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Tags Posts tagged with "Ayurveda"

Ayurveda

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Castor oil is also known as miracle oil because it has highly fortifying properties. For centuries, it is being used in numerous treatments because of its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. It is extracted from the bean of a castor plant which originally come from Eastern Africa. It is one of the most ancient oil which is famous for its powerful and amazing therapeutic properties. It is used in many Ayurvedic medicines and can be consumed both internally or externally depending upon the type of treatment. In Ayurveda, it is amazing to relieve Vata and Kapha disorders.

Properties:

Castor oil has the following properties:

  • anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties
  • pungent/bitter or sweet taste
  • heavy to digest
  • hot in nature

Castor Oil for Tridosha:

In Ayurveda, it is amazing to relieve Vata and Kapha disorders by balancing it. It also relieves pitta when combined and processed with herbs which have bitter and sweet taste.

Health Benefit of Castor Oil:

Castor oil posses a great number of health benefits. Some of which are listed below:

  1. Castor Oil improves skin and cures skin diseases.
  2. Castor Oil cleanses body.
  3. Castor Oil helps to rejuvenate skin and makes it look healthy.
  4. Castor Oil improves health, intelligence, memory, immunity, and digestion.
  5. Castor Oil relieves lower back pain.
  6. Castor Oil is great to treat belly bloating.
  7. Castor Oil is best in destroying abdominal tumors.

When can we use Castor Oil externally?

  • Castor oil contains vitamin E which makes it excellent for the skin. When applied directly on the skin it moisturizes it and give the skin a subtle glow. Regular use of it makes the skin fuller and plumper.
  • Another amazing external use of castor oil is for hair. When applied directly on the scalp it nourishes the scalp and boost hair growth. It fights numerous hair related issues like, itchy scalp, dandruff, dry hair, hair fall, and split ends. Besides that, it can also be used to grow brow, lashes and the hairline.
  • As mentioned earlies, castor oil has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, because of which it is an effective remedy for Arthritis. It helps to improve blood circulation and increases body warmth. It also helps to reduce inflammations and relieves pain. It proves effective to reduce joint pain and backaches.
  • In India, it is a common practice to use castor oil as Kajal over the eyes to improve vision.
  • It can also be used to treat dry cracked feet. Gently massage a few drops of castor oil twice a week and get soft smoot feet.

When can we use Castor Oil internally?

  • Castor oil is a powerful laxative. Therefore, can be consumed internally to relieve constipation and promote healthy digestion. You can add one or two tablespoons in ginger tea and drink it at night.

How to make Castor Oil pack?

Castor oil pack is very effective and can be used to break down cysts, fibroids, and lipomas. To make castor oil pack, use soaked flannel oil and cover it with hot water bottle. It is then placed on the affected area for about an hour. It also helps to reduce inflammation, and joint pain.

Note: FDA approves castor oil and it can be used indefinitely.

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honey

Honey, which is also known as Madhu or Shahad, it is an important food and medicine in Ayurveda. In Ayurveda, it belongs to the categories of food which can be eaten daily for good health. However, it has very particular and strong properties and should be taken carefully. It is gold if taken properly under right conditions. It is also known as healing nectar because of it’s strong healing powers.

“Nothing is so troublesome as ama [indigestion] caused by the improper intake of honey.’
– Charaka Samhita

Nature’s gift to the mankind

Honey is an excellent nature’s gift to the mankind. Because of it’s sweet taste, one of the prominent use of honey is as a natural sweetener. Besides that, it has high nutritional value. It can also be used as a natural medicine. Honey has sugar such as fructose, maltose, glucose with added proteins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, and fats.

How is honey produced?

Bees collect pollen and nectar from flowers and carry it to the beehive. In their stomachs, these combine with enzymes and proteins to produce honey. In the beehive, the honey is released into the beeswax comb. This process continues until the combs are full. Honey has long history of use since antiquity.

What is raw honey?

Pure, unfiltered and unpasteurized natural sugar made by the bees from the nectar of flowers. Most of the honey consumed today is processed honey that’s been heated and filtered since it was gathered from the hive. Unlike processed honey, raw honey contains incredible nutritional value.

Kinds of Honey

Honey can be found in many forms. The main kinds of honey commonly found are:

  1. Comb Honey
  2. Liquid Honey
  3. Granulated Honey
  4. Creamed Honey
  5. Chunk Honey
1. COMB HONEY

As the name suggests, this kind of honey is taken directly as it is from the bee wax. Once taken, it is stored with the same comb as it is.

2. LIQUID HONEY

To extract liquid honey, the wax cappings are cut and wax combs are processed in an extractor which is known as honey centrifuge extractor.

3. GRANULATED HONEY

This kind of honey is frozen which makes the water elements separated from the honey and leaves the granules of honey behind.

4. CREAMED HONEY

Creamed honey is the combination of liquid honey and granulated honey. 1 part of granulated honey is mixed with 9 parts of liquid honey; it is then stored at 57 degrees until it becomes completely firm.

5. CHUNK HONEY

Chunk honey contains comb honey and liquid honey. A jar is taken and comb honey is placed in it. Liquid honey is then poured over the comb honey in jar, resulting in chunk honey.

Benefits of Honey

When used under right conditions, honey has numerous benefits. Some of them are listed below:

  1. It helps to relieves cough.
  2. It has amazing healing power and helps to heal wounds.
  3. When combined with turmeric, it is an amazing mixture to heal burns externally.
  4. It reduces Kapha dosha.
  5. It helps to remove congestion.
  6. It helps to reduce weight.
  7. It helps to soothes a sore throat.
  8. It removes unwanted toxins from the body.
  9. It helps to get rid of cholesterol and fat.
  10. It has natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
  11. When taken with herbs it increases the potency of herbs.
  12. It is an amazing treatment for diseases like, diarrhea, vomiting, worm infections, etc.
  13. Honey contains iron, manganese, and copper which helps to build hemoglobin in body. Because of which honey aids to treat patients with anemia.
  14. Honey works wonderfully on dry skin to moisturize it.
  15. It helps to treat various eye ailments.

Properties of Honey

  1. It is for Dosha VK
  2. It tastes sweet 
  3. It energetics heating 
  4. It contains vitamins and minerals. It has vitamins B, vitamin C, calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, chromium, and manganese

The Ayurvedic Rules for Honey

Honey is widely used in Ayurveda. However, there are a few rules to get maximum benefit of using honey. Some of them are:

  • The number one rule is to NEVER heat honey(above 40 °C) because heating honey directly creates toxins which are bad for the body.
  • Honey is an excellent medicine for Kapha types, because of it’s quality lekhana. Lekhana scrape away the toxins, fat, and cholesterol from the body.
  • When taken with herbs it increases their potency making them more effective.
  • Avoid eating ghee and honey in equal proportions by weight (not by volume).
  • Those who have Pitta type or Pitta imbalance should avoid taking honey.
  • Honey should be used/consumed with hot foods.

How to test the purity of honey?

It is advisable to use raw honey to get the maximum benefits. There are a few methods to check the purity of honey.

  • When put in the water, the honey should not spread quickly.
  • When added in the water, the honey should settle at the bottom of the jar.
  • The taste should be sweet and astringent, giving the tongue a drying sensation.

 

Exciting news! Get my e-book “Medicinal Spice Cabinet” which outlines over 100 spices and herbs and how they relate to disease prevention and healing of many common ailments. I want this book to be a reference point for those seeking assistance on a daily basis. When individuals are unsure as to which spices and herbs could assist them, my book is the one they will refer to without hesitation.

 

Written By: Syeda Saira

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.

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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Tea for Blood Sugar

Tea for Blood Sugar Management

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

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

Make a total of 100 grams of the following mix:

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

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

How to Make the Tea?

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

Please speak with your doctor if you are any medication.

Benefits of this Tea:

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

Holy Basil

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

Cinnamon

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

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

Gymnema sylvestre

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

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

Fenugreek

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

Orange Peel

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

Ginger

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

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

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

 

References:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Magnesium is a mineral we should be paying more attention to! It is part of over 300 biochemical reactions and the fourth most abundant mineral in our body, with 65% of it in our bones and teeth and 35% in our brain, hearth, blood, and cells. But many of us can have low magnesium levels, and this can lead to many common symptoms.

Causes of deficiency

-Intake of coffee, alcohol, smoking
-Long term use of diuretics               
-Birth control pills
-Poor nutrition
-Diarrhea, dehydration                                  
-Hyperthyroid           
-Kidney disease – Since the kidneys are regulators of magnesium homeostasis
-Celiac and IBD (due to impaired absorption of minerals)
-Antibiotics                           
-Stress
-Sweating                                          
-Exercise

As you can see, many things affect magnesium absorption. Food processing in itself reduces magnesium, up to 80% in milling of wheat for example. Phytic acid and oxalic acid found in many greens and grains also reduce magnesium. Absorption also depends on stomach acid level, diet, and our bodily requirements.

Effects of Low Magnesium

Many of us can have any of the following symptoms, but don’t always connect this to magnesium deficiency:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Weakness, fatigue
  • Nausea, GI disorders, constipation
  • Muscle cramps, especially in the legs at night, restless legs
  • Excessive body odour
  • Hypersensitivity to noise, startle reactions
  • Cravings for chocolate
  • Poor coordination
  • Insomnia, hyperactivity, irritability
  • Poor memory

Sources of Magnesium

  • Seeds – pumpkin, sesame, sunflower
  • Green beans
  • Spinach and other leafy greens – Magnesium is at the centre of the chlorophyll molecule which is the green pigment found in green vegetables.
  • Figs
  • Avocados
  • Lemons, grapefruit
  • Nuts – almonds, pecans, cashews, Brazil nuts
  • Apples, bananas
  • Soybeans
  • Seafood
  • Dark chocolate
  • Whole grains – wheat germ and bran, millet, brown rice

Bones

Our society focuses a lot on Calcium for bone health, but magnesium is also very important. Studies have shown that excessive calcium intake, as well as phosphorus, iron, copper, and zinc will lower magnesium absorption. Since 65% of our magnesium is in our bones, it is important for bone and teeth health. It has a structural role for bones, as well as being essential to osteoblasts and osteoclasts (bone cells), and needed for ATP (energy) formation in cells. Magnesium also is required by enzymes that metabolize vitamin D, which is crucial for bone health. Studies show that restricting magnesium intake results in osteoporosis!

Cardiovascular health

Magnesium relaxes smooth muscles found around blood vessels, reducing artery spasms and keeping heart rhythm regular. It also dilates blood vessels to reduce blood pressure. It works with calcium to regulate muscle tone of the heart. It is a cofactor to many enzymes, it is needed for ATP production (cellular energy), regulates ion channels, myocardial contraction, vascular tone, and thrombosis. Magnesium taurate is one form of magnesium specifically for improving cardiac function, contraction, and reducing blood pressure.

Muscles

Magnesium regulates muscle contractions and is a muscle relaxant. It is a great supplement for restless legs, muscle spasms, cramps, and sore muscles. It is also useful for PMS cramps and athletes who suffer from cramps. One form of magnesium: magnesium bisglycinate is a very well absorbed form. Another form, magnesium sulfate, is found in Epsom Salts, and is beneficial as a bath for muscle relaxation.

Digestive Tract

Due to its relaxant function on smooth muscles around the digestive tract, it can cause loose stools especially in the Magnesium Citrate form. It is helpful when you have constipation. Magnesium also activates enzymes involved in metabolism of protein, fats, and carbohydrates.

Relaxation and Nervous System

Magnesium is an anti-stress mineral, popular as a supplement before bed to calm, relax, and help you sleep. It is a natural muscle relaxant. Deficiency of magnesium results in neurological symptoms, as magnesium is important for nervous system health. In terms of supplements, it was shown that Magnesium threonate actually enters the CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) and brain, and has effects on learning and memory and is neuroprotective.

To get more magnesium in your diet, Consicous Health has many plenty of foods/recipes with magnesium-rich foods! Check out Cacao, Kale Salad, or Zucchini Noodles

 

References:

Sara Castiglioni et al. Magnesium and Osteoporosis: Current State of Knowledge and Future Research Directions. Nutrients. 2013 Aug; 5(8): 3022–3033.

Tangvoraphonkchai K, Davenport A. Magnesium and Cardiovascular Disease. Adv Chronic Kidney Dis. 2018 May;25(3):251-260.

Jan Philipp Schuchardt and Andreas Hahn. Intestinal Absorption and Factors Influencing Bioavailability of Magnesium-An Update. Curr Nutr Food Sci. 2017 Nov; 13(4): 260–278.

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“Stop and smell the roses”

What emotions do you get when you inhale the floral scent of roses? What memories, thoughts, and feelings are triggered?

Many aromatic plants such as roses contain essential oils, which are volatile oils that enter the body and trigger various effects. They are commonly inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Inhalation of essential oils carries the molecules to the limbic system in the brain which includes the hippocampus, amygdala, and hypothalamus which are involved in various behaviours such as memories, arousal, emotions, learning, desires, and appetite.

Rose is a symbol of love and romance.

Rose has a long history of use. It is thought that the first methods of distillation of essential oils in the Middle East were done on rose. The plant produces:

  • Rose essential oil
  • Rosewater
  • Dried flowers which are used in grocery products
  • Rose hips which are the berries under the petals. They are rich in vitamins, minerals and fatty acids, polyphenols, carotenoids and tannins. The vitamin C content of rose hips is higher than citrus fruits.
  • Rosehip oil
  • Rose concrete and rose absolute

Rose is not an easy oil to diffuse and requires a lot of raw material harvested at the right time. About 4000 pounds of roses yields 1 pound of essential oil. This makes it an expensive oil.

There are different varieties of rose from around the world that are used to make the oil. Commercial rose oil usually comes from two rose species: damascena (Damask rose) and centifolia. Bulgaria and Turkey are the main producers of R. damascena essential oil.

In Ayurveda, rose products were used as astringents, cooling agents, mild laxatives, and antibacterials among many other uses. Rose oil is also commonly added to the skin, diluted in a carrier oil (Eg. almond, jojoba, sesame oil etc) or as part of skin care products and massage oils.

Botanical Name: Rosa damascena

Dosha: VPK-

Taste: Bitter, pungent, astringent, sweet

Energy: Cooling, wet

Actions: Alterative, emmenagogue, refrigerant, nervine, carminative, laxative, aphrodisiac, stimulant, antidepressant, hepatic

Usage: Used in perfumes, skin care products, as a compress, added to baths, inhaled, used in massage oils, as a spray

Constituents: These vary based on the species and growth conditions. Main ingredients are: citronellol, citral, carvone, eugenol, phenyl geraniol, linalool, a-pinene, b-pinene, a-terpinene, limonene.

Nervous System Benefits

  • Rose essential oil helps to reduce anger and depression
  • Rose essential oil helps reduce headaches
  • Rose essential oil awakens the mind and boosts confidence
  • Rose essential oil has anti-seizure effects, probably due to the flavonoids that have affinity to the GABAergic system in the brain.
  • Rose essential oil shows protection against induced neuronal cell death. It also protects against aluminum-induced neurotoxicity.

Circulation Benefits

  • Rose essential oil increases blood circulation and is vasorelaxant
  • Rose essential oil benefits cardiac issues through massage. It increases heart rate and contractility and inhibits ACE enzyme

Aphrodisiac

  • Rose has been used for a long time as an aphrodisiac
  • Rose is common in perfumes. It is a symbol of love and romance. The scent stimulates desires, evokes romantic feelings, and boosts libido.
  • Rose promotes harmony and elevates the mind by creating a sense of well-being
  • Rose essential oil has shown in studies to increase sperm count, increase the diameter of seminiferous tubules, and protect against testicular damage

Reproductive System and Hormones

  • Rose essential oil stimulates hormonal secretions which can then trigger menstruation for those who are suffering from irregular cycles.
  • Rose essential oil eases cramps, nausea, and fatigue, relieving pain of PMS. One study with rose essential oil showed daily massage caused improved psychological, physical, social, and reduced PMS symptoms.
  • Rose essential oil increases salivary estrogen concentration and has been used during menopause to reduce symptoms

Skin Benefits

  • Rose is common in face creams especially for mature skin as it helps against wrinkles as well as dry skin. It is also an antioxidant that counteracts free radical damage that ages skin.
  • It is astringent so it is used in skincare for inflamed skin
  • It is moisturizing and helps reduce sunspots
  • It reduces scarring and improves healing of skin and stretch marks

Antimicrobial Effects

  • Rose essential oil is antibacterial due to ingredients such as citral, nerol, and farnesol. It has shown activity against many bacteria.
  • Rose essential oil is good for small injuries to prevent infection and improve healing
  • It has citronellol (also in citronella) which is a mosquito repellant.
  • It has methyl eugenol which is a local antiseptic and anesthetic
  • Rose essential oil is antiviral due to citronellol, geraniol, and kaempferol and has activity against Candida

There are many natural skin care products that have rose essential oil. The popular Weleda products have a rose renewing facial care line. Andalou has a rose line that uses rose stem cells and rosehip oil. Dr. Hauschka has had the Rose Day Cream since the 1960s. Of course you can also buy rose essential oil and rosehip oil in many health food stores. You can also make your own products using these oils!

Whipped Body Butter for Vata Dry Skin

  • ¼ cup shea butter
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1/8 cup avocado oil
  • 10 drops rose essential oil

In a double boiler, gently melt the shea butter and coconut oil. Add avocado oil. Remove, add to a bowl and let it cool down until it is not liquid anymore. Mix in the rose oil. With a hand mixer, whip it until it is fluffy. Store in a cool place (otherwise it may melt again).

Pitta Cleansing Paste

  • ¼ cup chickpea flour
  • Water
  • 6 drops rose essential oil

In a bowl, add flour and slowly mix in water stirring until a paste is formed. Add rose oil and mix. Rub onto the face and the wash away with water.

Simple Kapha Massage Oil

  • ¼ cup mustard seed oil
  • 12 drops rose essential oil

In a storage jar/container, mix the oils. Massage the body regularly.

And I have some exciting news!

I am currently working on an Ayurvedic Aromatherapy e-course that is detailed and comprehensive. It is organized into 12 modules that teaches you everything you need to know about Aromatherapy, and Ayurveda uses essential oils to balance doshas. You get a Materia Medica on dozens of essential oil, properties, and usages. You get all the health benefits of each essential oil organized per body system, based on research. You also get lots of DIY recipes with essential oils. This is a wonderful resource to have (for life!).

 

References

Hafiz Majid Rasheed et al. Chemical Composition and Vasorelaxant and Antispasmodic Effects of Essential Oil from Rosa indica L. PetalsEvid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015; 2015: 279247.

Shinohara K et al. Effects of essential oil exposure on salivary estrogen concentration in perimenopausal women. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2017 Jan;37(8):567-572.

Mahboubi M. Rosa damascena as holy ancient herb with novel applications. J Tradit Complement Med. 2015 Oct 30;6(1):10-6.

 

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Spring is a beautiful time of the year, with new growth and new life. But it is also a time of allergies! Many susceptible people are affected by allergens and triggers for asthma. There are many over-the-counter antihistamines and anti-allergy medications, but these offer quick relief without addressing the cause, therefore your allergies and asthma will continue occurring. There are also many natural ingredients that also work and changing your lifestyle and dietary habits can strengthen your body and reduce your allergies and asthma.

Allergies

In Ayurveda, allergies are caused by allergens that aggravate a specific dosha, causing symptoms and imbalance in various body systems. If you are vata, you may experience vata-type allergies which would be different that a kapha allergy. Once you have identified the correct dosha, you can balance your dosha with the appropriate foods and lifestyle.

In Kapha type allergies one may experience high mucus production, cough, sinus, congestion, cold and water retention. Avoiding all types of dairy containing food such as milk, cream, yogurt, kefir, cheese etc. would be important. Try the Fab and Glowing Kapha Detox Program.

It is also easy to identify Pitta type allergies which causes flare ups such as, rashes, itching, heartburn, acidity, vomiting and stomach upset. Avoiding citrus fruits, fermented foods and nightshades such as potato, tomato and eggplant is highly beneficial. Check out the Fab and Glowing Pitta Detox Program.

Vata dosha allergy symptoms are sneezing, wheezing, headache and twitching etc. Avoiding nuts and beans would be beneficial at this time. Even sprouted beans or lentils may be harmful – so be careful before consumption. The Fab and Glowing Vata Detox Program will guide you towards the right direction.

The Fab and Glowing Ayurvedic Detox Program is created if you don’t know what to eat or how to balance your dosha or if you need a simple guide with recipes and meal plans. 

The Ayurvedic recommendations include:

  1. Detoxify your body
  2. Improve digestion and elimination
  3. Balance the dosha with diet and lifestyle changes – avoid triggers and remove food allergens
  4. Strengthen the immune system

Aromatherapy is used in Ayurveda to balance your dosha and improve many health conditions. Essential oils are concentrated aromatic constituents in plants. They can come from flowers, woods, resins, barks, leaves, and roots. They enter the body in various ways, such as inhalation or through skin and make their way to various tissues. Inhalation of essential oils takes them straight to the brain (limbic system) to affect emotions, memory, appetite, and behaviours. For allergies and asthma, inhalation is a great way of directly affecting the respiratory system. Essential oils can be inhaled through a diffuser, a bath, though steam inhalation, or massage oils. If you apply them onto the skin, make sure you dilute them in a carrier oil. Essential oils that help against allergies include:

  • If you have a vata imbalance – Chamomile, lavender, clary sage
  • If you have a pitta imbalance – Lavender, lemongrass, rose
  • If you have a kapha imbalance – Eucalyptus, elecampane, patchouli, hyssop

To learn more about Ayurvedic Aromatherapy or how to safely apply Essential Oils you can see read my blog about  Ayurvedic Essential Oil.

Other therapies that can assist

  1. Apply neem oil topically for rashes or itchiness.
  2. Cilantro leaf juice – drink small amount of cilantro juice is cooling and could subdue allergic symptoms.
  3. Apply Nasya treatment to clean the nasal passageway.

For a complete treatment plan please learn about the Consultation packages I offer.

Asthma

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory condition of the airways, with narrowing of the airways that causes asthma symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest tightness, and mucus production. It is a hypersensitivity disorder in which the airways are susceptible and sensitive to triggers, which causes a release of histamine in the body. The narrowing airways either become inflamed, plugged with mucus, and constrict, or the muscles in the airway walls tighten and spasm. Allergies and asthma are connected because many people who have asthma, also have allergies. Also, many allergic triggers also trigger asthma.

There are natural remedies that strengthen the body and reduce these symptoms. In Ayurveda, asthma is an indication of increased kapha dosha production of mucus. Some general tips to reduce asthma include:

  • Avoid triggers
  • Follow an anti-inflammatory diet
  • Practice yoga and meditation to reduce stress and improve breathing
  • Improve digestion to reduce food sensitivities or undigested particles that can trigger immune reactions
  • Support the immune system

Essential oils can help with asthma. You can diffuse them or apply to the skin when they are diluted in a carrier oil.

-Peppermint oil – It is a decongestant (have you inhaled peppermint when your sinuses are clogged? It opens up your sinuses!). It is also antispasmodic.

-Eucalyptus – It decongests the airways and contains eucalyptol which breaks up phlegm. Eucalyptus is common in chest rubs because of its powerful decongestant effect.

-Chamomile – It is antispasmodic and relaxes the body. It can be diluted and rubbed on your chest

-Frankincense – It is a great anti-inflammatory agent and an expectorant (reduces mucus)

-Clove oil – It is antispasmodic, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory. You can also inhale this or use in a chest rub.

-Lavender – It is a sedative and anti-inflammatory

 

Herbs and Spices

Here are some herbs and spices that can help with allergies and asthma:  

  • Licorice – Has mucilage that is soothing and healing to the mucus membranes, and is also an expectorant to reduce excess mucus. In fact, one study showed it reduced inflammatory cell accumulation in the lungs.
  • Nettle – Reduces histamine, is anti-inflammatory, and is a nutrient-dense herb with iron, chlorophyll, vitamin C, and antioxidants.
  • Butterbur – This plant has shown benefits in studies for both allergies and asthma. It has a compound called petasin that blocks leukotrienes that cause inflammation. It reduces symptoms and is a bronchodilator.
  • Ginkgo biloba – It is an antihistamine and anti-inflammatory herb.
  • Ginger – This is a super-spice which is anti-inflammatory, reduces airway constriction, and relaxes smooth muscles. Make am anti-inflammatory tea of fresh ginger, turmeric, and minced garlic to reduce kapha mucus and inflammation.
  • Trikatu is an Ayurvedic blend of 3 pungent spices: ginger, black pepper, and long pepper. This helps reduce kapha symptoms such as mucus, cold and congestion.

If you have allergies or asthma, you don’t have to suffer! Commit to a dietary and lifestyle change, get clean, and healthy! For Ayurvedic or Herbal Health Consultation book here.

Written by: Laura Zagar CNP and Nahid Ameen CNP

Reference:

Light Miller and Bryan Miller. Ayurveda and Aromatherapy. 1995: Lotus Press.

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There is an important Ayurvedic herb that I want to talk to about, and that is Gotu Kola! Cantella asiatica has been thought of as a promoter for longevity and used by South East Asian cultures for millennia. It grows in the Himalayas and was used by yogis for meditation, as it has been said to develop the crown chakra (at the top of the head) and is a very spiritual herb. In Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine it was used for many health issues. In fact, a study in 2018 that examined the indigenous uses of plants as medicine in Northern Bengal of India, found that among the 100 plant species used locally, gotu kola was the most widely used, and for conditions such as diabetes, pain, jaundice, typhoid, gastroenteritis, pneumonia, and dysentery.

Dosha – VPK =

Taste: bitter, sweet, astringent

Energetics: cooling

Parts used: aerial parts

Ingredients

Gotu kola has carotenoids, B vitamins, vitamin C, protein, minerals, flavonoids, volatile oils, tannins, polyphenols. It also has asiaticoside and madecassoside which are anti-inflammatory and antioxidants. It also contains Asiatic acid and saponins. These ingredients make gotu kola good for inflammation, memory, wound healing, and promote collagen. 

Skin

Gotu Kola is known for skin healing and skin issues. Ayurveda used it for wounds, burns, scratches, eczema and skin inflammation. It promotes collagen and healing of scar tissue. Research has shown it improves wounds, burns, and psoriasis by increasing collagen synthesis, hyaluronic acid content, and inhibiting inflammation and scar formation. Studies on people also showed beneficial effects on cellulite. Madecassoside is prescribed in Asia for wound healing and scars.

Nervous System and Memory

Gotu kola was used in Ayurveda as a nerve tonic. In fact it has shown in many studies to be neuroprotective and enhance memory. It promotes enhanced scores on intelligence tests. It improves memory and cognitive function. Gotu kola promotes axonal regeneration following nerve damage. Madecassoside and Asiatic acid are agents that decrease neuroinflammation. Gotu kola has shown promising results in Alzheimer’s disease studies as well.

Adrenals

Gotu Kola has shown anti-stress and reduction of anxiety properties in humans.

Cardiovascular

Gotu kola helps reduce arterial plaque and Asiaticoside is anti-inflammatory and inhibits early events of atherosclerosis.

Digestion

Gotu kola helps protect against stomach ulcers and protects the mucosal lining of the stomach, where ulcers form.  

How to take Gotu Kola

You can eat gotu kola as a leafy green mixed with other greens in salads (such as Gotu Kola Sambola from Sri Lanka) or cooked into various recipes. You can make a tea, or blend some leaves into a smoothie. You can also blend gotu kola leaves alone into a smoothie and then use a strainer to separate the juice and drink it this way.

You can also find Gotu Kola in the form of pills, powders, tinctures, teas, and the dry herb, or even grow your own! There are many ways you can benefit from taking this wonderful herb!

 

 

References

Antony Joseph Raj et al. Indigenous uses of ethnomedicinal plants among forest-dependent communities of Northern Bengal, India. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2018; 14: 8.

Wiesława Bylka et al. Centella asiatica in cosmetologyPostepy Dermatol Alergol. 2013 Feb; 30(1): 46–49.

Liu M et al. Anti-rheumatoid arthritic effect of madecassoside on type II collagen-induced arthritis in mice. Int Immunopharmacol. 2008 Nov;8(11):1561-6.

Xu Y et al. Gotu Kola (Centella Asiatica) extract enhances phosphorylation of cyclic AMP response element binding protein in neuroblastoma cells expressing amyloid beta peptide. J Alzheimers Dis. 2008 Apr;13(3):341-9.

Ahmad Rather M et al. Asiatic acid nullified aluminium toxicity in in vitro model of Alzheimer’s disease. Front Biosci (Elite Ed). 2018 Jan 1;10:287-299.

Hossain S et al. Medicinal value of asiaticoside for Alzheimer’s disease as assessed using single-molecule-detection fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, laser-scanning microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and in silico docking. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2015 Apr 14;15:118.

Soumyanath A et al. Centella asiatica accelerates nerve regeneration upon oral administration and contains multiple active fractions increasing neurite elongation in-vitro. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2005 Sep;57(9):1221-9.

Sasmita AO et al. Madecassoside activates anti‑neuroinflammatory mechanisms by inhibiting lipopolysaccharide‑induced microglial inflammation. Int J Mol Med. 2018 Feb 9.

Wattanathorn J et al. Positive modulation of cognition and mood in the healthy elderly volunteer following the administration of Centella asiatica. J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Mar 5;116(2):325-32.

Sirichoat A et al. Effects of Asiatic Acid on Spatial Working Memory and Cell Proliferation in the Adult Rat Hippocampus. Nutrients. 2015 Oct 5;7(10):8413-23.

Belcaro G et al. Pycnogenol® and Centella asiatica to prevent asymptomatic atherosclerosis progression in clinical events. Minerva Cardioangiol. 2017 Feb;65(1):24

Jing L et al. Anti inflammatory effect of asiaticoside on human umbilical vein endothelial cells induced by ox-LDL. Cytotechnology. 2018 Feb 19.

 

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Although Broccoli was never a favourite I totally changed that by cooking some of the best tasting recipes with Broccoli. Amazing for weightloss, cancer prevention, blood sugar managing and antioxidant content broccoli is ever so popular. High is Vitamin K, C, Chromium and Folate Broccoli is amazing as a fertility increasing food as well. Try out this recipe and tell me how you like it!

Equipment needed:

A chopper or a grater

Ingredients

3 small broccoli heads plus the stems

¼ cup of gluten free bread crumbs

2 eggs

¼ cup daiya or other vegan cheddar cheese

1 teaspoon of nutritional yeast

Salt and pepper to taste

A pinch of hingvastak

Directions:

Take a baking tray or sheet and add parchment paper on top of it.

Preheat the oven to 350°F and put the try inside the oven.

Use a chopper to grate the broccoli heads and the stems.

Transfer them in a bowl, add salt and mix it well. Keep this for 10 minutes until water from broccoli starts to ooze out.

Take a muslin cloth or a nut milk bag and squeeze out all the water from the broccoli.

Place the broccoli in a bowl and start adding all of the ingredients to it. If you like it spicy – add some cayenne pepper to it as well.

Using your hands mold out tot shaped broccoli for 2 tablespoon of the grated mixture.

Place the raw tot shaped broccoli in the baking tray after bring it out from the over.

Bake for 15 minutes each side.

Enjoy with a home made sauce or dressing.

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