Archive for Natural Remedies

Chickweed – Natural appetite suppressant

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

ChickweedChickweed is said to curb the appetite and aid in weight loss by emulsifying fat and then getting rid of it.

As a diuretic its medicinal properties aide the assimilation of other herbs and help them process and dissolve of fat. My personal experience is that Chickweed is a better appetite suppressant than the over the counter products on the shelf today.

Some say that Chickweed is purely an ‘old wives’ tale’ remedy for obesity. But in fact, there’s supporting scientific evidence that Chickweed may indeed be beneficial to weight loss, when included in a healthy lifestyle included proper diet and exercise. Basically, as a mild diuretic containing saponins, Chickweed emulsifies the fat cells and assists them out of the system.

In Healing Wise by Susun Weed, it says that Chickweed is an excellent metabolic balancer with a potentially regulating effect on the thyroid.

Historical or traditional use (may or may not be supported by scientific studies):

Chickweed was reportedly used at times for food. Chickweed enjoys a reputation in folk medicine for treating a wide spectrum of conditions, ranging from asthma and indigestion to skin diseases. Traditional Chinese herbalists used a tea made from chickweed for nosebleeds.

The active constituents in chickweed are largely unknown. It contains relatively high amounts of vitamins and flavonoids, which may explain some of its activity. Although some older information suggests a possible benefit for chickweed in rheumatic conditions, this has not been validated in clinical studies.

Often considered a nuisance to gardeners, this inconspicuous small plant grows world wide in abundance. Generally, it’s one of the first plants in spring. In summer it can be found in cooler, damp shady areas.

PLUS: It makes a wonderful addition to fresh spring salads!

Although formerly used as a tea, chickweed is mainly used today as a cream applied liberally several times each day to rashes and inflammatory skin conditions (e.g., eczema) to ease itching and inflammation.  As a tincture, 1–5 ml per day can be taken three times per day. Two teaspoonfuls of the dried herb may be used to make a tea. This may be drunk three times daily.

No side effects with chickweed have been reported.  At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions with chickweed.


Chickweed: The ubiquitous, small, green chickweed plant grows across the United States and originated in Europe. The leaves, stems, and flowers are used in botanical medicine.


Burdock – The Tenacious Tonic – Treatment for Cancer?

Sunday, September 7th, 2014
Burdock

Photo from Wikipedia

In traditional herbal texts, burdock root is described as a “blood purifier” or “alterative,” and was believed to clear the bloodstream of toxins.

It was used both internally and externally for eczema and psoriasis, as well as to treat painful joints and as a diuretic. In traditional Chinese medicine, burdock root in combination with other herbs is used to treat sore throats, tonsillitis, colds, and even measles. It is eaten as a vegetable in Japan and elsewhere.

Burdock root has become popular as part of a tea to treat cancer.  Burdock’s use against cancer goes down through the centuries and has been used as a tumor treatment in Russia, China, India and the Americas. In the United States, it was an ingredient in the popular but highly controversial Hoxsey Cancer Formula, an alternative therapy marketed from the 1930s to the 1950s by ex-coal-miner Harry Hoxsey.

Some studies show anti-tumor or anti-mutation activity.  The National Cancer Institute became interested in burdock as part of its Designer Foods Program, an effort to use biotechnology to introduce cancer-preventive chemicals into common food crops.  Burdock’s action is mild, but real. It has antibacterial and antiviral powers, and it reduces blood sugar, which helps prevent diabetes.  Burdock has value as a tonic, a subtle strengthener with cumulatively helpful effects.

Burdock root contains high amounts of inulin and mucilage. This may explain its soothing effects on the gastrointestinal tract. Bitter constituents in the root may also explain the traditional use of burdock to improve digestion. It also contains polyacetylenes, shown to have antimicrobial activity. Burdock root and fruit also have the ability to mildly lower blood sugar (hypoglycemic effect).

Burdock Usage

Herbalists generallly recommend 2–4 ml of burdock root tincture per day. For the dried root preparation in capsule form, the common amount to take is 1–2 grams three times per day. Many herbal preparations will combine burdock root with other alterative herbs, such as yellow dock, red clover, or cleavers.  Use of burdock root at the dosages listed above is generally safe.

To brew a pleasantly sweet-tasting tonic tea, boil one teaspoon of crushed, dried burdock root in three cups of water for 30 minutes. Drink up to three cups a day.


Burdock  (Arctium lappa) is native to Asia and Europe. The root is the primary source of most herbal preparations. The root becomes very soft with chewing and tastes sweet, with a mucilaginous texture.


Aloe – Special Precautions!

Friday, September 5th, 2014
Aloe

Photo from Wikipedia

The thick, juicy leaves of Aloe contain two distinct products used medicinally and are important to be distinguished for the purposes of caution and to avoid confusion.

  1. a thin clear gel or mucilage that oozes from the middle of a broken leaf.
  2. a bitter latex, referred to as aloe vera juice, derived from the cells just under the surface of the leaf.

Their compositions and uses differ.  The active ingredient in the gel is mucopolysaccharides.  The latex provides anthraquinone derivatives, mostly in the form of aloins, with smaller amounts of hydroxyaloins, aloe-emodin, and aloeresins.

The gel is used topically on wounds and burns to help them heal more rapidly. Taken internally, it is considered a general tonic. Unfortunately, separation of the gel from the latex for commercial preparations is often incomplete, and the gel may end up with some laxative action due to inadvertent inclusion of latex.

Aloe has been recommended for burns due to radiation, but like most of its uses, this is considered incompletely proved and controversial.  There is no harm in applying fresh gel from a broken leaf to a minor cut or burn, and many people find it soothing. In the test tube, gels from some species of aloe have antibacterial activity. A. vera, however, does not appear to kill many microbes.

The latex of Aloe is a powerful laxative that irritates the intestine. We do not recommend using this product.

There are nearly five hundred species of aloe. It’s a type of plant that originated in southern Africa, near the Cape of Good Hope.  The use of aloe goes back in history 5,500 years. There are pictures of aloe plants on some Egyptian temples. The Greek physician Dioscorides wrote of its benefits to heal wounds and treat hemorrhoids.

Aloe plants now grow throughout Africa, around the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, and in many countries in South America.


Aloe Special Precautions:

Pregnant women must avoid aloe latex; use has been known to trigger abortion or premature birth.  Nursing mothers should take this laxative only under medical supervision. Children must not take aloe latex.  Women who are menstruating should not use aloe latex, as it may increase blood flow.  Aloe latex may be very dangerous when there is an intestinal blockage and must be avoided in such cases. Aloe latex is not appropriate for people with intestinal inflammation such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, and it should not be taken by people with inflamed hemorrhoids.  People with kidney problems should avoid aloe latex.  The most serious difficulties encountered with aloe latex occur at higher than recommended doses or when used for more than a few days.  This laxative herb causes the loss of potassium and other minerals, which over time can result in a loss of muscle tone of the intestine and diminished effectiveness. Frequent use may cause irreversible damage.  Large doses of aloe have caused bloody diarrhea, kidney damage, and even death.  The urine may take on a reddish color after taking aloe latex. This color is harmless; however, with the possibility of kidney damage from large doses or prolonged use, any persistent color in the urine may call for medical diagnosis.

Possible Interactions: Low potassium levels can be dangerous in a person taking a heart drug like Lanoxin.  Aloe latex might also be dangerous for anyone taking a diuretic that depletes the body of potassium (Lasix, HCTZ, etc.) because of the additive effect. It should be avoided in such situations.  Aloe latex could reduce the absorption of any pill taken around the same time because it cuts intestinal transit time so drastically.


Natural Remedies that Aren’t?

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Orange Juice versus the FruitBelow you’ll find news from around the web about natural remedies and not so natural stuff (that we think is good). I found these articles very interesting and thought they would offer some great information to my readers.

This article confirmed for me that store purchased OJ just isn’t what it should be when it comes to nutrition. Fresh squeezed is the best juice, but better still? Eat the orange! …

The Secret Ingredient In Your Orange Juice (from Food Renegade)

Do you buy orange juice at the store? If you do, I’m sure you’re careful to buy the kind that’s 100% juice and not made from concentrate. After all, that’s the healthier kind, right? The more natural kind? The kind without any additives? The kind that’s sold in the refrigerator section so it must be almost as good as fresh-squeezed orange juice?

If I’m describing you, then you’re either going to hate me or love me by the time you’re done reading this post. The truth is, that orange juice you feel so good about buying is probably none of those things.

This may not come across as a natural remedy, but a lot of people think of it as a “good” thing. I’m actually “guilty” of using Hydrogen Peroxide on wounds and scratches, so the following article was an eye-opener for me…

Mild Soap and Water Is Better for Your Wounds than Peroxide or Alcohol (from LifeHacker)

Most people aren’t afraid to use rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to disinfect a wound when they get a cut. According to WebMD however, using peroxide on a wound can actually harm the tissue around it and delay the healing process. This is just one first aid fallacy they’re out to debunk.

Again, the article below also confirmed for me that you shouldn’t short-change nature. I realize that a lot of people have a hard time getting enough fiber in their diets, but switching to whole grain breads, and eating more fibrous vegetables and beans are a much better step than fiber supplements…

Are Fiber Supplements as Good as the Real Thing? (from My Health News Daily)

Commercials make it look oh-so-easy to add fiber to our unhealthy diets: Just sprinkle a bit of powdered fiber supplement into your soup, sauce, dip or yogurt and voila — become as healthy as someone who regularly eats whole grains.

The truth, of course, is more complicated, nutritionists say. While fiber supplements such as Metamucil, Benefiber, Fiber Choice and Citrucel can give a healthy boost to diets a little low in this indigestible, plant-based nutrient — especially helpful for people with sluggish digestion — they’re no substitute for the real thing.

For more information on, I hope you’ll visit my site on holistic nutrition, Eat Well to Be Well >>

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?

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 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.

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→

Insomnia? Natural Ways To End Sleeplessness

Friday, June 3rd, 2011
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It’s very frustrating to even go through one sleepless night because you end up so tired the next morning that you may be disoriented and unable to function as you should. However, if you suffer from sleep loss on a regular basis, you most likely have insomnia. (Generally speaking, this is not a diagnosis.)

Hormonal changes, heart disease, depression and sleep apnea can all cause insomnia. Check with your doctor.

If you’re having trouble sleeping and you want to try some natural remedies here are some natural sleep tips.

  • Melatonin – One of the most popular natural remedies for insomnia, melatonin is actually a hormone produced naturally in the body. The brain makes serotonin which is then made into melatonin, which helps you fall asleep naturally. If your body isn’t producing enough melatonin, you may need to take a supplement before retiring each evening.
  • Meditation – Yoga practices of deep breathing and meditation before you go to bed have proven beneficial to help sufferers of insomnia fall asleep naturally.
  • Aromatherapy – The sedative qualities of inhaling lavender, ylang ylang and chamomile are found to be useful in treating insomnia.
  • Valerian – Non-addictive Valerian has been used for years as a remedy for insomnia. It has qualities that are believed to affect the brain’s calming neurotransmitters. Read More→