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fenugreek

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Tea for Blood Sugar

Tea for Blood Sugar Management

Looking for some warmth during winter season? What about a warming cup of tea that also helps control your blood sugar? I have a healthy Ayurvedic tea recipe that you can enjoy!

Mix the following herbs and spices together. Dried leaves and spices can be stored for a long period of time in a glass jar in a cool dark place. 

Make a total of 100 grams of the following mix:

  • Holy Basil or Tulsi                    – 25
  • Cinnamon or Dalchini (chips)  – 20
  • Gymnema Sylvestre or gurmar- 20
  • Fenugreek or methi                 – 10    
  • Orange Peel                             – 15
  • Ginger or adrak                        – 10      

Why these ingredients? Because each one contributes certain benefits for blood sugar or health.

How to Make the Tea?

Take a teaspoon of the Herbal mix and add it to a cup or use paper tea filters. Add hot water into the cup and cover for 10 minutes so the herbs are infused in water. Enjoy this tea 15 minutes before meals or 1 hour after meals. 

Please speak with your doctor if you are any medication.

Benefits of this Tea:

  1. The herbs in the tea will balance erratic blood sugar levels.
  2. The tea will improve circulation and increase metabolism.
  3. It will reduce sugar and carbohydrate cravings.
  4. Taken regularly especially before meals will induce weight loss.
  5. It will reduce stress levels in the body. 

Holy Basil

Holy Basil is an important and sacred Ayurvedic herb that is warming, bitter, and pungent. It is great for vata and kapha. It is not the exact same as common basil, it is more pungent and bitter, with larger leaves. It contains antioxidants apigenin, eugenol, geraniol, linalool, and flavonoids that counteract free radical damage in the body. Studies show it lowers blood sugar, delays the development of insulin resistance, and reduces lipids.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a well-known spice that lowers blood sugar and also contains antioxidants. You should use true cinnamon (Ceylon cinnamon) if possible. Many studies show effects such as:

  • Decreases glucose levels after food
  • Has insulin-like activity
  • Stimulates insulin receptors on fat and muscle cells, which allows sugar to go into cells
  • Reduces triglycerides and LDL cholesterol
  • Is high in polyphenols and other compounds that are antioxidants which reduce free radical damage and increase the body’s endogenous antioxidants such as glutathione
  • Cinnamon added to the diet increases liver glycogen storage

Gymnema sylvestre

This herb is native to India and used in Ayurveda for over 2000 years for diabetes. Studies show that it reduces blood sugar and encourages glucose uptake by upregulating glucose transporter-4. It also lowers triglycerides and cholesterol. It is unique because of two reasons:

  • It reduces the desire for sugar cravings!
  • It may help regeneration of beta cells in the pancreas and enhances production of insulin with continual use.

Fenugreek

Fenugreek seeds and leaves have been used in Ayurveda for medicinal purposes. Fenugreek contains many micronutrients but specifically it contains a galactomannan soluble fibre which reduces blood sugar and causes satiety which contributes to weight loss. It also contains 4-hydroxyisoleucine, which increases the body’s production of insulin. Studies show it also reduces cholesterol. Fenugreek also reduces the Glycemic Index of food when eaten together.

Orange Peel

Orange peel contains pectin which is a fibre shown in studies to lower blood sugar, insulin resistance, and cholesterol. In addition, orange peel also offers vitamin C and other antioxidants, as well as a pleasant citrus scent to your tea!

Ginger

Ginger is an amazing warming spice used in many cultures for thousands of years. It has many antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Numerous studies show it reduces blood sugar, insulin resistance, triglycerides, and cholesterol. Gingerols also increase cellular antioxidants such as glutathione and inhibits the degeneration of pancreatic beta cells (that produce insulin).

Diet is very important in managing your blood sugar or diabetes. In addition to these wonderful herbs and ingredients, you can include bitter melon into your diet as well as fenugreek leaves into your food. Neem is also a great Ayurvedic herb that can be taken as a supplement capsule 15 minutes before meals, twice daily. As you can see, there are lots of natural ingredients you can use to manage your blood sugar!

Caution: If you are on blood-lowering prescription medications, use with caution as it may lower your blood sugar to dangerous levels. 

 

References:

Suanarunsawat T et al. Anti-diabetic and anti-oxidative activity of fixed oil extracted from Ocimum sanctum L. leaves in diabetic rats. Exp Ther Med. 2016 Mar;11(3):832-840.

Paul A Davis et al. Cinnamon intake lowers fasting blood glucose: meta-analysis. J Med Food. 2011 Sep ;14(9):884-9

Shanmugasundaram ER et al. Possible regeneration of the islets of Langerhans in streptozotocin-diabetic rats given Gymnema sylvestre leaf extracts. J Ethnopharmacol. 1990 Oct;30(3):265-79.

Persaud SJ et al. Gymnema sylvestre stimulates insulin release in vitro by increased membrane permeability. J Endocrinol. 1999 Nov;163(2):207-12.

Sajad Ahmad, WaniPradyumanKumar. Fenugreek: A review on its nutraceutical properties and utilization in various food products. Journal of th Saudi Society of Agricultural Sciences. 2016

Farzad Shidfaret al. The effect of ginger (Zingiber officinale) on glycemic markers in patients with type 2 diabetes. J Complement Integr Med. 2015 Feb 10

Debrup Chakraborty, et al. [6]-Gingerol isolated from ginger attenuates sodium arsenite induced oxidative stress and plays a corrective role in improving insulin signaling in mice. Toxicol Lett. 2012 Jan 10 ;210(1):34-43.

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Courtesy of Laura Navrotski

Fenugreek Sprouts for your Salad

Making your own fenugreek sprouts is easy and a tasty addition to any salad! Fenugreek seeds are used as a spice but are actually legumes that can be sprouted like other legumes. Sprouting increases the nutrient content as well as digestibility of the legume. You can use these sprouts raw in salads. You can add up to one cup at a time, depending on your taste. For safety reasons, ensure that you store the sprouts in a safe container in the fridge for a few days.

Fenugreek Nutrients

-Iron – 1 cup provides about 8mg of iron

-Fibre – 100g of seeds provides 25g fibre. In fact, fenugreek is used as a food stabilizer and emulsifying agent due to its fibre, protein, and gum content. Seeds contain insoluble and soluble fibre and the gum portion contains galactose and mannose which are associated with its blood sugar lowering effect.

-Protein – 100g of fenugreek seeds contain 23g protein

-B vitamins, folate

-Many minerals such as calcium, zinc, selenium, manganese, copper

But keep in mind that sprouting the seeds will alter or increase the content of many of these nutrients.

Studies have shown that fenugreek has these benefits:

Promoting milk production while breastfeeding

-Helps with PMS symptoms by balancing hormones

-Lowers blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides

-Helps with digestion and gas, including colic

-Antioxidant and lowers lipid peroxidation which is a factor involved in atherosclerosis

-Helps with inflammation and asthma

Ayurveda

Pungent and bitter. Warming. Balances kapha and vata doshas.

How to Sprout Fenugreek Seeds

  1. Obtain a desired amount of fenugreek seeds (can be purchased in bulk or packaged), you could start with 1/4 cup
  2. Choose a good sized mason jar with a wide lid. Remove the lid, and place a mesh or cheesecloth or muslin cloth over the mouth of the lid, secure tightly with an elastic band.
  3. Place the seeds in the jar, fill with water, secure the mesh on top and leave for 12 hours (or overnight).
  4. After 12 hours, remove the water, rinse carefully under running water, and pour out all the water (through the cloth). Once the water is emptied, place the jar horizontally (or at a little bit of an angle on a plate). You can keep it on the kitchen counter, not in direct sunlight, but not in the dark either
  5. Twice a day (once in the morning, once before bed) rinse the jar under water, through the cloth. Place back on the plate.
  6. After 2 days, sprouts will show. However, leave the sprouts to grow longer, for up to a week.
  7. At the end, remove the sprouts and store in a container in the fridge.

 

Reference:

Sajad Ahmad, WaniPradyumanKumar. Fenugreek: A review on its nutraceutical properties and utilization in various food products. Journal of the Saudi Society of Agricultural Sciences. 2016

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Today’s hot topic is – Top 15 DIY Ayurvedic and Natural Hair Care Ingredients

I am so excited to share this blog with you and i hope you enjoy reading this. 

Diet, low thyroid, high stress, auto immune condition environmental pollution, chemicals in commercial hair products and generally imbalanced Pitta or Vata dosha may lead to thinning, damaged and greying hair. Excessive consumption of caffeinated and high sugar beverages also contribute towards hair loss. We also tend to forget “oil” is food for hair health however we use shampoos more regularly which could lead dryer hair. Stress and anxiety may lead to hormonal imbalance which induce hair fall. In Ayurveda since hair fall or damaged hair is mostly due to Pitta dosha imbalance therefore many cooling oil and herbs are used in oils to make the best Ayurvedic herbal hair oil. Ayurveda also promotes herbs that are good for memory, intellect and overall brain health for hair health. Lightly warming these herbal oils before applying is highly encouraged.

Conscious Health’s Herbal Hair Mask is a great add on that can condition, nourish and moisturize your hair and scalp. There also Henna a natural herb that colours the grey hair for those who have dark hair.

Let’s learn more about Top 15 DIY Ayurvedic and Natural Hair Care Ingredients. They include herbs, oils, flowers, nut oils and fruits.

  1. Almond Oil: In South Asia one of the most popular oil for hair is almond oil (popularly known as “Badam Ka Tel” in India). Almond oilcontains various nutrients for hair such as Omega-3 fatty acids, phospholipids, vitamin E and magnesium. Almond oil nourishes, moisturizes and strengthens hair. Due to the nutrient density it is optimal for treating hair loss (or controlling hair fall) and treating damaged hair. However note that almond oil does not increase hair volume but may increase hair length and shine, reduce split ends, eliminate dandruff and reduce scalp/skin inflammation.

 

  1. Aloe Vera: There are only a few natural ingredients that are known to assist with hair growth and Aloe Vera is one of them along with castor oil, fenugreek seeds and cedarwood essential oil. Aloe vera contains vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12 andfolic acid. It’s also rich in minerals like calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, selenium and Aloe is a natural moisturizer that reduces dryness and dandruff (by removing the dead cells), maintains the pH balance of the scalp, detangles curly hair and conditions the hair (great for oily hair). Aloe Vera is rich in antioxidants and contains anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties which make it ideal of a treating Pitta condition such as hair fall. Aloe Vera can be used as a pre shampooing treatment – apply aloe vera gel on the scalp 15 minutes before shower.

 

  1. Brahmi: A superior Ayurvedic gem – Brahmi is used in Ayurveda for nourishment and to prevent hair loss. Head massaging using Brahmi oil increases blood circulation in the scalp and makes the roots of the hair stronger. Brahmi oil is used to treat dry, flaky scalp and dandruff. Brahmi used as a powder in a mask or oil can reduce pre mature greying, hair loss, promotes hair density, shine and treats scalp irritation.

 

  1. Castor Oil: Castor oil is an age old remedy to prevent hair loss or assist with hair regrowth. This is because castor oil has the ability to improve circulation and increase blood flow. It contains anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. The anti-fungal properties in castor oil are Ricin and Ricinoleic acid which nourishes the hair. Castor oil is one of the few natural ingredients that stimulates hair growth, combats spilt ends, moisturizes hair and scalp, adds lustre and shine, prevents frequent hair fall or breakage, thickens hair, makes it grow longer fast and fights against dryness and dandruff. Castor oils contain omega 9 essential fatty acids, vitamin E, oleic acid, enzymes and minerals which makes it an amazing herbal remedy. Using cold-pressed, unrefined and extra virgin castor oil is best for hair health.

 

  1. Coconut Oil: I have growth up using coconut oil for my hair! My mother always said, “Oils are food for hair.” Coconut oil is best for Pitta dosha individuals as this is cooling oil that is also rich in vitamin E and K, lauric acid and minerals. Coconut oil contains anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties and is rich in antioxidant. Coconut oil supports hair growth (length of hair), fights with dryness, dandruff, scalp infections and fungus, protects the hair from sun damage, as well as adds shine and lustre.

 

  1. False Daisy (Bhringraj): Another Ayurvedic herb for hair is Bhringraj used in many popular hair oils. It is an amazing remedy for pre-mature greying. Bhringraj is used for controlling hair loss, encouraging new hair growth, strengthening the hair follicles, fights dandruff, improve hair colour and texture. It also improves sleep and it fights against skin allergies. Bhringraj can be used as hair oil or powdered Bhringraj can be used in hair masks.

 

  1. Fenugreek (Methi): Methi or fenugreek is a well-kept secret as a natural medicine for hair growth. Fenugreek or methi prevents hair fall, promotes hair growth, eliminates dandruff and soothe dry and itchy scalp. Methi contains protein, Vitamin C, iron, potassium and lecithin – all of which are good for strong hair follicles, improves hair growth and makes the hair lustrous. Conscious Health’s Hair Mask contains fenugreek seeds. Best to purchase organic, cold pressed and extra virgin coconut oil for hair, skin or cooking.

 

  1. Hibiscus Flower: This is one amazing flower for hair health whether used fresh or dried. Hibiscus contains high vitamin C and A, iron and has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties. Making herbal hair masks with hibiscus flower paste or hibiscus infused oil can take care of hair loss, dandruff, improves hair shine, condition’s hair and promote hair regrowth (length and thickness). Note that both flower and leaves can be used to make a paste for a hair mask but flower may contain a little more nutrient. Add fenugreek (methi) or yogurt in the same paste for a health hair mask to combat dandruff. Hibiscus is also known to stop pre mature greying hair.

 

  1. Holy Basil (Tulsi): Tulsi contains many vitamins and minerals, notably vitamin A, K, C, folate, copper, iron, calcium and manganese. Tulsi also is an adaptogenic herb that contains high antioxidant properties such as flavonoids. It improves circulation and increase blood flow. Tulsi takes care of dry, brittle and damaged hair, combats dry, itchy scalp, pre mature greying, strengthens hair and promotes hair growth. Conscious Health’s Herbal Hair Mask also contains Tulsi. Apply fresh Tulsi leaf juice and add it to a hair pack/mask or dried powdered leaves mixed with yogurt for a hair mask.

 

  1. Indian Gooseberry (Amla): One of the most popular herbs in Ayurveda is an amazing tonic for the hair. Amla can be juiced or dried Amla can be used in a hair mask. Amla oil is extremely popular in India or South East Asian countries as hair oil. Amla contains an array of vitamins (notably vitamin), minerals and antioxidants. Amla can prevent hair loss, greying hair, combats dry scalp, dandruff, strengthens hair follicles and increase circulation which promotes hair growth. Amla contain anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial properties and has a cooling effect (suitable for Pitta dosha). Amla oil relieves scalp irritation and infections. The high nutrient content in Amla increases shine and lustre as well as conditions and nourishes the hair.

 

  1. Indian Spikenard (Jatamansi): Jatamansi is an Ayurvedic herb that has the ability to calm the nerves and the mind which is required for strong hair follicles and preventing hair loss. Add Jatamansi in powdered form for hair masks. Jatamansi also promotes relaxing and blissful sleep. Jatamansi is also known to prevent pre mature greying. Jatamansi oil is available in Ayurvedic stores in almond oil base which makes it a great product for hair care.

 

  1. Curry Leaves: In Ayurvedic medicine curry leaves infused oil is very popular for hair re growth (new hair growth) as well as promotes strong, shiny, thick and fast hair growth. It also reduces hair fall which makes it a wonder herb for thick and luscious hair. Curry leaves conditions the hair, reduces scalp infections, stops pre mature greying and has anti-bacterial affect. High in antioxidants such as vitamin A, C, E, folic acid and minerals such as iron, curry leaves are truly nourishing for hair.

 

  1. Ritha or Reetha: South East Asians use Ritha as a natural shampoo, cleanser and conditioner. Ritha helps prevent hair fall, adds volume and shine. Ritha also fights against dandruff and dried scalp. Using Ritha is like using a chemical free shampoo. Ritha contains anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties which help to fight against head lice. Ritha is available dry or powdered. Ritha with amla and shikakai (100 gram of each of the herb) can be boiled in two liter of water. Boil until half the water is remained. Strain and this water can be used as shampoo. For dark hair, make a paste with water and equal parts of henna and Ritha.

 

  1. Shikakai: Shikakai has several benefits which are specifically targeted for hair health; therefore Shikakai (Indian word) literally means “fruit for the hair”. Shikakai is used for cleansing the hair, promoting hair growth, preventing dandruff and strengthening hair follicles. Typically dried and powdered shikakai is mixed with water to make a paste and applied on the scalp and hair, to use as a conditioner. Shikakai has a low pH level therefore when using it to cleanse the hair it does not damage the hair or strip the hair from its natural oils. Shikakai is also used as a detangler.

 

  1. Neem: Best used as oil, neem oil is the best remedy to combat dandruff, dryness and lice (anti-microbial properties). Neem oil prevents hair loss and promotes hair growth. Add powdered neem, tulsi and amla to combat dry hair and eliminate dandruff problems.

A bonus ingredient I must mention for hair that is Apple Cider Vinegar.

Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar has many known benefits for hair and scalp treatment. Many people use apple cider to rinse their hair for stronger and shiner hair. Apple cider vinegar is used prevent breakage, split ends, stimulate hair growth, reduce frizz, detangle and to cleanse the hair. There are many natural shampoo, hair rinse or hair mask recipes that uses apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar that contains the natural culture (also known as the mother) is the best to use. If you live in Canada or USA, you can use Bragg’s apple cider vinegar. It has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal properties and acetic acid that helps to balance the pH level of our scalp.

8 hair issues and top 3-5 herbs for them. I hope this chart is helpful

Cleansing Shikakai Ritha/Reetha Neem Apple Cider  
Strengthening Bhringraj Brahmi Fenugreek    
Hair Growth Aloe Vera Castor Oil Bhringraj Fenugreek Curry Leaves
Conditioner Shikakai Aloe Vera Hibiscus Yogurt  
Dandruff Fighting Neem Coconut Oil Castor Oil Brahmi  
Nourishment Almond Oil Castor Oil Aloe Vera Brahmi Fenugreek
Stops Greying Brahmi Bhringraj Tulsi Curry Leaves Jatamansi
Memory & Sleep Bhringraj Brahmi Almond Oil    

 

You should also check out this useful article that details Ayurvedic treatments for hair loss to get more information, recommendations, and recipes using some of the above-mentioned ingredients: HairLossRevolution

Check out Conscious Health’s Hair Mask in the herbal product category under shop. 

Herbal Hair Mask

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