Health Benefits of Valerian

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The health benefits of valerian go beyond providing a restful night’s sleep. This flowering herb offers a range of healing properties that soothe and support the body.

Check out these benefits and easy ways to include valerian as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Health Benefits of Valerian title meme

What is Valerian?

Valerian, also commonly known as valerian root, is native to Europe and parts of Asia. It’s grown in the US as well. The herb is a perennial flowering plant adorned with sweetly scented pink or white blooms. Valerian normally blooms during the summer months.

The name of the plant derives from the Latin word valere, meaning “strong and healthy”. The Greeks and Romans appreciated valerian for its medicinal properties, using it as a sleep aid and as an early remedy for epilepsy.

Valerian root contains oils and other active components that produce a soothing, restorative effect on the body’s nervous and muscular systems. The plant also contains calcium, manganese and quercitin.

Health Benefits of Valerian
Valerian flowers

Health Benefits of Valerian

This extraordinary medicinal herb offers the following healing properties:

Lowers Blood Pressure

Valerian’s soothing properties lower blood pressure, which in turn improves overall heart health. High blood pressure creates increased risks for stroke and heart attack.

Promotes Sleep

Well known for aiding insomnia, valerian reduces the time it takes to fall asleep while improving the quality of sleep. Unlike prescriptions or over the counter meds, valerian has few side effects and it’s less likely to cause grogginess the next morning. Valerian root is frequently combined with other herbs, such as lemon balm, to soothe the body into rest.

Health benefits of valerian - better night's sleep
Health benefits of valerian – a better night’s sleep

Eases Menstrual Cramps

Valerian’s natural antispasmodic abilities relax muscles, calming severe uterine contractions that cause cramps during menstruation. For many women, those cramps are extremely painful and debilitating. Valerian acts as a muscle relaxer, easing cramps and pain while reducing stress.

Relieves Anxiety

Valerian increases a chemical in the body called gamma aminobutyric (GABA). GABA helps to regulate nerve cells and naturally calms anxiety. In fact, studies show that valerian works as well as antidepressants at reducing anxiety, without the serious side effects of those drugs.

Health Benefits of Valerian
Health Benefits of Valerian – eases anxiety. An afternoon in a hammock helps too!

 

Soothes the Digestive Tract

Valerian’s antispasmodic properties also calm and relax the digestive system. It is especially helpful for those suffering with irritable bowel syndrome. Additionally, the herb helps to control hunger and reduces the urge to eat during times of stress.

Helps with Stress Management

By reducing anxiety and improving sleep, valerian helps with daily stress management. Improving GABA levels enables the mind and the body to relax, which increases wellbeing and quality of life.

Health Benefits of Valerian
Valerian roots

Using Valerian

Valerian is available dried, as a tea or tincture, and in capsule form. It is easily found in health conscious stores or online. Check out the Amazon links below.

For insomnia, try a cup of valerian tea, a teaspoon of tincture or a capsule without two hours of bedtime. Brew tea by steeping one teaspoon dried valerian root in a cup of very hot water, for 5 – 10 minutes.

To help with anxiety, take 200 milligrams of valerian up to four times a day.

Continue valerian for up to six weeks, to improve sleep and lower anxiety.

Possible Side Effects of Valerian

Valerian is considered a safe, natural alternative to prescription drugs and over the counter meds. However, a few people experience dizziness, an upset stomach or increased anxiety while using valerian. Talk to a doctor before taking this herb and discontinue if any of the above symptoms occur. Also, do not combine valerian with melatonin or over the counter or prescription sleeping aids and antidepressants.

Have you tried valerian? What’s your experience using this healing herb?

Health Benefits of Valerian
Health Benefits of Valerian – relaxation

Pick up Valerian by clicking on links below:

 


And check out these herbal teas that help to calm anxiety.

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

Cooking With Chayote

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During my 62 Outrageous Things to do for My 62nd Birthday, one of my activities read: try a new vegetable. I noticed bright green gourds in the produce section of my local supermarket. And I wondered about them. Is it a fruit? Is it a vegetable? They are a bit of both! Chayote squash is a fruit that is prepared and eaten like a vegetable.

Cooking with chayote became an interesting first experience. And I love the simple Chayote Mexican Skillet that I created.

Cooking with Chayote title meme

What Are Chayotes?

Chayote are a type of squash, originally grown in central Mexico and parts of Latin America. Also known as the mirliton squash or chocho, it is now grown around the world. Technically considered a fruit, chayote tastes like a vegetable. It is delicious raw or cooked.

The squash is full of nutrients including vitamins B6, B9, C and K, manganese, copper, zinc, potassium, magnesium and fiber. It is rich in antioxidants that fight inflammation, lower stress in the body and protect against cellular damage.

Benefits of chayote include:

  • promotes heart health
  • controls blood sugar
  • supports a healthy pregnancy
  • provides anticancer properties
  • slows aging
  • supports liver health
  • promotes digestive health
Cooking With Chayote Squash
Cooking with chayote squash. Look for these pear shaped fruits in the produce section.

Cooking With Chayote

After purchasing this new-to-me fruit, I felt inspired to create a Mexican themed recipe. Versatile and easy to prepare, the squash has a mild flavor that pairs well with other foods. Peel and dice chayote to add raw to salads. Add to soups or stir fries or steam alone for a cooked treat.

This festive Chayote Mexican Skillet came together in minutes.

Chayote Mexican Skillet

This festive, easy to prepare recipe using chayote squash as a main ingredient.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chayote, Mexican Skillet
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Skillet

Ingredients

  • 1 large chayote, peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 can non GMO corn, drained
  • 1 small can chopped green chile peppers, mild or hot
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Instructions

  • In a large non stick skillet, saute onion, garlic and chayote in coconut oil, until onions are softened and chayote crisp tender.
  • Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with sea salt, if desired, and serve over cooked brown rice. Makes 4 - 6 servings.

 

Cooking with Chayote Saute
Onions, garlic and chayote sauteed in coconut oil.
Chayote Mexican Skillet
Cooking with Chayote Mexican Skillet

How Did Chayote Taste?

While chopping up the chayote, I sampled a sliver. It reminds me in texture of a cucumber, however the flavor is much more mild. I peeled the squash using my favorite knife, as I would a potato. Some chayote are extemely wrinkled with deep folds, making peel removal more difficult. I deliberately chose smoother fruit.

The Chayote Mexican Skillet was excellent! Greg is my taste tester. Chayote is new to him as well however he trusts my creations and sampled this recipe without fear. He declared the meal delicious. I served the completed skillet dinner over cooked brown rice. (Prepare the rice in this easy to make vegetable broth for a rich flavor.)

I loved this chayote dinner. The recipe is quick and easy to prepare, making it a wonderful meal after a busy day. And clean up is a breeze, using only one skillet.

I think cooking with chayote will become a regular occurrence in my kitchen. I’ll try adding it to a chopped veggie salad next.

Have you tried chayote? If so, do you have a favorite recipe?

Cooking with Chayote Ready to Eat

Try out this non stick ceramic skillet set from Amazon:

 

 

 

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Incrediwear Pain Relief and Recovery

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Thank you to Incrediwear for sending product for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Throughout my life, I’ve had issues with my left knee. I messed up the knee cap at age 13 and it took years before the pain and numbness went away. I’ve twisted that knee and strained it, weakening the joint. And after a horrific car accident, 25 years ago, the sciatic nerves in both legs became inflamed, creating years of chronic pain. The left leg…and knee…suffered the most.

Incrediwear title meme

My Darling Left Leg

Over the years I babied my left leg, named her Darling, tried to ignore her, worked at strengthening her. Eventually I walked with a cane, due to the continuing deterioration in that leg. At last, thankfully, a plant based lifestyle eliminated the pain and inflammation.

However, I’m still careful with my left leg and knee. A fall, a stumble or a misstep results in tenderness and stiffness. Early last year, I fell carrying groceries into the house from the car, badly twisting my left knee. It’s not an exaggeration to say that it took eight months to fully heal from that fall.

When Incrediwear emailed me recently about trying one of their pain reducing products, I immediately opened the message. The subject line cinched it.

Pills are out – Wearable Anti-Inflammatories are in! Sleeves, wraps and braces shown to accelerate recovery for acute and chronic injuries up to 46%

I’m all for using natural products and methods for healing pain and inflammation. “Yes!” I responded to Incrediwear. “Please send me a knee sleeve.” The company graciously did so.

Incrediwear Knee Sleeve
Incrediwear Knee Sleeve

Move Incredibly with Incrediwear

Incrediwear products work by increasing blood flow to reduce inflammation and swelling. They also relieve pain and accelerate recovery. Rather than using compression, Incrediwear products incorporate semiconductor elements within the fabric that release negative ions when stimulated by body heat.

Those negative ions activate cellular vibrations that speed up blood flow. The increased circulation brings more oxygen and nutrients to the target area, which supports the body’s natural healing process.

The company sells sleeves and braces, socks and apparel. The clothing effectively reduces the risk of overuse injuries and relieves muscle fatigue. Incrediwear’s socks relieve foot pain and fatigue while wicking away moisture. The sleeves and braces reduce inflammation and swelling and relieve pain while restoring mobility and accelerating recovery.

Incrediwear products reduce symptoms associated with:

  • arthritis
  • tendonitis
  • sprains/strains
  • neuropathy
  • carpal tunnel
  • lymphedema
  • musculoskeletal disorders
  • post operative healing
  • muscle fatigue
Incrediwear Wearing the Knee Sleeve
Darling left knee trying out the sleeve

My Experience with the Incrediwear Knee Sleeve

When the knee sleeve arrived, I examined it carefully. The material is soft and stretchy, ensuring a snug yet comfortable fit. My left knee felt great at that time. Within a few days of receiving the sleeve I slightly twisted that joint, providing the perfect opportunity to try out the product.

I slipped the sleeve over my left knee that night and went to bed. In a few minutes I noticed warmth around my knee, which felt incredibly good. Whenever I woke during the night, I cautiously tested my knee by bending it and straightening it out. The joint flexed without pain. The next morning my knee felt great…no pain, no swelling, no stiffness. I was impressed!

A week later, I experienced stiffness in the joint after a great deal of walking the day before. Would the sleeve ease my discomfort? This time I wore the knee sleeve throughout the day. I noticed the warmth around the joint again and a short time later, I completely forgot about the stiff knee. That’s a sign of relief! My attention was no longer drawn to my knee because it felt fine.

I’ve worn other sleeves and braces on my left leg and I can honestly say that the Incrediwear sleeve is the best that I’ve tried. I love that it relieves discomfort and promotes healing, without the need for pain meds.

Incrediwear Pain Relief

Sharing a Good Thing

When you find something that you appreciate and love, you share it. I’m doing that here, with my dear readers. Check out this awesome company online via this LINK. Or order Incrediwear products through the Amazon links below.

I gave away my Incrediwear knee sleeve. My son, who works for UPS, just completed an intense holiday season, making up to 200 deliveries a day. His left knee complained a bit about the long busy days. He’s now benefiting from the knee sleeve.

And I am ordering another one, for myself, for my Darling left knee. She deserves the opportunity to continuing healing.

Increadiwear Wearable Therapy

Find Incrediwear on Amazon too:

 


 

 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

Turmeric Green Tea

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Did you know that January is National Hot Tea Month? I didn’t either and I love drinking hot tea. It’s simple to celebrate during this month. Brew a cup of your favorite tea, find a cozy spot to relax and enjoy.

Since 2014, I’ve practiced the custom of afternoon tea time, favoring herbal teas. For this special month, I am choosing to experience several new to me teas or tea blends.

Leading off the celebration is this combination of two powerful healing foods, Turmeric Green Tea.

Turmeric Green Tea title meme

The Healing Benefits of Turmeric and Green Tea

These two superfoods are packed with healing benefits. Together they offer amazing health support throughout the body.

Turmeric

I’ve taken turmeric as a supplement since starting my plant based journey. I also create a non dairy turmeric milk that is a delicious way to end the day.

Turmeric is a rhizome perennial herb in the ginger family. It is native to India and southeast Asia. Turmeric is what gives curry its yellow color, and it has been used for thousands of years in India as a spice and for medicinal purposes.

There are incredible healing benefits in turmeric. This herb contains curcumin, a phytochemical with powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric also contains natural steroidal compounds that calm down the body’s inflammatory response to pathogens, such as viruses.

This makes turmeric ideal for fighting inflammation anywhere in the body, from joints to the liver to nerves to the brain. The compounds in this herb increase blood flow to the parts of the body that need it the most, lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol, inhibit tumors and cysts and help to prevent all types of cancer.

Turmeric aids in combating a host of conditions, including skin disorders, anxiety, colds and flu, sinus issues, chronic fatigue syndrome, Epstein Barr Virus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, lymphoma, heart disease, Lyme disease, Parkinson’s, liver disorders, joint pain, headaches, leg cramps, body aches, blurry vision, brain fog, menopause symptoms and many other health problems.

Turmeric Green Tea Grated
Freshly grated turmeric for Turmeric Green Tea.

Green Tea

Green tea is full of antioxidants, including polyphenols and catechins. These compounds protect cells and molecules from free radicals that damage the body and cause diseases.

This soothing tea reduces inflammation throughout the body. Green tea protects the skin against harmful UV radiation and fights skin cancer by repairing DNA. It also protects the brain’s neurons and improves memory, making it helpful in preventing dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

In addition, green tea supports the immune system, prevents infections and aids in weight loss by boosting metabolism and eliminating fat from the body. This tea reduces the risk for diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels and lowers bad cholesterol.

You can see why combining green tea with turmeric creates such a powerful health drink.

 

6 Teas that Soothe Anxiety Green Tea
Green Tea

Preparing Turmeric Green Tea

The tea is easy to prepare. I’d recommend using fresh turmeric root rather than dried or ground, for the best health benefits.

I purchased a piece of fresh turmeric root at my local Natural Grocers. Buy a larger section of turmeric root so that it is easier to peel and grate. I used a sharp paring knife to remove most of the outer skin, leaving a section to hang on to as I grated it. Turmeric leaves a bright yellow stain on fingers and clothing so handle carefully!

Grate about a tablespoon of turmeric and save the rest, storing in the refrigerator. Bring 2 cups of filtered water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and add the grated turmeric and two black peppercorns or a dash of ground black pepper. Black pepper contains a compound that inhibits the breakdown of turmeric in the liver and gut. This improves bioavailability, allowing higher levels of turmeric to remain in the body and increasing the effects.

Cover the pan and allow turmeric and black pepper to steep for 10 minutes.

Strain turmeric tea into a large mug or cup. Add an organic green tea bag, cover and steep for 5 more minutes. Add raw organic honey, if desired.

Turmeric Green Tea
Freshly brewed turmeric green tea.

Enjoying Turmeric Green Tea

The above recipe makes one large cup of turmeric green tea. Double the recipe to make a pot of tea. Save the grated turmeric in the saucepan. It can be used up to three times to create tea. Store any leftover tea in the refrigerator and reheat before drinking.

I brewed this healing drink for my afternoon tea. Previously I’ve only enjoyed turmeric in curries and golden milk, so I wondered if this tea would be overwhelming or too spicy. It’s not, at least, it’s not to me. I like the taste of turmeric and don’t use any kind of sweetener in my herbal teas. I drank the turmeric green tea straight up, without adding honey or coconut milk.

It is strongly flavored, but not overpowering. I enjoyed the drink and could imagine all those anti-inflammatories going to work throughout my body. In fact, I loved it so much I’ll have a second cup of turmeric green tea before bed. The turmeric root is inexpensive and easy to grate. My intention is to enjoy a cup of this healing tea once a day for the next week and note the effects.

I’ll keep you posted!

Turmeric Green Tea Cheers
Here’s to health!

Pick up these items, to create turmeric green tea:


Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.