6 Powerful Medicinal Healing Herbs Everyone Should be Using

Medicinal Herbs

Mother Nature in all her infinite wisdom has supplied us humans with a plethora of amazing, medicinal healing herbs. The plant kingdom not only supplies us humans with life and health sustaining nature made foods, it also supplies us with nature made healing and can be as close and readily available as our very own indoor or outdoor gardens.

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Spices That Boost Brain Power and Stop Brain Aging in Its Tracks

 

The majority of illnesses and physical and mental decline issues can all be prevented with healthy lifestyle and nutrition habits, and that includes age-related cognitive concerns and brain health. Pure, unadulterated spices aren’t just great for boosting flavors of your favorite healthy dishes, they are also great for boosting and protecting brain health and preventing and reducing age-related concerns such as memory, mood imbalances, brain aging and even stroke prevention. In fact, ounce for ounce, these spices are packed with up to 40 times more protective, healing and brain-nourishing antioxidants than some of the known superfruits, such as blueberries.

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Ibuprofen Side Effects and Natural Ibuprofen Alternatives

A recent Reuters’ article opened with the following stunning sentence:

“Long-term high-dose use of painkillers such as ibuprofen or diclofenac is ‘equally hazardous’ in terms of heart attack risk as use of the drug Vioxx, which was withdrawn due to its potential dangers, researchers said.”

The 2004 Vioxx recall, as you may remember, was spurred by the nearly 30,000 excess cases of heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths caused by the drug between 1999-2003. Despite the fact that scientific research had accumulated as early as 2000 linking Vioxx to increased heart attacks and strokes, the drug’s manufacturer Merck, and the FDA, remained silent as the death toll steadily increased.

The Reuters report focused on new research published in Lancet indicating the risk of heart attack increases as much as a third and the risk of heart failure doubles among heavier users of NSAID drugs.

INFLAMED: Our Default Bodily State

Why are so many folks taking NSAID drugs like ibuprofen anyway?

Pain and unhealthy levels of inflammation are fast becoming default bodily states in the industrialized world. While in most cases we can adjust the underlying pro-inflammatory conditions by altering our diet, and reducing stress and environmental chemical exposures, these approaches take time, discipline and energy, and sometimes we just want the pain to stop now. In those often compulsive moments we find ourselves popping an over-the-counter pill to kill the pain.

The problem with this approach is that, if we do it often enough, we may kill ourselves along with the pain…

Ibuprofen really is a perfect example of this. As mentioned above, this petrochemical-derivative has been linked to significantly increased risk of heart attack and increased cardiac and all-cause mortality (when combined with aspirin), with over two dozen serious adverse health effects, including:

1. Anemia[1]
2. DNA Damage[2]
3. Hearing Loss[3]
4. Hypertension[4]
5. Influenza Mortality[5]
6. Miscarriage[6]

Ibuprofen is, in fact, not unique in elevating cardiovascular disease risk and/or mortality. The entire category of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) appears to have this under-recognized dark side; cardiovascular disease and cardiac mortality score highest on the list of over 100 unintended adverse health effects associated with their use. See also our analysis of the rarely acknowledged dark side to aspirin: The Evidence Against Aspirin And For Natural Alternatives.

So, what does one do? Pain is pain. Whether it happens to you, or you witness it in another (which can be worse), finding relief is a top priority.

Research on Natural Alternatives To Ibuprofen

Here is some evidence-based research on alternatives to ibuprofen, sourced from the National Library of Medicine:

1. Ginger – A 2009 study found that ginger capsules (250 mg, four times daily) were as effective as the drugs mefenamic acid and ibuprofen for relieving pain in women associated with their menstrual cycle (primary dysmenorrhea).

2. Topical Arnica – A 2007 human study found that topical treatment with arnica was as effective as ibuprofen for hand osteoarthritis, but with lower incidence of side effects.

3. Combination: Astaxanthin, Ginkgo biloba and Vitamin C – A 2011 animal study found this combination to be equal to or better than ibuprofen for reducing asthma-associated respiratory inflammation.

4. Chinese Skullcap: (baicalin) – A 2003 animal study found that a compound in Chinese skullcap known as baicalin was equipotent to ibuprofen in reducing pain.

5. Omega-3 fatty acids: A 2006 human study found that omega-3 fatty acids (between 1200-2400 mg daily) were as effective as ibuprofen in reducing arthritis pain, but with the added benefit of having less side effects.

6. Panax Ginseng – A 2008 animal study found that panax ginseng had analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity similar to ibuprofen, indicating its possible anti-rheumatoid arthritis properties.

7. St. John’s Wort – A 2004 animal study found that St. John’s wort was twice as effective as ibuprofen as a pain-killer.

8. Anthrocyanins from Sweet Cherries & Raspberries – A 2001 study cell study found that anthrocyanins extracted from raspberries and sweet cherries were as effective as ibuprofen and naproxen at suppressing the inflammation-associated enzyme known as cyclooxygenase-1 and 2.

9. Holy Basil – A 2000 study found that holy basil contains compounds with anti-inflammatory activity comparable to ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin.

10. Olive Oil (oleocanthal) – a compound found within olive oil known as oleocanthal has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties similar to ibuprofen.

There are, of course, hundreds of additional substances which have been studied for their pain-killing and/or anti-inflammatory effects, and there are also aromatherapeutic approaches that do not require the ingestion of anything at all, but there is also a danger here. When we think of taking an alternative pain-killer to ibuprofen, we are still thinking within the palliative, allopathic medical model: suppress the symptom, and go on about our business. It would behoove us to look deeper into what is causing our pain. And when possible, remove the cause(s). And that often requires a dramatic dietary shift away from pro-inflammatory foods, many of which most Westerners still consider absolutely delightful, e.g. wheat, dairy, nighshade vegetables and even wheat-free grains, etc.

Bon Veggie Appetit!

Gina ‘The Veggie Goddess’ Matthews

Garlic Remedies

Garlic isn’t just for keeping away vampires. In fact, the notion that garlic warded off vampires is centuries old and is connected to the fact that garlic is a natural remedy for cuts, mosquito bites, and coughs. Garlic can also be used for athlete’s foot, fishing, fighting infections, treating cuts and more.

So, while garlic might come in handy on Halloween for fighting the undead, it’s also important to know how you can use this incredibly resourceful plant for a myriad of purposes every day of the year. Here’s just a sampling of 10 great uses and health benefits of garlic.

Natural Mosquito Repellent
It’s not clear exactly why mosquitoes don’t like garlic, but it probably has something to do with the plant’s compounds being harmful. You can repel mosquitoes by either hanging fresh garlic cloves around your patio, deck or campsite, or by applying garlic extract (diluted in a carrier oil) to your skin.

Natural Garden Pesticide
The majority of commercial pesticides are quite harmful to humans, animals and the environment. Garlic on the other hand, is a natural pesticide and is just as effective as many commercial options. Mince three fresh garlic cloves, add them to a tablespoon of mineral oil, and then let mixture stand for 24 hours. Strain out the garlic and add the garlic-infused oil, along with a teaspoon of dish soap, to a pint of water and apply through a spray bottle to your plants. Shake bottle thoroughly before each use, and keep out of direct sunlight and store away from children and animals.

Natural Fish Bait
For you pescetarians out there, garlic makes for a easy-to-use fish bait. To use, toss a bunch of mini-marshmallows in a plastic container of garlic powder or crushed fresh garlic. Keep bowl tightly sealed until ready to use. When you go fishing, just apply the garlic-marshmallows to your hook and toss them in the water. The garlic-marshmallows is said to be especially attractive to bass  and trout as well as other kinds of fish.

Natural Adhesive
The juice of freshly crushed garlic can even be used as an adhesive. To use, apply the garlic juice to paper, costume jewelry pieces, craft projects and hairline cracks in glass, wipe away excess film, allow item to ‘cure’ for 24 hours, and your repaired item should be ready for use. This natural adhesive method has actually been used by Chinese people for centuries.

Natural Cough Syrup
Garlic is a tried-and-true potent cough suppressant and infection fighter. To make your own natural garlic cough syrup, boil a quarter pound of garlic cloves (minced to release the healing oils in the garlic) in 8 ounces of filtered water for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add in 2-3 tablespoons of raw honey (do NOT use commercially processed honey) and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice from 1/2 of a fresh lemon. You can also brew a healing garlic tea by soaking a clove of garlic (cut in half) in a cup of freshly boiled water, and allow to steep for 10-15 minutes with a saucer on top of the cup to retain the heat and healing oils. After 10-15 minutes, remove the garlic pieces and add 1 teaspoon of raw honey and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Natural Athlete’s Foot Remedy
Garlic has potent natural anti-fungal properties, and you can use it to soothe the symptoms of athlete’s foot such as intense itching, red flaking skin and pain, as well as address the actual infection by debilitating the fungal microbes. Add 3-4 cloves of fresh garlic (each clove cut in half to release the healing oils) to a warm foot bath and soak your feet for 30 minutes. Do this daily during times of acute infection, followed by 3 times a week for a couple weeks after the infection has cleared, and once a week for preventative maintenance if you are prone to athlete’s foot infection.

Natural Disinfectant for Cuts and Abrasions
You can use garlic to effectively help heal cuts or abrasions. Gently wash the area of the wound with a natural liquid soap and water, and lightly pat dry with a clean cloth. Peel a garlic clove and bruise one side of it by slamming it on the table or an edge. Gently apply the bruised side of the garlic against the cut or abrasion for 5-10 minutes, allowing the oils to penetrate into the affected area. Garlic contains allicin, a powerful compound that inhibits the growth of several kinds of bacteria and protects against infection. The garlic oil will typically cause a light stinging sensation when applied to cut/abrasion, but it is generally tolerable. If it causes too much discomfort, remove and wash area with tepid water and allow to air dry without rubbing.

Natural Ear Infection Relief
For centuries, people have used garlic’s anti-bacterial and anti-viral qualities to fight infections – including ear infections. Now, don’t chop up a bunch of garlic cloves and jam them down your ear. Instead, crush garlic cloves with a garlic press and stir into a teaspoon of warmed olive oil for five minutes. After 5 minutes, strain out the garlic and allow the oil to cool to room temperature. Using a dropper or tiny spoon, slowly drop 3 drops of the garlic-infused oil into the affected ear canal, which should be facing upwards towards the ceiling. Remain still for 5 minutes, then sit upright and gently wipe excess oil away with a soft cloth, but do not probe into your ear with a q-tip. For Children, use 1-2 drops per affected ear. It will feel like you have water in your ear for a little while afterwards, as the oil penetrates into the skin, but avoid rubbing, scratching or pulling at the affected ear. (NOTE: If symptoms persist or worsen, see medical attention immediately.)

Easy Splinter Removal
Splinters can be painful and often elusive to remove, especially fine cactus needles, fine metal splinters and various tree needles. If you cannot easily grab onto the end of the splinter with a pair of tweezers to remove, don’t try to ‘dig at it’, which will only send the splinter further into your skin, and increasing the likelihood of infection. Instead, place a thin slice of fresh garlic over the splinter and GENTLY hold it in place with a bandage. The garlic will help the skin work the splinter out within a few hours, to where you can then easily remove it with tweezers, while at the same time helping to prevent infection.

So, when purchasing fresh garlic for all your fabulous veggie dishes, be sure to keep extra garlic bulbs on hand for ready use in one of these amazing garlic remedies.

Bon Veggie Appetit!

Gina ‘The Veggie Goddess’ Matthews

Healing Herbs

Healthy eating doesn’t just start and end with the main ingredients you use. Herbs and spices not only lend heightened flavor profiles to a dish, they also lend a load of amazing health benefits as well. While the list of healing herbs and spices is vastly expansive, I’ve included twelve of the most common, versatile and easy to obtain herbs and spices that most people can find readily at their grocery store, natural food store and farmers markets across the states, as well as most other countries around the world.

When using herbs and spices, choose organic as much as you can, and only purchase in quantities that you’ll use within 3-6 months. Herbs and spices that sit in the back of your kitchen shelf for years on end will have lost most of their flavor, and the compounds within each of the herbs and spices that provide you with all those healing health benefits will have long since dissipated. So, choose organic and fresh, and purchase in quantities that are relative to the frequency that you’ll be using them. Below is just a smidgen of the wide range of health benefits each of these herbs and spices has to offer.

 Black Pepper – Curbs Heartburn: When black pepper stimulates the taste buds, it increases the stomach’s secretion of hydrochloric acid. This substance is necessary for the digestion of food, and speeds the breakdown of proteins and other food components to prevent heartburn and indigestion.

Cayenne – Eases Congestion: This peppers fiery capsaicin impedes the action of substance P, a neuropeptide that’s linked to inflammation in the sinuses. Additionally, capsaicin thins mucus so it can more easily be cleared from nasal passages.

Cinnamon – Prevents UTI’s: German researchers discovered that cinnamon’s antimicrobial oil ‘cinnamaldehyde’ kills 99.5 % of E.coli bacteria (a leading cause of UTI’s) in the urinary tract. The spice has also been shown to eradicate Candida albicans, the bug behind most yeast infections.

Cloves – Rev Up Metabolism: The trace mineral manganese in cloves enhances thyroid function by speeding the conversion of the inactive hormone thyroxine to the active triiodothyronine. This results in faster fat burn, extra energy and a brighter disposition.

Coriander – Lowers Cholesterol: These seeds increase the activity of plasma lecithin cholesterol acyltransferase, an enzyme that is responsible for the breaking down of cholesterol so it can be flushed from the body. Researchers in India report that this can lower bad cholesterol (LDL) by up to 60%.

Cumin – Boosts Energy: Smoky tasting cumin is rich in iron, a mineral that effectively combats fatigue by stimulating the production of red blood cells. Plus, cumin’s anti-inflammatory compound ‘cuminaldehyde’ inhibits the buildup of harmful protein deposits in the brain, giving you a natural boost of mental energy as well.

Natural Cures 200 All Natural Fruit and Veggie Remedies for Weight Loss Health and Beauty

Curry – Soothes Achy Joints: The curcumin in curry inhibits the body’s production of prostaglandin E2, an inflammatory compound that over-sensitizes nerves. According to German researchers, this blunts joint and muscle pain as effectively as prescription medications, without the dangerous side effects.

Fennel – Relieves Bloating: Fennel’s antispasmodic compound ‘anethole’ hinders painful contraction in the intestinal muscles. Research at St. Petersburg State Medical Academy in Russia suggest that eating fennel seeds both before and after meals, can soothe chronic stomach cramps and bloating by up to 65%

Garlic – Enhances Immune System Function: This favorite pungent herbs contains allicin, a powerful antimicrobial compound that naturally stimulates immune cells to do their job in fighting and preventing infection, illness and disease. Studies prove over and over again, regularly consuming garlic not only helps you get over common illness such as colds and flu’s in half the time, they also help you from catching one in the first place.

Ginger – Effective Nausea Relief: The compounds gingerols and shogaols found in ginger posses heat-inducing properties that work to calm intestinal muscle spasms. Medical research has proven that ginger works as effectively as motion-sickness drugs in alleviating and preventing nausea, without dangerous side effects.

Mustard Seeds – Improve Sleep Quality: Sharp, spicy mustard seeds are a good source of tryptophan. This amino acid is a necessary precursor of melatonin, a hormone that binds to the sleep-regulating sites in the brain, quickly normalizing the body’s natural circadian rhythm (sleep and awake cycle).

Paprika – Soothes Headaches: Most people are surprised to learn that this spice is high in pain-relieving salicylic acid, the active ingredient found in aspirin. Research shows that a daily serving (1/4 teaspoon) of this spice may alleviate chronic low-grade headaches better than a standard dose of aspirin, and without the dangerous side effects and rebound headaches that are typical of frequent aspirin users.

Herbs and spices don’t just add flavor to your favorite vegetarian and vegan dishes, these (any so many more) healing herbs and spices offer a whole lot of health and well-being as well.

Bon Veggie Appetit!

Gina ‘The Veggie Goddess’ Matthews

 

 

 

 

Why Do a Liver Cleanse

The liver is one the most vital organs, which performs numerous vital functions within our body.  It aids in the process of digestion, detoxifies our body, maintains metabolism, hormone manufacturing, glycogen storage, performs protein synthesis, and much more.  The liver also plays a role in the production of bile, which is necessary for proper digestion.  We cannot live without our liver, and we also cannot live in a healthy manner, when our liver is congested and overwhelmed with toxins and wastes.  It is probably one of the most abused organs of the human body, which often results in stubborn weight gain, skin conditions, allergies, chronic fatigue, digestive disturbances and more.  For this reason, it is imperative to do regular liver cleanses for optimal health and well-being.

One of the most vital roles of our liver, is to filter out toxins, metabolic wastes and harmful substances from our body, so that they are not stored in our tissues and start to cause harm.  Unfortunately, with the abundance of chemicals, pollutants, poor dietary and lifestyle habits we have in today’s world, our liver is often overwhelmed in this detoxification process.  The liver can only handle so much, before ill health and imbalances start to manifest within the body, as the accumulation of toxins congest the liver and hamper its function.

Therefore, a liver detox or liver cleansing is needed to reduce this excessive strain put upon the liver, and aid in its smooth and proper function.  The benefits of regular liver cleanses, will ensure that your liver is functioning at peak performance, and those toxins, wastes and other harmful substances are constantly being flushed from your body, instead of being stored in your body tissues.  A liver cleanse is the process of removing  these accumulated impurities from the liver

Herbal liver cleanses are probably the most popular of liver cleansing methods, because they are easy to do, and requires the least amount of effort.   Other liver cleansing methods include juice fasting and liver cleansing diets, which basically eliminates all sugars and trans fats from your diet plan. A liver cleansing diet is abundant in vegetables, fruits, onions, berries, nuts and seeds. Also consumption of water is elevated within this detox diet plan.

Herbs for Liver Health

Dandelion Root – Aids in flushing out excess toxic fluids, stimulating bile production and proper digestive processes.

Silymarin – Helps safeguard the liver cells from the harmful effects of toxins, while stimulating the production of healthy new liver cells.

Chicory – Aids in the stimulation of healthy bile flow, which is necessary for optimal digestive function.

Artichoke – Benefits are similar to that of silymarin, in that it helps safeguard the liver tissues from harm, while stimulating the rejuvenation of healthy replacement liver cells.

Burdock Root – A powerful blood and liver purifier.

This list of herbs for liver health is not all-inclusive, but are definitely some of the most important ones.  In addition to adding some or all of these liver cleansing herbs to your daily regimen, you’ll also want to include plenty of cruciferous vegetables to your diet, such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.  These veggies are known for their ability to flush toxins and wastes from the liver, and should be eaten regularly.

You’ll also need to make a commitment to reducing and eliminating processed and fast foods from your diet, as well as reduce and eliminate the amount of chemical products you use in your household.  While we often can’t control the environment as a whole, it is imperative that we do control the personal environments of our home and workplace as much as possible.  Long-term exposure to all these toxic substances can and does have a very real negative impact on our health and well-being.  Liver cleansing needs to be a priority, because good liver health equates to good overall health.

Bon Veggie Appetit!

Gina ‘The Veggie Goddess’ Matthews

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Natural Cold Remedies

It’s that time of the year, when colds and ‘bugs’ seem to be more prevalent.  No matter what time of the year you get a cold, the results are the same, and you can find yourself in an uncomfortable, miserable mess.

To aid you in relieving even the most severe of cold symptoms, as well as help you “kick” that cold faster, there is an arsenal of tried-and-true health warriors at your disposal, to get you through your cold period not only faster, with less discomfort, and no drug side-effects.

A cold virus usually runs it course in 7-10 days, and symptoms usually 3.  Cold symptoms can sometimes linger for up to 14 days.  While you can catch a cold at any time during the year, many health experts explain some of the reasons why we tend to catch colds more often in the winter months.

*  We are in constant and confined contact with co-workers and family member’s who catch a cold.

Because we tend to not open windows in the winter months to circulate fresh, cleansing air throughout our work and living spaces, the cold virus germs of our co-workers and family members is re-circulated  throughout a work place or home.

* The decreased exposure to sunlight has a factor.  The ultra-violet light of the sun, kills viruses.  We obviously not only have less sunlight during winter months, but we tend to spend less time outdoors in the winter months as well, thereby exposing ourselves only minimally to the natural health benefits of the sun.

What Are The Most Common Cold Symptoms?

*  Sneezing and Runny Nose

*  Nasal and Chest Congestion

*  Cough

*  Sore Throat

*  Low-Grade Fever

* Whole Body Weakness or Aches

*  Headache

*  Fatigue

*  Chills

 Some of  Mother Nature’s gladiators, for natural yet potent cold relief.

GARLIC –  This is one of the most important and most powerful health defenders we have, not just for natural cold and flu relief, but for our general health as well.  The key compound in garlic is allicin, which is one of the plant kingdoms most potent of antibiotics.  Garlic also boasts anti-bacterial properties, to assist our immune system in fighting infections.   A key factor to note is, to use only FRESH garlic, or a garlic oil supplement.  NO garlic salt or garlic powder. Although either of these can offer some minimal benefit when neither fresh garlic or a garlic supplement is on hand.  Start taking garlic at the first signs of a cold.  If taking garlic as a supplement, take every 3-4 hours.  When taking garlic fresh, add freshly grated garlic to as many foods and beverages as you can, especially hot tea.  For instance, you can add fresh garlic mixed with olive oil to toast, as well as to vegetable juice or soup.  Garlic tea is especially beneficially and tastes much better than it sounds.  Simply prepare a black tea, or other favorite tea of yours, and add 1 tsp of fresh garlic, a splash of fresh lemon, and 1 tsp of raw honey.  Consume this tea as often as you can, and before bed, to help you get a good nights rest.

GINGER –  Ginger root can be found in any grocery store, and is very cheap.  Try to always keep a fresh root on hand (they last several weeks), and you’ll always have a great health aid available for those “bugs”.  Ginger tea is another great option, if you prefer not to grate the ginger.  As with the garlic, start taking ginger at the first signs of a cold.  Ginger has many benefits, including increasing circulation, thereby being a great warming agent to the body.  Ginger is an antiseptic, and has a dozen anti-viral compounds.  Ginger helps relieve aches and pains, and has a mild sedative effect, to help encourage rest.  To help warm the chest area as well as relieve chest congestion, make a strong ginger tea and soak a handkerchief or cheesecloth in the hot tea.  Apply this ginger compress to the chest, ideally tolerating it as warm as you can.  Here is a double-whammy:  Add freshly grated garlic to hot ginger tea for all-star cold fighting effects.

The next 3 gladiator cold defenders, can either be used in tea form, or as an essential oil.  (When using essential oils, never place directly onto skin, without first diluting in a carrier oil)

PEPPERMINT and/or EUCALYPTUS –  Both of these give the same cold relief benefits of easing a headachecomforting digestive processes, as well as being soothing decongestants.  As a tea preparation, drink a strong tea every few hours.  When using as an essential oil, you can either: inhale the pure essential oil directly from the bottle; add a few drops of the essential oil into a room humidifier; add a few drops into a warm bath; or mix a few drops with a carrier oil such as olive oil, and spread onto chest area, then cover with an old t-shirt.

CINNAMON –  Cinnamon is powerful in that it protects the body from bacterial and viral attacks.  Cinnamon also helps stop vomiting, and eases nausea.  As a tea, make a strong tea, and drink every few hours.  As an essential oil, simply inhale directly from the bottle.

HOT SPICES –  A variety of spices can be used in food or beverages, to open up air passages, as well as induce drainage of mucous.  Any of the following can be added to soups and vegetable juices.  Cayenne pepper, hot sauce, hot mustard and curry.  If you want, or need, to relieve yourself of LARGE amounts of mucous all at once, try using horseradish.  Start with a small amount first, and see how you handle it.  Add a smidgen of horseradish to your soup or vegetable juice to draw that mucous out.  It is counter-productive to try and stop the drainage process.  You want all that viral and bacterial filled mucous OUT of your system, not suppressed and forced further into your body tissues.

Additional Tips

No Sweets –  Sugar is not only highly inflammatory to your body, but it also impairs neutrophils, which is a special type of white blood cell that engulfs and destroys cold viruses and other foreign invaders.  Sugar can impair these abilities for up to 5 hours after consuming, so no sweets.

* Disinfect Often –  Cold viruses can survive on hard surfaces for several hours, and we often don’t realize the many little areas we touch constantly.  So be sure to disinfect often, especially counter tops in bathrooms and kitchen; light switches; door knobs; toilet handles; sink faucets; shower and bath knobs; phones; keyboards and computer mouses.  And don’t forget to wash hands frequently.

* Avoid Dairy –  Dairy products increase mucous, and the last thing you need is more congestion, so avoid all dairy products.

* Eat Light –  Digestion takes an enormous amount of energy, and you need that energy more in fighting off your cold.  This is one of the reasons why nature squashes our appetite when we are sick.  Think of how your dog or cat immediately stops eating when they are ill.  Their bodies know how to utilize that energy for healing.  You want to eat light, fresh and healthy, and avoid all processed and fast foods and sugar.

* Spit It Out –  Don’t swallow down that mucous you feel at the back of your throat, or nose.  One of the reasons why sore throat and colds go hand-in-hand, is that all that excess mucous runs down the back of your throat.  This is very irritating and often results in a hoarse, scratchy, painful throat.  To help minimize this, gargle every few hours with warm salt water.  Swish around for as long as you can in the throat area, making sure not to swallow the mixture.  Spit and rinse.

* Zinc –  For portable sore throat relief, suck on a zinc lozenge every 2-3 hours.

* Honey –  Raw honey (not pasteurized or processed honey) is ever-so-valuable at calming a cough, and soothing a sore throat.  You can take it by the spoonful, or put it in some tea.  (Never give honey to babies under 24-36 months of age)

* Vitamin-C –  Take 500-1000 mg of Vitamin-C several times throughout the day.  Vitamin-C has too many benefits to list here, but for the sake of assisting in times when you have a cold, the optimal dose seems to be anywhere from 2-5 grams (which is 2000-5000 mg – every 1000 mg = 1 gram).  If you start having loose bowels, these ease off the amount of Vitamin-C.

These cold defending gladiators provided by Mother Nature are tried-and-true, in relieving your symptoms, and help lessen the duration of your cold.  Try to avoid taking over-the-counter cold medications as much as you can.  They may stop a runny nose, but where do you think that mucous is going?  You ideally want that mucous out of your body, not shuttled to your lungs.  Stay warm, yet try to open a window for at least 5-15 minutes daily to shuttle out germ-filled air, and cleanse your breathing space.

Wishing you a healthy cold and flu season, and if you do catch a cold, you have these powerful and natural cold defenders to bring you back to health quickly.

Bon Veggie Appetit!

Gina ‘The Veggie Goddess’ Matthews

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Tips For Taking Various Supplement Forms

Most supplements come in a variety of forms, to allow for individual preference and need.  They are also prepared with different quantities of the active ingredients, so do be sure to read your labels carefully, to ensure that you are getting the correct quantity for your needs.

Powders

Many supplements come in powder form, which will usually provide you with extra potency, with no binders or additives.  This is useful for people with allergies, those who find it difficult to swallow a tablet or capsule, and those just wanting their supplement in its most potent and purest form.  Powdered-form supplements are particularly useful for children.  You can easily sprinkle a little powder into their juice, yogurt, or other meal item.

Capsules

Capsule supplements are easy to take, store and transport.  Fat-soluble vitamins are normally taken in capsule form, but many contain vitamin and mineral powders, which allow for a higher potency.  Garlic and evening primrose oil are commonly available as capsules, and the capsules can be broken apart and applied externally as well, and as necessary.

Liquid Supplements

These are very appropriate for those who have difficulty swallowing tablets or capsules.  Many children’s supplements are offered in liquid form for easy administration.  Liquid supplements can be mixed with food or stirred into drinks.  Do continue to be vigilant on label-reading, to ensure that your liquid supplement doesn’t contain a host of additives and unnecessary fillers.

Tablets

Many supplements come in tablet form, and these are the most practical for most people because they can easily be stored, and they will keep for a longer amount of time.  Again, check the label to see what, if any, additional form of binders or fillers might have been added to the supplement.  You don’t want to buy a bottle of “sand” (silica) or other typical filler or binder, which crowds out the active ingredient.  This is typical of bulk, cheap buys at your local discount store.  It may sound like a fabulous bargain, but you DO get what you pay for.

Reading The Label

Supplements work in different ways, and you will need to understand some of the key words that appear on the labels in order to choose which are most suitable for you.

Chelated – is a term which appears on mineral supplements, and it means that the mineral is combined with amino acids to make assimilation more efficient.  Most nutritionists recommend taking chelated minerals, because they are 3-5 times more effective.

Time-Release Formula – These are created with a process that allows them to be released into the body over an 8-10 hour period.  These are particularly useful for water-soluble vitamins, and any excess is excreted from your body daily.  Time-release formulas are also reputed to provide stable blood levels during the day and night.

Bon Veggie Appetit!

Gina ‘The Veggie Goddess’ Matthews

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The Miraculous Benefits of Aloe Vera

The Aloe Vera plant is known by many different names, by the multitude of cultures that have used it for their own benefit throughout the ages.  This “lily of the desert“, is a succulent member of the lily family, that can be traced to the warm dry climates of Northern Africa.  The 4000 year old writing of Ancient Sumerians, mention this “wonder plant” citing its numerous qualities and uses.  The Ancient Egyptians also mention this “medicine plant“, and its use was also mentioned in the medical canons of the Greeks and the Romans.  Caricatures of the aloe plant were drawn on the walls of tombs, and thought to signify immortality and Medieval Monks used it as balm for wounds and bruises.

The Aloe Vera plant has been used to treat an extensive list of medical ailments, as well as numerous cosmetic and beautifying purposes.  The inner gel soothes flesh wounds such as burns, cuts, scrapes and stings.  It is also used to assist headaches, gum sores, hemorrhoids, skin disorders, acne, dandruff and even baldness.

Ingesting aloe aids indigestion, constipation, dysentery and kidney disorders.  The plant has spread throughout the world, and has been used by cultures on every continent with the exception of Antarctica, and is regarded as a valuable, medicinal plant.

Mounting Support From Western Medicine

Researchers, clinicians and medical investigators have been finding an increasing number of valuable uses for the Aloe Vera plant.  It has been studied for its effectiveness on:

* Bacterial infections such as staph, strep, conjunctivitis and yeast infection.

* Viral infections such as Herpes simplex and shingles.

* Fungal infections

* Inflammations caused by arthritis, allergies, surgery, infections, burns, ulcerations, insect bites, and more.

* Pruritis

* Liver spots

Among aloe’s many scientifically documented healing properties, is its ability to penetrate target areas, and stimulate cell regeneration.  Aloe is a known healer, restorer and protector.  It reveals to the world, that it’s healing powers are both natural and completely safe to use, without any side effects.  Aloe Vera is now very commonly used in the treatment of radiation burns, even amongst the most conservative of Western medical institutions.

Cosmetic and Beauty Uses

* Aloe promotes removal of dead skin, and stimulates growth in living cells.

* Aloe rapidly penetrates into the skin, delivering vital nutrients.

* Aloe fights off wrinkles and aging skin, by helping the skin produce more human fibroblasts (at a rate of 6-8 times faster).  When used regularly, aloe can easily take 5-10 years off how you look!

* Aloe penetrates into skin at a rate of 4 times faster than water.

* Aloe is a skin-tightening astringent, complexion rejuvenator and hair strengthener.

* Aloe’s benefits in deodorants neutralizes odor-causing bacteria, reduces perspiration and keeps the skin dry.

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Hot vs. Cold Processing

What scientific research has discovered recently, is that the plants outer leaf and rind actually contain 200% more of the active therapeutic ingredients, than the inner gel itself!  The vast majority (95%) of aloe products on the market today, only utilize the inner gel, throwing away the nutrient valuable leaf and rind.  To make things worse, many companies use a high heat process to stabilize the gel, degrading much of the valuable enzymes, polysaccharides and mucopolysaccarides.  These high heat pasteurization autoclave methods end up breaking down many of the most valuable healing components with the gel, and killing off the live enzymes that are necessary for digestion.  Only a few aloe products utilize the whole leaf and use cold processing to preserve the vital nutrients.  A whole leaf – cold processed aloe product is what you want to look for.

 

The Mis-Truths In Labeling

The FDA doesn’t control any of the labeling practices, and many of the aloe products out there (especially if you find it in a discount store, dollar store, most grocery stores) can get away with making some very diluted claims.  For instance, a company can have a product that contains only 10% Aloe and 90% water, and still be able to label it as 100% aloe!  These lack of regulations and guidelines, allows these unscrupulous aloe products (that are devoid of any real nutrients and healing value) to be sold on the market.

 

More Health Benefits Of Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera & Cancer

Scientific research has shown that the polysaccharides within aloe have strong immune boosting and cancerous tumor fighting capabilities.

Aloe Vera & Colon Polyps

Ingesting aloe soothes the intestinal tract, and helps heal pre-cancerous growths.  A raw juice diet of fruits and vegetables, along with aloe gel, is considered to be a miracle cure for early-stage colon cancer.

Aloe Vera & Arthritis

Aloe is well documented to ease the pain and inflammation in arthritis sufferers.  For arthritis sufferers, it is best to use aloe both externally as well as internally.

Aloe Vera & Diabetes

Since aloe contains at least 2 anti-diabetic active compounds, it helps to stabilize fasting blood glucose levels.

Aloe Vera & Heart Disease – Strokes

Using Aloe Vera daily as a supplement, helps re-balance one’s blood chemistry, and lowers levels of cholesterol, total triglyceride counts and blood pressure.  Aloe’s ability to keep blood from clumping, and keep it flowing as it should, also helps prevent strokes.

Aloe Vera & Antioxidants

Taking aloe actually makes antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, work better.  Research indicates that aloe increases the effectiveness of these free radical fighting vitamins, because of aloe’s blood enhancing abilities.

Aloe Vera & Digestive Disorders

The polysaccarides and live enzymes in aloe, help with a large amount of various digestive disorders, including Crohn’s disease, IBS, ulcers, diarrhea, diverticulitis, heartburn, acid reflux and more.

Aloe Vera & Hemorrhoids

Apply aloe frequently to the area, as well as take 1 tsp of aloe immediately after meals.

 

The virtues of the Aloe Vera plant are both timeless and priceless.  Try keeping some Aloe plants in your home, for quick and easy access to the “real thing”.  And when purchasing aloe products, make sure to look for “whole-leaf, cold-processing”, to ensure that you are getting a quality product.

Bon Veggie Appetit!

Gina ‘The Veggie Goddess’ Matthews

 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Gina 'The Veggie Goddess' Matthews

Herbal Supplements 101

People have been using herbal supplements as ‘medicines’ for thousands of years to meet their health needs.  Self treatment is still the primary use of herbs today, even though enlightened clinics and practitioners readily prescribe the responsible use of herbal remedies to their patients.

We’re often taught to think of herbs as natural drugs.  While we must recognize and respect the power of herbal medicines, they are really foods with medicinal qualities (herbalism).  Herbal supplements combine with our bodies as foods do, so they are able to address both the symptoms and the cause(s) of a problem.

As nourishment, herbs offer the body nutrients it may not always receive, either because of poor diet, or environmental deficiencies in the soil and air.  As medicine, herbs are essentially body balancers that work with the body functions, so that it can heal and regulate itself.

Herbs work like precision instruments in the body, not like sledge hammers.  Herbal medicines can focus on a special problem, or be broad-based for overall support.

Herbs offer a rich variety of healing elements, with far less incident of side effects.  Always use herbs in moderation, and from a reputable source.  (Discount and dollar stores, are not a reputable source.)  Also remember, that anything taken to excess can cause side effects.  Use common sense, care and intelligence when using herbs for either food or medicinal purposes.

Drugs vs Herbs and Your Immune System

Unlike herbal supplements, drugs are not nourishing.  They work exactly the opposite from foods.  Drugs run powerful interference against a harmful process that’s happening in your body, in order to stabilize it.  They disrupt a cascade of harmful events, in order to arrest a serious outcome.

But, make no mistake, drugs can’t normalize or nourish youONLY your own immune system, herbs or food can do that, through your body’s enzyme activity.  Drugs keep the interference process going.  (think of a football linebacker running interference, to stop a play)  Now, sometimes, that is what you need to arrest an acute condition quickly, but over the long term, drugs tend to work against your body, smashing and destroying its delicate balance like a sledge hammer.  That’s one of the reasons you might have gotten good results from a drug at first, and then poorer and poorer results (and growing side effects) as time went on.

Your body, and especially your immune system, always tries to normalize (balance) itself.  Over time, as the disruption process continues, your immune system doesn’t know what normal is, and ends up attacking the wrong elements (or everything) in confusion.

That’s where the large number of immune-compromised illness comes in.  America is at a crisis point with immune-imperiled diseases like Candida, chronic fatigue syndrome, Hashimoto’s, fibromyalgia and lupus.  They especially affect women’s delicate body balance most.  They are way under-diagnosed in our health care system, and they’re reaching epidemic proportions.

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Herbal Medicines Work Differently In The Body

Herbs provide foundation nutrients.  Herbs nourish the body’s deepest, most basic elements, like the brain, glands and hormones.  Herbs work to normalize, balance and support at the cause of the problem, for a much more permanent effect.  Results seem to take much longer, yet often some improvement from herbal treatment can usually be felt in 3 – 6 days.  Chronic or long standing problems take longer, but herbal remedies tend to work more quickly with each new issue, and coupled with new issues growing further apart or resolving all-together.  A traditional rule-of-thumb is to expect 1 month of healing for every year you have had the problem you are addressing.

The “Healing Crisis”

Herbal combinations are not addictive, but they are powerful foods that you should use with care.  It takes a little more attention and personal responsibility than mindlessly taking a prescription drug, but the extra care is worth far more in the results you achieve for your well-being.

As with other natural therapies, there is sometimes a “healing crisis” during an herbal healing program.  This is known as the “Law of Cure”, and simply means that you may seem to get worse before you get better.  The body generally eliminates it’s most toxic wastes heavily during the first stages of a cleansing therapy.  This is especially true in the traditional 3 – 7 day fasts that many people use to begin a serious healing program.  Temporary exacerbation of symptoms can range of mild to fairly severe, but usually precedes excellent results.  This same healing crisis occurs with drugs as well, as any alcoholic or drug addict will attest to.  The first few days and weeks of their health transformation comes with some unpleasant experiences, but this doesn’t mean you should stop the protocol, it means it is effectively doing it’s job, which is to rid the body of harmful, toxic wastes, making way for a healthier, less toxic environment.

Herbal therapy without a preliminary fast, works more slowly and gently, if you wish for a little less drastic transition.  Still, some weakness may be felt as toxins are being released into the bloodstream, to then be excreted from the body.  Strength quickly returns once this process is over.  Watching this amazing phenomenon, allows you to observe your body at work healing itself.

Herbs Work Better With A Natural Foods Diet

Everyone can benefit from an herbal formula, but results increase dramatically when fresh foods and whole grains form the basis of your diet.  Subtle healing activity is more effective when it doesn’t have to labor through excess waste material, mucous or junk food accumulation.  (Some people carry around up to 50 pounds of unexcreted waste just in their lower digestive tract!)

Interestingly, herbs themselves can help counter the problems of “chemicalized foods”.  They are rich in minerals, which are the basic elements that are missing or diminished in today’s quick-grow, over-sprayed, over-fertilized farming.  Minerals and trace minerals are a basic element in food assimilation, providing healing essences to support your body in overcoming disease.

Your body has its own unique, wonderful mechanisms, and it has the ability to bring itself to its own balanced and healthy state.  Herbs simply pave the way for the body to do its own work, by breaking up toxins, cleansing, lubricating, toning and nourishing.  Herbs promote elimination of waste matter and toxins from the system by simple, natural means.  Herbs naturally support our body’s ability and tendency for natural health and well-being.

Bon Veggie Appetit!

Gina ‘The Veggie Goddess’ Matthews