Food Recipes That Help and Heal

by Charles Platkin, PhD

Plantain Cream for Bites and Stings

Healthy Healing Recipe By:  James Wong, author of Grow Your Own Drugs: Easy for Natural Remedies and Beauty Fixes.

What it does: A natural cream to help bites and stings.
4 tablespoons fresh chopped plantain leaves
cup (150 ml) boiling water
2 tablespoons olive oil or sunflower oil
2 tablespoons almond oil
1 teaspoon beeswax
2 teaspoons emulsifying wax
2 teaspoons glycerine
1 teaspoon vitamin C powder


Wash and chop the plantain leaves. Divide into two put one half in a bowl and the other half in a pan. Cover the plantain in the bowl with the water and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.
In the pan, add the olive (or sunflower) and almond oils to the plantain and heat gently to simmering point. Don’t allow to boil if it starts boiling, take off the heat immediately. Once at simmering point, remove from the heat and leave for 10 minutes to cool.

Strain the plantain leaves from the water in the bowl, reserving the infused water and discarding the leaves. Set the liquid to one side.

Drain the infused oil into another pan, discarding the plantain leaves. Heat the oil again. Add the beeswax and emulsifying wax and melt, stirring. Aim for a foamy consistency.
Add 1 cup of the infused water to the pan and whisk to achieve a consistency like salad dressing. Add the glycerine and vitamin C powder.

Pour into sterilized glass jars and seal.
Note: Apply to affected area as often as needed. Keeps for three months in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Valerian Hot Chocolate for Anxiety

Healthy Healing Recipe By:  James Wong, author of Grow Your Own Drugs: Easy Recipes for Natural Remedies and Beauty Fixes.

What it does: According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, valerian helps with insomnia and reduces anxiety. Research has still not confirmed this claim (see: )

Makes 3 cups


3 tablespoons fresh valerian root
3 tablespoons fresh lemon balm leaves
3 teaspoons fresh lavender flowers
6 leaves and 3 heads from fresh passion flowers
Peel of 1 1/2 oranges
3.5 cups (900 ml) full-fat milk
1.8 ounces (50 g) dark chocolate (minimum 50% cocoa solids)
Dash of vanilla extract


Chop the top and bottom from the fresh valerian root. Add the valerian, lemon balm, lavender, passion flowers, orange peel and milk to a pan and gently heat for 5-10 minutes. Strain.

Pour the infused milk back into the pan, then add the dark chocolate and vanilla extract and stir until melted. Drink at once.

Note:  You can drink up to 3 cups a day for two weeks at a time. Valerian can cause drowsiness, so check with your doctor if you’re taking anti-depressants or sleeping pills.

Quick Three-Bean Soup

Healthy Healing Recipe By:  LeAnne Campbell, author of The China Study Cookbook.

What it does: Beans are high in fiber. Healthy diets rich in fiber reduce your risk for heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

Makes 3 quarts


1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 16-ounce package frozen mixed vegetables
2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 heaping tablespoon dried parsley


In a large soup pot, saut頯nion and garlic in cup of water over medium-high heat until onion is slightly transparent.

Add remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on medium-low heat for 45 minutes.
Note: For variety, leafy greens like kale or chard and seasonal vegetables like zucchini, carrots, green beans and corn are especially good in this recipe as a substitution for the frozen vegetables. FYI, the author is the daughter of  T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., author of The China Study.

Steamed Artichokes with Lemon Dipping Sauce

Healthy Healing Recipe By:  Brooke Alpert, MS, RD, and Patricia Farris, MD, authors of  The Sugar Detox.

What it does: Lemons contain polyphenols antioxidants that neutralize protein-sugar complexes called advanced glycation ends (AGEs). AGEs trigger inflammation in the body, causing tissue damage and premature aging. Lemons not only defuse bloating, but are considered low-glycemic (containing barely any fructose) and are loaded with vitamin C a natural collagen booster helping to heal those bloated from years of high-sugar intake, says Patricia Farris, MD, a clinical associate professor at Tulane University and distinguished member of the Skin Faculty for the American Academy of Dermatology, and nutritionist Brooke Alpert, MS, RD.  Additionally, Artichokes are always a great appetizer or snack. They take a while to eat and keep your hands busy. Theyre filled with fiber and antioxidants, and when dipped in the tangy lemon sauce, are beyond delicious.

Makes 4 servings


4 medium artichokes
1 lemon, cut in half

Lemon Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest


Cut off the artichoke stems so they can sit flat. Using kitchen scissors, trim off the pointy parts of all the leaves.

Take the lemon halves and rub all over the artichokes, squeezing the excess juice into each artichoke center.

Fill a large saucepan with 2 to 3 inches of water. Slice the squeezed lemon halves and place in the saucepan. Place the artichokes on a steamer rack in the saucepan, cover, and steam for about 40 minutes or until the leaves pull out easily.

Remove from the heat, drain and allow to cool.

Open the artichokes and scoop out the inedible choke and purple-toned small inner leaves, using a small spoon or ice-cream scooper.

Place all the dipping sauce ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well.

Use as a dip for the leaves.

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