Herbs: Gardenia or Cape Jasmine; Culinary, Medicinal Uses and Nutrition
Although gardenia is principally known as a pot plant and for its flowers, which are often included in bridal bouquets and used as a perfume for cosmetics, gardenia is also considered as an herb because both the flowers and fruits produced by Gardenia augusta are edible and have culinary, medicinal uses.
The attractive gardenia plant is one of over 200 genera of evergreen shrubs in the Rubiaceae botanical family, which numbers over 10,000 species. Possibly its most famous relative being Coffea arabica, better known as coffee.
Gardenia augusta is a shrub that can grow to a height of 10 feet and has uneven, oval shaped leaves; 2-4 inches long. Gardenia flowers appear in summertime and are white with a waxy appearance and a sweet, highly scented, captivating aroma. Some cultivars produce double flowers, for example Fortuniana and Veitchiana or Veitchii. By mid to late summer gardenia flowers cease to blossom and small yellow oblong, shaped fruits appear.
Gardenia originates from the warm and tropical regions of Asia and does not tolerate sudden changes in temperature or cold drafts, although there are gardenia cultivars that are more cold-hardy, such as Summer Snow and Shooting Star, which grow in temperate climates, if protected from frost.
Dr. Alexander Garden (1730-1791) must be one of the few people privileged enough to have had a plant genus (Gardenia) named after him by Linnaeus. The Scottish born physician who lived and worked in South Carolina from 1752 had a passion for flora and fauna. In his spare time Garden collected plant specimens which he sent to the Swedish botanist and naturalist Carl Linnaeus. In 1754 gardenia plants were first introduced to Britain and were mistakenly classified as related to the Jasminum species, which is native to South Africa and not Asia. This confusion in taxonomy led to a popular alternative name for the herb, Cape Jasmine and its former botanical name, Gardenia jasminoides.
Medicinal Uses: The first documented use of gardenia in Chinese herbology, or herbal medicine, was from the Han dynasty ( AD25-AD220). Gardenia leaves, flowers and fruits were included in several canon or formulas, which are mostly remedies for the common cold. In Asia, gardenia is known as the 'happiness herb' because it is said to detoxify the liver, thereby releasing negative emotions. This may have led to the association between gardenia and love, healing and spiritually.
In China, gardenia flowers are used to flavor herbal teas, often in combination with other herbs and flowers such as chrysanthemums. Gardenia infused teas are known to detoxify the blood, relieve congestion and help lower LDL, or bad, cholesterol. Externally, gardenia is used for skin inflammation, sprains and has blood staunching properties. It is still used in the traditional medicine of Vietnam, internally as a hemostatic agent.
Nutrition: Some of the curative effects of gardenia are no doubt the result of the many phytochemicals found in the color pigments of gardenia fruits and flowers. Indeed, gardenia fruits contain carotenoids including crocin and crocetin, also found in the Crocus species of plant, of which saffron is a member. Aside from their ability to add a subtle yellow color to foods, the carotenoids have numerous health benefits.
- Both crocin and crocetin, of which crocetin is a central component of, are antioxidants or free radical scavengers, and may, according to in vitro studies, reduce or inhibit the grow of cancer.
- A 2009 study at the Military Medical Univercity in Shanghai, China on Crocus satvia (saffron) found that the carotenoid crocin has antidepressant properties and merits further investigation as a possible plant material for curing depression.
- In another study by the Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, in 2007, extract of crocin from saffron was given to male lab rats and their sexual activity was monitored. Results suggest that crocin is a natural aphrodisiac, at least for rodents.
- Traditionally used as a treatment for diabetes in Chinese herbal medicine, gardenia extract was found to contain a chemical called genipin. Researchers at Harvard Medical School found that genipin inhibits the functions of an enzyme which increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Culinary Uses: Gardenia flowers can be added to salads, used as garnish, and the fruits can be eaten out of hand. However, this herb is primarily valued for its natural yellow coloring, from its fruit, used in the food industry as a less expensive substitute for the spice, Saffron.
Primary image, gardenia flower; image credit.
Late summer gardenia flowers with emerging yellow fruits. Image credit.
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.
More than 26 million Americans—one in nine adults—have kidney disease. Millions more are at increased risk for getting it, and most don’t know it. Kidney disease can be found and treated early to prevent more serious kidney disease and other complications. Early detection can help prevent the progression of kidney disease to kidney failure. Acupressure can help in recovery process in some serious kidney related diseases but cannot be a cure itself. In many kidney related conditions it can help you get healing and cure.
The kidneys perform several life-sustaining roles. They cleanse your blood by removing waste and excess fluid, maintain the balance of salt and minerals in your blood, and help regulate blood pressure. When the kidneys become damaged, waste products and fluid can build up in the body, causing swelling in your ankles, vomiting, weakness, poor sleep, and shortness of breath.
Acupressure do help in expulsion of toxins created in the body by pressing the point of Kidney in both hands and legs, so it can help in recovery process. Though in many kidney related conditions it can help you get healing and cure. If you are looking for a cure for chronic renal failure, better if you practice acupressure alongwith medicines and proper medical advice.
Chronic kidney failure describes the gradual loss of kidney function. Treatment for chronic kidney failure, also called chronic disease, focuses on slowing the progression of the kidney damage, usually by controlling the underlying cause. Chronic kidney failure can progress to end-stage kidney disease, which is fatal without artificial filtering (dialysis) or a kidney transplant.
In acupressure, manual pressure is applied and held to acupuncture points. To promote kidney health, the practitioner presses several specific points on the foot, ankle and near the second lumbar vertebrae for three to 10 seconds at a time, over a period of 15 minutes to an hour.
Acupressure points for kidney related conditions:
Kidney 3 and 7 helps to strengthen the kidneys.
Liver 3 brings energy down from the head and helps to speed recovery. It is located on the top of the foot- between the big toe and the second toe.
Spleen 6 and stomach 36 together improve digestion and immune function.
Acupressure Treatment for Urinary troubles, Failure of Kidneys and Kidney Stone
* Press all points and Point Nos. 11 to 15, 18 and 26. Also press the first and second knots of the last finger of both the hands. Also apply cold pack on the abdomen.
Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water to promote free and regular flow of blood. This will help the kidneys to function properly and to throw out poisons from the body and you will have clear urine.
Acupressure and massage ease fatigue and depression in people with end-stage renal disease - kidney failure - who are undergoing hemodialysis, a recent study reported.
* YouTube 'Acupoint 3
Useful links and resources:
It is always preferable to use natural and home-made remedies for those conditions that do not require the intervention of medical personnel. Ordinary cough, that is not the result of infection, is a good candidate for home remedies. Such natural remedies save you time, money, and often create no side reaction. The commonest and the most recommended remedy for non-infective cough is a mixture of the juice of ginger with honey.
Preparation: Take around 100 grams of fresh and healthy ginger. Clean them thoroughly of mud. Peal and rinse them thoroughly with water till the the remaining trace of mud is completely washed off. Shake the excess water off them. Pat them dry further with a clean and absorbent material. Then grind them to a paste and strain them to extract the juice. You might even use a clean cloth the strain the paste and get the last drop of available juice.
Mix an equal amount of honey and taste it. If you can bear the pungent taste, then the home remedy is done. If not, mix more honey till you can tolerate it. Take care not to overdo it, lest you be left with a lot of honey and little ginger. Pour into a food quality container, close the lid tight, and keep in a refrigerator. (Do not freeze!)
Usage: You can use this remedy, one teaspoon at a time, three to eight times in 24 hours. Retain a teaspoon full of remedy in your mouth for as long as possible, swallowing it as slowly as possible. Try to drink a glass of hot water half an hour after you take a teaspoon of this combination. It would be helpful for for you to drink the hot water slowly, at least as many times as you take this mixture. This is to help with cough and also to protect you from the effects of ginger in your stomach.
After the third or fourth time of taking this mixture followed by hot water, you will start noticing an easing of cough, and more easy expulsion of the phlegm. This means that the home remedy has started working. You should be in a comfortable position in less than three days if no infection is present.
Precaution: This Natural Remedies Factoid is meant for information and education. It should not be used as a substitute for medical advise. If the coughing is not eased within three days of using this remedy, or if it becomes worse, you must contact your physician because an infection might be present that needs direct medical intervention.
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Photo Credit: vieux bandit (Creative Commons)
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.
ST 36 is one of the most important and commonly used acupressure points. It is also called Three Mile Points and is used to boost overall immunity and vitality. ST 36 is known as one of the most important points to tonify Qi and Blood and promote general wellness.
It is particularly useful in children or adults with poor digestion, which can often be the root cause of chronic illnesses such as ear infections. It is called "Leg Three Miles" because it is said that if you are so tired you can no longer walk, if you stimulate this point you will be able to walk another three miles.
Location: Four finger widths below the kneecap, one finger width to the outside of the shinbone. If you are on the correct spot, a muscle should flex as you move your foot up and down. To locate ST 36 find the bump on your bone about one inch below the knee. This bump is called the tibial tuberosity. ST 36 is level with the bottom of the tibial tuberosity, one thumb width towards the outside of the leg.
Benefits of applying acupressure on St 36 for healing:
It is the most effective point to rejuvenate the ch'i and blood. It strengthens the whole body, especially the immune system; tones the muscles and aids digestion as well as relieves fatigue.
If you are trying to reduce menstrual cramps you should first gently examine ST 36 area. If the muscles there are tight, then pressing deeply and strongly with your thumb will help reduce the cramping and pain. Be careful because this area can be sensitive and pressing very hard can cause bruising. If the muscle there are weak, then gently rubbing is better.
This is the 36th point on the stomach meridian. It balances the digestion power of the body. According to TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), diabetes begins with increase of stomach fire. So this point can prevent diabetes. It can also prevent aging and weakness for which it is commonly used in China.
The functions of this point include aiding in nearly all digestive and weakness issues, building the "wei-qi" which is the loose equivalent to our immunity to colds/flus and other infections, the strengthening of our blood (a strong part of our overall immunity), also problems with the breasts (distention, lactation), pain in the lower leg, aids the lungs in conditions such as asthma and wheezing, and serves to balance a range of psychological issues such as depression and anxiety.
This point can also be used for tonsils,rheumatism,appendicitis,fatigue,headache etc., This point is very effective for stomach distress but more importantly for this post, it is also beneficial to strengthen the whole body and tone muscles in your legs.
How to Apply Pressure?
Apply moderate to firm pressure on St 36. Hold the pressure for one minute. This point can also be stimulated either with the heel of your opposite foot, or with your fingers. Place your right heel on the Three Mile point (St 36) of your left leg and briskly rub it up and down on the outside of your shinbone, just below your knee. After one minute, do the same on the other side.
The combination of Li 11 and St 36 is used extensively to treat hypertension.
Excess sitting can damage the stomach and spleen meridians, which can contribute to anemia or digestive disorders. Stimulate the St 36 on the outsides of your calves to benefit these meridians.
Don’t forget to drink water at the end of your exercise session or any time you begin to feel thirsty. A Word of Caution…If you have or have had problems with your kidneys, please consult your physician.
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There are many types of massage therapy, all having their own techniques and specific benefits. While one type of massage is good for stress relief, another might be good for increasing blood circulation, while yet another one might be good for improving the muscle tone. We are learning about two kind of them which are deep tissue and thai massage. Both have benefits and it is your choice for which condition you need to adopt the therapy/massage.
Deep Tissue Massage:
Deep tissue massage is a type of massage aimed at the deeper tissue structures of the muscle and fascia, also called connective tissue. Deep tissue massage uses many of the same movements and techniques as Swedish massage, but the pressure will generally be more intense. It is also a more focused type of massage, as the therapist works to release chronic muscle tension or knots (also known as "adhesions.")
What conditions is deep tissue massage used for?
Deep tissue massage is an excellent remedy for chronic muscular pain, injury rehabilitation, and reduction of pain caused by arthritis and tendonitis. One often feels sore for a day or two after this massage therapy.
Unlike classic massage therapy, which is used for relaxation, deep tissue massage usually focuses on a specific problem, such as:
* Chronic pain
* Limited mobility
* Recovery from injuries (e.g. whiplash, falls, sports injury)
* Repetitive strain injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome
* Postural problems
* Ostearthritis pain
* Muscle tension or spasm
What is Thai Massage?
Thai massage is a type of massage in Thai style that involves stretching and deep massage. Ancient Massage or Thai Massage is an extraordinary method of aligning the energies of the body, and originates from the time of the Buddha.
Traditional Thai Massage is a 2500-year-old technique for relaxing the body and quietening the mind. It can help to relieve many physical problems such as back pain, tense shoulders and neck, stiffness, poor posture, indigestion and sciatica as well as more mental problems like stress and lethargy.
Thai massage is believed to have been developed by Jivaka Kumar Bhaccha, physician to Buddha, more than 2,500 years ago in India.
It made its way to Thailand, where the Ayurvedic techniques and principles gradually became influenced by traditional Chinese medicine.
For centuries, Thai massage was performed by monks as one component of Thai medicine.
Thai massage is also called Thai yoga massage, because the therapist uses his or her hands, knees, legs, and feet to move you into a series of yoga-like stretches. Many people say Thai massage is like doing yoga without any work. Muscle compression, joint mobilization, and acupressure are also used during treatment.
People describe Thai massage as both relaxing and energizing. Thai massage is more energizing and rigorous than more classic forms of massage. The best thing about Thai massage is that, like yoga you get flexibility, inner organ massage, oxygenation of the blood and quieting of the mind. Through deep muscle stretching, joint release and emphasis on the breath, Thai massage offers many of the same benefits as yoga.
Many people find that Thai massage has the following benefits:
* reduces stress
* improves circulation
* increases energy
* increases flexibility
* improves range of motion
* centers the mind and body
According to the August 2005 issue of Consumer Reports magazine, 34,000 people ranked deep tissue massage more effective in relieving osteoarthritis pain than physical therapy, exercise, prescription medications, chiropractic, acupuncture, diet, glucosamine and over-the-counter drugs.
Deep tissue massage also received a top ranking for fibromyalgia pain. People often notice improved range of motion immediately after a deep tissue massage.
Several persons use soursop leaves to help them control the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. This plant is also known as graviola in some cuntries. They start seeing the effects of this natural substance almost immediately. Within a week, individuals have seen a reduction in the amount of swelling and stiffness in their joints.
Since soursop leaves promote a feeling of well being, they also feel better overall. It helps to calm their nerves and alleviate the feelings of anxiety that they experienced because of their illness.
Natural Anti Inflamatories: Soursop Leaves
Soursop leaves are good for treating inflammation. People who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis have been able to use a tea made from the leaves to get relief for their symptoms.
People who have boils can use soursop leaves to help restore their skin to its original condition. The leaves can be crushed and applied to the boil. This will help reduce irritation and also reduce the size of the boil. The same applies to mouth ulcers.
Persons may have inflammation in their thighs or back muscles after a hard day of work. They can have graviola tea to help reduce the irritation that they feel. Soursop tea has been known to effectively reduce pain in the lower back when it is consumed daily.
However if you are taking soursop tea consistently, you should take a break from it once a week. It is also recommended that persons who have been taking the tea for three months take a break in the fourth month and then resume in the fifth month.
Natural Anti Inflamatories: How Soursop Leaves Work on the Sinuses and Wounds
Crushed soursop leaves can be applied to wounds to reduce infection and swelling. It also helps to relieve inflammation in the throat and nose. People with allergies sometimes experience inflammation of the sinuses. Drinking soursop leaf tea can alleviate this. If you have food allergies, taking perilla frutescens will help with that.
Whenever you have an infection in your sinuses, you can start drinking soursop tea immediately to prevent the development of catarrh in the region. Catarrh is very uncomfortable and is associated with the build up of mucous in the nose and throat. It can be caused by allergies such as hay fever. It can also be the result of nasal polyps.
Drinking soursop tea early on prevents nasal congestion and helps get rid of catarrh. When people have to cope with this condition for a long time, it leaves them feeling frustrated. This natural treatment can help to stop this from happening.
Crushed soursop leaves are applied to wounds to accelerate healing, relieve pain and reduce swelling. In some countries, people who have wounds crush the leaves with their teeth before applying them to a cut.
Do you get sick after drinking Earl Grey Tea? I drink tea every night before bed and noticed that after drinking decaffeinated Earl Grey tea I would have a rotten sleep and feel terrible in the morning. So I decided to investigate why this was. Apparently I am not alone, many people get sick after drinking Earl Grey tea, or specifically after consuming bergamot, from which Earl Grey tea gets its flavoring.
What is Bergamot?
To note there are two kinds of plants known as Bergamot, one is the citrus fruit which is being referred to here and the other is group of flowering garden perennials, also used as herbs (eg Bee Balm).
Bergamot is a citrus fruit, the size of an orange but with an appearance more like a lemon, it is often called the Bergamot Orange. It is native to Italy. The essence of Bergamot comes from the skin of the fruits, as the fruits themselves are generally not eaten.
Bergamot is used in Earl Grey tea, and is also often used in aroma therapy, and is considered an essential oil. When used in teas it is considered an herb. For aroma therapy it is often used to relieve depression and anxiety.
Side Effects of Bergamot
Bergamot does not effect everyone the same, but for those who are sensitive to it the symptoms can be less than pleasant. The ones I experienced where slight nausea, burping, blurry vision, difficulty sleeping, and bad dreams.
Common side effects of Bergamot include:
- Muscle cramps
- Upset stomach (gas)
- Burning sensation in fingers and toes
- Pressure in the eyes
- Blurry vision
- Some concerns exist the Bergamot could interfere with some drugs in the same way grapefruit juice does
- When applied to the skin Bergamot can cause redness after exposure to the sun
Is Drinking Earl Grey Tea Safe?
For most people drinking Earl Grey tea is perfectly safe. It is for the people like myself, who are ultra sensitive to it, or for people who drink large quantities, over four cups a day, that Earl Grey tea may be a concern. If you drink Earl Grey tea regularly and have noticed the above side effects you should stop, and your symptoms should go away after a few days.
Many people drink Earl Grey tea for the positive benefits, many people find it calming and soothing. It is said to aid with digestion, and may even help control worms. It has been used for malaria, but not by the medical community.
Warts have become a common problem among adults as well as children. Warts are actually benign tumors of the epidermis that occur due to the effects of human papilomavirus or HPV in skin epidermis and can be transmitted from person to person. They are also considered to be a sign of improper growth of the skin. When warts appear, they are usually skin-colored, but there are others which can be dark, flat and feel smooth to touch. When a wart appears somewhere on the skin, it can spread to the other parts also. Warts can occur anywhere - face, mouth, genitals, fingers, scalp, knees, elbows rectal area, etc. Sometimes warts can occur on the soles of our feet. These warts are called as plantar warts. Planter warts are often painful and they can be very painful when walking. There are many different treatments and procedures to remove warts. You can also use some natural wart removal home remedies to remove warts. Using natural home remedies to remove warts provides an opportunity to get control of your skin without using ineffective and possibly harmful methods of wart removal.
Remove Warts through Wart Removal Home Remedies
There are various simple and very effective home remedies that you can surely try out to remove warts. Here are some home remedies for wart removal.
One of the popular home remedies used to remove warts is duct tape remedy. By placing a small piece of duct tape on the wart, an immune response is triggered in the body, causing the virus to be eliminated from the body. After keeping the warts covered for about a week, you will want to remove the tape, soak your wart in water, and then scrub it with a pumice stone. Repeat the procedure again, for at least another one to two weeks. What it probably does to the wart, is that it creates warm environment that soften the skin, and make it possible to remove wart very effectively. Peel the tape gently and apply until the wart is gone. This is certainly amongst the easiest wart removal home remedies.
One of the most powerful home remedies for wart removal is garlic. Against warts the garlic is used in the following way, just crush a clove of garlic to get a smooth paste and apply it on the affected area to remove warts. Be sure to first protect the surrounding skin with petroleum jelly. Allow to stand three to four hours – after that, wash the garlic with water. Repeat this ritual every day until you see the desired results. It has a powerful antivirus effect, and at the same time antibacterial. Therefore it is often useful in detoxifying the body, and to treat similar symptoms. Garlic oil can also be used for natural genital wart removal because it is said to promote white blood cells that has an ability to fight infections.
Lemon juice is a very is also helpful to remove warts naturally. It has some acidic benefits that could help speed the process of natural wart removal. To remove wart, squeeze fresh lemon juice and just apply on the wart. Let it stand 20 minutes and wash with plain water. For better performance, apply lemon juice on the wart twice a day. It is the high acid content of the lemon juice that irritates the warts and makes them fall off fast.
Natural wart removal can be done with the use of Aloe vera. Fresh Aloe vera juice is applied directly to dissolve warts and tone the skin. Repeat this procedure for at least one week to remove warts. Aloe vera contains many useful ingredients, which remove warts from root. The natural acids in the Aloe vera juice will dissolve the wart and soften the skin
Dandelions also are recommended for wart removal. The white sap from the stem and root can be used as a topical remedy for wart removal. A regular application of the milk from the cut end of dandelion must be applied over the affected part, two or three times every day to remove warts.
Fresh fig juice can be applied for wart removal. To remove warts, just apply a few drops of fresh fig juice on the warts, and religiously do this at least three times a day. You may need to repeat this treatment for two weeks. Fig juice is very effective in wart removal as the antioxidants and antivirals in fig juice suppress the infection that causes warts.
Marigold is another known wart removal home remedy, as it has the capability of destroying the wart virus. Both the juice from its leaves and the sap from the stem are used to remove warts.
Tea Tree Oil
Applying tea tree oil on the affected area will prove helpful for wart removal. Rub tea tree oil on wart two times a day. Within a week or so, it will be gone. Essential oil of tea tree is a powerful antiseptic, which kills most bacteria and thus is an extremely potent method to remove warts. This method of wart removal should not take too many applications due to its effectiveness.
Castor oil can definitely help with wart removal. This oil should be applied generously over the affected parts every night. After doing this day and night for a number of weeks, your wart should disappear. Castor oil is acidic oil which will cause the immune system to respond to any area of the skin the oil is continually applied.
Essential lemon oil
This is another popular wart removal home remedy. Apply one drop of lemon oil directly to a wart daily to remove warts. Because of its Vitamin C-rich quality, lemon oil is a very effective home remedy for wart removal.
Banana peel home remedy can be used to remove warts. Rubbing a banana peel on your wart for a few weeks is supposed to be of big help. One should rub the banana peel multiple times during the course of the day for maximum effectiveness. The banana peel treatment is helpful in wart removal due to its good amount of potassium content.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Wart removal using apple cider vinegar is a highly acclaimed home remedy to remove all types of common warts. Take a small piece of cotton, the size of the wart, soaked in apple cider vinegar, squeeze out the excess, and then tape it to the wart with a Band-Aid or medical tape. Apply each morning and at night before bed and the wart will be gone in 3 to 4 days. It is a great way to naturally and painlessly remove warts.
Cashew nut oil
Cashew nut oil is equally beneficial to remove warts. Cashew nut oil is a skin irritant and application of it over the wart helps in removal of it. However, this oil should be applied carefully only on the affected areas because of its irritating characteristics.
Applying raw potato on the affected area is also a very effective remedy for wart removal. They should be cut and rubbed on the affected parts many times daily, for at least two weeks. The warts will turn a dark color and fall of.
However, the most effective wart removal home remedy is to try to keep the mental state in a stress free and tension free condition. This supplemented with a nourishing and balanced diet would help the body to have an immune system, which will prevent the condition of warts in the first place.
While medical professionals can help with wart removal, there are also home remedies and natural cures that can prove quite effective to remove warts. Home remedies for wart removal are simple and cost effective ways of dealing with warts at home. Each wart removal home remedy will have different degree of effectiveness in different people. Choose the one that suit you the most.