Caruso's Health Blog
Find natural approaches to conditions, herbal use and supplements, recipes, fitness inspiration for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Turmeric- The ancient healing herb that’s now a modern wellness sensation. Traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine healers have been using turmeric as a natural remedy for centuries. Turmeric is now one of the most researched herbs in the world and thousands of studies have demonstrated its therapeutic benefits for a wide range of health conditions…particularly conditions which involve inflammation. Is turmeric a herb or is it a spice? It’s both. Turmeric is a perennial herbaceous plant from the same family as ginger. The underground stems, called rhizomes, are harvested, dried and ground into a powder, which is the golden spice used for medicinal and culinary purposes. What gives turmeric its health benefits? There’s a lot of confusion out there about how turmeric works. Turmeric isn’t just a homogenous powder. Like many natural remedies, it’s made up of a number of biologically active substances. Of these, there is a group of three compounds, called curcuminoids, which make up about 2% -5% of turmeric. They are curcumin, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin. Curcumin is the star of the trio. It’s the curcuminoid primarily responsible for turmeric’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Curcumin is a natural anti-inflammatory Inflammation can be triggered as the body’s way of defending and healing. But it can also run riot and cause pain and damage. Tissue damage, as in arthritis, causes the release of cytokines and sets off pro-inflammatory processes which lead to the production of inflammatory molecules such as thromboxane and prostaglandins. These inflammatory molecules are produced by enzymes such as phospholipase, lipoxygenase, 5-LOX and COX-2. Curcumin works by inhibiting some of these inflammatory processes and enzymes, and also by down-regulating the activity of some inflammatory molecules. And that’s good news if you suffer from mild osteoarthritis as it means that curcumin can relieve symptoms such as mild joint inflammation, pain and stiffness. Curcumin also helps improve overall joint health and maintain joint mobility. Curcumin also helps to protect cells from damage by free radicals Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that roam around the body and can damage cells through a process called oxidative stress. Oxidative stress has been linked to many health conditions, including poor joint health and function, so antioxidants are important to keep our bodies healthy. Learn more about the benefits of Turmeric for joint health, here. Curcumin works by directly scavenging free radicals as well as by inhibiting some of the processes that generate free radicals, so it helps to reduce the damage they can cause to body cells. Can you just eat turmeric powder to get the benefits of curcumin? Not really. Firstly, like we mentioned earlier, curcumin and turmeric are not the same thing. Curcuminoids make up only around 2-5% of turmeric rhizome powder, and of that 2-5%, curcumin makes up about 75%. So that means an average teaspoon of turmeric powder may contain less than 1% of the all-important curcumin. And that’s not the only reason that turmeric powder alone can’t really deliver much in the way of health benefits. To have a therapeutic effect in your body curcumin needs to get into your blood plasma. Once there it can circulate around the body and exert its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. But turmeric, and the curcumin in it, is very poorly absorbed by your body. It is naturally insoluble in water (just check out that yellow gunk at the bottom of your turmeric latte or tea!) Very little remains intact after it gets into the highly acidic stomach environment What does remain isn’t absorbed very well by your digestive system And what is absorbed gets broken down and excreted by your liver really quickly. This is known as low bioavailability…and to counteract it you would need to eat a LOT of turmeric powder or drink a LOT of golden lattes every day! You can see recipe here So consuming turmeric, or even straight curcumin powder, isn’t a very effective way of getting enough bioactive curcumin into your bloodstream. A better way to get the health benefits of curcumin The best way to get the health benefits of curcumin is by taking a high strength supplement which has been formulated for higher bioavailability.
HERBAL MEDICINE WELLNESSTurmeric- The ancient healing herb that’s now a modern wellness sensation.
Traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine healers have been using turmeric as a natural remedy for centuries. T...Read more
The History & Benefits of Boswellia The resin from Boswellia trees has been an important remedy used in Ayurvedic medicine for antiquity, it may also be known as Indian Frankincense. Other traditional medicine systems, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine and Middle Eastern medicine have also used Boswellia resin as an aromatic substance or medicine for centuries. According to the Bible, baby Jesus was gifted gold, frankincense and myrrh by the three wise men. All three gifts were highly prized, however frankincense would have been abundantly available with Boswellia trees growing widespread across the lands described in the Bible. Some species of Boswellia grow wild in Somalia, Ethiopia and South Arabia, while Indian Frankincense can be founding growing in the dry, mountainous regions of India. A small to large deciduous tree which can grow up to 8 metres, the Boswellia tree has a papery bark and a light crown of small leaves. Some liken its appearance to that of a large bonsai tree. The tree is so hardy that it can be found growing out of rocky ledges and in the driest of conditions. There are various species of Boswellia trees within the Burseraceae family. The resin from some species of Boswellia, are used as aromatics for perfumes, essential oils or burned as incense, this is known as frankincense, while other species such as Boswellia serrata, are used medicinally for inflammation and joint complaints. To harvest the tree’s medicinal resin, an incision is made into the trunks of the tree where the sap is extracted and dried into a resin. The resin from the Boswellia trees is still popular in complementary medicine and perfumes today. Like most plant medicines, Boswellia naturally contains several active compounds. The particular compounds found in Boswellia are known as boswellic acids. One of these is referred to as 3-O-Acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid (AKBA). This particular compound has developed popularity in Western Herbal Medicine for its benefits for joint health, particularly for the symptoms of mild osteoarthritis and joint inflammation. Boswellia is quite unique in its actions, providing not only support for the joint cartilage by reducing wear and tear and decreasing further cartilage loss, but also for the relief of symptoms such as swelling, pain and stiffness. The value of Boswellia has been recognised since ancient times, so if you suffer from the symptoms of mild arthritis such as aches and pain or inflamed joints, why not try the ancient remedy for yourself?
Mineral Bath Ideas Mineral baths have long been enjoyed for their relaxing and rejuvenating properties. Taking the time to relax in a warm bath is surely one of life’s simple pleasures. The ritual of bathing goes way back in time from naturally formed rock pools to steamy thermal mud baths.The health benefits of mineral baths have been known since the millennia. Historically, mineral baths have been enjoyed the world over, with a long list of purported benefits including relief from joint pain, sore muscles, stress relief and everything in between.While the chaos of everyday life may make showering a more time-efficient way of getting clean, a good long soak in the bath when time permits, is a cheap and easy way to escape the daily pressures of our lives, if only for a little while.So how can you recreate a relaxing, therapeutic bath in the comfort of your own home? Read on to discover how you too can experience the benefits of a relaxing, therapeutic bath, tailored to your own personal needs.To get started, you’ll need a few ingredients.Firstly, get your hands on either Epsom salts or magnesium chloride flakes. Epsom salts are not actually a salt, but rather, magnesium sulphate. Magnesium is great for easing sore muscles and has a soothing effect on our nervous system, so it’s great for stress and tense muscles.Magnesium chloride flakes are available in most health food stores and pharmacies. Some would argue that magnesium chloride is superior to Epsom salts, however, both contain magnesium, so whichever form you can find will still offer the great benefits associated with magnesium.Magnesium is well known for its muscle-relaxing properties, it’s also great for cramping and muscle spasms so it makes an essential addition to a therapeutic soak.Another ingredient to include is Pink Himalayan salt. Pink Himalayan salt is full of trace minerals making it a great addition for a DIY mineral bath experience. You can find Pink Himalayan salt in the spice aisle in the supermarket or health food stores, look for the salt with the lovely pink hue.Start with a basic mix: 1 cup of either Epsom salts or magnesium chloride flakes Chosen Essential Oils ¼ cup of Pink Himalayan salt Combine ingredients in a bowl and then add the suggested oils in the recipes below. Mix well and add to a warm bath, lock the bathroom door and relax for at least 20 minutes. Bliss……Rest and relaxation mixLavender oil is well known for its relaxing properties and is a skin-friendly essential oil. It’s also quite an easy oil to find in stores as it is so popular. You may even have some Lavender growing in your garden, feel free to throw a handful of fresh blooms in the tub too if you wish.Chamomile and Lavender go hand in hand when it comes to relaxation. Check your local health food store for some Chamomile tea and maybe add a tea bag or two to the bath water. Add the following to the basic mix and feel your body gently ease into a state of relaxation. 4 drops Lavender oil 3 drops Chamomile oil 2 Chamomile tea bags or handful of loose dried Chamomile flowers Fresh or dried Lavender blooms Sensuality mixSometimes we need a little something to feel good in our own skin. Rose geranium smells divine and when combined with either fresh or dried rose petals, makes a truly decadent bathing experience. The inclusion of baking soda has the added benefit of leaving the skin silky soft. Add the following to the basic mix and enjoy: 5 drops Rose geranium oil ¼ cup of baking soda Fresh or dried rose petals – or any flowers you may have on hand Pick me up mix Sometimes we need a little pick me up and citrus essential oils are perfect for doing just that. Not only do they smell great and uplifting, but they are great for perking up a flat mood and putting that smile back on your face. Combine the ingredients below with the basic mix, add it to your bath and let the sunshine in! 3 drops Lemon oil 3 drops Sweet Orange oil 1 or 2 drops of Rosemary oil – or a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary from the garden Several slices of orange or lemon for a bit of fun We all need to spend a little time looking after ourselves now and then and what better way, than with a warm, relaxing mineral-rich bath. With a few ingredients to make it special, you’ll soon be soaking away your tense muscles along with your stress and worries. Enjoy!
Benefits of Turmeric For Joint Health Historical Use Of TumericMost of us are familiar with turmeric as an ingredient in cooking, nestled amongst the other herbs and spices in the spice rack, it’s hard to ignore with its vibrant golden hue. There’s no denying the warming and comforting goodness that a good bowl of curry can deliver, however, the benefits of turmeric are not a discovery of modern times, its use can be traced back to over 4,500 years ago!Turmeric was not only used as a culinary spice and a revered traditional medicine, but it also played an important part in religious practices, wedding ceremonies and was even worn as an amulet to ward off evil spirits. Turmeric was often used to dye the cloth for the vibrant, golden robes worn by Buddhist and Hindu monks.As a native plant of Southeast Asia, India has long been the largest producer of turmeric since its early beginnings. Turmeric root comes from the plant Curcuma longa which belongs to the same botanical family as ginger. The underground stems are called rhizomes which are harvested, dried and ground into a yellow powder. Because of this bright colour, turmeric has also been known as ‘Indian Saffron’.Currently, turmeric is enjoying the limelight as one of the most popular herbs on the market for joint pain and inflammation, and for good reason. Much research has been conducted on the medicinal uses of turmeric and you’ll find the internet and trendy cookbooks brimming with recipes for lattes, smoothies, dressings and of course, curries to help you incorporate turmeric into your diet1,2.So, what is it that makes turmeric so beneficial for inflammation and mild joint pain?The turmeric root naturally contains bioactive substances called curcuminoids, the most important of them being curcumin. Curcumin is the compound which is responsible for the medicinal actions of the plant. Although curcumin only takes up a small proportion of the total root, it possesses powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Curcumin can be hard for the body to absorb, so when adding it to recipes it’s important to ensure that there is a fat component in the dish, such as yoghurt, olive oil or nuts to help get the full health benefits from the root.Unfortunately, a large number of us can expect to experience joint pain at some stage in our lives. Joint health is important for everybody, particularly as we age and turmeric has been shown to be effective for relieving inflammation and swelling of the joints. Turmeric has long been used to treat sore joints, including the symptoms of mild osteoarthritis, and for helping to improve mobility and stiffness. Turmeric is not only helpful for reducing inflammation, but it can also help to protect our bodies from free radical damage through its antioxidant action. Antioxidants help to keep our cells strong and operating as they should, keeping our body and its systems running smoothly. Oxidative or free radical damage has been linked to many health conditions, including poor joint health and function, so antioxidants are important to keep our bodies healthy.The popularity and medicinal benefits of turmeric have stood the test of time, if you suffer from sore joints and inflammation, or think you could use a few more antioxidants in your diet, why not give turmeric a try?
Natural Immunity Boosting Remedies for Allergies There are many natural immune boosting remedies you can take to help get you through any allergy season. Allergies are a common chronic condition in Australia. In 2010, approximately 4.1 million or about 20% of the population suffered with at least one allergy.*Whilst, you may first think of a nut allergy, an allergy can include other substances as well. Some allergenic substances or allergies may include food, insects, animals, dust and chemicals. Some allergies are life threatening which cause an immunological anaphylactic response and this is a medical emergency.Here are some handy tips and remedies to help support your immune system and keep your allergies at bay:RosemaryRosemary is a European herb known for its culinary use and aroma. However, rosemary has been long used in Western Herbal Medicine for health ailments and conditions. One active ingredient in rosemary, rosmarinic acid has been shown to help reduce the inflammatory response and exert is the antioxidant activity by suppressing certain white blood cells and allergic antibodies.Vitamin CVitamin C maybe a household product for the common cold or flu, however, it has other powerful actions on immune health too. Vitamin C can reduce free radical damage to your body and it also supports immune system function if you are experiencing allergies.Stinging nettleStinging nettle is a wild European weed. If brushed up against its fine prickly hairs it can give you an itchy, stinging rash commonly known as nettle rash. However, just as it can quickly give you a rash, it can also appease it as well. Boiled leaves can be consumed as a tea to help relieve what it has caused! Stinging nettle is very high in minerals and nutrients including vitamin C and iron. It has an anti-inflammatory action and can help to provide support for allergies.Albizia lebbeck (Powder puff tree)This tree is native to Indochina and is also found in Northern Australia. It has long been used in Ayurvedic Medicine for respiratory health conditions. It also has a long history in many Traditional Medicine paradigms to help support the immune system in those suffering from allergies including hay fever.Omega-3 Fatty acidsOmega-3 fatty acids from fish oil have been a long time favourite for its anti-inflammatory action. But how does it help allergies specifically? When an allergy takes hold, our immune cells are over-activated. Omega-3 fatty acids help to regulate and decrease inflammatory cell production.ProbioticsBeneficial bacteria are widely known to help support immune system health. Although, you may think they only reside in the gut, they are actually present inside and outside of us. If prone to allergies, then always consider your gut health as 70-80% of your immune system cells live in your digestive system. These friendly bacteria need to be looked after and taking a regular probiotic during or before allergy season may assist your immune system response.Consider some of these natural immune-boosting remedies, before your allergy sets in!Reference:www.allergy.org.au Venkastesh, P et.al, 2010 Anti-allergic activity of standardised extra if Albizia lebbeck with reference to catechin as a phytomarker, Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology, 32(2):272-6
3 essential herbs to support your immune system Used by ancient healers through to modern-day herbalists, herbs have always played an important role in building resistance and supporting healthy immune systems, particularly through the cold and flu season. Many herbs which were popular centuries ago are still as popular today. Below are just a few herbs that may help to keep your immune system strong and keep those cold and flu symptoms at bay.Andrographis (Andrographis paniculata)Andrographis paniculata, a traditional Ayurvedic herb, is highly valued in India for its medicinal properties. Because it grows so abundantly in hedgerows and gardens, the plant is commonly used as a household remedy by locals. Often referred to as ‘the king of bitters’ the herb has also gained popularity in both Western Herbal Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for its affinity for the immune system. When used in TCM, Andrographis paniculata, may help to reduce excess chest phlegm and coughs, similarly, in Western herbal medicine the herb is used to aid in reducing the symptoms of common cold and ﬂu, while also supporting over all immune health.While it has a wide array of traditional uses, Andrographis paniculata is now recommended and used widely in modern times to aid in the treatment of common colds & flu, helping to relieve the severity of symptoms such as cough, runny nose and fevers. Taken at the first onset of symptoms, Andrographis helps to improve the immune response and shorten the duration of common colds and flus, helping you to get back on your feet sooner.Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus)Astragalus membranaceus is one of the most important herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. There are many species of Astragalus, over 2,000 in fact, however most herbal supplements utilise the species Astragalus membranaceus. The root of the plant is used as it contains the majority of the active plant compounds responsible for the medicinal actions.Used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine, the herb’s main benefits are centered around immune support and vitality. Modern Western herbal medicine still uses the herb for such indications, including relieving the symptoms and reducing the duration of the common cold. It is also a highly regarded herb used to assist with recovery after illness.Reishi Mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum)Not only are mushrooms known for their culinary uses and nutritional value, some have been used for their medicinal properties throughout history and across many cultures. The most valued medicinal mushrooms generally come from Asia. Ganoderma lucidum is a species of mushroom which grows throughout the world and is typically found growing at the base of living trees. With its kidney shaped caps and fan-like appearance, it can be found on its own or in small colonies.In China, Ganoderma lucidum is known as ‘Lingzhi’ and has been prized for its immune enhancing properties for over 2000 years, this popularity quickly spread throughout the world. Today, it is commonly known as Reishi mushroom, a name given to the mushroom by the Japanese. Ganoderma lucidum naturally contains many active compounds which are responsible for enhancing the body’s natural immune response.Enjoy the changing seasonsThese are just a few of the many herbs offering immune support to keep us strong through the colder months. Find a herb that works for you, eat well and exercise and rug up to enjoy the cooler months ahead.
Benefits of Garlic For Immunity History of Garlic Garlic is one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world. Evidence that garlic was used medicinally has been found in Egyptian pyramids and ancient Greek ruins, it even gets a mention in the Bible and it’s still as popular today as it ever was.Originating in Middle Asia, garlic has origins reaching as far back as around 2000 BC when the Sumerians are thought to have introduced garlic to China. Recognising the many benefits of the herb, it quickly became one of the most used herbal remedies in Ancient China. However, it wasn’t only the Chinese who realised the medicinal value of the pungent bulbs. Ancient Greek physician, Dioscorides, noted back in the first century AD, the value of garlic as a medicinal herb. Adding it to his Materia Medica with the note, “it doth clear the arteries” indicating early on its benefits toward cardiovascular health.During the Middle Ages when, unfortunately, plagues were a fact of life, garlic was often used as a preventative agent providing protection against diseases and other infections. The Egyptians were familiar with the wonders of garlic, giving it to their slaves to keep them strong and capable of doing the arduous work required of them.Highly sought after for both culinary and medicinal use, its variety of uses throughout the ages have ranged from the quite bizarre to simply delicious. Although the use of garlic for keeping away vampires and bad spirits might be a little hard to substantiate, there’s no denying the health benefits of garlic.The Power Of Garlic Garlic, like many plants, naturally contains a multitude of active constituents. Cleverly one of these constituents provides the plant with its own self-defence system. Once fresh garlic has been cut, crushed or chewed by insects, it produces a substance called allicin. Allicin is responsible for the distinct smell that we associate with garlic and insects hate it, so they tend to leave the plant alone. Allicin has many health benefits however it is relatively unstable, so levels will begin to decline quickly once it is exposed to air, along with any health benefits that may be associated with it.Fresh garlic may be quite unpalatable to some, whereas others may find garlic breath socially limiting so raw garlic may not always be a convenient option.Fortunately, we don’t all have to suffer from garlic breath in order to reap the benefits of garlic, there is an alternative to fresh garlic called Aged Black Garlic. Aged Black Garlic is a form of garlic that has undergone a unique extraction and ageing process in which the temperature and humidity are controlled over a specific period of time. This process results in an odourless garlic extract which is full of beneficial compounds such as S-Allyl-Cysteine (SAC). SAC is an antioxidant-rich amino acid which is very stable and has been found to play a major role in the myriad of health benefits attributed to garlic. SAC is found in abundance in Aged Black Garlic providing many health benefits including cardiovascular support, maintenance of healthy cholesterol levels and immune-enhancing properties.All in all, garlic is a powerful plant that has stood the test of time, so if you just need a bit of immune support during cold and flu season or your cardiovascular health needs attention, try garlic.
The Healing Power Of Ginseng What is Gingseng? Ginseng refers to various herbal plants belonging to the Panax genera, from the Araliaceae family. The Araliaceae family comprises around 700 plant species which are native to Southeast Asia and tropical America. Within the Panax genera there are 221 plants which have been identified and scientifically named, although approximately only 11-13 of these Panax species have been approved.To keep things simple, ginseng is a root herb which has been traditionally sourced from Panax ginseng, the ‘original’ type which is also known as ‘Korean ginseng’ and originates throughout Asia. An immediate relative which is also widely recognised today is Panax quinquefolius, also known as ‘American ginseng’ and is native to North America. These 2 species are the main forms of ginseng root which are readily available today and have been used in traditional medicine systems for years. Panax ginseng is the prototype root which accounts for the many variants that are clustered under ‘Asian ginsengs’. Some examples from the Asian variety of ginsengs may include: Panax japonicas, Panax notoginseng, Panax vietnamensis, Panax zingiberensis and also Panax pseudoginseng.There have been numerous herbs identified as a form of ginseng, although they have been falsely named as they do not belong to the appropriate kingdom order, falling under the Panax genera as required. These herbs have become popularised commercially due to the similarity in herbal properties, although are not true ginsengs in nature. Examples include: Eleutherococcus senticoccus (Siberian ginseng) used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Withania somnifera, (Ashwanghanda) used in Ayruvedic medicine and Lepidium meyenii (Maca) used throughout Peruvian medicine.Historical Use of Gingseng In TCM, Gingseng is referred to ‘jen sheng’ or ‘ren sheng’, which translates to the “root of heaven”. The word Panax is derived from the Greek word ‘panakeia’, meaning “all healing” and the TCM understanding is that ginseng can nourish all systems and tonify the vital 5 organs (5 viscera) of the body. The traditional Chinese herbology textbook ‘Bencao Gangmu’ (1596) illustrated ginseng and found that it resembled the human body, finding another fitting description and later being referred to as the ‘man root’. Throughout TCM P. ginseng is known as “the ultimate elixir of life, a symbol of strength and long life, the source of happiness, a tonic and an aphrodisiac”.The Shennong Bencao Jing written during ~100 C.E. contains the first known record of ginseng as a medicinal plant. It was described to have sweet and cold properties, which when combined have an effect that calms nervous agitation. Actions included supplementing the 5 viscera, eliminating evil qi and also to “brighten the eyes, open the heart and sharpen the wit” which expresses an interesting perspective; the eyes are the windows, heart is the residence and wits are the expression – of the mind. In this manner, ginseng is taken to prevent from the nature of an unbalanced state of mind. Ginseng has also been used as a culinary ingredient, identified in 42 recipes during the Ming dynasty.Publications dating back to the Song Dynasty during 1110 C.E. contained imperial herbal formulas. Ginseng was listed as a primary ingredient in the famously known ‘Si Junzi Tang’ or in western terms, the ‘Four Gentlemen Decoction’ formula alongside the later developed and also widely recognised formulas ‘Buzhong Yiqi Tang’ and ‘Guipi Tang’ which are decoctions used for tonifying and restoring. These traditional Chinese herbal formulas were commonly prescribed to aid with digestive functions and were primarily fitted to a person who is debilitated by prolonged illness, particularly those that have risen from poor habits such as: overwork without adequate rest, irregular eating and anxiously worrying without the productive completion of tasks, resulting in mental agitation and insomnia. During the Han Dynasty ~1644 C.E., precisely trained ginseng hunters searched the forests of North-Eastern China for Wild ginseng to use in these formulas and throughout medicine for centuries after.Although wild ginseng can still rarely be sourced, the majority of ginseng produced today is cultivated. In-fact some countries such as Russia or China consider ginseng as a protected plant and wild harvesting is prohibited. Ginseng is a perennial shrub growing 50-80cm, bearing inconspicuous flowers that later mature into berries. The plant begins flowering at ~4 years and may require ~7 years to mature for harvesting. The turnip-shaped taproot is prized medicinally as it contains the therapeutic active constitutes. Ginseng root variations include: white (unprocessed, naturally sun-dried) and red (processed, steam-heated). The root can be prepared for consumption, with popular options including: herbal tea, freshly grated, soups, stir-fry, infusions or powdered. To achieve therapeutic doses and attain the medicinal benefits, standardisation of the root is the customary.Benefits of Gingseng The active constituents which provides majority of the health benefits are the ‘Ginsenosides’. The actions provided by Ginsenosides such as its adaptogenic, aphrodisiac and antioxidant properties support areas such as the immune system, the brain and nervous system and the reproductive system. The health benefits of ginseng for modern-day usage may include: Support physical stamina, maintaining energy levels and supporting vitality Supports the nervous by improving resistance to non-specific stressors, maintaining a healthy stress response and promoting body adaptation to stress Support mental performance and maintaining cognitive functions or learning abilities such as concentration and memory, while also supporting a healthy mood and emotional balance Support the health and function of the immune system Support both female and male reproductive health, such as sexual functions and libido Helps to support general health and wellbeing while improving quality of life Caruso’s Ginseng 5500 for energy contains a combination of Panax ginseng (Korean ginseng), Panax quinquefolius (American ginseng) and Eleutherococcus senticosus (Siberian Ginseng). These herbs are also standardised to their active constituents (Ginsenosides and Syringaresinol diglucosides).For more information, please contact one of our friendly naturopaths from Carusos on 1300304480. Always read the label and follow directions for use. If symptoms persist, worsen or change unexpectedly, talk to your health professional. This medicine may not be right for you. Read the warnings before purchase.
Top Herbs For Stress Management Are you feeling Stressed during these times? Did you know feeling stressed is a normal physiological and physical response the body manifests to protect itself? Stress can be classified into positive and negative forms which the body experiences: Positive stress (referred to as eustress) is often temporary or short-lived experience which can include, excitement, anticipation, happiness and joy. A new job, wedding or sporting event which has an anticipated change that will result in a good outcome, is positive stress. Negative stress (referred to as distress) is often all too familiar to many of us. Negative stress can be short term but sometimes results in a long term scenario which can include an experience or a state of dis-ease within the body. Commonly, our emotional system can be heavily taxed in negative stressful situations. This can give rise to mild anxiety, mood imbalance or irritability, nervous tension, irrational thoughts or behaviour and physical symptoms as well. Out of control? The most common feeling that we experience with negative stress is being “out of control”. This feeling can present itself in many ways and can compound the current state of stress. Never fear! There are many herbs at your disposal which can help with reducing the negative effects of stress. The power of herbs is fascinating as herbs or plants have many different actions. No one single herb may resolve all your stress, however, there are some key herbs to consider. Herbs have many actions or effects on the body and it is often easier to look at herbs by their action on the body. Let’s look at the actions of some herbs: Adaptogen - This term applies to herbs that, “help the body adapt to stress”, whether it be emotional or physical stress. Primarily, adaptogens can help support the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system (or HPA system or axis) of the body. The HPA system is the driver of the “fight or flight” response within the body, and also helps the body adapt to the more chronic states of stress we may experience. In today’s world, we live in a state of constant stress, not from fear of being chased by a lion, but from the stress of daily living, family, ill health and work, the list is endless! We all need a little helping hand at times to give us the support we need. Here are some top adaptogenic herbs: Ashwagandha (Withania sominfera) Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus)Borage (Borago officinalis) Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) Schisandra (Schisandra chinesis) Rehmannia (Rehmannia glutinosa) Nervine- This term refers to the herbs ability to “relax the nervous system or nerves” and a part of the brain (Limbic system) to evoke a state of calm in periods of stress. When in a relaxed and calm state the body can cope with stress better and rationalise the stress, which may seem like a threat or overwhelming experience. Here are common nervine herbs to support the nervous system: Skullcap (Scutallaria lateriflora) Oats (Avena sativa) Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) Lavender (Lavendula officinalis) More than one herb may be needed to help you through your stressful period. In fact, some of these herbs combine well with each other and can be taken as a tea, in liquid or as a tablet form. Try some of these herbs as a tea to help you create a sense of balance, calm and ahhhh….
Healing Power of Bilberry For Eye Health Vaccinium myrtillus, commonly known as ‘Bilberry’ is a small berry from the Ericaceae family. The Bilberry plant is a leafy shrub which grows up to 60cm long and is mostly found in the woodlands. When flowering, this plant produces berries that are similar in appearance to the traditional blueberry – a purple-black colour with wrinkles and contains tiny seeds. The berries and leaves from the Bilberry plant are the parts used for medicinal health purposes.History & Use of BilberryThe Bilberry plant is native to European countries and dating back to the 12th century, German herbalists have been recommending Bilberry for health purposes. The medicinal properties were again recognised during World War II, where pilots had found that consuming Bilberries assisted them with their night vision. In addition to several medicinal applications, Bilberry was used as a means of consumption, commonly in the form of tea.Bilberry may be used as a culinary ingredient for sweet condiments such as a natural jam, syrup or jelly; for beverages including tea, fresh juice or in smoothies; and for home-made baked goods such as traditional Bilberry pies and upside-down cakes or take a modern twist in baking tarts, muffins, crumbles or streusel. Forms which have been used less commonly include macerates, decoctions, infusions and also as a food colouring agent. To include Bilberry in your diet, keep an eye out for products such as dried, frozen or powdered berries.The active constituents found in Bilberries include tannins (catechins), flavonoids and polyphenols such as anthocyanosides and proanthocyanidins. The Bilberry leaves also contain a potent polyphenol known as resveratrol, additional to flavonoids such as quercetin.Polyphenols, flavonoids and tannins are all phytoprotective compounds which are naturally produced as a defence mechanism by the fruiting plant, as a response to harmful external pathogens or stressors such as pests, extreme weather conditions and high UV radiation. The phytoprotective effects inhibit the growth of bacteria or viruses in the plant. These constituents are commonly found in the skin of berries, producing the rich hues of red, purple and blue. Tannins have astringent effects on mucous membranes and are responsible for the bitter after-taste and dry mouth feeling you may experience after consuming tannin-rich foods. Great examples of other tannin containing foods include unsweetened green tea or concentrated natural cranberry juice. The polyphenol and flavonoid components of Bilberry provide various health promoting benefits such as its antioxidant action, which reduces free radical formation and damage to cells.Some health indications for Bilberry: Maintaining overall eye health, including important structures, such as the retina and macula. Supporting healthy eye development and functions such as healthy eyesight, vision and also assisting the eye to adapt to variations of light intensity, for e.g. night-vision. In addition, Bilberry helps to support ocular health and function and maintain healthy eyesight by relieving symptoms of eye discomfort such as redness, soreness and dry eyes while also decreasing eye strain and reducing associated visual fatigue. Administration forms of Bilberry include dried fruits, liquid extracts and most commonly, standardised extracts. Preparations which contain the dry fruit of Vaccinium myrtillus generally have a daily dose which ranges between 1.2g – 75g and may contain a standardised extract of Anthocyanosides at 40mg – 120mg. Therapeutic effects may take effect after durations of approximately 4 – 8 weeks.Caruso’s Bilberry for eye health contains 15g of Bilberry and 60mg of Anthocyanosides.For more information, please contact one of our friendly naturopaths from Carusos on 1300304480. Always read the label and follow directions for use. If symptoms persist, worsen or change unexpectedly, talk to your health professional. This medicine may not be right for you. Read the warnings before purchase. Reference ListANC Clinical Overview – Bilberryhttp://cms.herbalgram.org/ABCGuide/GuidePDFs/Bilberry.pdfBraun & Cohen (2015). Herbs & Natural Supplements, 4th, vol. 2.https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/bilberry-fruithttps://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/databases/food,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=202https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/earth-and-planetary-sciences/tanninhttps://www.britannica.com/science/tanninhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9759559https://www.healthline.com/health/what-are-flavonoids-everything-you-need-to-know#takeawayhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25272572https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15678717https://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2013/162750/https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/biochemistry-genetics-and-molecular-biology/flavonoid
Healing Power of Maca Lepidium meyenii, commonly known as “Maca” has also been referred to as the ‘Peruvian ginseng’ due to its Traditional use in Peruvian medicine for its invigorating effects. Maca is a plant from the Brassicaceae / Cruciferae family. It’s related to the radish, yet has an aroma similar to that of butterscotch. The Maca plant grows as a root vegetable and has an appearance which is similar to a turnip or parsnip. There are variations to the Maca plant although the most widely used form is the flattened-circular shaped, yellow coloured root. For medicinal purposes and therapeutic benefits, the plant part used is the tuberous root.Maca is a plant which is native to South America in countries such as Peru, Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia. Maca is most commonly found growing in what is known to be the ‘highest plateaus’ of the Peruvian Andes Mountains, reaching between 3700m – 4500m above sea level, where it has been found and cultivated as a root crop for over 3000 years.History of MacaThe history of Maca root usage dates back before the 13th century, where it had been incorporated into the Incan culture after conquering the Peruvian Andes population in the highlands. During these times and within the community, consuming Maca was considered to be a privilege, as it was limited only to the wealthy, noble, clergy and even warriors.Maca was first described as a medicinal food in 1553 and later in 1653 was followed-up for its effects on sexual function, energy and emotional wellbeing. Traditionally, Maca has been used in humans and even livestock for agricultural practices. It was recognised as a medicinal food throughout traditional Peruvian medicine and was used to support emotional wellbeing, enhance vitality and maintain energy levels while supporting physical endurance, stamina and capacity. Primary indications in traditional Peruvian medicine supported female complaints by relieving symptoms of menopause and regulating healthy menstrual cycles.Benefits of MacaMaca is considered to be a superfood, which is a food that is nutritionally dense, provides health benefits and supports wellbeing. Maca contains a powerhouse of macro and micro nutrients, such as: a high energy content, protein, amino acids, fibre, healthy fatty acids, plant sterols, iron, calcium, copper, manganese, potassium and zinc. It also contains an array of active constituents that add value to its therapeutic effects as a medicinal herb.There is a rich content of active constituents found in Maca, including multiple glucosinolates and the polyunsaturated fats, macaene and macamide. The actions which these constituents convey are abundant, although the most beneficial health effects are: antioxidant and aphrodisiac. These actions support healthy sexual functions including the maintenance of a healthy libido. Maca provides female reproductive hormonal support by relieving symptoms associated with menopause and also in reducing the occurrence of these symptoms, in both menopausal and peri-menopausal women. Maca has shown to work efficiently for healthy emotional balance and reducing menopausal symptoms such as moodiness. Additional benefits of Maca may include antioxidant support in reducing free radicals, maintaining physical endurance, capacity and stamina and also promoting general health and wellbeing.Some health indications of Maca:- Maca maintains healthy sexual wellbeing and sexual functions in men and women.- Maca helps to support a healthy libido in men.- Maca helps to reduce symptoms of menopause. Additionally, Maca can help to relieve moodiness and support emotional wellbeing associated with menopause.- Maca can support physical endurance and maintain physical stamina.- Maca is an antioxidant herb which can reduce free radical formation within the body and also help to decrease free radical damage caused to body cells.- Maca maintains general health and wellbeing, including emotional wellbeing.Use of MacaAs a food, Maca root has been consumed for thousands of years and popular choices have been cooking methods of baking, roasting, a soup and also fermented as a drink or coffee. Traditionally Maca was prepared with dosage ranges of 50-100g daily. Research supported by clinical evidence now demonstrates doses between 2-3.5g daily have optimal results. Caruso’s Maca 3500 for vitality and libido is a one-a-day 3.5g dose of Lepidium meyenii.For more information, please contact one of our friendly naturopaths from Carusos on 1300304480. Always read the label and follow directions for use. If symptoms persist, worsen or change unexpectedly, talk to your health professional. This medicine may not be right for you. Read the warnings before purchase. If you would like to purchase Caruso’s Maca or browse our product range, please visit hereReference Listhttps://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/555.htmlhttps://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/databases/food,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=555Braun & Cohen (2015). Herbs & Natural Supplements, 4th, vol. 2.Therapeutic Research Faculty (2005). Natural Medicine Comprehensive Database.http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbmedpro/index.html?ts=1536950729&signature=74ce3e33a3df1eeccc45a6984fb05d34&ts=1578615874&signature=9b587df636dcc76135e338ce3525c9c2#param.wapp?sw_page=@@subcategory%3FherbID%3D51%26categoryID%3D1http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbmedpro/index.html?ts=1536950729&signature=74ce3e33a3df1eeccc45a6984fb05d34#param.wapp?sw_page=@@viewHerb%3FherbID%3D51https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/maca
Brain Boosting Herbs for Memory and Cognition Your brain is ever-evolving. It is not something which is fixed or stationary. In recent years, new research into brain plasticity (neuroplasticity) which is the study of the brain's ability to change and adapt as a result of an experience (new and old), has helped to revolutionise how we think about our brain function and memory. We now know that the brain has the ability to re-wire itself to adapt to changes, whilst the neurons in the brain can decline with age, it still has the ability to learn new things and change. We all want to remain young, active and retain our memory as we age, right? There are in fact many steps you can take to help your brain and memory work to an optimal level. Whether you are trying to maintain the health of your already healthy brain, or strengthen your memory recall or retention. Some of these brain-boosting herbs may help support the function of the brain and the neural pathways within it. Here are a few herbs to consider: Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) With a long history of use in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, Brahmi has been used as a brain tonic to help improve memory and cognition. Additionally, Brahmi was also used as a nerve tonic to help nourish the nervous system. Brahmi also helps to maintain cognitive function and development, therefore helping to enhance learning ability. Short term memory may also be improved by taking Brahmi as it helps to support memory and mental recall. Gotu kola (Centella asiatica) Known as the only living plant that lived alongside dinosaurs, the Ginkgo tree is the one of the oldest trees which still exists today. With its leaves full of antioxidant compounds, Ginkgo helps to support brain function and can enhance short term memory. The leaves of this ancient tree are also used to help support mental concentration, including focus and clarity and overall brain health. Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) Known as the only living plant that lived alongside dinosaurs, the Ginkgo tree is the one of the oldest trees which still exists today. With its leaves full of antioxidant compounds, Ginkgo helps to support brain function and can enhance short term memory. The leaves of this ancient tree are also used to help support mental concentration, including focus and clarity and overall brain health. Lions mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) Interestingly, this mushroom looks like a lion’s mane! Traditionally used in Asian culture in countries such as China, Korea and Japan as a tea to aid in vitality and vigor. Lions mane mushroom has the ability to influence neuroactive compounds which lead to nerve growth and development in the brain. Improved cognitive function and recognition memory have also been noted with this herb. Sage (Salvia officinalis) This fragrant herb is originally from the Mediterranean and European regions of the world. Today, it can be found growing across the globe and is used for a multitude of culinary and medicinal purposes. Sage has been used traditionally in Western Herbal Medicine to improve memory recall. It is also used to support mental concentration and focus. In addition to these herbs keeping the mind active can help boost the brain function too. Consider learning a new language, a musical instrument, take an art class, learn to dance, play board games or master Sudoku. Exercise may also help to give the brain a boost of oxygen a few times each week, which will also contribute to its health. These activities just may help to keep memory loss at bay.
The History & Benefits of Herbal Medicine Ancient Greeks and Romans were herbalists with the most well-known Greek physician being Hippocrates, who is also known as the "Father of modern medicine" Hippocrates was regarded for his ethics associated with medicine and for the "Hippocratic Oath". Two Greek surgeons in the Roman Army, Dioscorides and Galen compiled the matera medica texts that have become a foundation for modern day herbal medicine. Herbal medicine was preserved in Monasteries throughout Britain and Europe as they served as medical schools, with the Monks translating much of the works of Hippocrates, Dioscorides and Galen. Ways herbs have been used Herbs have been used in many ways throughout history, not only as the backbone for Indigenous medical systems, but also in healing rituals. Depending on the herb, there were many ways in which they can be used, such as ingestion of the herb, syrup, tinctures, ointments/salves, essential oils, smoking and consumption teas to name a few. The book 'The Devine Farmer's Classic of Herbalism' is the oldest known herbal text in the world, compiled in China about 2000 years ago. Modern age herbal medicine The increased interaction with allopathic and holistic practitioners is enabling more people across the globe to embrace an integrative healthcare regime with the use of both herbs and pharmaceutical medicines. The use of herbal medicine has continued to grow and develop into the modern age, with professions such as naturopaths and herbalists continuing to grow in popularity. Universities and Colleges globally teach Naturopathy with the course framework now heavily based on science and evidence, not only on traditional use of herbs. Herbal medicine plays a valuable part in prevention of ill health, with many people choosing to use herbs to aid general health and wellbeing. Popular use of herbal medicine The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates over 50% of people in industrialised nations have used herbal medicines for some part of their health care, and in Africa, up to 80% of the population uses herbal medicine for their primary health care. Many popular body systems people lean towards herbal medicine include: Eye Health - with the use of antioxidant rich herbs such as bilberry and lutein. Digestive Health - with the use of bitter herbs including gentian and globe artichoke. Liver health - with the use of liver protective herbs milk thistle and and schisandra. Joint pain - with the use of anti-inflammatory herbs such as curcumin (turmeric) and boswellia Skin Health - with the use of antioxidant herbs such as French marine pine bark and grape seed extract. Scientific advancements In the early stages of herbal medicine's history, the exact mechanism of action of the herbs had not been established, relying on the effects they had on the person rather than being able to determine the active components involved or its actual biochemistry. Even though the active components were unable to be pinpointed at this time, research has shown that Indigenous cultures around the world tended to use the same or similar plants for the same ailments. Often we see Indigenous cultures who never crossed paths use the same herbs for the same purposes at opposite ends of the globe. The developments in science has had a vast impact on what we know about the ways in which herbs work in the body and what component of the plant is responsible for the therapeutic effects. Since the early 19th century scientists have been able to analyse the herbs and establish their mechanism of action. They have also been able to determine which parts of the plant contains the highest levels of these active constituents. Generally the parts used in herbal medicine are the leaves, flowers, roots, seeds, berries and bark. Scientific advances and determining active components of herbs has paved the way for many pharmaceutical medications, in fact many of our drugs were originally derived from herbs such as aspirin which traditionally was derived from the herb Willow Bark, until ways to synthetically create these were discovered. There is an increase in herbs undergoing clinical trials for validity rather than only relying on the traditional use information already established about the herb. The shift to evidenced based herbal medicines is also seeing swing to standardized herbal medicine preparations, in which the active components of the herb are identified and in concentrated forms in the preparation to ensure the active component is at a dose that may provide therapeutic actions.
The Hemp Revolution After more than 15 years of lobbying, the Australian Hemp Industry has persuaded the Government to follow countries such as the UK, USA and Canada, and pass legislation that legalises the use of Hemp in food products. As of November 12th, 2017 you have been legally able to purchase products such as Hemp oil, Hemp seeds, Hemp protein powder and Hemp flour from your local Health Food Shop for the purpose of dietary consumption. This means that products that were previously labelled “external use only” are now available as foods. But hemp is not just any old food – Hemp is a true superfood! What Is Hemp? Hemp is a variety of cannabis (Cannabissativa) which is different to marijuana. It has been specifically bred to produce very low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the psychoactive constituent in marijuana. Hemp therefore will not cause the “high” associated with marijuana use. Presently, Hemp is cultivated as an industrial product for use in textiles and clothing, body products, paper, alternatives to plastic, biofuel and the building industry, however, it is an extremely nutritious plant. It is gluten free, low in naturally occurring sugars and full of fibre, protein, essential* fatty acids (EFAs), vitamins and minerals. What are the nutritional benefits of Hemp? Hemp is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. It is what is known as a complete protein, meaning it contains all 10 essential* amino acids. This is rare for a plant food. Just 30g of Hemp contains almost 10g of protein. Hemp is the richest source of the omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids of all foods. The seeds are made up of around 85% EFA’s which your body uses to maintain skin, eye and nervous system health, as well as to manage inflammation. It is high in the fat soluble vitamins A and E and is also a great source of the minerals magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, zinc and iron. 30g of Hemp contains a whopping 50% of your daily requirement for magnesium and phosphorus, and 60% of the Recommended Daily Intake for manganese. With the exception of Pumpkin seeds, Hemp seeds contain more antioxidants than any other plant based oil. Antioxidants play a vital role in maintaining cellular health and are involved in healthy cardiovascular function, nervous system function, reproductive function and healthy aging. What types of food products can be made from Hemp, and how can I use it in my cooking? All of the food products made from hemp are produced by using the seeds. The seeds impart a delicious nutty flavour to the dishes you create. After pressing the seeds to extract the EFA rich oil, you are left with a fibrous mass known as “hemp cake”. The hemp cake is milled to make hemp flour. Hemp flour can be used in gluten free baking to make cakes, biscuits, and muffins. The oil is not recommended for use in cooking due to its high EFA content. It is best used in salad dressings, dips and smoothies. Hemp seeds, as mentioned above, are extremely high in protein so it comes as no surprise to learn that hemp protein powders are now among the most popular types of vegetarian/vegan, gluten free and dairy free protein powders on the market. Just like its dairy counterparts, hemp protein can be used as a drink after workouts when mixed with water or some type of milk. It can also be added to pancake mix and smoothies for a convenient protein boost. Hemp seeds themselves can also be freshly ground and used as a sprinkle to give your salads, muesli, yoghurt or fruit a nutrient kick. Does Hemp have any other benefits? Hemp is one of the most sustainable and fast growing crops in Australia. It is also naturally resistant to pests meaning that pesticide, herbicide and fungicide use is minimal in Hemp production. It consumes less water than other crops (such as cotton), and is extremely hardy as it will grow in most soil types. Each plant is able to grow very close to the next and within a very small area so crops can be compact and utilise less space. What all this means is that the demand for similar products that utilise more non sustainable farming practises (such as textiles, fish, dairy and wheat) may be reduced, easing the negative load on the environment. With so many benefits to the health of both you and the environment, why not give hemp a try today? *An “essential” nutrient (amino acid or fatty acid) is one that your body cannot make, so you need to get it from your diet. Deficiencies of essential nutrients can have a negative impact on your health so it is vitally important that you are getting them from the food you eat.
Top 5 Essential Oil Headache Busters The term “headache” refers to any pain that occurs around the head, face or neck. Headaches are among the most common cause of pain and will effect most of us at some time in our lives. Headaches can be mild and annoying or severe and debilitating. Headaches can be caused by stress, eyestrain, poor posture, dehydration, not eating enough or skipping meals, hormone changes (periods), alcohol, allergies or infections such as colds, flus and sinusitis. The 3 most common types of headaches are tension headaches, migraines or sinus headaches. Tension headaches might feel like you have a tight band or feel pressure around your head. The pain can be mild to severe and is concentrated at your temples or around the back of your head – extending from the base of your skull down into your neck. Migraines are another more serious and common form of headache that can be quite debilitating, often seeing you bed ridden for up to a couple of days. They are usually accompanied by nausea and vomiting, blind spots or flashing lights in your eyes. The pain is described as throbbing, one sided and severe. These headaches will usually interfere with, and inhibit your normal daily activities. If you experience migraines on a regular basis you should see your healthcare practitioner as you may have nutritional deficiencies. Sinus headaches can also be quite painful and debilitating and are usually caused by allergies or an infection. If you have a sinus headache you will notice pain around your eyes, forehead, and across the bridge of your nose. Generally speaking, the most common way to alleviate the pain of headaches is with pain relief medicine. However, before you reach for the tablets, it might pay to consider some natural alternatives. The underlying cause of most headaches is dehydration, even mild levels of dehydration. So please make sure to keep hydrated by drinking 8 glasses (at least 1 litre) of water per day! Fresh air and some outdoor time also can reduce the occurrence of headaches. Our eyes need to focus on distant objects rather than just looking at things that are close to us. This can cause strain in the muscles of the eye and face which can lead to headaches. This is most commonly seen in people who work in front of a computer or in an office environment. So try going outside for a short walk. If these two simple things don’t work, then consider the use of natural essential oils! Essential oils are a popular addition to first aid kits in many homes. From mild anxiety and sleeplessness to stings and scratches, essential oils have been able to provide useful benefits for common ailments for hundreds of years. The five most commonly used essential oils for headaches are lavender, rosemary, peppermint, eucalyptus and chamomile. As each of the different oils have their own particular actions, they can be used for different types of headaches. Lavender oil is one of the most common oils found in Australian households, mainly because it has a wide array of uses for you, your pets and your home. Importantly, Lavender is considered to be a soothing pain reliever. It is also very calming to the nervous system which makes it an ideal choice for assisting with tension headaches caused by stress and anxiety. Peppermint is another oil which enjoys popularity in bathroom cabinets around the country. Peppermint oil contains menthol which helps to decongest the sinuses, ease pain and relax tense muscles. These actions make Peppermint oil a great choice for both tension and sinus headaches. Eucalyptus oil is invaluable in the treatment of sinus headaches as it has some very powerful decongestant actions. On top of that, Eucalyptus oil can also open up the nasal passages making breathing easier when you are suffering from colds and flus. It is the perfect oil to place in a vapouriser in the home to assist with respiratory conditions. Rosemary oil can be extremely beneficial to use for headaches as it is a potent pain reliever and decongestant. Rosemary also helps to promote healthy circulation - particularly to the head. This makes it a valuable oil to help alleviate the pain of both sinus headaches and migraines. Chamomile oil is considered to be anti-inflammatory and soothing for anxiety so it can be a very useful oil to use for tension headaches and stress. These oils can be used on their own or as a blend depending upon the type of headache you have. Tension headaches can be soothed when the oils are used as part of a relaxing warm bath with added Epsom salts. You will only need a few drops of each oil for the best results, and try to stay in the bath for at least 20 minutes. Tension headaches also respond well when the oils are diluted in a carrier base (such as almond oil) and dabbed or massaged onto the back of the neck and temples. Once again, you will only need 1-3 drops of the oil diluted in about 10-20mLs of the carrier oil. Migraines may also be soothed with topical application such as this. Sinus headaches respond well when the oils are placed (diluted) on the temples and on the lower edge of the cheekbones, or placed on a tissue and inhaled periodically. Infusing the air in your home by placing the oils in a vapouriser or diffuser is also great for painful sinuses and sinus headaches. When using oils topically, be careful not to get the oils in your eyes, and never place oils directly on the skin as some can cause irritation when used undiluted. Remember too that rosemary and peppermint oils are not suitable for use if you are pregnant. Some headaches however, may need more attention than others. If you are experiencing recurring headaches or your headaches are not being relieved with pharmaceutical medication, it may be best to check with your healthcare practitioner. Otherwise, essential oils are one of the safest and most non-invasive ways to help soothe the painful and bothersome discomfort of your headache naturally.
Health Benefits of Herbal teas Winter is the time we all snuggle up with a blanket around the heater with a warm cup of tea. However why do the majority of us drink tea around winter time? Tea is one of the most appreciated and widely consumed drinks in the world. Being a pleasant, low-cost beverage that has no calories, tea has a unique set of natural chemicals that provide various health benefits. Overall, tea is one of the most versatile beverages. It can be drunk hot, at room temperature or even as an iced tea. The variety of teas has grown, have you ever considered the health benefits of some of the most readily available teas? Nausea is a common symptom we experience at some time; this may be due to motion sickness, morning sickness or the feeling of ill health. Ginger has been known to aid people experiencing nausea and may also help stimulate and soothe the digestive system. Bloating and flatulence are a common symptom many people with digestive upsets may experience. Peppermint tea can aid in calming and soothing the digestive system. It is one of the most popular beverages consumed after dinner. Current health issues or our diet can contribute to us not feeling at ease. Dandelion tea is a great herb for the liver. It may help the body eliminate toxins from the digestive system and support overall liver function. Another popular tea is Lemon balm. Lemon balm tea aids in helping support mood, lifting your spirits and reducing digestive upsets. Every now and then we may struggle to fall asleep, this may be from a variety of reasons. Chamomile enables your mind to relax which aids in you being able to fall asleep naturally. People who find it hard to go to sleep should drink a cup of Chamomile tea before going to bed. Green tea plays a major role in many health concerns. Research conducted, has indicated that Green tea showed major antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. When it comes to choosing a herbal tea, it’s important to look for a well-sourced product made from high-quality ingredients. To really get the full benefits from drinking herbal tea, make sure you steep your loose tea or tea bags long enough, this can be between 10-15 minutes, to enable you to get the best out of your beverage. So next time you’re shopping add tea to your shopping list. Think of the great health benefits that one simple cup of tea can do for you and your loved ones.
Health benefits of Ginger Ginger known as Zingiber officinale is one of the most popular ingredients used in cooking throughout the world. Traditionally used by Chinese herbalists for more than 2500 years to treat colds and digestive problems, today this powerful plant is used for a wide variety of conditions. So what are the great health benefits of ginger? Ginger is used most frequently to aid digestion; ginger is believed to stimulate saliva, bile and gastric juice production to aid in digestion. This also aids in associated effects of poor digestion such as Halitosis (bad breath) and Flatulence (wind) as the foods that are consumed are digested properly. Ginger is great for pregnant women who are suffering from severe cases of morning sickness, ginger offers a safe, and effective relief simply by taking sips of it as a tea. Ginger is also beneficial to those who suffer from motion sickness from traveling. Taking sips frequently can be more pleasant to someone with nausea than trying to drink a large mug of ginger tea too quick. Ginger has great benefits throughout the cold periods. Ginger is a great circulatory stimulant. This does not only mean it helps in keeping you warm by improving blood flow but it also aids in preventing the onset of cold and flus. Ginger contains strong anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols. These naturally occurring compounds may aid with inflammation which is beneficial for those suffering from osteoarthritis. So what is the best way to take ginger? There are numerous ways to include ginger into your life. Ginger products can be bought in a dried form as a powder, oil, and tinctures or extracts. However, as a Naturopath I would suggest using fresh ginger. You can do this by adding ginger directly into your meals or by making your own ginger tea. Making Ginger tea is simple! Simply place 4-6 thin slices of ginger root in boiling water for approximately 10 minutes. You can then add honey or lemon to taste and enjoy its benefits. To aid with digestion drink Ginger tea 30 minutes before a meal. For motion and morning sickness have frequent small sips and for inflammation and circulation try having one –two cups of fresh ginger tea a day. So next time you are shopping add ginger to your list and take advantage of the great health benefits this herb has for you!
Discover the “feel good” essential oil: Rose Geranium We’ve all heard the sayings, “Come up smelling like roses”, “Life’s a bed of roses”, “Everything’s coming up roses”, and seeing things through, ”Rose coloured glasses”. When we want to express looking good, or feeling good or a state of luxury we often refer to the beautiful and aromatic rose. The rose has been adored throughout history and has been a symbol of love, beauty, war and politics, but unfortunately the pure rose essential oil is the most expensive essential oil! Lucky for us there’s Rose geranium. A plant indigenous to Africa the geranium comes in over 200 different species. Geranium essential oil comes from two particular species: Pelargonium graveolens which is used to produce the geranium essential oil and has a more citrus-like scent and the species Pelargonium odorantissium has a rose-like scent and produces Rose geranium essential oil. This variety of geranium is often added to rose essential oil to lower its price making it more affordable and offering a wider range of health benefits. Rose geranium is described as being able to, “inspire natural beauty and enjoyment, uplifts and instantly tonifies the mind and intellect.” (Malte Hozzel) So how does smelling a rose make you feel? Making you feel good Rose geranium used topically has an overall balancing effect on the body. Its main benefit is on the mind and nervous system helping to lift the spirits and for relieving stress, generally making you “feel good”. Aromatherapists traditionally use Rose geranium for a wide range of health benefits. Traditional uses of Rose geranium by Aromatherapists In the Lymphatic system Rose geranium helps to detoxify your body and in female health has a balancing effect.The adrenal cortex is stimulated and balanced helping with hormonal imbalances in the body. Great for balancing oily and dry skin, as an antiseptic helps with minor wounds and burns. Rose geranium helps with the circulation, muscles and tissues of the skin improving the overall health and appearance of your skin. Its effects on the skin also help in dealing with scarring. As a Deodorant it has a long-lasting pleasant odour that is not harsh on the skin and combined with its antibacterial properties helps to eliminate body odour caused by bacteria. Rose geranium is best applied topically blended in massage oil, used in burners or vaporisers or as an ingredient in creams and body lotions for an uplifting, energising effect. So, next time you need your spirits lifted don’t forget to stop and smell the roses!
HERBAL MEDICINE WELLNESSDiscover the “feel good” essential oil: Rose Geranium Read more
Healing powers of Lavender Lavender is the most versatile of all essential oils. Used for thousands of years both medicinally and in the home, lavender is most commonly known for its relaxing effects on the mind and body, the fragrance is pleasant, calming and soothinghelping to relax the nervous system. The English word for Lavender is generally thought to have come from the old French word Lavandre and the Latin word Lavare meaning “to wash” giving us some idea of how it was used at the time. However, the authenticity of this is uncertain and it’s more likely that the word Lavender comes from the Latin word Livere describing the “blueish” colour of the flower. Not only is Lavender beautiful to look at it has so many uses as well. The use of lavender even goes as far back in history as the ancient Greeks, Romans and Arabic cultures and in modern times lavender has a long history of use medicinally and in the home. Lavender is a shrubby plant, part of a larger group of flowering plants that include the mint family. Altogether, there are 39 different species of Lavender the most popular being the English Lavender or Old English Lavender. Did you know the colour “lavender” has been named after the English Lavender? Under the right conditions Lavender is relatively easy to grow and grows around the world in the temperate climates of southern Europe across to England, northern and eastern Africa, the Mediterranean, southwest Asia to southeast India. The various types of Lavender are used in many gardens and landscapes across the globe but it is the fragrant essential oil of the English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) that is cultivated for commercial purposes. The essential oil gives the Lavender flowers its characteristic colour and odour. Lavender is the most versatile of all essential oils. It’s like carrying your very own bottle of personal perfume, first-aid kit and pick-me-up. Most commonly known for its relaxing effects on the mind and body, the fragrance is pleasant, calming and soothing helping to relax the nervous system. Lavender has so many different uses and can be used fresh, dried or as an essential oil. Here’s some inspiration in making the most of your own remedies with lavender: • Use lavender in aromatherapy. Burn a few drops of lavender essential oil in an oil burner in your room at night to help induce relaxation and sleep. • Deodorise with lavender. Use a lavender room spray to refresh an area. Dried lavender simmered in a pot of water with citrus peels makes a great natural air freshener. Making sachets of dried lavender leaves and hung in wardrobes can help to deter moths and keep your wardrobe smelling fresh. It was common practice at one time to drape washing over lavender bushes to infuse their scent into clothes and bedding. Today we can simply add a sachet of dried lavender in a dryer for the same effect instead of dryer sheets. Don’t forget fresh lavender in a vase to brighten and fragrance any home. • First Aid with Lavender. Lavender oil is believed to have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties which can be used to help heal minor burns and bug bites. Lavender was used in hospitals during World War I as an antiseptic and disinfectant for sterilizing medical equipment and treating wounds. It can be added to vaporizers for coughs and colds as it is believed that lavender has anti-viral properties. • Inhale lavender. Rub 2-3 drops of lavender oil in your palms and inhale for an instant calming effect. Even rubbing it on your wrists, feet and temples for the same effect. • Massage with lavender. Use the essential oil mixed in a massage oil base to relieve tension headaches by rubbing the oil on your temples and neck or relieve tired aching muscles. • Bathe with lavender. The soothing scent and refreshing nature of lavender makes it ideal for use in bathing and body products like soaps, body butters and lotions to keep clean and smell lovely. A hot footbath infused with lavender oil helps to relieve fatigue at the end of a day. • Sleep with lavender. Add a couple of drops of lavender oil to your pillow at night as a sleep aid. Or make buckwheat sleep masks and pillows and add dried lavender to promote relaxation and sleep. Used in massage oil can help to relieve tired aching muscles releasing tension. Try massaging some lavender oil on your temples and under your nose at night to prepare the body for rest and induce sleep. • Cook with lavender. As long as the lavender used has been organically grown and free of chemical pesticides why not use lavender as candied cake decorations. • Make gifts with lavender. Lavender makes great gifts as potpourri bags, lavender wash balls, lavender soaps, bath sachets, the list is endless. And let’s not forget, the beautiful fragrant violet flowers of lavender make a beautiful ornament to any garden.