CBD and it’s healing properties has made its way into mainstream media as both controversial and trendy. However, when we dive deeper into the science behind this natural medicine, we connect more fully to Mother Nature’s wisdom. Below, Stephanie Kent of Empowered Wellness explores the truth behind the power of CBD and other medicinal herbs. Read on to learn more about healing naturally.
“The molecules in these plant substances mirror our human hormones, enzymes, and neurotransmitters, beautifully representing the biological compatibility between humans and plants. This biocompatibility allows them to have powerful effects on our health.” – Nadine Artemis
(PC: Linda Lomelino)
I see plants as teachers. They constantly remind me to be gentle, patient and forgiving. To better listen, be more open, and present. They teach me to be compassionate, to surrender and follow my intuition. Being surrounded by this wisdom, I am ever so grateful to Mother Nature for her continual gifts, and am excited to share some of these lessons.
Thousands of naturally occurring chemicals are found in plants, including some you might remember from chemistry or biology. They can be found in flowers, leaves, stems, roots, barks, fruits, minerals and even bugs. Some of these include powerful compounds such as terpenes, aldehydes, ketones, alcohols, and phenols. Although most of these don’t sound like they would be good for your health, most of them can actually be quite beneficial! Without getting into a college chemistry class here, I simply want to emphasize the complexity of botanicals, and the importance of honoring this aspect. The synergy of their components sometimes produces what seems to be magic!
Plants have been used for thousands of years by cultures around the world. Some use them to treat specific ailments, others to support healing, provide rejuvenation, strong health, or for spiritual experiences and growth. They can be eaten raw, dried or fried, made into tinctures, capsules, decoctions, or tablets, or carefully distilled for their powerful oils. They may be used to support the body physically, as some can modulate inflammation, facilitate digestion, regulate hormones, and boost immunity. Psychologically, they can be used to sustain positive moods, reduce anxiety, and improve memory, while spiritually, they can assist in meditation, brighten intuition, and enhance one’s connection to other realms. They are true medicine!
I highly recommend seeking the help of a skilled local herbalist to support your journey, especially if you want to use herbs for healing. Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of some of my favorite plants in one of their most potent form; Oils.
(PC: Natural Mixologist)
“For some of the botanicals oils, a whole plant or more is required to create a single drop of oil.” – Nadine Artemis
Cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, has made headlines for a while now, as people are reaping its many benefits. It’s one of the compounds found in the cannabis plant, and although it can be very therapeutic on its own, there are also advantages to using the whole plant, as nature designed it. I recommend doing your own research to learn more about what your body could benefit from.
CBD is one of the non-psychoactive cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, which is also found in this plant, CBD won’t intoxicate you, and has been shown not to be addictive. It can be extracted from the female marijuana plant, but most products on the market are from the male hemp plant.
With the recent legalization of marijuana in many states, CBD seems to be added to more and more products and foods. Although the body inherently has two cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2), our endocannabinoid system, CBD doesn’t seem to have a binding affinity with these. Instead, it seems to work on other receptors and channels in the brain, by enhancing or preventing the reuptake of certain neurotransmitters. In simpler terms, it helps you have more of the chemical messengers that facilitate positive responses in your brain, and less of those that tend to have less beneficial effects overall.
Scientists, doctors and research institutes are working hard to uncover more on its mechanisms of action and benefits, but meanwhile a number of anecdotal success stories are shared. Our society often discards the latter over science, but if I see that a product is clearly improving a condition, it’s hard to argue with results! The goal is for people to get better, so if someone finds something that works for them, I’m all ears!
Project CBD is a non-profit educational news service that is aiming to be the leader in cannabis educational resource. Their website is easy to navigate and links many research articles on specific conditions, so if you’re interested in learning more, it’s a great stop to read about the powerful studies on cannabis.
CBD has been shown to relieve chronic pain and inflammation, as well as anxiety disorders and depression. Many people also report successfully using it with gut and skin inflammation conditions, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and acne. Autoimmune fighters also use it to control some of their reactions, while patients with neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis and epilepsy are also benefiting from the partial inflammatory mediation. If you do suffer from one or more of these conditions, I strongly recommend speaking with an integrative doctor to see how you would benefit from this potent medicine.
CBD has also been shown to help modulate responses to stress and to improve sleep, so most of us could benefit greatly from using it! I personally love to use it to reduce systemic inflammation, to modulate my daily stress, and especially for joint recovery when I overdo in the exercise department!
“Extremely potent, often hundreds of times stronger than the herbal extract, oils have hundreds of beneficial chemical components that work synergistically with each other and with our bodies.” – Nadine Artemis
I understand that the cannabis plant can be controversial, so I’m excited to also share six of my favorite non-cannabis botanicals. Some of these are less commonly used today, but I find they can have powerful effects on health and should be in your home kit!
As a cautionary note before digging into the details, I suggest always testing new oils on a small patch of skin before applying to the face or a larger area. I always recommend starting with one drop of a single oil, diluted in a carrier oil, to see if you experience a reaction. Do take a moment to tune-in to your body to see if you feel you would benefit from the botanical. It’s also important to remember that everyone is different and might not achieve or feel the benefits discussed here, although most people using quality oils report some or all of these effects.
I also want to emphasize oil quality. These are extremely potent medicines that are absorbed into your skin and can enter the bloodstream through inhalation. Please use authentic, organically grown, pure essential oils that are carefully harvested and distilled. There are many companies putting in the extra efforts, and although I am not affiliated with any of them, I can vouch for the quality of their products and integrity. I personally love Living Libations, Essential Oil Wizardry, Jimm Harrison, and Original Swiss Aromatics.
(PC: UO Blog)
I’ve use the uplifting Rosemary for many years now. It is of great help for scalp and hair care. I’ve used a natural rosemary shampoo and conditioner for a few years now, and keep getting compliments on how healthy my hair looks! I also use it in a homemade hair rinse and spritzer to strengthen the hair cuticles and ends, to reduce scalp itchiness, support hair growth, and to give it more shine especially in harsh seasons. Rosemary can also be used on the skin to modulate oxidative stress as it stimulates cell regeneration, can reduce acne inflammation and the appearance of wrinkles and scars. It is filled with powerful antioxidants, and is a strong antibacterial, antiviral and antiseptic, which is why it is commonly used as a natural preservative in natural skincare. Rosemary can also be used for respiratory issues presenting with congestion. It being allergy season now, you can place a drop in your hands, rub them together and take a deep breath in your palms, for instant nasal clearing! I also love to use rosemary when I feel sluggish as it helps to lighten the mood, increase focus and memory, and can give me the motivation to get things done!
Palmarosa is a botanical that is not nearly as commonly known as our dear aromatic rosemary. Although it has a sweet and floral fragrance similar to that of rose, it is actually a grass native to India. I personally love to use it where I would use the more expensive rose or geranium essential oils, as it shares similar benefits. It is a gentle clarifying oil that can be used to reduce inflammatory skin conditions, and can be used to relieve stress and anxiety. I almost always add a few drops to my Epsom salt baths!
The sense-invigorating Lemon is a wonderful mood enhancer! It can uplift the spirits, all the while calming the nervous system. Lemon and other citrus oils, such as grapefruit, blood orange and bergamot, are used to promote alertness and relieve anxiety. Lemon is a powerful antiviral and antiseptic, making a great ally for boosting the immune system and facilitate detoxification. Because of its sour taste, it can also be used to reduce puffiness caused by water retention and to balance sebum production. I do have to mention that citrus essential oil may cause photosensitivity, so please use them hours before sun exposure and test them on a small area to test your sensitivity to them.
Helichrysum, also known as Immortelle is a cell-regenerating-skin-protector superhero! It assists in scar healing, reducing acne inflammation, the appearance of wrinkles, as well as cuts, bruises and burns (great for sunburns too!). When applied topically, it can protect the skin against free radicals that cause accelerated aging, help to fade scars and stretch marks, and relieve pain.
Another well known anti-inflammatory plant that I love to use for everything from topical first aid, to brain boosting air diffusing, and refreshing infused water is the timeless, Peppermint. Its cooling property is especially helpful to ease redness, pain, irritation and itching, as well as to clear sinuses and relieve headaches. It also increases mental alertness, and can brighten one’s mood. Mint is also commonly taken as a tea after meals to facilitate digestion, and to no surprise, its essential oil can be rubbed on the abdomen to provide the same relief. It is also a potent antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic and antioxidant, so use it around your house to clean and boost your immune system!
Last, but not least, one of my all time favorite essential oils, Frankincense. It has been used for spiritual rituals and ceremonies for thousands of years, but today, we can use it daily during our meditation and yoga practices, as it can facilitate intuitive connection. It is also used to calm the nervous system, which will help deepen the breath, thus making it a great addition to an altar! Frankincense is also a fantastic ally for the skin, as it can reduce inflammation. I use it in a serum with helichrysum, as a spot treatment for acne and blemishes, as it facilitates cell regeneration and skin rejuvenation. It can also strengthen immunity, as well as support the respiratory and nervous systems, making it another wonderful addition for year-long use!
Science is only starting to expose the benefits of complex botanicals, so I’m excited to see what the future holds for plant medicine. Meanwhile, let’s vote with our dollars by supporting beautifully intentioned companies and heal ourselves with Mother Nature’s wisdom!