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Bananas: The Most Common Superfood

Bananas contain three natural sugars – sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy. Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world’s leading athletes. But energy isn’t the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.

Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

PMS: Forget the pills – eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

Anemia : High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia
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Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit’s ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham, Middlesex) school ( England ) were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

Constipation: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey.. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.
Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and chips. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

Temperature control: Many other cultures see bananas as a ‘cooling’ fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. InThailand , for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood Enhancer tryptophan.

Smoking &Tobacco Use: Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body’s water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.

Strokes: According to research in The New England Journal of Medicine, eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!

Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape!

So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around So maybe it’s time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, ‘A banana a day keeps the doctor away!’

PASS IT ON TO YOUR FRIENDS PS: Bananas must be the reason monkeys are so happy all the time! I will add one here; want a quick shine on our shoes?? Take the INSIDE of the banana skin, and rub directly on the shoe…polish with dry cloth. Amazing fruit!!!

Thu, November 8 2012 » Home Remedies » No Comments

Lavender Essential Oils

Lavender is a great essential oil for relaxation, the reduction of anxiety, and stress.  A few drops of lavender in a warm bath will help ensure your relaxation time is enhanced.

Lavender may have many other therapeutic benefits but with any homeopathic treatment the can be unintended results.  Extensive research is needed to ensure all essential oils are safe, but tradition indicates Lavender is a great scent to soothe the body.

Thu, October 25 2012 » Uncategorized » No Comments

All About Yerba Mate

Yerba Mate

What is Yerba Mate?

Yerba Mate is a small perennial tree that grows natively in the subtropical highlands of South America, in countries like Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. It is an evergreen tree that belongs in the Holly family. The plant was first cultivated by the native Guarani people of central South America. The plant is made into tea by brewing the dried leaves and stems. Yerba Mate made into tea is consumed by millions of South Americans as a healthier alternative to coffee. The plant is gaining international recognition as a wonder drink because of its numerous reported health benefits.

The Yerba Mate or “Ilex paraguariensis” grows up to 15 meters in height. The leaves of the tree are evergreen and about 9 cm long and 4 cm wide. Because of its reputation as a health drink it has been labeled as “The Drink of the Gods” by the native people of South America. The name Yerba Mate is pronounced “Yer-bah Mah-Tey” not “mate” as in “checkmate”. Separately, the leaves of the tree are called simply “Yerba” which means herb. The small tree also produces green or white flowers that develop into a red drupe that is 5 mm in diameter.

The leaves and stems of Yerba Mate are trees main part of interest. They are harvested and sold commercially while some are processed into health supplements to be sold online. The leaves contain caffeine similar to coffee. The yerba mate tea when consumed imparts similar benefits gained from drinking roasted coffee bean like being energetic and gaining mental alertness but without the jittering and nervousness. The yerba mate tea also bested the coffee in terms of nutrient content. Yerba mate contains more amino acids, vitamins and powerful antioxidants than the coffee bean. Other helpful chemicals include: Calcium, Manganese, Iron, Selenium, Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Carotene, Fatty Acids, Chlorophyll, Flavonols, Theophylline, Polyphenols, Inositol, Trace Minerals, Tannins, Pantothenic Acid, 15 Amino Acids and vitamins A, C, E, Riboflavin, Niacin, Thiamin, Pantothenic acid.

Yerba mate has a slightly bitter flavor due to the huge amounts of tannin derived from the leaves. Yerba mate products that contain more plant stem content will taste slightly bitter than products that have higher leaf content. But just like coffee the flavor of pure yerba mate is an acquired taste. While people might be drawn to sweeter tea, native South Americans might consider it unthinkable to add artificial sweeteners as it takes away yerba mate’s own unique flavor, you wouldn’t ask Germans to put sugar in their beer would you? While it’s ok to add your choice of flavorings, drinking the raw yerba mate tea will prove to be healthier because adding sweeteners and artificial flavors might also add unhealthy chemicals. Plus the aim of the yerba mate is to be a health supplement not a source of diabetes.

Why Take Yerba Mate?

Why take yerba mate? Besides its obvious advantage over regular coffee, the yerba mate provides a list of benefits normally only acquired by buying expensive specialized supplements. Yerba mate has been used for hundreds of years as a tonic but now its potential is harnessed into a health supplement available to all.

• Improves Fat Reduction

Drinking Yerba mate tea will make an individual’s metabolism rate increase.  This will allow for stored fat in the body to be utilized as energy for those hard working cells. This allows the fat to, as supplement spokespersons would say be “Burned Away”. The Yerba mate’s efficacy as an aid to weight loss has been clinically tested with one study in Switzerland in 1999 yielding promising results.

•Minimize Depression and Anxiety

The act of drinking tea alone will contribute in lowering ones anxiety and stress. The warmth of the drink provides a relaxing feeling that quickly spreads throughout the body. The aroma also gives a pleasant and inviting drinking experience. The Yerba mate will seal the deal by providing right amounts of caffeine to lower ones anxiety. The energizing effect that the tea provides, reverses the effects of fatigue which is a common symptom and factor to depression.

• Clears the Body of Toxins

The yerba mate has antioxidant that prolongs the life of cells making good use of them in clearing the body of toxins. Antioxidants also provide a cleaning effect in the body’s organs like the kidney which is a very important part of the body that filters the blood of unhealthy substances. A clean blood stream makes an individual have a feeling of well-being.

• Treats Headaches and Provides Mental Alertness

Treating headaches by drinking yerba mate tea has been one of its traditional uses over the centuries. Headaches that are the result of over fatigue are excellently treated by the yerba mate. The relaxing effect previously stated takes part in relieving headaches. Like drinking coffee, drinking yerba mate tea makes the mind focused and awake, making the yerba mate tea an excellent drink early in the morning or just after waking up.

• Promotes a Healthier Heart

The Yerba mate has been used as a way to strengthen the heart. The yerba mate contains a substance called Theophylline; this chemical is used medically to stimulate the heart muscle making sure it’s in top condition. You don’t want your heart dying on you.

• Strengthens the Immune System

Drinking Yerba mate tea gives the body an extra shield against infections and diseases. The leaves and stem contains Saponins which makes the immune system stronger. Including yerba mate in your diet might just save you from a lot of aggravations like getting seriously sick to paying expensive medical bills.

• Anti-Allergy

Another unhealthy condition yerba mate can help you get rid of are allergies, especially those related to the sinus. Sinusitis is usually caused by allergens in the surroundings.

• Healthier Colon

The Native Guarani of South America traditionally use yerba mate to fix gastrointestinal disorders and to promote a healthier digestion. A Research done by a group of specialists in Buenos Aires, Argentina concluded that yerba mate has the ability to stimulate an increase in bile flow in the intestines and to aid in proper bowel movement.

• Reduce Hypertension

If you suffer from high blood pressure then drinking yerba mate will help you reduce your hypertension bringing it down to healthy levels. A chemical in the yerba mate relaxes the muscles that aid in transporting blood and helps the blood to flow more easily.

Thu, December 15 2011 » Supplements » No Comments

All About Saw Palmetto

What is Saw Palmetto?

Saw Palmetto is a fan palm tree that is popularly used as a health supplement. In the realm of herbal medicines, saw palmetto easily joins the list as one of the most versatile. This is because saw palmetto extracts are known to be beneficial to a number of widely varying medical conditions.

Saw Palmetto Characteristics

Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens) also known as cabbage palm and dwarf palm is the only known species under the genus “Serenoa”. Saw palmetto is a palm that is capable of reaching heights of 2 to 4 meters but is commonly observed to grow horizontally underground so only a portion of the stem will be visible. The palm grows nowhere else in the world but the south eastern United States from Texas to South Carolina, commonly seen growing along the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains even up to southern Arkansas. Central Florida is the palms biggest supplier.

Saw Palmetto has fan type palm leaves consisting of 20 leaflets, all forming a circular fan. The palm is robust and grows extremely slow. A few medium-sized specimens in Florida are thought to be 500 to 700 years old. The leaflets of each palm has a serrated edge called teeth or spines, they can easily cut through skin. This is how the palm gained the name “Saw”. The Saw Palmetto produces small yellowish white flower that are about 5mm across and turns into berries during springtime. The Palm’s fruit is a large dark red drupe which is edible and has been an important source of food for animals and early humans.

Saw Palmetto Extract

The fruit of the Saw Palmetto is berry that is rich in fatty acids and phytosterols and it is where medicinal supplements are derived from. The extracts have been used on treating benign prostatic hyperplasia, baldness, polycystic ovarian syndrome and other hyper-androgen conditions. The fruit is processed by partially drying it and then being broken down with the use of a solvent like ethanol. The ripe berries grow darker as it matures. They are picked and processed into powder.

Why Use Saw Palmetto?

• For Hair Loss

Saw Palmetto is known to reverse a type of baldness called androgenic alopecia. This hair loss affects both men and women and is the most common type of baldness. A commonly accepted cause of hair loss is the introduction of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This hormone disrupts the proper functions of the hair follicles thereby inducing hair loss. In theory, the removal of dihydrotestosterone will allow hair to grow back again. This is where saw palmetto comes into play. The palms extract prevents the production of DHT by stopping testosterone into converting into DHT. Due to this, there have been many saw palmetto shampoos sold in the market which are safe to try.

• For Acne Treatment

Acne affects not only teenagers but also people who are into their early adulthood. Acne is usually worse in men than they are in women. This may be due to the aggressive production of hormones in men. Not only is it painful it also greatly reduces ones confidence, hugely affecting social interaction. The positive effect saw palmetto produces in minimizing hormone production led to the extracts usage as a way to lessen acne that is produced from hormonal imbalances. These hormones include dihydrotestosterone and testosterone. The results vary, some people show great improvement while the effects on others are barely noticeable. But if you want clear skin then why not try a possible cure that is all natural and has no known side effects in the treatment of acne.

• Prostate Health and Benign prostatic hyperplasia

People who suffer from an enlarged prostate may find relief in taking saw palmetto supplements. This is because saw palmetto extracts reduce the symptoms that come with an enlarged prostate. Benign prostatic hyperplasia symptoms include pain and difficulty in urinating, a weak or slow urinary stream, A feeling of bladder not being emptied, Frequent urination especially at night, a urinary stream that starts and stops, Continued dribbling of urine and Returning to urinate again minutes after finishing. There have been studies that show men aged from 40 to 90 that displayed improvement from the symptoms after being given saw palmetto extracts.

• Breast Enlargement

Breasts in women have been the source of both pride and poor self-image. Saw Palmetto provides a natural way of increasing both bust size and self-esteem. The development of breasts is directly affected by hormones like estrogen that are responsible for the development of reproductive system. Lack in these specific types of hormones results in stunted breast development. The balancing effect that saw palmetto does on the hormone levels corrects this condition allowing for the chest to develop into its fullest.

• Polycystic ovarian syndrome

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a glandular disorder that affects women. It is one of the most common endocrine disorders and affects 5 to 10 percent of women aging from 12 to 45 years old. Women generally have low levels of testosterone as this is mainly a hormone produced by men. Women who suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) show higher levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and testosterone. This condition is unhealthy for women. Saw palmetto helps improve the condition by inhibiting the body’s manufacture of DHT, increasing the rate of which DHT is broken down by the body and preventing the DHT to cling into parts of the body where they would do damage. Saw palmetto does wonders in combatting the disorder especially when used in combination with Vitamin D because deficiency in this vitamin contributes to the worsening of the syndrome.

Saw Palmetto Dosage

How much “saw palmetto extract” one should use depends on a lot of things. One is the type and purity of the supplement. Like most herbal supplements, there is no accepted “standard dosage” in saw palmetto. Always be sure to read the directions in each products packaging as different manufacturers will like use different formulations of the extract. People who are taking medication must consult their doctors first before taking the supplement as saw palmetto may affect the potency of other medicine.

Tue, December 13 2011 » Supplements » No Comments

All About Ashwagandha

What is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha is the common name for Withania somnifera. It is a popular herb used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. It is probably the most popular Indian medicinal herb known in the western world. The plant has been used in India for thousands of years and was named Ashwagandha which means “horse smell” due to the odor of herbs’ roots. The Ashwagandha is a small shrub that grows to 35 up to 75 centimeters. It produces a fruit that when ripe becomes orange red and is similar to tomatoes. This fruit is used as a milk coagulant. The main part that is of interest to medicine and health buffs alike is the plants brown tuberous roots. The ashwagandhas’ roots contain chemicals used in the treatment of numerous ailments.

The Ashwagandha plant is also known as Indian ginseng, Winter cherry, Ajagandha, Kanaje Hindi, Amukkara and Samm Al Ferakh is a plant belonging to the Solanaceae or nightshade family. This grouping of plants includes potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, petunia, tobacco and chili pepper to name a few. Ashwagandha grows in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Congo, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan and Afghanistan. The small shrub has straight stems and produces yellow flowers. The plant grows mainly on slightly dry soil.

The Ashwagandha is considered an adaptogen which helps the body to cope with mental and physical stress. The roots of the Ashwagandha have been used over centuries as a powerful aphrodisiac. Aside from this, the plant is also traditionally used as a medicine to treat various illnesses. Today, Ashwagandha roots are processed into powder, oil, poultice and decoction and is being used as a remedy for a multitude of health problems like disorders of the nervous system, reproductive system and infections of the intestines but in India where it has been used for millennia, it is most popular as a traditional aphrodisiac.

Why Take Ashwagandha?

• Powerful Antioxidant

Indian researchers of Ashwagandha have found out that a lot of chemicals found in Ashwagandha are actually some of the most powerful Antioxidants. Chemicals like superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione and glutathione peroxidase too name a few, are capable preventing the oxidation of molecules in the body thereby prolonging the life of individual cells. Antioxidants are very crucial to life and are commonly a popular ingredient in a lot of health supplements.

• Natural Aphrodisiac

The Ashwagandha has always been popular in Traditional Indian Medicine or Ayurveda. It is usually made into tea and consumed to partake of its aphrodisiac properties. Ashwagandha has been celebrated in India similar to China’s reverence to Ginseng. In fact, the Ashwagandha is commonly called an Indian Ginseng. Clinical studies suggest that Ashwagandha extracts stimulate the production of nitric oxide in the body which dilates the pathways of the blood allowing for fresh blood to deliver its carried nutrients.

• Relieves Stress and Anxiety

In Classical Indian Medicine, the ground roots of the Ashwagandha are used as a stimulant to relieve anxiety and stress. The calming effect of the roots has also shown to alleviate mild depression. Those who take Ashwagandha in tea form have also reported to experience a good restful sleep and sleep of course is essential in the growth of body and mind. A long undisturbed sleep also enhances memory. When asleep, the brain tries to organize the data that it has processed throughout the day making sure that each memory has been properly imprinted in the mind.

• Antibacterial Properties

In a 2005 research, scientists conclude that the roots and leaves of the Ashwagandha are effective against pathogenic bacteria like the dreaded salmonella typhimurium. Both water and alcohol solutions of Ashwagandha were used as an antibacterial solution and have been tested on animal subjects. The Ashwagandha extract also showed potential as an alternative to synthetic antibiotics. Unlike synthetic antibiotics, Ashwagandha poses no threat on the development of the erythrocytes and therefore allowing for healthy blood to be produced.

• Lowers Blood Sugar

Ashwagandha extracts also possess potential in managing an individual’s diabetes. There has been an experiment on six human subjects that suffer irregularities on their body’s insulin supply. The subjects all took Ashwagandha to test the herbs claimed hypoglemic, diuretic and hypocholesterolemic effect. The results were favorable; it also showed that the herb has the ability to lower serum cholesterol, triglycerides and low density lipoproteins in the body. The ability of the Ashwagandha to lower the sugar or glucose content in the blood makes it valuable in treating cases of diabetes and irregular blood-sugar levels.

• Increase Mental Alertness

Ashwagandha is a popular treatment for patients in nursery homes were the elderly frequently experience disorders related to amnesia. The plant is thought to promote good neurotransmitter connections in the brain and throughout the nervous system. This greatly improves the health of each cell in the brain, improving their responsiveness and overall health.

• Minimize Risks of Cancer

The extracts found on the leaves of the Ashwagandha also prove to be an inhibitor of tumor cells, stunting their growth and propagation. In minimizing the growth of abnormal cells in the body, the herb has greatly reduced the potential development of cancerous tissues.

• Healthier Heart

If you favor eating meat and pork products then the addition of Ashwagandha supplements in your diet might probably save you from serious heart problem. The antioxidants in Ashwagandha (glutathione, glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase, and catalase) act similar to vitamin E when it comes to treating myocardial injury. The Ashwagandha in fact, prove to be more beneficial in protecting the heart than other synthetic vitamins.

Buying Supplements

When planning on buying Ashwagandha supplements, make sure to only buy from reputed producers and sellers. The Ashwagandha, being a popular herbal supplement with many benefits makes it a target for fraudulent makers of fake supplements. Always read testimonials on your choice of brand to assess the quality of the product, ensuring that you only get a pure Ashwagandha supplement.

Tue, December 13 2011 » Supplements » No Comments

All About Rhodiola Rosea

What is Rhodiola Rosea?

Rhodiola rosea is a small plant used as a health supplement that grows in places with cold climate. It belongs to the Crassulaceae plant family and is found in the Arctic, Central Asian Mountains, Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, The Alps, Scandinavia, Great Britain, Iceland, Altai Mountains, Pyrenees and Ireland. Rhodiola rosea also known as Golden Root, Siberian Root, Roseroot, Arctic Root, Aaron’s Rod and Rhodaxon is a dioecious perennial plant which means it may live for more than two years and has both male and female plant. The plant reaches a height of 5 to 35 centimeters on areas that are elevated up to 2000 meters.

Rhodiola rosea produces small bright yellow flowers and a thick root that is highly sought after because of its health benefits. This prized plant’s roots, when cut, will emit a fragrant scent similar to a rose flower, hence the name “Rosea “. There are over 200 species of Rhodiola plants but only the Rhodiola rosea has been used as a health supplement because it is the only one to show significant health benefits.

Rhodiola Rosea Usage

The Rhodiola rosea has been used as far back as 77 AD. This is when the medicinal plant was first documented by a Greek physician named Dioscorides. The plant has been used as staple energy drink by the early Vikings. This provides them with the energy, endurance and stamina needed for their long journeys. Chinese emperors would frequently send expeditions to the remote Siberian Mountains to harvest Rhodiola rosea which they called the Golden Root. The Russians so highly prized the Rhodiolas growing in the Siberian Mountains that they once made it illegal to trade it outside of their territory. They needed the Rhodiola rosea to survive the harsh winters of Siberia.

The Rhodiola rosea is branded as an Adaptogen by a Russian Scientist named Dr. Lazarev because it easily passes the qualifications needed for a medicinal herb to be considered one. The following standards must be met to be considered an adaptogen:  Must be nontoxic and cause very few, if any, side effects, produce nonspecific resistance in the body to all kinds of stress which include physical, chemical and biological stress, produce a normalizing influence on the body.

roots of rhodiola rosea

Benefits from Taking Rhodiola Rosea

The Rhodiola rosea contains powerful chemicals and antioxidants that produce positive effects on the body to keep the body in top condition.

• Rhodiola rosea energizes free radicals (uncharged molecules) and protects the body against oxidative damage.

• Rhodiola rosea limits the release of excess cortisol. Excessive cortisol in the body will ultimately lead to poor tolerance to stress.

• Rhodiola rosea minimizes the consumption of oxygen in a cellular level thereby making efficient use of the body’s stored nutrients.

• Rhodiola rosea increases the production of protein in the body that is used in repairing damaged cells that comprises the organs.

• Rhodiola rosea promotes the production of neuro-transmitters like serotonin and dopamine. These substances contribute to a person’s feeling of happiness and of general well-being.

• Rhodiola rosea stimulates the production of the body’s natural defensive cells that protect against infections.

• Rhodiola rosea improves metabolism to break down fat and convert it to energy.

Why use Rhodiola rosea?

As with many other herbal health supplements, Rhodiola rosea has managed to collect an impressive list of medical conditions that will show positive effects from taking the supplement. The herbal supplement being all-natural, is a better alternative to laboratory synthesized medications that are dangerous if misused.

• Improved Mental Performance

Rhodiola rosea’s active components help in improving an individual’s Focus, attention span, concentration, memory retainment, mental acuity and other healthy cognitive functions. It increases an individual’s mental alertness by pumping the brain with healthy levels of blood supply.

• Improved Physical Performance and Conditioning

The ATP-CP also known as the Phosphogen system is the system that continuously provides energy for body energy on a cellular level. Rhodiola rosea aids in the production of more ATP and CP to provide the body with more fuel for difficult tasks that calls for physical labor. The rhodiola rosea also triggers the production of protein which repairs cell and keep them in their peek working condition.

• Stress Reduction

The body naturally has a set limit when dealing or coping with stress. Rhodiola rosea pushes the body’s tolerance to stress even higher for us to be able to adapt to the increased stress that comes from living in these modern times. The human body should not be in constant exposure to stress, be it mental or physical. When under a lot of stress, the body releases huge amounts of cortisol. Cortisol is a steroid hormone that is released as a response to stress but too much of it produces unwanted side effects like Decreased bone formation, Reduced bone mass, Cushing’s syndrome, Diabetes, Depression and High blood pressure.

• Alleviate Depression

Recent studies made in Sweden shows that Rhodiola rosea has anti-depressant qualities and may prove beneficial to people under mild or moderate stress. Because Rhodiola rosea prevents massive production of cortisol (also known as the “stress hormone”), it helps the brain produce more serotonin and dopamine which are the foil to cortisol. Serotonin and Dopamine are the Happy hormones that chemically induces happiness and positive mentality in the brain.

• Proper Functioning of the Endocrine

Rhodiola rosea improves the all-too-important endocrine glands, the glands that are responsible for the production of various hormones that act as key players in the body’s various functions. These hormones include Oxytocin, Dopamine, Serotonin, Testosterone, Estrogen, Adrenaline, Noradrenalin and Insulin to name a few.

The Right Dosage to Take

How much Rhodiola rosea extract can one handle? Rhodiola rosea supplements usually come in capsules or tablet form. Before taking the supplement, be sure to read directions on the products label first. The standard daily dosage on most rhodiola rosea products is twice a day for 200 milligram capsule or thrice a day for 100 mg capsules. But whether to give herbal supplements to obvious special cases like babies, seriously sick patients and pregnant women, ultimately depends on professional advice from licensed Physicians.

Tue, December 13 2011 » Supplements » No Comments

All About Damiana

What is Damiana?

A small shrub commonly found in mexico is gaining popularity for being a safe health supplement to counter a lot of ailments, the Damiana. Damiana is a small shrub that grows natively in the central and south Americas and is used as a health supplement. It is found in abundance in places like south western Texas, Mexico, West Indies and the Caribbean. The Damiana is a low growing shrub that produces small fragrant flowers. The flowers usually bloom in early to late summer followed by the production of fig flavored fruits.

The Damiana shrub or Turnera Aphrodisiaca(also known as Turnera diffusa) belongs to the Passifloraceae family and has many common names including Damiane, Damina, Oreganillo, the Bourrique, Damiana de Guerrero, Mexican damiana and  Mexican holly. The damiana’s fragrance is said to be comparable to those of chamomiles. The damiana’s leaves are traditionally burned to serve as incense for rituals or special occasions. Native people from Central America are known to use damiana as tea, this is done by brewing the plant fragrant leaves.

Uses of Damiana

Early Spanish missionaries were the first to record the plants use as an aphrodisiac for the early inhabitants of Mexico. For medicinal purposes, the damiana leaves are taken either fresh or dried. The damiana contains a number of terpenes that includes cineol, arbutin, cadinen, cymol, pinen, thymol, tannin and caffeine. Damiana leaves are also usually brewed and served as tea, enjoyed for its relaxing effects. Sugar is usuall added to the tea to enhance its flavor but the tea “as is” is already pleasing because of its fragrance. The damiana also plays an important role in improving your drinking experience, in mexico, damiana extract is preffered to triple sec in making your favorite margaritas. A popular story dictates that damiana is one of the original ingredients used in creating the first margarita. The margarita with damiana extract, aptly called “damiana margarita” is very popular in a region in mexico called “Los Cabos”. Modern clinical testing shows supporting evidence that damiana leaves promote a positive effect on animal sexuality (tests were conducted on lab rats), mostly by increasing reproductive cell count and sexual drive.

Benefits of Damiana

Why use damiana supplements? Well if you are experiencing low sexual drive coupled with very low sperm or egg count, or if you are simply not feeling well, stressed out and fatigued, then this herbal supplement may be the one put an end to your problems.

• Increase Libido and Improves fertility

The damiana corrects hormonal imbalance in the body, this helps ease symptoms common in women experiencing menopause. With damiana, an increase in sperm cells for men and egg cells for women has been observed. This positive effect in fertility is more than enough to put damiana in the pedestal along with other herbal supplements like cordyceps or ashwagandha. But the benefits in sexuality does not end there, damiana is also promoted as an effective supplement to increase libido or sexual drive. The damiana’s potency as an aphrodisiac may rival those of clinically formulated medications like the Viagra but damiana has the benefit of being all-natural. In men, damiana may help correct erectile dysfunction by stimulating blood flow in the sexual organs that would in ultimately result in a dependable erection. Damiana leaves also show positive effects in combating anorgasmia in both men and women. Anorgasmia is the inability to achieve an orgasm.

• Cures Headaches

When used as a tea, the brewed damiana leaves provide the chemicals that lessen headache. The pain is usually due to the disturbances in the pain receptors that are controlled by the brain. The damiana also contains a substance known as Damianin, this substance induces a relaxing effect on the central nervous system, promoting proper coordination between the brain, neurons and nerves.

• Bedwetting

Nocturnal enuresis also known as Bedwetting is an embarrassing condition that afflicts the young and the not so young or as the rude might say, “Old people”. The relaxing effect of the damiana also plays a role in involuntary urination this is because one of the causes of bedwetting is stress, and relieving stress reduces the chance of wetting ones bed. That certainly leaves you “relieved“, doesn’t it?

• Depression

Some of the chemicals found in damiana are categorized as anti-depressants. Aside from depression, these chemicals are used in treating other mood and central nervous system disorders. The damianas ability to balance hormone levels is responsible for promoting light, carefree, positive behavior.

• Remedy for Indigestion

Damiana is also effective for ensuring a healthy digestive system. One of damianas use is to ease constipation. Damiana tea helps fix indigestion that result in the painful heartburns. Heartburn is the pain caused by stomach acids that rush up the esophagus. Damiana is the traditional cure for a lot of digestive problems it may also serve as an antiseptic, anti-spasmodic, mild laxative, digestive stimulant, diuretic, and astringent.

Damiana Supplements

If you plan to take damiana supplements, you must remember to use it in accordance with the directions in the supplement’s packaging or better if one would initially consult a doctor or pharmacist to be informed in the best way to take damiana. Damiana supplements are usually sold in pill or tablet form but there are damiana supplements intended to be taken as tea. Be sure to consume only recommended amounts of damiana supplements although generally safe there is still a risk for overdose. Damiana is relatively safe in regular doses. Store damiana supplements as directed on the packaging. In general, damiana should be protected from light to prolong its shelf life.

Sun, December 11 2011 » Supplements » No Comments

All About L-Arginine

What is L-Arginine?

Arginine is a form of amino acid that is sold as a popular supplement. L-arginine is one of the 20 natural amino acids. It is manufactured naturally inside the body but is also obtainable in a number of sources. L-Arginine is found in animal sources: dairy products like cheese, milk and yogurt, beef, pork, gelatin, poultry and seafood. Plant sources for L-arginine include: wheat flour, buckwheat, granola, oatmeal, peanuts, coconut, pecans, cashews, walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pumpkin seed, sesame seed, sunflower seed, chick peas and cooked soybeans.

L-Arginine’s Effects on the Body

L-Arginine is very essential in the body’s process of producing protein. It also stimulates the release of the all-essential insulin, which is a hormone central that helps proper regulation of carbohydrates and fats. This insulin stimulation effect makes L-Arginine all the more important in people with metabolism and glucose problems. Blood vessels pathways are widened when exposed to nitric oxide which is obtained in L-Arginine, this causes a much improved blood flow. L-arginine is used for heart conditions including congestive heart failure (CHF), heart problems, hypertension levels, and center. L-arginine is also used for chronic leg pain that is caused by blocked arteries, memory impairment or chronic dementia in the elderly, impotence, and infertility among men.

Increased levels of L-Arginine may facilitate in producing the following improvements: proper functioning of the kidneys, physical performance and heightened defense of the immune system. It may also protect the body against common illness like the common cold and aid in the prevention of inflamed intestines among young children. Among pregnant women, l-arginine is known to lower blood pressure (a condition known as pre-eclampsia).

L-arginine has a positive effect when used in combination with various over the counter and prescription medicines. An example is when l-arginine is used in combination with ibuprofen, this produces a powerful drug to counter headaches and migraines. It may even be taken in combination with fish oil supplements, this concoction reduces infections, improves healing of open wounds and shortening recuperation period on people who underwent surgical operations.

Benefits of Taking L-arginine

• Prevents Congestive Heart Failure

Intake of L-arginine supplements help in lessening excess fluids in the arteries which is a major cause of congestive heart failure. Having said this, one must not forget to take the medications prescribed by doctors and physicians. L-arginine also increases the body’s tolerance to the symptoms that coincide with experiencing angina or chest pains.

• Lessens Recovery Time After Surgery

L-arginine is known to lessen the time needed to recuperate after undergoing a surgical procedure. This is done by taking the supplement along with ribonucleic acid and EP acid pre and post “surgery”. This is because the combination of these substances improves the healing process of open wounds and cuts, lessening the need to prolong Hospital confinement and in turn lessening hospital bills.

• Heals Inflamed Bladder

An inflamed bladder or cystitis causes an individual to feel pain when attempting to urinate. L-arginine eliminates the pain and other symptoms while simultaneously lessening the inflammation.

• Erectile Dysfunction

People experiencing erectile dysfunction may find benefit in taking L-arginine supplements. A clinical study conducted on 50 men with erectile dysfunction shows that there is significant positive effect brought by L-arginine. This test required half of the test subjects to take L-arginine and the other had to take a placebo. A lot of men from the l-arginine group showed improvement in their condition as opposed to the placebo group. Like the drug sildenafil citrate (known commercially as Viagra), taking L-Arginine makes the blood vessels in the penis dilate, allowing the muscles to fill with blood and produce and maintain an erection.

• Prevent Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia or pre-eclampsia is a serious medical condition that affects 1 in every 20 women during their first pregnancy. Symptoms of preeclampsia are: sudden onset of hypertension, swelling of the arms and limbs. It is one of the most common complications that arise during the third phase of pregnancy. One of the most common causes of this dreaded medical condition is a deficiency of L-Arginine. Preventing pre-eclampsia by taking L-Arginine supplements helps prevent the potential progressing of the condition to Eclampsia which is fatal to both the mother and the baby.

• Dementia

Although the causes of dementia may be varied and not yet fully understood, tests have been conducted that show a positive result on recovering when introduced to L-Arginine supplements. Sixteen individuals living in a nursing home and showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease (which is a form of dementia), has undergone L-Arginine treatment. The result shows that the elderly scored a better rank on the “dementia scale” than they did before taking L-Arginine.

• High Blood Pressure

Because of the better blood flow that follows after taking L-Arginine, chances of developing hypertension or High Blood Pressure is minimized. This is because of the nitric oxide that L-Arginine produces for the arteries. A deficiency of this substance would cause the arteries and veins to constrict and create high pressure in the blood stream.

• Male Infertility

Male infertility is countered by taking L-Arginine. L-Arginine causes sperm count to increase, which also increases the chance for couples to conceive. Not only are the numbers of sperm increased but also the quality of sperm and motility of the semen, making sure nothing but healthy spermatozoa are produced.

• Migraines

One probable cause of headaches and migraines are poor neuron connection due to impaired supply of nutrients. The nutrients that provide nourishment to the brain’s pathways are transported by the blood cells in the arteries which are in turn improved by taking L-Arginine therefore producing better blood flow.

• Claudication

Claudication a medical term used for “Limping”. This is a condition where an individual experiences pain and discomfort when attempting to walk. This affects the calves, thighs, hips, buttocks, and arms. The main culprit is mainly poor blood flow in the affected areas which causes the muscles to grow weak. L-Arginine not only helps provide a healthy supply of blood in these areas by unclogging and widening the arteries but also acts as an antioxidant clearing the pathways of unhealthy substances.

Sun, December 11 2011 » Supplements » No Comments

All About Maca

What is Maca? 

Maca, scientifically known as Lepidium meyenii is a popular herbaceous plant native to Latin America, they are commonly found on the mountainous regions of Central Peru and Bolivia. Maca is an annual crop which means a single plant only lives during the duration of a year although reports of it being a perennial crop are not uncommon; it is yet to be discovered if those reported perennials may be of different species.

Maca goes by many names. Being grown in Peru, it is commonly called “Peruvian Ginseng”. Other names include: maca-maca, maino, ayak chichira, and ayak willku. Modern maca crops are frequently assigned a scientific name of Lepidium peruvianum(designated by Dr. Gloria Chacon)as opposed to Lepidium meyenii, which is its classical name.  Maca is grown for its fleshy taproot and Hypocotyl (Leafy Bulb). Maca has long been used as a food crop in Peru, similar to what corn is to Aztecs. It is believed that Maca has been harvested in central Peru for at least 2,000 years. Recent surge of interest in Maca is due to its claims as a potent nutritional supplement.

Macas are traditionally grown on altitudes of 8,000 to 15,000 feet. They are only propagated through seeds. Maca grows well on cold climates found on the high mountain tops. Maca farmers usually grow them alongside potato plants as the two crops have almost similar soil and temperature requirements. Macas are quite easily and successfully grown on areas that pass the requirement of altitude and soil nutrients due to the fact that it is rarely attacked by pests.

Maca as Food Crop

For millennia maca has been a staple food in Peruvian diet. It is also used as a livestock feed. It may be consumed in a number of ways. A popular way is the roasting of the taproot, maca prepared in this fashion is considered a delicacy. Another popular preparation is boiling it and mashing to produce a thick paste that produces a sweet flavor. Maca can also be used as an ingredient in many Peruvian cuisines. A popular product celebrated by many Peruvian men is fermented maca which is consumed as beer. Maca is rich in starch and fiber, when processed, it can be used as regular flour with the nutritional benefits acquired in maca.

Maca Varieties

There are many varieties of Maca sold on the market today, but the most popular ones are the Red, Yellow and Black or Dark-colored macas. The major difference in these varieties is their distinct flavors. Red maca flavor has been described as being sweet and similar to the flavor of caramel. Red maca is known to have a greater effect on bone development. Black maca, on the other hand has been tested and proven to have a more potent effect on memory improvement and learning. Yellow maca has the unique ability of preventing skin damage due to harmful exposure to sunlight.

What’s in a Maca?

Aside from the numerous names assigned to maca it has also earned the nicknames: Super Food and Food for the Gods, and it’s not hard to understand why. Maca, aside from being a staple food is hailed as one of the most nutritious crop known to man. It contains a multitude of vitamin, minerals and more.

Maca has been analyzed to contain Vitamins B1, B2, and C, Alkaloids, Proteins, Fiber, Carbohydrates Tannins, a number of Fatty Acids (at least 20 of them), Sodium, Calcium, Bismuth, Potassium, Copper, Zinc, Fructose, Phosphorus, Iron, Manganese, Starch, Silicon and Magnesium. Now how’s that for a single crop. A lot of commercially available multivitamins are known to contain much less than this. Macas are also considered an Adaptogen (an herbal product claiming to increase ones resistance to stress and anxiety).

Why Take Maca?

Maca is known to help improve a lot of medical conditions and stress related disorders.

Chronic Fatigue

Maca combats chronic fatigue and increases ones energy by giving body cells proper nourishment and making it utilize its stored nutrients efficiently. Healthy cells equate to a healthy body since cells are the building blocks of life. Where would we be without them? Not in the place of the living.

Hormonal Imbalance

The Endocrine System is a collection of glands found in the human body with the main function of producing hormones. Hormonal imbalance results in abnormal body development and also results in mental instability disorders like mood swings. Maca helps regulate production of hormones like testosterone and estrogen, both related in sexual well-being of a person. The Pituitary gland is responsible for producing somatotropin which is the hormone that promotes overall body growth. Irregularities found in this gland can cause dwarfism and gigantism. Maca regulates all of these hormones and ensures a healthy body.

Infertility

One of macas best-selling point is its alleged role as a cure to infertility, which may not be far from the truth. While Infertility can be caused by a number of factors, the common reason is usually the quality of reproductive cells. People with low sperm count or low quality sperm obviously have a lower chance of producing an offspring. This is where maca comes in; maca has been tested in laboratories and is shown to have a direct effect on causing the production of high quality, lively sperm, and in numbers too.

Acne

Since maca promotes hormonal balance, it significantly minimizes pimple outbreak. Especially since acne is commonly associated with abnormal hormone levels. Maca alone may not completely eliminate acne, but it proves to be effective when taken in combination with a healthy diet, adequate rest, proper hygiene and avoiding stressful activities.

Alleviates Menopause Symptoms

Like Acne, a hormonal change that occurs during menopause produces uncomfortable symptoms. Maca relieves women of anxiety and depression.

Maca Supplements

Maca processed to serve as nutritional supplement may come in either powdered form, capsule or tablet form. Powdered maca can be achieved by drying the maca of its liquid contents by exposing it in sunlight or by drying it in an oven. The dried maca crop will then be ground into a fine powder. Between the two processes, sun-dried maca is preferable. Maca dried through an oven has most of its nutrients destroyed if exposed to extreme heat. Keeping maca in a cool, dry storage will keep it viable for a long time.

How much maca an individual should take, will be dependent on each individual’s age and mass. Though maca supplements are considered a safe product, it would always be wise to consult a physician before taking it especially when one is afflicted with a special medical condition.

Thu, December 1 2011 » Supplements » No Comments

All About Inositol

What is Inositol?

Inositol is a naturally occurring chemical compound that contains carbon, hydrogen and oxygen and is therefore classified as a carbohydrate. It is a beneficial substance commonly used as a dietary supplement. It can be thought of as being similar to a vitamin that can be harvested naturally from nature or manufactured artificially in a laboratory. Inositol in its natural form is colorless, odorless, water-soluble and almost tasteless, bearing only a weak hint of sweetness.

The name “Inositol” is derived from Greek words that means “muscle sugar” this substance comes in many forms and names including cyclohexane 1-6 hexol, Cyclohexanehexol, Mouse antialopecia factor, Nucite, Phaseomannite, Phaseomannitol, Rat antispectacled eye factor, Scyllite and more, its most common form is called myo-inositol.

Inositol was discovered in 1850 and is once classified as a member of the B-complex vitamins but is now argued as actually being a lipotropic agent because of its ability to initiate the breakdown of fat in the body during metabolism. Inositol can be extracted from many types of plant and animal cells.

Inositol on Health Conditions

Inositol, when used as a dietary supplement, claims to have beneficial effect on a number of medical conditions ranging from hypertension to Alzheimer’s disease. While some of these claims do have scientific backing, a few have yet to show direct evidence of improvement in certain conditions.

  • Alzheimer’s disease – degenerative brain disorder that develops in mid- to late adulthood. It results in a progressive and irreversible decline in memory.
  • Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – a behavioral disorder occurring primarily in children, with symptoms like poor concentration, hyperactivity, and difficulty in learning.
  • Cancer – a disease caused by an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in a part of the body.
  • Depression – a mood or emotional state that is marked by feelings of low self-worth or guilt and a reduced ability to enjoy life.
  • Hair loss or alopecia - also known as alopecia, thinning or complete loss of hair from the head or body.
  • High cholesterol – a condition involving high levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream.
  • Insomnia – Difficulty in sleeping; sleeplessness.
  • Diabetic neuropathy – neuropathic disorders that are associated with diabetes mellitus.
  • Panic Disorder – an anxiety disorder characterized by recurring severe panic attacks.
  • Psoriasis – a chronic skin disease marked by red, itchy, scaly patches.
  • Schizophrenia – a severe mental disorder that have symptoms as hallucinations, delusions, blunted emotions, disordered thinking, and a withdrawal from reality.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – a mental disorder in which an individual experiences obsessions or compulsions or both. Either the obsessive thought or the compulsive act may occur singly, or both may appear in sequence.
  • Poly-cystic Ovary Syndrome – one of the most common female endocrine disorders.
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome – a common complication in infants, especially in premature newborns, characterized by extremely labored breathing and abnormally low levels of oxygen in the arterial blood.
  • Side effects of lithium treatment – these include including hand trembling and intolerance of hot weather.

Inositol in Food

Choline and Inositol are often combined in products that are offered to promote neurological well-being. Alcohol, caffeine and sulfonamide drugs lower both choline and inositol levels in the body. Online Health and Fitness sites frequently sell Inositol vitamin supplements for its slimming effect. Inositol is available in vegetables, fruits and meats like cantaloupe, broccoli, ripe coffee beans, blackberries, beet, spinach, cabbage, dried beans, tomatoes, chickpeas, carrots, cauliflower, oats, poultry, veal, liver, eggplant, apples, oranges and other citrus fruits. It is believed that long consistent heavy intake of drugs reduces Inositol. Inositol deficiency produces symptoms that include: failing memory, excess liver fat, hair loss, eye problems, foods, colon irregularity and Hypercholesterolemia.

Why Use Inositol?

● Reduces Bad Cholesterol

Inositol ensures constant production of lecithin within the body. Lecithin in the bloodstream helps to properly distribute the fats and cholesterol filtered by the liver from the food we take. In properly distributing the cholesterol in the cells, lecithin ensures that the cholesterol will be used to nourish the cells and prevents fat from building up.

● Fortified Organs

Inositol in combination with choline prevents blocking of the arteries and makes sure they remain clear to avoid Atherosclerosis or the hardening of the arteries which is usually caused by high blood pressure. In doing this, Inositol helps maintain a healthy heart, liver and kidney which are all very vital.

● Cell Regeneration

A lot of cells rely on inositol for proper regeneration. Walls of the intestine contains cell that aid in digestion, these cells rely on inositol, overall health will obviously be affected if these cells fail to absorb the nutrients in the food we take. Other cells that rely on inositol include those found in the eye membranes and bone marrows. The bone marrow plays an important part in blood production and unhealthy blood supply can be expected to be fatal.

● Hair Growth

Baldness and hair thinning can affect an individual mentally and socially. Condition involving appearance greatly affects a person’s self-confidence and lack of confidence contributes to other mental conditions like depression, this may sound exaggerated but we all know how important self-image. A person who prefers a skinhead hairstyle can always shave their head but the same can’t be said in reverse for people who have no hair to begin with.

● Mental Prowess

As said previously mental conditions like depression can be alleviated by inositol. Other benefits include adequate nutrition delivered to the brain; this in combination with proper rest helps enhance memory retainment and lessens the possibility of developing Alzheimer’s disease

Current studies suggest that there is a link between inositol supplement intake and recovery from depression. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that facilitate communication between neurons, an example is Serotonin. People who experience depression have been found to have very low levels of serotonin or they lack them completely. Proper functioning of neurotransmitters like serotonin requires inositol.

So food supplements containing inositol can be beneficial to people who experience mental disorders like depression and panic attacks because of the role inositol plays in encouraging proper functioning of neurotransmitters. Other disorders that benefit from inositol for the same reason include Obsessive-Compulsive disorder or OCD.

Inositol Supplements

Now Inositol is produced naturally in the body and those who experience the health problems listed here may be experiencing Inositol deficiency. Taking food supplements containing Inositol has no known negative side effect except of course when taken excessively. So it is safe to say that including inositol in your diet will improve health, especially if you experience problems linked with inositol deficiency like those mentioned earlier.

Thu, December 1 2011 » Supplements » No Comments

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