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4 Benefits of Parsley: Detoxification, Immune Health, and More

 | Naturalsociety 

parsleyParsley isn’t only a garnish or an herb to boost your potato salad, it—like many other herbs—is a healing plant with a wide range of benefits. As many people reach for prescription drugs and even over-the-counter supplements to bolster their health, herbs like parsley offer a purely natural and completely healthful manner of fighting illness and disease.

Though the herb was associated with death in ancient Greek, it wasn’t because the herb itself was deadly. As a matter of fact, a myth placed the origins of the herb as growing in the blood of Archemorus, a fertility king. From then, it was laid on the tombs of the dead and when someone was said to “need only parsley”, it was a statement about their proximity to death.

Despite this dark history, the bright and lively green herb has a wealth of healthy benefits. Here are just 4 parsley health benefits.

1. Better Breath

The chlorophyll in parsley makes it a great antibacterial solution for your mouth and bad breath. The next time your plate is garnished with parsley, try using it as an after dinner mint.

2. Liver Health

A known detoxifier, parsley is great for the liver. Two compounds in the herb—apigenin and myristicin—work to boost liver enzyme production, which leads to better detoxing of the body.

3. Antioxidants

Apigenin and luteolin are both flavonoids within parsley. These antioxidants work to protect the body from oxidative stress.

4. Anti-cancer Benefits

Myristicin and apigenin have both been identified as having anticancer properties. Apigenin has been associated with a reduced risk of prostate, breast, and skin cancers while myristicin has been shown to prevent the growth of tumors.

In addition to these benefits, parsley is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and beta-carotene.  It’s been linked to the prevention of anemia and the treatment of bladder infections. It’s known as a digestive aid and good for kidney health. A natural diuretic and blood purifier, parsley is an all-around beneficial herb.

You can even use the herb to help treat specific symptoms or as a strengthening herb (one that bolsters overall health in a preventative way). Add it to your food, smoothies, and salads, or much on it raw. Parsley has been used for centuries as a healer, and it should have a prominent place in your diet.

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Wellness Is The Best Medicine

Article Source: Two Ice Floes | Mrs. Cog

Eliminating FEAR of the lack of affordable,  attainable and responsible healthcare is right at the top of my list for becoming more self reliant. If I am not healthy I can’t do any of the other activities required to depend upon myself. I am not an “expert”, but I don’t need to be a physician to know that if I am well I don’t need a doctor.

The many reasons for taking complete responsibility for one’s own health is more prescient than ever before in the modern Western world. Medical errors in hospitals are now the third leading cause of death in America and largely for reasons other than the one the patient was admitted for. Doctors are quitting in frustration of government oversight and insurance rules, there is an ever growing shortage of nurses, and costs related to healthcare and even many other expenses you might not connect to expensive medical care are skyrocketing. To top it off the United States has now sunk to #35 in ranking of countries in the world with the highest life expectancy.

This is not another rant on all that is wrong with our current systems and practices. Rather this is about us empowering ourselves to be relatively free of the machine that has become so pervasive and insidious. Steps we can take now, by simply making the decision and acting upon it, can change the outcome of our lives. With all the freedoms we gripe about having “lost”, why not take back the most essential?

It is my opinion that the hardest part of the process is making the firm decision to change. This can be difficult because it goes against the mainstream thought, involves challenging ideas stated as facts from “experts”, and you will suffer the criticism of others who will seek to label you as different. I speak from experience as I was one of those who would tag people as “one of those organic nuts”. Now I proudly count myself among those wacky granola crunchers, the gluten free variety to boot.

Each equally important and deserving of separate and lengthy conversations, adequate exercise, sleep and clean water are all essential elements to being well. Aside from these, the rest can be simplified as what you put into your body that boosts or detracts from your health and which toxins your body takes in and is able to purge. How we go about doing this does not have to be complicated or expensive. Let’s start with the first potential problem in our programming: the lawn.

Ah the modern dream, to live in a pretty house on a clean street with a manicured lawn absent of weeds. That was me! Wonderful green grass, no pesky dandelions popping up and a sprinkler system on timers to boot, I was living the good life.

But as will happen when one begins to question everything, I made an important discovery. Weeds are a lifesaver. I do mean that quite literally. A weed is defined as: plant that is not valued where it is growing and is usually of vigorous growth; especially:  one that tends to overgrow or choke out more desirable plants. Now who do you suppose helped us to decide what was and wasn’t “desirable” and why do these “weeds” usually have such powerful growth?

Dandelions, peppermint, Queen Anne’s lace, red clover, burdock, yarrow, chickweed, plantain, milkweed, horse thistle and so many more will grow effortlessly if fertilizer and weed killers have not been applied to their environment. If you don’t have a yard to let these helpful plants to grow, they will often do quite well in a container on a patio or balcony. That is why they say, they grow like weeds.

These plants which grow wild can easily be added to our lifestyles with a bit of forethought. I grow peppermint to use in tea for stomach aches. We regularly drink organic dandelion root, sometimes burdock root to detoxify unwanted impurities from our bodies. I have comfrey salve for muscle injuries or sprains and various leaves from medicinal plants to add to our salads.

wellness is the best medicine

Another readily available source of natural medicine is found in common kitchen spices, the fresher the better. Basil, rosemary, thyme and cilantro have enormous medicinal qualities. They are anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory aside from a plethora of other great benefits. Once one dives into the treasure trove of free information on the internet, it is hard not to reach the “ah-ha” factor and wonder why this isn’t taught in grade school. But this is not that type of article either.

Fresh foods are the next in line for reclaiming complete responsibility for your health. This is where those cliches apply. You are what you eat. (For years I was a chocolate chip cookie, now I’m a strawberry.) Garbage in, garbage out. (That fast food only hinders your metabolism.)

The closer your food is to being alive, the less that has been done to it before it is eaten, the better it usually is for you. This includes eliminating processed foods from your diet, something very hard to do. I have found the simplest way to go about doing this is substitution. Each week, take one item you eat regularly that isn’t healthy and replace it with something nutritious that you enjoy. For instance, I replaced my baked potato toppings of butter, sour cream and bacon bits with onions and green pepper sautéed in coconut oil with a smidge of Worcestershire sauce. I substituted sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds for potato chips. I started packing a homemade salad to go instead of stopping when out and about for restaurant food.

These healthy changes can easily be applied to those with a prepping mentality. Trail mixes of your favorite nuts and dried fruits can be stored for some time. There are endless recipes for fresh foods that are steamed or lightly pan fried to smother those rice and beans with the right spices. Garden veggies canned or dehydrated after being fresh picked are leaps healthier than those processed with chemicals added.

Of course, it is usually possible to find out the source of your food when it is fresh. When produced in your own yard or bought at a farmer’s market, you can discover whether it was grown organically and often from what type of seeds. Most farmers who use Monsanto will proudly let you know so you can make the “Round-Up Ready” decision then. Likewise, paying a bit more for chicken or beef that is grass fed and free range raised often also affords the information as to whether they were raised using antibiotics and steroids. These practices have been shown to have a direct impact on your health and you do have choices.

So after the decision is made to take direct responsibility for one’s own health, and with fresh eyes and a new potential outlook, a study has begun of helpful (free) weeds, spices easy to produce at home, fresh fruits and vegetables, also producible on patios, in window boxes and small raised beds, there is the matter of belief. Whether or not a person “believes” something will aid in healing them or cause them to be ill can make all the difference.

It has been scientifically proven that when one is certain a cure will work, that it can indeed heal, even if it is a simple sugar pill or distilled water. This indicates that indeed, the mind is capable of participating in, perhaps even directing our bodies to either be repairing or decaying. Even our emotions trigger the production and release of natural chemicals in our system that facilitate or prohibit the healing process. It seems that our bodies are equipped with all the right repairs tools to get the job done so long as we don’t stand in our own way.

Absolutely none of this information is new or revolutionary. It has been used successfully for many thousands of years. Documentation shows ancient healers in India, China, Native American cultures, ancient Egypt and the African continent all used various methods of just what this article is proposing you consider to approach health from the viewpoint of keeping your whole self well.

Obviously, the need to rely upon emergency medicine still exists. The ability to be treated for an injury or unexpected severe illness is of the utmost importance. But what we are addressing here is the ability to become healthy, to remain in that state and to become responsible for our own ongoing wellness.

Ultimately, we are responsible for our own choices. Some choose to lament the system we were raised to rely upon where we counted on competent medical advice and treatments from experts.  Others are stepping up and managing their own future. The consequences of this decision will be something each person will have to live with. By eliminating the FEAR and being proactive in personally managing your health, you will have taken a vital step towards being well and thriving regardless of the unknowns you may face.

rosemary, basil, lavender, chives and strawberries – all have super healing properties

rosemary, basil, lavender, chives and strawberries – all have super healing properties

Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/leahbinder/2013/09/23/stunning-news-on-preventable-deaths-in-hospitals/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-06-29/presenting-inflation

https://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/06/08/obamacare-shoving-doctors-out-of-private-practice.aspx

https://lissarankin.com/10-alternative-careers-for-doctors

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/05/07/ozy-nursing-shortage/8807937/

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/weed

https://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/05/17/10-medicinal-weeds-that-may-grow-in-your-backyard/

https://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/medicinal-herbs-common-uses.aspx

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/04/04/9-healing-herbs-and-how-to-use-them-in-your-cooking.aspx

https://www.ladybridget.com/h/medspcs.html

https://www.greenmedinfo.com/guide/health-guide-medicinal-spices

https://www.oprah.com/spirit/Use-Your-Mind-Body-Connection-to-Heal

https://preventdisease.com/news/14/060314_Your-Subconscious-Mind-Can-Do-Anything.shtml

https://preventdisease.com/news/13/120513_Researchers-Show-How-Mindfulness-Thoughts-Can-Induce-Specific-Molecular-Changes-Genes.shtml

https://www.altmd.com/Articles/Herbal-Medicine-The-Most-Ancient-Form-of-Healing




3 Powerful Indigenous Herbs From Native American Wisdom

   |  The Sacred Science

Growing up, I remember being fascinated by the hundreds of interesting plants that grew in the forests behind my childhood home in rural Connecticut.   We would wander down old forgotten trails for hours, lost in the greenery and enchanted by the timelessness of the place. I would later come to realize that these old woods are home to one of the most fascinating systems of indigenous medicine in the world.

We now know that the original inhabitants of North America were extremely advanced, far beyond what our textbooks and cowboy movies would have us believe. One need only examine the hundreds of gigantic temple mounds that still stand, from the southern Mississippi Valley all the way up into the Great Lakes region, to understand the hidden capability of these cultures. According to respected archaeologists, the first of these mind boggling earth works was constructed 1,000 years before the Great Pyramids of Egypt!

Perhaps the clearest window into the highly evolved technologies that Native American communities possess is their back-of-the-hand familiarity with the medicines of the forest. In fact, the early explorers of the new world relied heavily upon indigenous herbals and would not have survived without them.

Known for unprecedented generosity to strangers, tribal elders often shared this knowledge with European trappers and frontiersmen with little to no expectation of compensation. Plant wisdom was not seen as a possession to be hoarded or leveraged for personal gain. Ones intimate understanding of both plant and man came with a built-in responsibility to use these tools for the benefit of all – even the odd pale-skinned newcomers from the east.

A far cry from our patent-crazed pharmaceutical system of today right?

I tread very lightly on this sacred topic out of deep respect for the richness of each native people that live, or have lived on this continent. Each group has their own distinct medicine tradition and too often they are lumped together under one homogenized label. We never share indigenous herbal knowledge without the express permission of the healer and their community to do so.

Also important: Because of over-harvesting and deforestation many North American herbs, including American Ginseng (below), are now endangered. When seeking out these powerful plants, please make sure to source them from a conscious and sustainable outfit. For more information on how to safely harvest and protect the precious herbs of the world, visit the hard working community at United Plant Savers (www.unitedplantsavers.org)

Without further ado – the three Native American herbs below were shared with foreign settlers centuries ago and are still widely used because of their effectiveness. They are shining examples of the extraordinary contribution that the native civilizations of North America have made to herbal and clinical medicine.

“All plants are our brothers and sisters.
They talk to us and if we listen, we can hear them.”

– Arapaho Proverb

American Ginseng: Panax quinquefolius

When many of us think of ginseng our minds immediately leap across the Pacific Ocean to Asia, but an equally potent version of this plant that has been used here in North America for thousands of years. The Seneca celebrate American Ginseng as one of the five most valuable plant medicines, and are not alone in their sentiments.

Like so many other herbs, French traders in Quebec quickly recognized American ginseng for its medicinal value and began purchasing large quantities back in the 1600 and 1700s.

What it’s good for:

Unlike the Asian variety which warms and stimulates the body (promoting the “yang” – or masculine forces within us), American ginseng does quite the opposite. Known for its cooling properties, American ginseng is often used to stabilize fever, reduce swelling, and flush out the digestive tract.

The Cherokee, Mohegan, and Potawatomi often dried the herb and brewed it into therapeutic teas. Known as a robust adaptogen, it has been shown to reduce many types of stress – both physical and mental.

“Panax”, the first word in its latin name, comes from the Greek word for panacea, meaning “all healing”. High praise is built right into it the title!

Goldenseal: Hydrastis Canadensis

Called the “universal herb” for over 300 years, the goldenseal is a perennial that thrives in the forests of Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and West Virginia – particularly in the Appalachian region. It was most likely introduced to early colonists by the Iroquois and its use as a medicinal has spread like wildfire since then.

What it’s good for:

True to it’s reputation as the “universal herb”, goldenseal was used in a wide variety of applications. It was highly favored as a diuretic, liver cleanser, and was commonly infused in cold water to treat sore or itchy eyes. The Catawbas boiled the root and drank its tea to alleviate jaundice, stomach ulcers, and cold sores.

If you’re feeling adventurous – the Cherokee were known to grind the root into a powder and mix it with bear grease to create an insect repellant. The bear grease can be substituted with other vegetable based oils!

Black Cohosh: Actaea racemosa

Also known as “black snakeroot”, the black cohosh is a tall, white flowered plant that is quite common in the woodlands of the Lake Ontario region all the way down to Georgia. The word “cohosh” comes from the Algonquin term for “rough”, which is a reference to the plant’s gnarled root structure. This subterranean portion of the plant, or rhizome, is where the medicine is in this herb.

What it’s good for: The black cohosh has been a go-to remedy in women’s health for centuries. It is used by Native American healers to treat menstrual cramps, sooth hot flashes, and alleviate post-menopausal depression.

Lately, black cohosh has become a popular herbal supplement in health food stores and many claim it has even broader applications, although these have not been scientifically proven yet.

Interesting fact: Both goldenseal and the black cohosh are in the buttercup family!

I hope you find the herbs above to be of benefit to yourself and your loved ones. Again, we carry a deep respect for the native cultures who brought us this vital knowledge and are honored to be in a position to pass it along to you.

Stay curious,

Nick Polizzi
Director, The Sacred Science

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10 Best Herbs for Kidney Cleansing

Dr. Edward F. Group | Global Healing Center 

Bean-shaped and located along the posterior side of the abdomen, the kidneys have the heavy responsibility of removing waste and toxins from the bloodstream. These vital organs work with other organs to regulate blood pressure, increase red blood cell production, and synthesize vitamin D. A healthy diet, exercise, and staying hydrated are essential for supporting your kidneys. For a little extra help, consider the following kidney cleansing herbs.

1. Chanca Piedra

Chanca piedra, or “stone breaker,” is a favorite in South America for supporting the kidneys and clinical trials have confirmed the plant’s effectiveness. [1] [2] It’s common in the region and its widespread use has earned it a positive reputation in Ayurvedic medicine as a helpful herb for kidney, bladder, and liver health.

2. Goldenrod

Goldenrod was used extensively among many Native American tribes for promoting urinary tract health. Research has found that the herb tones the urinary tract and is helpful for detoxifying the kidneys. [3]

3. Hydrangea Root

Hydrangea root was popular among Native Americans and early settlers, both of whom used the plant for promoting kidney and bladder health. Hydrangea root acts as a solvent and is thought to smooth the jagged edges of kidney stones. Hydrangea root also appears to help the body properly use calcium, an action that may be helpful for discouraging kidney stones from forming in the first place. [4]

4. Horsetail

Horsetail is a common weed with diuretic properties; it’s helpful for increasing urine output to flush the kidneys and urinary tract. It’s also an antioxidant and offers that realm of benefits to the kidneys and renal system. [5] Whether consumed as a tea or in a capsule, horsetail is a great herb to add to your diet!

5. Celery Root

Both the root and seeds of celery have been used for centuries as a natural diuretic. What positive feature do diuretics have? They can help your body eliminate toxins by increasing urine output. Celery root has long been considered a stimulating tonic for the kidneys as it contains nutrients like potassium and sodium.

6. Gravel Root

Also known as Joe Pye weed, gravel root has a long history of use by Native Americans and early American colonists for promoting kidney and urinary health. Its effectiveness may be partly due to its euparin content — a solvent with potent activity against harmful organisms. [6] This may explain why many believe it’s effective at discouraging infections.

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3 Ancient Medicines Already in Your Home

Nick Polizzi  | thesacredscience.com

We spend a ton of time investigating exotic herbs in remote regions of the world, but some of the most potent plant medicines are right in your home.

Every week we receive emails from folks who are eager to get down to the Amazon Rainforest to heal themselves. My first question to them is, “Have you explored the traditional herbal medicines that are available in your neck of the woods?” More often than not, the answer is no.

Yes, there is something intoxicating and mysterious about paddling down a foliage-entwined river to a remote village where there is rumored to be a powerful shaman. But similar healing remedies exist all over the world, and many are available in or near your home. Today I’m going to focus on three natural medicines that are so easy to find that they may already live in your kitchen!

Garlic – Allium sativum

Garlic cloves Ö do you know your varieties?I’d like to start with Allium sativum, or garlic – not only out of respect for my Italian roots, but because it is quite possibly the most potently practical medicinal herb on the planet. We all know this strong-charactered little bulb for its delicious flavor and aroma, but I’m often baffled by how few people use it medicinally for its plethora of healing applications.

This wasn’t always the case. Garlic was a crucial component in the standard issue medical kits as recently as 60 years ago, carried by medics in the United States military in both World War I and II to treat wounds. Its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties have been praised for millennia.

In terms of versatility, there are very few herbs that compare to garlic. It is an effective blood thinner, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-oxidant, and immune stimulant, it promotes heart health, and it’s proven to lower cholesterol.

My favorite use: garlic can literally knock out a cold or flu in less than 24 hours if used in conjunction with the right dietary protocol and adequate sleep.

The best way to take it? Raw. Yes, this can be a little intense, but if it’s a little hard on your palette imagine how uncomfortable it is for the critters in your gut that are making you feel lousy.

If I was only allowed to keep one herb in my medicine bag, garlic would be it.

Apple Cider Vinegar – Malus sylvestris

applecidervinegar1Talk about an ancient household remedy, Malus sylvestris, or apple cider vinegar, has been used since the beginning of recorded history. Archaeologists have found Egyptian urns dating back to 3000 B.C. that still contain remnants of the stuff! Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, prescribed apple cider vinegar for a variety of different health issues – and guess what? Both clinical and alternative medicine practitioners still recommend it as a great way to
keep the doctor away.

Because of its anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties, some everyday uses for apple cider vinegar include: a mouthwash, wart and mole removal (a dab each night can yield very positive results), acne care, cold and sinus infection treatment, among others.

The above applications alone would make this a valuable item to have in your kitchen, but there are recent studies that indicate that apple cider vinegar may be beneficial to some more serious health conditions as well.

A 2004 study published by the American Diabetes Foundation found that type 2 diabetics experienced some very promising results when taking a dose of apple cider vinegar before meals. On average the diabetics who participated experienced a 25% improvement in their blood glucose levels – which is quite a feat.

New cancer studies are also pointing to apple cider vinegar as a promising anti-cancer food, particularly in the slowing of cancerous cell growth and the prevention of the formation of new cancer cells.

A word to the wise: choose your apple cider vinegar wisely. The murkier the better. If you have a bottle of clear apple cider vinegar in your cabinet, it’s not medicine. The good stuff is brownish orange and has residue at the bottom.

Just about everyone I know uses Bragg’s apple cider vinegar because of the company’s long-standing track record of consciousness and selfless service to those in need. Patricia Bragg, daughter of the founder, Paul Bragg, is an amazing woman.


Dandelion – Taraxacum officinale

dandelion1This last herb isn’t one you would necessarily find in your pantry, but just about every lawn in the United States is adorned with this bright cheery flower at some point in the year. We’ve been trained to look at these yellow sun bursts as weedy pests, but you only need to watch a child interact with one to know their true beauty.

Its common name is a corruption of the French “Dent de Lion”, or “lions tooth” – a reference to it’s jagged, toothlike leaves.

My friend and wild food expert, Daniel Vitalis, says that the herbs that our body needs most tend to grow within a mile of us, just another way that mother earth looks out for her children.

Given the standard American diet (or SAD) is often heavy handed with processed meats, refined sugars, pesticide laden produce and little to no wild living food, the greatest gift that Pachamama could bestow upon us would be an incredible detoxifier right? Well, look no further than your front yard because the Taraxacum officinale is exactly that.

To put it simply, dandelions are your liver’s best friend. Yes, your liver, the second largest organ in your body, which among many other duties serves as your body’s filter. If you have been eating “naughtily” and feel as though you have gunkily guk (my own scientific term) built up inside of you, the first course of action is to a) stop eating naughtily and b) nurture your liver so that it can process the toxins you’ve ingested and safely remove them from your system.

The best liver cleanser I know of is freshly brewed dandelion root tea. And I’m not alone in this theory. Folk healers and doctors were prescribing this long before our time. Another delicious way to promote liver health is to add dandelion greens to salads or sauté them alongside your protein.

SacredScienceNick Polizzi has spent his career directing and editing feature length documentaries about holistic alternatives to conventional medicine. Nick’s current role as Producer of “The Sacred Science” stems from a calling to honor, preserve, and protect the ancient knowledge and rituals of the indigenous peoples of the world.




5 Easy to Grow Medicinal Herbs You MUST Utilize

 | Naturalsociety 

indoor farmingGrowing your own medicinal herbs is easier than you might imagine. From an indoor seedling to an outdoor plant, you need nothing fancy – just good organic soil, water, sun, and some old containers. You can even plant your herb garden in old coffee tins with a few holes punched in the bottom or to make them extra elegant, try planting them in old garden furniture or wooden tubs. These herbs are not only fragrant and beautiful to look at, they offer surprising health benefits as well.

Here are 5 awesome medicinal herbs to grow and utilize today:

1. Thyme

Thyme comes from the Greek word, ‘thymus,’ which means courage. It has been passed down from healer to healer for centuries. Its medicinal uses are numerous – from helping with depression to treating epileptic seizures. In the middle ages it was sprinkled on floors with lavender to keep bad smells away. If made into a poultice, it can be used for skin irritations. The herb also has antifungal, expectorant, diuretic, antibiotic, antiparasitic, and antiseptic uses. Lastly, thyme is a wonderful for detoxing the liver.

It is a very simple herb to grow, too. Perfect for containers in urban settings or along garden edges in more rural areas, thyme does best in full sun. Just start seedlings indoors and move them outside after the danger of frost has passed. It prefers a soil pH of 7.0, but it will grow well even if your soil isn’t this alkaline. Different thyme grows well in different zones, so check a gardening site to find out the best place to grow yours. Check out the health benefits of thyme here.

2. Sage

Also known as the common herb, Salvia, sage was once named ‘Herb of the Year’ by the International Herb Association. Its medicinal qualities are far reaching. Ancient Egyptians used it to aid in fertility, while others use it to stop excessive menstrual bleeding. The herb strengthens the nervous system, sharpens the senses, aids in mild stomach upset, can improve mental clarity, lower blood sugar levels in diabetics, and may even prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

A beautiful plant that flowers with different colored petals, from pink to white to blue in the summer, sage has both an aromatic and slightly bitter taste. Sage seeds only take 10 days to a month to germinate. Just plant them in containers, or space them about 24 inches apart, and 1/8 inch deep straight into your garden soil. It grows well in zones 5 to 9. Sage requires plenty of sun, well drained soil, and air circulation.

3. Basil

This herb grows like crazy in full sun and offers innumerable medicinal benefits. It is also a favorite to use in different recipes, from pesto to delicious basil and goat cheese omelettes. Basil is full of vitamin K and manganese, while its flavanoids, orientin and vicenin are excellent at protecting white blood cells and even your DNA. The flavanoids protect cells from radiation and oxidation. The volatile oils, which contain estragole, linalool, cineole, eugenol, sabinene,myrcene, and limonene are also wonderful, natural antibacterial agents.

Basil is also an anti-inflammatory herb. It helps with cardiovascular disease through providing the body with magnesium, and with 60 varieties, you can plant enough basil to host a gastronomical feast. It is a bushy plant and will need enough room to spread its branches, or you can simply grow it in a container in your home in front of a window that gets full sun. Planting your seeds indoors will give them an extra boost, even if you plant to transplant outdoors. They like well-drained soil, and if you add some organic compost, they’ll grow very well. Basil doesn’t like the cold, it’s a tropical plant, so if you grow indoors, put them near a heating vent if you live in a colder climate.

4. Rosemary

An astringent, diaphoretic, and stimulant, rosemary was used by ancient civilizations to strengthen the memory and provide headache relief. It is also helpful as an anti-spasmodic and can aid people who suffer from asthma. This herb grows in a profuse shrub that can be used to cover large areas of a garden, or again, in a container in smaller spaces. It trails well over walls and lattices, too.

All culinary rosemaries derive from Rosmarinus officinalis, a medium-tall shrub native to Spain, Portugal, and the Mediterranean. It’s best not to over-water this herb. Make sure you have good air-circulation to prevent loss of leaves and fungal growth and the soil should be well drained to protect the roots. Check out rosemary health benefits here.

5. Peppermint

Aside from smelling delectable, a University of Maryland study has shown that peppermint is wonderful for upset stomach. Harnessing antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral, peppermint can also be used to treat diarrhea, flatulence, menstrual cramps, and even the common cold. It calms the muscles of the stomach and improves the flow of bile, which the body uses to digest fats. According to Mother Earth News, “peppermint will grow almost anywhere that’s out of the hot sun, but it prefers moderately rich soil and at least partial shade.”

Because it spreads vigorously by underground runners, you might want to cultivate yours in containers (at least four inches in depth) or — in the garden — in beds surrounded by boards buried about 6 to 8 inches in the Earth (beds help keep the mint from taking over your growing plot). The herb needs an inch of water a week to grow well. To promote bushier growth of the plant, snip off tender buds.

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Chinese Herb Beats Drug At Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis

ABC Science | 15th April 2014

thunder-god-vine-stalkA Chinese herb called thunder god vine works better than a widely-prescribed pharmaceutical drug at easing rheumatoid arthritis, a new study has found.

The herb has long been used in China to treat this potentially crippling autoimmune disease, which typically strikes hand and foot joints.

It is known in Mandarin as ‘lei gong teng’ and to botanists as Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F.

Extracts of the herb have already fired the interest of drug laboratories as they contain hundreds of compounds, including intriguing molecules called diterpenoids which are believed to ease inflammation and immune response.

In a study published in the journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, Chinese researchers recruited 207 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and gave them either the herb; the drug methotrexate; or a combination of the two.

After six months, the patients were given a doctor’s assessment and were also asked if they felt any change.

The benchmark for improvement is called the ACR 50 — named after the American College of Rheumatology — which indicates a 50 per cent improvement in the tally of tender or swollen joints and other criteria such as pain and disability.

Of the 174 who completed the trial, 55 per cent of those on the herb attained ACR 50, compared to 46 among those treated with methotrexate alone.

But the biggest gain was among the group which took the herb-methotrexate combination: nearly 77 per cent of them achieved the ACR 50 measure of improvement.

Previous, but small-scale, trials involving thunder god vine have found it scored well against a harmless lookalike called a placebo and an anti-inflammatory called sulfasalazine.

Some limitations

But some of that research also flagged potential side effects from the herb.

The new study said that side effects this time were roughly similar among the herb and methodrexate users, being mainly gastrointestinal upsets. Among the herb group, some of the women experienced irregular menstruation.

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The Spice That Prevents Fluoride From Destroying Your Brain

Sayer Ji | Activistpost 

turmericinspoonjpgFluoride is found everywhere today, from antibiotics to drinking water, no-stick pans to toothpaste, making exposure inevitable. All the more reason why new research proving this common spice can prevent fluoride damage is so promising!

Fluoride’s neurotoxicity has been the subject of academic debate for decades, and now a matter of increasingly impassioned controversy among the general public, as well. From ‘conspiracy theories’ about it being first used in drinking water in Russian and Nazi concentration camps to chemically lobotomize captives, to its now well-known IQ lowering properties, to its ability to enhance the calcification of the pineal gland – the traditional ‘seat of the soul’ – many around the world, and increasingly in the heavily fluoridated regions of the United States, are starting to organize at the local and statewide level to oust this ubiquitous toxicant from municipal drinking water.

Now, a new study published in the Pharmacognosy Magazine titled, “Curcumin attenuates neurotoxicity induced by fluoride: An in vivo evidence,” adds experimental support to the suspicion that fluoride is indeed a brain-damaging substance, also revealing that a natural spice-derived protective agent against the various health effects associated with this compound is available.

The study was authored by researchers from the Department of Zoology, University College of Science, M.L. Sukhadia University, Udaipur, India, who have spent the past decade investigating the mechanisms through which fluoride induce severe neurodegenerative changes in the mammalian brain, particularly in cells of the hippocampus and cerebral cortex.[i] [ii]
The study opens by describing the historical backdrop for concern about fluoride’s significant and wide ranging toxicity:

Fluoride (F) is probably the first inorganic ion which drew attention of the scientific world for its toxic effects and now the F toxicity through drinking water is well-recognized as a global problem. Health effect reports on F exposure also include various cancers, adverse reproductive activities, cardiovascular, and neurological diseases.[1,2]

The study focused on fluoride induced neurotoxicity, identifying excitoxicity (stimulation of the neuron to the point of death) and oxidative stress as the two main drivers of neurodegeneration. It has been observed that subjects with the condition known as fluorosis, a mottling of tooth enamel caused by excessive exposure to fluoride during tooth development, also have neurodegenerative changes associated with a form of oxidative stress known as lipid peroxidation (rancidity). Excess lipid peroxidation in the brain can lead to a decrease in total brain phospholipid content. Owing to these well-known mechanisms of fluoride associated neurotoxicity and neurodegeneration, the researchers identified the primary polyphenol in the spice turmeric — known as curcumin – as an ideal agent worth testing as a neuroprotective substance. Previous research on curcumin indicates that it is capable of activing as an antioxidant in 3 distinct ways by protecting against: 1) singlet oxygen 2) hyrodxyl radicals and 3) superoxide radical damage. Also, curcumin appears to raise endogenous glutathione production in the brain, a major antioxidant defense system.

In order to assess the neurotoxic effects of fluoride and prove curcumin’s protective role against it, researchers randomly divided up mice into four groups, for 30 days:

  1. Control (no fluoride)
  2. Fluoride (120 ppm): fluoride was given in distilled water drinking water without restriction.
  3. Fluoride (120 ppm/30 mg/kg body weight) + Curcumin: Oral dose of curcumin dissolved in olive oil along with fluoride in drinking water
  4. Curcumin: (30 mg/kg body weight)

In order to ascertain the effect of treatment, the researchers measured the malondialdehyde (MDA) content in the brains of the different treated mice. MDA is a well-known marker of oxidative stress/damage.

As was expected, the fluoride (F) only treatment group showed significantly elevated MDA levels vs. the non-fluoride treated control. The F + Curcumin group saw reduced MDA levels vs. the fluoride only group, demonstrating curcumin’s neuroprotective activity against fluoride associated neurotoxicity.

The study concluded,

Our study thus demonstrate that daily single dose of 120 ppm F result in highly significant increases in the LPO [lipid peroxidation, i.e. brain rancidity] as well as neurodegenerative changes in neuron cell bodies of selected hippocampal regions. Supplementation with curcumin significantly reduce the toxic effect of F to near normal level by augmenting the antioxidant defense through its scavenging property and provide an evidence of having therapeutic role against oxidative stress mediated neurodegeneration.

Discussion

This is far from the first study to demonstrate curcumin’s remarkable brain-saving properties. From the perspective of the primary research alone, there are over two hundred peer-reviewed published studies indicating that curcumin is a neuroprotective agent. On our own turmeric database we have 115 articles proving this statement: Turmeric Protects The Brain. We have also featured studies on turmeric’s ability to protect and restore the brain:

Considering the many chemical insults we face on a daily basis in the post-industrial world, turmeric may very well be the world’s most important herb, with over 600 evidence-based health applications.

For more information, please review the following content:

Notes:

[i] Bhatnagar M, Rao P, Saxena A, Bhatnagar R, Meena P, Barbar S. Biochemical changes in brain and other tissues of young adult female mice from fluoride in their drinking water. Fluoride. 2006;39:280–4. [Ref list]

[ii] Bhatnagar M, Sukhwal P, Suhalka P, Jain A, Joshi C, Sharma D. Effects of fluoride in drinking water on NADPH-diaphorase neurons in the forebrain of mice: A possible mechanism of fluoride neurotoxicity. Fluoride. 2011;44:195–9. [Ref list]

This article first appeared at GreenMedInfo.  Please visit to access their vast database of articles and the latest information in natural health.

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5 Compounds that Make Oregano a Nutritional Powerhouse

 | Naturalsociety 

oregano-620x360Also known as sweet marjoram or wild marjoram, oregano oil is native to western and southwestern Europe, Asia and the Mediterranean. In the Greek language it is the combination of two words: mountain (oros) and joy (ganus). Although often used as a culinary spice for its distinct flavor and aroma, oregano is also a medicinal power-house. Oregano is an amazing healing plant due to the following constituents:

  • Firstly, oregano contains Carvacrolwhich is known to be a powerful antimicrobial agent. Carvacarol is so robust that it can preserve food and keep our bodies from developing candida albicans fungus, keeps the aspergillus mold, giardia, staphylococcus, listeria, and salmonella poisoning at bay, and even prevents e.coli from spreading.
  • Oregano also contains a compound called Thymol, a natural fungicide and immune booster.
  • Further, class of hydrocarbons known as Terpenes is also present in oregano, as well as the cannabis plant and pine trees. Terpenes is sought after by pharmaceutical companies due to its medicinal effects and antibacterial qualities.
  • Oregano additionally contains Rosmarinic acid, which is stronger than Vitamin E at preventing free radical damage, can boost cognitive functioning, and can event help prevent allergic asthma.
  • A flavanoid which gives grapefruit its bitter-sweet taste while also preventing cancerous cell growth, Naringin is also present in oregano.
  • In addition to the above, oil of oregano contains important trace minerals like calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, copper, boron, manganese, and potassium, and vitamins E, A, C, and niacin.

The power-packed nutrients in oregano oil can help with skin problems, gastrointestinal issues, menstrual cramps, and frequent urinary tract infections. It is know for its ability to destroy super bugs (MRSA) in hospitals, helps with osteoperosis and arteriosclerosis, and even causes apoptosis in prostate cancer cells.

Oregano Health Benefits

As reported in an earlier article by Mike Barrett, oregano health benefits include:

  • Anti-bacterial
  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-fungal
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-histamine (to aid in allergy treatment)
  • Soothes skin ailments
  • Fights respiratory illness
  • Treats lung and sinus congestion
  • Soothes muscle aches and pains
  • Lessens menstrual cramps
  • Soothes upset stomach
  • Immune booster

A power-packed herb to add to your meals or as a supplement, this wonderful spice truly can help keep you healthy and disease-free. Turkey is now the biggest exporter of this herb, but you can luckily find it in your local health food store, or you can grow your own.

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Milk Thistle Promising for Colorectal Cancer Prevention

MedicalXpress.com

Colorectal cancer stem cells thrive in conditions of inflammation. A University of Colorado Cancer Center study presented today at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2014 shows that the chemical silibinin, purified from milk thistle extract, affects cell signaling associated with inflammation and thus also the formation and survival of colorectal cancer stem cells.

The group compared mice chemically treated to develop inflammation-dependent colorectal cancer given silibinin to a control group not given the drug. The results were clear: mice given silibinin showed less incidence of macroadenomas indicative of colorectal cancer, whereas nearly all mice in the control group developed the disease. In addition, in the silibinin group, Kumar and co-authors saw minimal colon inflammation, and minimal incidences of rectal bleeding and rectal prolapse as frequently observed in control mice.

In addition to demonstrating chemopreventive benefit of silibinin, the current study adds to our understanding of how silibinin offers this benefit. The answer is found in colorectal cancer stem cells (CSCs), which both replicate themselves and also give birth to the cells of colorectal cancers themselves. In the presence of inflammation, CSCs both reproduce themselves (self-renewal) and produce colorectal cancer cells at a greater rate, and cells produced in these conditions are also signaled to survive at greater rates.

A key component of this expansion and survival signaling are chemicals called interleukins (IL-4 and-6), which are essential in increasing the number of CSCs and also regulate CSCs survival and function. Silibinin blocks this interleukin 4/6 signaling and so decreases levels of CSC self renewal -promoting mRNAs.

cancer prevention in a human population.

Read more about colon cancer research at MedicalXpress.comObesity primes the colon for cancer




Turmeric’s Curcumin Anti-Inflammatory Properties Prevent Liver Damage, Liver Cirrhosis

turmeric_liver_damage-263x164By | Natural Society
February 1st, 2014

It is no secret that turmeric and its active compound curcumin are capable of promoting liver health. Past research has found that turmeric is capable of repairing damaged liver tissues, while various cultures utilized the spice to promote liver health for generations before then. Most recently, researchers in Israel have discovered that curcumin may be a potentially effective natural treatment for liver cirrhosis, an ailment where normal, healthy tissues in the liver are replaced with scar tissues.

The new study, published in Liver International, sought to examine the effects of this powerful spice on damaged livers. The researchers resorted to some fairly barbaric means to find that curcumin did, in fact, have a beneficial impact on liver damage.

Liver cirrhosis was induced in lab rats by administering thioacetamide (TAA), a solvent normally used in textile and leather processing. Then, they treated half of the liver-damaged rats with curcumin, which was administered by gavage. Gavage is a term that refers to force-feeding by administering something directly into the stomach through a tube down the throat.

Cruelty aside, the study did have some promising results.

Read:  The Health Benefits of Turmeric

Those rats who were force fed 300 mg of curcumin daily for 12 weeks fared better than the control group who did not receive any curcumin. The researchers believed this is due to the anti-inflammatory properties of the spice.

“Curcumin inhibited the development of TAA-induced liver cirrhosis mainly due to its anti-inflammatory activities and not by a direct anti-fibrotic effect. As curcumin ingestion is safe in humans, it may be reasonable to assess in clinical studies the beneficial effect of curcumin in slowing the development of liver cirrhosis.”

As with any disease or health problem, prevention should be the first line of defense. If you can avoid liver cirrhosis to begin with, you won’t need to seek out treatment.

Liver cirrhosis can be caused by a variety of factors including hepatitis types A, B, and C. Excessive alcohol consumption and even the overuse of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Tylenol can trigger the scar tissue that marks cirrhosis. But non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the main causes, and is entirely preventable through proper diet.

A super-spice linked to everything from anti-inflammation to anti-cancer benefits, curcumin may be an all-natural treatment worth celebrating. And if you are suffering from liver damage, this may be something to consider. But if you don’t have cirrhosis and hope to never have it, prevention is crucial and entirely possible.

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15 Plants and Herbs That Help Lungs, Heal Respiratory Infections, Repair Pulmonary Damage

John Summerly | Naturalblaze

lungs herbsA wave of viral and bacterial infections is sweeping across the Northern Hemisphere and people are taking longer to heal from an array of symptoms within the respiratory system. If you are resorting to conventional medicine to address these infections with antibiotics, you are not only adding to the problems associated with antibiotic resistance, but you’re also doing little to address the healing mechanisms within your body to address the cause. Herbal remedies not only boost lung health, but they can heal infections and even repair lung damage. Here are 15 of the best herbs to boost lung health.

1. LICORICE ROOT

Licorice is one of the more widely consumed herbs in the world. In Traditional Chinese Medicine it occurs in more formulas than any other single herb because it is thought to harmonize the action of all other herbs. Licorice is very soothing and softens the mucous membranes of the throat and especially the lungs and stomach and at the same time cleanses any inflamed mucous membrane that needs immune system support. . It reduces the irritation in the throat and yet has an expectorant action. It is the saponins (detergent-like action) that loosen the phlegm in the respiratory tract, so that the body can expel the mucus. Compounds within this root help relieve bronchial spasms and block the free radical cells that produce the inflammation and tightening of the air ways. The compounds also have antibacterial and antiviral effects to them as well which helps fight off viral and bacterial strains in the body that can cause lung infections. Glycrrhizins and flavonoids can even help prevent lung cancer cells from forming which means they can even prevent lung cancer.

2. COLTSFOOT

Coltsfoot has been traditionally by Native Americans for thousands of years to strengthen the lungs. It clears out excess mucus from the lungs and bronchial tubes. It soothes the mucus membranes in the lungs, and has been shown in research to assist with asthma, coughs, bronchitis, and other lung ailments. Coltsfoot is available in dried form for tea or as an alcohol extract known as a tincture.

3. CANNABIS

The toxic breakdown of therapeutic compounds in cannabis from burning the plant are totally avoided with vaporization. Extraction and inhaling cannabinoid essential oils of the unprocessed plant affords significant mitigation of irritation to the oral cavity that comes from smoking. Cannabis is perhaps one of the most effective anti-cancer plants in the world shown in study after study to stimulate cannabinoid receptor activation in specific genes and mediate the anti-invasive effect of cannabinoids. Vaporizing cannabis allows the active ingredients to stimulate the body’s natural immune response and significantly reduces the ability of infections to spread. Vaporizing cannabis (especially with very high amounts of cannabinoids) opens up airways and sinuses, acting as a bronchodilator. It is even a proven method to treat and reverse asthma.

4. OSHA ROOT

Osha is an herb native to the Rocky Mountain area and has historically been used by the Native Americans for respiratory support. The roots of the plant contain camphor and other compounds which make it one of the best lung-support herbs in America. One of the main benefits of osha root is that it helps increase circulation to the lungs, which makes it easier to take deep breaths. Also, when seasonal sensitivities flare up your sinuses, osha root which is not an actual antihistamine, does produce a similar effect and may be help calm respiratory irritation.

5. THYME

Thyme is very powerful in the fight against chest congestion. It produces powerful antiseptic essential oils which are classified as naturally antibiotic and anti-fungal. Thyme is a well known to zap acne than expensive prescription creams, gels and lotions. Thyme tea has the power to chase away and eliminate bacteria and viruses so whether your infection is based on either, it will work. Thyme has been used as a lung remedy consumed since antiquity and is used extensively to day to prevent and treat respiratory tract infections and bacterial infection pneumonia.

6. OREGANO

Although oregano contains the vitamins and nutrients required by the immune system, its primary benefits are owed to its carvacrol and rosmarinic acid content. Both compounds are natural decongestants and histamine reducers that have direct, positive benefits on the respiratory tract and nasal passage airflow. Oil of oregano fights off the dangerous bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, better than the most common antibiotic treatments. Oregano has so many health benefits that a bottle of organic oregano oil should be in everyone’s medicine cabinet.

7. LOBELIA

Did you know that horses given lobelia are able to breath more deeply? Its benefits are not limited to equestrians. It has been used as “asthmador” in Appalachian folk medicine. Lobelia, by some accounts, is thought to be one of the most valuable herbal remedies in existence. Extracts of Lobelia inflata contain lobeline, which showed positive effects in the treatment of multidrug-resistant tumor cells. Lobelia contains an alkaloid known as lobeline, which thins mucus, breaks up congestion. Additionally, lobelia stimulates the adrenal glands to release epinephrine, in effect, this relaxes the airways and allows for easier breathing. Also, because lobelia helps to relax smooth muscles, it is included in many cough and cold remedies. Lobelia should be part of everyone’s respiratory support protocol!

8. ELECAMPANE

Elecampane has been used by Native Americans for many years to clear out excess mucus that impairs lung function. It is known as a natural antibacterial agent for the lungs, helping to lessen infection particularly for people who are prone to lung infections like bronchitis. Herbal practitioners often recommend one teaspoon of the herb per cup of boiling water, drunk three times daily for two to three weeks but elecampane is also available in tincture format for ease.

9. EUCALYPTUS

Native to Australia, eucalyptus isn’t just for Koala bears! Aborigines, Germans, and Americans have all used the refreshing aroma of eucalyptus to promote respiratory health and soothe throat irritation. Eucalyptus is a common ingredient in cough lozenges and syrups and its effectiveness is due to a compound called cineole. Cineole has numerous benefits — it’s an expectorant, can ease a cough, fights congestion, and soothes irritated sinus passages. As an added bonus, because eucalyptus contains antioxidants, it supports the immune system during a cold or other illness.

10. MULLEIN

Both the flowers and the leaves of the mullein plant are used to make an herbal extract that helps strengthen the lungs. Mullein is used by herbal practitioners to clear excess mucus from the lungs, cleanse the bronchial tubes, and reduce inflammation that is present in the respiratory tract. A tea can be made from one teaspoon of the dried herb to one cup of boiled water. Alternatively, you can take a tincture form of this herb.

11. LUNGWORT

Lungwort is a tree-growing lichen that actually resembles lung tissue in appearance. However, this natural remedy doesn’t just look the part. As early as the 1600s, lungwort has been used to promote lung and respiratory health and clear congestion. Pulmonaria selections come in all kinds so seek an herbologist for direction. Lungwort also contains compounds that are powerfully effective against harmful organisms that affect respiratory health.

12. CHAPARRAL

Chaparral, a plant native to the southwest, has been appreciated by the Native Americans for lung detoxification and respiratory support. Chaparral contains powerful antioxidants that resist irritation and NDGA which is known to fight histamine response. NDGA inhibits aerobic and anaerobic glycolysis (the energy-producing ability) of cancer cells. Chaparral is also an herb that fights harmful organisms. The benefits of chaparral are most available in a tincture extraction but chaparral tea may support respiratory problems by encouraging an expectorant action to clear airways of mucus.

13. SAGE

Sage’s textured leaves give off a heady aroma, which arises from sage’s essential oils. These oils are the source of the many benefits of sage tea for lung problems and common respiratory ailments. Sage tea is a traditional treatment for sore throats and coughs. The rich aromatic properties arising from sage’s volatile oils of thujone, camphor, terpene and salvene can be put to use by inhaling sage tea’s vapors to dispel lung disorders and sinusitis. Alternatively, brew a strong pot of sage tea and place it into a bowl or a vaporizer.

14. PEPPERMINT

Peppermint, and peppermint oil, contains menthol — a soothing ingredient known to relax the smooth muscles of the respiratory tract and promote free breathing. Dried peppermint typically contains menthol, menthone, menthyl acetate, menthofuran and cineol. Peppermint oil also contains small amounts of many additional compounds including limonene, pulegone, caryophyllene and pinene. Paired with the antihistamine effect of peppermint, menthol is a fantastic decongestant. Many people use therapeutic chest balms and other inhalants that contain menthol to help break up congestion. Additionally, peppermint is an antioxidant and fights harmful organisms.

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Flaxseed Proven a Potent Healer: Study

Sayer Ji | NaturalBlaze | Jan 24th 2014

Flaxseed

Flaxseed

A promising new study published in the journal Hypertension titled, “Potent antihypertensive action of dietary flaxseed in hypertensive patients,” reveals that dietary flaxseed may represent a powerful therapeutic intervention in patients with cardiovascular disease.

Canadian researchers at St. Boniface Hospital Research Centre, Winnipeg, conducted a human clinical trial in order to test whether flaxseed would produce measurable improvements in patients with peripheral artery disease (P.A.D), a condition in which atherosclerotic plaque builds up in the arteries that carry blood to the head, organs, and limbs.

The prospective, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, randomized trial, included 110 patients who ingested a variety of foods that contained 30 grams (approximately 4 tablespoons) of milled flaxseed or placebo each day over 6 months. The purpose of their study was to “examine the effects of daily ingestion of flaxseed on systolic (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) in peripheral artery disease patients,” as hypertension is commonly associated with P.A.D.

After six months, the results of the dietary intervention were impressive:

  • Blood plasma levels of the omega-3 fatty acid α-linolenic acid and enterolignans increased 2- to 50-fold in the flaxseed-fed group versus the placebo group.
  • Systolic blood pressure (SBP) was ≈ 10 mm Hg lower in the flaxseed group
  • Diastolic blood pressure (DBP) was ≈ 7 mm Hg lower in the flaxseed group

According to the study, “Patients who entered the trial with a SBP ≥ 140 mm Hg at baseline obtained a significant reduction of 15 mm Hg in SBP and 7 mm Hg in DBP from flaxseed ingestion.”

The researchers also found that circulating α-linolenic acid levels correlated with SBP and DBP, and lignan levels correlated with changes in DBP.

The final summary concluded: “[F]laxseed induced one of the most potent antihypertensive effects achieved by a dietary intervention.”

Discussion

Flaxseed’s health benefits are as complex as the components of the remarkable seed itself. Each component, including its fiber, lignans and omega-3 fatty acids, possess unique health benefits. In fact, over the past decade, hundreds of studies have been performed on whole flaxseed and/or its parts, revealing their value in over 100 health conditions. Top on the list of clinically confirmed health benefits are its anti-breast cancer properties, but it also contains the following properties of value in cardiovascular conditions:

  • Cholesterol Modulation: Flaxseed may reduce circulating total and LDL-cholesterol levels,[i] [ii]and prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidizing, which is what renders it atherogenic (heart-disease promoting).[iii]
  • Increased Blood Flow: Flaxseed consumption improves flow-mediated dilation of the arteries (brachial) and reduces blood pressure.[iv]
  • C-reactive Protein Reduction: Elevated C-reactive protein is often a marker for heart disease related inflammation and associated increased risk of cardiovascular events. A flaxseed-derived lignan supplement appears to reduce C-reactive protein in type 2 diabetics – a population a far greater risk for cardiovascular disease and associated events.[v]
  • Plaque Reduction: Dietary flaxseed accelerates the regression of atherosclerotic plaques in the rabbit model.[vi] It is believed that secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG), a phytoestrogen present in flax, is responsible for this anti-atherosclerotic effect.[vii]

Other ways in which flaxseeds confer cardioprotective effects is through their anti-inflammatory activity, largely due to the abundance of omega-3 fatty acids they contain, and their fiber, which improves the elimination of oxidized lipids, cholesterol, fat-soluble toxins and hormone metabolites through its bile-binding action.

For more information on flaxseed’s remarkable heart-friendly properties, read our recent article “Evidence That Flaxseed Is A Heart Disease Reversing Food.”

For additional research on clinically confirmed natural alternatives to blood pressure drugs, read “Garlic Compares Favorably To A Best-Selling Blood Pressure Drug.”

Notes:

[i] An Pan, Danxia Yu, Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Oscar H Franco, Xu Lin. Meta-analysis of the effects of flaxseed interventions on blood lipids. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Aug;90(2):288-97. Epub 2009 Jun 10. PMID: 19515737

[ii] An Pan, Danxia Yu, Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Oscar H Franco, Xu Lin. Meta-analysis of the effects of flaxseed interventions on blood lipids. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Aug;90(2):288-97. Epub 2009 Jun 10. PMID: 19515737

[iii] Rogelio U Almario, Sidika E Karakas. Lignan content of the flaxseed influences its biological effects in healthy men and women. J Am Coll Nutr. 2013 Jun ;32(3):194-9. PMID: 23885993

[iv] Sheila G West, Andrea Likos Krick, Laura Cousino Klein, Guixiang Zhao, Todd F Wojtowicz, Matthew McGuiness, Deborah M Bagshaw, Paul Wagner, Rachel M Ceballos, Bruce J Holub, Penny M Kris-Etherton. Effects of diets high in walnuts and flax oil on hemodynamic responses to stress and vascular endothelial function. J Am Coll Nutr. 2010 Dec ;29(6):595-603. PMID: 21677123

[v] An Pan, Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Xingwang Ye, Zhijie Yu, Huaixing Li, Qibin Qi, Jianqin Sun, Yanqiu Chen, Xiafei Chen, Yong Liu, Xu Lin. Effects of a flaxseed-derived lignan supplement on C-reactive protein, IL-6 and retinol-binding protein 4 in type 2 diabetic patients. Br J Nutr. 2009 Apr;101(8):1145-9. PMID: 18775100

[vi] Andrew A Francis, Justin F Deniset, Jose A Austria, Renee K Lavallee, Graham G Maddaford, Thomas E Hedley, Elena Dibrov, Grant N Pierce. The Effects of Dietary Flaxseed on Atherosclerotic Plaque Regression. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2013 Apr 12. Epub 2013 Apr 12. PMID:23585134

[vii] Kailash Prasad. Natural products in regression and slowing of progression of atherosclerosis. Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2010 Dec;11(8):794-800. PMID: 20874684

This article first appeared at GreenMedInfo.  Please visit to access their vast database of articles and the latest information in natural health. – See more at: https://www.naturalblaze.com/2014/01/artery-dilating-flaxseed-proven-potent.html#sthash.Ew3jNfOf.dpuf

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Cinnamon: King for Regulating Blood Sugar – But Which Kind is Best?

| Naturalsociety | Jan 21st 2014

cinnamon-617x416It’s widely known in the world of natural health that cinnamon can be effective at regulating blood sugar, making it a natural and healthy option for the millions of diabetics in the US and abroad. In fact, cinnamon for diabetes treatment is often viewed as one of the most simple, effective solutions. But not all ‘cinnamons’ are created equal. The kind you find in your local grocery store may be able to reduce your blood sugar, but a more expensive variety could be even better.

Cassia cinnamon is the kind of cinnamon you likely have in your kitchen right now. It’s more abundant and is the type sold in most grocery stores. Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum or Cinnamomum zeylanicum ), however, is a milder cousin to Cassia, and may be safer to take in higher doses.

Ceylon comes from a small tree native to Sri Lanka, whereas Cassia cinnamon can come from China, Indonesia, and a handful of other countries. Cassia has a stronger, “hotter” flavor and is darker in color. Ana Sortun, executive chef of Oleana restaurant in Cambridge, Mass. says Ceylon has “lighter, brighter citrus tones.”

One meta analysis on cinnamon published earlier this year in the journal Annals of Family Medicine found that cinnamon can lower blood sugar and cholesterol in humans significantly, but the type of cinnamon studied was ceylon, as opposed to the ‘safer’ cassia. The analysis included 10 studies and a total of 543 patients. Doses in the studies ranged from 120 milligrams a day to six grams.

Most of the research on the benefits of cinnamon has been conducted on the more common variety, Cassia. These studies have indicated the spice’s ability to reduce blood sugar moderately—about 3 to 5%. The only problem with this, some say, is in heavy doses Cassia cinnamon can be toxic to the liver in people who are sensitive.

Cassia cinnamon has high levels of something called courmarin. In a small group of sensitive people, this naturally occurring component has been known to cause reversible liver toxicity.

“So the warning is, for cinnamon lovers, is to be aware of excessive intake of cassia,” says Angela Ginn, a diabetes educator.

But, how much is “excessive”? The European Food Safety Authority recommends no more than one teaspoon a day for sensitive adults. But most people never consume that much. However, if you are seeking the medical benefits and want to be on the safe side, Ceylon offers an alternative.

Ceylon cinnamon can be purchased in specialty spice shops or online. While it is more expensive than Cassia cinnamon, it will not break the bank. At Penzeys Spices, a reputable spice vendor, I found a 1.6 oz. jar of ground Ceylon for less than $8.

Even if your blood sugar is normal, you may enjoy experimenting with this milder form of the popular spice.

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