Food as medicine

Many modern maladies and the need to take medication could be avoided – or at least alleviated – if people had a better understanding of foods that harm, and foods that heal


Gut health is imperative for many functions of the body. It’s a complex system vital to our overall wellbeing, and gut bugs help regulate metabolism and nutrient absorption. 

The needs of the body vary during different stages of life, and each person must find their most comfortable and beneficial diet. We are not only what we eat – we are also how well we digest and absorb our food.

Fresh is obviously best: freshly picked fruits and vegetables that are in season rather than frozen or packaged varieties are ideal. Organic produce is better again.


Some medications will disrupt the microbial actions in your gut, either by preventing and slowing bacterial growth, or killing them. For example, antibiotics will predispose to gut dysbiosis, a condition that occurs when the normal balance of bacterial flow, or microbiota, is disrupted in the body.

Cortico steroids are a common prescription in conventional medicine for inflammatory conditions. The prolonged use of cortico-steroids depletes mineral absorption, particularly calcium, leading to osteoporosis. Some useful natural anti-inflammatories are turmeric, boswelia and glucosamine (used to repair joints and reduce pain) but should be prescribed by a practitioner to suit a client’s individual state of health.

Sugar This might be really obvious, but I can’t tell you how many people easily dismiss it. The link between sugar and inflammation is convincingly high. Patients whose presenting complaints are acne, arthritis, fibromyalgia or other general inflammatory diseases should avoid sugar. Sugar prevents the proper function of the immune system, including cough- and antibiotic syrups. With a compromised immune system, the skin remains the eliminating organ for toxic waste.

Gluten are the proteins found in wheat, rye and barley. These proteins contribute to creating a leaky gut. A leaky gut allows gluten and many other foreign toxic substances to penetrate the body. 

We are not only what we eat – we are also how well we digest and absorb our food.


Aloe Vera: Used for healing purposes internally and externally and in the treatment of bruises and burns. It is beneficial for skin allergies and injuries. Used in herbal medicine for the treatment of ulcers, skin burns, and to antidote poison.

Anise: Used to loosen mucous and clear respiratory congestion. Also used to relieve bloating and indigestion. Anise is also said to soothe acne scars and damaged skin. Can minimise the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Basil: Beneficial in the treatment of stress. Tea can be prepared with basil leaves, infused with sage leaves, and sweetened with honey. Due to its antispasamodic properties, basil can be used to ease an upset stomach and stimulate the cilia in the nose to help clear the nasal passages.

Cardamom: A member of the ginger family, cardamon is used to relieve stomach problems and heartburn. Sweetens the breath similar to cool mints. Chewing cardamon seeds is an effective breath freshener.

Carrots: Juice a carrot and mix it with a teaspoon of honey for healthy eyes. Take in the morning before breakfast.

Chives: Used to promote good digestion and to help lower high blood pressure. They also make a good diuretic.

Cinnamon: Known as one of nature’s strongest antiseptics. Cinnamon also contains sedative components and is believed to lower blood-sugar levels.

Cloves: used to treat toothache and reduce inflammation.

Coconut: Many uses helping to protect and relieve the body of internal and external ailments. Coconut milk has many uses, most of which build the immune system and the body’s defences.

Coriander: Used to aid digestion. It is also known to alleviate migraine headaches.

Dill: helps to calm a nervous stomach. Also known to kill intestinal bacteria.

Garlic: The nutritional powerhouse ~ Thought to prevent all including heart disease, stroke and hypertension.

Ginger: Helps to stimulate the heart and circulatory system and also reduces inflammation. Use fresh ginger with boiling water as a tea for gas, flatulence, or wind. Dried ginger can be used for stomach problems such as stomach ache, diarrhea and nausea.

Grapefruit: The health benefits of grapefruit are enormous. A glass of chilled grapefruit juice, especially in winter, will increase your vitamin C intake. Grapefruit is full of the benefits of nutrients, vitamins, potassium, lycopene. It also contains calcium, sugar and phosphorus.

Horseradish: Promotes good blood flow. Horseradish inhibits the growth of bacteria and viruses and helps promote good blood flow.

Juniper berry: Is not a fruit, it’s a spice. Berries and needles, bark, wood, and root are all active. Juniper properties include antibacterial, anti fungal, and anti-inflammatory (great for skin problems). The berries must be tinctured in alcohol and eaten whole to be effective. The berries are used for urinary tract infections. The berries or needles for upper respiratory of GI tract infections. The heartwood, roots, bark, berries or needles are used for skin infections and infectious dysentery. The essential oil for airborne sinus and upper respiratory infections. Add any part of the plant to wound powders or use alone to prevent or treat infection in wounds.

Lemons: So many uses;
Helps heal hoarseness, inflammation (of the mouth and throat) and digestive disorders. Useful for gout and urine retention.
Useful remedy for asthma, fresh lemons very beneficial taken in the morning into a glass of warm water.
Useful for insomnia, nervousness, and heart palpitations.
Useful remedy for arthritis and Vitamin C deficiency.
Powerful natural cleaner keeping our stomach, liver and intestines in good shape.

Nutmeg: Helps stimulate the cardiovascular system, and increases concentration.

Oranges: One of the best sources of the powerful antioxidant vitamin C. Vitamin C is needed to produce collagen that strengthens the capillaries that supply the skin.  Vitamin C also enhances absorption of non-haem iron from foods consumed concurrently.Therefore a vitamin c deficiency will cause an iron deficiency.

Oregano: Used for indigestion, flatulence, bloating and to help ease stomach pains. Stand 3 tbs freshly crushed oregano leaves in 1 cup of boiling water for 10 mins.

Parsley: Strengthens the digestive system and is also used as a diuretic. It also has high levels of Vitamin C among other health benefits.

Pepper: Stimulates taste buds causing reflex stimulation of gastric secretions, improving digestion and treating gastro-intentional upsets and flatulence. Pepper calms nausea and raises body temperature, making it valuable for treating fevers and chills. Cayenne pepper is used to stimulate the digestive and circulatory systems.

Saffron: Eases fatigue and exhaustion and also strengthens the heart and nervous system.

Thyme: Relaxes cramps and gas, and also helps to relieve sore throats.

Tumeric: The anti inflammatory spice from the ginger family. Tumeric can be used with barley and yogurt for sunburn relief. Tumeric is also used to reduce the risk of gallstones. 


Honey has always worked! Honey is also excellent for satisfying cravings (among many other reasons) and help maintain a healthy weight. ~never heat honey~ Any organic wildflower honey can be used effectively in the treatment of antibiotic-resistant skin and wound infections. Actions – Potent antibiotic against all known forms of resistant bacteria that infect the skin and wounds. Promotes healing for wounds, moist wounds, peptic ulcers, and bacterial gastroenteritis; reduces plaque; good for gingivitis; facilitates debridement; soothes inflamed tissues; acts as a wound barrier; and stimulates skin and muscle regeneration.


The effects of toxic food consumption are not acute. It is slow, often silent and insidious, has long term consequences which are then often treated symptomatically and labelled “chronic and incurable” by conventional medicine.


Josephine Zappia is a qualified holistic health practitioner and counsellor, practising since 2005. For more than a decade, she has been practising homoeopathic medicine and specialises in skin disease and nutrition. She is also Australian ambassador for Still Aware, a professional community helping individuals deal with the emotional and physical aftermath of stillbirth.


Growing up in a family of fruit and vegetable providers, Josephine always intuitively understood the nutritional power of natural produce. It would be her own skin condition that would lead her to seek natural remedies and discover the ability to treat and heal the body holistically.


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