Friday, October 1, 2010

Fruits, Grains and Herbs for Beauty and Health

The information below was taken from several magazine articles. I am not a doctor, herbalist, dermatologist, or any "ologist" at all. I am not recommending that you use these things and certainly don't guarantee that they work the way it says. I simply put the information out there, so you can use your own little brain to decide if it is something you are interested in. If it is something I have tried, I will also put that down, as well as the results. I have to say, however, that the countries where these things are grown, must be the happiest, healthiest, most youthful looking people on earth! (That is me being sarcastic, by the way!)

Lavender - The clean fresh scent of this herb is supposed to increase the brain waves associated with relaxation. The flowers are edible and can be used to flavor butter, salads, vinegar, fruit salad, or jelly. The flavor is fairly pungent, so use in very small amounts.

Thyme - The scent of this herb reportedly sharpens your senses and energizes your nervous system.

Mint - Using some crushed mint in your iced or hot tea calms an upset stomach and the menthol in the mint helps soothe upper respiratory ailments. They say that just a whiff of mint can relieve headaches and relieve nausea.

Basil - Believed to help soothe the nerves, enhance mental clarity, and ward off depression. Infused basil oil is great on veggies, bread, and pasta. Just put a clean basil leaf in a clean bottle, cover with warm oil and seal. Let sit in a cool dark place for two weeks then strain and use.

Parsley - Loaded with vitamins A, K and C, and antioxidants which boost the immune system and ease pains. It will also get rid of bad breath at the end of a meal. (I always save the parsley on my plate until I'm finished eating and eat it last, makes my mouth feel fresh again).

Sage - Supposedly reduces perspiration and prevents hot flashes. Brown a sage in a little butter and use to season pasta and veggies. In a British study, test volunteers that consumed sage before the test, scored much higher and recalled more words than those who took a placebo. Compounds in sage prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine, a chemical that transmits messages in the brain.

Rosemary - The scent of Rosemary stimulates blood flow to the brain resulting in an oxygen boost which helps the memory.

Oregano - Loaded with antioxidants. Believed to be effective in fighting bacteria including those that can cause staph infection or e.coli.

Catuaba - The bark of this Brazilian tree has a long history of use for calming nerves. It is used to treat anxiety, stress, insomnia, fatigue, and forgetfulness.

Chanca piedra - Enhances liver and kidney function, lowers blood pressure and fights pain. Breaks up kidney and gall stones.

Stevia - Contains natural compounds called glycosides that are 300 times sweeter than sugar, has zero calories and lowers blood sugar.

Pau d'arco - Boosts white blood cells, which revs immunity and kills bacteria and fungi. Fights off infections and is packed with immunity boosting antioxidants and flavonoids like co-enzyme Q10. Researchers are studying it for possible cures to cancer and HIV.

Sangre de grado - The bright red resin has a rich array of flavonoids to rejuvenate skin cells and stimulate collagen production. It is also an antibacterial, anti fungal and antiviral, so it helps with bites, stings, cuts, and abrasions.

Camu camu - A tart berry with the highest concentration of vitamin C of any food. It is also packed with lutein, valine, and serine, which are amino acids that help regulate moods.

Cat's claw - In an Australian study of Rheumatoid arthritis patients, cat's claw slashed their swelling, pain and stiffness in half. There are no side effects to using Cat's claw. Cat's claw targets all the pain causing enzymes instead of just one that Ibuprofen or acetaminophen does.

Quinoa - It is a plant seed related to the leafy greens family! But we use it as a grain which is nutritionally superior to rice, oats, corn, pasta, and wheat. It has twice as much protein and all nice essential amino acids.

Paprika - The capsicum in paprika boosts saliva and stomach acid which help break down your food and ease digestion. Made from chile's and hot peppers, it also helps blood circulation, regulates blood pressure, and can kill bacteria on contact. Red paprika is the mildest, yellow is the spiciest.

Ginger - Great for nausea and headaches. Powdered ginger can relieve symptoms within 30 minutes. Just make yourself some ginger tea or have some ginger cookies!

Cinnamon - In one study diabetes patients who had just 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon daily saw their blood sugar plunge by 30% and had lower cholesterol levels and fewer fat lipids in their blood than non-cinnamon eaters. Additionally, a recent study found that taking half a teaspoon of cinnamon with a tablespoon of honey each day can relieve arthritis pain in as little as a week.
NOTE: As I was typing all this stuff out, I started to develop a headache and, as well, my arthritic hand was feeling tight as a drum. So, I made myself a "tea" using just 2 thin slices of fresh ginger root, about 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and a couple teaspoons of honey. Amazingly, my headache disappeared in about 10 minutes, my hand loosened up and my coughing nearly stopped too!)

Vanilla - Appears to aid in a peaceful rested sleep. Patients who slept in a vanilla scented room fell asleep faster and felt better rested than those who slept in an unscented room.

Allspice - Contrary to popular belief, Allspice is a berry, not a combo of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves! It contains eugenol, an essential oil that boosts circulation and warms the body. It also kills fungi and bacteria.

Cloves - The scent of cloves, according to researchers in Tokyo, increases beta waves in the front of the brain, leading to more alertness, concentration and energy.

Sunflower seeds - Boost your mood! Contains folic acid, b vitamins, and magnesium.

Flax Seeds - Balance mood swings. Ground flax seeds have hormone-like compounds that make progesterone work more efficiently, brightening your mood.

Sesame Seeds - Lower cholesterol and high blood pressure. Top source of lignans, compounds that block the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines.

Yacon - A cross between and apple and a watermelon, it is referred to as a vegetable! (I'm so confused!) Scientists have learned it regulates blood sugar levels and the Incas drank the leaves as a tea during meals to avoid energy crashes. Scientists are now studying it as a potential diabetes cure. It grows in the Andes.

Goldenberries - A sweet and chewy snack that tastes like raisins. They are loaded with vitamin A, B vitamins, fiber, bioflavonoids, and 16% of your daily protein needs. They grow in the Andes.

Quandong - Sweet and tangy it's sometimes called the desert Peach. Loaded with vitamin C and considered to be the oldest fruit on earth. It is a source of santalbic acid, a unique fatty acid that kills germs, relieves inflammation and helps flush toxins from your system. It is found in the Australian outback.

Tomatillos - loaded with antioxidants, including Vitamin A, vitamin K, folic acid and potassium. According to research at the U of Illinois, a compound in the veggie causes human cancer cells to stop dividing and disintegrate.

Geraniums - Activates the brain region that regulates hormones, reducing anxiety and irritability. Also - mosquitoes hate the fragrance, so they're nice to have in the sitting area of your back patio.

Creeping Charlie - As you are ripping this ground ivy out of your yard, put some of the roots, flowers, and leaves into an old (clean) sock and tie the sock over your bathtub faucet so the hot water will pour over the sock. Soak for about 20 min and it should relieve your sciatica, lower back pain and any other back pain.... it will also leave your skin softer because of it's natural emollients! (I would wash the roots myself before letting them drain into my bathwater, but the instructions don't say that).

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