Friday, February 28, 2014

Brain Nourishing Herbs

"Brain Nourishing Herbs

~ Oatstraw is restorative, the essence of nourishment for the brain and nervous system. Very grounding. Essential for those who lack concentration skills whether adult or child.

~ Roses and rose hips nourish the brain and nervous system, are calming, stress relieving and centering. Roses nourish our ability to give and accept love. Used to alleviate pains of the emotional heart, to lift spirits and enhance vitality. Rose hips are vital for children who have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder.

~ Lavender is antidepressant, tranquilizing and stress relieving.

~ Skullcap is nature’s finest nervine, a superb nourisher of the brain and nervous system; pain relieving, antidepressant and sedating. Helps focus and concentration.

~ Red clover nourishes the entire body, provides plenty of protein, B vitamins, and calcium, all essential brain nourishing nutrients.

~ Chamomile is mildly sedating, soothing and especially good for children.

~ Sage inhibits the breakdown of acetylcholine thus protects against Alzheimer’s. Highly regarded as a brain tonic down through the ages.

~ Rosemary is a nervine, stress reliever and antidepressant. It increases alertness, strengthens memory and acts as an all-around brain tonic.

~ Garlic stimulates the brain and has a positive effect on brain functioning, increasing alertness and energy.

~ Ginkgo brings blood to the brain, improves mood and sociability, sharpens concentration and intellect, and eases tension and anxiety.

~ Ginseng is rejuvenating, restorative, boosts energy and vitality and is tonic to the brain. Antidepressant, adaptogenic, an excellent ally for anyone under physical, emotional, mental or spiritual stress. Promotes strong nerves, sound sleep, improves memory, clear thinking and enhances concentration.

~ Angelica is revitalizing, restorative and offers rich stores of B vitamins, including B12, calcium, magnesium and iron, all necessary nutrients for healthy brain and nervous system functioning.

~ Lemon Balm is an effective natural tranquilizer and antidepressant. It is anesthetic, pain easing and called a safeguard against senility. Lemon balm nourishes the brain.

~St. John’s wort is effective against mild to moderate depression, alleviates anxiety, insomnia, and irritability and eases pain.

~Motherwort supports us emotionally. Motherwort offers emotional stability while she teaches us what is necessary for strong emotional health. Our sharp prickly parts need to be acknowledged and accepted as well as our soft fuzzy parts. Motherwort displays both proudly.

Many of the above herbs can be found in tincture form at the following link -
tinctures of oatstraw, motherwort, St. John's wort, lavender, angelica, ginseng, ginkgo, rosemary, sage, chamomile, red clover, nettles, burdock, dandelion, wild yam, black cohosh. and skullcap - also rose, lavender, peppermint & lemon balm glycerites.

Some of these herbs, especially oatstraw, roses, lavender & lemon balm are also available to you here in the form of delicious herb tea blends. You'll find some excellent choices here -
Herb Tea Blends such as Comfort & Joy, Peace Blossom and Lavender Love

Rose hip syrup can be found on this page
Rose Hip Syrup"

I have read the article on brain nourishing herbs you shared with me earlier, and I find it informative with regard to the various herbs that are restorative, emotionally supportive and nerve-calming, such as oatstraw, rose hips, lavender, chamomile, rosemary, garlic, angelica, lemon balm, St Johns' wort, motherwort and skullcap.
I have also googled some of these herbs just now, and it is interesting to note from this article below that oatstraw's calming qualities not only strengthen nerves but also encourage a restful night's sleep.

"The somewhat controversial German Commission E stated in an October 1987 publication that oat straw could be used as a nervine herb. The German government commissioned oat straw extract as an effective herbal remedy for anxiety and stress. This is most likely due to the high Vitamin B complex content contained within the herb. Oat straw's calming qualities strengthens nerves and encourages a restful night's sleep."

Learn more:
I also found a couple of articles below that say skullcap can be used to treat insomnia, besides anixety symptoms, as mentioned below.
"4) Skullcap: Another herb from the mint family, skullcap combines well with valerian root to synergistically reduce stress, decrease nervous tension, fight insomnia, and fight anxiety symptoms. When made into a tea or tincture, skullcap can be taken throughout the day to combat stress and promote restfulness, even in the midst of irritating or stressful situations."
Learn more:

"(NaturalNews) Scullcap is a traditional herb that can be taken internally to treat nervousness, irritability, insomnia, and neuralgia. Scullcap has a sedating effect and is also able to calm spasms, reduce fever, stimulate the kidneys, and also has cleansing effects. Scullcap is very effective for treating anxiety and tension headaches as well and the Chinese consider it a powerful remedy that is used to calm the mind and also to prepare for meditation."
Learn more:

Bacopa Monnieri

I have checked out this very informative article on bacopa, which I learnt is an Adaptogen herb that is validated for improving memory, reducing anxiety, increasing memory and promoting longevity. 

It is also helpful to learn that taking the dose together with meals instead of on an empty stomach can prevent side effects such as cramping/bloating, and that bacopa takes some time to work, with much improvements showing in 8-12 weeks. 

I also learnt that bacopa goes well with "Milk ThistleCurcuminGreen Tea Catechins, and Ashwagandha".

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Elderberry - a potent natural flu remedy

Here's sharing with you this article I read yesterday about elderberry as a potent flu killer. It says that "doctors found that patients that consumed elderberry extracts showed a reduction of flu symptoms such as fever within two days of supplementation". Here's sharing relevant excerpts from the article below.
"This magical fruit is particularly high in phenolic compounds, with exceptionally high levels of anthocyanins – besides being a good source of water soluble vitamin c. The presence of these two nutrients may explain why elderberries are efficient in fighting off cold and flu. There are several species of elderberries – American, Blue and European Elderberries. The European elderberries are the most studied type and used in dietary supplements.

A tasty way to fight off influenza viruses

A 1995 study found that elderberries are a low-cost and a side-effect free way to treat influenza viruses A and B. This research was published in the winter edition of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. It was a placebo-controlled, double-blind investigation on the effects of the elderberry extracts during an influenza-B outbreak in Panama.
Doctors found that patients that consumed elderberry extracts showed a reduction of flu symptoms such as fever within two days of supplementation. By the third day about 90% of the cases were completely cured.
Another study published in the Journal of International Medical Research also fetched similar results in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled investigation. Sixty Norwegian adults with influenza-like symptoms were given 15 ml of elderberry juice or syrup – four times a day. The supplementation was continued for 5 days, patients that received elderberry syrup recovered 4 days earlier than the group that did not receive elderberries.

Elderberries know how to kill flu viruses – naturally

According to researchers, the possible mechanism of elderberries against influenza viruses is via its powerful antioxidant network. The flavonoids, flavonols, cholorogenic compounds and other antioxidants stimulate the immune system in an organized fashion.
The first point of stimulus occurs with an increased production of cytokines that serves as messengers between cells. Cytokines then locate the target immune cells and interact with the receptors to bind to them. This interaction triggers specific immune responses.
The second point of stimulus occurs with an increase in the production of monocytes (type of white blood cells). Some of these monocytes transform into macrophages which form of a part of body’s own immune system which destroy foreign cells or bacteria.
Some other monocytes become dendritic cells which assist the adaptive part of the immune system. In addition to this, elderberries also inhibit the ability of influenza virus to attach to the red blood cells. The antioxidant – anthocyanins – in elderberries also tag along to demonstrate powerful anti-inflammatory effect which brings down the aches and pain associated with fever."
- See more at:
Another article says black elderberry is the "most antiviral substance known to man", as described below.
"Elderberries, which happen to be a very powerful antioxidant, have been used for centuries in folk medicine (as well as today, in other countries around the world) to treat colds, influenza, wounds (when applied topically) and have even shown to be effective against the herpes simplex virus.

A 2001 study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine stated that elderberry extracts are "natural remedies with antiviral properties, especially against different strains of influenza virus." Another 2004 study published in the NLM commented on reduced duration of flu symptoms when using elderberry: "Symptoms were relieved on average four days earlier and use of rescue medication was significantly less in those receiving elderberry extract compared with placebo." University of Maryland Medial Center writes "Elderberry may have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anticancer properties" and "one study suggested that elderberry could kill the H1N1 virus.""

Learn more:
"Elderberry contains a potent antiviral agent called "antivirin" which helps neutralize the activity of the hemagglutinin spikes. When these spikes are deactivated, the viruses are no longer able to get inside of the cell and replicate."
Learn more:
I also found this article below, which may be useful as a reference too, as it contains a suggested recipe for an immune boost tonic containing dried elderberries.
"Recipe for Immune Boost Tonic:

Ingredients (Organic):

2/3 cup dried elderberries
4 cups water
2 tea bag of Rooibos tea
1 tsp of Cinnamon
2 T fresh or dried Ginger
1/2 tsp of Cloves
1/2 cup raw Honey


1. Pour water into saucepan and add all ingredients except for honey
2. Bring to Boil, Cover and Simmer for 45 minutes
3. Remove from heat, let cool
4. Pour through a strainer
5. When completely cool, add honey and mix completely
6. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator

Suggested Dose:

Take daily for immune support:

1 tsp. for children
1 T. for adults

If flu comes on:

Take suggested dose every 2-3 hours until symptoms disappear"
Learn more:

The Benefits Of Eucommia Bark Herbal Extract

I have checked out the above video and noted the benefits of Eucommia bark herbal extract, such as helping to lower stress and anxiety and keeping the bones strong and the joints supple. It is interesting to learn from this related article below I came across just now that Eucommia Bark is the health ranger Mike Adams' most favorite chinese herb, which he took regularly as he "used to suffer from chronic lower back pain in years past", and he now takes steps to nutritionally support his back and kidneys.
"The little-known Chinese herb powerhouse: Eucommia Bark
My single most favorite Chinese herb is, without question, eucommia bark. This isn't an herb many people have heard of, but it has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for literally thousands of years.

Although FDA censorship won't let me tell you much about this herb, I can at least offer the simple statement that "eucommia bark may help support healthy bone function*." In Chinese Medicine, it is an element frequently used in formulas referred to as "kidney energy" formulas, as it may also help support and normalize regular kidney function.*"

Learn more:
I also found this article below that is quite informative in describing the benefits of Eummonia bark, as well as its background and its safety in usage.
"Eucommia bark is very mild and has no known adverse side effects or negative interactions with drugs. Eucommia bark is safe for both men and women, and has been traditionally given to both. Eucommia leaf is now being substituted for the bark in many commercial products (it is less expensive), but the leaf is believed to be less effective for structural issues than the bark.
Experiments conducted around the world continually demonstrate a very high tolerance for Eucommia bark by animals and humans. Animal studies repeatedly find no toxicity or side effects from the use of Eucommia bark at even high levels of consumption. No acute or chronic toxicity has been reported regarding the reasonable use of concentrated Eucommia ulmoides bark extracts in humans. Nevertheless, all herbs should be consumed in moderation, based on standard usage."
I find this article below useful too, such as in describing how Eucommia has been made into a sleep supplement by a natural health products manufacturer. 

"Eummonia is found in many natural preparations. Recently, for example, the natural health products manufacturer eHelps compounded Eucommia into a sleep supplement, that promotes refreshing sleep by strengthening the Qi and tonifying the sleep wake cycle. Eucommia was included because it strengthens the Qi."

Herbal remedies for sinus and runny nose

Here's a herbal combination for treating sinus and runny nose or flu symptoms:

  • Sage
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Clove
  • Ginger
Now add about a tsp of mixed herbs per cup of boiled water, cover, and steep about 20 minutes.  For best results, make up a big batch, and drink about 4 cups (1Litre) per day for 3-5 days as needed and see what happens

Thursday, February 20, 2014

"In traditional Chinese medicine, emotions and physical health are intimately connected."

I have checked out this article "Emotions in Traditional Chinese Medicine" and I noted that "emotions and physical health are intimately connected", and different emotions "are each associated with a particular organ in the body". I also learnt that "a diagnosis in traditional Chinese medicine is highly individualized", and "once an organ system is identified, the unique symptoms of the patient determine the practitioner's treatment approach".

While googling to find out more about this subject, I came across this article that shares a similar observation - it says Finnish researchers map how emotions are expressed physically in human bodies".
"(NaturalNews) New research published in the journal Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences of The United States of America (PNAS) provides a solid basis for understanding how our bodies physically react to various emotional states. Scientists from Aalto University in Finland found that the human body lights up differently on a heat map for each type of emotion, illustrating for the first time how emotions play a definitive role in physical health."
Learn more:
I also learnt from this article below that Chinese medicine such as acupuncture treats physical and emotional trauma.

"Chinese medicine is particularly effective for trauma relief because the method of diagnosis involves searching for the root of a person's distress, rather than merely treating the symptoms. By thoroughly investigating the cause of a patient's stress disorder, origin and continuing source of discomfort and fear is recognized and more readily conquered. Whether a treatment occurs quickly after a traumatic event has been experienced or years later, acupuncture can help relieve tension".
- See more at:
Another article I found focuses on liver health harmony and the link to physical and emotional wellbeing - I learnt from the article about some foods and herbs that are good for the liver.  
"We get a new liver every 6 weeks, and with the proper nourishment, care and some lifestyle changes, we can avoid or reverse many of these problems. Everything in the body can and will return to a state of balance when provided with the right support.
Foods that are good for the Liver: red beets, carrots, zucchini/squash, raw green leaf vegetables, tart cherries (sour is cooling & tonifies liver), black cherry juice, lemon water, rose hips, wolfberry, aka lyceum.
Bitter Herbs good for the Liver: Yellow dock, Dandelion, Blessed Thistle, Milk Thistle, Burdock, Oregon Grape".

Monday, February 17, 2014


I noted from this article that borage is a herb that is now naturalized in most parts of Europe, and it has a "cucumber-like fragrance", and when steeped in water, it imparts a coolness to it and a faint cucumber flavour". As for its uses, I learnt borage can be used for fevers and pulmonary (lung) complaints, or as a gargle to relieve inflammation and ulcers in the mouth or throats".

I read in this related article on some ways the borage leaves can be used.

"The leaves can also be used. Some ideas for use include:
  • Adding to gin-based summer cocktails
  • Placing the young leaves into salads cooked like spinach or dipped in batter asfritters
  • Use the leaves uncooked in salads and soups, as they have a cucumber flavor
  • Add sprigs to wine, cider, and fruit drinks
  • Freeze the flowers into ice cubes
  • Use the flowers as garnishes in salads
  • Candy the flowers for cake decorations."
This blog below says that the Indian borage is used as a cough remedy too.

"In Singapore, the Indian Borage is often mistakened as a type of mint. To make things worse, a rough search using the Internet search engine will yield has several confusing common names. Botanically, the Indian Borage is known as Plectranthus amboinicus and is a member of Lamiaceae and this herb is famed for its use as a cough remedy."

Anxiety and food

I learnt from this article that possible reasons for anxiety after eating includes physical sensations from food, such as light-headedness, heart palpitations and indigestion; something within the gut activated by the food; acid reflux; and so on. I remember a few times I experienced mild heart palpitations after eating a full meal of oatmeal for breakfast in the morning, and I think it was probably due to the carbohydrates, sugar and sodium as mentioned in the article. (Oatmeal happens to be my favourite dish as it is tasty and healthy, and I would eat it once a week on average, usually on a weekend morning.) I would then sit or lie down for about an hour or so and wait for the food to digest and I usually feel better after that. I have been avoiding coffee or tea or other beverages that contain caffeine, so nowadays I don't experience palpitations often, unlike in the past, thankfully.

On a similar note, I was googling about natural remedies for anxiety caused by the gut after eating, and came across some related articles on this topic - here's sharing a couple of them with you too, which may be useful as a reference or reminder.

"The gut is home to about 1,000 trillion bacteria. The gut also contains around 100 million nerve cells (neurons), more than in either the spinal cord or the peripheral nervous system. This multitude of neurons in the enteric nervous system enables us to "feel" the inner world of our gut and its contents.
Neurons in the gut also use serotonin to signal back to the brain - and 95% of all serotonin in the body is in the gut. About 90 percent of the fibers in the primary visceral nerve, the vagus, carry information from the gut to the brain.

Generally when people think of "gut feelings," they are thinking about instinctive-like reactions such as the "butterflies" or "hollow feelings" one may get due to fear, bad news or an upcoming daunting task. Now it is apparent that other serious conditions may originate at least partially in the gut. Maintaining a healthy digestive system, including a healthy intestinal flora mix, could be a key in helping to prevent and control such conditions."

Learn more:
"When you first start re-introducing good bacteria in your gut through eating more cultured, fermented foods and taking a therapeutic grade probiotic, you’ll probably notice what’s called “die-off” symptoms. Headaches, dizziness, fever, nausea, and other mild cold-like symptoms are all natural parts of experiencing die-off. Basically, as your newly introduced good bacteria start out-competing the bad bacteria already present in your system, the bad bacteria start dying off. When they die off, they produce toxins. Normally, your body is able to eliminate these toxins without you experiencing any symptoms. However, when a radical shift in gut flora takes place, the bad bacteria die off in such large quantities that your body can’t effectively eliminate the toxins created in the die-off. So, you’ll experience the die-off effects, also known as a Herxheimer Reaction.

Don’t worry! The die-off symptoms won’t last long at all, and on the other side of them you’ll be feeling better than ever. And, if this new study is any indication (which I believe it is), you’ll have happier and more balanced moods, too."

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

"How to let go of anxious sensations" by Barry McDonagh

Here's sharing this article I came across recently which may be useful as a reference or reminder about learning to trust in our body to take care of anxious sensations that we experience at times. It is a reminder for me as well as I too experience anxiety symptoms such as palpitations before due to tensed situations or stressful circumstances such as at work over the years and so on, and I am learning to remember to breathe deeply where possible. 

I find some of the comments in the article encouraging.
"October 19,2013

Dil Mari @ 10:01 pm
I’m reading the comments with interest. I wake in the middle of the night with a severe epigastric pain. No one has diagnose or treated it, but at last the pain is so much less intense, plus it only lasts about 20 minutes now rather than the hours it used to. It used to happen if the phone or doorbell rang, or if I had even a slight surprise or shock. I’m accepting it now, and hoppe that, after having it for over 20 years, maybe it will now go away altogether. I hope so. hanks for all your good, sound advice. Dil Mari"
Another person commented below about how he or she learnt to deal with anxiety:
"January 8,2014

Lou Brown @ 12:23 pm
To all those who have commented that they feel ‘dizzy’—-I had the good fortune to watch the Dr Oz show last year where Depak Chopra was a guest. Depak suggested a natural remedy for headaches but I tried it the next time I felt dizzy from anxiety AND IT WORKED! It’s as simple as (sitting if possible) or just standing still and taking 2 or 3 long breaths in and out and then focusing all your attention on your heart-beat until you can really feel it and hear it… then you re-focus as hard as you can on your fingertips and try and FEEL your heartbeat in the very tips of your fingers. Apparently what this does is, it tells your brain to send the rush of blood from your head down to your fingertips – thereby taking the pressure out of your head. I’ve even done this while sitting at traffic lights or in a meeting and it’s quickly dispersed the dizzy feeling. Oh, I forgot to say that I am able to ‘feel’ my heartbeat in my fingertips after a while."
I suppose different people find different strategies work best for themselves. For me, when I experience anxious sensations such as stiff or tensed neck muscles and palpitations, I usually find listening to soothing music or taking a walk helpful to clear my mind, besides conscious breathing, and sometimes I would type mini journals in my office computer email program (and save them in the draft folder) as a form of therapeutic exercise - it also helps me to express or articulate my thoughts and feelings about things that cause anxiety.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Foods that help reduce anxiety

I have checked out this website on "19 remedies for anxiety", and I noted that a key to reducing anxiety in the long term is "a whole-foods, plant-based diet with carefully selected meat and seafood, plenty of leafy greens (such as kale) to get folate, and a wide variety of phytonutrients to help reduce anxiety".

I learnt from this article that besides kale, other excellent sources of folate include romaine lettuce, spinach, asparagus, turnip greens, mustard greens, calf's liver, collard greens, broccoli, cauliflowers, and beets, and I have checked Adamo's website that these aforementioned sources are neutral or beneficial for blood type B too.

As for phytonutrients, I learnt from this article that phytonutients "have health-promoting properties including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and liver-health-promoting activitles". It also says:
"Fruits and vegetables are concentrated sources of phytonutrients; other plant foods like whole grains, legumes/beans, nuts and seeds, and herbs and spices also contain phytonutrients. Since many phytonutrients also serve as the pigment that gives foods their deep hues, you can identify many phytonutrient-rich foods by looking for colorful foods; for example, look for foods that are blue or purple like blueberries, blackberries and red cabbage (rich in flavonoids); yellow-orange foods like carrots, winter squash, papaya, and melon (rich in beta-carotene); red or pink foods like tomatoes, guava, and watermelon (rich in lycopene); and green foods like kale, spinach, and collard greens (rich in chlorophyll). Yet, since not all phytonutrients give color, it's important to not overlook some off-white foods as well—for example, garlic, onions, and leeks are rich in powerful sulfur-containing phytonutrients."
This article below also gives some examples of spices that contain phytonutrients, such as turmeric, ginger and fennel.
"Turmeric, ginger, coriander, cumin and fennel are just a few of the spices containing phytonutrients, according to The Detroit News. Cinnamon has been found to help control blood sugar and improve insulin resistance in diabetics. Paprika may help raise good cholesterol, and ginger, coriander and cumin may promote healthy digestion."
Learn more:

"Humans are omnivores. We function best eating both animals and plants."

I have read the informative article "Top 5 reasons why vegan diets are a terrible idea" by Kris Gunnars, in which I learnt that "the optimal diet for any one person depends on a lot of things". including "age, gender, activity levels, current metabolic health, food culture and personal preference". I also learnt that the reasons that vegan diet may not be a good idea include the fact that vegan diets are "deficient in many important nutrients", such as Vitamin B12, animal protein, creatine, carnosine, and DHA; and "there are no controlled trials showing that vegan diets are any better than other diets"; and there is also "no scientifically valid health reason to completely eliminate animal foods (especially organic, unprocessed, grass-fed meat)".

Yes, humans are omnivores, and we function best eating both animals and plants, and I remember that even Adamo's blood type diets include both meat and plants for people of different blood types, with different varieties of these meat and plants being recommended for different blood types.

Like what the article mentioned, the optimal diet for a person depends on the current metabolic health too, and I came across another article that discusses the same subject.

I also noted from the article that the author Kris Gunnars personally thinks that "vegan diets can have health benefits for a lot of people… at least in the short term, before the nutrient deficiencies kick in (which can be partly circumvented by supplementation)."

Similarly, this article "The vegetarian myth" says that "There is a time for detoxification, and a time for rebuilding and nourishing. Vegan/vegetarian diets are great for detoxification, but this should only last a week to a couple months. Then, after the body is done detoxifying, it needs nourishment and a rebuilding of nutrient stores."

So, maybe for most cases, vegan diets are best only for a temporary season of detoxification, before one needs to include meat again for nourishment and rebuilding of nutrient stores. As Kris Gunnars also wrote, she is "100% certain that a plant-based diet that includes at least a little bit of animals (the occasional whole egg or fatty fish, for example) will be much healthier in the long-term than a diet that eliminates animal foods completely" since such meat and dairy contain important nurients such as iron and animal protein.

Related article
Is Red Meat Healthy?

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