Monthly Archives: February 2012

Chamomile

 

Chamomile

Chamomile  has been used for thousands of years to treat a wide variety of ailments. It is most often used as a tea and is very beneficial when having difficulty sleeping.  Its relaxing properties can be beneficial when suffering  from muscle cramps as well. Allergy sufferers need to beware that chamomile is related to ragweed. Chamomile is a self seeding annual. It is a good companion plant in gardens, as it helps other plants grow.

 Properties: anti-inflammatory, calming and soothing, antiseptic, antispasmodic, digestive

 Uses:

  •  for any kind of digestive upset – acidity, heartburn, gas, colic, indigestion, nausea.
  • to ease anxiety, stress, tension, headache, arthritis, menstrual cramps and insomnia.
  • for fever and teething problems in children.
  • calms the nervous system and induces sleep.
  • prevents and eases spasms, relieves pain, settles digestion, acts as a liver tonic.
  • as a compress or bath for sore and inflamed eyes and skin, like rashes, inflammation, cuts, boils, allergies, and insect bites.

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Sage

 

sage

Sage is easily recognized because of its fragrant smell and distinct taste that adds flavor to a number of dishes. Many may not realize that when you incorporate sage into your cooking, you are offering up some very real health benefits as well. Sage can be taken in different forms that include sage tea, essential oil, and extract. Traditionally, it is said that 1 cup of sage tea a day maintains health in old age.

 Properties: antiseptic, astringent, stimulant, carminative, antispasmodic, nervine, generally strengthening, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral

 Uses:

  • Remarkable help with excessive sweating, hot flushes and night sweats. Take a cup of cold sage tea before bed to stop night sweats.
  • Improves brain function, including memory. (Maybe that’s why a wise person is called a “Sage”?)
  • As a gargle and mouthwash soothing for sore throats, laryngitis, tonsillitis, mouth ulcers, and inflamed and tender gums.
  • Tea relieves stress, helps depression and nervous exhaustion, post-viral fatigue.
  • Helpful with digestive problems, relieves constipation, abdominal cramps, and nausea.
  • Extract helps with inflammation in the body, like rheumatoid arthritis, and other ailments.

 Most users experience greater energy, better sleep, increased cognitive functions, and overall better health.

It is recommended that sage extract should only be used for one week at a time. Stop using the extract for a few days, then it can be used for another week.

Nursing women should beware that sage has the reputation of stanching the flow of milk.

Please consult your physician for any questions and how sage may interact with medications you may be taking.

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Fenugreek

 

fenugreek

Fenugreek  has a rich and spicy flavor popular in Indian and other South Asian dishes. The seeds are used to make curry powder, pickles, and pastes. The leaves and seeds are also used to produce flavoring for maple syrups. Roasted ground fenugreek seed is a popular coffee substitute in India.

 Properties: antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, soothing, promotes menstruation, eases coughs, sore throats, and digestion

 Dr. Atkins (The Atkins Diet) mentioned Fenugreek in his book, “Dr Atkins Vita-nutrient Solution”. He points out the most important use of Fenugreek, as a blood sugar regulator for sufferers of Type I and Type II Diabetes. Fenugreek acts in the stomach reducing the amount of sugar that the body is able to absorb from food. Fenugreek is not a substitute for a doctor-recommended treatment, but may sometimes be of assistance. By reducing the sugar absorption in your stomach Fenugreek can also help with weight loss, since it allows the carbs to wash straight through your system without entering the bloodstream.

 Other Uses:

  • Seeds contain a lot of bulk and mucilage, mixed with water become gelatinous and ease sluggish bowels.
  • Seeds can be eaten by nursing mothers to increase milk production.
  • Gargling a Fenugreek decoction will soothe a sore throat and laryngitis, treat arthritis and aching joints, bring on menstruation and lower cholesterol.
  • A poultice can be used to treat boils and rashes.
  • Fenugreek reduces mucus and helps asthma and sinus problems.
  • Mixed with yogurt Fenugreek makes an effective hair conditioner.

 Minor side effects like diarrhea and flatulence have been reported by some users. Pregnant women should avoid taking Fenugreek because it stimulates the uterus and promotes menstruation. Always consult your doctor before beginning an herbal treatment course.

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Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is one of the most common herbal remedies. It is grown and used around the world. It is an active ingredient in many herbal remedies, shampoos and soaps. This succulent can be grown anywhere, even as a houseplant in the window. Aloes are drought resistant, taking in water very easily and losing moisture very slowly.

 Parts Used: leave, gel, juice (the latex of the leave is a powerful laxative, which can cause diarrhea and intestinal cramps, use only under the guidance of a physician)

 Properties: drink juice for internal conditions, apply gel externally, soothing, cooling, antiseptic, antifungal, relieves inflammation, soothes muscle spasm, purifies the blood, cleanses the liver, apply fresh gel to burns, sunburn, ringworm, cuts, acne, eczema, wrinkles, areas of dry itchy skin, fresh gel  can give skin a healthy glow, use as a mouthwash for sore gums

Fresh leaves will keep and can be used again. They store well in the refrigerator or freezer.

Basil

According to an old saying Basil brings prosperity and happiness when planted in the garden. Gardeners love it because a small amount of seeds can produce an abundance of beautiful plants. The wide variety of basils, with leaves that range from deep purples, to bright greens, to tiny, light green bushy plants let the gardener be creative in the design and color of his/her herb garden, and still have this wonderful and fragrant herb as a staple. In late summer, basil sends up pretty white, purple, or pink flower stalks that will soon produce tiny seeds. Basil is an easy to grow plant not prone to trouble with insects and leaf diseases, just give your plants a good amount of sun, and plenty of water and you will be well rewarded. Harvest as needed.

 Basil is one of the best-loved culinary herbs for good reason. Basil improves appetite and like other herbs in the mint family it settles the stomach, improves appetite and is a natural disinfectant. Fresh picked leaves make a stimulating and refreshing tea, add life and flavor to any salad or sandwich, and are essential for a good pesto and many other favorites in the kitchen.

Parts Used: leaves, essential oil

 Properties and Uses: Basil is a fever reducer, diaphoretic, and nervine. It is antibacterial, antiseptic, and antifungal. It also works well as an insect repellent. (Just crush a few leaves and rub on exposed skin when working in the garden.)

Basil stimulates the immune system by increasing the production of antibodies. The essential oil is stimulating and antidepressant and relieves mental fatigue, clears the mind, and improves concentration. It is antiseptic, expectorant and can provide relief for chest infections, sinuses, colds, head aches and cough. The carminative and antispasmodic properties of basil help relieve stomach issues, like pains, indigestion, and vomiting.

The essential oil is said to be one of the best nerve tonics among the essential oils. It works well as a massage oil on tired and strained muscles.

(Caution: Do not use during pregnancy. May irritate people with sensitive skin. Oil from exotic basil may be slightly toxic – Do not use.)

Use basil oil in an aroma lamp to lift the mood and clear the air in a stuffy room.

A basil poultice can be used to treat ringworm infections.

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Remedies for Losing Belly Fat

Let’s admit first that there’s no miracle cure for stomach weight. Getting a flatter stomach requires effort and patience. First, we have to recognize factors in our life that contribute to stomach weight, and then  do what is necessary to reverse the situation.

1. Diet

Diet pills are not the answer. Rather, evaluate your eating habits and select healthier foods such as lean meats, fresh  fruits and vegetables, beans and nuts, instead of the sometimes more convenient high calorie and high fat fast foods. Cut back on sodium, which  can lead to fluid retention, and alcohol consumption, which can  slow your metabolism.
Eat breakfast to jumpstart your metabolism in the morning. Then have small meals and snacks through the day to keep your body fueled. This will also keep you from bingeing when you get too hungry and cut back on cravings. Two to three hours before bed should be your last meal for the day. Eating any closer to your bed time will just keep you from getting a good night’s sleep.

2. Sleep

We all need our sleep to recharge and get back to work the next day. Even though, sleep may seem like a luxury sometimes, it is a necessity. Too little sleep over long periods of time will lead to weight gain, especially around the midsection. Besides the weight gain, lack of sleep can lead to other health problems, aches and pains. Aim for 7-8 hours a night, at least most nights.

3. Physical Activity

You knew this was coming. To speed up weight loss and get flatter ab muscles, a regular  exercise routine is a must. High-impact and low-impact cardio workouts burn fat and calories,  and help to shed belly fat. Just ab or core  exercises are not enough to sculp a slimmer, more defined  mid-section. Work out with resistance bands or weights will build lean muscle, speed up your metabolism and even strengthen your bones, ladies. Try different exercises such as Pilates and certain dances, like salsa, samba,  belly dancing, to target the abdominal muscles. Exercise at least 90 minutes a  week, more if possible. Keep it fun, that will make it easier to stick with it.

4. Increase Your Fluid Intake

Something as simple as drinking water can help with weight loss. Fluid retention, often brought on by a high-sodium diet and certain prescription  medications can add several pounds to your body, especially in the abdominal region. To lose water weight and slim the stomach, increase your  fluid intake. Water is best, and it works as a natural diuretic. Caffeine, in moderation, can also work as a diuretic, and flush excess fluids  from the body. 2 to 3 cups of green tea a day will speed up your metabolism. Drink about eight glasses of water a day to combat extra weight. Combine green tea with bitter melon for even greater results and more benefits. Check out the post on green tea and bitter melon and use this safe link to try it – TRY IT NOW!

Lower Bad Cholesterol Naturally

Cholesterol is an essential ingredient of the body. It performs several functions like transportation of fat, it provides defense mechanism, protects red blood cells and muscular membrane of the body. It travels through the blood in protein packages called lipoproteins. Low Density Lipoproteins, also called bad cholesterol, causes most blockages in the arteries. High Density Lipoprotein, the good cholesterol, removes the bad cholesterol from the blood and helps prevent heart attacks.

High blood pressure, obesity, stress, diabetes, a high fat diet, and / or excessive smoking and drinking can raise bad cholesterol to dangerous levels. You should definitely follow your doctor’s advice. There are a few natural remedies that can help along the way.

  1. 8-10 glasses of water a day will stimulate the kidneys and help lower cholesterol levels.
  2. Oatmeal, oat bran  doesn’t just make a great breakfast that keeps you full for a long time, when eaten every day it can help lower cholesterol levels by up to 10 points.
  3. Sunflower seeds are a tasty treat and help lower cholesterol.
  4. A handful of walnuts or almonds every day provide the body with some of the healthy oils and lots of fiber and keeps cholesterol down.
  5. Lots of fiber every day will flush out the bad cholesterol. Flaxseed, Psyllium, Chia seed – find one you like or change it up for variety. Use this safe link for chia seed – TRY IT NOW!
  6. Green tea is a refreshing drink, hot or cold, plus it helps lower cholesterol levels. Green tea capsules are available as well, but the brewed tea was shown to be more effective in several studies. The combination of green tea and bitter melon can provide even greater benefits. Use this safe link to try it  – TRY IT NOW!
  7. Onion juice cleans the blood, helps the digestive system, insomnia, heart, and lowers cholesterol.
  8. Garlic eaten every day gradually lowers cholesterol. A clove a day is recommended. To reduce garlic odor eating fresh parsley is highly recommended. The fresh greens will provide lots of Vitamin C as an added bonus.
  9. Coriander seed tea helps lower cholesterol. Take 1 glass of water and 2 tbsp of coriander seeds, boil together, let it cool, strain, and enjoy three times a day.
  10. If coriander tea isn’t for you, try cinnamon. Boil 10 pieces of cinnamon sticks, about 1 inch each, with 5 cups of water, sweeten with a little honey and drink it hot. This is said to be very effective. (Please don’t use honey if you are allergic to it!)
  11. Regular exercise plays a very important role in keeping your cholesterol levels in check.
  12. Adding soy products, fresh fruit, veggies and B6 Vitamins to your diet and consuming less unhealthy oils, whole milk, red meat, butter and cheese will help you reach healthy cholesterol levels.

There is a lot we can do naturally to keep our bodies healthy. Remember to always consult your physician. Let him/her know what you are doing to avoid possible side effects with medications you may be taking.

Sage Tea to Relieve Cold, Sore Throat, and Mouth Sores

Sage taken as a tea, gargle, or mouthwash is an effective antiseptic for sore throats, laryngitis, tonsillitis, mouth ulcers, and inflamed and tender gums.
 
Not suitable for children, don’t use if allergic to Salicylates (Aspirin).
 
Recipe for Sage Tea & Gargle
 
1 ounce sage leaves
3/4 ounce fennel seeds, mix and keep in jar for later use.
 
 Take  1- 1/2 teaspoon of this mixture, pour 1 cup of boiling water over it and steep for 10 minutes.  Use as a gargle for flu and inflamed throat.  Drink as a tea for infections of the mouth and throat.  The fennel gives the tea a sweet, mild, licorice-like flavor.
 
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Sage Tea to Relieve Night Sweats and other Excessive Sweating

Yes, it’s true. Grandma’s was sipping sage tea before bed time to stop the night sweats.
Who knew this garden and cooking herb could do so much. Sage is an astringent, stimulant, antiseptic, carminative, antispasmodic, and generally strengthening.
 
Basic Sage Tea Recipe
Pour 1 cup of boiled, but no longer boiling water over 2 teaspoons of fresh or 1 teaspoon of dried sage leaves.  Cover and steep for 10 minutes, then strain.  Make sure that the water is not boiling when you pour it over the leaves, or the potent essential oils in the sage will vaporize.  Drink 1-2 cups of the tea a day, or use the warm infusion as a gargle.  Sweeten the tea with maple syrup or honey (only if you are not allergic to honey or maple syrup). 
 
Sage Tea Recipe Relieves Excessive Sweating
 
1 ¼ ounce sage leaves
2/3 ounce horsetail
1/3 ounce valerian root, mix and store in closed jar for later use

Take 1-1/2 teaspoon of this mixture, pour 1 cup of hot water over it  and steep covered for about 15 minutes, let it cool.  This tea will reduce nervous perspiration and prevent excessive night sweats when taken at bedtime.

Recipe for Arthritis Relief

Arthritis is often a catchall term that includes Rheumatism (inflammation or pain in muscles, joints or fibrous tissue), Bursitis (inflammation of shoulder, elbow or knee-joint) and Gout (joint inflammation caused by excess of uric acid in the blood). No matter what it is called, everyone agrees on two things – the pain…, and that all these conditions involve inflammation of connective tissue of one or more joints.
 
One recipe for relief has been around for a long time: The Gin-Soaked Raisin Remedy. Not to worry – researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in affiliation with the Research Triangle Institute have tested the remedy for alcohol content. The result: Less than one drop of alcohol was left in nine raisins. So when people who take the raisins are feeling no pain, it’s not because they are drunk, it’s because the remedy works.
 
 
The Gin-Soaked Raisin Remedy
(Do not give the gin-soaked raisins to children or women who are pregnant or nursing)
 
1 lb Golden Raisins
Gin (about 1 pint)
Glass Bowl (Pyrex is good, Crystal is bad)
Glass Jar with Lid
 
Spread the golden raisins evenly on the bottom of the glass bowl and pour enough gin over the raisins to completely cover them. Let them stay that way until all the gin is absorbed by the raisins. It may take 5 to 7 days, depending on the humidity in your area (You may want to lightly cover the bowl with a paper towel so that insects or dust don’t drop in). You should take a spoon and stir the mixture occasionally, to make sure all the raisins get their fair share of the gin.
As soon as all the gin has been absorbed, transfer the raisins to the jar, close it tight, and keep it closed. Do not refrigerate. Each day, eat 9 (nine) raisins exactly, and only once a day. Most people eat them with breakfast in the morning.
 
Have patience – give it at least a week to work. Depending on your system it may take longer than a week. Be consistent – 9 raisins every day. It’s inexpensive, easy to do, delicious and definitely worth it.
 
Also, be sure to check with your health care physician that gin-soaked raisins don’t interfere with medications you may be taking, or present a problem for any health challenge you may have, particularly an iron-overload condition.