Simple Ways to Stay Healthy




By Valerie Lull MH

5 Soothing Herbs for Peace and Calm

First posted on the American College of Healthcare Sciences Health and Wellness blog.

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.

  1. German Chamomile Matricaria recutita

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.[1] An old folk remedy recommends stuffing a pillow with chamomile.[2]

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.

  1. Lemongrass Cymbopogon citratus 

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.[3]

  1. Passionflower Passiflora incarnata

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.[4]

Passionflower P. incarnata tea is a wonderful way to prepare this herb and experience its soothing properties.

  1. St. John’s Wort Hypericum perforatum

St. John’s Wort Hypericum perforatum (L.) is one of the most popular botanicals used to promote an uplifted, healthy mood.[5] 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.[6] 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.

  1. Green tea Camellia sinensis

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.[7]

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.”

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[1] 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.

[2] Howe, M. Chamomile: Shelter from the storm. Webmd. Retrieved from

[3] 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

[4] Passionflower. University of Maryland Medical Center. Retrieved from

[5] Archer, D. St. John’s Wort and Depression. Is St. John’s Wort a safe, effective alternative to medication for depression? 2013. Retrieved from

[6] Possible Interactions with: St. John’s Wort. University of Maryland Medical Center. Retrieved from

[7] 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

Topics: herbsstress 


Simple Ways to Stay Healthy

Close up cup of tea with cinnamon stick

By Valerie Lull MH

Cinnamon Tea and Blood Sugar Control

Cinnamon is a  popular spice that is used in teas, candies, chewing gum, cooking and baking. Cinnamon has been used as a traditional medicine in China for hundreds of years. In recent times cinnamon has been the subject of numerous research studies. Scientists have come up with some interesting results. The one that interested me was that cinnamon may be useful for the control of high blood sugar.

In 2012 a study was done in China to see if cinnamon extract would improve fasting blood glucose in the treatment of type 2 diabetes patients. Sixty-six patients were recruited and divided into three groups. One group received high-dose cinnamon, the second group received low-dose cinnamon and the third group received a placebo. The researchers saw hemoglobin A1c levels and fasting blood glucose levels in both the high-dose group and the low-dose significantly reduced. The placebo group was unchanged. The researchers concluded that cinnamon supplements could significantly improve blood glucose control in Chinese type 2 diabetes patients. (1)

There are a number of studies that seem to indicate cinnamon lowers glucose levels, but there are also studies that show the opposite. A meta-analysis was done in 2011 that compared 8 clinical studies. They concluded that cinnamon intake results in a significant lowering of fasting blood glucose. (2) The general consensus is that more studies need to be done on cinnamon and glucose levels.

My take on all this is that cinnamon is a healthful spice; even if it is controversial about lowering blood glucose, it has other potential health benefits that make it worth taking. However, don’t use it for self-treatment without first discussing it with your healthcare practitioner.

Cinnamon tea is delicious and  easy to make. Simply immerse a cinnamon stick in a cup of boiling water. Cinnamon tea in teabag form is available and cinnamon is often mixed with other things like cloves and ginger. It is often included in chai teas which make a delicious drink. Some folks like to add cinnamon to their cocoa.

Here is a link to a fantastic website that can tell you more about the benefits of cinnamon.


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Valerie Lull
Ten Spices for Health and Longevity

Simple Ways to Stay Healthy


By Valerie Lull MH

Dried Plums

Dried plums have been used for decades for various disorders. Our grandparents called them prunes. I remember my grandfather drinking a glass of prune  juice every night before going to bed.The folks in the prune industry found that people responded much more favorably to the name “Dried Plums”, than the name prunes, so  in the United States they changed the name.

Prunes are best known for promoting regularity. But did you know they have a host of other health benefits? They are used for weight loss, diabetes, cancer prevention and even osteoporosis.

Prunes are full of beneficial nutrients. They contain good things like vitamins A, B complex, C and K, copper, fiber, iron, boron and potassium. They contain prebiotics which means they feed the healthy bacteria in your gut. Prunes also have antioxidants that help to fight free radicals. This is important for slowing down chronic diseases  that are part of the ageing process.

Can prunes help with weight loss? A study was done at the University of Liverpool. A group of 100 overweight people were given prunes as part of a weight loss study for twelve weeks. The folks in the study were divided into 2 groups. The group that got prunes experienced greater weight loss than the group that did not receive prunes.

Can prunes help high blood pressure? A study was done to see if prunes had an effect on hypertension. The results showed a significant reduction in blood pressure and the conclusion of the study was that the data showed positive effects of prunes on the cardiovascular system.

In 2011 a study was done on prunes and osteoporosis. The researchers compared dried apples and dried prunes on a group of 160 women who were not on hormone therapy. They were assigned to 1 of 2 treatment groups. one  group got dried plums and the other group got dried apples.  The results of the study were that the dried plum group had significant increased bone density in the spine.

I like prunes because they taste good and make a delicious sweet snack. Perhaps we should pay more attention to the lowly prune because it can do more than just  have a laxative effect.

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University of Liverpool. “Eating prunes can help weight loss, study shows.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 May 2014. <>. http://



Simple Ways to Stay Healthy by Valerie Lull MH

lemons (1)


The Healing  Power of Lemons

Lemons are wonderful little fruits that are packed full of nutrients that can help in the healing process. Not only do they heal, they play a role in prevention of disease as well. Lemons contain vitamin C, flavonoids, B-complex vitamins, calcium ,copper, iron, potassium and fiber.

.Lemons have negative ions. Negative ions cause the wonderful feelings we get when we are around waterfalls and on the beach. These ions refresh the stomach and the whole digestive system.They improve the uptake of oxygen and enhance brain function.

Lemon juice helps problems like heartburn, and bloating. It enhances the efficiency of the bowels in eliminating waste. Lemon water can give you an energy boost. I know it certainly boosts my energy when my day begins to lag. I take the juice of one small fresh lemon every day diluted with water. Taking this tonic is a wonderful detox remedy for the liver. Lemon water does wonders for the digestive system

Lemons are inexpensive and available in any supermarket. It is easy to make lemon water every morning. If you are worried about the lemon hurting the enamel on your teeth, drink it through a straw. What is your favorite remedy that uses fresh lemons? Your comments are welcome.

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Simple Ways to Stay Healthy by Valerie Lull MH

oregano-oilOregano Oil

Oregano oil is a wonderful herbal oil to use for healing. It is antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral, antiparasitic, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal.  It is useful for fighting off infection and in some cases as good as an antibiotic.  Oregano is originally from the Mediterranean part of the world. The ancient Greeks used it for cuts and infections.

Oregano leaves are used as a popular spice for cooking, especially meat, pizza and pasta. It was used in the Middle Ages to preserve and season meat.  Oregano became popular in the United States when the soldiers brought it back from World War II. It was primarily known as the “pizza” spice.

Oregano oil is distilled from the leaves and flowers of the plant. Oregano oil can protect us from harmful organisms. Oregano oil has vitamin C and vitamin E, and niacin. It contains minerals like iron, potassium, copper, and manganese.

Oregano oil diluted with a carrier oil can be used on your skin, but don’t use it on broken or sensitive skin. Oregano oil is useful as an insect repellent. It is useful for digestive and fungal problems. Oregano oil is considered by some to be an anti-aging substance because it fights free radicals that contribute to many chronic diseases.

When I feel a cold or the flu coming on I use 3 drops of oregano oil diluted in a glass of water. Do not use oregano oil straight. Always dilute it. If you want to use it for medicinal purposes consult your health care provider first.  http//

Simple Ways to Stay Healthy By Valerie Lull MH

Gingko-Biloba (2)
Ginkgo-Biloba leaf

Herbs that Boost Circulation

Circulation of the blood is necessary for life, health and proper body functioning. Circulation can be improved by lifestyle changes like diet, exercise, and stress management. Sometimes the body needs a little bit more and this is where herbs can be helpful. Here are some herbs that can help boost circulation and benefit arteries and muscles as well.

Ginkgo Biloba – This herb is known for boosting the circulation of the blood in the brain. Many people take it for memory problems. This herb improves circulation in other parts of the body as well. In Germany physicians use it for varicose veins. Research at the University of Maryland Medical Center showed that ginkgo opens the blood vessels and makes the blood less sticky.

Garlic – For the folks who can do it, eating garlic regularly gives many health benefits. Garlic remedies have been used for centuries and they are still  used today. Garlic is reported to be effective for circulation, high and low blood pressure and cholesterol levels.If you just can’t stomach eating raw garlic, there are a variety of garlic supplements you can get that are also effective.

Cayenne – This spicy herb has circulation benefits both externally and internally. There are capsicum creams that can be used on the skin that enhance blood flow. When used internally, in capsule form and in food, it can stimulate the arteries and blood flow.

Hawthorn –  Hawthorne is well-known for its health benefits to the cardiovascular system. Some evidence shows that it may help congestive heart failure, irregular heart beat, and blood pressure. It is also used for circulation.

Flaxseed – This seed is packed with nutrition. It is a plant source for omega 3’s that helps with circulation. One word of caution, it is possible to take too much flaxseed. Work closely with your health provider if  you want to use this herb or any other herb.

Bilberry – Using bilberry to help improve eye disorders is well known. Bilberry also supports circulation all over the body and is sometimes used for varicose veins and atherosclerosis.

Always check with your health care provider before using  herbs for medicinal purposes.

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Simple Ways to Stay Healthy by Valerie Lull MH

Green Tea (3)

Eight Reasons to Drink Green Tea

Green tea has been used in India and China for centuries as a pleasant beverage and for its health benefits. It has become more and more popular in recent times as a drink with healthful properties as well as a light pick-me-up during the day. Here are eight reasons why consuming green tea is a good idea.

  1. Green Tea contains some caffeine but not as much as coffee or black tea which makes it ideal for that little lift you may need to keep going.
  2. Weight loss is one reason many folks turn to green tea. It is a pleasant beverage and along with exercise contributes to loosing weight.
  3. Excess inflammation is a common problem in today’s world that is often tied to diet. Green tea helps by contributing antioxidants that contain flavanoids and catechins. These substances fight free radicals that contribute to inflammation.
  4. Green tea fights the ageing process. The antioxidants help with wrinkles and age spots by fighting free radicals. Drink green tea on a daily basis to look younger.
  5. Detoxification is important with all the pollutants we have in our environment. Green tea has detox properties. It is a great adjunct to a detox program.
  6. Bloating and discomfort during the menstrual cycle is common among women. The caffeine in green tea acts as a diuretic and  helps with water weight.
  7. Green tea may help lower one’s risk of developing diabetes.
  8. Several studies show a  possible correlation with green tea and cancer prevention.

As a word of caution, it is possible to get too much green tea and this can be hard on the liver. Three or four cups of green tea a day is fine, but  be careful with taking green tea supplements and drinking a lot of green tea at the same time. Some people are allergic to green tea and this is another reason to be cautious. If you are using it for medicinal purposes be sure to consult your health care provider.

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