Archive for June 2011

Improve Your Memory – Naturally

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Gingko BilobaIt can happen to the best of us — at any age!

Sometimes when I’m concentrating on writing or designing a web page, I’ll decide to go get something… a glass of tea, a piece of fruit. I’ll get up from my desk and start walking only to stop and wonder what the heck I was going to get (or do). LOL.

If there are times when that happens to you, or you put your glasses down somewhere, only to spend an inordinate amount of time looking for them later, you know what I’m talking about.

Our brain cells are supposed to help us remember where we’ve been, where we’ve put things and names associated with the faces of people we meet.

Unfortunately, our memory can let us down by losing the ability to communicate properly. There are certain strategies that we can incorporate to “train” our minds – such as paying closer attention to what we’re doing at all times or repeating information (a name, for example) over and over until we’ve got it memorized.

Our diets may be the cause of not being able to remember even the most mundane information. Memory boosters in the form of dietary supplements can help fill in those nutrients that we’re not getting in our diets and help drive out memory loss.

Smart Nutrients for Boosting Your Brain Power

There are boosters are sometimes called “smart nutrients” and can be found at your local health food store.  Below are some of the smart nutrients that work best to restore your memory:

  • Choline and DMAE (Dinethylaminoethanol)
    These nutrients are the building blocks of the brain. Fish, eggs, liver, soy, peanuts (and other types of nuts) are especially high in choline. DMAE is also found in fish and helps your concentration ability.
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  • Acetyl-L-Carnitine and Glutamine
    When you combine these nutrients, you’ll have an antioxidant that acts as an energy booster for the brain, plus a memory advocate that can balance the all-important neurotransmitters, necessary for enhanced memory performance.
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  • Ginkgo (Ginkgo Biloba)
    Also acts as an antioxidant for the brain, improves circulation, boosts energy, memory and concentration. Ginkgo is also excellent for treating conditions that affect us as we age including tinnitus and poor blood circulation.
    Learn more about Ginkgo here >>

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  • Vitamins and Minerals
    There is a variety of vitamins and mineral supplements that you can take to increase your memory skills. These include all B vitamins and minerals, which contain niacin, folic acid and pyridoxine. Vitamin B12 is especially helpful in building nerve cells that help us with mental alertness.

Most of us would like to have better concentration and remembering skills. But most of us practice a diet lacking in the nutrients we need. Do your own research to find out which nutrients you may be missing and try supplements for awhile to jump-start your brain cells.

How about you?

Does boosting your memory sound like a good idea to you?

The Spice of Life (and Your Health)

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Making your own herbal remediesIf you’re going for a healthier lifestyle, you’re probably looking for alternative ways to better your health. Have you ever considered looking into spices that are actually good for you? There are many and they have positive health benefits that come along with the wonderful flavors.

Here are just a few healthy spices you should be sure you’re using:

Cayenne Pepper

The spice with a zing! Many hot, spicy dishes contain cayenne pepper, so some tame tastebuds shy away from it.

But actually, you should embrace it and use it more often. It’s known to increase your fat burning metabolism so you help shed pounds by as much as 25%. (More health info about Cayenne >>)

Ginger

Ginger is calming to your stomach… it’s well known for its ability to lessen the feeling of nausea.  It also helps soothe acid reflux.  It’s good for helping women through the days of morning sickness during pregnancy (I had it all day long for six months!).  It’s also excellent as an aide when suffering from motion sickness. (More about Ginger >>)

Cinnamon

An excellent spice to help aid in diarrhea attacks and upset stomachs. It can also help boost your metabolism a little, which is why many people recommend sprinkling it on your oatmeal to help you rev up your body’s calorie-burning furnace for the day.

Garlic

Garlic can help keep your cholesterol levels in check and it can decrease your blood pressure. It’s also reported to be helpful to those who suffer diabetes. (Garlic is nature’s antibiotic, learn more here >>)

Allspice

Allspice is another healthful spice. It’s a stimulant that can help relieve problems with indigestion and gas.

Mustard

This is an excellent spice for those who suffer from respiratory problems.  It’s another stimulant that is a helpful aid in squashing respiratory ailments.

Peppermint

This is a pleasure-filled spice that is tasty and helps with insomnia.  As an added benefit, it can help with digestive disorders and also bouts of tension. (Check out the full health benefits of Peppermint >>)

Turmeric

This is an antioxidant that defends against free radicals.  It makes for an added asset to fight off certain types of cancer.

Spices are more commonly known to liven up our foods. What most people don’t realize is that there are certain spices that actually help you lead a healthy life while making your food taste good.  The next time you’re planning your dinner menu, think to yourself, “What can I be doing for my health when I spice up our favorite recipes tonight?”

I’m working on updating the “Herbal Cafe” but there are some great recipes already there.

When you use spices, do you ever think about the health benefits they provide?

Natural Remedies for Anxiety

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Feeling Anxious?Some anxiety is a normal part of life – but extreme anxiety or feeling anxious for no reason can be devastating. If you experience insomnia, inability to reason, tiredness, headaches and/or a number of other maladies, you may be a candidate for some natural remedies that will help you get your life back.

Studies have shown that the following natural remedies can help symptoms of anxiety:

  • Passionflower – Long used to treat anxiety and insomnia, passionflower has been found to cause fewer side effects than prescription drugs such as mexazolam. Don’t take passionflower with other medications without consulting your health care professional.
  • Breathing techniques – Deep breathing exercises associated with yoga and other forms of meditation can positively affect anxiety issues. Research various techniques to find out which is best for you.
  • Valerian – The herb, Valerian, is often used effectively to treat insomnia and promote calmness. As with passionflower, don’t use with prescription medications until you’re sure there will be no consequences.
  • Aromatherapy – Massage oils added to baths or infusers can help anxiety. Some essential oils derived from plants for aromatherapy treatments are lavender, geranium, cypress and jasmine.
  • GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) – GABA is an amino acid that helps ease anxiety symptoms by positively affecting brain receptors.
  • B-Vitamins – Vitamin B12, in particular, helps the body ward off stress and anxiety. Try taking a B-Complex multi-vitamin supplement each day.
  • St. John’s Wort – Often taken as an antidepressant, St. John’s Wort can also lessen anxiety symptoms. Don’t take this remedy with other prescription drugs, especially antidepressants such as Paxil.

Most anxiety is caused by stress, both emotional and physical. It’s a sign that your body and mind are in distress. Seek balance in your life by taking steps to reduce stress, get enough sleep and take better care of yourself.

It’s important that you also reduce caffeine intake and attempt to work some type of daily exercise into your schedule.

Natural Remedy: Green Tea

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Are you a tea drinker? I drink a lot of tea. Hot in the winter and iced tea in warmer weather. While today’s post is about green tea, I make my tea using my own blend of green tea, black/orange pekoe, and white teas. It tastes absolutely delicious and is super healthy for you.

Oh, and drinking tea (hot or cold) won’t put the weight on you like soda.  Did you know drinking just one can of soda a day will put at least ten pounds of fat on your body in one year? Drink tea instead, even it it’s sweetened with raw sugar or honey, it will save you pounds! (I don’t remember where, but I read that white tea also helps to melt belly fat! Now who wouldn’t like that?!)

Green Tea

Green tea, has no caffiene, and has been around for a long time and is better known in other countries as a healthy and healing tea.

It probably has the most health benefits of any kind of beverage or food item we know about. Green tea was developed centuries ago for the sole purpose of healing.  The Chinese are the ones who first realized the benefits it holds and found a way to harness them for consumption. Green tea became an integral part of their society and culture because it could be used for things like headache pain and depression.  It was considered a highly sought after medicinal treatment because they felt it was the wonder drug of their time.

This wonder drug has been in their culture for over 4,000 years now.  Green tea can be helpful for many disorders and diseases.  Some of those include cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol levels, different types of infections, rheumatoid arthritis and even some types of cancer.

Green tea is most known for its ability to help your body stay strong and fight off disease – including some forms of cancer, such as esophageal cancer. Studies have shown that green tea reduced the risk of esophageal cancer in Chinese men and women by at least 60%.

Dieters can also benefit from this flavorful tea. It’s known for its ability to help your body burn off some of the daily calories you take in.  It provides you with some of the needed nutrients as well as being a healthy beverage that tastes good.

Another benefit you may not realize that it provides is the fact that it can help prevent tooth decay. Since it has bacteria-destroying abilities, it prevents harmful bacteria from settling into your mouth and causing the rotting and decaying of your teeth. That bacterium is also prevented from traveling any further into your body (such as your blood stream) and causing more health problems.

If you suffer from insomnia, you should consider drinking some green tea before retiring for bed each night. You can get a good night’s sleep just by sipping a steaming cup of green tea before bed.  Introduce it into your daily beverage options and see how its powerful ingredient affects your health and wellness.

Read about green tea versus black tea >>

Natural Remedies: Protect Yourself from Stress

Friday, June 10th, 2011

It’s unfortunate but true. Stress is bound to have an adverse affect on your life from time to time.  When it hits, it can disrupt your emotions and your physical health. How can create a natural barrier so it can’t do much damage to your system? That’s what we’re discussing today.

Stress takes its toll on your immune system.

Your immune system is like your army of protection to battle the germs that invade your body.  Too much stress weakens the immune system and opens the door for frequent colds and viral infections.

If you’re prone to high stress levels and your immune system is deeply compromised, then you might suffer stronger symptoms of the ailment than if you had your defenses built up.

The doctor can’t prescribe you a magic pill that builds up your immune system, but you can use alternative methods to do the job.  You can also use stress reduction techniques, such as hypnotherapy, aromatherapy, and meditation.

Your nutrition is also important to your immune system.

Make sure you get plenty of vitamins and nutrients that balance out your body’s needed intake.  Try to eat with the color of the rainbow in mind, mixing a combination of nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, and grains. (Visit my other natural remedies site for more information about holistic nutrition >>)

Many natural herbs can provide a boost in your immune system, too.  Herbs like Astragalus, Sage, Garlic, Honey, mushrooms, and St. John’s Wort all have immunity-enhancing qualities.

Astragalus is generally used as a tonic. In Chinese medicine, it’s been touted to restore the immune system and help tissue cells regenerate.  They’ve found it crates a natural obstacle to cancer cell growth, and provides many other health benefits.  Specific to the immune system, it increases the white blood cells that act as your army of protection against foreign invaders.

St. John’s Wort and garlic have been active in helping fight Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).  Aside from inhibiting infections of AIDS patients, they’ve also been known to prevent herpes outbreaks, an obvious sign of their immune-boosting powers.

To help stave off frequent infections, make sure you adhere to a healthier lifestyle that includes exercise and nutrition.  But get an added boost by enhancing your immune system with alternative therapies that reduce stress and elevate your body’s natural defense system.

Natural Remedies: Beautiful Healthy Hair

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Natural Hair CareNatural and beautiful hair. That’s what I wanted! But my quest for the perfect hair care products was a long and frustrating one.  It wasn’t until I started using natural products and homemade herbal infused products that I found the secret to healing my damaged hair.

If you’re longing for the gorgeous, shiny, bouncy hair like what’s portrayed on television commercials for hair products, you’ve probably run into the same problem.  I don’t recommend rushing out to buy all those products. I have wasted a lot of money that way.  I as usually very disappointed when I tried them with few exceptions.  And when I did find something, it was discontinued shortly afterwards. I have no idea why!

But don’t despair! You can get the look you want from natural products that cost less and perform better. First, you have to understand the structure of your hair and how both internal and external factors can affect the way it appears.

A healthy diet and adequate exercise will bring circulation to your scalp and is one of the best things you can do to keep your hair healthy and shining. External factors such as sun and harsh chemicals contained in products used to color your hair can also dry out your hair and make it dull and listless.

Chemicals contained in most commercial shampoos and conditioners can also affect your hair negatively. Here are some natural methods for cleaning, conditioning and general care of your hair that should bring it back to a lush, manageable state:

  • Use natural-ingredient shampoos – Look for shampoos that contain chamomile, lemon verbena, seaweed extract, rosemary, keratin, tea tree oil and plant proteins. Stay away from products that contain harsh cleansers that may cause lots of suds and bubbles, but are damaging to your hair.
  • Condition with natural remedies – Jojoba oil, aloe and henna are just a few herbal remedies that can condition your hair without leaving it oily and limp.
  • Use a brush made from boar bristles. They’re natural and will help lubricate your hair using the natural oils that come from your scalp. Never brush your hair while it’s still wet. Use a wide-tooth comb to detangle your hair and wait until it’s partially dry before using the brush.
  • Dry your hair on the lowest setting of a blow dryer. Heat tends to dry your hair, and sprays, styling mousse, and gels that have alcohol only make it worse. If you can get away without blow drying your hair, all the better! For curling irons, get a “teflon” one. They seem to be gentler on your hair.
  • If your hair has been damaged from sun and too much processing, repair it by using deep conditioners made from botanicals. Look for “leave-in” conditioners – they tend to repair the damage much more quickly.

If you color your hair, ask the colorist if there is a product that will prepare your hair for touch ups or overall coloring. Using the products as recommended will also help to avoid damage.

If you liked this article and want to see more, visit our virtual Herbal Spa >>

Natural Alternative: “Green” Bug Repellents

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Go green with natural alternatives to toxic pesticidesYou can “go green” when it comes to bug repellants, too!

Poisons are not necessary or the only answer when it comes to making your skin, home or garden a turn off to bugs.

There are some natural remedies that you can use to repel noisy and bothersome insects without taking a chance on toxic repellents.

DEET is a poison! It’s something you would never want to put on your skin… and especially not for a child!

Let’s look at a few ways you can keep obnoxious insects from invading your home – and your body — and go with green alternatives for the environment and our health:

Ants

  • Place mint tea bags or crushed cloves near the ants’ starting point.
  • Spray the ants with a small amount of soapy water.
  • Draw a line of chalk at the ants’ entry point.  The ants won’t cross the line.
  • If ants are attacking your trees, wrap the trunk with paper and then put “sticky goo” (purchased at a gardening center) on the paper.

Fleas

  • Spray cedar oil spray, sprayed on carpets, floors and in your pet’s bedding.
  • d-Limonene, produced by the citrus industry, can be sprayed safely to prevent fleas.
  • Diatomaceous earth or powdered pyrethrum (purchased at an herb shop) can be sprinkled on your pet’s clean bedding and carpets in your home.
  • Herbs such as rosemary, citronella, wormwood and pennyroyal are natural treatments for fleas.

Mosquitoes

  • Rubbing alcohol, applied to the skin, can repel mosquitoes.
  • Plant marigolds at your entrance and around a deck or patio.
  • Clove oil is effective against mosquitoes, but use it sparingly as it may irritate the skin.
  • Citronella (rose geranium), eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender and cedar oil are some of the most common organic or natural insect repellents.

Flies

  • Citronella, diluted in oil (such as almond oil) can be rubbed on your skin to keep almost any flying insects away.
  • Herbs such as basil, mint and tansy repel flies.
  • The smell of pennyroyal oil is effective in repelling flies.To make an organic spray:
  • Mix a combination of white wine vinegar and water and add some or all of the herbs, citronella, eucalyptus, lavender or tea tree oils. Then, add to a liquid detergent in a spray bottle and shake well.

Try some of these home remedies to repel insects before purchasing the more expensive and extremely harmful products that contain toxic chemicals.

The natural way is the best way to go for ourselves, our loved ones and our planet. Go Green!

See our information on all-natural mosquito repellant >>

See our RECIPES for all-natural herbal insect repellants >>

Does St. John’s Wort Help With Depression?

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

St John's Wort helps treat depressionSt. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is an herb that’s sometimes used effectively for treatment of depression. It is believed to contain ingredients that may help the brain produce more serotonin, which produces feelings of well-being in the body.

The plant is named after St. John, the Baptist and produces yellow petals in groups of five that resemble a halo. Red sap runs from the plant and is said to be a symbol of the blood of St. John. Part of its scientific name, Hypericum, means “greatest health” in Greek.

For many centuries, St. John’s Wort has been used as a sedative and to treat wounds, burns and sleep disorders. Now, St. John’s Wort is believed to be valuable in treating anxiety, sleep disorders such as insomnia and depression.

St. John’s Wort can be purchased in capsules, extracts and teas. In the United States, it’s not sold as a prescription, but can be purchased over-the-counter. In Europe the herb is prescribed by physicians for depression and other illnesses.

Even though St. John’s Wort has been tested and scientifically researched it’s never safe for you to diagnose your own illness. Here are some things you need to consider BEFORE taking an herbal remedy – or any type of medication: Read More→

Alternative Therapies for Menopause

Monday, June 6th, 2011
Alternative Menopause Therapy

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Menopause can be very disruptive in the lives of women who experience hot flashes, mood swings, and other symptoms. Hormone therapy scares have led many women to seek alternative treatments for menopausal symptoms such as osteoporosis and postmenopausal cardiovascular disease.

Alternative therapies for irritability and depression during menopause are also being explored. Below are some remedies that are believed to alleviate menopausal side effects:

  • Soy – Scientific tests show that bone density is increased and depression, irritability and hot flashes are lessened. Although soy can decrease some symptoms associated with menopause, large amounts must be ingested for it to be completely effective.
  • Natural Progesterone – Extracted from plant sources, “natural” progesterone has been widely used to treat menopausal symptoms, but no scientific evidence exists to prove its effectiveness.
  • Fish Oils – Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil can be a positive component in preventing cardiovascular disease in menopausal women. You can get it through the consumption of fish or via a fish oil capsule if it’s more convenient.
  • Magnesium – Studies have found that the use of magnesium significantly increases bone mineral density in both the elderly and menopausal women.
  • Evening Primrose Oil – Commonly used to treat symptoms associated with menopause, Evening Primrose Oil may reduce hot flashes and depression. Read More→

Herbal Remedies for Some Common Problems

Saturday, June 4th, 2011

Effective herbal remedies can help those that suffer from common ailments rather than an expensive trip to the doctor and resulting prescriptions. Specific herbs can be made into healing salves, tonics and teas not only to relieve irritating symptoms that accompany these ailments, but also to cure them. (Make your own herbal preparations >>) Or, you can buy these already ready!

Herbal remedies have innate benefits that can work for a variety of common ailments from acne to warts. Below are some herbal treatments for everyday ailments:

Acne – There are a number of conditions that can perpetuate acne, but the most common causes are hormonal imbalance (such as in adolescence), stress and some medications.  Effective herbal remedies include:

  • Enchinacea – Reduces inflammation and has healing qualities.
  • Witch Hazel – Used as a topical astringent.
  • Aloe Gel – Topically applied as an antibacterial (and astringent) agent.

Bladder infections – This type of infection occurs when bacteria enters the urinary tract — generally, in women. Some symptoms include constant or painful urination. Treat bladder infections with the following herbal remedies:

  • Barberry – Helps the immune system fight infection.
  • Cranberry juice – Inhibits bacterial growth by increasing acid in the urine.
  • Dandelion – Detoxifies the bladder. Read More→