Regaining health with St. Hildegard

St. Hildegard offers us a treasure trove of healing methods and remedies. Among all the recommendations of the Benedictine nun, we can distinguish six fundamental principles that form the basis to improve the quality of life and positively influence the effectiveness of her healing methods. They are as follows:
1. Treating food as medicine
2. Natural remedies used primarily for health recovery and disease prevention
3. Emphasis on natural sleep and adequate exercise
4. Finding a healthy balance between work and rest according to the principle of Ora at Labora (Pray and Work)
5. Systematic detoxification of the body from toxins through baths, sauna, bloodletting, cupping, intestinal cleansing, and kidney massage
6. Transforming one’s flaws into virtues resulting in generosity, joy, patience, vitality, and community.

Scientific research confirms what St. Hildegard understood many centuries ago. Lifestyle influences our health up to 80%. 40% of our health is determined by what we eat, another 40% by a sensible lifestyle, and only 20% is influenced by genetics and environmental factors. Much depends on us.
What the medieval nun proposes is a comprehensive diet and lifestyle that nourishes both the body and spirit. It provides the body with all the necessary vitamins and minerals for a healthy life from various food categories: spelt, fruits and vegetables, meat, and dairy. When the diet is primarily based on spelt, vegetables, and fruits, a healthy body is built. Meat and dairy are considered only additions to a meal. Enriching meals with appropriate herbs, especially bertram and galangal, helps the body build a strong immune system. The use of herbs with spelt makes one happy, and full of energy.

St. Hildegard highlighted three plants among the multitude of flora that should be part of everyday human diet: spelt, edible chestnuts, and fennel.
Spelt: “Spelt guarantees good blood, supports muscle development, and the gift of a cheerful spirit.” It contains Thiocyanate, a natural growth factor stimulating the formation of stem cells. It promotes the creation of all types of cells: reproductive, blood-forming, muscle, nerve, and immune system cells. It also acts anti-allergically, protects against the development of cancer cells by stabilizing cell walls, preventing cancerous substances from penetrating cell membranes.
Edible Chestnuts: The chestnut tree, from root to crown, is a 100% healthy plant useful for humans and livestock. Chestnuts are rich in tannins and bioflavonoids that help relieve stress and regenerate blood vessels through the presence of vitamin P. They should be used in various conditions of weakened immunity, such as cancer, Lyme disease, AIDS. Chestnut fruits contain essential minerals and trace elements: iron, zinc, copper, manganese, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and a bit of sodium. They are rich in vitamins A, E, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C. Chestnuts are effective in treating liver, spleen, pancreas disorders, gastrointestinal problems, rheumatic pain, arthritis, concentration issues, and heart pain.
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare): Fennel is one of the few plants in St. Hildegard’s health “lexicon” that can be consumed without concern, whether cooked, baked, steamed, or raw. It is beneficial in every form: as a vegetable, infusion, or oil. It is a rich source of vitamins and minerals (vitamins A, C, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus). It aids in digestive problems, bloating, stomach acidity, heartburn, and menopause.
St. Hildegard recommends refraining from the following food: leeks, peaches, strawberries, plums, eel, pork. These are kitchen poisons that weaken the body, make diseases more prone to develop, and burden the human body.

With these few restrictions, we can draw from the abundant gifts of God. In the category of beverages, St. Hildegard recommends spring water for drinking and well water for cooking. The best thirst quencher is lukewarm water or fennel tea. It is entirely safe, even when consumed in large amounts. Spelt coffee is another recommended beverage right next to wine.

Among Hildegard’s notes, there are descriptions of numerous herbs and spices. Plants that we may sometimes overlook in our garden or meadow can bring beneficial effects to our bodies. It is worth getting acquainted with all of them, as each herb can serve as a remedy for various ailments. Hildegard presents multiple solutions for specific conditions, so if one is not easily available, another may be more accessible. The following plants hold a primary place in God’s herbal pharmacy:
Bertram (Anacyclus pyrerthrum): it ensures proper digestion and improves the quality of blood. Using bertram in daily cooking ensures that vitamins and minerals are well absorbed into the body, making the use of supplements unnecessary. Bertram restores intestinal health.
Galangal (Alpinia officinarum): it can be substituted for pepper, it adds spiciness to dishes. It is effective in treating heart problems, blood circulation issues, headaches. It has warming, anti-inflammatory, and vasodilatory properties. It also helps relive menstrual pains.
To sweeten dishes, St. Hildegard recommends honey and cane sugar.

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