Reduce Stress (up to 65%!!) And Relax With This 8-minute Music Track

 

This is one of those self-help health aids I love finding out about because it’s so simple and enjoyable to use…… all you need to do is listen (it’s also mesmerizing to watch the video, if you’re not multi-tasking at the time). It’s a track titled Weightless by Marconi Union that was specifically created to have all sorts of harmonizing effects on the body and it’s been proven by neuro-science to reduce stress by an amazing 65%!! I first became aware of it a couple of years ago, but like that it happens to be featured in this particular article by Coert Engels because there are also some other music options listed you might like to check out.

I have included the 31-minute Weightless extended version at the beginning (no visual effects) and the 8-minute track is at the end of the post. The world can seem pretty frantic these days, so it’s great to have an easy way to de-stress and relax. Might be good to try if you’re having trouble sleeping, too. Enjoy!

Neuroscience says this one song reduces

anxiety by 65 percent

Thanks to modern research, we now know which piece of music to listen to in order to reduce our stress levels.

Check it out below and let us know what you think. We’ve also included 9 more songs that will increase your relaxation levels.

Neuroscientists discover a song that reduces anxiety

A team of UK neuroscientists conducted a study on sound therapy. Participants had to attempt to solve puzzles, which induced stress, while wearing sensors attached to their bodies. They then had to listen to different songs while researchers measured brain activity and recorded their heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure, reports Inc.com and Ideapod.

According to Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson of Mindlab International, which conducted the research, the top track to produce a greater state of relaxation than any other music tested to date was “Weightless” by Marconi Union, which you can listen to below.

It induced a 65 percent reduction in overall anxiety of participants and a 35 percent reduction in their usual physiological resting rates.

The music track features guitar, piano and natural sounds generated electronically. The track also features Buddhist-like chants that can induce a trance-like state.

This magic didn’t happen by chance

The track was purposefully composed to induce a feeling of total relaxation. The group that created “Weightless”, Marconi Union, did so in collaboration with sound therapists. Its carefully arranged harmonies, rhythms, and bass lines help slow a listener’s heart rate, reduce blood pressure and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Lyz Cooper, founder of the British Academy of Sound Therapy told the Mail Online the song makes use of many musical principles that have been shown to individually have a calming effect. By combining these elements in the way Marconi Union has done, has created the perfect relaxing sound track.

What is the secret (or the science) behind the music’s ability to produce a state of increased relaxation?

Cooper explained that it contains a sustaining rhythm that starts at 60 beats per minute and gradually slows to around 50. While listening, your heart rate gradually comes to match that beat. The reason why the piece is eight minutes long is also carefully calculated as it takes about five minutes for this process, known as entrainment, to occur.

The fall in heart rate also leads to a fall in blood pressure

Even the harmonic intervals — or gaps between notes — have been chosen to create a feeling of euphoria and comfort, said Cooper.

“And there is no repeating melody, which allows your brain to completely switch off because you are no longer trying to predict what is coming next. Instead, there are random chimes, which helps to induce a deeper sense of relaxation.”

The final element is the low, whooshing sounds and hums similar to Buddhist chants. Which can put you in a trance-like state.

All beautifully orchestrated then to let you completely unwind.

Dr. Lewis-Hodgson told the Mail Online that brain imaging studies have shown that music works at a very deep level within the brain and stimulates the regions responsible for processing sound as well as ones associated with emotions.

In fact, he said, Weightless was so effective, many women became drowsy and he advised against driving while listening to the song because it could be dangerous.

This is sound advice (no pun intended :-)) at an opportune time.

The unforgiving pace and complexity of modern life has led to unprecedented stress levels. We really need to find a way to alleviate the effects of stress in our lives, not only because stress is unpleasant, but because it holds dire consequences for our health.

Scientific research has found time and again that stress is at the root of many health conditions including heart disease, obesity, depression, gastrointestinal problems, asthma, and more.

Music, as many of us have discovered, is a great stress buster and now we have the ultimate piece of music to help us fight it.

Listen now and let us know what you think

What did you think?

If you’re looking for something a little different, check out the following *9 songs we put together to reduce your feelings of anxiety.

“We Can Fly,” by Rue du Soleil (Café Del Mar)

“Canzonetta Sull’aria,” by Mozart

“Someone Like You,” by Adele

“Pure Shores,” by All Saints

“Please Don’t Go,” by Barcelona

“Strawberry Swing,” by Coldplay

“Watermark,” by Enya

“Mellomaniac (Chill Out Mix),” by DJ Shah

“Electra,” by Airstream

*You can find links to all these songs by clicking the “Source” link below….. 
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Related Self-help Health posts:

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

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Got Parasites? Join the Crowd! :-(

 

Even though mainstream medicine often overlooks parasites as a cause or contributing factor when it comes to ill health, these “little beasties” are so prevalent and factor into so many different health issues  that, early on, I wanted to be sure this site had at least some information about them to help raise awareness of the problems they cause.

I hate to say that  I’ve actually had this post in the works since I first created this blog years ago, but somehow the draft got lost in the queue. And I didn’t realize that until recently when 2 friends asked if I knew anything about parasites and I went to send them a link to this info and found it had never actually been published. A few days ago another friend asked me and I figured I’d better “hop to.”

So, here ya go…..finally…..belatedly

Got PARASITES? More Than Likely!

You constantly hear from the mainstream medical establishment how avoiding trans fats, high blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. are what you need to focus on, and certainly those things are important. But often little mention is made of parasites, heavy metalscandida, or how an overly acidic pH level (see post on The All-important pH Factor) can wreck havoc with your health. And yet, these issues play a major role in a wide variety of unhealthy, even life-threatening, conditions. These factors also come up in regard to some of the cleanse routines featured on this blog,  so providing at least a quick overview here insures that you have some understanding of the part they can play in creating a toxic inner environment.

Parasites, in particular, get overlooked because people still think of them as a third world country problem, plus they can be pretty icky to even think about. Unfortunately they are a much bigger and more prevalent problem than most people imagine. Way back in 1990 a test sampling of the population of Elmhurst, NY showed that potentially 74.5% of the subjects were infected with intestinal parasites. And it’s now becoming clear that such test results are not some rare, isolated occurrence. Many people, whether they’re aware of it or not, are serving as a host (or hostess)—even when no one else is around. That’s because many Americans have bodies that are not only over-burdened by environmental toxins, but by the presence of a large variety of parasites as well

Sluggish digestion, eating an overly acidic diet, poor elimination, and the accumulation of toxic waste material in the colon form an ideal breeding ground for, in the words of National Geographic, “a sinister world of monstrous creatures that feed on living flesh: parasites” (wow, sounds like a trailer for some horror movie or The Walking Dead!). It’s something many of us don’t like to think about, but ignoring the issue can only make things worse. And if you are really intent on improving your health and/or cleansing and detoxing the body, it’s possible you’ll encounter some “little beasties” in the process, so it’s best to be forewarned.

Discover magazine published a feature article back in its August 2000 issue that stated: “Every living thing has at least one parasite that lives inside or on it, and many, including humans, have far more…” Most alternative healthcare practitioners have been aware of the problem parasites pose for some time, but the mainstream medical profession and scientific community are only just beginning to discover exactly how powerful these hidden inhabitants can be. The body is a collection of cells that work together, kept harmonized by chemical signals, and if an organism can control those signals—an organism like a parasite—it can have a far-reaching, even deadly, effect.

The combination of environmental toxins, an unhealthy diet, and parasites can cause any number of serious health issues. “In fact, parasites have killed more humans than all the wars in history”, National Geographic reported in its award-winning documentary, The Body Snatchers. I remember initially thinking that only people in under-developed countries had problems with parasites, and I was appalled at the thought that I might have worms and other things using me as some sort of rent-free housing. If you don’t believe parasites infect and affect people in America, just look at the pictures and read the thousands of personal stories on any number of websites. You will soon realize that this is a much bigger health issue in this country than you ever thought possible.

And you can’t always depend on testing to pick up the presence of parasites in your system. The test I had early on at the doctor’s office came back negative, but when I started doing some of my first colon cleanses I was both repulsed and intrigued when worms of various sizes and shapes started coming out, along with other toxins and waste. The good thing was that it provided validation that the cleanse I was doing was actually making a difference. But ridding my body of parasites was a slow and sometimes daunting proposition, and there were times when I wondered if I’d ever do a cleanse and NOT have some “little critters” show up.

Part of the problem is that you can pick up parasites in so many different ways. You can get them from contaminated food and/or water, unhealthy living conditions, your pets, eating raw fish or sushi, walking barefoot, etc. And the rise in international travel, use of day care centers, increased immigration, over-use of antibiotics, and propensity for some people toward having multiple sexual partners all add to the problem.  Even people staying in some of the very best hotels have been known to come home with bedbugs or other unfriendly organisms picked up from what they thought was a chic, pristine environment. And contrary to popular belief, once in our bodies, parasites do not confine themselves to the colon, but can settle in the lungs, liver, muscles, joints, brain, blood, skin, and even the eyes. Yuck! Now that’s the makings of a real horror movie!

Some signs of the presence of parasites in your system might be chronic abdominal pain, cramps or bloating, chronic fatigue, Crohn’s disease or colitis, constipation or diarrhea, food allergies, unexplained weight loss, skin rashes, a suppressed immune system—even tooth grinding or clenching. Parasites not only damage organs and tissues, but rob the body of nutrients, and emit toxic waste in the process. And many people who have problems with candida (a yeast that is a parasite in its own right), low pH readings (overly-acidic body), and/or heavy metals—all issues mentioned in previous blog posts—also have parasites. Each of these conditions seems to incline you toward the others, which only serves to compound the situation.

Another reason that dealing with parasites can be tricky is that they often go through various stages of development while in your body, and what kills the adult stage of an “alien invader,” unfortunately, does not work on the egg or larva, and vice versa. Most herbal remedies made to help rid the body of parasites contain green black walnut hulls, wormwood, and whole cloves. It’s believed that these three substances taken together will help rid a person of more than 100 types of parasites. The first two ingredients attack the adult stage of various parasites, while cloves kill the eggs. Other substances used to fight parasitic infestation are red clover, Pau d´ Arco, vitamin C, pumpkin and papaya seeds, and wheat grass juice. Also, most parasites thrive on sugar, so eliminating that from your diet, at least temporarily, can also be of benefit.

If you end up doing any colon or liver cleansing, then it’s likely you’ll come up against the parasite issue yourself, so, as they say in the Boy Scouts, “Be prepared.” In fact, Hulda Clark, the author of The Cure for All Diseases, believes that parasites and the toxic chemicals in our daily environment are at the root of almost any disease (she has found them present in 100% of the cancer patients she’s treated). Her book goes into great detail about the different types of parasites humans are susceptible to and what can be done to address the problem. She recommends that anyone considering following her liver cleanse protocol (mentioned in a Self-help Health blog post) always rid themselves of parasites first, or else the cleanse could end up being ineffective.

For extensive information on various parasites and the specific damage they do, you can read Dr. Clark’s book and/or visit her website, or go to www.appliedozone.com/parasites.html. You can also call 1-800-888-4353 to order an in-home parasite test kit offered by Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman through Uni-Key Health Systems.)

 An Ascaris adult wormAn adult louseEntamoeba histolytica, a protozoan parasite

(parasite images from CDC)

Parasites have far surpassed epidemic levels in the United States, with most sources estimating that a massive 85% of Americans have parasitic infections.  Because of this, we recommend a parasite cleanse every six months, care in choosing restaurants, and cleaning up after exposure to animals.

(Stay tuned for Part !! for more information on different ways to help rid the body of parasites naturally.)

Source: Excerpt from A Healthier You From the Inside Out

 


More on parasites, this time from The Health Wyze Report…..

Unfortunately, most conventional doctors are not trained in the treatment of parasites.  It’s only when parasites are visually seen that American doctors will suspect them, which usually requires a horrific case.  There are many symptoms of parasites that people express in daily life, believing that these are completely normal.  While sickness has become normal in the modern lifestyle, it does not have to be.  The amount of damage that can be caused by parasites is virtually limitless, because many are small enough to travel anywhere in the body through the bloodstream.  They exist by robbing the body of nutrients.  Parasites are the root cause of Lupus, with all other symptoms being secondary to the parasitic infection.  Therefore, Lupus cannot be cured without a parasite cleanse.  Of course, Lupus is said to be just another “incurable disease” and an “autoimmune disorder”, according to the conventional doctors.

Identifying The Different Parasites

  • Roundworms – Living in the stomach and intestines, these worms enter through under-cooked and contaminated food.  Remember that the manure which is used in farming may be contaminated with worms.  Always wash your hands after dealing with pets, or their feces.
  • Heartworms – It is extremely rare for these to occur in humans.  In the few cases which have been seen, they usually occur as a single worm in the lungs, rather than the heart.  They cannot be spread from one animal (or human) to another, but must be spread through mosquitoes.
  • Tapeworms – Enter the body through under-cooked beef, fish or pork.  They live in the lower intestinal tract.  Use gloves and wash thoroughly after preparing meat for consumption.
  • Pinworms – Living in the intestinal tracts and lungs, these small white worms come out at night to lay eggs around the anus. The eggs hatch and the worms reenter through the anus.  If the human scratches during this time, the eggs lay under the fingernails, spreading to wherever the person touches.  It is believed that they are small and lightweight enough to become airborne, leading people to inhale them.  This is how they can live inside the lungs.  Perhaps smoking does have a benefit, after all.
  • Hookworms and Threadworms – These can be found in contaminated drinking water, or they can enter directly through the feet.  They are tiny in size, and can enter through the soles of the feet, even without any open wounds.  Always wear shoes when walking outside.  These worms are unique because they have a lifespan of several years, and the eggs can incubate for up to 10 years.

Symptoms of Parasite Infection

  • Repeated diarrhea or constipation
  • Chronic, unexplained nausea, often accompanied by vomiting
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Intestinal cramping
  • Unexplained dizziness
  • Foul-smelling gas
  • Indigestion
  • Bloating
  • Multiple food allergies
  • Loss of appetite
  • Itching around the anus, especially at night
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Difficulty maintaining a healthy weight (over or underweight)
  • Itching on the soles of the feet, often accompanied by a rash
  • Coughing blood (severe cases)
  • Palpitations (Hookworms)
  • Anemia
  • Facial swelling around the eyes (roundworms)
  • Wheezing and coughing, followed by vomiting, stomach pain and bloating (suggesting roundworms or threadworms)
More on parasites:

http://www.realfarmacy.com/eliminating-the-parasites-that-you-almost-certainly-have/

http://www.naturalnews.com/042262_parasites_hygeine_herbal_medicine.html

And here’s a site that lists a wide variety (eck!) of human parasites, how you get them and what the symptoms might be if you have them:

http://www.healthhype.com/list-of-human-body-parasites-symptoms-pictures-2.html

Information on intestinal worms:

https://www.healthhype.com/human-intestinal-worms-symptoms-pictures-treatment.html

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained health care practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

Got ants? Try these all-natural methods to send them on their way!

 

Okay, I have to admit that this post is “selfish” in the sense that I’m featuring this information so I’ll always know where to find it myself. It seems that every time I need to get rid of ants or friends ask me how to deal with them, I can never remember the various things I’ve heard to try. But now I’ll be able to just refer to this article that has some options I’ve read about before (but can’t remember when I need to! :-)) and some new ways, too. 

With warmer weather finally making it to my part of the country, I know that ants, whether inside or outside, are likely to be showing up, so I figure this is a great time to post this for future reference. Hopefully you’ll find it helpful as well! And I love that a number of the ideas feature using things that have smells I like…..

 

We all have our worst ant moments; mine happened when I was preparing to give my 5-year-old son his breakfast cereal, and discovered that the entire contents of the package were alive, moving with all the ants that had found their way in.

Maybe you’ve tried making a trail of sugar, with the idea of leading the little critters away from your home, but that hasn’t worked? So what to do?

Here are 10 tips for keeping those ants out of your house. Best of all, the “recipes” are all natural and involve items you’re likely to have in your home already.

1. DETERRENCE

The best way to get rid of ants is to prevent them from ever considering your home an easy target. Ants are tiny, and can find thousands of doorways that you didn’t even know about. But as much as you can, block those entryways.

2. caulk

Continuing on this theme, try sealing with caulk any windows, doors and any cracks the ants crawl through. This will also give you better temperature control and lower energy bills, and is one of the least risky methods if you have kids or pets.

If those two don’t work, try the next two deterrents:

3. VINEGAR

Clean surfaces in your home with a half-and-half solution of white distilled vinegar and water. As an added bonus, this is a great mixture to use for cleaning in general, replacing detergents with polluting phosphorus. Vinegar works because ants hate its smell, and the vinegar removes the scent trails they use to get around.

4. LEMON JUICE

Just like vinegar, lemon juice also seems to destroy those scent trails that ants follow. Try spraying lemon juice around the places you think ants are using for entryways.

lemon juice

5. PEPPERMINT OIL

Here’s another super-easy one to try. Clean off your surfaces really well, and then wipe them down with a clean damp cloth that has a few drops of essential peppermint oil on it. Ants seem to really dislike the smell, and it’s environmentally friendly, as well as safe for humans and children. Not to mention, your kitchen will smell minty fresh.

6. SPICES AND HERBS

Another deterrent to make your home smell awesome! Sprinkle black pepper, cayenne pepper, chili pepper, cinnamon, mint, chili pepper, cloves or garlic — whichever you have at hand — wherever you’ve seen ants and along your home’s foundation. You can also try placing bay leaves in cabinets, drawers and containers.

7. COFFEE GROUNDS

Sprinkle your used coffee grounds in the garden and around the outside of your house. If you can locate exactly where the ants are getting in, be sure to put some there. You should see them move away from your home because they dislike the smell of coffee grounds.

coffee grounds

8. CHALK AND BABY POWDER

Try drawing a line of chalk or sprinkle baby powder across the spot where the ants are entering your home. It works because talcum powder, an ingredient in both chalk and baby powder, is a natural ant repellent.

9. CUCUMBER OR CITRUS PEELS

You can repel ants by leaving these peelings in areas of known ant activity. That’s because cucumber and citrus peels are toxic to the types of fungi that ants feed on, so they don’t want to go anywhere near them.

10. DISH SOAP

Put a very thin line of dish soap around baseboards, windows, doors and wherever else the ants tend to gather. You can also try pouring dish soap directly onto ant hills or mix the soap with some water in a spray bottle.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Source: https://www.care2.com/causes/10-ways-to-keep-those-pesky-ants-out-of-your-kitchen


 

Also, here’s an upcoming event you may want to check out. Lots of big name presenters……

The Hay House World Summit starts Saturday, May 5th

Why Should You Be Part of the World’s Largest Health & Wellness Event?

It’s a free on-line event that lasts for 16 days and offers 100 lessons from the world’s leading experts and 15 inspirational films. Sign up now for immediate access to 4 amazing gifts from Deepak Chopra, M.D, Christiane Northrup, M.D., Louise Hay, and Anthony William.


You can find out more and sign up here: https://www.hayhouse.com

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

Trouble Getting Some Zzzzzzs? Try These Sleep Aids

 

I’ve certainly had my share of sleep-deprived nights. For me, it’s usually not a matter of having trouble falling asleep, but waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to get BACK to sleep.

Anyway, if you’re looking for some natural ways to help you get a better night’s rest, then I hope you find the following information helpful. I haven’t tried all the things listed here, but the ones I’ve used so far that seem to make a difference are magnesium and tart cherries, either freeze-dried or in juice concentrate form (be sure you buy organic, since cherries are one of the most pesticide-laden crops around). FYI, 8 oz of Montmorency tart cherry juice has 4 times the melatonin of other kinds of cherries, so that’s what I always look for. I keep meaning to try kiwis, since I really like them, but usually eat them in the morning, so I want to see what happens if I eat them before bed.

 

High sleep index foods

You’ve probably heard of tryptophan, the amino acid that many people blame for their lethargy after Thanksgiving dinner. The body converts tryptophan into neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and melatonin, that help us relax. As a result, tryptophan-rich foods help us feel sleepy. Turkey, hummuslentils and kelp are naturally high in tryptophan and contain many other beneficial nutrients.

*Bananas are also a great “sleep index” food: They contain tryptophan, potassium and magnesium, all of which are natural muscle relaxants. Cherries are a good source of melatonin, which can help us get more restful, reparative sleep.

And did you know that in one study, people who ate two kiwi fruits before bed got an extra hour of sleep at night? They woke up later and took less time to fall asleep.

Carbohydrate-rich foods are often excellent at promoting better sleep. A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that high-glycemic carbohydrates, which increase sugar levels rapidly, encourage sleep when eaten about four hours before bedtime. Jasmine rice, potatoescarrots, corn and honey are healthy options.

Calcium helps the brain use tryptophan to create melatonin. Specific food combinations, such as whole grain cereals and milkpeanut butter sandwiches, or cheese and crackers contain balanced amounts of calcium and carbohydrates. Calcium is also a natural muscle relaxant.

When to eat

Eating high sleep index foods calms the nervous system and triggers sleep-inducing hormones. But timing is everything. A large meal right before bedtime can interfere with sleep. Tryptophan takes at least an hour to reach the brain, so plan meals accordingly.

Avoid rich, high-fat foods close to bedtime. They require a lot of work to digest and may cause stomach trouble and heartburn. Also, moderate your beverages. Too many fluids will cause frequent trips to the bathroom during the night. In particular, caffeinated beverages stimulate the body and act as diuretics, a double whammy when trying to sleep.

Natural sleep aids

As noted, there is no shortage of sleep aids, either over the counter or by prescription. While these aids generally work in the short term, they come with a long list of detrimental side effects and can become habit-forming. In addition, these powerful drugs are known to interfere with a number of critical biological mechanisms. Remember, they’re not meant to be gentle, but rather to put you out like a light.

I recommend a combination of relaxing, non-habit-forming herbs: lemon balm, passionflower, vitamin B6 and small doses of melatonin, about 500 mcg, can be very helpful.

When taken together 15 minutes before bed, these herbs and nutrients help to promote a gentle state of relaxation and drowsiness. Even better, they help optimize the body’s natural repair processes during sleep. They also work to support numerous other areas of health and longevity as well.

One of the shortcomings of modern society is that every problem requires maximum response. But when it comes to healthy relaxation and restful sleep, you should take a softer, gentler approach.

High sleep index foods, together with calming supplements can help you relax, enjoy a restful sleep and wake feeling refreshed. Other excellent sleep-supportive measures include mindful relaxation techniques, such as meditation and deep breathing.

Getting a good night’s rest is one of the best things you can do for health and well-being. When you support your natural sleep rhythms and cycles with the right foods, supplements and healthy relaxation measures, you reap significant and noticeable benefits. In addition to greater physical energy, mental clarity and emotional balance, getting quality sleep each night results in stronger vitality and better overall health, naturally.

Source: http://easyhealthoptions.com/high-sleep-index-foods-nutrients-help-sleep-like-baby/

 

Turmeric milk, also called golden milk,  before bedtime is used by many people as a sleep aid (also see the link later in this post to the Self-help **blog on golden milk that includes a version where you don’t have to make a paste beforehand)……

Source : http://www.thepaleosecret.com/fbfreegift/morningdrinkfb/01/

**Also see this Self-help Health post on golden milk.

One of my favorite relaxation and sleep aids is lavender essential oil….rubbing a couple of drops on my hands and then inhaling, or dabbing on my wrists, temples or soles of my feed. Also, warm epsom salt soaks, and being careful of the amount of blue light I get at night by turning off the computer an hour or two before bedtime. I’ve also read where oranges, pineapples and passion flower tea are helpful. Chamomile tea is well-known for its relaxing, sleep-inducing quality, and the Mediterranean diet and olive oil are supposedly good for sleep, as well. And I read that most sleep disorders are connected to hormonal toxicity, so that’s something some people may need to address.

*And the peel of a banana apparently has 3 times as much magnesium as the fruit itself, which is probably why someone came up with a recipe for using “Banana Tea” as a sleep aid. All you do is wash a banana (be sure it’s organic), cut in half w/ peel on; cut off tips and boil 3 to 4 minutes in filtered/structured water, steep and drink the liquid. You can refrigerate the fruit  for use the next day in a smoothie (the peel is totally edible and high in nutrition, so you may try tossing that in, too), yogurt, oatmeal, or some other way.

And here’s some info about using magnolia tree bark as a remedy for stress and deeper sleep:

https://easyhealthoptions.com/tree-bark-less-stress-sleep-not-pillow/

Want more info? Here’s a in-depth post by Dr Joseph Mercola about sleep, the ramifications of not getting enough of it, best sleeping positions, and 50 ways to improve it, including eliminating EMFs, using 5-HTP and/or magnesium, going back to using incandescent bulbs, and more.

Related Self-help Heath posts:

9 Yoga Poses For Better Sleep

What’s Not To Love About Cherries?!

Spirit Gate: Heart 7 Acupoint For Anxiety, Insomnia And More

Stay tuned for a post on how raising the head of your bed a few inches can promote better sleep, as well as help with varicose veins, detox the brain, and more!

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

 

Wow! Lots of Edible Flowers to enhance your meals!

 

Wow, I was aware of some of these, but never realized there were so many options of edible flowers! I’m excited and relieved  that spring is finally showing its face (we had an extra cold winter) and things are starting to bloom. I volunteer in a community garden and we grow a number of the flowers and herbs listed here, so now I’ll know to be picking even more of a variety to use in my salads than I did before. Delightful to have the added color and nutrition!

 

List of Edible Flowers

List of Edible Flowers

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Before you venture out to the garden and harvest a bunch of flowers for the dinner table, it’s important to remember that some flowers are poisonous. Make sure you’ve made a positive identification of each variety you’re using. Obviously, you should avoid flowers that may have been sprayed with pesticides or other chemicals, so either grow your own organic flowers, or harvest them from a location you’re sure about. Organic or not, all flowers should be shaken and washed in cold water prior to use, as they may to be homes for insects.

Pick your edible flowers in the morning, when they have the highest water content. Keep them on some dampened paper towel inside a sealed container in the refrigerator for as long as a week. You can revive wilted flowers by floating them in some ice water for a few minutes. Prepare them for eating just before serving in order to prevent further wilting.

Remove the stamens and styles from flowers before eating. Pollen can cause allergic reactions when eaten by some people, and it may overwhelm the otherwise delicate flavour of the petals. The exception here is the Violas, including Johnny-Jump-Ups and pansies, as well as scarlet runner beans, honeysuckle and clover. The flowers of these varieties can be enjoyed whole, and will probably be more flavourful this way.

This list of Edible Flowers is not comprehensive so if you notice a flower missing from this list, please do further research before you consider it edible. Don’t assume that all flowers are edible – some are highly poisonous.

Agastache BloomsAgastache – Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) is also sometimes known as licorice mint. Both the young leaves and the striking purple flowers have a mild licorice flavour. Pull the purple flower tubes away from the central structure of the flower and scatter them in salads or fancy drinks for a pop of colour and flavour.

Angelica – This relative of celery (Angelica archangelica) has licorice-scented pinkish flowers borne in large umbels. The flowers make an interesting addition to salads, but it is mostly grown for its stronger-tasting leaves.

Apple – Be sure to only try flowers from trees that have not been sprayed. Apple blossoms (Malus spp.) have an appealing but delicate flavour and scent. They work particularly well with fresh fruit salads. Use in moderation, as the flowers contain very low levels of poisonous chemicals.

Edible flowers arugula flowersArugula – Once this cool-season plant (Eruca vesicaria) begins to bolt, its leaves will have become tough and almost too spicy to eat. So let it bolt, and enjoy some of its very small, spicy, white or yellow flowers. They add a nice, unusual zing to salads.

Edible basil flowersBasil – Most growers use basil’s leaves (Ocimum basilicum) before the plant has flowered. After blooming, the character of the leaves changes and becomes less appealing, but the flowers can be eaten. They may be white to lavender, but they look stunning when sprinkled over pasta. Thai basil is sometimes allowed to flower before whole stems, with leaves attached, are harvested. The whole flower is edible.

Edible tuborous begonia flowersBegonia – both tuberous (Begonia x tuberhybrida) and wax (B. x semperflorens-cultorum) begonias have edible flowers with a slightly bitter to sharp citrus flavour. Tuberous begonia flowers contain oxalic acid, so should be avoided by people suffering from kidney stones, gout, or rheumatism.

Edible flowers of Bergamot, wildBergamot, wild – This plant (Monarda fistulosa) may be listed as bee balm, Monarda, Wild Bergamot, Oswego Tea, or Horsemint. The flowers (and the young leaves) have an intense flavour of mint with undertones of citrus and oregano. This plant that has a scent highly reminiscent of Earl Grey tea. Somewhat confusingly, the “oil of bergamot” used to flavour Earl Grey is actually derived from citrus peel from the Bergamot Orange. Monarda flowers are formed by large clusters of edible tubular petals that can be separated before adding to cakes, fancy drinks, or salads.

Borage edible flowersBorage – This familiar garden herb (Borago officnialis) has furry leaves and exquisite blue, star-shaped flowers. Both have a cooling taste reminiscent of cucumber. Try some of the flowers in a summer lemonade or sorbet – or a gin & tonic! They work particularly well as garnishes for gazpacho, cheese plates, or just sprinkled over salads.

Calendula Seeds in bloomCalendula – All “pot marigolds” (Calendula officinalis) have flower petals that are edible. They have a nice flavour that ranges from peppery to bitter, and they add bright yellow, gold, and orange colour to soups and salads. They may even tint some dishes like saffron does.

Edible chamomile flowersChamomile – Choose the German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla syn. M. recutita) for its daisy-like flowers. They can be used fresh or dried, and make a particularly nice tea that tastes vaguely like apples. Drink the tea in moderation – some allergy sufferers may have a negative response. Otherwise, sprinkle the petals into salads and soups.

Chervil – The lacy leaves of this shade-loving herb (Anthriscus cerefolium) are topped by delicate white flowers borne in umbels. Both the leaves and the flowers have a very mild anise or licorice-like taste. Add chervil to your dishes just before serving to maintain the best flavour.

Edible flowers of chicoryChicory – All endive varieties (Cichorium endivia & C. intybus) produce, at summer’s end, tall stems with striking, sky-blue flowers. The petals can be pulled off and added to salads for their earthy, endive-like flavour. The unopened flower buds can also be pickled like capers.

List of edible flowers including chivesChives – The flowers of chives (Allium schoenoprasum) are ball-like clusters of hundreds of little florets that can be separated and scattered onto salads for colour and a mild onion flavour.

Shungiku edible chrysanthemum flowersChrysanthemum – The edible chrysanthemum and garland Chrysanthemum (both are Leucanthemum coronarium) that we offer produce both edible young leaves and appealing white daisy-like flowers with yellow centres, or flowers that are entirely yellow. The petals of both types are edible and faintly tangy.

Edible flowers of cilantroCilantro – This leafy herb (Coriandrum sativum) is also known as Coriander. In summer heat it is quick to bolt, and will send up tall umbels of white flowers. These have an intensely herbal flavour, just like the leaves, roots, and seeds of the plant, and can be used as a garnish where cilantro leaves would otherwise be used.

Edible clover flowersClover– The flower heads of clover (Trifolium spp.) are edible, and have a sweet, mild licorice flavour. In fact, the whole above ground plant is edible, but it’s best to grow clover as tender sprouts or to use the flower tubes in moderation as a salad garnish. Mature clover is tough to digest, and may cause bloating.

Blossoms of Cornflower Seeds in bloomCornflower – The pretty, blue flowers of cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) have a slightly spicy, clove-like flavour with a subtle sweetness. Cornflower petals look wonderful in salads. Use torn petals as a garnish, or whole flowers in fancy drinks.

Dame’s Rocket – The petals of this tall relative of mustard (Hesperis matronalis) are pink, lavender, or white, and always come in fours. Perennial Phlox looks similar, and also has edible flowers, but always have five petals. The petals (and the immature leaves) of Dame’s Rocket are worth adding to salads, but have a mild bitter flavour.

Edible dandelion flowersDandelion – The ubiquitous dandelion (Taxacum officinalis) is entirely edible. When picked small, and unopened, the flower buds have a surprising sweetness, reminiscent of honey. Young greens are also tasty either raw or steamed. Dandelion petals look very nice when scattered over pasta or rice. While dandelions are rather easy to come by, make sure to harvest them only from organic gardens. Avoid any grown near roads or picked from lawns where chemicals may be present.

Edible day lilies flowersDay Lilies – The fleshy, short-lived flowers of day lilies (Hemerocallis spp.) are sweet, with a flavour resembling mild melon or cucumber. Make sure to cut the tasty petals away from the bitter base of each flower. Try them in salads! Eat in moderation.

How to Grow DianthusDianthus – Look for the large-flowered carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus), and cut the sweet tasting petals away from the bitter white base of each flower. The bright red and pink petals have a mild clove flavour and are great for desserts or salads.

Edible dill flowersDill – Stronger in flavour than the leaves, the flowers of dill (Anethum graveolens) can be used when cooking fish, or raw in salads. They are very small, yellow, and borne on tall umbels. Best used when they have just opened, as they set seed quickly.

Edible flowers English daisyEnglish Daisy – The low growing flowers (Bellis perennis) have a bitter flavour, but are entirely edible. They are small enough to use simply by sprinkling the petals onto salads or other meals, and will not overwhelm stronger flavours.

How to grow Florence fennel Selma Fino Fennel Seeds HR1089-1Fennel – Both the garden herb and the vegetable Florence fennel(both are Foeniculum vulgare) will eventually produce attractive and tall umbels of tiny yellow flowers that have the same mild licorice flavour as the leaves. These work very well in desserts!

Edible fuchsia flowersFuchsia – Avoid nursery-bought Fuchsia (Fuchsia x hybrida) flowers, as they may have been sprayed. Otherwise, the extraordinary looking flowers make great garnishes and have a slightly acidic flavour.

Garlic scapes

Garlic Scapes!

Garlic – Allowed to open, garlic flowers (Allium sativum) are pink to white, with florets that can be separated and inserted into salads for a mild garlic zing. However, allowing the plants to flower may divert energy that would otherwise go to the bulb. Many garlic growers prefer to cut the flower stems (scapes) before they open. These can be sautéed in butter for an intense, early summer side dish, or run through the food processor and mixed with Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and pine nuts for a sensational pesto.

Hollyhocks edible flowersHollyhock – The large, brightly coloured flowers of common hollyhocks (Alcea rosea) have almost no flavour of their own, but they sure look nice cut into salads or sprinkled over desserts. Be sure to use the petals only – cut these away from the central structure of the flower just before serving.

Honeysuckle – The long flower tubes of various honeysuckle species are edible, but Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) is best, with its distinctly honey-like flavour. Do not eat the berries that follow, or any other part of the plant, as they are all poisonous.

Impatiens – The flowers of Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) may be bright white or shocking red, but the petals are edible and have a surprisingly sweet taste. They can be torn into salad or mixed into fancy drinks.

Johnny-Jump-UpJohnny-Jump-Up – This plant (Viola tricolor) produces masses of small, brightly coloured flowers that have a faint wintergreen taste. They look great served on cakes, served with soft cheeses, or as a topping for salads. Use the whole flower intact.

French LavenderLavender – Pull the clustered flowers of lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) apart and sprinkle a few pieces onto chocolate cake. Submerge one or two pieces in a glass of chilled champagne. The sweet, intensely floral flavour of lavender should be used with restraint, but adds an incredible to pop savory dishes as well as desserts.

Edible flowers lemon bergamotLemon Bergamot – Like its wild cousin above, Lemon Bergamot (Monarda citriodora) has a perfume-like, intense, almost astringent quality, but it is strongly scented with citrus. Use portions of the flower conservatively in drinks or desserts or in herbal teas.

Lilac – Like lavender, the flowers of lilac (Syringa vulgaris) have an intensely floral, almost perfumey flavour with lemon undertones. A little goes a long way, but one or two individual flowers added to a summer punch looks wonderful and tastes very refreshing.

Gold Gem Edible FlowersLemon Marigold Tagetes tenuifolia

Edible marigold flowersMarigold – Both French marigolds (Tagetes patula) and African marigolds (T. erecta) produce flowers that are technically edible, but the pungent scent is probably worth avoiding. African marigold flowers are used as a food colourant in Europe, but have only been approved for use as a poultry feed additive in the US. However,T. tenuifolia has a refreshing citrus, lemony flavour, and its petals work well torn into salads or smart drinks.

PeppermintMint – All mint varieties (Mentha spp.) have minty-flavoured, edible flowers that may be sweet or lemon-scented, or even with chocolate overtones depending on the type.

Edible Nasturtium flowersNasturtium – All garden nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) produce edible flowers and leaves. Even the fresh seeds can be pickled like capers. Curiously this familiar garden flower is a cousin of the Brassica family (cabbage, broccoli, mustards, etc…). All parts of the nasturtium have a pleasant, sweet, peppery flavour. The flowers can be used whole to decorate salads and a variety of other foods, but you may want to remove the long spur at the back of the flower, as this is the nectary and may harbour small insects.

*For more on nasturtiums, check out the link to an article at the end of this post.

Edible pansies flowersPansy – The flower petals of the familiar garden pansy (Viola x wittrockiana) are edible and highly decorative. The petals have little flavour, but the whole flower can also be used. It has a grassy, wintergreen undertone that works well in fruit salad.

Edible pea flowersPea – Edible garden peas (Pisum sativum) produce edible flowers that look great in salads. Serve a blend of peas in a meal: shelled peas, pea tendrils, pea pods, and some flowers for garnish. Note: Ornamental sweet peas are poisonous.

Perennial Phlox – Be certain that you’ve got the tall-growing perennial garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata), and not the inedible annual, creeping type before you try the flowers. The perennial type bears pink to white flowers with five petals that have a pleasant, peppery flavour. They look great and taste great in fruit salads.

Primrose – With its bland, but highly colourful flowers, primrose (Primula vulgaris) is worth cultivating if only to tear its petals into a few summer salads. The flower buds can also be pickled, steamed, or fermented into wine.

Queen Anne’s Lace – The Wild Carrot (Daucus carota) produces tall umbels of exquisite, tiny, white flowers, each one marked by a blood-red centre. Although this plant is grown for its decorative, edible flowers, it can cross-pollinate with its close relative the carrot, so if you happen to be growing carrots with the intent of saving seed, avoid this plant in your garden. The flowers of Queen Anne’s Lace have a mild, carroty flavour. Be absolutely certain that the plant you are harvesting is not the invasive weed known as Wild or Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum), which looks very similar. The stems of Queen Anne’s Lace are hairy, while Poison Hemlock has smooth, hollow stems with purple spots.

Garden party rose seeds FL2061 1Rose – Another surprisingly edible garden flower is the rose (Rosa spp.). Although its petals are intensely perfumed, their flavour is subtler and a bit fruity, with complex undertones that depend on the variety and soil conditions. The petals of all roses are edible, but you should remove the bitter white base of each petal. Be sure to use only rose flowers that have been organically grown from a reliable source, as nearly all nursery or cut flower roses will have been treated with pesticide.

Rosemary edible flowersRosemary – It takes nimble fingers to pull the strongly scented flowers of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) from between the tightly packed leaves. The leaves contain more oil than the flowers, but both are similar in flavour. Use the flowers as you would the herb. Flowers are deep blue to pink, depending on the soil.

Safflower edible flowersSafflower – The dried yellow flowers (Carthamus tinctorius) are sometimes sold as Mexican saffron, and used like saffron as a food dye. Otherwise, fresh petals can be torn into salads, soups, and sauces. They have a very mild flavour of their own.

Sage makes the list of edible flowersSage – The deep blue flowers of sage (Salvia officinalis) add an interesting mild-sage flavour to salads or savory dishes. Pull individual flower tubes from the stems and use with discretion, as the taste is strong.

Scarlet runner bean edible flowersScarlet Runner Bean – The flowers of this vine (Phaseolus vulgaris) are vivid, intense red, and also delicious. They make excellent garnishes for soups and salads, providing a real visual high note.

Large Leaf Organic SorrelSorrel – Like the leaves of sorrel (Rumex acetosa), its flowers have a strongly lemony flavour, and can be scattered over salad or used in sauces. The flavour comes from oxalic acid, so should be avoided by those with kidney conditions or rheumatism.

Squash-BlossomSquash – Both male and female flowers of all squash and zucchini varieties are edible, and have a faint squashy flavour. It may be sensible to only use the male flowers, as they will not form fruits. They can be torn into salads or stuffed with savory items like herbs and goat cheese, and then fried in a light tempura batter. There are many squash blossom recipes online.

Edible sunflower flowersSunflower – It’s still a little known fact that unopened sunflower (Helianthus annuus) buds can be steamed or sautéed in butter and served whole. They have an artichoke-like flavour. Alternately, the petals can be pulled from the edge of the opened flower and added to soups and salads. Their flavour is somewhat bitter.

Violet – Many varieties (Viola spp.) are suitable for decorating food. They come in a range of sweet, perfumed flavours, and a wide range of colours. Some of the tiniest violet flowers make the best additions to cakes, drinks, and salads.

(You can get seeds for these plants at westcoastseeds.com, the source of this article, as well as elsewhere.)

Source: https://www.westcoastseeds.com/garden-resources/articles-instructions/list-edible-flowers/

*Dr. Joseph Mercola recently did an article about growing and eating nasturtiums that includes the following highlights:

  • Nasturtiums — colorful flowers that are fast and easy to grow — provide edible blooms known for their peppery tang
  • As their name suggests, you can be “nasty” to nasturtiums because they do well in lean soil and thrive even when somewhat neglected
  • Nasturtiums not only contain beneficial amounts of vitamin C, beta carotene, iron and manganese, but they also boast the highest lutein content of any edible plant
  • Some of the purported medicinal uses for nasturtiums include fighting bacterial and fungal infections, neutralizing free radicals, promoting hair growth, soothing colds and coughs and treating skin conditions

You can read the full article here.

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

 

Dandelion: The “Weed” With Multiple Health Benefits

Two years ago around spring time I was taking a walk and noticing all the dandelions and wishing I knew more about their beneficial properties, and lo and behold when I got home there was actually an article in my in-box about them. Talk about synchronicity! That started me doing more research and putting this post together, although I never got around to actually finishing it. But with spring just around the corner again, this seems like the perfect time to finally get it done. 

Growing up I was taught that dandelions were weeds and part of my regular “chores” was to rid the front yard of them before the flowers got all “puff-bally” and turned to seed. After putting this post together, I am thankfully less clue-less 🙂 and amazed by the many uses dandelions have and consider us very fortunate to have them around. Often I’ll pick some leaves for a salad or the bright yellow flowers to add a little color to the room and them later use them in a tea. 

 

uses for dandelions

Dandelion – A Backyard Herb with Many Benefits

Did you know you’ve probably pulled, stomped or sprayed a natural superfood that grows in your backyard? Dandelion is mostly known as a backyard weed, but it has amazing nutrient qualities and health promoting properties.

All the parts of the plant can be used in various ways though the roots and leaves are the most commonly used as herbs. Who knew that this plant with puffy flowers that grant childhood wishes could offer so much benefit?

Dandelion Root and Leaves

Dandelion is a source of a variety of nutrients and the leaves and root contain Vitamins (like A, C, K and B-vitamins) as well as minerals (including magnesium, zinc, potassium, iron, calcium and choline). The various parts of the plant have a long history of use as an herbal remedy, and every documented population in areas where it grows naturally has used it medicinally.

It also serves as an abundant natural food source, as all parts of the plant can be eaten. The root is often roasted and used in teas or consumed whole. The leaves make a great addition to salads or other dishes requiring greens and the flowers (while still yellow), can be eaten raw, cooked or even made into wine!

Traditional cultures have used dandelion to support digestive and hormone health and it was often consumed to support lactation or to help remedy issues like urinary tract infections.

Dandelion - a backyard herb with many benefits

Benefits of Dandelion

According to the How To Herb Book, this backyard superfood is beneficial in many ways, including:

Liver Support and Detoxification

Dandelion has been used for years by various cultures to support healthy liver function and natural detoxification in the body. Though it hasn’t been well studied, many people with hepatitis turn to it to help support the liver. The University of Maryland Medical Center notes that:

In the past, roots and leaves were used to treat liver problems. Native Americans also boiled dandelion in water and took it to treat kidney disease, swelling, skin problems, heartburn, and upset stomach. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), it has been used to treat stomach problems, appendicitis, and breast problems, such as inflammation or lack of milk flow. In Europe, dandelion was used in remedies for fever, boils, eye problems, diabetes, and diarrhea.

Personal Note: Was just reading an article about Nick Polizzi’s 3 favorite herbs and dandelion made the list. Here’s part of what he wrote:

Its common name is a corruption of the French “Dent de Lion” or “lions tooth” – a reference to its jagged, toothlike leaves.

My friend and wild food expert, Daniel Vitalis, says that the herbs that our body needs the most tend to grow within a mile of us, just another way that mother earth looks out for her children.

To put it simply, dandelions are your liver’s best friend. Yes, your liver, the second largest organ in your body, which among many other duties serves as your body’s filter. If you have been eating “naughtily” and feel as though you have gunkily guk (my own scientific term) built up inside of you, the first course of action is to a) change your diet and b) nurture your liver so that it can process the toxins you’ve ingested and safely remove them from your system.

The best liver cleanser I know of is freshly brewed dandelion root tea. And I’m not alone in this theory. Folk healers and doctors were prescribing this long before our time. Another delicious way to promote liver health is to add dandelion greens to salads or sauté them alongside your protein.

Source: http://www.thesacredscience.com/3-ancient-medicines-that-already-live-in-your-home/

Female Health and Hormone Balance

Due to its high levels of various nutrients and potential ability to help support the body’s natural detoxification systems, dandelion is often used by those with hormone imbalance, urinary infection and recurrent mastitis. Though not well studied, there is an abundance of anecdotal evidence from women who have used it to help remedy recurring UTIs or other infections.

Clearer Skin

Due to its natural magnesium and zinc content and its potential ability to support detoxification, dandelion is also know as being good for the skin. It can be used topically in applications like tinctures and poultices and many people also take it in capsule or tea form to help support healthy skin.

Good Source of Nutrients

Dandelion is a great source of many important vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants and nutritive salts, which may help support blood health and increase iron absorption. I personally often add dried leaves to teas for a nutrient boost or use dandelion root in place of coffee.

Blood Sugar Balance

The University of Maryland Medical Center also reports that:

Preliminary animal studies suggest that dandelion may help normalize blood sugar levels and lower total cholesterol and triglycerides while raising HDL (good) cholesterol in diabetic mice. Researchers need to see if dandelion will work in people. A few animal studies also suggest that dandelion might help fight inflammation.

Uses of Dandelion Root and Leaves

Perhaps we wouldn’t be so quick to remove this “backyard weed” if we were more familiar with the myriad of uses it has. The entire dandelion plant can be used and if you have a safe (non-sprayed) source in your yard or community, you can consider harvesting it yourself.

Here are some of the ways to use dandelion:

Coffee Substitute

Dandelion root is tougher and more hardy than the leaf and is often used in decoctions and tinctures for this reason. The powder is often added in coffee substitutes (my favorite is Dandy Blend). The root is considered a natural diuretic and is sometimes used for this purpose.

Poultices

Dandelion root and leaf are often listed as the ingredients of  teas and poultices for abscesses and sores, especially on the breast and in female health remedies as they can help support lactation and remedy urinary issues.

According to Mountain Rose Herbs:

Chopped dandelion root can be combined with myrrh to make a poultice for boils and abscesses, with honeysuckle flowers to make a tea to be drunk to treat boils and abscesses, with skullcap and/or chrysanthemum flowers to make a tea to be drunk to treat sore eyes, or with heal-all to treat hard phlegm in bronchitis. Can also be administered in capsule or extract form for convenience.

Dandelion Tea

The flower can be used to make tea and even to make some types of wine. The leaves and root can also be used in teas, though they have a stronger taste and are often combined with other synergistic herbs for flavor and increased nutrient absorption.

Salads and Greens

The leaves can be consumed fresh on a salad or in recipes as well as substituted for greens like kale and collards in recipes or cooking. The antioxidant rich leaves are the most diuretic part of the plant so while they can be consumed regularly, it is important to maintain hydration too.

Important Notes:

It is important to check with a doctor before taking this or any herb, especially in large amounts or if taking any other medicine or supplement or if pregnant or nursing. Though it is generally considered safe, those allergic to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigold, chamomile, yarrow, daisies, or iodine may not be able to consume it.

Anyone who gathers dandelion from wild sources (like the backyard) should make sure that the area has not been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides and that it does not come from an area where pets may have eliminated.

Source: http://wellnessmama.com/5680/dandelion-herb-profile/

 

 

And here’s more about how this powerhouse “weed” fights cancer……

 

A so-called “weed” growing right in your front and back yards could hold the key to being the most effective cancer-fighting compound in the world.

Previous research, as well as recent research from the University of Windsor in Canada, has found that dandelion root may be especially effective in treating and defeating cancer, and much more so than immune system-destroying chemotherapy.

As noted by the university in a press release, researchers are so sure that they have finally developed the correct dosage of the extract, that they are preparing clinical trials using a specially formulated dandelion tea.

Research director and biochemist Dr. Siyaram Pandey, Ph.D., of the University of Windsor, along with his fellow researchers, have shown successfully in the lab how the dandelion root extract causes cancer cells to go through apoptosis, or cell suicide, while leaving healthy cells intact.

“This is fantastic news,” Pandey said. “We’ve been waiting for this announcement for a long time and now it is real.”

The February 2015 announcement has special meaning for a project that was dedicated to the memory of Kevin Couvillon, who lost a three-year battle with acute myeloid leukemia in November 2010, the university said.

Destroying cancer cells within two days

The following year, his parents, Dave and Donna Couvillon, made a large contribution to Dr. Pandey’s research on natural extracts and potential cancer treatments.

“We strongly feel that Kevin would want us to continue to fight against cancer so that others would be spared such a cruel fate,” said Donna Couvillon. “Natural medicine allows one’s own immune system to be part of healing process and we wholeheartedly support this endeavour and the excellent research done by this team.”

The university press release stated further:

The dandelion root formula in use in the Pandey lab is about five times more concentrated than the extract that can be purchased over the counter and has been proven to kill leukemia, melanoma and pancreatic cancer cells in lab mice.

Caroline Hamm, an oncologist at the Windsor Regional Cancer Center, made an application to Health Canada in 2012 to proceed to human clinical trials

“This is huge, such a big. accomplishment,” says Dave Couvillon. “To see it happening is the first step and now we need to keep our fingers crossed that they get the right kind of results and we’re confident they will.”

The website Healthy Solutions reported last month that the trials found that cancer cells were destroyed within 48 hours.

From the University of Windsor’s Dandelion Root Project website:

Since the commencement of this project, we have been able to successfully assess the effect of a simple water extract of dandelion root in various human cancer cell types, in the lab and we have observed its effectiveness against human T cell leukemia, chronic myelomonocytic leukemia, pancreatic and colon cancers, with no toxicity to non-cancer cells. Furthermore, these efficacy studies have been confirmed in animal models (mice) that have been transplanted with human colon cancer cells.

Additional health benefits

Clinical trials were opened to 30 patients, all of whom had already exhausted all other cancer treatment options.

As we have reported, dandelions have other health benefits as well:

The dandelion greens contain extremely important vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B6, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin C, iron, calcium, potassium, folate, magnesium and manganese. They may contribute up to 535% of the suggested daily intake of vitamin K, not to mention over 110% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A. It is believed that some of its flavonoids such as zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin have specific healing properties. Zeaxanthin seems to provide protection for the retina when confronted by the sun’s UV rays, while cryptoxanthin can potentially defend the body against the development of mouth and lung cancer cells.

Source: http://complete-health-and-happiness.com/clinical-trials-to-begin-dandelion-root-far-more-effective-in-fighting-cancer-cells-than-chemotherapy/l

For more on dandelion’s cancer-killing properties go here.

A short excerpt from a newsletter by Underground Health Reporter about using dandelion instead of prescription drugs for indigestion and blood cancer:

 Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) like Nexium, Prilosec, and Prevacid do the exact opposite of what you want them to do.  They reduce stomach acid!  Long-term use of PPIs may result in mineral and nutrient depletion and cause serious illnesses, including…

  • Pneumonia
  • Bone loss
  • Hip fractures
  • Infection with Clostridium difficile, a harmful intestinal bacteria

If you or someone you love frequently suffers from heartburn or indigestion, turn away from PPIs and look to bitter herbs instead.  Bitters such as dandelion and chicory stimulate the production of stomach acid and other digestive juices.

Dandelion For Digestion

The bitter flavor of dandelion amps up saliva production, which helps neutralize stomach acid.  Dandelion is also anti-inflammatory, meaning it can further soothe heartburn.  Herbalists also recommend dandelion as a treatment for arthritis, gout, diabetes, cancer, and liver issues.

You can eat the greens raw in a salad, cook the greens and/or the root, blend them in your green smoothie… you can even make a coffee substitute.  When using as a tincture, take 10-20 drops of dandelion extract at the start of a meal.

The common garden weed Taraxacum officinale is public enemy #1 to homeowners who want a nice lawn …

But instead of spraying these bright yellow flowers with herbicides when they first pop up in spring, you may be better served by pulling them out by the root and eating them.

While most folks spray or pull these yard invaders, a select, savvy few eat dandelion leaves in salads and stir fries, fry the flowers and eat them as snacks, and even enjoy dandelion wine and tea.

In fact, the reason we even have these flowers in American lawns is because Europeans brought them over to use their leaves as salad greens!

They’re also rich in antioxidants, which reduce inflammation and pacify raging free radicals for better overall health.

In modern medicine, dandelion flowers and leaves have been shown to protect skin from damage caused by the sun’s UVB radiation.

These leaf and flower extracts also stimulate glutathione, an important antioxidant used in cell generation.

Dandelion root is most commonly taken as a tea, which you can make yourself by drying and food-processing the root.

New Research on Dandelions and blood cancer underway…..

Most recently, the University of Windsor received approval to continue in a game-changing Phase One human trial … one that could change how mainstream medicine views alternative and complementary cancer treatments forever.

Very soon, 30 people with end-stage blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma, who have had no success with conventional treatments, will help the world discover whether a super-potent dandelion tea has the power to save lives.

The dandelion root tea is formulated by Calgary-based natural health products company AOR Inc.

AOR spent about 18 months creating this potent therapeutic tea. The end product is a milled, extracted and freeze-dried dandelion root the color of mustard.

It is six to ten times more powerful than what’s available at a health food or drug store – or in your backyard. The AOR creation is not intended to be used as a supplement or like ordinary tea, but is being tested specifically for its ability to induce apoptosis in cancer cells.4

Health Canada approved the partnership between the University of Windsor and AOR in 2013, and trials are beginning in the next few months, according to our information.

The goal of Phase One trials, being the first of four, are to test the treatment in a small group for the first time to evaluate its safety, determine a safe dosage range and to identify any and all side effects.

It will most likely be another year to 18 months before the results are in.

If it works, the researchers will move onto Phase Two trials.

Even though it’ll be a while before a dandelion root-based cancer treatment is available in the marketplace, it’s very exciting that these natural remedies are being taken seriously as medical treatments.

And you don’t have to wait to start enjoying your own gourmet dandelion creations … and take advantage of their health-boosting properties.

If you or someone you know is undergoing cancer treatments, it could be worth trying dandelion tea to relieve symptoms of nausea and to aid in eliminating toxins and waste from your body.

If you’re interested in trying it, do check with your doctor (hopefully one who supports natural treatments). Dandelion root is powerful and you want to avoid any unexpected interactions or side effects.

It’s so easy to make your own tea: just clean the roots and dry them out for a few days. You can process them in a blender and put them into empty teabags, or just steep the roots in water.

You can also purchase high quality dandelion root tea from your favorite health store or retailer. Some farmer’s markets sell dandelions as well.

Source: Cancer Defeated newsletter by Lee Euler, Editor

If you’re interested in making your own dandelion tea, here is a great recipe from Natural News Blogs, and here’s some good information about when and how to harvest dandelions that also includes a recipe for making a soup with them. 

p. s. A friend just told me that dandelion is not only good for your body, it is good for the earth as well. The root system drills through compacted soil, opening channels for rain, aeration, and earthworms; the deep roots bring calcium. I also meant to mention that bees like dandelions and they are an important food source for them, especially at certain times of the year. So having dandelions around is definitely a win-win-win situation!

Ever used dandelion? Please share about your experience in the comment section.

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

 

9 Yoga Poses + 10 Minutes = Better Sleep

 

As someone who is always in the market for natural ways to improve my quality of sleep. I have recently found several things that help, including tart cherry juice, and magnesium oil (more on these in future posts). And this looks like something worth checking out. I’m not adept at yoga or a super regular practitioner, but I always feel better and more relaxed whenever I fit some into my day, so I’m looking forward to giving this particular sequence of poses a try.

 

The 10-Minute Yoga Routine For Perfect Sleep

by DEANNA DORMAN

Do you ever have a hard time falling asleep? In today’s society, you’re probably not alone. With the constant feeling of “go, go, go,” it makes us anxious even as we are preparing for bed. It can be very challenging to fall asleep and get a restful night’s sleep with a constant feeling of anxiety and stress. Yoga can be a great way to de-stress and unwind as you get ready to hit the hay.

These yoga poses are all meant to help you clear your mind and feel relaxed. These poses can also stretch areas that may have tightened up through the day. Add this ten-minute sequence to your nightly routine to help you calm down and fall into a deep slumber.


Cat & Cow Pose

Start on all fours, with your hands under your shoulders and knees under hips. Inhale as your lengthen through your spine, arching your back, reaching the crown of your head and tailbone together, and drawing your shoulder blades down into a Cow pose.

Exhale as you bring your spine back to neutral and round your spine up towards the ceiling to curl your chin to your chest and pulling your belly button into your spine, coming into Cat pose. Work through Cat and Cow pose a few times, stretching and lengthening the spine.


Child’s Pose

Once you finish working through Cat and Cow pose a few times, sit your hips back onto your heels, bringing your toes together, but keeping your knees apart. Keep the arms reaching forward to stretch through the shoulders. Take a few breaths in this position, and if you’d like, walk both hands over to the right for a few breaths, and then over to the left for a few breaths to stretch out the obliques.


Seated Forward Fold

Start by sitting on your mat with your legs extended straight in front of you. Lengthen through your spine, sitting as tall as you can. Reach your arms in front of you to grab a hold of your feet or to place them in your shins.

Lengthen through your spine as much as possible — instead of just collapsing down towards your legs. Bend your knees as much as necessary to keep your back flat. This pose is a great hamstring stretch, but don’t make it deep and intense now; your ultimate goal is gentle relaxation.

Stay in the same seated position with your legs extended in front of you, and allow your back to stretch gently over your legs. Stay folded forward for a few deep breaths, feeling the stretch along your spine.


Wide Leg Forward Fold

Stand with your feet three to four feet apart, bringing your feet parallel to each other. Clasp your hands arms behind your back, pressing the heels of your palms together in a fist. Bend from your hips, folding forward, reaching the crown of your head and your hands toward the floor.

Relax your toes, and try to shift the weight into your toes. Stay here for a minute or two, allowing the crown of your head to keep reaching deeper to the floor.


Supine Bound Angle Pose

Start by laying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the mat. Open your arms out to the side at about 45 degrees away from the body. Let your knees drop out to the sides, bringing the bottoms of your feet together. Allow gravity to pull your knees wider, opening up the hips. Stay here for at least two minutes, breathing deeply, and sinking deeper into the pose.


Supine Spinal Twist

Laying on your back with your legs extended straight, pull your RIGHT knee in towards your chest. Hold the knee with your LEFT hand and guide it to cross over your body. Extend your RIGHT arm out to the side as if in a “T” position, and gaze out over your right hand. Hold for a minute or two, allowing the twist of your spine to increase with each exhale. Be sure to stretch the other side, as well.


Single Leg Happy Baby

Again, start by laying on your back with your legs extended, and pull the RIGHT knee back into your chest. Hugging the knee in towards the chest, grab a hold of the arch of your foot with your RIGHT hand. Bring the sole of the foot about parallel to the floor and pull the knee in close towards your armpit.

As you press into the sole of the foot with your hand, also press against the hand with your foot to increase the stretch. Keep the LEFT leg as straight as possible and you may also feel a stretch in the front of the left hip. Hold for 30-60 seconds taking deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.


Legs Up the Wall Pose

Sit next to a wall and lay on your side, keeping your hips as close to the wall as possible. As you turn to lay on your back, extend your top leg straight and slide it up the wall reaching towards the ceiling.

Follow with the other leg, bringing both legs up onto the wall, keeping the feet glued together. Bring the arms out into a “T” position and allow your hips to sink into your mat. This pose is great to get the blood flowing from your legs and feet back to your heart. It helps with circulation, and calms the body. Stay here for 2-5 minutes breathing deeply. To come out of this position, bend your knees in towards your chest and roll to one side.


Shavasana

Before falling asleep, take advantage of a peaceful moment for a brief meditation. Lay on your back with legs extended, slightly wider than hip distance apart, and your arms out at about 45 degrees. Breathe deeply and allow yourself to feel how relaxed you are after taking a few minutes to stretch and unwind after a long day. If you fall asleep in this pose, that’s alright, too!

Sweet dreams!

Author: Deanna Dorman, an ACE® certified personal trainer, Balanced Body® Pilates instructor, and NASM® Fitness Nutrition Specialist.

Source: http://blog.paleohacks.com/yoga-for-sleep

And be sure to check out the Self-help Health archive for more posts on yoga for weight loss, unkinking, a free yoga poses chart and more.

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.