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Nahid Ameen

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Miswaak
Miswaak

What is Miswaak?

Miswaak, which is also known as the oldest toothbrush in history, is a chewing stick. It is made from the roots of the Arak tree (Salvadora persica). It is one of the best and cheapest forms of dental hygiene. It is generally used in regions of the Middle East, North Africa, and Central and Southeast Asia. As Prophet Mohammad ((PBUH) used to do miswaak in his daily life, therefore it is considered as “sunnah” in the culture of Islam.

Miswaak not only helps to remover plaque, calculus, and debris, but it has also been useful to show positive antimicrobial activities. These positive antimicrobial activities protect the teeth from cariogenic and periodontopathic bacteria.

Miswaak vs Toothbrush

Miswaak is more beneficial than toothbrushes and toothpaste/mouthwash. Besides removing plaque, calculus, and debris, it also provides the remedy to anti-sensitize the teeth; prevents the onset of tooth decay, bone building, and bone protecting properties; strengthens joints, tendons, ligaments, and connective tissues; kills pathogens; remineralizes tooth structure; regulates blood pressure; boosts immunity; helps ward off infections; heals tissue repair; reduces bleeding gums; protects from a heart attack, and is anti-cancerous.

Antioxidants may help the body to protect itself against various types of oxidative damage caused by reactive oxygen species, which are linked to a variety of diseases including cardiovascular diseases, cancers, neurodegenerative diseases, and inflammatory diseases. The antioxidant capacity of miswaak makes it an excellent instrument for cleaning teeth, oral hygiene, and food removing purposes, whereas toothbrushes are contradicted in patients with hypersensitivity and cardiovascular disease.

Techniques of Using Miswaak/Chewing Sticks

There are two basic methods for using chewing sticks:

  • Pen-grip (three-finger)
  • Palm-grip (five-finger)

In either case, the purpose is to make sure firm but controlled movement of the brush end of the miswaak within the oral cavity, so that every area of the mouth is reached with relative ease and convenience.

The techniques employed for removing plaque routinely are similar to both a toothbrush and a chewing stick: vertical and horizontal brushing. The cleaning movement should always be directed away from the gingival margin of the teeth which means away from the gums, on both the buccal and lingual surfaces.

Benefits of Miswaak

Miswaak helps to

  1. combat tooth decay and cavities
  2. protects against tartar and plaque
  3. combat harmful bacteria and germs 
  4. protects the gums
  5. strengthen the gums
  6. refresh aftertaste 

Besides all the amazing benefits of miswaak, one of the biggest benefits is that it is easily available and cheap to use.

Disadvantages of chewing Miswaak

Although miswaak is considered to be an important help in continuing oral hygiene, certain disadvantages are linked with its use. Its bristles lie in the long axis of the stick, whereas those of a toothbrush is placed perpendicular to the handle. Thus, it is difficult to reach the lingual surfaces of the dentition with a miswak. Another disadvantage is related to the typical use of miswaak for a prolonged time. Studies show that miswaak or chewing stick users may extremely scrub the anterior teeth, which are located in the area of primary concern while ignoring the posterior teeth. Other studies show that it is the primary cause of gingival recession.

Buy These Amazing Toothpowders by Nahid Ameen

Homemade Roasted Oatmeal Granola Mix
Homemade Roasted Oatmeal Granola Mix

This blog post shows the recipe for Homemade Roasted Oatmeal Granola Mix. This Oatmeal Granola Mix is gluten-free and better than the store-bought Oatmeal Granola Mix.

Ingredients:

  • Oats, gluten free – 2 cups
  • Coconut, flakes – ½ cup
  • Almonds, slivered – 1 cup
  • Sunflower seeds – ¼ cup
  • Pumpkin seeds – ¼ cup
  • Raisins – 1/3 cup
  • Cinnamon, ground – ½ tbsp.
  • Coconut Sugar, Organic – 3 tbsp.
  • Almond Butter – ½ cup
  • Sea salt – ¼ tsp.
  • Vanilla extract – 1 tsp.

Instruction:

  1. Preheat the oven for 325 F on the bake setting.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together coconut sugar, nut butter, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and sea salt.
  3. Add in the pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, slivered almonds, oats, and coconut flakes in another bowl– mix well.
  4. Mix the ingredients in two bowls together. Wear gloves and mix them.
  5. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and give it a light coating of oil.
  6. Transfer the mixture to the baking sheet and bake for 6 – 8 minutes, take it out, stir it, and put it back in for another 6 – 8 minutes. Watch so doesn’t get burnt. In your oven it maybe 8-10 minutes – so keep a close eye and see how much time is required for your oven.
  7. Remove from oven and set to cool. Once cool transfer to a storage container and add the raisins in and toss.
  8. Store container in the fridge if not using immediately.

Read more recipe by Nahid, here.

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Tri-Doshic Quinoa Khichari
Tri-Doshic Quinoa Khichari

Learn how to make Tri-Doshic Quinoa Khichari. This khichari recipe is simple and easy to make. Read the recipe below.

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa, (presoaked)

½ cup mung dal (presoaked)

3-4 cups of filtered water

1 cup chopped spinach

½ cup grated carrot

¼ cup green peas

1 teaspoon of ginger, grated

Salt to taste

1 tablespoon of Khichari spice mix

1 tablespoon of ghee or coconut oil

NOTE:

  • Use 1 ½ cup from the quinoa khichari mix bag.
  • Soak quinoa and dal overnight or a minimum of 1 hour.

Preparation:

  1. Mix quinoa and dal together and soak in water. Drain the water out.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat add coconut oil or ghee.
  3. Add all the spices and vegetables. Fry for 2 minutes. Add some salt to vegetables.
  4. Stir in quinoa and mung beans into the pot. Mix well with the spices.
  5. Add water, salt to taste and bring it to boil or until quinoa and dal both are soft (15-20 minutes). Once boiling lower heat to medium, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Tri-Doshic Quinoa Khichari Details

Quinoa (keen-wah): contains of about 20% protein. It is high in the amino acid called lysine and a good source of iron and potassium. It also contains high levels of B-vitamins.

Mung Bean: A great source of protein that vegetarians rely on. Compare to rice, mung beans will be 3-4 times higher in protein content.

Ghee: Ghee stimulates digestion and boosts the immune system. Use in moderation if your body type is Kapha.

Ginger: This pungent flavor spice is Tri-doshic. However, pitta individuals should use it in moderation. It improves digestion, absorption, and assimilation of food. Ginger improves circulation and helps with congestion.

Spinach: Spinach is a superfood. It is loaded with tons of nutrients in a low-calorie package. Dark, leafy greens like spinach are important for skin, hair, and bone health. They also provide protein, iron, vitamins, and minerals.

Carrot: Carrots are nutrient-dense root vegetables and are rich in antioxidants, fiber, and beta-carotene.

Peas: Peas are rich in nutrients like iron, phosphorus, minerals, and B vitamins. Peas are extremely versatile and can accompany many meals as a side dish to meat or fish, be added to pasta and rice dishes, made into a soup, or cooked and cooled ready to be used in salads.

Detox Ayurvedic Quinoa Khichari without Onion and Garlic

Read another khichari recipe here.

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1. Broccoli

Broccoli is a branched, green vegetable with either purple or more commonly green flower buds. It belongs to the cruciferous family, along with cauliflower, cabbage and kale and it can be eaten raw or cooked, with just 80g (about 2 spears) counting as one of your five-a-day. This nutritional powerhouse is no stranger to plates. It is a good source of fibre and protein, and contains iron, potassium, calcium, selenium and magnesium as well as the vitamins A, C, E, K and a good array of B vitamins including folic acid.

2. Black Eyed Peas

Black-eyed peas beans are common legumes that are cultivated throughout the globe. These black-eyed peas are also known as Cowpeas. These black-eyed peas are pale in color and have a large black or red spot that looks like an eye. When it comes to packing in nutrition, you really can’t go wrong with super nutrient-rich, black-eyed beans. These savory legumes are an excellent source of complex carbs, fiber and many essential vitamins and minerals. Beans like black-eyed peas are so full of good nutrition that they’re considered both a protein food and a vegetable.

3. Almonds

As natural energy-boosters, almonds come loaded with good nutrition like many other nuts, but their high levels of fiber, vitamin E, proteins, and other important components just might make them the best part of the trail mix. Almonds are rich in vegetable proteins, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and phytochemicals.

4. Kale

Kale is highly nutritious, containing high levels of vitamins, minerals, and brain-boosting phytonutrients. Kale is easy to grow and generally inexpensive. It’s one of the simplest crops for local farmers to grow, thriving in small plots of land and personal gardens

5. Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are full of vitamins and minerals essential to daily health, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate guidelines, and have a number of benefits. A sweet potato is high in vitamin A, particularly in the form of beta-carotene. Eating just one of them baked in the skin will give you more than four times the recommended Daily Value of the nutrient, making it one of the richest plant sources of the vitamin there is. Vitamin A is important to the health of your vision, cells, and immune system, as well as embryonic growth.

6. Kelp

Kelp is an excellent source of iodine, potassium, magnesium, iron, and calcium. It is also an excellent source of vanadium, used in clinical studies to lower glucose levels in individuals suffering from diabetes type 1 and 2.

7. Figs

Figs are high in fiber and are a good source of several essential minerals, including magnesium, manganese, calcium (which promotes bone density) and potassium (which helps lower blood pressure), as well as vitamins, principally K and A, as well as folate and choline.

8. Tofu

Tofu is an excellent source of calcium and a very good source of manganese, copper, selenium, protein and phosphorus. In addition, tofu is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, iron, magnesium, zinc and vitamin B1.

9. Black strap molasses

Blackstrap molasses is the dark, viscous molasses syrup that is produced by the third boiling. It is the thickest and darkest type of molasses, and it tends to have a bitter taste. Blackstrap molasses is also the most concentrated form, and it contains the most vitamins and minerals. For this reason, some sources say that it has the most health benefits.

10. Sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds are rich in the B complex vitamins, which are essential for a healthy nervous system, and are a good source of phosphorus, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, protein and vitamin E. They also contain trace minerals, zinc, manganese, copper, chromium and carotene as well as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids – types of ‘good’ fat that may help to protect the arteries.

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Fasting in summer is really challenging as we need to keep our body hydrated by drinking liquids. If we don’t keep our body hydrated, it will be dehydrated and make it difficult for us to fast by continuous thirst. There are amazing homemade electrolyte drinks and tea to quench your thirst.

In this blog post, I’ll be sharing my delicious homemade electrolyte drinks and tea.

Homemade Nourishing Electrolyte Drink

1 glass of water

2 tbsp. Of lime or lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1 small juice of orange

Himalayan or Sea Salt, a pinch

1/4 tsp. Raw unpasteurized honey

A pinch of Cayenne or turmeric

Watermelon juice

1 cup of water

1 cup of cubed watermelon pieces

3-4 mint leaves

1-2 Tulsi or holy Basil leaves

Black pepper, a pinch

Fresh Breath Tea

As the name suggests, this drink is a refreshing treat for the body. After breaking fast and your meals drink this tradition fresh breath and good digestive power.

2 cups of water

4-5 mint leaves, crushed

1 cardamom, pressed

1 inch of cinnamon stick

1/2 tsp. Fennel seeds

1/4 tsp. Of grated fresh ginger

Simmer all ingredient for 15 minutes

Strain and drink this

It also will improve blood circulation.

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Ayurvedic Herbs and Pranayama for Respiratory Health – A Holistic Protection from Corona Virus

The News headlines are constantly highlighting about the coronavirus. I am confessing here that I do not listen to regular news however I am kept pretty up-to-date during social gatherings with my family members and friends.

Recently we went for a family dinner at my aunt’s home and as a Herbalist and Ayurvedic practitioner, I was asked what have I been doing for the protection against coronavirus. When my answer was usual that I do during winter and I am not doing much specifically for this, I think my family looked a bit concerned. The conversation then carried on about “how many countries are now impacted by a coronavirus and what people are doing for prevention.” My husband also seemed concerned as the vaccine to combat this condition will take up to six months to develop.

So here I am writing for my readers, family members, and friends – what I would be personally doing and what top remedies are there to prevent or protect against coronavirus.

First, understand what it is and what are the symptoms of this condition.

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as ) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV)A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.” –  World Health Organization or WHO

According to WHO – common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death. 

First and foremost, keep your anxiety and stress levels under control as panic and stress will lower your immune system. Wear a face mask, keep your hygiene levels high (wash your hands, keep hand sanitizer with you), cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing and do not touch your face with unwashed hands. Avoid traveling if you are concerned or prone to respiratory conditions and avoid close contact with people who have any respiratory conditions. If you experience any of the symptoms – please visit you, doctor to get tested.

Find an Alternative Practitioner if you are concerned and want to do some work in order to protect yourself by following dietary, lifestyle improvements and add a tea or tincture for your personal protection. A customized herbal tea or tincture that is right for your body type will be prepared to keep in mind your health challenges by a good herbalist. Usually, Herbalists can work with any medication you are taking or take into consideration if other health challenges are present because they will take into consideration the contraindications and herb-drug interactions.

Additionally, check out my Kadha Recipe from a previous blog I wrote.

Following are the herbs I would consider for my clients and all of these herbs have been used and researched for centuries for respiratory conditions and immunity.

Ayurvedic Herbs

Tulsi/Tulasi/Holy Basil: Holy basil or Tulsi is ideally used to remove “kaph” or “mucus” from the lungs and upper respiratory tract. Tulsi has been used in Ayurvedic medicine to improve immunity, treating fevers and flu. Tulsi is used in asthma, bronchitis, rhinitis and respiratory allergies. Tulsi is used in clear dampness and ama that can cause chest infection. These attributes of Tulsi makes it a good protective tool against the Coronavirus.  The natural compounds in Tulsi such as camphene, eugenol, and cineole can provide relief from congestion and other symptoms of lung disorders. Tulsi is also known to combat high fevers.

Mulethi/Licorice: Traditionally used in lung conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, wheezing, phlegm, sore throat, laryngitis, and tonsillitis. Licorice is known to liquify the mucus. According to Stephan Harrod Buhner, author of Herbal Antivirals, Licorice is an antiviral herb. It strongly inhibits the ability of many of the viruses to create the membrane pore through which the viruses then enter cells. I would most likely be including this for protection against Coronavirus. Another bonus benefit of Licorice is like Tulsi it can support the adrenal health to manage stress levels. Increased stress can lower our immune defense. Note that it cannot be used if one has high blood pressure.

Guduchi/Giloy/Heartleaf Moonseed: This is one interesting herb that is used for many conditions including Autoimmune conditions. In Sanskrit “Gu” means “Hidden”, “Du” means “Toxins and “Chi” means “Blood Toxins” – therefore, Guduchi in Ayurvedic medicine is used to remove toxins from the blood to purify it. According to Dr. Vasant Lad, in chronic fever Guduchi is given 3 times daily. Guduchi is also suitable for all three doshas. During an interview when asked, Baba Ramdev mentions Giloy as a preventative tool against Coronavirus.

Haldi/Turmeric: In Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric is also used against many infectious diseases, common cold, fever, and sore throat. Turmeric is one of the best defenses against inflammation and toxins. Combines with tulsi, Guduchi, clove, and licorice this would make an excellent protective tea that can be easily be made in your kitchen. If you want to learn more about this wonderful spice – get my kindle ebook on “Turmeric – The Ayurvedic Golden Gem.”

Kalonji/Krishna Jiraka/Black Seed: Mentioned in Ayurvedic texts, Unani medicine, and the Quran Kalonji or Black Seed has been used for many upper respiratory tract conditions and would probably be my number one go-to home remedy that can be used to protect coronavirus. Traditionally used in asthma, cough, and hayfever. The black seed oil contains thymoquinone, vitamin B1, B2, and B3 which provide the body with powerful antioxidants that reduce inflammation – a useful benefit during minor headaches, fever and flu. Combined with honey it is an excellent tonic against cough. You can also read my previous blog on “Black Seed Oil: A Remedy for Everything but Death.”

Methi Seeds/Fenugreek: This is another one of my favorites that are mentioned in Ayurvedic Medicine, Chinese Medicine as well as used by the Greek and Islamic healers for many respiratory conditions such as, lung congestion, sinus, asthma, and bronchitis. According to “Medical News Today” fenugreek is useful against bacterial, fungal and viral infections. The seeds contain a wide array of natural compounds that are beneficial for the respiratory system. The herb is an expectorant, demulcent, anti-inflammatory, and antispasmodic. I also recommend sprouting fenugreek seeds or eating the leafy greens of the plant. Read my blog on “Fenugreek Sprouts for your Salads.”

Ardrakam/Ginger: This pungent-sweet and heating spice is most commonly used in the world for cold, flu, fever, nausea and digestion. I say it’s a SUPER spice for boosting your immunity and is an effective remedy to fight against allergies and infectious conditions. The compounds in ginger that fights infections, free radicals and reduce inflammation are gingerols, shogaol, and paradols. Ginger is antiviral properties that may protect against respiratory tract infections. Ginger tea with a little jaggery or molasses would be a good preventative remedy.

Amla/Indian Gooseberry: Amla, a favorite amongst many Indians. It is a fruit that is used as herbal remedy due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and adaptogenic properties. Although a sour fruit, Amla does not aggravate Pitta dosha therefore is extremely popular as a tridoshic remedy. The fruit contains vitamin C and bioflavonoids that makes it immune supportive.

Yogic Pranayama for Respiratory System:

Pranayama is one of the eight aspects of Yogic practices. Regular practice of Pranayama along with Asana’s can improve our breathing and strengthen our lungs. Pranayama is the controlled breathing techniques practiced by many Yogis. It is a series of breathing process that controls inhalation, retention, and exhalation of the breath. As breathing sustains life, controlled breathing has positive impact on our immunity, respiratory and lung health. Simply put it is a tool that uses breath to exercise the lungs.

Inhalation fills the lungs with fresh air, retention raises our bodies internal temperature and increases the. oxygen absorption and exhalation release toxins out of our bodies. Pranayama or Breathing Exercises controls the above 3 in various ways to generate benefits for the body. These practices will definitely boost the immune system and prevent against viruses such as the Coronavirus.

Note – you MUST go to a qualified practitioner to understand which ones to do or ones to avoid. Some of the pranayamas are not recommended for people with low or high blood pressure,

Many types of Pranayama and their benefits for our Respiratory Health

  1. Yogic Breath – to reduce stress and feel relaxed
  2. Nadi Shodhona (Alternative Nostril Breathing) – opens blocked nostrils and good for people suffering from cold and flu.
  3. Kapalbhati (Forceful Exhalation) – known to aid in asthma, chronic bronchitis and clearing nasal passage ways.
  4. Bharamari (Humming Bee) – Clears throat and nostrils.
  5. Ujjayi (The Victorious Breath) – Creates heat in the body, clears throat and reduces stress.

These are some wonderful practices to incorporate in your life whether you are concerned about coronavirus or not. Having preventative techniques against cold, flu and infectious disease is a smart way to feel assured during times like this.

I am mentioning here again that no matter what we say as bloggers on the internet – your personal health is important. Therefore, consulting a good practitioner is the most important thing to do before you consider any herbs or pranayamas. 

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Himalayan Salt Lamps

Imagine you are surrounded by a lush forest, breathing in the refreshing air of a waterfall in front of you. Do you feel relaxed and rejuvenated? That’s because you are surrounded by negative ions in the air. Air contains positive, negative, and neutral electrically charged particles. The right concentration of the ions in the air has a great impact on our breathing. Negative ions are present on mountaintops, waterfall or by the see. These negative ions revitalize the air which makes our mood good and makes us feel calm and rejuvenated.  You can recreate some of this environment in your house with a Himalayan salt lamp! These lamps release thousands of negative ions into the air when heated and have multiple health benefits.

What exactly are Himalayan salt lamps?

Himalayan salt lamps are a beautiful gift of nature to us. They are made from crystal salts. You’ve probably seen Himalayan salt lamps in most health food stores nowadays. True Himalayan salt lamps are chunks of salt that has formed over millennia, and is mined deep below the ground in Pakistan, mainly the Khewra salt mine. A lightbulb and cord allow the salt crystals to be warmed up to release the negative ions. Himalayan salt lamps have shown to improve the quality of air by releasing negative ions when heated by 300%. 

What’s so special about negative ions?

Air contains electrically charged ions such as negative ions and positive ions. Negative ions are highly concentrated in nature such as waterfalls, mountains, forests, rain, the sea, and beach. Positive ions are more concentrated in cities and polluted areas. Salt crystals naturally attract water vapour in air that contains toxins/pollutants, these are absorbed into the lamp, while the vapour evaporates due to the heat leaving behind the toxins. Nowadays, indoor air can be quite polluted from carpets, furniture, cleaners, VOCs, mold, etc.

Negative ions help with the following issues:

  • Reduce the number of airborne bacteria
  • Reduce air pollutants, smoke, and odours
  • Reduce electromagnetic radiation which van reduce headaches, stress, and improve sleep
  • Reduce symptoms of asthma to improve breathing
  • Reduce allergy symptoms
  • Improve immunity

Genuine vs. Hoax Himalayan Salt Lamps

To get the maximum benefits of the Himalayan salt lamp it is extremely important to use the real Himalayan salt lamp. But one must be wondering where to buy the real Himalayan salt lamp? You can buy it from the health food stores. However, in today’s era of technology, you can find a Himalayan salt lamp easily online. Some online or store shops sell hoax Himalayan salt lamp, so a good practice is to do your research to find the authenticate Himalayan salt lamp shop.

If you are thinking to purchase Himalayan salt lamp online, the best option is to diligently read the Himalayan salt lamp reviews before placing order. However, if you’re purchasing Himalayan salt lamp from a health food store, ask the vendor about its origins, see the characteristics and try chipping it away a bit. If it easily chips away it means the Himalayan salt lamp is real as they are generally very fragile. A red flag should be raised if nothing happens if you try chipping away the Himalayan salt lamp. Another red flag is if the Himalayan salt lamp vendor sells the salt lamp at a very cheap price, and you see a lightweight white large crystal, then it means they are selling fake Himalayan salt lamp imitations. A few signs of hoax Himalayan salt lamps are:

  • No return policy
  • Extremely durable and sturdy
  • Emitting very bright light
  • Cheap white crystal
  • False mention of origins – or not made in Pakistan
  • Sweat when exposing to moisture
  • No visible benefits

Vital benefits of using Himalayan Salt Lamps 

Using Himalayan salt lamp in your home has numerous health benefits that positively affect our health tremendously. It purifies the air by collecting impurities from the air and releasing negative ions. Some of the worth-noting benefits of Himalayan salt lamps are listed below:

  • Air purification
  • Alleviate allergy and signs of asthma
  • Boost energy levels by relieving stress
  • Support healthy sleeping cycle
  • Improves conditions of skin illnesses
  • Reduces static electricity

Read more in detail below:

  • Air purification

Himalayan salt lamps have an incredible power of cleansing air by removing the pollen and dust, and other impurities from the air. Using Himalayan salt lamps in the home will make the home atmosphere fresh and pure which is beneficial for the health.

  • Alleviate allergy and signs of asthma

Himalayan salt lamp proves to be an excellent salt rock lamp to people who suffer from respiratory illnesses. The Himalayan salt lamp helps to eliminate the causes which impure the air. Even some people use Himalayan salt inhalers to treat their asthma.

  • Boost energy levels by relieving stress

Himalayan salt lamp rejuvenates the air which helps the human body to re-energize and revitalize. A study also shows that negative ions relieve stress and treat depression by increasing the levels of serotonin.

  • Support healthy sleeping cycle

Negative ions released by the Himalayan salt lamp helps to sleep better. Positive ions drain the energy and lessen the supply of oxygen in the body. So, to sleep better it is good to let the Himalayan salt lamp run while you sleep.

  • Improves conditions of skin illnesses

Himalayan salt lamp treats skill illnesses like eczema as it controls the pollen and dust in the home.

  • Reduces static electricity

Static electricity has some adverse effects on human health a few of which are that it makes a person suffer from loss of sleep and dry eye. Himalayan salt lamps naturally reduce static electricity and make the place soothe and calm.

Where to put Himalayan salt lamps

There are various sizes of lamps you can buy. Generally, an 8-pound lamp provides a 7-foot radius, a large 22-pound lamp provides a radius of 18 feet, while a 100-pound lamp does a 75-foot radius. You can place the lamps in:

  • Bedrooms for relaxation and sleep
  • Areas of meditation
  • Near computer equipment
  • In an office
  • In children’s bedrooms
  • In the living room

 

I have no doubt that you can benefit from Himalayan salt lamps!

 

References:

https://draxe.com/health/himalayan-salt-lamp/

https://saltlady.com/pages/why-salt-lamps

 

Written By:

Laura Zafar CNP & Syeda Saira

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21 Ayurvedic and Yoga Based Weight Loss Tips

 

  1. Intermittent Fasting: Ayurveda is the science of life and is a 5,000 years old natural health system. Intermittent fasting is not just a current phenomenon promoted for weight loss, Ayurveda recommends fasting and detoxing methods from ancient times. Ayurveda states eat three balanced meals per day and do not snack in between.

 

  1. Fix Meal Times: If you follow Ayurvedic way of eating – you eat 3 meals a day at a certain time that you have chosen according to your lifestyle. You can eat breakfast at 7:30 AM, Lunch at 12:00 PM and Dinner at 6:00 PM. Erratic eating time may result in digestive problems including bloating, constipation, cravings, IBS and excessive weight gain.

 

  1. Avoid Snacking: If you are overweight and have experienced weight stagnation then this is the right way to go. Ayurvedic weight loss guides you to avoid snacking in between meals. Add fruits and nuts or other snack items with meals to add fiber and good fats to your diet. For example, add stewed apple or pear with oatmeal for breakfast and add nuts and seeds to salads or soups.

 

  1. Avoid Mucus Forming Foods: Avoid eating mucus-forming foods such as dairy (milk, cream, cheese, etc.), bread or too many wheat-based foods, red meat, eggs, sweet desserts, corn and corn-based products, soda, pop, coffee, alcoholic beverages, bananas, etc. completely.  Mucus aggravates Kapha dosha and therefore can result in weight gain or stagnation.

 

  1. Reduce Kapha Aggravating Foods: Sweet, sour and salty aggravated Kapha dosha, therefore, reduce these tastes significantly from the diet. You do not have to completely avoid these but reduce them and increase bitter foods that would help detoxify, pungent foods that are thermogenic and astringent foods that will reduce inflammation.

 

  1. Rasa or Six Tastes in Meals: Ayurveda encourages to eat a complete balanced meal that consists of all six tastes. Sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent. Note that grains, legumes, fruits, dairy are sweet in taste and therefore should be consumed in small amounts. Vegetables (but not root vegetables because they are sweet), leafy greens, etc. are bitter and astringent. Lastly, sour fruits, pickles, and fermented foods are sour tasting and will add good bacterial culture in the diet.

 

  1. Stop Eating after Sunset: Eating when the sun is still showing improves metabolism and digestion. Eating earlier in the evening assists in proper metabolism and assimilation of the food.

 

  1. Heavy to Light Meals: Breakfast can be moderate, lunch heavy and dinner must be light. Having a good breakfast such as high in fiber, fat, and protein would be ideal. This will keep you going until lunchtime. Lunch can be slightly heavy therefore you can add grains, legumes or nuts and seeds. Dinner could be soups and broths.

 

  1. Cooked Meals: Cold food such as raw foods are not suitable for Kapha Dosha. One of the best Ayurvedic Weight loss tips is to choose foods that are more heating and cooking. Salads and uncooked foods may increase mucus in your body.

 

  1. Fresh Foods: Make freshly cooked meals as many times as possible during the week. It is hard to cook fresh meals every day – especially when you are working. Try your best to cook fresh meals whenever you can. Frozen meals lack prana and therefore is advised to be avoided in Ayurveda.

 

  1. Sleep and Metabolism: Restful sleep does impact fat metabolism. Disrupted sleep is often overlooked as a cause of weight gain but it is true for many. Studies show that people who sleep less than 6 hours per night have the tendency to eat more (especially carbohydrate) because they have reduced leptin levels. Short sleep increases insulin level due to interruption in overall hormone levels. People who sleep less do not have the energy to exercise which will lead to weight gain. 7-8 hours of sleep is considered adequate.

 

  1. Water and Kapha Dosha: Staying hydrated is the most important for all Dosha’s. Most of us loose 3 – 4 liters of water through urination, sweat, breathing, and bowel movement. Those who exercise also lose a lot of water as well as those who consume dry foods (chips, cookies, bread, etc.). Kapha dosha imbalances happen due to overeating, eating dry foods, high salt foods, and poor water metabolism. The body becomes more dehydrated and struggles in enzymatic activity. 1-2 liters of warm water per day is ideal for Kapha dosha. Sip water throughout the day to keep the body hydrated all day long.

 

  1. Meal Planning:  Ayurveda recommends six tastes in meals – sweet, salty, sour, bitter, pungent and astringent. Very rarely one recipe could showcase all six tastes. Therefore, a few components in a meal can bring the six tastes together. Meal plan for a minimum of four days so that the busiest days during the week are covered. Keep a few pickled items in your fridge or pantry or add lime/lemon to your meal. Ginger pickle have both sour and pungent taste. Make 1-3 vegetarian mains, a leafy green, and a dal or lentil soup.

 

  1. Eat Local: Eating local is tough in winterbourne countries. However, when possible eat local to support the agriculture of your area and in turn, it will strengthen the economy. Freshly picked local foods taste better, provide more nutrients and support seasonal eating.  

 

  1. Understand the Power of Rotational Diet: A rotational diet promotes a balanced and complete nutritional approach. The rotational diet reduces the risk of food sensitives, food intolerance, and digestive issues. Rotational diet could be hard if you really want to avoid eating foods from the same family however start with breakfast and then move to lunch and dinner. For example. Eat eggs and whole wheat bread for breakfast first day of the week, then eat oats with nuts and seeds on the second day, the third-day have a protein shake that has whey protein, etc. Check out the link for the food families sheet here.

 

  1. Morning Detox Drink: A fantastic way to start the day is a Kapha Detox Drink first thing in the morning. Start with a triphala drink. You can soak ½ teaspoon of triphala powder in 500 ml of water in a copper jug. Soak overnight and strain in the morning before drinking. If weight loss has reached a stagnation point then I would drink a warm cup of Trikaru tea. Trikatu powder is easily available in the market. Pour hot water in a cup and add ¼ teaspoon of Trikatu powder. Cover the cup and let it steep of 5 minutes. Strain and then drink this before breakfast.

 

  1. Asanas to Increase Metabolism: Asana’s such as, plank, downward dog, lunges, triangle, warrior 2 & 3, bridge, bow, and chair are amazing poses that promote weight loss. However, I highly recommend sequence planning to get in and out of poses and to move onto a new pose. Any Asana or pose that holds the legs up is amazing to reduce swelling and varicose veins. Performing sun salutations 2-4 times will warm up the body and promote weight loss.

 

  1. Pranayam’s for Weight Loss: Pranayams are equally important as Asana’s, if not more. Pranayama technique teaches you how to control and move the breath to achieve various health benefits. Kapal Bhati, Bhastrika, bhramari, and anulom vilom are great for stress reduction, thyroid stimulation, promote flat tummy and weight loss. Kapal bhati and bhrastika are amazing to increase inner heat and calorie burning.

 

  1. Meditation for Weight Loss: I have been using meditation for relaxation and pain management. Therefore, I believe the power of the mind can be used for weight loss. Ensure you believe that the steps that you are taking towards weight loss are effective and will work. Meditation is all about increasing awareness of your thoughts, emotions, and actions. Meditation will assist with being aware of your relationship with food and reduce cravings and binge eating. Meditation will help you to stop and look within yourself. Find a good Asana practitioner or Yogi who assist you with the first few meditation sessions.

 

  1. Ayurvedic Herbs for Weight loss: Formulations such as Triphala and Trikatu are amazing for weight loss. Bitter herbs such as neem, gurmar as well as pungent herbs such as ginger and turmeric are very effective for Kapha dosha. Ensure you speak with your Ayurvedic practitioner or Herbalist to find out which herb would be best for you.

 

  1. Reduce Stress: Both weight gain and loss are connected to elevated stress. Stress induces cortisol, DHEA and adrenaline hormone release. Cortisol is connected to weight fluctuations. Excess cortisol impacts blood sugar levels, thyroid hormone and induces low metabolism. Cortisol also causes emotional imbalance, insomnia, the tendency to overeating and cravings for sugar. Holy Basil is an amazing herb to reduce cortisol levels.

 

Let me know once to start to apply these tips and what worked for you. You can also try my Kapha Detox program. I have both vegetarian and non-vegetarian versions.

There are also some recipes on my website that promotes healthy weight loss. Such as Mung Dal Soup. Ayurvedic Protein Balls, Makhana recipe, Homemade Curry Paste, and Almond Milk Recipe

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Top 10 Eco Friendly Beauty Care Product Swap

Reduce Plastic and Balance Your Hormones

Ever walked into your bathroom or stood by your dressing table and wondered how many things come in plastic? How many bottles, packages or wraps you have to recycle? Did you know for proper recycling every item needs to be washed and dried or it gets dumped on a waste zone?

Understand that plastic does not only harm the planet, but it also harms you by causing havoc in your hormonal system. Reducing plastic waste from your personal skin care or beauty care routine would be ideal for long term wellbeing.

I am trying not to be a preacher here but just sharing information, as I too sometimes struggle with reducing my plastic use – especially in beauty care. So let us take these steps together and inspire each other to make changes.

In one of my previous blogs I mentioned 12 products that can reduce plastic in your daily life and improve the health of this planet. For this particular blog I am super excited to share with you 10 eco-friendly products that can change your beauty regime and give you an eco-lift that will make you more beautiful as you care for the planet. Make these swaps along with you daily Yoga Regime and you are all set towards making a healthful pursuit.  

These products are mostly available on the following AMAZING websites including this one om Canada,

  1. Well.ca
  2. Amazon.ca
  3. Etsy.com/ca
  4. Conscioushealt.net  
  1. Buying Products in Glass Containers: I know this can be expensive and/or heavy on the shopping bag. However the single best way to reduce plastic from your beauty care regime is to swap it with buying products that are organic and sold in glass jars and bottles. As a Canadian I love the following companies for skin care products
  1. Skin Essence Organics :Beautiful products made in Canada using amber glassware. These products are made in small batches with fair-trade, organic and plant based ingredients. The products also do not contain any fillers or preservatives. They are organic certified with both USDA and Ecocert. I love their Facial Cleanser for dry skin, Ocular for puffy eyes and Nourish which is their anti-aging facial moisturizer.
  2. Living Libations : If budget is not an issue and you get intrigued by magic and alchemy, this is the brand you were looking for. I cannot really say which is my favourite product as I have tried many of their products over the years and have fallen in love every time. They have everything from organic chocolate, face oil, moisturizer, natural perfumes and essential oils.  

 

  1. Recyclable and Biodegradable Toothbrushes or Miswaak: Age-old and best natural sticks derived from the Arak tree. Best part: Miswaak sticks are fully biodegradable therefore have low impact on environmental waste. Miswaak is a great alternative to toothbrushes as they kill germs and help in the prevention of gum disease. It contains numerous antibacterial substances. The natural fibres in Miswaak work better than a toothbrush.
    Another option is a bamboo toothbrush. They are ergonomic friendly, biodegradable and have comfortable soft bristles which are gentle on your gums and enamel. These toothbrushes are perfect for anyone who wants to keep using a brush and keep the plastic toothbrushes away from oceans and landfills.

 

  1. Eco-Friendly Toothpowder: It has been 12 years since I bought or used any toothpastes. I make my own toothpowder with neem, clove and cinnamon. You can buy the tooth powders from my website or buy any toothpowders from health food stores. Buy powders in glass bottles to lower the impact on the environment. In my personal opinion toothpastes are waste of money as they offer very little healing ingredients for oral health. I carry four distinctive flavoured tooth powders – the Ayurvedic Herbal Neem Toothpowder – which was my first creation have been sold to over 500 people. Bentonite Clay Detox Toothpowder was specifically created for those who have sensitive teeth and do not want salt or baking soda in their toothpowders. Lastly, I created Activated Charcoal with Herbal Blend Toothpowder , for anyone who loves using charcoal but does not want to miss out on the benefits of the herbs at the same time.

 

  1. Ditch the Mouthwash with Swishing Oil: Moving from a mouthwash to a simple swishing oil ensures an ingredient in your washroom cabinet that is alcohol-free, preservative-free, fluoride-free, and artificial color free. Oil swishing is a unique oral detox method that strengthens the gums and whitens the teeth. Oil swishing has a long, rich history in Ayurvedic medicine.

 

  1. Bamboo Hair Brushes or Wooden Combs: Throw away your plastic combs and brushes and replace them with wonderful, long lasting and eco-friendly wooden hair brush and comb. The brushes help detangle, massages scalp, improve blood circulation to the brain. The hair brush helps to improve the health of your hair by minimizing split ends, breakage and damage. I always notice it improves hair shine and adds volume after shampooing. One thing I do (my secret) is that I leave on a small amount of rosemary essential oil on the wooden comb to promote circulation and hair growth. This you cannot achieve with a plastic comb.

 

  1. Face Cloth or Face Sponge for Exfoliation:
  1. Konjac Sponge for Face Care: This is an incredible product that is reusable and biodegradable. This cleansing sponge is soft when wet and feels like soft touch to the skin. The texture does not irritate the skin. Konjac sponge is made from the vegetable fibers of the konjac plant. In Chinese medicine konjac sponge is used in face cleaning for its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. This natural sponge is soft enough to gently exfoliate dead skin to reveal glowing, youthful skin underneath. With continued use of konjac sponge, your skin texture will improve, soften, smooth and reduce blemishes.
  2. Reusable Hemp Face Cloth or Bamboo Cottons: Hemp is a super absorbent, mold and mildew resistant (fungal resistance), soft, durable and biodegradable fiber. This is very soft and smoothing to the skin. Look for organic hemp cottons to ensure there is no pesticide and no chemical fertilizer. It is a strong fiber that is twice as absorbent as cotton. Sometimes face clothes made with hemp has a mix of bamboo cotton as well.
    The bamboo cotton pads or clothes are also washable, tear resistance, extra absorbent and reusable for countless times. The bamboo clothes can also be used for removing make or face masks.

 

  1. Package Free Soap Bar: Yes! These are available and you do not need to look too far! In Canada most of the Health Food Stores and Specialty Organic stores carry products from Soap works. They have a HUGE selection of soaps with affordable pricing. According to their website – for over 30 years, they have been offering the widest selection of affordable all-natural specialty soaps that are uniquely formulated to help people cope with all their particular skin sensitivities. The soaps are vegan friendly (apart from the Emu Oil/Bee Pollen), cruelty free, comes without packaging, phosphate free and sodium lauryl sulphate free. Some of these soaps are used for shaving and shampooing. Some of them are also non-irritating, works like an antiseptic (Tea Tree) and anti-fungal. There is also the Guelph Soap Company who makes similar soaps and Alberta Soap Company that makes the most delicious smelling, organic and packaging free soaps.

 

  1. Package Free Shampoo Bar: Soap works and Unwrapped Life are two great companies who are offering 100% packaging free and all natural shampoo bars.

 

  1. All Natural Deodorant: If you ask me if they work? I would answer 100% they do! And I am so proud to announce one of the BEST deodorants on the market with all natural ingredients is made in Canada by this company called Routine. Most deodorants that come in glassware are the cream deodorants. The bases used are oils, clays and beeswax. There are some beeswax free options to make them vegan-friendly. However, if you are used to deodorant sticks, it may take some time to get used to applying a cream deodorant. For women this is especially important as these deodorants are free of cancer-causing toxic ingredients that will effect their breast health and overall hormonal health.

 

  1. Attars or Natural Perfumes: If this is the first time you are entering the world of Attar then welcome! And if you already know what I am about to share, get excited as I will share a few authentic sellers of Attars. Attars are scents and aromas that have been distilled for many days and sometimes months to capture the essence of the material and infused it in an oil base (wood base oils such as sandalwood and Agarwood). Currently essential oils are used as a base to create an attar. Attars are made from the essences of flowers, scented woods, resins, herbs and spices. Most popular attars are oud (derived from Agarwood which is now becoming extinct), musk, sandalwood (also becoming extinct), rose, heena, amber, jasmine and lotus. I will soon put out a new post on attars. For now, I have found some good attar companies in North America. In Canada, Living Libation sells my hubby’s most favourite oil called the Mitti Attar and the ever so exotic Rose Attar .  The company also carries Petal perfumes and other exotic scents. I am currently waiting on my recent purchase from Rising Phoenix Perfume on Etsy. Rising Phoenix Perfume has 757 five star reviews on Etsy and award winning (Finalist 2016, The Art and Olfactory Awards) Musk Rose Attar – that makes it a must check out!

 

I really hope the information in this blog, “Top 10 Eco Friendly Beauty Care Product Swap“ was some help to you.

The companies I have mentioned did not approach me to do this. I have been working in the wellness industry in Canada for over 8 years. I have worked at retail stores, distribution companies, alterative health clinics, schools and at a meal delivery company. Mostly I do know my products. Therefore I only wanted to share with you all what I have come to love.

Let me know if you have any products that you love and  think should have been on my list.

Please share this blog post with those you love and care for so they can become aware and learn about some wonderful swap ideas. And of course it helps me as a blogger too.  

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Makhana or Foxnut– Ayurvedic, Keto & Vegan Friendly Low Carb Snack with Fertility Benefits and A Makhana Recipe

Do you want a new healthy snack idea that’s tasty and low carb? I’m going to introduce you to Makhanas, also known as Phool Makhana or fox nuts or Gorgon Nuts (in Chinese Medicine). They aren’t actually new – they’ve been used since ancient times especially in East Asia. They come from the prickly water lily plant and have been cultivated since ancient times in Asia especially China, India, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand and Korea. India (specifically Bihar state) produces 90% of the world’s supply. They are starchy seeds eaten raw, roasted, or fried.

Makhana – is making a comeback in the health food scene, globally. An Ayurvedic favoured snack that is Pitta and Vata Dosha friendly is not being popularized as a keto friendly or low carb snack.

Botanical Name: Euryale Ferox Salisb

Common Name: Water Lily Seeds or Foxnuts

Dosha: Vata, pitta

Taste/Rasa: Sweet, astringent

Energetics/Virya: Cooling

Attribute/Guna: Heavy, oily

Dhatu/Tissues: Plasma, muscle & reproductive

Organs Effected: Heart and reproductive organs (testes, ovaries and uterus)

Qualities: Antioxidant, Aphrodisiac, Anti-Diabetic, Cardio-protective, Hepato-protective, Nephro-protective and Spermatogenic. 

In Ayurveda Makhanas are used for vigor, fertility, stamina, improvement of the sperm count, and are considered an aphrodisiac. Makhanas are also used to reduce diarrhea and improve digestion. Makhanas also have cardiovascular benefits. Due to being low carb, Makhanas are favoured for diabetic patients.  

A Nutrition Powerhouse

Makhanas have a lot of nutrients. They have protein and essential amino acids, as well as fibre. Per 100 grams of Makhana contains 100 micrograms of folate, 2236 mg of Iron, 2397 mg of phosphorus, 66 mg of zinc and 14.52% of protein. They also contain B vitamins (especially B1), potassium, manganese, magnesium, and calcium. Additionally, makhanas have polyphenols and flavonoids that are antioxidants and provide many health benefits.

Weight loss and Anti-Diabetic Benefits

In addition to the nutrients you get while eating the whole seed, various extracts have been studied for their health benefits. Polysaccharides extracted from Makhanas have shown to reduce body weight and blood glucose in animal studies, as well as acted as antioxidants and increased the body’s own antioxidants SOD (superoxide dismutase), CAT (catalase) and glutathione. Another study found that the Makhana is high in polyphenols, which decreased weight and lipid/fat deposition on the liver and protected the liver. Another substance found in Makhana improves glucose metabolism, reduce insulin resistance and improves glycemic control.

Additionally, several compounds present in Makhanas inhibit the activities of free radicals, induced by high glucose levels In the blood. This amazing antioxidant activity prevents diabetes neuropathy.

Cardio-Protective Benefits

Makhana reduces total cholesterol and triglycerides. In Ayurvedic medicine Makhanas are used regular heartbeat (beneficial for patients experiencing Tachycardia). They also strengthen the heart muscle.     

Fertility Benefits  

Reproductive Benefits

It is said in Ayurveda, when taken along with milk, Makhanas, can improve sperm count, sperm motility, treat premature ejaculation and increase stamina in men. Men can take Makhanas along with other Ayurvedic herbs such as, Ashwagandha, Bala, Cinnamon and Shilajit.

Makhanas are amazing for women who experiences infertility, miscarriages, heavy periods, leuorrhea and other PMS symptoms (fatigue, painful menstruation).

Makhanas provide energy to pregnant women and acts as a galactagogue for lactating mothers.

Avoiding Confusion – Makhanas are not Lotus Seeds

It is good to be aware that Makhanas are often confused with Lotus Seeds as they look similar. Lotus seeds are obtained from Nelumbo Nucifera (Sacred Lotus) but Makhanas or fox nuts are obtained from Euryale Ferox plants.

Where to Buy Makhanas?

In North America (USA or Canada) you can find Foxnuts on Amazon. I would say you can just as easily find Makhanas at any Indian grocery stores at much reasonable price.

A Wonderful Recipe

I love eating Makhanas as a snack. With ghee and spices it becomes the most wonderful snack! I hope this inspires you to try this snack!

Recipe: Spicy Ghee Makhana
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Ingredients
  1. • Makhanas, 2 cup
  2. • Paprika, ¼ tsp.
  3. • Cumin powder, ¼ tsp.
  4. • Sea salt, 1/8 tsp.
  5. • Ghee or coconut oil, about 1 ½ tbsp.
  6. • Black pepper, 1/8 tsp.
Instructions
  1. In a large pan, dry roast the makhanas for about 4 minutes at medium heat, stirring a few times to prevent burning and ensuring that all sides are roasted.
  2. Roasting is done when the makhanas are crunchy and dry
  3. Remove the makhanas into a bowl.
  4. In the pan, add the oil until melted and turn off the heat.
  5. Add the spices and mix them up for a few seconds, and then add the makhanas and stir until they are well coated with the spices.
  6. Remove and serve.
Conscious Health https://conscioushealth.net/
References

Ayurvedic Healing Cuisine. Harish Johari, Healing Arts Press 2000

Ayurvedic Medicine, Sebastian Pole, 2013

Ayurtimes https://www.ayurtimes.com/makhana/

Wu CY et al. The hypoglycemic and antioxidant effects of polysaccharides from the petioles and pedicels of Euryale ferox Salisb. on alloxan-induced hyperglycemic mice. Food Funct. 2017 Oct 18;8(10):3803-3813.

Jian T et al. Hepatoprotective Effect of Seed Coat ofEuryale ferox Extract in Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Induced by High-fat Diet in Mice by Increasing IRs-1 and Inhibiting CYP2E1. J Oleo Sci. 2019 Jun 6;68(6):581-589.

Zhang WN et al. Structural characterization and in vitro hypoglycemic activity of a glucan from Euryale ferox Salisb. seeds. Carbohydr Polym. 2019 Apr 1;209:363-371.

Danish Ahmed et al. 2β-hydroxybetulinic acid 3β-caprylate: an active principle from Euryale Ferox Salisb. seeds with antidiabetic, antioxidant, pancreas & hepatoprotective potential in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats. J Food Sci Technol. 2015 Sep; 52(9): 5427–5441.

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