5 Power Plants and How to Use Them

| Health
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(Photo: iStock)

Even if you’ve unintentionally murdered every houseplant you’ve ever owned — RIP expensive fiddle leaf fig!  there’s still hope for your tumultuous relationship with plants. Luckily, you don’t have to have a green thumb to be able to appreciate and consume some of nature’s most healthy power plants.

Plants are revitalizers and healers, and throughout history all over the world people have used them to improve their health and enhance their overall well-being. But regardless of their ancient history, power plants of all kinds can be easily worked into your current lifestyle.

The Stress Reliever: Holy Basil
What it is:
Holy basil is a sacred herb used in ancient Indian medicine that’s been used for thousands of years to combat stress by lowering cortisol levels in the body. It’s also been widely used to treat common ailments like upset stomach or seasonal colds, but it’s mainly used as an adaptogen, which is a class of herbs that helps the body deal with stressors.
How to use it: With a peppery, clove-like taste, it can be used to flavor all types of savory dishes like spicy stir-frys and soups. You can also enjoy it by sipping a relaxing tea, either from the store or brewing your own by steeping fresh or dried holy basil leaves. 

The Immunity Booster: Elderberries
What it is:
These small, dark berries are immune-boosting powerhouses with high levels of antioxidants and flavonoids, possessing antiviral properties that have been shown to treat the flu. Moreover, these little berries can help promote healthy blood circulation.
How to use it: Most people sip these berries like a tea, as they don’t exactly taste great raw. You can also top pancakes, waffles or yogurt with homemade elderberry syrup like this sweet recipe.

The Inflammation Buster: Rose Hips
What it is:
This fruit from the wild rose bush is the ultimate superfood, packed with more vitamin C than oranges. It’s known for fighting inflammation, which is why it’s used to help treat rheumatoid arthritis, while reducing the pain and swelling associated with the joints.
How to use it: Try steeping dried rose hips in hot water for a tart, sweet tea, or for a cooler, refreshing treat, soak rose hips in cold water overnight and then sip it slowly.

The All-Around Super Herb: Nettle
What it is:
 First, nettle is a natural upper, helping increase general vitality when you’re feeling low and rundown. Second, it has antihistamine properties that help reduce sneezing and irritation from allergies. As if that wasn't enough, it’s used in cleanses because it’s a natural diuretic, which helps to clear skin and detox the bod.
How to use it: Nettle tea on its own has a distinct grassy taste, so blending it with peppermint helps make it more enjoyable. For a nutritional punch, use the nettle leaves in your soup and stews.

The Energy Elixir: Coconut
What it is:
By now you’re probably already familiar with the long list of health benefits coconuts offer, but you might not know that its oil form contains medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) that are metabolized in the body and are a fantastic source of natural energy. Even better, MCTs have been proven to increase energy expenditure in your body — meaning coconut oil can even aid in weight loss.
How to use it: Use coconut oil as a great alternative to olive oil when cooking or baking; use it for muffins, stir-frys, eggs or other lean proteins. Additionally, you can use it in your bulletproof coffee every morning.

Hayley Simmons |

Hayley Simmons is a twenty-something writer, wife and new mama to her baby girl, Scout. A native Texan turned Nashvillian, she spends her time experimenting with healthy recipes -- then forcing her husband to eat them, finding new ways to not hate the gym and shopping for (an absurd amount of) baby clothes.