Monday, November 26, 2007

Maitake: Dancing Mushroom For Natural Health

Maitake or Grifola frondosa, referring to a mythical griffin, commonly known as Sheep’s Head, Ram’s Head and Hen of the Woods or Maitake ( (IPA /maitake/), is an edible polypore mushroom. It grows in clusters at the foot of trees, especially oak. The Japanese named it "maitake", literally meaning "dancing mushroom." Hen of the woods should not be confused with the similarly named edible bracket fungi, chicken of the woods (Laetiporus sulphureus), also known as "sulphur shelf".

Grifola frondosa is a very good edible, but one should be careful to gather only very young specimens, or trim the softer, outer portions of the caps for the table. Use caution when trying this species for the first time; it is one of those for which "allergies" in some individuals are reported. I am one of those individuals, and I can tell you that the experience is not pleasant. The words "human faucet" come to mind. Try only a bite or two if you have never eaten it before--and, if things go well, the sturdy mushrooms will definitely last a day or two in the refrigerator for further consumption.

The fungus is native to the northeastern part of Japan and North America, and is prized in traditional Chinese and Japanese herbology as an adaptogen, an aid to balance out altered body systems to a normal level. Most people find its taste and texture enormously appealing, though the mushroom has been alleged to cause allergic reactions in rare cases.

Like the sulphur shelf mushroom, hen of the woods is a perennial fungus that often grows in the same place for a number of years in succession. It occurs most prolifically in the northeastern regions of the United States, but has been found as far west as Idaho.

Hen of the woods grows from an underground tuber-like structure, about the size of a potato. The fruiting body, occurring as large as 60 cm, is a cluster consisting of multiple grayish-brown caps which are often curled or spoon-shaped, with wavy margins and 2-7 cm broad. The undersurface of each cap bears approximately one to three pores per millimeter, with the tubes rarely deeper than 3 mm. The milky-white stipe (stalk) has a branchy structure and becomes tough as the mushroom matures.

Maitake, an edible mushroom of the (Polyporaceae) family, can grow up to over 50 pounds (20 kilograms), earning this giant mushroom the title "King of Mushrooms."

Benefits and Uses

The underground tubers from which hen of the woods arises has been used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine to enhance the immune system. Researchers have also indicated that whole maitake has the ability to regulate blood pressure, glucose, insulin, and both serum and liver lipids, such as cholesterol, triglycerides, and phospholipids, and may also be useful for weight loss.

Maitake is rich in minerals (such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium), various vitamins (B2, D2 and Niacin), fibers and amino acids. The active constituent in maitake for enhancing the immune actively has been identified in the late 1980s to be the protein-bound polysaccharide compound, beta-glucan, an ingredient found especially in the family of polyporaceae.

Maitake can be used as a food or tea and is also available as a capsule or tablet containing the entire fruiting body of the mushroom. For maitake, the fruit body is higher in polysaccharides than the mycelium, which is why it is recommended. Whole-mushroom maitake supplements, 3–7 grams per day, can be taken. Liquid maitake extracts with variable concentrations of polysaccharides are available, and should be taken as directed.



Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tasty Natural Health Fruit: Strawberry, Yummy!

The strawberry (Fragaria) (plural strawberries) is a genus of floras in the family Rosaceae and the fruit of these flora. There are more than 20 named species and many hybrids and cultivars. The most regular strawberries grown commercially are cultivars of the Garden strawberry, Fragaria ×ananassa. The strawberry is an gloves fruit; that is, the fleshy part is resultant not from the ovaries which are the "seeds" (actually achenes) but from the peg at the bottom of the hypanthium that held the ovaries. So from a technical viewpoint, the seeds are the actual fruits of the plant, and the flesh of the strawberry is customized receptacle tissue. It is whitish-green as it extends and in most species turns red when ripe.

The characteristic modern strawberry, of the genus Fragaria, comes from the Americas, and is a hybrid of both North and South American varieties. Fascinatingly, the crossbreeding was done in Europe to proper a mistake; the European horticulturists had only carried female South American plants, and were required to cross them with the North American variety in order to obtain fruit and seeds. Fragaria comes from "fragans", meaning odorous, referring to the aromatic flesh of the fruit. Madam Tallien, a great figure of the French Revolution, who was nicknamed Our Lady of Thermidor, used to take baths full of strawberries to remain the full radiance of her skin. Fontenelle, centenarian writer and gourmet of the 18th century, measured his long life was due to the strawberries he used to eat. Strawberries were considered toxic in Argentina until the mid-nineteenth century. Strawberries are sometimes sour and sometimes sweet and sometimes tastes both sweet and sour.

In addition to being consumed fresh, strawberries are frozen or made into conserve. Strawberries are a fashionable addition to dairy products, as in strawberry flavored ice cream, milkshakes and yoghurts. Strawberry pie is also popular. Strawberries can also be used as a innate acid/base indicator. Popular etymology has it that it comes from gardeners' practice of mulching strawberries with straw to defend the fruits from rot (a pseudoetymology that can be found in non-linguistic sources such as the Old Farmer's Almanac 2005). Nevertheless, there is no proof that the Anglo-Saxons ever breeded strawberries, and even less that they knew of this practice.

There is an another theory that the name originates from the Anglo-Saxon verb for "strew" (meaning to spread around) which was streabergen (Strea means "strew" and Bergen means "berry" or "fruit") and thence to streberie, straiberie, strauberie, straubery, strauberry, and finally, "strawberry", the word which we use today. The name might have come from the truth that the fruit and a variety of runners appear "strewn" along the ground.

Natural Health Benefits

We all know strawberries are tasty, but they are also healthful, and superlatively should be a part of everyone's daily diet. You'll enjoy some health advantages by eating strawberries frequently, and the best part is strawberries are one of the most delicious fruits. The USDA recommends that every American eat at least five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables daily, but unluckily, most people don't even come close to that. Adding fresh strawberries to your diet, whether they are in salads, smoothies, or on their own, is a great way to get the servings of fruit you require for a well-rounded body and a well immune system.

Strawberries hold a range of nutrients, with vitamin C heading the group. They also contain significant levels of phytonutrients and antioxidants, which fight free radicals. These antioxidant properties are supposed to be linked to what makes the strawberry bright red. Free radicals are elements that can injure cells, and they are thought to donate to the formation of many kinds of cancer.

In addition to vitamin C, strawberries also offer an excellent source of vitamin K and manganese, as well as folic acid, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, copper, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Strawberries are among the most adaptable of fresh fruits. Sadly, they are quite unpreserved as well. So acquire fresh strawberries only a few days before they are to be eaten. When strawberries are in season nearby this is rarely a problem. But at other times of the year, it may be necessary to make due with frozen strawberries, which misplace much if not all of their nutrition.

At the produce section decide strawberries that are plump firm and free of mold and have a deep red color. Unlike other fruits, strawberries do not continue to ripen after they are picked, so be sure to prefer the ripest, reddest strawberries, as they will provide the best taste and the highest nutrient concentration. Many people find that medium sized strawberries are sweeter and more flavorful than larger ones. When buying pre-packaged strawberries, be sure that the berries have not been packed too tightly, as this could cause them to be crushed or otherwise damaged.

Handle strawberries properly and store them well after they have been bought. Like all fruit, strawberries should be cleaned thoroughly prior to consumption or storage. Any strawberries that show signs of mold should be superfluous at once, as they will pollute the remaining strawberries. The strawberries should be placed in a bowl, covered with plastic wrap, and kept in the refrigerator. Fresh strawberries will maintain in the fridge for a few days.

Source: www.wikipedia.org and many more
Photo: www.arabidopsisthaliana.com

Monday, November 12, 2007

Fresh Orange For Natural Health

Orange (fruit), general name for citrus crop of numerous trees. Dissimilar varieties include the sweet orange, the sour orange, and the mandarin orange, or tangerine. The fruit is strictly a hesperidium, a kind of berry. It consists of a number of easily separated carpels, or parts, each containing several seeds and many juice cells, covered by a leathery exocarp, or skin, containing various oil glands. Orange trees are evergreens, rarely exceeding 9 m (30 ft) in height. The leaves are oval and glossy and the flowers are white and perfumed. Three essential oils are gained from oranges: oil of orange, obtained from the rind of the fruit and used primarily as a flavoring agent; oil of petigrain, obtained from the leaves and twigs and used in perfumery; and oil of neroli, obtained from the blossoms and used in flavorings and perfumes.

The orange—specifically, the sweet orange—is the citrus tree Citrus sinensis (syn. Citrus aurantium L. var. dulcis L., or Citrus aurantium Risso) and its fruit. The orange is a hybrid of ancient cultivated origin, probably between pomelo (Citrus maxima) and tangerine (Citrus reticulata). It is a tiny flowering tree growing to about 10 m tall with evergreen leaves, which are agreed alternately, of ovate shape with crenulate margins and 4–10 cm long. The orange fruit is a hesperidium, a type of berry.

Oranges originated in southeast Asia, in either India, Vietnam or southern China. The fruit of Citrus sinensis is called sweet orange to discriminate it from Citrus aurantium, the bitter orange. The English name originates from the Sanskrit naranga-s ("orange tree"). In a number of languages, it is recognized as a "Chinese apple" (e.g. Dutch Sinaasappel, "China's apple").

All citrus trees are of the single genus Citrus, and remain fundamentally interbreedable; that is, there is only one "superspecies" which includes lemons, limes and oranges. However, names have been prearranged to the a variety of members of the citrus family, oranges often being referred to as Citrus sinensis and Citrus aurantium. Fruits of all members of the genus Citrus are measured berries for the reason that they have many seeds, are fleshy and soft, and derive from a single ovary. An orange seed is called a pip.

Oranges are broadly grown in humid climates worldwide, and the flavors of oranges differ from sweet to bitter. The fruit is regularly peeled and consumed fresh, or squeezed for its juice. It has a thick bitter rind that is habitually discarded, but can be processed into animal feed by removing water, using stress and temperature. It is also used in certain recipes as flavoring or a garnish. The outer-most layer of the rind is irritated or lightly veneered with a instrument called a zester, to produce orange zest, popular in cookery because it has a flavor related to the fleshy inner part of the orange. The white part of the rind, called the pericarp or albedo and including the pith, is a source of pectin and has nearly the same amount of vitamin C as the flesh.

Benefits of This Natural Health Fruit
Epidemiologic studies specify that a high consumption of fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of coronary heart disease. It is reflection that this benefit may be due to the minor components, falvonoids, which have been proposed to inhibit LDL oxidation and platelet aggregation as well as to vitamins C, E, and [Beta]-carotene, which act as antioxidants. In addition, folic acid and natural folate found in citrus fruit and green vegetables has been shown to reduce plasma total homocysteine. Citrus juices, namely orange juice and grapefruit juice, are high in flavonoids, folate, and vitamin C, leading them to be potentially beneficial in reducing the risk of heart disease. Animal studies have found orange juice to promote decreases in cholesterol.

A study to determine whether orange juice beneficially alters blood lipids in individuals with hypercholesterolemia was conducted. Sixteen healthy men and nine healthy women with elevated plasma total and LDL-cholesterol levels and normal plasma triacylglycerol concentrations served as subjects. Subjects included one, two, or three cups (250 mL each) of orange juice into their diets. Each dose was included for a four-week period. After the intervention period, subjects took part in a five-week washout period. Plasma lipid, olate, homocysteine, and vitamin C concentrations were measured at baseline, after each treatment and following the washout period.

It was found that intake of 750 mL of orange juice per day increased HDL-cholesterol concentrations by 21%, triacylglycerol concentrations by 30%, and folate concentrations by 18%. This amount of orange juice also decreased the LDL-HDL cholesterol ratio by 16% and did not impact homocysteine concentrations. There were no significant effects seen with less than 750 mL of orange juice daily.

Three cups of orange juice per day appears to improve blood lipid profiles in individuals with hypercholesterolemia. This serves as evidence to the importance of consuming greater than five servings of fruits and vegetables each day.


Friday, November 9, 2007

Shiitake: The Incredible Natural Health Herb From The East

The Shiitake mushroom is the most widely cultivated specialty mushroom in the world and is both a prized medicine as well as a culinary delight. Because of its traditional use in folk medicine and its availability, it has been the subject of intense research. Cochran's review of medicinal mushrooms, "Medical Effects" (Biology and Cultivation of Edible Mushrooms, Academic Press, 1978), list Shiitake as having antifungal, anti-tumor, and antiviral effects.

The shiitake (Lentinula edodes) is an edible mushroom native to East Asia. It is generally known in the English-speaking world by its Japanese name, shiitake listen (literally "shii mushroom", from the Japanese name of the tree that provides the dead logs on which it is typically cultivated). In Chinese, it is called xiānggū (literally "fragrant mushroom"). Two Chinese variant names for high grades of shiitake are dōnggū ("winter mushroom") and huāgū ("flower mushroom", which has a flower-like cracking pattern on the mushroom's upper surface); both are produced at colder temperatures. Other names by which the mushroom is known in English include Chinese black mushroom and black forest mushroom. In Korean it is called pyogo, in Thai they are called hed hom ("fragrant mushroom"), and in Vietnamese they are called nấm hương ("fragrant mushroom").

The species was formerly known as Lentinus edodes and Agaricus edodes. The latter name was first applied by the English botanist Miles Joseph Berkeley in 1878. Shiitake are native to China but have been grown in both Japan and China since prehistoric times
. They have been cultivated for over 1000 years; the first written record of shiitake cultivation can be traced to Wu Sang Kwuang, born during the Song Dynasty (960-1127 A.D.). However, some documents record the uncultivated mushroom being eaten as early as 199 A.D.

During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 A.D.), physician Wu Juei wrote that the mushroom could be used not only as a food but was taken as a remedy for upper respiratory diseases, poor blood circulation, liver trouble, exhaustion and weakness, and to boost qi, or life energy. It was also believed to prevent premature aging.

Before 1982 the Japanese variety of these mushooms could only be grown in traditional locations using ancient methods. In the late '70s, Gary F. Leatham published a doctoral thesis based on his research on the budding and growth of the Japan Islands variety; the work helped make commercial cultivation possible world-wide, and Dr. Leatham is now known in the industry as the "Father of Shiitake farming in the USA."

Benefits From This Natural Health Herb
Shiitake is now one of the most popular sources of protein in Japan, and a major staple in China, and other parts of the Pacific Rim. As a food source, it has the combined attributes of being appetizing, nourishing, dietetic and healthful. Shiitake has adequate nutritional qualities to serve as a main dish. It adapts well to recipes as a meat substitute.

The antiviral effects are believed to be caused by Shiitake's ability to produce interferon. Researchers have reported that consumption of Shiitake mushrooms lowers blood cholesterol levels by as much as 45 percent. The most dramatic results occurred when high-cholesterol foods were eaten simultaneously with Shiitake . In two human studies, cholesterol dropped 6 to 15 percent when the amount of Shiitake consumed was nine grams per day or approximately 10 dried medium-sized mushrooms.

Additionally, the ability of shiitake to accelerate the metabolism and excretion of cholesterol was first reported in 1966 by Kaneda and Tokuda. The Donko and Koshin varieties of shiitake produced a 45% and 36% reduction in total plasma cholesterol respectively. The active principle is an amino acid named eritadenine. Eritadenine lowers all lipid components of serum lipoproteins in both animals and man. It exhibits very low toxicity and is effective when administered orally. One hundred twenty-four derivatives of eritadenine have been synthesized and tested. Patents for consumable products capitalizing on shiitake hypocholesterolemic effect have been issued. Lowering plasma lipids by a method as simple as consuming a food or beverage is very appealing to the health-conscious public.

Shiitake has also shown the capacity to lower high blood pressure in laboratory animals. Lentinan, which is the name given a highly purified polysaccharide fraction extracted from Shiitake mushrooms, is an approved drug in Japan. It is generally administered by injection and has been used as an agent to prolong survival of patients in conventional cancer therapy as well as in AIDS research. Lentinan is commercially available for clinical use. "In Japan, mushroom extracts have become the leading prescription treatment for cancer" . Lentinan is not only useful for cancer treatment, but may also prevent the increase of chromosomal damage induced by anti-cancer drugs. With lentinan there are no known side effects of any serious nature. In Japan treatment of mice with lentinan prior to radiation provided complete protection from a reduction in white blood cell counts.

But in the west, we are still in the dark ages; making immunopotentiators available to patients undergoing radiative therapy has yet to be accepted here. There are also documented cases of greatly reduced side-effects from radiation and chemotherapy in patients who took herbal immunopotentiators at the same time. The noncytotoxic nature of polysaccharides offer a way to destroy unwanted cells without damaging the host. Chihara writes that "The leading principles of the function of lentinan resides in the fact that it can cure patients by restoring their homeostasis, and through enhancement of their intrinsic resistance against diseases." As a functional food, Shiitake contains all eight essential amino acids in better proportions than soy beans, meat, milk, or eggs as well as a good blend of vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, B, B12, C, D and Niacin. Shiitake produces a fat-absorbing compound which aids in weight reduction.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Aloe Vera For Natural Health

It is stem less or has a short – stemmed plant which can produce up to a height of about 80 cm to 100 cm that spreads for root sprouts and balancing. These natural health plants leave is fleshy, lance-shaped and thick and it is forever gray – green and green in color. That’s Aloe Vera. Aloe vera (syn. A. barbadensis Mill., A. vulgaris Lam.) is a species of Aloe, native to northern Africa. The flowers are shaped on a spike up to 90 cm tall, each flower pendulous, with a yellow tubular corolla 2-3 cm long.

Aloe vera is fairly easy to care for in agriculture in frost-free climates. The species requires well-drained sandy potting soil in moderate light. If planted in pot or other containers guarantee sufficient drainage with drainage holes.The use of a good quality commercial potting mix to which extra perlite, granite grit, or coarse sand are added is suggested. Qn the other hand, pre-packaged 'cacti and succulent mixes' may also be used. Potted plants should be permitted to completely dry prior to re-watering. During winter, A. vera may become dormant, during which little moisture is required. In areas that obtain frost or snow the species is best kept indoors or in heated glasshouses.

Benefits From This Natural Health Herb
Researchers at the University of Miguel Hernández in Alicante, Spain, have developed a gel based on A. vera that prolongs the conservation of fresh produce, such as fresh fruit and legumes. This gel is flavorless, colorless and unscented. This natural health product is a safe and environmentally responsive option to synthetic preservatives such as sulfur dioxide. The study showed that grapes at 1°C coated with this gel could be preserved for 35 days against 7 days for untreated grapes. According to the researchers, this gel operates during a combination of mechanics (Serrano et al., 2006), forming a protective layer against the oxygen and moisture of the air and inhibiting, through its a variety of antibiotic and antifungal compounds, the action of micro-organisms that cause foodborne illnesses.

A vast research has been done on aloe vera and confirmed to be very effective and considerable in the treatment of various ailments, skin disorders, hairs, cosmetics and beauty. Aloe vera research completed in 1996 at the Mahidol University of Bangkok proved that aloe vera has abridged the blood sugar levels of about 72 patients misery from high fasting blood sugar. Several research has been done for aloe vera which helps in combating against the cancer. It has also been proved that aloe vera offers relief to the people suffering from liver injure, gastric problems and inflammatory bowel disease.

Various tests have been taken to prove that whether aloe vera gel has influenced wound healing or not. Research has also proved a excellent improvement in the wound healing of mice and other animals with the help of aloe vera. Research has showed positive results of reducing risk factors in people suffering from heart disease.

The research also proved that when aloe vera gel is added to the diet, then there is a marked reduction in blood sugar levels in case of diabetes, total lipids, serum triglycerides and increase in HDL. Some of the researchers like Dr Peter Atherton have done research on the aloe vera and proved effective in the following areas such as wound healing, the treatment of eczema and psoriasis, the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease, and positive effects on the peptic ulcers.

Aloe vera's beneficial properties may be qualified to mucopolysaccharides present in the inner gel of the leaf, particularly acemannan (acetylated mannans). An injectable form of acemannan manufactured and marketed by Carrington Laboratories as Acemannan Immunostimulant has been accepted in the USA for treatment of fibrosarcoma (a type of cancer) in dogs and cats after clinical trials. It has not been approved for use by humans, and, although it is not a drug, its sale is controlled and it can only be achieved through a veterinary doctor.

Cosmetic companies insert sap or other derivatives from Aloe vera to products such as makeup,tissues, moisturisers, soaps, sunscreens, shampoos and lotions, though the effectiveness of Aloe vera in these products remains unidentified. Aloe vera gel is also suspected to be useful for dry skin conditions, especially eczema around the eyes and sensitive facial skin.


Photo: http://www.aloe-vera-juice.net/

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Natural Health Issues: Kombucha


Kombucha is the Western name for sickly tea or tisane that has been fermented by a macroscopic solid mass of microorganisms called a "kombucha colony," usually consisting principally of Bacterium xylinum and yeast cultures. It has gained much popular support within many communities, stated by talk show hosts and celebrities. The increase in popularity can be seen by the many commercial brands coming onto the retail market and thousands of web pages about this fermented beverage.
The culture contains a symbiosis of yeast species and acetic acid bacteria, mostly Bacterium xylinum. Species of yeast involved vary, and may include: Brettanomyces bruxellensis, Candida stellata, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Torulaspora delbrueckii and Zygosaccharomyces bailii. The culture itself appears somewhat like a large pancake, and though often called a mushroom, or by the acronym SCOBY (for "Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast"), it is clinically known as a zoogleal mat.
The recorded history of this drink dates back to the Qin Dynasty in China (around 250 BC). The Chinese called it the "Immortal Health Elixir," because they believed Kombucha balanced the Middle Qi (Spleen and Stomach) and aided in digestion, allowing the body to focus on healing. Knowledge of kombucha eventually reached Russia and then Eastern Europe around the Early Modern Age, when tea first became affordable by the populace.
The word kombucha, while sounding Japanese to foreign ears, is a misnomer when applied to this beverage. In fact, Kombucha in Japanese refers to a tea-like infusion (cha) (actually, more of a thin soup) made from kelp (kombu), usually served to patients in convalescence. The Japanese refer to 'kombucha' as kōcha-kinoko, which literally means black tea mushroom.
The process of brewing kombucha was introduced in Russia and the Ukraine at the end of the 1800s, and became popular in the early 1900s. The kombucha culture is known locally as chayniy grib, and the drink itself is referred to as grib, "tea kvass" or simply "kvass", although it differs from regular "kvass" which is not made from tea and is generally fermented only with yeast and not the other bacteria which ferment tea to form kombucha.Kombucha contains many different cultures along with several organic acids, active enzymes, amino acids, anti-oxidants, and polyphenols. For the home brewer, there is no way to know the amounts of the components unless a sample is sent to a laboratory. The US Food and Drug Administration has no findings on the effects of kombucha. Each strain of kombucha may contain some of the following components depending on the source of the culture:
  1. Acetic acid, which mainly inhibits harmful bacteria and so is used as a preservative. It is also what gives Kombucha that 'kick' to its smell and taste.
  2. Butyric acid, produced by the yeasts and when working with gluconic acid, and in help combat yeast infections such as candida.
  3. Gluconic acid, effective against many yeast infections such as candidiasis and thrush.
  4. Glucuronic acid, thought to be a component of Kombucha tea, known to aid the liver in eliminating toxic substances. Elevated levels of Glucuronic acid has been documented in the urine of Kombucha drinkers.
  5. Lactic acid, found in kombucha in its most potent form, L-lactic(+).
  6. Malic acid, also used in the body's detoxification process.
  7. Oxalic acid, encourages the cellular production of energy and is a natural preservative.
  8. Usnic acid, a potent antibiotic that exhibits antiviral, antiprotozoal, antimitotic, anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity. Kombucha also contains vitamin groups B and C, beneficial yeasts and bacteria.


Health effects
No clinical studies have been performed that demonstrate any specific curative properties of kombucha. A review of the published literature on the safety of kombucha suggests no specific oral toxicity in rats, although other reports suggest that care should be taken when taking medical drugs or hormone replacement therapy while regularly drinking kombucha. It may also cause allergic reactions or other complications, and one should discontinue use or consult a medical professional if complications arise.
Advocates believe kombucha works by assisting in the phase II liver detoxification pathway, leading to efficient elimination of endogenous and exogenous bodily wastes. This hypothesis is due to the observation of increased glucuronic acid conjugates in the urine after kombucha consumption.
Early chemical analysis of kombucha brew suggested that glucuronic acid was a key component of it, perhaps assisting the liver by supplying more of the substance during detoxification. But more recent analysis of kombucha offer a different explanation, as outlined in the book in Analysis of Kombucha Ferments by Michael Roussin. Roussin reports on an extensive chemical analysis of a variety of commercial and homebrew versions of kombucha, and finds no evidence of glucuronic acid at any concentration.
But Roussin suggests that another component may have health benefits: D - glucaro -1,4 lactone, also known as glucaric acid. It serves as an inhibitor of the beta- glucuronidase enzyme, a bacterial product from the gut microbiota that can cleave the glucuronic acid conjugates and send bodily wastes back into circulation, thus increasing the exposure time before the waste is ultimately excreted. Therefore, the active component of kombucha likely exerts its effect by preventing bacterial disruption of glucuronic acid conjugates and increasing the detoxification efficiency of the liver. Glucaric acid is being explored independently as a cancer preventive agent.
Reports of adverse reactions may be related to unsanitary fermentation conditions, leaching of compounds from the fermentation vessels, or "sickly" kombucha cultures that cannot acidify the brew. Cleanliness is important during preparation, and in most cases, the acidity of the fermented drink prevents growth of unwanted contaminants. If a culture becomes contaminated, it will most likely be seen as common mold, green or brown in color.
The kombucha culture at time of harvest. A healthy, new culture is light cream coloured and should be smooth.
There are many ways to prepare kombucha. Though kombucha is almost always prepared with sugar and tea, almost any beverage containing sugar and caffeine (such as cola or sweetened coffee) will allow the culture to grow, though the resultant beverage may be quite unpalatable. Many brewers also recommend using organic ingredients wherever possible to prevent the addition of unwanted chemicals and preservatives.
In one method, the beverage is made by placing some existing kombucha culture in a jar, usually a 3 liter glass container, then pouring in cold black tea with sugar. In about 8-12 days, the first portion of the beverage is ready; part of it is removed for consumption, and more tea with sugar is added to fill the jar. A mature kombucha is several centimeters thick and produces a portion of beverage every day. As the kombucha slowly grows, from time to time slices are taken off it, which can be used to start new cultures in separate containers.
Another method allows for the bottling and saving of kombucha for later consumption. As in the previous method, the culture is placed into a large glass jar and the tea is added. The jar is covered with a coffee filter or paper towel secured with string or rubber bands, and left for seven or eight days. Part of the kombucha is poured off into glass jars and refrigerated for a few days, while part is kept back to start a new batch. The refrigeration allows the flavor to deepen, and the natural carbonation to build up.Each time the kombucha culture goes through the fermentation process, it creates one new "mushroom" layer, or zoogleal mat, which will form atop of the original. After three or four layers have built up, the tea will become sour and taste somewhat like vinegar. When the new batch is ready, one may either use the second layer to start another batch, along with the original one for its own batch or it may be thrown away. Each culture can be used over and over again but most people discard an older one and use the newer to make their next batch of tea.


Photo: http://tashian.com

Monday, November 5, 2007

Natural Health Plant: Ginkgo

Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) is one of the oldest existing tree species and its plants are among the most broadly studied botanicals in use these days. Unlike many other natural health herbs, ginkgo leaves are not habitually used in their crude state, but rather, in the form of a concentrated, standardized ginkgo biloba extract (GBE). In Europe and the United States, ginkgo supplements are among the best-selling herbal drugs and it constantly ranks as a top medicine approved in France and Germany.
The Ginkgo, often misspelled as "Gingko", and also acknowledged as the Maidenhair Tree, is a unique tree with no close living relatives. It is confidential in its own separation, the Ginkgophyta, containing the single class Ginkgoopsida, order Ginkgoales, family Ginkgoaceae, genus Ginkgo and is the only present species within this group. It is one of the best recognized examples of a living fossil. Ginkgoales are not known in the fossil record after the Pliocene, making Ginkgo biloba a living fossil.
For centuries it was deliberation to be extinct in the in their natural habitat, but is now known to breed in at least two small areas in Zhejiang province in Eastern China, in the Tian Mu Shan Reserve. Ginkgo trees in these regions may have been leaned and sealed by Chinese monks for over 1000 years. Therefore, whether native ginkgo populations still survive is tentative.
Medicinal Uses for Natural Health
Ginkgo has been used in traditional natural health medicine to indulgence circulatory disorders and improve memory. Scientific studies during the years provide support to these traditional applies. Promising evidence recommends that GBE may be mostly effective in treating ailments related with diminished blood flow to the brain, particularly in old individuals. Laboratory studies have revealed that GBE advances blood circulation by expanding blood vessels and dropping the stickiness of blood platelets.
In 2002, a long-anticipated paper emerged in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) titled "Ginkgo for memory enhancement: a randomized controlled trial." This Williams College study, supported by the National Institute on Aging rather than Schwabe, observed the effects of ginkgo consumption on healthy volunteers older than 60. The conclusion, now cited in the National Institutes of Health's ginkgo fact sheet, said: "When taken following the manufacturer's instructions, ginkgo provides no measurable benefit in memory or related cognitive function to adults with healthy cognitive function." A 2004 discussion paper reviews how a variety of trials indicate that Ginkgo proves pledge in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, even though advance study is required.
A clinical study initiated that a standardized this natural health plant extract may diminish the side effects of menopause as well as risk factors for osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. Women are flattering more reluctant to use pharmaceutical hormone replacement therapy (HRT) due to its unwanted side effects, such as irregular bleeding and an augmented risk of breast cancer. Several human studies have reported that a standardized ginkgo extract has estrogenic action and might be appropriate as an alternative to HRT. A standardized ginkgo extract was reported to extensively recover functional measures (such as coordination, energy level, strength, mental performance, mood, and sensation) in 22 individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Ginkgo may have some unwanted effects, particularly for individuals with blood circulation disorders and those taking anti-coagulants for example aspirin and warfarin, although current studies have originate that ginkgo has slight or no effect on the anticoagulant properties or pharmacodynamics of warfarin. Ginkgo should also not be used by people who are captivating monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) or by pregnant women with no first consulting a doctor. Ginkgo side effects and cautions include: possible enlarged risk of bleeding, gastrointestinal anxiety, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, dizziness, heart palpitations, and restlessness. If any side effects are knowledgeable, consumption should be stopped immediately.
Photo: http://universe-review.ca/

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Learning Meditation For Natural Health

Learning how to meditate correctly for natural health can certainly help a person to reduce their stress levels as well as help to rejuvenate both their body and soul. In fact many scientific studies now carried out have proved that by reducing our stress levels we can then help to increase the quality of the life's that we lead. In some cases it may help to prevent a person from suffering a heartache or having cancer.

Through the use of meditation a person can learn techniques which will help them to relax and learn to cope with the stresses and strains that our environment now puts upon us. However many people still consider that meditation is closely related to certain religious beliefs and this is not so.

However in order to learn the correct way to meditate a person needs to understand three certain principles associated with this. You need to learn about the way you breath, your posture and that you have the right attitude towards meditation. Below we will take a closer look at the needs for learning about these three particular principles when it comes to learning about the correct ways to meditate.

Posture

This is a very important part of any meditation session and in order for a person to learn to relax properly they need to learn about how to keep their spine straight. When the spine is straight a person will find that the circulation of blood etc., around the body is much improved to their nerves etc., which in turn results in them remaining much more alert than before.

Breathing

Also a crucial element when learning how to meditate. It is important that any one who is taking up meditation learns how to take slow even breaths which comes through down in their diaphragm. Although it takes some practice once achieved a person will find that they are soon able to relax more quickly.

Attitude

In order to feel the full benefits when it comes to learning how to meditate correctly you need to have a the correct and positive attitude. This means that you will need to clear your mind of everything except for learning on how to concentrate your mind so that your body becomes relaxed. In the beginning you may well find that your mind will wander and you start to worry about daily issues or you may even find yourself starting to day dream instead. When this occurs then you need to start learning how to refocus your mind back on to your meditation.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Another Controversial Natural Health: Ginseng

Ginseng is a plump rooted herb, inhabitant to well shattered, breezy, sheltered hardwood forests. This natural health herb does not grow in full daylight, so the ordinary place to plant it is in hardwood forests, where the trees give the needed shade. Ginseng is a perennial sow, but unlike other perennials, lies latent some years and does not grow new tops every year. The root does not pass away, but lies dormant until the next year. Ginseng is one of the most required after herbs on the market. The prospect for growing ginseng looks shows potential for many years as more and more is being used at the present in the United States in adding to the Orient. All Health Food supplies, medicine stores, and even the small gas stations now trade it in capsules, powdered, etc. The demand keeps going up every time.

Ginseng refers to species within Panax, a genus of 11 species of slow-growing perennial plants among fleshy roots, in the family Araliaceae. Natural health roots grow up in the Northern Hemisphere in eastern Asia (frequently northern China, Korea, and eastern Siberia), naturally in cooler climates; Panax vietnamensis, revealed in Vietnam, is the southernmost ginseng found.

Both American and Panax (Asian) ginseng rhizomes are taken orally as adaptogens, aphrodisiacs, healthful stimulants, and in the healing of type II diabetes, including sexual dysfunction in men. The rhizome is most regularly accessible in dried form, either in whole or sliced form. Ginseng leaf, although not as greatly prized, is at times also used; as with the rhizome it is most often available in dried appearance.

As with herbalism in common, ginseng's medical usefulness remains controversial. It has been complicated to confirm the medicinal benefits of ginseng using contemporary science, as there are paradoxical results from dissimilar studies, probably due to the broad variety and excellence of this natural health root used in studies. An additional issue is the profit latent of corporate research since ginseng cannot be unproved. As an outcome, high-quality studies of the effects of ginseng are odd. By the way, one of the improved studies relating ginseng essentially uses a proprietary ginseng extract.

There are references in the literature, including apparently authoritative compendiums that emerge to show relations with ginseng. Herbalist Jonathan Treasure of the United States National Institute of Mental Health traces the growth of half truths on an alleged undesirable herb-drug interaction between the monoamine oxidase inhibitor phenelzine and Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer). This initially was mentioned in a 1985 editorial by Shader and Greenblatt in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology. Shader and Greenblatt committed a couple of lines to the case of 64 year-old woman who took an undisclosed quantity for an private time of a dietary supplement product called “Natrol High” while concurrently taking phenelzine 60 mg qd. She experienced symptoms of “insomnia, headache, and tremulousness”. Treasure called Natrol by email and discovered within ten minutes that there was no Panax ginseng in the formula, but instead eleutherococcus which was then called by the trendy name "Siberian ginseng" and it was prearranged in a subclinical dosage mixed with a diversity of other herbs. The professed interaction effects are well-known side effects of phenelzine alone, which had been known in a high dosage and are not at all indicative of eleutherococcus. However this deceived article with a misidentified herb has been picked up in literature explorations, megastudies and is now acknowledged by conventional medical authorities such as Stockley’s, and is repeated in several botanical monographs e.g. World Health Organization (WHO 1999).

Notice: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly make conform herbs and supplements. There is no warranty of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may differ. You should constantly read product labels. If you have a medical circumstance, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should tell to a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider instantly if you experience side effects.

Photo: http://www.wpr.org/

Friday, October 19, 2007

Garlic: The Death of Natural Health Onion?

Small, white, and slight ‘hot’. That’s garlic. Allium sativum L., Latin name of garlic, is a species in the onion family Alliaceae. Their close families include the onion, shallot, and leek. Garlic has been used during recorded history for both culinary and medicinal functions. It has a distinctive bitter, 'hot', flavor that smoothes and sweetens considerably with cuisine

A rhizome of garlic, the most generally used plant element, is separated into frequent discrete fleshy sectors called cloves which are used for eating or for cooking and remedial purposes. The leaves, stems (scape) and flowers (bulbils) on the head (spathe) are also suitable for eating and most regularly consumed while young and still tender. The papery, protective layers of 'skin' over a variety of parts of the plant and the roots emotionally involved to the bulb are the only parts not measured edible.

Allium sativum produces in the untamed in areas where it has become grew wild; it perhaps moved down from the species Allium longicuspis, which grows wild in south-western Asia. The 'wild garlic', 'crow garlic' and 'field garlic' of Britain are the species Allium ursinum, Allium vineale and Aleum oleraceum, correspondingly. In North America, 'Allium vineale, identified as 'wild-' or 'crow garlic', and Allium candadensis, recognized as 'meadow-' or 'wild garlic', are ordinary weeds in fields.

Garlic is extensively used around the world for its pungent flavor, as a flavor or condiment. Depending on the shape of cookery, the flavor is either mellow or intense. It is habitually matching with onion, tomato, or ginger. The parchment-like membrane is much like the skin of an onion, and is normally uninvolved before using in rare or cooked appearance. An option is to slash the crown off the bulb, coat cloves of that natural health stuff by dribbling olive oil (or other oil based seasoning) above them and cook them in the oven. The garlic softens and can be extracted from the cloves by pressing the (root) end of the bulb or separately by pressing one end of the clove.

Young scapes are gentle and edible. They are also acknowledged as 'garlic spears', 'stems', or 'tops'. Scapes normally have a milder flavor than cloves. They are habitually used in stir frying or arranged like asparagus. This wonderful natural health onion leaves are a popular vegetable in various parts of Asia, particularly Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Indonesia and Korean cuisines. The leaves are cut, hygienic and then stir-fried with eggs, meat, or vegetables. Garlic is crucial to numerous Mediterranean dishes. Combination garlic with eggs and olive oil creates aioli ("garlic and oil" in Provençal). The Spanish variation does not use eggs. Garlic, oil, and a chunky base make skordalia (from the Greek and Italian names of garlic). Blending garlic, almond, oil and soaked bread produces ajoblanco (ajo blanco is Spanish for "white garlic").

Medicinal use and natural health benefits: Myth?

Garlic has been used as both cooking and remedy in numerous cultures for thousands of years, dating as far back as the time that the Egyptian pyramids were made. Garlic is declared to aid prevent heart disease plus atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and cancer. But Allium sativum does not possess, as many people think it does, cancer-fighting properties due to the presence of allylic sulfur compounds such as diallyl disulfide (DADs), supposed not to be an anticarcinogen.

Animal studies, and some early tentative studies in bacteria, have recommended promising cardiovascular disadvantages of garlic. A Czech study found garlic supplementation improved accumulation of cholesterol on vascular walls of animals. Another study had related outcome, with garlic supplementation radically rising the amounts of placque in the aortas of cholesterol-fed rabbits. In a different study proved that supplementation with garlic extract enlarged vascular calcification in human patients with high blood cholesterol. Nevertheless, a NIH-funded randomized clinical trial published in Archives of Internal Medicine in 2007 found that eating of garlic, in any form, did not decrease cholesterol levels in patients with fairly high baseline stages.

However, in 1858, Louis Pasteur observed garlic's antibacterial activity, and it was used as an antiseptic to avert gangrene throughout World War I and World War II. In contemporary naturopathy, garlic is used as a healing for intestinal worms and other intestinal parasites, both orally and as an anal suppository. Garlic cloves are used as a medicine for infections (especially chest problems), digestive disorders, and fungal infections such as thrush. When crushed, Allium sativum yields allicin, a powerful antibiotic and anti-fungal composite (phytoncide). It also holds alliin, ajoene, enzymes, vitamin B, minerals, and flavonoids.

Generally, I think that this white tiny onion regarded natural healthiness herb still has to be used on a doctor requirement.

Source: http://www.wikipedia.org

Photo: http://www.garlicbreakthrough.com

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Apples Health Benefits For Natural Health

I believe that everybody loves apple. In entire of the World, apple can be met in every regions and countries. This beautiful fruit is the promiscuous crop of the apple tree, species Malus domestica in the rose family Rosaceae. It is one of the most widely sophisticated tree fruits. The tree is tiny and deciduous, getting 5-12 m tall, with a large, frequently closely twiggy crown.

The leaves are alternately approved simple ovals 5-12 cm long and 3-6 cm broad on a 2-5 cm petiole with an acute tip, notched margin and a somewhat velvety bottom. Flowers are formed in spring concurrent with the promising of the leaves. The flowers are white with a pink dash that steadily fades five petaled, 2.5-3.5 cm in width. This natural health fruit matures in autumn, and is naturally 5-9 cm diameter. The centre of the fruit contains five carpels prearranged in a five-point star, each carpel containing one to three seeds.

The undomesticated forebear of Malus domestica is Malus sieversii. It has no frequent name in English, but is identified in Kazakhstan, where it is local, as 'alma'; in reality, the region where it is consideration to invent is called Alma-Ata, or 'father of the apples'. This tree is still found wild in the mountains of Central Asia in southern Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Xinjiang, China.

There are more than 7,500 recognized cultivars of apples. Dissimilar cultivars are presented for moderate and subtropical climates. Supposedly the world's biggest compilation of apple cultivars is housed at the National Fruit Collection in England. This natural health fruit does not blossom in tropical climates because they have a chilling condition.

Commercially trendy apple cultivars are soft but crunchy. Other most wanted qualities in modern profitable apple reproduction are a multihued skin, lack of russeting, easiness of distribution, extensive storage capability, high yields, disease struggle, distinctive "Red Delicious" apple form, long twig (to tolerate pesticides to penetrate the crown of the fruit), and well-liked flavor.

Even though most cultivars are breed for consumption fresh (dessert apples), some are cultivated exclusively for cookery (cooking apples) or producing cider. Cider apples are naturally too sharp-tasting and severe to consume fresh, but they provide the brew a rich flavor that dessert apples cannot.

Like most persistent fruits, apples usually spread asexually by grafting. Plantlet apples are dissimilar from their parents, sometimes drastically. Most new apple cultivars create as seedlings, which either occur by likelihood or are bred by intentionally crossing cultivars with talented character. The vocabulary 'seedling', 'pippin', and 'kernel' in the name of an apple cultivar recommend that this natural health fruit originated as a seedling. Apples preserve also form bud sports (mutations on a single branch). Some bud sports churn out to be enhanced strains of the parent cultivar. Some vary adequately from the parent tree to be considered new cultivars.

Food and Health profits For Natural Health
Diverse cultivars of apples have a separate different flavor, and this can be divided into two separate aspects of flavour and texture. Apples are a vital ingredient in numerous winter desserts, for example apple pie, apple crumble, apple crisp and apple cake. They are habitually eaten baked or stewed, and they can also be desiccated and eaten or re-constituted (soaked in water, alcohol or some other liquid) for later utilize. Puréed apples are commonly acknowledged as apple sauce. Apples are also made into apple butter and apple jelly. They are also applied cooked in beef dishware.

In other side, research recommends that apples may decrease the possibility of colon cancer, prostate cancer and lung cancer. Like numerous fruits, this natural health fruit holds Vitamin C as well as a host of other antioxidant compounds, which may reduce the risk of cancer by avoiding DNA dent. The fiber content, while less than in mainly other fruits, assists normalize bowel activities and may thus reduce the risk of colon cancer. They could also aid with heart disease, weight loss and controlling cholesterol, as they do not contain any cholesterol, have fibre (which diminishes cholesterol by preventing reabsorption), and are bulky for their caloric content like most this natural health fruits and vegetables.

A cluster of chemicals in apples might defend the brain from the type of harm that starts such neurodegenerative diseases as Alzheimer's and Parkinsonism. Chang Y. 'Cy' Lee of the Cornell University found that the natural health fruit phenolics, which are obviously happening antioxidants originated in fresh apples, preserve protect nerve cells from neurotoxicity encouraged by oxidative stress. The researchers used red tasty apples from New York State to offer the extracts to study the effects of phytochemicals. Lee believed that all apples are high in the serious phytonutrients and that the sum of phenolic composites in the apple flesh and in the skin differ from year to year, season to season and from rising region to rising region (November/December 2004 issue of the Journal of Food Science). The main phenolic phytochemicals in apples are quercetin, epicatechin, and procyanidin B2 (PMID 14558772). Apple consumption preserve aids eradicate trapped food and hygienic between the teeth, but the malic acid enclosed inside this natural health fruit is also accomplished of corroding tooth enamel over time, and during excess eating.

So, jus eat one apple for a day, and you’ll get healthy benefits. It’s a simple way to keep your body from diseases and to prevent from degeneration process that can raise risk of heart attack and other degeneration diseases.

Source and photo: http://www.wikipedia.org

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Natural Health Lifestyle: Laughter May Be The Best Medicine

Humor - one of the best of natural health lifestyle - has always been an expression of the freedom of the human spirit; the ability to stand outside of life’s flow and view the whole scene—the incongruities, the tragedies outside of our control, the unexpected. I am personally convinced that humor is a part of our lives that is becoming more and more important. If we cannot see the humor in the changing, serious world around us, we are doomed to internalize it and that can bedamaging to us mentally as well as physically.
Here are some results of research into the relationship between stress, work and wellness.
  • Forty five percent of a sample of coronary patients spent more than 60 hours per week on their job.
  • Job stress has been associated with high cholesterol levels, increased heart rate and increased smoking.
  • Blood pressure was higher among employees who said they "did not understand" what was expected of them.
  • "Responsibility for people" on a job is more likely to lead to heart disease than having responsibility for things.
  • Executives who are poor delegators have 8 times as many ulcers as good delegators.
  • White-collar workers reporting job dissatisfaction are 5 times as likely to use tranquilizers.
  • High stress occupations have suicide rates 2-6 times higher then the general population.

Many of these statistics are sobering at best. Yet with the present recession, the current trend toward company downsizing and the rising costs of doing business, what can theaverage Joe or Jane Employee do? One solution may be to "lighten" up your work environment. That doesn’t mean taking your job less seriously; jobs are very serious right now. The idea is to take yourself less seriously. Don’t be afraid to let yourself laugh a little every day. It will improve yourface value.

Interestingly enough, when a comedian uses humor you ask "Is it funny?" When you use humor in the business world, you ask, "Does it work?" There is growing recognition today that something as seemingly frivolous as this natural health lifestyle can actually promote productivity and cohesion within an organization. Many companies are beginning to take a serious interest in humor as it is used in speeches, training, employee relations, and managing stress. The value of humor also reaches into the boardroom. Executives who incorporate a sense of humor into their management styles find that it pays off in increased employee morale, decreased employee absenteeism, higher employee productivity and improvedcommunication within the organization as a whole.The role of humor as a stress reducer cannot be overestimated given today's climate of corporate calamity. Stress interferes with your objectivity and clouds your business judgment. Humor, used judiciously, can help you maintain the perspective necessary for successful decision-making and problem solving. Humor can be taught and workplacehealth is likely to improve as a result.

The positive emotions such as hope, faith, love and laughter have a direct effect on your health. Laughter is not only good medicine, it is also good business. Because laughter and play have been shown to relax tense individuals, this natural health lifestyle may be the ultimate weaponfor combating stress and preventing burnout.Laughing seems to work in relieving stress and even physical pain. Stress experts believelaughter does so by:

  1. Distracting attention
  2. Reducing tension
  3. Changing expectations
  4. And increasing the production of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers

Laughter also produces physiological effects, which, in total, act as an internal organ massage. When the spasm of laughter subsides, the pulse rate drops below normal and the muscles relax deeply. The effect can last as long as 45 minutes.

Here are some quotes about various aspects of daily living that might give you a chuckle:

Stress

"The secret of living with frustration and worry is to avoid becoming personally involved with your own life."
Ziggy

"Relax…otherwise you might die all tensed up."
Unknown

Work

"How would you like a job where if you make a mistake, a big red light goes on and 18,000 people boo?"
Jaques Plante, former hockey goalie

"My father taught me to work, but not to love it. I never did like to work, and I don’t deny it. I’d rather read, tell stories, crack jokes, talk, laugh…anything but work."
Abraham Lincoln

"To love what you do, and to feel that it matters…how could anything be more fun?"
Katherine Graham, newspaper publisher

Goals

"Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goals."
Unknown

"Don’t wait for your ship to come in, swim out to it."
Unknown

"The greatest of all mistakes is to do nothing because you can only do a little. Do what you can."
Sydney Smith

Health

"This is serious, some things suppose to last the rest of my life are already wearing out."
Ashleigh Brilliant

"To avoid delay, please have all of your symptoms ready."
Notice in an English doctor’s waiting room

Laughter

"You can turn painful situations around through laughter. If you can find humor in something, you can survive it."
Bill Cosby

"Laughter is the shortest distance between two individuals."
Victor Borge

The most helpful humor involves the good-natured contemplation of life’s ups and downs. Good humor is related to a healthy self esteem, especially one’s ability to laugh at him or herself.

"When people have the ability to laugh at themselves, they start to develop a different attitude. They stop believing that life owes them certain things. They know that they have to work for what they get. They become more effective in life. It’s a kind of paradox. Until they can really accept their shortcomings, they can’t go out and do what they are capable of doing." (Dr. Frank Prevost, Psychotherapist, Western University)

Humor is important, but always remember the following tips when using this natural health lifestyle withothers:
  1. Adopt an attitude of playfulness
  2. See the funny side or the flip side of every situation.
  3. Learn to take yourself lightly, to laugh at yourself.
  4. Laugh with others for what they do, NOT what they are.
  5. The key to successfully using humor is "laughing with," never "laughing at."
  6. Be sensitive to the right time, the right place and the right amount.
  7. Know your audience and be appropriate.
  8. Consider age, level of education, values and culture. Remember, it is embarrassing tobe the one not to get the joke!

Bear in mind, in this negative world we live in, don't leave the positives to chance! Build humor into your daily work environment and reap the benefits!

Correct attribution for this article is:

Cheryl Nason, BS, MEd.
Author, Speaker and Trainer
http://thepurplebrain.com

Photo: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Natural Health Fruit: Health Benefits Of Coconut

Coconut cream / milk

Coconut cream is widely used in curries, desserts and cakes. That's because it enhances the aroma and tastes of the dishes and can be obtained easily and cheaply. It has a thick, paste-like consistency and when diluted, it is called coconut milk.

However, people avoid coconut cream because of its high fat content. Especially those who want to lose weight. But do you know that it is good saturated fat which can be easily metabolised or turn into energy fast? That means it does not cause blockages in our arteries. I'm not suggesting you to indulge in this natural health cream, but rather than avoid it altogether, it is alright to eat in moderation. The principle fatty acid in coconut milk is lauric acid, which is the same fat found in abundance in mother's milk. When converted to monolaurin, it boosts your immune system and protects your body against many viruses, including hepatitis C, herpes and even HIV!

It also promotes normal brain development and contribute to healthy bones. It also has important anti-carcinogenic and anti-pathogenic properties which helps to prevent cancer. More importantly, coconut cream is less likely to cause weight gain than polyunsaturated oils. Never know coconut cream can be so good right? Canned or packaged coconut cream is available in supermarkets. It must be refrigerated once opened and does not last more than a week. Also, do not freeze coconut milk as this causes it to curdle when you next use it in cooking. Try different brands of canned coconut milk to find the one to your liking. Those with thick cream floating on top of the can with the watery milk below it are proofs that they are not artificially homogenized.

Virgin Coconut oil

Extracted from fresh coconut milk and meat, virgin coconut oil has such an aromatic and flavourful taste that it is used in many Just like coconut cream, this natural health oil reduces bad cholesterol unlike polyunsaturated vegetable oils such as canola, sunflower and safflower oils. It contains least calorie count among the category of monosaturated oils. You ladies out there got to know this ! Surprise, surprise ! Coconut oil does speed up metabolism and aids you in shedding off the excess fats !

People of traditional cultures, such as the South Pacific Islands and the Philippines where coconut and palm oils are plentiful, suffer lower rates of obesity and health problems. Look at our society today - we pile high on our plates food equally high in carbohydrates and polyunsaturated oils which increase our risk of heart diseases and diabetes. Yet we complain about our weight and poor health. It's a shame !

However, coconut oil is different from other animal oil. Studies have found that it aids in lowering blood pressure and regulate thyroid dysfunction. Unlike refined oils, this natural health oil does not turn rancid easily and become toxic to our bodies. If you have damaged hair, try using coconut oil on your hair and scalp. It has been proven to be a more effective treatment for damaged hair than mineral oil and sunflower oil. That's because coconut oil is the only oil among the three which effectively reduces protein loss in hair.

Virgin coconut oil is an excellent beauty care product too. Here are some benefits :

  1. it penetrates and moisturises the skin
  2. minimise damage from sun exposure that causes sagging, wrinkling and blemishes
  3. removes dead skin cells, producing an even texture and glow 4) heals damaged or diseased skin

Sometimes, wonderful remedies can be within your reach and in abundance, only if you look hard enough. In this case, it is the Coconut.

Author: Laura Ng

An Overview Of Herbal Remedies For Natural Health by: TotalHerbal Staff

Herbal remedies for natural health are those remedies created from plants and from plant extracts. The recipes for these remedies are past on through tradition and folklore. As such, the practice of using herbal remedies for healing purposes is an ancient one that has been used on all seven of the continents. In fact, some herbal remedy recipes have been depicted in cave paintings that date back as far as 13,000 to 25,000 BC.

Today, the same herbal remedies that have been uses for hundreds or even thousands of years are still in use. According to anthropologists, these remedies have been improved over time through the process of trial and error. As the knowledge surrounding herbs and their uses has grown, so has the practice of using herbal remedies for their healing power. Even herbs for natural health commonly used to season our foods have specific healing powers. Garlic, for example, is known by herbalists for its ability to lower cholesterol, to reduce blood pressure, to reduce platelet aggression, and to provide antibacterial properties.

There are three basic forms of herbalism that are followed by most practitioners in the United States. These include:

  • Western herbal medicine based on Roman and Greek herbalism
  • The practice of Ayurvedic from India
  • Chinese medicine, referred to as Chinese herbology

Each of these forms of herbal medicine for natural health has an ancient history with millions of loyal followers. In addition, the practice of Ayurvedic remains an important practice in India, with the President of the country even having his own personal Ayurvedic physicians. The same holds true of Chinese medicine, which is still practice by many doctors within the country.

Although each herb used in herbal medicine has its own unique properties, most herbal remedies involve mixing more than one herb together. This helps improve the flavor of the concoction while also improving its potency. One popular mixed herbal remedy is mint leaf, eucalyptus, and juniper berry, which is mixed together to help fend off colds.

When mixing together an herbal remedy, it is best to use dried herbs because most herbal remedies are based on the effects of herbs in this state. Since some the chemical structure of some herbs actually changes when dried, you may not experience the same effect if you use fresh herbs.

There are a couple different ways to ingest herbal remedies. Tea is a popular method for natural health, which involves seeping the herbs in hot water for about five minutes before drinking the tea. You may also choose to mix the herbs into your food or to take them in capsule form. For some herbs, the best method of use may be to obtain the essential oils of the plant and use it for aromatherapy purposes. Herbal remedies have been in use for thousands of years. And, since they continue to prove themselves effective to those that use them, you can expect them to be around for years to come.

Find out more about herbal remedies at www.totalherbal.com.

Author: TotalHerbal Staff

The Real Facts About High Fiber Foods

There are so many benefits of a high fiber diet that one wonders why it took so long to realize it. It provides total body support, from cleansing, detoxifying and decreasing the risk of deadly diseases. As a matter of fact, a high fiber diet promotes healthy cholesterol levels. When the wrong type of cholesterol accumulates in your blood and arteries, it can block the flow of blood to your heart and the result can be life-threatening. However, the remedy is not to banish all cholesterol, but to encourage the good cholesterol and limit the bad to maintain good heart health.

Cholesterol is a waxy substance made predominantly by the liver. It forms a part of every cell wall. That is why it is impossible to live without it. Cholesterol also creates bile salts, as well as sex and adrenal hormones. It helps the body to make vitamin D, which helps the nervous system to perform its function. But, when too much low-density lipoprotein or LDL (bad) cholesterol enters the bloodstream, it is deposited on artery walls and interferes with the blood flow. This leads to the oxidization of the arterial plaques of LDL, which can rupture and set off a clotting reaction that prevents the heart muscle from receiving the nutrients it needs to survive. In contrast, high-density lipoprotein or HDL (good) cholesterol helps keep arteries clear. According to the National Institutes of Health, your LDL cholesterol level should be below 130 mg/DL, and your HDL level above 40 mg/DL.

This is where a high fiber diet can do magic. It helps to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Unicity International, a global health and wellness company conducted a study and found that supplements of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber boosted HDL and lowered LDL. “The remarkable observation is that this works on two sides,” says Unicity Chief Science Officer Peter J. Verdegem, PhD. “It decreased LDL and increased HDL by significant amounts at 90 days. This approach is virtually free of side effects. When it is in the intestines, fiber decreases re-absorption of cholesterol from a meal.”

Another study focusing on more than 150 Hispanic men and women revealed that consuming soluble fiber resulted in a significant decrease in LDL levels by speeding the elimination of waste from the intestines. It also prevents bile from reentering the body.

How Much Fiber Do You Need

Most experts recommend 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day. Unfortunately, majority of Americans take hardly 10 to 15 daily grams. In some countries people take in 100 grams of fiber every day; they have very low incidence of heart diseases.

Fiber is found in vegetarian foods. In contrast, meat and other animal products are devoid of fiber. Refined foods like cakes and cookies made from white flour have had their fiber removed.

Fiber is indigestible with no fattening calories. It was considered of no consequence because it consists of carbohydrates impervious to the digestive enzymes in the gut. That explains why it was ignored for so long. However, now we know that fiber nourishes the immune-boosting, friendly bacteria that line the digestive tract.

Fiber is divided into two types: soluble and insoluble. Both of them produce different health benefits. Soluble fiber exits the stomach slowly, and takes the toxins with it through the digestive tract. Insoluble fiber sweeps toxins off the walls of the intestines. You need to consume a balance of soluble and insoluble.

Author: Brandon H. Masters

Reduce Your Cholesterol With Natural Vitamins

Because of the great efforts of the American Heart Association and other similar organizations, we have gained a lot of knowledge on cholesterol and its effects on our health. We know that high cholesterol levels increase our risk for heart attacks and strokes. We also know that lowering our cholesterol levels will reduce this risk and keep our hearts and blood vessels healthy. Additionally, we know that diet, weight loss, and exercise can help us lower our cholesterol levels. Prescription drugs that lower cholesterol have recently become available and advertised by pharmaceutical companies. However, these medications have some serious side effects including myopathy, reduction in CoQ10 levels, which can lead to heart disease, and rhabdomyaolysis, a rare, but fatal condition. Fortunately, there is a safe alternative to these prescription medications, pantethine and plant sterols, which are also known as phytosterols, are nature’s solution to high cholesterol levels.

Cholesterol, a soft, waxy, fat-like substance, is found in every cell of the body. It is needed to help digest fats, strengthen cell membranes, insulate nerves, and make hormones. Made primarily by the liver, our body makes all the cholesterol that we actually need, but we also get additional cholesterol from the foods that we eat. The highest sources of cholesterol are egg yolks and organ meats including liver and kidney. Peanut butter, avocado, and all other plant-derived foods contain no cholesterol. However, all foods from animal sources do contain cholesterol. Even though cholesterol is responsible for many important functions in the body, too much cholesterol in the bloodstream can be very dangerous. Once blood cholesterol has reached high levels, it builds up on artery walls, and therefore increases the risk of blood clots, heart attack, and stroke. Because the heart is a muscle, it needs a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients. The bloodstream, which transports these nutrients to the heart through coronary arteries, cannot transport the oxygen if the arteries become narrowed or clogged by cholesterol and fat deposits. Depending on the severity, this can result in coronary heart disease, angina, or heart attack.

Because cholesterol and other fats can’t dissolve in the blood, they can’t travel on their own. Instead, they are transported to and from cells by special carriers called lipoproteins. There are two major lipoproteins: low density lipoproteins (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol, and high density lipoproteins (HDL) or “good” cholesterol. LDLs cause atherosclerosis because they clog up our arteries with the continual buildup of fat. On the other hand, HDL prevents fat buildup by carrying it away from the arteries to the liver, where it can be processed and eliminated.

Triglycerides, which are fats used as fuel by the body, can make the blood more sluggish and less capable of transporting oxygen when in high amounts. There are many medications prescribed by physicians for people with elevated triglyceride levels. Some of the most effective, and most harmful, are the statins. The all-natural combination of pantethine and plant sterols can safely lower triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels, while increasing HDL cholesterol.

Pantethine, which is a form of pantothenic acid that is found in liver, salmon, and yeast, is known for its ability to lower cholesterol by blocking its production. The production of cholesterol in the human body is a very complex process, involving many biochemical reactions and enzyme activity. Pantethine inhibits several of these enzymes, blocking the activity of those coenzymes involved in cholesterol synthesis by about 50%. To compensate for the lowered cholesterol production, the liver pulls LDL out of the bloodstream, resulting in a lower total cholesterol level.

Plant sterols, which are the fats of plants, are found in nuts, vegetable oils, corn, and rice. They are structurally very similar to cholesterol and are therefore able to act as a stand in for cholesterol and block its absorption, causing it to be eventually excreted. If we eat enough plant sterols, the amount of cholesterol transported from the intestinal tract to the liver is greatly reduced. And, just like pantethine’s effect on the liver, this cholesterol reduction causes the liver to pull LDL cholesterol out of the blood, which reduces both total and LDL cholesterol levels.

Because the plant sterol and pantethine found in food just aren’t enough to have much of an effect on our health, we need to take a concentrated combination of pantethine and plant sterols in just the right ratio. Plant sterols, which are bound in fibers in the plants, can not be adequately consumed even if we ate lots of raw fruits and vegetables. There are also several forms of plant sterols, with some ratios of these plant sterols being more beneficial than others. While pantethine is found in several food sources, it is hard to get beneficial amounts from our food. Manufacturers of high quality nutritional supplements offer pantethine and plant sterols in the most beneficial ratio, proven by research. The best results are found when taking a combination of 400 mg of plant sterols and 200 mg of pantethine three times a day. Recent studies have shown that lowering cholesterol in people without heart disease can greatly reduce their risk for ever developing CHD, along with heart attacks and atherosclerosis. This is also true for those with high cholesterol levels and for those with average cholesterol levels. Most physicians would never consider prescribing statin drugs to people without actual heart disease or high cholesterol levels because of the many health risks of the drugs. However, the combination of pantethine and plant sterols are very effective in helping those people with heart disease, high cholesterol levels, high triglyceride levels, as well as those just wanting the extra health insurance for their hearts. Pantethine and plant sterols are both very safe. Although some people may experience a mild upset stomach when first taking pantethine, taking the combination of pantethine and plant sterols with meals can usually solve this problem. Pantethine and plant sterols are available at your local or internet vitamin store.

Author: Darrell Miller

Omega 3 Microencapsulation – Not In My Orange Juice - The Newest Development To Cash In

In an effort to add Omega 3 from the right source (fatty fish) to our grocery store products, the latest attempt to cash in on the Omega 3 band wagon is microencapsulated Omega 3 fish oil in of all things, orange juice (Tropicana), butter (I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter) and yogurt. Suffice it to say, microencapsulation is a complicated process that requires a scientific background to explain.

What I do know is, I never wish to add fish of any kind, in any form, encapsulated, freeze dried, flaked or otherwise to orange juice, butter, yogurt, or any food for that matter. It’s not only tremendously unappealing, many people are deathly allergic to fish. Will they have to read labels of orange juice, butter and yogurt to make sure dried or encapsulated Omega 3 fish oil is not lurking within?

We are inundated by commercialism, clever advertisers, hype, powerful food and drug companies complicated by our own time limitations to dig deep for answers. So we do our best to keep up, read a bit here, listen a bit there and assimilate information often on the run. When we walk into our grocery stores and see Omega 3 on products, our first reaction is to buy knowing we need to add Omega 3 yet so few know they just added more seed oils to their bodies. And with today’s textbook science clearly showing seed oils are the culprit behind chronic inflammation affecting Americans’ health today, it is not a stretch to call the behavior of food manufacturers unscrupulous in their duping of the American consumer in the most dreadful way – not the cash in their hand but the very health they are trying to either keep or restore.

Research once showed ALA from seed oils was beneficial to heart health and other diet-related diseases, yet those conditions continued to climb and studies began emerging linking an over-abundance of ALA and other seed oils to chronic inflammation (arachidonic acid) being at the core of those diseases. And unless you’ve stayed clear of fast food restaurants, prepackaged foods, treats, and your favorite sit down restaurant, you’ve unknowingly been consuming huge quantities beyond any healthy recommendation that was suggested just a few years ago.

The first attempt at misleading labeling was conscienceless but the newest of dropping tiny caplets of microencapsulated Omega 3 fish oil into juice and dairy products defies logic. My mind, nor my palate, can tolerate the thought of the taste or texture. At first glance it might appear as a step in the right direction by at least adding fish oil that we need but do you want fish oil delivered to you in those products? And if we throw Omega 3 microencapsulated fish oil into a wide array of grocery store products, how will we know if we’ve consumed a gram a day as suggested by the AHA or ten grams a day? It is estimated that by 2011, sales of Omega 3 enriched products will soars to $7 Billion Dollars.

A simpler solution is educating the American public as to the difference between food grade Omega 3 fish oils that offer no benefit and pure pharmaceutical grade fish oil from the right fatty fish that do. Purifying fish oil requires years of skill utilizing molecular processes. Suppliers who purchase 50 gallon drums of fish oil to turn into capsules for resale can afford to buy one, get one free and offer a two month supply for $25.00. Your health is precious and finding a quality source of fish oil only requires a little looking beyond the labeling.

Find a fish oil manufacturer (not a fish oil reseller, retailer or supplier) who began the process of producing fish oil by contracting with deep sea fisherman to deliver it to their lab. Make sure they either own the pharmaceutically lab purifying the oil or are aware of the lab’s standards. If not, your supplement passed through so many hands, it’s amazing it made it to the shelf in tact. Check for testimonies from real, satisfied customers who have experienced significant health changes. There are great fish oil products out there.

Author: Lois Smithers