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Monday, January 7, 2013

15 Ways to Protect your Kidney

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the kidneys are known as the Minister of Power because they are considered to be our most important storehouse of essential energy. Another name for the kidneys is the Root of Life, due to the Chinese view that our original prenatal energy is stored in the kidney organ-energy system. This kidney organ system includes the adrenal glands and what the Chinese refer to as the external kidneys, those being the testicles in males and the ovaries in women. In this way your kidneys, not only filter waste from the blood, balance fluids and regulate acid-alkaline balance (pH) in the body, they also control your sexual and reproductive functions and are a prime source of sexual vitality.
In TCM each organ system is responsible for certain psycho-emotional aspects of our behavior. An individual with healthy, balanced kidneys displays the attributes of wisdom, self-understanding, a gentle nature and rational thinking. The opposite or negative attributes are primarily a fearful nature, insecurity, loneliness, short-term memory loss and excessive-compulsive actions. Keeping your kidneys healthy and balanced requires some consideration on your part, along with including kidney-strengthening foods in your diet.
1. The salty taste can benefit kidneys, but too much salt can tighten them.
2. Avoid or modify your intake of coffee, chocolate, sugar and stimulants.
3. Avoid eating too many cold foods and iced drinks.
4. Reduce or eliminate pasteurized fruit juice, except unsweetened cranberry juice, which is beneficial for the kidneys and bladder.
5. Kidneys can be strengthened with homemade bone stocks from grass-fed animals.
6. Drink 8-10 glasses of water each day. This can be in the form of soup, tea, water, cooked grains and boiled vegetables.
7. In the winter months slightly increase your sea salt and oil intake.
8. Include sea vegetables and other ocean foods (sea salt, wild caught fish) in your diet.
9. Make sure to rest and get plenty of sleep.
10. Avoid overeating or eating late at night.
11. Have a daily balance of protein, carbohydrates and quality fats in moderation.
12. Eat a mineral rich diet by including sea vegetables and micro-algae.
13. Since the emotion for kidneys is fear, do something that frightens you and step out past your fears.
14. Use meditation as a way to see your fears and let them go.
15. Eat kidney-strengthening foods.
Grains: buckwheat, black rice, barley.
Beans: adzuki, black soybeans, black turtle, kidney.
Vegetables: beets, beet greens, burdock, radicchio, red cabbage, salsify, water chestnuts, parsley.
Fruits: blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, boysenberries, concord grapes, cranberries, watermelon.
Sea Vegetables: dulse, hiziki, Irish moss, kelp, kombu, nori, wakame.
Micro-algae: spirulina, chlorella.
Seeds: chia, black sesame, wild rice.
Nuts: walnuts, chestnuts.
Seafood: caviar, abalone, bluefish, catfish, clam, crab, cuttlefish, lobster, mussels, octopus, oyster, sardine, scallop, squid, turtle.
Condiments: sesame salt, miso, pickles (brine cured), sea salt, soy sauce, umeboshi plums, umeboshi vinegar, green tea.
Cooking Methods: steaming, salting, pickling.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Anti-Parasite Diet: Foods that Make Parasites Run for Cover

Everybody loves to eat, and i myself loves it too.. But as i grow older i'm becoming more aware of what's going on in my body everytime i feel some pain or even some uncomfortable feeling i encounter every day of my life.  I'm afraid to get sick and even too afraid to die young, and wanted to search for cures and even preventions to diseases and remedies to our daily bad habits in life.  We love ourselves by taking care of our skin, teeth or in short from head to foot but we usually forgot to fix inside our body and think about mending it for a while in our daily basis. And maybe just maybe preventing some bad habits may save our health for a simple prevention methods we usually taken for granted :) .  I hope you take this few tips how to get rid of the worst scenarios of our digestive system which is Parasites.  And glad to share it ..


Raw Garlic – One of the number one ways to kill parasites. All effective parasite cleanses always include garlic.

Apple Cider Vinegar – Increase stomach acids with Apple Cider Vinegar  prior to your meals. This will keep the stomach free of parasites and  will also ensure that you will kill off any larvae you inadvertantly eat with your meals.


Pumpkin Seeds – Can help to get rid of tapeworms.


Pineapple – Contain an enzyme bromelain, that is anti-parisitic. A couple sources claim that a three day pineapple fast will kill tape worms.


Cranberry Juice (unsweetened) or  Carrot Juice & Carrots – Cranberry juice can be diluted in water. Carrots the juice or the veggie eaten plain kills em as well. 


Coconut Oil – Contains lauric acid which is found in coconut products. Coconut oil is about 50% comprised of this  saturated fat which after converted by the body creates a substance that efficiently kills parasites, yeasts, viruses, and pathogenic bacteria in the gut.


 Fennel Seed Tea – Is a mild laxative and can be an irritant to certain types of parasites.

8. Herbs: Cloves,Wormwood, Black walnut hull and husks – These herbs are always incorporated into an effective parasite cleanse and should be among the ingredients listed in the capsules you take daily from parasite cleanses that can be bought in health food stores. Cloves kills the parasite eggs that may be lingering in the intestinal tract. Black walnut hull and wormwood kill the adult and developmental stages of around 100 different types of parasites. All three are essential.


Pungent Spices – Spices such as: turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, chilis, horseradish, and cayenne, all make parasites run for cover.


Probiotics/ Fermented Foods – Some options that can be made at home include: sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) or drinking rejuvelac (a drink made from fermented grains such as wheat berries). You can also take probiotic supplements. These help to replenish good bacteria and kill the bad.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

15 Immune Boosting Foods


An old folk remedy, extract from these dark berries appears to block flu viruses in test tube studies. But scientists caution that further study is needed. The fruit itself is rich in antioxidants and may also have the ability to fight inflammation.

Button Mushrooms
Don't dismiss the lowly mushroom as nutrient poor: It has the mineral selenium and antioxidants. Low levels of selenium have been linked to increased risk of developing more severe flu. And the B vitamins riboflavin and niacin, found in these mushrooms, play a role in a healthy immune system. Animal studies have also shown mushrooms to have antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-tumor effects.

Acai Berry
Hawked as a "super food" along with produce like blueberries, the little acai berry's dark color signals that it is high in antioxidants called anthocyanins. While the acai is not scientifically linked to specific disease- or illness-fighting ability, antioxidants may help your body fight aging and disease. Acai berries can be found most often in juice or smoothie form, or dried and mixed with granola.

Aphrodisiac? Immune boosters? Maybe both, thanks to the mineral zinc that's found in oysters. Low zinc levels have been associated with male infertility.  And zinc appears to have some antiviral effect, although researchers can't explain why. However, they do know it is important to several immune system tasks including healing wounds.

Hydrating and refreshing, ripe watermelon also has plenty of a powerful antioxidant, glutathione. Known to help strengthen the immune system so it can fight infection, glutathione is found in the red pulpy flesh near the rind.

This is another source of immune-strengthening glutathione. And cabbage is easy and inexpensive to find during the winter months when it's in season. Try adding cabbages of any variety (white, red, Chinese) to soups and stews to sneak in extra antioxidants and boost your meal's nutritional value.

A handful of almonds may shore up your immune system from the effects of stress. A recommended 1/4 cup serving carries nearly 50% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin E, which helps boost the immune system. And they have riboflavin and niacin, B vitamins that may help you bounce back from the effects of stress.

Grapefruits have a good amount of vitamin C. But science has yet to prove that you can easily get enough vitamin C through foods alone, without supplementation, to help treat cold and flu. However, grapefruit is packed with flavonoids -- natural chemical compounds that have been found to increase immune system activation.  Dislike grapefruits? Try oranges or tangerines.

Wheat Germ
Wheat germ is the part of a wheat seed that feeds a baby wheat plant, so it is full of nutrients. It has zinc, antioxidants, and B vitamins among other vital vitamins and minerals. Wheat germ also offers a good mix of fiber, protein, and some good fat. Substitute wheat germ for part of the regular flour called for in baked goods and other recipes.

Low-Fat Yogurt
A daily cup may reduce your chances of getting a cold.  Look for labels listing "live and active cultures." Some researchers believe they may stimulate your immune system to fight disease. Also look for vitamin D. Recent studies have found a link between low vitamin D levels and an increased risk of cold and flu.

Known as a "super food," spinach is nutrient-rich.  It has folate, which helps your body produce new cells and repair DNA. And it boasts fiber, antioxidants, such as vitamin C, and more. Eat spinach raw or lightly cooked to get the most benefit.

Green or black? Both are loaded with disease-fighting polyphenols and flavonoids. These antioxidants seek out cell-damaging free radicals and destroy them. Caffeinated and decaf work equally well.

Sweet Potato
Like carrots, sweet potatoes have the antioxidant beta-carotene, which mops up damaging free radicals. Sweet potatoes also boast vitamin A, which is linked to slowing the aging process and may reduce the risk of some cancers.

Easy to find at the grocery store and incorporate into meals, broccoli is an immune-boosting basic. One study reported a chemical in broccoli helped stimulate the immune systems of mice. Plus, it's full of nutrients that protect your body from damage.  It has vitamins A, vitamin C, and glutathione.  Add some low-fat cheese to round out a side dish with immune-enhancing B vitamins and vitamin D.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Herbal Remedies for Pets

For many minor problems, though, waiting to visit the vet isn't necessary. Stocking a medicine chest with ingredients for a Calendula compress, Echinacea tea and other preparations makes caring for your dog or cat's minor ailments as easy as treating a child's scraped knee with antiseptic and a Band-Aid. Herbal remedies may not end your fretting, but they can help you and your pet feel better.

We've compiled a list of 10 common ailments, herbal remedies used by some veterinarians and instructions for making the remedies. Use these and any treatments cautiously. Work with your veterinarian, the person who best knows your pet's health conditions. In 1996, the American Veterinary Medical Association officially recognized the importance of botanical medicine and other complementary therapies in veterinary care.

Unless otherwise specified, use these recommended dosages for liquid preparations to be taken internally:
- 1/2 teaspoon three times daily for cats and dogs weighing less than 20 pounds.
- 1 teaspoon three times daily for dogs weighing between 20 and 40 pounds.
- 1 tablespoon three times daily for dogs weighing more than 40 pounds.
Tender Paws
Dogs and cats have protective pads on their toes, but they can still pick up thorns, burrs or other foreign objects. If your pet is limping, examine its paws. If you can see a foreign object embedded, pull it out with tweezers. (If it's deeply embedded, bathe the paw several times a day in a warm solution of 1 teaspoon salt in a cup of water to draw the object to the surface so you can remove it.)
After you've removed any foreign object, wash the skin with soap and water to prevent infection. Check the wound every day. Swelling and/or an oozing sore are signs of infection. You may want to give your pet some Echinacea (Echinacea spp.) tea to help its immune system fight off the infection; see the guidelines below. (If your pet is listless and has dull-looking eyes, or if you suspect a more serious infection, you should check with your veterinarian.) When the oozing has stopped, keep the wound clean by wrapping it in a Calendula (Calendula officinalis) compress. Calendula preparations are widely used to treat slow-healing wounds.
Echinacea Tea
Echinacea increases the ability of immune-system cells to attack foreign invaders and fight infection. Humans use the herb to fend off colds and flu. A small amount of Echinacea also can help your pet recover from a minor infection that accompanies a wound.
To make a tea, boil 1 cup of water and pour it over 1 teaspoon of dried (1 tablespoon of fresh) Echinacea roots or leaves. Steep, covered, for 15 minutes. Strain the liquid into a jar and let it cool. Make a fresh infusion daily.
Alternatively, you may dilute 3 drops of Echinacea tincture in 1 teaspoon of water (9 drops tincture in 1 tablespoon of water), then use the dosage guidelines.
Fill an eyedropper with the recommended amount of tea or diluted tincture and squeeze it into your pet's mouth. Administer the tea three times daily for no longer than a week. If the infection shows no signs of improvement or gets worse after several days, call your veterinarian.
If your pet resists taking liquid Echinacea preparations, try capsules: 1/2 capsule three times daily for cats and dogs weighing less than 20 pounds; 1 capsule three times daily for medium-sized dogs; and 2 capsules three times daily for dogs weighing more than 40 pounds. Just open the capsule(s) and sprinkle the powder on your pet's food.
Calendula Compress
Applying Calendula flowers to cuts and wounds to help them heal is a centuries-old tradition; scientific studies have shown that calendula preparations reduce inflammation and promote the growth of healthy new tissue.
Calendula tea is made exactly like Echinacea tea, but you don't need to strain it. While the tea is cooling a bit, cut some terrycloth into strips long enough to wrap several times around the paw. When the liquid is comfortably warm, dunk a strip of towel into the liquid, wring it out and wrap it loosely around the paw over the wound. Wrapping it tightly could cause more pain. If your pet will allow it, keep the compress against the area for 15 minutes, refreshing it in the warm liquid halfway through this period. Repeat twice daily for as long as a week.
Battle Wounds
When animals fight and bite, they can get puncture wounds, most often around the face, neck and chest. Punctures may not look serious, but the damage done by a cat's narrow teeth or a dog's strong bite can cause considerable soft-tissue damage beneath the victim's skin.
When your pet has been bitten, let it calm down before assessing the damage. (If your pet appears extremely agitated or very listless, you may need to have your vet check that it hasn't been more seriously hurt.) If the skin has been punctured, clip the hair away from the wound. Remove any loose hairs, then carefully bathe the area with warm, soapy water.
Watch for signs of infection as described under "Tender Paws." If they appear or if the pet treats the wound gingerly itself, give it Echinacea tea, tincture or capsules.
Body Aches
As our dogs and cats age, they can slow down as much as some humans do. An old battle wound may act up, or arthritis may set in. Some common causes of animal aches and pains include osteoarthritis, a degeneration of joint cartilage and bone caused by poor nutrition, disease or hereditary factors; hip dysplasia, a hereditary condition that causes lameness and pain in the hind legs; and elbow dysplasia, which often occurs as the result of a poorly healed fracture or other injury.
Although these conditions are irreversible and a veterinarian will need to diagnose the problem, you can help relieve your pet's pain by applying a compress made of a washcloth or hand towel moistened with warm water to the affected area.
Another effective treatment is a cream containing capsaicin, the compound in hot peppers that's responsible for their pungency. Capsaicin blocks a protein called substance P from relaying pain messages from nerve endings to the brain. Repeated applications of a capsaicin cream to the painful area may lead to desensitization, pain relief and reduction of inflammation. Apply the cream with gentle circular motions, massaging it through the fur onto the skin. Start with just a little bit and check the site after four hours for an adverse reaction, such as skin irritation.
Pets Behaving Badly
Antisocial behavior is as prevalent among animals as it is among humans, and even the best-behaved pet can have a bad day. When offensive behavior is the rule rather than the exception, though, consider obedience training, going back to the basics (relearning "no," for example), or correcting environmental conditions that may be upsetting your pet, such as constant loud noise.
Several herbal preparations also may help. All except Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) may be given internally at the recommended dosages for no more than two weeks at a time; Valerian should be given for no longer than a week. You may prefer to use these remedies as a preventive measure only. For example, if your pet is hyperactive when company comes, try giving it some valerian tea when you know you'll be having guests.
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is a mild sedative that is recommended for irritable pets and for dogs with a tendency to whine and snap. To ensure that your pet is not allergic to Chamomile, give it only a fraction of the recommended dose and wait four hours to see whether it shows signs of adverse reaction. Make a tea of fresh or dried Chamomile flowers following the guidelines for Echinacea tea.
Studies have shown that Valerian root depresses the central nervous system and relieves muscle spasms. It is especially helpful for a dog that tends to become overexcited or suffers from anxiety when it is separated from you. However, it's not a cure: don't use it for more than one week. Make a Valerian root tea by following the directions for echinacea tea.
When your pet chews the life out of the arm of a sofa or another of your possessions, you may wonder whether the two of you were meant for each other. Hot peppers may save the sofa and your sanity. Try applying a dash of pepper sauce to the spot where your pet has been chewing; test a bit on a small area first to see if it will stain. Or, try hot pepper flakes or powder, which you could later vacuum up.
Periodontal Disease
Common in both cats and dogs, periodontal disease is caused by a buildup of bacteria that destroys the cement that holds the teeth and gums together and, over time, causes teeth to fall out. Bleeding gums, bad breath, drooling, painful chewing signified by dropping food, loss of appetite and loose teeth are signs of periodontal disease.
Prevent periodontal disease by giving your pet a good diet and hard, durable toys to exercise its teeth on. If periodontal disease has set in, your veterinarian may advise corrective surgery. Recovery is painful and uncomfortable. Either the Echinacea Tea Treatment or Goldenseal Tea Flush can help a pet during the recovery period.
Echinacea Tea Treatment for Periodontal Disease
This Echinacea tea treatment for periodontal disease can help your pet during the recovery period.
- 1 teaspoon dried, chopped Echinacea root- 1 cup water
Simmer Echinacea root in water, covered, for 10 minutes, then steep for 1 hour.
Strain and gently swab the decoction on the gums twice a day for no longer than 10 days. If the swelling or infection doesn't subside, check with your veterinarian.
Goldenseal Tea Flush
This Goldenseal tea flush can help your pet recover from the symptoms of periodontal disease.
- 1 teaspoon dried, powdered Goldenseal root- 2 cups water
Make a tea of the Goldenseal and water; Let cool and strain the mixture.
With a syringe or turkey baster, squirt all of the tea gently over the affected area and out of the mouth. Do this twice daily for 10 days. The herb has a bitter taste, so be aware that some pets will not like it.
Milk intolerance, allergies, chronic pancreatitis, roundworms, colitis, infections or poisoning may all cause diarrhea. At the first sign of diarrhea, withhold food for 24 hours, then feed your pet a bland meal of rice and unseasoned hamburger or chicken. If diarrhea continues for longer than two days, consult your veterinarian. Painful or bloody diarrhea requires immediate attention.
A preparation made from Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra) powder can soothe an irritated intestinal tract. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved it for this use for humans.
Slippery Elm Stomach Soother
Slippery Elm powder can soothe an irritated intestinal tract and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved it for this use for humans.
- 1 rounded teaspoon dried, powdered Slippery Elm bark- 1 cup cold water
Combine the powdered bark and the water in a pan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
Turn down the heat and continue cooking over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens.
Remove pan from heat and let cool. Give cats and small dogs 1/2 to 1 teaspoon every 4 hours; medium-sized dogs, 2 teaspoons to 2 tablespoons every 4 hours; and large dogs, 3 to 4 tablespoons every 4 hours.
Ear Disorders
Head shaking, constant ear scratching and smelly discharge from the ears are signs that your pet has an ear disorder. Cats and dogs alike can contract ear infections from allergies, ear mites or trapped grass seeds, among other causes. Dogs with flopping, furry ears can benefit from the Lemon Flush and are more likely to suffer from ear disorders than cats or dogs with erect ears.
Swimming Ears Lemon Flush
This lemon flush is especially suitable for floppy-eared dogs that love the water. Use it once a week during swimming season, more often if your pet swims daily.
- Juice of half a lemon- 1 cup warm water
Mix the lemon juice and warm water.
With an ear syringe or dropper, gently and quickly squeeze soem of the liquid into your pet's ear, holding the syringe at the entrance to the ear canal, not inside it. Avoid making squirting sounds, which might scare your pet.
Gently rub it in, then stand back and let your pet shake its head. Blot the excess moisture from the inside ear and gently swab out just inside the ear opening with a cotton swab.
Repeat the process with the other ear.
Yellow Dock Ear Mite Treatment
Use this ear mite treatment made with Yellow Dock (Rumex crispus), an astringent herb, to kill your pet's annoying pests. Ear mites invade pets' ears and cause them to scratch incessantly. One way to prevent ear mites from invading pets' ears and causing them to scratch incessantly, is to thoroughly shampoo your pet's head, ears and tail at least once a week.
- 3 drops Yellow Dock tincture- 1 tablespoon distilled or filtered water
Dilute Yellow Dock tincture in the water.
Instill 1/2 of a dropperful in the ear canal and massage gently. Let the animal shake its head, then blot the opening with cotton swabs.
Repeat the treatment once every 3 days for as long as 3 weeks.
Calendula Herbal Flush
This Calendula herbal flush will help keep pets' ears free of discharge and reduce irritation. Use it once or twice daily. You may cut this recipe in half for smaller animals.
- 1 cup warm distilled or filtered water- 1 teaspoon Calendula tincture- 1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
Combine the water, Calendula and salt in a glass.
With an ear syringe or dropper, gently and quickly squeeze some of the liquid into your pet's ear, holding the syringe at the entrance to the ear canal, not inside it. Avoid making squirting sounds, which might scare your pet.
After instilling some of the liquid into the ear, gently rub it, then stand back and let your pet shake its head.
Repeat the process with the other ear. Your pet may even look forward to this treatment.
Skin Disorders
Skin irritations are common in both cats and dogs. You may notice small white scales, large brown flakes or red patches underneath the fur. Scabs, crustiness and even pimples or blisters between the toes can show up. Skin problems may be caused by a poor diet, an invasive parasite, exposure to pest-control chemicals or an allergy.
Red blotches: Acutely inflamed, irritated patches of skin, or hot spots, have a variety of causes, including moisture. To soothe them, clip away the hair, then give your pet a bath with a nonirritating soap about once a week. Dry the skin thoroughly with a towel, then dab the affected areas with black tea (Camellia sinensis); it contains tannic acid, which helps dry up moisture.
Between baths, you can smear the afflicted area two or three times a day with the gel from a piece of fresh Aloe Vera leaf. Stop if your pet objects or persists in licking it off. Commercial preparations of Aloe gel are available in health-food stores.
Just as in humans, infections of dogs' and cats' upper respiratory tract cause runny noses, sneezes, sore throats and coughing. The two that infect cats, however - feline viral rhinotracheitis and the similar but less serious feline calcivirus - require a veterinarianĂ¢€™s care.
Kennel cough in dogs (contracted from other dogs) causes inflammation of the voice box and windpipe. For this and other less serious infections that result in coughing, an herbal cough syrup containing Wild Cherry bark (Prunus serotina) and Horehound (Marrubium vulgare) will help coat and soothe the throat. It is available in health-food stores and features dosage guidelines on the label; reduce the dose (calculated for a 150-pound human) according to your pet's size. On the other hand, for acute coughing, which may indicate bronchitis, pneumonia or foreign bodies in the airway, take your animal friend to the veterinarian immediately.
Dry, Flyaway Fur
When you stroke your cat and sparks fly, you know that it's just static electricity. Humidifying the air with a room or furnace humidifier will make everyone in the house more comfortable. Applying an oil conditioner when you bathe your pet can reduce static and restore shine to dry hair. For a medium-sized dog, mix 1/4 cup of olive oil and 2 teaspoons of dried Sage (Salvia officinalis); massage the mixture through the fur and onto the skin, then rinse with warm water and dry with a towel.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The 55 Best Herbal Remedies

(1) Aloe Vera for Burns

Sometimes studies tell us what we already know. Aloe vera is the herb for minor burns, a fact that was confirmed most recently in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand. Keep a potted aloe on your kitchen sill; it requires no care beyond weekly watering. For minor burns, snip off a thick leaf and slit it open; scoop out the gel from the inner leaf and apply to the burn.

(2) Black Cohosh for Menopause

The Algonquin Indians used black cohosh to treat gynecological ills, and it was a key part of Lydia E. Pinkham's Vegetable Compound, sold in the 1870s to treat "female complaints and weaknesses." In a recent German study on menopausal hot flashes, subjects were given estrogen, a Valium-like tranquilizer or black cohosh (Remifemin, two tablets twice a day). The herb, which is an option for women who can't take estrogen, worked best. "The vast majority of studies show benefit," says Mark Blumenthal, executive director of the American Botanical Council.

(3) Boswellia for Arthritis and Joint Injuries

Did the three wise men suffer aches and pains from their long camel ride? Luckily, they had frankincense, aka boswellia, a traditional Ayurvedic medicine for arthritis and joint injuries. In a study published in Alternative and Complementary Therapies, Egyptian researchers gave people with osteoarthritis of the knee boswellia and turmeric or a placebo. After three months, the herb group showed significantly greater relief from knee swelling.

(4) Chamomile for Digestive Problems

"Chamomile tea, perhaps the best-known herbal tisane, is widely employed as a digestive remedy throughout Europe, and its therapeutic use is well documented," says David Hoffman, author of Medical Herbalism. This herb relaxes spasms of the smooth muscles and counters inflammation in the gut lining; it also has antiseptic and vasodilatory effects. Allergic reactions are possible, especially if you're sensitive to ragweed.(5) Chaste Tree for Premenstrual Syndrome

It won't preserve virginity, but chaste tree has hormonal effects that minimize monthly symptoms. When 1,634 German PMS sufferers took chaste tree, 93 percent reported benefit. In tests against two other popular treatments, vitamin [B.sub.6] and Prozac, the herb worked as well as the drug and better than the vitamin. "Chaste tree is the best herb for PMS," says James A. Duke, Ph.D., author of The Green Pharmacy. "It's safe and the studies are convincing. "Just be patient: It can take three months to experience benefit. Some women report stomach distress, headache and increased menstrual flow.

(6) Coffee for Athletic Stamina

The caffeine in coffee or tea stimulates not only alertness (and jitters and insomnia), but also athletic performance. Korean researchers at the Institute for Elderly Health in Seoul asked athletes to ride stationary cycles until they felt exhausted--before and after drinking the equivalent of one tall Starbucks coffee. After their java break, they were able to ride significantly longer.

(7) Coffee for Pain Relief

Anacin and Excedrin claim that their "extra ingredient" provides greater pain relief. What is it? Caffeine. Many reports, including one in the Archives of Internal Medicine, have shown that adding about 65 milligrams of caffeine to aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen increases pain relief by around 40 percent. Caffeine blocks pain perception, has pain-relieving action, and elevates mood, which also helps minimize pain. Next time you have a headache, wash down your favorite pain pill with coffee or tea for more relief.

(8) Coffee as a Decongestant in Colds, Flu and Asthma

Caffeine opens narrowed bronchial tubes, according to Joe and Teresa Graedon, authors of The People's Pharmacy. According to a report in the Annals of Epidemiology, the odds of experiencing current asthma symptoms were reduced 29 percent for subjects who drank coffee on a regular basis when compared with non-coffee drinkers.

(9) Cranberry for Urinary-Tract Infection

Cranberry prevents bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall long enough to cause an infection. Finnish researchers divided 150 recurrent UTI sufferers into three groups. One drank cranberry juice (50 milliliters a day). Another took Lactobacillus. The third took nothing. After six months, 36 percent of the no-treatment group and 39 percent of the Lactobacillus group reported at least one recurrence. Of the juice drinkers, only 16 percent had recurrences. Other options are dried cranberries (Craisins) and cranberry-extract capsules. "I recommend cranberry for UTI," Duke says. "But if you drink the juice, you have to drink a lot. It's usually easier to munch on the dried berries or take capsules."

(10) Echinacea for Colds and Flu

The root of this daisy-like flower revs up the immune system. According to an analysis by University of Wisconsin researchers, in eight of nine studies evaluating echinacea for upper-respiratory infections, the herb reduced symptoms and accelerated recovery compared with placebos. "As soon as I feel a cold coming on, I take it--and my cold is mild and brief," says Duke. Echinacea is available in teas and capsules, though most herbalists prefer tinctures. Liquid echinacea products may cause temporary, harmless numbing or tingling of the tongue; minor stomach upset is possible with tinctures.

(11) Evening Primrose Oil for Lowering Cholesterol

Evening primrose seeds contain an oil with a high concentration of compounds rarely found in plants: essential fatty acids, specifically gamma-linolenic acid. In one study, reported in The Review of Natural Products, 79 people with high cholesterol took 4 grams of Efamol every day for three months (which provides about 320 mg of GLA), and their average cholesterol level fell 31.5 percent. The suggested dose for evening primrose oil starts at 1-gram gelcaps twice or three times a day. High cholesterol requires professional care, so consult your physician about GLA.

(12) Evening Primrose Oil for Rheumatoid Arthritis

The EFAs in EPO are also a powerful anti-inflammatory. University of Pennsylvania researchers gave 37 arthritis sufferers borage oil (which contains GLA) or a placebo, The placebo had no effect, but the herb group reported 45 percent less pain with no side effects. Other studies utilizing GLA obtained similar results. Rheumatoid arthritis requires professional care, so consult your physician about GLA.

(13) Feverfew for Migraine Prevention

British scientists at the University of Exeter analyzed six studies of feverfew, concluding that the herb significantly reduces the frequency of migraine occurrence. "In my experience," Duke says, "feverfew prevents migraines in about two-thirds of those who use it consistently." Dosage is generally 50 to 150 mg per day of powdered leaves.

(14) Flaxseed for Menopausal Discomfort

Safety concerns have reduced the number of women on hormone replacement therapy, but flaxseed is rich in phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) that can take the heat out of hot flashes. At Laval University in Quebec, Canada, researchers gave 25 menopausal women HRT or flaxseed (1.4 ounces per day, mixed into food). After six months, flaxseed relieved hot flashes as effectively as HRT.

(15) Flaxseed for Osteoporosis

Because flaxseed is a natural hormone replacement therapy, it also mimics HRT's bone-preserving ability. Oklahoma State researchers gave a placebo or flaxseed (1.3 ounces per day) to 38 postmenopausal women for 14 weeks, and measured blood and urine for markers of bone loss and regrowth. The flaxseed group showed decreased bone resorption and calcium excretion, indicating reduced bone loss.

(16) Garlic as an Antibiotic

From ancient times through World War I, garlic has been used to treat the wounded. During the 1920s, researchers at Sandoz Pharmaceuticals in Switzerland isolated garlic's antibiotic compound, alliin, which has no medicinal value until the herb is chewed, chopped or crushed. Then an enzyme transforms alliin into a powerful antibiotic called allicin. Modern antibiotics are more potent and easier to take (just try chewing a dozen raw cloves), but if you're concerned about ulcers, use more garlic in your diet. Researchers at the University of Washington have shown that garlic kills H. pylori, the bacteria that cause ulcers. Raw garlic has the most antibiotic potency, but garlic still has benefits when cooked. "I use lots of garlic in cooking," Duke says, "for reasons of taste and health."

(17) Garlic for Cholesterol Control

Researchers at New York Medical College in Valhalla analyzed five studies and found that one-half to one clove of garlic per day reduces cholesterol by 9 percent. If you'd rather not eat fresh garlic every day, garlic supplements, including "deodorized" brands. have a similar effect. (Supplements with proven benefit include Kwai and Kvolic.) "Garlic doesn't work as well as the statin drugs," says Blumenthal, "so if your numbers are really high, you may need medication. But if your cholesterol s just mildly elevated or if it's normal and you want to keep it that way, garlic definitely helps." Garlic can impair blood clotting; if you notice increased bruising, stop taking it. and consult your physician.

(18) Garlic for Cancer Prevention

Garlic reduces the risk of several cancers. In the long-term Iowa Women's Health Study. researchers followed 41,837 middle-aged women. Subjects who ate the most garlic had the lowest risk of colon cancer. A few cloves a week cut risk by 32 percent and greater intake decreased risk even more While fruit and vegetable consumption in general helps prevent cancel in this study, garlic yielded the greatest preventive benefit of all the plant foods analyzed. Other studies have shown that garlic helps lower risk for prostate and bladder cancers.

(19) Ginger for Motion Sickness

In ancient China, sailors chewed ginger root to prevent motion sickness and modern studies have confirmed that ginger prevents nausea and vomiting. Danish scientists at Svendborg Hospital observed 80 naval cadets in heavy seas and found that those who took ginger experienced 72 percent less seasickness than a placebo group. Take a 1-gram capsule of powdered ginger root about an hour before you embark, and another every two hours or as needed (without exceeding 10 grams a day) during a journey, Ginger's only side effect is occasional minor heartburn. "t use ginger myself." Duke says, "It works for me."

(20) Ginger for Morning Sickness

Speaking of nausea, ginger also assists in preventing morning sickness. In a stud'. published in Obstetrics and Gynecology, researchers at Thailand's Chiang Mai University gave 70 nausea-plagued pregnant women ginger powder (1 gram a day) or a placebo. In the latter group, 28 percent reported relief But in the ginger group, the figure was 88 percent, use the dose given in the study, or brew a tea using 2 teaspoons of freshly grated root per cup of boiling water.

(21) Ginkgo for Alzheimer's Disease

The big study was published in 1997 in the journal of the American Medical Association: Researchers n a multicenter study gave 202 people with Alzheimer's either a placebo or ginkgo extract (120 mg a day). A year later, the ginkgo group retained more mental function, and subsequent studies have corroborated this finding. Ginkgo Improves blood flow around the body--including through the brain. It's safe. but it has anticoagulant properties, so increased bruising is possible.

(22) Ginkgo for Mental Acuity

Beyond its benefits for Alzheimer's, four recent studies show that ginkgo improves mental function in people who are cognitively normal, In a study published in Phytotherapy Research. 31 health, adults, ages 30 to 59, received ginkgo (120 to 300 mg a day) or a placebo, The herbs significantly improved several measures of memory. Buy a standardized extract and take 120 to 240 mg a day.

(23) Ginkgo for Erection and Libido Problems

Ginkgo improves blood flow into the genitals. In a study published in the Journal of Urology, 60 men with erection problems caused by narrowed arteries and impaired blood flow to the penis were given ginkgo (60 mg a day); after six months, half had regained erection ability. When researchers at the University of Hawaii and Stanford University tested ArginMax, a sexual-enhancement supplement that contains ginkgo, ginseng and L-arginine, 80 percent of the male subjects had improved erection function, while 74 percent of the female subjects reported more libido, less dryness and greater frequency of orgasm.

(24) Ginkgo for Anti-Depressant-Induced Sex Problems

An enormous number of Americans take antidepressants, The relief comes at a price: a substantial risk of libido loss erection impairment, vaginal dryness and inability to reach orgasm. Investigators at the University of California at San Francisco gave ginkgo (209 mg a day) to 63 people suffering from antidepressant-induced sex problems. The herb helped 91 percent of the women and 76 percent of the men to return to normal sexual function

(25) Ginkgo for Altitude Sickness

Traveling from a low elevation up to the mountains often produces symptoms of altitude sickness, such as headache, sluggishness and excessive thirst, due to the decrease in available oxygen. (Over a few days. the body makes more red blood cells, which boosts oxygenation of the blood.) Researchers at the Hopital de Chamonix in France gave 44 mountaineers ascending the Himalayas ginkgo (80 mg twice daily) or a placebo. In the latter group, 82 percent developed respiratory problems related to altitude sickness, but among the ginkgo users, the figure was only 14 percent.

(26) Ginseng for Athletic Stamina

Many athletes take ginseng as part of their training. In a study published in Clinical Therapy, Italian researchers gave 50 physical education teachers a placebo or ginseng (with some vitamins and minerals), and then had them run on a treadmill, Hearts and lungs in the ginseng group worked more efficiently, and those subjects' stamina increased significantly, Ginseng is safe, but it does have anticoagulant action. so increased bruising is possible.

(27) Ginseng for Immune Enhancement

Many studies show that ginseng revs up the immune system. Scientists at the University of Milan. Italy, gave ginseng (100 mg a day) or a placebo to 227 people. A month later. everyone received a flu shot (which does not kill the flu virus. but rather stimulates the immune system to resist infection). In the placebo group, 42 people got the flu, but in the ginseng group, the figure was just 15, demonstrating that ginseng enhanced immune response to the shot.

(28) Ginseng for Diabetes

Ginseng also reduces blood-sugar levels. In a study published in Diabetes Care, 30 subjects newly diagnosed with diabetes were given ginseng extract (100 or 200 mg a day) or a placebo, with the ginseng groups showing lower blood-sugar levels. Other studies concur. Diabetes requires professional treatment; consult your physician about ginseng.

(29) Ginseng for Erectile Dysfunction

According to a review of studies at Yale University, ginseng boosts the body's synthesis of nitric oxide. As NO increases, so does the likelihood of erection. In a report in the Journal of Urology, Korean researchers gave 45 men with erection impairment a placebo or ginseng (900 mg three times a day). Those taking the herb experienced significant erection improvement.

(30) Ginseng for Low Sperm Count

At the University of Rome, Italy, researchers gave ginseng (4 grams a day) to 30 men suffering from low sperm counts. Three months later, the subjects' counts almost doubled, from an average of 15 million/ml to 29 million/ml.

(31) Goldenseal for Digestive-Tract Infections

Goldenseal, an herbal antibiotic, is often marketed in combination with echinacea as a treatment for infections, but it is effective only in the digestive tract, not for colds or flu. At the University of Illinois in Chicago, researchers tested goldenseal against H. pylori, the bacteria that cause ulcers, and the herb inhibited bacterial growth. For GI infections (ulcer, food poisoning, infectious diarrhea, etc.), ask your doctor about using goldenseal in addition to medical therapies.

(32) Hawthorn for Congestive Heart Failure

In heart failure, the heart keeps beating, just not as forcefully as it should; people with the condition become exhausted from minor exertion. Many studies show that hawthorn stimulates fatigued hearts to beat more normally. In a study published in Phytomedicine, German researchers gave hawthorn (240 mg a day) or a placebo to 40 people with heart failure. Three months later, the hawthorn group was able to exercise significantly longer. "We reviewed much of the published research on hawthorn recently," Blumenthal says, "and 13 of 14 studies showed benefit in heart failure."

(33) Hibiscus for Hypertension

Hibiscus is the trumpet-shaped, tropical flower that puts the color in Red Zinger tea. A report in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that 12 days of drinking hibiscus tea (2 teaspoons per cup of boiling water several times a day) lowered systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 11 percent. High blood pressure requires professional care; ask your doctor about adding hibiscus to your treatment plan.

(34) Horse Chestnut for Varicose Veins

"Mainstream medicine offers only support hose and surgery," says Blumenthal, "but standardized horse chestnut seed extract has shown efficacy in most clinical trials." At the University of Heidelberg, Germany, 240 sufferers of newly visible varicose veins were treated with compression stockings or horse chestnut (50 mg aescin twice a day). After 12 weeks, both groups reported equal relief. Off the tree, horse chestnuts are poisonous, but commercial extracts are detoxified and safe.

(35) Horsetail for Skin Healing

Before steel wool and abrasive cleansers, this herb helped scour pots and pans. Today it's used to heal the skin. A Spanish study published in Revista de Enfermeria showed that horsetail speeds the healing of wounds; it's also used in skin-care products.

(36) Lavender for Anxiety

Lavender flowers are an age-old remedy for anxiety. British researchers at the University of Wolverhampton had women add lavender oil or a placebo to their bath water. Bathing by itself is calming, but in this study, a bath infused with lavender oil significantly reduced anger, frustration and negativity. Use a handful of lavender flowers, or buy lavender oil and add several drops to your bath. Ingesting lavender oil is toxic; keep it away from children.

(37) Lemon Balm for Relaxation

The 17th-century English herbalist Nicholas Culpeper wrote that lemon balm drives away all melancholy. That's an overstatement, but science has shown that lemon balm is tranquilizing. The herb and its oil have been used in Alzheimer's care units to calm those who are agitated. To decompress after a tough day, try a cup of lemon-balm tea; for extra benefit, mix with chamomile.

(38) Lemon Balm for Herpes

Lemon balm has antiviral action. As reported in Phytomedicine, German researchers gave 66 people in the early stages of herpes simplex labialis outbreaks lemon-balm cream or a placebo. The herb group had milder outbreaks that healed faster. Lemon balm is the active ingredient in the herpes treatment Herpalieve. "If you have herpes," Duke says, "drink lemon-balm tea. If you have an outbreak, apply lemon balm to the sore."

(39) Licorice for Sore Throat

In a study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, researchers gave either a placebo or Throat Coat, a licorice tea from Traditional Medicinals, to 60 sore-throat sufferers 4 to 6 times a day for seven days; the tea tipplers reported significantly less pain on swallowing. Add a teaspoon of chopped or powdered root to a beverage tea, and feel relief almost immediately.

(40) Milk Thistle for Liver Health

Silymarin in milk thistle seeds has a remarkable ability to protect the liver. This herb has been shown to help treat hepatitis and alcoholic cirrhosis, and it's been found more effective than traditional medicine at treating "deathcap" mushroom poisoning. "In our analysis," Blumenthal says," 19 of 21 studies support milk thistle seed extract for liver conditions." Because most drugs are metabolized through the liver, many herbalists recommend silymarin for anyone who takes liver-taxing medication.

(41) Papaya for Herniated Disks

Papaya has been used by Caribbean Indians to treat skin wounds and infections and by the Japanese to treat digestive disorders. In 1982, the Food and Drug Administration approved injections of the papaya enzyme chymopapain to dissolve cellular debris in herniated or slipped vertebral disks in the back. Allergic reactions are possible.

(42) Peppermint for Indigestion

In ancient Greece, people chewed a sprig of mint after feasts to settle the stomach, a tradition that evolved into our after-dinner mints. German researchers gave 118 adults with persistent indigestion a standard drug (cisapride) or twice-daily capsules of enteric-coated peppermint oil (90 mg) and caraway oil (50 mg), another traditional stomach soother. (The enteric coating allows the capsules to survive stomach acid and release their oil in the small intestine, where non-heartburn indigestion develops.) Four weeks later, the drug and the herb blend produced the same relief. If you use herbal oils, do not exceed the recommended dose, and keep them away from children. You also can brew a peppermint tea, and add a teaspoon of chopped caraway to meals. "When I get indigestion," Duke says, "I go to the garden, pick some peppermint, chew some leaves, and make tea. It works for me."

(43) Peppermint for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

IBS involves persistent abdominal cramps, bloating, flatulence, and diarrhea or constipation. British researchers at the University of Exeter analyzed five studies of peppermint oil as a treatment, and found that it provided benefit. (See the previous item for options and cautions.)

(44) Psyllium for Diarrhea and Constipation

Psyllium is a tiny seed that contains mucilage, a soluble fiber that swells on exposure to water. For diarrhea, psyllium can absorb excess fluid in the gut. For constipation, psyllium adds bulk to stool, which presses on the colon wall and triggers the nerves that produce the urge to go. You may find psyllium at health-food stores, but it's easiest to take Metamucil, which is psyllium with flavoring. When using psyllium, drink plenty of water. Allergic reactions are possible.

(45) Red Pepper for Pain Relief

Capsaicin, the compound that gives red pepper (cayenne) its fiery flavor, is a potent topical pain reliever, according to the Handbook of Nonprescription Drugs. When rubbed on the skin, it causes mild superficial burning. But that sensation desensitizes nearby pain nerves, and soothes pain in deeper tissues. Capsaicin is the active ingredient in several over-the-counter pain-relieving creams, such as Capsin, Zostrix and Pain-X.

(46) St. John's Wort for Depression

For mild depression, St. John's wort often works as well as Prozac and Zoloft, but with fewer side effects. "We recently concluded a comprehensive review of the scientific literature on St. John's wort, and 21 of 23 studies support it for mild-to-moderate depression," says Blumenthal. Studies showing benefits have used 600 to 1,800 mg a day; most have used 900 mg a day. Stomach upset is possible, and St. John's wort interacts with many drugs, including possibly reducing the effectiveness of birth-control pills. Depression requires professional care; ask your physician about St. John's wort.

(47) Saw Palmetto for Benign Prostate Enlargement

In a study published in the journal The Prostate, saw palmetto extract (32-0 mg) was compared with finasteride in 1,098 men with prostate symptoms. After 24 weeks, both treatments were equally effective, but the herb caused fewer side effects. Researchers at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center analyzed 18 studies and found saw palmetto to be effective for prostate symptoms.

(48) Tea for Heart Health

Tea, particularly green tea, has rocketed to prominence as an herbal medicine. It's high in antioxidants, which help prevent heart disease. In a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, Dutch researchers followed 3,454 residents of Rotterdam. Compared with those who drank no tea, those who drank two cups a day had 46 percent less risk of heart attack, while those who drank four cups a day enjoyed 69 percent lower risk. Drinking tea also improves survival odds after heart attack.

(49) Tea for Cancer Prevention

Researchers at the University of Southern California surveyed 501 Asian women with breast cancer and 594 who were cancer-free. Those who were cancer-free drank the most green tea; as consumption rose, risk fell. Also, Japanese researchers reported in Cancer Letters that breast-cancer survivors who drank three or more cups a day reduced the risk of recurrence. Green tea also appears to protect against cancers of the colon, rectum, and pancreas. Most research has used green tea.

(50) Tea for Bad Breath and Gum Disease

Forget breath mints. Instead, researchers at the University of Illinois College of Dentistry in Chicago suggest a cup of tea (black or green), which contains compounds that stop the growth of bacteria that cause bad breath. An added benefit: Tea helps prevent gum disease, the main cause of adult tooth loss.

(51) Tea Tree Oil for Athlete's Foot

Tea tree isn't tea; it's an Australian plant with an antifungal, antiseptic oil. In a study published in the Australasian Journal of Dermatology, researchers had people with athlete's foot apply tea tree oil (50 percent concentration) or a placebo. After four weeks, 31 percent of the placebo group and 64 percent of the tea tree contingent were cured. Pharmaceutical ointments work faster, but tea tree oil is clearly effective. "Apply it with a Q-tip twice a day," Duke says.

(52) Tea Tree Oil for Dandruff

As reported in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Australian researchers studied 126 people with dandruff, which is caused by a skin fungus. Subjects were given either an ordinary shampoo or one containing 5 percent tea tree oil. After four weeks, flaking was reduced 11 percent in the plain-shampoo group, but 41 percent in those who used tea tree oil. It's not a miracle cure, but if your dandruff shampoo isn't working as well as you'd like, add a drop or two of tea tree oil each time you shampoo.

(53) Turmeric for Arthritis and Joint Injuries

Curcumin, the yellow pigment in this Indian spice, is an anti-inflammatory. In combination with boswellia, it treats osteoarthritis, according to investigators at India's Central Drug Research Institute. Use turmeric or yellow curries in cooking. "I developed a recipe called 'Arthritis Soup,'" Duke says, "containing lots of anti-inflammatory herbs. The recipe also calls for 2 tablespoons of turmeric." When taking capsules, follow label directions.

(54) Valerian for Insomnia

Studies have shown that valerian aids sleep, often as well as pharmaceutical sedatives and without being addictive. In a study published in the European Journal of Medical Research, investigators gave 202 insomniacs valerian or a Valium-like tranquilizer. After six weeks, both treatments were equally effective. "Research strongly supports that valerian works," Blumenthal says. "It's been used widely and safely for hundreds of years." Note: It takes a week or more to begin noticing benefit. Also, raw valerian root smells and tastes terrible ("like funky socks," Blumenthal says), so pills are more palatable.

(55) White Willow Bark for Back Pain

White willow bark contains salicin, a close chemical relative of aspirin. According to a German study of 451 people with low back pain, 240 mg a day of willow bark worked better than conventional therapeutic options. Like aspirin, willow bark can cause stomach distress, and it shouldn't be given to children.

Foods For Constipation

Fiber-Rich Foods for Constipation Relief

Following a diet high in fiber-rich foods helps protect against constipation, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). By consuming 20 to 35 grams of fiber daily, you can help your digestive system to form soft, bulky stool that is easy to pass. The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends slowly increasing your intake of high-fiber foods in order to prevent bloating, cramping, and gas.

Foods high in fiber include whole grains (such as brown rice, barley, and quinoa), certain vegetables and fruits (especially dried fruits), flaxseed, and legumes (such as beans and lentils). Here's a look at the amount of fiber found in specific foods that may help with constipation:

navy beans (9.5 grams of fiber per ½ cup)
kidney beans (8.2 grams of fiber per ½ cup)
pinto beans (7.7 grams of fiber per ½ cup)
artichokes (6.5 per artichoke)
sweet potatoes (4.8 grams in one medium sweet potato)
pears (4.4 grams in one small pear)
green peas (4.4 grams per ½ cup)
raspberries (4 grams per ½ cup)
prunes (3.8 grams per ½ cup)
apples (3.3 grams in one medium apple)
People with a sensitivity to gluten should opt for vegetables and fruit, quinoa, beans and lentils, nuts and seeds, and brown rice, and avoid grains such as wheat, barley, and rye. Oats are acceptable as long as they are certified gluten-free.

When increasing your intake of high-fiber foods, it's important to drink plenty of fluids. Liquids help the body to digest fiber, and provide constipation relief by adding bulk to stools (which makes bowel movements easier). Aim for eight glasses of water per day.

Magnesium-Rich Foods for Constipation Relief

There's some evidence that running low on magnesium may increase your constipation risk. For instance, a 2007 study of 3,835 women (published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition) found that those with the lowest magnesium intake were the most likely to experience constipation.

Adult males ages 19 to 30 need 400 mg of magnesium daily, while men ages 31 and up need 420 mg. Adult females ages 19 to 30 need 310 mg daily, and women ages 31 and up need 320 mg.

Here's a list of magnesium-rich foods that may help fight constipation:

almonds (80 mg of magnesium per ounce)
cashews (75 mg of magnesium per ounce)
cooked spinach (75 mg of magnesium per ½ cup)
shredded wheat cereal (55 mg of magnesium in two rectangular biscuits)
fortified instant oatmeal prepared with water (55 mg of magnesium per cup)
baked potato with skin (50 mg of magnesium in one medium potato)
peanuts (50 mg of magnesium per ounce)
cooked lentils (35 mg of magnesium per ½ cup)
smooth peanut butter (25 mg of magnesium per tablespoon)
Foods to Avoid for Constipation Relief

Cutting back on refined, processed grains (such as white rice, white bread, and white pasta) and replacing them with whole grains can boost your fiber intake and protect against constipation.

Reducing your intake of fatty foods (including cheese, ice cream, and meats) may also decrease your constipation risk. In addition, it's important to limit your intake of alcohol and caffeine-containing beverages (such as coffee, tea, soda, and energy drinks). These foods can cause dehydration, which may in turn trigger constipation.

Should You Use Foods to Fight Constipation?

To treat constipation effectively, it's important to combine a diet high in fiber-rich foods with certain lifestyle changes (such as regular exercise and adequate intake of fluids). In some cases, patients may also require further treatment (such as doctor-prescribed laxatives or biofeedback). If foods and lifestyle changes alone fail to relieve your constipation, talk to your doctor about other treatment options.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Amazing Benefits of Spirulina

What is spirulina?

First and foremost, spirulina refers to a family of blue-green algae. These are usually found in warm and alkaline waters all over the world, and are predominant in Central Africa and Mexico. 

Spirulina is revered as the Superfood because it is a very rich source of various kinds of vitamins. 

It contains about 70% protein, the vitamins E, C (beta carotene) and B complex, a number of minerals, phycocyanin and chlorophyll. 

If you think that carrots are rich in beta carotene, you will be surprised to know that the spirulina herb contains a lot more! The truth is, it is the richest beta carotene food ever.

Spirulina Health Benefits:

The nutritional makeup of this supplement is responsible for a great deal of spirulina's health benefits. Included in spirulina's health profile are:

It is 60% vegetable protein with abundant amino acids
Vitamin A
Vitamin K
Thiamine (vitamin B1)
Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
Niacin (vitamin B3)
Vitamin B12
Phytonutrients that include phycocyanin, polysaccharides, sulfolipids, clorophyll, GLA (Gamma Linolenic Acid), Linoleic Acid, Caroteniods and lutien
Because spirulina is so nutritionally dense, there are a number of health benefits. These include:

It cleanses the body of toxic chemical byproducts (dioxins) of industrial processes.
It enhances immune function.
It increases production of interferons and interleukins, which are part of the body's natural anti-inflammatory system. A University of Hyderabad Department of Animal Sciences, School of Life Sciences study on this effect can be found at Pub Med.
It has been shown to reduce the incidence of brain lesions in rats with induced strokes, as evidenced in a 2005 Oregon State University Study
A Harvard Medical School Study seems to indicate that spirulina may be effective in the inhibition of HIV.
An NYU study shows implications for treatment of a number of condiions including fibromyalgia, hay fever and cholesterol
It may block the release of histamines released during allergic reactions.
It is believed to have anticancer effects.'
It is believed to help fight aging.
It increases energy.
It is a source of five essential amino acids not manufactured by the body, as evidenced in this article.
It blocks viral cells from entering host cells.
It normalizes digestive acids.
It is low calorie, low sugar, low starch and is easily absorbed by the human body.


Cleansing & Detoxification. When you put your body under extreme stress, such as intense physical training, toxins and free radicals are released from your tissues. The chlorophyll in spirulina helps eliminate these waste products, and cleanses your liver, kidneys and blood. When the liver and kidneys are working more smoothly, everything else in the body works better, too.

This cleansing effect is also important if you're on any sort of low-carb diet (Atkins diet, South Beach diet, etc.). These types of diets can place a heavy burden on the liver and kidneys, due too the increased elimination of excess ketones that occurs.

The benefits of spirulina also include protection against environmental toxins, air and water pollution, and other contaminants that you're being exposed to every day.

If you want to buy a spirulina you might wanna check this link: