By Valerie Lull
By Valerie Lull
People who are familiar with the Christmas story recognize these items as the gifts of the Magi to the Christ Child. They were rare and valuable commodities in ancient times. They are more readily available today. Did you know that all three of these items have health benefits?
Gold has many uses in modern medicine. It is used in surgery for damaged nerves, bones and blood vessels. It is used for treating several cancers, it is used to clear coronary arteries and it is used for arthritis treatment. Gold is used for regenerating sluggish organs, improving mental and emotional problems. It is reported to promote increased energy and libido.
Boswellia, which is what the ancients called Frankincense is used extensively in modern herbal medicine. It is a tree or shrub that produces a resin. This can be distilled into an essential oil that is antiseptic, disinfectant, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, tonic and a dozen other things. It is used in folk remedies for immune issues, oral health, astringent properties, female problems, digestion, anti-aging, as a tonic, a diuretic, and more.
Myrrh is also a resin that also comes from trees. Myrrh oil has been used for centuries by ancient cultures as well as modern ones. Myrrh resin and oil have been valued historically for its wound healing qualities. It is also valued for use on the skin, especially chapped skin. Myrrh oil is also used in perfumes and is used by aromatherapists as a massage oil. It can be used as a mouthwash, and in creams and lotions.
As the holidays continue I want to wish everyone who reads my blog a happy holiday season, and best wishes for the new year. May it be filled with joy, love, peace and happiness.
Be sure to check out my website at www.valerielull.com
By Valerie Lull
When the holidays come certain spices and herbs come to mind like peppermint, ginger and cinnamon. It makes me think of cinnamon buns, cinnamon breads, baked apples with cinnamon, cinnamon tea, coffee cake with cinnamon, apple pie with cinnamon, even cinnamon candy and chewing gum. Cinnamon seems to have unlimited uses in cooking and baking. For me cinnamon brings up visions of sitting by a fireplace all cozy with my cat and eating some delicious cinnamon treat.
There is an airline company called Cinnamon Air which will fly you to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is one of the places that cinnamon comes from. Cinnamon from Sri Lanka, c. verum is often called “true cinnamon”. It is a thin, smooth bark with a yellow-brown color and a fragrant aroma. The other popular cinnamon is cassia. This comes from China and Indonesia, and is the one used most in the United States. It has a strong, spicy flavor and is good for baking. Chinese cinnamon is a light reddish-brown.
Besides being good on the taste buds, cinnamon has many health benefits. One of the best known benefits is that cinnamon can aid in managing blood sugar. Additional health benefits include antioxidants that reduce damage from free radicals, anti-inflammatory properties, managing cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, and helping prevent Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and cancer.
Some toothpaste contain cinnamon because it protects against microbes that cause bad breath, tooth decay and cavities. Cinnamon essential oil can be used like a natural mouthwash that kills bacteria. Cinnamon is used for flavoring chewing gums that help keep the breath fresh.
Here is a recipe for a cinnamon holiday tea.
6 cups water
1 tsp. whole cloves
1 (inch) piece cinnamon stick
6 tea bags
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup sweetener
1/4 cup pineapple juice
2 Tbls. lemon juice
Pour water in a pot and add cloves and cinnamon stick. Bring water to a boil and remove from heat. Add tea bags to water and set aside to steep until the tea is to your liking, at least 5 minutes. Remove and discard cloves and cinnamon stick and tea bags.
Stir orange juice, sugar, pineapple juice, and lemon juice together in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook and stir until the sugar or sweetener dissolves. Pour juice mixture into the spiced tea and serve hot. Enjoy!
Feeling overwhelmed lately? Perhaps you feel stressed out and frustrated. Stress is a natural side effect of life. Some stress is good for us; it can relieve boredom and keep us on our toes. But it can easily get out of control. Everyday life is filled with stressful situations, so it’s important to have tools that promote calm and peace.
Herbs and essential oils are exceptional when used to combat the little stresses of everyday life and promote peace and calm. So if your cat threw up, or the baby cried all night, or any of the hundred little frustrating things that happen during the day, there are a number of soothing essential oils and herbs for peace and calm.
Chamomile is very popular for its calming properties. It has been used for decades to help promote peace and relaxation. It can help you get a handle on a stressful situation.
German chamomile Matricaria recutita (L.) has a pleasant apple-like scent. It can be prepared as a delicious tea or taken in capsule form. One research study examined its calming effects on patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) with positive results, although it was concluded that more research studies are needed. An old folk remedy recommends stuffing a pillow with chamomile.
You’re sure to enjoy chamomile’s relaxing aroma. Chamomile M. recutita tea can be safely used for children and babies in small doses, but consult your pediatrician first.
Lemongrass Cymbopogon citratus (Stapf) is a fragrant herb that can be soothing on frayed nerves and has traditionally been used to promote calm. It has a lemony flavor that is used extensively in Asian cooking. The use of lemongrass in aromatherapy can encourage inner peace and relaxation.
Passionflower Passiflora incarnata (L.) is a beautiful botanical. The fruit is often used in cuisine, but the flower, leaves, and stem have mild soothing qualities on the body and mind. It is native to South America, and has traditionally been used to induce calm and take the edge off a stressful day. It is also fantastic to promote healthy sleep patterns.
Passionflower P. incarnata tea is a wonderful way to prepare this herb and experience its soothing properties.
St. John’s Wort Hypericum perforatum (L.) is one of the most popular botanicals used to promote an uplifted, healthy mood. Since stress and mood go hand-in-hand, a healthy feeling of happiness can calm you down … naturally!
It has been said that St. John’s Wort “brings the stork,” but the Herb Research Foundation says these fears are unfounded, as this herb has been used in Europe for centuries with no report of unwanted pregnancies.
It is recommended to use St. John’s Wort H. perforatum extract three times per day standardized to .3% hypericin at 300 milligrams.
This herb can be taken as a tea, a tincture, a capsule, or in pill form. Do not use St. John’s Wort H. perforatum if you are taking antidepressants. If you are using Indinavir—a component of antiretroviral therapy to treat HIV—do not use St. John’s Wort as it is also contraindicated.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention green tea Camellia sinensis (L.). Popular in many health and wellness circles, green tea is traditionally used for its soothing effects. Green tea contains L-theanine, which has been studied for its potential calming properties.
Feeling strung out? Have a break and take a few minutes for yourself, relax, and sip the warm tea. Those few minutes may be all it takes to help re-focus and revive.
Some herbs interact with prescription drugs, so be sure to discuss any herbal preparations you use with your healthcare provider or registered herbalist with the American Herbalist Guild (AHG). Be especially careful if you are pregnant or nursing.
What are your “go-to” herbs for peace and calm? Tell me your favorites in the comments.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a graduate of American College of Healthcare Sciences, the Institution that publishes this blog. However, all opinions are my own. This blog may contain affiliate links. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
 Amsterdam JD, Yimei L, Soeller I, et al. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of oral Matricaria recutita (chamomile) extract therapy for generalized anxiety disorder. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2009;29(4):378-382.
 Howe, M. Chamomile: Shelter from the storm. Webmd. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/chamomile-shelter-from-the-storm
 Blanco MM, Costa CA, Freire AO, Santos JG, Jr, Costa M. Neurobehavioral effect of essential oil of Cymbopogon citratus in mice. Phytomedicine. 2009;16(2–3):265–270. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17561386
 Passionflower. University of Maryland Medical Center. Retrieved fromhttps://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/passionflower
 Archer, D. St. John’s Wort and Depression. Is St. John’s Wort a safe, effective alternative to medication for depression? 2013. Retrieved fromhttps://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/reading-between-the-headlines/201308/st-johns-wort-and-depression
 Possible Interactions with: St. John’s Wort. University of Maryland Medical Center. Retrieved from https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb-interaction/possible-interactions-with-st-johns-wort
 Heese T, Jenkinson J, Love C, et al. Anxiolytic effects of L-theanine—a component of green tea-when combined with midazolam, in the male Sprague-Dawley rat. AANA Journal. 2009;77(6):445–449. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20108732
By Valerie Lull
Cabbage Brassica oleracea capitata, has been used for food for thousands of years. It is thought to originate in Asia and brought to Europe by the Celts. Cabbage does well in cool climates where there is winter. Cabbage was brought to the New World in 1536.
Cabbage is considered one of the healthiest foods around. It has vitamins C and K , B1, B2 and B6, folate and manganese. There is green cabbage and red cabbage. Both kinds are healthful.
Cabbage has anti-oxidant properties and these properties appear to have a preventative role with cancer. Most notably bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer. Cabbage produces isothiocyanate compounds that help fight and prevent cancer.
There is another compound in cabbage called Indole-3-carbinol. It seems to protect against the effects of estrogen, and helps reduce breast cancer risk
A folk remedy for cancer is drinking cabbage juice. There doesn’t appear to be much scientific research for this but there are people who drink 2 pints of the raw cabbage juice daily.
If drinking the juice seems to be unpalatable there are many ways cabbage can be cooked. Here is a recipe for cabbage soup that is one of my favorite soups.
German Cabbage Soup
1 1/2 cups cabbage
2 T chopped onion
1/4/ t caraway seeds
2 T b utter
2 C Potato soup
1 can evaporated milk, or milk of choice
Cook cabbage with caraway, onion and butter till tender. Add milk and soup. Heat to desired temperature and then serve.
This blog is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease. Use discretion and consult with your health practitioner before starting a regimen.
Check out my website at http://www.valerielull.com
By, Valerie Lull, MH
The health benefits of coffee seems to have come to the forefront in research on foods. Most of the research seems to show that coffee is healthy in moderation.
Some of the things coffee may help are:
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Ten Healthy Teas
I love fall. There is a crispness in the air and folks are harvesting all the good foods we enjoy in the fall. One popular fall crop is apples. I think of baked apples, apple pie, apple cobbler, apple turnovers, apple cake and apple crisp. One way I enjoy apples in the fall is in the form of apple tea. Apple tea is so versatile, there are many things that can be added to it to spice it up. Here are a few ideas.
Cinnamon apple tea is useful for folks who have high cholesterol and blood sugar problems. A study done by NWFP Agricultural University in Pakistan found that cinnamon can reduce blood sugar in patients with type two diabetes.The apples also contain vitamin B-6.
Apple ginger tea is a good combination for a cool fall day. When I drink apple ginger tea on a cool fall or winter morning the ginger helps to set the mood for the day and the apple sweetens it up. Ginger is good for digestive problems and is an anti-inflammatory. Cinnamon can be added to the apple and ginger for a flavorful blend.
Hot apple cider vinegar tea has many health benefits. It was used in New England long ago to cure just about anything. There is an interesting book by D.C. Jarvis, MD, an old time country doctor, that gives many interesting anecdotes about using apple cider vinegar that you may find interesting. When you make the tea the best apple cider vinegar to use is Braggs. (I have no connection with Braggs, I just think it is a good product). Here is a recipe. For one cup use a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and a teaspoon of honey. Add hot water and enjoy.
Turkish apple is an interesting variation. There are various versions of it depending on what spices you use. A basic recipe has apple, cinnamon, cloves, and orange. Optional ingredients include black tea, rose petals, and honey or the sweetener of your choice. The tea is often used at the end of a meal when one has overindulged. The tea can also cleanse the blood and urinary tract. Here is a basic recipe.
2 apples, do not peel or remove seeds, cut in 6 pieces
1 orange, do not peel, cut in 6 pieces
1 cinnamon stick
4 cups of water.
Cook everything in a saucepan. Bring to a boil then simmer until fruit is tender. Strain into a bowl. Pour tea into cups. Drink with pleasure.
If you buy your tea in the supermarket you will find many different blends of apple tea. There are various spiced versions, and apple tea can be mixed with black tea, or green tea . Perhaps you can think up some good blends by using your creativity and imagination and share them in the comments below.
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Be sure to check out my website at www.valerielull.com
Jarvis, D.C., MD Folk Medicine A New England almanac of natural health care from a noted Vermont country doctor, 1958, Fawcett Books, New York
Ten Spices for Health and Longevity