!  Please be careful!)  Leave it there until it is completely cooled.  Repeat.  We have seen really good results with coughs and chest congestion being relieved with just a round or two of this method.

6. BLACK TEA

Besides being delicious–I’m a bit of a tea connoisseur–black tea is actually quite healthy.  It’s anti-inflammatory, making it really soothing to an upset stomach or digestive tract.  For those prone to canker sores, black tea is easy relief.  Hold room temperature black tea against the sore until you feel relief.  You can also moisten a black tea bag and hold it against the canker sore.  This seems to shorten the duration of an outbreak.

7. RED TEA

This tea is actually rooibos and comes from the red bush plant in Africa.  It’s full of anti-oxidants and minerals like manganese and calcium.  It is great for insomnia and stress.  It also soothes the stomach and is used many places as a treatment for fussy “colicky” babies!  The bonus is that is caffeine free!

8. YOGURT

Real yogurt (one that has live, active cultures and no artificial ingredients) is a powerhouse!  We use it to boost our immune systems when everyone we know seems to be coming down with something.  Also, it’s good for digestive upsets, especially those manifesting in diarrhea. It’s also great to treat yeast infections and “female tract” issue.  A little plain, pure yogurt inserted in the vagina is very soothing and the live bacteria attack any overgrowth of yeast.  Married couples can pass yeast back-and-forth between each other.  So, both partners should use this treatment.  In such cases it can be used as a personal lubricant so both wife and husband get plenty of good bacteria all the places where they are sharing it.

9. HONEY

Do you suffer from seasonal allergies or hay fever?  Me, too.  One of my sons has it especially bad.  So, we take a LOCALLY RAISED and RAW honey daily.  Just a little every day. It works homeopathically and after a time (this takes several weeks to take full effect) we can achieve immunity to airborne allergens.  Say goodbye to the sniffles!  Note: in order for this to work it needs to be locally raised honey.  Those busy bees craft their honey from the plants and flowers where you live.  If you are reacting to local plants, the more local the honey, the better!  You may not be able to find this at the store, but ask at your local health food store or Farmer’s Market.  Chances are there are bee-keepers near you, you just never knew it!

NOTE: Be very cautious of store-bought imported honey!  You may not be getting what you think!

10. GINGER

Ginger, also in that Super Tonic(!), is very anti-inflammatory.  So it’s great for congestion–sinus or chest!  Also good for sore joints and muscles and menstrual cramps!  For nausea and vomiting, ginger is so soothing.  You can make a simple ginger tea by placing sliced fresh ginger in hot water.  Add a little honey to sweeten it or some black or red tea.  How’s that for tasty medicine!

For a sore throat and swollen glands, a carrot-ginger poultice works wonders!  Grate two large carrots over a clean white cloth.  Add about a 1-inch piece of grated ginger.  Wrap it up and place on neck.  You can tie this on with a handkerchief or just lie down and cover it with a towel.  You will soon feel it start to heat up and even become quite hot!  You can leave this on for 30 minutes or longer if you wish.  Be sure to discard the carrots and ginger when you are done as they are likely fill of toxins!


There you have it!  

Ten things you probably already have in your kitchen that you can use to heal your family!

Disclaimer – The herbal information on this web site is intended for educational purposes only. It is not the intention of the writers to advise on health care. Please see a medical professional about any health concerns you have.  Disclaimer – These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.  The information on this web site is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.

(Linked to Tiny Tip Tuesday)


  1. What a truly informative post, Daja! I actually have a board on Pinterest called Healing Foods, and this is so getting pinned there :) Thanks for linking up at Tiny Tip Tuesday!

  2. Lillian - March 17, 2012

    Thank you so much for this wealth of information. I would like to know what could I do for low iron levels. My iron is very low and I do not want to have a blood or iron transfusion. I was wondering was there a healthy alternative along with believing God for his healing.

    • This is a great question, Lillian! Perhaps we should do a whole blog post on the subject. It is something I, myself, have struggled with for years! I’m usually on the anemic side, but when I’m pregnant it’s doubly bad. In my last pregnancy my hemoglobin got down to 6.8!

      There are, of course, lots of iron rich foods one can start including in the daily diet: blackstrap molasses, organic liver, leafy greens, beans and seeds, free range eggs, dried fruit are foods that immediately come to mind.

      As for herbs: alfalfa, nettle, dandelion, and red clover come to mind. (If you are pregnant or intend to be always check the safety of any herb before using it medicinally.) Check out our Mountain Rose Herb link in the sidebar. They have many combinations and tinctures you may find helpful!

      There are several natural supplements that have worked for me, including HemaPlex and Floradix. Both of those are available at your local health food store or market like Whole Foods.

      After actively eating iron rich foods, including lots of red meat and liver (mmm, pate!), supplementing with herbs and hema-plex, and of course, prayer(!), my hemoglobin was the highest it has ever been before birth at 13! I was one happy camper!

      I will try to put together a special post on this subject, so check back!

      Thanks for your feedback!

  3. This is a great write up! Thanks for sharing.

  4. I havent tried oil pulling but Im going to… Just read that link you posted. Paidan has a chipped tooth and now another one is chipping. =-/ I hope that helps along with the calcium/magnesium you recommended. So much to learn. lol

    As for the local raw honey… where do u get it at?

    • I get it at the Farmer’s Market in Pasadena on Saturday mornings OR the Farmer’s Market in Montrose on Sunday mornings. I have not checked the South Pas or Alhambra Farmers Markets. They might be there, but I don’t know.

      I know that right now you are really looking into health foods and changing your diet right now. I cannot recommend enough the work of Dr. Weston A. Price. He was a dentist who tracked native people and found entire people groups with PERFECT teeth–even though they had no doctor, dentists or contact with the outside world. He pioneered a nutritional concept called Nourishing Traditions. You can reverse tooth decay! A really easy place to start is an ebook put out by The Food Renegade. You can download it here: http://www.foodrenegade.com/realfoodnutritiontext/samples.html It’s not free, but it’s worth every penny, I assure you! It’s actually a high school curriculum (there’s a kid’s version, too for when Paidan gets a bit older! :-) ), but I’ve been going through it with my older kids and it is FASCINATING!

      • I barely saw your response. lol I will definitely be getting that book. I just finished reading Disease Proof Your Child by Dr. Fuhrman and I love it. Thanks for your help

  5. The more I read, the more I’m believing that coconut oil is the miracle food! Seriously.

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