Improving Your Health Naturally With Herbs
By Chang Kyo Oh
In the martial arts we value good health because it is a part of our “Mudo Lifestyle”. As we advance in ranks we are required to learn health enhancing skills for a total mind, body, spirit experience. Using herbs to enhance your health doesn’t have to wait until you are ill.
Herbs are the culinary and medicinal plants. That means that you can add herbs to your diet to improve your health. Health is the foundation of success. Good health will translate into sharper martial arts skills and sharper mental skills as well. These are the low-growing aromatic plants which are used fresh or dried for seasoning, for their medicinal properties, or in perfumes. There are a wide variety of herbs such as super kelp, garlic, parsley, green tea extract, horse chestnut, milk thistle and oregano oil.
My sword master firmly believes that herbs are very useful in strengthening the body. Korean natural medicine doctors know that herbs are also vital for treating the diseases of the body and mind. However they contain active substances that can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. So, they should be taken on the advice of an herbal practitioner.
Super kelp (also known as “Sea kelp” and “Sea wrack”) is a sea herb that is one of the best sources of natural iodine and trace elements. It is also used as the principle agent in cures for obesity. In addition, it cleans out the kidneys and stimulates the thyroid and pituitary gland to produce growth hormones.
Garlic is a natural anti-biotic and is used to disinfect wounds, treat ear infections, cholera and typhus. This herb is anti-fungal and anti-oxidant agent and can help lower cholesterol. It may also be beneficial for risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and cancer. The excess of garlic can cause upset stomach/flatulence, occupational asthma, postoperative bleeding, bloating, bad breath, body odor, and skin irritation. People with bleeding disorders should not use garlic.
Parsley (Petroselinum) is one of the best known, diuretic and most nutritious herbs which contain large quantities of vitamins A, B, C and minerals calcium, iron, phosphorous, potassium and magnesium. It’s very useful for kidney and urinary problems and water retention. Its usefulness can be judged by the saying: “if parsley is thrown into fishponds it will heal the sick fishes therein”.
Green Tea Extract
Green tea extracts are one of the nature’s most powerful anti-oxidants. It helps prevent both heart disease and cancer by helping prevent vascular blood clotting and reducing cholesterol. It possesses antimicrobial properties that support immune-system health and protects against digestive and respiratory infections. The excess of green tea extracts may cause irritability, insomnia, heart palpitation, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, and loss of appetite. I get the benefits the old fashion way by drinking hot green tea in my office at the Hapkido school.
Horse chestnut supports the vessels of our circulatory system and helps strengthen capillary cells and reduce fluid breakage. It is believed to be an excellent antioxidant to prevent wrinkles. It also helps in the treatments of phlebitis, varicosity and hemorrhoids.
Milk thistle has some active substances that helps maintain healthy liver function by protecting the liver from damage caused by viruses, toxins and alcohol. It is a herbal remedy for anthrax, asthma, bladder stones, cancer, catarrh, chest ailments, dropsy, fever, bleeding from the lungs or bronchia, hepatitis, rabies, jaundice, vaginal discharge, malaria, melancholy, piles, plague, pleurisy, spasms, and spleen and uterus problems. Taking excess of milk thistle may cause stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, rash or other skin reactions, joint pain, impotence, and anaphylaxis. It should not be taken in pregnancy and while nursing.
This herb has healing, antioxidant and anti-microbial properties. It is used to treat a mildly upset stomach, bronchitis, nervous tension, insect bites, rheumatism, earache, toothaches. I found that it is even effective for treating athlete’s foot. It is also useful in relieve bloating, gas, urinary tract problems, rheumatoid arthritis, swollen glands, and lack of perspiration. In addition, it is as powerful as ‘morphine’ as a pain killer.
About the author: Master Chang Kyo Oh is a Hapkido and Sword Master in Chollanamdo, South Korea. He is the Technical Director of the World Sword Arts Federation and is currently completing his studies for a degree in Natural Medicine. He can be reached at www.WorldSwordArts.org or add him to your friends at www.worldmartialartsnetwork.ning.com .