The Most Important Thing I Learned

As a young girl, I grew up on a farm and my father always used herbs, bark, roots, and every kind of plant from the wild as medicine to make us better. We never went to the doctor, (knowing what I know now, that was probably not a wise decision but that’s how old folks rolled back in the day!) partly because my father didn’t think he could afford to take us and mostly because we had natural means to cure whatever ailed you! So I have always had an interest in alternative medicine and I am a firm believer that everything we need for health and healing is in Mother Nature, God’s provision! When my daughter told me about the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy medicinal plant garden walk, I couldn’t resist! I didn’t really know what to expect, but it peaked my interest.

We attended the walk on Friday and this was no ordinary garden walk. The University highlighted its medicinal plant garden which, is apparently the first and only urban medicinal plant garden in Chicago. It was an expert guided tour by the College of pharmacy faculty and my daughter and I, fortunately, were the only two in our group at the time, so we received personalized attention from our tour guide. We got a chance to ask lots of questions. Our tour guide and I had something in common. We both had parents/grandparents that used plants as medicine as we were growing up.

I actually saw a honeysuckle plant during the tour! It bought back memories. My father used to make honeysuckle tea for me and my siblings when we had a cold; my father would put a capful of whiskey in it which we called a hot toddy! I kid you not, it cured what ailed us! We went to bed, sweated a lot and when we woke up the next morning we were all better. The same thing happened with the pine thistles that he used as a tea. (Yuck, at the time!) But those old folks were onto something. They didn’t have the education and research to back it up, but they had what was commonly called, “mother wit” (as in wisdom). When we drank these teas, we became well. The symptoms of cold and flu disappeared quickly, as I recall. A little bit of moonshine was involved, yes, but ah! The concoction worked! (Disclaimer. Please don’t try this at home. Nutrition with Annie is not endorsing giving your children herbal tea with whiskey in it! I’m simply recalling a childhood memory!)

Honey suckle has a lot of health benefits like:

  • Antiviral and antibacterial properties that work like an antibiotic and antiviral to fight off flu and other respiratory tract infections like colds, pneumonia, and bronchitis, just to name a few.

  • It also cools the body down and prevents a fever from getting higher by promoting sweating—my father was before his time.

  • It is also a natural detoxifier.

I think I’m going back to basic. We still own that farm. If you don’t hear from me…..

Pine thistle by the way aids in treating respiratory conditions such as sore throats, coughs, and a host of other benefits, like boosting the immune system.

The medicinal garden is used strictly for research purposes only, but here’s what I’ve known for some time and learned more about from the garden tour and the lecture: That our food should be our medicine!

The Lecturer presented excellent information on how to prevent cancer through your diet. I would love to share some of the things I learned as well as some other information on herbs, spices and vegetables that fight cancer that we can incorporate into our diet. Unfortunately I can’t do it all in a blog so I have decided to share more information on foods that fight cancer by hosting a free Lunch and Learn webinar on Preventing Cancer Through Diet on August 16th from 11 am to 12 pm. To register, contact me at Space will be limited.


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