Vegetables and fruits are the most accessible and certainly the simplest form of natural medicine. They are best eaten raw and are also effective when taken as a juice, Juices are, of course, easier to consume, and at times the only way to benefit therapeutically. For instance, it would be impossible for most people to eat sufficient raw cabbage to obtain the required amount for treatment of a gastric ulcer, whereas a pint or two of liquid is easily swallowed. An electric juice extractor is one of the best health investments. The regular addition to a basic diet of the following vegetables and fruits can strengthen the body and assist in prevention of metabolic breakdowns. Freshness is of paramount importance; vegetables and fruit begin to deteriorate as soon as they are gathered, though if eaten reasonably fresh the loss in values is slight. Cooking considerable reduces their power and that is why the raw vegetable or juice is always recommended for medical use. For general nutrition, cooking within certain principles is beneficial for body maintenance.
It is important to remember that natural aids do their job very slowly. Larger amounts do not necessarily mean faster results; regular controlled doses are more effective. It is impossible to eat too much of the whole vegetable or fruit: satiation point would come first. The rule on juices is from 1 to 8 pints (6dl to 4.5l) a day, but never more than is comfortable.
External applications-such as poultices or lotions-not only help surface conditions but often have the capacity to help infuse skin layers and influence internal organs. A poultice of cooked pulp will help aches and pains, slow-healing wounds and inflammation of the eyelids. A poultice of raw grated apple will help the pain of a black eye.
Traditionally the great health provider, both preventative and curative, it is particularly high in mineral salts (a larger quantity of phosphates than any other vegetable or fruit) and rich in vitamins, and in addition provides first thing in the morning or last thing at night (they also encourage sleep). They help overcome liverishness, digestive disturbances and encourage flushing of the kidneys. Apple juice is good as a drink; on a curative basis take a minimum of a pint (6dl) a day. (Diabetic sweet cider can be taken as an alternative.) Cider vinegar also retains health giving properties - 2 teaspoons in a glass of water once or twice a day. Apples are prescribed for intestinal infections, mental and physical fatigue, demineralization, urine retention, rheumatism and gout; they are also recommended for coughs, hoarseness and pulmonary conditions. Some doctors advise apples to combat excess cholesterol in the blood. Eat two apples a day to help prevent myocardial infarct, 2lb. (a kilo) or more as a treatment.
Another alternative to the fresh juice is : 3 large unpeeled apples sliced and covered with 2 pints (1l) cold water, add 2 tablespoons honey and boil for 15 minutes, strain, drink tepid. If taken to alleviate a fever, drink cold.
This contains therapeutically valuable oils which have a strong stabilizing effect on the human metabolism. It is particularly beneficial for the liver and acts as a diuretic for those suffering from water retention. It can protect against urea, cholesterol and arthritis. The juice can be pressed from the stem and leaves, but it is very bitter. To relieve rheumatism take 2-3 teaspoons beofre meals - the taste can be improved if mixed with a small glass of wine.
The amino acids are good both in quality and quantity and naturopathic practitioners consider the juice to be one of the most therapeutic. It is effective in cases of general weakness and is used as a restorative during convalescence. The root contains about one tenth pure sugar, which provides energy. In France, interesting results have been obtained by treating malignant disease with huge quantities of the juice, 6-7 pints (3.5-4l) a day; however, there is not yet enough medical evidence to substantiate findings. Beetroot juice combined with carrot and cucumber juices builds up the blood and is helpful in the treatment of kidney stones, gall bladder, liver and prostrate troubles.
The fruit is rich in mineral salts and is therefore used for anaemia; it is also an astringent, tonic and restorative for the mucus membranes. Blackberry syrup - hot water, honey and blackberries - is good for sore throats, hoarseness and trouble with the upper respiratory tract. Tincture of blackberry is recommended as a gastric tonic: 1 cup of blackberries, covered with 2 pints (1l) of alcohol; leave to macerate in the sun or in a warm place for 3 weeks, stirring occasionally; filter and add honey if necessary; take one sherry glass each day.
One of the most versatile vegetables - and, surprisingly, most of its effectiveness is through external applications. Chopped cabbage leaves, preferably the greenest, places between pieces of hot muslin can be used as a compress to relive liver attacks, intestinal pains, migraines, sprains, rheumatic pains, lumbago, neuralgia, varicose veins, eczema, burns and wounds. Poultices should be applied morning and evening to the afflicted area. In the case of a burn or insect bite, a crushed cabbage leaf will reduce the pain and facilitate healing. It will help to heal cuts, sores, pimples, skin outbreaks, such as boils and abscesses, superficial infections and swellings. To heal blisters, cook the leaves in milk and apply when cool. As a juice, it is valuable for cirrhosis of the liver, especially when caused by alcoholism, and as a preventative against arthritis and gout. It has also been shown to be successful with gastric ulcers, easing pain quickly and speeding up the healing process; here regular doses are recommended (up to a total of 18 fluid oz. - 5 dl. - a day) as excessive intake can cause complications. For bronchial infections, coughing and hoarseness, take 1-2 wineglasses of cabbage juice a day with the addition of honey; or as much of the following concentrate as liked: boil six large leaves in 2 pints of water (1 l.) of water for 30 minutes, sweeten with honey. For a soothing nightcap, try cabbage leaves with a few leaves of sage brewed as a tea; it is also good as a gargle for sore throats.
It is now generally acknowledged that carrots increase the number of red blood corpuscles and consequently are one of the best aids for the liver. At Vichy, where they specialize in disorders of the liver, carrots in one form or another are part of every menu. Pure carrot soup is regarded as a worthwhile treatment for a stomach ulcer, and can help constipation too - liquidised. The high vitamin A content is responsible for many of the good results. It is no myth that it helps eye strain, not only aiding night - sight but also acting as a restorer for eyes strained by bright lights (Vitamin A is destroyed by harsh lighting). As a basic health measure, drink a minimum of 1 wineglass of carrot juice daily, preferably first thing every morning. It protects against colds, flu and bronchitis. Poultices of freshly grated carrots help relieve pain from burns and prevent the formation of blisters. It is important not to scrape carrots for the skin contains a large percentage of the active ingredients; wash and brush only.
Celery is a good source of chlorides, potassium and sodium, but it is the essential oils that put celery on the therapeutic level and have a specific effect on the nervous system. Celery has strong diuretic powers, which means it is useful during any slimming regime, and helps control arthritis, gout and rheumatism. A wineglass of celery juice sweetened with a tablespoon of honey will reduce the appetite when taken before meals. Eaten raw at the end of a meal, it acts as a digestive, and has the reputation of being a natural antacid. As a poultice - grated raw and combined with linseed - it helps swollen glands.
Gets rid of excess fluid and any toxic matter in the body. It is therefore of prime interest to dieters (a minimum of 3 wineglasses of juice a day). Combined with carrot and celery juice, it is good for all rheumatic conditions. It is however, mainly used as an external application to aid the skin.
Mainly used dried, the fig helps constipation, relieves chest complaints and is a remedy for colds and throat conditions. Its use as a laxative is well known; the seeds stimulate the bowels into action. Soak 6 dried figs in tepid water, leave over night and eat first thing in the morning; also drink the water. A decoction of figs can be taken for pulmonary infections, used as a gargle for throat irritation and as a mouth wash for gum disorders such as abscess or gingivitis. Boil 6 figs in 2 pints (1 l.) water or milk for five minutes, strain. Externally, a poultice of fresh figs or dried or dried figs cooked in milk can soothe burns and draw abscesses and boils to a head. To help chilblains and haemorrhoid's, roast figs in the oven, pulverize and mix with honey; use lightly.
This plant has become synonymous with health, energy and longevity. It has two outstanding medical properties; it helps open blood vessels, thus aiding many maladies connected with circulation, and it is a strong antibiotic. For centuries it has been common remedy for colds, coughs, bronchitis and sore throats as it is by drinking milk in which you have boiled cloves of garlic. For arthritis, rheumatism, sciatica and sinus infections, mash 2 garlic cloves with a teaspoon of honey and take for three or four nights in succession. Garlic browned in butter and honey helps kidney and bladder troubles. Infused in milk or water. It is recommended for reducing blood pressure and relieving headaches. Animal studies have shown improvement in arteriosclerosis conditions; Italians (who eat garlic with almost everything) have a lower incidence of heart disease than most Europeans. Garlic also brings relief in cases of indigestion, intestinal infections and liver disorders. It has long been recognized as one of the best natural remedies for getting rid of worms because of the high allicin content of the oil.
Here is a good garlic tonic: mince 2 garlic cloves and steep in a glass of white wine for 3 days; take a teaspoon first thing every morning. Or steep chopped garlic in alcohol in the ration of one part garlic to two of alcohol. Allow to stand in the warmth (sunlight or near a stove) for 2 weeks; strain. Begin by taking 2 drops in a glass of warm water before lunch or dinner (once a day only) and each successive day increase the dose by one drop until a maximum of 25 is reached; then reverse the procedures, returning drop by drop to 1. This tonic can be taken several times a year, but allow an interval of six weeks between treatments.
An ointment can be made by crushing 2 cloves of garlic and blending it in 2 tablespoons of lard. This can be rubbed or massaged into area of rheumatic pain or neuritis; it has a powerful effect on healing wounds and was much in demand during the first world war. It can also be applied to insect bites - mash a clove, or extract the juice, and mix with small amounts of hot water or honey.
One of the more potent diuretics, with a stimulating effect on the blood capillaries and so useful in the treatment of kidney conditions: chop 1 oz. (20 g.) of fresh horse-radish root, add half ounce (15 g.) bruised mustard seed and a pint (6 dl.) of boiling water; cover and steep for 5 hours; strain and take 3 tablespoons a day. Horse-radish can be added to other vegetable juices to stimulate digestion and help urine pass through weak kidneys. It can be also mixed with white wine or made into a sauce by shredding and mashing the root and adding lemon juice. A very good solvent for mucus in the nose and sinus: take a half a teaspoon of horse-radish sauce morning and early evening. Do not drink or eat anything for 15 minutes afterwards - there is a feeling of clearance in the head, the eyes may stream and sometimes there is sweating. Small doses only; large amounts could damage the lining of the stomach and the intestines. It may take some time to clear the passages, even months for a severe case. A syrup made of horse radish, honey and water can be taken for hoarseness. Externally, a compress made with grated horse-radish mixed with a little water produces heat and relieves rheumatic pains, neuralgia and stiffness.
Probably the most valuable of all fruits for preserving health. Because of its high vitamin C content it has been used for hundreds of years as a protection against scurvy. It can neutralize harmful and infectious bacteria, which is why in many hot climates the juice of a lemon is a last minute addition to meat, fish and vegetable dishes. On raw oysters it destroys 90 per cent of the bacteria within 15 minutes. Lemon juice is used in all kinds of infections of the respiratory tact and as a general toni - the juice should be diluted with water, sweetened with honey if desired; there is no need to worry about when temperatures are high it is advisable to take regular drinks to prevent dehydration. It is a cure for stubborn hiccoughs and helpful in jaundice - recent research indicates that lemon juice aids regeneration of the liver, balancing the harmful effects of alcohol. Those who wish to lose weight or to avoid putting on weight should drink it first thing in the morning diluted with hot or cold water or mineral water. It is a good astringent and may be used as a gargle for a sore throat, in uterine hemorrhage after delivery or as a sunburn lotion.
Its rich mineral content, including iodine, phosphorous, iron, copper, cobalt, zinc, calcium, manganese and potassium, make it one of the best restorers of the body's mineral balance. The outer leaves are the most beneficial. It is good for the nervous system as it has calming effect. It is also prescribed for gastric spasms and palpitations and can be used as a sedative; a small lettuce, simmered in 1 pint (6 dl.) of water for 15 minutes, makes a helpful night drink for insomniacs.
The oils that give the onion its pungency are therapeutic agents which have an excellent germicidal effect, internal and external. The onion has much the same powers as garlic, but to a lesser degree; little of its value is lost in cooking. It has a normalizing influence on the nervous system and stimulates the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines. It aids digestion and secretion of bile; it also can lower blood pressure. It is a standard remedy against colds and catarrh, as well as being a good general tonic: to 5 oz. (150 g.) grated onion mixed with 3 and half oz. (100 g.) honey, add 2 pints (1 l.) white wine; cover and steep for 2 weeks, strain; take 4 teaspoons a day. A raw onion is recommended for rheumatism. Externally the raw juice can relieve painful joints; poultices of raw mashed onion help draw out foreign matter from infected areas; a slice of fresh onion rubbed on the infected area daily can clear up an abscess, because the onion has the power to absorb poisons. (Never eat or cook decayed onions - they are contaminated.)
Also known as paw-paw. This is extremely rich in the enzymes that make the digestion of protein possible. An infusion of the fruit and leaves will make the toughest meat tender, a fact that illustrates its digestive value. Combined with cucumber juice it is an efficient general cleanser; during a 12 hour period, take, once every hour, a quarter pint (1.5 dl.) papaya juice and a quarter pint (1.5 dl.) cucumber juice alternately. Eaten regularly, the papaya can be helpful in the prevention of kidney stones. Mixed with a boiled egg yolk it can help cirrhosis of the liver. With honey it is good for urinary disorders and is a tonic for the heart, liver and blood. The skin is used as a special external treatment for wounds and infections that fail to heal properly or quickly. It has been claimed that papaya has rejuvenating properties, especially with regards to stalling premature aging - this may be due to is ability to keep the digestive system in peak condition.
Because of its very high iron content it is used in the treatment of anemia. It also helps to lower blood pressure. The rich supply of salicylic acid aids the functions of the liver, kidneys and joints, and it is a good detoxifying agent.
An extract from Vogue Natural health & Beauty Book by Bronwen Meredith 1979