Category Archives: Herbal Medicine

Acai Berries – what puts the “super” in this superfood?

Acai (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) berries have become incredibly popular in the form of dietary supplements over the past few years, both in capsule and powder form.

Why are they considered as Superfruits?

This is in no small part due to the significant media attention they have received, since being more widely recognised in the Western world as a “superfruit”. In other words, a fruit with an exceptionally high nutrient-to-calorie ratio compared to other fruits of a similar kind. For example, in terms of antioxidant, essential fatty acid, vitamin or mineral content.

Although having only just recently entered the wider public consciousness in the West, South Americans native to the Amazon have been enjoying the nutritional benefits of these tasty berries for many years. In fact, they are considered to be an essential food source for three traditional Caboclo populations in the Brazilian Amazon, because they make up a major component of their diet – up to 42% of their total food intake by weight! A fact which reflects their incredibly high nutrient content.

Found only in swampy areas of the Amazon rainforest (Central and South America), acai berries are pretty exotic – which explains why they haven’t ever popped up on the shelves of our supermarkets! They are small and round (approximately 25mm in size) and grow on large palm trees called açaí palms, which can reach over 80 feet in height. The berries grow in bunches (similar to bananas) and an average açaí palm tree can yield between 3 to 8 bunches of berries.

Once ripe, acai berries bear a strong resemblance to grapes and blueberries, except that they are not quite as pulpy. They contain a large, inedible seed, which constitutes as much as 90% of the entire fruit! Although hard to find in their natural whole food form, everyone can now access the nutritional benefits of these berries on a daily basis through the convenience of health supplements, which will often incorporate both acai berry powder and concentrated extract.

But why might you want to incorporate acai berry nutrients into your daily diet?

  • Immune system support: A big clue to their high nutrient content is given away by the deep blue / purple colour of acai berries. Like most other brightly coloured natural foods, they contain healthy pigments, which support immunity, health and vitality. For example, flavonoids and potent antioxidants (such as anthocyanins). They are also a rich source of Omega 6 and Omega 9 fatty acids (good fats).
  • Heart health support: As well as containing high levels of anthocyanins, research has also shown that acai berries are rich in phytosterols which may provide cardio-protective support for our cells.
  • Energy support: Acai berries contain high levels of plant protein. Combined with their high levels of antioxidants and other nutrients, they can offer ideal support for high energy levels, stamina and general vitality.
  • Weight management support: When trying to shape up, you are obviously looking to decrease your intake of high-calorie unhealthy foods, in favour of nutrient-packed foods that are naturally low in calories. Not only will this encourage a healthy weight, it will also help to ensure that your general health remains strong during any periods of slimming and reduced food choice. In this way, acai berries can provide ideal weight management support.

So now you know why acai berries have been causing a stir in the natural health world! And these are just some of their nutritional benefits. Plus, if you favour an organic lifestyle or are trying to detox, it is worth bearing in mind that acai berries are wild harvested, as opposed to farmed. This means that they aren’t exposed to harmful pesticides and fertilisers.

Acai berries offer great all-round healthy living support – why not try them for yourself?

You can find Acai berries in our Acai Immuno Complex, available on our website and Amazon Store.

acai berries, acai berry capsules, superfood, superfruit, superfood supplement, antioxidants, Omega oils, vitamins, minerals, immunity support, weight loss, energy boost, heart health
A High-potency formulation of Brazilian freeze-dried Acai Berry powder and extract, combined with a range of other beneficial ingredients including vitamins, minerals and herbs to provide support for immunity, energy level, bones, hair, skin, nails and more.

Top Tips for Indigestion

We all have experienced indigestion at one time or another. Even if you are not prone to it on a regular basis, you may have noticed an uneasiness in your stomach after overindulging yourself on one occasion or another, like after family gathering, Christmas, Birthday parties and so on…

There are many reasons for indigestion, from occasional overindulgence as mentioned above, through stress, fatigue and overall poor diet or even parasites and fungal infections.

How do I know if I have indigestion?

Indigestion is usually diagnosed based on symptoms which most often include:

  • Bloating
  • Belching (burping)
  • Acid Reflux
  • Heartburn and heaviness
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue and feeling of dullness

Note: If you suffer from a severe, chronic indigestion, it could be a sign of a stomach ulcer or inflammation which could have a negative impact on your whole digestive tract.

Best options to remedy indigestion

Widely-advertised antacids suppress the production of stomach acid. The main issue here is that they tend to create what is commonly known as an ‘acid-rebound’ effect where your body produces even MORE acid than it did before (talk about a vicious circle!). In addition, they often contain aluminium salts which may add onto the heavy metal toxicity of your body which comes with a whole new array of problems.

So the question is: will it be the proverbial last straw which broke the camel’s back? How much more can your body take?

What are your other options?

Homeopathy can be very effective in dealing with both chronic and occasional cases of indigestion. The key lies in matching the correct remedy to your experience, i.e.

  • If your indigestion is linked to overindulgence in alcohol, stimulants or rich & spicy foods (as in a post-Saturday Night Out syndrome with an added hangover) then you could seriously consider taking Nux Vomica- a remedy most commonly used when the food lies on your stomach like a stone, you have an acid or bitter reflux and feel overall chilly.
  • If you simply suffer every time you eat something too fat, you could look at getting a dose or two of Pulsatilla or Carbo Veg. The difference here is that Pulsatilla can still taste the food they ate for ages afterwards whilst Carb Veg will have a lot of burps and feel tired and sleepy.
  • If you are not a fan of antacids yet your indigestion in of a long standing, you could take Nat Phos, a biochemic tissue salt which is widely-known for its acid-calming properties with NO acid-rebound effect!
Top 10 Herbs for Indigestion
Top 10 Herbs for Indigestion based on Traditional Usage

There are also plenty of herbal options, depending on the type of indigestion you are experiencing, e.g.

  • Anise- traditionally used in order to relieve indigestion with a lot of mucousy reflux and to improve appetite
  • Artichoke- considered as a liver supporting herb, usually taken for abdominal pain, heartburn and bloating
  • Cayenne- most commonly used by people with sluggish digestion and metabolism
  • Chamomile- ideal for cases of ‘nervous’ stomachs with a lot of cramps and gas
  • Gentian- commonly used to stimulate stomach and gallbladder secretions in cases where there is too little stomach acid
  • Geranium- traditionally used to decrease acidity, relieve pain and help in healing ulcers
  • Liquorice, Slippery Elm & Marshmallow- most useful when dealing with inflamed stomach lining due to their promotion of a protective mucous
  • Peppermint- most commonly used to neutralize excess acidity and spasms

If you are looking herbal and food supplements which were specially selected in order to provide support for digestion, why not visit our online store?

Visit our online store
You can find a wide range or herbals in our online store

If you would like to address the way your body is reacting to certain foods or bring balance back to your digestion rather than taking temporary measures, you could try bioresonance or homeopathic treatment.

Elberberry Syrup

Elderberry is a deciduous shrub which is native to most of Europe. It’s well known and valued within the field of Natural Health for its broad medicinal qualities . Elderberry can be used to prepare syrups, juices and tinctures, the most common ingredients being flowers or the characteristic black berries. Elderberry is traditionally used to boost immunity and aid in colds, or even just as a healthy and tasty addition to tea, especially during the colder months of Autum and Winter.

Elderberry’s flowers and berries contain a high amount of flavonoids which have a strong anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and duretic qualities. The berries contain vast amounts of Vitamins B and C which are crucial for optimal metabolism and immunity.

It is important to note that Elderberry stems, leaves and roots contain cyanide-inducing glycosides which can cause nausea, vomiting and can lead to a toxic build up.

This is why a proper preparation of Elderberry is of a crucial importance.

Elderberry Syrup

Elderberry syrup is traditionally used to aid in dealing with symptoms of colds and flu. it can also serve as a tasty addition to flavour teas and desserts. The Syrup is a rich source of Vitamin B and C so it’s especially useful during Autum/Winter season.

Recipe

To prepare an Elderberry Syrup, you will need:

  • 1kg of Elderberry berries
  • approx 1kg of sugar (or other sweetener, honey works just as well!)
  • water

Elderberries don’t have any particular taste to them so feel free to spice the recipe up by adding some orange, lemon, ginger or turmeric!

Wash the berries throughly (but watch out, they STAIN!) before placing in the pan and covering with sugar and topping up with enough water to ensure a slight coverage.

Cook on medium heat until the berries release all juices (you could speed it up by mashing them a little).

Simmer for another 10-15 minutes until you reach desired thickness.

Leave to cool before straining and transferring into clean jars or bottles. Elderberry Syrup can be pausterised for longer self-life or just kept in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Enjoy as 2 tablespoons per day on its own on in a nice cup of tea.

Dandelion… weed or a valuable herb?

I can’t believe it’s May already; the Spring has come to greet us in a full swing and with it came a mass of flowers. I’m sat here looking at my garden and see the grass speckled with white daisies and yellow dandelions. I can’t help but wonder… why do we consider these amazing plants as weeds when every single part of them can be used to benefit our health?

What are the benefits of Dandelions?

  • Immune system support
  • Increased metabolism
  • Increased production of bile and digestive enzymes
  • Detox
  • Liver function support

As I mentioned above, every single part of Dandelion has medicinal properties which are closely related to the time of year and stage of the plant development.

We tend to harvest dandelion root in Autumn, leaves and green buds in early Spring (before the flowering period), and flowers and stalks in late Spring/ Summer.

dandelion-4119846_1920.jpg

Seeing as most of the dandelions in my garden are in the full bloom, I am going to focus on how we can use that to our advantage.

So… what can we do with flowering dandelions?

You can pick them, wash and separate the flowers from stalks. Now we have 2 ingredients which we can use in multiple ways, some of which I described below:

14 day Dandelion stalk treatment

Slowly chewing on 5 fresh dandelion stalks each day can help with:

  • Liver and gallbladder problems and pain- especially if it extends up your back under your right shoulder
  • Gallstones- it can help to stimulate the gallbladder and liver function in order to dissolve any gallstones
  • Pancreas problems- it can aid in enzyme production
  • Diabetes – you can eat up to 10 stalks a day in order to help with regulation of sugar levels
  • Stomach problems- it increases production of gastric juices as well as cleansing of any leftover material
  • Skin problems- especially if they involve spots, rashes and itching
  • Physical and mental fatigue, especially if it includes feelings of sadness and melancholy
  • Gout, rheumatism
  • Eyesight problems

You can mix the ‘milk’ from the stalks with distilled water in order to soothe irritated eyes, eczema and go over any ‘liver spots’ or other skin discolorations.

What can you do with the ‘leftover’ flowers?

Many, many things! Dandelion flowers are very beneficial in supporting our immune system and liver function. You can use them in salads (but soak them in salty water for 30 minutes beforehand in order to get rid of the bitter taste), use them to make tea, syrup, oil infusion or a tincture.

Dandelion Tea:

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of dandelion flowers
  • 2 cups of water

Simmer for 20 minutes before straining and serving. You can drink 1 cup of dandelion tea twice a day.

Dandelion tea is very beneficial for women and can help with:

  • Irregular or scanty periods
  • Inflammation of ovaries or fallopian tubes

Dandelion syrup:

Ingredients:

  • 350-400 dandelion flowers
  • 1litre of water
  • 1 lemon
  • 1kg of sugar (you can use coconut sugar, honey, etc)

Wash the flowers throughouly and add to the cold water. Bring them to boil and add sliced lemon (if you can’t find organic lemon, peel the skin) and continue to boil for another 15 minutes. Leave to cool and sit overnight.

The next day strain all of the flowers with lemon and add sugar to the liquid. Slowly bring everything to boil between 1-2hrs, checking the consistency. Pour the boiling liquid into jars, lid them and cover over with a blanket for approx 30mins.

Dandelion syrup is especially beneficial in:

  • Strengthening immune system
  • Aiding recovery in cold & flu
  • Easing coughs and sore throats

Dandelion Oil:

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup of dandelion flowers
  • 1cup oilive oil

Wash and dry dandelion flowers then put them in a jar and fill to the top with olive oil. Put the jar in a pan filled with water and slowly heat it up over 1-2hrs. Leave to cool before straining the flowers.

You can use dandelion oil externally in:

  • Rheumatic pains
  • Muscle pains
  • Skin problems


Please note: avoid using dandelions found in parks, on sides of the road, fields and anywhere where you don’t know if they have been sprayed with chemicals. Remember to leave some for our bees, they rely on dandelions as one of their first sources of food before other flowers begin to bloom .

About the Moon, Gardening and Herbs

It’s half term and we’ve been blessed with a (considerably) good weather so it means one thing… gardening!

Along with DS1 and DS2 we’ve cleaned the greenhouses inside and out and set them up and ready for planting!

But what shall we plant first? Having had a look through the lunar calendar, today was showing up as the most beneficial time to plant seeds which will yield a crop of flowers. Did you ever use a lunar calendar? I remember my grandmother used to have one on her kitchen wall. She’d look through it whilst planning all of her gardening activities. It was natural for me to carry it on!

Not going to lie, I tried rebelling for a year or two, thinking that I can sow seeds whenever it took my fancy, but having radishes developing beautiful leaves instead of a root certainly isn’t something I would want to risk happening again, so off I went to the old and tried ways.

So… what’s the trick about the lunar calendar?

moon-1859616_1920Well, it uses the Moon phases to determine whether it is a good time to replant any seedlings or plant any seeds and, if it is, whether the planted seeds will develop an abundance of leaves (like my radishes.. ahem), flowers or roots! In addition, it gives hints when it’s the best time to use fertilizers, water plants, collect crops or prepare preserves.

You might have heard about how the Moon affects the rhythms of the Nature, influencing tides as well as our biological clocks and behavior. Why would it be any different for plants?

So… back to the subject. What did we plant?

DS2 got some coneflower seeds from school and was ever so eager to plant them ever since he brought them home so that’s what we had to start with.

That left me and DS1 with some herbal seeds. His first choice was to plant Borage. Did you know that Borage is herbal medicine?

Let’s have a closer look:borage.jpg

Borage, (Borago officinalis) is a much undervalued herb. Known mostly for its culinary uses since its cucumber-tasting leaves were often added to salads and drinks, its medicinal properties are very often overlooked… and they shouldn’t! As well as using Borage leaves in our summer salads, we will be making some tinctures which can be used as adrenal tonics, indispensible in times of heightened stress, anxiety or depression. Borage tincture works very well in exhaustion experienced by women going through menopause as well as new Mums who want a boost in their energy and milk supply.

The second set of seeds DS1 chose was Feverfew. Now, I’m sure this is an herb everyone is accustomed with!

Feverfew (Tanacetum Parthenium) is well known for its anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and antihistamine action. feverfew-8173_1920.jpg
It’s most commonly used as a migraine prophylaxis (when taken daily) as well as treatment. Feverfew as the ability to reduce blood flow to the brain and was proven to reduce the occurrence and severity of migraines. It’s also useful in cases of Rheumatoid arthritis where it centres its action on the white blood cells, reducing the inflammatory response of the system. Its action is similar to the pharmaceutical drug Celebrex. I think that, depending on the yield, we will be making some tinctures as well as leaving some of the herb to dry so it can be taken as a decoction or infusion.

We have plenty more herbs to plant but, although I took my time checking the lunar calendar, I forgot to check if we have enough compost!

 

 

 

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