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Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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Oil Of Oregano Benefits: 11 Things To Know About Oregano Oil

Most of us would take just about anything if we thought it might keep us healthy during cold and flu season. It turns out that there’s some evidence to suggest that an herb you likely have in your kitchen might be able to help stave off sickness this winter.

Some natural health enthusiasts promote oregano oil as a means to fight cold and flus, keep your digestive tract healthy, and soothe problem skin. But is there any science behind the hype? Here are the 11 things you should know about oregano oil this winter.

Oregano Oil Facts

Yes, it’s from the herb: Oregano oil is, as the name implies, oil from the oregano herb that is extracted by steam distillation. Or at least from an oregano herb — there are more than 40 varieties of the plant. According to Alive, the oil from Oreganum vulgare is believed to hold the most therapeutic benefit.

Stuffed up? You may find some relief by adding a couple drops of oregano oil to a diffuser or vapourizer and inhaling for a few minutes. Drinking a few drops of oil in juice or water may also provide some relief from a sore throat.

It’s also used for GI problems: Because there’s some evidence that oil of oregano has anti-fungal or antiviral properties, it’s thought to be helpful for some gastrointestinal issues. One small study showed that treatment with oregano oil may be useful for parasite infections, but further study is needed.

It could have anti-fungal properties: Some studies have shown that in lab cultures, oregano oil puts up a strong fight against Candida albicans, the bacteria that causes the fungal infection candida. Other research found it may have a similar effect against the mold fungis Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus niger. However, similar studies haven’t yet been done in human subjects.

You can use it on your skin: It’s thought that oregano oil is helpful for skin conditions like cold sores, muscle aches, nail fungus, joint pain, and dandruff. Try diluting it with a carrier oil like jojoba, sweet almond, or grapeseed, at 10 to 12 drops oregano oil per ounce of carrier oil. However, don’t use oregano oil on broken or sensitive skin, as it can be irritating. There is some anecdotal evidence suggestions that it may be effective for treatment of psoriasis, an inflammatory skin condition, but no published research yet.

It’s a natural insect repellent: Oil of oregano contains many compounds, and one of them is carvacrol — a natural insect repellent. This compound is also found in plants like mint and thyme. Try putting a few drops of oil on outdoor furniture — test first on an inconspicuous area to make sure it doesn’t stain — or apply a dilution of it to unbroken skin when heading outdoors.

It may help in the fight against antibiotic resistance: Some people believe that we can stave off antibiotic resistance by turning to natural solutions like oregano oil more often. One lab test in 2001 found that oregano oil was effective in killing staphylococcus bacteria, and another published laboratory study out of the UK found that it showed effectiveness against 25 different bacteria.

It tastes terrible: Don’t expect that you’ll enjoy taking oregano oil, even if you love Greek food. It has a much more potent taste in oil form, so be prepared!

Be careful: Because oregano oil in its pure form is so strong, it should only be used when diluted; try a ratio of one part oregano oil to three parts carrier oil, such as olive oil. Undiluted oregano oil can be irritating to the skin and mucous membranes. It is also possible to purchase diluted oregano oil.

It’s meant for short-term use: In Alive, clinical herbalist Michelle Lynde recommends using oregano oil for acute conditions, by taking four to six drops at a time for seven to ten days.

It’s not for everyone: The therapeutic use of oregano oil should be avoided in infants and children, and pregnant or nursing women. It also should be avoided by people with high blood pressure or a heart condition. It’s always a good idea to talk to your preferred medical professional before starting a new wellness routine, and to disclose your use of alternative therapies in case of counter-indications with other medications or treatments.

 11/14/2013   Terri Coles   The Huffington Post Canada
 


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The Herb that Shows Promise against Heart Disease

By: Michelle Schoffro Cook    May 19, 2016    Follow Michelle at @mschoffrocook

Few people give their heart and vascular system much consideration until something goes wrong. But the circulatory system, which comprises the heart, lungs, arteries and veins, keeps hormones, nutrients, oxygen and other gases flowing throughout the body.

Essentially, it is the delivery system for the body, without which we could not live. However, with our modern high stress lifestyle with its stresses, fast food and insufficient activity, we can become prone to the leading cause of death—heart disease.

When we think of natural solutions for the condition, we probably think of a plant-based diet high in Omega 3 fatty acids and low in trans fats, saturated fats and Omega 6 fatty acids, not to mention exercise. And, we’d certainly be right in doing so since all of these lifestyle improvements can help prevent or reverse heart disease.

But exciting research published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that adding the herb rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) to your diet can also help treat heart disease. The researchers found that compounds naturally found in rosemary have significant anti-inflammatory effects, which is an underlying factor in the condition.

Rosemary

A growing body of research links heart disease to low-grade inflammation throughout the blood vessels. Our dietary choices of trans fats and other harmful fats, excessive sugar consumption and other inflammation-causing substances can inflame the blood vessels. I tend to think of the inflammation underlying heart disease as scouring the inner walls of the blood vessels, which then need repair with substances like cholesterol, which is the body’s natural substance for arterial repair.

While rosemary has been traditionally used throughout history in the treatment of headaches, memory and epilepsy, the research shows that it also holds promise as a natural medicine for the treatment of heart disease.  The study concluded that rosemary has the potential to be developed into a natural heart disease medication or functional food.

How to Use Rosemary

The easiest way to benefit from rosemary’s circulation-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties is to add it to your food. It is a flavorful addition to soups, stews, vegetable or poultry dishes. I add rosemary along with vegetables like onions, carrots, celery and other vegetable scraps and water to make a delicious stock that can be used to make soups, gravy, sauces or to cook rice, quinoa, or other grain. Rosemary is also a welcome addition to tomato sauces or other tomato-based dishes.

How to Make Rosemary Tea

Add two teaspoons of dried, organic rosemary needles or a 4-inch sprig of fresh rosemary to boiled water and let steep for at least 10 minutes. Strain and drink to reap the health and healing rewards of rosemary.

Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is an international best-selling and 19-time published book author whose works include: Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty, and Cooking (New World Library, 2016).


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Echinacea

Other Names: American Cone Flower, Black Sampson, Black Susans, Brauneria Angustifolia, Brauneria Pallida, Comb Flower, Coneflower, Echinacea Angustifolia, Echinacea Pallida, Echinacea Purpurea, Echinaceawurzel, Échinacée, Échinacée Angustifolia, Échinacée Pallida, Échinacée Pourpre, Échinacée Purpurea, Equinácea, Fleur à Hérisson, Hedgehog, Igelkopfwurzel, Indian Head, Kansas Snakeroot, Narrow-Leaved Purple Cone Flower, Pale Coneflower, Purple Cone Flower, Purpursonnenhutkraut, Purpursonnenhutwurzel, Racine d’echininacea, Red Sunflower, Rock-Up-Hat, Roter Sonnenhut, Rudbeckie Pourpre, Schmallblaettrige Kegelblumenwurzel, Schmallblaettriger Sonnenhut, Scurvy Root, Snakeroot, Sonnenhutwurzel.

Echinacea is an herb. Several species of the echinacea plant are used to make medicine from its leaves, flower, and root.

Echinacea is widely used to fight infections, especially the common cold and other upper respiratory infections. Some people take echinacea at the first sign of a cold, hoping they will be able to keep the cold from developing. Other people take echinacea after cold symptoms have started, hoping they can make symptoms less severe. The people who use echinacea to treat symptoms have the right idea. Research to date shows that echinacea probably modestly reduces cold symptoms, but it’s not clear whether it helps prevent colds from developing.

Echinacea is also used against many other infections including the flu, urinary tract infections, vaginal yeast infections, genital herpes, bloodstream infections (septicemia), gum disease, tonsillitis, streptococcus infections, syphilis, typhoid, malaria, and diphtheria.

Other uses not related to infection include chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), rheumatism, migraines, acid indigestion, pain, dizziness, rattlesnake bites, and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

echinacea

Sometimes people apply echinacea to their skin to treat boils, abscesses, skin wounds, ulcers, burns, eczema, psoriasis, UV radiation skin damage, herpes simplex, bee stings, and hemorrhoids.

Echinacea species are native to North America and were used as traditional herbal remedies by the Great Plains Indian tribes. Later, settlers followed the Indians’ example and began using echinacea for medicinal purposes as well. For a time, echinacea enjoyed official status as a result of being listed in the US National Formulary from 1916-1950. However, use of echinacea fell out of favor in the United States with the discovery of antibiotics and due to the lack of scientific evidence supporting its use. But now, people are becoming interested in echinacea again because some antibiotics don’t work as well as they used to against certain bacteria.

Commercially available echinacea products come in many forms including tablets, juice, and tea.

There are concerns about the quality of some echinacea products on the market. Echinacea products are frequently mislabeled, and some may not even contain echinacea, despite label claims. Don’t be fooled by the term “standardized.” It doesn’t necessarily indicate accurate labeling. Also, some echinacea products have been contaminated with selenium, arsenic, and lead.

Studies on the effectiveness of echinacea at preventing or shortening colds are mixed. Some studies show no benefit. Others show a significant reduction in the severity and duration of cold symptoms when taken in the early stages of a cold. One reason study results have been inconclusive may be that the type of echinacea plant and preparation used from one study to the next have varied considerably. Research on the role of echinacea in treating the common cold is ongoing. In the meantime, if your immune system is healthy and you aren’t taking prescription medications, using echinacea supplements is unlikely to cause harm.

sources:  Mayo Clinic  Web MD


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Spices and Herbs With a Huge Impact

Medicinal herbs and spices have been used with great effectiveness from ancient times.

Find out how these seven spices & herbs can make a huge impact on your daily health.

Cloves – Found to have the highes
t antioxidant content of all spices an be used as a painkiller and has been used for centuries to treat tooth aches and gum pain. Eases cold and allergies, and oil of clo
ves is useful as antiseptic in mouthwash.

Oregano – 1/2 tsp has the same amount of antioxidants as a quarter cup of almonds and four times the antioxidant activity of blueberries…Go greek make a greek salad and sprinkle on the oregano Oregano is rich in Vitamin K, iron, maganese, and kills e.coli, salmonella, and virtually all food-borne pathogens.

Ginger – Over 50 antioxidants have been found in ginger. It helps increase circulation, calms digestive problems. Ginger has also been used to treat food poisoning, shown to lower cholesterol, treat arthritis, reduce inflammation, and can be used to help increase insulin sensivity in diabetics.


Cinnamon – Plays an important role in regulating blood sugar in people with diabetes. Clinical studies have shown a consistent intake of cinnamon daily help reduce glucose, triglyceride, and LDL cholestrol with type II diabetics.

Tumeric – The bright neon yellow color comes from the phytochemical Curcumin and can eliminate cancer cells, help reduce obesity, and metabolic diseases. Scientists have found by creating a new molecule from curcumin, called CNB-001, this molecule triggers the mechanisms that safeguard and restore brain cells after a stroke.

Rosemary – Blocks HCAs or carcinogenic compounds found your favorite grilled meats. Rosemary oil can improve cognitive performance and fight off free radical’s that cause Alzheimer’s, stroke, and dementia.

Mustard – The compound AITC compound found in mustard seed is known to be an anti-cancer compound – this plant compound is also found in wasabi & horseradish. Studies show that AITC, stopped the growth of bladder cancer by 33%.

source: www.foodlve.com


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Cilantro: More Than An Herb, It Can Purify Water Too

By Alexandra Sifferlin     Sept. 12, 2013

The next time you find yourself facing some questionable drinking water, look for some cilantro.

At least that’s what a team of U.S. and Mexican researchers made up of undergraduate students suggest.

The research team, lead by Douglas Schauer of Ivy Tech Community College in Lafayette, IN, along with colleagues from the Universidad Politécnica de Francisco I. Madero in Hidalgo, Mexico, have been studying the region of Tule Valley near Mexico City to identify cheaper ways to filter water. Mexico City has long dumped its waste water in the valley, and the contaminated water is then used by regional farmers to irrigate crops. Once in the edible foods, heavy metals such as lead and nickel can make their way to consumers, where they can contribute to neurological and other health problems. “The organic toxins we can take care of pretty easily with a number of different methods, but the only way to really get rid of those heavy metals is to treat them with filtering agents like activated charcoal (like what’s found in a Brita filter), but those types of materials are kind of expensive,” says Schauer. “They are a little expensive for us to use, but they are very expensive to the people living in that region.”

After testing various samples of plants from cacti to flowers, the researchers determined that cilantro is the most prevalent and powerful so-called bioabsorbant material in the area. Bioabsorption is the scientific term for using organic materials often found in plants, that when dried, could replace the charcoal currently used in filters. The team suspects that the outer wall structure of the tiny cells that make up the plant are ideal for capturing metals. Other plants, like dandelions and parsley may also provide similar bioabsorbant capabilities.

 

Schauer says ground-up cilantro can be inserted into a tube into which water is passed through. The cilantro allows the water to trickle out but absorbs metals, leaving cleaner drinking water. Dried cilantro can also be placed into tea bags that are placed in a pitcher of water for a few minutes to suck out the heavy metals. “It’s something they already have down there, it takes minimal processing, and it’s just a matter of them taking the plants and drying them out on a rock in the sun for a couple of days,” says Schauer.

Because cilantro isn’t an essential crop, using it as a purifier won’t take away from people’s food needs in the region, and the relative ease with which the plant grows also makes it a realistic option for cleansing water.

So far, the researchers reported success in removing lead and nickel with their cilantro filters, and are studying how well the herb can removed other heavy metals found in the Tule Valley water such as arsenic and mercury. “We are hoping we can look at how cilantro absorbs those metals, and see if those metals work in some kind of synergy when they come into contact with the biomass,” says Schauer. “We need to look at mixtures of metals to see if cilantro evenly pulls all the metals out.”

How much cilantro would it take to effective make contaminated water drinkable? Schauer says a handful of cilantro will nearly cleanse a pitcher full of highly contaminated water of its lead content.

The researchers are presented their findings at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society.

source: Time


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Magnolia Tree Bark Extract Fights Bad Breath, Tooth Decay, Stress

by: Leslee Dru Browning     Tuesday, January 08, 2008 

(NaturalNews) Magnolia Bark has been used in Chinese Medicine since the year 100 A.D. Magnolia Bark was primarily selected as a safe treatment for low energy, anxiety, stress and depression. Recently, after hundreds of years of herbal use, scientific research discovered that magnolia bark is rich in two biphenol compounds (magnolol and honokiol), which are thought to contribute to the primary anti-stress and cortisol-lowering effects of the plant. Today, medical research specifies that magnolia’s anti-stress benefits are, indeed, linked to its ability to control levels of the body’s primary stress hormone, cortisol.

Elevated cortisol levels are associated with conditions including, but not limited to, obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, memory problems and suppressed immune function; magnolia bark can help these conditions by regulating cortisol levels. Numerous health benefits are associated with normal cortisol levels.

Old-time herbalists used magnolia bark in hypertension herbal remedies and Japanese researchers have now determined that the magnolol and honokiol components of Magnolia officinalis are one thousand times more potent than alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) in their antioxidant activity, thereby offering a potential heart-health benefit. Research has also shown both magnolol and honokiol to possess powerful “brain-health” benefits through their actions in modulating the activity of various neurotransmitters and related enzymes in the brain.

The latest research news from scientists in Illinois report that breath mints made with magnolia bark extract kill most oral bacteria that causes bad breath and tooth decay within 30 minutes of chewing the mints. A magnolia bark extract could be a boon for oral health when added to chewing gum and mints according to a study reported in the ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a bi-weekly publication.

Minmin Tian and Michael Greenberg tested the germ-killing power of magnolia bark extract using saliva samples taken from volunteers following a regular meal.

In this new study, Mints containing the extract killed more than 61 percent of the germs that cause bad breath within 30 minutes, compared with only a 3.6 percent germ-kill for the same flavorless mints without the extract, the researchers say. Magnolia bark is much more effective than existing anti-bacterial products for bad breath, which are far from ideal, with some having side effects like tooth staining.

The extract also showed strong antibacterial activity against a group of bacteria known to cause cavities. Mints and chewing gum containing the extract may also provide a “portable oral care supplement to dentifrice (toothpaste), where brushing is not possible,” the study states.


Herbalists have also used magnolia bark in herbal remedies for the following health conditions:

Traditional Usage:

* Allergies
* Anti-anxiety
* Anti-inflammatory
* Antioxidant
* Chest Pain
* Cleansing
* Detoxification
* Digestive Problems
* Emotional Distress
* Energy Loss
* Fainting
* Heart Health Maintenance
* Hormonal Imbalances
* Inflammation
* Insomnia
* Muscle tension
* Nervousness
* Obesity
* Stress and restlessness
* Tension
* Tension Headaches

All magnolia species have been found to have similar active ingredients and are used interchangeably.

Drug Interactions when ingesting Magnolia Bark tincture, extract or capsules:

Do not use with substances that act on the central nervous system such as alcohol, barbiturates, and mood altering medications.

Contraindications for ingestion of Magnolia Bark tincture extract or capsules:

Contraindicated for use with substances that act on the central nervous system such as alcohol, barbiturates, and mood altering medications.

Side Effects:

No significant toxicity or adverse effects have been associated with traditional use of magnolia bark. However, do not operate heavy machinery while ingesting magnolia bark.

References:

Compressed Mints and Chewing Gum Containing Magnolia Bark Extract Are Effective against Bacteria Responsible for Oral Malodor in the Nov. 14 issue of the ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/sample.cgi/jafcau/2007/55/i23/html/jf0721…)
Sweet magnolia: Tree bark extract fights bad breath and tooth decay from the American Chemical Society:
(http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/89384.php)
Herb & Supplement Encyclopedia:
(http://www.florahealth.com/flora/home/Canada/HealthInformation/Encycl…)

About the author
Leslee Dru Browning is a 6th generation Medical Herbalist & Nutritionist from the ancestral line of Patty Bartlett Sessions; Pioneer Mid-Wife & Herbalist. Leslee practiced Medical Herbalism and Nutritional Healing for over 25 years and specialized in Cancer Wellness along with Chronic Illness. She now devotes her career to teaching people, through her writing, about Natural Healing from An Herbal Perspective.


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3 benefits of basil

By Canadian Living

Fresh and fragrant basil is a great way to make your meal more flavourful in a healthy way. Not only is basil a common cooking ingredient, it’s also used medically to treat common ailments such as headaches and coughs.

Here are three benefits of basil: 

1. Basil offers (almost) calorie-free flavour. 
Adding 2 tbsp of fragrant basil to your salad or pasta will bump up the taste – and add just one tiny calorie. 

2. It provides antibacterial protection. 
Washing fresh produce in a solution that contains one percent basil essential oil is an all-natural way to reduce bacteria such as E. coli and Listeria, which can cause food poisoning. You can also make a vinaigrette with fresh-pressed basil and mist it on your salad greens.

3. Basil helps blood clot properly. 
Basil is an excellent source of vitamin K, which is necessary for normal blood coagulation and overall bone health. Adults need 90 micrograms a day; adding 2 tbsp of freshly chopped basil to tonight’s stir-fry will give you 22. (Note: If you take blood-thinning drugs, you may need to limit foods that are rich in vitamin K.)