Search Term: " SACRED "
Medicinal benefits of cinnamon
April 03, 2019 10:08 AM
Once thought to be sacred and rare, cinnamon is now a common house spice that is used in many dishes and desserts. This spice is commonly used for health. There are relatively few clinical studies that show this, but it is a common conception that there are many benefits to cinnamon consumption. The first is that cinnamon is an antioxidant and can help with improving memory. Cinnamon also can aid in the riddance of acne and other common skin issues. On top of this, cinnamon helps the skin look young and fresh. Finally, cinnamon can help lower blood sugar, specifically those who suffer from type II diabetes. To sum, if you want to stay healthy, young, and fresh, increase your cinnamon consumption!
"While there is only a handful of supported clinical evidence that validates the health benefits of cinnamon, there are a lot of small studies which suggest that using the spice offers some advantages."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-02-02-medicinal-benefits-of-cinnamon.html
Amla, the ancient healing fruit
August 26, 2017 12:14 PM
Fruit is very good for you and this one in particular has healing properties. Reading this can help you decide if you should add it to your diet. Eating well is a good way to control many health problems because putting good into your body helps it to be at its best and also helps you to get good out in return. Healthy fruits and veggies are great choices when you're deciding what to eat.
"In the Hindu religion, the amla tree is considered sacred and worshipped by many, as it is believed that god Vishnu dwells in it."
Read more: http://www.thestatesman.com/life-style/amla-ancient-healing-fruit-1502439133.html/
Anti-aging 'Holy Basil' herb supports natural detoxification
January 27, 2017 02:59 PM
Anyone who loves Italian food is probably aware of basil. Hindus actually view the plant as SACRED and use it in many religious ways. However, Western herbalists are just now beginning to understand the power this herb has to detoxify and hold off aging. Indians already use basil to help with immunity and stress. It is this stress-relieving property that they believe to be the cause of its anti-aging properties. It also seems to have an effect on cortisol in the body. There is still much research that needs to be done on the subject.
"According to Ayurveda, holy basil can be used to boost mood, stamina and endurance by filling the body with a calming energy. It can help speed up slowed digestion or free up suppressed emotions."
Importance of Chlorophyll in human Body
March 22, 2014 08:37 AM
What Does Chlorophyll Do For The Body?
Chlorophyll is a green molecule found in plants and plays major roles in human body. It is ingested in its raw form while eating vegetables.
Its role in human body
Despite of being vital molecule in plants; it also plays a vital role in human body in that; it acts as a blood cleanser, blood builder and also an oxygen booster. It does this by delivering energy transfusion in the bloodstream thereby restocking and increasing red blood cell count.
Disease prevention roles
The chlorophyll provides alkaline environment in human body in addition to being an oxygenator therefore helping our bodies fight off disease causing bacteria.
Chlorophyll helps the body to cleanse itself of toxic substances. In larger perspective it is linked with cancer prevention through its cleansing roles. By helping the body to detoxify itself; it plays a major role in removing the impurities that may lead to development of cancer in human body.
It is also known to be a source of amino acids which are important part of human health. It also plays a part in promoting quick rejuvenation of human cells. It also improves liver functions by extracting the blood impurities. It is also a high regulator of calcium. This helps in building ions in the blood. It is also known for its effects of reversing protein deficient anemia which is common in children in low developed countries.
Where can it be found?
It is usually found in green plants though in different levels. It gets to human body through consumption of these green plants especially the leafy part. The highest chlorophyll containing plant is the wheatgrass. To obtain it you have to juice the plant and for detoxification it may require regular juicing. It is the only component in a plant that has so many benefits to human body.
Wonders Of Elderberry
October 25, 2013 07:56 PM
The bushy like appearance, which characterizes this elderberry tree is what makes it noticeable in and around Britain. Its name means fire, which is because of a certain goddess happened to consider this tree SACRED and after she passed on, it was believed that her soul continued to reside in the tree.
With this belief, the residents used to grow the Elderberry around their homes and farms, as they believed that it had powers that could protect them from all kinds of evil things. For protection to be accorded to them, they had to offer sacrifices and prayers to it so as to be assured that they would be covered. Shrines were also made in regards to the tree, where all individuals would converge and offer thanksgiving prayers to it.
The Healthy Benefits of Elderberry
There are many health benefits associated with this wonderful tree and they go on to offer medicinal value as well as ensuring a general sense of well being in the body. It is seen as helping in the chest and nose congestion, which is evident in individuals who have all sorts of allergies. This is especially important for them because it enables them have temporary relief before getting medication from the doctors.
Common infections in women such as yeast are also catered for when it comes to the Elder tree as it constitutes the required substances that are responsible for taking care of the yeast infections.It also builds up the immune system, which helps the body to be able to fight against diseases that cause the body harm. Antioxidants are also present in the elder tree and they are at high levels, which allow the individual to choose whether to get the antioxidants from it or from modern medicine.
It is believed that every part of this tree has medicinal value, so embracing the many benefits of this tree is important because it is all rounded.
What Are The Health Benefits Of The Grain Quinoa?
February 13, 2012 01:57 AM
Quinoa is a gluten free seed rich in dietary fibers with creamy, fluffy and slightly crunchy texture. Its taste is somewhat nutty when cooked. It belongs to the family of spinach, beets, swiss chard and lamb's quarter.It is a complete protein grain with all the essential amino acids. There are nine essential amino acids known as the building blocks of protein. Amino acids help in building strong muscles and nourish the nerves.It is also rich in essential minerals such as manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and iron.
Quinoa is technically a seed, not a grain of a goose foot plant. The name quinoa came from Greek words chen which means goose and pou which means foot. This is because the leaves of the plant of quinoa seeds resemble the webbed foot of a goose.
Quinoa has been cultivated as early as the 12th century by the Incans, the ancient people of South America. They referred to quinoa as the "mother seed",considered as a SACRED grain and gold of the Incans.They believed that it is a gift from gods that possesses enhancing properties.The emperor ritually planted and sowed the first quinoa seed of the season using his golden taquiza, a shovel like planting stick. Quinoa gives energy and increases oxygen to the relay teams of bare footed running messengers who lived in the mountains with an altitude considered high enough where oxygen level is reduced.This is because they were holding ash from quinoa plant and cocoa leaves. This combination increases oxygen in their body to sustain the runners increasing need for oxygen. In can armies also used quinoa to energize their body from frequent marching for days. Quinoa is part of the native Indian diet to increase their resistance to prevail over harsh living condition in the high mountains.
Today quinoa is making its name popular in the industry of wonder foods.It is so high in protein that builds and nourishes muscle tissues. It is used to treat people with migraine, diabetes and atherosclerosis. It is a good source of magnesium that relaxes the blood vessels. Magnesium reduces attack of migraine by improving blood and oxygen distribution to the brain.
Magnesium combined with high dietary fiber found in quinoa helps in maintaining healthy blood pressure and prevents cardiovascular diseases. Fibers absorb and eliminate bad cholesterol.It prevents plaque that blocks the arteries and enhances blood circulation.This process prevents atherosclerosis, the hardening of the arteries due to fat deposits and plaque buildup that narrows the arteries.
Quinoa is rich in anti oxidants that shields each cells from getting damaged caused by free radicals, pollution, alcohol and medication. It boosts the immunity and increases resistance from stress. Anti oxidants and fibers prevent risks of cancer and diabetes.Obesity and overweight are the most common risk factor of diabetes. Fibers remove toxins and excess fats, improve digestion and maintain healthy body weight to prevent diabetes.While antioxidants enhances cell regeneration and repair. This process lowers risks of cancer.
Quinoa is highin insoluble fiber thatprevents gallstones and helps in cleansing the liver. Whole grains like quinoa reduce asthma, allergic cough and wheezing in children. The protein in quinoa strengthens the muscle tissues of the air passage, thus prevents inflammation that narrows the airways of asthma patients.
Natural Remedies for Arthritis
February 08, 2012 08:15 AM
Arthritis is a kind inflammation on one or more joint. There are many kinds of arthritis. Each kind has different causes. Most common causes are injury, metabolism problem, immunity disorder, infections, hereditary factors, and much more. The symptoms are various too. But generally, it includes joint pain, swelling, redness, warmth, and stiffness. When the arthritis goes more serious, it could lead to fever, weight loss, and fatigue.
There are many ways to cure arthritis. If the illness is quite serious, you need to go to a doctor. You can undergo a physical treatment. You can orthopedic bracing. Or, you could even need a joint replacement surgery. And if it is not so serious, you can just go to drug store to buy some analgesic, corticosteroid, acetaminophen or some anti-inflammatory medications. But, you need to remember that every drug has side effects. Analgesic could lead you to nausea and stomach upset. Corticosteroid can give make you bruise easily. It can also weaken your bones.
The best recommendation to avoid side effects is to go naturally. Natural remedies have negligible side effects. Those have been used by our predecessors to cure many illnesses effectively. And for arthritis, there are also some ingredients that could be useful. Here are some examples:
Curcumin is derived from the root of tumeric plant. Tumeric is commonly used for Indian cooking and Chinese medication. Curcumin can be an effective anti-inflammatory. It can also cure stiffness and pain. For a better result, combine curcumin with bromelain. Curcumin might be not good for a pregnant woman to consume.
Boswelia acid can also be an active anti-inflamatory. Commonly, it is used to cure several inflammatory problems such as asthma and some digestive ailments. Boswelia supplements sometimes are sold in capsule form.
3. Holy Basil
Holy basil is also known as Tulsi in India. In Ayurveda, tulsi is very SACRED herb. That is why it is called as Holy Basil. In India, many houses have it planted on their yard and often use it to cure headache, influenza, and some digestive disorders. Many researches have found that holy basil also contains high anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. But it is not recommended for pregnant women.
Ginger has an active compound called gingerol. Gingerol is very effective to cure inflammatory. You can consume ginger in many ways. You can take it as a supplement. You can easily brew the ginger root at home and drink it when it is warm. You can also just eat it. But if you want to eat it, it would be better to eat it with other foods or you might get heartburn.
Glucosamine is the main element that forms cartilage and synovial fluids. It is formed by glycoaminoglycans and protein inside a human's body. Glucosamine sometimes are formed as glusosamine sulphate. It then is made as supplement and can be bought in a drug store. It is effective for many kinds of injuries and joint disorders.
6. Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid is a compound can be found in synovial fluids, along with glucosamine. It is very important to keep the volume of synovial fluids and frictionless movement. When a human's body lacked of hyaluronic acid, they will experience an inflammatory conditions such as stiffness, joint pain, and arthritis.
Cascara sagrada and constipation
November 09, 2010 05:27 PM
Cascara Sagrada is a large deciduous herbal tree. It is found in the specific area of the western coastal regions of the North America, mainly along the bottomlands in the valleys, along canyons and forested mountain slopes. It is also found growing along the Pacific Northwest from the Canadian province of British Columbia down to the northern parts of the California state. It reaches to the height of twenty to thirty feet and circumference of one and a half feet in diameter at maturity. With slender branches having many leaves, the bark of the tree is reddish brown is colour.
The leaves are green and yellow in colour and elliptical in shape with finely toothed edge, rounded base and sharp or blunt tips. Along the slender branches, the foliage tends to be guided by the crowding of the leaves at the tips of the branch lets. During the months of May to June, it bears greenish white flowers which are borne in clusters along the axils of the leaves. The flowers by the month of September gives rounded black fruits, which bear two or three smooth seeds. The various parts of the tree were used by the Native Americans in their traditional folk medicine.
The Spanish on observing this named the tree as Cascara Sagrada, meaning the “SACRED bark”. In the traditional Indian medicine it was used in preparing various herbal medicines. In the autumn season the bark of the tree would be stripped, dried and then be left to a slow aging process at least for a year. The prepared bark was then kept in water and boiled to the steep. The boiled water was cooled and drunk as a potent herbal medicine to alleviate the symptoms of constipation in affected patients.
In the year 1877 the American physicians recognized and accepted its many medicinal benefits. From the year 1894 they started listing Cascara Sagrada in the books U.S. Pharmacopeia for the significant medical benefits it provided. It is believed to be one of the world’s most naturally available laxatives and is still marketed as a natural plant based laxative. The wave like contractions it causes along the musculature in the walls of the intestine for alleviating constipation is the ultimate medicinal ability It possess which no other modern medicine has.
It is known for the peristalsis forces that it creates to tone the relaxed intestinal muscles of the affected patients. It shows great results by irritating the intestinal tissues. In old and weakened people is shows potent laxative action when properly diluted, providing great relief. The honey made from the flowers of this tree also show laxative action but is mild in nature. It is believed that the milder laxative action produced by the combination two related European species of Cascara is safe and beneficial to patients.
This herbal tree is widely used in patients with chronic constipation. Many commercial laxatives contain the bark of this herbal tree as the key ingredient of the product. If you suffer from constipation please contact your health care provider. Laxatives are a temporary fix for constipation and should not be taken for long periods of time. Lack of bowel movement is usually due to low fiber diets. Adding additional fiber to ones diet can boost bowel function and reduce constipation.
Cascara sagrada can help with constipation
August 25, 2010 02:18 PM
Cascara sagrada and Constipation
Cascara Sagrada was introduced to the Spanish explorers by Native Americans when they complained of problems with constipation. The Spanish then gave this herb its name, cascara sagrada, which means SACRED bark and used it as a natural laxative. The Spanish explorers brought the herb back with them to Spain when they returned. In 1877, this herb was admitted to the U.S. Pharmacopoeia and is still included as an official medicine to this day.
Cascara sagrada is believed to be one of the best herbs for treatment of chronic constipation. This is because it enhances the peristaltic action that takes place in the intestines and increases the secretions of the stomach, liver, and pancreas. This herb is also helpful in relieving hemorrhoids because of its nonirritating nature and softening action on the stool.
Cascara sagrada is found in many over-the-counter preparations that are used for the intention of relieving constipation. This is because it acts on the large intestine to increase the muscular activity of the colon. The anthraquinones that are found in cascara sagrada are believed to encourage intestinal contraction. This herb is used to restore natural bowel movement without griping and to restore tone to the bowel.
Additionally, an element in cascara sagrada is known as quinine emodin. This element is being studied for its usefulness in treating lymphocytic leukemia and Walker carcinosarcoma tumor system. More research is needed before it will be recommended for treatment, but so far, the findings have been promising.
Cascara sagrada can be used often, as it is not considered to be addictive. Preparations should be made from bark that has been aged for a least a year before use. This must be done because fresh bark is poisonous and can cause nausea and extreme griping on the intestinal system. Cascara sagrada can be found in various forms including capsules, liquid extracts, and dried bark. Although it tastes bitter, the dried bark can be made into a tea. A typical dosage of cascara is a 300 mg capsule which is taken in the early evening to stimulate a bowel movement in the morning. The laxative effect usually occurs 6 to 12 hours after cascara is taken. Products containing cascara sagrada should not be used for more than eight or ten days. Those women who are pregnant and nursing should avoid this herb, as well as people with intestinal blockage, undiagnosed stomach pain, or symptoms that may indicate appendicitis. People with diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, or intestinal ulcers should not take this herb.
Additionally, children younger than twelve with constipation should not be treated with cascara sagrada.
The bark of cascara sagrada should be used to provide alterative, antineoplastic, antispasmodic, hepatic, lithotriptic, and purgative properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are calcium, chlorine, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, silicon, sodium, and vitamins A, B-complex, and C. Primarily, cascara sagrada is beneficial in dealing with colon problems, constipation, gallbladder problems, gallstones, gas, gastric disorders, hemorrhoids, intestinal problems, liver disorders, and worms. Additionally, this herb is extremely helpful in treating colitis, coughs, croup, dyspepsia, gout, indigestion, insomnia, jaundice, excessive mucus, pituitary problems, and spleen ailments.
For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by cascara sagrada, please contact a representative from your local health food store. Always choose name brands of this wonderful herbal laxative to ensure quality and purity and gentleness of its properties on the intestinal tract.
October 30, 2009 12:45 PM
Peppermint was used by both the Romans and Greeks in some of their SACRED rites. It was highly regarded for its medicinal purposes. The Romans used mint as a stomach aid and also to promote digestion. The Greeks also used this herb for a variety of different ailments. Mint can be found all throughout stories in Greek mythology. The leaf of peppermint was used by Native Americans in a tea form as a carminative, in order to prevent vomiting, nausea, and fevers. The peppermint plant is native to Europe. There are many different varieties of peppermint. The plant is actually believed to be a hybrid between spearmint and water mint.
Peppermint leaf is believed to be one of the great herbal remedies and is very useful to have around the house. It is very easy to grow, either in the garden or the home. The herb contains warming oil that is effective as a nerve stimulant. The oil is helpful in increasing oxygen in the blood and working to clean and strengthen the entire body. Peppermint is a great sedative for the stomach. It has been found to contain properties that stimulate the flow of bile and help to settle the stomach after vomiting. The herb is beneficial in dealing with nausea, chills, colic, fevers, gas, and diarrhea. It is able to cleanse, soothe, and relax the body. Peppermint has long been recommended by herbalists for digestive problems. Additionally, it is used for convulsions in infants, to increase respiration, for colds, and to strengthen the entire body.
The menthol that is found in peppermint is believed to be the major component responsible for the medicinal value that it provides. Peppermint plants contain somewhere between fifty and seventy-eight percent menthol. Studies have determined that there are numerous volatile oils in peppermint, which possess antibacterial activity in vitro. It is yet to be determined just how effective peppermint will be in clinical studies. It is also believed that the oil of peppermint is able to sooth gastrointestinal contractions and help to relieve gas. Peppermint’s volatile oils produce relaxation on the smooth muscles. This may be beneficial in conditions such as irritable bowel, abdominal pain, and other gastrointestinal complaints. Research done in 1979 found that peppermint oil capsules were very effective in treating irritable bowel syndrome. A study that was done using laboratory mice found that peppermint leaf extract produces a mild sedative effect. Additionally, animal studies have found that the azulene in peppermint oil contains anti-inflammatory properties.
The leaves and oil of the peppermint plant are used to provide antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic, rubefacient, and stimulant properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are copper, iodine, inositol, iron, magnesium, niacin, potassium, silicon, sulfur, and vitamins A and C. Primarily, peppermint is extremely beneficial in dealing with appetite loss, colds, colic, digestion, fever, gas, headaches, heartburn, nausea, nerves, shock, bowel spasms, and vomiting.
Additionally, the herb is very helpful in treating chills, cholera, constipation, convulsions, stomach cramps, uterine cramps, depression, dizziness, flu, heart problems, insomnia, menstrual problems, morning sickness, motion sickness, neuralgia, shingles, mouth sores, stomach spasms, and sore throat. In order to obtain the best results when supplementing with this make sure the peppermint supplement is enteric coated. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by pennyroyal, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.
June 22, 2009 11:43 AM
Even though bee pollen has received a good deal of attention over the last few decades, a lot of people still do not know exactly what it is. Pollen is technically the male seed of flowers and can be viewed as the male cells of a flowering plant. It is necessary for the plant to be fertilized. Every kind of flower on his plant produces pollen, which is created in the stamen of the blossom itself. Bee pollen is the pollen which is collected and stored by honey bees in their hives. While honey bees perform this activity, they actually pollinate more than 80 percent of green growing plants. Obviously, they are a vital component of plant propagation. Universally, bee pollen is praised for its notable nutrient content and extraordinary ability to provide energy.
Used for centuries, bee pollen has been considered a powerful healing agent, a source of regenerative power, and the secret to eternal youth for some ancients. As far back as 2735 B.C., the Chinese emperor compiled an impressive medical collection containing many beehive products. This compilation is still referred to today, with ongoing research continuing to support many of its claims. For millions of years, humans have made good use of beehive products. Before paper was even invented, ancient people commemorated their respect of the honeybee and beehive products. Honeybees were considered to be SACRED at this time, with Egyptian papyri referring to bee pollen as life-giving dust and its use as a SACRED offering to the gods. Roman legions use to carry bee pollen for sustenance, with ancient Romans even making Virgil the official poet laureate of the honeybee.
Even Hippocrates recommended bee pollen for several ailments, while the Hindus taught that eating honey and pollen could produce health, vigor, happiness, and wisdom. Honey and pollen were routinely used by orientals for medicinal purposes, while Ancient Greeks referred to honey and pollen as the food of kings, as they believed the food would give them youth and vitality. Bee pollen was also looked upon as a dietary staple by the Anglo-Saxons. People drank combinations of wine, honey, and pollen because they believed that it was a life-sustaining elixir.
In the following centuries, Charlemagne recorded that his subjects used pollen and honey on a daily basis. He even required that his people take an annual inventory of their honey and pollen supplies. Taxes were often paid in the form of honey and pollen and gifts of honey and pollen were looked upon with respect. Almost every recorded religious or historical record praises the honeybee and its products such as bee pollen. These books refer to the beneficial healing and nutritive properties that bee pollen possesses. Aztec and Mayans even worshiped the honeybee, which can be proved through numerous images of honeycombs and pollen. Early American settlers even became actively involved in honey production, so that it could be used at the table.
Because American scientists have shown little to no amounts of interest in European documentation that supports the therapeutic value of bee pollen, most modern day scientific investigation has taken place in Europe. Other researchers have already discovered that this wonderful food contains concentrations of just about every known nutrient, with reports from areas of Europe and Russia confirming the belief that this substance has infinite value for health maintenance and diseases treatment.
Bee pollen is available in capsule, tablet, and bulk powder forms at VitaNet ®, LLC. Always purchase a name brand bee pollen product to ensure quality and purity of the product you purchase.
May 15, 2009 01:08 PM
Basil is a common seasoning that can be found in many kitchens all over the world. This herb is often used to make pesto and to flavor soups, stews, and other foods. Additionally, basil has been used for a long amount of time throughout the world for medicinal purposes. This herb is especially used in Asia and Africa, along with India, where it is thought to be a SACRED herb. Basil has been used to treat exhaustion, as it works as a stimulant to promote energy. This herb has antibacterial properties and may help to draw out poisons from stings and bites.
Basil is a low-growing herb that is prominently featured in Italian cuisine. This herb is also a huge part of Southeast Asian cuisines like those of Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos. The plant has a similar taste to that of anise, but has a pungent and sweet smell. There are multiple varieties of basil, with the one most typically used in Italian food being sweet basil. Asia, on the other hand, uses Thai basil, lemon basil, and holy basil. Although most types of basil are considered to be annuals, some are perennial and grow in warm, tropical climates. These include the African Blue and Holy Thai basil. Originally native to Iran, India, and other tropical regions of Asia, basil has been cultivated for more than 5,000 years.
The basil plant grows between 30-130 cm tall and has light green, silky leaves that are approximately 3-11 cm long and 1-6 cm broad. The flowers are very big and white in color. They arrange themselves along the plant in a spike shape. The basil plant is extremely sensitive to cold, as it grows best in hot, dry conditions. If there is any chance of frost, the plant will behave as an annual. This plant only grows well in Northern Europe, Canada, the northern states of the U.S., and the South Island of New Zealand if it is grown under glass in a pot, and planted outdoors in late spring or early summer, when there is little chance of a frost. The plant does its best in well-drained sunny places.
Basil is not only a flavoring, but a definite source of health benefits. One study done by the University of Baroda in India found basil to help to lower fasting blood glucose, cholesterol, and triglyercide levels significantly. Basil may also help non-insulin-dependent diabetics to control their diabetes. Additional research has found that basil can also be useful for killing intestinal parasites, treating acne, and stimulating the immune system.
The leaves of basil are used to provide anthelmintic, antibacterial, antispasmodic, demulcent, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, galactagogue, stimulant, and stomachic properties. The primary nutrients found in basil are calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, D, and B2. Primarily, basil is very beneficial in treating insect and snake bites, colds, headaches, indigestion, absence of lactation, and whooping cough. Additionally, basil can be extremely helpful in dealing with intestinal catarrh, constipation, stomach cramps, fevers, flu, kidney problems, nervous disorders, respiratory infections, rheumatism, urinary problems, vomiting, and worms. For more information on the many health benefits of basil, feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store.
The Power Plant of the Amazon
March 02, 2007 11:34 AM
It may surprise most Americans to know that rainforest plants are the original source for one-fourth of the chemotherapy medications used today. Plants offer a plethora of beneficial compounds, and rainforests contain a superabundance of beneficial plants.
In fact, plant medicines are the most widely used medicines of all types in the world. Over eighty-five percent of the world’s population uses plant and herbal medicines as their primary medicines. That’s 5.1 billion (5,100,000,000) people worldwide! While Americans overwhelmingly use synthetically manufactured pharmaceuticals to cure their ills, the vast majority of Earth’s inhabitants use healing plant medicines instead.
One of the most powerful healing rainforest plant medicines is cat’s claw, or Uncaria tomentosa. This high climbing woody vine grows at the base of tall trees in the Peruvian rainforest. The plant’s claw-shaped thorns latch onto the trees and spiral further upward, nourished by the lush rainforest environment. For over 2,000 years, the Ashaninka, a tribal people of the Peruvian rainforest, have used the root of U. tomentosa to treat illnesses in the tribe, including asthma, bladder infections, infected wounds, arthritis, bone pain, bowel inflammation, and cancer.
Q. I’ve heard about cat’s claw, but what does it do and how do I know which one is right for me?
Cat’s claw might be one of the most confusing (and most effective!) nutritional supplements available in health food stores today. One reason that it’s so confusing is there are so many kinds of cat’s claw supplements-there are cat’s claw leaves, cat’s claw bark, and even cat’s claw twigs. While each of these supplements claim to help the immune system, it is the root of Uncaria tomentosa that is proven to impart the true cat’s claw health benefits.
Scientists, who have extensively studied every part of the plant, discovered that extracts made from selected cat’s claw roots possess the healing power to treat and prevent diseases like cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcers and degenerative diseases. In addition, it demonstrates anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-microbial benefits.
Adding to the confusion is the fact that not all Uncaria tomentosa roots actually contain healing properties.
Healers in the Ashaninka tribe attribute the healing properties in cat’s claw to the “good spirits” that live in the plant’s roots. The Ashaninka healers, or sancoshi, are able to actually “see” the good spirits hidden inside the root of the plant before they harvest them.
Some cat’s claw plant roots have the good spirits. Some don’t. If the good spirits are mixed with any cat’s claw root without good spirits, the healing power is lost. While there are no apparent differences in the plants or the roots to the untrained eye, only certain cat’s claw roots possess the power to heal. And, for a very long time, only the Ashaninka tribal healer seemed to be able to identify them. They call the good spirit cat’s claw Saventaro, or “powerful plant”.
However, scientists who were given cat’s claw roots by the Ashaninka to study in the laboratory discovered that they could “see” the good spirits, too! Using high performance liquid chromatography, or HPLC, a laboratory process that identifies various chemical compounds, the good spirits of cat’s claw roots were revealed to be important medicinal compounds called pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids (POAs). Research has learned that POAs provide powerful benefits for the human immune response.
Q. Why are good spirits, or POA’s, good for the immune system?
Cat’s claw POAs work to keep us healthy by directly interacting with white blood cells, the backbone of our immune system. Our white blood cells are the disease fighting cells of the human body. These highly specialized cells fight diseases we catch, such as colds and flu, as well as diseases that start within our own cells, such as cancer and autoimmune diseases. There are many kinds of white blood cells; each has a specific job to do in fighting diseases.
Certain POAs help white blood cells called macrophages work faster. The macrophages’ job is to engulf and digest foreign material. This means that macrophages can ingest m ore bacteria and disease causing microbes when they are exposed to POAs. The scientists also discovered that POA cat’s claw extract increases the production of a chemical protein called interleukin that is secreted by macrophages. This macrophage-secreted interleukin (IL-1) has important immune enhancing properties. IL-1 alerts resting white blood cells and spurs them into action. It also helps make other biochemicals that are essential to an activated immune system.
POAs also help B cells. B cells are white blood cells that make antibodies that kill germs. Each B cell is programmed to make one specific antibody that is effective against one specific germ (such as a bacteria, virus, or fungus). When scientists looked at the number of B cells after they were exposed to POA cat’s claw root extract, they found that the B cells had increased significantly, resulting in an increased supply of antibodies. And perhaps most importantly as they relate to cancer, the POAs in cat’s claw root extract help increase the number of T cells, the true soldiers of the immune system. There are many different kinds of these white blood cells, including Helper T cells, Suppressor T cells, and Killer T cells. Increased Helper, Suppressor, and Killer T-cells can more effectively destroy cancer cells. Increasing the number of circulating T-cells is very important in a disease like AIDS as well.
Q. Can cat’s claw and other plants in the rainforest really cure diseases? Isn’t that just folklore?
It’s folk use and modern science combined-plants have long been known for their ability to kill cancer cells. In fact, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has identified over 3000 plant extracts that can kill cancer cells. More than 70 percent of these plants are found only in the rainforest.
Q. What is it about the rainforest that gives plants like cat’s claw these cancer killing compounds?
Most of the time when we talk about rainforests, we’re talking about the tropical rainforests. While other forests, like the old-growth temperate forests of the Pacific Northwest, also have high rainfalls and tall trees, the tropical rainforests located near the equator are where most plant medicines come from.
The Amazon rainforest in South America is the world’s largest, covering an area about two-thirds the size of the continental United States. Depending on the elevation and distance to the equator the Amazon rainforest receives between 160 and 400 inches of rain per year. The rain is spread pretty evenly from January to December-it’s always the rainy season-and the temperatures remain between 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit all year.
This fertile environment continually recycles itself. When leaves fall from the trees, flowers wilt, and animals die in the rainforest-all of the nutrients are recycled back into the roots of the trees and plants. Because the rainforest reuses almost everything that falls to the ground, the plant growth is amazingly rich in alkaloids and other medicinal compounds. Researchers think these compounds and alkaloids, like POAs, protect the plants from illness and insect attacks. These are the very same compounds that protect us from disease.
Q. When the Ashaninka harvest the cat’s claw roots, does it impact the rest of the plant?
No. The Ashaninka work intelligently to keep rainforest cat’s claw plants perpetually healthy. The Ashaninka employ responsible and innovative harvesting techniques to keep the plants alive and tribal members healthy. Individual cat’s claw plants are never completely harvested. Only one third of the lateral roots are collected at any one time to allow re-growth by the remaining root. Once a plant’s lateral roots have been partially harvested, that plant is left to regenerate, and no more root is harvested from it for 10 years.
Q. Why are the Ashaninka willing to share their cat’s claw?
They are generous people. The Ashaninka see no benefit in hoarding cat’s claw for themselves alone. They also want to make sure that the plant’s healing properties continue on. As their homelands continue to be destroyed by deforestation, rainforest peoples are also disappearing. There were an estimated ten million tribal and indigenous peoples living in the Amazonian Rainforest in 1510. Today there are less than 200,000.
Since the 1900’s more than 90 indigenous tribes have died out and disappeared. Each time a rainforest medicine man or woman dies without passing their arts on to the next generation, the tribe and the world loses thousands of years of irreplaceable knowledge about medicinal plants. With them, centuries of accumulated knowledge of the medicinal value of rainforest species have been lost.
A good example of the impact of this loss can be seen in cat’s claw. When European explorers began venturing into the Amazon River basin, t hey were skeptical of the stories the Ashaninka people told them of U. tomentosa’s amazing healing powers. But when the explorers became sick with colds, flu, or other illnesses, they harvested cat’s claw root for themselves and gave the plant a try. Sometimes the explorers got better when they used the cat’s claw root, sometimes they stayed the same.
Q. Why didn’t the cat’s claw root help all the explorers?
Because some cat’s claw plant roots have good spirits-POAs-and some cat’s claw plant roots have tetracyclic oxindole alkaloids, or TOAs. While the POAs have very powerful effects in the immune system, the TOAs have different effects in the body, none of which help the immune system cells at all. All U. tomentosa plants look virtually identical, so it’s hard to tell if they have the healing POAs or non-helpful TOAs.
What makes cat’s claw identification even more challenging is the fact that plants with POAs one year will have TOAs the next. Cat’s claw plants seem to change their alkaloid chemotypes at will, an incredibly powerful accomplishment for a plant to possess. Harvesting of cat’s claw roots that contain POAs is very tricky. Unless the person gathering the root extract is an Ashaninka sancoshi. These medicine men know which cat’s claw to use; they can actually “see” the good spirits hidden inside the root. When scientists studying cat’s claw discovered they could “see” presence of TOAs using HPLC technology, they were able to harvest cat’s claw root extracts with POAs that consistently helps people get and stay healthy.
Q. Do some cat’s claw root extract supplements contain TOAs?
Yes they do. And buying those products will only benefit the cat’s claw distributor; they won’t help you stay healthy. When cat’s claw root is harvested from the rainforest, responsible supplement maker examine the root with HPLC to make sure that only POA roots are collected. But, this identification of the chemotypes takes significant time and costs money. For these reasons, many cat’s claw distributors don’t include this important process in their harvesting. The POAs and TOAs are simply just mixed together and sold as a cat’s claw product with no mention of any alkaloid content on the label.
Q. Why should I avoid TOAs?
While the POAs in cat’s claw root extracts have numerous benefits to the immune system, the TOAs have different effects in the body, none helping the immune system cells. Most importantly, however, when POAs and TOAs are mixed together, the TOAs actually work against the POAs. TOAs reduce the capacity of POAs to beneficially modulate the immune system.
Q. How can I be sure the cat’s claw I buy is POA cat’s claw?
Read the label of the cat’s claw root extract product you are considering buying. If it does not clearly state that it is the high POA cat’s claw, then chances are that it’s not.
Q. What do the Ashaninka receive in return for the cat’s claw harvesting?
The Ashaninka and reputable distributors of cat’s claw root extract have established a mutual and ethical relationship. Both groups benefit from the sale of the plant material. Maintaining this relationship is important for both the tribe and the distributors.
The distributors are paying a fair price for the raw material directly to the tribe. No intermediary is involved. This payment covers the raw material itself, a license-fee for the k knowledge of the plant, and a guarantee (from both sides) of a lasting relationship. Payment is also made for the protection of the rainforest. No deforestation is allowed. The area where the cat’s claw materials are processed is also leased and payment is made for this, as well.
This arrangement allows the Ashaninka to make independent decisions in how to spend this income from sale of their cat’s claw plants. They have been able to make improvements in the tribe’s water supply and in their living areas. They are also able to obtain outside medical aid as needed and provide for education of their children.
The partnership with cat’s claw distributors has created a sustainable resource for the Ashaninka. The tribe has been able to not only preserve their rainforest, but also compete financially with unsustainable income sources offered by timber and agricultural firms.
Q. Why is it important to preserve the rainforest?
The most amazing fact about these impressive medicinal plants is the vast number that5 has yet to be discovered. In fact, the rainforest’s abundance is one reason it is home to so many healing plants. Within a four square mile patch of rainforest, you could see 1500 species of flowering plants, 750 species of trees, 125 mammal species, 400 species of birds, 100 reptile species, 60 amphibian species, and 150 different species of butterflies.
Unfortunately, not everyone looks to the rainforest for the same reasons. Many consider its real value in board feet and cultivated acreage. The forces pushing industrial development move quickly; experts estimate that we’re losing over 130 plant, animal, and insect species every day/ That amount to almost 50,000 species a year.
A combination of logging, petroleum interests, cattle grazing operations, and, of course, our own consumer appetites are putting pressure on rainforest resources. The consequences are sobering:
By leaving the rainforest intact, however, and harvesting its many nuts, fruits, oil-producing, and medicinal plants, the rainforest has more economic value than if it was cut down for timber or to make grazing land for cattle. If managed properly, the rainforest can provide the world’s need for sustainably harvested natural resources on a perpetual basis. That’s what the Ashaninka are doing with their cat’s claw harvesting.
The discovery of medicinal plants is dependent upon healthy rainforests. When an acre of tropical rainforest is lost due to deforestation, the impact on the number of plant and animal species lost and their possible uses is staggering.
We can all help the development of sustainable rainforest industries. By purchasing renewable and sustainable rainforest products, like POA type cat’s claw root extract, we are keeping rainforests alive and well. By benefiting from the innate wisdom of the Ashaninka people we are keeping ourselves just as alive and well. By honoring the science and the SACRED of the world’s rainforests, like my friend the oncology nurse, the massive wealth and diversity will be there for generations to come.
Garlic for the Ages - eat garlic because it's good for your heart...
June 13, 2005 09:58 AM
Garlic for the Ages by Phyllis D. Light, RH Energy Times, January 1 , 2004
If you eat garlic because it's good for your heart, you swallow a plant renowned through human history: Garlic was eaten by Roman soldiers for courage; Egyptian slaves ate it to build strength; Christians, Moslems and Hindus include it in their SACRED books. Others have used it as an aphrodisiac, a vampire deterrent and a magical charm.
Garlic has a long history as a culinary and medicinal herb that people either love or hate. Its pungent aroma and warming flavor captivates or repels, but its wealth of natural chemicals does great things for your heart.
Garlic (Allium sativum), a member of the onion family, is native to Siberia but, in modern times, has become a treasured naturalized citizen grown all over the world. Garlic's use in folk medicine dates back about 7,000 years, making it one of the oldest known medicinal foods or herbs.
In modern times, garlic is generally used as a condiment lending a unique, pungent flavor to dishes, but in medieval times, garlic was cooked and eaten as a vegetable in its own right. Today you can revel in a wealth of garlic choices, consuming garlic raw, cooked in various recipes, as a dried concentrated powder, as a fresh liquid extract or as aged garlic powder.
Each little clove of garlic is a powerhouse of good-for-you natural compounds, vitamins and minerals. The biologically active constituents of garlic include allyl sulfur compounds as well as the minerals germanium and selenium.
When you chop up raw garlic and allowed it to stand for about 10 minutes or more, the herb's fragments release an enzyme that converts its compounds from allyl sulfur to another natural chemical called allicin.
Although some allicin is found in garlic before it is cut apart, the yield multiplies considerably when the garlic clove is chopped or pressed and exposed to water (Garlic Conference, Newport Beach, 11/15/98; Penn State).
Many researchers believe that the more allicin produced, the better the health benefits. (Although this is still being debated among the garlic cognoscenti.)
But garlic's benefits don't end meekly on the kitchen counter with its allicin content rising.
Cooked garlic and aged garlic contain other helpful chemicals called diallyl sulphides. Consequently, in any form, garlic produces beneficial health effects.
Fortunately, since raw garlic juice or oil can often irritate the stomach lining, especially in people with sensitive stomachs and delicate digestive systems, garlic supplements and cooked garlic are both helpful for heart health.
Aged Garlic Extract
Aging garlic significantly reduces its irritating compounds and makes it easier on the stomach.
In the aged form, all of garlic's healthy sulfur-containing compounds are converted to water- soluble compounds that retain garlic's natural health benefits. In addition, the pungent odor of the garlic is greatly reduced, an outcome many people desire.
When a group of researchers at Brown University studied the effects of aged garlic extract on people's cholesterol levels, they found that after six months, cholesterol dropped about 6% (Am J Clin Nutr 1996; 64:866-70).
In another study from Brown, researchers found that aged garlic extract reduced platelet adhesion, a sticky blood problem that can cause vessel blockages (New Drug Clin 45(3):456-66). When platelets are less sticky, they are less likely to form blood clots that can cause heart attacks.
Garlic and Heart Disease
A growing body of research shows that a clove of garlic a day can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease.
A four-year study of 280 people who took dried garlic powder three times a day found a striking reduction in the types of arterial plaque blockages that threaten the blood supply to your heart. Interestingly, in this particular study, women displayed a greater reduction in plaque than men (Atherosclerosis 2000; 150:437-8).
Another study found that garlic may also keep important blood vessels more supple and less likely to spasm. Arterial spasms have been linked to heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems in women.
As you age, the aorta, one of the main arteries that carries blood, may harden, reducing blood flow from the heart and placing damaging stress on a number of other bodily organs. In research at Ohio State University, people who took garlic supplements had 15% less aortic stiffness than people who avoided garlic (Circulation).
In this study, scientists found that the older people enjoyed the greatest cardiovascular benefits from daily garlic use.
Researchers believe this extra benefit is linked to the fact that as you age, the endothelial tissue in the linings of the aorta and other blood vessels become less responsive to the need to dilate (expand). As a result, when more blood flow is required, and the heart pumps faster, these vessels take more of a beating from the friction of blood passing through them.
That restriction in dilation has two damaging consequences: In one instance, vessel walls can be injured. In response to these injuries, cholesterol collects on artery walls, plaque forms and the blood supply to the heart muscle can be restricted, leading to a heart attack. In other cases, arteries can restrict blood flow to the heart simply because of the inability to expand sufficiently.
The Ohio State researchers found that arteries in folks aged 70 to 80 benefited the most from taking garlic. But those in their 60s also benefited significantly.
Garlic's natural antioxidant properties can also help protect the heart from damage after surgery (BMC Pharmacology 9/02).
In a study performed on lab animals, researchers found that oxidative stress, a source of cell damage that takes place after surgery, dropped when the animals ate a diet that included garlic.
Oxidative stress can seriously reduce cardiac function, limit the amount of blood the heart can pump and cause permanent damage to the heart muscle.
Garlic Against Blood Clots
Under normal circumstances, blood clots serve a useful purpose: Cut yourself and a blood clot stops the bleeding. Without this clotting ability, you might bleed to death. But if your blood is too prone to clotting, these clumps can cut off blood supply to your heart and other organs, endangering your life.
In a study of apparently healthy individuals whose relatives had already suffered from heart disease, researchers found that their blood formed thick, tangled blood clots, increasing their risk of heart problems (Circulation rapid access 9/23/02). These blood clots are made of a substance called fibrin, a protein in the plasma that can form elastic threads that cut off blood flow.
While these researchers recommended aspirin as an anti-clotting measure for people at risk of heart disease, garlic can also help break up fibrin and possibly lower your chance of heart problems (Pharmatherapy 5(2): 83).
The fibrin that forms clots is produced by blood cells called platelets. Other scientists who have looked into garlic's benefits believe that one of its natural chemicals called ajoene may keep platelets from producing excessive fibrin and gumming up the flow of blood through arteries.
If you've rarely indulged in garlic, you may need a period of adjustment in growing accustomed to its unique taste and aroma. But its heart benefits confirm the long-ago observation by Pliny, an ancient Roman naturalist, that "garlic has powerful properties."
What the Medicine Men Knew
June 12, 2005 02:17 PM
What the Medicine Men Knew by Phyllis D. Light, RH, AHG Energy Times, August 4, 2003
When Europeans first landed on the shores of North America, they were greeted by Native Americans who were healthy and strong, tall and straight-boned, and who generally lived to a ripe old age. Curious and friendly, the Native Americans showed the newcomers how to harvest wild foods and grow suitable crops, and also demonstrated the medicinal use of herbs. The North American indigenous medical traditions evolved into an effective system during its long history, estimated at between 12,000 and 40,000 years. So, herbally, we owe a huge debt to the Native American willingness to share knowledge of North American plants. Many of the herbs sitting on the shelves of natural food stores today were originally found in the medicinal arsenal of Native Americans, including black cohosh, echinacea, goldenseal, pleurisy root, sarsaparilla, red root, black walnut, gravel root and American ginseng.
Unique Healing Traditions
The number of Native tribes in the United States is estimated at about 500, and each possesses a unique set of healing traditions. While the term "Native American medicine" does not describe a homogenous system of healing, common, underlying principles can be discerned in many of these tribal traditions. Most often, these healing traditions and practices have been handed down in a rich oral tradition from practitioner to practitioner, rarely finding their way into written descriptions.
For instance, according to David Winston, a Cherokee medicine priest and herbalist living in New Jersey, "Cherokee medicine is based on connection-body, mind, spirit, family, community and God/Spirit. The Cherokee word for medicine, Nvowti, means 'power.' Anything that has power-water, ceremony, songs, stories, herbs-is medicine."
On the other hand, Charles Alexander Eastman, PhD (Indian name: Ohiyesa), comments in his book, The Soul of an Indian, "The Sioux word for the healing art is wah-pee-yah, which literally means 'readjusting or making anew.' Pay-jee-hoo-tah, literally 'root,' means medicine, and wakan signifies 'spirit' or 'mystery.' Thus the three ideas, while sometimes associated, were carefully distinguished."
Native American healing philosophy advocates a customized treatment plan for each person's unique health problems.
Consequently, healing techniques focus on the individual, not the disease, although the overall treatment may incorporate well-known ways for relieving the specific discomforts, aches and pains associated with an illness. Native healers employ herbs, ceremony, song and prayer in a manner tailored to each person they treat.
A central tenet in many Native American healing traditions is the need to sweat. As a result, Inipi, or Lakota sweat lodges, are located in most areas of the country. Sweating produces many benefits. It opens pores, cleanses the skin, enhances circulation, discourages the growth of bacteria in the body and functions as a detoxification outlet.
The skin is well-suited for the elimination of toxins: Experts estimate that during everyday functioning, 30% of the body's wastes pass through the skin. For the Native American, the sweat lodge offers spiritual help as well as physical aid. And the use of sweating is generally not employed as the only treatment but is always accompanied by other therapies such as herbs.
Native Americans are not alone in their reverence for using sweating to treat disease. A technique for sweating is fundamental to most traditional medicines, including Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Native American Herbs
For native healers, herbs offer physical, emotional and spiritual support. In this tradition, herbs are consumed in teas, tablets or capsules, or are inhaled after being thrown onto the hot stones in a sweat lodge or otherwise burned to release their vapor. Smudging, a ritualized method for bathing a person or object with the smoke from SACRED herbs such as sweet grass, sage or cedar, is a way of cleansing individuals, clearing a ritual space or sanctifying ceremonial tools. Each herb in the smudging process is used for a specific reason. Sweet grass grows the spirit, while sage and cedar dispel negativity. Frequently, herbs are taken as preparation for participation in rituals. "Sweet leaf is used as a tea before the sweat lodge ceremony in some Indian communities in South Dakota," notes Matthew Wood, RH, AHG, author of The Book of Herbal Wisdom (North Atlantic Books). "It promotes perspiration, relaxes the nerves, reduces tension and brings harmony and beauty to the participants."
The idea that everything in the universe, including people, is connected is a philosophy shared by many tribes.
When a medicine person assesses an illness, she not only observes physical problems but also analyzes family and community dynamics. A person's relationship with God is believed to influence health. In this vein, prayers like Mitakuye Oyasin, a Lakota blessing that means "all my relations," appeals to the interconnectedness of each of us with other people, with the Earth, and with God.
"Separation and isolation is one of the leading causes of illness," David Winston says. "There is a connection between everything-within ourselves and outside of ourselves. When we isolate and separate ourselves from our family, our community and from God/Spirit, then we suffer diseases of the spirit. Ultimately, we are responsible for our own spirits-to keep them healthy.
"In addition," adds Winston, "from the Cherokee viewpoint, the nuclear family is seen as too small. There are too many single parents working too hard and under too much stress." In a Native American clan-based society, much of this stress is defused with the support of an extended family.
Kinship philosophy is a basic part of the Native perspective, a kinship that extends beyond humans to all life, including animals, fish, and birds as well as the Earth itself. Consequently, care of the Earth is an integral part of kinship philosophy. Indigenous cultures have very specific knowledge of ecology and environmental ethics. In the kinship philosophy, damage done by man to the Earth is then reflected back in the body of man by diseases of the body and spirit. Man and his illnesses are seen as part of the ecology of the planet, not a separate, isolated force with the power to control.
Modern Ills, Ancient Treatments
Winston believes that Cherokee medicine offers the greatest aid to people with chronic illnesses such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and some female reproductive complaints, as well as individuals with stress-related disorders. It can also offer aid to those who are depressed and feel alienated or disconnected from society.
Native American medicine can offer balance and healing. It can be used in conjunction with Western medicine, providing a holistic and individualized treatments. To find a Native American healer, check with your local tribal community. Mitakuye Oyasin.