When we look back at the way people treated illnesses throughout history, our first reaction typically is, “How could people back then have been so ridiculous? They obviously were too stupid to make the advancements we’ve made in the medicine today.” However, though understandable, this statement is entirely unfounded. These people had brainpower to do what we do today with modern medicine, but they just didn’t have all the information they needed. That doesn’t mean that they didn’t know anything—they were just working to connect all the causes and effects. They pioneered the world of medicine that we know today. The natural remedies that they used to use stand as a testament of this fact. Even though they were working with limited resources, they figured out the cures for many things only using the healing powers of herbs, flowers, and roots. These are ten historic natural remedies that you can—and most definitely should—be using today.
The earliest traces of henbane for herbal healing began with the Sumerians, then soon earned the reputation as a “witch plant” because of its supposed use in witches brews. However, henbane is a toxic plant—so how can this be used as a natural remedy. Despite its toxic characteristics, when taken in small doses, henbane was used as a sedative and pain-killer. Today, it has even been used to subside tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease. Keep in mind that yellow henbane should only be used topically to heal open wounds, headaches, and rheumatism. Use these historic natural remedies with extreme caution and don’t experiment unless you or someone else knows what you’re doing.
The Chinese were the first to discover the healing properties of ginseng. Ginseng is a natural energy booster that can enhance your clarity of thought and focus. The easiest way to take ginseng today is to drink it in tea as an extract, although you can also chew the root or boil it in your soup.
The use and application of this plant remain the same today as in times past. Most people today know aloe as the bottle of green stuff that you apply to your skin after getting burned. However, if you want to use aloe most effectively in its purest form, you can make it yourself. Take an aloe leaf and cut around the edges, then peel off the top layer of skin. Once you’ve done this, put the leaves in a plastic or glass container and refrigerate. Your aloe will keep for about a week.
Sage has been used for thousands of years for both medicinal and culinary purposes. Implemented first in the Mediterranean, sage was originally used to cure ulcers and sore throats. In America, Native Americans used its sweet scent ritually to cleanse negative energy from a space. Today, sage can be used both as an air freshener and inside your tea to heal a sore throat. (See, these people really did know what they were doing.) This is a very simple historic natural remedies that you can and should be using.
In years past, lavender was used in hot tubs of water as a cleanser and relaxant. If you read about this plant in ancient accounts, you will likely find it under its other name “spikenard,” which was commonly used as an ointment. Today, you can use the plant or essential oil to relieve stress, cure insomnia, and boost energy. You should definitely consider using lavender as a natural remember today.
You can trace the uses of thyme all the way back to ancient Egypt, where it was first used as a part of the embalming process, as well as a pain reliever. You can use this herb today for seasoning your food, as well as using it for sinus infections and respiratory health.
Interestingly enough, the pansy was used widespread to make love potions. If you’ve ever read “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare, you may recall that Oberon give Puck a plant to use on a mortal to make them love-struck with the first thing they lay eyes on. However, when used for medicine, civilizations past have used the pansy to cure skin diseases and respiratory problems. You can use the pansy today topically or in tea to heal skin imperfections.
Blackthorn is a notable plant in Irish folklore, and has been popularly viewed as a tree that witches used for their potions. However, its berries have been used as a tonic to heal swelling and diarrhea. Today, the best way to use this natural remedy is as a tea to relieve cramps.
Anise was used in Roman culture to prevent indigestion. During the Civil War, anise started being used as an antiseptic, and then was promptly discovered to be extremely toxic. After that, its use in that way was discontinued. However, the anise does have many more effective uses. Today, you can use anise to soothe coughing fits. This is most definitely an effective historic natural remedies that you can and should be using today.
10. Marsh mallow
Now before you get all excited about this one, I think I should tell you that I’m not talking about the sugary treat you roast over the fire. Not surprisingly, the French used this plant in their cooking, mixing it with corn syrup and egg white to make a whipped paste. Medically, however, marsh mallow was first used to heal wounds. Today, you can use marsh mallow to heal a sore throat.
So before you scoff at your ancestors and turn toward the more modern, newer cures, take a look back at these historic natural remedies one more time. You just might find something there that will heal you better than any modern drugs can ever hope to. Just remember: like all medicines, do thorough research so you use these plants how they are supposed to be used in the correct doses.