Search Term: " Awakening "
July 20, 2009 11:51 AM
Valerian was used by ancient Greeks for digestion, nausea, and urinary tract disorders. A famous Greek physician, Galen, was known for prescribing valerian to be used as a decongestant. Herbalist John Gerard recommended valerian for chest congestion, convulsions, and bruises in 1597. Additionally, Native Americans traditionally used valerian for healing wounds. It was also accepted as a tranquilizer from 1820 to 1942 and was listed this way until 1950.
One of the most valuable properties of valerian is its ability to produce a deep, satisfying sleep. This herb acts as a relaxant and is an effective remedy for fighting against insomnia. The active ingredients that are found in valerian root are also responsible for relaxing smooth muscle tissue and also depressing the central nervous system. It seems as if there is no single component of valerian that is entirely responsible for all of its sedative activity. Instead, several of the constituents of valerian are responsible for causing the sedative effect when combined together. Like other standard sleep aids that are often prescribed, valerian works in the same way. However, it possesses an advantage in the fact that it does not cause the morning grogginess that is often linked to prescription sleep medications.
There have been many different studies conducted which have all led to the belief that valerian possesses benefits for insomnia, anxiety, and stress. Valerian is also extremely useful for all kinds f sleep disorders, especially when those sleep disorders are related to anxiety, nervousness, headache pain, or even physical and mental exhaustion. Research has proven that valerian is not only effective in treating insomnia, but also in reducing sleep latency and night Awakenings.
Valerian has been shown to be great for the heart, lungs, liver, stomach, and the nerves and the brain. It has also shown possibilities in helping with epilepsy, hysteria, migraines, and the elimination of worms. It does all of these things because it works to calm anxiety, muscle spasms, and nervous tension. In addition to the ability to relax and calm, valerian can help to improve mental acuity and coordination. One study even found that those individuals who were hyperactive were able to concentrate for longer periods of time with the assistance of valerian.
Valerian is rich in calcium, which gives it to the ability to strengthen the spine, nerves, and brain. This herb is also high in magnesium and manganese. Both of these minerals work with calcium in order to build healthy bones and nervous system. Valerian is high in selenium, which strengthens the body against immune related disorders. The niacin content that is found in valerian helps to prevent cholesterol build-up, irritability, depression, loss of memory, and weakness. This herb also contains potassium, iron, sodium, zinc, silicon, and vitamins A and C. There appear to be no contraindications to the use of valerian during pregnancy or lactation. Valerian is thought to be safe for almost everyone. Although safe, this herb is usually recommended for short-term use.
Great herbs like valerian are available in capsule, tablet, and liquid extract forms at your local or internet health food store. For more information about valerian and its benefits, contact your local health food retailer. Always purchase name brands to ensure quality and purity of the valerian product you purchase.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Natural herbs are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
Night Health: A new approach to improving sleep.
May 12, 2006 05:41 PM
Our night health, including the quality of our sleep and dreams, may be the most critical overlooked factor contributing to both emotional and physical illness in modern times. For millions, night is a time of growing frustration and deepening struggle with insomnia as well as compromised and insufficient sleep. Mounting data has confirmed that sleep problems are strongly associated with virtually all major illnesses ranging from cardiovascular disease to diabetes, infections and cancer, and obesity to depression.
Night health refers to a new approach to sleep and dreams that integrates complementary and alternative medicine with effective conventional perspectives. It is essentially a comprehensive body-mind approach to sleep. The first in a series of articles introducing the concept of night health, this article begins with a closer look at the limitations of the simulated sleep offered by sleeping pills. It then examines the basic alternative of supplemented sleep: the place of natural sleep-supporting supplements. Finally, it offers suggestions for increasing the utilization of such alternatives by supplementing supplements with essential information, education and guidance offered by a new and unique software program and the first book about integrative sleep health.
As the public becomes increasingly aware of the health ramifications of sleep disturbances, more and more people are turning to sleeping pills. In fact, according to the IMS Health research, about 42 million prescriptions for sleeping pills were filled last year in the U.S. This represents a nearly 60 percent increase over the past five years alone. Some projections anticipate that the current $2.7 billion in annual sleeping pill sales will more than triple by 2010.
But instead of solving the problem, sleeping pills often make sleep problems worse. Sleeping pills commonly result in dependence. They can alter normal sleep architecture, cause amnesia and residual daytime “hangovers,” and they often result in rebound insomnias when discontinued. Some sleep specialists argue that sleeping pill use is further associated with significant increases in mortality. Given the sense of desperation that can accompany insomnia, even such very serious concerns have not prevented sales of sleeping pills from skyrocketing in recent years.
We are currently witnessing an unprecedented advertising campaign on the part of the pharmaceutical industry designed to convince the public that sleep medications are indeed a safe and effective strategy for addressing sleep problems. Despite clever and seductive advertising, however, it remains highly questionable whether sleeping pills can truly offer us sleep. I believe it is more accurate to say that they result in a kind of artificial or simulated sleep. Compared to natural slumber, sleeping pills cause a chemical knockout. Unfortunately, so many people have slept poorly for so long, they have forgotten what it is like to experience truly restorative, deep and refreshing natural slumber. Instead, many people now hold a naïve, limited sense of healthful sleep, confusing it with being knocked out. And sleeping pills satisfy that very naïve notion of sleep.
Rather than artificially simulating sleep with chemical knockouts, sleep-promoting supplements such as melatonin, valerian, and other botanicals support that body’s own sleep-facilitating mechanisms more naturally. Such products work in greater harmony with nature and, unlike conventional drugs, they do not stimulate sleep, they supplement sleep. I think of natural supplements inviting us to sleep. The very potency of many natural products lies in their very gentleness, which works cooperatively with both body and mind to induce healthful sleep.
I believe that the potential benefits and markets for such supplements remain largely untapped. Consumers’ expectations that sleep aids should knock them out rather than gently assist them in letting go into sleep must be addressed through targeted education and information campaigns. Consumers also need to learn how to use alternative sleep supplements in the context of a healthy sleep lifestyle or positive night health.
As helpful as they can be in promoting night health, sleep supplements alone will not do the trick. In fact, I believe many people get discouraged and discount the potentially positive benefits of sleep supplements after using them without proper guidance and understanding. Sleep supplements work best when they are geared to work synergistically as a part of a larger night health promotion program.
The availability of a wide range of over-the-counter health supplements offers an important freedom in healthcare choices. But with increased freedom comes increased responsibility. Consumers need to become significantly more informed. Particularly with regard to night health, such supplements need to be personalized and prescriptive. When it comes to sleep health, one size does not fit all. Whether we choose melatonin or valerian or a specific blend depends upon who we are and exactly what we need. By prescriptive I do not mean ordered by a physician, but specifically tailored to the needs of the individual.
Because of a significant shortage of health care professionals knowledgeable about sleep and the alarming trend towards increased use of sleeping pills, I have assisted in the development of a unique software program that provides sleep solutions that are both personalized and prescriptive. After more than a decade in development, the sleep advisor—an expert software system that thoroughly evaluates and provides personalized comprehensive recommendations for improving sleep—is now available.
More recently, I completed the first truly integrative book on night health. Healing night: the science and spirit of sleeping, dreaming, and Awakening offers a new, comprehensive perspective on night health that complements the sleep advisors high pragmatic approach. Together, healing night and the sleep advisor offers essential supplements to sleep supplements.
Rubin R Naiman is a psychologist and clinical assistant professor of medicine at the university of Arizona’s health sciences center. He is also the sleep and dream specialist for dr. Andrew weil;s world renowned program in integrative medicine. Currently he serves as the sleep specialist at Miraval Resort, and is in private practice in Tuscon, AZ.
The above article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat a particular illness. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of a holistically competent licensed professional health care provider. The information in this article has not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Rubin R. Naiman, PhD
Cuddlin’ in the Kitchen
July 27, 2005 03:44 PM
Cuddlin’ in the Kitchen
You and your sweetie can turn up the heat by cooking together.
Since the beginning of time, the pleasures of the table have been intertwined with those of the boudoir. (Remember the scene in the film Tom Jomes in which Tom and his amorata-of-the-moment wolf down a meal while staring lustily into each other’s eyes?) But when most of your kitchen time is spent trying to get everyone fed and out of the house in time for the night’s soccer game/ PTA meeting/ballet lesson, it can be tough keeping the pilot light lit on your love.
That’s why one of the best ways to spice up your sex life is to prepare a sensuous meal together sans offspring (thank heavens for doting grandparents with spare rooms!). A little fourhanded cooking- preferably while sharing some suggestive banter- can create chemistry that allows your playful, non-parenting side s to emerge, enhancing intimacy and setting the stage for the seductive feast to follow.
Just as the frenzied pace of modern living can often foster a sense of separation, cooking together as a couple can promote a sense of union. “Eventually you get a feel for your partner’s rhythms and adjust yours accordingly,” says food TV personality Jacqui Malouf, author of Booty Food (Bloomsbury). “Before you know it you’re passing the coriander, peeling the potatoes and stirring the risotto at precisely the right moments.”
With time, you can learn what each of you does best: Who has a flair for combining spices in just the right proportions? Who can chop carrots into perfect little matchsticks without taking all night? Since nothing kills the mood more than arguing over who misplaced the baker’s chocolate or the pasta platter, buy your ingredients earlier in the day and have all the necessary utensils out and at the ready. (Safety note: while two in a tiny kitchen can be steamily cozy, do be careful with hot pots and sharp knives.)
Four hands can also be better than two, so why not make the most of it? Malouf suggests approaching your combined efforts with a sense of adventure: “Use more than three ingredients in a salad dressing! Be daring with your desserts! Try concocting something with squab or squid or quince or quail- the sky’s the limit.”
One advantage of using exotic ingredients (or at least foods not normally found on your weekly shopping list) is that they can help you and your partner break through the limits of everyday experience by reAwakening long-dormant senses. Go ahead- run your fingertips over the rough rind of a pomegranate before feeling the smooth, full seeds within. Inhale the sweet, perfumed scent of a dead-ripe apricot, and appreciate its downy skin. Admire the cool green beauty of a cut avocado, and share a spoonful with your sweetie.
Avocado, in fact, is one of the foods known for inflaming passion based on its suggestive shape, along with artichoke and asparagus- and that’s just the AS! (Chocoholics rejoice: Chocolate, full of the same feel-good chemical released by the brain when one falls in love, also makes the ecstasy encouraging grade, even when obtained in standard shapes.) “coincidentally, many foods long considered aphrodisiacs are low in fat (avocado and chocolate are delectably healthy exceptions) and are high in vitamins and minerals,” write Martha Hopkins and Randall Lockridge in Intercourses: An Aphrodisiac Cookbook (Terrace Publishing). “A diet heavy in these foods, then, yields a healthy blood healthy body with the energy, blood flow and nutrients needed for a peak sexual experience.” (The way these foods feed the imagination- the ultimate smorgasbord of pleasure- is a bountiful bonus.) Other foods, such as honey, have been treasured for supplying the energy needed to fan love’s flames far into the night; no wonder the sweet, sticky stuff shows up in a number of naughty-night concoctions.
Just as Venus, the Roman goddess of love, emerged fully formed from the sea, so do the foods that best encourage those under her spell. In addition to being chockfull of healthy protein, “seafood is elegant, clean and light enough to keep your sleek loving machine fully fueled but never weighed down,” says Jacqui Malouf. Oysters are famous- or infamous- for their amorous effects (Cassanova was fond of them) but aren’t for everyone; other romantic dining favorites include shrimp or scallops.
Time to Eat
Once you’ve worked your kitchen magic together, it’s time to move the action into the dining room. Again, a little preparation can keep the evening at a slow, sensuous boil. Use the best china you have, along with matching silverware, cloth napkins and nice glasses (sippy cups don’t count). The warm glow of candlelight can both set off your tantalizing table and set your hearts aflame, along with a rose or two in the most decorative vase you own. Music (from Mozart to Motown, depending on your taste) is another surefire mojo mover. But please guys- catch up with CNN or ESPN some other time.
When you do finally sit down to dinner don’t rush, even (especially) if fast-forward eating is the norm in your house. “Treat the food as if you are making love for the first time,” advises Kerry McCloskey in The Ultimate Sex Diet (True Courage Press). “Before putting any in your mouth, inhale its aroma to get your digestive juices flowing…Cut your food into small, bite-sized pieces, (which) will ensure that you enjoy each bite.” The idea is to enhance all of your senses, which will come in handy later on in the evening.
You can make your couple dining experience even more intimate by feeding each other; some foods. Like asparagus spears and shrimp, beg for finger-feeding. McCloskey recommends also trying chopsticks: “Because it will take longer to maneuver your food when using them, you will feel full sooner with less food.” That’s important since you don’t want to overeat- passing out right after dessert is not the way to impress your partner (they’ve seen you snoring away on the couch a hundred times before).
In the wee hours, happily exhausted, you can ponder this: No matter how hectic your lives get, you should always make time for each other. You already share a mortgage and kids. Cooking together is a great way to share sensuality, too.