Balloon Flower Root Health Benefits
Balloon flower roots have been consumed for their health benefits from more than 2,000 years. Balloon Flower (jie geng in Chinese) is a plant with star-shaped, blue-violet flowers. This is a popular garden plant and it is used for ornamental purposes. The balloon flower is used for culinary purposes in Korea. The Koreans use the root of the flower as an ingredient in salads and other foods. The root of the balloon flower can be prepared dried or fresh.
- Balloon Flower is also known as: Jie Geng, Platycodon grandiflorum, Campanulaceae
- In Korea, this flower is mentioned in traditional folk song.
- The flower is one of Japan's traditional seven flowers of autumn.
- Natural locations for Balloon Flower: Europe And Asia - Japan
In herbal medicine, the root is used as an anti-inflammatory agent. It is also used for the treatment of colds and coughs. Balloon Flower is used in traditional Chinese formulas for its expectorant qualities to dilate the bronchi. It reportedly increases bronchial secretions.
Health benefits of Balloon flower root:
In Korea the plant is known as doraji and its root, either dried or fresh, is a popular ingredient in salads and traditional cuisine. However, doraji (Chinese bellflower) should not be confused with Korean bellflower. Chinese bellflower is used in traditional Chinese medicine.
They are thought to work by dilating the bronchial vessels; a constituent called platycodigenin thins and helps eliminate phlegm. Recent studies found that the root killed a liver fluke (internal parasite) and lowered “bad” and raised “good” cholesterol in rats. An ingredient of several Japanese herbal extracts, the root may be anti-inflammatory. A saponin in the root increases pancreatic secretion through the release of gastrointestinal hormones.
Balloon flower root is a well-known anti-inflammatory herb in Chinese medicine.
It may help in health conditions such as--
- Coughs and wheezing with phlegm. Balloon flower reduces phlegm and as an expectorant, it is used to open up the lungs when they are congested and help the body get rid of pus due to a lung abscess.
- Common cold, flu, bronchitis, a sore throat, and may help pulmonary tuberculosis.
- Balloon flower root is often prescribed for loss of voice.
Balloon flower root can be found in Chinese herbalists and medical practitioners. Good quality balloon flower root is thick and white with a bitter taste. Roots that are thin with a yellow or grey hue are poor quality.
When using any herb as a remedy for health problems, please seek the advice of an expert before using.
Balloon flower root should not to be taken for a chronic cough or by those patients who cough up blood. As with all herbs, it is best to consult a licensed practitioner or physician.
Spring onions are a very popular vegetable and they come in different varieties including white, yellow and red. These tender onion bulbs are great in taste and also rich in nutrients. From a long time spring onions have been used in Chinese traditional medicines. Like onions spring onions are also high in sulfur. High amounts of sulfur provide many health benefits. These tender onions are low in calorie. Spring onions are a variety of scallion and also called green onions.
Spring Onions Nutrition – Nutrients in Spring Onions:
Spring onions are rich in vitamins including Vitamin C, Vitamin B2 and thiamine. They also contain Vitamin A and Vitamin K. In addition, these are good sources of copper, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, chromium, manganese and fiber. Spring onions are a strong source of flavonoids such as quercetin. A health promoting organic compound allyl propyl disulphidecan also be found in spring onions.
Health Benefits of Spring Onions:
With so many health promoting vitamins, minerals and natural compounds, spring onions are bound to be great for the health. Given below are some of the outstanding health benefits of spring onions.
1. Spring onions are good for cardiovascular health. They lower the oxidation of cholesterol and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
2. Sulfur compounds in this vegetable help in reducing and controlling blood pressure levels.
3. Spring onions help to reduce cholesterol levels as well.
4. The chromium content in spring onions provides health benefits of diabetics. It controls the blood sugar levels and improves glucose tolerance. Allyl propyl disulphide is also very helpful in lowering blood sugar levels.
5. Anti-bacterial properties in it help to fight against cold and flu.
6. Anti-bacterial properties also provide relief from digestive discomforts.
7. Vitamin C in this vegetable boosts the immunity.
8. Pectin (water-soluble colloidal carbohydrate) in spring onions reduces the chances of developing cancers especially colon cancer.
9. Quercetin in spring onions provides anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine benefits. It’s a good vegetable for treating arthritis and asthma.
10. It is a good food for regulating metabolism and keeping macronutrients.
11. Spring onions are good against eye disease and eye problems.
12. Allicin in this vegetable is good for the skin as it protects from skin wrinkling.
Besides all of the above health benefits, spring onions are also good for speeding up blood circulation. They provide protection against fungal infections and works as an appetizer as well. Regular intake of spring onions is extremely good for the health as these can protect us from many health problems and diseases.
Can herbs supress your appetite and help reduce weight?
Are herbs safe for weight loss? ----
Yes, herbs can help you reduce your appetite. Most of the herbs are safe, still you should get sufficient information about that specific herb. Some herbs do have side effects and some should be taken carefully. As with any weight loss program or diet, caution should be used and it should be used in conjunction with regular diet and exercise.
Herbs have always been used as a weight loss remedy. There are many herbs that can be used both safely and efficiently to suppress appetite and help control weight loss.
How herbs work to help you reduce appetite and hunger and lose weight?
Some herbs act as a natural and mild diuretic will others enhance digestion while curbing appetite. There are herbs you can add to your diet as supplements, teas, and foods that will help your weight loss program go smoothly. Besides, there are several herbs which contain sympathomimetics and xanthine compounds synergistically increase the body's basal metabolic rate to increase the burning of calories and fat, act as mild stimulants, and suppress the appetite. The action of certain herbs "trick" the brain into thinking the stomach is full.
Herbs to Decrease Appetite: There are many herbs and supplements that you can include in your diet that will also help in decreasing your appetite. You can consume these herbs and supplements along with your daily intake of food at regular intervals. Herbs to decrease appetite can be placed in the following 4 categories.
- Appetite Suppressants: reduce hunger by expanding in the stomach, altering mood, or satisfying taste.
- Diuretics: cause the body to excrete water through excess urine.
- Cathartics: cause evacuation of the bowels, reduce calorie consumption by impeding full digestion.
- Stimulants: encourage the body to burn more calories.
These herbs also serve the purpose of increasing metabolic rate in the body, thus aiding the weight loss objectives in an effective way.
List of Herbs to help you reduce appetite and hunger:
- Alfalfa: Aids digestion and acts as a diuretic. The active components of alfalfa include its saponin content. Studies indicate that saponins help make fats more soluable, and they may play a role in maintaining the health of blood vessels. The leaves also contain flavones, isoflavones and sterols.
- Aloe Vera: Oral forms of AlOE VERA create strong cathartic response (producing bowel movements). Many aloe weight-loss products are marketed as "internal cleansers."
- Chickweed (Stellaria media):This herb a great folk reputation for shedding weight. You can eat it raw in salads. Alternately, you can steam it and eat it like a vegetable. For a great weight loss salad, mix chickweed, dandelion, evening primrose, stinging nettle (cooked and cooled), plantain and purslane. Add this to your regular salad.In several studies it has shown its ability to break down fat molecules. It is usually recommend in combination with burdock root which helps balance oils and fats in the body; the chickweed breaks down the fat and the burdock helps transport it out of the body. As a tea, it is an effective way to curb cravings, assist digestion, and help lose weight.
- Burdock: Improves fat metabolism and acts as a diuretic. Active ingredients include inulin, polyphenolic acids, and non-hydroxy acids. It is an excellent herbal blood purifier that detoxifies the blood and lymphatic system. It is high in iron, and can help build blood during times of low hemoglobin. Burdock is also considered a mild laxative.Burdock aids in the elimination of uric acid. Burdock root can also help to reduce cravings and hunger and thus assist in weight loss. The best way to use burdock root for weight loss is as a standard decoction: Bring water to a boil, pour in about an ounce of dried burdock root, gently simmer for ten to twenty minutes, and allow to cool. Drink between meals.
- Cascara sagrada: It is Strong stimulant laxative, diuretic tempered in formulas with digestive soothers. It can be taken in the form of Capsules.
- Licorice root: It sacrifices craving for sweets and prevents habitual snacking without adding calories. You should eat 1 to 2 sticks a day.
- Dandelion Root: Aids fat metabolism by affecting the liver. By acting to remove poisons from the body, it acts as a tonic and stimulant as well.
- Garcinia: It is a metabolic stimulant, appetite suppressant, fat burner and digestive aid.
- Green tea: Green tea is a natural stimulant that acts much like coffee, but has the added benefit of vitamin C and antioxidants. By steeping the tea quickly or for a longer period of time, it is possible to control the strength of the tea. Green tea is available as a capsule formula, but works better in the body as a liquid. Aids fat metabolism and increases energy. Clinical studies conducted by Dr. Abdul Dulloo, of the University of Geneva in Switzerlands brought the conclusion that green tea weight loss programs raises metabolic rates and speeds up fat oxidation. As part of their study, the investigators measured the 24-hour energy expenditure of 10 healthy men receiving three doses of caffeine (50 mg), green tea extract (containing 50 mg caffeine and 90 mg epigallocatechin), or a 'dummy' placebo per day. The study authors report that, compared with placebo, subject taking green tea extract had a "significant increase" (+4%) in daily energy expenditure. Green tea extract may also help dieters shed fat. This effect is due to increase in energy expenditure.
- Nettles: is high in nutrition (rich in vitamins C and E and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, silica, and potassium, which are important for healing broken bones, muscle strains, and tendon injuries.) and helps clears toxins but it also has a effect on weight loss that isn’t clearly understood, but it is believed that it helps by feeding the cells on a deeper level which reduces cravings. Nettle tea is used to curb appetite and cravings and assist in weight loss.
- Fennel: A diuretic that reduces hunger and improves energy. Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) seed and nettle (Urtica dioica) leaves make a useful tea for weight loss. Use one teaspoon fennel seed and two teaspoons nettle leaves to three cups water. Do not exceed the recommended dose. Fennel is potentially toxic. Prepare fennel seed tea: 4 tsp. of seeds in 2 pints of boiling water and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, keep the container covered, and allow to stand for 15 minutes, then strain. 1 cup 3 or 4 times per day, cool or heated.
- Cinnamon: Creates a thermogenic burn. It reduces cholesterol levels – in particular, lowering bad cholesterol while leaving good cholesterol the same. It is cinnamon’s effect on blood sugar that makes it a potential help in the war against obesity, insulin resistance, sometimes known as "prediabetes," and the "Metabolic Syndrome." Cinnamon can be used in its powdered or stick form, adding it to drinks and foods, or as a supplement.
- Cardamom: A thermogenic herb. One of Cardamom's main uses is as a digestive aid due to its soothing and antispasmodic properties. Studies have shown it may help with any digestive condition.
- Evening Primrose: This herb has been shown to be effective as a natural alternative to help reduce cholesterol levels and help people who do not process fats correctly loose weight.
- Seaweed: Seaweed is a good natural source of trace mineral and is a natural thyroid stimulant. It is widely available in capsule or tablets forms at many health food stores.
- Psyllium: Studies show that the granules of these seeds consumed with water before a meal helps control the appetite. This herb causes an instant reduction of appetite by making the stomach feel full. The full feeling leads to less caloric and fat consumption.
- Queen’s Flower: Queen’s flower has been shown to be one of the most effective plant used in alternative weight control and diabetes.
- Bee Pollen: According to research performed at the Institute of Apiculture in Russia, bee pollen has been known and used to not only stimulate the metabolism, but to curb appetite. Bee pollen contains phenylalanine, a natural appetite suppressant.
- Bladder Wrack Kelp: Kelp is a type of seaweed and it can be bought in pills, tinctures, and dried. It is delicious and can be used a salt substitute, or eaten as a snack. One of the ways it works is by strengthening the thyroid, which can increase the metabolism. The other way it works is by giving your body easily absorbed nutrients which feed the body on a cellular level which reduces cravings. It is a bulk laxative.
- Cayenne: Improves circulation and digestion. Has thermogenic effects. In one study it was shown that cayenne increased core body temperature, which in turn increased the metabolism and caused the participants to lose more weight then the group not taking cayenne.
- Gymnema Sylvestre: It decreases sugar cravings by acting on the pancreas enabling it to maintain a steady blood sugar, which decreases cravings and hypoglycemia
- Flax Seed: A bulk laxative that helps curb hunger. Loaded with vitamins and phytonutrients, it is an excellent source of protein and fiber, flaxseed is nature's gift to health! Besides stabilizing the body sugar levels, flax expands five times in bulk when ingested. Flax taken half an hour before meals will help you eat less, so you will lose weight while simultaneously strengthening your immune system.
- Garcinia Cantbogia: Aids fat metabolism and reduces hunger. This herb is currently used in the United States as a component of weight loss formulas. Various species of South Asian plants of the genus Garcinia (particularly Garcinia cantbogia) have high contents of hydroxycitrate (HCA), which is the active ingredient in this and many other currently marketed weight loss products. However, it has not yet been shown, in controlled studies published in the scientific literature, to be effective in weight loss in humans. Preliminary research suggests that garcinia inhibits the accumulation of lipid droplets in fat cells and thereby reduces lipid levels and decreases lipid accumulation in the liver. The hydroxycitrate acid (HCA) found in garcinia is also theorized to improve exercise endurance by increasing lipid oxidation and decreasing carbohydrate utilization . A dosage of, an extract containing 50% hydroxycitric acid, 1000 mg three times daily has been used for weight loss.
- Hawthorn: Reduces blood fat and improves circulation. Hawthorn berry helps with stagnant, undigested food accumulated in the stomach, they also stimulate the adrenal glands and improve thyroid function.
- Kola Nut: A stimulant that decreases appetite and aids in the metabolism of fat. Kola nuts are stimulants like caffeine. Kola nut is used extensively by natives of western and central Africa, and also in Brazil.
- Parsley: A diuretic and nutritional aid. Juicing recipes with carrot or parsley juice help curb the appetite & reduce hunger cravings. Besides, Carrot or parsley juices can also help maintain proper blood sugar levels, reducing the blood sugar swing that you can experience when on a weight loss program It is one of the highest sources of life-giving chlorophyll which acts like iron to oxidize the blood. Look for healthy, dark green leaves.
In one Italian study, scientists gave women who were seriously obese (over 60 percent over their recommended weight) three grams of plantain in water 30 minutes before meals. The plantain group lost more weight than a similar group of women who simply cut back on their diet. Recommended Dose: Take a teaspoonful of psyllium mixed well with a glass of juice or water. Take it before each meal.
- Senna: An all natural laxative. It stimulates the colon, leading to the increased metabolism of fat.
- Red pepper (Capsicum), Hit Mustard, and other hot spices. Scientists have found that people who took hot spicy foods (adding a teaspoon of red-pepper sauce and a teaspoon of mustard to meal) raised their metabolic rates by as much as 25 percent. The hot spice also stimulates thirst, so you drink more liquids that also helps in gaining less weight.
- Citrus Aurantium: It is a commonly used Chinese herb to improve stomach and gastrointestinal function. Recent research has shown that it may be as effective as ephedra in increasing thermogenesis in the body without the side effects that often result with the use of ephedra. Thermogenesis is the process through which the body converts stored fat into energy and body heat. Increasing the thermogenic process in the body may increase weight loss. Citrus aurantium, or Zhi Shi, contains a combination of adrenergic amines. These are synephrine, N-methyltyramine, hordenine, octopamine, and tyramine. All of these substances have been shown to have powerful thermogenic properties. When this herb is used along with moderate exercise and a healthy diet, it may assist with weight loss.
Instead of just using dried, capsulated, herbal products, start including *whole* herbs in your life. Eat them everyday, as fresh as possible, (e.g. take walks, check out the vegetable stand, or tend a garden), everyday. Instead of taking a capsule, eat a handful of fresh parsley. Experiment with tasting each of your favorite culinary herbs made up as "diet" tea. Collect dandelion leaves, plantain, mints, lettuce, whatever, and whip it up in your blender as special diet "green drink." Almost no calories in most herbs. Eating and living with herbs can bring you a lifestyle which may be more conducive to weight loss.
Herbs can be used to assist in the weight loss process, while they may not be enough on their own, when used in combination with dietary changes and mild exercise can make most weight loss attempts very successful.
NOTE: Before attempting to loose weight, be sure you know why you have a problem, and then choose the herbs according to your personal condition and needs.
Botton line: Herbs may not be a good choice for those seeking to loose a lot of weight in a short amount of time. Some herbs do have side effects and some should be taken carefully. As with any weight loss program or diet, caution should be used and it should be used in conjunction with regular diet and exercise.
When buying herbs of any kind, it is important to look for the word “standardized” on the label. Because most herbs are not FDA approved, the label on herbs provides important safety and dosage information. When purchasing herbs you should look for freshness.
* Herbal Heals suggests some herbs for Weight loss.
* Herbs That Decrease Appetite at eHow.
10 Highly Endorsed Herbal Plants in the Philippines
The Philippines, a country of more than 7,000 islands, is blessed with rare, exotic flowering plants and more than 500 medicinal plants. With alternative medicine gaining some popularity, the Philippine government through proper government agencies and private organizations have done extensive researches and studies in search for traditional plants doubling as medicinal plants. Following is a compilation of 10 medicinal or herbal plants duly approved by the Philippine Department of Health (DOH) as productive sources for alternative medicine.
1.Bitter Gourd (Ampalaya) – Momordica charantia
Well-known for its bitter edible fruit, Ampalaya is a herbaceous, climbing vine growing up to five meters. The plant have heart-shaped leaves and bear green oblong-shaped fruits. Leaves, fruits and roots are used in treating several health disorders.
- Juice extracted from leaves is effective in easing cough, pneumonia, heal wounds, and combating intestinal parasites.
- Juice from fruits aids in treating dysentery and chronic colitis.
- Decoction of roots and seeds is effective in treating hemorrhoids, rheumatism, abdominal pain, psoriasis.
and urethral discharges.
- Pounded leaves used for eczema, jaundice, and scalds.
- Decoction of leaves is effective for fevers.
Recent studies have suggested that the bitter fruit contains plant insulin, helpful for its blood sugar lowering effect. Ampalaya is recommended for diabetic individuals to take.
2. Ringworm Bush (Akapulko) – Cassia alata
An erect, shrubby legume reaching 6 ft tall, Akapulko grows throughout the Philippines. It has dark green leaves and yellow-orange flowers, producing as much as 50 to 60 small, triangular seeds. For medicinal purposes, leaves, flowers and seeds are used.
- Decoction of leaves and flowers is very effective in easing asthma, cough and bronchitis.
- The seeds are effective in expelling intestinal parasites.
- Juice from leaves aids in controlling fungal infections like; eczema, athlete’s foot, ringworm, scabies, and herpes.
- Pounded leaves reduce injury-related swellings, treat insect bites, and ease rheumatism.
- Leaves and flowers concoction used as mouthwash in treating stomatitis.
- Juice from leaves ease fetid discharges.
- The leaves stain is an effective purgative.
3. Garlic (Bawang) - Allium sativum
Garlic is a low herb with flat and linear leaves growing to about 30 to 60 cm tall. Garlic is commercially grown in the Philippine provinces of Batangas, Cotabato, Ilocos Norte, Mindoro and Nueva Ecija. Leaves, bulbs, lobes are used for medical purposes.
- Massaging crushed lobe to both temples can ease headache.
- Rubbing crushed lobe to affected areas is a good remedy for insect bites and athlete’s foot.
- Decoction of leaves and bulbs is effective for fever, tonsillitis, and digestive problems.
- Juice from crushed garlic is used to treat colds, cough, sore throat, bronchitis, and asthma.
4. Guava (Bayabas) - Psidium guajava
The guava is a perennial shrub growing to about 25 ft. tall at maturity. It has oval to oblong leaves and bears white flowers, developing into green fruits that turns yellow in color when ripe. A common backyard plant, Bayabas is grown throughout the Philippines. The edible fruit is a good source of Vitamin C. The leaves are used for treating certain health problems.
- As cleaning agent, decoction of fresh leaves prevents infection in wounds.
- Also, decoction of leaves is effective for diarrhea and skin ulcers.
- Boiled fresh leaves are good ingredients for aromatic baths.
- Chewing fresh leaves help control gum swelling.
- Placing tightly roll leaves into the nasal tract can stop nosebleeds.
5. Five-leaved chaste tree (Lagundi) - Vitex negundo
Lagundi is a small erect tree that can reach 3meter at maturity. The plant has evergreen leaves, blue flowers about 6-7 mm that develop into fruits about 4mm in diameter. Leaves, seeds, bark and roots are used for the treatment of various illnesses.
- Decoction of leaves is effective for cough, colds, fever, headache, toothache, asthma, menstrual difficulties and amenorrhea.
- As washing agent, boiled leaves are used for sponge bathing, treating wounds and ulcer.
- Placing ash of fresh leaves in affected areas can ease rheumatic joints.
- Decoction of leaves taken as a diuretic.
6. Chinese honeysuckle (Niyog-niyogan) - Quisqualis indica
Niog-niogan is a perennial climbing shrub growing to about 2.5-8 meters at maturity. It has egg-shaped leaves, aromatic flowers that may come in white to purple orange in color. The oval-shaped fruit can reach 30-35 mm long when ripe. For medicinal purposes leaves, seeds and roots are used.
- Dried seeds, when eaten, act as deworming agents.
- Roasted seeds help control diarrhea and fever.
- Boiled leaves used to check difficulty in urinating
- Fruit decoction of fruit, taken as mouthwash, is effective against nephritis.
- Juice made from leaves are used in the treatment of ulcers, boils, and fever-induced headache.
- Decoctions of roots aids in reducing pain due to rheumatism.
- Pounded leaves are used externally for skin diseases.
7. Shiny Bush (Pansit-pansitan) - Peperomia pellucida
Pansit-pansitan is a small, fleshy herb (about 40 cm tall), which grows in yards, nooks and other damp areas. The plant have green, heart-shaped leaves, fleshy stems that produce tiny flowers on a spike. The small, oblong-shaped fruits turn to black when ripe. Parts uses are leaves and stems.
- Fresh juice made from stem and leaves controls eye inflammation.
- Crushed whole plant as warm poultice, is effective for pimples, boils, and wound.
- Concoction of leaves used in treating fevers, headaches, sore throats, coughs, common colds, and diarrheas.
- Boiled leaves and stems is used for gout, arthritis, rheumatic pains, and conjunctivitis. The mixture is also effective in controlling high blood pressure.
- Juice made from leaves and stem, taken externally, is a good facial wash for skin problems.
8. Blumea camphora (Sambong) – Blumea balsamifera
Sambong is a tall, erect, shrub that grows in grasslands, open fields, waste areas. This strongly aromatic herb with elongated leaves, and yellow flowers can reach 4 meters tall at maturity. Leaves are used to treat certain medical conditions.
- Decoction of leaves is effective against fever, kidney problems and cystitis.
- Leaves is used as poultice for abscesses.
- Concoction of leaves is used for sore throat, rheumatic pains, stomach pains, and dysentery.
- Fresh juice made from leaves is applied to wounds and cuts.
- As expectorant, Sambong tea is used for colds.
9. Fukien tea tree (Tsaang Gubat): - Ehretia microphylla Lam
Grown throughout the Philippines, Tsaang Gubat is a shrub growing to about 5 m tall. Leaves grow in clusters with rough jagged edge towards the tip. The plant bears white flowers that developed into a fleshy, yellow-orange fruits when ripe. Leaves are used for medicinal purposes.
- Tea extracted from leaves is taken to ease stomach aches, diarrheas, and dysentery.
- Decoction of leaves is effective as dental mouthwash.
- Leaves concoction is used to stop bleeding cause by snakebites, and a cure for plant-based poisoning;
- Decoction of leaves is also used as body cleanser after childbirth.
10. Mint (Yerba Buena) - Clinopodium douglasii
Yerba Buena is a perennial plant of the mint family that grows up to 1 meter long. Leaves are elliptic in shape, and produces small, hairy whitish, or purplish flowers. In the Philippines, Yerba Buena is grown in high elevated areas. As medicinal plant, the parts used are leaves and stem.
- Promotes good health, if taken as tea.
- Sniffing crushed fresh leaves is effective for dizziness.
- Leaves soak in a glass of water is used as mouthwash.
- Decoction of leaves is used for migraine, headaches, fevers, toothaches, stomach aches, muscles and joint pains, and dysmenorrhea.
- Pounded or crushed leaves is used to treat insect bites.