Archive for the ‘Nutrients and Herbs’ Category

Magical, Mystical “NATURE”

weed 1

For past few weeks, In the mornings when I walked to my terrace herb garden to water the plants I noticed this very different (not herb/vegetable) seedling/sapling (baby plant) growing in my mint (pudina) pot.  Thinking its some wild plant (weed) growing out of no where, I was uprooting it and throwing it away, until 2 days back when my house help saw me doing that and said “Ma Beda” ( Please don’t in Kannada). Yes, in Kannada a young women is addressed as “Ma” with respect. Anyways so getting back on track, I looked at her with  perplexed expression. What was she talking about? I mean we can clearly see it doesn’t belong there!!!!! She went on to say that this plant is very good for stomach issues, especially stomach pain. I stood dumbstruck as my college Herbology II class lecture (9 years ago) filled me with nostalgia.

Didn’t get it??? Let me explain.

I was suffering from on and off bouts of stomach infections since past few weeks. My house help’s “REVELATION” made me remember what was mentioned in one of my herbal study class text – “Weed are those plants whose medical properties are yet to be discovered”.  There was also a story about an old man and his dog stating how one day the man saw a weird-looking wild plant grow in his front yard and he saw his sick dog straight running out  and eat this when ever he was let out to do his business. The man noticed for a few days and the dog became perfectly fine. That “wild plant” my friends is what we call today “The Dandelion”. The dog was suffering from digestive and urinary tract issues. Today we know that many Naturopaths & Herbalist worldwide prescribe dandelion as a supporting remedy. So the point is, here I was having stomach issues and there, “Mother Nature” was trying to help me.

Yes!! I did try the leaves (have had studied herbalism, I could gauge the safety of consuming it) . I chopped and added them in my vegetable curry. It did make my stomach feel much better. My house help uprooted the last one in the mint pot and planted it in a brand new pot 🙂 she even told me the name in her language, I didn’t quiet get it :/. That’s my next project “To get the name of the nature’s gift”. Nature is sooooo mystical. Don’t you all agree??? Always there to provide for us in magical ways.

PLEASE NOTE: Not all plants are safe to consume and some can cause very serious side effects, especially if you are taking any other medications.When in doubt never ever self medicate. Always take professional help. 

** The above information is for educational purposes only. Consult your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional for specific medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. **

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Vitamins R Vital

 

Vitamin-and-Mineral

 

 

So, here I am yet again talking about how important it is to include vitamins in our daily diet regimen.

I suggest certain vitamins & mineral supplements to every single diet client of mine and of course add specific once for those who need some more. Within hours of me sending them their individualised nutrition plan I invariably receive an email “Radhika, thanks for such a detailed diet plan but are those “TABLETS”/ “PILLS” really required? I mean i want to stay completely NATURAL.”

My reply usually is “NATURAL” really, so you mean to say you have never popped any pain killers, motion sickness pills, or doctor prescribed medicines? Oh!!! and what about those weekend eating out, biscuits with chai (tea), the bijilion packaged foods etc.????? And have you ever asked your doctor when he/she hands you that prescription how “Natural” are those medicines?” oh well that’s just my agitation on how our minds have been conditioned when it comes to vitamin, mineral and other helpful + safe supplements.

Most of us still feel that eating a “HEALTHY” (read: media advertised definition of healthy) diet provides all the necessary vitamins and minerals. Well, to break this myth the simplest answer I have for you is “NO”.

WHY??? Here comes the answer:

First of all, most of us DO NOT eat as well as we should.

Secondly, our food supply is not as nutritious as it used to be during the time of our grand and great grand parents. The use of pesticides, insecticides and other pollutants (man-made as well as environmental- Automobile pollution etc.) oh and not to miss the time taken for transportation of the produce (read: veggies,fruits and grains etc.) so that everything is available everywhere, so more spraying on them to keep them looking fresh when they reach the destination – Globalisation u see :).

Lastly, it is virtually impossible to get the optimal amount of vitamins and minerals through food alone. For Ex. to get 500 I.U. of vitamin E from food alone you will have to eat more than 100 pound of broiled liver or approx 125 Tbs of peanut oil :/ (Packer & Colman, The Antioxidant Miracle, Pp13). I would rather take a vitamin E capsule to keep things simple.

So, it is important to take good quality vitamin and mineral supplements daily with your diet routine to fill this gap in your nutrition and to enhance your health and well-being. Vitamin and minerals that are found in our food supply and some also manufactured by our body together are called “Antioxidants”. To read more about Antioxidant read my articles:-

https://radhinaturalhealth.wordpress.com/2015/09/04/antioxidants-the-life-saving-superhero/

https://radhinaturalhealth.wordpress.com/2009/11/23/5-main-antioxidants/

 

I personally recommend vitamin and mineral supplements separately, in combination which is best absorbed together rather than one single multivitamin. When you take 1 multivitamin tablet most of the time you get lower dosage of the vitamins and minerals than what you may actually require as every one of us have different requirements based on our daily routine. Also, there are several vitamins and minerals that compete with each other to get absorbed in the body so its better to take them separately FOR OPTIMAL absorption.

 

Vitamin B6 “YES IT IS ESSENTIAL”

We all know well about Vitamins B12, D, C and several other antioxidants but we are not informed much about the very essential “vitamin B6”.

Here is why Vitamin B6 is an “Essential Vitamin for human body”

  • In our body vitamin B6 is involved in more than 100 metabolic functions. Several researches show that Vitamin B6 may help the heart. One study found that low levels of this vitamin showed an independent risk factor for coronary artery disease.
  • Vitamin B6 plays an important role in women’s health. It helps convert estradiol, one of the three forms of estrogen hormone into estriol, which is the least carcinogenic of the estrogens. Many women with an overgrowth of the Candida albicans yeast don’t metabolize B6 properly as their bodies can’t convert it into the active form (pyridoxal-5-phosphate). Pregnancy  depletes Vitamin B6, and so does birth control pills.
  • Vitamin B6 is very important for mood, as it is needed to convert tryptophan into serotonin, which is the “Feel Good” neurotransmitter in the brain. Balanced level of this vitamin has shown to be helpful in reducing PMS mood swings due to it’s ability to convert tryptophan into the FEEL GOOD hormone Serotonin as the levels of serotonin frequntly drop before and during  menstruation times.
  • This Vitamin is also required to manufacture different brain chemicals and enzymes.
  • “In an article published online on August 10, 2009 in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, Harvard researchers report an association between higher plasma levels of vitamin B6 and a reduction in the risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack) in women.”

Visit this link for the full study (https://www.jonnybowden.com/vitamin-b6-may-lower-heart-attack-risk-in-women/)

Here is a list of few of the foods rich in Vitamin B6  by Dr. Axe.

Beetroot, Banana, Wild caught TUNA, Salmon, cooked spinach, chicken breast, hazelnut, garlic, turkey.

** The above information is for educational purposes only. Consult your doctor for specific medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. **

Reference:

  1. Bowden, J. (2016, November 7). Vitamin B6. Blog Post

  2. Bowden,J, Ph.D.,C.N.S(2011). The Most Effective Ways to Boost Your Energy. Beverly,M. A: Fair Winds Press.

  3. DrAxe.com

Housefull with “HOLY” Basil

 

Tulsi

Holy Basil, popularly known as “TULSI” in India is an absolute    “WONDER HERB”. In India holy basil/tulsi is considered to be a sacred plant and keeping this plant at home is considered to be holy and healthy living. Both the leaves and the seeds of this plant possess medicinal properties and the benefits of using this plant are known from as early as the vedic period.

This plant has many therapeutic benefits and the reason i am writing about it, especially at this time of the year, is its role in respiratory disorders and in viral infections. Every other household has common cold, cough or viral fever going on in my part of the world (Bangalore, India). Normally during the rainy season, common cold, flu, dengue fever are widely prevalent. Experts say that during this time a decoction of tulsi leaves acts as a preventative ( exactly why i add tulsi+ginger tea in my diet plans 😉

The leaves of tulsi plant have expectorant properties. They are shown to help remove phlegm from the bronchial tubes. According to ayurvedic physicians, a decoction made of 5-6 tulsi leaves + honey (pure/organic) and fresh squeezed ginger juice is an effective remedy for bronchitis, asthma, flu, cough and cold (Dr. Bakhru, 2007,pp 205).

According to the review of the scientific literature, it is the darker coloured leaves, known as Krishna Tulsi, is more beneficial in respiratory disorder than the lighter coloured version, known as Shyam Tulsi.

The leaves of Tulsi plant are considered “TONIC”.

Benefits of Tulsi leaves:-

  1. They are shown to sharpen memory
  2. Remove catarrhal matter & phlegm from bronchial tubes
  3. Stomach strengthening
  4. Induce copious perspiration. They are specific to many fevers, especially viral fevers.
  5. Helps relieve sore throat
  6. Found beneficial in cardiac disease and reducing blood cholesterol levels.
  7. According to some studies, the usage of leaves protect against stress significantly. This makes the leaves “anti-stress” agents too (major requirement today 😉
  8. Tulsi is also shown to have strengthening effect on the kidney.

Ayurvedic and herbal experts suggest that 5-12 leaves of tulsi chewed twice a day, morning and evening, helps prevent stress, helps in purifying blood and in the prevention of several common ailments.

 

** The above information is for educational purposes only. There is absolutely no intension to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any health problems or diseases. Consult your doctor  for specific medical advice, diagnosis and treatment and a diet and exercise expert for advice on diet, herbs and exercise.**

Referances:-

1.Bakhru, H.K. (2007). Healing through natural foods. Mumbai, India: Jaico publishing house.

2. Bakhru, H.K. (2007). A Complete Handbook of Nature Cure 4th ed. Mumbai, India: Jaico publishing house.

3. Bakhru,H.K.(2007). Naturopathy for Longevity. Mumbai, india: Jaico publishing house.

4. Chaudhury, R.R.(2007). The healing powers of HerbsNew Delhi, India:Sterling paperbacks

 

 

 

 

 

The magical “Aloe Vera”

              

            “Aloe Vera”, a plant that most of us know as a “healing plant” for its external application benefits. This plant cannot be beaten as an external wound healer, especially for burns.  Aloe has much more to offer than merely its skin clearing properties. Aloe plant has remarkable health enhancing and medicinal properties. 

             More than 240 species of aloe are now identified and grown mainly in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. Out of these 240 species, 4 are recognised as having significant nutritional value. “Aloe barbadensis miller” is the leader. The aloe leaf is shown to contain at least 75 nutrients and more than 200 active compounds. It also contains 20 minerals, 20 of the total 22 essential amino acids and 12 vitamins. According to juice authority Steve Meyerowitz, aloe vera juice contains vitamins, minerals and nutrients including B1,B2,B3,B6,C, choline, calcium, copper, manganese, potassium, silicon (Bowden,2007).

  Key uses and health benefits:

  • Whole leaves and fresh or dehydrated juice from aloe plant are used for wound healing.
  • Externally used for burns, sunburns, wounds, insect bites, scars etc.
  •  Several studies show aloe having antibacterial and antifungal activities against a number of organisms, especially skin pathogens.
  • Reduces inflammation, speeds up healing and relieves irritation as it heals.
  • Aloe vera juice eases internal inflammation.

            The gel from the aloe leaf is shown to reduce inflammation and it also shows antibacterial effects. When applied on the skin it acts by relieving pain, itching and swelling. According to a report in the Journal of Dermatologic Surgery and Oncology, aloe decreases the surgical recovery time.

            Aloe juice is shown to ease internal inflammation as well. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory action in the digestive system and is often recommended by experts for heartburn and to ease constipation. Internally aloe has laxative and cathartic effects which explains its recommendation to ease constipation. According to a study mentioned in the Journal of Alternative Medicine, aloe vera juice can be effective in inflammatory bowel disease. In this study, 10 patients were give 2 ounces of aloe vera juice three times a day, for 7 days. After a week it was found that, all patients were cured of diarrhea, 4 had improved bowel regularity and 3 reported increased energy. The researchers concluded that aloe helped rebalance the intestine by “regulating gastrointestinal pH while improving gastrointestinal motility, increasing stool specific gravity, and reducing populations of certain fecal microorganisms, including yeast.” (Bowden,2007,pp 272). Several other studies have shown that aloe vera juice helps to detoxify the bowel, neutralize stomach acidity, relieve constipation and gastric ulcers.

CAUTION:

Experts recommend taking necessary precautions while using aloe internally because of its laxative and cathartic effects. Should not be used during pregnancy since it is shown to stimulate uterine contractions.

** The above information is for educational purposes only. There is absolutely no intension to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any health problems or diseases. Consult your doctor for specific medical advice, diagnosis and treatment, advice on diet, herb and exercise.**

References:

1.Bowden, J, Ph.D., C.N.S, (2007). The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth,

     Beverly,M.A.: Fair Winds Press.

2. Kidd, R, D.V.M., Ph.D., (2000). Dr. Kidd’s Guide to Herbal Dog Care, North Adams, M.A.: Storey Publishing.

Ginger- the “universal remedy”

           

             Ginger is one of my all time favourites. I cannot imagine starting my winter mornings without my hot and steamy ginger- cinnamon tea. Apart from making me happy and refreshed, lets see what is this small plant all about???

Ginger is known as the”universal remedy” in Ayurvedic medicine.  Ginger is shown to contain a whole pharmacy of ingredients with multiple heath benefits. Ginger is shown to have the ability to sooth an upset stomach and relieve nausea. It may also help in digestion by stimulating saliva. In one study, ginger produced better results then Dramamine in warding off seasickness. Gingerol, an ingredient which gives ginger its pungent and delicious taste, is listed in the USDA database of phytochemicals as an antiemetic, meaning that it has the property to prevent nausea and vomiting.  Several studies done in Denmark found that almost 75% of the pregnant women who used ginger experienced relief from their morning nausea without limiting side effects (Bowden,2007,p284-285).

The active ingredients of ginger are gingerols, shogaols, gingerdiones, and zingerone. These are also antioxidants. The zingerone and shogaol in ginger also have anti-inflammatory properties. Experiments done on mice showed that ginger extract lowered cholesterol, inhibited the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and slowed the development of atherosclerosis. Other animal studies done on ginger show that ginger possess antitumorigenic effects and helps boost the immune system (Bowden,2007,p 285).

Ginger is known to be an antimicrobial as well as antiviral agent. Several studies demonstrate the positive effects of ginger on gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular system, pain and fever. Ginger also has the ability to improve circulation. At the Deepak Chopra Center, ginger is routinely given as a remedy for cold hands and feet, even the Chinese and Indian physicians have done this for eons (Bowden,2007,p 285).

Ginger is shown to destroy influenza viruses. Ginger is also considered an excellent food remedy for colds and coughs. Dr. H.K. Bakhru recommends following home remedy for colds and cough:

      “Ginger should be cut into small pieces and boiled in a cup of water. Then it should be strained and half a teaspoon of honey added to it, it should be drunk when hot. Ginger tea prepared by adding a few pieces of ginger into boiled water before adding the tea leaves, is also an effective remedy for colds and fevers resulting from colds.” (Bakhru,2007,p 95).

CAUTION: Even though ginger has very few side effects, some things need to be mentioned as a word of caution.

Ginger is shown to have blood-thinning effect, something like aspirin, and because of this reason it is recommended that one be careful in taking it along with medications that prevent clotting, such as coumadin or even aspirin. According to the authors of The People’s Pharmacy, Joe and Teresa Graedon, Ph.D., “the combination of an anticlotting medication and ginger could conceivably result in unexpected bleeding.” (Bowden,2007,p 285). Ginger is also said to increase bile acid secretion, so people with gall stones and gallbladder disease are advised to avoid the herb or use it only under the supervision of a health professional (Bowden, 2007,p 285).

** The above information is for educational purposes only. There is absolutely no intension to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any health problems or diseases. Consult your doctor for specific medical advice, diagnosis and treatment, advice on diet, herb and exercise.**

 

References:

1. Bowden, J, Ph.D., C.N.S, (2007). The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth,

Beverly,M.A.: Fair Winds Press.

2.Bakhru, H.K. (2007). Healing through natural foods. Mumbai, India: Jaico publishing house.

“TRIPHALA- The wonderful Ayurvedic herbal formula”

    Triphala simply means “three fruits”. This is a traditional Ayurvedic preparation commonly used in many households in India as a remedy for acute and chronic constipation.  It is a combination of three fruits, that when combined, acts as a mild laxative as well as a tonic to clean out and sharpen the entire digestive system.

             The three fruits used in this formula are:

  1. Chebulic Myrobalan (Ayurvedic name- Haritaki AKA harada): The biochemical constituents include anthraquinone glucosides known as sennoside, tannins, ellagic and gallic acids, chebulinic acid and fixed oils. This herb-fruit is known to have laxative, astringent and vermifuge (expels intestinal worms) properties. Out of the three ingredients of triphala, this one is known to be the highest contributor of laxative action. It  a non-habit forming laxative and a tonic, especially when combined with the other two ingredients of triphala. In its tonic properties, it is shown to promote longevity, rejuvenate, stimulate enzymatic actions and help transform arteriosclerosis. It is called “ho-tzu” in Chinese medicine. Chinese medicine classifies it as having warm energy and bitter, sour and spicy taste. It is known to be used by the Chinese for intestinal problems, including worms and parasites, to strengthen the lungs, for chronic diarrhea, chronic cough, dysentery, gas and also for female leucorrhea. An early sixteenth century herbal, Tabernaemontanus, claimed this herb-fruit of having purgative properties and it also benefited the heart, promoted appetite, cleared the skin (one reason for us women to consider this blend), strengthened the nerves and helped in eliminating depression (M.Tierra,1998). So, now we know that this 1st ingredient has both eliminative as well as tonic properties.
  2.    Emblic Myrobalan (Ayurvedic name-Amlaki, AKA Amla or Indian gooseberry): According to “shusrut”, the great Ayurvedic authority, this herb-fruit is considered the best among all the acid containing fruits and is known to be the most useful in maintaining health and fighting diseases. It is a very high source of vitamin C. The vitamin C content of one amla fruit is equivalent to 20 times the vitamin C content of an orange. It is also very valuable to note that the vitamin C content in this fruit is thermostable as it is bound up with certain tannins that make it nearly resistant to dissolution after drying, aging or getting exposed to heat .This fruit is also shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. It is very sour to taste and is regarded as a tonic herb-fruit in India. This herb-fruit has mild laxative and rejuvenating properties. It is also known to be beneficial in failing eyesight, thinning of hair, skin diseases, hemorrhoids, diabetes, heart disease, anemia, asthma, diarrhea, jaundice and bronchitis. This herb- fruit is also known to help clear mucus and foul phlegm from the intestinal tract (M. Tierra, 1998). Indian gooseberry is shown to have revitalizing effect for e.g. it is a old mother’s tale in India that an ancient sage by the name chyavan used this herb-fruit to rejuvenate himself and gain his virility during his late 70’s. Indian gooseberry is shown to improve body resistance and thus help protect against infections (H.K. Bakhru, 2007).
  3.  Beleric Myrobalan (Ayurvedic name- Bhibitaki AKA behada): This herb is known to be useful in mucus and lymphatic congestion. This is the third fruit of triphala and is particularly useful in elimination of the mucus. This herb-fruit is also shown to be useful in conditions like bronchitis, asthma, Vomiting (especially morning sickness during pregnancy), allergies, constipation and colicky pains. Just like the other two herb-fruits in the triphala blend, this one also benefits the eyes and hairs, helps in regulating bowels and is known to be good for digestion.

CONCLUSION:

        As per the information shared above, the “TRIPHALA” blend serves as a mild laxative and tonic to clean up and sharpen the entire digestive system. Haritaki or Chebulic myrobalan regulates the nervous system; Emblic myrobalan is the highest source of vitamin C and is also an anti-inflammatory and Beleric myrobalan helps clear mucus from the channels of the body. Harada and behada have warm energy while amla has cool energy thus making this a balanced blend.  In totality, triphala is a mild, non habit forming laxative, a tonic and a blood and liver detoxifier. It is also widely known as rasayana or rejuvenator as it is also shown to rejuvenate the whole body. Triphala is also known to be used as an eye wash for relieving eye strain and sharpening vision. Triphala when taken on a regular basis is also shown to promote absorption and utilization of vitamin B. An Indian saying states “If you have no mother and have triphala, everything will be all right!”(M. Tierra, 1998).

** The above information is for educational purposes only. Consult your doctor for specific medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. **

 Referances:

1. Tierra, M. (1998). The way of herbs. New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc

2. Bakhru, H.K. (2007). Healing through natural foods. Mumbai, India: Jaico publishing house.