Category Archives: Herbs

5 Reasons to Buy Hemp Seeds

When looking for vegan or vegetarian protein sources, you might have stumbled across someone talking about hemp seeds. As an organic and fully natural product, these excellent seeds are known for providing more than just protein. With that in mind, here are 5 reasons you should look to buy hemp seeds right away.

  1. It’s a Great Source of Protein

As mentioned above, hemp seeds are known for their high concentration of protein. In fact, they actually are one of those rare foods that have more protein per ounce than beef or other meats, making them a great option for those who feel they need a high amount of protein. In addition to the generally high protein content, they have a variety of amino acids, which ensures you build strong muscles. Perhaps even more important, they come from a natural plant source, which is easily digested in the body.

Hemp Seeds

  1. There Are Many Other Health Benefits to Hemp Seeds

Of course, there are other health reasons to buy hemp seeds beyond the protein content. For starters, they are known to improve heart health and lower blood pressure. They also have plenty of healthy nutrients, which helps to increase energy levels and improve digestion. As a result, many have found that they can be used to help improve weight loss efforts. Beyond this, some have reported improved control over their blood sugar and/or cholesterol while taking hemp seeds, making it a great food to consider in your diet.

  1. It Can Be Easily Added Into Your Diet

Speaking of your diet, hemp seeds are pretty easy to mix in. They can be blended into your smoothies, mixed in with your breakfast cereal, added to your salad, or consumed in a variety of other fashions. The fact that you can eat them as they are makes them a versatile food and gives you plenty of options in how you intend to consume them. Naturally, you might also look for recipes that use these seeds, which will allow you to add extra protein to some of those basic foods you might otherwise ignore. If all else fails, you can always snack on them like another seed or nut.

  1. Hemp Seeds Taste Great

If you were to compare them to other foods, hemp seeds taste sort of like a cross between walnuts, sunflower seeds, and pine nuts. Their flavors can lean more towards one of these three, depending on where you get them from. Regardless, it is a delicious addition to your diet and makes for an easy food to consider.

  1. You Can Buy Hemp Seeds Online

Though it might not seem like that important, being able to find high quality seeds online is quite essential if you hope to follow a truly holistic diet. Remember, even your local health food store often misses some of the best items. Being able to buy organic hemp seeds online is a definite advantage and allows you to improve your diet without leaving the comfort of your own home.

Alternative Therapies

There are few alternatives to medical therapy that are effective in relieving cluster headaches, approaches that focus on preventing them are generally the most successful.

Acupressure

Pressing the webbed area between the thumb and forefinger is said to relieve headaches.

Biofeedback

Some patients are helped by biofeedback training to learn how to divert blood flow from the scalp vessels to other parts of the body.

Herbal Medicine

Herbalists recommend one to three capsules of feverfew daily to prevent migraines, and some also advocate taking this herb to prevent cluster headaches.

Meditation and Visualization

Patients whose headaches are triggered by stress may benefit from these relaxation techniques. Meditation can also help with pain management during an attack.

Self Treatment

Self treatment starts with prevention. Identify those things that set off your headaches and try to avoid them. Document your headaches in a journal, making note of anything that could possibly have caused them. See if any patterns emerge and, if they do, try to eliminate the potential trigger. When a cluster does develop, using a portable oxygen inhaler helps about 80 percent of patients. Talk to your physician about obtaining one. Individuals who suffer from cluster headaches usually have their own coping routines. For example, some people sit quietly in a darkened room, while others feel better if they stand or pace. Some even bang their heads against a padded surface, but it is doubtful that this can alleviate the pain.

Ginger

Medicinal use of ginger dates back to ancient China and India. Once its culinary properties were discovered in the 13th century, use of this herb became wide spread throughout Europe. In the Middle Ages, it held a firm place in apothecaries for travel sickness, nausea, hangovers, and flatulence. Its pungent properties also contribute to its pharmacologic activities. Ginger contains cardiotonic compounds known as gingerols, volatile oils, and other compounds  gingerdione, zingerone, and zingibain.

The root has antiemetic effects that result from its carminative and absorbent properties and its ability to enhance GI motility. Large doses exert positive in otropk effects on the cardiovascular system. Anti-inflammatory effects may result from ginger’s ability to inhibit rostaglandin, thromboxane, and feukotriene biosynthesis; antimigraine effects, from ginger’s ability to inhibit prostaglandins and thromboxane. An tithrombotic effects may result from ginger’s ability to inhibit platelet aggregation. The volatile oil may have antimicrobial effects.

Ginger is available as candied ginger root, fresh root, oil, powdered spice, syrup, tablet, tea, and tincture. Common trade names include Alcohol-Free Ginger Root, Caffeine Free Ginger Root, Ginger Aid Tea, Ginger Kid, GingerMax, Ginger powder, Ginger Root, Quanterra Stomach Comfort, Travellers, Travel Sickness, and Zintona Rhizome.

Reported uses

Ginger is used most commonly as an antiemetic to treat motion sickness, morning sickness, and generalized postsurgical nausea. It’s also used to treat colic, flatulence, dyspepsia, and indigestion. Ginger is used as an anti-inflammatory for those with arthritis and as an antispasmodic, and for its antitumorigenic activity in patients with cancer. It’s used to treat upper respiratory tract infections, cough, and bronchitis. Topically, fresh juice of ginger is used for treating thermal burns.

Administration

  • As an antiemetic: 2 g of fresh powder by mouth taken with some liquid; total daily recommended dose is 2 to 4 g of
    dried rhizome powder
  • For arthritis: 1 to 2 g every day
  • For chemotherapy-associated nausea (in the absence of narcotic anesthesia or analgesia): 1 g before chemotherapy
  • For migraine headache or arthritis: Up to 2 g every day
  • For motion sickness: 1 g by mouth 30 minutes before travel, then 0.5 to 1 g every 4 hours; dosage may begin 1 to 2 days before trip
  • Infusion: To prepare, steep 0.5 to 1 g of herb in 150 ml of boiling water, and then strain after 5 to 10 minutes (1 teaspoon = 3 g of drug).

Hazards

Adverse reactions associated with ginger include central nervous system (CNS) depression and increased bleeding time with large doses. It may cause heartburn. Ginger may interfere with hypoglycemic drugs due to its hypoglycemic effects. Use with anticoagulants and other drugs or herbs that can increase bleeding time may further increase bleeding time.

Patients with gallstones or with an allergy to ginger should avoid use. Pregnant women and those with bleeding disorders should avoid using large amounts of ginger. Patients taking a CNS depressant or an antiarrhythmic should use with caution. Patients with diabetes or blood pressure problems should also use with caution.

Safety Risk The use of ginger in large doses has been associated with cardiac arrhythmias.

Clinical considerations

  • Adverse reactions are uncommon.
  • Monitor patient for signs and symptoms of bleeding. If patient is taking an anticoagulant, monitor PTT, PT, and INR carefully.
  • Use in pregnant patients is questionable, although small amounts used in cooking are safe. It’s unknown if ginger is excreted in breast milk. If patient is pregnant, advise her to consult a knowledgeable practitioner before using ginger medicinally.
  • Ginger may interfere with the intended therapeutic effect of conventional drugs.
  • If overdose occurs, monitor patient for arrhythmias and CNS depression.
  • Educate patient to look for signs and symptoms of bleeding, such as nosebleeds or excessive bruising.
  • Advise patient to keep ginger away from children and pets.
  • Tell patient to notify pharmacist of any herbal or dietary supplement that he’s taking when obtaining a new prescription.
  • Advise patient to consult his health care provider before using an herbal preparation because a conventional treatment with proven efficacy may be available.

Research summary

Clinical trials have examined ginger’s antiemetic effects related to kinetosis (motion sickness), perioperative anesthesia, and hyperemesis gravidarum; however, little is known regarding its pharmacology in these settings. Other trials have shown no significant differences among ginger, antiemetics, and placebo with regard to gastric as well as nongastric symptoms. Two separate investigations showed no effect of ginger on CNS impairment caused by kinetosis, as subjects retained the ability to perform certain head and eye movements.

Another placebo-controlled study compared ginger with scopolamine in several subjects. Ginger partially inhibited and stabilized tachygastria but did not effect EGG amplitude. The authors concluded symptoms of motion sickness can be dissociated from gastric electrical activity and that the partial tachygastric effects of ginger offer little to relieve the onset of severity of these symptoms.

In another study, ginger was compared with metoclopromide and droperidol in the prevention of post-operative nausea and vomiting. Findings supported previous studies: ginger and metoclopromide were equally effective and were more effective than placebo in reducing its incidence. The need for post-operative antiemetics was significantly reduced in those receiving ginger over the placebo group.

In studies comparing droperidol and ginger, incidence of post-operative nausea and vomiting was not statistically significant. However, the figures did appear to have potential clinical importance.

Other subjective studies have been done regarding ginger use for hyperemesis gravidarum, with greater symptomatic relief being observed compared to placebo.

Another case report of SSRI administration described the successful use of ginger to alleviate nausea and disequilibrium associated with abrupt discontinuation or intermittent noncompliance of the drugs.

There are currently no reports of severe toxicity in humans from the ingestion of ginger root. However, there is no convincing evidence regarding the safety of ingesting large amounts of ginger by pregnant women. The FDA considers ginger a food supplement, generally recognized as safe.

Lemongrass

Lemongrass is cultivated in Central and South America and Australia. The medicinal parts of the lemongrass plant are the dried leaves, the lemongrass oil of Cymbopogon citratus, and the citronella oil of C. nardus. Lemongrass contains alkaloids, a saponin fraction, and cymbopogonol. Fresh leaves contain 0.4% to 0.5% volatile oil that contains citral, myrcene, geranial, and several other fragrant compounds. Myrcene may have some peripheral analgessic activity similar to peripherally acting opiates that directly down-regulate sensitized receptors.

Reported uses

Lemongrass is used topically as an analgesic for neuralgic and rheumatic pain and strains, and as a mild astringent. The
crushed leaves are used topically as a mosquito repellent. The essential oil is used as a food additive and also in perfumes. Internally, lemon grass is used as an antispasmodic and for the treatment of nervous and GI disorders.

Administration

  • Oil: Applied topically for pain
  • Tea: Prepared by adding 2 to 4 g of esh Or dried leaves to 5 oz of boiling Water.

Hazards

Lemongrass may cause dry mouth, polyuria, allergic reactions, hypotension, and increased liver enzymes. Lemongrass has been found to have a diuretic effect in rats. Concomitant use of lemongrass with a diuretic may cause excess diuresis. Concomitant use of lemongrass with an antihypertensive agent may lead to hypotension. Lemongrass may exert an antimicrobial and antifungal effect. Concomitant use of lemongrass with an antibiotic and/or antifungal may lead to an enhanced effect.
Patients who are pregnant or breast-feeding or with a history of liver dysfunction shouldn’t use this herb.

Clinical considerations

  • Tell patient that lemongrass may cause increased frequency of urination.
  • Monitor patient’s liver enzymes.
  • Advise patient to keep lemongrass out of reach of children.
  • Tell patient to remind prescriber and pharmacist of any herbal or dietary supplement that he’s taking when obtaining a new prescription.
  • Advise patient to consult his health care provider before using an herbal preparation because a treatment with proven efficacy may be available.

Research summary

Studies have shown lemongrass to be useful as an antitumor agent and a fever reducer. There has also been some indication that lemon grass has antiradical and antioxidant activity.

In Mint Condition

>> SOOTHE STOMACH WOES Ancient Egyptians used the herb to soothe indigestion. Today herbalist prescribe it for a number of stomach problems, including colic, nausea, hiccups and diarrhea and it appears that modern medicine may some day follow suit.

In one study, Taiwanese researchers gave 110 patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) either 0.2 ml of peppermint oil or a placebo three or four times a day. After a month. 79% of the peppermint takers reported feeling less abdominal pain, compared with 43% of those on placebo. Other research shows that peppermint oil relaxes the smooth muscles of the digestive tract, easing spasms, pain, bloating and gas. But the herb can increase bile flow, so people with gallbladder problems shouldn’t take it. Due to peppermint’s effects on smooth muscles, it can acid reflux and heartburn.

Top Herbs for Dealing with Menopause

For centuries women have turned to herbs for menopause-related symptoms. The menopause herbs available today are often based on tried and true therapies dating back to ancient natural treatment philosophies. For instance in the system of Chinese herbs, menopause has long been addressed with the use of Dong Quai whereas Black Cohosh is a Native American remedy.

Do Herbs help in Alleviating the Symptoms of Menopause?

A number of natural remedies such as Black Cohosh, Chaste Tree Berry, and Evening Primrose Oil are prescribed for menopausal symptoms by physicians in Europe more often than prescription hormone replacement therapies. While American scientists complain that the efficacy of these treatments is unproven, thousands of women are ready to offer anecdotal testimony of their usefulness.

While all herbs will not work for all women, it is certainly worth a woman’s time to try the various remedies before turning to medically conventional hormone replacement medications that are increasingly linked to a range of side effects and to cancer. In addition, while not free, menopause herbs are significantly less expensive than prescription therapies.

What are the Top Ten Menopause Herbs?

With increasing concerns over the danger of cancer raised by prescription hormone replacement therapies, more women are turning to natural remedies to alleviate the symptoms of “the change” and to ride out menopause without resorting to dangerous chemical preparations. In surveying the range of available herbs, menopause symptoms respond best to those listed below.

Black Cohosh

Black Cohosh, a perennial member of the buttercup family native to North America is considered to be one of the top herbs for menopause. It will relieve hot flashes, night sweats, and mild mood changes. Although its mechanism of action is not completely understood, it does not cause increased menstrual bleeding and does not illustrate estrogen binding or estrogen-like activities as once believed. Although dosage varies according to formulation a common strength would be 20 mg taken twice daily. Some women experience gastric discomfort, but in general side effects with Black Cohosh are rare. If you have high blood pressure, consult your physician before beginning to use this herb.

Soy

On studies conducted with Asian women whose diets contain 40 to 80mg of soy isoflavones per day as compared to only 3 for American women, the Asian women were found to exhibit fewer symptoms of menopause. Introducing more soy into the diet over a period of four to twelve weeks should improve instances of hot flashes. There is no set dosage and use is guided by gastric tolerance. Allow sufficient time to pass before evaluating the efficacy of soy in alleviating your symptoms.

Dong Quai

The Chinese herb Dong Quai has been used for thousands of years to lessen menstrual cramps and to treat the symptoms of menopause. It is particularly good to regularize menstrual flow, which becomes erratic with the onset of perimenopausal symptoms. Typically Dong Quai is taken in doses of 300 to 500mg two to three times a day. In cases of hypersensitivity to Dong Quai menstrual bleeding can increase and a fever may be present. Discontinue use of the herb if these symptoms appear. If you are taking a blood thinner, do not begin using Dong Quai without first consulting your physician.

Wild Yam

Wild Yam is an herb used topically as a natural form of progesterone. Not only does the use reportedly ease the hormonal fluctuations which plague menopausal women, wild yam also eases the pain of endometriosis and can shrink the fibroid cysts that often appear in women at this stage of their lives. There are no known drug interactions or side effects and the cream is usually rubbed on the abdomen or thighs. Make sure the product you are using contains 400mg of USP-grade natural progesterone per ounce. Most manufacturers package the cream with some method for measuring dosage, for instance a metered pump to dispense the correct amount.

Aloe Vera & its Benefits

Out of the 400 species of the Aloe family, Aloe Vera (meaning True Aloe) has been used for thousands of years and is still present in varieties of medicines today. It is used predominantly as an herbal remedy for the skin, digestion, the reproductive system and detox. A gel or pulp can be extracted from the plants for many benefits, both externally and internally.

It is most commonly used to treat skin conditions by soothing the skin and easing pain and inflammation. It can even speed up the healing process of burns, eczema and other conditions. The plant’s gel can be rubbed to reduce redness after a couple of days. Rubbing the leaf over cuts in the skin can prevent infection and speed up the healing process by acting like a bandage. Because of its healing and moisturising benefits to the skin, it has been adopted by cosmetic companies and added in many products.

The juice of Aloe Vera can be extracted by cutting the leaf, collecting the juice and then evaporating it. The juice has many benefits when drunk. This is partially due to the fact that it contains twelve vitamins (including A, B1, B6, B12, C and E), nineteen amino acids and over 20 minerals, which most of these are essential to the body. In Ayurveda, the Indian health practice, Aloe Vera is known as Kumari (‘the princess’) because of its positive effect on the menstrual cycle and female reproductive system. It is also known for its ability to clean the liver and protect the digestive system by reducing intestinal inflammation.

Overall, Aloe Vera can be used for cosmetics and healing the skin, or when consumed, as a potent cleansing and rejuvenating tonic that is very nutrient rich and beneficial to the body.

Spices Vs. Herbs: What’s The Difference?

Spices and herbs are common in most foods around the world today. Both are used to flavor foods and some for medicinal purposes. Herbs and spices have both been prominent throughout human history. In earlier times, herbs and spices were considered luxuries and only available for the use of the wealthy. Herbs and spices were also traded frequently between nations in medieval times. Many people do not know the difference between an herb and a spice. There are many similarities between the two, and some of the differences are very subtle, but they are still valid.

The essential difference between an herb and a spice is where it is obtained from on a plant. Herbs usually come from the leafy part of a plant, and are usually dried. However, some herbs can be used fresh. Spices can be obtained from seeds, fruits, roots, bark, or some other vegetative substance. Spices are not necessarily as fresh as some herbs can be. Herbs can be found many places around the world, while spices are more commonly found in the Far East and tropical countries. Herbs are considered to have a few more uses than spices. For instance, herbs have been used more frequently than spices in the medical field. Also, herbs can and have been used to augment cosmetics and preserve foods.

Some argue that there is no distinction between herbs and spices, considering both have similar uses. However, a botanical definition reveals that an herb is a plant that doesn’t produce a woody stem. It is common knowledge that in certain areas of the United States, a dried herb is considered to be a spice. This leads to more confusion because if a spice is simply an herb, then there cannot be a difference between the two. However, believing this is ignoring the fact that many herbs tend to be leafy green substances and spices are found in plants that are tropical in nature.

Because herbs and spices have so many uses and are great food flavorings, they have played important roles throughout history. The Portuguese navigator, Vasco Da Gama, sailed to India in search of spices. Even Christopher Columbus described the types of spices available in the “new world” to investors after he landed. Herbs have been used throughout history for medicinal purposes. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), herbology (the study of herbs for medical purposes) has been used for thousands of years.

The debate between herbs and spices is ongoing. Some say that there is no difference, while others maintain that they are both completely different. Most learned scholars will say that the difference between an herb and a spice is found in where the herb or spice is obtained on the plant, and where that specific plant can be found.

Natural Medicinal Herbs