Seven Health Benefits of Lemons


Valerie Lull

Just about everyone knows that lemons are a healthful fruit. They are used a lot in the culinary world for everything from flavoring for chicken to lemon meringue pie. They are full of vitamin C, minerals, flavonoids and many other good nutrients. They are also low in calories and useful for weight loss.


Here are some little known facts about the health benefits of lemons that I would like to share with you.

  1. Lemons help balance the pH level in your body. Lemons can be quite acidic but once your body processes them they are alkaline.
  2. Lemons are high in potassium. Lemons have 80 milligrams of this mineral. Potassium is important to help regulate blood pressure.
  3. Lemons contain antioxidants. The vitamin C in lemons is an antioxidant. Antioxidants fight free radicals which promote inflammation and chronic disease.
  4. Lemons are a mood booster. Lemons contain a high amount of negatively charged ions which help to improve mood and energy.
  5. Lemons are an insect repellent. This is good if you have children or pets because it won’t harm them and it will make the bugs go away.
  6. Lemons have a high fiber content. Lemons have pectin which helps to keep you from getting hungry or overeating.
  7. Lemon juice helps your liver. The juice helps flush out toxins and causes the liver to produce bile.
All these things are great for maintaining good health and preventing disease. Years ago when I lived in California we had a lemon tree in our back yard. It was great fun to pick lemons off our own tree to make fresh lemonade. Lemons are readily available in any supermarket and not  too expensive. Many people drink warm lemon water in the morning to get their digestion going. Some folks drink lemon water throughout the day. However you like your lemons, they are a great super food.
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Horse Chestnut and Varicose Veins



Valerie Lull

Horse chestnut, Aesculus hippocastanum, is a tree that originated in the Balkans. It was introduced into the UK in the 16th century.  The tree produces prickly fruits that contain one or two inedible nuts. This tree can live up to 300 years. Horse chestnut is in a completely different family from the sweet chestnut tree. Horse chestnut contains a poison called esculin that can kill a person if it is eaten raw. The nut can be processed so that the good constituents can be separated from the bad ones.

Horse chestnut was historically used to help heal horses and cattle of respiratory illnesses. It also had many uses for human diseases. A tea made from horse-chestnut was used in Turkish alternative medicine to help pass kidney stones and for an upset stomach. It is still used in Turkish alternative medicine today.

In today’s world horse-chestnut is used mostly for vein health in the legs.  Horse chestnut extract contains 16% to 20% of a constituent called  aescin. This is useful for varicose veins and hemorrhoids. It also prevents and reduces inflammation in the body.

Other uses for horse-chestnut extract include eczema, cough, arthritis and joint pain. It also helps swelling of the legs, and itching. The bark can be used for malaria and dysentery.  Using the raw seed, bark, flower or leaf can lead to death. Do not use if you are pregnant or nursing. Don’t try to use it on your own. Consult with your health care professional if you want to use this extract.

Health Benefits of Mace



Valerie Lull


Mace, Myristica fragrans, is a spice. Mace comes from the “spice islands” now known as Indonesia. Mace and nutmeg come from the same plant. Mace is the dried outer bands that surrounds the nutmeg kernel. These bands are called arils. The arils are removed from the nutmeg seed and dried. They are then ground to powder. Mace is used in the culinary world for roasting meats or in pastries, donuts, and cakes. It tastes a lot like nutmeg but a little more bitter and with a touch of pepper.

Mace has health benefits. It has traditionally used for problems like nausea, diarrhea and gas. Mace has some anti-anxiety effects. It is also thought to help depression. In Chinese medicine it is used as a massage oil to help relieve pain in the muscles and joints. They also used it for bruises and sores. Mace is sometimes used in cough syrups. According to folklore it boosts the appetite and increases blood circulation.

Mace is anti-depressant, digestive and carminative (relieves gas). Mace contains volatile oils like myristicin, elemicin, eugenol and safrole.  Mace has vitamins A, B, and C, thiamine, folate and niacin. Mace also has calcium, magnesium, copper. phosphorus, potassium,  and iron. A one tablespoon serving has 24.9 calories, 0.4 g of protein, and 2.7 g of carbohydrates.

A decoction made with mace and honey is useful for digestive problems. To make a decoction use 1 ounce of dried herb or 2 ounces of fresh herb and 1 pint of water. Bring to a boil, then turn it down to medium  and let it simmer 10-20 minutes depending on how strong you want it. Add honey or sweetener of choice. It can be stored in the refrigerator for no more than 72 hours.

Consuming large portions of mace may cause sweating, palpitations and headaches. If you want to use mace for health purposes, be sure to talk it over with your health care practitioner. Some medications do not mix well with mace.

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Turmeric and Inflammation



Valerie Lull, MH

There are many spices that come from India. One very popular spice is turmeric, Curcuma longa.  It is used extensively in Indian cooking and healing. Turmeric has been used in Indian culture for thousands of years and is called “holy powder”. Old legends tell us that the ancient Polynesians sailed with it to Hawaii where it is known as `olena.

Turmeric is used for both culinary and healing purposes.   Turmeric is best known as an anti-inflammatory.  Inflammation is a beneficial occurrence that happens when  bacteria and viruses enter the body.  This is good as long as the inflammation does not get out of control. When the inflammation is triggered and there is not a real threat it forms excessive  low-grade inflammation in the body and this can contribute to allergies, autoimmune disease, heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. This irritates the tissues and can cause chronic pain, swelling and redness.

Studies have been done in India regarding the consumption of turmeric. India has a low rate of Alzheimer’s disease and this is thought to be because of the high amount of turmeric they use in their diets.

Turmeric contains a number of constituents. Perhaps the best known constituent is curcumin. There is a controversy over whether it is better to use turmeric and get the full benefit of all its constituents or if it is better to separate the curcumin from the turmeric and use that alone.

Turmeric has 71% carbs, 23% fat, and 6% protein. it contains minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. Turmeric has 1.76 mg of vitamin C, 2.6 mcg of folate and traces of other B vitamins. It also contains g-3 and omega 6 fatty acids.

Here is a recipe for hot turmeric milk from our friends at allrecipes.

1/4 t ground turmeric

1/4 t ground cardamom

1/8 t black pepper

1 pinch ginger

1 pinch cloves

1 pinch allspice

1 C milk

3/4 t honey or sweetener of choice

1/8 t vanilla extract

Heat milk   3-4 minutes

Wisk turmeric, cardamon, black pepper, ginger, cloves and allspice together. Add sweetener and vanilla to milk and stir. Wisk in spice mixture. Reduce heat to low and cook till the flavors blend, 2-3 minutes. Pour through a strainer and serve. If you are vegan you can use soy milk or almond milk.




Valerie Lull

Marjoram, (Origanum marjorana) is a herb that we don’t usually hear much about, but it is good for skin, digestive problems and pain. It can be used as a culinary spice, a herb or as an essential oil. It is used to flavor foods and beverages, and as a fragrance for cosmetics and soaps.

Marjoram originated in the Mediterranean; some authorities say Cyprus and Southern Turkey, others say Egypt. The ancient Greeks believed marjoram was a symbol of peace, harmony and happiness.  It is sometimes called oregano, but not to be confused with the oregano we use on pizza.

The essential oil is extracted by steam distillation. The essential oil is useful for many things. It relieves pain from colds, fevers, inflammation, sore muscles, headaches and aches and pains.  It does not have adverse effects like NSAIDS.(over the counter pain relievers).

Marjoram contains vitamins A and C, calcium and Iron. It also has antioxidants. Besides the oil, marjoram can be used as an infusion of fresh or dried leaves or as a powder. Some herbalists make remedies with the flowers. Drinking the tea can improve digestion, appetite, relieve nausea, diarrhea, constipation and stomach cramps.

A simple anti-wrinkle ointment can be made using 1 or 2 drops of marjoram essential oil and two tablespoons coconut oil. Mix the two together and apply to  your face. It will help soften wrinkles.

Here is a recipe for Marjoram tea. Put 2-3 Tablespoons of fresh marjoram leaves in a cup. Pour over leaves 8 oz. of boiling water. Steep 5 – 10 minutes. Strain and use sweetener of choice. I like honey.….0…1..64.serp..0.0.0.HIcvC0noGOA

Goldenseal Tea (Hydrastis canadensis)


By Valerie Lull

Goldenseal is a common and powerful herb that
is good for assisting the immune system in warding off
colds and flu. It is a Native American plant and was widely
used by Native Americans, particularly the Iroquois and
Cherokee. Goldenseal has a reputation for being a cureall
and has been known as an effective antibiotic. It is
also useful for diarrhea and yeast infections. Goldenseal
is an endangered species, so be sure your tea comes from
a reputable source. You can find reputable companies on
the Internet. Goldenseal should not be used by pregnant
women or people with heart conditions. Some authorities
think it raises blood pressure.

Goldenseal may be used as a tonic and a detoxifier. It is
useful for respiratory infections and mucous membrane infections,
as well as for diarrhea and intestinal infections.
Goldenseal may help diabetes, yeast infections, periodontal
disease, eye disease, and liver problems in alcoholics. It is
a popular treatment for urinary tract infections. Goldenseal
has natural antibiotic properties. It helps to kill the harmful
bacteria in your system.

Here are some more uses for goldenseal tea: boost immune
system, stimulate appetite, anti-inflammatory, eye
infections, peptic ulcers, colitis, anorexia, and irritable
bowel syndrome. Use as an eyewash or as a douche for
yeast infections in women. Gargling with goldenseal heals
canker sores in the mouth and eases sore throats. Don’t use
if you’re taking blood thinning drugs like Coumadin; don’t
use if pregnant or breast-feeding.

Suggestions for use:
Take with meals

Honey sweetens the bitter taste

One last word. Goldenseal is an endangered species. Wildcrafting goldenseal is not advised. Be sure you get your goldenseal from  a reputable source.

Goldenseal Tea from the Root

Simmer 1 teaspoon of dried root in 8 ounces of boiling
water for 10–20 minutes. Enjoy.

Goldenseal Tea

Goldenseal Tea from Tea Bags

1–2 goldenseal tea bags
Honey or another sweetener of choice
1-2 cups of boiling water
Pour boiling water over the tea bag and let steep for 5 minutes.
Add sweetener to taste.

Goldenseal Lemon Peppermint Tea

1 goldenseal tea bag
1 lemon tea bag or ½ squeezed lemon
1 peppermint tea bag (to flavor the bitter taste)
Sweetener to taste
Pour boiling water over the tea bags in a large cup or small
teapot and let steep for 5 minutes. Add sweetener to taste

Question: Have you ever used goldenseal tea? How did you like it? Your comments are welcome.

— Valerie Lull
Author, Ten healthy Teas
Web Site:





Persimmons are a fruit that is edible and grows on a tree. Persimmons have been called the “fruit of the god’s” and are actually a berry. The most common variety in the United States is the Japanese persimmon.

Persimmons are a native of China and grown there for thousands of years. They spread to Japan and have been grown there 1300 years. They are the Japanese national fruit. They were first introduced to the United states around 1870.

The fruit matures in the fall and the color is a light yellow-orange to a dark yellow-orange. This fruit is not that common in America. I never heard of persimmons until I was in my 20’s and was served persimmon cookies. They were delicious. The taste is like apricots with a pudding type of texture.

Persimmons are loaded with nutrition like Vitamins a, B-complex, and C. They also contain manganese, copper and phosphorus. They have flavonoids, antioxidants and catechins. Other antioxidants include beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin. Persimmons are high in fructose so if you are diabetic consume them in moderation.

Persimmons can be eaten fresh or cooked and included in salads, jams, salsa  or as a dessert.  Here is a recipe for persimmon cookies.

Persimmon Cookies

2 persimmons, pureed

1 C white sugar

1/2 C butter

1 Egg

2 C white flour

1 t baking soda

1 t cinnamon

1/2 t ground cloves

1/2 t ground nutmeg

1/2 t salt

1 C chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease or line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Cream margarine and sugar, and beat in the egg and persimmons. Add flour mixture and mix. Add nuts. Drop by teaspoonfuls, 2 inches apart onto baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

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