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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