With the avalanche of herbal products available in your local pharmacy it can be difficult to put together a truly useful herbal first aid kit. But here are 5 botanical products I personally recommend every homeowner consider keeping locked in his or her medicine cabinet.
Enteric Coated Peppermint Capsules
Your grandmother probably gave you peppermint candies to help with nausea during long car trips. Today, science knows that Grandmother was right. Enteric coated peppermint oil, taken internally, has a relaxing, antispasmodic effect on the smooth muscle tissue found in the digestive tract and is now widely recommended for a variety of bowel conditions, especially irritable bowel syndrome.
Among the most-studied of all the botanicals is chamomile. While chamomile is most often used for relaxation, scientists know that chamomile is more than just another herbal sleep aid. Chamomile has anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic and antispasmodic actions. Chamomile tea can also be applied topically to the skin to reduce inflammation or used as a gargle to soothe dry, scratchy throats.
Few things are as uncomfortable as constipation. Psyllium powder is a safe, effective way to encourage bowel movements without the cramping and pain that stimulant laxatives can often cause. Regular consumption of dietary fiber like psyllium may also help many people better manage complicated health conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure and the insulin resistance that accompanies type 2 diabetes.
Study after study has shown that raw garlic is effective against many of the most common infections humans face. In laboratory tests, garlic exhibits marked antimicrobial actions against the most common causes of food poisoning, including E. coli and the bacteria that cause lysteria and salmonella. Garlic is also an effective treatment for yeast and fungal infections. Perhaps the best news of all is that garlic is even effective against strains of these microbes that are resistant to normal medical treatments.
Aloe Vera Gel
While aloe vera’s ability to heal burns has never been scientifically proven, researchers do know that aloe vera gel has the ability to reduce inflammation when applied directly to wounds. According to a study published in the International Journal of Toxicology, aloe vera gel demonstrates antifungal, animicrobial and antiviral actions. Aloe vera gel may even have anti-cancer benefits when applied to skin.
Grigoleit, H., et al. (2005). Gastrointestinal clinical pharmacology of peppermint oil. Phytomedicine.
McKay, D., et al. (2006). A review of the bioactivity and potential health benefits of chamomile tea (Matricaria recutita L.). Phytotherapy Research.
Wang, Z., et al. (2007). Effects of dietary fibers on weight gain, carbohydrate metabolism, and gastric ghrelin gene expression in mice fed a high-fat diet. Metabolism.
Davis, R., et al. (1994). Anti-inflammatory and wound healing activity of a growth substance in Aloe vera. Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association.
Friedman, M., et al. (2007). Recipes for antimicrobial wine marinades against Bacillus cereus, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella enterica. Journal of Food Science.
Written by Lisa
Been dreaming of shiny, healthy hair? With the advent of cosmetic procedures and technology, achieving the type of hair that you’ve always wanted is possible. However, hair treatments only provide a temporary fix and constantly using hair care procedures eventually reduces the natural beauty of your hair.
Healthy Diet = Beautiful Hair
Depending on your diet, it is possible to achieve the quality of hair you always dreamed of. Hair is just like any part of your body. Its health also depends on food and nutrients. Couple your healthy diet with lots of water and rest to contribute to beautiful shiny hair.
Taking care of your health is the first step. Then, you can implement damage limitation procedures. The following are common elements that can contribute to damaged hair:
a. Overexposure to sun
d. Excessive brushing
e. Too much coloring or treatment, among others
You need to take precautionary measures to preserve the natural beauty of your hair and limit damage. Improving the quality of your diet is an efficient but inexpensive first step. Some of the most dreaded hair conditions include: lifeless, frizzy, dry, stressed hair and split ends.
Here are helpful tips to get you started towards naturally beautiful hair:
1. Reduce environmental stress by protecting your hair from wind and sun. Wear a cap and bring an umbrella whenever you go out.
2. Reduce, if not totally eliminate, hair care procedures such as curling, straightening, or blow-drying.
3. Allow your hair to naturally dry after washing.
Natural Hair Care Treatment
– Nettles are an effective tonic and detox treatment to relieve damaged hair. Make a tea out of dried nettle leaves, or you can purchase those readily available nettle tea bags from health food stores. Aside from drinking the tea, you can also use it as a hair rinse.
– Chamomile tea is an effective hair conditioner. If you want to achieve extra shine, simply add a teaspoon of lemon juice to a liter of tea.
– To restore moisture to dry hair, you can use infusions from common spices such as parsley or sage.
– If you have greasy or oily hair, you can make a rinse out of either lemon balm, lavender, rosemary, or mint. These herbs will help reduce the production of sebum and calm your scalp.
Herbal Hair Shampoo vs Commercial Hair Products
Proponents of natural hair care products emphasize not only its efficacy in addressing hair problems but also its lack of toxic effects on your body. Commercial shampoos utilize toxic chemicals that can be hazardous to your health, especially when used in excessive amounts. If you take the time to examine the labels of most shampoos available on the market, you might find these chemicals listed among its ingredients:
– propylene glycol
– cetearyl alcohol
– isopropyl alcohol
– methylparaben or propylparaben
The main difference between commercially produced hair care products over organic ones is that the former utilize harmful ingredients in an effort to produce quick results. Today people always aim for quick, visible results. Therefore, chemicals are used in large amounts to produce the desired result. Unfortunately, this “quick fix” is detrimental to your overall health in the long term.
Benefits of Herbal Hair Products
Herbal hair products use natural herbal components to promote growth and health of hair. More than just reparation for damaged hair, these natural products aim to promote natural growth and development in a gradual, long term perspective.
Aloe vera is an example of a plant that contains properties that help promote the hair’s natural growth. Meanwhile, castor or coconut oils maintain the natural glow of your hair. In comparison, hair applied with coconut oil appeared to have a more natural but healthier glow compared to hair applied with shampoo.
Aside from fewer risks to your health, the promise of healthier and more beautiful hair is reason enough to switch to natural hair products.
Written by Hiero
Ed Stratton and Sarah Martin need cannabis to ease the symptoms of serious illness. While the British government sells British manufactured cannabis medicines to other countries, it continues to deny it to its own patients. Some are now traveling to the Netherlands for their cannabis medicine. Countries such as Germany and Denmark purchase Sativex, made by GW Pharmaceuticals, as pain and spasm relieving medicine. Sativex is a cannabis tincture, effectively a new strain of SKUNK in a bottle. The tax payer should not be asked to support the growth of a benign plant and manufacture of a medicine that can be grown for free. Basic common sense and medical guidance will allow the patient to treat themselves safely in their own homes. Sarah is now the British representative for the the International Association of Cannabinoid Medicines (IACM) and recently delivered a presentation at a convention in Bonn, Germany.
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Different herbs have an affinity with different systems of the body, and are effective in assisting with health imbalances such as digestive problems, stress, insomnia, fatigue, skin problems, menstrual problems, menopause, toxicity and allergies etc.
Herbs are unique in the sense that they work to support the body and its systems to bring it to a state of optimum health and functioning.
Benefits of herbal tea
No caffeine – does not aggravate palpitations, anxiety, insomnia, stress or high blood pressure.
Safe in pregnancy – raspberry leaf is actually a fantastic women’s tonic. It strengthens and tones uterine muscles, nourishes uterine tissue and assists the flow of breast milk, making it a great tea for pregnancy.
Easy to prepare.
No side effects when consumed correctly.
Enjoyable to drink.
May be custom blended to suit individual needs.
Increases the intake of liquids and prevents dehydration.
5 USEFUL HERB TEAS
Calming – relieves stress, tension, irritability. Gentle sedative, assists insomnia.
Antispasmodic – great for abdominal cramps and digestive upset, especially associated with nervous tension. Assists with menstrual cramps. Excellent for colic in infants.
Anti-inflammatory – use as a gargle for sore throats, eyebath for conjunctivitis, to soothes skin rashes, to relieve allergy symptoms such as itchy eyes, rhinitis and sinusitis.
Chamomile tea may be added to bathwater for a relaxing soak. It is great for irritable babies and children. It is also safe for the elderly.
Detoxifying – improves lymphatic drainage and cleanses the blood.
Expectorant – useful for coughs and bronchitis, especially whooping cough.
Useful for skin problems – it clears and decongests the complexion due to its effect on the lymphatic system. It is also excellent for childhood eczema.
Studies suggest that it has a possible anti-carcinogenic effect. It has been used in the herbal treatment of cancer, especially of the breast, ovaries and prostate.
Rich in essential oils, peppermint is a decongestant and is good for sinus and respiratory congestion.
Carminative – use for abdominal bloating, excess flatulence and burping. Excellent after meals, especially after fatty and greasy food – it helps cut through fat. Useful for nausea and vomiting, it may be used for vomiting in pregnancy.
Antispasmodic – assists with stomach cramps, headaches and migraines.
Cooling, it relieves fever and can be combined with elderflower and yarrow for colds and mild cases of influenza.
Nutritive – contains large amounts of minerals and vitamins such as B, C, K, formic acid, silica and tannins. The high iron content makes it useful for anemia and fatigue.
Blood cleanser it is rich in chlorophyll and assists detoxification.
Diuretic – relieves fluid retention and edema. Clears uric acid buildup – drink on a regular basis to alleviate gout, arthritis, rheumatism, muscle aches and pains. Use for chronic skin problems such as eczema, hives and acne. Combine with burdock root for skin problems.
Anti-allergic – useful in allergic rhinitis, sinusitis and asthma.
Calming – an effective relaxant and mild sedative for the nervous system. Useful for nervous tension, anxiety and insomnia. Excellent for palpitations, or irregular heart beat and anxiety attacks. Drink at the end of a busy day.
Use for indigestion, calming to stomach. Combine with peppermint.
Uplifting – may be used in mild cases of depression and low vitality.
Choose quality teas
To really benefit from the healing effects of herbs, ensure that you use good quality tea leaves. Colour, aroma and taste will give you a clue to the tea’s quality and freshness. The strong aroma of organic loose leaf teas indicate the high concentration of essential oils, which are responsible for many of a herb’s healing properties.
The average teabag contains less than 2g of herb, which is not sufficient for therapeutic activity. A teaspoon, or around 5g of dried herb is recommended for one cup. Allow the herbs to infuse for 10-15 minutes before drinking. Choose organic or wild-crafted teas to avoid chemicals and pesticides. These tend to weaken the flavour and therapeutic value of the herb.
If using herbal teas for therapeutic purposes, you need to drink 3 to 4 cups throughout the day.
Take time to prepare and enjoy your infusion. Tea preparation is an art and a ritual, a sacred tradition in many cultures. Make brewing your infusion a daily ritual and meditate on your healing while sipping your tea. Feast your senses on the colours, the flavours and aromas. Explore the endless combinations and blends. Most importantly, enjoy your adventure!
Written by LucaB
London UK (PRWEB UK) 14 September 2011
The long vilified eggs make a come back!
?Eggs have a poor reputation for being high in cholestrol and fat, so much so that many people are scared of eating eggs, but this perception is misjudged, as s result many people are missing out on a really good quality protein,? says Kumud Gandhi
?The ?low fat and low cholesterol? mantra has been chanted by millions of people over the last 20 years and yet we are no closer to weight control or the reduction of cardio vascular related dieseases,” says Kumud Gandhi
Fat is an essential part of our diet, it is very important for the heart and most other parts of the body in order to function correctly. We all know it?s the good fat that we need, meaning monounsaturated, this type of fat actually helps to break down bad fat in the body. Today we consume less fat, and yet we?re fatter! Sounds harsh but it?s the reality.
Lets tackle the issue of cholesterol first. Our perception of eggs contibuting to high cholesterol was based on a study conducted 100 years ago by a researcher feeding rabbits, on a carnivorous diet. Rabbits are vegetarian, their diet must be herbaceous in order for their digestive system to function correctly. Naturally, this caused the arteries to be blocked with cholesterol forming plaque, not consistent with the bio chemistry of a rabbit.
In the 1950?s Ancel keys study of fats and the impact of all types of fat to heart related dieseases had a huge impact on our understanding of fat. His work was considered to be de facto and was widely accepted and taken for granted by doctors and nutritionalists like. The saturated fat theory took off and triggered numberous warning to avoid foods high in cholesterol, particularly eggs and prawns, coconut milk, avacado. However Ancels early work considered all fat to be harmful, including saturated fats, which have many health benefits, like essential fatty acids. His work didn?t take into consideration that it is only trans fats that are the real culprits.
There is much debate about the validity of his early research. Ancels work is considered to be useful on the whole but his early work has caused much confusion about fat that is important to the body, its effect on cholestrol leading to heart related dieseases. The study of cholesterol in eggs and its effect on humans was never followed up conclusively. Furthermore extract of this study have been published world wide to the detriment of the eggs industry and a big misconception about the role of cholesterol in body.
Most people make more cholesterol naturally in the body (in the liver) than they consume in food. It is true to say that eggs contain cholesterol but this does not make a big enough contribution to the cholesterol found in our blood. Research show that there is no link between egg consumption and the risk of cardio vasacular diesease.
There is however a growing body of evidence to suggest that a moderate consumption of eggs, 1 a day, 7 eggs per week can have a very positive impact due to its high nutritient content. (Harvard school of public health 2006)
Eggs contain all the amino acids in the correct proportion and therefore it?s a good source of complete protein. The amino acid in egg yolks is also excellent for burning fat. However this is only achieved by eating the whole egg, not just the egg white since 90% of the nutrient value is in the yolk. Organic, free range eggs have no affect on the blood cholesterol because the hens have fed on a natural grass diet instead of corn or soya feed which is excessively high in Omega 6 & 9). The more natural the hens feed the better the nutrient value and taste of the egg.
The Nutrient Value of eggs
Each whole egg contains iron, zinc, phosphorus, thiamin, B6, folate, and B12, and panthothenic acid. In addition, the egg yolk contains all of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
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