Over the last 40 years of my life, I have dealt with a debilitating disease called Endometriosis. Many of you have heard of this issue, but some people think it is just bad cramps, which is SO far from the true, for many women it can have a greater impact and causes them to not live full lives due to chronic pain management.
After long and hard study, I have come to believe that plants and foods are what will heal my body from this autoimmune disease. Thanks to my new naturopathic and Chinese medicine doctor. Recently, it has gotten to the point that it is hard to walk during menstruation and ovulation because the inflammation is causing my hips to not work properly. With much research and trial, I have found what works for me! I say for me, because every body is different and what may work for me; might not work for you.
Here are the three plants that have been helping to reduce my inflammation:
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a perennial rhizome that is part of the same family as ginger. That is why the roots look so similar. This spice has been used in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. In Ayurvedic practices, turmeric has been used as an alternative treatment for a variety of internal disorders, such as indigestion, throat infections, common colds, or liver ailments, as well as topically, to cleanse wounds or treat skin sores. However, since it has not been clinically trialed in the United States – its medical claims are downplayed. In my experience, I have taken it when cramping is at an all-time high and it instantly takes away any issues.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a perennial that grows by rhizome, which is the part of the plant that we eat. Ginger has long been used for treating stomach issues such as indigestion and nausea. It is a favorite among pregnant women who are trying to treat their morning sickness in a natural way. Ginger is in the family Zingiberaceae, to which also belong turmeric (Curcuma longa), cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum), and galangal (Alpinia officinarum) or also referred to as Thai ginger because it is used in this cuisine frequently. Anytime in which you read officinale or officinarum in the Latin name, it means this plant was used for medicinal purposes by herbalists and founding botanists.
This flora is typically found growing in tropical regions such as Hawaii, Japan, Australia and Malaysia. Ginger has long been used in natural medicine for reducing pain and inflammation. By searching Google Europe. we are able to find many articles citing its medicinal qualities as the US doesn’t research herbs through the FDA:
German Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) is an extremely easy plant to grow by seed. I have been growing it in containers in my garden for several years. When it is in full bloom, it is ready to harvest. After smelling fresh Chamomile, you will never, ever go back to tea bags again. The scent is absolutely intoxicating and calming just when harvesting to dry it. Chamomile is derived from the Greek word – khamaimēlon – meaning “Earth Apple”. The German Chamomile Latin name is Matricaria chamomilla which also translates to “Water of Youth”. Frankly, I’m happy to get all the “youth” I can get!
The research on this plant has mostly been done associating it with decreasing anxiety in test subjects. It is often a sleep aid in tea mixes like Sleepytime. As cited in this article, “Chamomile is one of the most ancient medicinal herbs known to mankind.”
This weekend, I took one large ginger root, several turmeric roots and dried chamomile flowers and made a tea out of them. With the ginger and turmeric, I peeled the root and then diced it finely, mixed it with the chamomile and laid it out on a cookie sheet to dry. Once dried, I put it in a mason jar for storage. When my inflammation flares up, I plan on brewing a strong cup of tea to aid in relaxation. Honey can be added to the tea to sweeten, but remember no sugar as it causes extreme inflammation in the body. Brewing a pot for iced tea throughout the month would be a great idea as well.
This is one of several things I have done to reduce inflammation in my body caused by endometriosis. I will go over other ways that I have found to help with this autoimmune disease in upcoming, future posts. Next up is switching my diet over to a Mediterranean focus plan with eliminating animal products (meat, dairy, etc.) and adding more fish for protein plus beans & lentils for fiber. Wish me luck!