Spearmint Tea for Indigestion

Spearmint, Mentha Spicata, is a member of the mint family. It is a separate plant from peppermint, but for most of history these two mints are often lumped together. Spearmint was the original medicinal mint and Peppermint was a hybrid that developed later.(1) Both help digestive problems. Today, I will be discussing Spearmint.

Spearmint is well known in folklore as a remedy for colds and sore throats, inflammation, hormonal, circulation problems, nausea, headaches, acne, and perhaps most popularly for digestive problems. It is also the flavor of a popular chewing gum.  Digestion problems include flatulence, bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, increased bile production, and cramping .(2)

There doesn’t seem to be a lot of research on Spearmint. Most web sites about spearmint cite peppermint studies. I did find a few studies on spearmint, but not about digestion. According to one study Spearmint essential oil is anti fungal.(3)  Another study investigated hirsutism  (excess hair growth) in women and found it helpful for the mild form of the disease.(4)

Peppermint tea is a delicious way to use this remedy. Some folks just chew the leaves. It is easy to grow and you can grow it indoors. You can buy spearmint tea online or at a tea specialty shop. You can grow your own if you want it fresh. Leaves fresh from the garden  have more flavor than the dried leaves. Below is a recipe.

Spearmint Tea

1 oz. dried herbs or 2 oz. fresh
1 pint of boiling water

Pour the water into a saucepan. Do not use an aluminum pan. If you are using fresh leaves be sure to rinse them off well. Add the leaves to the sauce pan and simmer about 10 minutes. Strain out the leaves. Let it cool a few minutes then serve.

Spearmint tea can be bought in bags if you prefer them for convenience.

Sources:
(1) Castleman, Michael, The New Healing Herbs, 2009, Rodale, p. 368-371
(2) https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/spearmint.html
(3) http://www.ipcbee.com/vol15/10-U00041.pdf
(4) http://www.ncbi.nlm..nih.gov/pubmed/1731049

Be sure to check out my web site at www.valerielull.com

Valerie Lull
Author, Master  Herbalist
www.valerielull.com
valerie@valerielull.com

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Herbs for Tired Adrenals

adaptogenic-herbs-460x283

 

By,

Valerie Lull

The adrenal glands are two endocrine glands. There is one above each kidney. The cortex, or outer part of the adrenal gland, secretes hormones and the inner part, the medulla, secretes epinephrine and norepinephrine. Scientists are split on the concept of adrenal fatigue. Conventional doctors don’t think it exists. Natural medicine providers think it does. For this blog I’m going on the assumption that it exists and that there are herbs that can assist the situation.

Adrenal fatigue occurs when people are under mental, physical and emotional stress. One of the hormones that the adrenals make is cortisol. This hormone helps the body deal with stress. Too much stress causes the adrenals to release less of the hormone.  Some of the symptoms include chronic tiredness, mild depression or anxiety, lethargy, and brain fog.

There are a number of vitamins, minerals and herbs that help. Among them are the B vitamins and vitamin C. There are herbs that are helpful for adrenal fatigue. They are called adaptogens.  Let’s look at some of these herbs.

Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)

A little known fact about ginkgo is that it can affect stress levels. In a study published in Clinical Nutrition, it lowered cortisol levels in healthy individuals being tested for glucose tolerance.

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

Ashwagandha comes from India and is useful for insomnia due to stress. It is said to improve DHEA-S levels. It also benefits the thyroid and adrenals and boosts energy levels. It is available as a tablet and a capsule.

Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea)

Rhodiola comes from Siberia and is traditionally used for stress and and fatigiue. It is also used for enhancing mental performance and mild depression.

Astragalus (Astragalus membraneceus)

Astragalus comes from Chinese medicine and is usually used with other herbs. It can be used as a tonic or for adrenal support. It gives a boost to  the immune system and helps control blood sugar levels.

Herbs for tired adrenals are usually best as a combination. There are herbal formulas available with the combined herbs. These herbs are available in capsule and tablet form and many of them can be made into a tea or infusion and sipped throughout the day.

Remember to always consult with your health care practitioner before starting a herbal regimen for any disorder.

Check out my website at www.valerielull.com.

 

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/adrenal-gland

http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/adrenal-fatigue-is-it-real#1

https://holisticprimarycare.net/topics/topics-a-g/chronic-disease/1241-herbal-options-for-managing-adrenal-fatigue.html

Kudolo, G.B., Wang W., Javors, M Blodgett J., Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, MSC 6246, University of Texas HSC at San Antonio, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, 78229-3900, USA. Kudolo@uthscsa.edu

https://www.naturalproductsinsider.com/articles/2016/12/herbs-for-adrenal-fatigue.aspx

Oolong Tea Has Health Properties

oolong-tea

By,

Valerie Lull

Oolong tea goes back at least 1,000 years. Historians think it comes from Fuijan province in China. Oolong is the name of the man who discovered this tea. Tea from Taiwan is also known as Formosa Oolong. A British ambassador in the 19th century dedicated some of the tea to the British queen. She was quite pleased with it and called it Oriental Beauty. Not as much research has been done on Oolong tea as on Black tea and especially Green tea. but there are some health properties associated with oolong tea.

Oolong tea is from the same camellia sinensis bush that black, green and white tea comes from. The difference in the teas is in the way the teas are processed. Black tea is allowed to oxidize until it is black, green tea is not oxidized at all and oolong is partially oxidized. Oolong has some oxidation but not as much as black tea. White tea is different altogether, it is the first new leaf and bud of the plant and is simply steamed. White tea in ancient times was reserved only for the Chinese emperor.

Oolong tea has been used to sharpen thinking, and increase alertness. It is used in folklore for prevention of cancer, tooth decay, osteoporosis and heart disease. It contains vitamins and minerals like calcium, copper, manganese, selenium, potassium, vitamins A,C,E and K. It also has folic acid and niacin.

There was a study done in 2013 and published in The Journal of Cancer Epidemiology, that studied tea consumption and ovarian cancer risk. It was done on 500 Chinese women with ovarian cancer and 500 women as controls. In the study results the women who regularly drank green tea, black tea and oolong tea had a lower risk of ovarian cancer.

While there still needs to be more research on oolong tea and pancreatic cancer, the results seem promising and warrant more research. Always consult your healthcare practitioner if you have cancer or any other disorder and want to use tea therapeutically.

Check out my website at www.valerielull.com

I am working on the 3rd edition of my book Ten Spices for Health land Longevity. I hope to have it out in the next couple months.

References

http://www.teavivre.com/info/oolong-tea-history/

http://teapedia.org/en/Formosa_oolong_tea

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-1099-oolong%20tea.aspx?activeingredientid=1099

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/beverage/health-benefits-of-oolong-tea.html

 2Lee AH1Su DPasalich MBinns CW. Tea consumption reduces ovarian cancer risk, 2013 Feb;37(1):54-9. doi: 10.1016/j.canep.2012.10.003. Epub 2012 Oct 26.

Blueberries and Memory

Blueberries XII

By,

Valerie Lull

As a child, blueberry pie was one of my favorites, along with blueberry turnovers and blueberry syrup on my pancakes. It was not until many years later that I learned what a powerhouse of nutrition these small blue gems were. Blueberries are one of the fruits that are native to North America. They are related to cranberries and rhododendrons.

Blueberries do not contain cholesterol and they do have fiber and potassium, along with vitamins C, B6, K, and folate. All of these things are supportive for heart health. Other things blueberries support is skin health, and prevention of ageing and cancer.

Blueberries are popularly thought help memory problems in the elderly. There seems to be some scientific evidence that this is possible. A study was published in 2010 in The Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry testing 9 older adults with memory changes. At 12 weeks there was  improved word list recall and reduced depressive symptoms. The findings suggest that moderate blueberry supplementation can have neurocognitive benefit. More studies are suggested.

In 2007 a lab study was published in the Journal of Neuroscience Research, investigating the effects of blueberry extract in preventing inflammation-induced activation of microglia cells. The results suggested that the polyphenols in blueberries lessen inflammatory response in microglia in the brain. Many researchers believe that inflammation is the underlying cause of many chronic diseases that come with aging.

Some scientists think the research holds some possible implications for preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Actually there isn’t that much research, especially in studies on humans. While the jury is out on this, there is no harm in consuming blueberries. They are delicious, packed with nutrition may help. As always, when interested in starting a new health remedy, be sure to talk it over with your health care provider.

Check out my website at www.valerielull.com

References

http://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-proven-benefits-of-blueberries#section4

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jnr.21205/full

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2850944/

 

Dandelion and Hibiscus Natural Diuretics

 

Hibiscus

By,

Valeriei Lull

A diuretic is a substance that removes fluid from the body. Diuretics are very useful for things like losing weight, easing the discomfort of PMS, or lowering blood pressure. There are several herbs that work as natural diuretics. These are usually gentler than many prescription diuretics. Today I’m discussing two popular herbs that have been used for hundreds of years. They are Dandelion and Hibiscus.

Dandelion

The French called Dandelion ‘pis-en-lit’, which literally means water in the bed. The leaves help remove excess fluid from the body by increasing urine production. Dandelion is easy to use. The leaves and roots can be made into a tea, or you can use capsules. The tea can be purchased loose or in tea bags. You can also use dandelion for culinary purposes and pick the leaves fresh for salads or soups. Roasting the root makes it into a coffee substitute. Some folks even make wine from dandelions, though I’m dubious about the wine being a diuretic.

Do not use dandelion if you are pregnant or nursing. There has not been enough research to determine its safety. If you are allergic to ragweed, daises and marigolds you might want to skip using dandelion.

Hibiscus

Hibiscus lowers the level of oxidation in cells. Oxidation can cause high blood pressure. Hibiscus can lower blood pressure as a diuretic by increasing the elimination of sodium without affecting the potassium levels. Potassium is important in balancing out sodium in the body. The ratio of potassium to sodium is very important in regulating blood pressure.

Hibiscus is popular as a tea. It is a sour tea, so you may want to use a sweetener of your choice. It is available in tea bags or loose. It is also available as an extract if the tea has too much ‘zing’ for your taste.

Hibiscus is not recommended for pregnant and nursing women. There is some evidence that it may cause miscarriage. Hibiscus may lower blood sugar levels, so diabetics be careful. If you wish to use any herb be sure to talk to your health care practitioner first.

Check out my website at www.valerielull.com

References 

http://www.ourherbgarden.com/herb-history/dandelion-history.html

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-706-dandelion.aspx?activeingredientid=706&

http://www.superfoods-scientific-research.com/medicinal-herbs/hibiscus-tea-side-effects.html

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-211-hibiscus.aspx?activeingredientid=211&activeingredientname=hibiscus

Almonds a Healthful Snack

Almond NutsBy

Valerie Lull

Almonds, Prunus dulcis, have been around for thousands of years. Some authorities say they originated in China, others the Middle East. The ancient Romans gave almonds to newly married couples as a charm for fertility.  Almonds quickly spread around the Mediterranean; particularly Spain, Morocco, Greece and Israel. The Franciscans brought almonds to California which now produces 80% of the worlds almond crop.

There are sweet almonds and bitter almonds. The ones we usually eat are the sweet almonds.  Bitter almonds contain cyanide precursors. They are not available in the United States. Bitter almonds can be processed with heat to remove the poisonous substance and can be used in oils, food flavorings, soaps and cosmetic items.

Almonds are very nutritious. They contain vitamin E, and B2, magnesium, manganese, biotin, and phosphorus. They have a considerable amount of monounsaturated fat, which is healthful for your heart. Almonds are also a good source of fiber and protein. Almonds have many antioxidants that can protect against oxidative stress which can contribute to aging and chronic diseases. Most of the nutrients are in the brown skins that cover the almonds.

Almonds have many health benefits. They can reduce hunger, promoting weight loss. They can assist in lowering blood pressure and reducing blood sugar. Almonds can also help to lower cholesterol. They are readily available in your super market. Raw almonds are better than roasted almonds, and roasted almonds are better than none.

Awhile back I posted a blog about horseradish. If you are interested in growing horseradish in your garden you’ll enjoy this. Here’s the link https://www.sproutabl.com/gardening/herbs/growing-horseradish/

Check out my website at www.valerielull.com

References

http://www.almonds.com/consumers/about-almonds/history-of-almonds?mobile

https://www.leaf.tv/articles/what-are-bitter-almonds/

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=20

https://authoritynutrition.com/9-proven-benefits-of-almonds/

http://www.healthline.com/nutrition/9-proven-benefits-of-almonds#section3

Liver Friendly Foods

liver-friendly-foods.jpg

By

Valerie Lull

Our liver is always busy working to neutralize and eliminate toxins from our body. Sometimes in today’s toxin laden world it more often than not works overtime. Too much overtime can cause consequences both to the liver and the other organs in our body. There are many simple things we can do to assist our liver and help to lighten its burden. Today I am discussing “liver friendly foods”. They are readily available in the produce section of your supermarket.

Garlic

With most people they either love garlic or they hate it. Garlic is often used in cooking to flavor and spice up foods. It is used  in Italian cooking as well as other cuisines. Fresh garlic can be bought in the produce  aisle, chopped up, and put in salads, entrees, pasta dishes, and stir-fry’s. Garlic has many health properties that include the maintenance of the liver. A study done in 2013 showed that garlic destroys liver cancer cells. Garlic activates liver enzymes that flush out the toxins.

Cilantro

Cilantro is popular as a detox herb. It helps to detoxify heavy metals in the body, supporting healthy liver function.  Cilantro is tasty and used as an ingredient in all kinds of cooking. It is also used as a garnish, but let’s hope you eat it and don’t let it sit on your plate and look pretty!

Lemons

It seems that I can’t write enough about lemons. Despite the lemon’s sour taste it is a very popular fruit, loaded with Vitamin C. Lemons induce the liver to produce bile which is necessary for digestion. The vitamin C helps produce glutathione which cleanses and regenerates the liver.

Green Tea

Green tea seems to be good for everything and it is very popular. Green tea has catechins and they help to improve the functioning of the liver. They also seem to help with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. A study was done in 2013 and published in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine. Seventeen patients with NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) drank green tea high in catechins or green tea low in catechins or a placebo for 12 weeks. The group that drank the tea high in catechins showed improved liver fat content and decreased inflammation in the liver.

One way you can have your green tea is to put lemon in it. That way you get two liver friendly foods at once. As with any decision to use a natural health protocol, be sure to discuss it with your health care provider beforehand.

Be sure and check out my website at www.valerielull.com

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24059278

https://draxe.com/cilantro-benefits/

http://wellnesswithin.org/2013/09/lemon-water-a-morning-tonic/

Sakata, R., Nakamura, T., Torimura, T., Ueno, T., Sata, M. “Green tea with high-density catechins improves liver function and fat infiltration in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) patients: A double-blind placebo-controlled study.” International Journal of Molecular Medicine 32.5 (2013): 989-994.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24065295