An increasing number of people around the world are switching to herbs and other natural remedies to manage their health. With this newfound global enthusiasm for natural remedies, we’ve seen them featured in movies and other popular media. Here are some of our favorite movies that showcase the healing power of herbs and alternative medicine.
In Defense of Food
This PBS documentary focuses on our diet and the many misconceptions that we have about the way that we eat. It shows how our food has changed over time, and how moving away from unprocessed foods has hurt our bodies in many different ways. It also talks about many of the fad diets that have become popular in the US and how they have affected us. While this documentary is not directly about natural remedies, it does focus on the power of a natural diet, which is a good basis for healthy living.
Numen: The Nature of Plants
This documentary takes a visually stunning look at the world of healing plants. It takes an in-depth look at popular herbal remedies, interviewing some of the world’s leading experts in alternative medicine as well as ecologists and biologists. They talk about the history of herbal remedies as well, and you’ll learn how plants have been used as medical remedies throughout history.
Eat Pray Love
This movie is based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir of the same name, and stars Julia Roberts as the main character. Unhappy with her marriage, Elizabeth Gilbert decides to take off on a year-long travel journey to reconnect with the things that are important to her. She starts in Italy, where she rediscovers her passion for food. She then moves on to India, where she connects with her spirituality at an ashram, and then finally travels to Indonesia. There, she connects with a medicine man who performs herbal and spiritual healing, and she finds the peace and balance she needs to move on with her life.
Dallas Buyers Club
This gut-wrenching story highlights some of the ways the Western medical system is broken, and how non-traditional medicines can provide a path to healing. The film tells the true story of Ron Woodruff, a man who contracted HIV in the mid-1980s. Since HIV and AIDS were not well-researched at the time, there weren’t many treatments available. Woodruff, portrayed by Matthew McConaughey, travels to Mexico, where he learns of alternative nutritional supplements that can help with his condition. He then illegally sells these medications to HIV positive people in Dallas while pushing for a new approach to FDA drug approval in the US. The incredible acting and storyline won McConaughey and supporting actor Jared Leto Academy Awards, and the film as a whole was critically lauded.
This is another great independent documentary that focuses on herbalism and how it can benefit the world. This documentary not only talks about the benefits of herbal remedies for the body, but also showcases herbalists positively influencing their community and working as activists for better healthcare. Herbalists are doing important work for their communities and for healthcare accessibility, and this movie shows how they are able to do so effectively.
Portrait of a Lady On Fire
This beautiful period romance made waves this year, winning awards around the world and receiving almost universal acclaim from critics. It depicts a romance between two French women in the late 18th century. In one of the film’s most titillating scenes, the two main characters use an herbal substance to relax and as an aphrodisiac. While the substance isn’t named, the scene shows how herbs have been used for pleasure as well as for healing for centuries. The movie also has a deep, heartbreaking sense of romance that is sure to move you.
This is one of Woody Allen’s lesser known works, but it still employs his signature sharp wit and quirky characters. Relased in 1990, it stars Mia Farrow as a housewife in New York City who visits an Asian herbalist for help with her problems. Things get out of control quickly, as Alice uses herbs that affect her romantic life and even give her the power of invisibility. While the movie’s portrayal of herbalism takes a fantastical bent, rather than a realistic one, Alice ultimately benefits from her time spent with the herbalist and eventually makes important changes to her life so she can live more authentically.
This is another excellent movie from the early 1990s that depicts a family using alternative, natural medicine to combat their child’s rare neurological condition. It was based on the true story of two parents, played by Nick Nolte and Susan Sarandon, who went on a relentless search to find a treatment for their young son’s adrenolukodystrophy. They try treatment after treatment, and eventually reach out to healthcare experts for help. They eventually learn about an oil containing fatty acids that could reduce their son’s symptoms, and work tirelessly to obtain it and help their son survive.
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
This isn’t a film, but rather a very unique TV series that ran on BBC for two seasons. It is based on a novel and revolves around Dirk Gently, a detective who believes in the interconnectedness of the universe. While the show doesn’t directly focus on medicine, it does reinforce the idea that everything is connected and that a holistic approach is one of the most effective ways to solve problems. This is one of the most important principles of herbalism and natural remedies. This show combines comedy, science fiction, and drama in a fun and fascinating plot that’s completely unique.
These movies differ widely in their portrayal of natural remedies and alternative medicine, but they all bring this important topic to the forefront. If you’re interested in natural healing, these films are an excellent form of entertainment. Whether you prefer informative documentaries or fast-paced fictional stories, there’s plenty of representation of natural remedies on screen today.
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