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Rosemary

Rosemary has historically been used to alleviate  ailments ranging from indigestion to poor memory. The University of Maryland  Medical Center reports that at least one study proved rosemary beneficial for  relieving anxiety; However, another study found rosemary can actually increase  anxiety. If you find rosemary to be relaxing, you can take the dried herb as a  tea preparation, or added to bath water. Rosemary essential oil is used in  aromatherapy, but can have a convulsant effect on those susceptible to epileptic  seizures.

 
 

Chamomile

The variety of chamomile most popular in the United  States is German chamomile, or Matricaria recutita. Chamamelum nobile, also  known as Roman or English chamomile, is also available as a herbal supplement.   Both kinds of chamomile are used to reduce stress, anxiety and nervousness.  Chamomile is also believed helpful for relieving muscle spasms and skin  conditions.  There are few human studies regarding the calming effect of  chamomile, but research on animals show that a low dose of chamomile reduces  anxiety and promotes restful sleep.

Oatstraw

Avena sativa, or oatstraw, is the stalk part of the oat  plant which is used in cereals and other foods. As well as being part of a  staple food crop for people in many countries, oatstraw has traditional herbal  uses as a stress reliever. Oatstraw can be taken as a supplement or in a tea  infusion, and is believed effective in combating exhaustion associated with  neurological pain.  Additionally, oatstraw is commonly used as a remedy for  attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and for more general  anxiety.

 

References

Herbal Stress Remedies

4 Strategies for Relieving Pain Without Medication

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4 Strategies for Relieving Pain without Medication

The most common types of pain are from arthritis, lower back, bone/joint pain, muscle pain and Fibromyalgia. Pain can also take on many forms, changing locations and intensity daily or even hourly in the same person.

There are, however, many pain relief options out there, some that you may not yet be aware of. Because pain is often such a complex issue to treat, and the methods that work highly varied depending on your individual situation, adding one, two or several of the following strategies to your arsenal may give you the much-needed relief you need.

Best of all, the following options are completely safe and natural, which means they can be used successfully by just about everybody.
What you’ll notice is that many of these strategies use the power of your mind to heal physical pain. When you focus your mind on healing, relief follows.

Meditation

Meditation keeps your mind focused on the present, which makes the experience of pain less intense. Originating in Eastern spiritual traditions, meditation is now a common form of mind-body medicine practiced by people of all cultural and religious backgrounds. (1)
In a study by researchers from the University of Manchester in England it was found that people who regularly meditated found decreased pain possibly because they spent less time anticipating it, which blunted its emotional impact. (2)
If you’re new to meditation, you can still benefit. A separate study found that after just a single hour of mindfulness meditation training over a three-day period, participants felt less pain while meditating and also experienced less pain sensitivity when they were not meditating. (3)

Many cities now offer local classes to learn the basics of meditation, but you can get started by finding a quiet location, sitting in a comfortable posture, then focusing your attention on your breath, an object or a mantra (a meaningful word or phrase). If you find your mind wandering, simply bring it back to your focal point without judgment. Prayer, tai chi, qi gong, yoga and journaling can also offer meditative benefits, so choose the form that feels best for you.

Laughter

When you laugh, your body releases endorphins, which are natural painkillers that also contribute to a sense of well-being. This may help to reduce your pain directly, while also distracting you from the pain, similar to meditation, and providing a wonderful form of stress relief.
Indirectly, laughter therapy, which is, as it sounds, using humor therapeutically to get you to laugh more often, can help to relieve pain by:

Relaxing your muscles
Easing digestion and soothing stomach aches
Promoting relaxation and better sleep
Enhancing oxygen intake
Boosting your immune system and circulatory system

Massage Therapy

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Massage therapists use a variety of techniques, including kneading, tapping, pressure and deep circular movements, to relieve a variety of conditions, including pain. According to a survey by the American Hospital Association, nearly 91 percent of respondents agreed that massage was effective in reducing pain.
Further, according to the American Massage Therapy Association, massage stimulates your brain to produce endorphins (natural pain-relieving chemicals) and studies have shown that massage therapy:

•Promotes relaxation and alleviates the perception of pain and anxiety in cancer patients
•Reduces post-traumatic headaches better than cold-packs
•Reduces pain and muscles spasms in patients who have had heart bypass surgery

A separate study also found that massage therapy provided some immediate pain relief for patients with advanced cancer.
For best results, look for a reputable and qualified massage therapist who is experienced in helping with pain relief.

I have used massage therapy for a few years now. I find that a therapist that takes into consideration the areas in which you experience the most pain or sensitivity and is knowledgeable about Fibromyalgia is your best choice. As I tend to suffer from inflammation in my abdomen after my treatment, my massage therapist massages me while I lay on my side which makes the experience more pleasant for me. She also uses a heating pad under my body before my massage that allows my back and legs to relax more before the massage gets underway.

Music

Music can be extremely soothing not only for your mind but also for your body. By way of distraction and relaxation, music is a form of pain relief that’s as simple and enjoyable as it is effective.

In one small study, patients with back, neck or joint pain experienced a 20 percent decrease in pain after listening to music for one hour a day for seven days, compared to a 2 percent increase in pain in the control group. (4)

Music has also been found to help reduce post-surgical pain, (5)
chronic and cancer pain, along with reducing patients’ need for pain-relieving medications. (6).

So whenever the mood strikes, put on your favorite musical artist and let the sounds help soothe you.

Photos : http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

References:

1. 12. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2008;149(6):369–379.
2. LiveScience.com June 6, 2010
3. The Journal of Pain 2010 Mar; 11(3):199-209. Epub 2009 Oct 22
4. Journal of Advanced Nursing Volume 54 Issue 5, Pages 553 – 562
5. Journal of Advanced Nursing Volume 33 Issue 2, Pages 208 – 21518.
6. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 2.

Licorice Root: History and Uses

 

 

Licorice

Latin name:  Glycyrrhiza glabra

Common names:  Chinese Licorice, Gan Cao, Licorice Root, Sweet Wood, Kuo – lao, Ling – t’ung

Medicinal part:  Rootstock

How Licorice Root Is Used :

 Peeled licorice root is available in dried and powdered forms.

 Licorice root is available as capsules, tablets, and liquid extracts.

 Licorice can be found with glycyrrhizin removed; the product is called DGL (for “deglycyrrhizinated licorice”).

 

World view of the Licorice Root

    As this herb has been used for a wide variety of ailments, for the purpose of this article I will limit those to the most commonly utilized along with any recent research findings related to the medicinal usage of the licorice root.   Most herbal preparations are made from the dried fruit of the plant.

   Licorice is a perennial plant that can be found in southern and central Europe and in some parts of Asia.  Licorice is popular in its natural form in Italy (particularly in the South) and Spain. The root of the plant is simply unearthed, washed and chewed as a mouth freshener.  Licorice is not only the number one DRUG used in the world today but it is also the most frequently administered herb by herbalists for themselves.  Europeans use the licorice root for the treatment of chest pains, cough, congestion, overall fatigue and constipation.  The root is more commonly used in India and in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), compared to North America, making it more widely used than any pharmaceutical drug on the market today.   Also known as the “Great Adjunct”, the “Great Detoxifier” and the “Grandfather of Chinese herbs”, licorice is thought to be beneficial in the treatment of conditions that affect the stomach, kidneys, lungs as well as the spleen.  It can also be used affective in the treatment of auto-immune conditions including lupus, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis and animal dander allergies according to TCM.

  In the East Indian or Ayurvedic  (Sanskrit: आयुर्वेद; Āyurveda, “the knowledge for long life”) culture, Licorice is thought to be a “liquifier of the stomach”, aiding in the digestion process,   Again respiratory conditions appear to be minimized with the use of licorice root, specifically in cases of asthma, bronchitis and colds.   The East Indians believe that the licorice root can strengthen cases of fatigue as well as promote eye sight.  Arthritic conditions, urinary complaints, fevers and circulation can all be improved with treatment of this herb.

   Looking at the North American Indians, licorice root was commonly administered for sore throats, bronchial conditions and for calming an upset stomach.   Like the Cheyenne, licorice was taken for gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea.  Ear aches, fever and toothaches were treated with licorice root by the Dakota and Pawnee.  The Navaho used the root as a mild cathartic (laxative) also as a form of cleansing which was prepared as a decoction ( water solution of plant extracts which is boiled).

 

Modern confirms that the pharmaceutical licorice is beneficial in the following situations:

    As an estrogenic, anti-allergic, expectorant, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-convulsive, choleretic, anti-tussive ( relieves coughing) , anti-hepatotoxic (strength and stimulant for the functioning of liver), and antineoplastic (to prevent, inhibit or halt the development of a tumor).

    Licorice has been proven to regulate estrogen metabolism as well as stimulate the immune system which has been instrumental in the treatment of CFS and Fibromyalgia by increasing cortisol activity and reducing stress levels.  Evidence suggests that this herb inhibits the growth of RNA and DNA in certain viruses such as herpes among others. Various studies suggest that licorice root is highly effective in the treatment of ulcers, inhibits toxicity in the liver and has a cortisone-like action as an anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory.  This is good news in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis which affects many people in the older population.

According to the many sources I have consulted licorice root is used to eliminate side effects from other herbs.

  The compounded carbenoxolone is derived from licorice. Some studies indicate that it inhibits 11β-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1, an enzyme that is highly expressed in liver and fat tissues, where it plays a role in metabolism, and in the brain, where the same enzyme is involved in stress response that has been associated with age-related mental decline.

   The herb is primarily used in medicine for respiratory conditions such as: allergies, bronchitis, colds, and sore throats.   It is also used as treatment for acid reflux, heartburn and stomach ulcers, digestive tract inflammation, diseases of the skin, relief from physical and emotional stress, and certain diseases of the liver.  Licorice can be used to treat ileitis, leaky gut syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease as it is antispasmodic in the bowels.[20]

    According to Science Daily, Scientists are reporting identification of two substances in licorice — used extensively in Chinese traditional medicine — that kill the major bacteria responsible for tooth decay and gum disease, the leading causes of tooth loss in children and adults.

   The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) claims the licorice root has anti-inflammatory effects and has been used to treat stomach ulcers, bronchitis, sore throats, and infections caused by viruses. They also point out that several clinical trials found that the component glycyrrhizin, also found in licorice could reduce complications from hepatitis C in some patients.

  The benefits of using licorice root are far more extensive then I have explored in this article.  I strongly encourage readers to look further into the use of licorice root to attain a more comprehensive understanding of this powerful herb.

     Licorice root may cause water retention, raise blood pressure and should not be combined with medications that are used for heart conditions.  One must be extremely cautious when taking any pharmaceutical drugs with any herb, herbal preparation of supplement as harmful interactions can occur.  These include OTC medications and prescription medications.  When in doubt ask a herbalist, or wholistic therapist, or naturopath with training in herbology.  Ensure that you provide your medical professional as well as your herbal advisor with a list of all the medications you are using at the time.

 

 

 

Bibliography: 

 

Lust. John ( 1979). The Herb Book.

Sandeep, T. C.; Joyce L. W. Yau, Alasdair M. J. MacLullich, June Noble, Ian J. Deary, Brian R. Walker, and Jonathan R. Seckl (19 April 2004). “11β-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase inhibition improves cognitive function in healthy elderly men and type 2 diabetics”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 101 (17): 6734–6739. DOI:10.1073/pnas.0306996101. PMC 404114. PMID 15071189.

Winston, David; Steven Maimes (2007). Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief. Healing Arts Press.

by Terry Willard, Ph.D. assisted by James McCormick, M.Sc. (June 1997). Textbook of Modern Herbology. 

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120104115106.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fhealth_medicine%2Falternative_medicine+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Health+%26+Medicine+News+–+Alternative+Medicine%29

http://nccam.nih.gov/health/licoriceroot

 A. Penn (c) June 2012

 

Ditch the Hangover

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If you have a large amount of alcohol one night, chances are you will wake up with a hangover. A hangover is caused mainly due to dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic which causes fluids to be flushed by the body.
The best way to completely avoid a hangover is to not drink at all but then you wouldn’t be reading this….

I am not one to drink to excess. If I were to partake in several alcoholic beverages in one evening I would injest at least (3) 8 ounce glasses of water and eat a snack preferably consisting of something like eggs or cheese. Food helps settle your stomach and give you energy. It absorbs some of the alcohol in your system, making it harder for it to affect you. Therefore always make sure you eat while you are drinking and right after you stop drinking.

More Natural Approaches to preventing a hangover:

B vitamins are necessary for the proper breakdown and elimination of alcohol in the body. In fact, in one study, vitamin B6 reduced the number of hangover symptoms by approximately 50 percent. For anyone who has suffered after a night of overindulgence, this certainly is good to know.

If your hangover has caused feelings of nausea and possible vomiting, ginger may help reduce or eliminate those symptoms. Ginger is commonly used as an alternative remedy to ease nausea and upset stomach. The underground stem of the ginger plant has been used medicinally since ancient times. In addition to easing an upset stomach, ginger may also help ease headaches and diarrhea

Other Hangover Help

Life Extension recommends a garlic-based supplement for hangovers. Garlic contains S-allyl-cysteine, which neutralizes acetaldehyde; vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and selenium are included in the Kyolic Garlic Formula 105 supplement for their antioxidant effects. Consult your doctor before taking garlic or any kind of supplement. Activated charcoal is used to neutralize poisons and can help lessen the symptoms of toxicity associated with alcohol. Ginger, meanwhile, is good for soothing stomach upsets. Consuming food and drinks that contain fructose, such as fruit juices and honey, will help your body burn the alcohol faster. Bouillon soup helps replace salt and potassium depleted by alcohol. Get plenty of rest and remember most hangovers are gone within 24 hours. Avoid taking acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, because of possible liver damage when combined with alcohol.

In Las Vegas they have a hangover bus, this I stumbled across doing research for this blog:

The “Hangover Bus” IV treatment can actually relieve hangover symptoms by replenishing vital nutrients, fluids, and anti-oxidants. But does one have to pay someone to do that? You could easily drink several glasses of water, take an aspirin, or a multivitamin, and get the same effect.

But sufferers of a Vegas-level hangover might also expect a Vegas-level treatment. “EMTs, paramedics, and firefighters have used IV fluids for a long time to help resolve most of the symptoms of a hangover,” Hangover Heaven’s owner, Jason Burke, told “20/20.” “I’ve just taken it to the next level, with the vitamins and the medications.”

References:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/445935-what-is-a-good-vitamin-to-help-hangovers/#ixzz2GdL4lAXu

Photo: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Get Your Motor Running……. We’re About to Enter 2013

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I am amazed in just over one year 2,808 people have viewed my blog.  Thank you again, to all of you that stopped by over the last year and left a comment and subscribed to my blog.  I have grander plans for 2013 and with it I am eager to embark on another journey which is to attain employment. 
Those of you have followed me over the past year have known of my medical conditions and I will still remain a strong advocate for those suffering with Fibomyalgia and other chronically fatiguing conditions.  My posts will still contain herbal remedies to help those of us dealing with pain and fatigue which seem to be the common culprits.    There is hope for anyone suffering with chronic pain, we are all individuals and as such may require different approaches to pain management. 

This past year I tried art therapy, massage therapy and reiki as a means of controlling my pain and 2013 will not be any different.

  My book will continue to be written in my spare time while I am employed as having a steady income will allow me the financial ability to publish and market it myself.  I prefer to be an independent writer and keep the authenticity of my writing.  My herbology coursework will continue but a slower pace and that will allow me to enjoy so much more and learn more without being under tight deadlines.

 May your dreams and aspirations materialize in 2013, may you be blessed with love and kindness, but above all may you remain true to yourself and love with all your heart.

Namaste

Angi

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Photos: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/

Fast Acting Natural Cold and Flu remedies

The common cold is caused by any one of 200 different viruses. When infection occurs , the walls of the respiratory tract swell and produce excess mucus, giving rise to the typical cold symptoms.

Symptoms range from sore throat, running nose, nasal congestion, watery eyes to hacking cough, headache, and fever. Most colds run their course  in about 7-10 days. Recurrent colds (almost constantly suffering) may indicate  a lowered immune system,  too much stress and not enough sleep.

No treatment of colds would be complete without Garlic and Ginger.

 

Garlic has a distinctive  taste and smell and it was very highly thought of by the ancient Egyptians, who ensured that the slaves building the Great Pyramids at Cheops were given a daily supply.

The  Romans also acknowledged garlic’s strengthening powers and fed it to their soldiers before battle. Garlic has anti-bacterial properties that  help the immune system to fight infection, it is also an excellent boost to the immune system.

The reason for this is garlic contains several helpful compounds, including allicin, one of the plant kingdom’s most potent antibiotics. Garlic combines well with echinacea and together make a strong fighting force against infections.

Onion is a close relative of Garlic and has similar properties, containing  similar antiviral chemicals. Use onions and leeks in your cooking when you have a cold or are around people who do.

 

Ginger  is another of natures’ antiviral herbs. It contains nearly a dozen antiviralcompounds.  Ginger is a  pain reliever, antiseptic and antioxidant.   It is valuable for preventing  and treating colds, sore throats and inflammation of mucus membranes.

Ginger reduces pain and fever and has a mild sedative effect that will  encourage rest. And it is tasty! (with no lingering odours!) Drink a  tea, or soak fresh ginger in hot water, take as a tincture and include it in your food.

Getting adequate sleep and taking vitamin C supplements can prevent colds and flu bugs.  If one prefers to get their vitamin C from more natural sources stick to fruits such as oranges and lemons.  Vitamin  C is very good for the relief of cold symptoms and to help the body fight infection. The best source of vitamins is always fresh fuit and vegetables. Citrus fruit is especially high in vitamin C.  Combine orange, pineapple, seedless grapes, lots of fresh ginger,  banana, pink grapefruit, cantaloupe in a blender. Add orange juice if  more liquid is needed. This not only makes a delicious drink, but it helps to fights that cold.

Modern Herbology Part 3 of 4

 

The First Nations Peoples

The First Nations Peoples consists of many different nations of people that tend to have a variety of traditions.  This makes it impossible to discuss one unified medical approach.   Generally a shaman ( medicine woman or man) uses rituals to scare away spirits that are causing afflictions for the patient.  Their medicine is based on a system of energetics – the energy flow and the imbalances in the energy flow are examined.  They used plants to help close wounds, ease sickness and even provide protection against harmful spirits.

Canada’s own northern boreal forest, which stretches from BC to Newfoundland, is one of the last and largest intact forests left in the world. It boasts thousands of plant species, many of which contain medicinal properties used by indigenous peoples for centuries. For example, more than 400 species of native plants have been used as traditional herbal medicines by First Nations peoples in Ontario alone.

More than 600 First Nations communities live across the Canadian boreal region where they have developed complex physical, social, and spiritual relationships that reflect their knowledge of and respect for the land that feeds, houses, and helps heal them.

Here are some common weeds and their medicinal uses. Remember, many native plants may be toxic, so speak with an expert and know what you’re doing before you ingest anything.

Weed Location Medicinal use
wild bergamot BC to Quebec • leaves used to treat coughs, colds, fevers, pneumonia, insomnia, sore eyes, and kidney and respiratory problems
lamb’s quarters throughout Canada • young plants, high in vitamin C, used to treat scurvy • also used to treat stomach aches, rheumatism, and  headaches
stinging nettle throughout Canada • used to aid blood coagulation and formation of hemoglobin • also used to treat gout, anemia, poor circulation, and kidney stones
yarrow throughout Canada • used to stop bleeding • also used as a sedative, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and topical for toothache
shepherd’s purse throughout Canada • used to treat headaches, stomach cramps, and internal bleeding • also used as an insecticide

— Source: Edible & Medicinal Plants of Canada (Lone Pine Publishing, 2009)

 

 

African

A scientific approach emerged in 2980 B.C.  during the reign of Pharaoh Zosar of the Third Dynasty.   The ancient African healers had an elaborate supply of herbs, animal parts, minerals and clays.

The flora in Africa is very diverse which composes a large materia medica.  Over 2,000 distinct tribes reside in Africa but maintain a fairly standard form of medical practice despite their cultural variety.

African Healing Systems revolve around secrecy, knowledge is an index of Power and Influence.

The energy and the spirit of the plant is the healing formula.   A medicine person is not measured by the number of herbs they know but rather on their ability to understand the natural laws and their ability to use them.