MEDICINE WHEEL:  Herbs For Radiation Protection, Repair & Remediation

Source –

  • ‘…The preventative and restorative remedies discussed below I have had some direct experience with. I take them myself, and they were recommended by the oncology team for a young family member who was about to undergo a “lifetime dose” of pencil beam radiation. She still takes the supplements listed below, even though her radiation treatment was several years ago. I wanted to clarify that I do have some direct experience in supportive nutrition and supplements for patients exposed to therapeutic radiation but not a radioactive blast or power plant leak”

 Herbs for Radiation Protection, Repair and Remediation

As you can imagine, I have had no end of contacts from people shall we say ….
freaking out about the “hints” from the big name news readers on the TeeVee.

And so … I have been asked to give them advice on what to stock up on in preparation before, during and after “the Big Event”. I decided instead to write what I had to share in a post to share with a wider audience beyond my own inner circle as well. Links to sources are in gold.

Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, 
nor be afraid of them: 
for the Lord thy God, 
he it is that doth go with thee; 
he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
Deuteronomy 31:6, KJV

Please note that the information I am sharing is not based on personal experience or first hand knowledge. I’ve never had to deal with a nuclear blast, radioactive fallout, etc. But I do have first hand experience with the long term effects of radiation sickness, caring for my paternal grandfather who as a result of his technical expertise during his war time service suffered with life time radiation sickness. It’s not pleasant, but he did live to 78 with nutritive and medical support and followup. What finally got him was not the radiation sickness, but the metastasized cancer from being a lifetime smoker. But I digress.

Update:  The preventative and restorative remedies discussed below I have had some direct experience with. I take them myself, and they were recommended by the oncology team for a young family member who was about to undergo a “lifetime dose” of pencil beam radiation. She still takes the supplements listed below, even though her radiation treatment was several years ago. I wanted to clarify that I do have some direct experience in supportive nutrition and supplements for patients exposed to therapeutic radiation but not a radioactive blast or power plant leak.

FWIW, I do not receive any income/residuals from the links to products listed below. I provide them simply to help people source the products I am referring to in the post. As always, do your own research, and there are a number of different vendors who provide similar products.

There are a number of good resources out there to help you plan for and manage exposure to toxic metals and radioactive by products, including:

Removing radioisotopes and fallout from drinking water

Dartmouth Toxic Metals Project 

Plants for Soil Remediation

Radioactive Environmental Remediation (IAEA)

Preventative – Pre Exposure

While researching this post, it seems that the best preventative measure is to have as healthy an immune system as possible. We are all exposed to radiation from a wide variety of sources, including background radiation, daily. Our immune system is designed to cope with that – within limits. Everything in moderation, including excess.

Having on hand a great cancer diet cookbook like the one shown will help you find nutritious, body building foods that are preventative for not only cancer but radiation exposure and could be a great incentive to switch to a healthier lifestyle, “Big Event” or not.

Specific foods that have been shown to be protective from radiation exposure:

Spirulina and Chlorella, both nutritious blue green algae, have a wide variety of positive health effects. They are protective from radiation and help the body heal after radiation exposure. Chlorella is used in heavy metal chelation (ie: removing the toxic metals from your body).

Both can be purchased as a powder to add to smoothies and soups, or in tablet form. I prefer the tablet form and I use a 50/50 blend of both.

They also have many other really great nutritional benefits, and based on volume, are an excellent source of protein. You can do your own research to look into the wonders of these tiny power pack pills. Even without a Dr Strangelove event, these are worth adding to your daily diet.

As always, choose your supplier carefully and make sure it is a clean water source that the algae are grown in.

Fucoidan is recommended for use by cancer patients who are undergoing radiation therapy, including “extreme”, “life time doses” of therapeutic radiation. Fucoidan is a complex polysaccharide that is found in some types of brown seaweed. In addition to its other positive nutritive properties, it is high in iodine, which is protective of the thyroid gland. Brown seawood also attracts and collects toxic materials in the body, and provides bulk which is added to the intestinal tract to aid in the expulsion of toxic materials.

Modifilian is a specific trade name and product of concentrated brown seaweed extract that also contains not only fucoidan, but fucoxanthin, alginate, laminarian, iodine and 72 other trace minerals and vitamins. It was given to workers tasked with cleaning up the after effects of Chernobyl.

From the Modifilian website:

  • Modifilan was first developed in the Russia the late 1960’s after radioactive fallouts occurred at nuclear labs and power plants. Russian scientists found that brown seaweed – Laminaria – had the strongest healing effect for treating radiation poisoning. It has perfect group of elements (ionic iodine, laminarin, alginates and selenium), found in one natural source
  • The first time it was successfully used in big volumes was after the Chernobyl nuclear plant catastrophe in 1989. Used for detoxification and thyroid gland rehabilitation, Modifilan helped thousands of nuclear plant workers and people in the area affected by the explosion. Large group of doctors was assigned to observe the health conditions of those who consumed Modifilan for almost one year.

Marine phytoplankton 

In addition to Spirulina, Chlorella, Fucoidan, broad spectrum marine phytoplankton have been shown to be protective against radiation exposure and healing from radiation exposure. For many in the naturopathic community, Oceans Alive is considered to be the most bioactive form of marine phytoplankton.

Medicinal Mushrooms

Medicinal mushrooms, such as Reishi, Chaga, Turkey Tail and Cordycepshelp protect tissues from radiation induced anoxia (oxygen deprivation). All are well known as having powerful preventative and cancer curing properties and help collect toxic materials from the body to be safely disposed of through excretory functions (respiratory, urine and stool). The fiber in medicinal mushrooms, like brown seaweed, also helps add necessary and helpful bulk to the intestinal tract to aid the body in expelling toxins and toxic materials.

I had been taking a medicinal mushroom blend previously, for overall health and as part of a cancer prophylaxis protocol, and use medicinal mushrooms in cooking and for tisanes. I just recently switched to Pure Synergy’s “Immune Health” blend on the recommendation of one of my instructors. The link is for information purposes only; there are a number of vendors that sell it, so do some price comparison before you buy if you do decide to add it to your regime. Pure Synergy I think will be a great daily supplement for me personally for prophylaxis as it contains a good variety of medicinal mushrooms, fucoidan, beta 1,3 glucan and astraglus. I take all of these separately and this cuts down on the number of supplements I have to take. YMMV.

Dark Leafy Greens 

High quality, pesticide free leafy greens such as mustard greens, beet tops, kale, collard greens, and alfalfa (all very high in chlorophyll) have been demonstrated to be protective against radiation damage and exposure. Consuming two or more of high quality dark leafy greens daily is a good regime to adopt for radiation exposure prevention.

Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum)

The glucosides in Buckwheat can help protect the body from radiation exposure if consumed before exposure occurs.Buckwheat flour can be substituted for wheat flour in a wide variety of baked goods, such as groats, cakes, muffins, pancakes, noodles etc. Buckwheat is also used as the whole grain in stir fries, and as a side dish like barley or rice or in cold salads.

After Exposure

After exposure, you will want to keep taking the sea products listed above – blue green algae, microplankton, fucoidan, brown seaweed, medicinal mushrooms, while adding in a few others that have been proven in nutritional support for cancer patients undergoing radiation treatment, animal studies and working with the survivors of Chernobyl and Fukushima:

Apples and Sunflower Seeds

Both apples and sunflower seeds contain high levels of pectin, which helps bind and remove radioactive byproducts from the body.Specifically, these two foods protect against cesium-137 accumulation which collects in the endocrine glands, pancreas, thymus, and heart. Cesium-137 emits both beta and gamma rays which are incredibly toxic to the cells in our body.

Burdock Root (Arctium lappa)

Burdock root is highly prized in Oriental medicine for a wide variety of ailments. Consuming fresh burdock root in a tisane (do not use boiling water, as that will destroy the active enzymes of burdock) or freshly juiced helps the body process and remove toxins from radiation exposure, and helps in the repair of DNA damage from radiation exposure.

Red Beets 

Red Beets have been shown to absorb and detox radioactive isotopes in animal studies. Red Beets are also helpful as they aid the body in restoring damaged haemaglobin, which gets damaged and broken down with radiation exposure. 

Dandelion Root and Milk Thistle

Both are frequently packaged together in a capsule form in a liver protection formulation. Dandelion root (not leaves), Milk Thistle, Artichoke, Licorice Root, Nettle Root (not the leaves for this purpose), fresh Turmeric, Red Clover and Cleavers are all herbs that have been traditionally used across a wide spectrum of traditional healing modalities as hepatoprotective agents (ie: support and protect the liver).

In a post radiation exposure event, protecting the liver and gallbladder which function as the processing factories to help rid the body of toxins including toxic metals and radioisotopes is an important aspect of post-event health.

Red clover and Cleavers are also highly nutritious greens with high mineral content.

Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is contraindicated for pregnant and nursing mothers, those on allopathic blood pressure medications, and those with existing cardiac issues. 


Radioactive Contamination of the Soil

Clean up on aisle seven!

The wind and elements can carry radioactive isotopes and other fallout byproducts far beyond the initial blast or exposure zone. This is where having a post-exposure remediation plan comes into play, and you should want to involve your wider community.

I have not had a whole lot of time to do any deep dive research into ALL the possibilities for remediation, and I am hopeful that there will be readers out there with expertise in this area that would be willing to drop helpful information for all to share in the comments. The following is just a starting point for that necessary discussion.

A discussion on remediation of drinking water was linked at the beginning of this post; the following is a preliminary discussion on remediation of soil.

Remember, if you are growing plants for soil remediation, you must then harvest them and dispose of them in a safe manner so they don’t contaminate ground water and other soil. 

Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)

Magical sunflower! So cheery and so happy to grow almost anywhere.

In addition to helping the body bind radioactive isotopes for processing out of the body, they also take up toxins from the soil and are a productive remediator.

Remember, only use the seeds harvested from plants pre-exposure for food; after exposure, unharvested seeds from Sunflower will be unsafe as it is a toxin sponge, and should not be used as food.

Spanish Needle (Bidens alba)

Bidens is a well known plant widely used in herbal practice for a wide variety of ailments. It is also an environmental remediator, readily taking up toxins in the soil – which is why users are cautioned to be careful when foraging Spanish needle, and it is preferred that you grow your own at home for medicinal purposes for this very reason. Bidens is a weed in most of the warmer climate regions of the south in the USA. 

Mustard plants (Brassica)

Several research studies have shown mustard plants to be highly effective in remediating soils high in toxic heavy metals and radioactive isotopes. Like Sunflower, Mustard grows well in most USDA zones, and is super cheap when purchased in bulk. Get thee down to the local farm supply co-op post haste and have some on hand for pre and post event remediation for yourself, and your soil.  That includes those of you with suburban plots. It’s going to have to be cleaned up just as much as the large tracts.

Alamo Switch Grass (Panicum virginatum)

Alamo Switch Grass has been shown to be highly effective in accumulating the radionuclides Cesium-137 and Strontium-90, both present in nuclear fallout.

I include Alamo Switch Grass because it is apparently a popular pasture grass for grazing cattle, and therefore should be easy to source – “before you need it”.  

Duckweed (Lemnaceae)

Duckweed is an aquatic plant that has been proven to be effective for bioremediation for heavy metals and a wide variety of other contaminants.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but rather a starting point for discussion and consideration of “what comes after”. Cleaning up will be necessary and hard work, and its best to have a plan, and the tools (seeds) at hand well ahead of time.

In any case, even if the “Big Event” doesn’t happen, having these items on hand and incorporating them into a healthy lifestyle and diet isn’t a bad idea either. 

Note:  Understand that any information shared in these posts is for educational and informative purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The FDA has not reviewed or approved most of the information provided in links. Everyone has a medical history, including prescribed medications, allergies and reactions to foods, that is unique to them and it would be impossible to cover every contingency when making broad generalizations. As always, you are responsible for you, and it is up to you to do your own research and make the appropriate choices for yourself and your health.

*When making tisanes (herbal hot water infusions), bring the water to a full boil, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before pouring over the herbs. Using water over 200F (close to the boiling temperature for water) will destroy the helpful and protective enzymes in most medicinal plants, so slightly cooled is preferred. You can get very creative in combing herbs and taste profiles in building bespoke combinations for yourself, adjusting for your personal preferences.

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