Sunday, 29 November 2009

Natural Herbs For The Flu

This negative stained transmission electron mi...

In a viral infection the virus gets attached to the walls of the mucous membranes in the respiratory tract causing flu symptoms. Natural herbs provide an effective way to combat viral infections. The following herbs are the most popular flu herbs being used by herbalists today.

Cats claw is a multipurpose herb that treats asthma, inflammations of the urinary tract, arthritis, rheumatism, and bone pain. It is a cleanser herb for the kidney. Women used it to recover from childbirth. Also, it was used to cure deep wounds; inflammation and gastric ulcers. It is now used as a cure against viral diseases also. Cats claw is a woody vine that has thorns growing on the vine that look like the claws of a cat. It can reach over 30 m high into the canopy and has small, yellowish-white flowers. Cats claw is found in South America in the Amazon rain forest of Peru.

Pau darco is a herb derived from the inner bark of the Tabebuia Avellanedae/Tabebuia Impetiginosa (Taheebo) tree in South America. Its tea has been used for cancer victims. Lapachol is a chemical derived from pau darco, is active against viral diseases, is effective against the malarial parasite, inhibits herpes simplex, and restricts the virus that causes cold sores. Low doses of pau darco chemicals activate the immune system.

Jergon sacha is found in the Amazon forest, and in the rainforests of Brazil, Suriname, and Guyana, Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador rainforests. The juice of the fresh rhizomes of Jergon sacha is used as an antidote for spider bites, and for wounds of poisonous dart and arrow. The powdered tuberous rhizome of Jergon sacha is used orally to treat asthma, menstrual disorders, and whooping cough. The root powder of Jergon sacha is used for scabies. The decoction made out of the whole plant of Jergon sacha is put in baths for gout. It is also fancied as treatment for HIV/AIDS, cancerous tumors, gastrointestinal problems, hernias, hand tremors, heart palpitations, and enhancement of immune function.

Echinacea is one of the popular flu herbs in activating the immune system. It can be taken before an aliment happens, in anticipation. Ginseng is another one of the popular flu herbs to increase resistance to stress and disease along with improved energy and stamina. Hyssop can be used as a tea to reduce coughs and congestion. Garlic is a well known flu herb that supports the immune system combat infection. Onion has similar properties as Garlic and should be cooked with food during cold attacks. Ginger contains a dozen antiviral compounds, relieves pain, prevents and treats colds, sore throats and inflammation of mucus membranes. Peppermint treats bronchitis, colds and flu and reduces fevers by inducing sweating which cools the body. It works as a decongestant clearing blocked sinuses. Herbs like Lemon Balm tea promotes sweating and eliminates the toxins from the body. Catnip is good for feverish colds and the flu. Fenugreek is another flu herb that is used for sore throats and coughs. Juniper relieves coughs and flu is its steam after it is boiled with water is inhaled.

------
Patricia McDougall B.Sc. is a
Chartered Herbalist and graduate of the
Dominion Herbal College, Canada.
Patricia is the Director of
Research and Development for
Amazon Botanicals LLC,
a leading manufacturer of
Amazon herbal preparations.
http://www.amazon-botanicals.com/Flu_herbs_s/37.htm

Article Source: http://www.articlealley.com/article_187766_23.html
Image via Wikipedia







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Sunday, 22 November 2009

What Are “Certified Organic Herbs” ?

USDA National Organic Program official seal

Bulk organic herbs are more economical to purchase than buying them in small bottled quantities – and more environmentally friendly to boot! By purchasing your herbs in bulk quantities, you can take advantage of large volume discounts, whether you are a retailer or a consumer of the end product. By purchasing bulk organic herbs in large amounts, you not only save, but ensure that what you need is there whether it’s for customer demand or cooking at home.

What Are “Certified Organic Herbs” ?

As consumer awareness increases about food – how it is grown, how far it travels, etc. – the demand for organic bulk herbs and certified organic spices also rises. Meanwhile, as the cost for many standard food items increases to the same level of locally-grown bulk organic herbs, the price of such organic foodstuffs becomes more competitive. But what exactly does “certified” mean?

Certified organic spices and bulk organic herbs are those raised in an ecologically sustainable way, without the kinds of chemical fertilizers or pesticides that can leach into the plant's leaves, roots, stems, flowers or bark, and leave a toxic residue. In addition, farmers who raise organic bulk herbs avoid the potentially destructive practice of monoculture. For instance, large-scale corporate agricultural operations may focus on the cultivation of only one or two products – for example, limiting a particular region to the production of only one or two Chinese herbs, such as a few varieties of ginseng. This practice causes plants to be less resistant to diseases as well as drain the soil of nutrients.

Farmers who raise organic bulk herbs focus on a healthy diversity of crops. This means a smaller supply (one of the reason that organic bulk herbs have been traditionally more expensive than non-organics), but it also means a healthier crop that is of superior quality. In the U.S. organic certification is handled on the state level by local governmental, non-profit and private agencies that have USDA approval. Since 2002, under the National Organic Program, produce such as bulk bath herbs and certified organic spices can only be labeled as such by adhering to specific requirements.

Herbs and Spices for Every Occasion

symbol of traditional chinese character.

Chinese herbs are the basis of medication used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which Western medical science is starting to examine seriously. Of course, many women (and even men) appreciate a good soak in bulk bath herbs, and some of these even have therapeutic properties. Between this and the traditional kitchen uses of bulk herbs, it’s easy to see the wisdom in stocking up and keeping a good supply on hand.

Buy herbs in bulk for the savings, and to insure that you have them on hand when you need them.

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Sunday, 15 November 2009

How to Get Rid of Ringworms (Using Herbs)

Day 131: Not RingwormImage by Sarah Mae via Flickr

Ringworm is a common fungal infection that is highly contagious and can spread quickly. If your child gets it, alert his friends' parents to prevent an epidemic. Treatment can take weeks.

Ringworm is a fungal infection. It is contagious and appears on the skin with spots around the edges, red rings and scaling. It is easy to get ringworm, but how to get rid of ringworm is the hardest to do. It is difficult to get rid of ringworm because you will notice its presence when they are already about five days in your system.

Getting rid of ringworm isn't a difficult task at all. It's the itchiness and the pain of a ringworm infection that's difficult to deal with. Ringworm, in fact, has nothing to do with worms at all. If anything, ringworm is more closely related to athlete's foot and jock itch, because it's a type of fungal infection called "Tinea," which is why I've decided to file this article under personal hygiene, along with Athlete's Foot.

Apparently, ringworm is a Dermatophyte. These buggers are part of a several different fungus organisms that affect different parts of the body: skin, body, foot (athlete's foot) and nails. Most of these fungi live in humans and animals except the ringworm of the nails; that only lives in humans. Infection spreads through direct skin to skin contact or indirect contact by the things they touch, such as toys, towels, brushes, combs, bed linens, telephones and shower stalls.

Coriander freshImage via Wikipedia

Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)

The juice of the coriander leaves mixed with some turmeric is generally given to a patient who suffers from ringworm. It is also helpful if the skin becomes excessively dry and develops ringworm, especially in the winter months.

Taking care of your skin starts with cleaning in the area that you suspect ringworm is about to erupt. Use as soap, such as Selsun Blue (shampoo for dandruff) to clean the ringworm. This helps reduce the spread of the fungus. You don’t want it to spread.

When fungus affects the skin of the body or the groin, many antifungal creams can clear the condition in two weeks or so. Examples of such preparations include those that contain clotrimazole (Cruex cream, Desenex cream, Lotrimin cream, lotion, and solution), miconazole (Monistat-Derm cream), ketoconazole (Nizoral cream); and terbinafine (Lamisil cream and solution). These treatments are effective for many cases of foot fungus as well.

Basil leaves (Ocimum basilicum).Image via Wikipedia

Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum)

The juice of the holy basil leaves are applied locally on the affected regions. The ringworm subsides after continuous application for a few days.

Keep cool, dry, and clean to avoid a ringworm infection. Yes, because it's a fungal infection, ringworm can be avoided by staying clean and dry. Don't wear heavy clothing that doesn't breathe well for very long, and whatever you do, don't forget to wear flip-flops in the shower if you live in a dormatory. Ringworm thrives in warm, humid places, so it's best to avoid them or at least protect yourself if you can't avoid them. Oh, and wash your hands!


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Wednesday, 28 October 2009

It's Easy to Grow Herbs in Pots

Mint leaves.

An Interesting article on mint, one of the most used herbs worldwide. Not need to buy mint ever again if you take someof the tips given here.

Herbs can also be grown indoors in pots or containers. They can also be grown in window boxes or hanging baskets. Growing herbs in pots is not anymore difficult then growing herbs in an outdoor garden. Indoor herb gardens need the same growing requirements that garden herbs need.

All plants need three main things in order to grow successfully; sunlight, soil and water. Herbs are no exception. Sunlight is key to growing any type of plant including herbs whether they are grown indoors or in a garden.

You should place herbs grown in a kitchen or other room in a south or west facing window to get the best kind of sunlight. Different types of herbs have different light requirements but, for the most part, all need a sunny location.

Some home herb growers supplement the light source with "grow lamps" or fluorescent lamps. Herbs also need a well drained, not too rich soil to grow in. Add two parts of sterilized potting soil with one part coarse sand or perlite for herbs that are grown in containers.

You will also need about an inch of gravel at the bottom of each pot to ensure that the plant has good drainage. Herb grown in pots indoors can also be supplemented with one teaspoon of lime per 5-inch pot to ensure that the soil is sweet enough for the herbs.

Herbs grown in pots also need water. Misting the plants and moistening the pebbles will help to keep the herbs within humid conditions. Since they are being grown in containers they do need to have more water then herbs that are grown in a garden but, you should avoid getting the roots of the herbs drenched or soggy.

An advantage to growing herbs in a container is that you have the freedom to move them about as you please. Annual herbs can spend all of their time indoors but, perennial herbs do better if they were to be placed outside during the summer.

Although all herbs should be brought inside before the first frost in order to avoid the loss of foliage. This rule is over looked when it comes to mint, chives, and tarragon. These types of herbs will go into a rest period then form firmer and fresher growth after it is introduced to a light frost.

All herbs can be grown in containers but some herbs do better then others. Mint is an herb that needs to be contained or it will take over the garden. Over all it is fairly easy to maintain an indoor herb garden. It keeps the herbs handy and within reach anytime you need them for cooking.

With these tips listed above, you will be able to care for your herbs and ensure a healthy plant. You should also include periodic light feeding and yearly repotting for optimum health of the herbs. You will also have to remember to replant annuals each year and move perennials outdoors when needed.

Plus, use your herbs as much as you want as well as harvest them occasionally. It is no secret that pruning plants encourages new growth. This rule also applies to herbs. So use them in your recipes, store them and give them away to friends.

Author: Mary Eule Scarborough
Mary E. Eule, BA, MS is a professional writer and researcher who been an avid container herb gardener for over 25 years. She is also the author of the comprehensive, step-by-step guide, "The Down to Earth Guide to Easy Container Herb Gardening," Visit her website: http://ContainerHerbGardening.com to purchase her e-book, download her free herb e-course or to get additional tips and articles on growing herbs in pots .
Occupation: Author, Marketing Expert and Speaker
Mary Eule Scarborough, an unassailable marketing expert and thought leader, helps businesses of all sizes get and keep more profitable customers. A former Fortune 500 marketing executive, she is also the founder of two successful small businesses, an award-winning speaker, certified Guerrilla Marketing coach and the co-author of two new books, "The Procrastinator’s Guide to Marketing” (Entrepreneur Press, November, 2007) and “Mastering Online Marketing" (January, 2008). She has a BA in Journalism/English from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in marketing from The Johns Hopkins University. Log onto her website: www.StrategicMarketingAdvisors.com for free marketing articles, tools, tips and templates…or to learn more about her books and services.



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Sunday, 18 October 2009

A Natural Remedy for Menopause - Herbs and Foods

A Natural Remedy for Menopause - Herbs and Foods.

It's dreaded by every woman beyond child-bearing years. Obviously there's no cure. Menopause is an entirely natural process, like going through puberty when a woman develops breasts and begins her menstruation. Just as puberty reveals that a young woman is able to have children, menopause signifies the end of that part of a woman's life cycle. Menopause is almost like puberty in reverse process.

Menopause's arrival is made known it's by the slowing and eventual ending of menstruation. Other signs are diminishment of breast size and density, and the body's eradication of hormones linked with child bearing. It is accompanied by unpleasant symptoms such as vaginal dryness, hot flashes, insomnia, osteoporosis, night sweats, and erratic mood swings. Hormone replacement therapy, is often prescribed by gynecologists, however, the link of these medications to breast cancer is still the subject of debate.

So it is no wonder that today more and more women are choosing a natural remedy to ease the symptoms of menopause. One hundred years ago, women used Lydia Pinkham pills, a combination of vitamins and herbal substances, to make menopause easier. Today, if you reject take hormone replacement options, and after discussing with your physician, you may wish to try a natural remedy for menopause.

In traditional Indian medicine (Ayurveda), Shatavari is a particularly useful treatment as a natural menopause remedy for hot flashes. Since it is a natural diuretic, Ayurveda practitioners recommend that women who use it fortify potassium intake to avoid becoming dehydrated by drinking orange juice and eating bananas.

Chinese natural healing uses an herb called Dong Quai to treat women's health issues such as menopause symptom, menstrual cramps, and premenstrual symptoms. Even though its effectiveness has not been confirmed by the FDA, many women find it helpful and recommend it to other menopausal women.

Black Cohosh Root is a particularly popular natural menopause remedy. This herb was used in the original Lydia Pinkham tablets during the turn of the century. It's a general tonic for menopause, relieving hot flashes, irritability, headaches, vaginal dryness and insomnia. It has few, if any, side effects and is tolerated well by most.

Two important cautions about Black Cohosh Root: it should not be confused with Blue Cohosh, a potentially harmful root that has no relation to Black Cohosh. Herbalists recommend that Black Cohosh Root be taken continuously for only six months.

Another favorite natural menopause remedy is Soy Isoflavones. This is a substance derived from soy beans and their by-products tofu and soy milk. Soy acts like a mild natural form of estrogen. It is found particularly useful by women who choose not to use prescription hormone replacement. Herbalists recommend eating soy-containing food rather than taking soy pills or capsules. Soy Isoflavones should not be used if you have a history of breast cancer.

Like Black Cohosh Root, Red Clover is a favorite herb for natural menopause remedy. Red Clover is particularly helpful for easing hot flashes. It may also lower cholesterol levels in post-menopausal women. As a mild form of estrogen, it should not be used by women who have a history or are at risk for breast cancer. Nor should it be combined with blood-thinning medications like Warfarin.

Lastly, gaining ground as natural menopause remedies are alfalfa leaves and seeds. Further research is needed on these plants, but it's been established that alfalfa has an effect on the body similar to estrogen. Those with diabetes or an autoimmune disease such as fibromyalgia or lupus should avoid using alfalfa.

Natural menopause remedies are generally safe and non-toxic if used correctly and with the precautions noted. They are available in many major supermarkets, in natural health and food stores, and of course, on-line.

Was the information in this article helpful to you? For more in depth information on menopause natural remedies, subscribe to this free newsletter, or download this report.


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Thursday, 8 October 2009

Can I Eat Sprouting Garlic?

The Phenomenon of Sprouting Garlic

Many of us like to cook, and eating garlic seems to go hand in hand with healthy living. Unless you buy it in small quantities at the farmer’s market every week, you end up getting several cloves all at once. If you don’t use it for a little while, or if it’s old when you purchase it, then you’ll eventually begin to see green shoots sprouting out of the tops of some of the cloves. So what does sprouting garlic mean?

What to Make of Sprouting Garlic

Sprouts tend to be good for you to eat – alfalfa sprouts, bean sprouts and onion sprouts all have plenty of health benefits. But what about garlic? Most people tend to follow the direction of either culture or parenting when it comes to this subject. Namely, either their culture has dictated that some dishes work well with the sprouted garlic, or else you saw your mother picking the garlic sprout out before using the clove, and made your decision that way.

Is Sprouting Garlic Safe to Eat?

Some may have heard that it is unwise or unsafe to eat garlic that has begun sprouting. A bit of investigating around cooking chat rooms will show the casually interested that plenty of people have eaten it and despite the bitterness of the taste, they’ve lived to talk about it.

In my kitchen, if there is only a small amount of the green shoot growing from the garlic clove, I remove it and use the garlic like always. If the sprout is larger, or if there are blemishes in the clove, darkening, squishiness or a funky smell (beyond the normal one), then I dispose of it altogether.

Some cooks say that the sprout in the garlic clove is indigestible, and that you should remove it before using the garlic. This is easy to do. Using a paring knife, you simply cut the clove in half length-wise, and remove the shoot from the center of both sides. Some cultures around the globe use the garlic sprout in dishes, so aside from the bitterness, consider giving it a taste and decide for yourself.

If you are going to boil the garlic, then you can probably leave the sprout in tact. The process of boiling the cloves will remove the bitter taste.

What Else Can I Do With Garlic That Has Sprouted?

It never hurts to try planting the sprouting cloves, in the ground or in a pot so the green tips are just a little below the soil line. After a while, you should end up with new bulbs to use, provided you properly look after them. You can roast the entire head of garlic and make a spread, or peel and mash the cloves, freezing them for later. Or consider using the green garlic sprouts in a recipe, perhaps a stir fry with other vegetables.

Find more excellent tips on eating healthy, the environment and green living at the green blog: Green Eggs and Planet

Author: Matty Byloos
Occupation:
SEO Marketing Project Manager
Matty Byloos attended Santa Clara University where he received a B.A. in English. He later attended the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena where he received an MFA in Painting. After teaching city college English classes for over five years, he took a position as a Project Manager and Editor for the Search Engine Marketing company called CKMG in Santa Monica, California. He exhibits his paintings with SandroniRey Gallery in Culver City and Toomey-Tourell Gallery in San Francisco.



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Sunday, 27 September 2009

Golden Seal Root - Side Effects and Benefits

Hydrastis canadensis

Botanical Name of Golden Seal: Hydrastis Canadensis

Other Common Names: Goldenseal, eyebalm, ground raspberry, orangeroot, yellowroot, yellow puccoon, Indian dye, eye root, Jaundice root.

Habitat: Golden Seal is a plant found in the Northeastern United States in shady woodland areas at the edges of forests in rich, moist soil. This plant prefers slightly acidic soils and will prosper in partial sun, or even shaded areas.

Description:
Golden seal is a small perennial herb. The woody, yellowish rhizome gives rise to a single hairy, stem and top with two 5-9 lobed leaves which terminate in a single greenish-white flower. It grows to a height of about 30 centimeters. The knotty, yellowish-brown rhizome is roughly 5 centimeters long and 1 centimeter thick with an abundance of rootlets. It has a strong odor and bitter taste. The golden seal does produce a fruit, similar to the raspberry in appearance, but it is not edible.

Plant Parts Used:
The root of this plant is used in medicinal and herbal uses.

Therapeutic Uses, Benefits and Claims of The Golen Seal Root

  • Golden seal is used as a treatment, especially in combination with echinacea, for some respiratory complaints such as stuffy noses, sinus problems, and symptoms of the common cold.
  • It is also used, in combination with other herbs, to cleanse the body of toxins and help purify the kidneys and urinary tract.
  • It is gaining popularity as an anti-diabetic treatment as well. It has been shown to increase insulin production and, through separate pathways, lower blood sugar levels. This use must be monitored closely due to golden seal’s tendency to raise blood pressure, which is a common complication of diabetes.
  • Golden seal is also effective for treating skin irritations such as acne, rashes, fungus and bacteria. It is also effective for mouth ulcers and other irritations to the mucous membranes of the mouth.
  • Due to its effects on blood vessel tone it has been used to control the bleeding of excessive menstruation and other internal bleeds. This increase in tone also leads to its use to stop persistent external bleeds as well.

Potential Side Effects of Golden Seal

Golden seal use can cause emotional changes and nausea. It may also cause a rise in blood pressure and has been shown in some cases to lower blood sugar levels. Due to its uterine contracting abilities it is not recommended for use during pregnancy. Golden seal may irritate the structures of the gastrointestinal tract, especially in those who already have GI disorders. Topical use may cause the skin in the affected areas to become more sensitive to sunlight.

Golden seal may cause an increase in the sedative effect of other herbs or drugs used for sedation. It may also interfere with drugs used to lower blood pressure. Those on blood sugar control medications should monitor their levels closely while taking goldenseal. It may also counter the effects of drugs used to prevent acid reflux or chronic gastric acid issues.

Dosage and Administration

Golden seal can be found in oral forms such as tablets or capsules. These capsules should be taken according to manufacturers suggested dosing. Golden seal may also be found in a powdered form that can be used to make a mouthwash or skin wash as well. Mixing 2 teaspoons of dried golden seal root and 5 ounces of boiling water for 10 minutes will yield a good mouthwash or skin wash. This may be used up to 4 times a day.

Author: Alien
Alien writes for Natural herbs . He also writes for herbs and asthma home remedies
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Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Herbs For Hair Growth

A three month old Henna (Lawsonia inermis) plant.

Hair is made up of a protein called keratin. The hair that we see and care so much about is actually nothing but dead cells. The part that is living is below the scalp and is called the follicle. Near the follicle are the sebaceous glands that make the hair look vibrant and shiny. These sebaceous glands make the hair look oily or dry depending on the sebum production.

The following are the uses of herbs for hair growth:

The first positive thing about using herbs for hair growth is that there are no side effects associated with them like the drugs that are available in the market. If you have Lifeless hair, it can be made better with massage with good herbal oil.

  •  Applying henna to hair deep conditions it. Henna is a very traditional and widely used treatment for hair growth. This herb is available in tropics. Henna is also used as a natural dye. Henna is mixed with other herbs like gooseberry, coffee and lemon juice. This mixture is a very good cure for hair fall.
  •  Massage your hair with warm oil. Take a fresh green coconut and massage some warm coconut milk into the hair. Keep this on for an hour and a half. This will make the hair soft and healthy.
  •  Use Aloe Vera gel on the hair once in a week and wash your hair.
  •  Hair loss is usually due to infection that harms the follicle. You can get rid of this infection by the use of the water on the hair with Neem leaves that have been boiled for 5 minutes. Neem is considered as a natural disinfectant and doesn't damage the hair shaft. It is also known to cure dandruff, which is also one of the reasons for hair loss.
  •  Honey mixed with warm oil and a teaspoonful of cinnamon powder has to be rubbed into the scalp. This should be left on the scalp for around 15 minutes. This helps in hair growth and helps in keeping the hair soft and shiny.
  •  Crushed olive leaves mixed with vinegar should be applied on the hair. This a great remedy for hair loss.
  •  A paste made of honey and egg yolk is also used for hair growth. To counter the smell caused by egg can be countered by rinsing the hair with lemon juice
Doctors recommend diets rich in nutrients that boost the growth of hair. If your want to stop hair loss you should include lots of 'Vitamin A' rich diet. Eat green leafy vegetables like spinach, milk, sprouted beans and salads. Increase the intake of Protein rich diet and you will naturally healthy hairs which promote hair growth.

Good hair adds beauty to your personality and it is only a healthy body that can be capped with beautiful hair. Eating nutritious diet and protein rich diets that are healthy to your health will add starts to your crowning glory.







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Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Enhance Memory through Ayurvedic Herbs

Ginkgo biloba also known as Maidenhair Tree.Image via Wikipedia

The human brain is one of the most sophisticated organs nature has ever made. One of the most interesting aspects of the brain is its power to retain information, which we call as memory. Memory is perhaps the most vital of the aspects that differentiates human beings from other animals. However, memory can become faulty due to several reasons, and in that case the person is not able to make full use of his or her potentials.

Since ages, drugs and natural remedies have been prescribed to enhance memories in people. Ayurveda has a treasure-chest of such memory enhancing drugs, which are today popular all over the world due to their proven effective qualities. The following is a list of the most effective herbs used in memory enhancement all over the world.

1. Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri)

Brahmi is perhaps the most investigated of all herbs for its memory enhancement properties. Now it is certified that brahmi has several chemicals that promote the protein synthesis process in the nerve and the brain cells, which is directly responsible for developing the mental capacity of the brain. Brahmi can make a person think clearer, and hence the memory becomes more vivid. In India, brahmi is used in countless forms to improve mental capacity for school-going children. Brahmi also increases the grasping power of the brain, due to which people can understand and assimilate information easily.

In adults, brahmi helps in relaxing and soothing the cells of the brain, and brings it to a normal state of functioning. Thus, brahmi is a valuable anti-anxiety agent and an antidepressant. Brahmi oil is quite often used to massage the head. This sort of massage immediately puts the mind at rest and the mental abilities rise drastically after its use.

2. Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)

Ginkgo works by improving the blood circulation to the central nervous system. This is the primary requisite for a healthy and capable brain. Apart from this, ginkgo corrects any damage done to the cells of different parts of the body, including the brain. It also minimizes the effects of the blood clotting. All these properties of the ginkgo have been studied in detail by western experts and they have obtained very encouraging results.

Ginkgo has got a place of respect in Ayurveda. The extract of the ginkgo is prescribed to people who have amnesia and Alzheimer’s disease. Several herbal brain tonics have ginkgo as one of the chief ingredients.

3. Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica)

The gotu kola is very effective in increasing the circulation of blood to different parts of the body, including the brain. It protects the brain from damage due to the wear and tear of its cells. Gotu kola can regenerate lost energy from the human system, and make the person feel more zestful.

Gotu kola is generally used in tonics intended to re-vitalize the brain. It improves concentration, makes the brain more receptive to information and also brings about an enhancement in the memory.

4. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

Ashwagandha is one of the most essential components used in enhancing memory and overall brain functioning. Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, stress-buster and a re-vitalizer. Ashwagandha has a cooling and calming effect on the brain. After a hard day’s work, ashwagandha can bring the brain back to its normal state of functioning.

Ayurveda regards ashwagandha as a medha rasayana, i.e. a brain tonic. It has direct results in improving the memory capacity of the brain. Ashwagandha is very powerful in making new concepts seem clearer and easy to understand. It is a vital component of almost all herbal brain tonics available in the market.

5. Mulethi (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

Mulethi is none other than licorice, the herb already known worldwide for its various curative properties. Mulethi is an efficient brain tonic and a re-vitalizer for the brain. Like most of the other herbs mentioned here, mulethi also rejuvenates the brain. In times of stress, mulethi can stimulate mental functions so as to feel a calming and relaxing effect. Mulethi increases the circulation into the central nervous system and balances the sugar levels in the blood. Mulethi is frequently provided to students who are preparing for important examinations, as it helps to remember small facts and bits of information.

6. Vacha (Acorus calamus)

Vacha is a very vigorous brain tonic, because it shows results in a very short time. It increases the overall memory of the person and strengthens the nervous system. Vacha is prescribed to people who have amnesia.

Improving the memory is a quest on which human beings have embarked centuries ago. In almost all civilizations, there have been attempts to discover the best herbs for brain enhancement with minimum side-effects. Perhaps, Ayurveda wins the race in this. All the herbs Ayurveda uses for its brain tonics have minimum side-effects and are quite safe for the human beings. Western science is now warming up to these herbs and is looking upon them as effective supplements for the human brain.

Read more about Natural Home Remedies at http://www.ayurvediccure.com - World's Finest Portal on Ayurveda and Herbal Remedies



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Monday, 31 August 2009

A Great Natural Medicine Site Found

A Great Natural Medicine Site FoundHerbs are natural source of medicine and the field of knowledge in this genre is endless. In some people’s eyes they wouldn’t use anything else other then herbs for remedies and cures, but where do you get advice on this massive subject? Where can you get feedback form people who have used herbs as medicine and have experience on the methods and effect they have had?

I have found a great site that is basically dedicated to herb talk and natural medicines. With a health forum which is a Google PR5 which proves it’s popularity and other sections on nutrition and recipes based on natural herbs and other foods there is a wealth of sections that can be clicked into for advice from others who have the same interest. The site has a wide and active audience and many of the topics will have very useful information on many sources of medicine that people can openly talk about. It is a site where you can register for free and it is quick and easy, then you can ask questions you may have or answer questions given by other members.

I just thought it would be a useful resource for many people reading my blog.
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Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Herbs to Increase Energy

Astragalus membranaceusImage via Wikipedia

The body’s ability to produce and utilize energy properly depends on many factors. Biochemically, energy is produced within the mitochondria of body cells as part of a complex process, where glucose from food is converted to adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

Certain herbs can activate and economize energy production and utilization. Herbs with this ability are known as ‘adaptogens’. Adaptogens increase the body’s ‘adaptive energy’, which economizes biochemical and physiological responses to ‘stress’ (physical, chemical and biological) and increases disease resistance.

The concept of ‘adaptive energy’, traditionally called ‘vital force’, has its equivalent in Chinese medicine, namely Qi (pronounced ‘chee’). Theory states that adequate production and utilization of Qi is underpinned by the body’s genetic or inherited energy, called Jing. Herbs that increase Qi are called Qi tonics and those that supplement Jing are called Kidney-meridian tonics.

The best known Qi tonics are Panax ginseng (Korean Ginseng) and Astragalus membranaceus (Astragalus). Both are defined in the West as adaptogens as well as immune modulators, cardiac tonics and antioxidants. In scientific trials, Korean Ginseng consistently demonstrates an ability to improve muscular strength, maximal oxygen uptake, work capacity, fuel homeostasis, serum lactate, heart rate, visual and auditory reaction times, alertness, and psychomotor skills. In layman terms, this equates with enhanced energy production and utilization resulting in increased physical performance.

Traditionally, Korean Ginseng is combined with Astragalus and modern research demonstrated that this combination has profound anti-fatigue effects, due in part to improved energy metabolism.

As indicated above, herbs with Kidney tonifying properties are essential to the success of any formula treating insufficient or deficient energy. The best known herbs for this purpose are Cordyceps sinensis, commonly called caterpillar mushroom and Withania somnifera or Ashwagandha.

Cordyceps is a highly valued medicinal mushroom in both Chinese medicine and modern clinical practice. Cordyceps helps increase stamina and endurance by enhancing mitochondrial energy production and is one of the top selling sports supplements amongst the worlds' elite competitive athletes.

Withania is also known as Indian Ginseng due to its many therapeutic similarities with Korean Ginseng. It is a highly respected adaptogen and Kidney-meridian tonic with anti-fatigue, anabolic, antiinflammatory, immune modulating, anti-anaemic, cognitive enhancing and aphrodisiac properties.

Three other herbs reinforce the energy enhancing effects of these principle ingredients. Interestingly, all three herbs are commonly known as Ginsengs. That is, Tienchi Ginseng (Panax notoginseng), American Ginseng (Panax pseudoginseng) and Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosis).

Siberian Ginseng rose to fame in 1984 after publication of a study into its effects on Soviet Olympic athletes during challenging training and competition. Athletes using Siberian Ginseng were found to have improved stamina and recovery, increased oxygen uptake and better performance.

By helping economize the body’s energy production and utilization, this combination of herbs can provide balanced support, whatever your level of physical activity.


Author: PaulKeogh
Paul Keogh ND, DMH is a qualified Naturopath and medical herbalist with 20 years combined experience in clinical practice and the development of medicinal-grade, integrated Chinese and western herbal medicines. Paul regularly reviews the benefits of vitamins, supplements and vitamin tablets for different goals and conditions.



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Monday, 3 August 2009

Leeks The Easiest Vegetable To Manage

Leeks The Easiest Vegetable To ManageImage via Wikipedia

Forget what anyone has told you about growing leeks, there is too much thought and fuss behind it. But first let me tell you a little abut this wonderful vegetable that I only discovered since coming to Bulgaria behind it.

Every autumn you will see almost every Bulgarian who visits the bazaar carrying a leek home with them for dinner. It is a funny sight and reminds me of the Welsh comedian Max Walsh We with his giant leek. The Bulgarian leeks are almost as big! Most Bulgarian however grow their own it is so easy!

They are eaten raw in the main, as a side dish to either the main evening meal or with rakia, wine or beer. It is very rare that Bulgarian are without leeks throughout the autumn winter and early spring prior to fresh lettuce salads coming into crop.

Leeks are not grown from seed here other than the traders who sell the established seedlings on in bunches of twenty. These are bought and grown on in most vegetables gardens and smallholding. A hole is made in the earth and the seedlings planted in, watered throughout the remainder of the summer and eaten from October onwards. What could be easier that that? It is that easy hardly any fail regardless of the weather. The leek is one of the most durable vegetables without any diseases to worry about and take up very little space.

The health benefits are numerous without going into too much textbook detail. The fact is that they are far better for you than any convenience food and of course almost free to grow. Their use other than eaten raw is of course legendary, leek soup a classic example. Here n Bulgaria we have leek banistsa (leek filled filo pastry), a great favourite of mine.

If I had to say which was the easiest vegetable to grow, it would be garlic and leeks. You just put them in and apart from a little watering and weed tidying, you have a feast for winter!
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Monday, 27 July 2009

Gingko Biloba - Fashionable Right Now

Gingko Biloba - Fashionable Right NowI’ve heard lots about Ginkgo and see it in many products on the supermarket shelves. It comes over and a herb that has many uses from shampoo to memory enhancing properties. Not having tried the nuts which is primarily a Chinese food I’m sure the play on the alternative medicinal benefits will still move up a step more and also on the vegetarian bandwagon.

Ginkgo is also known as the Maidenhair Tree after. It is one of the classic examples of a living fossil. For centuries the tree was thought to extinct in the wild, but it was found to be growing in Eastern China, These ginkgo trees may have been planted and preserved by Chinese monks over a period of about 1000 years.

Ginkgoes are big trees reaching a height of up to 50 metres. They have an angular crown and seemingly random branches. It is deep rooted to resist wind and snow. Autumn brings the leaves to bright yellow then drop within a few days so catching trees at this spectacular point is rare. Amazingly, some specimens are claimed to be more than 3,000 years old.

Ginkgo nuts are produced from the trees and are used and served up on special occasions such as weddings and the Chinese New Year. They are believed bring health benefit including aphrodisiac qualities. The Japanese cook Ginkgo seeds these are often eaten along with other dishes.

TGingko Biloba - Fashionable Right Nowhe seed can cause poisoning to children if eaten in excess and some people are sensitive to the chemicals on the, the outer fleshy coating. They should handle the seeds with carefully when working with the seeds for food wearing disposable gloves is advisable. Dermatitis or blisters can result otherwise.

Extracts of Ginkgo leaves have been used pharmaceutically and Ginkgo supplements are a popular herb alternative medicine for treating dementia and prevention of Alzheimer's Disease. There is a medical debate on whether this is actually effective or not right now.

To me this is a food and whether the medical benefits are profound or not, it remains a natural source of protein and an addition to the daily intake of a varied and balanced diet. I certainly wouldn’t entertain importing the food from the point of unnecessary transportation. Every country has it’s own source of nut products and they should be eaten locally.

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Monday, 20 July 2009

Agarwood - An Unforgetable Scent

Agarwood - An Unforgetable ScentAgarwood comes from the Aquilaria trees that grow in southeast Asia. The trees are sometimes infected with mold and produce an aromatic resin from the result of this. As the infection grows it produces a very rich, dark resin called gaharu or jinko and is highly prized distinctive fragrance and used for incense and perfumes. I remember time in Sri Lanka where this distinctive aroma was sensed in many home and holy places there.

The scent of agarwood is complex and relaxing and it has no comparisons with any other herbs. Its essential oil that are made form this has a great cultural and religious significance in ancient civilizations around the world.

There are fifteen species in of the Aquilaria tree and of those just over half are known to produce agarwood resin. Unaffected wood of these trees keep a light colour, the resin dramatically increases the mass and density of the affected wood, changing its colour from a pale beige to dark brown or black. 7% of the trees in the forests are infected by the fungus. It is quite common for a the trees of a forest to be inoculated with the fungus for the purpose of harvesting.

Agarwood - An Unforgetable ScentThe cheapest oil distilled from agarwood can be bought relatively cheaply for as little as $20 per kilogram, but the finest oils distilled from agarwood can cost as much as $7,000 per kilogram. It is interesting that only Yves Saint Laurent from the giants of the perfume industries uses Agarwood in their perfume products.

I for one will never forget the scent from this herb had brought to me. Somehow this will be better known in the west over time as the globalisation of all things good moves on.
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Monday, 13 July 2009

Bulgarian Dill Potatoes

Bulgarian Dill Potatoes
Dill is a herb that I never used to use in the UK. I didn’t know much about it and certainly didn’t cook many dishes that required it. If it was used it was in dried form in a small glass or plastic container. To be quite honest I wasn’t impressed with it at all.

Then Bulgaria was visited, they use Dill (called koper) in many dishes, not dried but unused fresh dill stored in freezers. I can’t remember many dishes without dill being included and of course everyone grows it here. When it goes to seed, which is around now, the dried plant with seeds still intact are used in the bottling of many vegetables such as gherkins, peppers, etc. There is now waste form the herb.

A potato dish was made two days ago was made with dill, which had such a profound effect on the flavour in combination that we just couldn’t stop eating once started. Simplicity with dill as the sole flavour to the potatoes was the key here. I will take you through the stages.

The potatoes gathered were still in the ground and the dill still on the plant growing in the garden only 30 minutes before starting this recipe. But as long as both are fresh it should still work for you.

Recipe For Dill Potatoes


Serves up to 6 people

40 minutes to cook
Ingredients:


1 kg new white potatoes

1 handful of fresh green dill chopped finely

100 g margarine

Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Method:

  • Bulgarian Dill PotatoesWash the potatoes and cut into roughly 2 cm sq pieces.
  • Place in a pan of cold water and boil for 20 minutes or until just beginning to go soft. Whilst this is happening preheat the oven to 220 C.
  • Drain the potatoes and place in an oven tray. Spread the margarine over the hot potatoes so it covers them evenly.
  • Then sprinkle the chopped dill over the potatoes and season with salt and pepper.
  • Place the tray into the hot oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  • The dish is ready for serving.
Note:
The dill potatoes make just as good meal when cold or can be reheated with a little more margarine.
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Monday, 6 July 2009

Coriander - Grown But Not Eaten In Bulgaria

Coriander - Grown But Not Eaten In Bulgaria

Coriander is a fantastic herb for its strong flavour and is produced as a major export food in Bulgaria. It is very rare indeed for Bulgarians who produce so much of it to use it in their National dishes – I really don’t know why?

This aside coriander or cilantro is an annual herb. It is native to south western Asia and west to North Africa. It looks a bit like parsley with its It is a soft, hairless leave growing up to 50 cm in height. The flowers form small umbels coloured white or light pink, asymmetrical, with the petals pointing away from the centre of the umbel longer (5-6 mm) than those pointing towards it (only 1-3 mm long). The seeds, another fantastic food ingredient is round and ranging from 3-5 mm in diameter.

Used sparingly in salads coriander leave ad a ‘zing’ to the taste. Many Asian dishes use coriander alongside many other herbs and spices. The herb is never overpowered in taste, even with the addition of chillies. The coriander seeds give an even stronger flavour and are often lightly dry roasted before being ground or crushed to bring out an even more intense flavour.

Coriander - Grown But Not Eaten In BulgariaCoriander is easy to grow even in the UK if in a sunny sheltered position and of course in pots inside the house on a sunny window ledge would being good results. You can use the seeds from the supermarket or local Asian grocer to plant. You will find that if you do go to your local Asian grocer the leaves and the seeds will be much cheaper and fresher that supermarket produce.

I have introduced coriander to my Bulgarian family and friends in salads and other meat stew dishes, but although they like it, they will not use it and revert back to traditional ingredients where coriander is excluded. The only use they have in Bulgaria is to add coriander to the distilling of rakia – this is done most effectively and the resulting rakia takes on the flavour very successfully.

Elsewhere coriander seeds are used in other alcoholic beverages such as brewing certain styles of beer, particularly some Belgium.

Coriander has many uses in all types of food, but you must remember that always buy and store the seeds whole as ground coriander loses its flavour very quickly.


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Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Basil - An Answer To Flies In The Home

Basil - An Answer To Flies In The Home

The use of herbs as a natural answer to many problems never ceases to amaze me. Already this summer flied have been a major problem, they sneak into the home and cause havoc and I just can't face the thought of using poison based fly spray to eliminate the problem.

Recently I had a Greek friend staying with me and he suggested I grow basil in containers and keep them in the house. This will keep the filed at bay he assured me as this is what he does in Greece where flies are even more of a problem.

So a few basil transplants from the garden and into some yoghurt containers and I have some indoor basil that sit proudly on my kitchen and dining room window sill. Not only that but the smell of basil is a great to have around the house as well. By the way, Don’t for one moment think that I would go to a garden centre and buy herbs when you can do this for nothing!

All the basil in place and the test was on. There were a couple of times when flies entered the rooms, but they darted out as fast as they came in. It worked a treat. Why didn’t I know about this before with all the suffering I had to go through?

It seems there is a herb answer to most things and now you know.

Image via Wikipedia

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Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Mayonnaise With A Fresh Herb Touch

Mayonnaise With A Fresh Herb Touch

A grandmother in Germany I knew many years ago gave this herb mayonnaise recipe to me. She just happened to have the ingredients at hand at the time and she never forgot it, hence the rough guide in quantities given. She had medium sized hands!

The use of mint, parsley and coriander make an excellent combination for added to a mayonnaise mix. It can make a refreshing change to ordinary mayonnaise and can be used in the same way, i.e. in sandwiches, salads, egg, pototoes (as pictured) and with many types of meat. It also makes mayonnaise feel a bit healthier although it doesn’t ‘t make that much difference to the main oil content in mayonnaise.

Ingredients:

  • · 1 handful fresh mint leaves
  • · 1 handful fresh coriander
  • · 1 handful fresh parsley leaves
  • · A Pinch of chilli pepper
  • · 1 medium onion chopped finely
  • · 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • · 3 tablespoons mayonnaise

Method:

Mix all the ingredients expect the vinegar and mayonnaise in a food processor Process until minced. Then add the vinegar and mayonnaise and mix by hand until mixed in thoroughly. Serve straight away.

It will keep if refrigerated for up to 5 days if in an airtight container.

Image via Wikipedia


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Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Pimpinella Anisum - Or Bettter Known As Anise

Star [Anise] Burst

Pimpinella anisum or its more common name anise grows in the warmer parts of the world. It probably originates from the Mediterranean area and is a grass-like herb that grows to 60 cm in height and blossoms with a 5 part cluster of white flowers between May and June.

The fruits are harvested in July and August just before full maturity to avoid the fruit dropping. The aniseed-flavoured fruit has distinctive odour and sweet taste. It is normally packaged in a hemp or chetirisloyni paper bags to prevent moisture seeping in. therefore should be stored in dry and ventilated areas.

the herb is used mainly for coughs and associated ailments such as inflammation of the bronchi, laryngitis and angina. Add to this a remedy for pains in the stomach and intestines, gastric mucosal inflammation, colic, flatulence, sand and stones kidneys and bladder problems. Lastly is is known to increase milk in breastfeeding.

In Bulgarian folk medicine is used when thick, insomnia, headache, lack of regulation and painful menstruation, and other hiccups.

You can add 1 teaspoon beaten plodcheta and leave to soak for 1 hour in half a litre hot water, then drink 1 glass of this before meals 4 times a day. Or you can use essential oil with 1-2 drops that can be taken on a sugar lump.

I will be sure to keep an eye out for this in Bulgaria, sounds a pretty useful herb to have n stock although I don’t think it would survive a cold winter here is grown, but maybe as an annual is the raw seeds can be sourced. Being grass like probably would lend itself to being grown in containers to restrict root invasion then perhaps could be sheltered during winter.
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Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Sesame and Honey Energy Snack Bar Recipe

Sesame and Honey Energy Snack Bar RecipeQuite often my Bulgarian partner would buy little sesame seeds and honey bars for us to eat in the journey each weekend to the village. They are an excellent little energy snack and have no chemicals in them at all with the texture typically hard and brittle.

I was informed that they are very easy to make. So I go the recipe off my partner’s friend who is a chef for a top hotel in Yambol. He recommended locally produced honey that it will produce herb-based flavours that will further enchance the great combinations of taste.

This recipe is very easy to follow and will also save you lots of money as these snack bars are quite expensive to buy ready made. They are just as good as any commercially produced snack bar and without preservatives.

Ingredients:

· 500 gm local honey
· 500 gm white sesame seeds
· The lemon peel of half a lemon

Method:

Bring honey and lemon peel to a boil in a saucepan. Add sesame seeds stirring continuously and continue to cook while stirring. Bring to the boil again and continue stirring. Remove from heat. Remove and take out the lemon peel.

Lay some parchment or greaseproof paper on a cool work surface and pour out the hot liquid evenly on the paper.

When it has cooled to room temperature put it in the fridge and leave there for around 4 hours.

Remove from the fridge a kitchen shears, break into pieces and serve.

This can be stored refrigerator or freezer in an airtight container.

TIP: You can make more or less as long as you stick to equal quantities of sesame and honey each time.

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Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Neroli Oil - A Popular Perfume Ingredient

Neroli Oil - A Popular Perfume IngredientImage via Wikipedia

I had never heard of neroli oil before until I was given a DIY deodorant recipe given to me by a Bulgarian friend, which had this included in the ingredients. Not knowing about it before is not surprising as being a bloke who doesn’t take much interest in perfumes. Well I know about it now and so will you.

Neroli oil is produced from the blossoms and the scent is similar in scent to bergamot produced from the blossom of the bitter orange tree.

The blossoms are pick by hand in late spring and the oil is made from water distillation, as the blossom is to tender a herb to go through the process of steam distillation as with other herbs and spices.

Neroli Oil - A Popular Perfume IngredientPrincess of Nerola first introduced the essence of bitter orange tree as a popular fragrance and used it in her gloves and in the water when bathing. This is where the name comes from. Neroli has a fresh distinctive and quite spicy scent with a flowery characteristic. Its floral oils are used extensively in perfume manufacture. It is a non-toxic, non-irritant oil and over 12% of all perfumes use Neroli now as their main ingredient. It blends well with all citrus and other floral oils. A little know fact is that Neroli oil is also one of the key flavouring components of some Cola based recipes.

Used in aromatherapy and massage treatment, Neroli has a soothing effect on the nervous system. For many years it has been used to relieve tension and anxiety with a marked affect to increase blood circulation. A solution can be made by adding three or four drops of the essential oil to one cup of almond oil. This can be added to grapefruit seed extract to make great oil for massage, but not for children or pregnant women.

Next time I see perfume in the shops I will look at the ingredients to see if I can detect the neroli content.
Images via Wikipedia


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