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Authors Posts by Nahid Ameen

Nahid Ameen

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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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Top 10 Brain Boosting Ayurvedic Herbs for Memory & Nervous System

Ayurveda has rich library of herbs – including some of the best cognitive enhancers. These particular herbs are known to improve memory, enhance retention power, focus and willpower, boost creativity and influence motivation power.

There are many studies now available on pubmed and other esteemed journals that confirm the benefits of these herbs for the nervous system. Other than stress, anxiety and depression there are numerous other conditions where these herbs can lend a hand towards healing. I have seen clients at my clinic with Parkinson’s disease, Autism, Dementia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Insomnia and have helped them using many of these herbs.

Here are my most favourite herbs in Ayurveda that boosts brain power. In addition I have mentioned a few herbs used in traditional Western Herbal Medicine as well as a Medicinal Mushroom that I often use in my morning smoothies.

Brahmi (Bacopa monniera): Brahmi is the master Ayurvedic herb for the brain health. It has a positive effect on the hippocampus part of the brain that is responsible for intelligence, concentration and memory. The bio-chemical known as bacosides in Brahmi helps in re-building brain tissues by influencing the brain cells. Brahmi restores zinc and selenium levels in the brain.  The herb is best known for its ability to improve memory, sharpen mental acuity, increase concentration, and reduce signs of stress and anxiety. Brahmi aids in recovery from exhaustion, stress and debility with aggravation of Vata dosha. It is an herb that aids conditions such as, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, Dementia, ADHD, Asperger’s syndrome, Autism, Depression and Drug Addiction.

I have given Brahmi in capsules, tablets, tea or tincture to my clients. I also love mixing the powdered herb in ghee for consumption.

Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica)Another one of the Ayurvedic gems is Gotu Kola – an herb that is rich in triterpenoids, compounds that can help to decrease anxiety and increase mental function. Gotu Kola is also known as “Thankuni Saag” in Bangladesh and this year was the first time I tried the leaves as “saag” when I was home. It is high in nutrients that improve brain function such as, Vitamin B1, B2 and B6. This Ayurvedic herb is a nervine tonic that rejuvenates the central nervous system of the bran.

Gotu Kola can be consumed as a food or as capsules, tablets, tinctures and tea.

Gingko Biloba: Although not an Ayurvedic Herb but a very popular circulatory and brain tonic in Western Herbal medicine. Gingko is by far the best herb used for learning disabilities. This herb contains flavonoids such as flavonols, quercetin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin. Gingko extracts exhibit neuroprotection by inhibiting membrane lipid peroxidation, anti-inflammatory effects, and direct inhibition of amyloid-b aggregation and anti-apoptotic activities. Gingko biloba increases dopamine and dopamine neuron activity. This increase results in improvement of cognitive function.  Ginkgo leaf has been shown to improve circulation to the brain which, in turn, elevates oxygen levels. It also improves mental acuity by boosting the brain’s glucose metabolism.

 

Kapikacchu (Mucuna Pruriens): Mucuna Pruriens improves memory by raising levels of dopamine in the brain. Taken as an extract – it also promotes brain health. Other compounds found in Mucuna have the ability to scavenge free radicals, chelate heavy metals and provide anti-bacterial protection. Mucuna Pruriens is used as dopamine itself cannot cross the blood brain barrier. L-DOPA also improves learning, works as an antidepressant and helps reduce stress.

Jatamansi/Indian Spikenard (Nardostachys grandiflora): Another prized possession of Ayurvedic Medicine is a herb called Jatamansi. It is called Jatamansi, as its roots resembles the matted hair of the Himalayan ascetics. It has an amazing rejuvenating effect on the mind. It is one of the most sought after herbs for the nervous system (a nervine relaxant). Additionally it is has anti-spasmodic and carminative effect. The herb rejuvenates the mind, promotes better sleep and alleviates mental distresses such as mild anxiety and depression.

I have personally used Jatamansi essential oil for aromatherapy.

Tulsi/Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum): Considered as a sacred plant in Ayurvedic Medicine, Tulsi or Tulasi is herb for Kapha dosha and the respiratory system. However it also has a huge impact on the nervous system. The leaves of the plant can be used as a mild nervine tonic for amplifying awareness and mental clarity. Holy Basil tea is used for tension headaches from high vata or from congestion headaches from excess kapha.

As a practitioner I have used Tulsi for reducing stress, mild anxiety and depression. I love the tea blend from Pukka herbs called the “Three Tulsi.”

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum): One of my most favourite herb used in Western Herbal Medicine is known as the St. John’s Wort. This plant can be used in many ways such as tea, capsule, tincture, oil or ointment for depression, insomnia and nerve pain. St. John’s wort is most commonly used in the West for “the blues” or depression. The symptoms of depression go along with mood changes such as nervousness, tiredness, poor appetite, and trouble sleeping. There is some strong scientific evidence that St. John’s Wort is effective for mild to moderate depression.

Ashwagandha (Withaia Somnifera):  Ashwagandha is one of those rare herbs in Ayurvedic medicine that has a dual effect of energizing and calming. It is an adaptogenic herb that is used as a tonic as well as sedative. Ashwagandha is useful in all conditions caused by ‘stress’ as it has a specific affinity for the majja dhatu, such as insomnia, anxiety and ADHD.

As Ashwagadha has impact on the hormones I use it carefully for my female clients when using in specific formulas.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis): Rosemary is a very popular culinary herb that is used in the West. It has a strong, pungent aroma and it immediately improves circulation. Rosemary has the ability to improve memory and concentration, prevent brain aging and provide neurological protection.

For medicinal uses one can use rosemary as tea, capsule, tincture or infused oil. I have often used Rosemary essential oil in my diffuser for aromatherapy.

Lions Mane (Hericium erinaceus): Last but certainly not the least – is my personal favourite medicinal mushroom. This amazing mushroom protects against dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, reduce mild anxiety and depression and help repair nerve damage. Lions Mane can protect the older adults with mild cognitive impairment and protect against memory problems.

It is good to be aware of the herbs that are protective against brain health however one must consult a health care practitioner as they can assess your health condition well and put together a customized herbal formula based on your age, sex, current medical condition and energetics. The customized herbs put together for you will provide faster and better relief.

I have seen clients with Parkinson’s disease (we worked together to reduce tremor and improve sleep), depression, anxiety and autism (we worked towards developing eye contact and reduce hyperactivity). The herbs listed above were used in their treatment plan, along with supplements, diet plans and lifestyle changes.

Check out my Health Consultation page to explore the opportunity to work with me https://conscioushealth.net/herbal-nutritional-ayurvedic-consultation-in-toronto/

Let me know if this blog was beneficial for you or your family and if you have experienced any positive results from using any of the above herbs. Once again please do not use herbs without consulting a qualified practitioner.

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Houseplant that Purifies the Air from Pollutants. – NASA Approved Indoor Plants for Clean Air

Plants can be used to effectively cleanse the indoor air of an average home of many of the common chemical contaminants due to their incredible ability to absorb and sequester toxic chemicals. A study by NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) concluded that typical houseplants such as bamboo palms and spider plants not only make indoor spaces more attractive, they also help to purify and cleanse the air. In 1989, Dr. B.C. Wolverton, Anne Johnson, and Keith Bounds conducted the study which was formerly planned to find ways to purify the air for extended stays in orbiting space stations.

Though NASA found that some of the plants were better than others for absorbing the typical pollutants formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene, all of the plants had properties that were useful in improving overall indoor air quality. Moreover, NASA distinguished that some plants are better than others in treating certain chemicals. For example, the best plants for treating and cleansing the air contaminated with benzene is English ivy, Gerbera daisies, pot mums, peace lily, bamboo palm, and Mother-in-law’s Tongue. To treat trichloroethylene, the peace lily, Gerbera daisy, and bamboo palm were proved very effective. To filter formaldehyde, the bamboo palm, Mother-in-law’s tongue, dracaena warneckei, peace lily, dracaenamarginata, golden pathos, and green spider plant works amazingly. After conducting the study, NASA and ALCA compiled a list of the most effective plants for treating indoor air pollution.

Considering a typical home of under 2,000 square feet, the study endorses using at least fifteen medium-sized houseplants to help improve air quality. For better results and good effects, the plants must be grown in six-inch containers or larger. Most chemical sequestering occurs in the roots and stems of plants, so potted plants are needed, rather than cut flowers.

Note – Only 19 plants were studied by NASA. Additionally, it proved that almost any plant grown indoors will have a beneficial effect on chemical levels in the air. Because in 19 those plants, 17 were effective at removing chemicals, and 15 were very effective. Nevertheless, plants adapted to lower light areas (such as under forest canopies) may be most useful. These plants are ultra-efficient at capturing light, which also means that they must be very efficient in processing the gasses necessary for photosynthesis. Because of this, they have greater potential to absorb other gases, including the potentially harmful ones. 

  1. Philodendron scandens `oxycardium’  – Heartleaf philodendron

Heartleaf philodendron which is also known as the Sweetheart Plant due to its shiny and heart-shaped leaves. It grows easily and quickly.

  1. Philodendron domesticum, – Elephant ear philodendron

Elephant ear philodendron is an amazing plant to cleanse and purify the formaldehyde. These plants are cheap and easy to take care of as they can survive easily.

  1. Dracaena fragrans `Massangeana’ – Cornstalk dracaena

Cornstalk dracaena sometimes called as a corn plant. They have shiny and glossy leaves with yellow stripes. This plant adds value to the home lawns and garden. It is also known as an indoor plant.

  1. Hedera helix – English ivy

English ivy is an evergreen, quick to grow the plant. This plants when placed indoor make the home attractive and beautiful.

  1. Chlorophytum comosum – Spider plant

The spider plant is also known as airplane plant or ribbon plant is a flowering plant. It is low maintenance and fast-growing.

  1. Dracaena deremensis `Janet Craig’ – Janet Craig dracaena

This plant has a cane line stems and can be placed indoor home to give a welcoming feeling to the home. It grows fast and the plant should never be overwatered.

  1. Dracaena deremensis `Warneckii’ – Warneck dracaena

Warneck dracaena is one of the easiest indoor plants to grow. It has white stripes on the edges of the leaves.

  1. Ficus benjamina – Weeping fig

Weeping fig is a very special indoor flowering houseplant.

  1. Epipiremnum aureum – Golden pothos

Golden pothos is famous because of its beautiful long stems which can grow to 8 ft or more. These plants have excellent tolerance to the light.

  1. Spathiphyllum `Mauna Loa’ – Peace lily

Peace lily also called a Spath plant is popular because of the large leaves and it commonly blossoms in spring.

 

VIDEO:
 

Benefits of Lavender Essential Oil – Ayurvedic Properties of One of the Most Versatile Essential Oils

Are you suffering from stress, anxiety, tension, acne, pain, or breathing problem? You’ll be surprised to hear that there is ONE solution for all these sufferings, which is the Lavender Essential Oil. Lavender is one of the most versatile of all essential oils. The benefits of this oil were learned 2500 years ago. It easily a very powerful essential oil. It is an inexpensive oil full of health benefits. Therapeutic grade essential oil is highly regarded for skin conditions, along with having a relaxing effect on the body and mind. Besides treating all the above-mentioned sufferings, it extensively aids to treat sleeping problems and enhance blood circulation in the human body. Moreover, it can be used as a deodorant and an amazing cleanser for household items.

In modern Ayurveda, it is also known as an antibacterial essential oil. The lavender essential oil has health benefits but it also comes handy when needed in the home as a bug repellent due to its pungent smell. Below mentioned are the details about the Lavender essential oil:

  • Botanical Name: Lavendula Officinalis
  • Dosha: PK↓, V (Neutral)
  • Taste: Pungent
  • Energy: Slightly Cooling
  • Actions: Carminative, diuretic, antispasmodic, antiseptic, analgesic, galactagogue, stimulant, and balancing.

Benefits of Lavender Essential Oil

  • Stimulates Wound Healing

This essential oil helps to speed up the process of wound healing. It stimulates the healing process of minor cuts, burns, and bruises.

  • Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Lavender Essential Oil has powerful anxiolytic abilities as it contains terpenoids like linalool and linalyl acetate. When applied in the right way it helps to relieve stress and anxiety.

  • Treats Respiratory Disorders

Problems like asthma, flu, cough, sinus congestion, throat infection, tonsillitis, colds, and whooping cough can be treated by using Lavender Essential Oil. It aids to loosen up the phlegm and relieve congestion related to any of the respiratory problems.

  • Improves Sleep

Due to its calming properties, this essential oil when applied on your pillowcase and bedsheets ensure a good night’s sleep. It also helps to treat insomnia.

  • Anti-bacterial and Anti-Viral Properties

Lavender Essential Oil properties like anti-bacterial and anti-viral, making it perfect to fight against diseases like typhoid, TB, and diphtheria.

  • Fights Acne

Young people, as well as adults whenever get acne to feel uncomfortable and embarrassed. But Lavender Essential Oil has anti-bacterial properties which help to fight stubborn acne and reduces the acne scar. A quick tip is to add a few drops of Lavender Essential Oil into your skin creams.

  • Relives Pain

Lavender Essential Oil is amazing when it comes to reliving pains like muscles pain, sprains, backache, or lumbago. A good regular Lavender Essential Oil massage can do wonders to relieve pain.

  • Improves Blood Circulation

The Lavender Essential Oil reduces hypertension which aids to lower blood pressure. This gives amazing benefits to coronary conditions.

  • Hair Care

When Lavender Essential Oil is mixed with any carrier oil (like coconut or grapeseed oil) it has immense benefits on your hair. When it is massaged on the scalp daily, it can improve alopecia areata and hair loss.

  • Bug Repellent

Due to the pungent smell of Lavender Essential Oil, it is an excellent bug repellent. It can repel any type of bug-like moths, midges, or mosquitoes.

  • Helps in Digestion

The Lavender Essential Oil promotes the production of gastric juices and bile, which aids in the digestion of food. Good stomach digestion makes the symptoms like stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, colic, and nausea go away.

  • Anticancer Potential

Lavender Essential Oil has powerful properties due to which it is sometimes used as a complementary treatment to treat cancer.

  • Supports Brain Function

When applied to the temples of the head and back of the neck, the Lavender Essential Oil can support the nervous system. You can also inhale Lavender Essential Oil directly from the bottle and it will alleviate the stress symptoms quickly by supporting the nervous system and improving cognitive impairment.

A few other benefits of Lavender Essential Oil are:

  • Reduces Headaches
  • Stimulates Urine Flow
  • Helps against Eczema and Dermatitis
  • Helps to Naturally Treat Diabetes

At home, Lavender Essential Oil has the following benefits:

  • Natural Perfume and Aroma
  • Natural and Toxic-free Air Freshener
  • Natural and Chemical-free Lip Balm
  • Flavor Enhancer in Healthy Recipes

How To Use Lavender 

It is very crucial to mention “How to use Lavender Essential Oil”, as for each benefit there is a different way of Lavender application. Remember, Lavender Essential Oil has versatile properties which make it gentle enough to apply directly to the skin.

  • Calming: Take a few drops of Lavender Essential Oil and rub it on the feet for a calming and relaxing effect on the body.
  • Sleep Aid: Rub a drop of Lavender on your palms and inhale. You can also diffuse a few drops of the oil before you go to bed in order to achieve a good night’s rest.
  • Bee Sting/Insect Bite: Place a drop of Lavender on a bee sting or insect bite in order to stop itching and reduce swelling.
  • Minor Burns: Put 2-3 drops of Lavender on a minor burn to decrease pain.
  • Cuts: Drop Lavender on a cut to stop bleeding, clean the wound, and kill bacteria.
  • Eczema/Dermatitis: Mix several drops of Lavender with a carrier oil such as coconut oil, or sesame seed oil. Use topically on eczema or dermatitis.

When Lavender Essential Oil is considered not safe?

When the Lavender Essential Oil is consumed orally, it is not safe and can be a threat to human life. If the people using Lavender Essential Oil notices any of the below-mentioned issues, it is advised to stop the use of Lavender Essential Oil immediately. The issues can be:

  • Stomach issues
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Skin rashes
  • Skin irritation
  • Headaches
  • Pain in joints

These are just the benefits of only one essential oil. Imagine what amazing benefits do other essential oils have. If you are curious to learn more about essential oils, here is my ebook which is available at a discounted price for now. Grab yours now, before its too late!

Happy Learning!

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Benefits of Seed Cycling for Women’s Hormonal Health

Hormones play a very vital role in the basic function of the human body. It affects the human body and helps the human body to keep the balance between emotions and moods. More importantly, it helps to control the reproduction system. It is extremely important for women to keep their hormone levels balanced and healthy. In this modern age, it is very easy to find medicines to treat hormones. But following natural and organic method is always beneficial for the overall health. In Ayurveda, we have a term known as “Seed Cycling”. As the name suggests, seed cycling means the cycle of seeds in which you use inculcate different seeds into your diet to balance your hormones and keep them healthy. Seed cycling is a supernatural and healthy way to balance hormones. The seeds used in the cycle are flax and pumpkin seeds, and sesame and sunflower seeds. These particular seeds help to cleanse the body and provide it with the essential vitamins and minerals.

Two Basic Hormones

These two hormones are responsible to control and normalize the menstrual cycle.

  • Estrogen
  • Progesterone

In the first of your menstrual cycle, the estrogen levels are high and in the second half of your menstrual cycle, the progesterone levels are high while estrogen levels start decreasing gradually. Few of the issues can be seen if the estrogen and progesterone levels are not kept in balance. Some of the prominent issues are mood swings, menstrual cramps, acne, irregular cycles, and any emotional or physical stress to the body. They may differ from person to person and each individual shows different symptoms.

Rules to Seed Cycling

To start following seeding cycle you need to track your menstrual period. If the menstrual period is regular, you can follow the phases easily but if you have irregular or no menstrual period then follow the moon cycle. It’ll be the same as the regular periods phase but you start your phase-1 on the first day of new moon and phase-2 after the moon is full which is nearly after 14 days.

Phases of the Menstrual Cycle

The menstrual cycle is divided into four phases, which are:

  • The menstrual phase
  • The follicular phase
  • The ovulatory phase
  • The luteal phase

In the first two phases (the menstrual and follicular) the body needs estrogen. So, taking flax and pumpkin seed in this phase helps the body to produce estrogen. In the last two phases (the ovulatory and luteal) sesame and sunflower seeds boost the production of progesterone in the body. Sesame and sunflower seeds contain a high amount of vitamin E and selenium which helps to boost progesterone production.

How to do seed cycling?

So, you have finally decided to incorporate seed cycling into your diet? Good!

Below are the two phases of your cycle in which the days will be divided:

Day 1 – 14 (While waiting for Ovulation)

Day 1 is the first day of your menstrual cycle. In this phase the estrogen levels are high and your body needs estrogen. This is also known as the follicular phase.

Consume the following daily

  • 1 Tablespoon of ORGANIC, RAW and GROUND FLAX seeds.
  • 1 Tablespoon of ORGANIC, RAW and GROUND PUMPKIN seeds.

Day 15 – 28 (While waiting for Periods)

Day 15 means the start of the ovulation phase in which the body changes from estrogen to progesterone phase and needs high progesterone. This is also known as the luteal phase.

Consume the following daily

  • 1 Tablespoon of ORGANIC, RAW and GROUND SESAME seeds.
  • 1 Tablespoon of ORGANIC, RAW and GROUND SUNFLOWER seeds.

Conclusion

Following seed cycling is easy and you will be amazed to see the results in just a little time. Every human body responds differently to the same treatment. Some might see effective results in a month, for some it’ll probably take 3 or more months. Keep the patience and follow it religiously!

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My introduction to Bakhoor was at a neighbor’s home who loved using Bakhoor and gave me a piece to burn around the house. The benefits of Aromatherapy – especially natural Aromatherapy goes beyond creating a fragrant space but also to enhance mood and uplift dull spirit or atmosphere. One sniff of Bakhoor and I was forever drawn to a scent that seemed sweet and sacred. Since that day I have always been in search of high quality Bakhoor.

I purchase Bakhoor from this place called Modah in Mississauga, Ontario. You can get good quality bakhoor, bakhoor burning and Arabic fragrance oil here. However Bakhoor and Bakhoor burners are easily available on Amazon as well.

What is Bakhoor or Bukhoor?

Bakhoor or Bukhoor is a fragrant woodchip or baked clay (bricks) that is made from Oud or Oudh also popularly known as Agarwood or Aloeawood.  Oudh is submerged in fragrant oils and other natural ingredients are immersed together to make  a scented chip. The natural ingredients include may be sandalwood, musk, resin, ambergris or any other scent according to one’s personal liking. Bakhoor is used as a fragrance to perfume the house or clothing.

How is Bakhoor or Bukhoor Used?

Bakhoor is burned in charcoal or incense burners. The aromatic smell enhances and boosts the positive energy at home, stores or any sacred space.

Buy round charcoal discs, lighter or blow torch, a mini tong and aluminum foils to put on the bakhoor burner. Steps on how to use the burner to smoke bakhoor is written below.

Caution: Please DO NOT BURN BAKHOOR if children are around.

Benefits of using Bakhoor or Bukhoor:

There are several benefits of using Bakhoor. I’m listing few of them below:

  • To increase sweet or aromatic fragrance in the house.
  • To form romantic atmosphere in bedrooms.
  • To enhance and boost positive energy. Some traditions believe the scent of Bakhoor can stir away bad spirit or energy.
  • Used in shops and stores to draw customers towards shop.
  • Used in festivals and special events like weddings and religious ceremonies.
  • To welcome guest with lovely cordiality gestures.
  • Used after cooking to get rid of any off putting scents in the kitchen.
  • Used in old medications.
  • Used to get rid of bad smells for example cigarette smell.
  • Used to relax the mood.

How Bakhoor or Bukhoor is made?

Natural ingredients such as Oudh, sandalwood, musk, resin, ambergris are immersed with the fragranced oil on a woodchip to make a scented chip known as Bakhoor. Some makers use handmade method while other uses baking method to make Bakhoor.

Where to get Bakhoor or Bukhoor from?

Bakhoor can be found in Yemen, Oman, and other Arab and Gulf countries. Each maker has different Bakhoor recipe which makes their fragrance difference from other makers. One of the best handmade Bakhoor is in Aden-Yemen.

Try the Bakhoor below from Amazon.ca

How to Store Bakhoor or Bukhoor?

If you get your hands on homemade Bakhoor or Bukhoor – ensure you store it is a glass bottle, in a cool and dark place. I hear that the perfume only grows better and sweeter as time passes by inside the glass container.

How to burn Bakhoor or Bukhoor?

There are two main techniques to burn a Bakhoor.

  1. Burning Bakhoor using traditional charcoal burning
  2. Burning Bakhoor using modern electric burners

Bakhoor, Mabkhara (Bakhoor Burner), tongs and charcoal discs are needed before initiate the burning process. Following are the steps to follow in burning a Bakhoor as it is an easy task and anybody can follow it without difficulty.

  • Put charcoal disc in incense burner or in the Mabkhara.
  • Use lighter on the charcoal disc.
  • Charcoal disc will create a gray powder which means it is hot and ready.
  • Put Bakhoor on the charcoal disc.
  • An amazing aromatic Bakhoor scent will spread around.

Link to non-electrical Bakhoor burner

Link to electric bakhoor burner

Interesting Ways I Have Used Bakhoor?

 

  1. I have used Bakhoor in the kitchen after cooking for guests, before their arrival.
  2. I have used Bakhoor in my washroom.
  3. I burned Bakhoor in my bedroom and closet. I have had to be very cautious.
  4. I also used Bakhoor to perfume my hair with the smoke. I held the hair away from me with one hand and moved the bakhoor burners (when Bakhoor smoke came out) close to the hair.
  5. I have also burned bakhoor before prayers.

Tell me if you have ever used Bakhoor? What are some other ways you have used Bakhoor? What is your favourite brand of Bakhoor? Do you know someone who makes their own Bakhoor? Or can you make your own?

Let me comment and share this blog on your social media.

Also check out my Ayurvedic Aromatherapy e-Course on the website.

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There are 50 different types of hormones secreted and circulated by the human body at any given time. The word “Hormone” comes from the Greek for “to excite or arouse.” Hormones are the body’s chemical messenger. All multi cellular organisms in the body produce hormones of one kind or another. The network that make and release hormones are the endocrine cells (mostly glands). The hormones enter the blood system and circulate throughout the body and activate target cells.

Organs and Glands that Produce Hormones

The glands in the endocrine system that produces hormones are pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid glands, adrenal glands and the thymus. The organs that produce hormones are pancreas, heart, kidneys, ovaries, testicles, and intestines.

What Hormones Do?

These chemical substances control and regulate the following

  • Metabolism
  • Reproduction
  • Growth and development
  • Contraction of smooth and cardiac muscles
  • Defence mechanism
  • Homeostasis
  • Energy balance
  • Water, nutrient, sugar and electrolyte balance in the blood

Where is the Thyroid Gland Located?

“The thyroid gland is located in the lower part of the neck, below the Adam’s apple, wrapped around the trachea (windpipe). It has the shape of a butterfly: two wings (lobes) attached to one another by a middle part called the isthmus.” = Medicine.net

What Hormones are produced by the Thyroid Gland?

Thyroid gland uses iodine (a mineral) to make its hormones such as, thyroxine (T4), triiodothyronine (T3) and calcitonin. Note that 20% of the body’s triiodothyronine is made by the thyroid gland; the other 80% comes from thyroxine converted by organs such as the liver or kidneys.Thyroid gland produces calcitonin from C-cells and the hormone is known to play an important role in regulating calcium levels in the body.

It is the pituitary gland that produces the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) which stimulates the thyroid gland to make its hormones. The hypothalamus in the brain produces a hormone called thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH) that tells the pituitary gland to produce TSH. Hence, it is important to understand that the thyroid gland is regulated by feedback mechanism of the brain. The feedback loop is called, hypothalamic–pituitary–thyroid axis.”

What does the Thyroid Gland do?

The hormones produced by the thyroid gland ensures

  1. Regulated the body’s metabolic rate.
  2. Heart function
  3. Digestive function
  4. Muscle control
  5. Brain development
  6. Balances mood
  7. Proper bone health maintenance

Types of Thyroid Disorders or Diseases

  • Hypothyroidism – underactive thyroid
  • Hyperthyroidism – overactive thyroid
  • Goiter – enlargement of the thyroid gland
  • Thyroid nodules – abnormal growth of thyroid cells that forms a lump within the thyroid gland
  • Thyroid cancer – cancer that develops from the tissues of the thyroid gland.
  • Thyrotoxicosis – too much thyroid hormone in the bloodstream. 
  • Grave’s disease – autoimmune thyroid disease. The thyroid gland is stimulated by auto-antibodies, which make it overactive, resulting in increased thyroid hormone production.
  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis/Hashimoto’s disease) – an autoimmune disease in which the thyroid gland is gradually destroyed. 

Symptoms of Thyroid Gland Disorder:

The following are the most notes symptoms of thyroid issues

  • Fatigue
  • Poor circulation (cold hands and feet)
  • Apathy
  • Hair loss
  • Sluggish metabolism
  • Weight gain
  • Poor appetite
  • Poor concentration and inability to retain information
  • Muscle aches and cramps
  • Swelling of the thyroid gland
  • Depression

Causes of Thyroid Gland Disorders

  • Iodine deficiency
  • Pituitary disorder
  • Autoimmune condition
  • Weather changes – Studies show that people with normal thyroid function tend to have higher TSH levels in the colder month because the body is trying to cope with the cold by increasing hormones to generate more heat. These people may be diagnosed with hypothyroidism but it may be just the weather effecting their TSH levels.
  • Pregnancy
  • Side effect of medication
  • Radiation

Natural Remedies to Support the Thyroid Gland

Avoid Dietary Disruptors: Avoid or reduce intake of gluten containing grains such wheat, spelt, rye, barley, oats manufactured in wheat processing facility can cause thyroid conditions. Eating too many uncooked or raw cruciferous vegetables can disrupt the thyroid function. It also recommended avoiding A1 casein protein that is found in commercial dairy based products as it may lead to thyroid malfunctions.

Add Dietary Helpers: Lack of iodine can also cause some of the thyroid conditions therefore using iodized salt is beneficial and can act as a protective mechanism. Algae and various seaweeds such as, kelp, nori, kombu, wakame etc. are some of the best sources of iodine. Read m previous blog about the benefits of seaweeds in your diet. Adding selenium rich foods such as nuts, seeds will assist in avoiding Hashimoto’s condition. Tyrosine rich foods are also essential for Thyroid gland such as, oats, watercress, spinach, sesame seeds, fava beans, cabbage, pumpkin seeds etc.

Add Herbs and Spices: Add circulatory spices such as ginger, turmeric and cinnamon to combat cold hand and feet. These spices are beneficial for the thyroid health. Ayurvedic herbs such as, Ashwagandha, Gotu Kola, Guggulu are extremely popular to improve thyroid health. One of the issues we often face is NOT all herbs are good for everyone. One must seek advise from their local Herbalist or a ND to find out what would be the best herbs for their thyroid condition.

Avoid Autoimmune Response Triggers: Work with you primary health care practitioner and your Natural Health Care Practitioner to find out what triggers your autoimmune response in order to avoid those triggers. For autoimmune conditions try eliminating the usual suspects such as, wheat, gluten, dairy to begin with.

Avoid Fluoride: Excessive fluoride in your body may lead to many health hazards including iodine deficiency which in turn can cause thyroid dysfunction. Avoid fluoride in water and toothpastes I use the filter below and if you are following you may know that I make and sell my own toothpowder.

Castor Oil Packs for Swelling: Applying warm castor oil pack on the thyroid gland will reduce the swelling of the gland. To do this one must apply castor oil over the thyroid gland, put a flannel cloth over it and apply mini heating pad on top of it.

Sunshine or D3: Sunshine has many benefits than just Vitamin D production in the body. Studies have shown that sunshine can positively affect or can be protective against autoimmune condition. For thyroid related autoimmune conditions exposing the thyroid gland to sunshine for a small period of time can assist with lessen trigger response. Vitamin D3 supplementation is required when sunshine is missing.

Reduce Plastic (including BPA) Exposure: Plastic and BPA containing plastic disrupts our natural hormone balance. These toxic materials can cause thyroid diseases as well. Read my previous blog on how to reduce plastic materials from our lives. BPA is also in can’s can contains canned foods Note when reducing plastic start from the kitchen and then move on to toiletries, cosmetics and personal care products.

Reduce Exposure to Heavy Metals: It is hard to avoid heavy metal exposure in this modern world. If you can’t reduce exposure then increase foods that are high in Vitamin C in your diet as well as add cilantro and parsley leaves in your diet. Both these herbs are considered heavy metal detoxifiers by naturopathic doctors.

Pranayama or Breathing Exercise for Thyroid: One of the best Pranayam to stimulate the thyroid gland is “Kapal Bhati” or the breath of fire, where the focus is on forced exhalation. One should always work up the stamina to increase the length of their pranayama. Start with a set of 20 and work up to 100 breath of fire. Ujjayi Pranayam or “ocean breath” is also highly beneficial for thyroid health which can be performed by making oceanic sound in your throat. Last but not the least “Anulom Viloom” or alternative nostril breathing is essential to reduce stress and improve thyroid health. Read my blog on Benefits of Pranayam.

Yoga Asana & Stretches to Improve Thyroid Functions: Neck stretches and rotations are absolute key to improve overall thyroid function. I am linking a website here that I really liked to perform neck stretches. Lion’s pose (Singhasana) is also known to directly impact the thyroid gland. More challenging are the shoulder stand, supported head stand, wheel pose (or upward bow pose), plough pose and boat pose. Whereas, less challenging poses are fish pose, bridge pose, cobra pose and upward dog pose. Before attempting any Yoga Asana it is important to contact a health care practitioner and certified Yoga teacher.

Above are some of my recommendations for improving Thyroid Gland Function or keeping it in balance. It is important to keep a Basal Body Temperature track to find out if you thyroid is working well. Ask you ND or alternative health care practitioner to do a physical thyroid examination for swelling and an iodine test to rule our iodine deficiency thyroid gland disorders. Many MDs and NDs send patients with Hashimoto’s condition to a compounding pharmacy to desiccated thyroid gland.

As you are aware I am a Clinical Herbalist with background in Nutrition, Yoga and Ayurveda. For live consultation in Greater Toronto Area (GTA) in Canada or skype consultation click here to book an appointment.  

If you have seen improvement in you thyroid condition by following any remedy please share with us and leave a comment. Share this blog in your social media so others can benefit from these remedies.

Disclaimer: I have added Amazon.ca product links for a few products I like. These are my Amazon.ca affiliate links.

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Top-12-Eco-Friendly-Products-in-the-Kitchen-to-Reduce-Plastic-and-is-a-MUST-for-EVERYONE

“Right now 8 million tons of plastics end up in the ocean every year.

I am a huge fan of the BBC series Planet Earth and Blue Planet. David Attenborough is someone I respect, admire and follow. He and his team know about the health of our planet and the sea. So when I hear a data from them that impacts the earth or ocean world it deeply moves me and makes me feel responsible. This is 21st century – you must learn to reuse, recycle and reduce!

We all know plastic can have a huge negative impact on other species as well as us – humans. On Episode 7 of Blue Planet II, David Attenborough shows us how the Albatross population can suffer from plastic in their feed (feed that they get from the ocean). It was heart wrenching to the impact on the Albatross population. These are plastics that were dumped as a waste product in the ocean by us – the human’s.

In some parts of the ocean it’s estimated that there are now over half a million pieces of plastic for every square kilometers. Our modern lives are having far-reaching effects on life in the oceans.  But around the world, there are people now devoting their lives to saving some of the most threatened sea creatures. “

My dearest reader – let’s make some effort towards joining them! Even if you start with a few changes it will have a huge impact in the world. And we all know from an Ayurvedic or Yogic perspective it is important to aim for Sattva and what more can be more Sattvic than to reduce waste, reduce harm to the planet and its dwellers? Ayurveda and Yoga always promotes good health and well being not only for humans but animals and plant kingdoms.

Note that, plastic also have huge impact on our reproductive health – including estrogen dominance, cancer (breast and prostrate), anxiety, early puberty, loss of body hair and fertility etc. Plastic has impact on women, children and men at various ages.

A little disclaimer before suggesting some products, I buy many of my products from either Amazon.ca or Etsy.ca. I will be providing links from my Amazon vendor account. You can purchase these products anywhere else but I just wanted to share what I choose. And if you are crafty you can make many of these products yourself to save money. I will also provide a few YouTube links.

Let’s find some sustainable swaps so you can be more eco-friendly

  1. Cloth or Paper Based Shopping Bags: Imagine how many times a week you visit the grocery store or a local mom and pop shop of a quick pick up. How many plastic bags do you accumulate in a week? I am also an offender but learning from others and friends to remember to bring my own shopping bag whenever I go out. You may need this anywhere. If cloth bag is not an option for you there are paper bags that you can store and reuse many times. The following are the ones I found most useful
    There are also reusable grocery tote bags that are foldable and easy to carry. They are lightweight, washable and durable. I just pop them in my purse or pocket before I leave home. They are made with polyester and are reinforced with double stitches which make them hold heavy things safely. The squared bottom holds products in place. Check them out here.
  1. Beeswax Wrap instead of Plastic Wraps: Keep your food fresh and covered without using any plastic wrap, plastic food storage bags! These Beeswax wrap is something I absolutely adore. Both my close friends Laura and Colleen reave about the quality of the products when they also got their own! Wrap foods that are fresh produce especially fruits and vegetables, cover for left overs or left over dry foods such as sandwiches. Beeswax wraps work like a charm, they allow air circulation and are natural anti-bacterial therefore food does not spoil quickly. Beeswax is safe and all natural. They are washable and therefore can be reused for almost over a year. Since it’s a natural product it will crinkle easily but gently handwash and dry them. And YES! Its biodegradable!
    If you want to make them at home here is a link of a YouTuber called Simply Klaire who teaches you how to make your own.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FhFnwNkXE8

  1. Reusable Produce Bags:Leave the plastic behind when walking through the produce aisle at a grocery store. Why buy fresh or organic foods and add plastic to it? These produce bags are not biodegradable and made with toxic crude oil. By using produce bags we can have an impact on reduce non-renewable energy that is required to produce and ship the plastic bags. The reusable produce bags are durable, reusable and require very little space in your kitchen. 
  1. Stainless Steel Lunchboxes: There is NO EXCUSE for not using stainless steel or glass containers as lunch boxes. Why take lunch at work in plastic and reheat in the microwave? Instead for dry lunches take the stainless steel container or glass containers for lunches that need to be reheated. There are also insulated thermal food containers. Two other options are using HotLogic or a mini crock pot.
  1. Stainless Steel Water Bottles: I am a proud owner of S’well bottle as I worked for a distribution company that sold these infamous eco-friendly bottles. There are many designs, shapes and sizes of S’well Bottles available in the market. Even CostCo carries them. They keep hot beverage hot for 12 hours and cold beverages cool for 24 hours. Coffee cups, water bottles etc. are made with plastic. If you love Starbucks just take your S’Well bottle with you and they will fill it up with your favourite beverage. I heard if you bring your own there is a slight discount in some coffee stores.
  1. Stainless Steel or Glass Straws: I am not really a straw person unless you give me a huge “green smoothie” to drink. The ONLY drawback is you need to purchase one with straw brushes and wash them properly. If you are someone who have children who loves using straws or you yourself prefer using straws please do get one of these! They have a huge environmental impact. I prefer the glass ones as they are transparent so the debris will be clearly seen.

  1. Glassware for Storage Container: This is something I religiously follow. All my herb and spice containers are made from glass. All products I create for Conscious Health are put into glass jars. This is important as storing spices, herbs, grains, legumes, lentils, nuts and seeds in plastic will only increase plastic in your life. Start with one category of food such as, spices and then slowly change to other ones. Glass or ceramic bottles keep food fresh for long.
  1. Stand-Up Leakproof Silicone Reusable Storage Bag: It is now easy to replace am air tight zip sealed or locked plastic bags that are used in the kitchen with Silicone storage bags. They are ideal for food preservation, meal prep, storage, and sandwich bags. I bought these from Amazon last month and they are super user friendly for weekend meal prepping. I can buy large quantities of various vegetables and fruits, then peel and chop them and in the end combine them for various dishes such as, stir fries and keep them in the fridge. According to the Amazon store these eco-friendly silicone bags can be washed and re-used for up to 30 years. It is made from food safe material that is BPA, BPF, PVC, BPS & Latex Free. YAY. I also wash them inside my dishwasher.

  • Microfiber Cleaning Clothes: Can we really replace our kitchen towels? The answer is YES! OUI!! No harsh cleansing chemicals are required when usingMicrofiber cleaning cloths. It can eliminate lint, streaks and other food strains. These clothes hold up to 7 times in weight in liquid, dirt or grime. In addition to the Microfiber cloth link I am also providing a link of a Etsy Seller – Anne Riggs who makes handmade kitchen towel with cloth that you can roll up and they are snappable! See what I mean by that when you click below.

Etsy Shop Link: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/AnneRiggsDesigns

  1. Tea Infuser: What can I say? I am a Herbalist and a Herbalist’s favourite tool for self and their clients is a Tea Infuser. Avoid purchasing empty tea bags or making an effort to boil the tea and using a strainer. Instead – put your herbs inside the tea infuser, pour hot water in your cup and walk away while the tea steeps! And of course they are reusable. The one I am sending link to is stainless steel with silicone edges to avoid burning your fingers. A must have to tea lovers.
  1. Silicone Baking Mat: Say goodbye to aluminum foils and parchment papers. They are not reusable and sometimes pricy if you want to get the eco-friendly version. So try this Silicone baking mat that is oven safe (up to 480 F) and requires no oil or oil spray for baking. They are also super easy to clean
  1. Reusable Cutlery Set: For those who chooses frequent takeout meals. Please say “no” to plastic cutlery, napkins and chopsticks. There are reusable cutlery set available that are great for traveling, camping and if you do frequent take outs. These sets are made from bamboo, stainless steel or titanium. They come as a set in a bag or box that is super easy to carry. And of course it is eco-friendly when you bring your own napkin.

  1. Handkerchief: Say no to “Tissues” or “Kleenex” and use your own handkerchief. Especially if you buy cotton! It is NOT ONLY eco-friendly but its skin friendly and makes you not look for tissues when you are in desperate need.

I am not sharing all the links to encourage you to buy everything but for you to see what are some of the best options. If it seems too many changes to begin with then start small. If you want to make ONE change then go for the shopping bag. These plastics are not worth it. I also understand that it is not possible to get rid of all of your plastics in a day but one step would reduce your carbon footprint and work towards benefiting the planet.

Please write a comment on how you contribute towards this planet’s health? What are your top choices to becoming eco friendly? Are there tips that you too want to share with us?

My upcoming blog is about eco-friendly product swaps for self-care (especially Women’s health). Stay tuned!

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