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Stevia: Safe & Healthy Alternative to Sugar

Stevia: Safe & Healthy Alternative to Sugar

We’re in the midst of the holiday season and with it an increased consumption of sweet and baked goods.  At a time where so many of the foods commercially available are laden with sugar, and excess sugar consumption has been found to be detrimental to our health, it is important to find alternatives.

There are, of course, many alternatives to sugar, including honey, agave, molasses as well as sugar substitutes that don’t add caloric content to the food.  However, most of these calorie-free sugar substitutes come with consumer alerts.  The latest one I saw was on a toxic chemical released in Splenda when it is heated.  Studies found that dioxin, a cancer-causing compound, is released when Splenda, particularly sucralose, is cooked (Ji, 2018).

On the other hand, stevia is touted as the healthy alternative to sugar (Santana, 2018).  I decided to learn more about it, and here is what I found.

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Black Seed - Key to Asthma Control?

Black Seed - Key to Asthma Control?

I have suffered from asthma in the past, and it is no surprise since asthma runs in my family. I developed asthma as an adult and was diagnosed during my first year at Graduate School about 18 years ago.

I know I am not alone, for the Global Asthma Report from 2018 stated that 339 million people are affected by asthma globally.

Asthma is caused by inflammation in our airways and respiratory system that causes one or a combination of symptoms including wheezing, shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, and coughing, all of which work together to limit airflow into our body (Global Asthma Network, 2018).

I am blessed that I no longer suffer from asthma.  I healed it through natural means, including the use of aromatherapy, other natural remedies, and lifestyle changes.

However, I didn’t realize that black seed is something I could have used as well.  Evidence shows that black seed or Nigella sativa provides great benefits for asthma sufferers.

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The Little-Known Power of Dynamic Phytotherapy

The Little-Known Power of Dynamic Phytotherapy

I first learned about Dynamic Phytotherapy (DP) when I was attending the American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS).  I could take a few elective courses as part of my Master’s in Complementary Alternative Medicine.  I signed up for the course on DP because I was interested in Herbal Studies and anything relating to plant therapy or Phytotherapy.  This class was about Phytotherapy of the Dynamic kind, which I found particularly intriguing.

It turns out that there is not a lot of information available on DP, apart from what ACHS provides. They are not well known outside of New Zealand, where the approach was developed, and perhaps Australia.  They are gaining popularity in the United States and the United Kingdom, but are still not commonly found.  And, DP remedies were originally known as Homeobotanical (Hb) remedies, which complicates matters even more.

But these remedies deserve more attention, and I am going to share with you some of what I know.

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How a Great Herb Got a Bad Rap: Benefits of Comfrey

How a Great Herb Got a Bad Rap: Benefits of Comfrey

The World Health Organization estimates that 80% of people around the world use herbal medicine (Null & Gale, 2018).  In fact, most of us turn to herbal options before opting for conventional drugs.

Despite these trends, herbal and alternative healing options are quickly reported when someone has an adverse effect.  Comfrey, Symphytum officinale, is one of these herbs, despite its great benefits to our health.

The name comfrey comes from the Latin word “confirma,” which means to heal or to unite.  It can be used as an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, demulcent, emollient, diuretic, expectorant, laxative, and tonic (Petersen, 2014).

It also can cause harm when it is over-consumed or over-used and should thus be used with caution. Believe it or not, this is the case with most things we consume.  Take alcohol for example.  It is readily available, but if we over-consume it, it can have dire negative consequences on our health.  That is why proper use is cautioned for alcohol and other such substances.

Natural medicines are not given the same treatment.  In fact, natural medicines are often vilified to make us wary of them and to instead lead us to commercially available medical options.  This is what has happened with comfrey.

Please read this article in its entirety to make sure you understand the full effects of using comfrey.

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Practical Uses for Turmeric

Practical Uses for Turmeric

The benefits of turmeric are commonly touted, which is why we find them in lattes, teas, soups, spice blends, and supplements.

I use it readily in cooking- I add it to broths, stews, soups, lentils, curries, and on grilled or roasted vegetables.

Turmeric is a root that looks much like ginger but has thinner branches.  In fact, it comes from the same family as ginger and cardamom- the Zingiberaceae family.

Turmeric can be used fresh or as a dried spice.  It reduces inflammation, provides anti-oxidants effects, boosts the immune system, and can provide great support for those undergoing cancer treatments. I wrote an article about turmeric a few years ago, where I described some of the clinical evidence supporting the benefits of turmeric.

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Why Balanced Chakras Are the Key to Vitality

Why Balanced Chakras Are the Key to Vitality

I have explained chakras in the past, and provided basics on how to balance them.

Chakras are energetic forces in and around our bodies. Different schools of thought claim a different number of chakras, some located within and some just outside our bodies. There is no dispute, however, that there are at least seven chakra points within our bodies.  These seven chakras are the ones I focus on.

Chakras work on us on a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual level.  The epicenter of each chakra sits in the midline or center of our body, and they rotate forming vortexes or wheels around our being.  The word chakra is Sanskrit for wheel.  I will tell you the vitality we experience when our chakras are balanced.

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Common Ailments and Simple Remedies

Common Ailments and Simple Remedies

Most of us have experience with inflammation, lymphedema, and vertigo.  These are common ailments that can come up on their own, as a consequence of an illness, or as a symptom of an illness.  In addition, most babies experience seborrhea or cradle cap.

It is easy to find medications to treat these conditions, but there are also ways to treat them naturally.  I will start by describing each of these conditions, and then give some simple and even nature-based remedies to incorporate.

 

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2 Astringent Herbs That Regulate Body Secretions

2 Astringent Herbs That Regulate Body Secretions

Astringent herbs take action in the body by contracting soft tissues to stop or reduce blood, mucus, or other discharges.  The specific effect depends on the particular herb used, how the herb is administered and how strong its astringent effect is.

Mostly all astringent herbs coagulate albumin or blood proteins, tone muscles, contract veins and gland ducts, slow down peristalsis or contractions in organs, and reduce excess salivation.  Stronger astringent herbs stop diarrhea and hemorrhaging.  The herbs with this latter effect are called styptics.  Milder astringent herbs reduce excessive perspiration and enlarged pores by toning and contracting the skin and glands.

In other words, astringent herbs help us tighten and tone our body.  Two effective astringent herbs are witch hazel Hamamelis virginiana, and cranesbill Geranium maculatum.  I will tell you more about them here, and let you know ways in which you can use them.

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Candida? This is How to Deal with It

Candida? This is How to Deal with It

Candida albicans is a type of yeast that lives naturally on our skin, mucous membranes, and gastrointestinal (GI) tract.  In fact, there are nearly two dozen types of Candida species that live in our bodies.

This type of yeast, which I will refer to simply as Candida, normally does not cause harm, and in fact is beneficial to the body. However, when there is an overgrowth of yeast it can lead to infection, most typically affecting the mouth, throat, or vagina.

In order to treat a Candida infection, it is possible to prescribe allopathic medications, such as fluconazole or mycostatin, but these only serve to keep a current infection at bay, and do not generally provide a cure unless taken for a long period of time.

Long-term use of these drugs may cause liver damage, as well as nausea and skin rashes (Buckle, 2003).  A holistic protocol that involves food and lifestyle changes rebalances the yeast back to a healthy state.  It also provides a healthier option with long-term beneficial effects.  I will describe what it might entail.

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3 Benefits of Cardamom- Herb & Essential Oil

3 Benefits of Cardamom- Herb & Essential Oil

Elettaria cardamomum or cardamom are black seeds that are contained within small green pods and these are used whole, in powder form, or to extract EO.  Cardamom can used in cooking, as a supplement in many healing modalities, and as an essential oil (EO).  For instance, I take out the black seeds from four to five pods, grind them, and add them into teas, desserts, and other foods.

Known as the Queen of Spices, cardamom has anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-oxidant, carminative (fights gas and flatulence), diuretic, and stimulating effects.  It has been used to support anorexia, asthma, bacterial infections, bronchitis, cholesterol, fungal infections, general debility, kidney stones, urinary tract disorders, and viral infections.

Studies provide evidence of the many benefits of cardamom, in both herb and EO form, and I am highlighting three here.

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