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Colorful natural healing ingredients for wellness on a table in bright light

Top 10 Natural Healing Ingredients

This Earth Month, as we celebrate our remarkable planet, we can’t help but be amazed by the incredible natural world and its abundant healing botanicals. From the turmeric fields of India to the pineapple orchards of Indonesia, here are 10 of our planet’s most powerful natural wellness ingredients, and how to harness their benefits.

  1. Arnica

    This perennial plant with vibrant orange-yellow flowers grows most commonly in alpine meadows at high elevations, and has been used medicinally since at least the 1500s. Known to effectively relieve pain, ease muscle aches, reduce swelling and bruising, help with joint pain, and speed the body's natural healing processes, arnica (Arnica montana) is a potent botanical found in salves, creams, gels, ointments, tablets, and dietary supplements. This botanical is also commonly used for injuries like sprains and is an excellent source of support during athletic recovery. 

    Be sure to stock your medicine cabinet with arnica tablets and topical gel to help ease pain, bruising, and swelling after surgery, injury, or strain. Or, try this arnica cream for bruising and swelling on sensitive facial skin. (Bonus: apply to dark undereye circles for brightening and hydration.)      

  2.  Bromelain

    Did you know that pineapples were full of a healing enzyme called bromelain? Found in the fruit and stem of the plant, bromelain can be located in tropical climates around the globe, with pineapple trees growing in Costa Rica and across Latin America, as well as throughout Southeast Asia in countries like Indonesia. 

    For generations, cultures indigenous to the Americas have used pineapple in medicine for its pain-relieving properties, and according to Mount Sinai, scientists first began isolating bromelain from the fruit for its healing properties in the 1800s. In addition to relieving pain, bromelain has been used to treat swelling and pain following surgery, reduce bruising, treat sinus swelling, ease inflammation, and help heal wounds and infections.  

    Keep this powerhouse dietary supplement on hand to help with recovery from surgery or injury, or toss this Brazilian Grilled PIneapple onto the barbecue at your next backyard party. 

  3. Aloe Vera

    Since time immemorial, the succulent aloe vera plant has been used in medicine by global cultures like ancient China and Egypt. It’s said that Alexander the Great used aloe to treat his soldier’s wounds, while Egyptian queens Cleopatra and Nefertiti included it in their beauty routines. Traditionally, people have turned to the plant to help treat digestive problems, burns, wounds, insect bites, and as an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. 

    Grown mostly in warm, dry climates around the world, aloe can be found in digestive remedies and immune support supplements, and in pain relief topicals for its soothing effect.

    For a soothing, calming skin treat, try this gentle facial cleanser with aloe, or if you have a green thumb, try harvesting aloe vera straight from your own plant at home. 

  4. Turmeric

    For nearly 40 centuries, the turmeric plant has been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, and has since found its way into kitchens and wellness regimens around the planet. Also called “curcumin, “the golden spice,” or “yellow root,” turmeric (Curcuma longa) is grown in tropical climates, but comes primarily from India and Myanmar

    In recent years, turmeric has had a moment in the skincare world for its ability to bring out the skin’s natural luster and glow, promote faster healing, and stimulate anti-aging benefits by boosting collagen production, warding off wrinkles, and diminishing age spots. But in addition to supporting skin, for much of history, turmeric has been lauded for its medicinal properties. Harvard Health says these range from digestive and respiratory support and joint pain relief to antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and immune-supporting antioxidant properties. The plant has also been shown to support mood, benefiting those with depression, and can act as an anti-allergy supplement. 

    Try adding a multivitamin containing turmeric to your regimen for a potent daily wellness boost, or work it into a protein-packed breakfast

  5. Dandelion Root

    Traditionally, Native American people prepared a medicinal drink by boiling dandelions in water to treat digestive upset, heartburn, swelling, and skin issues among other ailments. In Europe, says Mount Sinai, the plant was used in remedies for a variety of problems from fever to eye troubles. These days, the root of the bright yellow flowering plant is often lauded as a natural remedy for cleansing the body’s systems –especially the liver and kidneys– and as a detoxifying diuretic. It has also been shown to stimulate the appetite, improve high blood pressure, and may even help to stabilize blood sugar and cholesterol levels. 

    Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is high in antioxidants, with excellent anti-aging, complexion supporting, and skin protecting benefits. This common botanical can be found in culinary creations, teas, 

    To explore the wellness benefits of dandelion root, support skin health with a complexion-repairing addition to your supplement routine, or bake a beautiful Dandelion Root Cake for a sweet, flower-garnished wellness treat.    
  6. Comfrey

    Comfrey, according to Permaculture, has been “cultivated as a healing herb since at least 400 BC. The Greeks and Romans commonly used comfrey to stop heavy bleeding, treat bronchial problems, and heal wounds and broken bones.” Today, the purple and blue flowering shrub, native to Europe and Asia, remains in high praise for its ability to treat wounds, inflammation, bruises, pulled muscles, sprains, and strains. It has even been used to help keep skin healthy by providing allantoin, a moisturizing compound which promotes the growth of new skin cells, calms inflammation, can help to clear acne, and eases irritation. 

    This botanical should only be used topically, and can be found in healing skin creams, ointments, serums, and gels. 

    For a chemical-free alternative to pain relievers and topical medications, apply this soothing gel with comfrey to bruises, swelling, sore muscles, stiff joints, and skin irritation like insect bites. 

  7. Bioflavonoids

    Bioflavonoids are antioxidant compounds found in fruits like rose hips, cherries, and black currants, and are used to support circulation, enhance the absorption of vitamin C, and to treat viruses, allergies, and inflammatory conditions. The antioxidant properties of fruits have been relied upon globally for centuries,  and have even been shown to help combat degenerative conditions

    If you’re fighting the good fight against seasonal allergies, try incorporating a supplement packed with quercetin, a bioflavonoid found in apples, berries, and cherries, into your wellness regimen. Or, reach for a multivitamin full of citrus bioflavonoids for their antioxidant benefits. 

    And of course, be sure to fit plenty of fruit into your diet, like this Citrus and Pomegranate Fruit Salad.     

  8. Burdock Root

    Naturally cleansing and detoxifying, burdock (Arctium lappa) is related to sunflowers, sports heart-shaped leaves, and flowers into purple blossoms on tall stems. While it can be found globally, including in North America, it’s native to Europe and North Asia, and has been both eaten as a vegetable and looked to for its medicinal properties for centuries. 

    This lesser known botanical supports wellness in a number of ways, providing potent antioxidant activity, easing sore throats and colds, and working to naturally purify the body’s systems. Burdock is also effective in promoting skin health, from helping to heal burns to supporting a clear complexion. 

    Try a skin-nourishing supplement with burdock, or pair a Roasted Burdock Root with your favorite savory protein. 

  9. Chamomile

    This cheerful, daisy-family herb may be growing right outside your door. According to Mount Sinai, Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) is one of the most popular and commonly grown herbs in the Western world. Ancient cultures like the Egyptians and Greeks used chamomile to treat everything from chest colds and insomnia to skin conditions like acne and minor burns. It has also been shown to benefit allergies, digestive problems, inflammation, muscle spasms, menstrual symptoms, and pain. 

    The white-and-yellow flowered plant is popularly found in herbal teas, digestive supplements, and natural sleep aids. But you may be surprised to learn that chamomile is rich in antioxidants, packed with anti-aging properties, and contains compounds that naturally calm and soothe skin.

    Try including a soothing, restoring eye cream with chamomile in your skincare routine, or surprise guests at your next dinner party by adding this fairy-tale worthy Lavender and Chamomile Infused Rice to your tablescape. 
  10. Ginger

    Made from the stem of the flowering Zingiber officinale plant, ginger has been used both medicinally and in global cuisines for thousands of years. Grown in tropical climates throughout the world, ginger was brought to the western world by ancient Romans, and the zesty aromatic topped the list of popular spices in the European Middle Ages. In addition to teas, baked goods, and dishes like curry, you’ll find ginger in a variety of tonics and supplements for its medicinal benefits. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, these include: efficient digestion, nausea and morning sickness relief, antioxidant properties, and bloating and gas relief. Recent research also suggests ginger may act as an anti-inflammatory. 

    As an antioxidant, ginger can help to boost immunity, fight free radicals, and promote collagen production, making it an excellent addition to natural anti-aging supplements

    For a double dose of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory goodness, whip up this Restorative Ginger and Turmeric Noodle Soup


Wherever you find yourself on our beautiful planet, we invite you to join us in taking a moment to appreciate the wellness wonders of our natural world. 

And if you’re looking for new ways to celebrate Earth Month this year, exploring the incredible natural ingredients our planet provides to support our greatest well being can be an excellent place to start.  

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