Here’s to your Health!

Here’s to Your Health!


Herb of the Month: Artichoke Extract

Artichoke Extract for Cholesterol, Gas Woes (The Doctor’s Prescription For Healthy Living) Number 7
By Gary Ross, M.D.

The ancient doctors knew what modern science has confirmed: enhancing and rebalancing the body’s bile secretions is essential for the treatment of heart and vessels-as well as dyspepsia, or indigestion, including gastric acid reflux. Researchers have found as early as the middle ages that people were using this medicinal plant for liver health and its influence on bile formation.

Artichoke extract’s benefits are very powerful on cholesterol levels . At least 6 clinical studies attest to its potent balancing effects on the body’s cholesterol. In 1995 European doctors showed within two hours artichoke extract caused a significant drop in cholesterol biosynthesis in cultured human cells.

How to Obtain Artichoke Extract: Most good Health Food stores provide different brands. Enzymatic Therapy is the brand that was recommended in this article.

Smart Shoppers Tip: You might think you could eat enough fresh artichoke to satisfy your requirements daily for artichoke, but medical evidence shows that neither the fresh plant material nor isolated cynarin achieve the potency of the extract. Please consult your health care practitioner before taking any new supplements or before discontinuing any medications.

Happy July!
Vicki

Herb of the Month: The Onion

WELCOME NOVEMBER

Welcome November, and the cold and flu season has already begun here in New England, and for me, right here in my own home. This Herb Of The Month is a short but very true story on the wonderful onion, and its properties that fight not only bacteria and viruses, but it does a great job of cleaning the air. I have used onions for years, and in this little tale below, it lists yet another purpose for this versatile vegetable.

A friend of mine told me a story about how when he was a kid he was in the hospital and near dying. His Italian/African grandmother came to the hospital to see him and after hearing the diagnosis, put herself to work. She demanded a bag of onions, fresh from the garden, be brought to her immediately, as well as a fresh, clean pair of white socks. Once delivered, she sliced the onion in half placing one slice in one sock and the other, then placing them on her grandsons feet. The next morning when her grandson awoke, she removed the socks. The slices of onion were completely black, but more importantly, her grandson’s fever, the fever that was taking his young life, was gone.

Keep reading, another story follows!

In 1919, when the flu killed 40 million people, there was a doctor that left the ravaged death of the cities and towns, where death had filled the air. He was searching for anything that could help his patients to survive this plague that was what seemed to only gain strength. As he drove further into the farm lands, he was surprised to see children out playing, families working their fields. All without illness of any kind. Surprised and shocked, he followed these farms and their families, finding that upon entering their homes everyone was healthy! When the farmers were asked what they were doing differently, their wives replied that they had placed unpeeled onions in dishes around the house. The doctor requested one of these onions, and upon bringing it back to his lab, placed it under his microscope, to his surprise he found the influenza bacteria covering the onion. The Onion had absorbed the bacteria, and therefore the farmers families were kept healthy.

I love these stories, as they prove to me what I learned years ago. Having had a very bad cold virus running through my own home, I remembered the Onion remedy. As the virus hit a new family member each day, I began putting onions throughout the house, limiting my families cold symptoms as well as the virus itself. I have since purchased several pounds of onions for the winter, to keep them healthy. It’s just a simple easy trick that can help your family stay healthier all year.

Onions and garlic were also used during the Black Plague, when placed around the rooms of the people, it saved many lives. The powerful antibacterial and microbial properties having stood the test of time. Enjoy your November, and have some onion soup; keep your insides healthy too!

Cheers!
Vicki

‘Tis The Season For Allergies!

We often think of Allergies as a Spring and Summer issue, but Fall and Winter can be equally rough for allergies, and if you are like me, I have indoor/outdoor allergies that afflict me all year around. Now that Fall has arrived in New England I thought I would write about the different types of allergies and what you may be able to use to help in the caring of them. An allergy is an inappropriate response by the body’s immune system to a substance that is not normally harmful. The immune system is the highly complex defense mechanism that helps us to combat infection. It does this by identifying “foreign invaders” and mobilizing the body’s white blood cells to fight them. In some people the immune system wrongly identifies a nontoxic substance as an invader, and the white blood cells overreact and do more damage to the body than the invader. This, the allergic reaction, becomes a disease in itself. Common responses are nasal congestion, coughing, wheezing, itching, hives, and other skin rashes, headache and fatigue.

Allergens can cause an array of allergic reactions, and anything can cause a reaction to the right host. The most common are pollen, dust, certain metals, (nickel) being the most prominent, some cosmetics, lanolin, animal hair, insect venom, some common drugs (penicillin and aspirin), some food additives (benzoic acid and sulfur dioxide) and chemicals found in soap and washing detergents. Many people are allergic to mold. Molds are microscopic living organisms, neither animal nor insect, that thrive where no other life form can. Molds live throughout the house, under sinks and in bathrooms, basements, along with refrigerators and any other damp, dark place. They also thrive in the air, in the soil, on dead leaves, and on other organic material. They may be destructive but they can be beneficial. They help to make cheese, fertilize gardens, and speed decaying of garbage and fallen leaves. Penicillin is made from mold.

Mold spores are carried by the wind and are most active in the Summer and Fall months. In warm climates they thrive year round. Cutting grass, harvesting crops, or walking through tall vegetation can provoke an a reaction. Foods can also cause allergic reactions. Some of the most common are chocolate, dairy products, eggs, shellfish, strawberries, and wheat. Food intolerance is not the same thing. A person with a food intolerance is unable to digest and process the food correctly, usually due to lack of certain enzyme or enzymes. Some allergic reactions to food can occur as soon as the item is ingested and are much easier to identify and eliminate from the diet. A delayed reaction is harder to identify. Any irritating cough or tickle in the throat may be a sign of food allergy. Allergies do run in families, and it is also believed that babies who are not breast fed are more likely to develop allergies. There may be an emotional cause to the problem as well; stress and anger, especially if the immune system is not functioning properly, are contributing factors.

Food Allergy Self Test

If you suspect that you are allergic to specific food, a simple test can help you determine if you are correct. By recording your pulse rate after consuming the suspected food you can reveal if you are having an allergic reaction. Simply sit down, relax your body, deep breathing, and a calming sound can help. Then with a second hand watch count the number of beats in a sixty second period. A normal pulse is reads between 52 and 70. After consuming the food you are testing, waiting fifteen minutes and retake your pulse. If it has increased more than 10 beats, remove it from your diet for one month. Once you discover the culprit you can then speak to your doctor or a Natural Health Care provider about medications or supplements that can help you with your food or seasonal allergies. ALWAYS CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE TRYING ANY SUPPLEMENTS OF ANY KIND.

This is not too take the place of a doctor’s advice. Always seek medical care before trying anything new. Courtesy of PRESCRIPTIONS FOR NUTRITIONAL HEALING.

Herb of the Month: Verbena Officinalis

Compared with its flashy garden verbena cousins, common vervain (Verbena Officinalis) is an unprepossessing plain Jane. You may know it for keeping Vampires free to walk in the sunlight if you are a fan of the CW’S Vampire Diaries. It has also been an herb that was used for magic and religion. There is no herb in the garden more worthy of attention, for this simple plant without fragrance, without an outer look of power, without a flower of significance, was singled out from among all other plants and herbs as the most sacred of the growing things of earth between the Pillars of Hercules and the roots of the Caucasus.

Vervain is one of some 250 species of annuals, herbaceous perennials, and sub shrubs in the genus Verbena. Although most members of the genus are native to tropical and subtropical America, vervain is native to southern Europe; it probably came to North America with the early English settlers.

The loosely branched stems are stiff, erect, and four angled. They may grow to 2 and 1/2 feet tall. The leaves opposite and rough in texture, are of three types. Those lowest on the stem are coarsely toothed and stalked; those in the middle, also stalked, are oval and deeply lobed or cut; while the leaves highest on the stem are oval or linear, stalk less, and irregularly toothed.

From early summer through early fall, tiny purplish flowers occur in narrow spikes at the tips of the stems or in the leaf axils. Only a few flowers are open at any time. They are insect pollinated. The dry fruits contain four nut lets that are dispersed by ants. Vervain is hardy in Zones 4 through 8. It is a great plant in the landscaping area. And is easy to start from seed.

You may know other family members more readily in the garden such as blue, an American native, and has been used for both food and medicine. Lemon vervain is another name for the familiar fragrant herb lemon verbena. Chaste tree, used to treat gynecological disorders, Aztec sweet herb and Mexican oregano are other herbal relatives.

Vervain’s reputation as a sacred plant dates at least to ancient Egypt, where is was thought to have sprung from the tears of the goddess Isis as she mourned the death of the god Osiris. It was also sacred to the Persians, Druids, and worshippers of Thor in Scandinavia. The Greeks called it hierobotane, “holy plant;” the Roman version of the name was herbal sacra. Both used the altars of the temples; the generic name Ver-bena “leafy branch,” alludes to this practice. Legend has it that vervain was also used to stanch the bleeding of Christ’s wounds on the cross; the herb is sometimes known as herb-on-the-cross. During the Middle Ages, vervain was an ingredient of magicians and witches potions, but common folk could
use it for protection, as Gertrude Foster notes in Herbs for Every Garden (1966): “Vervain and Dill/ Hinder witches from their will.” It was also highly re-guarded as an aphrodisiac, earning it the name herbal veneris, “herb of love.”

Uses

Vervain is one of the classical medicinal herbs; it has been used to treat practically every known disorder from snakebite, nervous disorders, and headaches to “pain in the secret parts.” A medieval cure for a throat tumor called for tying part of a vervain root around the throat and drying the rest over a fire. As the fire shriveled the root, the tumor would shrivel, too, or so the theory went.

James A. Duke’s Photochemical and Ethno botanical Databases list more than fifty medical conditions for which vervain has been used, but it has never been proven effective in alleviating them. In China, vervain has been used experimentally to treat malaria, blood flukes, coughs and inflammation. It is suspected of poisoning cattle in Australia, and touching it can cause dermatitis in humans. The common name vervain is believed to come from the Celtic words fer, “to remove,” and faen, “stone,” in reference to its reputation for curing kidney stones. A 1994 study of vervain and six other herbs traditionally used to prevent and treat kidney stones did find some beneficial effects, but the researchers concluded that more effectible and equally innocuous substitutes are well known.

The delicate young leaves may be par-boiled and eaten or brewed into a tea. A big batch of tea added to your bathwater is supposed to be soothing. The flowers may be made into wine, used as a garnish, or, as they do in Turkey, used to flavor salt. The seeds of blue vervain may be roasted and ground for use in fried cakes.

Or plant some vervain to keep the pigeons and turkeys happy. Two more commoon names, pigeon grass and turkey grass, commemorate these birds’ attraction to the herb, but both names have also been applied to other plants.

Growing It

In Europe, vervain is found growing wild in well drained or dry alkaline soil or in sun or half shade. Vervain is not choosey about soil but likes a sunny place. It’s advised to plant them well back in the border, planting them in a close growing line, and facing them with some shorter and compact perennial.

Vervain reseeds readily. The Druids advised gathering plants when neither the sun nor the moon is in the sky and leaving honey combs on the ground in exchange for the harvest.

Sources

Goodwin Creek Gardens. Article provided by The Herb Companion Magazine.

Herb of the Month: Poor Appetite?

Herbs that can increase a poor appetite are catnip, fennel seed, ginger root, ginseng, gota kola, papaya leaves, peppermint leaves, and/or saw palmetto berries. Caution: Do not use ginseng if you have high blood pressure.

Okay, yes, there are herbs that do increase your appetite, but let’s take a look at why you may have a Poor Appetite and how we can treat it.

First

Always see your primary care practitioner, doctor and/or Nutritionist, and do not substitute these treatments for other medications that have been prescribed for you. You always need to speak with your doctor first before adding anything new. Just because herbs are natural doesn’t mean they are not medicine.

Poor Appetite

A poor appetite is not a disorder in itself, but more than likely an issue pertaining to something else. Emotional issues such as depression, stress, illness and trauma can cause appetites to be weakened or non-existent. There are controllable things such as the use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs, than can also increase the no desire to eat. Lastly, an underlying sickness may be the culprit. Heavy metal poisoning or nutritional deficiencies my be involved.

To stimulate a poor appetite – try using the herbs listed above, one at a time, to see if one will work. Do not try all of them at the same time. You may not need them.

Recommendations

To get the protein and calories you need, drink 3 or more cups per day of skim milk. This can be in the form of Soy, Almond and all other types of milk, especially if you suffer from a lactose intolerance. Use a carob-based milk, it gives you more of a feeling of being a treat but without all of the added sugars and lactose.

Yogurt mixed with fruit for shakes gives some added protein as well as some essential Pro-Biotic, very essential to your stomach and entire bodies disease fighting center. Eat cold cereals, preferably whole grain cereals, as well as breads and rolls. The denser the food, the better the nutrional value.

Use cream soups, again nut milks can be used rather than heavy cream to bring out a richer broth. These are better for nourishing you, than clear broths. They are also higher in protein, which is the foundation to building strong muscles.

Between meals, snack on foods such as avocados, banana soy pudding, cheeses (lactose free cheeses work too), chicken, and no more than twice a week, tuna. Turkey, nuts and nut butters, along with hot cereals do wonders to keep you satisfied, but also build good strong muscle and bone health. In addition to promoting weight gain, these foods are easy to digest and contain the good fatty acids your body needs as well as the additional probiotics (friendly bacteria).

Because you are trying to gain weight it’s best to avoid any beverages prior to eating your meal. This gives the feeling of being full. With a poor appetite, we are trying to build this up. To lose weight, you can eat this way. But with much less and having water
before, during and after a meal is wonderful.

Supplements are essential to most people, but those with a poor appetite are at greater risk of illness. These supplements can help build your immune system back to good health. B Vitamins increase appetite.

Try eating small quantities of food at frequent intervals through out the day rather than 2 or 3 larger meals. Just the sight of a large meal can be a turn off for those suffering with poor appetite. Smaller frequent meals may be better tolerated, with a gradual increase in the volume of food.

Exercise

If possible, but avoid strenuous exercise as it will delete the
calories you are trying to build back into your diet. Walking, yoga, and moderate paced activity is best to increase the appetite. Exercise also helps the body to break down the nutrients in a better way. If you smoke, quit! Smoking decreases appetite. When trying to stimulate the appetite, consider the surroundings of your meal. Are they tolerable to the tastes? Are they appealing to your taste buds? Your surroundings are just as important to the food you put in your body. If you experience a significant loss of appetite, see your physician to rule out any underlying physical problems.

Something to Consider

To stimulate a poor appetite, the diet must be individualized according to the person’s tolerances and tastes. There are many products on the market that can be helpful for people with appetite and weight problems. They are often found in the health food stores.

If you have any health questions, please submit them here and I will be happy to answer them the best I can.

To your health!

In light,
Vicki